Thursday, August 16, 2018

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #108

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #108 (September 1998)
title: "The End"
writers: Tom Peyer and Tom McCraw
penciller: Jason Armstrong

inker: Ron Boyd
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Frank Berrios
editor: Mike McAvennie
cover: Alan Davis and Mark Farmer
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Apparition, Brainiac 5.1, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Element Lad, Ferro, Gates, Invisible Kid, Karate Kid, Kid Quantum II, Kinetix, Live Wire, M'Onel, Monstress, Saturn Girl, Sensor, Spark, Star Boy, Triad, Ultra Boy, Umbra, Violet, XS

Andromeda, Koko, R.J. Brande, Weeden; Coluans, Durlans, Science Police

Brainiac 4, Composite Man (flashback and corpse), Dark Circle, Dominators, Evolvo (flashback), Gil'Dan (Brain Globes of Rambat, flashback and mention), Khunds, Leland McCauley (flashback), Luck Lords (flashback), Sclarian Raiders, Time Trapper, Tyrazzians

The Dark Circle has manipulated its Affiliated Planets into attacking Durla, but the overuse of the Fires of Creation during the attack breaks time itself. Thanks to the skills learned by the Legion in their altercations with the Time Trapper, they manage to use to the temporal distortion to stop the invasion, then close the anomaly, setting time forward again...

As the Legion celebrates its victory and grieves for the Composite Man who gave his life to set the universe right, Cosmic Boy is summoned by the Time Trapper who seems to feel it needs his gratitude. Cos offers nothing of the kind, and an angry Trapper sends him back, promising it'll get its revenge.
At Dark Circle headquarters, the councilors blame their leader for this defeat, and get fried for their insolence. The Science Police soon find their dead bodies and detect a "shipsuit" flying away, destination unknown. Legionnaires intercept it but find it empty.

Meanwhile, Brainiac 5.1 has returned to Colu after getting a message from the SleepNet, which his upgrade allows him access to remotely. There he meets the mother who had abandoned him at birth. Unfortunately, she tries to kill him, explaining that she's longed to feel something, anything, since she was born. His birth did nothing for her. The various identities she took - a gambler, a hero, a beggar - likewise did nothing, until as the leader of the Dark Circle, she was finally roused by the attack on Durla and subsequent murder of his cohorts. She even thinks of having more children just so she can kill them. Thankfully for Brainiac 5.1, Gates and the Ranzz twins show up to stop her, but the experience leaves Brainy feeling cold and angry, a shade of his pre-upgrade self.
Back on Earth, President R.J. Brande names Saturn Girl, Sensor and Chameleon special ambassadors of the United Planets, and though Orando has rejoined the U.P., he wonders if any others will be embraced after their betrayal. The Legionnaires are more confident they can.
First of all, I am SOOOOOOOO mad at the artist for spoiling the big reveal on the cover page. COME ON!!! Considering the fact Brainiac 5.1 saw his mom in the SleepNet, it was more than obvious she was the blonde woman on the cover. What a waste of a twist. I’m sorry but those kinds of stupid decisions really piss me off! Do they think their readers are too stupid to see what’s clearly in front of them? Oh boy, am I triggered right now!

ANYWAY... It was pretty clear from his origin story that Brainy’s mom had some serious issues. Now that I’ve learn more about her story, it’s clear it was an understatement. While I sympathize with the woman, being unable to feel anything is quite the handicap in our world and, I assume, theirs as well. After all he’s been through, I fear for Brainy’s personality. Clearly the way he interacted with Gates proves things aren’t quite as we've gotten used to. As he reverted to his previous condescending self? Or does the expression on his face in the last panel, added to the dialogue, indicate that he seeks revenge on his mother? Or could it be that when she attacked him, she transferred some of her numbness to him? I was officially used to a friendlier Brainy and I hate the idea of having him revert to his old ways.
Quickly, I’d like to mention the reflection effects on Ferro’s mask on page 14. That’s a very nice touch that helps put everyone in frame without it being overcrowded. Kudos!
That's why I never look at the covers too closely. At a glance, a purple-robed figure is unmasked, but couldn't that be the Trapper? At a glance. Once you look closely, you see that's a metal gauntlet, not bandages, and the mask has the Dark Circle emblem on it. The Dark Circle is dead, but Brainiac 4 is sure to return, a real psycho (though I'm intrigued by her untold adventures as 12th Woman). She's almost too much, isn't she? You know, for all his froideur, Brainy really is the most well-adjusted, most friendly, positive Brainiac in the bloodline. Even with his pre-upgrade attitude. For my part, I think Gates is quick to judge. Brainy is traumatized and lashing out, like a normal person. I don't think he's "reverted" necessarily. He's perhaps more balanced now, neither his old self nor somehow "Anomaly-happy", which actually bodes well for other zapped Legionnaires like Kinetix.
Cosmic Boy angering the Trapper isn't his smartest move, and he's got the wherewithal to know it, but it's interesting that in the previous continuity, he himself became the Trapper. They hint at that link here, but of course, nothing about the Trapper is so simple. Speaking of not so simple, I do like that the Affiliated Planets aren't immediately disbanded and, in the case of former U.P. members, reintegrated into the United Planets. A lot of them attacked Durla, and that has to carry consequences. Perhaps the reverence the Durlans show the Legionnaires will allow them to heal the rift. We'll see in the next issue covered, the "Aftermath", but Brande does well to appoint Legionnaires to a diplomatic position. (I was less enamored with his Khund-killing video game earlier in the issue; I don't think he should be portrayed as either wasting time on games, even if we accept the pressure-relieving violence of it.)
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1998/18.
  • The issue includes a Dark Circle Rising banner and a circle in the background, as does every issue in this story arc.
  • The Dark Circle leader is revealed to be Brainiac 5's mother, AKA Brainiac 4. All the other members are killed.
  • Saturn Girl, Sensor and Chameleon are officially made Special Ambassadors of the United Planets, by President R.J. Brande.
  • Coluans apparently use the interjection "Great Metron!", a reference to the New God. Is it possible they "worship" him as a god of information, in some sense?

1 comment:

  1. Most of these stories have faded from my memory, but it always stuck with me about Brainiac's mother being the 4 in the line as opposed to Kajz Dox. It is a shame she was never given a proper name.