The Legion of Super-Heroes (Vol. 3) #17-49 , Annual #2-3 (December 1985 – August 1988)
Written by Paul Levitz (#17-49, Annual #2-3)
Co-plotted by Steve Lightle (#23)
Pencilled by Greg LaRocque (#17-22, 24-48, Annual #3), Chuck Patton (#19), Keith Giffen (#20, 45, Annual #2), Paris Cullins (#21), Steve Lightle (#23), Norm Breyfogle (#24), Colleen Doran (#27), Shawn MacManus (#27), Gene Colan (#27), Curt Swan (#39, 45, Annual #2), Dan Jurgens (#40), Kurt Schaffenberger (#45), Dave Cockrum (#45), Mike Grell (#45), Pat Broderick (#46-47, 49)
Pencilling assist by Greg LaRocque (#23)
Inked by Larry Mahlstedt (#17-21, 24, Annual #2), Mike DeCarlo (#19-49, Annual #3), Gary Martin (#21), Romeo Tanghal (#39), Dick Giordano (#45), Ernie Colón (Annual #2)
Ink Assist by Arne Starr (#24-30, 32-38, 40-43, 45, Annual #3)
Colour by Carl Gafford (#17-49, Annual #2-3)
Spoilers (from thirty-one to thirty-four years ago)
When Greg LaRocque came onto the Legion of Super-Heroes with issue seventeen (having already drawn #15), he heralded a new day with the deluxe format book. The page count increased, as ads were removed from the comic. Also, he joined just as five new and diverse Legionnaires did, and as the series had to chart its way in the post-Crisis DC Universe. This was a very exciting time at DC, where Crisis and its changes and rebooting caused writers, editors, and artists to look at established characters in new ways.
The Legion’s entire history was tied closely to Superboy’s, and now Superboy never actually existed in the mainstream new DCU. Neither did Supergirl, I think (it honestly got pretty confusing at times). So, creators had to integrate their titles to the new approach, while maintaining the quality of storytelling and reader interest.
Levitz, from what I can remember, did that quite well during this run, with LaRocque’s support, as well as the occasional appearance of Keith Giffen. Levitz and LaRocque worked together for more than two years, and it is during this time (I think during the Millennium event) that I first read a Legion comic as it came out (there’d been some randomly acquired back issues before that), and then, with the big push for the 30th Anniversary of the team, I became a regular, and then devoted, reader. I haven’t read those issues since the late 80s though, and am excited to be reading them again, with all the backstory so fresh in my mind.
Let’s track who turned up in the title:
The Legion of Super-Heroes
- Dream Girl (Nura Nal; #17-20, 23-30, 32-38, 40-45, 47-49)
- Lightning Lass (Ayla Ranzz; #17-27, 29-30, 35-38, 40-41, 45, 47, 49)
- Sun Boy (Dirk Morgna; #17-20, 22-30, 35-43, 45-47, 49)
- Star Boy (Thom Kallor; #17-21, 25-28, 38, 40)
- Timber Wolf (Brin Londo; #17, 19, 21-28, 30, 35-38, 40-43, 45-49, Annual #2)
- Blok (#17-19, 24-27, 30, 32-38, 45-46, 48-49, Annual #2)
- Invisible Kid (Jacques Foccart; #17-19, 23, 25-28, 31, 35-38, 40, 42-45, 47-49, Annual #2)
- Brainiac 5 (Querl Dox; #17-26, 28, 30, 32-38, 40-49)
- Sensor Girl (Projectra; #17, 19-27, 30-31, 35-38, 40-41, 45, 47-49)
- Quislet (#17-19, 21, 24, 26-27, 29-30, 32-34, 36, 40, 44-45, 47-49)
- Element Lad (Jan Arrah; #17-30, 33-38, 40-43, 45, 48-49, Annual #2)
- Chameleon Boy (Reep Daggle; #17, 19-22, 24-26, 28, 32-36, 38-43, 45-49)
- Tellus (Ganglios; #17-19, 22-30, 32-38, 40, 42-48)
- Mon-El (Lar Gand; #18-24, 29-30, 32-38, 40-41, 45-49, Annual #3)
- Shadow Lass (Tasmia Mallor; #18-24, 29-30, 35-38, 40, 42-43, 45-47, 49)
- Dawnstar (#18-20, 22-23, 25-28, 30, 35-38, 40-41, 45-47, 49, Annual #3)
- Ultra Boy (Jo Nah; #18-26, 30, 32-38, 45-47), Annual #2)
- Magnetic Kid (Pol Krinn; #18-19, 22-24, 26-29, 35-36, 38, 45-49, Annual #2)
- Wildfire (Drake Burroughs; #18-22, 24-27, 29-30, 32-38, 40-41, 44-45, 47, 49, Annual #2-3)
- Polar Boy (Brekk Bannin; #18-19, 22, 24-30, 35-38, 40-47, 49, Annual #3)
- The White Witch (Mysa Nal; #18-20, 25-30, 32-36, 38, 40-41, 47, 49)
- Phantom Girl (Tinya Wazzo; #19-27, 29-30, 35-38, 45-47, 49, Annual #2)
- Colossal Boy (Gim Allon; #19-22, 24-28, 30, 35-42, 45-46, 48-49)
- Shrinking Violet (Salu Digby; #19-24, 26-27, 30, 35-38, 40-43, 45, 47, 49)
- Bouncing Boy (Chuck Taine; #20, 24, 31, 38, 45-47, Annual #3)
- Cosmic Boy (Rokk Krinn; #23, 36-39, 45, Annual #3)
- Superboy (Clark Kent; #23, 37-38, 45)
- Saturn Girl (Imra Ardeen-Ranzz; #25-27, 32-38, 45-49, Annual #2)
- Lightning Lad (Garth Ranzz; #25-27, 35-36, 38, 45, Annual #2)
- Karate Kid (Val Armorr; #31)
- Ferro Lad (#31)
- Invisible Kid I (Lyle Norg; #31)
- Matter-Eater Lad (Tenzil Kem; #38)
- Duo Damsel (Luornu Durgo; #38, 46-49, Annual #3)
- Leland McCauley (#17)
- Charon (#17)
- Persuader (Fatal Five; #18, 21, 24-26)
- Spider Girl (#18)
- Silver Slasher (#18)
- Hunter (#18, 21)
- Radiation Roy (#18)
- Validus (#18, Annual #2)
- The Infinite Man (#18)
- Organus (#18)
- Doctor Regulus (#18)
- Tyrraz (planet-sized weapon; #19-20)
- Tyr (#20)
- Sun Emperor (#21)
- Titania (#21)
- Chameleon Chief (#21)
- Emerald Empress (Fatal Five; #21, 24-26)
- Universo (#22, 30, 32-37)
- Restorer (#22)
- Micro Lad (#22)
- Flare (Fatal Five; #24-26)
- Caress (Fatal Five; #25-26)
- Mano (former Fatal Five; #25)
- Mentalla (Fatal Five; #25-26)
- Mordru (#27)
- Starfinger II (#29, 40-41, 47-49)
- Black Mace (#31)
- Gharf (#31)
- Zymyr (#32-34)
- The Time Trapper (#37-38)
- Starbright (#41, 47, 49)
- Starlight (#41, 47, 49)
- Manhunter (formerly Laurel Kent; #42-43)
- The Luck Lords (#44-45)
- Lightning Lord (Mekt Ranzz; #45)
- Darkseid (Annual #2)
- Ol-Vir (Annual #2)
- Unnamed Controller (#19-20)
- Jonah Hex (#23)
- Atmos (#33, 43-46)
- Xera (#33)
- Energax (#33)
- The Silver Sword (#33)
- Gas Girl (Heroes of Lallor; #33)
- Pete Ross (#37)
- Ma Kent (#37-38)
- Pa Kent (#37-38)
- Lana Lang (#37)
- RJ Brande (Legion funder; #17)
- Shvaughn Erin (Science Police Legion Liaison Officer; #17, 19, 21, 24-25, 27-28, 32-34, 37, 43, 45, 47-48, Annual #2)
- Rond Vidar (Time Institute; #18, 22, 25, 49)
- Circadia Senius (Chronarch, Time Institute; #18, 23, 36-37)
- Doctor Gym’ll (Medicus-One; #18-19, 41)
- Kimball Zendak (Science Police Chief; #19, 22, 25, 28, 34, 43)
- Gigi Cusimano (Science Police Executive Branch; #19-20, 24, 30, 35, 37, 39)
- Officer Dvron (#19, 37)
- Computo (#20-23, 27, 30, 36, 39-44, 48)
- Yera Allon (#20, 27, 41, 47)
- Warden Tsaquin (Warden of Labyrinth; #22, 45)
- Mojai Desai (President of Earth; #22, 32-33, 35)
- Night Girl (Lydda Jath, Legion of Substitute Heroes; #23, 36-38, Annual #3)
- Karate Kid II (Myg, Legion Academy/Legion of Substitute Heroes; #24, Annual #3)
- H’hrnath (General Manager of Nullport; #24, 47)
- Graym Ranzz (son of Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl; #25-27, 35, 45, Annual #2)
- Mentalla (Delya Castil; #26)
- Marte Allon (#27, 35, 39, 47)
- Ambassador Relnic (#29-30, 32-33, Annual #3)
- Validus Ranzz (son of Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl; #35, 45)
- Marella Tao (reporter; #36-37, 49)
- Laurel Kent (#40)
- Visi-Lad (Legion Academy/Legion of Substitute Heroes; Annual #3)
- Comet Queen (Grava, Legion Academy/Legion of Substitute Heroes; Annual #3)
Let’s take a look at what happened in these books, with some commentary as we go:
- Leland McCauley meets with his advisers, who continue to try to find out information about RJ Brande, who he sees as a rival in wealth. It seems that Brande’s Durlan identity is not common knowledge, but everyone knows that his relationship with the Legion is what keeps him safe. Charon, McCauley’s large assistant, wants to kill Brande, and McCauley thinks that using the Legion to destroy him is the way to go. Dream Girl wakes up in Legion HQ aware that Brande is going to be killed, and that the Legion is responsible. Nura sends the people with her – Star Boy, Sun Boy, and Lightning Lass – to the hangar while she goes looking for more Legionnaires, finding only Timber Wolf available. Brainiac 5 is in his multi-lab with Invisible Kid, trying to get to the bottom of his teleporting abilities. Sensor Girl surprises Brainy by revealing that Jacques has large quantities of Element 271 in his glands. Brande is not happy to see Nura and her squad on his asteroid, but he is intrigued by Quislet, who joined them. Brande sends the Legionnaires away, but everyone is surprised when his servant, Sanders, turns out to be Charon, who starts to fight the Legionnaires. As Charon can absorb their abilities through a vest he’s wearing, he’s enough to hold them off for a bit, but really, he’s a diversion, and soon there are a number of missiles heading towards Brande’s home. Element Lad, Chameleon Boy, Tellus, and Shvaughn Erin join SP Officer Usutu, who is a “psych-techno”, whatever that is, to discuss the SP officers who attacked the Legion in the last issue. No one can figure out who wiped their minds. The missiles attacking Brande are his own security system, but with help from Quislet, the squad is able to take care of them. The Legionnaires are going to interrogate Charon, but he has no fear of them; he does, however, appear to be afraid of Brande, who is pretty angry. Brainy can’t get Jacques to teleport, and it appears that those abilities are linked to his adrenal system. If he can’t gain control, Brainy thinks he shouldn’t have his powers anymore. Dreamy’s squad gain entrance into McCauley’s compound, easily fighting off his robot guards. They drop Charon at his feet, and McCauley treats the whole thing like a game, walking away laughing. Later, the squad learns that Brande is heading off, abandoning his asteroid home and his identity, which Nura reads as an interpretation of her dream after all.
