Friday, January 31, 2020

Reboot: The Legion #16

The Legion #16 (March 2003)
title: "Five Reasons to Call in Sick"
writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
penciller: Kev Walker
inkers: Andy Lanning and Al Milgrom
lettering: Comicraft
colorist: Jason Wright
seps: Digital Chameleon
editor: Stephen Wacker
cover: Kilian Plunkett and Tanya Horie
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Gates, Kid Quantum II, M'Onel, Saturn Girl, Sensor, Shikari, Spark, Star Boy, Timber Wolf, Triad, Ultra Boy, Violet, Wildfire, XS


Fatal Five (Emerald Eye of Ekron, Empress, Mano, Persuader, Tharok, Validus)

While trying to move Tharok to a prison world, the Legion is waylaid by the Fatal Five, and it's Timber Wolf's first mission...

The Fatal Five think they've defeated all the Legionnaires guarding Tharok, but Timber Wolf is hiding and licking his wounds. They awaken Tharok, and fill him in on their plan. They need him to unlock their shared DNA print-protected stash, and as the Emerald Eye keeps the spaceport and its alarms on lockdown, Mano prepares to send a destructive wave into the facility that will detonate once they've taken off.
However, Timber Wolf has stolen a key component of their drive and now the Fatal Five must go hunting for him. One by one, he defeats the Empress, Mano and the Persuader, then before Tharok can make Validus kill one of the downed Legionnaires, Brin throws the Persuader's Atomic Axe at the Eye and disrupts its null field. Next thing you know, the alarm has been sounded and the rest of the Legionnaire show up to clean up what's left.
That mission gave Timber Wolf a chance to prove himself within the Legion’s ranks. It makes sense to give him the spotlight, but it doesn’t make sense to me that the others would be so easily defeated, especially since they’re fighting villains they know very well, and the Eye has been weakened by the Blight. Wait... I guess Shikari never fought them, nor did Wildfire have the pleasure. But even so, that just makes it more confusing in my opinion. Knowing Tharok was the one being transported, why not send a team of Legionnaires with experience against the Fatal Five? Shikari needed to be there for the threshold, but that’s pretty much it. Also, XS is the one who gets taken out the fastest, and very easily too. Rookie mistake from Quantum Kid perhaps?
Another thing that doesn’t make sense is the decision from the Fatal Five to keep the Legionnaires alive. I guess they should be renamed the Not-So-Fatal Five. The bargaining chip thing doesn’t even do it for me. Keep maybe one alive, not all of them. You’ll just get in more trouble if they come to. Also, seems to me the Not-So-Fatal Five had a pretty solid plan to ensure no one would disturb them. So why fear for the rest of the team to show up? Were they doubting their own ability to defeat a couple of kids? I never feared for the Legion, because there was no way they would kill Timber Wolf’s teammates during his first big heroic mission. So yeah, that story felt pretty underwhelming to me.
Although he’s a rough guy from Rimbor, you can tell Timber Wolf is a softy. He cares about the well-being of his friends and teammates, he cares about following the Legion’s code and he wants to be accepted within the team, to belong to something. He’s smart and resourceful and a fun character all around. I love him! Despite what my stupid phobia of wolves would indicate, I actually love the guy.
I don't disagree with your nitpicks, but they didn't bother me. I'm so used to the comics tropes at play, I take them for granted. This is basically just one big fight, and it's an underdog story, which I like. I'm reminded of my favorite Avengers comic in which Hawkeye fights alone to rescue all the Avengers from the Collector. Timber Wolf uses his wits as much as his fighting ability, and earns the place he already has on the team. Cool stuff, even if it means others don't shine as brightly as they should.
The other thing I like is how the issue mirrors the previous one. In The Legion #15, the captions were on a pad written by Kid Quantum. In this one, we read Timber Wolf's mission report. It's still a slim issue, because there's no room for continuing subplots, and we don't even really know what the Fatal Five would have done if they'd succeeded. The stakes are something musty. But Brin still gets a good joke at the end there re: his rival Ultra Boy's survival...
...and I really like the splash page (shown above somewhere) of the Legion coming to the rescue, in particular Chameleon's crab claws and Violet just peeking out of the threshold.

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