Legionnaires #1-18 (April 1993 – September 1994)
Written by Tom Bierbaum (#1-15), Mary Bierbaum (#1-15), Mark Waid (#16-18)
Co-written by Tom McCraw (#18)
Pencilled by Chris Sprouse (#1-6, 9-12), Adam Hughes (#7, 9, 12), Colleen Doran (#8), Brian Stelfreeze (#9), Joe Phillips (#11), Chris Gardner (#12, 14, 16-18), Frank Fosco (#13), Jeffrey Moy (#15)
Breakdowns by Adam Hughes (#10)
Finishes by Stuart Immonen (#10)
Inked by Karl Story (#1-6, 9-12), Mark Farmer (#7, 10), John Nyberg (#8), Wade Von Grawbadger (#11, 13), Dennis Cramer (#12, 14-18), Ron Boyd (#13)
Colour by Tom McCraw
Spoilers (from twenty-six to twenty-seven years ago)
Keith Giffen and Tom and Mary Bierbaum’s run on Legion of Super-Heroes (the fourth volume of that series) will probably stand forever as one of my all-time favourite runs of any superhero comic. During their run, they introduced Batch SW6, a group of twenty teenage Legionnaires that were being held in a set of cocoons in a Dominator chamber under Metropolis. These Legionnaires had their minds and powers intact, and believe that they had come straight from 2977. They joined the Earth’s Resistance, and the adult Legion, in helping free Earth from Dominator rule, although shortly after their victory, the Earth blew up.
Amidst all the destruction, just under 100 domed cities made it off the planet, and as this series opens, the Legionnaires, with some new members, new costumes, and new codenames, set themselves up as the heroes of New Earth under the tutelage of the adult Chameleon Boy.
There was a lot of speculation as to who were the original Legionnaires and who were clones, with general consensus being that Giffen wanted the SW6 to be the real McCoys, and the Legion we’d been reading for years being clones. All of that became rather immaterial after Giffen left, and this book, a companion to the Legion of Super-Heroes, was launched.
Originally, this title was intended to chronicle the revamped early adventures of the Legion, but instead, the decision was made to focus on the SW6 kids. From what I remember, the tone of this book was more innocent and hero-focused, while the adult title stayed more, well, adult. I remember enjoying Chris Sprouse’s art, and the more optimistic tone this title took, but much of it is hazy now, especially after the events of Zero Hour erased this whole status quo, but kept many of the same uniforms.
I know that without Keith Giffen, both titles were not as strong as what preceded them, but I don’t think they were bad. I’m looking forward to reacquainting myself with this different take on the classic characters.
Let’s track who turned up in the title:
- Cosmic Boy (Rokk Krinn; #1-6, 8-14, 16, 18)
- Saturn Girl (Imra Ardeen; #1-2, 4, 6-16, 18)
- Live Wire (Garth Ranzz; #1-4, 8-16, 18)
- Chameleon (Reep Daggle; #1-4, 6, 8-14, 16-18)
- Computo (Danielle Foccart; #1-2, 4-6, 8-16)
- Ultra Boy (Jo Nah; #1-2, 4-7, 10-11, 13-18)
- Ferro (Andrew Nolan; #1-2, 4-7, 10-11, 13, 15-16)
- Invisible Kid (Lyle Norg; #1-4, 6, 8-9, 12-18)
- Matter-Eater Lad (Tenzil Kem; #1-2, 4-7, 9-14, 16-18)
- Gossamer (Ayla Ranzz; #1-4, 6-8, 10-13, 15-17)
- Dragonmage (Xao Jin; #1-4, 6, 8-14, 16-18)
- Brainiac 5 (Querl Dox; #1-3, 7-8, 10-11, 13, 15-18)
- Andromeda (Laurel Gand; #1, 3-9, 11-17)
- Alchemist (Jan Arrah; #1-4, 6, 8, 10, 12-14, 16-18)
- Apparition (Tinya Wazzo; #1-2, 5-7, 10-11, 13, 15-18)
- Catspaw (April Dumaka; #1, 4-6, 9-12, 16)
- Triad (Luornu Durgo; #1-2, 6-8,11-14, 16-17)
- Inferno (Dirk Morgna; #1-4, 7, 9-18)
- Leviathan (Gim Allon; #1-3, 8-9, 12-14, 16-17)
- Shrinking Violet (Salu Digby; #1-3, 5-7, 9-12, 14-18)
- Kid Quantum (James Cullen; #12-14, 16-17)
- Star Boy (Thom Kallor; #16-18)
- Dream Girl (Nura Nal; #16-18)
- Bouncing Boy (Chuck Taine; #16, 18)
The Legion of Super-Heroes
- Captain Gim Allon (formerly Colossal Boy; #9)
- Kono (Brita An’Nan; #10, 12-14, 18)
- Kid Quantum (James Cullen; #10-11)
- Rokk Krinn, aka Polestar (formerly Cosmic Boy; #16-18)
- Dawnstar (#17)
- Garth Ranzz (formerly Lightning Lad; #17-18)
- Imra Ardeen (formerly Saturn Girl; #17-18)
- Furball, aka Timber Wolf (Brin Londo; #17-18)
- NRG, aka Wildfire (Drake Burroughs; #17-18)
- Mysa Nal, aka Jewel (formerly the White Witch; #17-18)
- Sussa Paka, aka Wave (formerly Spider Girl; #17)
- Salu “Vi” Dibgy, aka Virus (formerly Shrinking Violet; #17-18)
- Valor (Lar Gand; #17)
- Tasmia Mallor (formerly Shadow Lass; #17)
- Brainiac 5, aka B-5 (Querl Dox; #17-18)
- Celeste Rockfish, aka Neon (#17-18)
- Chemical King (#17)
- Ayla Ranzz, aka Pulse (formerly Lighting Lass and Light Lass; #17-18)
- Devlin O’Ryan (#18)
- Thom Kallor (formerly Star Boy; #18)
- Chuck Taine (formerly Bouncing Boy; #18)
- Brek Bannin (formerly Polar Boy; #18)
- Jan Arrah (formerly Element Lad; #18)
- Nura Nal (formerly Dream Girl; #18)
- Projectra (#18)
- Jo Nah, aka Emerald Dragon (formerly Ultra Boy; #18)
- Luornu Durgo (formerly Duo Damsel and Triplicate Girl; #18)
- The Hand Gang (#1-2)
- Mano (The Fatal Five; #1-2, 4-6)
- Leland McCauley (#2, 4-6)
- Mordecai (The Fatal Five; #2-6)
- The Persuader (The Fatal Five; #3-6)
- Emerald Empress II (Cera Kesh; #3-6)
- Emerald Empress III (The Fatal Five; Ingria Olav; #4-5)
- Tharok (The Fatal Five; #4-6)
- Secretary Yarin (of Colu; #8)
- Khunds (#9-11, 16
- Dominator (#10-11)
- Lothar St. Maixent (#12, 14)
- Grimbor the Chainsman (#13-14)
- Sklarian pirates (#13-14)
- Mayf (#15)
- Satan Girl (#17)
- Urthlo (#17)
- Mordru (#17-18)
- Glorith (#17-18)
- Beauty Blaze (#17)
- Lightning Lord (#17)
- Saturn Queen (#17)
- Cosmic King (#17)
- The Time Trapper (#18)
- X-Bomb Betty (#2)
- Cera Kesh (#2-3)
- Plaid Lad (#2)
- Proteans (#9-11)
- Accordion King (#9)
- Barber Boy (#9)
- Dev-Em (#17)
- Lydda Jath (formerly Night Girl; #18)
- Superman (Clark Kent; #18)
- President Troy Stewart (President of New Earth, formerly Tyroc; #1, 9-10, 12)
- Chief Sean Erin (Science Police New Earth; #2)
- Vice-Chairperson Jeryl (United Planets; #5-6)
- Keiki (#7, 15)
- Unnamed female Dominator (#12-14)
- Rond Vidar (#16-18)
- Mekt Ranzz (formerly Lightning Lord; #17)
Let’s take a look at what happened in these books, with some commentary as we go:
- The series opens with the original three Legionnaires working to save some people in a building fire. Live Wire, who used to be called Lightning Lad, acts impulsively, but Cosmic Boy saves the day. Elsewhere, Chameleon (I’m not sure why the adult Cham would accept a codename again) and Computo are with Troy Stewart, the President of New Earth, trying to figure out the myriad problems that the structure is experiencing. Troy figures many are caused by the ancient infrastructure and software holding things together. Computo impresses them by using her computer powers to fix most of the issues. They see through their monitors that Ultra Boy and Ferro, fka Ferro Lad, are working on some other fixes near a place where a flying car full of gang members toss a device at a power junction and blow it up. Cham calls the two heroes, and Ferro chases and catches the car by dropping into the road in front of them in his iron form. One girl makes a break for it. Live Wire catches her, and Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl catch up. The girl claims she’s innocent and was being used by the other members of the Hand gang. Imra reads her mind and believes her. Not