- Issue eighteen is the only one to carry the Crisis on Infinite Earths cross-over trade dress. Rond Vidar is at the Time Institute, confused over the fact that he can see worlds being torn apart, but no one else can. He goes to Brainiac 5, who is still pining over Supergirl, and reminds him that Kid Psycho was also killed, and that no one remembers. Brainy realizes that momentous events have been happening, and that he has been immediately forgetting them. Element Lad, Mon-El, and Shadow Lass preside over the launching of the memorial to Kid Psycho, who apparently died in Crisis #3, but they don’t remember that. Takron-Galtos, the prison world, meanwhile, ahs been torn apart by walls of anti-matter. The super-powered villains have freed themselves, and the Persuader is about to kill the Warden (not the same guy we last saw in Tales), but Dawnstar arrives to save him. There’s a squad of Legionnaires (Ultra Boy, Star Boy, Tellus, Lightning Lass, Sun Boy, Magnetic Kid, and Dawnstar) there to help, and they immediately begin herding the escapees towards tractor beams that pull them into SP cruisers. The Legionnaires wonder what’s destroying Takron-Galtos. Brainy and Rond try to figure out what’s going on, when the Chronarch suggests that the Time Beacon he and Brainy built might be protecting their memories. Brainy wants to boost its powers to save Earth and the space beyond. Tellus searches T-G for remaining prisoners, and ends up freeing Validus from his solitary confinement. The angry creature attacks him, and Sun Boy and Star Boy come to help. The Legionnaires have no choice but to get away from Validus, who hears a voice beckoning him into a portal. The Time Institute folks prepare to boost the beacon, with help from some Legionnaires. It looks like the plan is going to work, but then the Infinite Man appears, having freed himself from a prison the Legion placed him in. His first thought is that he wants to kill Rond Vidar. The Legionnaires on T-G sweep up the last prisoners. Dream Girl is at the Mission Monitor Board when she realizes that the Infinite Man is back, and gathers up all the Legionnaires she can find (Invisible Kid, White Witch, Blok, and Quislet) to go help out. The Infinite Man summons his army from across time, and they fight the bolstered Legion. The Legionnaires on T-G get away and watch the planet explode in an anti-matter fueled explosion. Element Lad wants Jacques to use his teleporting powers to send the Infinite Man back where he came from, but Brainy suggests that Mysa is the right person for that job. Her spell of affinity, cast between the Infinite Man and the source of the Crisis, causes him to lose all of his powers, and return to the man that he once was, Jaxon Rugarth. Later, on Medicus-One, Rond and Brainy question if by removing the Infinite Man’s powers, which were apparently protecting the 30th century from the Crisis, they have doomed everyone.
- Ultra Boy, Phantom Girl, and Colossal Boy are on the planet Manna-5, helping stave off some tsunamis, when Tinya and then Jo disappear. Gim calls in to the headquarters, where Timber Wolf and Blok are managing the Mission Monitor Board. They get Element Lad, and as he talks, he also disappears. At Science Police headquarters, Chief Zendak vents his frustration that no one can figure out why some SPs were mindwiped. Brainy presides over a meeting of the Legion (it’s funny how five Legionnaires, including Shrinking Violet and Chameleon Boy, are missing, yet there are no empty seats at the table). It’s obvious to everyone that the missing teammates are the same ones who were lost in Limbo not too long ago. A Controller interrupts the meeting to say that he has taken the five. We see the Controller with them. He reveals that by destroying his Sun-Eater, they’ve ruined his plan to stop the planet-sized weapon Tyrraz, which approaches. The planet attacks them, but either Jan or the Controller protects them; the Controller tells them that it is up to them to stop the terrible weapon. The White Witch is unable to find the missing Legionnaires; neither are Mon-El or Sensor Girl. Dawnstar, Wildfire, and Mon-El head to space to see if Dawny has more luck. Brainiac 5 watches Sensor Girl, wondering about her identity and powers; it seems he might think she’s Supergirl. Vi and Cham try to reconnoiter Tyrrax, but Vi is hit by a flying rock and almost crashes into the planet, except that Tinya catches her. One of the Tyrrazians spots them (he looks just like the LSV villain Tyr), and is going to get some drones to blast her, but then Jo arrives and wrecks them. As Jo, Tinya, Vi, and Cham try to escape, the planet fires upon them. Jan talks to the Controller, who wants them to kill everyone on Tyrraz, but Jan insists on following the Legion Code.
- Invisible Kid gets a short backup story in #19. He’s with Doctor Gym’ll, trying to learn more about his teleportation powers. Gym’ll offers to take all his powers away, but that’s not what Jacques wants. Gym’ll encourages him to lose them all, and Jacques goes for a walk on Medicus-One, thinking about his options. A gang of crooks board the station in a pharmacy, and are in the middle of stealing medicines and drugs when Jacques comes to stop them. As he captures one crook, the others flee, leaving the pharmacy open to space. Jacques saves everyone by getting them to another section, and we see that Wildfire, Mon-El, and Dawnstar have arrived to catch the other crooks. Later, Jacques decides to have his teleportation powers removed, but keeps the invisibility ones.
- The Legionnaires with Element Lad try to figure out what to do about Tyrraz, while disagreeing with the Controller that the planet needs to be destroyed. Attempting to enter the giant Death Star-like planet, they are attacked by Tyr. On Earth, Gigi Cusimano meets with Sun Boy, hoping to get some leads on the mind-wiped SP officers, but instead Sun Boy tries to mack on her. Dawnstar leads Wildfire and Mon-El into space to search for their missing friends. Wildfire tries to make a move of some awkward sort, and Dawny blows him off. Ultra Boy fights Tyr, but has trouble holding his own. Phantom Girl tries to help by attempting to short out Tyr’s flying, talking gun hand, but hurts herself. Jo sends her with the others to stop Tyrraz. Talking with Element Lad and the others, Tinya gives Jan an idea of how to stop the killer planet. Shadow Lass tries to get Brainiac 5 to come out of his lab, with no success. We see that he’s inside, obsessing over Sensor Girl’s identity, and again the suggestion is made that she might be Supergirl; Sensor Girl is aware of this, and tells herself that it tempts her to tell Brainy the truth. The Controller shows the Legionnaires what Tyrraz’s engines look like, and they decide they should destroy them, stopping Tyrraz in an uninhabited part of space. Making their way to the engines, they have to fight the inhabitants of the planet, and some big robots. Dawnstar leads her small squad to the right sector of space, and Mon-El can see Ultra Boy with his telescopic vision. Element Lad holds off large numbers of Tyrrazians, and makes it to the engines. As he considers how to disable them, Tyr shows up, and he traps him in an inertron block. As he is about to work on the engines, Dawnstar’s squad shows up, carrying a hurt Ultra Boy. Phantom Girl and Violet come out of the engines, having gone inside and torn them apart. A little later, we see the Legionnaires depart, taking the engines with them. We learn that the Controller is staying on Tyrraz to “fight evil.”
- Keith Giffen drew the backup to issue 20, which has Dream Girl and the White Witch hanging out together in Mysa’s quarters. Nura is so tired she wants to soak in Mysa’s tub and then sleep at her place, but then she has a dream and sees a vision of a monster on the streets of Metropolis. Mysa shows her a creature in a crystal ball, and they decide to head out together to take care of it. They catch sight of the creature and get ready to follow, but Nura bumps Mysa, causing her flame cage spell to miss. They follow the creature through a doorway, and end up in a Hallowe’en surprise party. It turns out that Nura tricked Mysa, knowing she wouldn’t have come otherwise. There’s a number of Legionnaires there in different costumes, and Bouncing Boy refers to Mysa as their “favourite witch.”
- Brainiac 5 has dragged Element Lad to a transit point deep in the Earth’s core to discuss Sensor Girl with him. Jan has decided to trust Sensor Girl, and more importantly, Saturn Girl’s judgement in recommending her, which annoys Brainy. They head back home, and we see that Quislet was snooping around and eavesdropping. The Science Police freighter taking the survivors from Takron-Galtos is in trouble, as most of the criminals and super-villains have escaped their cells again. There are some Legionnaires on the scene – Lightning Lass, Timber Wolf, Shrinking Violet, Chameleon Boy, Star Boy, and Colossal Boy start fighting the villains, who are most prominently represented by the Persuader, Sun Emperor, Titania, Hunter, and Chameleon Chief. Titania gets ahold of Shvaughn Erin, and threatens to kill her if the Legion doesn’t stop. Back at headquarters, Brainy gets Computo to open Sensor Girl’s room, so he can snoop around while she’s off planet. He discovers a hologlobe displaying a planet, and then seeing her flight ring, realizes that she’s in the room. Sensor Girl shows herself, blinds Brainy, and drops him off in the hall before returning his vision. Shadow Lass, Mon-El, Phantom Girl, and Ultra Boy are on a camping trip on a nature planet. Tinya and Tasmia talk, and Shady reveals that she’s been so grouchy lately because she’s worried about Mon-El. On the SP prison ship, the Emerald Empress reveals that she is the one who freed the villains, looking to re-start the Fatal Five. She tells the Persuader that she’s not interested in recruiting him, and as everyone talks, Timber Wolf makes a move to free the hostages. This leads to more brawling, until the lights go out, and we discover that Sensor Girl is there to help. Shady tells Tinya that the serum that Mon-El needs to keep himself from dying of lead poisoning is losing its effectiveness, and she’s worried he’ll have to go back to the Phantom Zone. The guys collect the girls for dinner, and Element Lad checks in via remote. Emerald Empress ends up offering Sensor Girl a place on the Fatal Five, and it looks like SG is considering it, but really, she’s using her mysterious powers on the Emerald Eye. Next, she slaps the Empress, who grabs the Persuader and flies away. Sensor Girl beats on the Hunter, and Lightning Lass herds the rest of the prisoners back into their cells. Shrinking Violet noties Chameleon Chief impersonating her and trying to slip away, and stops him. Back at HQ, Brainy continues to think about Sensor Girl, and deduces that the planet on her hologlobe is Krypton; he takes this as further proof that SG is Supergirl, but that something’s happened to change her. The Legionnaires on the SP ship also speculate a little about Sensor Girl, and just what her powers are, while Shvaughn flirts with Jan over the holophone.
- Wildfire tests Quislet’s powers in the gym, trying to get a sense of just what the odd little guy can do, although Quislet’s not that into it. He clocks his flying speed, and tests how long it takes for items that Quislet’s “entered” to disintegrate. Getting more impatient, Quislet flies into Wildfire’s containment suit, making it fall apart.
- The villain Universo uses his mental control to program a man in a high-tech suit, who calls himself the Restorer, to do his bidding, but also makes it so that man cannot be traced back to him. We learn that Universo is posing as Vid-Gupta, the aide to President Desai. The UP’s new prison is on the planet Labyrinth, which draws energy from a nearby binary star system to power its force field, a system made possible by Brainiac 5. Chameleon Boy is surprised that Sensor Girl hadn’t heard about this, and more surprised by her strange reaction to that information. SG is aware that everyone is suspicious of her, and she flies to join the other Legionnaires – Lightning Lass, Shrinking Violet, Timber Wolf, and Colossal Boy, who are finishing the construction of the prison, which holds its prisoners in stasis (making rehabilitation hard, I would think). The Restorer attacks Metropolis University, claiming that human civilization needs to return to a state of nature. Rond Vidar saves a professor, and is trapped under falling debris. Five Legionnaires arrive on the scene and engage the Restorer; he manages to escape while they work to rescue victims and keep the university from collapsing. Mon-El takes another dose of his serum, and talks to himself about how quickly the medicine wears off now, which worries Shadow Lass, who is listening to him. Brainiac 5 asks a doctor at the medi-complex to take special care of Rond Vidar, but we see that the doctor is also under Universo’s control. At Legion HQ, the team tries to figure out who the Restorer is. Brainy identifies components in his suit as devices stolen from the techno-park, which leads Element Lad to think the Restorer is connected to the brainwashed SP officers. Brainy suspects that the Restorer is using technology to power his suit, and predicts that he will next attack a fusion powersphere. On Labyrinth, Lightning Lass uses her powers to charge the prison’s weapons system, and then the Legionnaires prepare to depart. Ayla and Violet have an awkward exchange that is interrupted by Sensor Girl, who detects a stowaway on their ship. She leads Violet to capture Micro Lad. Mon-El, Shady, and Polar Boy stake out the Metropolis fusion powersphere. The Restorer attacks the London one though, where Ultra Boy, Tellus, and Dawnstar are waiting. Dawny grabs something off his suit, which makes it easier for Jo to slow him down, and for Tellus to take apart his armor. When Tellus tries to probe his mind, something inside it destroys it, making it impossible for the team to learn what he was up to. Later, Chief Zendak talks to President Desai, who is unhappy that the SP didn’t catch the guy. We see that Vid-Gupta is perhaps manipulating the President, and after Desai heads to bed, we see that he’s pleased that Rond Vidar is in hospital.
