Thursday, October 31, 2019

Reboot: The Legion #3

The Legion #3 (February 2002)
title: "Legion World"
writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
penciller: Olivier Coipel
inker: Andy Lanning
lettering: Comicraft
colorist: Tom McCraw
seps: Digital Chameleon
seps for Guide: Richard and Tanya Horie
editor: Mike McAvennie
cover: Olivier Coipel and Andy Lanning
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Brainiac 5, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Gear, Kid Quantum, Invisible Kid, M'Onel, Saturn Girl, Sensor, Shikari, Spark, Triad, Ultra Boy, Umbra, Violet, Wildfire; in Guide to the DC Universe 2001-2002 Secret Files and Origins only: Star Boy, XS; cameos in both: Apparition, Ferro, Gates, Karate Kid

Chuck Taine, R.J. Brande; in Guide only: Trudy Trusoe

Interdimensional wyrms, Leland McCauley/Ra's al Ghul, Lightning Lord, Mr. Venge; in Guide only: Abyss, Brainstorm, Repulse, Robotica, Twine
The Lost Legionnaires have returned and found the United Planets run by the corrupt President McCauley, except that running from his goons' assassination attempts, they find the decaying corpse of the real McCauley. Then, the other Legionnaires pick them up in the Bouncing Boy...

Boarding the footstep-capable starship stolen by Cosmic Boy on Braal, the Legion Lost is reunited with their friends and brought to Legion World, an artificial planet secretly built by R.J. Brande (with the help of technopath Gear) to house communities from across the United Planets and beyond. It's been hidden in a nebula with the help of Sensor's illusion powers.
In space, M'Onel is being kept busy to he can't get to the Legionnaires, fighting interdimensional wyrms leaking through the closed stargates. When his omnicom is damaged, he finally gets a garbled message from the Legion and heads to Earth to confront McCauley about it. Meanwhile on Winath, Ayla Ranzz is surprised to see a portal open and Shikari and Chameleon jump through it. Brainiac 5 has adapted the threshold technology but only Shikari can navigate it. Ayla was their first order of business so they could inform her of her brother's death.
But some still have hope and a mission is mounted to use the Threshold to go back to Kwai space, first to confirm Garth's death, but also to recruit the Kwai into helping with the effort to set up Legion World and save the U.P. from McCauley. As soon as they return to the Rosette's debris on the other side of the universe, they detect something pulsing like... lightning!
And back on Earth, M'Onel has words with McCauley who suddenly turns on red solar lights and beats the Daxamite unconscious. "McCauley" then calls for Mr. Venge to come and get rid of M'On, letting his holographic facade drop - he is in reality... Ra's al Ghul!
That month in Guide to the DC Universe 2001-2002 Secret Files and Origins #1: A recap of what's been going on in The Legion (and Legion Worlds) through a disingenuous TV interview with President McCauley.