long after, Garth and Rokk are helping someone fix the power station, and they end up talking about Imra. Garth goads Rokk into admitting that if she and Garth weren’t together, he’d be interested, and then Garth threatens him. At Legionnaires’ HQ, which is the classic upside down rocket ship that has never looked big enough to hold them all to me, the girl, Mega, tells her story to Cham, Danielle, Imra, and Invisible Kid. She claims that the gang holds the girls hostage, and shows that she has a black eye. Ferro calls them to the general meeting. The entire team has gathered, and we see new members Dragonmage and Catspaw getting to know the others. Cham starts the meeting by recapping the war against the Dominion and the Earth’s destruction, and reiterates that he is with the team as an advisor. He wants the team to pick a new leader, and Invisible Kid turns down Brainiac 5’s nomination (despite the fact that he was just shown to be a terrific leader during the war), claiming he’s too shy. Imra suggests that Rokk take on the role, which causes Garth to pout. Everyone agrees, and Rokk names Danielle his deputy leader. Danielle introduces Mega, who explains that the Hand Gang is being run by a secret leader who wants them to trash things. Cos wants them to infiltrate the gang, and suggests that the team be made up of Shrinking Violet, Triad (fka Duplicate Girl), Apparition (fka Phantom Girl), and Ultra Boy. Later, wearing jackets over their uniforms as disguises, the squad, being led by Tinya, follow Mega to the gang’s base. Some guys want to kill Jo right away, but Mega claims he’s from the Paris chapter of the gang, and they let him in. When one guy gets fresh with Triad, she triplicates and beats him up. Mega leads them to the leader’s rooms, and Jo takes out the guards. They are surprised to see that the leader is Mano, who is standing with a Hyrakian (who is blocking their connection to Saturn Girl). Mano knows Mega, even though she didn’t know him, and he kills her. Jo attacks, but is knocked down, and as the issue ends, Mano stands over him, holding his death-hand over Jo’s face.
- Violet creates a distraction, which allows Apparition to get the jump on Mano. His own people shoot at her, hitting him. We see that two of Triad’s bodies have gone for help, and get out of the Hand Gang’s base so they can call to Saturn Girl. Mano gases the others, and is about to kill Tinya when he finds himself floating near the ceiling. The wall breaks, and two thirds of Triad arrive with Inferno, Brainiac 5, Saturn Girl, and Gossamer (which is the terrible new name given to Ayla). Dirk takes out the rest of the Hand Gang’s guns, while Brainy checks on Ultra Boy and Violet. Ayla drops Mano, and the fight is over. Later, Dirk and Luornu deliver Mano to Chief Erin, who believes that someone must be providing financial and logistical support to Mano, but Mano won’t talk. An SP officer helps someone look for a friend who has gone missing in the sewer tunnels below Metropolis. They find a body, and are attacked by something big. A large crowd has gathered outside Legionnaires’ HQ. Inside, we see that Jo is recovering from his injuries (I’m not sure how he got hurt when he is usually invulnerable. Imra feels like she failed when she lost contact with the squad that infiltrated the Hand Gang, but Cosmic Boy takes responsibility. She flirts with him a bit. As he walks down the hall, Live Wire punches him in the nose, and threatens him to stay away from Imra. She comes along, and they pretend to be cool with each other. At a team meeting (which is not fully attended), no one can hear over the chanting of the crowd outside, who want to try out for the team. Chameleon suggests they let some of them show what they’ve got. A group (Garth, Imra, Cham, Rokk, Dirk, and Matter-Eater Lad) go outside. Rokk picks one girl to try out, but another, more provocatively dressed one, pushes ahead. She calls herself X-Bomb Betty, and tells them that she has the power to explode, but she can only use it once. She is rejected. Rokk insists that the other girl try out. Her name is Cera Kesh, and she explains she can make people float. She lifts Garth with her mind, and then drops him. Garth is rude to her, and Dirk makes jokes about her weight (this book is feeling pretty regressive for a look a thousand years into the future). A guy called Plaid Lad turns Tenzil and Cham’s costumes into plaid, and gets rejected. Cham suggests that someone screen future try-outs, and Rokk gives him the job. Dirk tries to pick up X-Bomb Betty, and Cera interrupts to say something to him about how he spoke to her. He doesn’t let her finish, and makes jokes about her complexion. Imra tries to make her feel better, but she runs off crying. The Emerald Eye of Ekron is seen floating in the alley above her. On Takron-Galtos II (when did that become a thing?), Leland McCauley has bribed a guard to show him the Atomic Axe. When the guard lets go of it, it flies out of the prison on its own (and McCauley and the girl with him disappear, as they are holograms). Leviathan and Gossamer are walking through the sewers together. Gim is complaining that Rokk and Cham don’t appreciate him, and then misreads Ayla’s kindness for a romantic signal. Suddenly they are attacked by the big creature from before.
- Leviathan and Gossamer have trouble fighting the creature in the sewer; it ends up knocking Gim out after Ayla gets hurt. In Melbourne, Cera Kesh fumes over being rejected by the Legionnaires, and thinks about getting revenge. She is watched by the Emerald Eye of Ekron. At Legionnaires HQ, Cos and Cham talk to Gim; they don’t know where Ayla is. Live Wire is furious that his sister is missing. Brainy identifies the creature as Mordecai, a victim of Dominion experimentation (it’s weird that Brainy doesn’t actually mention the Dominion). Cos puts together a team to go, and asks Garth if he can control himself if he’s put on it. Garth replies he’s going either way. The team (Brainy, Garth, Dragonmage, Inferno, and Andromeda) make their way into the sewer system. Brainy has an experimental suspended animation gun that he isn’t sure will work. Mordecai finds and attacks them. The noise of their fighting wakes Ayla, who is in a cage. She finds love poems that Mordecai has written to her. At HQ, Shrinking Violet checks on Gim, who wants to go join the fight despite his injuries. He tricks her and sneaks off. The squad continues to fight Mordecai, and Garth gets them to bring the tunnel ceiling down on him. It’s not enough, and he renews his attack. Ayla sees the key to her birdcage, and uses her powers to grab it. Brainy is about to use his gun when Gim shows up and fights Mordecai very briefly, before being knocked down. Dragonmage tries to contain the beast, but can’t. Brainy decides to use his gun, but then Ayla flies in front of Mordecai, claiming she can calm him down. She tries, but he wants to kill Gim. Brainy is about to use his gun, but there is a green flash, and it looks like Mordecai has been disintegrated. The team starts to leave. On Takron-Galtos II, the atomic axe flies into the cell of the Persuader, who uses it to escape. On New Earth, Cera Kesh eats ice cream and hears people laughing at her. She gets angry, and then is suddenly transformed into the new Emerald Empress by the Emerald Eye.
