Thursday, November 7, 2019

Reboot: The Legion #4

The Legion #4 (March 2002)
title: "Moon Rise"
writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
penciller: Olivier Coipel
inker: Andy Lanning
lettering: Comicraft
colorist: Tom McCraw
seps: Digital Chameleon
editor: Mike McAvennie
cover: Olivier Coipel and Andy Lanning
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Brainiac 5, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Gates, Gear, Kid Quantum II, Invisible Kid, M'Onel, Saturn Girl, Sensor, Shikari, Spark, Star Boy, Triad, Ultra Boy, Umbra, Violet, Wildfire, XS

Chuck Taine, Cill, Kinetix, the Kwai, R.J. Brande; Carggite, Winathian and Vyrgan prisoners

Darren, Leland McCauley/Ra's al Ghul, Mr. Venge, Robotica; McCauley employees, Science Police

The Legion has moved into R.J. Brande's latest project, Legion World. One sub-team has gone to Kwai-Space (where the Legion was Lost for a year) to get help from Shikari's people the Kwai, and simultaneously look for Live Wire. Gates is still missing, presumed dead. Star Boy and XS were last seen on Xanthu fighting Robotica. And President McCauley, revealed to be Ra's al Ghul in disguise, has M'Onel captive and is preparing to terraform the Moon as part of a more sinister plan...

Cruel guard Darren walks into Earthgov's Footstep Drive Research Annex, telling (well, gloating really) that this is the last day, for tomorrow everything changes once President McCauley terraforms the Moon. Passing by Carggite and Winathian cells, he walks into Gates'. Trapped in a dampening field that prevents him from jumping away, he's been experimented on for the past year. But the power goes out suddenly, he knocks Darren out, and walks out of his cell where... the Legion is releasing all the prisoners! He explains the footstep engine is actually driven by Vyrgan slaves whose latent teleporting powers have been unlocked thanks to Gates' DNA, decimating Vyrga before the program started kidnapping other potentially adaptable species.
Meanwhile, the team in Kwai-Space discovers the electrical activity it detected wasn't Live Wire by a planetoid of active tromium. Suddenly, Kwai warriors attack! On Xanthu, Robotica feeds on a dead planet, but Star Boy and XS are still there destroying drones as they land.
Ra's al Ghul is preparing to terraform the Moon and "change everything" (riots in the streets indicate a lot of people don't believe this is a good thing), hinting at only his chosen moving forward, and he tries to convince M'Onel to join him, since he feels a kinship with this fellow architect (the Seeder of Worlds). M'Onel refuses, so Ra's shoots him with a gun, leaving only a bruise. He returns later, when the red solar lights have sapped more of the Daxamite's strength, to shoot him again. At the same time, Earthgov's Science Police corner the Legion and are ordered to fire on them, and an Earthgov fleet finds Legion World and seems to destroy it.
After reading this, I almost feel out of breath. We went to so many places, met numerous familiar faces I had almost forgotten about and while some answers were provided, it all ends up creating more questions. I’m not mad though. While the story was told from several different points in space, it didn’t get too hard to follow. And regarding the new questions that appeared, the good news is, we won’t have to wait too long to get our answers.

Let’s be real, if the writers decided to keep XS and Star Boy alive after they were left behind in such a place, there’s no way they kill Kinetix, M’Onel or anyone that’s on Legion World. I was pleased to see them both still on Xanthu, fighting in the hope of slowing Robotica’s progress to the rest of the U.P. I was also glad to see Gates alive, but if there was anyone who didn’t need a reminder of how cruel and inhuman the system can be, it’s him. I was afraid he would bear a lot more animosity toward his teammates for “abandoning” him. I’m glad it wasn’t the case and he was able to give valuable information to Brainiac. My biggest concern is for the group in Kwai-Space. Who knows how much time has passed between the destruction of the Rosette and the group’s return? Why are the Kwai suddenly ready to fight when Shikari couldn’t convince them before? Add those questions to the pile.
I love a good cliffhanger, so this issue really ended well for me. I could feel the urgency when reaching the last pages and it motivates me to keep on reading. While I don’t feel like anyone’s life is really threatened by what is happening, I’m still interested in seeing how everyone will manage to escape their situation. Oh, one last thing: Shout out to Ra’s Al Ghul for avoiding the names of 20th-Century heroes. The Icon, the Detective, the Amazon Queen, we all know who they are, but I love when it’s not too on the nose.
To be fair, he always called Batman "Detective". He's so pretentious. But yeah, nice to see Gates made it, as he's a favorite, at least from a design point of view. I connect with him as an activist, though he's always been a little too grouchy in practice. He was abused, but his people were massacred in Ra's quest for teleporters, and the open question is, if the Legion discovered the footprint-capable ship they stole was run by a captive Vyrgan, how have they kept using it this short while? Has the Vyrgan agreed? Is it part of the machinery and nothing can be done to get it out of there? It's a bit more than creepy.
One of the things I'm kind of surprised you haven't mentioned since the new book started is the costume redesigns (considering your Legion adventure started with basically commenting the looks of all the Legionnaires). Kid Quantum changed her hair last issue, Triad now has a different costume, and so does Umbra. The last two are effectively ditching the Legion uniform look in favor of something more personalized (and in Triad's case, without Umbra's "I lost my powers" justification". It looks like the writers and artist want to get away from a standardized look for the Legionnaires. I wonder who else will get a new wardrobe. Call Kinetix! I hear she's free!
And yes, great cliffhangers, three in one, beautifully edited together to make them seem as one. Although, never trust a truly terrifying cliffhanger when Sensor's around. The M'Onel blood spatter is shockingly real though.
Science Police Notes:  
  • The same way Ra's al Ghul has always referred to Batman as the Detective, he calls Superman the Icon, and Wonder Woman, the Amazon Queen.
  • Swan Boulevard is a reference to Legion artist Curt Swan.
  • Gates is shown to be alive; he has been missing since Legion Lost #1.
  • The issue features new looks for Triad and Umbra; Kid Quantum changed her look in the previous issue.

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