Thursday, March 16, 2017

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #81

Legion of Super-Heroes #81 (June 1996)
title: "Sundown"
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, Element Lad, Gates, Invisible Kid, Kinetix, Leviathan, Live Wire, M'Onel, Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, Spark, Star Boy, Triad, Ultra Boy, XS

Chuck Taine, Derek Morgna, Dr. Leiner, Lori Morning, Marla Latham, R.J. Brande, Rond Vidar, Winema Wazzo, Athramites, doctors, a TV anchor, Morgna Industries technicians

Sun Boy; Dr. Regulus (in flashback)

Some time ago, young Dirk Morgna was exposed to radioactive gold by the villainous Dr. Regulus, and only the intervention of the Legion saved his life, albeit transformed. He was quickly taken to a facility where his new ability to radiate light and heat could be controlled. Since then, the Legion has gotten its independence from the United Planets and Cosmic Boy has resigned as leader, leaving Leviathan in charge until elections can be held.

In a hospital, Dirk Morgna's condition hasn't been brought under control. It's caused him to lose sleep (he shines too brightly) and it's impaired his judgment. After too many days without his father visiting him (in fact, he never has), he breaks out and tears through the city in a blaze.
Meanwhile, Brainiac 5 is getting fed up of having his experiments interrupted by Legion assignments, including giving various Legionnaires an examination. Speaking of which, Star Boy's Kryptonian-like powers cause more damage just as Chuck Taine was done fixing the building. Recalled to Xanthu, Star Boy asks R.J. Brande for help, and the new president of the U.P. - who has just reinstated the Time Institute and accidentally invited Ambassador Wazzo to his cabinet - asks Leviathan to go to Xanthu to explain why Star Boy should stay. And here the kids thought they were independent. Leviathan leaves Kinetix in charge while he's away.
On their way to Titan, Cosmic Boy hopes Live Wire will blow it with Saturn Girl, and he might, while at HQ, Spark receives another gift from her secret admirer who is exposed as Invisible Kid. Except he was only doing Chameleon a favor! Now Cham is pretty angry at his friend. And at Morgna Industries, Dirk dubbed "Sun Boy" by the media almost causes a nuclear accident when he handles a canister of radioactive gold, but Element Lad turns it into harmless inertron just in time. He's blinded for his trouble; XS races him home. Dirk's father admits he feels responsible for his son's pain and couldn't bear to face him, but now wants to embrace him, a lethal moment prevented by XS returning with an inertron-laced transsuit that contains Sun Boy's power. But this latest emergency was the last straw for Brainy, who apparently announces he's quitting. Good job, Kinetix!
OOoooooooohhhhh!! I love the cover of this issue. Writing this before even flipping through, I can say that it did a marvelous job of catching my eye and make me wonder what I’m about to discover. I feel like I should know to whom belongs this intensely staring blue eye, but I don’t. I am 100% invested already. Good job!

Really Shotgun *facepalm*… Seriously… How could I not remember my dearest Sun Boy? To be fair though, is it really him on the cover? That face looks normal. That’s not the same character that’s irradiated and that we see in the comic. He doesn’t even glow. It’s kind of confusing. His story almost… ALMOST… made me feel bad for him. I think I’ll give him a chance because he might not become the jerk that we’ve rated during “Hot or Not”. When you can’t even count on your family to support you in times of need, you’re in a really bad place.
Brainiac 5’s fuss feels so stupid. You’re the smartest humanoid-being-thing in the U.P. What did you expect your role would be within the Legion? Of course, you’ll be the brain of the team. Of course, they will not understand the importance of your research and work. Of course, if you act like a jerk they will NEVER respect your need for silence and calm. I was surprised by the fact he didn’t try to leave the Legion the minute it became an option. We’ll see if he’s going to act on his words or if it was nothing more than big talk.
So, Spark’s secret admirer is Chameleon Boy. And Invisible Kid decided to help him out. That’s nice of him. Except that Spark’s excited reaction to Lyle’s apparition is already creating some good old draaaaama! This girl can’t wait to see where this misunderstanding will lead those three.

More drama with the founders too, as they float once again the idea of Cos and Imra as a couple.

But yeah, I didn't like this issue much. Part of it is Lee Moder's art. The more Jeffrey Moy develops over in Legionnaires, the uglier Moder's kids look with their rubbery bodies, elongated faces and bouffant hairdos. But even as far as the story goes... The A-plot with "Sun Boy" is particularly problematic. The crying father who's so ashamed of himself he's basically ready to immolate himself by hugging his super-heated son is the very height of melodrama and at once cheesy ("Touch ME, son! Touch me!") and ridiculous. Then XS runs in with what everyone calls an "obvious" solution they should all have thought of long ago, and it feels like an anti-climax. If it was that easy, then there's no achievement on the heroes' part. And it really wasn't that obvious, so how about you shut up about that. Ugh.
And Kinetix made acting leader?! Okay, yes, Leviathan has a crush on her, but that's terrible leadership. She's one of the newer members, was even on extended leave until recently. Not that I blame her for Brainy's announcement, and when I read it, I don't immediately jump to the conclusion that he's leaving the team, just that he's done being at everyone' beck and call. We'll see. But Shotgun's right, he really needs to embrace this team before too long. He needs to arc already!

Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1996/11.
  • Dirk Morgna is called Sun Boy for the first time in the Reboot.

1 comment:

  1. The bit about Moder's art vs. Moy's is spot on. They both really develop and change over their respective runs, but Moy comes into his own whereas Moder just gets weirder and weirder. I'm not sure what he was striving for! Which is a shame because sometimes he does some really amazing stuff.

    I remember after he left the book and they had a new artist for a while, he came back for a guest issue and it was kind of horrible. Like even more extreme. So weird.