- Cerra Kesh flies around outside New Earth, enjoying the new abilities the Eye has given her. She thinks about getting revenge on Live Wire and Inferno. Garth and Dirk, meanwhile, are running through the halls of Legionnaire HQ, and literally run into Andromeda. They act like idiots, and Invisible Kid calls them out on it. Things escalate to the point where Lyle attacks Garth, and Saturn Girl and Ferro have to intervene. Imra ends up storming off, and to calm things down, Ferro suggests that they all get Ultra Boy to take them out. He takes them to a tough looking bar, where the boys notice a tall beautiful woman with green hair. She flirts with Dirk and blows Garth off. They play pool together, and somehow, with each ball the woman sinks, Dirk begins to gain weight. Seeing what’s happening, Garth blasts at her with his lightning, which restores Dirk. The woman reveals herself to be the Emerald Empress, and she attacks. At HQ, Cosmic Boy, Computo, and Cham are summoned to the monitor room, where Dragonmage informs them that there is a disturbance at the UP holding cells, where Mano is being kept. Cham wants to lead a team, since he’s getting bored. We see the Persuader free Mano, but their escape is blocked by Cham, Catspaw, and Matter-Eater Lad (what kind of team is that, when most of the rest of the Legionnaires are available). Their brief battle ends with all the prisoners in the facility being released, which allows Persuader and Mano a way out. The Empress is doing well against the Legionnaires in the bar, until Ultra Boy punches the Eye, and shatters it. Garth punches her in the face just as Imra and Alchemist arrive to help (Ferro called them in). The Empress blasts Garth with her remaining power, and Imra believes he’s been killed. Ferro confirms he’s still alive, and with the Eye shattered but beginning to reform, Cera Kesh asks Imra for help against the Eye’s power. Imra realizes who she is, but it’s too late, as the Eye has recovered and restored her power and its control over her mind. Jan tries to encase it in inertron, but the Empress teleports away. Imra rushes to Garth, and they have a sweet moment together that rekindles their mutual love for one another. Persuader and Mano arrive on a cloaked asteroid near Mars, and we learn that Leland McCauley has brought Mordecai to the asteroid as well. He introduces them to the new Emerald Empress, but this one is Ingria Olav, his girlfriend (there must be two Eyes, which kind of makes sense). He also takes them to see the fifth member of their team, Tharok, who is inside some sort of medical tube.
- McCauley revives Tharok, against the advice of Persuader and Mano, who know that he’s psychotic, but we learn that McCauley has reprogrammed Tharok’s electronic side so that he can exercise control over him. McCauley wants the Fatal Five to head to New Earth to conquer it, and in return he expects preferred business treatment. The team leaves. We learn that McCauley wasn’t with them at all, but instead was on Gallán, in a sanitized bubble, communicating with them holographically. Four Legionnaires – Ultra boy, Catspaw, Andromeda, and Apparition – are on their way to meet with the Vice Chairperson of the United Planets, a mohawked and half-naked woman named Jeryn. Right after the arrive, the Fatal Five show up and start trashing the place. Jo and Laurel jump in to stop them, but aren’t very successful (it seems that the SW6 kids didn’t meet the Fatal Five back in the day). Catspaw joins the fight, while Tinya calls for help. Matter Eater Lad and Ferro are hanging out, and get the call from Cosmic Boy. They join Shrinking Violet and Computo, and Rokk leads them off. The Fatal Five are sweeping the floor with the Legionnaires, but the Emerald Empress is shocked by the violence of it all. The other Emerald Empress, Cera Kesh, is watching all of this, and finds that Ingria’s weakness insults her. Coz and the others arrive in time to stop Persuader from killing Catspaw. Coz tries to hold the atomic axe, but he can’t. Mordecai starts to knock down the building the fighting is happening in, and Violet needs to shrink very small to keep from being crushed. When she returns to normal size, she is disturbed by how many people have been hurt. The Ingria Emerald Empress gets more frightened (of Tenzil, of all things). McCauley is monitoring her, and is disappointed, but still sees that his goal of creating instability on New Earth is in reach. Mano almost kills Computo, but Ferro saves her, and then needs saving himself. Tharok starts shooting at civilians, which freaks Ingria out more. She teleports herself away. Jo takes down the Persuader, but Tharok is holding Jeryn hostage, and orders everyone to stand down or he’ll kill her. Coz quickly agrees. Ingria turns up in McCauley’s clean room, and he freaks out a little. He rejects her, but is surprised when the other Emerald Empress shows up and kills her. McCauley didn’t know that there were two Eyes of Ekron, but Cera Kesh apparently did.
- McCauley is furious that Ingria was killed, and even more so that the Emerald Empress has brought germs into his home. His Eye blasts her, momentarily turning her back into Cera Kesh, which makes her respond with more anger and attack McCauley again. At Legionnaires headquarters, Saturn Girl tracks Ingria to Gallán, and Chameleon calls in Gossamer, Dragonmage, and Triad to go check it out. He grabs Invisible Kid and Alchemist to go with him to the Earthgov building. There, we see that Tharok still holds Jeryn hostage. Apparition phases through the floor and grabs him from behind, while the rest of the Legionnaires continue to fight the remaining Fatal Five. Computo uses her powers to take control of Tharok’s cybernetic half. Gossamer and her crew arrive on Gallán (pretty quickly, I feel), and have to get past some security bots before making their way into McCauley’s estate, and seeing the fight between the two Eyes. Cham, Jan, and Lyle arrive at Earthgov, and see Andromeda still fighting Mordecai outside. Inside, Matter Eater Lad saves Shrinking Violet from the Persuader by taking a bite out of his axe’s handle. His attempts to beat on the Persuader go nowhere, but Vi manages to grow to her normal size and lay a good blow on him at the same time. Cham and the others join the fight, and Jan covers Mano’s hands in titanium. Jo helps Laurel take down Mordecai, and Tharok manages to shut off his computer and commandeer a Science Police vessel (which has a massive machine gun attached to it). Persuader and Mano climb in, and they try to escape, but Jo tosses an ironed-up Ferro at them, and destroy their vessel, dropping them back to Earth. On Gallán, the Legionnaires try to intervene in the fight between the two Eyes, but McCauley doesn’t want their help. The Empress makes use of the distraction they caused to pluck out McCauley’s actual eye, and then take control of his Eye of Ekron. She flees, and we see that the Eye was keeping McCauley in peak physical condition – without it he looks terrible. As the Legionnaires finish wrapping up at Earthgov, Cosmic Boy wonders who is behind the Fatal Five. That same night, the new Emerald Empress comes and frees Tharok, Mordecai, Persuader, and Mano, and tells them that they now work for her.
