Friday, February 28, 2020

Reboot: The Legion #20

The Legion #20 (July 2003)
title: "Dream Crime: Part Two"
writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
penciller: Chris Batista
inker: Mark Farmer
lettering: Comicraft
colorist: Jason Wright
seps: Digital Chameleon
editor: Stephen Wacker
cover: Tony Harris and Tom Feister

reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Saturn Girl; in visions: Apparition, Brainiac 5, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Invisible Kid, Kid Quantum II, Live Wire, M'Onel, Monstress, Shikari, Spark, Star Boy, Timber Wolf, Triad, Ultra Boy, Umbra, Violet, Wildfire, XS

In visions: Dreamer, R.J. Brande, Shvaughn Erin, Tenzil Kem

Universo; in visions: Progenitor, Progeny (both unseen)

Saturn Girl, accompanied by Dreamer, has returned to Titan for some R&R. As soon as they got there, Dreamer started getting visions of some impending doom, and eventually, of Darkseid. Meanwhile, Imra meditates with her master and seems to feel Garth's mind...

Imra Ardeen never joined the Science Police like she wanted because her telepathic powers were too weak. She works at RJ's Clubhouse, a '50s-style diner in Titanopolis, where the teenage staff and patrons look mighty familiar. One the Emerald Dragons gang harasses her and tries to ask her out despite the fact that he has a girlfriend, Tinya. And while she's covering a late shift for another waitress, he comes back to see her. Their discussion is interrupted by a member of the Wolfpack gang who wants to fight him. Sci-Cop Rokk Krinn tries to stop them, but an armed stand-off results, a stand-off resolved when Imra kicks one of the boys in the head and zaps the other one with a mental blast. How can a waitress do this? She's not, she's a Legionnaire and she knows who she is.
Imra awakens in Brainiac 5's lab about the lost Legion Outpost. It seems the last few weeks never happened and were all in her comatose mind. They are still lost, Monstress and Live Wire are still alive, and Element Lad isn't the Progenitor. She happily embraces this reality if it means her beloved Garth is alive. The team arrives at the Progenitor's Rosette and they spring into action, but then we pull back, out of this dream, and realize Imra is strapped to a machine, nefariously attended by Universo!
How about no. Are you trying to tell me Imra didn’t go through enough trauma already? Why are the writers so obsessed with hurting her? I could enjoy the diner part with all the clever references to the real world. I especially liked Imra asking for triple pay in order to replace Luornu. But then, they had to ruin EVERYTHING by bringing back Monstress and Live Wire… I’m not gonna lie, reading this got me a little more than teary-eyed. The writers and artists really did a good job to make us feel how lost Imra has been ever since her return from Kwai space. Knowing this is all just a dream, I fear for her brutal return to reality. It breaks my heart just to think about it. I couldn’t bear to experience this… Is it terrible that I just wish for someone to finally put an end to her suffering? [Siskoid: Only if you mean she should die!]
Two things that I noticed and liked about this issue. First is how Shikari gives the readers a lesson in how to pronounce Ra’s Al Ghul. I remember being confused when hearing the different pronunciations between Batman Begins and Gotham. Since then, I’ve learned the correct way of saying it and it made me smile to see an attempt to confirm the correct way in writing. The second thing is how cheeky this issue was. I think I’m not wrong in saying this is a first, seeing the young heroes’ relationship being so… active. Of course, Tinya has a child but we’ve never seen her and Jo together that way. Knowing how strained Imra and Garth’s relationship was the last time we really saw them together, this level of proximity is making this illusion all the more tragic.
I think I’ll go eat some ice cream directly from the tub while watching a sad romcom now.

At first, I was a little dismayed that one who chapter of "Dreamcrime" would be devoted to, well, a dream. This goes at least five part, so sure, but I was still unsure about whether or not it was a good use of the page count. But it was so well done that I can hardly complain. The '50 diner reality was a lot of fun - I agree with Shotgun - but still steeped in her inner turmoil. She feels overworked, and she has troubling feelings for Jo while also worrying about Timber Wolf 's place in the soap opera (if he winds up with Tinya, does that free Jo to go for her, and is she also attracted to Cos, here a hunky Sci-Cop?), so we're learning about her character - it's not just useless, forgettable fantasy.
Once we return to Legion Lost, ah, we're getting at the heart of her troubles, and her mind has conveniently undone all the terrible things that have happened in the book, resetting from that coma she was in. A great use of continuity, and I wonder if any readers were at all fooled, even for a second. The Inception moment, if real, would be a step too far, but I'm sure some readers would have sacrificed Legion World and the whole Ra's al Ghul saga in exchange for Live Wire, Monstress, Element Lad, Kinetix and Sensor. But then you realize The Legion confirmed events from Legion Worlds so cannot possibly be Imra's dream. Spending a whole issue inside Saturn Girl's head actually lays out the stakes. Universo (and nice reveal there) is probably after world domination or whatever, but it's the mindfrak perpetrated on our heroes we really care about. The world will sort itself (or the Legionnaires will), but what he can do to the characters is what really matters. But I'm pretty sure he's underestimated the Legion's resident telepath...
Science Police Notes:  
  • In Saturn Girl's dream, she reads the kind of science-fiction pulp stories that inspired the Legion's future. The hero on the cover looks vaguely like Colossal Boy.
  • RJ's Clubhouse is named after the Legion's original HQ, and even has a design element that looks like that yellow, finned rocket, albeit on the side rather than planted in the ground.
  • Asked to cover Luornu's shift, Imra asks for triple pay, a reference to her colleague actually being Triad/Triplicate Girl.
  • The next issue caption, "Armageddon 3003" is a play on DC's Armageddon 2001 event from 1991 and may be a play on the type of story that unfolds there.
  • Universo is revealed to be the villain of "Dreamcrime". He has appeared before in Reboot continuity, in the Titans/LSH Universe Ablaze mini-series reviewed by our founder Russell Burbage (starting HERE). This is Reboot Universo's first appearance in a main Legion series.

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