Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #69

Legion of Super-Heroes v4 #69 (June 1995)
title: "Sticky Situation"
writers: Tom McCraw, Mark Waid, Tom Peyer
penciller: Lee Moder
inker: Ron Boyd
lettering: Bob Pinaha
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Mike McAvennie
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Alan Davis & Mark Farmer
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

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

Science Police, teacher with kids, psych staff

Composite Man

A criminal from Durla has escaped his prison and come to Earth to kill Chameleon, who this "Composite Man" seems to think is responsible for his imprisonment. The Legion soon found out the Durlan could imitate powers as well as appearances...

Since Saturn Girl refuses to enter the Composite Man's mind and track his actions, a frustrated Cosmic Boy asks loyal XS to carry Chameleon around at superspeed, luring the villain away while Invisible Kid and Brainiac 5 concoct a chemical lethal to the Durlan according to Cham's instructions. Due to an error in translation, however, the chemical - which only Cham's bloodline knows about, explaining the Composite Man's actions - fails. Imra is forced to enter the Durlan's mind after all and telepathically wipe out his morphing templates, erasing his capacity to use the Legion's powers against them.
In the aftermath, Cham is allowed to go bury his father, one of the priests killed in the Composite Man's escape, while Saturn Girl is carted away by hospital staff, left in what is perhaps a permanent catatonic state by the experience.
Wow! This went well… In case it isn’t clear, I am being extremely sarcastic. Chameleon is devastated and acts out of spite and grief during most of the comic. Before I understood what was going on, he only seemed really eager to control one of his own. I thought he was doing all this to show the United Planets that he would not hesitate to fight his own kind and that the Composite Man isn’t in any way how the rest of the worlds should picture the Durlans. I felt terrible for him once Invisible Kid translated the whole event. I immediately went back to read those pages again and it made so much more sense! I’m glad he found the will to fight once more by the end. I always thought that mind readers were misunderstood. I mean I’m having a hard time organising my ideas to write this review right now so imagine if someone else tried to make sense out of this from the outside. I love how they portrayed the actual nature of Imra’s power, that it's not like reading a diary. It was really brave of her to sacrifice herself knowing it might break her. I just wish she would’ve been more open to the group concerning her limitations. At least with Cosmic Boy. He was really harsh with her, but is it really his fault for not understanding the way her power works? He became angry because she wouldn’t listen to his command like any other leader would. I can’t imagine that she won’t be able to come back. Hopefully this whole event will open the door to better communications within the Legion.

On a less serious note, can I just point out the face Leviathan is doing when he’s riding a horse version of Cham? #StillTeamGoat
When Siskoid asked me to read and review the Reboot, I thought I was in for some non-stop action-filled comic containing nothing more than impossible missions, incredible villains and glorious victories. Since I never really read any superhero comics before, it made sense to me that this would be the way. I am glad that I was wrong! The missions are tough yet cool and the bad guys are pretty horrible; I got this right at least. I just didn’t expect their victories to be so… dramatic. Triad is still out because of her injuries, Imra is incapacitated for God knows how long, Kid Quantum died. There is nothing glorious with these endings and that’s exactly why I am invested in the stories. It creates a more realistic world where everyone is in danger. The readers are kept on the edge because they know that their favorite characters aren’t safe. Basically, what I’m saying is, this is really great stuff and I’m happy I agreed to be part of this blog.
Aww. We're happy to have you, Shotgun. Of course, you've been a part of it since Hot or Not, but I'm happy to give you an expanded role. Now on to the issue. It's action, action, action (which I don't think Lee Moder is best at), and it ends badly for Saturn Girl whose doctor is apparently She-Hulk. The series has been pretty hard on its heroines lately, between Triad and Imra (and Andromeda, who's image is what's suffering), and it could have been close for XS in this. Part and parcel of treating just like they do the boys (at least in this case); not as damsels in distress as once might have been the case, but as warriors who go down fighting.
I'm kind of alarmed at how Saturn Girl and Cosmic Boy were at odds during this issue. We know she wasn't 100% between her earlier encounter with Cham's mind and her missing the grounding presence of Live Wire (pun intended), but I wonder if there's more at play. She's the other remaining founder and maybe doesn't think of Cos as the great and exalted leader more junior members think he is. And some of his moments in this are kind of inexcusable. He's slipping, ethically. Also chalk up another screw-up by Invisible Kid whose weakness is proving to be a dangerous rashness. He's super-smart, but he doesn't think before he thinks, so to speak. Plenty of blame to go around, let's say. But it's a good thing their chemical plot DIDN'T work, because then we'd have had to face the fact that the Legion had killed someone, which doesn't seem right 1) because the original continuity's Legion constitution was clear that you were expelled from the team if you killed someone even accidentally, and 2) these are still young kids who should keep their innocence for a while longer. It's bad enough Cos seemed fine with the possibility.
Science Police Notes:  
  • It is revealed that Chameleon is a member of family of religious leaders, which begs the question as to why he became a Legionnaire rather than join the family business.


  1. This was a good storyline but Legion of Super-Heroes and Legionnaires were the same book published biweekly with two different artists. ( Lee Moder and Jeff Moy )

    I really preferred Moy's work as it had the original " Adventure Comics " feel to it as illustrated by Curt Swan and would have preferred one book done twice per month with Moy doing the art (a tough order I know ).

  2. Man, sometimes I forget just how hard these early issues were on the team. This one in particular is one of those hard-fought, hard-won battles that they should be celebrating ... and is totally undercut by Chameleon's father's death and Saturn Girl's incapacitation. Chilling final panel.

    Also, how did Brainy and Invisible Kid survive that electrical blast??