Thursday, February 9, 2017

Reboot: Legionnaires #35

Legionnaires #35 (March 1996)
title: "While You Were Out..."
writers: Roger Stern 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 & W.C. Carani
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Gates, Invisible Kid, Leviathan, Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, Spark, Star Boy, Triad, XS

Athramites, Chuck Taine, Lori Morning (as Future Girl), Marla Latham, Proty, Rond Vidar, Shvaughn Erin, Tenzil Kem

Empress, Mano, Persuader, Proteans, Sun-Eater (in background), Tharok, Validus

While the Legion deals with the Sun-Eater crisis and wrangling the Fatal Five to help, Legion HQ is left with nothing but its support crew: Engineer Chuck Taine, chef Tenzil Kem, Athramite stylists, Science Police liaison Shvaughn Erin, administrator Marla Latham, temporal physicist Rond Vidar, and fish out of water Lori Morning...

In Flash (v2) #112... 27th-Century Flash John Fox rebuilds the Cosmic Treadmill and XS jumps on, racing to her future. She will arrive only a few weeks after she left.
And in Legionnaires #35... Lori gets herself a costume and brands herself Future Girl, broadcasting the fact that she defends the headquarters in the Legion's absence. This triggers an attack by Protean terrorists during which members of this mysterious shapeshifting species try to make Legion HQ's power core explode. It's up to the support staff to defend the HQ and consequently save the city.
Chuck and Tenzil find an easy chemistry fighting off Proteans - they escape using flying forms - but in the end, it's Lori's rash, uninformed move that saves the day. She kicks one of the bombs away from a terrorist's hands, causing the corrosive chemicals inside to spill out and compromise a gantry, sending all but one Protean tumbling into the power core where they are vaporized. Lori saves the last of them, a small blob she calls Proty. Proty feels very guilty about the whole affair and lets itself be taken prisoner.
Flash #112... That’s it! Jenni is officially leaving this timeline to get back to the 30th century. I love how they drew John when he’s working on the treadmill. He’s working so fast that you can actually see through him. Nice detail that I enjoyed quite a lot even though, at first, I was wondering what I was looking at. And so we leave these comics behind. It was pretty fun but I’m also glad to be back with a single issue a week.
Legionnaires #35... Hahaha! Oh wow! I wasn’t expecting a filler issue but this one was a lot of fun. Chuck is killing it with his precision skills. Not only that, but he’s really committed to saving the place in any possible way. Tenzil and he are showing some impressive heroism. They are smart and resourceful. I’m glad the writer gave them the spotlight in this issue, but now I wish they could actually be part of the Legion. Or, you know, that we could see them more often at least. I always loved the underdogs and these two are too delightful to be kept in the shadows!
Is Future Girl actually a thing? She won’t become part of the Legion right? Protest! I guess that Lori is going to stick around. I’m not really a fan, so I could do without her, especially if she takes the spotlight away from Tenzil and Chuck. She’s too unpredictable and has too little a grasp of the situation to be the member of a superhero team. Plus, except for her acrobatic skills, she doesn’t have any powers, does she? I guess she also shows a weird empathy toward even the ones who aimed to kill her. If she can be useful to gather information from this life form, then I will be more accepting of her presence.
Page 10 – That show: The Space Canine Patrol… Did they just predict the coming of the Paw Patrol right there?
Hahaha, the Space Canine Patrol is actually a reference to some Silver Age comics. Check the Science Police Notes for more, but if I wasn't already a fan of Roger Stern's work, this would have told me the book was in good hands with him now on board. Because it's one thing to be a good comics writer, getting the Legion right is a whole other matter that requires a love and knowledge of the world they live in and a handle on its history, even if they are rewriting it.
While the choice to focus on the supporting cast at this juncture may make some readers impatient, they include some of my favorite Legion characters. Chuck and Tenzil (the latter, too long in the shade) have some great moments fighting the invaders. The books haven't done much with Shvaughn since she was named liaison either, so her presence is appreciated. As for Lori, well...

While I'm not as annoyed by her as you seem to be, I do question her role. The Legion is full of young characters who might make mistakes and let their enthusiasm get away from them. They aren't such veterans that it would be impossible for them to do the same things, plot-wise. And while I appreciate that her arc is to get powers and become a superhero, isn't that Kinetix's role as well? She just feels redundant. The addition of Proty is a cute Legion bit, and it's fine, though we never really understand why the Proteans were carrying out their attack, and aren't likely to get a quick answer with the whole Sun-Eater crisis going on.

Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1996/6.
  • First appearance of Proty in the Reboot continuity. The first Proty appeared in Adventure Comics #308 (1963) and appeared to give its life to resurrect Lightning Lad. The second first appeared in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #72 (1963) and would go on to join the Legion of Super-Pets.
  • Future Girl was the name of the first identity dialed by Vicki Grant in the second Dial H for Hero series that ran in Adventure Comics in the 80s, a character that first actually appeared in a Dial H insert in Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #272. This is especially interesting because Lori Morning will eventually have a Dial H connection.
  • In past continuity, Chuck Taine was the Legionnaire Bouncing Boy. The scene where he knows all the angles to win a game of pool is a nod to his former powers.
  • The Space Canine Patrol Agents (or SPCA) were a team of super-powered dogs led by Superboy's dog Krypto, as a sort of canine parody of the Legion of Super-Heroes, first seen in Superboy (v1) #131. It is probably not a coincidence that they are referenced in a story introducing Proty, another "super-pet" of the Silver Age.
  • Flash v2 #112, "Future Perfect", was crafted by Mark Waid (writer), Anthony Castrillo (penciller), Hanibal Rodriguez (inker), Gaspar and Kevin Cunningham (letterers), Tom McCraw (colorist), Alisande Moralses (assistant editor) and Brian Augustyn (editor). XS' participation is minimal; she is sent back to the future using the Cosmic Treadmill which has been part of Flash mythology since The Flash (v1) #125, 1961.

First appearance of Proty in the Reboot continuity. Is that a milestone? You tell me.

1 comment:

  1. Aw man, I love this issue. Still just as good as I remember it. The Athramites are also a delight (I just love the expression of the one exclaiming "invaders!" on page 8), and getting to see the "backup characters" a little more is totally fun. Also, I love the opening panel of the guy selling sunglasses to watch the end of the world...

    And XS returns! She's still my favorite Legionnaire so it's a relief to see her show up again.

    The only strong criticism I can muster on this one is that the three pages with the Fatal Five seem wasted. I like the drawing of Validus, and Violet flying off to try to take down Tharok ... but most of it is redundant. At least one page is the same dialogue as the end of the last issue, and if I recall correctly, half of the third page is duplicated in the next issue. So I kinda wish they'd put those pages to better use.