Mar 9, 2015

Legion of Super-Heroes: Forgotten Juggernauts, Part 6

Legion of Super-Heroes – Forgotten Juggernauts
Part 6 – No Boot!
Ben Smith

The Legion of Super-Heroes is one of my favorite teams in all of comics. I made the misguided decision to cover some of my favorite Legion comics, beginning with Waid’s 2005 reboot of the team, which was where I first started with the characters. From there I moved on to the 2010 series helmed by Legion legend Paul Levitz. Last week, I covered all of one issue. Brevity has never been my strong suit, unless we’re talking face-to-face, in which I will probably scowl at you and then walk away. That’s not personal, I just have a general dislike for all of humanity. As always, sponsors are welcome.

Let’s see if I can get through two issues this time.

Legion of Super-Heroes #2
Writer: Paul Levitz; Penciler: Yildiray Cinar and Francis Portela; Inker: Wayne Faucher and Francis Portela; Editor: Brian Cunningham

Brainiac 5 crankily directs a team of Legionnaires in clearing out the planetary debris left over from the destruction of Titan. Mon-El has returned to the team, and he’s by far a more interesting Superboy than Clark ever was. Tyroc, Ultra Boy, and Wildfire are along for the ride as well, and I can’t stress to you enough how much I love Wildfire.

Mon-El talks about his failed relationship to Shadow Lass, and references Ultra Boy’s romance with Phantom Girl. I spend way too much time thinking about these things.

“Can’t waste precious neurons on likeable morons…”

As Brainy surveys the remaining wreckage, he’s ambushed from behind by the powerful telepath, Saturn Queen. (Saturn Queen is one of the founding members of the Legion of Super-Villains, an entire team of evil “twins.” Cosmic King has transmutation powers similar to Element Lad, and Lightning Lord is the older brother to Lighting Lad and Light Lass.) Saturn Queen had returned to Titan to see if it truly was destroyed, and spotted her old enemies instead.

At Legion headquarters, Earth-Man has reluctantly agreed to join the team in exchange for his freedom, but he is not happy about the safeguards put into his flight ring keeping him from absorbing any useful powers. Unknown to any of the Legionnaires, he’s also secretly wearing the Green Lantern ring given to him last issue, and uses its power to short-circuit the safeguards in the Legion ring.

Meanwhile, Earthers are protesting housing the refugee people of Titan, which is creating a tense situation with the recent xenophobia movement. Cosmic Boy sends out Colossal Boy, Sun Boy, and Earth-Man to keep it from turning into a riot.

Saturn Queen uses her telepathic powers to subdue Brainy, and then mentally takes control of Ultra Boy. Ultra Boy knocks out Tyroc, and destroys Wildfire’s containment suit. (Wildfire is a being of pure energy, that needs a containment suit to take human form. He’s also in love with Dawnstar, which I can’t stress enough how much I love Dawnstar. I like that relationship. I spend way too much time thinking about these things.)

Saturn Girl uses the time sphere to take another look at the disappearance of her children, and is able to use her powers to glean an image from their minds in the last moments before they vanish. On Winath, Lightning Lad learns of his son’s disappearance, and he and his sister Light Lass abandon their investigation (their older brother Lightning Lord claimed he was born with a twin brother when it was always assumed that he wasn’t) to find Saturn Girl.

Colossal Boy tries to clear out the protestors, to little success. Earth-Man borrows some of his size-changing powers and surprisingly yells at the Earthers to clear out. Phantom Girl is hit by a stray rock and knocked out. Shadow Lass arrives and uses her power to cover the crowd in darkness.

Later, in the medilab, Shadow Lass talks to Phantom Girl after she comes to. Ultra Boy comes crashing through into the headquarters, attacking Shadow Lass and Cosmic Boy, knocking them out. Seeing his lover Phantom Girl breaks the mind control Saturn Queen has over him, and he passes out.

Earth-Man sits alone in his quarters, and wishes the Green Lantern ring would tell him how it works. The ring complies, bringing forth his power battery, and telling him to repeat the words “in brightest day…”

Legion of Super-Heroes #3
Writer: Paul Levitz; Penciler: Yildiray Cinar and Francis Portela; Inker: Wayne Faucher and Francis Portela; Editor: Brian Cunningham

Colossal Boy tries to prevent Earth-Man from leaving the headquarters, and Earth-Man reveals that he has a Green Lantern ring. Cosmic Boy breaks up their fight, and Earth-Man (Kirt Niedrigh) says he’s not trying to break his parole, but the ring is commanding him to intervene in a situation on the planet Ozifer.

Niedrigh flies off, and Cosmic Boy contacts Sun Boy to follow him.

Saturn Queen continues to hold Brainiac 5 under her mental control, waiting for Ultra Boy to return from destroying Legion headquarters.

Lightning Lad tracked down Saturn Girl, and she uses her telepathy to share the image the boys saw before they disappeared, into his mind. Garth recognizes the image, and they join Light Lass in their nearby starship to find the children.

Niedrigh arrives at Ozifer, when the ring tells him that apocalyptic conditions are present. He’s disgusted that he might have to use his powers to save some disgusting tentacle’d aliens, but he tries to anyway. He stops the quakes, which he thinks should solve the problem, but the ring is still telling him sentient lives are endangered, and finds himself ensnared by one of those tentacle monsters. The ring refuses to attack an innocent sentient being, and Niedrigh is in trouble, until Sun Boy arrives and pulls him out. (Sun Boy has more reason than anyone to hate Niedrigh, due to what he did to him during his anti-alien movement.)

Phantom Girl confronts Saturn Queen, backed up by Ultra Boy, Tellus, and Sensor Girl.

I loooove Sensor Girl.