- Issue seven features guest art by Adam Hughes, and has a group of Legionnaires (Brainiac 5, Apparition, Inferno, Triad, Andromeda, Ultra Boy, Shrinking Violet, and Matter-Eater Lad) heading to the Tritonis dome, one of two domed cities that were under the oceans before the Earth was destroyed. Atlantis has opened up to tourists, and the eight teens are there for a bit of a vacation; Inferno is quite happy with the way the mermaids dress. In the neighbouring underwater dome of Marsala, a kid is attacked in a cave (why were the domes built to encompass caves?). The Legionnaires check into their rooms, and discover that the girl Inferno was checking out, Keiki, works there and that her parents own the hotel complex. She shows them to their rooms (the air-breathers are in domed chambers, with the Atlanteans (Tritonians?) swimming in the water outside their domes. The kids hang out in bathing suits, and Brainy, who is in a white speedo, is a little upset by how little Laurel is wearing. Later, Dirk and Tenzil decide to go jousting on mechanical dolphins, and they drag one third of Luornu and Violet to go with them. They have fun, and Vi tells Tenzil that she appreciates that he’s not trying to make more of their friendship, which is clearly what he wants to do. Dirk gets closer to Keiki, which is encouraged by her father, who thinks it will help his business. As Keiki and Dirk swim in the Marsala dome (the Legionnaires wear their transuits so they can breathe underwater) they come under fire from some of the locals, who are shooting at a ‘devil-fish’, a humanoid creature. Dirk destroys the guy’s weapon, and goes to check in with the local Science Police, who tell him that there are a lot more weapons turning up, since human consultants started to advise the water-breathers on how to make more money. The others hang out in Marsala, and watch Jo and Tinya make out (how do you do that in a transuit anyway?). Tenzil makes a move on Vi, and they find Laurel and Brainy also making out. Tenzil tries to make his case, but they are rushed by a devil-fish, followed by some locals shooting at it and them. The team gets involved, and fight some of the devil-fish, until Brainy stops everyone from fighting. He has learned the devil-fish language, and explains that they are alien beings who were living in secret on Earth until the planet’s destruction stranded a few in the domes. They thought that it was the Atlanteans who killed the rest of their kind, but Brainy helps the two sides make peace. Dirk says goodbye to Keiki while the rest get ready to leave. The proprietor is clearly surprised that the Legionnaires assumed they were staying for free, but only Violet notices. As they leave, she talks to the others about this. The guys don’t think they should pay, but Laurel puts her foot down, and then points out that Dirk and Tenzil forgot their flight rings (that makes no sense). Dirk finds Keiki crying, and learns that her parents have lost the hotel, so Dirk decides they should pay up. Later, they argue over how to make the payments equal, but since Dirk and Tenzil used more amenities, the rest won’t pay for their fun. Triad and Violet talk about whether or not they think Tenzil is cute.
- A number of the kids, and Cham, are swimming in the pool. Saturn Girl is saying goodbye to Livewire, as she’s heading off to accompany Brainiac 5, Andromeda, and Alchemist to Colu, where Brainy is set to receive an award. Cosmic Boy awkwardly says goodbye to Imra, and they all leave. On Colu, the three non-Coluans are surprised when they learn that Brainy’s ceremony is canceled because he never showed up, especially since they knew he arrived. Imra figures out that he’s in some mountains, and Laurel rushes off to look for him, concerned that he is leaving her. Imra convinces her to go to Chairman Audric, who tells them that Brainy has decided to stay at a Colugov facility. Jan sneaks into the facility to talk to Brainy; he explains that he wants to quit the team and stay, largely because he views himself as property of Colugov, since they put so much effort into engineering him (which shouldn’t count when you consider he’s a clone of the original Brainiac 5, but that never gets discussed anymore). The girls arrive, and Laurel gets really upset that Brainy is leaving her. When Imra tries to comfort her, she lashes out, and it takes a pep talk from Jan for Imra to realize that she’s more caring than everyone thinks she is. Later, when the kids learn that Brainy doesn’t want to see them anymore, Laurel gets even more upset. Imra tries to communicate with Brainy telepathically, but finds herself in his dreams; he dreams that he is never able to make things right with Laurel. The next morning, Brainy goes to see Secretary Yarin, to tell him he’s changed his mind. Yarin has a guard blast Brainy. When the other kids are ready to leave, they are concerned that Brainy didn’t come to see them off, which he’d promised to do. They go looking for him, and are attacked by Yarin’s guards. Yarin has Brainy tell them to leave, but he breaks free of Yarin’s mental control, and tells Laurel he’s going to stay with them. Yarin tries to get the guards to arrest Brainy, but they hesitate, because Audric told them not to impede him. Laurel breaks their guns, and they all leave. On the cruiser, as Jan and Imra pilot, Brainy and Laurel make out.
- A squad of Legionnaires (Matter-Eater Lad, Andromeda, Dragonmage, Shrinking Violet, and Catspaw) are looking for the source of a distress call, but can’t find anything. Suddenly, a Talokian vessel almost hits them, and Laurel realizes that it’s full of Khunds. She leaves the ship to pursue, and they open fire on her. At the same time, another ship appears and fires on the Legion cruiser. Tenzil has no choice but to head for the nearest planet, where they crash. Catspaw wakes up and sees a guy named Ansis, a former friend or lover of hers who turned her over to the Dominators. Ansis starts to kiss her. Tenzil wakes up to find Violet watching over him, and flirting with him. Dragonmage sees Chu Hua, his former mentor, who dotes on him. Laurel has finished mopping up the Khunds, and handing them over to the UP’s Captain Allon (fka Colossal Boy). She is surprised to hear that her cruiser is not in the area, and begins looking for her friends. Ansis leads Catspaw to a different crashed vessel, and wants her to enter it with him to get something, but someone starts shooting at them. Even though Ansis is shot, he still wants to go back there. Tenzil is happy that Violet is expressing her feelings for him, while Madame Chu leads Dragonmage to a ship where he can send for help. Violet wants some alone time with Tenzil, while Jin questions why Chu is so much kinder than she’d ever been before. She apologizes, and they embrace. Tenzil is about to start making out with Violet when he hears a noise. He goes to investigate, and finds another Violet lying on the ground, unconscious. Invisible Kid and Leviathan pilot a vessel to respond to another distress call, from a cargo ship full of grain that is being attacked by pirates. They only find a lifepod, with a single occupant who explains that Sklarians took the much-needed grain. On New Earth, Chameleon and Cosmic Boy are conducting another try-out, but neither Accordion King nor Barber Boy make the cut. Some woman flirts aggressively with Inferno, while Computo calls Coz back to the monitor room. President Stewart wants Coz to go to Acapulco to calm what is about to be a food riot. Saturn Girl and Livewire go with him, but they aren’t able to calm the crowd, who start throwing things at them. Coz blocks what they are tossing with his magnetism, but when Imra tries to calm them all down telepathically, someone throws a rock at her. Garth reacts angrily, and starts to yell at the crowd. When they yell back, he fires his lightning at someone, but Coz jumps in the way, and it looks like Garth has killed him.
