Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Reboot: Legionnaires #20

Legionnaires #20 (December 1994)
title: "The Decent of Mano!"
writers: Tom Peyer
penciller: Jeffrey Moy
inker: Philip Moy
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Mike McAvennie
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Jeffrey and Philip Moy
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

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

President Jeanne Chu, R.J. Brande, McCauley Industries personnel

Leland McCauley, Mano

The Legion has been called to the Moon by R.J. Brande's chief rival, Leland McCauley, to deal with Mano, a mutant who can disintegrate anything with his hand intent on getting revenge for McCauley's sale of chemical weapons to his homeworld, a deal that resulted in the destruction of the entire planet. Mano almost gets the best of the team, and when pull came to shove, he blew a hole in the Moondome...

Left to die from exposure on the Moon's surface, the Legionnaires manage to survive using their powers, wits and resolve, and keep searching for Mano in the moonbase's interior. With the help of Brainiac 5, back at base, they determine the villain has only a little more than 20 minutes before his powers are charged up to the point where he can just make the Moon explode. The Legionnaires manage to find him in time, but he slips away again, and it's only by luring him with Chameleon making himself look like Mano's target, McCauley, that they finally get the drop on him.
Having saved the day, McCauley offers them more money than Brande to work for him, but they refuse. Called to the President's office, Live Wire then meets his official replacement in the Legion, the approved super-powered teen from Winath, his own sister Ayla...

Finally! Chameleon receives the attention he deserves. I’ve always been a fan of shapeshifting as a superpower (my all-time favorite being teleportation FYI) so I was curious to see what Cham would bring to the team and especially... when! This situation was the perfect way to display his worth, insuring he would save the day! I can’t wait for him to be able to speak Interlac fluently. It will make him much more efficient as a shapeshifter if he can speak like the character he’s personifying. Can he only change his appearance or his voice too? Imagine how effective that would make him. I’m not sure how I feel about Brainiac 5. I really hope that this whole conversation he had with the rest of the Legion was just the result of frustration about not being able to complete his work. If not, that kid will have to learn some manners! I want to see him do more than just solve problems at a distance. I really hope he will end up becoming a part of the team and learn to control his superiority complex.
If anyone at this point is still doubting the importance of the Legion, I have no hope whatsoever for them. I have to constantly remind myself that the characters are just kids. What kid would be able to show so much courage and selflessness? They could’ve left, but they didn’t. They almost died, but it wasn’t enough to stop them. They knew that in minutes, they could’ve been blown out into space along with the moon and its installations, but they carried on. They kept going even though all seemed lost. I mean yes, it is cliché when you really think about it. I wonder how many times a team faces death or certain failure, but still wins in the end before it becomes too much. This will sound horrible, but I’m glad that Quantum Kid died because it proved that harm could befall our heroes at any time. It helped keep me invested in this story even though I knew very well that there was no way Mano would succeed. As a newcomer to superheroes comics, I hope I won't lose interest because of repetitive "fake" menace. I do have hope though. I haven’t grown tired of superhero movies yet, so it’s a good sign, right? I guess it’s not really about the danger itself, but more about the way they figure how to defeat their opponent.

Live Wire’s sister makes her debut in this issue. She was called Lightning Lass before, wasn’t she? I wonder if they will change her name as well to suit her brother's.

I won't spoil it for you... But I do enjoy the karmic fallout that befalls Garth for being such a cocky git most of the time (not that he has much to do in this issue). As for Cham and Interlac, I'm impatient too, mostly because as an old Legion fan, I'm used to him being a pillar on the team, and he can't be that here with that extreme outsider status.

Still some growing pains for the team. They're all heart, but not all sense. The sequence where Cham saves the group you mention is a good example. Many Legionnaires try to save the team from the Moon's airless vacuum, and he only succeeds because Cosmic Boy first pulled a piece of corridor out of the ground. But you also have XS who probably consumes too much oxygen at superspeed for her plan to work. Later, Cos isn't sure what call to make when searching for Mano in the barracks. XS is fast, but would have to knock on locked doors; Apparition can walk through walls, but isn't fast enough; so with one plan taking too long, Leviathan offers himself and only then does it dawn on Cos that gigantism is a kind of shortcut in this ceiling-ripping instance. He has great leadership skills, but he doesn't know his team well enough yet. Still, my favorite bit of the issue is Leviathan hitting his head on the door frame. Kid's pretty tall even at normal size!
So a good issue for showing the kids' virtues - they bravery, loyalty, versatility, and evolving sense of team work. Pretty soon, they'll be in sync and we'll have to bring in new members to cause these kinds of complications ;-).

First appearance of the Reboot's Ayla Ranzz as Spark (not yet code-named; she previously appeared in Live Wire's flashback to his origin in Legion of Super-Heroes #0).

1 comment:

  1. Overall, a solid little romp with some good worldbuilding (universebuilding). Some things I could nitpick (Saturn Girl is Deanna Troi-level cheesy with her "I'm sensing ... I'm sensing a murder" shtick; Chameleon can turn into something as small as a fly?; and the end of last issue and the beginning of this one don't match), but really, the whole "I hate this place" being the one thing that Chameleon picks up on still makes me smile 22 years later.