Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #67

Legion of Super-Heroes v4 #67 (April 1995)
title: "Insect Fear"
writers: Tom McCraw, Mark Waid, Tom Peyer
penciller: Chris Renaud
inker: Ron Boyd
lettering: Bob Pinaha
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Mike McAvennie
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Matt Haley and Tom Simmons
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Andromeda, Apparition, Brainiac 5, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Invisible Kid, Kid Quantum (flashback), Kinetix, Leviathan, Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, Spark, Triad, XS

Dobe, Tenzil Kem, Science Police

Tangleweb, White Triangle, members of Tangleweb's species

On the Legion's first official mission, led by Leviathan, an insect cyborg creature called Tangleweb killed recent recruit Kid Quantum. It has been weighing heavy on Leviathan ever since. Meanwhile, on Earth, non-Terrans have been attacked in public by humans wearing a white triangle...

Tangleweb has attacked a Science Police ship and the Legion's been called in to stop the insectoid monster. Cosmic Boy makes an executive decision not to bring the whole team, mostly because they are now too many to fight efficiently in closed quarters. The ones left behind are angry about this decision, in large part because everyone wants a piece of the villain who killed one of their own. The most affected are a third of Triad, who leaves the other two to walk off her rage, and Invisible Kid who is desperate to prove his usefulness and borrows a ship from EarthGov to secretly follow the away team.

The Legionnaires do catch up to Tangleweb, but the creature gets the better of them AGAIN, this time stealing away with cocooned Spark and Cosmic Boy. Though frustrated that their power hitter, Andromeda, would not touch Tangleweb on account of her acute xenophobia, Leviathan accepts the reigns of leadership in Cos' absence and follows the monster to its home planet, overrun by beings just like him (though not cyberneticized).

Meanwhile on Earth, Triad's angry self is accosted in the street by three men wearing black uniforms with a white triangle on them. She defends herself, but is badly beaten while her other selves remotely feel each blow. A note is left next to her: "Aliens Go Home".
UGH! Tangleweb… The stuff of nightmares! I don’t recall being able to see it that clearly the first time we met it? Him? Whatever, I don’t even care if I’m being disrespectful toward it. I feel like this whole mission is a bad idea. They are still emotional about the death of Kid Quantum and it’s blinding their judgment. When Cos told Gim that he selected only a portion of the group for this mission by saying “…and it’s not going to go well…” I actually thought that he would leave him behind. In my opinion, it would’ve been the best decision. His vendetta could easily ruin the whole operation. I guess Cosmic Boy saw this as an opportunity to show him that he still has his trust and maybe give him an occasion to tie up some loose ends. I am so disappointed in the Legionnaires that weren’t selected. At least Brainiac and XS didn’t complain, but the others… Especially Invisible Kid. Dude! You were my favorite so why act like a spoiled brat?! And he’s super cocky too! I mean, the Kid is resourceful and very smart, but if he can't follow simple orders, I fear for his future within the Legion. I would be devastated if his future was to join Kid Quantum in the Memorial Hall.
Now as I feared, the mission didn’t go as planned. And by that I mean that it’s a complete catastrophe! Andromeda’s fear/disgust of bugs is so cliché it hurts. It pisses me off so much! I realize that she’s not a team player yet. But when your teammates are in danger, could you please just stop thinking about yourself and act! Obviously Cos had to be abducted. Leviathan needs to take the lead again to face Tangleweb. Just to make it even more hopeless, Leviathan leads them directly in a trap. At that point, I’m almost glad Invisible Kid disobeyed the direct order he received from Cosmic Boy. And as if this comic hadn’t already taken a dark turn, we have to witness a xenophobic attack by the Space Boy Band of Doom. And that’s not even strong enough a word. Is one of Triad’s personalities dead? I know we covered her at some point on the Hot or Not feature and learned that one of her selves died. Is this the story line where it happens? This is really tragic. The way her other selves felt her pain and knew that something was going wrong makes it even more difficult to read. Hats off to the writers! You know how to keep me on the edge of my seat and keep me coming for the next issue!

If it can be of some comfort, what happened in the previous continuity (like Triplicate Girl's first death at the "hands" of Computo) need not happen again in the Reboot. Then again, it might, and I'm not saying either way what happens next. The writers know their Legion history and can easily toy with the audience's expectations. I'm sure some readers have been waiting since the first issue to see if previously killed Legionnaires (like Triad and Invisible Kid) will be killed again. Uh-oh, did I scare you again?
But that's in the future. As for this issue, I think it's a good idea to bring back and hopefully put an end to Tangleweb. I don't think much of the character. He was basically a device to get Kid Quantum killed early on, and frankly, I didn't expect him to ever show up again. Looks like he's gotten some more cyber-mods (the eye, for example), so he's not necessarily going to be easier to beat. Andromeda not withstanding, of course. I like your point about her seeming squeamish about bugs, and how sexist that is, though I don't think it was the intent. As a xenophobe, she doesn't want to touch ANY alien, and that includes the other Legionnaires. But I agree, that's how it plays. I'm still struggling with her dreadful personality too, for the record. Between her inability to work with the group and her inexperience with her powers (late to use heat vision, for example), she's been royally nerfed.
Overall, not entranced by the art; Renaud's figures can be musclebound, especially his women, and his angry faces are not as interesting as more relaxed expressions. Uneven is what I would call it. With the team split into two, we can expect stories to do the same, with one title concentrating on Tangleweb, and the other on the White Triangle (judging from covers alone). I know which thread I'm more interested in, personally.

Science Police Notes:  
  • First appearance of the Memorial Hall in Reboot continuity. This hall of golden statues commemorating fallen Legionnaires has been a recurring feature since the 1960s.
  • Tangleweb last appeared in Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #62.


  1. If I recall, this was the first issue I got after ordering a subscription to the series. So I read Issue #0 and the one where they got the clubhouse, and this one. It was kinda confusing. Took a while to catch up, but it was fun to piece it all together over time!

    Writing-wise, some corners were cut. I'm not sure I quite buy the "Andromeda can fly as fast as a ship in hyperspace" bit, and really, she landed them on a planet and they didn't notice? I'm skeptical. Still, I think the whole issue of "who you bring on a mission" is an important pain to portray for this early group.

    The art is definitely uneven. I do like the way they portray Kinetix's powers -- that's cool -- and the ending is killer.

  2. I never understood Andromeda's rabid xenophobia. She's as much an alien to us as a Carggite is to her. If you go by DC's canon after invasion, most humanoid races all stem from Earthlings.

    At least Geoff John's run on GL gave us the understanding behind the xenophobia ingrained in Daxamite culture when he told Sodam Yat's backstory. If Laurel was given a backstory like that, her xenophobia would have felt more plausible.

  3. I think there is a back story. The Daxamites (who are not seeded humans, because Valor did that and was a Daxamite, though this is all subject to change) are said to have surprisingly joined the UFP, because they've been an isolationist, reclusive people. Andromeda was likely raised to mistrust aliens and/or to think of her culture as the only "good" one. A xenophobe from a planet of xenophobes. And we have to understand that lead is so common off Daxam that this would have been a survival strategy for them, teaching their kids that there was nothing but death off world.