Friday, April 21, 2017

Review: Legion Secret Origin #5

Recap: The Legion is forming. Some elements in the United Planets support the team creation. Other parts fear this private army. The Directorate of Security, the shadowy trimuverate responsible for keeping the UP safe and running, also seem split. And, oh by the way, a wormhole to another dimension is opening with an invading army biding their time on the other side. This sounds like a job for Superman.

Legion Secret Origin #5 is the penultimate issue for the series and certainly pushes the plot forward as we rush to the ending. We get a glimpse of Superman. We see the team spring into intergalactic action. And we get a sense of who is behind all the assassination attempts on R.J. Brande.

But is it enough. This issue suffers a little bit in my knowing the series only has one more issue to go. I don't know if at the end of this issue that I feel the story has progressed enough to wrap up. I also don't know if I have been told enough story to make me happy.

As I have said in prior reviews, this is a tangential look at the Legion's origins. I have felt somewhat deflated after reading these issues because some things which have happened off panel would be more interesting to read than the things we are seeing. I wish I could remember how this was received at the time it came out.

Writer Paul Levitz continues to sprinkle in nice moments for the well-read Legion fan. And we see the team coming together somewhat. But this has felt lacking.

Thankfully, artist Chris Batista continues to shine with his crisp art.

The issue starts with the original three flying Brainiac 5's time bubble into the past to recruit Superboy onto the team. It was interesting to hear their thoughts - both trepidation on whether the time bubble actually would work as well as the prospect of meeting Clark.

I really thought we would be in for a brief retelling of Adventure #247. After all, this is the team's 'origin' with Superman. And seeing the young Clark was pretty cool. Maybe we would get a close up view at this important part of the Legion mythos.

But before the three can interact, we are brought back to the future.

Mycroft, the human member of the Security Directorate, has been the most off put by Brande and the Legion. He has been sulking his way through these issues. You can tell he feels like he is losing control over the UP.

Then we see him actually lose control. A black energy entity swirls around him. It is this being which has been behind the assassination attempts. And if random people can't get the job done, maybe someone close to Brande is a better murderous tool. Mycroft is possessed.

I will say that I truly have no recollection of this series so I forgot about this thing and who it turns out to be.

That said, it reaches back into the past and flings the time bubble back to the 31st century. It doesn't want the Legion to reach out to Clark. And this forced return trip shatters the bubble.

Again, I don't recall, but an evil entity able to traverse time and wanting to mess with the Legion history. It has to be the Time Trapper, no?

Meanwhile, the invading extra-dimensional armada finally has opened up the wormhole large enough to send their fleet through. Outnumbered and outgunned, the UP fleet sees little other option than to try and ram the ships and plug the warp. But before that suicide run can occur, the Legion shows up. And there are new members.

So this is one of those missed moments for me. Sure, it is great to see Ultra Boy on the team. But how did they recruit him. The SciPo know he is from Rimbor. But I want to see how he joined the team. That is his origin.

Isn't that more cogent to this book than all these political wheeling and dealing?

And yes, it is also fun to see Phantom Girl feast her eyes on Jo. We know they will be a long term couple. So this smitten Tinya means something to me.

Did this moment matter for new readers?

As the team engages the enemy fleet, Brainy tries to solve the problem of the broken Time Bubble. Why didn't it work? In the end he realizes that he needs to somehow make the travel have some asynchronicity, different than the stable pattern he designed. That means he needs Phantom Girl's help.

Again, there is a nice side moment here where we learn that Invisible Kid is a genius too. He knows what Brainy is talking about and can help. Lyle was always considered one of the brightest on the team. I like him taking Brainy down a peg here. It is Querl's superiority complex that always gets him into trouble.

Out in space, with little fuss, the Legion is able to wipe out the ships which have come through.

This is pre-flight ring. Look at those rocket packs!

The fleet is impressed and the team takes a bow. This is the first real Legion victory.

But who are these invaders? Will this story be wrapped up in a satisfactory manner?

And the inky form in Mycroft seems ready to strike. This certainly is more of a Trapper-esque shape now. Will this plot be wrapped up well? Do new readers even know this is the Time Trapper (assuming it is)?

Overall, we get to see a true Legion team defeat the bad guys. We learn more about the villain trying to kill Brande. But this still feels like a 'Behind the Music' documentary rather than an action-infused origin story.

One more issue to go! Let's keep our fingers crossed!

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