Thursday, February 16, 2017

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #79

Legion of Super-Heroes #79 (April 1996)
title: "The Fatal Five!"
writers: Tom Peyer and Tom McCraw
penciller: Lee Moder

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:  
Brainiac 5, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Gates, Invisible Kid, Leviathan, Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, Spark, Star Boy, Triad

Takron-Galtos' warden Wafil, Takron-Galtos guards and convicts

Empress, Mano, Persuader, Tharok, Validus

As a Sun-Eater bears down on Earth's solar system, the Legion are sent to assemble the villainous Fatal Five on Takron-Galtos - where Brainiac 5 has also been imprisoned for illegal time travel experiments - to help. The Fatal Five has other ideas, however...

On Takron-Galtos, battle is joined between the Legion of Super-Heroes and the Fatal Five, the latter definitely having the upper hand. The villains gloat about there being no Sun-Eater, and that this was all part of some plan. After getting into trouble inside Tharok's mechanisms, Violet flees to find Brainiac 5, whose force-field belt might be the key to their victory. Though somewhat upset his train of thought was interrupted, he decides to retrieve his belt himself, escaping his cell easily, and take part on the fight. Alas, he underestimates the Persuader's Atomic Axe and is knocked out.
After Star Boy makes Validus super-heavy, the monster falls through the floor, taking Leviathan with him. Star Boy follows and finds the big Legionnaire badly injured, and starts exhibiting more mysterious, Daxamite-like powers, helpful against Validus, but hardly controllable. Meanwhile, to protect the prison planetoid, Takron-Galtos' warden separates the embattled section from the rest, leaving the Legionnaires on their own. Only Gates remains, and he's not exactly the most willing participant, then the hull blows...
I knew it! The Sun-Eater doesn’t even exist! President Chu will have some explaining to do once the Legion gets back. What do you mean, it looks like they won’t make it? COME ON!! Like that was ever going to happen. I’m not fooling myself, some of them might not make it out of it alive, but the Legion will live on and they will stop this madness once and for all. Did she even stop to think about what would happen next if the Legion was actually destroyed by the Fatal Five? Did she really think that they would gently stroll back into their separate cells? Or is that her doing at the very end to make sure that no one survives this expedition? If someone actually dies, she will have their blood on her hands. She’ll have quite the change of titles going from president to murderer!
Star Boy and Brainiac 5 joined the fight! I’m not sure what the deal is with Star Boy’s random powers popping out of nowhere but it’s more than welcome at this moment. His powers are intriguing and it makes me eager to learn more about him. I also love that he’s a team player and will not hesitate to protect another Legionnaire. Now for Brainy… It’s his ego that got him hurt right there. I’m glad that he feels safe enough to fight with his force field on but hopefully this moment will teach him what humility is. While these two are getting more useful for the team, Gates is nowhere near that. All he does is fly around and access the situation. I question even more his nomination to the team. I doubt he’ll stay once the Legion gets its independence from the government.
I can't remember if you're jumping the gun on President Chu's involvement or not, but you're definitely wrong about ONE thing. I'll let you discover what it is in due course.

As an all-action issue, this is pretty good, juggling a large cast of heroes and villains well and giving each of them a chance to show their powers and personality. And it really does sell the Fatal Five as a force to be reckoned with. Even a character that seems like an unpowered killer like the Empress impresses (that's kind of a pun, isn't it?) by, for example, paralyzing Chameleon by squeezing his orpocrine gland. She knows her stuff! Only Mano gets his lights punched out; the rest make quick work of the Legionnaires. Tharok has microscopic weapons inside his body to take care of an Imskian intruder. The Atomic Axe cuts through lightning and force fields. What chance do our guys have? I'm even afraid for Leviathan, who falls and never gets up. Spine injury?
I guess it's up to Gates, the least among them in a sense, though Star Boy is still up and about on the lower level. The two new guys then. My bet is on them finally getting acceptance from the team by the end of this story arc. A baptism by fire. As to whether Gates will accept the Legion, not sure he's ready to admit he was wrong yet...

Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1996/7.


  1. Speaking of the Fatal Five, did everyone catch the Persuader's Atomic Axe on Supergirl this week?

  2. I've read this issue soooo many times and this was the first time I ever realized that when Leviathan calls Star Boy and Gates the "Shirk-Force" he's making a pun on Workforce. Duh.

    Agreed on the action. They really went all-out on this issue and it shows. There are a few panel transitions that are hard to follow with multiple battles happening simultaneously -- but I think it actually kind of works in that it gives it a bit of a chaotic battlefield feel.

    Oh, and I always love seeing Cosmic Boy throwing around those metal discs he wears on his chest!

    I kinda wish we could have seen a little more of Triad showing her skills. She's kind of mostly just there until that one bit with the Persuader toward the end. But that's a small objection in a well-crafted action issue.