Thursday, April 25, 2019

Reboot: Legionnaires #79

Legionnaires #79 (January 2000)
title: "Legion of the Damned Part Two: Damned If We Do!"
writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
penciller: Olivier Coipel
inker: Andy Lanning
lettering: Comicraft
colorist: Tom McCraw
editor: Mike McAvennie
cover: Olivier Coipel & Andy Lanning
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Apparition, Brainiac 5.1, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Ferro, Invisible Kid, Kid Quantum II, M'Onel, Monstress, Saturn Girl, Triad, XS

Phrenologax, Shvaughn Erin

The Blight; blighted heroes: Element Lad, Evolvo, Kinetix, Lori Morning, Spark, Spider Girl, Star Boy, Ultra Boy, Umbra, Violet

A month after they were stranded behind a closed stargate, a handful of Legionnaires get back to Earth and find it conquered by the Blight, an alien race that is systematically turning people into willing zombies, including many Legionnaires. Those that have yet to be turned are working as a resistance, trying to get people off the planet. Chameleon has just lost his cell in an ambush, and comes across the just-returned Legionnaires...

Cham recounts how energy ribbons ripped through the galaxy and reached Earth, taking out its defense forces, including the Legion and Workforce, in a matter of hours. It first struck in Asia, then spread outward, becoming "entwined" with the planet. Then the Blight appeared, aliens using bio-technology to convert people, especially super-powered ones, to their side. RJ Brande hopes to collect as much of the population as he can before opening one last stargate and abandoning the planet. Everyone who is caught is rounded up and brought to the Stem, a giant plant structure in the middle of Metropolis.
Through Apparition's dream that evening, we see the group having to return home without benefit of a stargate, stopping often to refuel, aware galactic communications are down. When they reach Outpost Allon, they find it deserted and booby trapped. It explodes, damaging their ship. She awakens. She and the rest know they must go to the Stem to get answers.
In the Stem, the Blight and the Blighted are overseeing the placement of XS and others in stasis gel. However, the Blight did not count on her super-metabolism overcoming their soporific. As she awakens, she hears a voice in her head. It is a weak Saturn Girl, telling her to escape as soon as she can. Entering a chamber where many Legionnaires are suspended by their heels (including Invisible Kid, so the weed blaster may not be fatal after all). XS vibrates out of containment, grabs Saturn Girl and races off.
Meanwhile, the free Legionnaires approach the Stem with stealth, hatching a plan to get inside. XS and Saturn Girl do evade the Blight, but Imra asks Jenni to go on without her. She's too weak, and someone has to get information out to the resistance. She telepathically shares the visions she saw in the Blight's minds with XS, and stands stunned. Having failed to find the two girls, the blighted Legionnaires go out of the Stem to hunt for them, putting them right on top of the free Legionnaires hiding by the Stem's roots...
As far as flashbacks and story telling go, this isn’t bad. It will still take some time for me to adjust to this drastic change in tone and look, but this issue worked its magic on me. I am invested again out of curiosity and because I care for the characters, as you are all well aware by now. The story tries to make you feel bad for Cos’ group that were stranded in space for a month, but how can I feel sorry for them when I know what Cham’s been through. I guess it must’ve been hard to fear for your loved ones too. I wonder what’s going to happen to Tinya once she sees Jo. We’ll know pretty soon. Gotta love those cliffhangers...

Look at Jenni!! Who would’ve thought she’d be able to remain calm through all this? Smart girl! Such traumas helped her gain some perspective and way more focus. I’m glad she kept her cool and was able to contact Imra. Poor soul, trying desperately to contact someone, anyone, so the truth she found could be told. Once again, the comic would not tell us right away what was Imra’s discovery. It preferred to give us an opportunity to make our own guesses and sell another issue. What a deal we got: Two cliffhangers for the price of one!
I, for one, like the art style, give or take the way Monstress looks. I know readers have already descended into the comments section of these latter-day Reboot reviews with flaming swords of "not my Legion", but for me, the LSH has always been a franchise that, like Star Trek and Doctor Who, has managed to survive big shifts in the way their stories are told. The "Archie Legion" lasted a long time, and it had it strengths and weaknesses (the latter being how the soap opera let subplots go to waste with how slowly they burned). Granted, the art, especially in Legionnaires, was among the strengths, but it wouldn't do here with DnA's darker tone. Story-wise, I'm ready to move on and read a different take. Already, I'm enjoying how much furious momentum "Legion of the Damned" has in comparison to the previous regime's tales, and the writers' lingo sounds more like modern science-fiction. So no griping from me, at least not on the macro level, and not yet.
This particular issue catches us up with events, though as I said last week, there isn't really a whole lot of the backstory offered that I need to understand what's happening. More interesting is the stuff happening inside the Stem. I love that XS is being given some love (new writers might well have ignored the new kids on the block) and that her powers are being used smartly. Through her eyes, we're seeing that not all Legionnaires were "blighted" and that they can be freed from whatever power-sucking system they're hanging from. Any anxiety I might have felt at Cham's contention that Live Wire was "destroyed" (NOT in front of Imra, come on!), is put to rest by the appearance of Invisible Kid, who is supposed to have shared his fate, in the Blight's larder. But man, when you've lost M'Onel, you're pretty screwed. And for me, a good handle on Brainiac 5 is important - he's one of my favorite Legionnaires and not necessarily easy to write - and DnA have got it. He feels like a genius here, one working several levels above the rest of the group. Now WHAT is the vision imparted to XS? I don't know, but for the second week in a row, I just want to marathon through to the next issue!
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 2000/1.
  • Outpost Allon is seen to be destroyed in Apparition's dream/memory.


  1. Great review you too!
    After a time away from Legion due to moving to and settling into a new country, this Storyline was my welcome back and I LOVED it!
    This Storyline and the two Maxis to follow are some of my Legion stories that really seemed to fit into my life at the time.
    Hope you guys enjoy it as much as I did!

  2. I don't deny that the Legion books were needing some new blood and fresh ideas when DnA took over,but their stuff was too grim 'n gritty for the Legion stuff I like to read.The art certainly didn't help in putting the stories over.

  3. I never read this version of the Legion. The stories seem interesting, but, I'm sorry, the art is sloppy, horrible. Muddy, cartoonish, dark...