Wednesday, December 23, 2020

L.E.G.I.O.N. '93 #61

L.E.G.I.O.N. '93 #61 (December 1993)
title: "Ghost of a Chance"
writer: Tom Peyer
penciler: Arnie Jorgensen
inker: James Pascoe
colors: Gene D'Angelo
letters: Gasper Saladino
editor: Dan Raspier
cover: Barry Kitson

Recap: A L.E.G.I.O.N. squad arrived on Dexll to investigate concerns over a group of phantom-like beings that had settled on the planet. They had set up a circus pavilion and welcomed the youngest inhabitants of Dexll to visit. Although they had shown no hostile intent so far, the Dexllian parents were becoming concerned over the strong bond that had developed between the outsiders and their children.

Phase noticed that the phantom-like beings had powers very similar to hers and one of them claimed to know her. He said she was one of them and had disappeared some time ago. She joined him at their encampment and found herself welcomed by everyone. Soon, children all over Dexll began disappearing. The L.E.G.I.O.N. rushed to the pavilion and saw a long line of children entering the main tent. The children appeared to be in a trance of some sort and started to transform into phantoms just like the visitors. Once all of the children entered the tent it disappeared, leaving behind the L.E.G.I.O.N., who were uncertain how to even began to follow without Phase.

Phase was at home at first, but discovered a creature, Bhargast, feeding off the energy of one of the children, which causing the child to age. She learned that all of the phantoms were children who had once been abducted and served him out of fear. She tried to rally them to help her fight Bhargast, but at first they were too scared. After witnessing her bravery, the eventually stood up to and defeated Bhargast. After they defeated the creature, the children were returned safely to their homeworld.

Bek has invited representatives from numerous worlds to come to a celebration on the planet Rigon to discuss how the L.E.G.I.O.N. might meet their security needs. As Dox, Phase, Stealth, and Telepath arrive, Dox is furious that Bek organized what he sees as a political powderkeg. Unfortunately, Bek is not around for him to unload his anger on. Phase tries to calm Dox but their discussion is interrupted by an incoming message.
On the planet Ith'Kaa, Bek has intruded on the romantic getaway that Comet and Marij'n had planned by stowing away on their ship. While Comet appears to have accepted his presence and is trying to make peace, Marij'n appears far more disturbed and has secluded herself from the two of them.

On Cairn, Strata was left in charge to manage things in the absence of Dox and Phase. Lobo is searching for Dox and Zena almost lets slip his location before Strata steps in to stop her. Although she prevents Zena from revealing their location, Lobo knows something is up and goes looking for the information elsewhere.

On Rigon, a representative tries to assure Dox that security has been taken care of, but Dox is concerned about a General Zaaaq, who he believes to be the most brazen insurgent alive. He is worried that a L.E.G.I.O.N. gathering of this size will be a powerful temptation. Dox greets various arrivals, including Gigantus from the planet Motus that they saw in the earlier message.
One of the arrivals is Affr Tyunng, a rival of Xaaaq, and Dox is concerned that Xaaaq will see this as an opportunity to mount another attempt on his life. But he is accompanied by the greatest champion of Rigon, who represents the will of the planet's greatest warriors combined into a single being, and the champion insists that he is capable of defending Tyunng.

On Cairn, Lobo returns to his room and is angry to find it being cleaned by the maids who had promised to never risk disturbing him. When they explain that they figured he was at the party, he realizes what Strata was trying to prevent him from knowing and heads out to join the festivities.

Back on Rigon, Telepath and Phase are having trouble mingling with some of the more volatile guests at the party, and Telepath has a violent encounter with Gigantus. We finally glimpse something that was teased a while ago when Dox's infant son speaks to his father.

Telepath shouts that he senses the present of Xaaaq, and Dox tries to quiet him in an effort to avoid a panic. It turns out that Xaaaq was hiding inside Rigor's champion the whole time and he plans to assassinate Tyunng.
A battle breaks out and Rigon's champion splits into numerous beings. The L.E.G.I.O.N. struggles to fight back and Dox blames Tyunng for his recklessness in coming. Tyunng questions why he is paying the L.E.G.I.O.N. if they cannot protect him, but Dox asks how anyone could protect such a self-destructive imbecile. Xaaaq is closing in for the kill when Lobo bursts onto the scene just in time.

Lobo enjoys both the battle and the party, and quickly takes down Xaaaq and his forces. He eventually passes out in a drunken heap, but not before winning the day for the L.E.G.I.O.N.
Several worlds are impressed with the L.E.G.I.O.N.'s victory and look forward to solidifying a relationship. The representative of Motus even turns over their champion Gigantus as an apology for his bad behavior and Dox immediately signs him up as their newest member.

This issue was...well, lets just say it was not one of my favorites of this series. It pains me to say that because I am a pretty big fan of Tom Peyer but this one felt a little too rushed and chaotic. I understand what he was going for, but I just could not find myself caring at all about Xaaaq or his attempt on Tyunng's life. As I have said before, what I love about this series is the dynamic among the core team, so I do not necessarily need to find myself caring much about whatever mission they are on at any given time to enjoy the title. But here, there was just too much being thrown at a reader too quickly.

It also did not help that the resolution depended on Lobo, who I have grown fairly tired of in the series. He has not played much of a role recently and I really did not miss him. Early on, his presence was a plus to the series, particularly in how Dox manipulated him onto the team and used him as his ultimate tool. But for a while now, I have felt that his presence has been holding the title back and detracting from the seriousness of various storylines.

I was also confused as to what is going on with Comet and Marij'n. Clearly, something is being teased, as we see her crying while Comet and Bek are talking. But that's coming out of nowhere, as we have not gotten any hint before as to what may be bothering her that much. I get that this is foreshadowing, but its almost too vague. I could not shake the feeling that I was supposed to be taking something away from their scenes that I just could not grasp from the writing or art.

I have mentioned before that as much as I love this series, my memory is vague as to specifics because it has been so long since I last read it. That is particularly the case with these last ten issues as I remember that the series started to lose my interest a bit. So I am very curious to see what I think of it now, decades later. What I do recall has to do with Dox's son, and I am very much looking forward to exploring that angle and I do hope you stick with me as things start to lead into the follow up comic, R.E.B.E.L.S!