Mar 16, 2015

Legion of Super-Heroes: Forgotten Juggernauts, Part 7

Legion of Super-Heroes – Forgotten Juggernauts
Part 7 – Sexjinks!
Ben Smith

The Legion of Super-Heroes is one of my favorite teams in all of comics. I’ve been covering some of my favorite runs with the characters, starting with the Waid “Threeboot,” and now continuing on with the Levitz and Cinar book that began in 2010. It’s taken me six weeks to cover just a handful of issues. Where else can you get the level of overdetailed summaries and commentary that Back Issue Ben provides? Nowhere!

It’s all a journey, a special journey. Let’s take a hetero journey together. (Or we can get gay with it, whatever you want. It’s all love and respect. Send money.)

Legion of Super-Heroes #5
Writer: Paul Levitz; Pencilers: Yildiray Cinar and Francis Portela; Inkers: Wayne Faucher and Francis Portela; Editor: Brian Cunningham

The Legionnaires try to minimize the damage, and save innocents, after a starliner intending to take Titan refugees to a new home crashed, possibly under mysterious circumstances. Just when they’ve finished saving everyone they can, a squadron of soldiers calling themselves the Earth Force arrives.

On Naltor, Dream Girl talks to Dyogene of Oa, seeking a new bearer for the Green Lantern ring. It chooses Professor Harmonia Li. But she refuses.

Sensor Girl has fallen, leaving Colossal Boy, Sun Boy, and Timber Wolf (worse of all Legionnaires) to fight the Earth Force on their own. One by one, they all fall, leaving Sun Boy to stand alone. They hit him with an energy damper, which he tries to burn away. Earth-Man arrives, but is he here to help Sun Boy or the Earth Force?

At Legion headquarters, Brainiac 5 has called in the Chronarch to help him stabilize the time bubble that Saturn Girl took from the Time Institute. Chameleon Boy and Cosmic Boy leave to assist against the Earth Force.

Chief Zendak arrives at Science Police Headquarters, late for a conference. Durlan infiltrators kill the Chief, with one of the assassins shape-shifting and taking his place.

Earth-Man absorbs Sun Boy’s powers, and they both push back the Earth Force attackers. Neidrigh has decided his friends in his old movement are wrong. The rest of the Legionnaires arrive for and the big battle begins.

Brainiac 5 and the Chronarch finish their work on the time bubble, and he thanks him for being a good mentor over the years. Chronarch remembers his own mentor, the first humanoid he could ever relate to, Professor Harmonia Li.

The Legionnaires recover while the Earth Force soldiers are taken into custody. Neidrigh leads the Legion and Science Police to the location of the xenos council, where they can be arrested for their crimes.

Later that night, Phantom Girl goes to Shadow Lass’ room in search of the medikit she gave her earlier, and finds Shady in bed with Neidrigh.

This was a legitimately shocking moment reading it on a monthly basis.

Legion of Super-Heroes #6
Writer: Paul Levitz; Artist: Francis Portela; Editor: Brian Cunningham

Colossal Boy, Shadow Lass, and Phantom Girl chase down some Titan refugee runaways. Later, Colossal Boy talks to his mother, who has recently been reappointed to the Earthgov council.

Phantom Girl visits with Shady, to try and smooth over her busting in on her and Neidrigh the night before, but she still can’t understand why she would be with him.

Brainiac 5, Timber Wolf, and Earth-Man are on the scene as the remaining Titan refugees are shuttled off to their new colonies on Colu and Ventura. An unknown craft comes flying in to attack. A Earth-Man flies off to intercept, Brainy wonders if this new Neidrigh is truly converted, or a result of the mood modifier he hid in his Legion flight ring.

The attacker tries to plead with Earth-Man, that he was the one that taught them that aliens don’t belong on Earth soil. Neidrigh admits that he was wrong, that they were all wrong.

With a fresh pardon from Earthgov, Neidrigh interrupts one of Brainy’s latest attempts at coackroach killing to give him back the modified flight ring. He demands to get a regular flight ring, and that Brainy never try to mess with his head again.

