Thursday, November 22, 2018

Reboot: Legionnaires #69

Legionnaires #69 (March 1999)
title: "Secrets and Lies!"
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:  
Apparition, Monstress, Saturn Girl, Star Boy, Triad (flashback), Ultra Boy, XS (flashback); as holographic images only: Inferno, Karate Kid, Live Wire

Atom II (flashback), Evolvo, Lori Morning (Dialed: Plasma), Proty, Rond Vidar (flashback), Spider-Girl; as holographic images only: Blast-Off, Catspaw, Lupine, Particon, Piston, Radion; in flashback: Lori's other dialed identities (Blip, Chiller, Fireball, Galaxy Girl, Ink, Slipstream)

Amilia Grugg, Khunds, Leland McCauley, Time Trapper; in flashback: Chronos, Composite Man, Durlan thief, Lori's dad, Sklarian raiders

For a while now, Lori Morning has been staying with the Legion, secretly helping out in one of several identities created by the H-Dial given to her by the Time Trapper. But she still hasn't fulfilled her dream of becoming a Legionnaire...

Ultra Boy and Apparition go on a two-day honeymoon, stopping on the Moon for smooches. Nearby is Leland McCauley's Lunabase where he and recent paramour, the Khund armorer Amilia Crugg, are discussing prospects for refilling the ranks of Work Force. Meawhile, the Khunds are planning to attack the base and retrieve Amilia, a traitor to their world.
Back on Earth, Lori Morning is about to steal back her H-Dial from Brainiac 5.1's lab, even as the Time Trapper watches with satisfaction. But Proty sounds the alarm which brings Saturn Girl and Monstress to stop her. Lori is forced to tell the story of how she came to have the Dial and how she used it. Before Saturn Girl can wrest the device from her, Ultra Boy calls in for back-up on the Khund invasion of the Moon. Lori quickly dials up the identity of Plasma and flies to Lunabase to help, Saturn Girl and Monstress following relatively slowly in a cruiser. Lunabase is breached before any of them gets there, and Amilia is put in a control collar.
But the Legionnaires counter-attack with the help of Plasma. Ultra Boy and Apparition down most of the ships. Plasma frees Amilia. And Saturn Girl and Monstress lure a secret fourth ship's crew to come out so they can be captured too. The situation resolved, McCauley offers Plasma a spot on his team. Saturn Girl objects and Lori is forced to dial back to her real self. Hearing her story, McCauley still offers her the job, and having quickly found out she has no legal guardian in the 30th Century, starts the paperwork to make Amilia that guardian. The Legion should have let her join before, if they wanted her to stay. Her only regret seems to be leaving Proty back on Earth. Meanwhile - if that term makes any sense - the Time Trapper is completely confounded that he hadn't planned any of this.
Is it just me, or shouldn’t there have been better security around the Dial than that? You would’ve thought that Brainiac would protect his lab from anyone snooping around and messing things up. For Lori to be able to get inside and switch the Dial this easily, it feels a little too much. I’m sad to see Lori get lured by McCauley, but I can’t say that I’m surprised. The Legion did nothing except putting her aside for the longest time. It’s just unfortunate that no one had a chance to warn her of people with a tendency to use other people’s powers to their own advantage. I suspect that she will quickly discover how McCauley functions and, hopefully, will be able to get away without any major problems. I must say though that I’m glad the Dial is back in action. As mentioned earlier, I love the idea of the artifact and Lori’s forms were always interesting, Plasma is no exception. I guess we’ll see how her story will unfold from now on.
Speaking of unfolding stories, what happened to Apparition’s wish to learn more about her father and her missing sister? It’s basically the first time we actually properly see her an Jo since that revelation. She has another part of her somewhere and this has never been addressed since LSH #102. Now she’s leaving on a honeymoon with Jo? I know she has to work on herself and relearn to live her former life even with the 2nd part of her now living inside with her own past and memories, but shouldn’t they try to close the loop on her 3rd self? Wouldn’t that help make her feel whole again? Or maybe it would just create more confusion for poor Tinya. I just hate when something is thrown at you this way and won’t be addressed for the longest time. I’M CURIOUS OKAY!!! I need to know more! Let’s hope this “honeymoon” is a decoy for their real aim which is to find her father and learn more about her other self’s fate.
You may end up having to write your own fanfic on that one. True, I'm not as familiar with what's left of the Reboot era, but I'm not sure we ever get closure on that. The truth is, the current Legion teams have about 8 months left (their time) before handing the reigns over to someone new, and very different. And when it's up to a new writer to blow the cobwebs off a dangling plot thread or not, it's more often "not". Even in this issue, it feels like they're abandoning the Lori/Time Trapper subplot as it was supposed to go down. Were they told by the editor's office to drop it? Did they just have a new idea they liked better? I'm sure that happens when you let things drag for years the way this has been. And perhaps the "twist" is a worthy one. We all thought the Trapper was either grooming Lori to become the Trapper, or fashioning her into a weapon to destroy the Legion from the inside. That would have been predictable, so who am I to argue? I certainly like the expression on the Trapper's, uhm... face.
Otherwise, this is a fun enough action issue (give or take all the recaps). We've got Jo and Tinya driving around the solar system in their space convertible, kissing being the moon rocks. We've got a small-scale Khund invasion that addresses the Amilia-Leland subplot. We've got some good Saturn Girl-Monstress tag team action. We've got Plasma, one of the coolest-looking Lori identities, acting like a veteran hero. Apparition coming out of a frazzed console. Ultra Boy slamming a Khund through a wall. Some sweetness too in the Lori-Proty relationship. And all by the superlative art team of Jeff Moy and W.C. Carani.
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1999/5.
  • Tinya's hairstyle in this issue features two pony-tails, just as she wore it in the pre-5YL era.
  • The holographic c.v. Leland McCauley calls up is the only appearance of the Reboot's version of Catspaw, a Legionnaire added to the SW6 Legion and who first appeared in Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #33. The other Work Force applicants, Lupine and Piston, were likewise never seen again.
  • Lori Morning joins the Work Force in this issue.

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