Thursday, January 25, 2018

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #98

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #98 (November 1997)
title: "C.O.M.P.U.T.O. the Conqueror"
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
cover: Alan Davis and Mark Farmer
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

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

Koko, Metal Men (Doc Magnus, Iron, Platinum), Phase, Shvaughn Erin, Taptree, Tiffany Cross


During the event dubbed Genesis, Spark's powers were transformed; she can now make things lighter, but can no longer project electrical blasts. L.E.G.I.O.N.'s Phase has come to Earth looking for her touchstone, currently in possession of psychic Tiffany Cross, and has been absorbed by it. Meanwhile, Brainiac 5 has acquired Mother Box which he hopes to plug into Doc Magnus' responsometer to create a computer smart enough to get the Legion home to the 30th Century...

Brainiac 5 has created the Cybercerebral Overlapping Multi-Processor Universal Transceiver-Operator, or C.O.M.P.U.T.O., out of Doc Magnus' digitized mind and a Mother Box (with some help from the latter, clearly, as the machine participates in its own creation). The new personality is like that of a tempestuous child. It is nevertheless brilliant and within seconds, opens a time portal over Metropolis.
Meanwhile, Ultra Boy and Apparition have been called off their honeymoon to address Tiffany Cross' problem, namely that a phantom girl who looks a lot like Tinya has entered her home seeking the touchstone and been absorbed into it. When Apparition shows up, the other touchstone merges with her own, and she is likewise taken to the dimension contained within. There she meets Phase, and is surprised to find a short-haired doppelganger who says everything she does simultaneously and also answers to the name Tinya Wazzo.
The Metal Men's Platinum and Iron are keen on having Doc back now that the solution has been found - as agreed - but C.O.M.P.U.T.O. doesn't want to be taken off-line. It sends a debilitating pulse through the Legion flight rings and computers, and builds itself a body. It also deactivates the Metal Men and proceeds to fight the Legionnaires who weren't put out of commission. Brainy wants to reason with it, but Saturn Girl puts him to sleep. Then one of Triad's bodies is taken over by the machine...
Phase is stuck within the touchstone and Tinya comes to investigate, gets sucked into it too and meets… herself, I guess. Not sure yet exactly what to think about the double Tinya Wazzo stuff. Is Phase her great-great-great-grandmother? A Tinya from another dimension? The two touchstones merged so it makes me believe they might be the same. Not sure it would’ve reacted the same way from two different individuals only linked by blood through centuries. We might get closer to a tangible Tinya with all that’s happening to her right now. Got to say, I LOVE seeing Jo in a Hawaiian shirt and shorts! Let’s hope the outfit doesn’t get too badly worn out following the crash. (Yes of course, I worry about both occupants as well... not just the outfit.)
WHAT? That angry looking AI-thing turned evil? Who would’ve thought? I mean come on... C.O.M.P.U.T.O. turned against the team and the Metal Men to prevent them from terminating him. I wonder if Brainiac really could’ve reasoned with it. I mean, there is no way he didn’t see this coming, right? I know he hasn’t given them many reasons to trust him, but if they would’ve listened, maybe… just maybe... they wouldn’t be in this mess. Now not only is C.O.M.P.U.T.O. on a rampage, he’s also on the loose using one of Triad’s personalities to do so. And with a time portal open just like that without warning, monitoring or caution, there’s no telling how bad this will all get. Imagine the panic in both cities right now...
I wonder if Gates’ really out of just incapacitated due to the noise. Will he be the one to save the gang, the 20th AND the 30th Century from this menace? I so totally lol-ed at his 20th-Century souvenirs and I know Siskoid must’ve loved the Mothra poster!
Mothra... she's hot.

Things are really coming to a head... First is C.O.M.P.U.T.O., the birth of a long-standing and memorable Legion foe of old, reimagined for the Reboot. Those who know their Legion history should in fact be very scared of what might happen to Triad's possessed self, especially since this continuity's Luornu has three separate personalities, and this one is the central, balancing mind. To lose her could be devastating to the whole in a way that wasn't really explored much in the previous continuity. C.O.M.P.U.T.O.'s robot body is dinky, but of course, so was the original. And Metal Men fans should also worry that one of its central members is trapped in there too.

As for Phase and her relationship to Tinya, we're about to get a revelation or a retcon. Obviously, this needed to be addressed before the Legion left for home because it is a long-standing continuity problem. In the previous continuity, Phantom Girl was apparently killed, but actually sent back in time by Glorith to the 20th Century as an amnesiac who soon joined L.E.G.I.O.N. as "Phase". Then, Zero Hour happened and the Legion was rebooted, BUT it didn't seem to affect Phase. I won't say any more since the truth will soon be revealed. I'll discuss it then.
This doesn't just work as a piece of continuity, of course. C.O.M.P.U.T.O. is a viable, scary villain without it, and it's amusing that Brainy thinks he's pretty cool. They kind of have the same personality, after all. Despite the actual parents being Mother Box and Doc Magnus, the apple didn't fall too far off the Coluan tree. The road home is now clear... IF the Legion can survive long enough to follow it to destination.

Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1997/22.
  • In the original continuity, Brainiac 5's creation C.O.M.P.U.T.O. was simply Computo, and as a villain became famous for killing one of Triplicate Girl's bodies. His hostile takeover of Triad here is a call back to those events.
  • The costume Ferro offers to make Ayla, with a cloud or a feather, references the costumes she wore as Light Lass in the previous continuity.
  • Apparition had previously visited the dimension inside the touchstone in Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #87.
  • Among Gates' souvenirs, we find a Mothra poster, a Che Guevara t-shirt and a Clash CD.

First appearance of the Reboot's answer to Computo.

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