Thursday, September 29, 2016

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #70

Legion of Super-Heroes v4 #70 (July 1995)
title: "Beyond Belief"
writers: Tom McCraw, Mark Waid, Tom Peyer
penciller: Jason Armstrong
inker: Ron Boyd
lettering: Pat Brosseau
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, Triad, XS

Ambassador Wazzo, Vril Dox (cameo), Daxamites (in flashback; including Andromeda's father), hospital staff

Composite Man (in flashback), White Triangle (in flashback)

In the wake of fighting the Durlan criminal known as the Composite Man, Saturn Girl's mind has been maimed. Another recent Legionnaire to be admitted to hospital is Triad, beaten almost to death by members of the xenophobic White Triangle, the same thugs who Andromeda, herself xenophobic, had let go shortly before and for which Shrinking Violet had confronted her. Kinetix, meanwhile, has lost her powers, but the United Planets requires her to keep on being a Legionnaire. Last time we saw the team, Andromeda had crashed through the HQ's ceiling, unconscious...

As Andromeda dies from lead poisoning, a severe condition that affects Daxamites off world, Brainiac 5 tries to find a cure. According to legend/history, his ancestor Vril Dox had found a cure for Andromeda's ancestor, the mythical Seeder of Worlds known as Valor, but the formula must apparently be tailored for every individual. He finds the cure, and only gives it to her after a battle of wills that ends with her almost admitting Daxamites are not inherently superior beings.
During their conversation, we find out Andromeda went back to capture the White Triangle thugs who hurt Triad, but they damaged her transsuit, causing her to get poisoned. Further, that the White Triangle is the symbol of a racial purity faction among Daxamites, a "religion" in which she was raised.
While this is going on, Saturn Girl is shown to have the mind of a child (it's progress), Kinetix leaves Earth on a quest to regain her powers, Apparition's mom Ambassador Wazzo promises to give the Legion bureaucratic problems, and Shrinking Violet finds a white triangle necklace in Andromeda's room and calls the team to its attention.
The timeline is a bit confusing here, but I guess I’ll just have to deal with it. The part where Andromeda and Apparition went to fetch some recruits for the Academy must’ve been some sort of flashback. So while the others were fighting Composite Man, Andromeda went out to fix her past mistake and got poisoned while doing so. Now she has to rely on Brainiac 5 to save her life. The poor girl is at her most vulnerable and Brainy seems to be enjoying every minute of this situation. I just love how he keeps on sassing her. I had a hard time with his attitude at first, but now I enjoy it… a lot! Their conversation was an interesting way to learn more about her past. You’d think that since she was raised in exile for the sole purpose of receiving a better education, she wouldn’t be as xenophobic. I can see that the whole interaction with Brainy might bring her closer to accept her fate within the Legion and will change, even if it’s just a little, her perception of her colleagues.
It seems like Violet is full of good intentions, but I just didn’t care at all about her part in this story. One thing’s for sure, she isn’t that shy anymore! To try and help Andy by cleaning her room, but then snooping around and finding the Triangle effigy. Not only that, but to present it to the rest of the Legion at the very moment Triad got back… Come on! I just think that this is pointless. We learned what happened with the thugs, why Andy recognized the triangle and where it comes from. So why do we have to create such drama? I know that they weren’t there. That the rest of the group isn’t aware of the whole situation. I just feel like this is a non-issue now. We will waste time on a problem that isn’t even one. And with Triad back at the headquarters, this will definitely take a bad turn. I’d rather see the team deal with the oppression from the government, or even the rehabilitation of Saturn Girl, than to see them fight among themselves.
A better education, or a better indoctrination? But I agree entirely about the manufactured drama here. Violet's role in this subplot was entirely mishandled. I'm sure it's realistic that even if Brainy knows the truth of Laurel's connection to the White Triangle, he'd probably forget to talk about it to the rest of the Legionnaires (even if there were time for it), but for the READER, the point is moot. It certainly doesn't deserve the bit splash page cliffhanger. Put that scene at the top of the issue, and then we get to read the reveal in later pages, exonerating Laurel. As is, it just doesn't work. It's also a little odd that Brainy is this bold with Andromeda given how distracting he's found her in previous issues. That's something they seem to have forgotten about or dropped. I do love his attitude, and this bit of tough love is likely to bond them in a special way, and put Laurel on the road to redemption.
For this older reader, all retold origins are interesting, though Laurel's is weaker than it was in the 5YL series. It's more of an origin for the White Triangle, truth be told, and helps salvage the Daxamites who are apparently NOT xenophobes. The faction doesn't even seem to be in favor. (Well good.) As an older fan, I was more interested in the references to Valor (and Vril Dox, one of my favorite DC characters!).

Science Police Notes:  
  • This issue features the secret origin of Andromeda and of the White Triangle.
  • The L.E.G.I.O.N. story in which Valor is cured of lead poisoning by Vril Dox, and the seeding of worlds by that hero are still in continuity.
  • At the hospital, one orderly is an eyeless blue android, beings we see a lot of in the 5YL series.

Andromeda is cured of lead poisoning.

1 comment:

  1. I really like the interplay between Brainy and Andromeda here. That last scene between them ... you'd almost think he was a psychologist or something on top of a scientist. But all in all, it develops her character on a path to redemption while simultaneously pushing everyone else toward realizing just how far out of the fold she really is.

    Also, this is one of my favorite Brainiac 5 issues in general. He's aloof, super-intelligent, and all that ... but not as much of a jerk as he becomes later in the series. I get that the guy looks down on everyone because he's sooooo much smarter than them, but somewhere along the way his dickishness stops being balanced out by the positive aspects of the character.

    Or maybe he's just likeable because he has a 12-level crush on Andromeda so he actually cares in this particular issue...