Thursday, December 15, 2016

Reboot: Legionnaires #31

Legionnaires #31 (November 1995)
title: "One Thousand Years of Solitude"
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
special thanks: Mark Waid & Karl Kesel
cover: Jeffrey Moy and W.C. Carani
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Brainiac 5, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Invisible Kid, Leviathan, Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, Superboy (Kon-El), Triad

Marla Latham, President Cho, R.J. Brande, Ultra Boy, Valor, crowds

Chronos (in "next" panel blurb only), Scavenger

In the late 20th Century, when Valor's lead serum failed, Superboy was forced to send him to the Stasis Zone, a dimension where he could survive. Unfortunately, the portal immediately blew up. When Valor's "ghost" started appearing in the 30th Century, Brainiac 5 took several Legionnaires back in time to find out what happened. They lost XS on the way, but brought back Superboy to help them free Valor. Superboy almost immediately screwed up by letting the rumor of Valor's return slip, leading to wide media interest and religious fervor across the galaxy. Requiring a special circuit to make the portal work, the Legion was forced to fight Superboy's old immortal enemy Scavenger for it in his vault full of recognizable super-artifacts, and they just ended up on the wrong end of Dr. Alchemy's Philosopher Stone...

Scavenger underestimates Chameleon who escapes his crystalline prison and knocks the Philosopher Stone into Triad's hands. She frees Shrinking Violet who then defeats the villain who thought he could escape into the micro-world with the Atom's belt. They return to Earth where a mob has assembled around the Legion's HQ, there to see Valor's resurrection and sell t-shirts. Can that particular genie be put back in the bottle? Once Brainiac 5 finishes constructing his force-field belt (side-project), he comes up with several ways to do so.
The Legionnaires set up the repaired portal outside the HQ, and the mob is angered when it collapses instead of bringing Valor back from the Stasis Zone. Later, in the Quraci desert, Brainy and Superboy go off to meet the detoured portal exit and Valor finally comes out of the Zone, away from public eyes. Brainy immediately administers the lead serum. Cosmic Boy nevertheless asks Valor not to reveal himself to the public quite yet, and Lar realizes it's because people like Triad have put too much on his shoulders.
Superboy gives some encouraging words to a very upset Triad, and the part of her who liked him, kisses him passionately. But it's time to send Superboy back to his time and go look for XS. Before the time machine is activated, Cos offers him a Legion flight ring and honorary membership in the team.
Wait what… Why is it Chameleon and Violet saving the day against Scavenger? Invisible Kid just wandered off and did nothing! Like what the hell was he even thinking? Did the writers just forget about him being in there with the group? What kind of hero would just disappear and do nothing while his friends are immobilized. I guess I can only blame myself for jumping to conclusions too quickly, but I still can’t understand what happened there. Basically: Not. Impressed! On the other hand, I wasn’t expecting Brainy and Superboy to work so well together. That was a fun development that I didn’t see coming and I really liked it. Good call from everyone to delay Valor’s return to a more secure and private location. Especially since he was on the verge of dying from lead poisoning. The last thing he needed was a horde of followers to jump at him before Brainy could give him the antidote.
Speaking of followers: Oh sheeeeee--- Valor is not impressed with his new fans. I feel really bad for Triad in all this. I can understand how it feels to meet your idol. I’ve been star struck before and gosh did I look like a total idiot! My reflex, however, was to give him space. I was totally scared I would bother him so I could NEVER act the way she did: trying to please him with gifts and servitude. That’s going way too far, girl! Have some self-respect... It must be such a shock for Valor to come back to a bunch of strangers worshiping him like he’s some sort of god. I’m glad he got to see Superboy first when he came back from the Stasis Zone, but it sucks that he refused to see him again before he left. Hopefully, he will find a way to get back to living a “normal” life pretty fast.

Well, he is invisible, you know... Looking back at the previous comic, he gets knocked out early and just never recovers. Would have helped to see him lying prone on the floor at ANY point after that, I agree. I think they must have realized that Scavenger probably couldn't have owned with the Stone later, so plot plot plot. Still could have woken up and been the agent of their rescue. I'm happy Shrinking Violet got the XP on that kill though. I love shrinking heroes, and seeing Scavenger hit his head on a molecule filled me with joy.
I'm also happy Brainiac 5 finally got his force-field belt, not because it "completes the picture", but because it means he might finally commit to the team. As a lab rat, he's been useful, but I want to see him in action more. His ire at the way Superboy grabbed him is as good a justification as any to complete the project. And it's already useful in this issue.

Valor has returned, but isn't yet a member. I mean, the only reason they gave Superboy a spot is because it doesn't really count. They've got to make the U.P. stop its meddling and then we'll start to see a real membership drive. Some light hazing of Superboy, but sadly not as extreme as it was in the 1958 story (and yet, this Superboy deserved a harder time, and fewer kisses, though it's good that not all Legionnaires think he's such hot stuff). Obviously, if Valor is going to eventually join, they're going to need a good cover story. I do like how the various pilgrims imagined Valor as being like THEM, physically, so will his return lead to holy wars, or a coming together under the same banner? Only time will tell. (And yes, that's a hint of what's coming.)
Science Police Notes:  
  • "Future Tense" started in Superboy #21, was followed in Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #74 and ends here.
  • Superboy (Kal-El) originally joined the team in the very first Legion story in Adventure Comics #247 (1958), as a full member even though he wouldn't have to move to the 30th Century. In the original continuity, the first honorary membership was discerned to Pete Ross (in Superboy #98, 1962).
  • The original Mon-El (now known as Valor) joined the Legion in Adventure Comics #300 (1962) even though he had to return to the Phantom Zone after each appearance. He was finally freed from his lead poisoning in issue #305.
  • Valor is freed, away from prying eyes, in Qurac, a Middle-Eastern country unique to the DC Universe, which first appeared in Tales of the Teen Titans #51 (1985) and then was frequently used as a stand-in for terrorist states across many books. This is its first 30th-Century appearance.
  • More recognizable loot inside Scavenger's vault includes Quislet's ship, though it's about four times larger than normal, the Atom's belt, a lightsaber, and Data's head from the Star Trek TNG episode "Time's Arrow".

Part 3 of the Legion's first crossover with a 20th-Century DC star (Superboy). Brainiac 5 builds his famous force-field belt. Valor is returned to the universe in the 30th Century; does not join yet. Superboy joins the Legion (as an honorary member).


  1. The image you reproduced above with Valor just floating there alone and lost because of his "followers" is pretty great.

  2. Jeffrey Moy did a fantastic job illustrating this series and gave it the feel I remembered from the 1960's "Adventure Comics" created by Curt Swan !

    I can not express in words how I hated this take DC did on Superboy with Kon-El, the leather jacket, sunglasses, eating and crappy hair cut were nothing short of pathetic !

    Tactical Telekinesis my a.. !

    1. That's earring not
      "eating" !

      Damn auto spelling changed the word !

  3. Page 6 - I'm pretty sure that's a lightsaber falling out of frame in Panel 2. And on Page 7, Panel 3, you can see Commander Data's head from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Same panel -- is that crystal structure behind Scavenger supposed to be a reference to something? I can't quite place it.

    Another solid issue. Valor's rescue and his subsequent reaction to being effectively imprisoned is poignant. Moy just keeps getting better.

  4. So that's whose head it is! Good catch! I don't know what the crystal is either.

  5. I loved Vi's call back to Urthlo and his hate-tapes.

    1. Urthlo? Really? I ... wow. That's a deep cut, there. I'm really impressed that you caught that one! I had no idea.