- Tenzil is confused by the sight of two Violets, and the one that he almost kissed reveals itself to be a Protean (it’s weird that Tenzil doesn’t appear to know what they are, even though Proty I took Lightning Lad’s place before the SW6 kids were cloned). Catspaw is still hanging out with her old boyfriend (who we now know is a Protean too), who doesn’t want to rush her into the downed spaceship anymore. Jin is with his old teacher, and Tenzil and Vi come to tell him the truth about her as well. The Proteans explain that they need to get into the spaceship, as their race is dying inside of it. The two guys go to find Catspaw, who resists the truth, and when her boyfriend reveals himself to be a Protean too, is pretty angry. The Proteans and the Legionnaires head for the spaceship, but when they approach it, they are attacked by four Khunds, who are with a Dominator. In the Acapulco Dome, Imra tries to help Rokk, while Garth stands around making excuses. He calls into the headquarters for help, and Jan tells him that Brainiac 5 is on his way. He arrives instantly with Ultra Boy (who used his ultra speed), and goes about trying to shock Coz’s heart while Gossamer, Apparition, and Ferro arrive. Rokk is going to be okay, but Brainy wants him taken to the hospital. Jo confronts Garth, and then Imra yells at him for being too childish to take ownership of what he’s done. Imra and Jo leave with Rokk, while Brainy tries to help a child who was also killed by Garth’s burst. He revives the kid, but there’s something strange going on with his eyes. At HQ, Jan and Computo rush through the halls. Danielle runs into Cham, spilling coffee on herself. Danielle calls President Stewart, who tells her that the food shortages are getting worse. He’s arranged for some Sklarians to meet with them, as it’s Sklarian pirates who are hijacking food shipments. Cham and Danielle go to meet the Sklarians, who agree with Cham that they should infiltrate the pirates’ operation. To that end, they are providing an assistant, who to Cham’s displeasure, turns out to be Kono. Inferno and his date hand out food to the needy, and then decide to fly to Paris for a fancy dinner. The Legionnaires continue their approach to the downed spaceship, and learn that the Khunds’ guns are specially calibrated to kill the Proteans (they don’t harm Tenzil at all). The kids pull back, and we learn that the Dominator, a mercenary, seems to be running some kind of operation. Dragonmage uses his powers to distract the Khunds, allowing Vi to slip past them and into the ship. She turns on the security system, releasing a “coma gas” that puts them all to sleep. The Legionnaires discover that the ship holds their former teammate, Kid Quantum, who we know to also be the Soul of Antares, or the collective identity of the Protean race. He’s hooked up to a bunch of machines.
- Matter-Eater Lad identifies Kid Quantum as James Cullen, although when we first met him in LSH, he was going by the name Rouvin. Tenzil, Catspaw, Violet, and Dragonmage try to figure out what to do with KQ, who is strapped into a bunch of machines. They free some Proteans, who convince them to get the injured Kid out of the ship, as the Khunds begin to wake up. The kids escape, under fire from the Khunds, and follow the Proteans to a cave that they call the vaults. Jin accompanies them, while the others stay back to hold off the Khunds. Jin finds an odd device and a large number of inert Proteans. The dying Kid Quantum is put into a round device, as he explains that it was his fault that the Proteans were put in danger years before, and that’s why he agreed to become the Soul of Antares, and hold the sentience of his entire race. As some kind of unclear ritual proceeds, the Proteans appear to step into a hole in his midsection. Jin worries this is killing him. Catspaw tries to attack the Khunds, and is shot in the leg. The Proteans tell Jin that he needs to use his magic to help stabilize Kid Quantum. Despite being worried about the strength of his power, Jin agrees to let the Proteans guide him telepathically, and the ritual resumes. The Khunds torture the captured Catspaw to try to draw out the others. Tenzil attacks, and he and Vi are about to be shot when the Khunds are all frozen in stasis. Kid Quantum has returned, with his previously artificially-powered abilities now a part of him. He chats with Tenzil, and it’s not clear if they know each other or not – I’m not sure when, in the new Legion history, Kid Quantum was a member, but I thought it would have been before the SW6 were cloned or duplicated, or whatever. On New Earth, Inferno’s date with Sadi is interrupted when they see chains around the entrance to a tunnel. The SPs on scene say they don’t know where these strange chains came from. Dirk’s attempt to melt them is useless, and then a statue on the gate starts shooting at everyone. In the medi-center in Acapulco, we learn that Cosmic Boy has possible brain damage, or damage to his powers. Live Wire tries to apologize, but also blames Rokk for what happened, angering Saturn Girl, who tells him to leave her alone. Andromeda reports in that she found Tenzil and his group, and tells Chameleon, Computo, and Triad that Kid Quantum is coming back with them. James asks about joining the team, and Cham agrees immediately, which upset Danielle, as she isn’t consulted. Danielle and Cham argue while James looks on awkwardly. In Acapulco, Brainiac 5 continues to try to save the injured kid while the crowd starts throwing things at them. Something strange happens to the kid, and he unleashes some strange energy that puts rainbow patterns on Brainy, Apparition, Gossamer, and Ferro, and maybe kills them?
- Inferno saves a female SP officer from whatever is shooting at them in the gate to Paris, and then he flirts with her. After he flies off, someone, maybe the girl he was with, attacks that officer, claiming that Inferno is her’s. Kid Quantum is inducted into the Legionnaires, but Tenzil ruins the flag-raising part of the ceremony with one of his practical jokes. Computo is annoyed with him. She and Cham send Invisible Kid to check in on Brainiac 5’s team, and Cham volunteers to lead the mission to Paris. His squad (Leviathan, Alchemist, Kid Quantum, and Triad) are briefed by the President, who tells them that there has been a lot of rioting in Paris, mostly targeting non-human lifeforms. He blames a sudden and unsanctioned election which gave power in Paris to someone named Lothar St. Maixent; Stewart wants them to get him to step down. Lyle arrives in Acapulco, and finds a weird vortex with swirling colours. He sees Gossamer in it, and then as rainbow colours cover him, he feels something in his mind. Outside Paris, Gim isn’t able to pull off the chains blocking the gate (which makes sense, because he doesn’t have enhanced strength), but Luornu is able to get through with a lockpick. She flirts with Gim (which reminds me of their adult versions’ dalliance on Winath). The gates close behind the squad, cutting them off from the SP, and then they are fired upon. While Jan shields everyone, James puts the shooters in stasis, which doesn’t so much freeze them as make them compliant and docile. Entering Paris, they find a dead alien, and see a crowd about to burn a Talokian woman at a stake. In Acapulco, Cosmic Boy is in code blue, but when Saturn Girl reaches out to his mind and convinces him to keep living. This brings him out of trouble, although he’s still unconscious. Live Wire gets all jealous, and Imra tells him to get out of her life. Kono is hanging out with a number of female Legionnaires and Tenzil, joking about how she used to bother Cham. Tenzil shows Kono that he has a photo of her in the shower, and she gets angry. The others wonder how he got that photo, and then Danielle lets him know that he’s the one assigned to go with Kono to infiltrate the Sklarian pirates that are stealing food. In Paris, Cham’s squad rescues the Talokian, and takes her to the Eiffel Tower. Dirk seems to sympathize with the “Earth for humans” crowd, which angers Cham. Later, on the roof of the hospital they fly the Talokian to, they have to convince the doctors to treat her. People in a neighbouring building start throwing things at them, while Luornu notices another problem – some men are chasing a small Dominator. They go to help the Dominator (how are there any Dominators on New Earth?), but it fires some kind of energy at them that appears to turn them all into green smoke. Even stranger, the men refer to the Dominator as ‘she’; have we seen female Dominators before this?
