Thursday, March 9, 2017

Reboot: Legionnaires #37

Legionnaires #37 (June 1996)
title: "Decisions"
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:  
Andromeda, Brainiac 5, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Gates, Invisible Kid, Jan Arrah, Kinetix, Leviathan, Live Wire, Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, Spark, Star Boy, Triad, Ultra Boy, Valor, XS

Brad Majors, Chuck Taine, Keema Delf, Lori Morning, Marla Latham, Proty, R.J. Brande, Tenzil Kem, Athramites, Vyrgan ambassador

Empress, President Chu; virtual versions of Captain Cold, Gorilla Grodd and Weather Wizard

The Fatal Five and President Chu are behind bars. R.J. Brande has become the United Planets' president and he's given the Legion the freedom to forge its own future...

While the media wonders what's next for the Legion, Valor visits R.J. Brande on Mars and comes to a decision: He will stay with the Legion as M'Onel, who people hopefully won't equate with the mythical Valor. Triad and Spark join XS in virtual Central City for training and talk about staying with the team, which is their family. Meanwhile, the kids are writing a constitution informed by all they've gone through and an inclusive version of the team that won't kick anyone out.
Still, Andromeda feels her place is elsewhere, but is hurt to find that Brainiac 5 at least appears not to care. In a prison complex, Kinetix, Leviathan and Violet interrogate the Empress about the Emerald Eye, but determine she has nothing valuable to offer Kinetix in her quest. Back at HQ, Gates' request to leave the team now that the U.P. draft has been discontinued is refused because he's given his planet to good a spotlight. Star Boy, however, has been recalled to Xanthu, but he wants to stay and explore his new powers.
Ultra Boy walks in with a new costume, which another new member, Jan Arrah, color-coordinates for him. Ultra Boy then has another worrying painful seizure. In Lori Morning's quarters, Chameleon manages to make Proty imitate his forms, but can't call it communication. And as Saturn Girl and Cosmic Boy (who has resigned as leader and called for an election) embark on a ship headed for Titan to calm spirits after war almost broke out between the moon and Braal, Live Wire insinuates himself on the mission for personal reasons.
So much happened in the last couple issues that the authors felt there was a need to do a quick recap. I think it was well executed with the news show. I appreciate how they didn’t give away everything. It makes a lot of sense since the anchors and their audience are only spectators in this story. They don’t have the inside look the readers have and it gives a completely different perspective to consider: the U.P. residents’.
We have some members that are going to leave. Others are going to stay. They played a lot with our expectations when it came to Gates and Star Boy which I find interesting. Having someone on the team that wants to leave is going to be quite the challenge for whoever’s going to lead the team. There’s not much to say about the other changes in the team except maybe Andromeda’s choice to speak with Brainy first. The way he reacted to the news, the way she reacted to his coldness… Was she expecting him to beg her to stay? Did she WANT him to convince her to stay? I’m not saying that she has something for Brainiac. She probably reacted that way because it took a lot for her to say all this to him and he didn’t even seem to care. We all know he does though. So, what's next for these two?
Couple of things before leaving the floor to Siskoid: I had already forgotten about Lori and that “Proty” thing. Its behavior is definitely interesting, especially its silence. I’m intrigued and want to learn more about its reasons to be here and how it’s going to be useful to the Legion. Ultra Boy’s random fits of pain are becoming more intense. I wonder what’s happening to him. I wonder when I’ll get used to Chameleon’s ability to speak properly. It just feels weird after all this time. I’m glad this will allow him to become a more active member of the team though. Finally, the search for the Emerald Eye will be one of the next plot points to be explored. Leviathan gave his word after all, to Violet’s displeasure. Am I smelling some sort of jealousy here? Oh! And talking about jealousy, Live Wire invites himself on a diplomatic trip… I wonder what could possibly push him to do such a thing *wink wink*.

On the changes within the team... Since it's not clear if Star Boy goes or not (he does have an ongoing subplot), the only real departure is Andromeda's. In another life, I might have cared more. I've come to terms with the fact that it's 5YL's Laurel Gand I like, not the xenophobic or pious Reboot version of the character. I'm okay with the rest staying, because my idea of the Legion has a couple dozen members. Don't know why they're only "floating" Element Lad as a name for Jan Arrah; why hasn't he picked something yet? And M'Onel, well, I'm curious about the Martian connection, where will that lead? Or is it just an easy answer to why we should call him Mon-El absent a Superman connection? Seems like his reverence for Kal-El's cape might have justified a less tortured explanation/spelling.
As this blog's own Legion Constitution nerd, I have to confess a certain excitement at its return, albeit in a changed form. The old clause about each member having a unique power, for example, is now just a guideline, which works out great because I love Spark, but it's also a lot more reasonable. Gone are those Silver Age days when silliness would keep good, powerful heroes off the team. Cos oes seem to be composing with the current team in mind - which makes sense - though his Valor clause perhaps comes before he's informed of Lar's intention to travel the galaxy.

Legionnaires really is the better book when it comes to downtime issues, and that's entirely due to Jeff Moy's cute, expressive art. He and W.C. Carani have really formed a tight unit of these last few issues, and their figures are just a joy to look at, even when there's no real action (though in this case, a retro-fight with the Flash's Rogues should satisfy).
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1996/10.
  • R.J. Brande's souvenirs from the 20th Century include a batarang, Superman's cape posed in a way that is reminiscent of the Death of Superman story, Jay Garrick's helmet, a Justice Society shield, and the model of a Martian city (life sized on the cover) with Martians who look like an un-shifted J'Onn J'Onzz.
  • Valor officially joins the team as M'Onel, a Martian name that means "He who wanders". In the original continuity, Lar Gand was called Mon-El because Superboy (Kal-El) met him on a Monday and thought he was a his brother.
  • Ultra Boy and Jan Arrah also join officially, the latter considering the code name Element Lad. Andromeda leaves the team.
  • The Legion Constitution is drafted in this issue, with some clauses different from the original continuity's. Mention is made that power overlap should be discouraged, though the clause does not unilaterally forbid it as it once did (so Spark and Live Wire can serve together), and the special dispensation that used to allow Superboy, Supergirl and Mon-El to serve together despite the power overlap has been converted into a dispensation that allows M'Onel to travel the galaxy and remain a serving Legionnaire (both clauses treat the Legion's forebears with a special reverence).


  1. Always loved how Jeff Moy drew Imra.

  2. I enjoyed Moy's legion and it gave me the feel of the original Adventure Comics series .

    It was a lot of fun but I hated M'onel's Martian name change as much as I hated his new uniform.

  3. On Page 4, I love how they framed Valor's head with a ceiling light to give him that halo look. I can only assume that's intentional...

    I do have to agree re: downtime issues. All the ones that come to mind are all from the Legionnaires series, and Moy and Carani really just did a fabulous job on them all.

    VR action is a fun romp, and I love that last panel as the three girls are all reaching for their heads -- then you see they were wearing visors! But I still don't get how they can have Spark in there without someone getting hurt...

    Brainy and Andromeda ... I guess it's not surprising that this relationship wasn't going to go anywhere. I mean, xenophobe and a literal green alien. Even if Andromeda is reformed, that's a big leap. I kind of wish the writers had done something with that anyway, as that could have been some really interesting character development.

    Cham talking like a normal character still weirds me out, after all these years and having read everything following this until both series were ended.

    Okay, one final thought on M'onel's costume. While I don't really have a problem with it... you'd think that, trying to disguise himself so he isn't recognized as Valor, he'd diverge even farther from his color scheme. Just saying.