This leaves the reader to wonder if Earth-Man has truly changed, and if so, did he change on his own, or did the behavior modification spur it on.

In a back-up story by Levitz, Phil Jimenez, and Scott Koblish, Cosmic Boy visits Triplicate Girl at the Legion Academy, to take a look at the newest students. (These students would soon become the focus of Adventure Comics, and I’m sorry, but I didn’t care for any of them.)

Afterwards, Cosmic Boy says goodbye to Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl, as they are taking a leave of absence from the team. (This happens from time to time.) This spurs Cosmic Boy to initiate a new Legion leader election.

A one-pager at the end of the issue has Matter-Eater Lad asking the readers to send in their votes on the new Legion leader.

A long tradition with the Legion of Super-Heroes comics is letting the readers vote on the leader of the team from time to time. That’s one of the coolest things in comics, and more books should do things like it.

Legion of Super-Heroes #7
Writer: Paul Levitz; Artists: Yildiray Cinar and Wayne Faucher; Editor: Brian Cunningham

Chief Zendak calls in the Legionnaires to investigate the murder of a councilor. The councilor was killed from the inside out, with no apparent wounds to the outside of his body.

At Legion Headquarters, Sun Boy, Dream Girl, and Polar Boy discuss the new leader election.

Cosmic Boy, Ultra Boy, and Timber Wolf are patrolling the area for clues, when Timber Wolf catches wind of a scent that Durlan’s are known to be fond of. Tyroc and the Science Police are transporting the councilor’s body when they are attacked by Durlans.

Back at HQ, Earth-Man is confronting Mon-El over Shadow Lass. (Mon-El and Shady were a longtime couple that only recently broke up.) Neidrigh says that Shady is his now, and if Mon-El wants to try anything, he has his powers now (Neidrigh can absorb powers). Mon-El grabs Neidrigh at superspeed and throws him into space, saying that he may have his powers, but hasn’t spent a thousand years thinking of how to use them.

Cosmic Boy, Ultra Boy, and Timber Wolf return to help Tyroc fight off the Durlan attackers. They are able to capture one for questioning, while the other two escape.

Afterwards, Cosmic Boy wonders why Durlans, who have traditionally remained isolated to their own planet, would send assassins to Earth. He’s glad to be working with Chief Zendak to find out why (but we all know from previous issues that Zendak is really a Durlan in disguise).

Earth-Man returns to headquarters, and the comforting of Shadow Lass, but they have a visitor in Dyogene from Oa.

In a backup story by Levitz and Portela, Brainiac 5 tests out and wrecks the time bubble. Afterwards, he takes Chameleon Boy with him to Naltor, to find and question Harmonia Li. First, she is the only one to survive the explosion at the Time Institute and departs unquestioned, as a refugee she’s selected to relocate to the most pleasant location where she’s immediately embraced by the planet’s ruler, then vehemently rejects a Green Lantern ring, and she’s at least a century older than any record of her would show. She tells him that’s she’s of old Earth, that maybe they can cooperate on her goal of exploring time, and appears to begin to tell him everything he wants to know. To be continued.

I love how most of the major original storylines established in the first few issues all appear to have been closed out. The xenophobic movement, Earth-Man’s behavior modification, the Titan refugees, and Saturn Girl’s children have all been resolved, for the moment. It seems like those plots would run for dozens of issues in most other modern comics. But Levitz maintains that “old school” type of plot construction where you start with the “A” stories, but also introduce some “B” stories. Then you let the “B” stories build into the “A” after resolving those original “A” stories, rinse and repeat. On the same token, he was able to adapt to a modern storytelling method, excising all the exposition those older comics needed to make sure new readers could understand what was going on. It gives the book a sense of momentum that I really appreciate. Nothing is lingered on for too long, so far. It’s one of the main reasons I loved the first season of the O.C. television show, it moved so quickly through its storylines. Also, I totally voted for Brainiac 5 as leader.

The book keeps plugging along, and not even a more prominent Timber Wolf can ruin it. How can you not love the Legion? Hopefully you do, because there’s going to be more of them next week.
Long live the Legion!

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