Wednesday, July 8, 2020

L.E.G.I.O.N. '92 #44

L.E.G.I.O.N. '92 #44 (August 1992)
title: "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall"
writer: Barry Kitson
penciler: Rodney Ramos
inker: Shephard Hendrix & Matt Banning 
letterer: Gasper Saladino
colorist: Digital Chameleon
editor: Dan Raspler
cover art: Kevin Maguire and Karl Kessel
review by: Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane

Recap: Dox led the team to the planet Arga-Prime to deal with insurgents, but found the problem to be more complicated than expected. He learned that the planet's leaders had not been honest with him, and that the population was unhappy due to racial strife. While Dox tried to deal with their Grand Council, the new recruits were left having to deal with events on the ground. A L.E.G.I.O.N. officer secretly working for the Grand Council tried to detonate an explosive device close to Dox, but Dox was aware of his plan and had the bomb defused. The planet erupted in rebellion, and although he initially resisted choosing sides, Dox offered to send a strike force to capture the Grand Council to avoid more bloodshed. They successfully captured the Council, but learned that they introduced a virus into the oceans that will be carried into the atmosphere, eventually releasing a deadly rainfall on the planet.

In the aftermath of the revolt, violence continues to erupt between the two racial groups on Arga-Prime. (We learned last issue that the only distinction between the two "races" was that the ruling class had no eye pigmentation, which Dox determined to be the result of inbreeding.)
In orbit aboard a L.E.G.I.O.N. command cruiser, Dox and Marij'n work hard to find a cure for the virus but are having little success. Marij'n warns Phase that she is worried  Dox is becoming too irrational out of frustration and chasing blind alleys. Given time, she is sure they could find a cure, but time is what they do not have.

News of the virus has spread and unrest is growing among the population. They start to take their frustrations out on the L.E.G.I.O.N. and Captain Comet has had enough.
At his warning, the crowd disperses. Once they leave, Comet is overcome with fatigue and passes out. Lady Quark rushes him to the media-lab aboard their orbiting ship.

Meanwhile, Phase begs other planets to assist in evacuating the population. But it does not go well.
Lady Quark arrives at the command cruiser and hands Comet off to Marij'n. Just when he seems to be recovering, he starts having a painful seizure. Elsewhere on the ship, Telepath senses his pain and Phase rushes to find out what is going on.

Lobo pays a visit to the imprisoned Grand Council to find out if they know of a cure to the virus.
Marij'n does not want to leave Comet's side so Phase says she will help Dox. She finds him on his way back to the lab wearing what appears to be a spacesuit and she hopes that he has not completely lost it. She goes to check in with Garryn about the evacuation and even though other planets have not come to their aid, she is relieved to find that a Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) has arrived to help.

As Marij'n sits at Comet's side, she is unaware that his power appears to be manifesting even while he sleeps.
On the surface, the team tries to deal with a deteriorating situation as best they can, but then what they feared the most happens.
This was a great issue! Everything I love about this title. A perfect mix of suspense (can they find a cure?), action (dealing with the unrest on Argo-Prime), and intra-team drama (Is Captain Comet dying? Is Dox unravelling because he cannot find a cure?). 

A few issues ago, Barry Kitson took over full writing duties and he has been knocking it out of the park ever since. I tend to think of him exclusively as an artist and frankly, I had forgotten that he became the series writer here. But I am very impressed with how he is handling it so far.

The romance between Marij'n and Comet has been growing for a while now, but this is the first time one of them spoke so openly and honestly about their feelings. The inclusion of a classic character like Comet was one of the reasons I fell in love with this series when it was coming out, and Marij'n has turned out to be one of the most endearing characters. It is hard to believe that when Marij'n was first introduced, she was fairly abrasive and unlikeable. Of course, that was probably in large part the result of being married to Garryn Bek...

My favorite part of this issue was seeing Phase unsuccessfully appeal to other planets for assistance. It felt painfully realistic, and sadly, a good representation of how this sort of situation often plays out on our world. Despite her plea for help, it was pretty obvious that she was going to be let down, but that made the surprise appearance of Green Lantern even more welcome. I genuinely felt a sense of hope at his arrival.

Of course, despite the cliffhanger ending, I cannot help but think that the scene of Dox wearing a space suit suggests he has already enacted a plan. But we will have to wait until next issue to see if my instincts are correct, so please check back with me next week!


  1. Since Mike doesn't mention it, I will. The story takes its title from a Bob Dylan song about nuclear war.

  2. I said it before and I will say it again: This was the very best portrayal of Phantom Girl that has ever been. And, yes, Phase will always be Phantom Girl to me.