Monday, December 10, 2018

Action Comics #860

Action Comics #860
Title: Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes Part 3 - Lightning and Shadows
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Gary Frank
Inker: Jon Sibal
Colorist: Dave McCaig
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Editor: Nachie Castro and Matt Idelson
Executive Editor: Dan Didio

Legion Roster: Superman, Dawnstar, Colossal Boy, Wildfire, Polar Boy, Shadow Lass, Night Girl, Lightning Lass, Timber Wolf, Brainiac 5

PREVIOUSLY: Superman learned all about what a xenophobic nightmare Earth has become in the 31st Century thanks to a bunch of Legion rejects crying about reverse racism.

The Legion founders tried to search for Batman's kryptonite ring as proof of Superman's alien origins and were brought down by the Justice League of Earth, just like the Legion Espionage Squad were.

Superman, Dawnstar, Wildfire, and Colossal Boy hope to find Brainiac 5 and another Legionnaires being held captive in an alien internment camp that looks disturbingly similar to the Legion's original headquarters.

In this issue, we find out more about what's happened to the other Legionnaires and how they've dealt with the persecution Earth-Man and the League have spearheaded with their "Neo Nazis of the Future" nonsense. And Geoff Johns does more of what he did in the last issue, which I'll share my thoughts on later.

The Justice League of Earth has gathered to investigate the remains of the Time Sphere that brought Superman to their world. Golden Boy’s pissed because Earth-Man promised they wouldn’t have to worry about Superman mucking up their Fifth Reich scam. Kirt swears they’ll deal with Superman before their lies about his “Earthling heritage” are exposed. And in the process, the League’ll destroy the Legion of Super-Heroes once and for all. The universe will truly belong to them.

Meanwhile, a Legionnaire is being tortured in Alien Holding Camp 6736. The room is red hot, and the warden is demanding to know where a supposed “Underground” can be found. The Legionnaire spits “Long live the Legion” in defiance when the guards learn there’s an emergency and rush out.

Superman and the other Legionnaires have broken into the internment camp in order to find Brainiac 5 and the other Legionnaire. The poor citizens being held captive watch Clark struggling with the guards. Unfortunately, because of Earth’s red sun, he’s still powerless and the guards are able to injure him. This makes it look like Clark is an impostor, a “Legion fake.” Clark tries to convince the captives he IS Superman, but since when does Superman bleed?

Dawnstar investigates Brainiac 5’s cell and detects trace wormhole residue. He somehow managed to teleport out of the camp, and according to Dawny he's probably on Colu. Colossal Boy and Wildfire are NOT happy to hear this, because Colu’s become as hostile as Earth. Clark asks where they can find the other Legionnaire.

Back in the torture chamber, the guards realize too late that someone’s cut the power to the temperature controls…

At which point the room explodes in a shower of ice.

Polar Boy grows a new arm out of ice, mentioning Tusker’s the reason why he’s a lefty as Gim gives Brek a flight ring. Brek is glad to see Clark, but Clark is not happy he can’t prove to the other captives he’s Superman. Brek explains the prisoners were subjected to a lot of anti-alien propaganda, so of course they don’t believe him.

Heading through an underground tunnel, Brek explains that Brainy had some big mystery plan to expose the JLE’s lies. Seems the JLE has relied on Golden Boy’s fortune to spread their message and make it to the top. As Brek recalls how he turned his own rejection from the Legion around to form the Substitute Heroes, Drake notices the tunnel is getting really dark.

Which is when two more Legionnaires appear.

Looks as though Night Girl managed to become an official Legionnaire at some point. Good for her.

Shadow Lass is almost at a loss for words seeing Clark again. Tasmia says she was about to start believing she imagined ever meeting Clark at all. After Lydda and Tasmia are given Flight Rings, they welcome the Legionnaires to the Metropolis Underground.

Tasmia explains to Superman and the others that the founders established a base within the ruins of old Metropolis, setting up a spaceport to get citizens off Earth. While Brek jokes about losing his arm, Clark asks how they kept this place powered with no one noticing. At which point two more Legionnaires are reintroduced.

Lightning Lass has been supplying the power for the underground, and Timber Wolf fills Clark in on where some of the other Legionnaires ended up.
  • Chameleon Boy is dealing with race riots on Durla
  • Mon-El got trapped back in the Phantom Zone by the JLE
  • The JLE kidnapped White Witch and gave her to Mordru the Merciless in exchange for him staying out of their business
Brin adds he and Ayla made it to the underground after the founders left to search for kryptonite to verify Clark’s origin. Brin and Drake start sniping at each other. Drake accuses Brin of ass-kissing; Brin jokes Drake’s in a sour mood because of his relationship problems with Dawnstar....just like the rest of us.

