Thursday, January 10, 2019

Reboot: Legionnaires #72

Legionnaires #72 (June 1999)
title: "Enemies of Science!"
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 and Al Gordon
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Cosmic Boy, Element Lad, Gates, Kid Quantum II, Live Wire (flashback), M'Onel (flashback), Monstress, Saturn Girl, Star Boy, Ultra Boy (cover only), Umbra, XS (flashback)

Chuck Taine, Del, Derek Morgna (flashback), Dirk Morgna (flashback), Dr. Gym'll, Dragonmage, Dreamer, Giselle King (flashback), Lori Morning, Mysa, Takron-Galtos' warden; Coluans, alien terraformers, lizard alien ambassador (flashback), Science Police

Amelia Crugg, Doctor Savant, Elements of Disaster (A'rie, Ebb, Phy'r, Rroxx), Leland McCauley, Mantis Morlo, Mordru (flashback); Brain Globes and Gil'dishpan of Gil'd.

When Dragonmage tried to heal his powers, he accidentally released four elemental forces into the universe and threw up a magical surge that disrupted technology all over the galaxy. Each of these elementals took residence in a different host body - the air in an insectoid girl, the earth in a Dryadan, the water in a servant to Gil'Dan masters, and the fire in friend to the Legion, Dirk Morgna on Earth. They don't know yet that they are fighting a friend possessed when they assemble to stop the fire giant in Tokyo...

The Legion and Mysa fight Phy'r in vain. It seems impervious to all their powers and though almost contained by Mysa's magics, still breaks free. It then summons a spout of magma to the surface and rides it off-world where it becomes cosmic energy. Meanwhile, on Swizzar, Flutter's transformation into A'rie has killed the people near her, including her friend Del, but the Elemental within her does not care. She steals a spaceship and heads for planetod JS-1967. On Dryad, Brikka becomes a mountain and makes the planet explode, sending her flying through the cosmos. And on Gil'D, Ebb uses his new-found powers to send himself and the world's oceans into space, killing the entire population.
As the four Elements of Disaster move towards JS-1967, Rrox absorbs a stargate into herself, using it to move around, and later attacks a McCauley Industries site to steal and absorb rockets as well. A'rie, after causing havoc there, restores the artificial prison planet Takron-Galtos to functioning status when she passes by, preventing a massive break-out. Ebb, for his part, steals a spaceship from Colu, the planet most devastated by the failure of technology.
While Chuck Taine does his best to fix Legion HQ, the team has an animated meeting in which it is deduced that the Elements are heading for Mordru because they are likely old rivals of his that he had imprisoned in a time even before the long-lived Mysa. There Murdru lies today, imprisoned in his own tomb.
So many things, characters and places to cover in so few pages. I love that they not only explained who the Elementals were, but also took the time to give their hosts a backstory. The way they treated everyone that were dear to them after being “infected” really proves that the hosts have no control over the elemental forces. I can't help but fear for their well-being while being possessed as well as for their mental state once they realize what was done when they weren't in control. Killing friends, demolishing the things they worked so hard to build, destroying an entire planet while being driven by rage against colonists... That can only have a devastating impact on the poor host used by the Elementals.
I assume the team that can't be contacted is still dealing with the Bizarros, especially since HQ is also unable to contact Brande. Knowing that this problem has been solved by Invisible Kid and Koko, I hope the Outpost team will be able to get in the action fast. The last thing I want is to witness another fight with Mordru: been there, done that! The Elementals are very strong and I assume they will be enough of a threat as is, without having to add more bad guys in the Legionnaires' way. Or maybe they want to fight Mordru and get revenge, in which case... I don't actually know how I'd feel about that. Can they defeat him? Is he the key to defeating them? I mean, if they are to fight, and one side comes out victorious, dealing with the survivors will still be a big deal. Or maybe they will destroy one another and that's how this will all be settled. Less heoric but still efficient, I guess. As long as the hosts survive, that's all I'm asking. (Yes... I am hoping for the survival of Sun Boy, who would've thought!)
We get some good action with an impossible foe up front, but I agree, what's most of interest is the damage the Elementals are doing. Destroying both Dryad (no Blok, ever?) and Gil'D (horrifically, even if it's a planet of bad guys), that beats the previous year's destruction of Sklar! And that brings up an interesting notion. We're headed for a darker part of the Reboot Legion's history, but in a way, even the "Archie" era, with its cute art and very young cast, has dealt with darkness. It's just been hiding in plain sight. One wonders if the universe will be getting darker for these few genocides, creating more refugees or pirates (as in the case of the Sklarians), an in-story explanation for the changes Abnett and Lanning are about to effect. We'll see.
Otherwise, I do have questions about the magic surge that affected the galaxy. On the one hand, Colu seems unable to deal with it. On the other, Chuck can fix the systems in the HQ as if only fried circuits rather than screwed with scientific principles. Space craft seem to work, as a couple of Elementals are using them. And then A'rie "fixes" Takron-Galtos because it would mean the death of too many people. So not evil per se, but perhaps working from a different morality. Phy'r acts like a mindless monster, while Ebb seems to retain his host's gripes. A'rie might be the more heroic - if unemotional - of the lot. In a way, it's too bad Sun Boy had to be the first to meet the Legion, because I think the others are much more interesting. The living mountain. The angry jellyfish. The dragonfly girl (whose design is neat enough I think she might have made a nice addition to the Legion after all this). Roads not taken.
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1999/11.
  • Mysa invokes three names known to the DC Universe: Uthool and Calythos were named in the spell that summoned the Demons Three, and Nabu is the Lord of Order that inhabits Dr. Fate's helmet.
  • The planets Gil'D and Dryad are destroyed in this issue. Dryad was also destroyed in the original continuity; Blok and the League of Super-Assassins were the only survivors.
  • The only recognizable inmates in the Takron-Galtos scenes areMantis Morlo, a villain from Gates' homeworld we met in Legionnaires #45, and Doctor Savant who blew up the Rock of Eternity in Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #110.
  • JS-1967 is the planetoid where the Legion fought Mordru and where the villain was buried in Legionnaires #50. It was named after Jim Shooter, who wrote the first Mordru story in 1967.


  1. Huh. I never interpreted the Takron-Galtos page as being A'rie rescuing anyone. I assumed she was causing the worst of it. "What a horrible artificial world! Still, I've done enough here." -- I always took that to mean she'd done enough to damage it for the moment.

    Re: the Science Police Notes, this is not Dr. Savant's first appearance. He's from LSH #110 when he blew up the Rock of Eternity.