Thursday, March 28, 2019

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #121

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #121 (November 1999)
title: "End of the Line"
writers: Tom McCraw and Tom Peyer
penciller: Scott Kolins

inker: Ray Krissing
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
editor: Mike McAvennie
cover: Phil Jimenez
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Brainiac 5.1, Chameleon, Element Lad, Ferro, Gates, Invisible Kid, Karate Kid, Kinetix, M'Onel, Sensor, Triad (photo only), Umbra, Violet

Dreamer, Explorers Institute President Tenzar Kegg (interview), Koko, Magno, Ree; Tenazorians, Tenazorian monkeys

Emerald Eye of Ekron, Empress, Persuader, Tharok, Validus

While most of the Legion was on Summer World, the Fatal Five - now joined by the Emerald Eye - attacked the Legion Outpost. Brainiac 5.1 and Gates barely made it out alive...

The Fatal Five takes Outpost Allon through a stargate to a primitive, backwater planet called Tenzor-4. Brainiac 5.1 and Gates follow but send a message to the Legionnaires coming back from their vacation on Summer World, bitterly calling them to action. M'Onel and Umbra, out on patrol, are the first to arrive, but the Daxamite's powers are cut in half by the orange sun, and neither he nord Talos VII's champion are able to stop the Five's slave drive. Instead, they are captured.
Back on Summer World, Dreamer has bad dreams of some great tragedy yet to befall the Legion, but it has nothing to do with Violet's own premonitory feeling. The Eye of Ekron that once possessed her is close. As Koko becomes frenetic sensing the planet's wildlife, Brainy explains his plan to recover the Outpost. Soon, the Legionnaires use teamwork to attack the members of the Fatal Five, each on their own, though Karate Kid makes short work of the Empress all on his own.
Validus faces Violet, Ferro and Sensor, and together, the prevail against the mindless giant. Meanwhile, Chameleon and Invisible Kid square off against the Persuader, but it's Koko that turns the tide when, using Brainy's flight ring, he swoops in to save a local monkey, Ree. Cham uses the element of surprise to finally take down the atomic axeman. Gates, Kinetix and Element Lad fight the Eye, and eventually win the day by blinding it with a magnesium flare.
In the meantime, Brainy goes into the Outpost to wrestle it free from Tharok, but the cyborg has grafted his body into its systems, making him unstoppable. Until Magno turns the power off, that is. Tharok is outraged that the least among the Legion defeated him, so Brainy punches his lights out with a force field throw. As M'Onel takes the Outpost back to its position and the villains to Takron-Galtos, Brainiac 5.1 tries to find Koko in the jungle. He does, but his pet monkey won't return with him. He wants to stay with Ree, his new mate. Brainy is sad about this, but puts up a brave front for his team mates. As the Legion heads home, Koko becomes the ruler of the monkey tribe, his plans... unknown.
For a group called the Fatal Five, they’re really in no rush to kill anyone. Fine, M’Onel is still invulnerable on that planet, but they could’ve gotten rid of Umbra. Just to be clear, I don’t want her dead, but it just seems so weird not to get it done. Another thing: If they’re a group, why do they always spread out during a fight? The Legion would’ve had a harder time fighting them separately than one by one. When I saw them accompanied by the Eye, I thought they’d be a real threat. Even worse than the first time they opposed the Legion. Nope! A simple trick caught them off guard and they were beaten without much of a fight. Why even bring them back?
Good for Dyrk! I’m glad he got to see a bit of action and played an important part in Brainiac 5’s plan to retake the outpost. The kid might be “powerless”, but he has proven more than once that he belongs with the team. He has taken up the responsibilities given to him at the outpost and does a good job. He’s pretty much the real hero of this story. Him and Koko of course! Is this really the last we’ll see of the monkey? Not gonna lie, this saddens me... I actually quite like him! And Brainy can pretend all he wants, he loved Koko, it’s obvious! But who knows, maybe the monkey revolution will become important later on.
Another ending, though not as character-driven as the one in the last issue of Legionnaires. This one is more action-packed, giving the kids the chance to beat one (or two!) of their major foes before the reigns are handed over to another creative team. Violet getting over her fear of the Eye is of particular note, even if that's not the battle she's handed. I like how Kinetix, back to her old self, knows just the right thing to say. Unlike you, Shotgun, it didn't bother me that the Five split up. Villains don't always understand the value of team work, and I doubt these guys are actually "friends". The important thing is that the Legionnaires themselves used team work to defeat each one (except the Empress, which I find pretty amusing), and "the least among them" turned out to be the key to the larger victory. It's a perfect way for Stern and McCraw to end their tenure. And I like to think Koko is ruling the monkeys (which have a pleasant connection to past continuity, see the Science Police Notes below) in the spirit of the Legion, not in any sinister way. That's the point of focusing on the flight ring bracelet, I think.
But while the action beats are pretty good, to me it's all about the small character moments. Ferro having a picture of Triad, a friend he misses, while the other boys ogle pics of Legionnaires in bathing suits (Spark in a Winathian one-piece apparently, though who know, know). Brainy blaming the team for taking a vacation at the worst possible time (would there ever be a good time?). And of course, his sadness at losing Koko. I wish we'd had one more page of stuff like this instead of the Dreamer sequence which heralds the coming of new writers. Nura really belongs to the other title, and the colorist here tries to make it look like night, but only manages to make Dreamer look completely off-model. It's unnecessary padding, especially when time is so short.
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1999/22.
  • Koko becoming the leader of an army of monkeys is a direct echo to a similar scene in Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #94, a sequence that took place in the 20th Century. The monkeys of Tenazor have antennae, like the Silver Age Koko that was the original Brainiac's pet.

This is the last issue of the series written by Tom McCraw and Tom Peyer, who have been shepherding the Legion since the start of the Reboot.

1 comment:

  1. Like that final panel---an oblique way of saying "Long Live the Legion."