Wednesday, February 19, 2020

L.E.G.I.O.N. '91 #25

L.E.G.I.O.N. '91 #25 (March 1991)
title: "Doomsday"
plot: Barry Kitson and Alan Grant
writer: Alan Grant
penciller: Barry Kitson
inker: Kim DeMulder
letterer: Gaspar Saladino
colorist: Lovern Kindzierski
editor: Art Young
cover art: Gary Leach
review by: Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane

Recap: After the death of Lyrissa Mallor, Dox used her memory to inspire the L.E.G.I.O.N. He also decided to direct their attention towards a new menace, the Khundian Empire, which is at war with the Dominion. He answered a call for help from the planet Ogen, which was being terrorized by the Khunds. They freed the planet but this was just a first step in confronting their empire. Meanwhile, Marij'n was horrified to discover the experiments that Dox was performing on Lydea Mallor to free her from the Computer Tyrant's brainwashing.

This issue opens with a gladiatorial battle between a Khund commander and an insubordinate soldier. After the commander kills the soldier, he reports to Emperor Varkan, who wants a report on the construction of their doomsday weapon. The scientist they abducted, Professor Rn'Tnt'N (!!), is cooperating, with some encouragement.
The device, named the Varkin Doomsday Device of course, will warp the gravity field of a planet beyond all known stress factors and push it out of existence. Meanwhile, on planet Ogen, Lady Quark and most of the L.E.G.I.O.N. are disgusted to watch Lobo as he gambles and flirts with dancing girls in the aftermath of their victory. Telepath mentions that the planet may be doomed after what he read in the captured Khund's mind and Bek thinks they should stay out of the affair because the Khunds and the Dominion are legally at war.
Bek almost confronts Lobo about his behavior but Lady Quark stops him. She says that the one thing she learned from her short acqaintance with Lyrissa Mallor was to discourage team infighting. At the same time, Strata gets a call from Marij'n, who is concerned about Dox's experiments on Lyrissa's daughter. He is trying to deprogram her from the brainwashing of the computer tyrants of Colu, who sent her to kill her mother. Strata warns Marij'n and Captain Comet of the enhanced charisma mode that Dox used too get the Coluans to obey him and that he may use it on Lydea. Comet and Marij'n decide to confront Dox. Also, Marij'n appears to be really, really attracted to Comet.
The team uses a captured Khund craft to go to where the doomsday device is being built. Although they bicker along the way, they use a captured soldier to try to gain admittance. Their attempt fails when the soldier reports that they have been hijacked, and after Lobo "punishes" him, the team heads for the escape pods. Bek and Lady Quark remain behind in hopes that the escape pods will confuse the Khundian radar, but when it appears that their teammates have all vanished, they come under attack from the Khunds.
Meanwhile, Stealth has isolated herself on a distance planet to await the birth of her baby. Haunted by nightmares of her child becoming like its father, Dox, she awakens to find herself under attack by a strange beast. As it is choking her, she is barely able to reach a log in her fire and use it to burn the creature.
Back on Cairn, Captain Comet and Marij'n confront Dox about his experiments on Lydea, but he tries to dismiss their concerns.
If I can try to put myself back in my mindset in 1991 for a moment, this issue came out at a time that I was completely engrossed in the L.E.G.I.O.N. There was a level of heightened drama here that I was just not used to as a teenager reading superhero comics. The team was barely over Lyrissa's death, the character who most resembled the traditional superhero figure I was used to, and Dox had the unstable Lady Quark leading them in the field.

I was less engrossed in the Khund/Domonion war than I was with Marij'n and Captain Comet confronting Dox about his experiments. Despite the terrible circumstances of her marriage to Bek, she was still married, so seeing her develop an attraction to Comet was startling, even if I could totally understand why. As I have mentioned, I am no fan of Bek. (He sucks.)

Despite their anger at Dox, his intentions did seem to come from a noble place. After Lyrissa's death, he could have just as easily put Lydea to death but he is at least trying to free her from the Tyrants' brainwashing. Yes, it is a danger to her, but I am not sure of the alternative here. Marij'n and Comet are coming at this from a good place, and yeah, their fear of Dox turning her into his own weapon is valid, but they have not exactly presented another alternative.

Will this sink Comet's chances of joint the L.E.G.I.O.N.? Will it make any impact of Dox's plans regarding Lydea? Check back next week to find out!

1 comment:

  1. With the return of Kitson in the art, and the post-Lyrissa dynamic, the title for me got a second wind that would last pretty much until the very end.
    I don't think we appreciated how mature and well developed this was until we lost it.