I don’t have a lot to say about the story this time around. I figured we would meet Brande again, that something bigger was being plotted by him – although I certainly never imagined a whole planet – and I had foreseen a reveal regarding McCauley as well. Regarding Brande’s plan, it really struck something in me. That whole artificial planet, it reminded me of the Rosette and Element Lad’s god complex. It just made me feel uneasy. I thought it was quite fitting that Shikari brought Saturn Girl’s team to the Rosette afterward. Now, regarding McCauley, I don’t know how I feel about having Ra’s Al Ghul involved in this. I’m familiar with the character from watching Batman Begins and Gotham, but that’s about it. I know he’s a big deal and it must’ve been quite the reveal for DC fans back then. My reaction was basically “oh... okay...”. Make of that what you will.
I’m sure no one will be surprised to hear me – well, read me – rant about the way they portrayed the female characters in this issue. Honestly, page 1 and I was already concerned with the emphasis that was given to Purple-Triad's boobs. Like, that shirt is so skin-tight it practically defies logic. Then I got to page 5 and I couldn’t look away from Shikari’s boobs that are basically coming out of the poor girl’s neck. They look ridiculous! And finally, of course, we have page 19. Might I remind the artists that THESE ARE TEENAGERS!!! There was absolutely NO reason to see Ayla change at that moment, and in front of her teammates. Sure, some of them wear some pretty revealing costumes, but that was just forced and unnecessary to the point of being inappropriate. I mean FFS, they are going on a mission to find out if her brother really is dead... It baffles me, really. I only mentioned the girls so far but there were also many bulge shots all across this issue. It got to a point where it distracted me from the story and made me feel uncomfortable. I’m just used to better than this.
Hm, I didn't make a sinister connection between Legion World and the Rosette, even if both appear in the story. Honestly, I think the writers just like planetary engineering and associate it with their brand (or Brande, ha!) of science-fiction. R.J.'s social engineering project could create problems, or it could restore the kind of utopianism the Legion was known for before the 5YL era. It does seem rather unrealistic. A year to create this thing? A Legion HQ that's a planet? Since we have Takron-Galtos, the prison planet, we know this is possible in the 30th Century, but it still seems weird. McCauley continues to mirror Brande by having his own terraforming project on the go (on the Moon), and THAT should prove to be sinister.
Or maybe not. The thing about Ra's al Ghul is that he's an eco-terrorist. Taking the long view, he is willing to get rid of much of the human race to preserve mother Earth. Maybe he sees the Moon as a convenient life boat in case Earth falls, but his rebuilding the planet after the Blight seems in keeping with the old Batman villain. His appearance is kind of a paradigm shift for the Legion, perhaps on the order of Darkseid showing up in The Great Darkness Saga. It makes sense, since he's effectively immortal, but he's so associated with Batman that it seems odd to find him here. Vandal Savage might have been another candidate, and a broader villain who has gone up against a variety of heroes. Maybe it would play better. Regardless, it's an indication that DnA would like to play in the greater DC sandbox, please. One wonders if more DC stars will make it to the future.
And yeah, I arched an eyebrow when Ayla took off her shirt (even if I've become inured to all the cheesecake because of too much comics reading). I mean, I've seen the version of Winath where people generally go topless, but we just visited the planet in Legion Worlds and it wasn't like that. So it's just Coipel having his fun. I get you didn't appreciate, Shotgun. I was more disappointed with the lack of reaction from the Legionnaires regarding the people who died in Legion Lost. There are references, and perhaps they're holding out hope that Garth, at least, has survived, but even telling Ayla more or less happens off-panel. Of course, the more distance we put between the events and the present, the less immediate it is for readers who, 8 or 9 months on (as these were originally published), probably just wanted the Legion to get on with it.
Science Police Notes:  
  • The tile of the book and the names of its creators are written in Interlac on the cover.
  • First appearance of Legion World, which will act as Legion HQ during this era.
  • Legion World's decloaking password is "Pol", which is the name of Cosmic Boy's brother.
  • Legion World's resident engineer is Gear, a young hero we met back in Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #117 (last seen #119). He is considered a member of the team from this point on.
  • It appears this is where Sensor has been during the missing year.
  • Kid Quantum II changes her look to a close-cropped hair style in this issue.
  • The issue reveals the Leland McCauley impostor is Batman villain Ra's al Ghul (just when the switch occurred is unknown, but at least since the one-year-later time frame.


  1. In one way I can see the point re Ayla changing, but I honestly find it refreshing that some species/cultures shown in sci-fi can actually not have hangups about their bodies and who sees them.
    The norm should not always be the slightly prudish north American view or value system. Something a tad more European(I know not ALL Europe but I spent time on my O/E in my younger days with and around people who would change just as Ayla did and nary an eyebrow was raised).
    I do see the point about them being teenagers, although again they are sexually active with thoughts of marriage in the air for at least one couple with their little bub.
    I was floored with the Ra's reveal when I first read, though agree Vandal Savage would probably have been a better fit(I didn't think the Lazarus pits were able to be continuously used for a thousand years-wasn't Ra's running out of time in the Bat books of the time?).
    Anyway sorry for such a long comment.
    You two were great as always and looking forward to next week already

  2. Sim, you have a point that if the founders are the oldest Legionnaires and two of them were engaged, and we're one year later than before, and Ayla is a founder's twin, she's at least 18, but I'll go to bat for SG and say the intent isn't really to show "other cultures" as much as just doing cheesecake for the teenage boys. It is pretty gratuitous.

    And yeah, Ra's was always having problems with the Pit, though he somehow always came back, so 1000 years later, why not.

  3. I kind of wonder if it was meant to be Vandal and editorial suggested a villain from the Bat books in a hope to draw more readers. It’s a little disappointing, honestly, even Ra’s, the biggest Bat villain in terms of scale just doesn’t feel “big” on the level that Vandal would have... or Darkseid or Mordu or Glorith... or even Brainaic, which would have had more of an impact for Brainy.