Wednesday, June 3, 2020

L.E.G.I.O.N. '92 #39

L.E.G.I.O.N. '92 #39 (May 1992)
title: "Payback Time!"
plot: Alan Grant & Barry Kitson
writer: Alan Grant
penciller: Barry Kitson 
inker: Barry Kitson & Robin Smith
letterer: Gasper Saladino
colorist: Lovern Kindzierski
editor: Dan Raspler
cover art: Kevin Maguire & Karl Kesel
review by: Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane

Recap: The gangster G'odd placed a mole in the L.E.G.I.O.N., and agents began to act more like villains than heroes. Phase attempted to deal with the blowback from member planets with no help from Vril Dox, who was focused on his romance with Ig'nea, one of the new recruits. Amid the chaos, Dox announced that he was disbanding the L.E.G.I.O.N. While the new recruits vowed to form their own organization to carry on the spirit of L.E.G.I.O.N., several of the core members came under attack while returning to base. Garv, Stealth, Telepath, and Captain Comet appeared near defeat but Comet let loose a burst of energy that knocked both them and their attackers unconscious. When they awoke, Telepath scanned one of their attackers and learned that G'odd was responsible. Meanwhile, Lady Quark, Bek, Marij'n, and Phase fended off an attack on Cairn, while Lobo recovered from his own defeat at the hands of the assassin Ice Man. Meanwhile, Dox and Ig'nea travelled to meet her father, who turned out to be the villain G'odd. Dox later observed Ig'nea murdering her gardner and began to suspect things may not be as they same. He eventually realized that he had been manipulated and started to formulate a plan.

Captain Comet, Strata, Garv, Bek, Lady Quark, Telepath, Phase, and Marij'n continue their invasion of G'odd's planet. They have been cheated, tricked, betrayed, and ambushed, and are ready for vengeance. G'odd consulted his army and is frustrated by their difficulties but promises a ten thousand credit bonus to every man who kills a L.E.G.I.O.N.aire. After his troops leave, however, is confronted by a visitor.
Dox tells G'odd that he has discovered his plan of using Ig'nea to seduce him and take control of the L.E.G.I.O.N. but G'odd only repeats his offer to have Dox join him and rule his empire. Dox refuses and ties up G'odd while also cutting off his troops ability to communicate. He leaves G'odd tied up while his pet bird Rebel slowly approaches.

Phase leads the team into battle but Strata is injured and Lady Quark is surpringly the one to step up and take down the enemy forces. G'odd's forces witness the battle and start to panic. They decide to abandon his base, but his daughter Ig'nea is searching for him when she discovers his pet Rebel feasting on his remains.
Dox grabs Ig'nea and when she tries to use her power on him it becomes clear it does not work anymore. She warns him that she is still a pyrokine and can use those powers to fry him. He invites her to try.

Bek, Phase, Strata, and the others have conquered G'odd's army and Comet goes to search for Dox. He finds him alone in a dark room, but instead of yelling at Dox, he pauses. The rest of the team arrives and asks about Ig'nea but Dox says she has escaped. He explains that he is not in love with her and that she used her power to manipulate him. Their anger at him subsides but they still express frustration that the L.E.G.I.O.N. no longer exists. Dox acknowledge that they have a mess to clean up but he declares that the team is not over.

In the aftermath, Phase contacts the newer recruits and explains what has happened. They enthusiastically agree to return and arrive just in time for Dox to declare that the L.E.G.I.O.N. lives again. Lobo finally returns as well, having lost Ice Man's scent, and asks if he missed anything while he was away.
Ok, so if it is not already clear from my earlier posts on this arc, I have mixed feelings. The concept behind this arc was great, but it did play out a bit too predictably for me at times. I did enjoy when the two L.E.G.I.O.N. squads were separated in the middle of the story, when several members were allowed more personal moments  but had trouble with most other aspects of this arc. 

Most importantly, it was very difficult to accept Dox being seduced so easily, regardless of whatever power Ig'nea had. Perhaps if he had more of a struggle breaking free, I might have been able to buy it, but the fact that he broke free so quickly undercut the whole idea.

It was also hard to accept the team's reputation being sullied as fast as it was due to G'odd's plan. I know comic stories often require suspension of disbelief, and timing can get wonky in comics, but having that occur in just two issues was far too quickly.

There were some things I liked though. Bek really stepped up and matured as a character. Who knows if it will last, but he did save the team after Dox abandoned it. Phase and Quark had a nice bonding moment in which they seemed to gain some respect for each other and it led to Quark staying with the team. Comet also stepped up and took a bigger leadership role when his squad came under attack.

The only one who felt really wasted was Lobo who stayed removed from the rest of the team. I was struggling to think of why I did not care for Ice Man in this arc and I think it comes down to feeling like he was invented solely to take Lobo off the table. Thats part of the problem with Lobo. He is portrayed as so powerful that he does not lend himself to repeated use over time and the creators sometimes struggle to find something to do with him outside of comic relief.

How quickly will the team get back on its feet? Check back with me next week.


  1. As much as I don't care for the modern "decompression" in comics, this is a story that really could have stood to have had more parts. Introducing the recruits without getting time to know them made their part feel too much like filler; their only purpose seems to have been to try to draw readers away from figuring out Ig'nea was the traitor (by giving other potential candidates), but Dox suddenly falling head over heels for her made it pretty obvious anyway. Having them around a few issues more (and having actual interactions between Ig'nea and Dox) would have made the payoff worth it.

    A shame, too, since the story serviced so many of the other characters so well. (They really should have spotlighted the part of Bek's character we see here right from the start, or at least before the Emerald Eye.)