- Steve Lightle returned briefly for issue twenty-three, which he co-plotted. Various Legionnaires are about their business in the headquarters (Sensor Girl is standing around in the hall where they keep statues of dead Legionnaires) when they hear Mon-El yell in pain. Rushing to Braniac 5’s lab, Shadow Lass finds him in despair. His lead poisoning is back, and he’s built immunity to the serum that protected him. As more Legionnaires arrive, Brainy explains that he is going to have to go back into the Phantom Zone, where he was trapped for a thousand years, or he will die. Mon-El chooses death, smashing his way out of the building and fleeing. Dawnstar gives chase, and catches him after he flies into the planet’s polymer screen, a sign of how weak he is already. Shrinking Violet and Lightning Lass are on Winath, hunting for the Persuader. They reprise the cantina scene in Star Wars, and know that he’s been there. As Sun Boy oversees repairs to HQ, we see that Mon-El has been put in the Phantom Zone. Brainy manages to communicate with him, but Mon-El repeats that he wants to die, and expands his consciousness past where he can be seen by Brainy. Cosmic Boy and Night Girl are at the Time Institute borrowing a time bubble from the Chronarch so they can vacation in the 20th century (this doesn’t really fit with the fact that Rokk and the Ranzzes recently stole a time machine in Legionnaires 3, and that doesn’t get mentioned). Just after they leave, Element Lad, Shady, and Dawnstar show up looking to take another time bubble to go find Superboy to help save Mon-El. The Chronarch is suddenly concerned that time travel is difficult, but he lends his last one out anyway. At Brainy’s lab, he sends Tellus into the Phantom Zone, accompanied by Phantom Girl (who can get there on her own) so that they can find Mon-El and bring him back. Tellus and Tinya talk about what the Zone is like, and with Tellus’s telepathy enhanced by the place, they have a lead on finding their friend. Jan’s group does find the travel through time difficult, but arrive in Smallville. Ayla and Vi check in on their flight home, and then there is some subtle flirting happening between the two. Jan’s squad use Superboy’s secret entrance to get into his house. Tinya finds Mon-El, and he insists that he wants to die. Tellus has to grab his spirit with his telekinesis. Joined by Superboy, Jan finds it hard to pilot the time bubble back to the Legion’s time. He mentions the “lost years” of history, and then they find themselves in the 21st century, where they are seen by Jonah Hex during his weird sojourn in that time (I’ve never read the Hex series – was it any good?). Superboy uses his powers to push the bubble, returning it to Brainy’s lab. Very quickly, everyone goes into action. They bring Mon-El, Tellus, and Tinya back from the Phantom Zone, while Brainy uses a kryptonite laser needle to grab some blood cells from Superboy, which they irradiate with the K-laser, and then introduce into Mon-El’s bloodstream, where they somehow negate the lead poisoning. This cure is permanent, Brainy hopes. Days later, Mon-El and Shady stand on the roof, and we see that Mon-El is back to his old self. They see Sensor Girl, and Mon-El says that he saw something about her while in the Phantom Zone, but brushes it off as a hallucination.
- Many Legionnaires are sitting around the headquarters, speculating on Sensor Girl’s identity and story. There is speculation that she might be the Saturn Queen. Chameleon Boy points out that she might be able to hear them, and we see that this is true. Wildfire, Colossal Boy, and Polar Boy head to Montauk to the Legion Academy, where Mentalla has gone missing (Wildfire first refers to her as Sensor Girl, which might be a clue?). We see that Myg, the kid Timber Wolf brought back from Lythyl, is studying there now, as are other students that are not identified. We learn from Bouncing Boy that when Mentalla was rejected from the Legion, she came to the Academy, but never seemed very committed to her studies, and has now left. Colossal Boy is worried that she’s taken information about the Legion with her. On Rimbor, the cantina bartender talks to the SP about the guy that Lightning Lass and Shrinking Violet were looking for; he’s dead out back. Brainiac 5 speaks to Element Lad about Sensor Girl again, which sparks an argument with Cham (who thought that maybe Brainy had cloned Supergirl). Quislet heads to a club in Metropolis, where he finds Dream Girl dancing with a man who is clearly not Star Boy. The Emerald Empress has taken over the empty resort planet Starshire. A Khund named Kamrag brings her proof that the SP cannot find Validus, and she kills him. After, she explains to the Persuader that she wants to reform the Fatal Five with three new members. At HQ, Magnetic Kid talks with Polar Boy and Tellus about his Sensor Girl theory (he thinks she’s Saturn Girl). Shadow Lass and Mon-El are taking some time off in a luxury craft borrowed from Nullport. On Nullport, the villain Flare escapes the SP, taking off in a very fast spaceship. She is contacted by the Emerald Empress to come join the Fatal Five. Jan meets with Sensor Girl, to reiterate that he trusts her, but that her presence is causing a lot of strife in the Legion. He asks if she could consider sharing information with him or the team, but instead she decides she should leave the Legion. Jan worries that he’s driven her towards the Emerald Empress. As Ultra Boy and Phantom Girl return home from a night out, they see Sensor Girl flying away, and Jo decides to look behind her mask with his penetra-vision. He is surprised to see that her costume is empty.
- In a backup pencilled by the late great Norm Breyfogle, Timber Wolf and Lightning Lass help the SP clear an accident on a bridge. While flying back to base, Brin admits that he got Blok to find them this mission (he was on monitor duty) so they could talk. Ayla gets angry, and airs some resentment for the fact that Brin wouldn’t leave with her months before, and makes it clear that their relationship is over. As she flies away, she admits to herself that she still loves him but can’t take him back.
- The Emerald Empress speaks to her newest recruit, and we see that Flare and Caress have joined her team. It certainly seems like the new recruit is Sensor Girl. Dawnstar leads the search for Sensor Girl (the squad includes Wildfire, Timber Wolf, Ultra Boy, Phantom Girl, Sun Boy, and Brainiac 5). Everyone on this squad shares their concerns about Sensor Girl, including the fact that Jo peeked into her costume and saw it was empty. Element Lad leads another squad (White Witch, Star Boy, Lightning Lass, Invisible Kid, and Blok) in helping to create a large gem that, when fitted to an SP cruiser, will help them find the Emerald Empress. At the Medi-Complex, we see that Rond Vidar is still in a coma, and his doctor, who is under Universo’s control, is working to keep him there. Colossal Boy and a third squad (with Dream Girl, Polar Boy, and Tellus on it) have gone to Titan to look for the missing Mentalla. Using Titan’s records, they learn she’s gone to her uncle’s home on Stratus. Gim decides they should go there, even though they aren’t sure that Element Lad will approve. Dawny’s squad finds themselves on Shanghalla, the last place Sensor Girl went. While there, Brainy is attacked by Mano, who hopes to kill a Legionnaire to gain his spot back on the Fatal Five. The team takes him down easily. Jan talks to Chameleon Boy about strategy, and they speculate some more about Sensor Girl. On Shanghalla, there is speculation that Sensor Girl left Mano there as a trap. Dawnstar can find no further trace of their teammate, which somehow leads to Brainy figuring out her identity. Gim’s squad arrives on Stratus (called Starshire last issue), and are attacked by the Fatal Five. Flare destroys their cruiser, but Tellus saves everyone. Polar Boy flies in ahead of the rest, and they all start fighting. Sensor Girl turns up, which leads to people wondering whose side she is on. Element Lad goes to visit Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad (who apparently hang out at home in their uniforms despite being retired). Imra assures Jan that SG can be trusted, and tells him that she was already a Legionnaire before now. Sensor Girl rejects the Empress’s offer to join her, and the fight continues. Gim starts shrinking, and they discover the Mentalla has joined the Fatal Five. Sensor Girl attempts to stop the Emerald Eye, but the Empress gets the better of her, and has the Eye reveal her to actually be Projectra. I remember this as being a pretty surprising moment, that left me with a lot of questions.
- Everyone stands shocked by the revelation that Sensor Girl is Projectra; Dream Girl uses the chance to get Tellus to connect the minds of the Legionnaires so they can coordinate their attack. Polar Boy freezes the Emerald Eye, while Nura fights the Persuader and Colossal Boy gets Projectra out of the way. Brek puts up a wall of ice allowing the Legion to get away from the Fatal Five. On Shanghalla, Brainiac 5 explains to his squad his new belief that Sensor Girl is Projectra, based on the fact that her trail ends at Karate Kid’s monument. On Stratus, Dreamy’s team is hiding under an estate near a waterfall. Gim sends out an alert through his ring, and Brek revives Projectra, who immediately disguises herself as Sensor Girl again, claiming there are reasons she’s taken on this guise. The Emerald Empress gathers the Fatal Five to begin searching for the Legionnaires. On Earth, Element Lad explains to the remaining Legionnaires that Saturn Girl has told him the truth about Projectra. In the midst of this, White Witch announces that she is returning to Sorcerer’s World, and then a portal opens to take her there. Sensor Girl explains that after Karate Kid’s death, she blamed herself. She was in touch with the spirits of the Orakills who came before her on Orando, and received new powers to see through all illusion, which I guess pertains to everything. In penance, she decided to resume her place in the Legion, but without the privilege that followed her before. The Fatal Five find the hiding Legionnaires, and they begin to fight again. The Empress gets everyones’ rings, grounding them, and Dreamy gives Mentalla a good beating. Brek takes down Flare, but when he goes to help Tellus, Flare recovers. The Empress has the Eye grab Gim in an energy field, and start breaking his fingers. As the rest spar, Mentalla has Flare fire a blast into space, taking out the satellite that was blocking the flight ring’s emergency signal. She also has the Empress use the rings to signal for help. The Empress realizes that Mentalla has betrayed them. Mentalla reveals that she’d hoped that by pretending to join the Fatal Five, she could help take them down and get a spot on the Legion. The Empress kills her, sending out psychic waves that affect Saturn Girl back on Earth, and Tellus a few feet away. The Legionnaires are in trouble, and everyone is taken down except Saturn Girl. She uses her powers to make the Five see each other as her, and they take one another down. She blocks the Persuader’s perceptions of everything, and then faces off against the Empress. Caress uses her acid touch to burn Sensor Girl, and things look bleak, but then Dawnstar and Wildfire arrive and grab Caress and blast the Eye. Sensor Girl recovers long enough to knock the Emerald Empress out before she collapses.
- Issue twenty-seven contains some fine guest art from Colleen Doran, Shawn MacManus, and Gene Colan, and is a nice treat, containing what amounts to a few self-contained stories. Projectra is back on Orando, and when the throne is offered to her, she decides to reject it, claiming that her new powers allow her to see beyond its confines. She decides instead to return to the Legion as Sensor Girl. Element Lad has taken Shvaughn Erin with him to Trom, his homeworld, where he created a tsarin, a monument, to each member of his race that was killed by Roxxas. They pray together, and Shvaughn suspects that Jan is proposing to her, but he waves off marriage as an Earth construct, and instead they share a moment. The White Witch has returned to The Sorcerers’ World, because the teachers there want to free Mordru from his imprisonment. She agrees, they free him, and he behaves in his usual evil way. Quickly, the teachers change his spirit to make him kind and childlike, and then he is happy. Mysa rejects their offer to stay on Sorcerers’ World, as she feels the Legion needs her more. The Allons gather for dinner, and Colossal Boy brings his mother up to speed on recent events. She behaves with some casual racism towards Yera again, and Gim admits that he doesn’t fully trust President Desai. The rest of the Legionnaires are having a party in a bright holographic room. The Ranzzes are there with the baby, and we learn that Saturn Girl is happy Sensor Girl has revealed her identity. Sun Boy is chauvinistic towards Phantom Girl, Dream Girl and Star Boy are close (I’m not sure what’s up with the plotline about her dancing with that guy), and Shvaughn is lonely without Jan. Timber Wolf goes to get him, and we learn that the Legion is voting again on letting Sensor Girl into the Legion (we also learn that Brainiac 5 and some others are in the 20th Century in Booster Gold’s series). In the end, she is voted back in, and arrives just in time for the celebration.
