Wednesday, March 11, 2020

L.E.G.I.O.N. '91 #28

L.E.G.I.O.N. '91 #28 (June 1991)
title: "Mommy's Boy"
plot: Keith Giffen and Alan Grant
writer: Alan Grant
penciller: Keith Giffen
inker: George Pratt
letterer: Gaspar Saladino
colorist: Lovern Kindzierski
editor: Art Young
cover art: Keith Giffen, Malcolm Jones III, & Lovern Kindzierski
review by: Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane

Recap: After the death of Lyrissa Mallor, Dox turned his attention to the Khundian Empire and learned that they were using a captured scientist to build a Doomsday weapon. The team successfully captured both the design plans and the weapon, but the captured scientist was killed. Dox then staffed the doomsday device with a crew from the planet Ogen and placed it in a location where it could strike at either Khundia or the Dominion if they tried to involve any more free worlds in their war. Meanwhile, Stealth continued her self-imposed exile to await the birth of her child.

The closer Stealth has come to the birth of her child, the more her body has become ravaged by sores. As her pain worsens, her emotions flare and she curses Dox's name. She convulses and her body rips open, but instead of a baby, she releases something else.
As Stealth watches the pod take shape, she feels herself start to disintigrate. Eventually, what remains of her body crumbles into a lake.
Throughout this issue, the story of her giving birth is interrupted by what seems to be the creation myth of her people. After God made the heavens and worlds, and all the dead and living things thereon, the Matriarch Kyra killed the first man. Using his blood she wrote these words:

"Man was a necessary evil. He will dictate the form. Use him at your leisure. Abuse him for your pleasure."

It is further said that no male shall ever have power over woman for he is for breeding alone. The woman is to "[a]buse him, rip him to shreds."

As the pod rests, there is a sudden splash in the lake and a strange being arises. It is Stealth, still alive, but unrecognizable in her new form.
The myth of her people says that when one is born, one must die. The woman shall find peace forever.

But Stealth does not find peace. We learn that the myth we have been hearing were the words of her mother who viewed her as an abomination because she was born a mutant. This made her worse than a man and she was imprisoned in some sort of bio-mass. She remained there in isolation for 16 years until she was handed over to the Alien Alliance and placed in their Starlag prison. It was there she encountered Vril Dox and the Durlan, and helped in their escape.

Stealth's strange new body turns out to be a cocoon in which she is reborn. She arises from the husk restored to her former self.
When she goes to find the egg pod, she instead discovers a baby boy, the son of her and Vril Dox. An outcast of her people, Stealth holds her baby and wonders what to do next.
This was such a sad, beautiful, and very bizarre issue. Just what I would have expected from the L.E.G.I.O.N. Stealth's origins were unclear until now, and there is still much that is vague, but we learned enough to know her story is one of tragedy. An outcast to her people, it appears she has had virtually no life before being imprisoned in Starlag, and what little she did have was filled with abuse. It is amazing she did not turn out to be a bigger monster than Dox.

I appreciate how Giffen and Grant used what appeared to be a retelling of her people's creation myth to segue into Stealth's personal history. It finally explained the circumstances of her rape and murder of Dox as a natural part of her species reproductive cycle. Horrifying, yes, but perfectly normal for her mother's people. This was certainly not the sort of character development that was typical for a mainstream DC book of this era, and it blew my mind when I first read it as a teenager.

Sometimes this series could drag out subplots a little too long before finally delivering the payoff. I felt this happened a bit with the Computer Tyrants of Colu and their takeover of Lyrissa Mallor's homeworld. But here, the small glimpses we got of Stealth's exile were paced perfectly and the culmination was powerful. Needless to say, the birth of her child will have huge consequences for our team that extend over multiple series.

I mentioned last time how happy I was to see Barry Kitson return to this title as he will always be the artist I most associate with the L.E.G.I.O.N. But they made the right call in having Giffen take over for this issue. His unique style was far more appropriate for telling both Stealth's history and the grotesque nature of her childbirth.

That wraps up this issue but please join me next week as we check back in with the rest of our heroes and see if Stealth decides to return to her teammates.


  1. Talk about weird issues... this one still reads and looks more like something out of an European album more than a mainstream early nineties DC.
    Gotta love Keith and the power he welded at that historical momento to be able to pull THIS off.

  2. I always thought that Stealth was one of the most unique DC characters ever created. I wish that she would make a comeback at some point.