Thursday, May 16, 2019

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #124

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #124 (February 2000)
title: "Childhood's End"
writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
penciller: Angel Unzueta
inker: Jaime Mendoza
lettering: Comicraft
colorist: Tom McCraw
editor: Mike McAvennie
cover: Olivier Coipel & Andy Lanning
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Brainiac 5.1, Cosmic Boy, Element Lad, Invisible Kid, Live Wire, M'Onel, Saturn Girl, Star Boy, Thunder, Triad, Umbra, Violet

Chuck Taine, Dreamer, Lori Morning, Magno, Marla Latham, Proty, R.J. Brande, Wimena Wazzo; medical personnel, refugees, U.P. ambassadors, adult Workforce (unseen)

Amelia Crugg, The Blight (flashback), Leland McCauley; McCauley employees

The Legion has just defeated the Blight, but the stargates are still closed and the seven planets that were under alien domination for a month are still suffering...

Live Wire relives the moment he was shot with choke weed, how he was sent down into the Stem's subterranean root system to be slowly digested, along with similarly rebellious friends. He also relives how the Stem died and released them, but then it turns into a nightmare, a desiccated hand reaches for him--and he wakes up in the hospital. A scream gets him out of bed. It's Dreamer, her visions of disaster worse since the Blight was destroyed, not better. Star Boy is taking her to Xanthu when the Amazers leave Earth, so she can be safe. Garth understands. He next comes across Umbra, traumatized at having been under the Blight's spell, and having enjoyed it on some level.
At last he reaches Operations Control where President Brande and Saturn Girl are talking to Vice-President Wazzo. It seems the United Planets council has decided to keep the stargates closed and quarantine the seven Blighted planets in case there's still a risk of contamination, even though those worlds (as we see, Earth included, and the Legion being on the outs with the population for what they did under Blight control doesn't allow them to do as much as they want to) desperately need help and supplies. Brande's use of the under-aged Legion is still a bone of contention between them as well. Except a Legion team has already left to inspect the stargates for booby traps aboard a disused Science Police mobile platform.
Aboard, Chuck Taine bristles are the terrible equipment, but it gets the team where it needs to go. There's something wrong with the stargate to the outer planets, but hard to say what it is without opening it. They ask for permission. Back at Lunabase, Leland McCauley is getting rid of all the under-aged operatives in Workforce (except Lori who can fake it) before showing up at Brande's hearing before the U.P. Antagonistic towards the President who invented the technology that allowed the Blight to gain a foothold in U.P. territory. They've even revoked his veto and won't grant permission for the Legion to open a stargate. McCauley shows up like a savior, his new adult Workforce already en route to the stargate. The Legion is asked to stand down, but Brainy's already gone out in a spacesuit, permission be damned.
The new artistic style of the series is perfect to address the sadness, fear and desperation left after the Blight crisis. I'm SO glad they took the time to present the rehabilitation of the Legionnaires, the public's reaction to their presence and the political aspect of dealing with a crisis. I feel everything was played perfectly and it hit very close to home. As a member of our Regional Emergency Action Committee, I can tell that what's been portrayed in this issue is basic survival instinct. The mistrust that follows any emergency operation is just a normal reaction that unfortunately can be so hurtful for first responders and anyone else involved in the relief effort. Saturn Girl should know the hate the public threw at the Legion is simply due to their fear of going back to the terrible way things used to be. People get wary of anyone willing to help them, thinking they must have ulterior motives.
Same goes for world leaders trying to pin the blame on someone. That's a very normal and very human reaction to have, but that never helped anyone get back on their feet. Their obsession with Brande's stargates is so real. it gets me all frustrated. Can't we just move on and deal with more pressing matters instead of fighting among ourselves? There's so much to be done but no... Let's find a scapegoat! On top of it, let's accuse someone that had nothing to do with the assailants except being the owner of the means they used to travel... People, amirite??! McCauley's presence at the meeting and his team's at the newly improvised outpost is stressing me out. He always hated Brande, but what twisted plan does he have now to outshine him. And what horror will he trigger while doing so? I hope Brainy's able to fix the problem and prove that the Legion is not only useful but also essential to ensure the safety of all.
It's true. This is some good aftermath material, showing the real consequences of what the Blight wrought. We find out how Live Wire survives the choke weed, but he may have PTSD. Umbra, who was perhaps most recognizable even when Blighted, feels the guilt most powerfully. The Legionnaires in the field, faced with angry refugees, react defensively or compassionately, according to their natures. It makes sense. As does the team sent to the stargate: The two best scientists, the engineer, and the kid who can make the element stargates run on. DnA have thought this through.
And then there are the political opportunists. Wimena Wazzo, I think, is a bit too strident, and the weakest part of the issue. She's harping on the same talking points she did when the Legion was in its infancy, and the writers haven't moved her forward. As a result, she feels like a caricature. I wish we'd gotten some retroaction from the ambassadors of worlds now quarantined. They're part of the United Planets, and this is a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented proportion. Why aren't they fighting this? And here comes McCauley, the man who has always wanted what RJ Brande had, whatever that might be, making last minute changes to his operation just so he can be the right alternative at exactly the right time. I smell an impromptu election...
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 2000/4.

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