Thursday, May 23, 2019

Reboot: Legionnaires #81

Legionnaires #81 (March 2000)
title: "Even Horizon"
writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
penciller: Adam DeKraker
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, Element Lad, Ferro, Gates, Invisible Kid, Karate Kid, Kid Quantum II, Kinetix, Live Wire, M'Onel, Monstress, Saturn Girl, Sensor, Spark, Star Boy, Thunder, Triad, Ultra Boy, Umbra, Violet, XS

Amber, Atmos, Chuck Taine, Dreamer, Dune, ERG-1, Insect Queen, Lori Morning (Dialed Hero: Helios), Magno, Marla Latham, Meta, Phrenologax, Repulse, RJ Brande, Wimena Wazzo; UP Ambassadors

Leland McCauley

As Wimena Wazzo initiates impeachment procedures against President RJ Brande for wanting to lift the quarantine on the formerly Blighted worlds, Leland McCauley crows about his new WorkForce, which has flown to the site of a malfunctioning stargate being investigated by a team of Legionnaires. The new, adult WorkForce should be more in line with the wishes of the United Planets council after the tide has turned against the idea of teenage heroes...

The new Workforce - Repulse, Amber, Helios, Dune, and the Daxamite Meta tell the Legion they are relieved, violently, and that they will deal with the stargate. But Brainiac 5.1 is already out there, in a spacesuit. Meta and Helios fly out to meet him, and though Helios asks him to ease off, the Daxamite remains belligerent and says he's going to use his heat vision to burn off whatever the Blight left on the gate, and this despite Brainy's warnings that it might create an implosion that would tear a hole in space-time!
Back on Earth, Star Boy leaves for Xanthu with the Amazers, for Dreamer's safety. The other former Amazers choose to stay. Monstress for the fashions, Kid Quantum to do her brother proud. Apparition finds ERG-1 in medbay, feeling sorry for himself, but she's looking for Ultra Boy who just wakes up from a Blight nightmare. The trauma is real, but hopefully she can take his pain away.
In space, the Legionnaires fight Workforce to regain control of their flying outpost, and win, but Meta blasts the stargate and it indeed implodes, then sends a shockwave through space that disables the WF ship, damages the Legion's, and destroys a fleet of freighters. Meta is quite possibly killed by the event, but Helios survives inside Brainy's quickly-erected force field. But how long can any of them survive before the rift just created starts to pull them in? Invisible Kid sends an S.O.S.
Unbeknownst to this team, things have gone wrong at the UP Council meeting and Ambassador Wazzo wins her vote to suspend the Legion charter. She then successfully impeaches President Brande as well. The Legion are appalled, and Thunder tearfully leaves for her home century, thinking the Legion is over and done with. Then Magno receives Lyle's mayday and they all rally, with Brande's blessing. It doesn't matter what the U.P. has decided. Their friends, and the universe, are in trouble.
Who would’ve thought that McCauley’s team would’ve created a galactic crisis? No surprises here. And now it’s up to the Legion to clean the mess and he probably won’t have to live with the consequences of his actions because that’s how it’s been since the very beginning. How will he escape this time? Pin the blame on his employees who acted on their own? I really hope Brainy’s messages to the outpost were recorded so they can use it as proof of the Workforce tampering with stuff they clearly didn’t understand without listening to any warnings that were sent their way. I just wish McCauley needs to pay for the repairs or receive some sort of punishment for his stupid obsession for power. Leave Brande and the Legion alone and try to improve yourself instead of rising by destroying others...
Now there’s one thing that’s been bothering me. Since McCauley showed a live stream of the Stargate during his address, why didn’t it stay on? If the council really cared about the fate of the Legion’s members, wouldn’t they have asked for the broadcast to stay on and make sure Brainiac 5.1 collaborated? Of course, they don’t care, I’m well aware of that. They just want to get rid of Brande and his team. But even so... how incompetent can the council’s informant be if they’re not made aware of the Workforce member’s impulses that is now threatening the entire solar system. You’d think such a crisis would be brought to their attention right away. I’ll go ahead and assume it was all done simultaneously, the vote and the implosion, but it didn’t really feel that way.
So, Helios... That’s 100% Lori isn’t it? Maybe that’s how they will bring down McCauley. No kids on the payroll amirite?
Or it's like current politics and once you get what you want, those things don't matter anymore. Similarly, why would McCauley keep the feed on (it might be coming from the Workforce ship for all we know) so the UP could see his brutes beat on the teenagers Brande "put in harm's way"? I really don't think it's all gonna get magically fixed that quickly though. Not with both Legion titles ending and some major changes about to be made. These last few issues ("Widening Rifts") are very much about moving things around and setting up a new status quo. One where Brande isn't president, where the Legion isn't empowered by the government, where some characters take center stage and others are shuffled off. Regardless of who stays or goes, in the end, Abnett and Lanning do right by the characters they have now. How well even Chuck and Lyle did against the more powerful Workforce was great fun, for example.
I do think it's odd that Thunder has been hanging around in DnA's issues only to suddenly leave in this one. I felt the previous creative team had given us closure with her story. She's useless here, and her departure is botched by that nigh-unreadable tablet. Come on, Comicraft! The scripting fails the issue in the end even beyond that point. Gates should have something to say as the most political of the group, for one thing. And then there's the whole "I'm wondering why we're even asking the question" followed by "you have to ask?" that's very clumsy indeed. And really? "Let's GO, Legionnaires!" instead of "Long Live the Legion!"? Swing and a miss on what would otherwise be a punch the air moment.
Science Police Notes:  
  • All-inclusive Legion numbering: 2000/5.
  • Though they were seen in shadow in Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #124, the new WorkForce is first seen here. None of the characters have ever appeared before, except for Helios who is secretly Lori Morning.
  • Thunder officially leaves the Legion. (Note that she uses the wrong magic word to return home. She should say "Captain Marvel", not "Shazam".)

Last issue of the Legionnaires series.

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