- The second Annual fits in here, and features art by Curt Swan, with a framing sequence by Keith Giffen. It opens with Darkseid reprising the end of the Great Darkness Saga, as he changes Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad’s other child, the one they don’t know about, into the monstrous Validus and sends him back in time as his ‘curse’ on the Legion. Validus rampages on Rimbor, and is stopped by a flying figure in purple. On Earth, Element Lad and Shvaughn Erin talk about the Rimbor situation, and Jan dispatches a cruiser of Legionnaires to help deal with it. The guy in purple is Ol-Vir, the crazy young Daxam who worships Darkseid. He has created a shrine to Darkseid, and believes that Validus is there to help him. We learn that Ol-Vir has been giving coins with Darkseid’s face on them to criminals on Rimbor. An SP officer explains this to Magnetic Kid, Blok, Wildfire, and Invisible Kid, who start asking some of the tougher locals about them. Ol-Vir, who is starting to get a little rocky in his appearance, runs a church service for criminals, to show them Validus. The four Legionnaires bust in, and the fighting begins. Ol-Vir rips open Wildfire’s suit, and it appears that Validus, who doesn’t have eyes, can see his energy self. Ultimately, Ol-Vir leads Validus through a boom tube, while Pol questions why Ol-Vir called the big creature Darkseid’s curse. The two villains turn up on Earth, where Validus busts into an apartment and looks in surprise at a nursery. Jan, Shvaughn, Phantom Girl, and Ultra Boy respond, and while they try to rescue people from wreckage, they also recognize that Validus has a crib in his hand. Jo sees it’s the crib he and Tinya bought for Graym Ranzz. Validus moves towards Legion headquarters, which is defended only by Timber Wolf. Validus attacks the building, so Brin turns on the force shields, and attempts to launch the building. Validus rips into it, and pulls Brin out, but gently. Next he grabs the designs for Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl from the Mission Monitor Board. Ol-Vir fires up another boom tube, and they leave. On Winath, Imra and Garth lounge in a field where farmers are working. As usual, they are wearing their uniforms, and Graym plays. A boom tube forms, and Imra uses her telepathy to get everyone away. Garth hides Graym with some locals, and they are surprised to see Validus and Ol-Vir arrive. The heroes move to attack, and notice that Ol-Vir is beginning to look more and more like one of Darkseid’s mockeries. Imra tries to connect with Validus telepathically, but he bats her away. He heads straight for where Graym is hiding, and grabs the infant. Garth prepares to kill Validus to save his son, but Imra stops him, explaining that Validus is also their child. Ol-Vir shouts out in pain. Imra speaks directly to Darkseid, both challenging him and pleading with him to restore their son. Validus turns back into a normal child, and Garth wants to take out his revenge on Ol-Vir, but the Daxamite, who is having a temper tantrum, crumbles into a pile of stones. In the epilogue, Saturn Girl shows up in the cave where Darkseid appears to live, and while they don’t see each other, thanks him for his mercy, and tells him that she will never fear the darkness. He finds this funny. I don’t really see this curse as being all that successful, but who am I to judge the whims of New Gods?
- A small squad of Legionnaires (Star Boy, Dawnstar, Invisible Kid, Chameleon Boy, and Timber Wolf) are in orbit around Xanthu, Thom’s home planet, fixing a beacon. It’s unusual for them to have a mission like this, but since Xanthu’s champion, Atmos, has disappeared, the Tribune called for Thom to come home and help. Their work done, they meet with the Tribune, who admits that he wants them to find Atmos. Brainiac 5 checks out Dream Girl, who hurt her arm while dancing, and clears her for active duty. Nura flirts with him, which makes him angry. The squad on Xanthu checks out Atmos’s home, but it blows up on them; Dawnstar decides to use her powers to try to find him. Magnetic Kid and Tellus work to hone their powers in the gym, and Polar Boy offers to help them become better Legionnaires. The Xanthu squad goes to the port, where Dawny feels Atmos was last, and end up stopping some people trying to smuggle a prototype galactic GPS to the Khunds. They are no closer to finding Atmos. The Tribune, meanwhile, talks to his senators about their hero’s disappearance. White Witch hears noises coming from Thom’s quarters, and finds Nura sleeping there. She’s worried about her relationship with Thom after Quislet caught her dancing with that guy, and because Mysa woke her, she doesn’t know how her prophetic dream would end. The Xanthu squad infiltrates the port to investigate, while Dawnstar and Timber Wolf chat because they aren’t subtle. Cham reports that he discovered that Atmos left the planet under an assumed name (which is odd, as everyone on Xanthu looks normal, but Atmos is tall, mohawked, and missing underarms). On Earth, an SP explains to Chief Zendak that Science Police officers are going missing on worlds around the United Planets; he brings Shvaughn up to speed. Dawnstar can find no trace of Atmos. Later, the Legionnaires hang out at Thom’s parents’ place, when Thom is summoned by the Tribune again. At the palace, the Tribune tells him he must stay to take Atmos’s place. The other Legionnaires report this back to Jan, who tells them there are bigger problems than that. Dream Girl is upset that Thom has left.
- Mon-El and Shadow Lass are on Labyrinth, called in to identify the body of Starfinger, who lies in the morgue with a star burned into his forehead. Somewhere, the new Starfinger sits on a throne, speaking to the Khund that killed the first Starfinger for him. When the Khund questions him, he kills him too, and Starfinger’s major domo discusses how he’s going to dispose of the body. On Earth, Element Lad preps a squad (Tellus, White Witch, Wildfire, and Quislet) to go to Hykraius, Tellus’s homeworld, on that government’s request. On Mars, Magnetic Kid and Polar Boy work to stop a gang of thugs running a protection racket. Pol gets in over his head, and is saved by Lightning Lass, Sun Boy, and Phantom Girl. The squad expects the owner of the resort that the thugs were threatening would be pleased, but instead he’s worried about having angered Starfinger, which is a surprise to the Legionnaires. On Earth, Jan worries about the Legion being spread thin again, and then Dream Girl, who misses Star Boy, comes and flirts with him. We also learn in this scene that Ambassador Relnic has requested three Legionnaires to go to the Dominators’ world with him. On Mars, Pol worries that he’s not Legion material, while Brek tries to console him. A beam from space starts blasting at the resort. Tinya flies up it in phantom mode to see if she can stop it while the others work to save the hotel guests. Pol manages to hold up a collapsing ceiling to protect people, but is trapped under it. Tinya finds a satellite in space, and manages to disable it and make it explode. Pol frees himself from the wreckage, and Tinya, returning, points out that the beam carved a star into the floor. Wildfire moans about going to Tellus’s planet (really, there’s a lot of racism directed towards the amphibian Legionnaire). Tellus explains how his people live in Great Mother Ocean, and how the Gil’Dishpan opened them up to the universe. Starfinger is angry that the attack on the resort was thwarted, and we learn he’s given his word that he won’t attack Earth and so can’t go after the Legion there. Instead, he plans another attack on the resort on Mars. The Legionnaires argue with the resort’s owner as a battleship attacks it. The Legionnaires wreck the cruiser, and Pol is surprised when four Braalians emerge, using the same magnetic powers he has. On Earth, Ambassador Relnic, who we haven’t seen in a couple of years, visits the Dominion’s embassy to make arrangements to renegotiate the UP’s peace treaty with the Dominion, and makes sure that Wuuthlan, the Dominator ambassador, knows that he has Legionnaires coming with him. We also learn that Relnic serves another master, presumably Universo. Pol keeps fighting the Braalians, and takes them down on his own. Starfinger is angry again, and kills his first is command.
- Brainiac 5 approaches Sensor Girl in Legion HQ to apologize for how he acted when he didn’t know who she was, and she is quite gracious. In preparation for their trip to Dominator space with Ambassador Relnic, Mon-El, Ultra Boy, and Blok have to weld some protective plates to the ship they are going to fly there (although we’re not told why). As the ship departs, Relnic confirms that he’s really doing Universo’s blessing. Shadow Lass and Phantom Girl say goodbye to their boyfriends, and then head out to do some shopping. The hydroenergy system at Niagara Falls is undergoing some kind of electrical problems, and a squad of Legionnaires (Brainy, Colossal Boy, Dream Girl, Timber Wolf, and Lightning Lass) arrive to help. Brainy and Ayla head inside and find the place full of lightning monsters from Korg. Wildfire, Tellus, White Witch, and Quislet arrive on Hykraius, and while the others are considerate, Wildfire complains a lot about having to be on the methane giant. A friend of Tellus, Loros, greets the heroes, and tells Tellus that he has a problem to tell him about. While the rest of the Niagara squad works to stop flooding, Ayla begins to herd the lightning monsters outside. Brainy hands over his force shield belt, which Dreamy uses to continue herding the beasts. In Metropolis, two assistants report to Vid-Gupta about the Niagara situation. He holds one back to talk to him, revealing himself to be Universo, and confirming that the assistant has done his bidding. As Ayla and Nura continue to manage the lightning monsters, Brainy shows up with some cabling. He has Brin ground one end of it, while Gim wraps it around the beasts. When Ayla zaps them, they all pass out. We learn that Atmos, the missing Tromian hero, was seen on Hykraius, and that Loros is also a pawn of Universo’s. Sun Boy takes Dawnstar and Brainy out on the town, and while the other two dance, Brainy decides to leave. He runs into Doctor Chaseer, who works at the Time Institute, and they spend some time together. Element Lad looks at the Mission Monitor Board, worrying about them being short-handed. Polar Boy chats with him, and reveals that he is considering running in the next leadership election. As Shrinking Violet and Lightning Lass head out for a short trip together (they are spending a lot of time together), they see Brainy coming in (suggesting he got lucky, like the cover says?). When he enters the HQ, he gets a message from Computo that Rond Vidar has died, and collapses in tears.
- Issue thirty-one feels like a filler issue, but one made by the usual creative team. Sensor Girl is in the Hall of Heroes, talking to the statue of her deceased husband, when Invisible Kid interrupts her, because he’s gone there to speak to his predecessor. Projectra takes Jacques to tell her a story about her early days in the Legion. She was sent to deliver some files to a Brande factory, but when she went to give them over, she was attacked by Black Mace, a villain with a black mace, who made off with the files on a tiny boat. Ferro Lad and Karate Kid were manning the mission monitor board when Projectra called for help. They got Bouncing Boy to take over for them, and joined up with Projectra. They staked out the spaceport, finding the ship most likely to be the one the villain would use to leave Earth. Projectra faked an emergency, and they spotted a cloaked figure carrying the files amidst the embarking passengers. Ferro Lad confronted him, but Gharf, the Khundian accomplice to Black Mace kept him busy long enough for Black Mace to get the drop on Projectra. Jacques is surprised to learn that Projectra and the others, who he views as legends, were ineffective at the start of their careers, like he feels he is. Karate Kid managed to free Projectra, and everyone fought for a bit, before the villains got away, without the files. Later, Bouncing Boy and Invisible Kid (the first one, who was leader at the time) congratulated the trio. Later, Black Mace and Gharf broke into the Brande facility to get those files, but the three Legionnaires were waiting for them, and took them down. The three pledge to be friends. Projectra explains that it wasn’t long after that the Ferro Lad died, and that with Val dead, she feels alone. Jacques has fallen asleep while she talked, and she condescends to his sleeping form before grabbing a nap herself. This issue was weird.
- At the beginning of The Universo Project, Saturn Girl wakes up in a barracks on a strange world with no memory of how she got there. Another woman leads her to fields to work, and when she tries to read the woman’s mind, she realizes that she’s been mind-blocked. She recognizes Dream Girl, but she has the same blocks in her mind, and leads Imra to the fields to work. On Earth, the Science Police are taking possession of Legion headquarters, and we see that the President has shut them down. Imra works the fields while trying to figure out how to rescue herself. She spots Brainiac 5 and Chameleon Boy also laboring, and thinks she recognizes some other heroes and SP officers. She tries to leave, but is followed by a drone. When she tosses a rock at it, it zaps it. Imra goes to the beach, and recognizes that the water on this planet is full of sulfur, but that the fountain in the living compound has fresh water. That night, she slips out and dives into the fountain, but can’t find a way out. In Dominator space, Ambassador Relnic’s ship (with Mon-El, Ultra Boy, and Blok on it) discovers that there is no communication happening from UP space. They are approached by Dominator warships, and aren’t sure what’s happening. Imra continues to try to figure out how to free herself, and decides to play along as if she’s still under control (her theory is that her powers freed her from whatever mind control is affecting everyone else), and rests up. On Hykraius, the Legion squad is led to the Valley of the Peaks, a massive area where they are expected to search for Atmos. As they begin their search, we see they are being watched by Zymyr. As night falls on the mystery planet, Imra uses a nerve pinch to knock out Nura, and carries her to a cave where she’s already dragged Brainy and Cham. She decides to use her powers in a way she’s been taught not to. On Earth, Universo celebrates how well his plan is working. President Desai comes to see him, and it’s made clear that Universo has him under control. Universo is happy that he’s killed his son Rond, so that he can take over the whole planet. Imra enters Nura’s mind, and is able to destroy the blocks in it. Nura is shocked by the ordeal, so Imra puts her to sleep again telepathically (which she probably could have done earlier instead of nerve-pinching her). Next she enters Brainy’s mind and frees him, then puts him to sleep. She does the same for Cham, and then revives all her friends, so they can begin planning their freedom.
