Thursday, August 31, 2017

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #89

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #89 (February 1997)
title: "She's Electric!"
writers: Tom Peyer and Tom McCraw
pencillers: Jeffrey Moy
inker: Ron Boyd
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Ruben Diaz
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Alan Davis
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

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

Ferro, Inferno, Koko, Oracle, Shvaughn Erin, a security guard (Rupert), mental institution personnel

Dr. Psycho

Part of the Legion has been stranded in the late 20th Century. During this time, Saturn Girl and Cosmic Boy have become an item, much to Spark's chagrin who sees it as a betrayal of her brother.

Max Mercury's connections have made it possible for the Legion to move into the Justice League of America's old Secret Sanctuary; the homeless Ferro moves in with them, though he is not to be told the Legion comes from the future. Spark accidentally lets the cat out of the bag, drawing a scolding from Saturn Girl and Cosmic Boy, with whom she already has issues. She runs away.
When she doesn't come back, Cos and Imra go after her, first finding her abandoned ring left as a decoy, then Ayla herself, in the clutches of a government property security guard who shot at her for trespassing, grazed her leg, and is now trying to get out of having shot a kid. Imra threatens the man with revealing his pervy secrets and he runs off, but so does Ayla, which makes Saturn Girl stop her with a powerful telepathic summons. A summons that awakens another telepath down the way in a mental institution: the Wonder Woman foe Doctor Psycho, who promptly puts his handlers in a catatonic state.
Meanwhile, Imra confronts Spark about her relationship with Cos, revealing that Spark's real fear lies in the idea that coupling up is a sigh the Legion leaders have given up on going home and are making a life for themselves in the past. Saturn Girl promises it's not the case and they return home with a brighter, peppier Spark. Job well done, Cos leans in to kiss Imra, but... SHE HAS NO FACE!!!
It was clear from the start that Ayla wasn’t too pleased with the relationship development between Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl. I knew it was in part related to her brother being in love with Imra. I’m glad there is more to it than just that. I mean, it makes sense that she wants her brother to be happy, but there’s nothing that can be done if Imra and Rokk are in love. Garth will have to accept it and so must she. The way she feels towards being stuck in the 20th Century is almost the equivalent of an extreme case of cabin fever. She can’t even make sense of her own thoughts. I can’t even imagine how hard I would be losing it, if I were stuck somewhere and had no way of coming home. Can’t say that I’m blaming her for losing hope.
It’s been so long since the last time we saw Ferro that I forgot he was with them. How exactly were they supposed to live without telling him about their situation? He would’ve found out eventually so what’s the point? Plus, he might be of some help. It’s not like they were broadcasting the news to the citizens of Metropolis or wherever they are right now... Actually yeah... Where are they? I can’t keep up with all this. Siiiiigh...
Imra’s thoughts have awakened Dr. Psycho, a Wonder Woman villain. Is he a little person? I don’t know if it’s the way he’s drawn, but he seems so short. I will take a wild guess and assume that he’s the one responsible for Imra’s face disappearance. Whoever’s responsible for this, can I just say: CREEEEEEEPY!!!

With this issue, the 20th-Century Legion, regardless of what Saturn Girl and Cosmic Boy say, seems to become part of 20th-Century DC continuity (some of your questions answered in the Science Police Notes, below, Shotgun). Up to now, they've had guest stars and have guested in a bunch of books, but practically every story was about them finding a way home or acting like fish out of water. In this issue, they move into the JLA's (and Doom Patrol's) old home, they've got a hotline to Oracle like every other hero, and they'll soon be up against a Wonder Woman villain with no previous connection to the Legion. No Sun-Eaters or Brainiacs. DOCTOR PSYCHO. In other words, there's a very real feeling that we'll be here a while and that Legion of Super-Heroes is just like every other contemporary team book. On the one hand, they're avoiding Gilligan's Island syndrome; on the other, the Legion is bound to lose something of its identity by borrowing everyone else's.
But I agree - kudos on giving Ayla a little more than "outraged sister" to play. She's been very crabby since getting lost in time, but we get to see more facets in this story, from the Winathian farm girl to the pet lover who gets on with Koko.
I do wonder what that poorly guarded government facility was meant to be though. Narratively, you'd think that's where Psycho was being held, but it's not. The aerial view shows a different compound. Regardless, I do like that it's Saturn Girl's powers that wake him up, and it is creepy to see him repeat Imra's words, locked into her mind, apparently. And faceless people have always had a high creep factor, ever since Star Trek's "Charlie X", so that's a cool cliffhanger. An image of... stealing her mind?

Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1997/4.
  • Ferro is now living with the Legion, but is not a member. He is referred to as a "guest".
  • The Justice League's Secret Sanctuary is a cave on an island in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island, that served as the Justice League of America's first headquarters, right out of the gate in Brave and the Bold #28 (1960).
  • Ultra Boy and Apparition, perhaps to explain why they haven't been seen in a while, were on an untold mission to find Rip Hunter and the Time Masters, a group of time travelers last since in the Time Masters mini-series in 1990.
  • It is not known whether Spark spoiled the ending of The Phantom Menace, The Force Awakens, or even, not knowing what order 1000-year-old films came out in, A New Hope when talking with Ferro. Even had we seen the conversation, they all ended pretty much the same way.
  • Doctor Psycho is a Wonder Woman villain who first appeared in Wonder Woman (v1) #5 (1943). In post-Crisis continuity, his first appearance was Wonder Woman (v2) #54 (1991).

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