Thursday, March 21, 2019

Reboot: Legionnaires #77

Legionnaires #77 (November 1999)
title: "Endless Summer!"
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: Jeffrey Moy & W.C. Carani
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Apparition, Brainiac 5.1, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Element Lad, Ferro, Invisible Kid, Karate Kid, Kid Quantum II, Kinetix, Live Wire, M'Onel (monitor screen only), Monstress, Saturn Girl, Sensor, Spark, Star Boy, Thunder (monitor screen only), Triad, Ultra Boy, Umbra, Violet, XS

Chuck Taine, Dreamer, Lori Morning, Magno, Proty, R.J. Brande (picture only), Tenzil Kem; casino employees (Preston and Susan named), Summer World tourists

Amelia Crugg, Kono, Leland McCauley, Luck Lord (cameo), Mr. Rhysson

Star Boy has recently been suspended after disobeying Saturn Girl's orders. He and Dreamer decided to go on vacation. Lori Morning leaving to work for Leland McCauley is still a concern. Element Lad and Monstress have been working towards finding out who Kono was working for when she stole priceless crystals from the Crystal Caverns...

Casino owner Mr Rhysson is shocked to see Star Boy and Dreamer on the beaches of Summer World where he hangs his hat. You see, he's the collector who uses Kono to steal priceless artifacts and works of art all over the United Planets. Thom and Nura are just on vacation, but he doesn't know that. When most of the Legion of Super-Heroes shows up, he starts to really sweat (as does Star Boy, who was hoping for some alone time with his girlfriend).
Seems Element Lad and Monstress have been tracking the stolen crystals to Summer World, and the entire team decides to lend support / take some R&R. At the same time, Leland McCauley, seeking to secure Lori Morning's place in Workforce, sends his Khundish lover Amelia Crugg to Summer World with his new ward, to show her a good time. As some Legionnaires play, Element Lad, Monstress and Sensor visit shops and casinos to find some clues, but nothing really comes up. They do bump into Amelia and Lori however, and are joined by XS and Proty for rides, though the reunion doesn't make Lori regret her decision to leave.
Mr. Rhysson becomes increasingly paranoid and believes the Legionnaires are toying with him. He decides to make a break for it and goes to the spaceport, but finds Saturn Girl arriving for the group vacation. Before the telepath can bust him, he runs up to the startled and confused Legionnaires and confesses his crimes. Element Lad gladly arrests him. It's off to the beach for all of them, where Kinetix takes Violet out of a funk triggered by a premonition that something bad is about to happen. Whatever it is, they'll face it together. And with everyone in high spirits, the sun sets on the Legion's luau.
This trip seemed to have been enjoyable as well as being useful for the team. Reading this made me miss the beach, or a pool... or any place where I could swim and forget about this never-ending winter. Our heroes are always facing incredible threats which means for them to risk their lives to save the universe time after time. They all deserved that break. I must say, it is quite impressive to see the girls wearing such revealing outfits. I know they're comic book heroines and even their actual uniforms are somewhat revealing or skin-tight, but still... It took me off guard all the same. I know I could never be seen in most bathing suits I saw in this issue, that's for sure. But... maybe I would wear them if I was in their shape. Anyway, they're all hot! Except Star Boy. Please get rid of the crotch star man...
The investigation was a nice way to tie together the fun bits. Even if we agreed earlier that the team deserved the break, it's nice to know they still plan for the trip to pass as Legion business. Clever kids! I love how the simple fact they were present was enough for the culprit to lose his cool. Paranoia definitely was their ally in this situation. Good for them! A successful mission that went on without any confrontations and was easily completed. Take the win and enjoy the rest of the holiday. We all know it's not going to last thanks to the Eye and the Fatal Five.