- The four Legionnaires try to figure out how they’re going to get off the unknown planet. Saturn Girl restores the mental blocks, on a superficial level, to help the Legionnaires appear as if they are still being mind-controlled, to give them time to gather information without attracting attention. The Legionnaires on Hykraius are fighting Zymyr and his robots. The Gil’Dishpan uses his teleportation powers to send the White Witch to a desert planet. He teleports Tellus into a globe full of fluids, and silver spheres that attack him. He’s able to use his telekinesis to protect himself, but he’s not sure for how long. Wildfire ends up on the same desert, and has his suit ripped apart by a robot. Zymyr then turns his attention towards Quislet. On the mystery planet, Chameleon Boy starts a reconnaissance disguised as an insect and a bird. He finds that the prison is not manned. That night, Imra tries to reach out to her family, without success. Dream Girl has a run in with Atmos, who is still under mind control, and it’s suggested that they’ve been together while on the planet. Cham disguises himself as a guard drone to get Atmos to leave her alone, and then turns into a fish to check out the fresh water fountain that Imra tried to explore before. He finds his way into some underground facility, then goes to chat with his friends. After being telepathically linked to Cham, Brainy figures out a plan. On Earth, Universo meets with the President again, to explain what he wants done with the Legion. The next morning, the detainees on the planet are splashed with water when they go to the fountain, and they regain their memories and self-control. Cham explains that he changed the mix of chemicals in the water to free them. Atmos powers up, while someone named Xera, of Manna-5, uses her elemental powers to take the water out of the fountain. In Dominator space, a Dominator insists that Ambassador Relnic leave before firing on their ship. The three Legionnaires head out to attack the Dominators, but find themselves being fired upon by their own ship. The Legionnaires on the mystery planet lead the others into a fight with automated defenses throughout the underground complex. A giant robot emerges, but they take it down. Later, Brainy has scavenged technology to help everyone leave. For example, he’s created a force bubble that Atmos can fly, to take some of the others home (despite the fact that no one knows where they are). Only the Legionnaires remain, but Brainy’s built them a ship that they depart in, while trying to figure out why they were the only Legionnaires captured and exiled there. On Earth, Element Lad is cuddling with Shvaughn Erin, and they talk about how much better things are on Earth now that the Legion has been disbanded and President Desai is running things.
- Saturn Girl’s crew has made their way to Naltor, where the High Seer is reluctant to tell them that Earth has stopped communicating with the rest of the United Planets, and that the Legion’s headquarters appear to be closed. The four decide to make their way back to Earth to figure out what’s going on. Tellus breaks out of the globe of liquid he’s in, and is surprised to find himself on a desert world, where he is unable to breathe. White Witch is on the same planet, and finds the heat unbearable. She casts a spell to protect herself, which wears her out. A voice tells her to sleep, and that when she wakes, she will belong to the speaker, who is unseen. Quislet is sent through one of Zymyr’s portals, and finds a robot shredding Wildfire’s suit; Quislet enters the robot and finds that Wildfire is already inhabiting it. Zymyr approaches, and then warps away. Quislet and Wildfire, in his energy form, follow, which is what an unseen speaker intended. That voice, presumably the same one speaking to Mysa, wants to make them into its slaves. Imra and the others board a luxury starship flying to Rann, Mars, and Earth. They are going “in disguise” and separate from one another, in case their former captor is looking for them. Nura flirts with everyone, while Brainy decides to take apart a service droid, causing a bit of a commotion. Nura creates a distraction by slapping the guy she was flirting with. A Naltorian working on the starship foresees Cham changing shape, and deduces he must be a Durlan, which is a problem as Durlans are “a quarantined race”. To get away, Cham turns into an insect. On Earth, Element Lad hangs out in Shvaughn Erin’s apartment watching holovideos all day. Chief Zendak calls in, asking for Jan to meet with President Desai the next morning. In Dominator space, Mon-El, Ultra Boy, and Blok continue to fight off the Dominator warships that have attacked their vessel. After trouncing them, the Legionnaires are surprised when their own ship fires on Blok. Next, they are caught in what looks like one of Zymyr’s warps. On the starship, Imra and Nura have a good talk, and Imra compliments Nura. As the ship prepares to land (presumably on Mars, although that’s not made clear), Nura sits with Brainy, and they try to figure out why they were the only Legionnaires captured. Cham, in the shape of a bug, explains that he thinks it because they are the smartest Legionnaires. As they go to disembark, they find there are extra security measures in place because of the presence of the Durlan (the officials are not SP, and are wearing unfamiliar uniforms). Cham turns into a Quadrexx to cause some confusion, and Imra keeps an officer from shooting him. They four make their way through the spaceport, and steal a vessel. In Metropolis, Universo meets with Zymyr, and makes it clear that he knows the four heroes are coming. As their ship approaches Earth, some SP craft try to stop them. Their ship is hit, and ends up crashing (I’m not sure how it made it through the shield around Earth). Finding themselves in some remote area, Imra talks about how they are now outlaws. This triggers Cham into figuring out what’s really going on, and as it was Universo who had the whole Legion outlawed once before, they all agree it must be Universo they are up against this time.
- Saturn Girl’s squad has grabbed an SP officer so Imra can read his mind and figure out what’s happened on Earth. She learns that a strange and sudden disease made everyone on the planet fall asleep, and that President Desai used this as a reason to implement big changes, isolating the planet, and shutting down the Legion. Ultra Boy and Mon-El are now working for Desai (and really, Universo), searching Metropolis for any of the renegade Legionnaires. They spot a Durlan, who is not Chameleon Boy, and arrest him. Meanwhile, Cham sneaks into the front of the Presidential Palace, clearing the way for the rest. They make it to a room where Desai is just standing around with some other people, and grab him, because they are convinced that he’s really Universo. He isn’t, but they don’t have time to figure out who Universo really is, as some former Legionnaires (Element Lad, Lightning Lass, Shadow Lass, Magnetic Kid, and Sun Boy) confront them. Imra is able to mentally shock them all, giving her group the chance to escape (she acknowledges that if they weren’t being mind-controlled, she couldn’t do that. Desai reports in to Universo, who tells him to have the renegades killed. Brainy leads Dream Girl and Cham to his old lab at Metropolis University (Imra’s slipped off to do her own thing), where he wants to organize some defenses. Element Lad’s squad is joined by Dawnstar, Colossal Boy, and Polar Boy, and Dawny leads them straight to Brainy. Things turn into a fight in a hurry, as they stall for Dreamy to turn on a force shield, protecting the non-mind controlled Legionnaires. Dreamy and Brainy use force shield projectors to enter the fight, but Pol takes Nura out. Imra, meanwhile, goes to see Marte Allon, looking for advice as to who Universo might be posing as. Brainy and Cham are barely able to hold off their teammates, so Brainy sends an old school robot into the mix. More Legionnaires arrive – Phantom Girl, Shrinking Violet, Wildfire, White Witch, and Tellus (the last three clearly survived being on Hykraius, although Quislet is not in this issue). The large contingent of Legionnaires bring down Brainy and Cham. Imra is back in the Presidential Palace, and an alert calling all SPs to the University makes it easy for her to make her way to Vid-Gupta’s office. There, she finds Universo, but he’s being protected by Mon-El and Ultra Boy. Imra gets into their heads, and manages to evade Universo’s mind blocks and knock them both out. Universo tries to take command of her, but she is able to knock him out and get his hypnotic medallion off of him. When more Legionnaires (Sensor Girl, Timber Wolf, Blok, and Invisible Kid) show up, she restores them to their right minds. Later, everything is back to normal, and President Desai presides over the restoring of the Legion’s symbol to the outside of their headquarters. He offers Saturn Girl a reward for her service, but she only asks to be restored to active Legion duty, which everyone (except Quislet, who is not there) cheers. I’m not sure what happened to Zymyr either, as he’s not even mentioned in this issue.
- After the Universo stuff is finished with, the entire Legion is on Earth. Element Lad decides to step down as leader, feeling that he has disgraced himself by not stopping Universo. Polar Boy declares his candidacy, although he’s a little too eager for the job. Dream Girl suggests that Sensor Girl is going to win. A cruiser leaves the Legion HQ for Labyrinth, carrying Universo, who is in suspended animation. Sensor Girl and Tellus pilot the ship, while Saturn Girl stands watch over the villain. She probes his mind to find out what his plans were, and learns that he intended to use all the kidnapped heroes he had to lead an attack on Oa, although Imra can’t learn why. Some of the Legion are fixing Brainy’s multi-lab, which Universo had trashed. Magnetic Kid is happy about Brek’s candidacy, but when they all see that he’s made election signs out of ice, Lightning Lass gets angry about the break from tradition. A small squad (Brainiac 5, Mon-El, and Ultra Boy) are in the Himalayas, dismantling a massive building that Universo used to control the minds of everyone on Earth. They send it flying towards the sun. Wildfire goes to visit Quislet in his spartan quarters. Drake feels that Quislet helped him keep his energy form together in the fight on Hykraius, and Quislet helps him to form a new body, made of anti-energy. Timber Wolf is out with the reporter Marella Tao, who he has been dating lately. It looks like things are getting more serious between them. Brek chats with Invisible Kid, who we learn has voted for him. Some other Legionnaires are working out when Computo informs them that Polar Boy is the new team leader; we see a number of Legionnaires’ reactions to this, which varies. We learn that Nura was only giving Sensor Girl a hard time before. Brek is pretty happy with the results, as this has been his dream for years. Brainy and Circadia Senius visit a memorial to Rond Vidar, and talk about all the things he could have done had he lived. Brainy is feeling philosophical, and wonders if it’s time for him to go back home. The team gathers outside their headquarters as Polar Boy takes over. We learn that Projectra rejected deputy leader status, so Element Lad takes it on. We also learn that Cosmic Boy and Night Girl have returned from the 20th century with some bad news; Brek and Jan go to talk to them. At the same time, the Time Institute collapses on itself, and we see that the Time Trapper’s plans are being set in motion.
- Issue thirty-seven is the start of a crossover with Superman and Action Comics, that resolves the new changes to DC’s continuity after the Crisis, with respect to their interactions with Superboy. Some Legionnaires work to restore the time beacon, and Brainy feels fortunate that they get it working before the Time Trapper’s next attack. Blok and Timber Wolf bring in a new, larger time bubble, and Brainy is about to call in the whole Legion so they can go deal with the Trapper, when Polar Boy stops him, claiming he’s agreed with Earthgov that some Legionnaires need to stay behind. Sensor Girl, Tellus, and Saturn Girl install Universo on Labyrinth. Brainy prepares to leave with a smaller force – Mon-El, Ultra Boy, Cosmic Boy, Night Girl, Invisible Kid, Blok, and Sun Boy. Mon-El provides the force as the new time bubble, which is supposed to be able to penetrate the Time Trapper’s time barrier, slips into the time stream. At the end of time, the Trapper watches this happen, and decides that he will give everyone their secret desire. Mon-El has trouble navigating through a time storm, and when he pushes forward, they end up back in Superboy’s time. Dream Girl wakes from a strange, vague dream that appears to have been about her being with a guy other than Star Boy. Rokk, Lydda, Jo, and Mon-El have disguised themselves in period clothes, and are exploring Smallville. They come across Pete Ross, who knows them, and who explains about the red skies during the Crisis, and how since then, everything’s been peaceful. He takes them to the Kents’ general store, but slips away, as he’s not supposed to know their secrets or something. Ma and Pa Kent are happy to see Mon-El, Rokk, and Jo, and are nice to Lydda, who they are meeting for the first time. At SP headquarters, in 2987, Gigi, Shvaughn, and Dvron work to fix the crimewatcher computer. Marella Tao comes to ask for advice from the two women. At Legion HQ, Wildfire debuts his new look, an actual human-ish body, surprising Dawnstar. The four Legionnaires (the others stayed with the time bubble) have dinner with the Kents. Clark comes home, and they are all happy to see one another. Clark takes them to the basement, and when they are distracted, zaps them all with a stasis beam, freezing them solid. We see that Pa Kent is in on whatever is going on, and Clark is about to fly off to the get the other Legionnaires when Lana Lang shows up, looking for help with algebra (it’s always algebra). Polar Boy and Element Lad talk about the difficulties of being Legion, and Jan supports Brek’s decision to listen to Earthgov and send a smaller force through time. Brainy, Jacques, Dirk, and Blok stand around talking about the mid-twentieth century when Pete rides up, and tells them to run, as he suspects something has happened to the rest of the Legion. He convinces them to go get more help, and the time bubble (which now apparently doesn’t need Mon-El to push it) slips into the time stream just as Superboy shows up and fires his beam at it. The Legionnaires are confused, and Brainy suspects that time Time Trapper has tampered with this time. Superboy, we learn, feels bad about his actions, but also feels like he needs to trap the Legion in order to save the universe. He flies into the time stream, chasing the time bubble, heading towards the future. The Time Trapper enjoys his latest game, which he thinks will let him “rule eternity.” From here, the story crosses into Superman #8 and Action Comics #591 (both by John Byrne!) before returning to this book.