While this is happening, Brek asks Lydda what happened to the rest of the Legion of Substitute-Heroes. Lydda explains the Subs’re planning retaliation for Earth-Man’s brutal murder of their teammate, Double-Header.

Ayla and Dawny prep a wormhole to take the Legionnaires to Colu in order to find Brainy. Tasmia mentions they might have to deal with Colu’s ruthless, mysterious new leader. Unfortunately, Earth-Man suddenly broadcasts his thoughts using Saturn Girl’s telepathy. He mocks Tasmia and Gim for pining after Mon-El and Yera Allon, respectively. Having used Imra’s power to find the Legionnaires, Earth-Man leads the JLE into the underground and attacks!

Despite getting zapped by Earth-Man, Tasmia uses her shadow powers to boost Lydda’s strength to take on Radiation Roy. Ayla demands to know what the League did to Garth while Brin tries to drag Clark away. Clark wants to stay and fight, but the Legionnaires know that they have to find Brainy.

As Clark, Dawny, Drake, and Brek get into the escape pod, Storm Boy loses it and zaps them. He screams that they’re a bunch of bullies and shorts the thrusters. However, the pod still makes it through the wormhole and crashes on Colu, attracting the attention of citizens who hunger for new knowledge. Clark passes out as the Coluans stab his forehead with wires… and wakes up to meet the head of the planet.

You leave Brainy alone for five seconds and this is what happens...


So here's where Johns does more retconning in terms of personalities.

Polar Boy's been framed as having a sense of humor, but to the best of my knowledge he wasn't much of a jokester, right? Brek's defining trait was how much he wanted to be taken seriously by the Legion; he particularly lost it at the end of the Subs special with how much they made fools of themselves, right?

Also, while in "Legion of 3 Worlds" he vehemently argues against killing Superboy-Prime, Brek doesn't seem bothered by having obviously killed the men who were torturing him. An argument about self defense, or blatant hypocrisy? You be the judge.

Johns is setting up the foundation for Lightning Lass getting back together with Timber Wolf like they were before "The Great Darkness Saga," which I personally think is homophobic and gross. I get that you can argue she got separated from Shrinking Violet because Vi was with the Espionage Squad, but in Johns' follow-up Adventure Comics stories he clearly states that Ayla and Brin are together again. His heteronormative crap makes me sick.

Our first minor character death is made with Double-Header of the Subs, but surely he won't be the last.

I hate that Shadow Lass is back to her bikini costume, but I do love Gary Frank's redesign for Night Girl and how he manages to avoid making her beehive hairdo campy.

Among the freed citizens from the internment camp is a mother and child from Korugar. Korugar is the homeworld of Sinestro and serves as a subtle reference to Johns' work on "Green Lantern" and his raging man-crush on the sociopathic former GL.


  1. Several comments:
    * Polar Boy: I didn't read this as a retcon of his personality. I look at it more as: he has made it to the big leagues, and he has had his stint as leader, so now he can relax and just be himself now that his major goals have been achieved. As far as the guards go - were they stated as killed in the story? I just assumed they were immobilized. You know, a combo of Brek's fine control, and 31st Century medicine.

    * Brin & Ayla - that does in deed suck, I must have missed the issue where Johns said they were a couple again. Vi & Ayla are a great match, and I also enjoyed the Legion Lost development of Brin & Dawny growing closer (as much as I love Drake & Dawny).

    * Shadow Lass - Sorry, but her bikini uniform has always been my favorite, and as she is a woman from a desert planet (not to mention the more important point that a woman can wear whatever she chooses, no matter what anyone else thinks), it makes sense.

  2. "the more important point that a woman can wear whatever she chooses, no matter what anyone else thinks"

    But the woman in this case is not choosing anything; she's being written and drawn by men.

    1. So going forward should every female character who is written & drawn by men be covered head to toe, or in some other gender-hiding outfit? Or should female characters only be written & drawn by females going forward? Should male creators be banned from trying to create diversely attired & opined female characters? I don't see any constructive purpose to your response.

  3. Gary Frank's costume redesigns are hit-or-miss depending upon the character. Some, like Colossal Boy, Shrinking Violet, and Dawnstar are streamlined versions of their classic looks. Others, like Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Brainiac 5, Timber Wolf and Night Girl rely WAY too much on elbow and/or knee pads. And don't even get me started on Wildfire's see-through containment suit.

    Also, why is every Legionnaire either long-sleeved or sleeveless? SERIOUSLY! Have short-sleeves been banned in the 31st century or something?