Friday, July 24, 2020

Reboot: Teen Titans/Legion of Superheroes Special #1

Teen Titans/Legion of Super-Heroes Special #1 (November 2004)
title: "Superboy and the Legion, Part Two" / "Teenage Wonderland"
writers: Mark Waid and Geoff Johns / Mark Waid
pencillers: Ivan Reis and Joe Prado / Barry Kitson
inkers: Marc Campos / Barry Kitson
lettering: Rob Leigh
colorists: Sno-Cone / Chris Blythe
assistant editor: Jeanine Schaefer
editors: Eddie Berganza and Stephen Wacker / Stephen Wacker
cover: Phil Jimenez and Andy Lanning

reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Andromeda, Apparition, Brainiac 5, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Dreamer, Ferro, Gear, Invisible Kid, Karate Kid, Kid Quantum II, Live Wire, M'Onel, Saturn Girl, Shikari, Spark, Star Boy, Superboy II, Timber Wolf, Triad, Ultra Boy, Umbra, Violet, Wildfire, XS / Threeboot Atom Girl, Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Chameleon, Dream Girl, Element Lad, Invisible Kid, Karate Kid, Light Lass, Lightning Lad, Phantom Girl, Princess Projectra, Saturn Girl, Shadow Lass,  Star Boy, Sun Boy, Triplicate Girl, Ultra Boy

Aquawoman, Batman (Tim Drake), Beast Boy, Cyborg, Kid Flash II, Meloni Thawne Allen, Raven, Robin III, Science Police, Starfire II, Superman (Kon-El), Wonder Girl II; visions: Nightwing, Speedy (Mia Deardon) / Threeboot timeline kids and their parents, talk show host (Waru) and guest (a governor), Bilis and Thola, Invisible Kid's parents, Supergirl (poster), Superman (comic and poster)

Fatal Five-Hundred (Emerald Empress, Mano, Persuader, Tharok, Validus); visions: Dr. Light I

Some time after the end of The Legion, the Fatal Five's Persuader uses the Atomic Axe to slice holes into reality to recruit the Fatal Five Hundred, a hundred versions of the team from across the multiverse. They attack Earth en masse and Superboy is sent back to his time to get back-up. Unfortunately, all he's able to recruit is the Teen Titans. Oh, and Legion World has just exploded and is crashing towards the planet below...

The Legion and Titans fight a losing battle against the Fatal Five Hundred and have to retreat. They go back to the old Legion HQ to regroup. It appears Legion World was evacuated in time and the Legionnaires and Cadets (and hopefully staff) aboard are also resting at the old place. Bart is reunited with XS. The Titans are distressed that Superboy talks like he wants to stay with the Legion. And of course, Brainiac 5 has a plan.
He, Gear and Invisible Kid will use technology to bounce the specific vibrations of each parallel world represented at its version of the Fatal Five, forcing them back to their home dimensions. To achieve this, the two speedsters will have to run as fast as they can on a treadmill. It makes complete sense if you have 5th-level intelligence. And then the Fatal Five Hundred attack and the rest of the heroes have to run interference.
Superboy enters the fray in his 21st-Century costume, symbolically telling the Titans he's still with them. At one point, Bart races off to see his mother, but once he returns, XS has no trouble goading him into running faster so they can achieve the necessary speed to power Brainy's machine. It works, the Fatal Fives all vanish, except for the one from this Earth of course. Superboy knocks the Persuader's Atomic Axe out of his grip. But by this point, something's gone wrong. An unknown force pounding at reality made Brainy's calculations incorrect, and now the heroes have been severed from the time stream. Floating in limbo, it's up to Superboy, holding the Axe to decide which team survives. The Axe can be taken to either time, stranding the other team in limbo. Superboy wants to take both teams to the 21st Century, and figure out the rest later, but the Persuader wakes up and tries to interfere. In the wake of his attack, he is sent back to his intrusion at Titans Tower and caught in a time loop. The Titans (including Superboy) are sent to an alternate timeline 10 years in their relative future. And the Legion must depend on Shikari's tracking powers to find their way home. Buffeted by time winds, she loses her grip on the chain of Legionnaires and winds up... elsewhere, while the Legion seems permanently lost.
Shikari pops out in an alternate timeline (hereafter referred to as the Threeboot), where the Legionnaires are at the forefront of a youth movement that is trying to bring back the concept of the superhero, an element of pop culture reviled by overprotective parents (who DNA-tag their kids) and political leaders alike. One boy, Lyle Norg, seems to contemplate suicide after his parents harangue him for his fascination with the Legion. He jumps out his window, but then puts on a Legion flight ring, and joins the team.
Funny how the first thought that came to mind when the Legion was stuck in the… the whatever that rainbow time-loop thing is... My first thought was “They’re fine, Shikari will take them back!”. I suppose it makes sense that she gets separated from the group if you want to get a reason to explain the re-reboot (is this what they call the Threeboot?).

