Thursday, June 15, 2017

Reboot: Final Night / Legion of Super-Heroes #86

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #86 (November 1996)
title: "Heart of Iron"
writer: Tom Peyer and Tom McCraw
penciller: Lee Moder
inker: Ron Boyd
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Ruben Diaz
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Alan Davis and Mark Farmer
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Apparition, Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Ferro, Gates, Saturn Girl, Spark, Ultra Boy

Batman, Captain Marvel, Flash III, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, Impulse, Inferno, Kitty Faulkner, Martian Manhunter, Obsidian, Ray, Shvaughn Erin, Superboy, Superman, Warrior, Wildcat, Wonder Woman

Lex Luthor, Sun-Eater

Several members of the Legion have been stranded in the 20th Century by the Eye of Ekron. They've arrived at a crisis time...

A Tamaranian called Dusk has just crashed landed on Earth, and with Saturn Girl's help, Superman - who has just met this Legion - understands her warnings about a Sun-Eater on course for Earth's sun. The planet's heroes are assembled, but attempts to divert the entity using a Boom Tube and a decoy sun both fail. Perpetual night falls on the world, and it's in an unseasonal snow storm that Lex Luthor returns from hiding to save the Earth with super-science; an uneasy alliance is forged.
While heroes around the world deal with the weather crisis, Superman's solar-based powers constantly diminishing, Luthor and Brainiac 5 work together to come up with a solution. They send Green Lantern Kyle Rayner to the Sun to collect data, but he disappears (in a side-special, he meets with former Green Lantern Hal Jordan, now the villain Parallax, and tries to convince him to help, to no avail). When a mob turns on Dusk, the person they see as responsible for leading the Sun-Eater to Earth, a new hero intervenes: Ferro!
Ferro falls in with the heroes and Spark even lets him borrow her flight ring. But the situation gets worse when the scientists analyze the data and discover the sun will heal itself by going nova. Meanwhile, just looking to do some good, Ultra Boy, Gates and Shvaughn enter a subway tunnel and find a huddled group of homeless people, leading to a conflict between the two Legionnaires, Gates wanting to take them to a shelter against their wishes, the Rimborian looking for other solutions to respect them.
Cosmic Boy gives an overwhelmed Saturn Girl a pep talk, which reminds her of an earlier pep talk that came after Brainy tried to secure electronic equipment just after they arrived in the 20th Century. A pep talk that ended with them kissing! Cos is once again called in to smooth things over between Gates and Ultra Boy, and learns from the transients that Ferro is one of them and a good kid, abandoned by his mother because he was disfigured. Ferro also has a plan to take care of the Sun-Eater, which though initially shouted down by Luthor, he is allowed to speak by Superman. The plan entails him taking a ship into the Sun-Eater and blowing it up with a bomb, possibly not sacrificing his life thanks to his invulnerably iron body. Brainiac 5 says he's not smart enough to build a bomb that would destroy a quantum-shifted weapon like the Sun-Eater, however.
So it's back to the plan Luthor and Brainy had already concocted: Create a series of force fields that will contain the nova and keep the sun intact. A returned Green Lantern is tapped to go since he's shown he can survive the heat of the sun, but he mysteriously disappears, and while Luthor is the next best candidate (he knows how the technology works), he refuses to sacrifice his life. Superman volunteer, like he always knew he would, but when the ship takes off, he's not aboard. Ferro has taken his place, believing no one would miss him if he failed to return, though he still owes Spark her flight ring, so is determined to make it.
While he's away, Parallax shows up having thought things over and decided to help. The heroes don't trust him, but he gives his word that whatever happens, he would not use his considerable power to refashion the Earth in his image as he once tried to do. Back in space, the sun goes nova but is contained by the force fields; Ferro nevertheless fails to escape the shockwave. As his ship is about to break up, Parallax appears and sends him back to Earth, then proceeds to destroy the Sun-Eater, restore the sun to full power, and heal the effects of the cold extended night the planet suffered. And he gives his life doing so. To some, he is redeemed; to others, he can never make up for the lives he took in the past. Regardless, a new day dawns on Earth.
Final Night 001
Yeah… Looking at page 8 I realize that I know very few of the DC universe characters. I don’t know half of the superheroes that are on that page. While they execute the many plans they had concocted, I can’t help but notice that very few Legionnaires are of use. Only Cosmic Boy, Inferno and Ultra Boy are in space to try and stop the Sun-Eater. It’s not like this was a Legion comic, so it makes sense that we only follow a handful of them. Then you get back to Earth and even there, not a single Legionnaire to calm the population with Batman’s crew. I mean, that would’ve been the perfect job for Saturn Girl, no? We’ll read on and see if the others have a greater role to play in the near future.

