Wednesday, February 10, 2021

L.E.G.I.O.N. '94 #68

L.E.G.I.O.N. '94 #68 (July 1994) 
writer: Tom Peter
penciller: Deric Aucoin
inker: James Pascoe
colors: Gene D'Angelo
letters: Gaspar Saladino
editor: Dan Raspler
cover: Arnie Jorgensen & James Pascoe

Reviewer: Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane

Recap: After discovering that Bek stowed away aboard their ship, Marij'n was furious that he ruined her romantic trip with Comet. Lady Quark was dispatched by Dox to retrieve Bek but was 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. She arrived and demanded Bek's return. Although they agreed, she lost patience with how slowly they were moving and ended up in battle with Comet, which appeared to end in his death in a cave-in.

Telepath discovered that Lady Quark has been replaced but the new "Dark" Lady Quark threatened his life and he agreed to keep her secret. Marij'n tried to convince everyone that Lady Quark murdered Comet, but no one believed her and Telepath avoided her so she could not ask him to probe Quark's mind. Although they held a funeral for Comet, he was still alive and dug his way out of the cave-in, although they do not know yet.

Dox finally revealed his infant son's super intelligence to everyone and named him as Bek's replacement as Chief Administrator. Everyone was shocked by both revelations, and seemed to be weirded out at the prospect of following a baby's orders. The child, who took the name Lyrl, assumed Bek's duties and began to act suspiciously. He appeared to exert some sort of mind control over Lydia Mallor and slowly started to undermine his father's command.
While a news report describes the success that Cairn has supposedly had with assimilating 24 million natives from the planet Arga-Prime after they were rescued from their dying world by the L.E.G.I.O.N., we see that things are not smoothly at all. A fight has broken out between an immigrant from Arga-Prime and his Cairnian boss after the employee discovers that he is one of the only ones not getting a holiday bones.
After the employee is kicked out, the boss says to the guards that the man is lucky he isn't sent back to his homeworld. The injured man wanders into a local store, covered in blood and seeking help. The clerk believes he is seeking a hand-out and begins yelling at him. Things quickly escalate and the clerk begins to beat him while the customers cheer him on.

Another immigrant from Arga-Prime, named Anor, is at home with his family, frustrated that he cannot find work and taking it out on his family. He receives a call informing him that his brother has been arrested and is in custody. He heads to the local L.E.G.I.O.N. office and tries to convince them that his brother must be innocent, but he is brushed off.
He eventually finds his brother, who is the man we saw getting badly beaten earlier. After learning what happened, Anor waits outside the store of the man responsible with a bat, planning to repay him for what he did.

Dox meets with representatives of the Cairnians and Argites to address the recent outbreaks of violence. Unfortunately, the typical prejudices that arise in such situations are present and make dealing with the situation difficult.
Dox assures the Argite representatives that their land is fertile if underdeveloped but tells them that he expects their people to remain calm and patient. He also assures the Carnians that the Argites will become self-sufficient in three years and warns them that the L.E.G.I.O.N. will aggressively prosecute rights violations and that the penalties will be severe. Unfortunately, Lyrl has a different perspective from his father.
Strata is preparing to head for work and says goodbye to Garv, who has recently returned Cairn and her. He begs her not to go but she tells him that she does not share whatever beef he has with the L.E.G.I.O.N. and that he has to let her live her life as she chooses. Once she leaves, it is clear from Garv's reaction that he cannot accept her remaining with the L.E.G.I.O.N.

A large group of Argites discussing how to deal with the recent violence against their people. One of them is arguing that they owe it to Dox to give him a chance to handle things but he is interrupted by a woman. She points out that there is a Blessing Day service across town in which over 500 cops are guarding the Carnians but no one is guarding them. Her words are clearly having an impact on the crowd.

At the Blessing Day service, one of the L.E.G.I.O.N. officers receives a warning that half the population of Argie-town is marching their way.  He says they have received orders from the top to give them one, but only one, warning shot. Soon, the crowd arrives and a riot quickly erupts.
The woman who provoked the Argite crowd hides in the background and we learn that she is Lydia Mallor, who has been acting under the control of Lyrl.

Phase, Strata, and Stealth confront Dox, believing that he was the one who ordered L.E.G.I.O.N. troops to shoot-to-kill the Argites. He is unaware of what has occurred so Phase shows him video of one of their officers reporting from the riot. He contacts the officer, who tells him they acted on his authority, although Dox claims he never gave any such order. It does not take him long to figure out who is responsible.

Strata arrives at the Blessing Day ceremony with reinforcements to take control of the situation. They discover many on both sides are dead or injured and Strata approaches one of the Argites.
A Carnian news broadcast announces that the L.E.G.I.O.N. has reacted decisively against a menace that threatened their homeworld's way of life. When tipped off to a sneak attack at a religious ceremony, their brave troops went into action and turned away the bloodthirsty Argites. Dox hears the broadcast and is angry and repulsed. He did not circulate those lies and turns to Lyrl, who dares him to tell the truth. He points out that their clients would be very interested to know that Dox has lost control.

Elsewhere on Cairn, a strange, round craft lands in the middle of a busy street. As a L.E.G.I.O.N. troop approaches, a mysterious being steps out and asks if he is on Cairn. He starts to ask the trooper if he is a member of the Legion of Super-Heroes, but quickly corrects himself and says the L.E.G.I.O.N. He says he is looking for a woman of average height, slight build, very beautiful, who can become intangible. When the trooper says he must mean Deputy Phase, who is at their main headquarters forty measures away, he man moves his ship out of the street and flies away.
Things are picking up quickly as Lyrl finally makes a direct move against his father. I liked how Peyer tied in the evacuation on Argo-Prime from several issues ago. The tensions between the citizens of Cairn and the Argites is something that resonates today, and frankly, has probably resonated many times throughout history. 

One aspect I did not expect from seeing Lyrl implement his plan was how good it would make his father look. Although Dox has always been a very manipulative, ends-justifies-the-means, sort of character, it is clear from this story that his ultimate goals are usually noble. He clearly hopes for the Cairnians and Argites to learn to live together in peace, although it also seems that he may genuinely be having difficulty grasping how difficult that will be. 

One thing that remains unclear so far is Lyrl's motivation. He obviously wants to take over the L.E.G.I.O.N., but it is not clear what he plans to do with it once he has control. His attitude suggests he is far more like his grandfather than his father but the storyline has yet to reveal his ultimate goals. 

I was glad to see the final page because it has been forever since this series has touched on any connection to the Legion of Super-Heroes. The Durlan that accompanied Dox early on was shown to have become R.J. Brande, the man who bankrolled the Legion of Super-Heroes, and it was clearly suggested that Phase was really Phantom Girl displaced in time. The arrival of Jo Nah/Ultra Boy supports this. Legion continuity was in a state of flux for a while after Crisis on Infinite Earths, but we have not quite hit Zero Hour, which will lead to another big shake-up in their continuity. Frankly, while I recall the ultimate resolution to Phase's origin, I do not recall how it is about to be handled at this point in L.E.G.I.O.N. history. So please check back next issue so we can see the fallout of Jo Nah's arrival together!