Thursday, November 30, 2017

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #95

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #95 (August 1997)
title: "The Emerald Doom!"
writers: Tom Peyer and Tom McCraw
penciller: Lee Moder

inker: Mark Farmer
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Frank Berrios
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Alan Davis
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

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

Koko, Metal Men (Iron, Lead, Mercury, Platinum, Tin, Veridium), Mousey, Shvaughn Erin

Brainiac 5's arrogance

Part of the Legion has been lost in time, trapped in the late 20th Century, for a while now...

The Metal Men are just hanging out when Ferro walks in, reading from a script, demanding to have their responsometers. They refuse. He grabs Mercury's, deactivating his robot form. The others fight back. Elsewhere in their facility, Veridium and Platinum find Brainiac 5 about to operate on Tin to get his responsometer, the Coluan revealed to have been using Tin's robot pet Mousey to infiltrate the Metal Men's HQ and get at least one responsometer so he can build a computer able to control a time machine. Both Legionnaires are captured.
Back in Happy Harbor, the other Legionnaires notice Brainy is gone and call a Code B. They track him to the Metal Men's laboratories and fight the Metal Men, obviously intent on protecting themselves from these teenager aggressors. Brainiac 5, after overhearing Veridium and Platinum empathize with Ultra Boy and Apparition's romantic problems, realizes the Metal Men are sentient people, and stops the fight so he can apologize and explain.
Later, Brainiac 5 receives a package. It's Veridium's responsometer asking the Coluan to upgrade him into an evolved 30th-Century computer.
This is my first encounter with the Metal Men. Let’s just say that with only this on which to base my opinion, I can’t say that I am a fan of the team. Maybe it’s because I think they’re too cliché: The perfect leader, the brute, the fighter, the mothering woman, the shy rookie-like little guy who stutters, and the bully. Can we just agree that Mercury is the most infuriating prick ever? Plus, the fact that he’s made of liquid creeps me out. I mean, there are panels where his head isn’t even connected to the rest of his body anymore... GROSS!!! I almost googled what could destroy mercury just so I could find a solution to this annoyance. I’m not a fan, but I guess I still think that, robots or not, Brainy was way out of line when trying to steal their responsometers.
Speaking of Brainy, time to talk about the Legion! Poor Ferro who got tangled up in this mess by Brainy. The kid clearly lacks judgement to think that going on a secret quest to steal some components from machines would be a nice surprise for the rest of the gang. How it must’ve been tough on Brainy’s ego to see Platinum getting around his force field this easily. THEN he has to accept that he was wrong and apologize… Wasn’t his day! I actually Lol-ed at Saturn Girl’s answer to Cos: “I’d answer you, but my brain is busy melting.”

So, we’ll apparently have a wedding in issue no. 96. I’ll have to wait until it happens but, for now, I don’t really care about that impulsive idea. Can’t wait to see them having to explain to the rest of the gang, the ones still in the 30th Century, why they couldn’t wait to be back home and have everyone together to celebrate their union. That’ll be fun!

This was never my favorite configuration of the Metal Men. I don't particularly like that they're not robots. I miss Gold, if only because the team's color scheme seems out of whack. And Doc Magnus as Veridium is deathly boring - his discomfort at Tina's attentions turned into soporific marital bliss, and it's not like he's incarnating a real metal - so here's hoping this actually changes his status quo (at least in the short run, 52 threw it all out eventually). Regardless, this reads like a Metal Men story in which crashes the Legion. It's told from their perspective. And as such, feels like another issue of LSH that's playing for time until something big can happen in #100.
At least, the final reveal, which appears to say Doc Magnus is better motivated by scientific curiosity than love (after all, wasn't the whole point of making him a Metal Man that he could have a relationship with Platinum?), means this wasn't just another Gilligan's Island episode. Brainiac 5's assault on the Metal Men compound is leading us somewhere. Also a big fan of the Legion having a Code B, but only because it's funny. As a B5 fan, the Reboot has done a lot of character assassination on his account, and every time he learns his lessons, everyone's shocked, and then it starts all over again. Can't he learn it for good?
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1997/16.
  • Mark Farmer is the inker of the issue, despite Rob Boyd getting the cover credit.
  • Since their 1993 mini-series, the Metal Man have appeared but rarely, so their new status quo established in that series, hasn't changed. Essentially, it was revealed that they were real people whose minds we input into robot bodies via their responsometers, Gold was killed, but replaced by Doc Magnus himself, having been turned into the Metal Man Veridium. After Infinity Crisis, these events would be retconned away as Doc's delusion (as of 52 #22).


  1. LOVE the Alan Davis cover, and I've always been a fan of the Metal Men, except the recent attempts to "update" their look.

  2. I do love the idea of Brainiac 5 as the "monster" in a horror movie. And Ferro reading from Brainy's script was kind of genius. But beyond that ... well, the ending is a bit contrived (I can buy Tinya and Jo's dialogue, but why would Veridium and Platinum actually talk about it mid-combat like that?), and, as you noted, it's basically filler. Not much in the way of character development, and the only thing that really changes is Brainy gets another component for his computer.