Friday, June 19, 2020

Reboot: The Legion #35

The Legion #35 (Early September 2004)
title: "For No Better Reason, Part One: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea"
writer: Gail Simone
breakdowns: Dan Jurgens
finishes: Andy Smith
lettering: Rob Leigh
colorist: Sno Cone
editor: Stephen Wacker
cover: Adam Hughes

reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Apparition, Brainiac 5, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy (hologram), Dreamer, Ferro (hologram), Gear, Karate Kid, Kid Quantum II (hologram), M'Onel (hologram), Spark (hologram), Timber Wolf, Ultra Boy, Umbra, Violet, Wildfire

Chuck Taine, Lialla, Taan, Trudy Trusoe, Wimena Wazzo; Oasis One perosnnel (Lt. Renslie)

Organ thief, Persuader, Spike (Arrow, Canary, Devil, Lantern)

Ra's al Ghul, Universo, Darkseid... They've all been defeated by the Legion. Can they now get a moment's peace?

While Karate Kid delivers an organ thief to Metropolis' floating top-security prison Oasis One, a Legionnaire delegation down below participates in an unveiling ceremony for a holographic Legion memorial, hosted by President Wimena Wazzo. At the same time, Dreamer's Legion ring has gone dark, which is a worry. Unbeknownst to the team, she has been kidnapped by members of the super-powered terrorist group the Spike - Devil, Arrow, Canary and Lantern - who will use her Naltorian heritage to enhance the range of Canary's powers, whatever they may be, as Arrow points a sniper rifle at the President and bides his time.
Meanwhile, on Oasis One, Karate Kid meets the Persuader's daughter, there to visit her father who wants nothing to do with her. Down on the ground, Arrow jumps a Science Police cruiser, which makes a beeline for the President, and the Legionnaires jump into action, with Apparition moving her mother out of the way. At the same time, Canary kisses Dreamer, amplifying her power somehow, causing all technology in a 40-kilometer diameter (and growing) to cease functioning.
People with artificial organs die, vehicles crash, Legion rings stop working, and the Legionnaires are cut off from Legion World. Arrow chooses that moment to fire at the President... or is it Apparition herself? Her reflexes take her out of phase, but the bullet hits her mother. It seems the Spike have an axe to grind with technology, hating out its has made people complacent, idle sheep. And the Legion is part of the problem, as people rely on them and not themselves to protect them.
Violet saves the Science Police in the crashing cruiser, but is hit with Lantern's energy blasts and falls. Brainiac 5 looks unhinged, and asks Umbra if she ever wondered what those small implants on his face were for. Tinya is afraid her mother might be dead. And up above, Karate Kid has to face the fact that Oasis One will fail in a matter of minutes, come crashing on top of Metropolis while simultaneously releasing hundreds of dangerous, irredeemable felons.
Aaahhh a good old assassination attempt story! Although, I guess this one cannot be considered and attempt as it seems to have succeeded. Very clever too! The population, everyone on Earth, is so dependent to technology, taking it out of the equation is the fastest way to bring chaos and succeed in their evil deeds. We live in the 21st Century and nothing functions when we lose power. I mean people can't even process that if they lose power for a long period of time in winter, they can save their food by letting it out in the snow for Pete’s sake! (I’m talking from experience…) It wasn’t that long ago that everyone one lived in small self-sufficient communities, and yet we’d be lost without technology anyway. All that to say, imagine just how bad this would be for people of the 30th Century! Now I will admit, I hate Brainiac 5’s smile and I am actually afraid of what is going to happen to him. Especially because I’m scared it would cost him the trust of his teammates. This comic did a really good job with bringing the panic out of its pages both from the plaza where the shooting happened and on Oasis One.
Speaking of Oasis One, I understand the reason why it was built, but how is it in any way acceptable for the president to be able to blow the whole thing up on a whim? I suppose it wouldn’t happen unless absolutely necessary, but how can they know for sure? And of course, it is affected by the blackout. Why in tarnation is this prison flying over Metropolis anyway? Couldn’t it float over a more secluded area instead? Earth is huuuuuuuge!! I also have plenty of questions about the daughter of the Persuader like: Why did she approach Karate Kid in the first place? What’s going on in her face – I like the colors very much though -? She wasn’t brought up for no reason. Now all that’s left is to discover is if she’s working with Devil, with her father, or if she’ll be helpful in saving the day.
Now I can’t let you go without addressing the many different outfits! Love how Timber Wolf could not bother to wear a shirt under the jacket! The girls now… They’re summoning their inner Jessica Rabbit. I can’t get over Tinya’s dress! The skirt slits that suggest a lack of underwear, the off-the-shoulder neckline and boob window which are suggesting the exact same… Imagine having such a body after giving birth!!! Maybe the 30th Century found a way to take care of the post-natal body flaws. One can only wish even though she’ll never get there!
Well the baby did phase out of her (but you're just reminding me that with so few issues to go, we're unlikely to know what the heck is wrong with her Cub before it's all over). As for Oasis One, I should think it was built while Ra's al Ghul was president, so the current administration has inherited this thing (I also think it evokes a similar flying prison in the Superman books of the day). In any case, I'm quite happy to see Gail Simone's name in the credits as she's one of my favorite mainstream writers, and she'll take us to the end of the series. Part 1 already showcases some of her strengths, first, that she is a big comic book FAN and she's done her research - there's tension between Timber Wolf and Ultra Boy, Wimena is as threatening as ever, and she name-checks the Cadets - second, she's not tied to continuity and adds to the canon (with the Spike who are all based on color-coordinated contemporary heroes, the fun infodump on where the rest of the Legion is, and asking the question about those stickers on Brainy's face), and third, showing an ability to write both nasty villains (Persuader, that organ thief, in addition to the main threat) and strong women (Trudy Trusoe shines by realizing she's more than a broadcaster, she's a JOURNALIST - a lesson many have forgotten in our era). So a pretty great beginning.
The weakest part, as of this moment, is how Canary's powers interact with Dreamer's. There's no real reason for it except saying it's so. There might yet be a more solid explanation. But here, no. The promise of seeing Karate Kid in solo action is also one that interests me, so not for the first nor last time, Gail's got my attention.

Science Police Notes:  
  • Camera Three tells Trudy she is "Inferno hot", and wearing yellow and orange, with her short red hair, she does look like former Legionnaire Inferno.
  • The Persuader's cell is designated ADV-352, a reference to the Fatal Five's first appearance in Adventure Comics #352.
  • The members of the Spike appear to be named after 21st-Century heroes - Green Arrow, Black Canary, Blue Devil, and Green Lantern.

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