Thursday, April 6, 2017

Reboot: Legionnaires #39

Legionnaires #39 (August 1996)
title: "Wishful Thinking"
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:  
Brainiac 5, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Gates, Invisible Kid, Kinetix, Leviathan, Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, Spark, Star Boy, Triad, Ultra Boy, XS

Baumsteed, Chuck Taine, Evolvo, Inferno, Karate Kid, Lori Morning, Rond Vidar, Spider-Girl, Shvaugn Erin, Sun Boy, Tenzil Kem, Science Police (named: Dugan, Jynkyns and Ralston)

Dr. Regulus, Emerald Eye of Ekron (vision), Leland McCauley

Not too long ago, Dr. Regulus kidnapped his employer's son, Dirk Morgna, and subjected him to radioactive gold. The experiment gave the boy uncontrollable heat and light powers he used to help the Legion defeat Regulus, melting the villain's armor onto his flesh and blinding him. More recently, Apparition has returned as a ghost only her mother and Ultra Boy can see, Kinetix has been put on the trail of the Emerald Eye by the witch Mysa, Spark was shocked to find out Chameleon was her secret admirer, and Shrinking Violet was elected leader.

Kinetix meditates, probing for the Emerald Eye, when she is disturbed by Lori Morning who just needs another girl to talk to about the boy she has a crush on. When Kinetix invokes Lori's mental age (10), the girl runs off and later plants a kiss on an unresponsive Rond Vidar. After the Legionnaires return from Xanthu, Spark confides in XS who blurts out, in range of everyone, that Cham is the secret admirer, but it seems Spark isn't necessarily adverse to it, just taken aback. Elsewhere, Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl share their first kiss. Brainiac 5 is just happy everyone ignores him, as if he were invisible.
In deep space, a Science Police cruiser is taking Dr. Regulus to the prison planet Takron-Galtos, but Regulus escapes and kills them all. Later, that same cruiser arrives on Gallan, an industrial planet owned by Leland McCauley in the Vegan System. McCauley and his Work Force happen to be there and what's left of his personal superhero group try to protect him when the lights go out. The Legion is called in; they bring "Sun Boy" with them given the Regulus connection. After subduing Inferno, whose fear of the dark has made her go momentarily crazy, the Legion and Work Force are faced with Regulus, whose armor is allowing him to "see".
And in the middle of the fight, Triad, who had previously suffered from debilitating headaches, splits into three NON-identical forms! One tall and muscled, another a small waif, in addition to the central persona...
Well, well, well… There is something about this comic. The loss of control from almost everyone, being in the dark, the heat… It sure feels like a big metaphor for puberty hitting hard and no one knowing how to deal with it! I guess the whole focus of the comic is the love affairs between Legionnaires anyway, so it might be what led me to make this remark.
Rokk and Imra, Lori and Rond, Spark and Cham, Jo and Apparition/Spider-Girl, Brainiac and his work – he’s not really invisible, is he? It’s fun to see some development in their personal lives. It really serves the purpose of reminding us that they’re only teenagers, and romance is such an important part of life at that age. The relationships that are intriguing me the most are Chameleon and Spark – will saving her really be enough for Cham to win Spark’s heart? Kind of a cliché, but I could live with that. And of course Rokk and Imra, the relationship that I decided to call Imrokk because why not?! Is it doomed from the start knowing that Imra and Garth – Imgarth sounds awful! Gimra maybe? WHO CARES?! - were together in the original version? I guess we’ll see. Nothing like a good old love triangle!
Speaking of things coming in threes, what’s up with Triad’s personalities? With the cover focusing entirely on this twist, I though we would see them appear a lot earlier. At first, I actually thought that she sort of merged with Spark and XS by studying the looks and that it was caused by Kinetix's weird new powers. We always knew her split personalities were extremes of her main identity, but to also change appearances, that’s a whole new level! I can’t wait to learn more about this weird situation.

Something I really like in this issue is how Violet is handling her position as a leader. She’s impressing me a lot with her calm and cool-headedness even when she is questioned by her teammates! I wonder what’s with Leviathan and his anger towards Morgna. I mean sure, Sun Boy sucks, but that’s coming from the girl from Hot or Not. I never imagined that he wouldn’t be liked by his teammates. Or maybe that’s the point. Leviathan just had to deal with Star Boy’s coming back and now he must handle another mission with a “non-Legionnaire” among the team.
That first page has a couple secrets. First, check out the poses on Cham and Spark that speaks to their attitude in the comic. But hidden so that you might miss it is the title of the story, "Wishful Thinking", which perhaps hints that not is as it seems. Are the Legionnaires getting what they want through some magical (Kinetix/Ekron) means? And if so, what does that mean for their lives once the spell is lifted? Is this why Triad has undergone a transformation? Why Saturn Girl hooks up with Cos? Why Spark is suddenly willing to entertain the idea of dating Cham? Why Brainy is being left alone? Heck, is it how Vi got the leadership gig, or how Apparition can be back from the dead? I can't trust anything that's happened recently. And when it's all resolved, what will still be true and what won't? Dangerous terrain the writers are treading here. Don't jerk us around, guys.
Speaking of Apparition, it's very strange to end the previous installment on her reappearance, but not show her here. I did like the return of the Work Force, and Spider-Girl's feelings for Ultra Boy at least forced the comic to reference it (as if Tinya is still "inside" him?). I wish they'd get Karate Kid on the team already. And Inferno, the better Sun Boy (Sun Girl), she's given a phobia that deepens her character. I like the detail of her having to sleep with the lights on. But Regulus? I sort of hate the character, especially with the terrible "melty" visual he's saddled with, and I don't like Dirk much either, not because of Hot or Not residual corruption, but because there's really nothing to his character at this point. So this issue is all about the relationships; the supervillain plot is just whatever's needed to keep the energy and drama up. I'll be over here having a lie down with Leviathan.
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1996/14.
  • Though the Vega System was well explored in the Omega Men series, the planet Gallan seen here never featured. Rather, it references a world seen in the Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #15-16, and Legionnaires #35 and 39, in the previous (5YL) continuity.


  1. One of my favorite versions of the Legion !

    5) Jeff Moy
    4) Keith Giffen
    3) Mike Grell
    2) Curt Swann
    1) Dave Cockrum

  2. I love how Brainy converts Chuck's humming into binary and then criticizes the meter on Page 7. Never realized what that was before!

    Page 12 - Cosmic Boy is using his powers to shape a pipe or something into a heart? And Chameleon is looking over at Spark who is glaring back with a "don't come near me" lightning display. I always love the background details that Jeff Moy manages to cram into his pages.

    It does seem weird that Apparition isn't even seen here. I guess there was just too much going on for them to cram that storyline in as well? Or maybe when they were writing this issue they hadn't fully decided on how she'd appear after her resurrection?