Thursday, August 23, 2018

Reboot: Legionnaires #65

Legionnaires #65 (October 1998)
title: "Days of Reckoning!"
writers: Roger Stern and Tom McCraw
pencillers: 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:  
Apparition, Brainiac 5.1, Chameleon, Element Lad, Ferro, Gates, Invisible Kid, Karate Kid, Kid Quantum II, M'Onel, Monstress, Saturn Girl, Sensor, Spark, Star Boy, Triad, Umbra, Violet, XS

Andromeda, Chuck Taine, Condo Arlik, Dr. Ryk'rr (unseen), King Charlz, Koko, Leejah (Composite Girl), Lori Morning, Magno, Prefect Lamar, R.J. Brande, Tenzil Kem; Durlans, Metropolis citizens, Orandan servitors, Science Police, Winathians

Amilia Crugg, Brainiac 4 (flashback), Dark Circle (flashback), Khunds, Leland McCauley, Zakk Arn

The Dark Circle has fallen, their attempt to use the Affiliated Planets to invade Durla has failed, its council members killed by their leader (and Brainiac 5's mother), Brainiac 4. She was captured after attempting to kill her own son, something that has left him in emotional disarray.

Thanks to the evidence recovered by Triad, and the authority granted by the Affiliated Planets (at least in this matter), the Legionnaires arrest the fleeing co-president of Winath for embezzlement, then head for Durla to oversee speeches by U.P. President R.J. Brande and the installation of Durla's new leader, Leejah, the now powerless composite formerly known as Composite Girl. Also attending is Sensor's father King Charlz, who announces Orando will rejoin the United Planets. Inspired, Sister Andromeda will stay on Durla willingly on behalf of her order.
In the wake of the Dark Circle's machinations, the known universe's political map is redrawn. The Affiliated Planets will continue on, separate but not necessarily opposed to the U.P. Gil'd has left the A.P. and petitioned the U.P. for membership, as has Khundia, though the latter has been rejected by both alliances. Leland McCauley stands to make a pretty penny selling weapons to them all. Meanwhile, as Xanthu remains in the A.P., it has recalled its Legionnaires... just as Star Boy exhibits another new power (flame breath).
Meanwhile, Brainiac 5.1 is in the middle of a deep self-evaluation and depression. His heart isn't even in the task at hand, analyzing the H-Dial found by Lori Morning during the latest crisis. As we learn from his journal, prescribed by Dr. Ryk'rr, he gets both solicited and unsolicited advice on his mother-son malaise. Eventually, Gates gets a laugh out of him, a promise that things may turn out okay.
I felt this was possibly the best way to put an end to the whole affair that was the Dark Circle. When facing adversity, show undeniable proof of strong union and partnership between majorly different, and originally opposed, entities. Nice staging from everyone involved and I’m glad to see that Sensor’s father came to his senses (awful pun intended). It’s the kind of feel good moment that would bring a tear in my eyes in a film or in real life if such an event would take place now. I’m all about acceptance, inclusion and redemption. Gimme those announcements ANY DAY!!!
Now, I must formerly apologize to poor Brainiac 5.1... I judged his behavior way too quickly following Gates’ assumptions in the previous issue. I still can’t believe he’s following the doctor’s recommendations. This fact proves he’s ready to listen to advice and learn from the others. What he has in superior intellect, he always lacked in empathy and emotions. He realizes that’s a flaw now more than ever after seeing how it destroyed his mother. His interaction with Gates and Chuck gives me strong hope in his rehabilitation. I’m pretty much convinced now that, following this encounter with his mother, Brainiac 5.1 is here to stay.
Yeah, don't give up on Brainy quite yet! Nice to see the Legion's therapist is still around even if she doesn't put in an appearance. But while Brainiac 5.1's the biggest benefactor of the issue's detente and character-building focus, there are a lot of little moments worth noting. Triad thinking of letting her hair grow long, and how her three opinions mirror Brainy's own inner conflict. Sensor with a fedora, and later proud as punch of her father. Invisible Kid in synch with Condo Arlik as the series pushes for a relationship between the two. Star Boy's flame burp. Monstress teasing Magno about XS. Spark running to Cham. Whatever is developing between McCauley and Amilia Crugg. Though there's little in the way of action in this one, all these little subplots keep us engaged in the issue.
As for the political stuff, I do find it interesting that Durla is so quick to hand leadership over to a "composite warrior", which until recently had been imprisoned, or we could say "stored", when these living weapons were no longer needed. She's lost her powers, which also makes this strange. They've appointed someone who has lost the one thing that makes Durlans Durlans. And that's the point, I think. It's a symbol and a message to other members of the United Planets. Leejah is a bridge between shape-shifters and monoforms, someone who understands both realities. And it's someone who THEY have forgiven and embraced, just as they wish to be embraced by the populations of other worlds who still have trust issues with this race. A big break from the past, though I do fear the victimized world in this story is making all the concessions. This comic is maybe not the place to make more complex political statements.
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1998/19.
  • The issue includes a Dark Circle Falls banner in the same font the past story arc's Dark Circle Rising.
  • Saturn Girl is still seconded to the Science Police, as per the Science Police mini-series.
  • Sensor surprisingly confirms that Durlans are "relatively mammalian".

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