Thursday, September 27, 2018

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #1,000,000

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #1,000,000 (November 1998)
title: "1,000 Years Later..."
writer: Tom Peyer
penciller: Keith Giffen
inker: Al Gordon
lettering: Comicraft
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Frank Berrios
editor: Mike McAvennie
time trapper: Grant Morrison
cover: Alan Davis
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Brainiac 417, the Chameleon, Cosmicbot, the Dreamer, Implicate Girl, the M'Onelves, Titangirl, the Umbra; 854th-Century team: Dav, Vara, Chec, Wildflame; flashback (Reboot era): Andromeda, Chameleon, Chuck Taine(?), Ferro, Gates, Sensor, Wildfire; flashback (Legends of the Dead Earth): Membrain, either Shape or Shift, Wildfire

Dav's parents, Superboy (Cris Kend); 863rd-Century doctors, Chameleons, Titanian caretakers

Extinct mineral-eating animals (illusions), Titanians

In the 853rd Century - exactly one million months after the dawn of super-heroes - humanity prospers in a utopian society beyond our imagining. From the data-foundries of the planet Mercury to the floating coral cities of Neptune, the great legacy of super-heroes lives on. And far our in deep space, the heirs to the glorious traditions of the Legion of Super-Heroes continue to fight the good fight. Cosmicbot, Implicate Girl, Brainiac 417, Titangirl, the Chameleon, the Umbra, the M'Onelves - together, they are Justice Legion L, defenders of the United Planets Cluster. In the previous episode, the team was left dealing with the loss of integrity of the magnetic field holding the U.P. together, and after consulting the Wildflame (Wildfire's still surviving energy), determined to grab the Superboy of the previous century to help...

1,000 years later, in Earth-Tesseract 63060, a dimensional space cut off from the universe, three teenagers - Dav, Vara and Chec - find a picture of Justice Legion L and intrigued, keep it a secret from their parents. Dav is nevertheless caught doodling Brainiac 417 and is soundly beaten by his father. He runs to his friends and traumatized, destroys the picture. This calls frees the Wildflame from its containment rune and it's able to tell the rest of the story...
Superboy was put to work telekinetically holding the United Planets together. The supposedly extinct metal-eating beasts return and keep the Legion busy. The Umbra has gone to the Chameleon world to accuse them of being behind the plot. They aren't, but their isolationism makes them suspect. Implicate Girl puts Cargg's skeptics on it, and figures it all out. She brings Umbra and Cham to Titan instead where they confront Titangirl's physical body. She, as a manifestation of Titan's combined will, has decided to leave the union and blame the destruction of the planets' magnetic bond. The threat is all a mental illusion, however. She is defeated, but the Chameleon world learns a valuable lesson and chooses to reengage with its sister worlds, lest isolation become a weakness again.
1,000 later, the three teens are found comatose after their encounter with the Wildflame. When they wake up, they've decided that reality is much more than what they've been told and that the Tesseract's isolation is not the correct way to live. Thought dangerous, they are locked away as mental patients until the Wildflame returns to set them free and unite them as a new Legion!
What readers would’ve accused Titangirl of being the mastermind being these attacks when she has the same powers and looks as Saturn Girl? Once again, they played the species card against the shapeshifters and, by doing so, are linking both timelines pretty neatly. Implicate Girl’s powers are the ones that save the day, but I don’t envy her for a second. Imagine having all of these voices in your head!! The only thing is, and I feel this a regular problem while dealing with mind tricks, once again I feel like this was all for nothing. At least, when compared to Violet’s last encounter with the Eye, here there was an actual threat in the form of Titangirl. But all the rest were illusions, so meh...
So, am I completely wrong in thinking the kids who discovered the picture are inhabitant of Titan? Is that what it is? I’m SO not sure. The picture could be what Implicate Girl is referring to when mentioning Brainiac’s beaming message of peace to them. But then they refer to them as Humans of Earth-Tesseract... (probably not the same Tesseract I know about, right?) So maybe they are inside Implicate Girl’s head? Does that mean Carggs are unknowingly living inside her and she’s just using their knowledge like it’s normal? That’s twisted...
I was asking for answers and got most of them, but I can still say that both issues were a little hard to follow. I even think this one suffered from art that wanted to have complex backgrounds and action scenes but sometimes, weren’t clear. I’m all for intricate art, but I’ve never been a huge fan of abstract pieces. It was just... well... too much.

I had a hunch Keith Giffen's art wouldn't exactly be to your tastes (sadly, didn't he draw the issue of volume 7 that I gave you for Christmas?). As for explaining the Tesseract, they really mean it when they say it's 1,000 years after the events of the previous issue. Tesseract is a real term in geometry (the TARDIS is a tesseract, for example, bigger on the inside), and I'm guessing some Earth people migrated to this pocket dimension at some point and evolved into a closed-off culture (possibly to avoid the events of the DC One Million event). They all dress the same and it's apparently a taboo to do anything differently. Isolation is thus the theme of both stories (the one in the 853rd Century and the frame tale in the 863rd).
So I'm of two minds about this one. On the one hand, I like the thematic coherence and it's very "Legion" to do "1,000 years later" given that Justice Legion L was contemporary with the other heroes of DC 1,000,000. BUT, we just got to know the Justice Legion L and their adventure is cut way short to make room for another century. You're absolutely right that making most of the threat an illusion (was Agent If real?) is lame. Superboy is there for nothing! At least there's the whole question of the Chameleon world changing its policy, etc., but we don't have a whole lot of skin in the game. We hardly knew this new Durla, nor even Titangirl.
As for the frame tale, it's fine, and I do like that Wildfire keeps going (so when does he show up in the Reboot?) and starting Legions. This one though... Could they at least have given them code names?

Science Police Notes:  
  • This issue was part of DC's November 1998 event DC: One Million, which reimagined each of its series as taking place in the 853rd Century, when every series hits #1,000,000. See Legionnaires #1,000,000 for more notes.
  • The end to the Chameleon world's isolation is a mirror of what is currently happening in the Legion books with Durla.
  • Grant Morrison, writer of DC One Million is given a credit as "Time Trapper."

1 comment:

  1. "Vara, Chec, and Dav"
    Life goes on, brah...