Thursday, November 8, 2018

Reboot: Legionnaires #68

Legionnaires #68 (February 1999)
title: "When Robots Attack"
writers: Roger Stern and Tom McCraw
penciller: Jeffrey Moy
inker: W.C. Carani
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Frank Berrios
editor: Mike McAvennie
adult legionnaire: Carmela Merlo
cover: Chris Sprouse
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Cosmic Kid, Element Lad, Gates, Kid Quantum II, Monstress, Saturn Girl, Sensor (cameo), Star Boy, Ultra Boy

Athramites, Dr. Gym'll, Dreamer, Lori Morning, Metal Men (imperfect replicas), Olsen, Proty, Science Police, Tari Gro, a vid shooter; in flashbacks: Aquaman, Atmos, Black Canary, Flash II, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Insect Queen, Martian Manhunter, Prefect Lamar, Superman

Xotar the Weapons Master; see Notes for robot opponents

A long time ago, Xotar the Weapons Master fought the Justice League of America. A few weeks ago, Brainiac 5.1 impounded Lori Morning's H-Dial. A few days ago, Element Lad gave Monstress a gift she doesn't know about yet...

Monstress is shopping for new clothes in Metropolis, and clearly driving store employees, like Mister Olsen, crazy. As she walks out with her purchases, Kid Quantum notices she's changing color from green to yellow. Monstress surmises that Element Lad did something to her when talking to her about superficiality and will give him a stern talking to.
Meanwhile, Cosmic Boy visits the Time and History Museum's robot exhibit, where he finds such ridiculous replicas of the Metal Men that he tries to set the record straight. But Xotar the Weapons Master, having just escaped from the Justice League in the 20th Century, materializes inside the working replica of his Ilaric robot, and seeing a costumed hero there, decides to immediately go on the offensive and take control of the exhibits' many robots. Cos calls for back-up, and Star Boy is upset he can't join Saturn Girl and Gates on the mission, as Dr. Gym'll has just benched him indefinitely for having unstable powers.
Monstress, still changing color, and Kid Quantum arrive on the scene as well as help Cos fight the robots. Xotar tries to find a power source that drew him to this century, but only finds fakes in the museum. He is finally captured by Gates, who is quite angry at him for forcing him to resort to violence, but Xotar escapes by traveling back to his time, vowing revenge.
In epilogue, Monstress, having settled on orange, confronts Element Lad who is deeply sorry to have done something to her without her consent, but she accepts the new pigmentation and enrolls the Athramites to get her a new wardrobe, much to their dismay. At the same time, Lori Morning switches out the H-Dial in Brainiac 5.1's lab for a replica she made, much to PROTY'S dismay.
Another time traveler comes in the 30th Century to get his hands on a powerful power source. In the same issue, they bring back Lori and her obsession with the H-Dial. Can't help but think these things are strongly related to one another. The Dial could easily be what this Xotar was looking for. And now that Lori actually got it back, away from the protection of the lab, I can't help but sense big trouble coming her way. Let's see what this thing really is and how it will help the story progress.
Ooof, I'm not sure if the Metal Men would be upset or honored by the way they were pictured before Cos showed up. One thing's certain, I would've loved the real Mercury a lot more if he would've look more like the statue they have of him in the 30th Century. Sorry man, but I simply can't handle the liquidy disconnected body parts. Speaking of appearances, I have to agree with Jan. I kinda like Monstress better in other colors than green. It probably had something to do with her being too close to a DC version of the Hulk, minus the low vocabulary and turning back to human. I personally preferred the purple compared to orange but that's just me.
I see you Laputa robot! As a Miyazaki fan, I just love when his work is referenced in other media. I'm sure there are more known robots in there – I thought the golden one was C-3PO at first – but this is the only one that caught my attention. It helped that it was directly in the middle of the page!
All those robots drove me CRAZY! I caught many references (I think you missed the Dalek and the Cyberman, which I know you know) from comics, television and film (see Notes), but I can't quite place a number of others. ARRRRGH! So if anyone can identify more, let me know and I'll update this post. FOR MY OWN SANITY.
Anyway, between all the references (not just the robots either), the shopping subplot (I'm on record saying I like Legion RnR), and Jeff Moy's appropriately charming art (Sensor looking at a shoe is ADORABLE!), this is a fun little issue, that makes good use of an early JLA villain that nevertheless hardly ever appeared. Great bit with Gates getting physical, there. My favorite Monstress color was probably red, by the way, but maybe I've been brainwashed by the Red She-Hulk now. I don't disagree that green was too "Hulk", but orange really does make her look more like a Khund. I wonder what she means about "mixed heritage"; does she actually have a Khund parent?
As for Lori's slow-moving subplot, seems like it's going to go into higher gear. I don't know that the Dial was the power source Xotar was droning on about. It's really not clear, the Dial isn't near the Museum, and he doesn't show up in Legion continuity again. So if it's all connected, it's thematically. Xotar, the time traveler who takes control of tech, the bit with replicas, Star Boy's failing powers, even Monstress' changes, they all kind of relate back to Lori. I find it kind of poignant how Proty tries to stop her. Will this actually be a big mistake?

Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1999/3.
  • The clothing store clerk, Olsen, is an obvious descendant of Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen. This is his first and only appearance.
  • The first outfit Monstress looks at on the holo-imaging (which she thinks is too punk) is a ripped purple number, possibly a reference to the similarly green-skinned Hulk (or She-Hulk).
  • In addition to the Metal Men, which part of the Legion had already met in the 20th Century (Legion of Super-Heroes v4 #95), the robots recreated for the Time and History Museum include Ultivac (Showcase #7), Mekanique (Infinity Inc. #19), G.I. Robot (Weird War Tales #113), Gort (The Day the Earth Stood Still), Laputian Robot (Castle in the Sky), ED-209 (Robocop), NOMAD (Star Trek's "The Changeling"), Nanmo (The Dirty Pair), T-800 (The Terminator), Automan (Tales of the Unexpected #91) and Ilda (Strange Adventures #114), Robotman II, the Construct (Justice League of America #142), K1 (Doctor Who's "Robot"), Maximillian (The Black Hole), a Dalek and a Cyberman, Patlabor Type 98 AV 1 Unit Alphonse (Patlabor anime series), Twiki (Buck Rogers in the 25th Century), and Xotar's Ilaric robot (The Brave and the Bold #29). Several of these are cyborgs rather than robots.
  • Xotar the Weapons Master was one of the very first villains who faced the Justice League of America, way back in The Brave and the Bold #29. He was a time traveler from the year 11,960. Post-Crisis, the story was retold in Action Comics #650 and JLA Year One #7. He appears to have just come off that encounter.
  • Though most robot replicas seem exact, the Metal Men are not. For example, Mercury has a winged helmet, Steel a coal miner's, Gold a full, finned mask and short arms, and Tin is a dog (witch Cosmic Boy thinks is a Rin Tin Tin reference).
  • The Museum also has replicas of a Green Lantern power battery and Jack Knight Starman's Cosmic Staff on display, as well as a model of the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Monstress turns orange.


  1. My God this is always one of my favorite issues. Candi was criminally underrated as a character.

  2. Jeff Moy was so fond of throwing in references in this series. I barely got any of these... but is that a Mars rover behind Xotar in the "Robots--ATTACK!!!" panel?

    I love the whole bit where Cosmic Boy says "better let me handle this" and then a page or two later he's complaining about how most of the robots are non-magnetic composites. Ha! Don't get too cocky, Cos.