I. Freaking. Love. This issue. I'm on record as loving the R&R, Legion-on-vacation stories, and this one may be my favorite of the lot. A lot of it is down to Moy's expressive work and how he brings the Legionnaires alive both in the foreground and background. The book has a LOT of characters to juggle, and most of them get some nice piece of business, often coming across without the help of dialog. Dreamer obviously knowing the Legionnaires would crash her vacation. Spark palling with boy-crush Chameleon, Karate Kid doing hand stands, Sensor rolling around in the warm sand, Proty sun-bathing, XS bored by (to her) slow-moving rides (but totally into carousels if it's going to be with Magno), Triad worried one of her selves won money at strip poker, Live Wire lifting Saturn Girl when he greets her, Violet having to literally come out of her shell, body-negative Ferro of course wearing a tank top at the beach, Tenzil handing Chuck a well-shaken bottle of pop, Element Lad flirting with Monstress... I'm probably forgetting some, but I laughed out loud at some the jokes, and got a little teary at the end because I know this is Stern and McCraw's last issue. They're really saying goodbye to the characters and giving them a happy ending before everything starts up again and becomes decidedly UNhappy.
And I was totally wrong about the "Crystal Caves Caper" never getting resolved! Like everything else in this era, it took too long to get us here, but as Shotgun said, it's a delightful resolution where the crook gives himself up. Quite amusing. And here I thought it was Leland McCauley who was behind this. Well, he's here, but it's not clear what he's really up to except general greed. While it's fun enough to see Monstress and Amelia Crugg come face to face wearing the same dress (AWKWARD!), Lori's story isn't really resolved. (Spoiler: She has more appearances before the end, but her connection to the Time Trapper dies with this creative team.) The writers get to say goodbye to her too, but her appearance doesn't really advance the story. Big on the feels though. Like the rest of "Endless Summer". A beautiful love letter to the so-called "Archie Legion".
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 1999/21.
  • Some may see past Legion costumes in the bathing suit designs. For example, Star Boy's purple trunks recall his Silver Age costume, and Saturn Girl's pink bikini harks back to her 1970s costume.
  • Some background tourists might be visual references to past continuities' Legionnaires, including Kent Shakespeare, Catspaw, and Quislet. Captain Jean-Luc Picard also makes a background appearance.
  • In Rhysson's collection, one might spy a xenomorph egg from the movie Alien. The crystals Element Lad and Sensor are tracking were taken in Legionnaires#67.
  • The creators give themselves beach-themed credits for this issue: Roger Stern - Big Kahuna, Tom McCraw - Little Surfer, Jeffrey Moy - King of the Surf, W.C. Carani - Hero of the Beach (a reference to the old Charles Atlas ads at the back of many comics), Pat Brosseau - Surf-Dude, Frank Berrios - Assistant Beach-Bum, and Mike McAvennie - Beach-Bumming Editor.
  • Page 6 features a casino game of some sort where words float around a sphere. Some are undecipherable or secret messages we're not meant to get. One, "Jo 'n' KC" refers to the marriage of Joanna Draper and former Legion editor KC Carlson.
  • Thunder is apparently still a member, listed as "On Leave" on the monitor board.
  • Chuck's skills at billiards echoes his former self Bouncing Boy, as does his date with Triad, and his bad luck with a soda pop bottle.
  • Violet's premonition has everything to do with the Emerald Eye's return, as per Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #120 which occurs concurrently with this issue. Meta-textually, her feeling signifies the departure of the current creative team and the arrival of another that will send the Legion on a much darker path.
  • Blink and you'll miss it: The Metal Men (last seen in Legionnaires #68) are on a floating craft in the background of page 20.
  • XS plays the saxophone as she did in Impulse #12.

Last issue written by Roger Stern and Tom McCraw, and consequently the last R&R Legion story of the era that made them a regular occurrence (though it technically started in the SW6 era).


  1. I love the down-time stories in team books, especially Legion. And the 'Big Bad' surrendering due to the overwhelming stress of perhaps being caught was great.

  2. Nice happy ending for one of my favorite LSH eras.Some may use the phrase "Archie Legion" as a pejorative.Not me--I am proud to call myself an Archie Legionnaire.