- Superman #8 has the Legion end up in Superman’s world, where they are confused by the fact that he has never met them, while Action #591 explains everything, giving us the knowledge that the Time Trapper created a “pocket universe” where Superboy’s pre-Crisis adventures existed (although no mention is made of Supergirl). Action 591 ends with the four Legionnaires travelling with Superboy to the his time to rescue their friends from the Time Trapper (I guess Superboy handed them over at some point).
- As the squad slips through the time stream, Superboy explains how after returning home from helping to cure Mon-El a few issues back, he found Smallville covered in the red skies of the Crisis. He saw that anti-matter was destroying his planet, and as he flew towards it, he was met by the Time Trapper. The Trapper continues this story, speaking to the frozen Legionnaires and Night Girl. He explains how he put a device in Smallville to protect the Earth, in exchange for a promise of cooperation from Superboy. It was the Trapper that commanded Superboy freeze the Legionnaires. He explains that whenever the Legion travelled back through time, he sent them to the pocket universe he’s maintained. In 2987, Wildfire and Dawnstar talk about his new body, and Dawny tells him that she still doesn’t think she’ll ever be able to “touch the true man” inside him, which makes him angry. Superboy pushes the time bubble through Smallville towards the high school. Brainy has altered the freezing device so that the Legionnaires can appear to be frozen, but able to break that condition when needed. Superboy brings the time bubble to the Trapper, who commands him to use a massive gun to kill the Legionnaires he already has. Superboy refuses, and the Legionnaires in the time bubble come out and they start fighting the Trapper, who grows in size. Brainy frees the others, and they join the fight. As they fight, the Trapper tells Superboy that he can join him, or he will shut down the device that protects his world. Superboy punches the device instead, which makes the Trapper laugh. In 2987, Dream Girl flirts with Polar Boy. The Legionnaires in Smallville work to save people as the red skies return. The Trapper is okay with this outcome, although it doesn’t further his goal of ending time itself. He explains to Brainy that his pocket universe was never connected to their future (which doesn’t explain how they would have known of Superboy in the first place), and Brainy learns that whatever happens now, his future will continue. The Trapper disappears, and everyone is left trying to figure out how to save the world. The device Superboy smashed is actually still working, it just lacks the thing that controlled its power. Superboy decides to act as a conduit for its energies (which makes no sense to me), and holds it together despite that causing him great pain. Somehow, the pocket universe is pulled somewhere else in the time stream, or something, and the Legionnaires figure they don’t have much time to get home before they won’t be able to. Superboy, injured as he is, flies the time bubble there, believing in his own ability to do whatever he sets his mind to. When they return to the future, Mon-El tries to rush Superboy to Brainy’s multi-lab, but he dies as soon as they get there. Later, as the Legionnaires gather for Superboy’s funeral, they talk about how Brainy never actually understood time travel, and how the White Witch cannot find the pocket universe with her magic, but knows that it’s okay. The entire team (including Matter-Eater Lad and Star Boy) gather in the Hall of Heroes to pay tribute to Superboy. This whole pocket universe thing is a bit of a mess, but I can see why, post-Crisis, Levitz and the others felt that the connection between Superboy and the Legion needed to be maintained. This was a confusing time for readers…
- Issue thirty-nine was mostly drawn by Curt Swan and Romeo Tanghal, and is basically a Gigi Cusimano solo story. Gigi is trying to figure out a big decision in life, and is clutching what looks like a ring box. Sun Boy calls in to remind her she has only a little time to make her decision. Gigi thinks back to her days at the SP Academy on Mars, when she was dating Gim Allon. On a vacation, they swam and sand-skied. They were on their skis when a meteorite hit Gim. He was fine, although the doctor said that his RNA was changed in an unknown way. While Gim was recovering in the hospital, a criminal broke out of the secure wing. Later, Gim and Gigi were hanging out in the lobby of a resort when they heard that a being had his credimeter stolen in the casino. The two trainees searched the casino, and Gigi found the guy. He knocked her out and carried her into an elevator tube as a hostage. Trying to help, Gim suddenly grew very tall, and was able to rescue her, although the crook got away. Gim’s new powers were a surprise, but they decided the best thing to do to ensure that they didn’t get him drummed out of the SP, would be to catch the crook. They figured out his patterns, and arranged a stakeout that caught him. Gim’s parents came to Mars, and Marte informed him of the new club for heroes with powers. Gim tried out for Legion membership, meeting and giving Chameleon Boy his name, and made the team. After his induction, Gigi told him she was stationed on Takron-Galtos, and broke up with him. Back in the present (aka 2987), Gigi calls Sun Boy to tell him that she is turning down his offer, and then she opens the ring box, and we see that it holds a chief’s starburst; Gigi has decided to take on the role of Chief of the Mars SP detachment.
- Legion Annual #3 is by the usual creative team, but focuses on Cosmic Boy and Night Girl, who are vacationing on her world, Kathoon. Lydda wishes Rokk hadn’t left the Legion, but they are having a good time together. Bouncing Boy leads a trio of Academy students (Visi-Lad, Comet Queen, and Myg, who has taken the name Karate Kid) to fix a broken irrigation system in Egypt. Once the job is done, their flight rings start beeping. On Kathoon, an SP officer asks for Rokk and Lydda’s help in figuring out who has been siphoning energy off the planet’s fusion powersphere. Rokk’s magnetism lets him follow the energy to a scientific-looking facility that Lydda has never seen before. They see that a Dominator is working there, and Rokk calls in some Legion assistance. The Legion, however, has all left Earth to serve as an honor guard while the UP signs a new treaty with the Dominion on Weber’s World. Bouncing Boy and his students are in charge of the Mission Monitor Board, when Rokk’s alert comes in. He leaves Visi-Lad in charge of the board, and leaves with the other two to help out. Rokk and Lydda have been staking the Dominators out for a couple of days when Chuck and his squad arrive. Inside, the Dominators fire the energy they’ve gathered at an asteroid, proving that their weapon is strong enough to destroy Weber’s World when it passes Kathoon. Rokk gets over his immediate distrust of the trainees, and decides that they can achieve the mission. On Weber’s World, Ambassador Relnic laments the fact that Universo’s meddling resulted in this new treaty being necessary. The Dominators arrive to sign. Rokk and his group bust into the Dominator base and start fighting, and learn that this high caste Dominator has plans for Weber’s World. The problem is that they all get sucked into a vortex of sorts. On the Dominion’s world, we learn that this whole operation is the work of a rogue high caste Dominator (do any of them have names?). Rokk and his group find themselves in a new dimension, which Myg recognizes as an underdimension, like the ones used on his world as a form of travel. They follow some magnetic clues to a Dominator facility, which they attack. They learn the way to the portal that will get them to the Dominion. The rogue Dominator uses the Legion’s interference as proof that he should launch an attack on Weber’s World, and start an invasion of UP space, which was always his intention. Rokk’s crew find the portal to the Dominion, and send through a decoy vessel to draw their fire. Next the heroes attack and create a lot of havoc, even managing to take down the Dominator’s warship. That rogue Dominator signals for his people on Kathoon to fire on Weber’s World, but we see that Duo Damsel has taken a large number of other heroes (I only recognize Laurel Kent, Power Boy, and maybe Lamprey) to Kathoon and has destroyed the weapon. Later, Rokk and Lydda are at Legion headquarters, where they’ve set up a meeting with Grava, Myg, Chuck, and Luornu; together they are forming the new Legion of Substitute Heroes.
- Dream Girl has led Element Lad, Timber Wolf, and Star Boy (who has stuck around a bit after Superboy’s funeral) outside the Earth’s polymer shield because she’s foreseen an attack. A vessel appears and tries to ram its way through the shield. It succeeds, and they follow it to the ground. Polar Boy has taken a small squad (Mon-El, Dawnstar, and White Witch) to his planet, Tharr, which is uncomfortably hot, at the request of local SP. It seems that Starfinger has been trying to extort money from the lucrative mining there, and has been sabotaging operations. The heroes rescue some workers from an explosion. On Earth, four unnamed villains emerge from the vessel and fight the Legionnaires, who take them down. Star Boy and Dream Girl stay with the prisoners when Jan and Brin leave to get police; Nura wants to talk to Thom. The people of Tharr live deep below the surface of their world, and another act of sabotage threatens to bring the ceiling down on a large number of people. Mon-El manages to keep the cavern standing while the others rescue people. Starfinger, watching from his base, is unhappy, and decides that the Legion has interfered too often in his business. Nura and Thom talk at Legion HQ, and we learn that Thom is heading back to Xanthu, now that Atmos has left again. She sees that Sun Boy appears to be dating Laurel Kent, and makes some catty comments about her age, before wandering past various Legionnaires going about their day. Shadow Lass talks to Mon-El over hologram as she monitors the mission monitor board, and is interrupted by an alarm. Sensor Girl and Tellus know something is happening, and urge her to put up the HQ’s shields. A beam is fired from space at the building. Sensor Girl leads Wildfire, Sun Boy, and Lightning Lass through a hole she has Drake blast in the shields. Brainiac 5 works to fix things, and move the headquarters out of the beam’s way; it’s a little unclear how successful he is. Sensor Girl leads the others to an amplifier in space, but stops Wildfire from destroying it, as she can tell it’s booby-trapped. Instead, she has Sun Boy overload it, blowing it up. Starfinger is enraged by this, and swears to destroy the Legion.
- Three big goons blast a resort on Mars for Starfinger but when they try to escape, they are confronted by Sensor Girl, Colossal Boy, and Element Lad, who are hoping to learn Starfinger’s location. Dawnstar leads a cruiser through space (Mon-El, Polar Boy, and White Witch are inside), but can’t find a trace of Starfinger, as she has nothing to track. Timber Wolf is annoyed that he’s stuck on Earth on Mission Monitor Board duty, and Sun Boy mocks him before heading out to find Laurel Kent. On an asteroid, one of Starfinger’s underlings is selling a precious statue to some guy when Lightning Lass, Wildfire, Chameleon Boy, and Shrinking Violet arrive. Wildfire manages to grab the underling, but his anger gets away from him, and the guy passes out before he can answer any questions. Sensor Girl has led her cruiser to a star, after using her ill-defined powers. The White Witch calls into their ship to say she has also traced him to the same place. Dawnstar continues to feel odd around Wildfire in his new form, which makes him angry again. Within that star, we see that Starfinger is moving into a new facility, and that he is accompanied by Starbright and Starlight, two women bodyguards. Some Legionnaires bust into the base, and there is a lot of fighting. Starfinger blasts Colossal Boy in the leg, causing serious damage. More Legionnaires arrive and join the fray. Brainiac 5 is doing something with force beams in his lab, and doesn’t want to be disturbed. The fight continues, and Dream Girl suggest that Mon-El check for reinforcements. Afraid to lose, Starfinger decides to destroy the whole station. Sensor Girl catches what is about to happen, and gets the Legionnaires to escape as the station explodes. A little later, we see that the Legionnaires are working to rescue any of Starfinger’s people who survived, and that Mysa is holding the place together with her magic. Polar Boy feels bad that he almost led the team into a disaster, and neither Dawnstar nor Sensor Girl can find any trace of Starfinger, but Projectra believes he’ll be back. On Medicus One, Doctor Gym’ll talks to Yera about Colossal Boy’s injury, and the importance of him resting to get better. Yera sees Chameleon Boy talking to Gim, and kicks him out. Amid the wreckage of Starfinger’s base, we see a ring with a star on it, and it becomes clear that this ring was what possessed or controlled Starfinger.
