Tuesday, August 27, 2019

L.E.G.I.O.N. '89 #4

L.E.G.I.O.N. '89 #4 (May 1989)
title: "How to Win Friends and Influence People!"
plot/breakdowns: Keith Giffen
script: Alan Grant
penciller: Barry Kitson
inker: Mark McKenna
letterer: Gaspar
colorist: Lovern Kindzierski
assistant editor: Art Young
editor: Karen Berger
cover art: Kevin Maguire and Al Gordon

Future L.E.G.I.O.N.airres: The Durlan, Garryn Bek, Lyrissa Mallor, Stealth, Strata, Vril Dox.

Their Opponent: Lobo

Recap: After escaping from the Starlog prison, Vril Dox tricked his companions into helping free his people from the Computer Tyrants of Colu. But now their society is in chaos as the Coluans experience free will for the first time. Disgusted with Dox's constant manipulation, Lyrissa Mallor and Garryn Bek depart the planet, but Bek's poor piloting results in him striking and killing a space dolphin. Lyrissa understands the danger this has placed them and the duo return to Colu to seek help from Dox. She realizes that the space dolphins share a special bond with the intergalactic bounty hunter, Lobo.

Vril Dox is trying to repair the damage to the planet's computer network that they caused when they overthrew the Computer Tyrants. The burns he sustained last issue are already starting to heal, but Bek insists Dox is pushing himself too hard and needs to rest. Dox refuses and dismisses his concerns, but does ask if there has been any sign of the Lobo character that Lyrissa is so worried about.
Bek runs into Stealth, who has been observing the population of Colu. The people have all wondered back into their homes and are staring into their computer screens as if they are awaiting commands.

While Bek may not believe that Lobo is coming, the bounty hunter has actually been on Colu for two days searching for him. Because the Coluans have all retreated to their homes, Lobo has not seen any signs of life and has been unable to use the shut down computer system to help locate Bek.
Meanwhile, the Durlan has realized that Dox is planning to replace the Tyrants' programming with his own. He tries to talk his friend out of it, insisting that he is setting himself up as a God, which makes him no better than the Tyrants. Dox claims he is only adding an enhanced charisma perception of himself to make it easier to deal with the population. He claims the program will still instill self-reliance but that the population will still need some sort of direction. When it becomes clear the Durlan is not backing down, Dox attacks, but the Durlan defeats him with little effort. Dox agrees to consider his friend's concerns, which appears to mollify the Durlan, although its obvious Dox does not really intend to change his plans.
Dox implements his program and the Coluans begin their reprogramming. He tells his companions they are no longer needed and are free to go. Elsewhere, Lobo finally encounters a Coluan.
The Durlan goes to check on his friend but Vril has become preoccupied with the dangers the Computer Tyrants and others of their kind pose to the universe. He has decided that the disbanded Green Lantern Corps must be replaced but before he can explain his plans they are interrupted by Lobo. Surprisingly, Vril happily directs the bounty hunter to Bek.
Bek continues to be in denial over how much danger he is in, but when Lobo arrives it is apparent how frightened he has been the entire time.
It takes Lobo almost no time to defeat everyone.
When Lobo is just about to kill Bek, Vril arrives to make a final attempt to stop him, but instead of fighting, he takes a different approach.
Commentary: This issue lets us take a nice breather in some respects, although the story still moves forward quite a bit. The arrival of Lobo was obviously the crux of the issue, and his brutality was startling to me as a teenager when I first read it, even though I also realized even then the satirical angle to how he was handled.

The relationship between the Durlan and Dox finally gets explored a bit more, even if we do not get any answers as to their backstory. Dox will get his way so often in this series that it is nice to see how quickly the Durlan is able to take him down, even if it ends up not availing him anything. It reinforces that while Dox is no slouch when it comes to physical combat, his talents lay in his mind and his ability to manipulate others.

This issue is the first occasion in which we are introduced to Dox's plan to form a new organization to protect the universe, and it is a bit abrupt in-story, being mentioned only a few pages after he dismisses his companions and tells them to go home. But its not too jarring, and gives the reader a clue that Lobo may fit into his plans when Dox decides to make him an offer on the final page. We get a nice but brief showcase of everyones powers when they fight Lobo, although we still have not had too much opportunity to delve into Stealth and Strata yet. It is obvious that Stealth is the more primal of the two and Strata the more peaceful, but thats about it.

I do want to respond to a comment from an earlier post as to why I decided to spoil that Strata was female. This was something that came as a surprise to readers early in the series so I struggled how to handle it in these reviews. But I decided to acknowledge it early for two reasons. The first is practical, in that it is very hard to avoid using pronouns in these reviews. The second is that while it was a surprise reveal early in the series, I was worried that if I referred to Strata as "he" or "him," I would have people correcting me in the comments. So, since our posts are spoiler heavy anyways, it seemed easier to just refer to Strata as "her" early on.

So, in any event, our heroes are still nothing close to a team, but Vril appears to have finally decided that he may have a greater plan and it appears they may be able to play a role. We will find out more next issue!


  1. For me L.E.G.I.ON. starts in this issue, in large part due to the new inker. De Carlo really overpowered Kitson beyond recognition (everyone, actually...) and here he really starts to shine.

  2. The cover is, of course, a riff on the National Lampoon "Dog Cover". https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/1878/8625/products/1117nationlampooncovermn7051101_1024x1024@2x.jpg?v=1493172940