Monday, November 21, 2016

Titans/LSH "Universe Ablaze!" #3

Titans/Legion of Super-Heroes: Universe Ablaze! #3 
title: no specific title
writer/layouts: Dan Jurgens
finished art: Phil Jimenez
letterer: Comicraft
colorist: Tom McCraw
separator: Heroic Age
logo design: SJI Associates
editor: Mike McAvennie
special thanks to Chris Ivy & Lary Stucker
cover: Dan Jurgens & Phil Jimenez, color separation by Richard & Tina Horie
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  

The Titans: 

Brother Blood, Universo, Blackfire

On Earth in 2999, Lilith, aka Omen, reviews what has been happening with her and the other Titans to try to clear her head (and let new readers what they may have missed). The Titans were fighting Brother Blood in 1999 when they were cryogenically preserved, waking up 1,000 years later in the time of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Unfortunately, they are now under the mental control of Universo. Lilith and the others are waiting around while Universo tries to pull computer access codes out of the mind of UP President RJ Brande. He does not know the codes, but he tells Universo that the Hydra Computer on the planet Winath provides the random codes. If Universo wants them, he has to go there.
Out in space, the captain who picked up Saturn Girl and Starfire last issue turns out to be Starfire's long-lived sister Blackfire. She is leading the armada heading towards Earth to liberate it from Universo.
On Winath, four Legionnaires break into the computer station to liberate the computer technicians who would be forced to give Universo the access codes. The Flash tries to stop them, but Chameleon places a small neural blocker on Flash's forehead, blocking Universo's control. Then they do the same for Troia. Two of the Titans are now free.
On Earth, Brother Blood and Universo argue over the fate of the planets that Universo is conquering. Brother Blood wants to keep some of them for himself, including Earth. Universo tells him no.

Out in space heading towards Earth, Saturn Girl reaches out to Lilith, telling her that the Legion is still alive, fighting against Universo and Brother Blood. Saturn Girl tries to get Lilith to break Universo's mental control over her. She isn't sure it is working or not.

At the Metropolis Space-Port, another group of Legionnaires cripples every fighter ship in order to stop Universo's planned attack on Bgtzl. Arsenal stows away during Gates' teleportation escape, finding himself at the Legion's secret underground base. He then has his mind freed, too.
In Atlantis, a group of Legionnaires arrive to destroy the back-up power station after successfully destroying the main station last issue, but are stopped by Tempest.  Devil Fish witnesses the altercation, and reports back to Cosmic Boy and Argent. They discuss what to do, deciding they have no choice but to help the Legionnaires.
At the Metropolis Space-Port, Saturn Girl and Starfire arrive to shut down Earth's satellite defense system in order to allow Blackfire's fleet to enter the atmosphere. Saturn Girl mentally scans for her Legionnaire friends, but cannot find anyone. Blackfire's armada attacks, but instead of targeting Universo's military sites as she had promised, they attack all over Earth! It turns out that Blackfire is actually aligned with Universo and Brother Blood, and her forces are now out to decimate the planet.

As chaos erupts all around her, Lilith has another "flashback" to 1,000 years in the past. She sees that the reason Nightwing was killed by Brother Blood was because he was distracted by....her and Saturn Girl?!?

Well, the art is nice.

This is a classic third part of a four-part story....too many things going on, too many balls in the air, too many scene changes, and too many characters. Of course, this is the Legion, so "too many characters" kind of goes with the territory. Still, the membership of both groups is not handled well. We get way too much time and space with Saturn Girl, Starfire, and Tempest to the detriment of the others.

As for the plot, it's gotten more confusing now that Universo has Earth and is trying to branch out.
What computer access codes is Universo looking for? When Lilith asks him about it he says that with the particular code the other planets he wants to conquer will fall more quickly, but I don't understand that whole plot at all.

Likewise, why in the world would Starfire trust her sister? That trick never works. Is anyone surprised when Komand'r turns out to be working with Universo and Brother Blood? I certainly wasn't, and I doubt anybody else was, either.

Also, why are the Legionnaires destroying the space-ships at Space-Port? Why is Universo going to go after Bgtzl instead of, say, Rimbor? It's mentioned that he is using his mental control to force the inhabitants of Kathoon (shout out to Night Girl!) to rebel against their government. So why isn't he doing that everywhere? Why isn't Cosmic Boy and Argent doing something constructive? You could argue that Argent is a kid who is overwhelmed, (she does call her foe "UniJERKo") but Cosmic Boy is the former leader of the Legion; he should be able to figure out something besides just standing there waiting.

I do like that the "us vs them" part of the story is slowly fading away via the introduction of the Legion's neural blocks. I may be in the minority, but I prefer super-hero team-ups where the characters don't spend the entire time fighting each other.

And the "flashback" to 1999 bodes well to having this whole story cease to exist. Wait, did I just suggest this story go away?

Science Police Notes:  
  • This story takes place before the events in Legionnaires #81 and Legion of Super-Heroes #125, before the events leading up to Legion Lost (v1) #1 (2001). Likewise, in Titans continuity this story takes place before Titans #20, wherein Cyborg leaves the team.
Unfortunately, these issues have not yet been compiled into a Trade Paperback.

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