Thursday, December 28, 2017

Reboot: Legionnaires #53

Legionnaires #53 (October 1997)
title: "Fitting In"
writers: Roger Stern and Tom McCraw
penciller: Jeffrey and Philip Moy
inker: W.C. Carani
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Frank Berrios
editor: KC Carlson
adult legionnaire: Carmela Merlo
cover: Jeffrey Moy
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Chameleon, Element Lad, Invisible Kid, Kid Quantum I (statue), Kinetix, Leviathan (statue), Live Wire, M'Onel, Monstress, Sensor, Star Boy, Umbra, Violet, XS

Athramites, Lev Magz, Lori Morning (Dial H: Fireball, Slipstream), Magno, Magno's parents, Marla Latham, Omar Magz, Pol Krinn, Tenzil Kem, Trin Magz; Braalians, Braalian doctors, Dock 14 guards, Science Police

Sklarian Raiders

The Legion returns to Earth after its battle with Mordru. Violet is back with more versatile growth powers, Monstress has joined the Legion, and a now-powerless Magno has left it to consult Braalian doctors...

Monstress gets a tour of Legion HQ, first walking in on Sensor shedding her skin, then meeting Violet in the Hall of Heroes. Everywhere she goes, her positive attitude cheers the Legionnaires up.
Meanwhile, Lori Morning is revealed to have the H Dial in her possession, and is using it to play Legionnaire around Metropolis. As "Fireball", she helps a scrap barge melt metal for recycling and comes upon Sklarians, desperate now they've lost their homeworld to Mordru, raiding the docks. They capture her. When she awakens, she dials into the super-fast "Slipstream", defeats them, and delivers them to the Science Police.
On Braal, Magno returns home a broken young man. Pol Krinn, brother to Cosmic Boy, helps him get to his parents' apartment, which is difficult to reach without magnetic powers. Over the next few days, Magno is tested in every conceivable way by doctors and scientists, but none can say just why he lost his powers, nor if he can ever recover them.
I’m surprised to see Monstress getting along this quickly with the rest of the team. I’m just wondering how much time it will take for everyone to find her too intrusive. It also annoys me how everything she thinks about seems to be everyone’s and her own looks. It feels so superficial… Plus, I hate the fact that they put such a personality on an overweight female superhero. It feels like a faux pas from the creators. I mean come on. You could’ve given her ANY personality trait… it had to be vanity and shallowness. I guess we’ll have to wait and see how she’ll fare with the group on the next mission before judging her usefulness.
Lori can now change her appearance and gain new super powers at will. I guess she really was the woman Chuck saw in Legionnaire #51. I like the way the tool works and would love to get my hand on one of them myself. I still have a bad feeling about this. Knowing Lori’s record, I’m sure this won’t end well.
One line that really got me in Magno’s storyline is when he explains how losing this part of his identity makes him feel like he’s been handicapped. Magnetic power is such a huge part of his homeworld's way of living, that he now has a tough time even getting to his own home. I feel really bad for the kid. I don’t think there is any use for two Braalians in the Legion, but it’s a harsh way for him to give Cosmic Boy his place back. In my opinion, his energy and positivity were much needed within the team and I already miss his cheery self. Here’s hoping he’ll find a way to get his powers back, or find a new purpose in life.
I think the point of Monstress is to have a girly personality, but an atypical body type. It may or may not grow on you, but it seems to work for the Legionnaires. She's friendly to everyone and very enthusiastic. If there's a problem, it's that her thought bubbles are very flighty indeed. Does she take the Legion seriously enough? Was Mordru not enough of a test?
Lori with the Dial... Well, readers of my blog will know that I'm a huge Dial H for Hero fan, with a weekly column on the franchise. Lori's always wanted to be a superhero, and this is another of her shortcuts. Quick eval: Fireball's cool (especially in a Legion with no Sun Boy), Slipstream's just okay (I don't like the costume much). Not that dialed identities tend to return. The more important bit, perhaps, is that the Sklarians are now homeless and that their pirate fleets have survived and are going to be a problem for the galaxy. The next story also mentions it in conversation.
As for Magno, the last chapter gives him more depth than any story before, which seems a case of too little, too late. Why must I now care about this Cosmic Boy wannabe, just as he's sent out of the series. But touchingly done. One trick they missed - and I realize it's because each chapter has a different narrative format - is to keep using the "Legion by-laws" captions throughout. They could have told us Legionnaires need natural powers, not gadgets, in the Lori section as ironic statement, and ended the issue on a by-law that covers Magno's loss of powers, reserve status, something. That might have achieved even more poignancy.
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1997/19.
  • Monstress and Kinetix both slightly alter their costumes.
  • The issue publishes several "Legion by-laws", evoking the previous continuity's Legion Constitution. These are: "Membership: New Legionnaires shall be voted in by a majority of the current team after reasoned and thorough debate." "Quarters: Every Legionnaires will be assigned room(s) accommodating their individual taste and needs." And "Monitor Duty: All Legionnaires shall familiarize themselves with basic communications systems and be prepared to stand monitor duty..."
  • Lori Morning presumably took possession of the H Dial in Legion of Super-Heroes #91, when it seemed to disappear from the Space Museum. The Dial was used by Robby Reed from House of Mystery #156 to #173.
  • Pol Krinn, Rokk's brother, makes an appearance. In the previous continuity, he joined the Legion as Magnetic Kid.
  • Magno's journal entry is #52, a number that's become ubiquitous at DC Comics, but wasn't yet in 1997.

1 comment:

  1. While I enjoyed most of the "Archie Legion" run on its own merits, I personally felt like Lori was the Scrappy Doo (unnecessary, annoying, too young for the team, etc...) of the Legion. And while I also love the Dial H concept in our time period, I felt that her incarnations were a waste of potential future member ideas for the 31st century.