- Issue forty-two is the first of two tie-ins the 1987’s Millennium event, and is also probably the first of the Baxter series that I ever bought (Millennium went a long way towards introducing me to the DC Universe). Polar Boy is talking to Tellus about how great things are going for him as leader, and how great the team is doing. Tired of Brek’s self-absorption, Tellus leaves and comes across Sun Boy and Laurel Kent, coming home from a night of dancing. Dirk can’t get Laurel to his room, so goes to bed. She supposedly is leaving, but instead acts suspiciously. A few Legionnaires are hanging out in the pool area. Chameleon Boy comes by to get some workout equipment of Colossal Boy’s, who is still recovering on Medicus One. Laurel, using her access codes, enters Brainiac 5’s multi-lab, and starts retrieving data from his Coluan computer. Brainy is surprised to find her there. Cham heads out to visit Gim, and for some reason, doesn’t want Element Lad coming with him. Laurel, who it’s becoming clear is not who anyone thinks she is, is attacking Brainy. She manages to knock him out through his forceshield, displaying strength no one knew she had. Some other Legionnaires (Tellus, Shrinking Violet, and Shadow Lass) arrive on the scene and begin to fight her. Shady darkens the room, but Laurel somehow finds her data retrieval device, and flies off, punching through the heavily shielded ceiling. Amid the confusion, we learn that Brainy has been working very hard on his latest project. Laurel, who no longer refers to herself as Laurel, flies past the ship that Cham is flying, and he also acts oddly. As Timber Wolf and Tellus (who oddly chooses this moment to reveal that his name is actually Ganglios) clean up, Brainy interfaces with his computers to discover what information Laurel stole. Cham visits Gim, who is doing well. Brainy leads a team (Sun Boy, Element Lad, Tellus, Shrinking Violet, and Shadow Lass) to the Himalayas where there is a Buddhist Temple with a massive data bank. He wants to investigate why the data Laurel stole was all genealogical, and expects the temple to be helpful. Tellus notices that the friendly monks are not human, and the team is able to stop them before they blast them. Shady finds a deeper temple, where Laurel, now dressed as a Manhunter, is sitting on a throne or altar. Jan turns her throne to kryptonite, but that does no good, and she reveals herself to be a Manhunter who has been on the Earth for more than a thousand years. She explains that the Manhunters, a thousand years before (i.e., the then-current DCU) fought to stop a race of proto-gods from emerging on Earth. Now, Laurel is looking for their descendants, as it’s believed they will become immortals, and she wishes to kill them. She blows up the temple with everyone in it.
- The Legionnaires free themselves from the destroyed temple, but can find no trace of the Manhunter they thought was their friend. At HQ, Polar Boy worries that so many Legionnaires are off-world on missions, and wants Dream Girl to find everyone she can while he goes to think things through. Basically, all they have is the team from the temple and Invisible Kid and Dreamy sitting around the meeting table (which once again has exactly that many chairs, as if no one was away). They get a message from Chameleon Boy saying he’s invoked his right as head of the Espionage Squad to take on a secret mission, which angers Brek. Timber Wolf goes looking for Quislet and Wildfire, and only finds a massive emptiness within Quislet’s quarters. The available Legionnaires (Tellus, Brainy, Dream Girl, Element Lad, Shrinking Violet, Sun Boy, Invisible Kid, and Shadow Lass) fly to the Amazon, where they come under attack, not by the Manhunter, but by some kind of cult or something. Brainy determines these people have nothing to do with the immortals that Laurel is hunting. Chief Zendak and Shvaughn Erin talk at SP headquarters about how well Gigi is doing on Mars, and how Zendak is going to be getting a new executive officer. They learn that there is an attack happening in the Grand Canyon. That turns out to be Laurel, who suspects that the immortals are there. The Legion shows up, and they fight again, until Laurel steals Brainy’s device that he’s using to detect “green” energies, and flees. Cham arrives on Rimbor, where he takes on the guise of Mo Seh, to go undercover for unclear reasons. Laurel has altered Brainy’s device, and it has led her to another secret city in the Himalayas. She believes she’s found the immortals she’s been looking for, but instead finds the Legion again. They fight again, and during the fight, she discovers that the city is decaying and empty; she deduces that if the immortals she was supposed to kill existed, they made their way off Earth ages ago, and that she slept too long. She stands down from her fight, and blows herself up. Later, after the team has collected her remaining parts and buried them, they talk about how they have no clue if these immortals she sought even exist. At HQ, Timber Wolf explains to Polar Boy that Wildfire and Quislet have disappeared, and that he found a black hole in Quislet’s quarters. Brek worries that the team is too small right now, and at that moment, he receives a call from Atmos, who has arrived to join the Legion.
- Brainiac 5 is called in to examine the black hole in Quislet’s quarters, but can’t actually figure it out. He also doesn’t care and returns to his lab. We see that Wildfire was sucked into Quislet’s realm with him, where Quislet’s kind, all glowing energy beings, are angry with the mysterious Legionnaire. They capture Wildfire and pull apart Quislet’s ship. On Earth, Atmos demonstrates his powers to Polar Boy, as well as his cockiness. Brek tells him that he’ll have to go over his results before making a decision. Dream Girl comes to see Atmos. On Teall, Quislet’s energy-based world, we learn that Quislet demonstrated more independence than is usual in their hivemind, and for that reason was chosen to pilot a vessel they built to explore other worlds. Quislet discovered solid matter, and decided to stay, which is why his kind now consider him a traitor. Wildfire manages to reform his new body, and escape. Atmos takes Nura to the roof to talk, and she plays hard to get when he makes advancements on her. She is clearly drawn to him, but knows that being with him would be a mistake. Wildfire navigates his way through Teall, and the strange sculptures that try to capture him. He gets close to the black hole that brought him there, and is blasted through it, back to Earth. Nura goes to see Brek to see if he’s going to offer Atmos a spot on the team. She acts strangely, and refuses to say if she can see him in their future. Quislet’s kind fall for a bluff – he tells them that his ship will explode if anyone other than him pilots it, and they let him return to it. He starts to fly away from them, and they decide to execute him. They are unable to, and Quislet heads for the black hole. Wildfire appears on Earth, startling Invisible Kid. He calls for help, but then Quislet shows up, and everything appears fine. On Ventura, in a religious site dedicated to luck, three beings with eyeball heads look at an image of the Ranzz family, and talk some nonsense about how one of them must die.
- Issue forty-five is the 30th anniversary issue, and the third Legion comic I bought new off the stands, drawn by the extra pages and the hype, although I didn’t love it. It features guest art by Swan, Schaffenberger, Cockrum, Grell, and Giffen, although it’s only the latter two whose work is instantly recognizable. The Luck Lords of Ventura have some kind of plan for Lightning Lad, and feel like he should have died or something – to be honest, I skimmed their annoying dialogue. On Labyrinth, Lightning Lord, Garth’s brother, manages to escape through a string of lucky events. The Luck Lords show us the Ranzz siblings’ origins. On Earth, Garth, Imra, and Rokk do some kind of work in their advisor status, and talk about how neither Rokk nor Garth want to rejoin the team. The Luck Lords revisit the time that Garth died, saving Imra from someone called Zaryan. He was revived, but it required someone to sacrifice their own life. Everyone thought that Imra had made the sacrifice, but it was really Proty. Wildfire delivers his report on Atmos to Polar Boy, finding him suitable except for his attitude. Atmos visits Dream Girl in her quarters. The Luck Lords next look at the time that Lightning Lords and Lad fought at a place called Stopover. Mekt had Garth on the ground, but couldn’t bring himself to kill his brother, despite hating him. Imra goes to visit Brainiac 5 in his lab, where he is still working on something, and he rejects Imra’s help. Sensor Girl reveals to Imra that she is also worried about Brainy and Mon-El both, and Shadow Lass shares that she believes the two of them need to kill someone to get better. Next we revisit Garth and Imra’s wedding, and see how their honeymoon was cut short when the Dark Circle invaded Earth. The Legion gathers to hang out together. We see that Colossal Boy is still recovering from his injuries, that Ayla and Vi want to get away together, and that Ultra Boy, Phantom Girl, Blok, and Magnetic Kid have finally returned from a long, boring mission (it’s been ages since we’ve seen them). Mon-El talks about the pain he is in (I’m assuming this is about Superboy, but he’s not mentioned). Shvaughn Erin is monitoring Crimewatcher, and sees that the cameras in the Metropolis Starport are malfunctioning. The Luck Lords look in on Garth in the present, where he is at home with his boys. Imra comes home from a mission involving Starfinger’s blackmailers, and is very tired. The cosmic convergence the Luck Lords have been waiting for happens, and that means it’s time for Mekt to show up at Legion Plaza, just as the three founders are exiting. Garth and Mekt begin to fight, and Mekt captures Rokk and Imra in some device designed to funnel Garth’s lightning into them. Garth still manages to defeat Mekt, knocking them both out in the process. The Luck Lords see this as their own failure. Later, Garth is given a clean bill of health, and again insists that he does not want to return to active duty. The Luck Lords agree that they are done with Garth, and the issue ends with a nice full-team double spread.
- Four Legionnaires meet in secret to discuss a secretive oath they’ve taken to do something, that might end up destroying the Legion. Brainiac 5’s involvement is revealed, but the other three are kept in shadows (two are clearly female, and one is male, and based on his sleeve, might be Mon-El). We know that Brainy has been building something for their secret mission, and that he’s been keeping Polar Boy in the dark about it. Polar Boy talks to Tellus about the fact that he feels like something is strange on the team (he offensively uses the term ‘fishy’), and he wants him to use his telepathy to investigate. Brek is still upset that Chameleon Boy took off without his permission. We see that Cham is still on Rimbor, and has been using his Mo Seh identity, but is ready to switch it up. He enters a tavern as Mo, but leaves it the next morning calling himself Reefej. We learned he manipulated a bar fight so he could get close to someone named Shraw, who works with Starfinger’s organization in arrangements. Shraw offers Cham a job. Phantom Girl and Shadow Lass lounge on a boat while Ultra Boy and Mon-El help dredge a channel off Metropolis. Shady is still worried about Mon-El, who, when the job is done, flies off, telling them to let Polar Boy know he’s on leave. Everyone thinks it’s odd that he acted that way, but then their rings summon them back to HQ. Atmos demonstrates his powers to Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel, who aren’t that impressed with his arrogance. Chuck offers him a spot in the Academy, telling him he’s not ready to be a Legionnaire, and he flies off in anger. Starfinger’s men, including Cham in disguise, bust into the home of a Rimborian banker who has seized some of Starfinger’s assets. They abduct the banker, who tells his wife or girlfriend to call the bank. Cham feels fortunate that he doesn’t have to blow his cover to save any lives. Later, when the Science Police investigate, the woman invokes the planet’s privacy laws. Jo, Tinya, and Shady arrive outside Rimbor, where they rendez-vous with Dawnstar, who has been tracking Cham. Colossal Boy continues to work to recover from his injury. Brek complains to him about Cham having left the team. Tinya spends time looking for Cham, but knows she’d never recognize him if he’s in disguise. Dawnstar tracks him to someplace else on Rimbo, and they soon find the cruiser he’s on. They see them drop the banker off in a wasteland, and Tinya slips onto the ship. She sees Cham in his Reefej guise, and he signals her off. She returns to the others and says she couldn’t find him. At Legion HQ, Saturn Girl chats with Tellus about how he’s been developing his telepathy. As she leaves, he catches a glimpse in her mind of a conspiracy within the Legion, and is stunned.
