Friday, December 23, 2016

Threeboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #41

Legion of Super-Heroes #41 continues the rather dark and somewhat depressing Jim Shooter run of the Threeboot team. But this issue sort of ratchets up the energy. This is the first issue in this run where I feel that the team is actually pro-active rather than re-active. They are tired of being hemmed in by rules and culture and decide to take some matters into their own hands.

To be honest, I haven't reread this run since it came out.And this critical reread hadn't made me regret that. It has been pretty rough to this point. But I will admit after reading this issue, I was almost tempted to pick up the next one and see where it is going. With the unknown threat of the constructs looming and the UP handcuffing the Legion in red tape, the team skirts the rules and does their thing. Hurrah!

That doesn't mean I am thrilled. The Projectra story still bothers me. To see the Princess become so vile a character just irks me. And Shooter still oddly injects some weird sexual moments into the story. Please don't think that I am a prude. Remember, I am a Howard Chaykin fan. But what Shooter adds just feels off or insulting or superfluous.

Francis Manapul, the main artist of the run, provides the cover. But the inside art is done by Aaron Lopresti. I am a big Lopresti fan and so seeing him drawing the Legion made me very happy.

Onto the book.

The book opens up with Projectra walking the streets and attacking some Legion fanatics who were looking for an autograph. She really throttles them, using her flight ring to add momentum to her blows. If this wasn't a 'dense' alien race, they might have been hurt. Projectra is really acting haughty, calling everyone peasants, and really acting above everyone.

Luckily, Saturn Girl is able to defuse the situation. First off, she calms Jeckie down by using all the language of the royal court, bowing to her. And then she signs as many autographs as she can. It is brilliant diplomacy on her part, without using her powers. I loved Imra in this scene.

I do find it hypocritical of Timber Wolf to ask Saturn Girl to mindwipe the crowd after he pilloried her last issue.

 Back at the headquarters things are as unsettled as usual.

Lightning Lad is still buried in bureaucracy, fielding questions and trying to figure out the team's finances. And Brainiac 5 is outraged that the Science Police are performing an autopsy on the one Construct which hasn't self-destructed, information he obtained when Chameleon Boy infiltrated the SCiPo HQ as the officer on the cover.

There is no doubt that the team needs the information from that autopsy. The decision is made that Invisible Kid will sneak into the procedure while telepathically linked to Saturn Girl. It is a bold move. The Legion are already on the outs with the police and the public. But Lightning Lad has had enough.

I liked seeing Garth finally take control like this. And the 'us against them' attitude between the team and the SciPo was reminiscent of Waid's theme.

In an interesting turn, we see Legion Tryout member M'Rrissey selling some Legion tech to a company. It seems nefarious as he is only interested in money. And later in the issue it is implied that what he stole was a flight ring for the company to retroengineer.

How can he move in and out of the HQ so easily? And perhaps his was the hand perusing the monitor board last issue?

Hmmm ...

Using a deus ex machina headband, Imra is able to project what Invisible Kid sees for all to see.

The team sees that the Legion applicants from last issue are now working for the Science Police, observing the autopsy. (Later we learn they have been dubbed the United Planet Young Heroes, a more controlled Legion perhaps?)

Remember one of those applicants was Spy, being with super-senses. Perhaps Invisible Kid won't be as invisible as he needs to be?

The scene is an interesting display of personalities. Brainiac 5 is all business, trying to lead Lyle's vision. Ayla walks in and is furious that the team would do this, endangering not only Invisible Kid but the whole team's reputation. And Chameleon Boy laughs his way throughout, teasing his friends.

In the end, Cham gets yelled at for his silly attitude, saying his brain isn't normal. It is why Lyle had to go in to begin with. Imra can't link easily with Cham.

 It turns out the Construct wasn't dead, just dormant. It activates and attacks. Invisible Kid grabs an operative saw and slashes the things neck, killing it.

But the SP isn't happy with this. Invisible Kid is an interloper, a spy. And they try to subdue him.

 And look who actually does! Gazelle!

Why is she working with the UP? She turned down the Legion out of hate for everyone. So what hold could they have on her.

Invisible Kid ends up being arrested. And the Legion is put on complete lockdown.

Things get worse. Imra's mother basically says the UP has turned their back on the Legion entirely. No more favors. No more information. No more anything.

Broke, grounded, and now without influence, the team is in trouble.

That doesn't stop them from continuing their investigation. Reviewing what data they did get, Brainiac 5 realizes that much of the technology these things have is antiquated. They are old school crude weapons. But one thing is this analyzing tool. Perhaps that is how the things can scan their opponents and upgrade?

And it is good thing they have some information. The team learns that Rimbor might be attacked next.

 It is an exhausting issue as the problems the team faces are mounting even if their resolve is firming up.

The book ends with a mentally exhausted Imra slinking into Garth's room, her clothes nearly unzipped. Shooter ends up hinting that Imra is in a sub relationship with Lightning Lad. She wants him to be strict with her, to take her ... to own her.

Now I understand that there are all sorts love and sexualities out there. But to hear Imra talk like this seemed a little off. With years of continuity in my head, I can say Imra doesn't seem like a sub.

It also may be that it is Shooter's overall take on the team that makes this seem wrong. We have seen Ayla and Tinya slinking around near naked. We had Triad commenting on Karate Kid's tantric stamina. This issue Ultra Boy calls Ayla 'Curvacious Lass' (she responds angrily).  And this issue we see Chameleon Boy morph so he can have sex with a bird.

This romantic tryst is cut short. Rimbor is attacked. The team decides that they need to defend the planet, UP rules or no.

The end of the book is a three page look at Flight Ring technology, perhaps lending some credence to the idea that M'rssey sold a ring.

So what do I think. It is great to see the team finally acting independently even under the threat of UP sanctions or arrest. But there are so many problems with the team, from within and without, that the book isn't really entertaining. Perhaps it is darkest before the dawn.


  1. Fail safe thought codes? 1-9-5-8 is obvious, but I had to think for a second until I realized O-B-A-P was a nod to "Otto Binder/Al Plastino". If nothing else, Shooter was acknowledging his predecessors!