Saturn Queen regains her control over Ultra Boy, and sends him and Tyroc after the Legionnaires. Sensor Girl uses her sensory manipulation powers to make their mind-controlled teammates see Saturn Queen as the Legionnaires, and they knock her out.

Durlans watch the news reports of the destruction of Titan. (Durlans are shape-shifters, and are considered to be scum by most of the rest of the universe. They don’t get much respect, even though RJ Brande, who bankrolled and helped found the Legion, was really a Durlan passing as a human being. Legion member Chameleon Boy is also a Durlan.) The Durlans blame the Legion for Brande’s death, and wait for their chance at revenge.

Element Lad, Shadow Lass, and Invisible Kid join Sun Boy and Neidrigh on Ozifer. They suggest asking the ring more specifically what needs to be done to stabilize the planet. (Earth-Man also isn’t all that happy that the sentient beings he was sent to save are small insects.) The ring informs them to reduce the carbon in the atmosphere, and Neidrigh borrows Element Lad’s transmutation powers so they can both change the carbon into inert gases.

It works, and Neidrigh decides the Green Lantern Corps isn’t for him, and drops the ring, which falls to the planet below. After they depart, Dyogene arrives to reclaim the ring.

Lightning Lad is convinced the image he saw was a medieval world of magic called Avalon. But when they arrive, they find a giant statue that doesn’t suggest they will receive the warmest of welcomes.

Legion of Super-Heroes #4
Writer: Paul Levitz; Artists: Yildiray Cinar, Francis Portela, and Wayne Faucher; Editor: Brian Cunningham

The residents of Avalon worship the stone head of Darkseid left behind by the cosmic despot during the Great Darkness Saga. Darkseid had come to Avalon to free Mordru and steal his power. Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, and Light Lass prepare to infiltrate the temple and free their children.

The main worshipper, the Servant to the Darkness, believes he hears Darkseid’s voice, and doesn’t know if the children he touched should be sacrificed to him, or if he should hold them until Darkseid’s arrival. (At one point in continuity, Darkseid stole one of the boys at the moment of their birth, unknown to anyone, and sent him back in time to become Validus, a member of the Fatal Five and enemy to the Legion. This was apparently overturned at some point.)

Neidrigh meets with a council of xenophobe believers, who praise him for rejecting the “ring of aliens,” and try to convince him to get rid of the Titan refugees polluting Earth.

At Legion headquarters, the team meets to discuss the current issues at hand, suggesting that Cosmic Boy might be overwhelmed as team leader, and that elections for a new leader are overdue (the Legion regularly holds elections for leadership based on votes from team members). Quislet makes his first cameo. I love Quislet. (Quislet is a microscopic energy-being from an alternate dimension that flies around in a tiny spaceship.)

Saturn Girl locates the boys with her telepathy, and Lightning Lad forgoes sneaking around for a more direct approach.

They reach the door of the cell before Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl are knocked unconscious by the Servant of Darkness, leaving only Lightning Lass (I just realized I’ve been calling her Light Lass, which used to be her name, so I’m not going to fix it).

Neidrigh rejects the council’s requests, declaring that his membership in the Legion will enable him to save mankind, and flies off.

Dream Girl meets with the High Seer on her homeworld of Naltor, who have agreed to take in Titan refugees, in the hopes of getting a new Time Institute on the planet. Professor Li, from the previous Time Institute, and the High Seer leave to talk more about it. (Everyone seems pretty forgiving to this woman that had a role in an entire planet exploding.)

Lightning Lass faces off against the Servant, even dodging his appropriated Omega Beams. She uses her electricity to shock Garth and Imra awake, before the Servant gets the best of her.

On Oa, Sodam Yat cries some more, this time about Earth-Man rejecting the ring. Dyogene admits it picked wrongly, and “must return to Oa’s soil, and let the ages pass.” Which brings about more crying from Yat (I hate Sodam Yat). He refuses to let the Corps die, and he pulls Dyogene out and sends him on his way to find another wielder.

A revived Saturn Girl uses her powers to give the Servant a true look at his master “and his contempt for you,” disintegrating him where he stands.

Lightning Lass chases off the minions, leaving Garth and Imra free to finally save their boys.

Back at headquarters, Shadow Lass finds Brainy in the middle of his latest (failed) attempt to find a way to successfully eliminate cockroaches (one of his more humorous and loveable ongoing goals). Shadow Lass is questioning him about what exactly he did to Neidrigh’s flight ring.

Brainy added in the feature that limited his ability to absorb powers, and an emergency disable function, both of which he determined Neidrigh used the Green Lantern ring to negate. But another function he does not know about, is a mood modifier.

Cosmic Boy had Sensor Girl on a mission to discover any plots against the remaining Titan refugees, of which there are many. He asks Neidrigh, who just arrived, if he knows what the xenos might be planning. To which, Neidrigh claims not to know a thing.

Earth-Man flies off, and is quickly joined by Shadow Lass, who appears to be more than a little curious about the newest Legion member.

I just realized reading these Legion comics again, that the X-Men completely stole their entire blueprint. Characters have allowed to get older, marry, have children. They both have strong female characters that are arguably more interesting than any of the male characters, especially Gambit. They both have hairy, feral, tough guy characters that are just the worst. All the dating, and angst, and squabbling amongst each other. It’s no wonder they were both so popular in the ‘80s, yet Legion wasn’t able to maintain that popularity. I blame John Byrne, for helping to make the X-Men popular, and for ruining the Legion with continuity problems. As always, it’s Byrne’s fault.

That’s it for this week. I tripled my production from last week, so you should make sure you enjoyed it three times as much. It’s the least you can do.

Come back next time for more likeable morons.

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