Thursday, June 1, 2017

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #85

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #85 (October 1996)
title: "Metropolis Now!"
writers: Tom Peyer and Tom McCraw
penciller: Lee Moder
inker: Ron Boyd
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Reuben Diaz
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Alan Davis and Mark Farmer
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Apparition, Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Gates, Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet (flashback), Spark, Ultra Boy

Bibbo, Dan Turpin, Inferno, Jimmy Olsen, Maggie Sawyer, Shvaughn Erin, Superman, a cab driver, cops

A puff of Emerald energy corrupting everything it touches; Emerald Eye of Ekron (flashback)

In the final battle with an Emerald Eye-possessed Shrinking Violet, half the Legion was transported back in time, along with Workforce's Inferno, Science Police liaison Shvaughn Erin, and the ghost of Apparition bonded to Ultra Boy...

The time-lost Legionnaires arrive in 1996 Metropolis and have little time to get their bearings and get reintroduced to Apparition via Saturn Girl's telepathic powers that Brainiac 5 announces there a blob of Emerald energy racing around town which could be harnessed to get the team back to the future. And off they go after it!
After flying through Jimmy Olsen's news broadcast and startling a cab driver, we discover the Emerald cloud changes whatever it touches into futuristic forms, not unlike the way the Emerald Eye corrupted the Legion and tried to remake the Earth in its image. Among these, a Metropolis Special Crimes Unit officer's armor.
Though Brainy modifies everyone's telepathic ear plugs so they work both ways, translating for 20th-Century denizens as well, the situation is only really diffused when Superman arrives after helping Ultra Boy stop a bridge from collapsing. He knows them from a previous trip to the 30th Century, but alas, they don't remember that meeting on account of the Reboot. Alas, Brainy wasn't able to capture the Emerald cloud with his belt, and the kids are stranded...
Ok, they are rushed, I get it. I also get that they’re speaking Interlac and flying around in the 20th Century, a time where alien races and names like Brainiac aren’t welcome. So why exactly do they ALL have to rush for the green cloud while traumatizing everyone else? Saturn Girl could communicate with them even before Brainiac modified their ear pieces’ settings. She could’ve helped by sending some sort of vision to the population to calm everyone down. It would’ve saved the team a lot of trouble. I guess flying at full speed through the city wasn’t action-y enough for the writers, they also needed a fight on top of all that.
Funny bit about the Great Wall of China. I know the kids are not from this time, but I still can’t believe they know so little of Earth’s history to mistake an overpass for such a landmark. This is my first encounter with Superman’s longer hair. I can’t say that I am a fan. It’s not that much of a big deal, but I’m just not used to this at all! Nor am I familiar with Superman’s past with the Legion, but I guess he met them before the Reboot as he knows them under their other code names. Does he really know a way to get them back to their the 30th Century? I sure do hope so, since Brainy’s plan seems to have failed.
The Great Wall thing comes from Gates, who likely only looked up communist countries when he decided to learn a little something about Earth. It tracks. As for the rest of your concerns, you're right. No one today likes the long hair (at least you didn't call it a mullet). The Legionnaires aren't being particularly strategic (but I can give them some slack given the circumstances). And the conflict does seem forced (especially the bit with the cop who doesn't stand down nearly quickly enough when Captain Sawyer asks him to.

But get used to the Legion being fish out of water, they're going to be there for months (our time). It appears our favorite team was becoming pretty popular (again) back in the mid-90s, and it was decided to 'port half the team to the mainstream DC Universe where it could take part in crossover events and guest star in other characters' books. We're going to take a number of side-trips in the coming weeks. Hope you're game to discover more of the DCU. In this case, it's Metropolis, and Superman fans will recognize Jimmy Olsen, Bibbo and the SCU, and those sequences work even if you don't.
But just like the Legionnaires book, this is an opportunity to build different dynamics. Will Cosmic Boy steal Saturn Girl's heart in Live Wire's absence? He still seems interested. Will Inferno actually make the team, or will she rip Shvaughn's head off before then. Will Apparition get some tangibility again, or is she doomed to be a jealous voice in Ultra Boy's head? And how will they all fare essentially trapped in the past with the jerkiest jerk of all, Brainiac 5, who's bound to be unbearable in a low tech environment? That's what interests me about this set-up, more than accessible guest stars or the Gilligan's Island plots that are sure to come.
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1996/19.
  • On page 13, a truck for the Action Moving Company uses the Action Comics' logo.
  • Superman remembers the previous timeline, but is also aware that Zero Hour changed history. This isn't the Legion he once met.


  1. And here we are at last. (Final Night is probably the most underrated DC crossover, looking forward to it)

    The numbering stopped being all-inclusive with the showcase issue and is going to keep getting less all-inclusive for a while, no?

  2. Say what you will about Lee Moder -- and about Superman's long hair for that matter -- but page 20 of this issue is one of my all-time favorite depictions of Superman.