- We see the young female Dominator blast Cham’s squad again, teleporting them into a prison cell where a large number of beings are being held. They recognize the Legionnaires and want to stomp them out. The kids defend themselves, and the SP guards start firing at them through the bars of the cell. This ends up blowing a hole in the exterior wall, so the squad just flies away. At HQ, Tenzil talks to Kono and the other Sklarians with her about how he’s going to be able to infiltrate the pirates. She injects him with something. Invisible Kid finds the other Legionnaires (Brainiac 5, Apparition, Ferro, and Gossamer) who have been trapped by the kid they tried to help. He sees that they are all in various states of despair or fear, and feels the same thing overwhelming him, but is able to block it out, returning to reality. Ultra Boy and Andromeda arrive to help him, and he has them back away from the others who appear unconscious still. Lyle wants to have a plan before they try to help them. Saturn Girl still sits with Cosmic Boy in the hospital, and he finally wakes up. He asks about Live Wire, and insists that what happened is his own fault. Imra is impressed with how good a person Rokk is, and wonders why she’s in love with Garth. At HQ, Dragonmage and Computo learn that Rokk is fine. Tenzil wakes up, and finds that he’s now a yellow-skinned (Sklarian-looking) female. Cham’s squad in Paris decide to hide in the catacombs below the city, and almost immediately find the Dominator again. Inferno, who can speak Dominator, calms her down, and gets her to use her power of teleportation to send them to the archduke’s palace. When they arrive there, the guards surround them. The Archduke appears and orders that they be allowed in, but the guards’ scanner shows that it’s really just Cham trying to impersonate him. They take the guards out, but women in strange outfits on top of the palace throw chains at them that wrap around them, neutralizing their powers. As Cham passes out, he sees that Grimbor the Chainsman (who we just saw get captured by Kent Shakespeare in the parent LSH title) is their captor. On an asteroid near Mars, Kono and Tenzil (now going by Tenzi) go about infiltrating the Sklarians. We learn that Kono injected him with Grandin Gender-Reversal disease, which doesn’t make that much sense when we’ve already established that ProFem does the same thing. They get jobs with the Sklarians, with Tenzi having to deal with trash. She gets discovered as an imposter, and it looks like the other pirates are going to kill her.
- Grimbor gloats over his captured Legionnaires, and it looks like Inferno is the Legionnaire who stands up to him the most, arguing with him. The Dominator who teleported them there is watching from the bushes, and she teleports away his guards, and then jumps on Grimbor. He starts whipping her with one of his chains, but he also drops his remote control, which Cham tries to reach. In Acapulco, Cosmic Boy is released from the hospital, while Saturn Girl heads out to help with the situation Invisible Kid is monitoring. Live Wire wants to join her, and she chastises him again for his reckless behaviour, telling him he should be disciplined for what he did. On the Sklarian vessel, the pirates examine Tenzie, and discover that her skin has been dyed and that she’s really a male. Kono decides that it’s time to act, making their weapons too heavy to hold. Tenzie escapes her bonds, and while the pirates search for her, Kono sends a message to Computo and the SPs. Grimbor continues to beat on the Dominator, until Triad’s other two selves (who were never chained) knock him down, and grab his control device. As she is grabbed by guards, she manages to free the others, and they quickly take out the guards. Grimbor gets to his security console, but the Dominator teleports him right into Leviathan’s hands. St. Maixent, the Arch-Duke of Paris arrives, and claims that the Legionnaires have no right to question his authority. He is dismissive towards Cham. The Sklarian vessel almost runs into a large green dragon conjured by Dragonmage, and finds itself disabled. The SP vessel docks with it, and Kono makes her move while Danielle takes over the computers. Shrinking Violet, for some reason, enters into the ship’s circuitry, and finds that this is where the Sklarians hid the grain they stole, shrinking it to a small size. This makes no sense whatsoever; shrinking contraband is smart, but why and how would you hide it in the circuitry, unless you just needed something for Violet to do for once. The head pirate reveals that they were hired by someone, and seeing as Danielle then calls Cham, it’s clear that it was St. Maixent. Cham confronts him with this information, but it turns out that really it was Grimbor. Cham doesn’t believe that St. Maixent wasn’t involved, but the Arch-Duke feels confident he’d be elected again in another election. Dirk calls out St. Maixent’s xenophobia and the violence it unleashed, but the team leaves. Dirk talks to Danielle about the Dominator, who he is taking to a group home. We learn that Tenzie, still in a female form, is in jail with the other Sklarians. Saturn Girl and Live Wire join Invisible Kid, Ultra Boy, and Andromeda in Acapulco. Lyle explains what’s going on with the mental energy vortex. He wants Imra to link their minds so they can enter the vortex together, which they do. They are immediately confronted by a large dragon-like creature, which attacks them with tongue tentacles.
- The Legionnaires that just entered the psychedelic vortex in Acapulco to save their friends immediately find themselves being swallowed by a large space beast. Invisible Kid and Saturn Girl figure out that they are reliving Ultra Boy’s nightmare, and reach him, getting him to stop worrying about this scenario and focus on finding Tinya. At headquarters, Computo gets an update on the Acapulco situation from an SP who recommends that they not send any more Legionnaires. Inside the vortex, Jo, Lyle, and Imra (all of whom now have their costumes torn) find Brainiac 5 dead. They realize they are now in Andromeda’s nightmare, as she revisits when the Khunds killed her family. Suddenly Khunds appear all around her, and they fight until Jo makes Laurel realize it’s not real. Imra wanders off from the others, and find Gossamer, who is crying because she believes Live Wire killed Cosmic Boy and some others. Imra convinces her that things are fine, and together they find Garth, appearing much younger, crying over a pet whose death he caused. He believes he is no good, and tries to drown himself in a canal. Imra and Ayla pull him out, and make him feel loved. The other group find Apparition, but she is surrounded by insects and freaking out. At headquarters, Keiki, the mermaid from issue seven has come to see Inferno. She shows him that she received a threatening letter, telling her to stay away from “my man.” Dirk doesn’t know what’s going on. Back in the vortex, Imra, Garth, and Ayla find Ferro, who is freaking out that his mask is missing and needs to hide his face. Ayla makes sure he understands that they don’t care what he looks like, and his mask reappears. Jo reaches Tinya, but when one of the insects on her looks like the space beast, they fall back into his fear. Imra’s group find Brainiac 5, who has figured out what is going on. Just then, some Dominators appear, and they find themselves back in the war on Earth. Garth sees a young boy freaking out. His mother tries to quiet the boy, named Mayf, by slapping him. His eyes do a psychedelic thing, and then some Dominators enter the room, having been tipped off by a neighbour. The Dominators kill the boy’s mother, and the Legionnaires realize that he is the centre of the vortex. Ayla tries to comfort him, but he recognizes Garth, whose lightning caused him to lose control of his powers in the first place. Garth insists on fixing things anyway, even when Imra and Ferro try to stop him. Instead, they work together to telepathically calm the boy. Garth promises to look out for him, and all of the kid’s illusions shatter. Everyone is back in Acapulco, with their torn costumes fixed, and it looks like everything is fine.
