Thursday, June 13, 2019

Reboot: Legion Lost #2

Legion Lost #2 (June 2000)
title: "Enigma Variations"
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, Kid Quantum II, Live Wire, Monstress, Saturn Girl, Ultra Boy, Umbra

Shikari; in flashback: Atom'X, Insect Queen, Monstress' father

Loke, Progeny

A group of Legionnaires has been sent to another part of the universe by an exploding stargate. Put in stasis by a now missing Element Lad, they have just been freed by Shikari, an alien girl trying to escape the xenophobic Progeny. But a massive Progeny ship has just found them...

The piece of the Legion Outpost our heroes are clinging to is taken into the Progeny ship where Saturn Girl takes the lead and instructs the team on how to get out of this situation. First, though Brainiac 5.1 stays aboard to coordinate, the rest of the Legionnaires (and Shikari) escape the bay under Umbra's cover of darkness. They then split up, but Live Wire soon discovers the flight rings are inoperable. This is going to be more difficult than they bargained for.
Shikari uses her tracking sense to lead one team to the ship's propulsion systems, while the others fight their way to the bridge. On their way to the engines, the first team crosses a recycling facility where "variants" - any being who is not Progeny - is turned into energy. Though Chameleon pushes the group to move on, Monstress makes a case for them staying and rescuing the beings being processed. Shikari decides to stay and help her while the others go ahead to the engines. Monstress explains how she was once a member of the 1%, disfigured and empowered when the gene-bomb a downtrodden worker threatened her father with exploded. Then rejected by her family, she found another among the heroes of her world, vowing to stamp out prejudice and class inequity. This inspires Shikari and they move on the Progeny.
Meanwhile, the rest of the team finds the engines and Kid Quantum degrades the fuel with her powers, disabling the ship. Saturn Girl's team reaches the bridge and confronts Loke, the ship's captain, who has never seen Variants like them. They demand navigational charts, supplies and a transport so they can get home, and when Loke refuses, they take what they need. Down below, Monstress and Shikari are appalled to find Loke quickly gave the order to have all Variants in custody killed. They saved no one. As the Legionnaires leave on a Progeny cruiser with their Outpost in tow, Loke commits suicide for having failed, though only after calling for reinforcements to scour the sector and wipe these new Variants from the universe. Still not knowing where to go, the Legion heads for Shikari's "brief-home", where the nomadic trackers might be able to help them find home.
Ooof... That was heavy stuff we’ve learned from reading this. I wasn’t expecting to get some back story anymore but it’s true that we never learned about Monstress’ origins. What a terrible fate she had to endure. I think it’s very fitting to present her as a child of privilege that stood for her beliefs and had to pay for it. I’m just sorry she thinks the reason her father couldn’t face her was because of “his failure”, when I’m sure it’s most likely that he was ashamed of her appearance. I might be wrong, especially since we’ve only had a couple of panels to get to know him, but he still struck me as someone who values material and appearance over personality and values.
I’ve openly stated that I’m a fan of Monstress. I think she’s fun and silly and it makes for a nice change when compared to more serious – if not simply dull – characters like Brainy and Umbra. I generally love her cheerful attitude, so I must admit I’m already missing it. I can’t blame her for being down though. They are so far from home with no clear plans in order to get back and the Progeny are twisted vile creatures. After all the horrors she witnessed, I’m impressed by her strength, being able to stop herself from hurting them. I think she and Shikari will make a nice duo. I hope we will get to see more of them working together.
As the issue is partly told from Candi's point of view, we can see there was always a more introspective person hiding behind the valley girl attitude, probably as a means of coping with what she calls her disfigurement. Now the facade is falling apart in because her world is. She just can't maintain it anymore. I do like that her motivation is more than just thrill of adventure and actually responsibility of power, something she exhibited even before she was given super powers. The Legion means something, and those values have to be held onto more tightly than ever so far from home.
Which brings me to Saturn Girl. Even if the Progeny are committing genocide, not just demanding but outright TAKING a ship and provisions from them seems an act of piracy, unbecoming of the Legion. Saturn Girl has a history of pushing the rules to the limit, or at least, under-explaining herself, but it looks pretty cut and dried. Oh crap. She's the Captain Janeway, isn't she? Lots of questionable decisions as the ends increasingly justify the means. Eep! And here I was all distracted by Umbra being a jerk. Imra is a lot more dangerous.
Overall, another good issue. The stakes are high. The situation desperate. Some good character development (the smaller cast is helpful in this respect). Sometimes the art is less than clear, but generally, Coipel has a progressively better handle on the characters and brings them alive.
Science Police Notes:  
  • This issue is told from Monstress' point of view.
  • This issue shows Monstress' origin story for the first time (some of the information was previously given as text in Legion of Super-Heroes Secret Files and Origins #2). A gene-bomb figures in that origin, a link to the crossover event Invasion!
  • The flight rings fail and are thus not a part of this series.
  • In response to the Interlac featured in the previous issue, an alphabet decoder key is published in the letters' page.


  1. These issues sound much better than I remember. I forgot the Monstress origin and it really helps to set her apart from her She-Hulk comparison. Shikari's powers here really feel like a mix between Dawnstar and Sensor Girl but I'm ok with that. I feel like DNA were really invested in their female characters.

  2. The thing I LOVE about this series is how each issue is "narrated" by a different character, with the story being told (for the most part) from that character's POV. It really allows DNA to show us in depth how our heroes cope (or not) with the stress of being marooned in a hostile galaxy. And of course, having 10 Legionnaires (including Shikari) crammed into that small shuttle-craft will do wonders for their post-Blight PTSD (Umbra's and Ultra Boy's in particular).

  3. It's funny, at the time I didn't care for the series (not only wasn't it 'my' Legion, even though I enjoyed the 2nd iteration of the team a great deal, but it was far too dark), but your reviews, plus the distance of time, have made me want to reread it based solely on its own merits, and not compared to what had gone on before. And I will say that there are several twists that seemed cool even then, in the coming months.

    Though I still don't care for Copiel's art.

  4. It took me a while to warm up to the art as well. I would not want this team doing the main book. But considering the premise of them being so far away from home, that radical change in art style is okay. Not my favorite, but it works.

    The POV treatment is a real treat here in the limited series format. I especially got a kick of Tinya's "perspective" coming up soon. It would be ungainly to do it on the regular book with literally dozens of regular characters waiting for a turn. But here, it works.

    Sad thing is, as lost as Candi feels the Legions is now, it gets SO much worse for the team. This Legion is indeed so very lost.

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