Thursday, November 24, 2016

Reboot: Legionnaires #30

Legionnaires #30 (October 1995)
title: "Struck by Lightning!"
writers: Tom Peyer and Tom McCraw
penciller: Jeffrey Moy
inker: W.C. Carani
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Mike McAvennie
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Jeffrey Moy and W.C. Carani
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

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

Valor, Lightning Beasts, Science Police

Lightning Lord

On Earth, while Cosmic Boy's cred quickly degrades with his colleagues, Brainiac 5 is secretly working on SOMEthing, which may or may not be related to the mysterious appearances of the great 20th Century hero Valor around town. On planet Korbal, Live Wire fights his older brother Lightning Lord, who has vowed to kill all the lightning beasts AND his siblings so he can be "unique". The Science Police, tracking Garth who they believe responsible for the murders committed by his brother, arrive to arrest him...

On Korbal, Lightning Lord uses his powers to stymie the Science Police and tells Garth he's wrong about the lightning causing his madness. Fact is, he was always mad. Spark arrives to help Live Wire, but in the ensuing conflict, he loses an arm. Thankfully, his inner lightning cauterizes the wound, and the twins combine their powers to knock their older brother for a loop, sapping his powers and turning his hair white. The Science Police realize their mistake and not wanting to get hassled by the United Planets, dismiss Garth's charges.
Meanwhile, Cosmic Boy asks Brainiac 5 to suspend his experiments to create a power surge so he can see if his hunch is right. The surge allows Valor to break through the Stasis Zone where he's been suffering for a thousand years long enough to reveal the Superboy of 1995 put him there. Brainy reveals he was actually working on a "time platform", which the heroes immediately set to that year to get the secret of the Stasis Zone from Superboy.
Mekt deserves everything! His little “sob” story about how being a single child instead of having a twin and how he wanted to be unique again was too plain. He’s clearly twisted and I’m glad that Garth now sees it. Spark has some sick moves in that issue. I just love how she handled the situation against Mekt. It’s really sad how Garth’s fear of his own powers came from the admiration he bore his brother. There’s something tragic about looking up to someone without realizing how terrible they really are. While it looked like Garth was trying to protect her, Ayla was the one protecting her brother all along. Then again, all of this could’ve probably been avoided if she would’ve been more honest with him regarding Mekt’s ways. The twins are now closer than ever. Let’s hope that something can be done for Garth’s arm. After all, they live in the 30th Century; medical techniques should be pretty advanced by now.
It IS Valor. It’s really him after all. And I guess we’ll be reading a Superboy comic next? I can’t believe it took me up until now to remember Valor’s story. To be fair, we rated so many Legionnaires, you can’t expect me to remember everything about everyone. Anyway, I guess we’ll see Valor join our heroes in the 30th Century pretty soon. The fact that Brainy was working on a time machine all along is so touching. He was clearly trying to get back to Andromeda before her “death”. I wonder if Cosmic Boy will ever tell him about her survival. I can’t wait for Querl to actually be a part of this team and I can’t help but fear that it won’t happen until he learns the truth about Andy’s fate.
One last thing... I don’t know if it’s always been like that before and I’ve only noticed just now, but I love how Triad’s eyes are the same color as her outfit. Maybe it’s just that for the first time we actually see her face close enough for it to be noticeable.

Yes, her eyes have always been like orange and purple, but it's quite noticeable here given how open in eager anticipation and wonder they are. Triad is definitely the most devout Valor follower. There's something Messianic about having him return after 1000 years too; that's unlikely to kill off whatever religion sprung up around his legend.

I like your theory about why Brainy would build a time machine, and I guess that explains the previous issue's sequence where he returns from Warrior's Bar with a pint of beer. That said, while I did enjoy Cosmic Boy asking him when he plans to be a part of this team, the conflict seemed manufactured to me. The writing prevents Cos from explaining himself and so we get confused teens just shouting at each other. Am I the only one who misses the Time Spheres? This time machine looks like a patio tent.
As for the war of the Ranzzes (pun not intended), the issue should give older fans a sense of deja vu. From Garth's arm to Mekt's hair, the story remixes classic Legion elements. The arm isn't much of a surprise because of it, but the maiming is much more personal in this version of events. Spark is great, of course, brave, perceptive and acrobatic in ways Garth hasn't been, though perhaps the writers shouldn't make her say Lightning Lord is boring lest the readers agree. Let's just say this isn't about to replace the LSV arc from the Baxter series as best Ranzz confrontation. Especially with the galaxy's absolute worst Science Police officers in the background screwing up, disappearing from the action, etc. Definitely one of the weaker elements in this part of the issue.
Science Police Notes:  
  • Valor was sent to the Stasis Zone, a post-Crisis version of the Phantom Zone, by the Superboy of 1995 in Superboy (v2) #19. This mirrored events from Superboy (v1) #89 (1961) in which Mon-El was sent to the Zone to save his life by the teenage Kal-El.
  • In the original continuity, Garth also lost an arm, but to a Dxaundii wingfish enlarged into a "Super-Moby-Dick" of space, Adventure Comics (v1) #322 (1965). He was fitted with a mechanical replacement.
  • This issue turns Lightning Lord's hair white, just like his trademark do in the original continuity.
First use of time travel by the Reboot Legion.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, man, Triad's eyes. I do love that feature, but man do they mess that up repeatedly throughout the series (along with the colors of her costume).

    Art-wise, this issue continues a problem that has shown up repeatedly in the reboot. The lightning is generally kinda wussy. Most of the time, it fades into the background a bit -- it looks lightningy but doesn't really have any artistic heft to it. It's only toward the end that I really feel its impact.

    Other than that, though, Moy just keeps amping it up. Some really well-designed layouts and artistic choices. Spark is a badass. He's really hitting his stride and it just keeps getting better.