Friday, July 10, 2020

Reboot: The Legion #38

The Legion #38 (Late October 2004)
title: "For No Better Reason, Part Four: Moebius Strip"
writer: Gail Simone
breakdowns: Dan Jurgens
finishes: Andy Smith
lettering: Rob Leigh
colorist: Sno Cone
editor: Stephen Wacker
cover: Kevin Nowlan

reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

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

Chuck Taine, Legion Academy (named: Infectious Lass, Nightwind), Lialla, Trudy Trusoe, Wimena Wazzo; Metropolis citizen, Science Police (Renslie), Upper Metropolis Med Center personnel

Oasis One inmates, Organ thief (Pinter), Persuader, Spike (Arrow, Canary, Devil, Lantern)

A super-powered terrorist group has kidnapped Dreamer to enhance one of their members' ability to shut down power sources within a certain radius. They want to show people just how dependent they've become on technology... and on the Legion. A group of Legionnaires is caught in the epicenter of the chaos while attending a dedication ceremony, a moment the terrorists have chosen to try and assassinate the U.P. president, Apparition's mother! Meanwhile, Karate Kid was delivering an organ thief to Oasis One, a maximum security prison hovering over Metropolis on the same day the Persuader's daughter came to visit. It has crashed into a park lake. Scrambling to help the Legion from a blind position on Legion World, Chuck and Gear have sent a cadre of Legion Cadets down to Earth. Devil now plans to "spike" Legion World itself...

The center of Metropolis burns and as radiation shields have failed, people are being exposed to potentially lethal levels of radiation. Dreamer has been allowed to come out of her drugged state so she can be forced to reveal the Legion World's protocols to allow Canary to go there with her so enact Devil's plan. Canary further explains that the Spike see themselves as heroes (and have thus taken heroic names from the past) who must save society from itself. But Dreamer has been asleep and dreaming, dreaming of pain. What could it mean?
Meanwhile, Trudy is impressed by Apparition and questioning what she's been doing with her life and career. At Oasis One, Persuader promises to go back to his cell if Karate Kid will make sure his daughter is okay (AND NO FALLING IN LOVE, OK?!). Ultra Boy has brought the Organ Thief to President Wazzo's side as he is just about the only surgeon available, promising Pinter can have his organs when he dies. Still under the effects of Infectious Lass' powers, Lantern and Arrow are questioned by Chameleon, but don't give up information. Umbra stops a mob from rushing a shelter for food and medicine, and Brainiac 5 admonishes her about letting herself be distracted by petty matters. They don't realize they are being targeted by Devil, but when Violet appears, Devil gives up and returns to the apartment.
When she gets there, Canary is asking too many questions, like what happens to her when Legion World fails with her aboard. An angry Devil berates her and forces her to give Dreamer a truth serum. Dreamer puts her hand right on a burner brewing tea next to her, inflicting enough pain to break the psychic link between her and Canary. Suddenly, power is restored all over Metropolis! Devil jumps on Dreamer, but before she can impale her with her trident, Timber Wolf crashes through a window, having followed Devil's stink to her HQ.
Later, as the city celebrates, Trudy starts her broadcast, shedding her fake onscreen persona for something more sincere. She's about to tell the world that President Wazzo has died, but then Ultra Boy shows up with Wimena on a bio-bed. Trudy chooses to give the mother-daughter reunion some privacy over her producer's objections. Back on Karahdia, Brainiac 5 has cracked the problem. Layers of advanced Karahdian artifacts in the geological record prove these races keep evolving and de-evolving naturally, and the Legion should just let nature take its course.
And all’s well that ends well! I suppose it makes sense that we couldn’t lose anyone as this was the very last issue of The Legion. Having a Legionnaire die at this point would be pretty frustrating considering we wouldn’t have any chance to mourn them with the rest of the team. Devil is an idiot if she really thought she could take Brainiac and Umbra. Sure, Brainy is unprotected without his force shield, but it doesn’t mean that he's powerless. Plus, Umbra kicks some serious ass! There is no way — let me repeat this so it’s very clear: NO WAY— that they would’ve lost against Devil.
Dreamer’s sacrifice really was well thought out. I didn’t want her to be a damsel in distress so I’m definitely happy with the end result! She may have a more “passive” power, but it doesn’t make her any less a hero than the rest of the team. I’m also convinced she would’ve brought Canary on her side and get her to help her out of this mess if she'd had more time alone with her. She’s great and I love her, ok! Of course, I’m glad Brin arrived when he did to save her from suffering more than she already did.
In the end, I have this one thing to add: I just enjoyed how the team even got to use their enemies to fix all this. Pinter is creepy, but you know he’s a good surgeon from all the organs he salvaged for his own body. Then there’s Persuader’s way of protecting his daughter even if he dismissed her so many times before, just to leave her with Karate Kid and return to his own cell. She’s probably my only problem in this 4-issue run. She basically exists only to be saved and serve as a love interest which I find pretty lame (see my reaction to Dreamer not being that cliché). I guess Persuader’s motive to return in his cell like a perfect prisoner would’ve been hard to explain without her but still...
And this was ultimately a Trudy Trusoe story. Gail Simone picked up a background character, this glammed-up pseudo journalist, and allowed her to be inspired by the Legion to become a better person and reporter. I really like that. As the series ends, it needs to make a point, I think. On the one hand, we have the idea that WE ARE LEGION, that we can all choose to be good and valorous - the turned villains, the rioters who choose unwisely, the Cadets who make good - and on the other, the point Brainiac 5 makes at the end about evolution, about it making the future exciting, a positive note to end on as the Legion heads for yet another reboot (lower case). I guess that was the idea behind the evolutionary oddity of the Karahdians.
It still feels a little tacked on though, and here, in the final issue of the series (if not the last chapter of their story), the entire Legion fails to appear, not even in that epilogue. There are a lot of moving parts in this four-parter, but they don't all come together at the end. Devil's plan ups the stakes, but she never gets to enact it (not that I dislike the idea that Dreamer puts the kibosh on her scheme, not at all). Arrow and Lantern are given an ultimatum that proves pointless. Karate Kid gains a love interest he won't get to explore (and which is to be actively ignored in what remains of the Reboot, I think). It's just such a shame Simone couldn't keep writing this series. She has a great handle on the characters despite this being her only work with them, and there was so much left to explore. Cub Nah is doubtless the most glaring dangling plot thread left over from the previous creative team.
Science Police Notes:  
  • Members of the creative team are given Legion monikers in the credits: Gail Simone Girl, Dan Jurgens Lad, Kid Andy Smith, Sno-Cone S.1, Rob Leigh 'Onel, and Time Wacker.
  • Trudy Trusoe's real name is revealed to be Hannah Wells.
  • End of the series. The Reboot Legion appears next in Teen Titans (v3) #16.

Last issue of The Legion, which is also the last monthly issue of a dedicated Reboot Legion series.

1 comment:

  1. These issues were all new to me and I really enjoyed reading both your perspectives on the stories! Thank you,