Thursday, December 12, 2019

Reboot: The Legion #9

The Legion #9 (August 2002)
title: "Baby on Board"
writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
penciller: Stephen DeStefano
inker: Stephen DeStefano
lettering: Comicraft
colorist: Tom McCraw
seps: Digital Chameleon
editor: Mike McAvennie
cover: Olivier Coipel and Andy Lanning
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Apparition, Ultra Boy (dream)

Bard Brunel, Cub Nah, Timber Wolf, Vyrgans, Wimena Wazzo (dream); spaceliner passengers and crew (named: Arkwryte, Gertlbugly, Stevenson)

Leland McCauley/Ra's al Ghul (behind the scenes), Robotica (behind the scenes); a drunk passenger

Unbeknownst to Ultra Boy, Apparition was pregnant when he disappeared into an anomaly and spent a year in a far galaxy. She went to Rimbor to have the child, and fell in with Timber Wolf and his gang. After the birth, having heard that the Lost Legion returned, she and Brin evaded her mother's mercenaries and left on a transport bound for Earth...

On a starliner stalled on its way to Earth, Apparition wakes up from a bad dream in which Ultra Boy and Timber Wolf fight for her attention, a nightmare that ends with a telepathic message: "PAIN-HURT!" She leaves to see the ship doctor about her child's unnatural growth, leaving "Cub" in the hands of babysitter Timber Wolf. As soon as he turns around, the baby has already vanished.
As Tinya walks the ship's halls, she is hit by the telepathic message again, and the shock sends her phasing through the deck to the engine room, where the signal is even stronger. Meanwhile, Timber Wolf has caught his ward's scent and races after the baby, who to his surprise, is using his mother and father's super-powers. Hilarity ensues, in particular when Cub falls into a large drink in the ship bar and is almost drunk by a patron. Brin has to fight the customer after spilling the drink and saving the child, but Cub accidentally destroys the bar and flies off again.
Down below, Tinya is told the ship stalled after a massive warp ship flew by and sent everything out of whack. Unfortunately, no one can enter the engine's inner chamber or touch its McCauley proprietary technology. She convinces the chief engineer to try, but it seems it can't be opened. Not from the outside anyway. Cub shows up and phases inside, at which point the door opens. To their shock and dismay, Tinya and the engineer see what's been driving footstep drives all along: A trio of mutated Vyrgans who have been mentally crying out in pain, a cry heard by Carggites all over the ship. Tinya and Cub, part-Carggite, were drawn to the engine. As the engineers disconnect the poor souls, they pass away, a relief from this wretched existence. They leave Apparition with a vision of what disrupted the voyage - Robotica's forces, headed for Earth. And there's no way to get there in time to help or warn anyone.
Loved the fever dream at the beginning. The best line is clearly “Honey, I’m HOMICIDAL”. It’s too good. I couldn’t stop laughing.
If there’s something The Incredibles taught me, it’s that a super-powered baby is the last thing you should leave unsupervised. It seems like this kid will have to pick and choose his powers like his father. What I’m curious to see is if he will be able to phase while using other powers or if that one is also a power he’ll have to select. If that kid is growing as fast as Tinya seems to think, poor Jo will miss most of the early months/years.
Now what’s with that kiss on page 5? Is Tinya simply thanking him for looking after the baby or is there more to it? I just hope this situation won’t create a rift between husband and wife. Now that they liberated the mutated Vyrgans, and they can’t make it to Earth before Robotica’s forces, I don’t expect we’ll hear about them for another good while. Too bad, I’d like to know what’s happening with the kid.

Despite the downer ending (which gives the story weight), what a fun change of pace! I'm a fan of Stephen DeStefano's cartoony style, all the weird aliens he draws, and his Jetsons homage, but full props to the writers for making the comedy work on its own terms. Shotgun has her favorite line, I have mine. Several of them. If I had to name a winner, it'd be the big mechanical beer drinker in the bar crying "uncle"... Yes, that is what Timber Wolf's become to Cub. And Cub?! Great Lone Wolf and Cub reference, seeing as Brin Londo's very first code name, in the old continuity, was Lone Wolf.
Most of the comedy is otherwise super-powered slapstick, and I think it's notable this came out a year before The Incredibles did, and Jack-Jack's shenanigans were a much bigger part of the more recent sequel anyway. But it's a nice comic book trope going back to at least Superbaby stories in the Silver Age, I'm sure. Apparition is in charge of the drama, and the poor, pathetic Vyrgans we heard about in previous issues get a sad full page reveal. I think this demonstrates Ra's evil much more clearly than the crazy hyper-evolution plot in the main story.
Science Police Notes:  
  • Though indexing sources give the issue's title, its interior pages do not, nor the story's credits.
  • Apparition and Timber Wolf have not been seen since Legion Worlds #6.
  • Tinya's dream takes the form/look of a Jetsons episode.


  1. When someone asks me how finals week went: "PAIN-HURT!"

  2. Why do Carggites get telepathically cried out to by the Vyrgans? They aren't a telepathic race are they?
    I dont

  3. Not sure, because the Vyrgans were modified using Winathian and Carggite DNA, two species that were apparently compatible with the portal-opening abilities of the Vyrgans. Which sounds like nonsense to begin with, but yes, I think there's evidence of low-level telepathic ability between Winathian twins and Carggite triplets. The latter especially normally have the same mind (Triad is a mutant with three distinct personalities). With a bit of DNA manipulation, a telepathic being might result. Portal warping might require a certain measure of ESP (which is how they knew about Robotica) which ties in.

    I could use an explanation myself, but I've read enough DnA stories to know they've probably thought about the ramifications of all those powers pretty intensely.