Friday, May 1, 2020

Reboot: The Legion #28

The Legion #28 (February 2004)
title: "Foundations Part Four"
writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning
penciller: Chris Batista
inker: Chip Wallace
lettering: Ken Lopez
colorist: Sno Cone
editor: Stephen Wacker
cover: Tony Harris and Tom Feister

reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Apparition, Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Dreamer, Ferro, Gear, Invisible Kid, Karate Kid, Kid Quantum II, Live Wire, Saturn Girl, Sensor, Shikari, Spark, Star Boy, Superboy II, Timber Wolf, Triad, Ultra Boy, Umbra, Wildfire, XS

Clark Kent (pre-Superman and corrupted by Apokolips), Science Police, Trudy Trusoe (and staff, including an Athramite hair and make-up person); a farmer

Catastrophists, Darkseid, Parademons, Servants of Darkness (Orion)
Superboy has come out of a stargate with no memory of how he got to the future. A Catastrophist cult is calling this a sign of the Apocalypse, or perhaps just of Apokolips, as new Servants of Darkseid have appeared to prepare his return. They've co-opted the U.P.'s stargates to divert the galaxy's dark matter to a particular spot...

The Servant of Darkness who looks like Superman crashes into Smallville, the Smallville Heritage Site, that is, and he's soon joined by the corrupted Orion who calls him a traitor. Before he can kill the Kryptonian, he Legion intervenes and stops him, but he gets away via Boom Tube.
Meanwhile, the Catastrophists have been disappearing all over the United Planets, just as temporal anomalies have been multiplying. The young Kryptonian identifies himself as Clark Kent, age 15, taken from Smallville to the future by strangers dressed as Legionnaires and exposed to yellow sun radiation to kick-start his full powers, then brainwashed. He was told the Servants of Darkness' first attempt yielded the wrong Superboy, who was left in D-Space (which explains Connor being found in a stargate). It seems Apokolips' powerful servants are people plucked from history, the siphoned dark matter used to bend space-time, creating a time dam some ten years in the past, but to what end?
Clark proposes to lead the heroes back to Apokolips and a mission is prepped. Kid Quantum tells Cosmic Boy she can't go, as her powers are adversely affected by the temporal anomalies. He agrees to lead the team instead, leaving his own liability behind, Superboy, who is always going off-book. Connor sulks in company of the equally sidelined Live Wire.
Using Clark's personal Mother Box, given to him when he became a Servant, the Legion reaches Apokolips, where Catastrophists are sacrificing themselves by jumping en masse into the fire pits. Hordes of Parademons and other soldiers attack as the Legionnaires fight on. Close-by, the statue of Darkseid on his throne starts to move. He rises to greet a Boom Tube opening. It is a more youthful Darkseid from the past. They clasp hands and are united.
Ok so now I’m confused. I thought Superboy appeared in the 31st Century because he was captured by the bad guys, but now you’re telling me the Clark Kent that was captured in issue 25 is the one I called Gladiator dude… Ok I can live with that BUT WHY ARE THERE TWO SUPERBOYS? Another question, why are Clark’s eyes red up until page 14 where they turn white, completely white? I want to trust him, but I just can’t. The eyes are creeping me out. What if he’s lying and wanted the Legion to go to Apokolips. Maybe that is all part of their master plan. Although, the line Superboy used while talking with Garth - "No matter how hard you try, your face just doesn't fit." -  feels like foreshadowing of the reveals that are to come. I just don’t know what to think anymore.
And ok guys… I know you’re in the middle of a terrible crisis and I know things are very complicated, but can someone PLEASE treat poor Garth like a human being… well, I mean, a being. I feel so bad for him. I can explain Imra’s reaction up to a certain point. She mourned her fiancé and now has to deal with his consciousness coming back while wearing the face of a friend they lost to madness, who’s also responsible for the death of the fiancé in the first place. That’s rough! In my humble opinion, the rest of the team have no excuse. Someone should make an effort to communicate with him and help him get through this. Garth certainly did not choose to come back this way. For someone who was treated as a hero thanks to his sacrifice, now he’s just an afterthought. This is pissing me off so much. Stop being so self-centered and think of your friend who needs you!!!
First, some answers: There aren't actually two Superboys. There's a young Clark Kent who was never Superboy in this continuity, just went straight to Superman without ever being the hero of Smallville. And there's the Superboy we call Connor or Kon-El (as opposed to Kal-El) who is a clone of Superman, who used to have the fade and the earring and the leather jacket. The kid we saw kidnapped in issue 25 was Clark, and Connor is a totally different character. I can't explain the eyes except to say, uhm, Apokolips brainwashing technology? And I agree, Garth isn't being treated very well, and neither is Connor. Cosmic Boy is really overreacting in my opinion. But anyway, whoever gets left behind gets to be the cavalry, right?
As for the plot, it's taking its time even though it's delivering on action beats and cool reveals. I don't know when it became standard policy exactly, but here at the start the of the 2000s, comics are definitely being written "for the trade". There's much less of a continuing soap opera and the threat is extended for the exact number of issues that might go in a trade paperback. Even the soap stuff - Garth, the Quantum-Cosmic relationship, Superboy's growing pains - starts with the storyline, moves just as slowly, and will probably stop being a focus with its end. I can feel it in the pacing and yes, it does bother me.
And still, some very cool, epic stuff here. Corrupted Clark crashing into the Smallville dome, the way Cosmic Boy deals with Orion without even looking, the crazy Catastrophists death cult moment, and of course, Darkseid getting help from a temporally-displaced younger Darkseid... all crazy moments that make me want to keep reading.
Science Police Notes:  
  • The Smallville Protected Heritage Site, a tribute to the early Legion stories that also had such "Superman museums. The Smallville reconstruction has a store called Weisinger's, a reference to Mort Weisinger, the editor of the Superman family of books in the Silver Age.
  • Trudy Trusoe uses the expression "Great Luthor's Ghost!" which is a corruption of Perry White's favorite, "Great Caesar's Ghost!"
  • The young Clark Kent was brought to Apokolips by Servants of Darkseid disguised as the Legion Founders (a mirror of Adventure Comics #247) in The Legion #25.

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