- Quislet, Lightning Lass, Timber Wolf, Tellus, and Magnetic Kid are responding to a fire in a broadcasting tower in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. While they work to stop the fire and keep everyone safe, Tellus loses control of his telekinesis briefly. After, he admits to Pol that he has discovered a conspiracy in the Legion, and that he believes that Saturn Girl is at the centre of it; Pol doesn’t believe him. Phantom Girl and Dawnstar argue over Tinya’s decision to keep Chameleon Boy’s secret. Cham, still in his Reefej guise, is on Ventura, helping some of the other arrangers launder credits in the casinos. After the mission is complete, he is congratulated on his good job by Starfinger, but can’t tell if it’s really him or a holo-construct. Many Legionnaires lounge around, and Brainiac 5 comes out of his lab to test out a move in Dungeons and Dragons, claiming that thinking about it was distracting him in his work. Sensor Girl pulls him aside to let him know that she knows he’s playing a dangerous game, and he acts like he doesn’t understand her, but worries that he has less time to complete what he is working on than he thought. Polar Boy leaves with a team (Sun Boy, Lightning Lass, White Witch, and Wildfire) to patrol the Khundian border; he admits that he doesn’t feel like he’s doing much good on Earth. Tellus is sad to see their cruiser leave. On Mars, Cham (still as Reefej) has been tasked with murdering the son of a man that Starfinger had killed before. Cham leaves his associates to complete the deed on his own, and when they demand proof, he sends them to check, and poses as the corpse himself, flying ahead of them to the entrance (we learn he anonymously tipped the supposed victim off, so he’d be in SP protective custody). On Nullport, H’hrnath worries about a looming Khund attack, and wants the UP fleet to protect him. Mon-El is flying by on his mysterious mission, and overhears. He spots a Khund vessel and disables it before going on his way. Tellus talks to Shrinking Violet about the time she was impersonated, but she doesn’t want to discuss it. Cham is taken to meet with Starfinger in a secret base on Mars. We learn that Starbright and Starlight, his enforcers, live inside his ring. He has them check out “Reefej”, and they approve of him. Starfinger brands him, making him part of his inner circle, which is just what Cham was hoping for. At Colossal Boy’s apartment, Yera cries to his parents because he’s gone missing. They hope he’s on a Legion mission, and Gim’s dad encourages Yera to check with the Legion. Tellus goes to the Legion Academy to get advice from Duo Damsel. He tells her about the conspiracy he’s discovered, and she tells him to keep it between them. As she walks away, her thoughts reveal that she is a part of the conspiracy herself, and confirms that so is Saturn Girl.
- Duo Damsel informs Brainiac 5 and Saturn Girl that Tellus is on to them, but Brainy believes that his device is ready, provided Mon-El (confirming he’s the fourth member of the conspiracy) can bring back a suitable power source. We see Mon-El enter a star that he determined also houses a white dwarf star, which he grabs with his bare hands and starts flying back to Earth. Starfinger meets with his top three lieutenants, and we learn that his people have developed a weapon that should be able to destroy the Legion from a distance, if they can find a way to lock on to the team’s location. Starfinger suggests getting ahold of a flight ring, and the Arranger feels he has the person for the job. Magnetic Kid talks to Tellus of the conspiracy, and they are joined by Sensor Girl, who makes Tellus’s room a private place with her powers, so she can share what she feels they need to do. Element Lad notices that Sensor Girl is sealing off Tellus’s room, and finds it odd. His thoughts are interrupted when he sees Mon-El coming in with the dwarf star. Mon-El flies it straight to Brainy’s lab, where he’s prepared a tesseract receptacle. Chameleon Boy, still posing as Reefej, is the one sent to get a flight ring. He dismisses his assistants, so he can do the job on his own. He sneaks into SP headquarters in Metropolis, where he plans to use a duplicator device to make a working flight ring that is different enough from the regular ones that Starfinger’s device won’t be able to track them. Brainy’s device is not enough to contain the dwarf star’s energies, and his lab gets wrecked. Mon-El grabs the star to leave (I’m not sure how everyone is being kept safe from its radiation). Cham is caught by some SPs, but he escapes without being identified. The problem is, he has to leave his duplicated ring behind. Some other Legionnaires try to help with the situation in Brainy’s lab, with Blok helping Mon-El dispose of the unstable star. Tellus and Pol know what’s going on, and they go to Brainy’s lab where they find him with Imra. Pol accuses them of plotting, and when Imra’s response is out of character, Tellus agrees with Pol. Brainy refuses to discuss this with them. Starfinger is unhappy that “Reefej” failed, but has a backup plan. He takes Cham to meet Doctor Hazeg, a disabled man in a flying apparatus, who speaks through an automated voice synthesizer. He gives Starfinger a flight ring, and Cham realizes that he’s really Colossal Boy in disguise.
- Sensor Girl goes to Brainiac 5’s lab to confront him, and finds the other members of the ‘conspiracy’ there. She urges them to be truthful, and threatens to use her abilities to show them the danger they are creating. Mon-El stands ready to fight her, but then they are all doubled over in pain. We see Shadow Lass, Phantom Girl, and Dawnstar returning to headquarters, and see that Dawny and Tinya are still arguing about leaving Chameleon Boy undercover. They also double over in pain. The same is happening in deep space, where Polar Boy’s crew (White Witch, Wildfire, Sun Boy, and Lightning Lass) all feel the same pain, which is a first for Wildfire. Brek thinks it felt centred on his flight ring. Starfinger sits in his base, watching video footage of Timber Wolf feel the same pain. This enrages Starfinger, who sends Starlight and Starbright forth from his ring to get “Doctor Hazeg”. They bring him, ensconced in a sealed “experimenter bubble” to Starfinger. Starfinger is angry that “Hazeg’s” weapon only hurt the Legionnaires temporarily, instead of killed them. “Hazeg” argues for more time, and Starfinger gives him one day to perfect his weapon, suggesting he practice on “Reefej”. More Legionnaires have gathered on Earth, and Imra tries to mediate between Sensor Girl and Mon-El. Imra explains that after she, Mon-El, and Brainy took Superboy’s body to Shanghalla to inter it, they swore an oath to make the Time Trapper pay for his crimes. They were joined by Duo Damsel, who once loved him, and entered into their oath. Since that time, they’ve been working to crack the barrier the Trapper has erected in time, and Sensor Girl suggests that a larger group of Legionnaires will work together (she knows that the four conspirators swore to die if need be to accomplish their goal). On Mars, “Reefej” and “Hazeg” (actually Cham and Colossal Boy) scheme, but aren’t sure how they are going to stop Starfinger. Element Lad talks to a group of Legionnaires about the pain they all felt, but wants to wait until Brek returns to do anything. Sensor Girl heads out into a natural part of Earth, to gather a friend that is supposed to be dead. Starfinger is angry that his people suggest they prepare to give up their base if the Legion finds them. He goes to “Hazeg.” Brainy is frustrated that he can’t break through time, and that he maybe never could. As he despairs, and Luornu, Imra, and Mon-El try to cheer him up, they are all surprised to see Rond Vidar walk into the lab. Starfinger confronts “Hazeg” and “Reefej”, and figures out that the supposedly infirm doctor is actually Colossal Boy. He blasts him, and that causes Cham to reveal himself too. Starlight and Starbright try to catch the Durlan, but it is Starfinger that knocks him out, and then hoists up Cham and Gim, happy that he now has what he needs to destroy the Legion.
This is one of the longest and most consistent runs that I can think of, and while I’ve chosen to end this column here with two major storylines (the Time Trapper and the Starfinger ones) unresolved, it’s because with the next issue, Keith Giffen returns as both artist and co-plotter, and things begin changing very quickly.
When I think of Levitz and Larocque’s time together with the Legion, I think of how well they navigated the team through a very turbulent time at DC. During the course of this run, DC went through the Crisis, had its major characters reimagined, and then rolled through events like Legends and Millennium. As well, series like Watchmen, Batman Year One, Justice League International, and Suicide Squad helped redefine what DC meant for a new age. Levitz had to navigate the new demand for darker stories while showing a beautiful vision of the future, while also figuring out what to do with a team whose founding inspiration has been retconned out of existence.
I know that at the time, and perhaps still, many fans did not like the Time Trapper’s pocket universe Superboy, but that solution did allow the Legion to still honour his memory, acknowledge his contributions to the team, and so long as no one thought too much about it (the existence of Supergirl just doesn’t get mentioned again), it all worked well enough. It also provided a springboard for the Legion to use as a rationale for having great anger for the Trapper, leading to the conspiracy storyline.
I’m not sure that the conspiracy worked as well as it could have, simply because it kind of came out of nowhere, aside from the knowledge that Brainy was working on something important. Levitz usually seeded his stories for years (like with the Universo and Starfinger stories) before pulling the trigger, but the conspiracy felt rushed. I’m also not sure I can buy Imra being willing to either die or take a life, even if it’s out of revenge. Imra got a lot of strong character work during this time (I like how the Universo arc works as the end of a trilogy focusing on the founders, with Legionnaires 3 having been mostly about Garth, and Rokk getting his own miniseries after that), and became a stronger character. I can’t accept that she, as a young mother, would consider sacrificing herself in this way.
A few characters gained a lot of focus during this time, and sometimes it worked very well. The mystery around Sensor Girl’s identity was pretty riveting, even when I knew who she was all along this time around. I like how Projectra became a more mysterious and grounded character, and that she chose to keep wearing the mask even after everyone learned who she was.
Similarly, I like the way Levitz gave Polar Boy the confidence (or maybe just lack of awareness) to think that, as a rookie Legionnaire, he could become leader. I know that the elections were determined by the readership (long before DC fans could vote to kill off Robin), and that Brek’s choice was an odd one, but Levitz made it work well, especially as we watched his confidence erode the longer he stayed in the job.
It was interesting to watch Mon-El go through the despair of having his lead poisoning return, the joy of his cure, and then also see darkness consume him in the wake of Superboy’s death. It was cool that these events put some distance between him and Shadow Lass, as they were always seen as the most stable of couples. Likewise, having Star Boy depart, and to have Atmos woo Dream Girl was an interesting choice, as was Atmos’s campaign to join the team. I just wish Levitz explained, at some point, why Atmos didn’t have arm pits (or, maybe Atmos was just all arm pit).
I also like how Levitz built a more diverse Legion during this run, including non-humanoid characters like Tellus and Quislet. I love Tellus, and his different take on humanity (while not stepping on Blok’s usual schtick), but I’m not a fan of Quislet. The character is just too silly (there’s a ‘poop-a-doop’ sound effect whenever he’s around), and his inclusion on the team never made much sense – we didn’t really see him give a good reason to be chosen over some of the other candidates. I do like that he was there to progress Wildfire’s character, but I also loved the old look Wildfire had much more than the new one.
Over the course of this run, I was struck by how odd the Legion’s cast of rogues really are. The Legion of Super-Villains (from the column before this) were mainly made up of evil versions of the core Legion characters. After that, the team spent an inordinate amount of time fighting smugglers or thieves. When they were facing actual villains, they tended to seem pretty silly. Universo is a hypnotist. Starfinger is impressive, but is dressed in a costume that makes him, when he stands arms and legs akimbo, look like a star (although, if you’ve seen the first Starfinger’s costume…).
Still, this run was terrific. I pieced this together over years, as it wasn’t until issue fifty-one that I decided to buy the book regularly. Reading these comics in order, as I’ve been doing starting at the beginning of Levitz’s consecutive years on the title, has been a real treat. I like the way characters shuffle in and out, and how there’s a real consistency to supporting cast as well. The Legion’s world feels massive, but also familiar and so well-realized. It’s crazy to think that, as I read one comic a day, I’m burning through a year’s worth of comics every two years, and the quality never dips. Larocque’s art got better when he worked on The Flash (and had considerably fewer characters to manage), but he did a very fine job with this book, assisted throughout by Mike DeCarlo and colourist Carl Gafford (who was on the book almost as long as Levitz was!).
The covers of this book are always beautiful. Most of them are by Steve Lightle, but towards the end, Ken Steacy (from my wonderful city) started to give the book a more abstract look that I loved.
When Giffen returned to the book, at the height of his Justice League popularity, things started changing in a hurry, as the series rushed towards the big changes leading to Levitz’s departure and a big reboot. That’s next time.
If you’d like to see the archives of all of my retro review columns, click here.
For some reason, these comics haven’t been collected anywhere. They should be.
Tags: DC Comics, Legion of Super-Heroes, Retro Reviews