I know Cosmic Boy and Superboy didn’t really get along, but the teasing about picking one team or another was just out of place. I mean, come on! Without that false dilemma he had to deal with, Connor could’ve actually brought them all to the 21st Century as planned.
Once again, they included Andromeda out of nowhere. Sure, we have quite the crisis hitting the U.P., so maybe she was actually brought back to fight alongside the rest of the team, but at the very least give her some lines. We see her on one page only and she does absolutely nothing. Plus, I can’t even tell if she's with everyone else in the rainbow time-loop of doom. It’s just odd...
As far as ending goes, this one feels so depressing. I know nothing of the circumstances they end up with, but the little I read gave me a very bad feeling about the way their new story starts. LET THE KIDS DREAM !!!
Overall, this feels weird. It seems like Siskoid approached me for this project ages ago and here we are today, reviewing the very last issue of this continuity. I have some thoughts that’ll keep for the very last post from this series, but let me just say here and now, I really enjoyed doing it! Thank you for reading and see you next week for one last hurrah!

The new story - yes, the Threeboot - was well received and our very own Dr. Anj reviewed the book, so readers can find it on this space (click the Threeboot banner to the right), but of course, it's a whole other reality. I suppose Superboy's presence called for this to also star the Titans, but to me, that's the real shame of it. This version of the Legion, which lasted ten years - more than any other version past the original - is shuffled out of reality having to share space with another team. Consequently, not everyone gets a line or even a bit of action. You mentioned Andromeda (who I'm glad to see taken out of retirement in the untold months leading up to the event), but Gates and Sensor have been favorites of ours (Kinetix a bit less in her current form) and they make a cameo and no more. And I get it. The Legion has been writerless for months, and here their destiny is taken up by 1) the Titans writer (Johns also slyly inserts Infinite Crisis references - more than a year ahead, which makes me wonder if this is the first prologue to the event) and 2) the Threeboot writer. They're just not invested in the Reboot the way one of their regular writers would have been.
Not to say there isn't a lot of fun character work (you can always count on Mark Waid, for one, to play with continuity, even if it means ripping up a Reboot comic as part of the action). Brainiac 5 calling Bart "Koko", which reminds us of his pet monkey from years before. XS' chemistry with Kid-Flash. Everyone thinking Brainy's a jerk. Live Wire making Violet a suit that can resist Validus' lightning. Ultra Boy and Apparition thinking the Titans are immature even though they're the same age as they are. Tharoks vs. Cyborg. In fact, the big splashes with multiple Fatal Fives, all very cool. And Superboy having to make a choice is well-played too. Oh, not the bit where Cosmic Boy is a jerk to him, but when he chooses a costume and reverts to the old t-shirt after spending months with, everyone has to admit it, the better team.
Plot-wise, the Fatal Five Hundred offer plenty of fighting opportunities, but it's not clear to me what they want to achieve. There's no scheme there. Just overrun the universe with yourselves. It's not about that. It's really about using the Atomic Axe to rip tears in the universe so we have an excuse for rebooting the Legion timeline. I had to reread a lot of that technobabble to make sense of it so I could write a synopsis, and I'm still not clear on it. Whatever. The important thing is that the Reboot Legion is not actually wiped from existence, but rather just lost in time. When we intersect with the Threeboot, it's another timeline that has spawned a different Legion, and we WILL see the Reboot Legion again (in our last post, I promise). For me, when you wrap up a Legion story, you need to end it on "Long Live the Legion", and this does. Bonus points for the chain of Legionnaires holding on to each other being in the shape of an "L". Final thoughts to come, in just one week.
Science Police Notes:  
  • This final chapter of the Reboot Legion continues from Teen Titans (v3) #16, dovetails into a Threeboot Legion prologue, that itself continues in Legion of Super-Heroes (v5) #1. The Titans end up 10 years in their future, a story that continues in Teen Titans (v3) #17.
  • Gates, Kinetix and Sensor are said to be on the wounded list, being tended to by the Legion Cadets (the three of them still appear at the end, when the team floats though space-time, and are on the cover).
  • Brainiac 5 references his monkey Koko.
  • Andromeda appears to have rejoined the Legion, possibly due to this emergency.
  • Bart Allen's mother alludes to him eventually becoming the Flash. Less than two years later, in the wake of Infinite Crisis, he would. The "force pounding against reality" that causes Brainiac 5's plan to go off the rails is also an Infinite Crisis tie-in, specifically Superboy-Prime punching at the wall of reality.
  • Events from the Titans' visions occur in Teen Titans (v3) #22-25.
  • Though Shikari is the only Reboot Legionnaire to make it to the Threeboot timeline, she does not appear in any of those stories. Instead, she and the Reboot Legion make it back separately to Earth-247 as per Infinite Crisis #6.
  • In the Threeboot timeline, we see a parent ripping up a Reboot Legion comic, specifically Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #0, their first appearance.

Final contiguous Reboot Legion story. First Threeboot Legion story.


  1. It's still a disappointment that in the fatal five hundred we don't sweat single Caress, Flare, Mentallia, or Mordecai, any variants at all except maybe one Dark Man who could easily just be an art error.