Thursday, December 14, 2017

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #96

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #96 (September 1997)
title: "'Til Death"
writers: Tom Peyer and Tom McCraw
penciller: Lee Moder

inker: Rob Boyd
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Frank Berrios
editor: KC Carlson (always the bridesmaid)
cover: Alan Davis
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Apparition, Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Ferro, Gates, Live Wire (flashback/mind construct), Saturn Girl, Spark, Triad, Ultra Boy

Dr. Welles, Inferno, Kitty Faulkner, Koko, Metal Men (Iron, Platinum, Veridium), Phase, Shvaughn Erin, Taptree, Tiffany Cross, the de-aged hospital patients (including a minister)

In flashback: Dr. Psycho, Lightning Lord

Part of the Legion has been trapped in the late 20th Century. Brainiac 5 has recently gotten the help of Doc "Veridium" Magnus of the Metal Men to build a computer powerful enough to send them home. Not too long ago, Dr. Psycho put Cosmic Boy in a coma and unleashed Saturn Girl's full potential. She used it to bring Cos, with whom she was involved, out of that coma. While Apparition and Ultra Boy are at a crossroads in their relationship, Rokk and Imra have decided to get married...

Spark awakens Saturn Girl with an intense dream about her brother Garth on the eve of the wedding, a dream that might indeed "spark" what is about to happen. The next morning, Inferno leaves the Legion, frustrated that they have neither gotten home nor truly engaged with their new home century. And though Ultra Boy professes his undying love for Apparition, the wedding only makes her feel more isolated, as she believes Jo will eventually get tired of loving a ghost.
Shvaughn is on monitor duty when she notices something strange. Imra and Rokk have a talk before the wedding, but once Imra leaves the room, Rokk just stands there as if in a trance.
Meanwhile, Phase of the L.E.G.I.O.N. is traveling to Earth to find her lost touchstone, now in the possession of psychic Tiffany Cross, who is a guest at the wedding. When Tinya puts her hand on it, she temporarily becomes solid, while Phase, light-years away, becomes intangible. Outside the hall, the Shvaughn confronts Imra about what looks like her mind control of Rokk, but she won't listen. The wedding itself goes pear-shaped when Rokk seems to transform into Garth in front of everyone. He and Spark escape the Sanctuary, but Imra eventually catches up to them mentally and stops them.
She admits that she subconsciously animated Rokk, but that at the last instant, her love for Garth created the projection they all witnessed. And once they properly bring Rokk out of his coma, she admits it to him. No wedding, then, he instead promises to do everything to reunite Imra and Garth in the future. But there is still a Legion wedding, a slightly more private one, as Jo and Tinya tie the knot.
I KNEW IT!!! I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT!!!!!!!!!!! *Celebratory dance*

Ahem... Ok now that I got that off my chest, I must admit that I feel terribly bad for Imra. I know she isn’t the victim in this story, far from it, but I know a little too much about finding solace by playing pretense with your mind not to feel sorry for her. She really hit an all time low when Dr. Psycho played with her head and now she needs to accept she’s vulnerable and lost. The fact she was ready and able to admit everything to Rokk herself is an important first step. Regarding Rokk, it was very classy of him to react this way after everything Imra put him through. Let’s get to work once and for all, no more distractions please! Is it too much to ask? Probably...
I must say that I’m glad I was still able to attend someone’s wedding after all. Not a fan of going through the trouble of dressing up for nothing. Absolutely thrilled that it was for Jo and Tinya’s on top of it! Hopefully this will calm her insecurities, that Jo really does feel the way he explained earlier. The touchstone hint that was given to us in this issue gives me hope for a full recovery in the near future. It’s definitely worth looking into it to find a way to completely bring her back, and sooner rather than later.

You make an interesting point. That can be seen as a metaphor for unrequited love between friends, and creating a (seemingly) harmless emotional fantasy. The next issue blurb was practically screaming that there was going to be a wedding (not a hoax! not an imaginary story! the cover should have sold it too), and the last-minute wedding of Jo and Tinya (long overdue from a Legion history standpoint), fulfills the promise. They really did make us believe in Rokk-Imra though. Well played, even if Jo and Tinya almost don't have enough of an arc to justify it. She just protests too much. There should be a point where she could be convinced of her intentions. One last note on the wedding: It's very poorly attended. I know it was organized rather quickly, but did the Legion not make more friends than this? The de-aged seniors, Tiffany Cross, and I had to flip through previous issues to figure out the witnesses were likely Welles and Kitty Faulkner. At the very least, Bart Allen and Max Mercury should have been invited.
The one thing you didn't mention is Inferno leaving the team. And just after going to the trouble of giving her a new uniform? Jaded comics readers will realize she's bound for something else. The moment has been prepared for, as they say. So I can't help but see this issue in terms of plot mechanics. We're obviously heading for a return to the 30th Century soon, and it really feels like the reunited Legion will be a fresh start. Rokk-Imra romance? DONE. Inferno as member? DONE. Apparition cured of ghostliness? COMING SOON. I think the first of these makes things too easy for the Legion to come
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1997/18.
  • Inferno leaves the Legion in this issue (although she claims she never was a Legionnaire) so she can go star in her own mini-series.
  • Spark wears an Electric Superman t-shirt in bed. Rokk has a Mystery Science Theater 3000 t-shirt.
  • Tiffany Cross, the psychic who wears a Bgtzlian stone was first seen in Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #87.
  • L.E.G.I.O.N.'s Phase is accompanied by Taptree, a plant-like operative introduced in Showcase '96 #12, a Legion story.
  • The witnesses at the wedding appear to be Dr. Welles (Cosmic Boy's attending physician), and Kitty Faulkner (from S.T.A.R. Labs), though they are not named. 
  • Tinya Wazzo and Jo Nah get married. In the previous continuity, Tinya was apparently killed in a shuttle accident (actually sent back in time) after their engagement, on her way to buy a wedding dress.

Ultra Boy and Apparition get married. Despite Jo and Tinya's long involvement in the previous continuity, and their notoriety as a Legion power couple, this is the first time they've tied the knot.

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