- The Bierbaums are out as of issue 16, with Mark Waid taking over. This is surprising, as there is no textpiece explaining the shift (there hasn’t been a letters page in this book for a while now). In the Tokyo dome, a domequake (whatever that is) has caused the anti-gravity generators to fail, and a group of Legionnaires (Chameleon, Inferno, Andromeda, Live Wire, and Leviathan) rush to rescue some lab techs who are hurtling towards the dome’s roof. At the same time, the dome’s fusion powersphere somehow rips away from its housing, and flies towards the dome. Cham, Leviathan, and Andromeda are not strong enough to push it back down (even though they are in zero gravity). As they struggle, there is a flash of white light (like we’ve seen in LSH and Valor), and suddenly they are assisted by Star Boy, which seems normal to everyone except Garth. Outside of New Earth, some Khunds come rushing towards the collection of domes, but the adult Rokk, in his Polestar outfit, is on top of New Earth, and uses his magnetism to fire some asteroids at the Khund ship before they can fire. The Khund ship retreats, and anyone reading only this book and not LSH has no idea what’s going on. Inside Legionnaire headquarters, young Rokk is testing his recovery by using his powers to lift two tons of steel and Catspaw. The effort leaves him tired, and as he walks back to his room, he sees a white flash coming from the lab. Entering, he sees Triad, Brainiac 5, and Saturn Girl freaking out over the fact that Valor’s records have disappeared (there are a few pages that are basically repeating pages from Valor’s title). They rush to the time bubble to try to figure things out, and are joined by Dragonmage, Ultra Boy, and Alchemist. We see them enter the time stream, and then, in a white flash, be standing in front of Valor’s image, wondering why they were thinking about him. Triad worries that something has happened, and Dream Girl walks into the room, suggesting that there is a danger still to come. The other Legionnaires don’t think it’s odd that she’s there, but Rokk and Imra do. They slip out of the room, where they are joined by Garth, who tells them about Star Boy. Rokk, Imra, and Garth all know that Star Boy and Dream Girl were never their teammates (this is as close to an acknowledgement of the SW6 situation as we’ve seen in ages in this book), and they think it has something to do with the flashes they’ve seen. They suspect something is wrong with time, and head off to deal with it, not knowing that Invisible Kid has been invisibly eavesdropping on their conversation. In Tokyo, some guys are robbing an electronics store. Apparition and Gossamer confront them, and when they take off, Ferro (who is with Matter-Eater Lad and Kid Quantum) jumps at them in his iron form. As he falls, there is a flash of light, and he is replaced by Bouncing Boy, who takes down the crooks and is treated as part of the team by the others. Rond Vidar (who was last seen in the timestream with the dead Circadia Sentius) is at Legionnaire HQ monitoring this mission. Lyle comes to tell him that the three founders are aware of what’s going on. It’s clear that Lyle and Rond are aware of these time problems, but are keeping them secret. They realize that the founders are going to take a time bubble and rush to stop them. They get there just as Rokk, Imra, and Garth disappear into the timestream, and Rond declares that they are never going to return. They go to see Computo and Shrinking Violet, asking for a team meeting. They are interrupted by an emergency call from the Science Police, telling them about Adult Rokk’s activities. Now he’s pulling asteroids together, and since no one knows who he is, they see it as a threat, and call the whole team together, ignoring Rond’s concerns. As the team gathers, Tinya notices that Laurel is in a room full of plants and statues of dead Legionnaires (we see Projectra’s statue). They talk about how they both feel something strange is going on, like a wave of nostalgia. Tinya says she talked to everyone on her mission about it, except for Ferro. Laurel is confused by that, as she reminds Tinya that Ferro has been dead for years, and we see his memorial statue (which also doesn’t make sense, because if he had died before the SW6 kids were hatched, why would they have a memorial for him?).
- Issue seventeen is the beginning of the End Of An Era storyline, which crosses into the Valor and parent LSH titles, and leads to the dissolution of the Legion world I loved. This issue assumes that anyone reading Legionnaires was already reading LSH, which is probably true. I’m just going to write what happened without providing any backstory – check the LSH column for that. A squad of Legionnaires have gone to stop Rokk from trying to recreate the Earth. He still thinks they are Khunds, and is acting kind of nuts. Triad figures out that his power is coming from his gauntlets (they don’t know who he is yet), and when Alchemist atomizes them, he snaps back into his right mind. Jan also melts his mask, so they know who he is. Just then, Cham joins them, and lets them know that the adult Laurel has been killed. A mix of Legionnaires and Legion members gather on Shanghalla, where there is already a statue to commemorate Laurel (weirdly, it shows her in her new, incognito outfit). The collection of characters, including Rond Vidar, her partner, leaves out a number of people from both teams, although they show up randomly in the next few pages, suggesting that the editing on this book was poor. Valor and Dev-Em speak. Just then a time bubble arrives with the two Brainiac 5s and Invisible Kid (despite the fact that we saw them in a ship travelling with the rest of the Legion in the previous issue of LSH). Adult Brainy tells Valor that he needs a “power team” for a mission, and hands him a data pad. We see Valor leave with Dev-Em, Andromeda, Shady, and maybe someone else, with the time bubble (if it’s a power team, why would they leave Wildfire and Young Ultra Boy behind?). Adult Vi insists on understanding what’s going on, and so Lyle says that the universe might be dying. Rond is upset that no one has noticed that Star Boy and Dream Girl aren’t supposed to be there, and someone else points out that Celeste is not supposed to be a Darkstar. Lyle explains that he’s been using a time beacon to try to study history, and has found a number of inconsistencies and transformations in time. To prove that, Adult Brainy asks who remembers Superboy (as they stand in front of his statue), and not everyone does. Lyle uses the beacon to show different versions of reality – including the image of the 90s Superboy, and the Mordru-verse Andrew Nolan. Brainy thinks that something has been manipulating their history for years. Young Brainy thinks that things are getting worse lately. Rond explains how the future is a black void. As Adult Brainy talks, he stands next to Cham, in front of Chemical King’s statue, but in one frame, Cham and CK switch places. Lyle thinks the problems all started when the SW6 kids were first put in stasis, and that opens the argument over who is a clone again, until six villains (Cosmic King, Beauty Blaze, Satan Girl, Urthlo, Saturn Queen, and Lightning Lord) appear out of the team beacon, and everyone starts to fight. A little distance off, Mordru and Glorith watch, pleased with the chaos they’ve caused. They call to Rokk. Mekt (who we didn’t know was there) is angry to see a former version of himself there, and is almost killed by him, until Garth and Adult But Now Child Ayla (don’t ask), who we didn’t even know was there, stop him. As the heroes get the villains on the ropes, they all disappear. Adult Vi asks if everyone is there, and they realize that Rokk wandered off. They find him with Mordru and Glorith, bound. Glorith wants to kill him, but Mordru reminds her of what happened with Valor, and they decide to just teleport away with him. Wildfire suggests that Dawnstar use her powers to track them, but then Dawny blinks out of existence.
