Thursday, July 12, 2018

Reboot: Legionnaires #62

Legionnaires #62 (July 1998)
title: "Balance of Power"
writers: Roger Stern and Tom McCraw
penciller: Jeffrey Moy
inkers: W.C. Carani
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Frank Berrios
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Jeffrey Moy and W.C. Carani
adult legionnaire: Carmela Merlo
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Brainiac 5.1, Chameleon, Gates, Invisible Kid, Kinetix, M'Onel, Sensor, Spark, Triad, Umbra, Violet, XS

Andromeda, Chuck Taine, Dr. Gym'll, King Chalrz Wynzorr, Lori Morning (plus flashback to Ink identity), Magno, Proty, R.J. Brande, Willum Wynzorr, Durlans, Orandans and their servitors, Sisters of the Eternal Cosmos

Amilia Crugg, Brain Globes of Rambat, Dark Circle, Evolvo (flashback), Gil'dan (Ar'by), Leland McCauley

Recently, many worlds have left the United Planets and joined the Affiliated Planets, in part because of xenophobic hysteria about the Durlans, but mostly because the Dark Circle has been manipulating events from behind the scenes. And a small group of Legionnaires have returned from the Fires of Creation changed... for the better?

Dr. Gym'll examines and tests the returned Legionnaires and finds some of the new personalities exasperating, though their powers seem unaffected. M'Onel seems unchanged; Umbra is maybe a little more playful; Brainiac 5.1 is a complete opposite, nice and patient to a fault; Gates seems in awe of him; and Kinetix spaces out thinking of the anomaly. (Andromeda left before she could be examined, and rejoined the Sisters of the Eternal Cosmos, and they have plans for her to save the universe from a wave of xenophobia.)
XS confronts Lori about being all the one-off heroines the Legion has met of late, and she cops to it, though she pretends it's caused by chronal energy and hides the H-Dial. XS will keep her secret for now. Elsewhere, Leland McCauley meets the Affiliated Planets Council and sells them on his Omniscanner which allows travel through space via the Fires of Creation. He does not know the Council is actually the Dark Circle, working behind the scenes to disrupt the United Planets.
On Durla, Chameleon walks through ancient cave to atone for his corruption during his time with the Legion. But he's interrupted by fellow Durlans who warn him of a threat - the Living Weapons have been stolen and the Holy Council is mishandling the situation by not calling on him. Meanwhile on Orando, Sensor is appalled by her father working minors to death to get ore out to the Affiliated Planets. She convinces her brother to represent the worker class and stage a strike while she renounces her duties to the throne and leaves to tackle the bigger picture, the scapegoating of Durla.
Back on Earth, Violet spies on (and records) a conversation between the Gil'Dan represented of the UP, actually a spy for the Dark Circle, and one of the Brain Globes responsible for the last assassination attempt on R.J. Brande's life. They notice her, but she escapes with Invisible Kid's help. Seems like the Espionage Squad is starting to gather the right evidence. Triad and Spark soon after leave for Winath, which has also joined the Affiliated Planets...
I don’t know what to think of the new personalities developed by Umbra, Brainiac, Gates and Kinetix. Are they here to stay? I don’t mind the rest all that much since all three were pretty much always negative and almost insulting in their interactions with the team, but Kinetix’s new attitude is very unsettling. I’m a big fan of her energy and positivity so this taciturn version of the psychokinetic heroine doesn’t work for me.
Both Chameleon and Sensor went back home to fix the problems they left behind when they joined the Legion. I’m glad to see that it wasn’t all for show in order to get away and work with the Espionage Squad. They were both ready to face their obligations and that’s exactly what they are doing. The fact that some of their kind are holding the same opinion the Legionnaires are is a very good sign and seems to indicate that they will see a brighter future for both their races. This plot line is focused on the risks associated with isolating yourself from the rest of the worlds, and how xenophobia can destroy you from the inside out, and it really gets to me as it is STILL anchored in current events.
Now we know who’s the spy from inside the U.P.; that conversation between both blob thingies was informative, but I’m still confused as to what race is actually a Gil’dan (or Gil’dishpan) between the two. It seems to me it’s the brain looking one when I look at the dialogue. Bu then I google it and it’s the C-shaped leech looking one that appears. I guess it’s a detail, but it makes it hard to understand the dynamic between the two characters. Violet and Invisible Kid rocked that mission and I can’t wait to see the rest of the Squad in action!
I can at least clear that up, SG. In the previous continuity, the worm things were known as the Gil'dishpan, which I guess the current writers/editors think is silly ("gill" cuz they swim, "dish pan" for the joke), so in the Reboot, they switched it to the punless "Gil'dan". The Brain Globes are a much older enemy (but essentially a one-off until the Reboot) that originally came from the planet Rambat, no relation. So what the writers are doing here is making the two races related (because they are both housed in floating globes), and paying tribute to the old name as if it were an insult, which I suppose is interesting because the kind of smear campaign one Gil'dan race perpetrated on the other is exactly what the Dark Circle is doing to the Durlans. Nice to see Violet at the center of what little action this set-up issue provides in any case.
What I'm less clear about is the changed personalities of the Legionnaires. Brainy and Kinetix have a physical change that goes along with it, so it's pretty obvious there, but Andromeda seems the same despite the physical change, and I guess Gates fawning over Brainy is a change for him. But Umbra is still pretty mean, so for all of Gym'll's frustrations, I'm not sure it's clear enough that something's changed. Too many pages are devoted to this subplot without any real answers, even implicit ones.
In any case, what's really interesting here is the political/spy thriller element. I love Sensor as the compassionate monarch, essentially playing Gates' part (she's been listening to his socialist talk for sure). I did think they'd pulled an interesting switcheroo though, when Cham is seen turning into Sensor. What he's doing is going through all the "corrupt forms" as part of the atonement ritual, but given the two heroes' powers, it seemed like they could have switched places to take on whatever was happening on their respective worlds without fear of emotional entanglements. The way it's playing out is fine too. And of course, insert my usual compliments about the art here; Moy and Carani are just knocking this stuff out of the park. Legionnaires is always the better looking book.
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1998/13.
  • The issue includes a Dark Circle Rising banner and a circle in the background, as does every issue in this story arc.
  • At this point, Dark Circle members include representatives of the Khunds, Dominators, Sklarians, Tyrazz, Gil'Dan, and Brain Globes of Rambat.
  • In previous continuity, the Gil'dan used to be known as the Gil'dishpan. In this continuity, the Gil'dishpan were an insulting name given a sub-race from the same planet, creatures known in the previous continuity as the (obviously unrelated) Brain Globes of Rambat.
  • As the Orandan Royal Family's names (Wynzorr, Willum, Charlz) are based on the United Kingdom's in our own time (Windsor, William, Charles), the dead queen's monument must therefore be a loving tribute to Princess Diana.

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