Thursday, January 4, 2018

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #97

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #97 (October 1997)
title: "Dwarfing the Infinite"
writers: Tom Peyer and Tom McCraw
penciller: Lee Moder

inker: Rob Boyd
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Frank Berrios (Para-Demon)
editor: KC Carlson (Highfather)
cover: Alan Davis
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

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

Koko, Metron, Phase, Shvaughn Erin, Taptree, Tiffany Cross; cameos for Atom II, Flash III, Martian Manhunter, Mary Marvel, Prysm, Steel II

Mantis, Parademons

Before we go any further...
Genesis is not the best-remembered DC Comics crossover event. In fact, it's very near the bottom of the totem pole. So Siskoid is not forcing Shotgun to read the entire crossover series, not for what amounts to one important page in the whole thing. He didn't even force himself to read it again. The synopsis should cover the essentials, gleaned from a quick flip-through.

Ultra Boy and Apparition have just gotten married. In the wider DC Universe, there's something called the Godwave, see? And when it went out from the Source Wall the first time, it created the Gods. On its return trip, it created the metas. But as it nears its origin point, it threatens to alter or nullify the powers it created, and possibly erase existence itself. Darkseid wants to seize the Godwave and control its power, so he stages an invasion of Earth to prevent those pesky superheroes from stopping him.

In Genesis #1-3, some of the Legionnaires' powers go haywire. Ultra Boy can use all his powers at once, and Spark's electrical generation turns into the ability to make things float in the air. They head to the Source Wall with the other heroes of Earth, but their foray into the Wall ends in failure.
Some of the action against Parademons is glimpsed in Legion of Super-Heroes #97 before the Legionnaires regroup on an Earth-like asteroid. The New God of knowledge, Metron, appears to them, and wants the information Saturn Girl might have telepathically collected while in the Source. Brainiac 5 makes a deal with him that if they let him access those thoughts, he'll let them have a Mother Box, which he believes could help get them home. Metron is not happy with Imra's limited perception, however, and it looks like he won't honor the agreement.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Legion has to deal with an attack by Mantis, one of Darkseid's chief minions. He's powerful, but lets slip that he makes use of a "pod", which is guarded by Parademons. Gates and Ultra Boy head for the pod on Gates' intuition. When Spark uses her new powers to threaten Mantis with a giant piece of dirt, he returns to his pod to recharge so he can better deal with it. He finds Ultra Boy inside the pod, all charged up in his place, and gets knocked out for good. Jo then releases the excess energy at the Parademons, defeating them as well. In the end, the promised Mother Box appears in Brainy's hands.
Back on Earth, Phase visits Tiffany Cross and tries to take her Bgtzlian touchstone, but the stone seems to absorb her instead! Then in Genesis #4, Saturn Girl is among the telepaths used to anchor the Source and keep reality stable.
So, we learned from Genesis that both Jo and Ayla were affected by something – The Source, The Godwave, Darkseid himself or whatever... Yet when we get to LSH 97, Ayla is immediately experiencing the changes in her powers while no mention is made on Jo’s condition. Is it what he was referring to as being the weirdest idea he had to swallow? It can’t be that. Personally, I think Gates being willing to “peck” him is so much weirder. Speaking of Gates, I’m actually starting to enjoy him a lot. He’s shown more and more trust in his team and I’m glad they’re giving him a chance to shine through his knowledge in this issue.
Another glimpse at Phase and that tree thing was given to us and this time, her plans of stealing a touchstone completely backfire. How long before this is brought up to our heroes’ attention. I mean, first why would they show us these hints without a good reason. *Cough* Apparition’s tangibility problems *cough*. I guess we’ll have to find out soon how these two can help Tinya since Brainy supposedly has everything he needs to bring the group back to the 30th Century. Then again, wouldn’t be the first time we were led to believe they were leaving the 20th Century behind...
True that! Well, yes, nice moments for Gates, both in the humorous and heroic categories. I think they're finally finding a way to make him acerbic, but not unlikable. The peck jokes are cute, but I also enjoy how the story starts on a kiss, as if we were still at the wedding, but then pulls out to show chaos at the Source Wall. Similarly, there's some fun to be had with Mantis and his ridiculous weakness (gotta get back to the pod!). And the way Metron's obsession is used to advance the time travel plot is fairly clever.
But that Genesis stuff... man! No one cared at the time, or else we were all kind of peeved DC would issue a statement like "everyone actually has the same origin story!". What this issue does not do is tell us whether the changes in powers are permanent or not. Yes for Spark, and no for Ultra Boy? Obviously, the Light Lass stuff is a reference to past continuity, but no one actually thought she was better as Light Lass so... why do that to her again? As for Jo, it's just not Ultra Boy if he doesn't have to switch powers. It turns him into Mon-El, basically. Sorry, M'Onel. That spelling is never going to not feel awkward. So while this is a fine little side-battle, it doesn't really answer the important questions (how long? why them and not others?), nor does Genesis do much with the Legion anyway (puts Saturn Girl in a crowd scene, basically). I think I'm ready to move on too.
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1997/20.
  • The issue has the Genesis banner. The action takes place (mostly) between Genesis #3 and 4.
  • Spark's gravity nullification powers are a throwback to her becoming Light Lass in the previous continuity; Triad even suggests the code name, among others.


  1. Hmph. I always preferred Ayla as Light Lass! It's all about how you first encounter a hero (for example: I read a comment somewhere about how ridiculous Imra's pink bikini costume was, but for me that was her 'true' costume). Though to be fair, I also loved the return of LL's lightning powers during the war with the LSV. :D

  2. I remember reading the Genesis miniseries and realizing that basically nothing happened each issue. They could literally have encapsulated the entire story in a single one-shot and it might even have been interesting.

    Mantis really does have a Kirby feel to him, so kudos to the creative team on the deep cut or the excellent homage (I'm not sure which!)

  3. You say that as if Mantis wasn't a Kirby creation. He was!