Wednesday, January 29, 2020

L.E.G.I.O.N. '90 #22

L.E.G.I.O.N. '90 #22 (December 1990)
title: "Starrdoom"
writer: Alan Grant
penciller: Jim Fern
inker: John Nyberg
letterer: Gasper Saladino
colorist: Lovern Kindzierski
editor: Art Young
cover art: Gary Leach and Lovern Kindzierski
review by: Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane

Recap: Lyrissa Malor is dead. The heart of the team has been murdered by her own daughter. The one person who could temper Vril Dox's dark side and keep the team united in the face of his more cold-blooded tendencies is gone. Brainwashed by the Computer Tyrants of Colu, her daughter Lydea was convinced her mother was evil and had to be destroyed. The last issue ended with a vision of Lyrissa passing away, but some readers likely hoped it was misleading and she would recover. That was not to be.

Strata is heartbroken and angry over Lyrissa's death, and looking to take her frustrations out on Dox. When he explains that the Computer Tyrants' brainwashed her daughter into committing the murder, Strata storms off seeking revenge. One of their newest members, Garv, suggests they follow, but Captain Comet explains that they hold back because this is not L.E.G.I.O.N. business. Its personal.
Elsewhere, on Talok VIII, Garryn Beck and Marij'n battle Mr. Starr, the heroic disguise of the Computer Tyrants. But it is not going well.
The team follows Strata and is rushing to confront Mr. Starr. Dox has sent Lady Quark ahead and she seems to be experiencing some success until he flies her into the Sun. The power of the solar rays is too much for Lady Quark and Mr. Starr takes advantage of the distraction.
Bek and Marij'nn observe Lady Quark plummeting from the sky and use the power of the Eye to rescue her. The L.E.G.I.O.N. arrives and Strata leaps from their ship to attack Mr. Starr. Lobo and Phase join her but its not clear if their power is enough.
Dox uses the distraction of their attack to jump Mr. Starr and jam a disrupter into his neck. While Mr. Starr writhes in pain, Dox commands Lady Quark, Beck, and Marij'n to unleash their full power.
Once the team awakens from the blast, Dox explains that he knew the radiation released would be mainly in a form harmless to them. Bek and Marij'n awaken horrified to discover that the Eye is missing. 
Meanwhile, Stealth has found sanctuary at a distant planet and awaits the birth of her child.
Overall, this was a fairly satisfying tale of the team avenging Lyrissa's death. One of the problems of mainstream monthly comics is that its always hard to be convinced that characters, particularly villains, will stay dead. While the death of Lyrissa had a sense of finality, the death of Mr. Starr seemed more like the traditional death of a comic book villain who will eventually return. That dynamic always makes a resolution like this, no matter how fun, ring a bit hollow.

This is especially true since the Mr. Starr identity of the Computer Tyrants of Colu has increasingly felt more like the classic Legion of Superheroes villain Pulsar Stargrave. I have not mentioned that connection before because I wanted to let readers see if they picked it up on their own, but the similarities certainly suggest a connection. To the extent this is or is not followed up on we will see as we go along, but the connection jumps out to readers.

The resolution to this storyline moves to so quickly that it leaves little else to comment on, but there are a few points worth mentioning. Strata only grows more likable as we see her anger and sadness at the loss of her friend. Lady Quark has started to feel like a natural member of the team, although so far her presence seems to be a convenient way for the creators to use her defeat in battle as a way to emphasize the danger of whatever enemy they face. 

We were also teased with a brief appearance of new L.E.G.I.O.N. member Garv, who will go on to play an important role. But we will save that discussion for later. For now, lets reflect on the loss of Lyrissa and what it may mean for the team. As I mentioned last time, she represented an important counterpoint to Vril Dox's vision for the team. Without her influence, what will happen to Vril Dox and the L.E.G.I.O.N.? Please join me next week as we start to see the fall out of her absence.


  1. I always liked Garv. And I did pick up on the Pulsar Stargrave link back then.

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