Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #64

Legion of Super-Heroes v4 #64 (January 1995)
title: "Sibling Rivalry"
writers: Mark Waid and Tom McCraw
penciller: Lee Moder and Yancey Labat
inker: Ron Boyd
lettering: Bob Pinaha
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Mike McAvennie
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Lee Moder
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Apparition, Brainiac 5, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Invisible Kid, Leviathan, Live Wire, Saturn Girl, Spark, Triad, XS

Evolvo, Inferno, Karate Kid, Kirth and Dalya Ranzz (flashback), President Jeanne Chu, R.J. Brande, Spider Girl, Ultra Boy, Winema Wazzo

Leland McCauley, Mekt Ranzz (flashback), rough alien types in a dive bar

The Legion has just defeated Mano, but refused to work for scuzzy billionaire Leland McCauley. Live Wire has been called to the U.P. President's office where he is told is sister Ayla is Winath's official Legionnaire and that he should give her his place on the team...

The other founding members are ready to fight and even quit to keep Live Wire on the team, but given his embarrassing status as a runaway, the best the President can do is let them decide which Winathian gets to stay. Garth first has to get over his resentment of his sister, Spark, and tell her something important about their lightning powers. But before he can do that...
Ultra Boy shows up at Legion Plaza and is caught spying on the team with his Ultra-vision - most especially on a distraught Apparition whose mother is dead set against her membership in the team. Spark attacks the intruder, and Live Wire comes to her defense, the battle causing damage all over the neighborhood.
Realizing his mistake, he decides to leave the team and solve the founders' problem. Ultra Boy takes him to HIS team, whose boss appears to be... Leland McCauley?!

Here comes Ultra Boy... Not a fan of the whole bad boy look. I think it’s too much on the nose. Everything about his appearance bothers me: the hair, the earrings, the five-o-clock shadow… I don’t know what to think about him. He seems so full of himself. Plus, he clearly needs to learn some control. I agree that Spark provoked him, but did he really had to go through the whole fight just to prove himself? Garth takes the blame for the whole mess but really, Ultra could’ve prevented everything from happening if he would’ve just kept his cool with Saturn Girl. What’s going on with Apparition? Can’t her mother see that she’s doing so much for the United Planets? Of course not… I’ve seen this too many times in my life not to recognize a parent that’s against something she cannot understand. If only it came from a good place, like fear for her safety for instance. But no… It had to do with her being a part of the council and her fear of embarrassment. I hope this won’t drive her away from the team. I actually am pretty confident that this whole situation will create quite the opposite.

Now to talk about Garth. Everything about Live Wire is revealed. The originals finally learn that he is actually a runaway, but also that his brother is wanted almost everywhere. It’s great to see that they still seem to accept him even though backing him is a lot more complicated. I like how having his twin sister around makes his inferiority complex show. She clearly is the “smart” one of the two and it annoys him. Then again, I can’t blame him since she’s the one to rub it in his face. He quits at the end? Yeah right! We’ll see about that. McCauley has found his own team apparently. I can already tell that he’ll try to recruit Live Wire now that he’s “off the team”. But the others… Who are these guys? That red super generic hero guy seems super lame! The girls look pretty badass, I wonder what their powers are. Is the alien-looking creature part of the team as well? Ultra Boy doesn’t really fit, in in my opinion, even though he plays the bad boy part. I’m curious about what McCauley offered him so he would accept to be part of this organization.

I'll let you discover who McCauley's hired next time (or spoil yourself with the Science Police Notes, it's up to you), but while it seems wrong for one of the Founders to be off the team, I will always prefer Ayla to Garth. She's one of my very favorite Legionnaires, and in her adult form, the one I consider "hottest" (it's a long-standing argument and the reason Hot or Not even exists so that this blog didn't just because a bunch of nerds screaming PHANTOM GIRL! DREAM GIRL! LIGHTNING LASS!!!, we needed a female perspective), and definitely smarter than "young Lightning Lad" (he was more level-headed as an adult in the previous continuity).

Annnnyway, this really is just a big brawl, isn't it? It's the old formula where heroes fight before teaming up, though the twist in this case is that only Live Wire teams up with Ultra Boy, leaving the Legion to do so. The bit where he figures out that Ultra Boy can only use one power at a time doesn't work for me - I don't think there was enough evidence for it - but I do like that the Legionnaires are still learning lessons. Their little scuffle destroyed a city block! But emotions run high when your heroes are... wha, FOURTEEN?! I thought 16 for sure. So yes, of course there's going to be tear-drenched fights with parents, patronizing authority figures (I've come to hate the President), and hormones running wild (Ultra Boy is already very distracted by Apparition). Fight aside, this seems a set-up for various other plots and subplots.

Science Police Notes:  
  • Though Leland McCauley's answer to the Legion, the Workforce, first appears here (including Inferno, Spider Girl, Karate Kid and Evolvo), that is only on the last page splash. More on them later.
  • Evolvo is the Reboot's answer to Evolvo-Lad, once a member of the Heroes of Lallor.
  • Spider Girl was a member of the Legion of Super-Villains in the previous continuity, but became a member of the heroic Legion in the Five-Years Later stories.
  • Sun Boy Dirk Morgna, called Inferno in the SW6 Legion, has been replaced in this continuity by a completely different - and female! - Inferno in this version of continuity.
  • Live Wire is forced to quit the team in this issue.

First Reboot appearances of Ultra Boy and Karate Kid (though they do not join the Legion yet), Spider Girl and Evolvo. First ever appearance of Inferno (Sandy Anderson), not to be confused with the SW6 Sun Boy; she doesn't join now either. Ayla Ranzz AKA Spark, does join in this issue.

1 comment:

  1. I never really read these early Reboot issues in isolation -- either I got them with a few others as I built out my collection to fill in what I'd missed, or as part of a full readthrough of everything to date. So it's interesting to see how it stands as an issue on its own ... which is ... okay? The plotline with the President works well, I think, but the battle falls a little short on the whole even if a few panels are pretty great.

    The last scene of the destruction caused is kinda weird. We're to think that's all just outside of Legion plaza? And there's just a huge paved gap behind that weird little structure? And no vehicles anywhere near the ground -- no parking? It doesn't feel like a city block, even a futuristic one.