Thursday, May 2, 2019

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #123

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #123 (January 2000)
title: "Legion of the Damned, Part Three: Damned If We Don't!"
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, M'Onel, Monstress, Saturn Girl, XS

The Doda (flashback)

Atrophos, The Blight, Blighted heroes (Atmos, Elemental Lad, Ferro, Kid Quantum II, Kinetix, Particon, Radion, Spark, Star Boy, Thunder, Ultra Boy, Umbra), Entropy (flashback)

Earth has been taken over by the Blight, strange aliens who possess bio-technology and have the ability to take control of people, including the Legion. As a group of Legionnaires attempts to get into the Stem, the Blight's HQ, XS is inside trying to escape with Saturn Girl...

As XS races out of the Stem with Saturn Girl on her back and the Blighted Legionnaires on her heels, she suffers through a telepathic information dump created by Imra from Blight memories she picked up while a captive. It would seem the Blight started as a super-advanced race, bored after fixing every problem known to them. The dissident Atrophos, unhappy with a limited utopia, made a deal with Entropy itself to gain eternal existence. The price was turning them into the Blight, eternal but in a state of constant decay, a condition that forced them to consume the life energies of all they encountered to keep them alive. Many worlds fell. The Blight became insane. Then, they met the Doda, a benign energy being that left a trail from world to world, entwined with each planet's life force. They corrupted it and turned it into a means of navigating to each of those worlds. When they first came across the Legion, it drew them to Earth and its super-powered life energies. The rest, XS knew.
The two girls come out of the Stem with Blighted heroes on their trail, but Saturn Girl is conscious enough to zap the pursuers mentally. The group of free Legionnaires led by Chameleon join them and together, they head for a secret shelter where they hope not to be found. Meanwhile, M'Onel, a prisoner of the Blight, continually sapped of his strength to fuel their operations, senses they are distracted and snaps his bonds. But before he can escape, Atrophos himself, still leading the Blight, blasts him and renders him insensate. Atrophos has some big plans for M'Onel, he is to help the Blight destroy all life everywhere...
At dawn, Blighted heroes led by one of the Blight find a wounded Blight alien in a heap of garbage. It is actually Chameleon, precursor to a Legion ambush. Though Apparition is momentarily shocked to have to fight one of her friends (Kinetix), the group ultimately prevails and Brainiac 5.1 takes a piece of equipment off the captured Blight. "Fools!" it starts to rant, but Monstress knocks it out. Now armed with a device capable of projecting a Blight identity signature, the group can go into the Stem undetected and destroy the Doda and the Blight's power. Saturn Girl stays silent, but she has plans of her own...
I know they’ve hinted at the issue where we saw those creatures for the first time earlier on, but I didn’t look much into it. To see it back, now I remember, and I remember being wary of them and the problems they would bring. A good old tale of making a deal with the devil. I just can’t get behind the “getting bored because there are no longer any problems” story. Boo-hoo! If there’s one thing I’m certain of, any living creature will always, ALWAYS, find something else to bother them. They will always find something else they need to fix. I also have to say that for a civilization that prides itself for being so advanced, it was a pretty dumb move to strike a deal with an unknown force. Shouldn’t they have known better? Or at least been too proud to seek an outsider’s help to get rid of their very last problem?
For the first time since the very abrupt change in style and tone, we see a semblance of humor brought by Cham when Brainy finally retrieves the piece he needed and Monstress knocked out the Blight. The small team is high on small wins and that’s good. After all, this gloomy tone can’t stay forever, can it? One of the things I loved the most about the comic was how light and fun it could be so I hope it will come back in one way or another. I guess that will also depend on how far Saturn Girl will go in “betraying them”. I sure hope her actions won’t be the downfall of the Blights while also bringing down all the Blighted. That’d be far too big a price to pay to be victorious!
The Secret Origin of the Blight. I'll give it a pass seeing as Atrophos is a "dissident", so he probably wasn't too democratic about the deal he made with Entropy. And Entropy? That's something an old-timey Legion fan usually associates with the Time Trapper. He either lives at the end of time when the universe is dead, or he IS the very manifestation of that entropic state. And the big energy swirl is purple, like his robes. Coincidence?! The Reboot's Time Trapper sure is fond of "testing" the Legionnaires in some way; is this another one?
As for the present-day action, I've got to hand it to the writers, they know how to write super-powers in clever ways. XS' especially. Here, she's accelerating into a state where everything is frozen in space, and she creates debilitating sonic booms. Apparition phases at the right time so that adversaries knock each other out on both sides of her. And even when the powers are used as blunt force, Coipel makes the shot dramatic and intense. Saturn Girl zapping the Blighted. M'Onel breaking free. All quite cool.
Overall, I like the breakneck pace of the issue, kind of surprising given that half of it is a flashback. There's just no letting up, and we don't spend a whole lot of time on planning missions when we can instead show them. The reader is given no indication that the Legion is about to ambush a Blight patrol, we just get into it from the Blight's perspective. Good stuff. Oh, and let me be on record saying there's no way Saturn Girl means to betray the Legion at the end there. She'll probably just find a way to free to Doda instead of destroying it. Or it could have something to do with the nature of Live Wire's fate. Not sure why she has to keep mum about this. We'll see if it's annoying reader manipulation or actually justified in the next issue.
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 2000/2.
  • The last time we saw Radion, half his face had been blown off by Mordru; he apparently got better.
  • Thunder's appearance as one of the Blighted indicates her return to the future wasn't permanent and that she still considers herself part of the Legion.

No comments:

Post a Comment