Thursday, December 19, 2019

Reboot: The Legion #10

The Legion #10 (September 2002)
title: "Thresholds"
writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
penciller: Kev Walker, Kalman Andrasofszky, Olivier Coipel
inker: Andy Lanning
lettering: Comicraft
colorist: Jason Wright
seps: Digital Chameleon
editor: Mike McAvennie
cover: Olivier Coipel and Andy Lanning
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

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

Admiral Jesker, Chuck Taine, Kinetix, Mekt Ranzz, R.J. Brande, Sharn Nux, Shvaughn Erin, Trudy Trusoe, Vigo Toosalembli, Wimena Wazzo; Deep-Corp, the Kwai, Science Police, Terrorforms

Mr. Venge, Ra's al Ghul, Robotica (behind the scenes), Tharok

The Legion just got rid of Ra's al Ghul's reign of terror on Earth, but Robotica is heading for the planet just as Legion World has found itself stuck in orbit.

Thanks to threshold technology and Kwai pathfinders, instantaneous travel in space has become possible. On day one of our story, the Legion rescues XS and Star Boy from a devastated Xanthu, bringing Science Police relief for the survivors with them. Wimena Wazzo becomes President of the United Planets. Meanwhile, on Cosmic Boy's recommendation and to her great surprise, Kid Quantum is elected Legion leader. Brainiac 5, Saturn Girl and Spark - now calling herself Live Wire - are not big fans of the decision. Ayla in particular will tend to question orders. Umbra leaves for Talok VIII to see about her lost powers, Live Wire to Winath briefly to tell her family about Garth's fate. And then there are the Terrorforms, who have positioned themselves in orbit like a protective ring.
On day two, the Coluans resume contact with the U.P. as it now recognizes the Robotican threat. They send an expert to Legion World in the form of the arrogant Sharn Nux. Ultra Boy and Saturn Girl, awkward since they kissed in a galaxy far, far away, finally admit they don't love each other but were scared of hurting the other person by saying so. President Wazzo gives the Legion the lead in a task force combining the team's talents with those of the military (Deep Corp) and the Science Police to stop Robotica, now that it's been revealed the enemy force will be there in 15 hours rather than the projected 6 months. And in S.P. maximum security, Mr. Venge gains access to Tharok and infects him with something that engulfs him in tech.
On day three, the task force is deployed to the outskirts of Earth's system, but when Robotica is set to arrive, there's just a flash of light. Next thing they know, Legion World is calling for help. Earth has turned... into a machine!
We're able to enjoy a very short moment of calm before the attack. Seeing the team getting to Xanthu, I first thought the Legion was on a mission to get their missing members with the help of the Kwai, but it's just a happy result. XS' reaction to finally seeing teammates she thought were completely lost was a big highlight of this story. It made me go “aaawwww”. So, you know, I was looking forward to Jo being reunited with his wife and son too! This will be quite the shock for the new father. Definitely looking forward to this, even though I expect lots of friction between Jo and Timber Wolf.

Venge releases Tharok and the Robotica fleet simply disappears and the Earth turns into a machine? Again, Venge is proving to be the real troublemaker. Where were the Terrorforms when this change happened to the planet? Did they leave because they foresaw it happening and wanted it to go through? Maybe this is the new evolutionary state they were brought to life for. I wonder what happened to the residents of Earth when the switch happened. Haven't they gone through enough trauma already? The Blight, the threat of the rift, the terrorforming, and now this... They better put in place some serious PTSD treatment if they want the population to be able to overcome all that.
A short breather before we get into some crazy action, the writers do a lot of house cleaning here, and we're seeing the end of a number of things that had been started with the previous creative team. Wimena Wazzo no longer mistrusts the Legion, because that would have been annoying going forward. They don't seem to have liked the name Spark much either, because Ayla becomes the second Reboot Legionnaire to take the name of a dead colleague (I know I never call Violet Leviathan, but that's technically her name currently). And they close loops on their own stories as well. The Kwai seem content to be guides for the entire United Planets. Jo and Imra won't be part of some love triangle. XS and Starboy are back. R.J. Brande takes to the shadows. And Mekt won't become a jealous villain after all. Sometimes, the Legion is so large, it spawns more subplots than it knows what to do with. I think DnA fell into this trap just as the previous guys did.
I really want to talk about Kid Quantum as leader. First, it's SHOCKING how few non-white characters have been Legion leader (see Science Police Notes), so it's some nice diversity. I like that Cosmic Boy can point to a moment when he saw it in her, but also that not everyone's on board (as after every election). Jazmin's done some growing up since the early days when she was a bit of a loose cannon, and a majority of Legionnaires have recognized that. She does well, putting Spark/Live Wire in her place, questioning President Wazzo, and making logical decisions. She also has humility and feels a little shaky about all this. Plus, gotta love the banter with her cohorts. Not just her either, there are some fun, and some human, bits peppered throughout. The Coluan expert may prove particularly entertaining, especially if they're teasing a prior relationship with Brainy (sadly, Sharn Nux is one of very few characters Day Two artist Kalman Andrasofszky can draw properly. Oh well.
Science Police Notes:  
  • Spark takes the name Live Wire to honor her brother in this issue.
  • Kid Quantum II becomes Legion leader, the first character unique to the new continuity ever to do achieve such a position. She is also the Legion's first black leader, and a black woman at that. In fact, the only non-white character to ever hold the title was Brainiac 5 way back in Adventure Comics #337, unless you count Karate Kid who has on-and-off been pictured as Asian.
  • Chuck Taine makes a reference to excitedly bouncing around, invoking his role in a previous continuity as Bouncing Boy.
  • The Deep-Corp flagship is called the Samuel Lane, after Lois Lane's father. His name has apparently survived a thousand years.
  • Point

This is the first issue of a main Legion book without a credit for Tom McCraw as colorist since Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #1, marking the end of a 13-year relationship with a title that predates his co-writing it through the first phase of the Reboot era.