Wednesday, January 13, 2021

L.E.G.I.O.N. '94 #64

L.E.G.I.O.N. '94 #64 (March 1994)
title: "The Doctor Will See You Now"
writer: Tom Peter
penciler: Arnie Jorgensen
inker: James Pascoe
colors: Gene D'Angelo
letters: Gasper Saladino
editor: Dan Raspier
cover: Barry Kitson

Recap: Stealth observed Vril Dox with their child and witnessed the baby speaking like an adult. She immediately assumed that Dox was responsible. After discovering that Bek stowed away about their ship, Marij'n was furious that he ruined her romantic trip with Comet. She became even more furious when Comet seemed to take the development in stride and made her anger clear by kissing Bek in front of him. Lady Quark was dispatched by Dox to retrieve Bek but got attacked by a powerful duplicate of herself. The being appeared to kill Lady Quark and leave her body floating in space as it departed for Ith'kaa to complete her mission.

The child eventually convinced Stealth that his father was not responsible for his intelligence, at least not through any sort of experimentation. Although he felt free to begin speaking at his normal level around his mother, the child continued to hide his intelligence from the rest of L.E.G.I.O.N. 

The being disguised as Lady Quark interrupted Comet and Marij'n's weekend to take Bek into custody for desertion. Quark quickly grew impatient and lashed out at Marij'n, which led to a battle with Comet. We learned that the being who replaced Quark was the alien creature that possessed a biomass created from her DNA on Argo'Prime in L.E.G.I.O.N. '93 #45-47. Both Comet and Quark got caught in a cave-in and only Quark emerged alive. Assuming Comet to be dead, she returned to Cairn with Marij'n and Bek.

On Cairn, Dox interrupts his son while he is conducting research on eugenics. It is not the subject matter that throws Dox but the manner in which his son is documenting his investigation.
Dox is impressed but questions why he would go to so much trouble. The child insists it is not trouble, and in fact a good distraction because he misses "his mommy."

On the planet Nuhass, Phase leads Stealth, Telepath, Borb, and Lobo to investigate a series of alien abductions. Because they are undercover and Lobo is not known for discretion, he has been sedated until such time as they need him. They get to the central market just in time for a ship to arrive and pull them and a large group of natives inside. Stealth awakens inside with a number of other prisoners and calls for Telepath.

Borb teleports Stealth to join the others, all of whom are awake except Lobo. Telepath and Born suspect they have been taken by slave traders, but Phase is skeptical given that their surroundings are so clean as to be antiseptic. 

Two beings come in and began conducting what appears to be a medical examination on Phase. They reveal themselves to be a doctor and a nurse, and they use a flash of some sort to make freeze in place. The doctor soon turns his attention towards Stealth.

On Cairn, Bek checks in with Marij'n to see how she is handling Comet's death. He feels responsible for creating the situation that led to his death by stowing away on their ship. When she does not respond at first, he goes to leave her room, but Mairj'n snaps out of her daze and asks whether he thinks Quark will get away with it.

Dox questions Lady Quark about the incident and she denies any responsibility. She insists she did not try to kill him and that his death was the result of a cave-in following an earthquake.
When Phase and the others awaken, they all have tremendous headaches. Stealth is checking on Lobo, who remains unconscious, when everyone notices that half her face is disfigured. She is shocked at first but quickly puts it aside so they can focus on their captors. Telepath is about to reveal what he read in their minds when Stealth is pulled out of the room by a yellow ray similar to the one that first abducted them. 

On Cairn, Strata continues her search for Garv while Bek visits Dox to discuss his guilt over the death of Comet. Instead of sympathy, Dox agrees that Bek's desertion to follow Marij'n shows that he cannot be trusted. He says he needs an administrator that he can rely on and turns to his son. Bek's jaw drops when the baby informs Bek that he has already taken the liberty of copying his files.

Meanwhile, the doctor responsible for disfiguring Stealth has taken her to see his master, the Brain Bandit.

Telepath and Born are growing frustrated over their situation and began to bicker. Phase pushes them away from each other and orders Telepath to tell them what he learned from the doctor. He explains that they abduct and experiment on people in order to take drugs out of them to sell. Borb does not understand so Phase explains that endorphins are natural pain killers and can serve as a potent opiate is taken from an external source like a syringe. She also says it explains their interest in Stealth, who has an unusual physiology that even Dox has been unable to figure out.

The Brain Bandit, who acts quite mad, is so impressed by Stealth that he has decided to make her his wife. He also decides he has no use for their other prisoners and orders that they be dumped into space. Just then, Phase finally awakens Lobo, but not in time to stop their ejection.
I really appreciate that for we have gotten to see the core team performing a lot of regular, run-of-the-mill missions lately. And that is not a sarcastic knock at all, I really enjoy it. Earlier in the series run, sometimes the storyline could get so lost in personal conflicts that we went long stretches without seeing the team perform its core mission as an intergalactic police force. Peyer has done a good job of keeping the conflicts and drama among the team at the forefront while still letting us watch them fulfill their mission statement.

It was interesting that Peyer created a storyline based on drug smuggling, which would be an obvious premise for a L.E.G.I.O.N. story, but added a horror twist by having them adbuct and extract chemicals from living beings. I am not quite sure what to make of the Brain Bandit yet. He has a strong mad scientist vibe, which I enjoyed, but his suggestion of making Stealth his bride was an unexpected twist. It certainly added a level of creepiness to his character. 

It was nice to see Borb on his first mission with the core team, even if his bickering with Telepath felt a bit out of character, even under these extreme circumstances. Given how much his character has worn on me of late, it was also nice to see Lobo sedated for most of the issue. We got a nice cliffhanger ending too, although between Lobo awakening and Borb's teleportation ability, its easy to imagine several ways for them to get out of this. The only question is how many of the other prisoners the L.E.G.I.O.N. will be able to save with themselves.

Other than his secrecy, there have not been too many ominous signs surrounding Dox's child. Well, other then his obvious family history, that is. He appears to be bonding with both his parents and to genuinely love his mother. However, seeing him research eugenics has to be a big red flag, as thats not a term most writers would casually throw out there. I do not think they are foreshadowing any particular plan regarding eugenics, I just think its meant to stress that he shares his father's cold, dispassionate approach to science and probably many other things as well. 

Once again, we got only a one page appearance by Strata as she continues her search for Garv. I do hope we get back to them soon because their absence is definitely felt. Strata's more noble nature has always served as a good counter-balance against some of the darker or more volatile members of the team.

That wraps up my thoughts on this issue, which was another solid and enjoyable tale from Peyer and Jorgenson. Please check back with me next week as we learn that fate of Stealth and see if we get a glimpse of Dox's son in his new administrative role!

1 comment:

  1. I think that Stealth is one of the most interesting characters ever created in the DC universe. It is such a shame that she has been relegated to obscurity.