Legion of Super-Heroes – Forgotten Juggernauts
Part 4 – Victory
I love the Legion of Super-Heroes. I decided to share that love, as I have been known to do, by detailing the various plot points of some of my favorite comics, while offering my often pointless, but sometimes insightful, commentary. But one cannot get the full spectrum of enjoyment offered by a comic from a simple rundown of the most pertinent events. No, one must purchase and read comics for oneself, to appreciate the full experience that comes with reading good comics. (Except for Waid’s work for DC comics, he says steal them all, he doesn’t care.)
Last time Dream Girl died and the Legion was totally screwed, let’s find out how it ends.
Legion of Super-Heroes #11
Writer: Mark Waid; Penciler: Barry Kitson; Inker: Mick Gray; Editors: Harvey Richards, Stephen Wacker
Cosmic Boy and Sun Boy both try to communicate with each other on their separate worlds, to no success. Back on Earth, Invisible Kid and Brainiac 5 stand over the lifeless body of Dream Girl, in the wreckage of Legion headquarters. Brainy pulls the force-field generator from his belt and puts it on Dream Girl, creating a force-field around her body.
Invisible Kid tries to convince Brainy to help him stop Elysion from tearing the city apart, but Brainy, clearly in shock at the death of Dream Girl, intends to figure out a way to outthink death itself.
Invisible Kid gathers what Legion supporters are around, to see if they can do anything to stop Elysion.
On Dormir, the communications hub of the universe, Cosmic Boy and his team ironically continue to try and fail to contact the others. Beams of energy streak all around them, and purely by accident, Cosmic Boy discovers they are actually native sentient lifeforms of random data. He lets one pass through him, and it leads him to the dominant lifeform on the planet, a being of pure concept.
On Ttrxl, source of the transmatter gates, Lightning Lad leads his team carefully through the chaos of the world also known as the Fifth Dimension, in an effort to locate the machines that keep the teleportational transmatters open. They are trying to regain their bearings, when a being by the name of Agent Skelter appears out of nowhere and attacks them. Skelter can manipulate the Fifth Dimension to appear out of anywhere, and the world is playing havoc with the Legionnaires powers, switching them from person to person at random.
Sun Boy uses Shadow Lass’s shadow powers to give them a chance to escape, but Saturn Girl is left behind. Imra is in a state of shock over the loss of her telepathic powers, and the other Legionnaires have just now realized that she’s mute.
Back on Dormir, Cosmic Boy keeps the team from destroying the Public Service. After all, they’re there to convince Dormir to stay allied with the United Planets. He debates with the concept, warning it about Lemnos and what he did to the Coluans, something he could surely do to Dormir.
The concept concedes and agrees to keep communications open for United Planet forces.
Ultra Boy’s team moves silently through Terra Firma’s homeworld. Unfortunately, they discover that Lemnos has a massive army at his command, ten times anything they imagined.
Brainiac 5 continues to try and think of any way to save Dream Girl, but can’t.
In a backup story by Waid and Dale Eaglesham, the Legion supporters help anyone they can in the devastation left by Elysion, mirroring old DC comic book covers.
An elastic kid tries to save what comic books and artifacts he can, believing that the Legion will want them, but eventually realizes that saving the lives of other people is more important.
Legion of Super-Heroes #12
Writer: Mark Waid; Penciler: Barry Kitson and Ken Lashley; Inkers: Mick Gray and Drew Geraci; Editors: Harvey Richards, Stephen Wacker
Ultra Boy and his team are deployed to the Terra Firma homeworld. Ultra Boy uses his x-ray vision to scope out what he can, and sees Lemnos prepping to “drop the ‘go’ flag,” and Brin Londo alive in a nearby cell.
Cosmic Boy appears before them as a communication signal transmitted from the planet Dormir, and they update him on the size of Lemnos’ army. Cosmic Boy believes that Invisible Kid was right about the three worlds. Communications and supply lines are key, but fears that they have already lost their homebase back on Earth.
Cosmic Boy could order Lightning Lad to sever transmatter lines to keep Lemnos and his army at bay, but that would mean Ultra Boy and his team would be stranded with an entire army against them. Karate Kid tells him to do it.
On Ttrxl, the team uses a combination of Shadow Lass’s shadow powers, Chameleon Boy’s shapeshifting, and Lightning Lad’s lightning to subdue Skelter. They are in the process of having Saturn Girl use her telepathy to find the location of the transmatter machines, when Cosmic Boy makes contact with them as another communication signal.
Back on Earth, Brainiac 5 has lost his mind from all appearances, and is talking to rocks.
Elysion is attacking United Planet headquarters, when Brainy arrives armed only with a rock and a slingshot. The rock plunks against his head and disintegrates, seemingly causing no damage to the earthshaper.
Suddenly, Atom Girl tears him a new hole from the inside, and finishes him off with a roundhouse kick to the face.