Final Night 002
I like this issue’s cover. It’s super dramatic and gives the impression that people turned their back on their heroes who couldn’t save them. We kind of see it at the end of the issue when the crowd turns on Dusk, but it’s not as bad as the cover would suggest. Brainiac 5 is meeting his match in Luthor. I like it. Let’s punch some humbleness into this condescending man. At least Saturn Girl and he are part of the action in this issue. I wonder what sort of data they collected that scared Brainy so much. Now Ferro Lad is a Legionnaire, isn’t he? I remember this exact image of him when we rated him back in the day. Will he only be a guest for the Final Night run or will he travel to the 30th Century with the group after everything is done? I guess I’ll need to read on to see.
Final Night 003
Are… Are those bodies?!?!? This cover gave me the chills - how appropriate! Not much to say about this comic except that we witness a bunch of powerful beings feeling truly powerless for what is probably the first time in their existence. It actually makes them look and feel more real and human. It must be hard to accept that your time has come along with the rest of the world you swore to protect. But now that the story moves on to the Legion of Superheroes, and with the REALLY not subtle hint to something green at the end, clearly, we’ll see more of the Eye power in the next issue(?).
Legion 086
So, the big plan is to contain the nova in a forcefield. Would that actually save the sun? I’m no scientist, but if the sun turns supernova, won’t it die after all? And they were speaking of hypernova in the last issue. Isn’t a hypernova the way a black hole is created? If only I would’ve been more attentive during my astronomy class! Anyway, even with this little knowledge of the science, their solution only seems temporary to me as they will still lose the sun, our source of light, heat and, therefore, life! It’s obvious that another plan will move forward and that one of the heroes, probably Ferro Lad, will save the day. I’m curious to see just how. Talking about heroes, where did Green Lantern go? Isn’t he the main protagonist in the Final Night’s saga? Could he really flee and live with himself after letting the whole solar system down?

The fluff in this comic was no more than all right. Gates’ obsession with the homeless is leaving me cold (pun somewhat intended) It’s interesting to see him being so passionate about them, but that he lacks the empathy to be able to truly help. Cosmic Boy demonstrated some great leadership while struggling to keep everyone together. His speeches were good and moving. The poor Ayla who’s not only separated from her other half, but must witness the woman her brother loves in the arm of another. The reunion will surely be interesting!
Final Night 004
Hahah! Aw they tricked me! The Emerald Eye was never a part of this story except for bringing the Legionnaires to the 20th Century. Hal Jordan sacrificed himself to bring everything back to normal. I’m not familiar enough with his story to understand why Batman resents him so much, but I’m sure he has his reasons. It’s only natural that I tend to be on Superman’s side regarding Jordan’s departure and legacy. He died a hero, no questions there.
Glad to learn that I wasn’t all that wrong either with my analysis of the situation in the last issue. Even by containing the nova, the aftermath would’ve been far from pleasant for Earth. *Self high-five* Now all that’s left to see is how the Legion will get back to their time period. Not gonna lie, I’m getting pretty tired of the time traveling! Aren’t they busy enough in the 30th Century already without having to fight and save the world in other times as well?
Sorry gurl, we're gonna be in the past (well present, well the 1996 past) a while. Settle in. I'll get to Final Night in a second, but the side-show for me was how a relative beginner would approach a DCU crossover, even a relatively contained one like this. Don't feel bad about page 8's group shot, a lot of those characters are lesser lights, or are sporting unfamiliar looks. The big guns - Superman, Luthor, Green Lantern (though the series is GL-important more for the fate of Hal Jordan than anything Kyle does, in fact I don't get his disappearance, guess we'd have to read his own title) - are recognizable enough, and I do think the Legion gets enough of a role considering they are, in the story, new kids on the block. Brainy as part of the think tank, Saturn Girl relaying messages from space, and Ferro of course (even if he hasn't joined yet). Your confusion about the Eye of Ekron makes sense given the Legion bubble you're currently living in.
It's pretty ingenious how they retrofitted the Sun-Eater story from the 1960s so that it at once became a 20th Century EVENT, and yet kept enough of the original, iconic details to make it a tribute. Ferro once again takes Kal-El's place to save the "more important" hero from certain death, but I'm really glad he doesn't die this time. We get to see a hero who died before his time live again and grow his legacy. Love the drawing he made which could be right out of that original story. One might see Luthor's participation as a call-back to the original story's Fatal Five assembled to fight the Sun-Eater as well.
Because the event happens just as the Legion arrives in our time, the use of a flashback to show their first moments is a good one. Not only does it tell a more complete story rather than jump into the action at breakneck speeds, but the "Star Trek IV" time travel comedy is a nice respite from the main story's bleak intensity. As for the Cosmic Boy-Saturn Girl relationship, they've finally pulled the trigger! I don't know that I like it now that they have. Maybe because Live Wire is maturing in the other book. I feel silly that I didn't get Spark's bitterness, possibly because to me Ayla is gay and it made me think she had a thing for Imra all of a sudden, or else that she's been separated from her "secret admirer", Cham. Momentarily confused by the frostbite!

Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1996/21.
  • This review takes into account The Final Night #1-4, a weekly series by Karl Kesel, Stuart Immonen and José Marzan, but the Science Police has not taken Notes on each of these issues.
  • In the original continuity, the Sun-Eater tried to consume Earth's sun in the 30th Century, and Ferro Lad died destroying with a bomb (as per his plan in this version of the story) after taking Superboy's place (again, mirroring these events). It all happened in Adventure Comics (v1) #352-353.
  • The Legion issue occurs more or less from page 4 of The Final Night #4; one scene repeats.
  • The Legionnaires use the fact that Superman remembers elements of the previous Legion timeline (but not the original pre-Crisis timeline) to justify why the so-called Final Night does not have a foregone conclusion; it may yet create another timeline. However, since the Sun-Eater is already a dark legend in earlier issues of the Reboot series, it stands to reason these events were already part of the Reboot's history.
  • The computer store has ads for Banana-brand machines ("Systems with Appeal") that is obviously a spoof of Apple Computers.

Ferro, the Reboot's answer to Ferro Lad, first appears in Adventures of Superman #540, albeit out of costume except on the cover.


  1. Bullet 4: Except that eventually they're going to claim that the reboot is the Earth-2 Legion (although I'm not sure if that's classic Earth-2 or new-52 Earth-2; probably not Morrison CSA Earth-2 though.), right?

    1. Didn't Legion of Three Worlds establish the reboot Legion was from Earth-247?

    2. Earth-2 Legion is the Levitz Legion, disconnecting it from New 52's Earth-1 whose future is Justice League 3000.

    3. Infinite Crisis gave us a pre-reboot legion on Earth-247 I think, but by the time of LoTW they only go up to 52.

    4. For the individual stories on those who would be counterparts in 30th century Earth-Two of the Legion of Super-Heroes, I encourage you to check out

  2. Replies
    1. Here are the true Earth-Two dopplegangers to the Legion

  3. Reboot Ferro first appeared in Adventures of Superman #540.

  4. I've read a lot of miniseries in my day now. This one remains one of my favorites, and is especially favorable in comparison to some later ones the Legion was part of (Genesis, ugh). But I think the thing that really worked here was that it was an exploration of powerlessness. Here's every superhero on the planet facing an enemy that they can't punch, can't blast, and which doesn't really even know they exist. It's just a force of nature. So in some ways, as catastrophic as it is, it's really a personal story about how these heroes deal with that.

    Plus, Brainy dealing with someone just as arrogant as he is -- that was great.

    The Legion issue itself feels a little disjointed. And seriously -- in what reality would they stop the "here's the plan to save the world" discussion for the team to rush off to argue about homeless people? Yeah, the plan to save the world would keep going without them. It wouldn't wait.

    Anyway, I was glad to see Ferro make it out alive!

  5. It was nice to see Ferro brought in as a Legioonaire while avoiding his tragic fate. But I was really disappointed in his rebooted origin. The story for the classic version in Secret Origins was very human & inspiring, a mother who never stopped loving her son & was proud of him.
    This version abandoned because of disfigurement was just more of the 'every hero is a sad orphan' same that really started infecting comics at the time.