Lemnos addresses his followers, when they receive an intruder alarm. The Legionnaires have wandered into the deployment forces.
Projectra uses her newly inherited holographic spell powers to mask half the team as they free Brin Londo from his cell.
While outside, Ultra Boy and Karate Kid take on Lemnos’ army single-handed.
Brin and the others join the fight.
Back on Dormir, Cosmic Boy takes full command of the Public Service, which he renames Legion Channel One, to address every underager in the galaxy. At the same time, Lightning Lad shuts down the transmatter gates.
Cosmic Boy calls out to every underager, to fight back against Lemnos and his forces, to fight for freedom (wherever there’s trouble).
The message is heard, and a universe full of underagers prepares to fight back against the forces of evil.
Sometimes it actually takes me writing down the events of comics to fully appreciate some of the moments. This was a pretty good moment, if a little bit corny, but it works. When I did my initial reread, I felt like the victory was a little too quickly achieved after the odds were stacked so high against them, but I’ve changed my mind. It’s my column, I’m allowed to do that.
Legion of Super-Heroes #13
Writer: Mark Waid; Layouts: Barry Kitson; Finishes: Mick Gray; Editors: Harvey Richards, Stephen Wacker
Lemnos orders his troops through the transmatter gates, but they find out in the most gruesome ways that they have been shut down. Ultra Boy and his team fight against the army, and Lightning Lad and his team arrive through the last remaining open gate to help.
aturn Girl combines her telepathy with Projectra’s hallucination powers to take down waves of enemies at a time.
On Dormir, Cosmic Boy has the Legionnaires remove their flight rings, so they can all see that Lemnos’ forces have been blocked and captured on every planet they targeted. Yet, the battle isn’t quite over, as Terror Firma enters the fray. The two teams fight.
Cosmic Boy contacts Lemnos inside his stronghold, distracting him while Sun Boy comes from behind to deck him. Cosmic Boy and Lemnos remark over the similarity of their goals, ushering in a new era of interstellar progress, if not their methods.
Cosmic Boy picks up what information he can from Earth, that Elysion has been subdued, but also that Dream Girl died in the process.
Suddenly, members of Terror Firma come crashing through the wall, freezing Sun Boy in stasis. Before they can retreat offworld, Lemnos orders them to kill the subdued Legionnaires.
Outside, the Legionnaires continue to fight and beat the remaining forces of Terror Firma.
Inside, Lemnos’ allies refuse to put a bullet through the head of a defenseless combatant. They signed up to shake the universe up, not to fight a losing battle, and just want out.
Cosmic Boy rips into them, saying they can’t just opt out after everything they’ve done. They argue back, asking since when does anybody care what happens to they do on the outer rim. The United Planets have been dumping criminals out there for years, and generations of kids are born having to pay for crimes they didn’t even commit.
Lemnos slips away in the confusion, but Brainy teleports in out of nowhere and drags him away.
Outside, the Legionnaires finish up the fighting. Brainy arrives through his temporary transgate to take them home.
Cosmic Boy orders them to leave Lemnos’ troops behind, they can’t cause any trouble without working transmatter gates. Sun Boy has decided to stay. He’s wanted to be his own person for a while now, and he thinks he can help “Terror Firma” find their way.
While they’re all gathered, Cosmic Boy sends out one final statement, a message of celebration to everyone that stood up and saved the universe that day.
In the epilogue, Brainiac 5 has Dream Girl’s body in his lab, still in his forcefield, along with the body of Lemnos on ice.
In a backup by Stuart Moore and Ken Lashley, they take us through the heartbreaking final hours of Dream Girl’s life.
Another illustrated letters column by Waid and Amanda Conner closes the issue.
Like I said before, sometimes the turnaround can seem a little quick after all that time was spent building up the formidable odds against the Legion, but this was a pretty satisfying end to the opening conflict for this series. Brainiac 5 proved he had a heart, Ultra Boy proved he had a brain, and Cosmic Boy proved that… he wasn’t a complete dick. If the Guardians of the Galaxy movie has taught us anything, it’s that nobody is one hundred percent a dick.
In the next issue, a guilty and publicly criticized (for ignoring the Legion’s warnings) United Planets offers to fund the Legion of Super-Heroes and establish them as an independent extension of Earthgov. Invisible Kid finally admits to Atom Girl that he was the one that snitched to Brainiac 5, but Atom Girl doesn’t mind keeping his secret because it helps to build the myth that is her.
That’s it for Waid’s “Threeboot” version. Supergirl would join the book with issue #16, and later on Cosmic Boy pulls one of the most badass moves in the history of comic books. But if you want to know about those, you’ll have to continue reading on your own (or maybe I’ll come back to them eventually).
Next week, it’s on to Paul Levitz, and the return of the original Legion of Super-Heroes.