- Issue eighteen has the Zero Hour logo on the cover, and is the fourth chapter of the End of an Era crossover, between LSH #60 and Valor #23. The assembled surviving Legionnaires and Legion of Super-Heroes look up at Mordru and Glorith, who have absorbed the powers of the Infinite Man, and as such, are large and sparkly. Some of the heroes attack, but get slapped away. Mordru and Glorith join hands in front of the time beacon, and reality starts to change, looking more like the Mordru-verse from Legion of Super-Heroes #5, after the Time Trapper killed Mon-El. Some SP vessels approach Talus, where this fight is happening, and pass through a mystical barrier that makes them medieval and loyal to Mordru and Glorith. The two Brainiacs figure the heroes only have seconds to stop them before they change the universe. Kono fades out while they try to figure out what to do. Adult Rokk is trapped in the Infinite Library, and not knowing how to get out, decides he should start reading the endless books and scrolls to find the way. For many pages, the bottom fifth of the page shows Rokk reading different books, as he ages to an old man, and then regresses to being a youth again, before returning to his familiar form. The magic-oriented heroes (Dragonmage, two Dream Girls, Projectra, and Mysa) form a circle around Devlin, hoping to use his powers to funnel their energy. The other heroes plan to serve as a distraction (really, by now, the few seconds they had would be up), but are stopped by the appearance of an evil Legion, made up of various Legionnaires. They start fighting. The Legionnaires Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl, who we last saw entering the timestream, find their time bubble breaking apart. They start to fall towards the Earth (they are too rattled to use their flight rings), but are rescued by the adult Jo, who has come looking for his lost love Tinya, but also found himself trapped in the past. Before any more can happen, Superman comes to tell them that Metron has sent him to gain their help (presumably in the Zero Hour event). The fight continues on Talus, and just as Devlin is ready to release the magic energy he absorbed, he blinks out of existence, leaving the others to absorb his blast. Projectra fades out off-panel. The evil Brainiac almost kills Chuck, Luornu, and Inferno, but the two other Brainies take him out with their forcefields. Evil Saturn Girl takes out Celeste, but Imra takes her down. The two Element Lads take out Evil Chemical King, and Brin fades out. Lydda takes down Evil Cosmic Boy. Mysa watches both Brek and Rond Vidar fade away, and decides she’s had enough. She calls on Amethyst to help her, and she blasts Mordru, breaking his and Glorith’s spell. As Mysa blinks out, she talks about how she has finally overcome her fear of Mordru. Mordru rants about now destroying the universe. Rokk, in the Infinite Library, finds a door and opens it, finding the Time Trapper waiting for him.
While there are two chapters left in End of an Era, that’s the last we see “our” Legionnaires in this title, before everything gets rebooted coming out of Zero Hour.
I think that, before looping back to the Zero Hour stuff, it’s important to talk about the first fifteen issues of this series. Tom and Mary Bierbaum originally intended, when Keith Giffen was still around, to chronicle the earlier adventures of the Legion in this title, reflecting the changes they made to the team’s timeline in the parent book right at the beginning of their lauded run. As plans changed, and the SW6 Legion (the clones of the original Legion that the Dominion grew and who got free during the war on Earth) went its separate way from the Legion, this book became theirs. They were rebranded as the Legionnaires, given new uniforms and many new codenames, as well as some new members, and New Earth to protect.
The series started well, with a solid Fatal Five story that helped to establish the Legionnaires as the champions of New Earth, while also refreshing the Five. From there, the Bierbaums kept dividing the team and giving them missions or plotlines that ran for many issues, dragging out simple stories much longer than they needed to run, as they were given only a third of each issue or so. How long did it take for Cosmic Boy to get over being hit by lightning? I think it was six months of comics, which is a little too long.
I understand that DC and the Bierbaums wanted this title to appeal to a larger audience than the LSH title was at the time, and so they made it more accessible to new and younger readers. Gone was the complicated Legion history, although we still had the familiar characters that readers had cared about for decades. The problem is, the sense of continuity that came with reading a Legion book was also gone. The heroes seem like rookies a lot of the time, but before they were cloned, or cocooned, or whatever happened to them, they’d been working together as a team for years. It’s just that we never got the sense that any of their earlier adventures had happened to them. The timeline of who joined the team when got confusing, as Star Boy, Kid Quantum, Dream Girl, and Bouncing Boy all joined before Projectra (who died in the war), but didn’t get SW6ed (although, to be fair, Kid Quantum was believed dead at the time). Aside from the relationships between Jo and Tinya, and Imra and Garth, it felt like some of these characters were just now getting to know one another, or at least didn’t have a long friendship.
When we got to know the SW6 kids during the war, some of them had a lot of character development done, that was either ignored in this title, or completely wiped away. Lyle, the Invisible Kid, was the leader during the war, and someone that everyone appeared to look up to. In this book, though, he seems to be ignored, and has absolutely no character work done on him.
Likewise, Jan, aka Alchemist, was shown in LSH to be an incredibly sensitive and caring kid who was processing his PTSD (his entire race was killed by Roxxas). In this title, when he showed up, he was kind of generic and not all that interesting.
Dirk Morgna, Inferno, was perhaps the most interesting SW6 kid at first. He saw his adult counterpart, who betrayed the Earth to the Dominion because he sought fame and adulation, become utterly reviled, and then, after being badly burned, beg to die. It made no sense that he would now be a bully and womanizer, worse than his older self ever was. Had there been even one scene where we saw this as a coping mechanism, I might feel differently, but no, instead, Dirk was a jerk from day one. He did get a bit of redemption when he called out Baron St. Maixent (more on that) for his xenophobia, but it was not enough.
Like Dirk, Garth, aka Live Wire, was also a real piece of work in this series. He has a long-standing relationship with Imra, yet he’s quick to flirt with girls at the Legion try-out. At the same time, he’s now intensely jealous of any time that Imra spends with Rokk? It doesn’t fit with any earlier portrayals of this character. And then, there’s the whole Proty question. It was established that the adult Garth was really a Protean posing as Garth, after his death in the Silver Age, before the SW6 stuff would have happened. So, does it not stand to reason that this Garth would also be a Protean, especially since he emerged from the Dominator chambers with his missing arm regrown? And, seeing as it was the Bierbaums that revealed that fact about Adult Garth, it’s not like they wouldn’t have thought about it here.
There were a few new Legionnaires added to the mix, but they never contributed much at all. Catspaw is barely in the book, which is fine with me because she’s annoying. Computo just seemed to man the monitor board all the time, making her little better than the team’s tech support. It would have been interesting to see her take on a larger role, especially since she was actually from this time, unlike her teammates who were all from an earlier era (come to think of it, it’s strange that they didn’t spend more time adjusting to their new reality). Dragonmage showed perhaps the most potential, with his ambiguous powers and connection to magic, but he wasn’t really given any space to shine.
I also thought it was odd that Cham, calling himself Chameleon for some reason, would join the team as their adult liaison, but in no time appear as youthful and immature as the others. Prior to joining them, Cham was running the adult team, and before that, was in charge of Brande Industries. Giffen’s run had shown him to be a very considered and deliberate person, but that was all gone here. It was also strange that the Bierbaums shoehorned Kid Quantum (the Legionnaire that they retconned onto the team as the first to die in team history, then brought back in the LSH title) onto this team. The kids seemed familiar with him, but didn’t appear to really know him, which I found odd.
Even with all of these problems, inconsistencies, and I guess unfortunate choices, I was finding a lot of stuff to like with this title, in terms of story and art. I think that the plans surrounding Zero Hour didn’t give this comic enough room to grow, but also suspect that its hard deadline prevented the Bierbaums from telling more stories. I think that might be why some plots felt dragged out, while others were just never resolved.
Back in the main Legion title, it was established that Leland McCauley was planning on using his omnicoms (think of future ipads) to take over the Earth, but when we saw him here, he was a germaphobe whose Fatal Five fell apart, never to be seen again. Similarly, we didn’t get to find out what was up with Cera Kesh, the new Emerald Empress, which was too bad, as I liked her. We also never got any resolution on the stories involving St. Maixent (the xenophobic populist ruler of Paris), or who was stalking Inferno.
I think I’m going to have a lot more to say about Zero Hour in the main Legion column that I’ll be releasing shortly after this one. I still think that it, and the various attempts to “fix” the Legion that followed were unnecessary, and I am sad that this time I got to spend, reading some fifteen or sixteen years worth of “my” Legion comics is coming to a close.
I did want to take a bit of time to talk about the art in these comics. Chris Sprouse has always been great, and he brought a real youthfulness to the team, with their exaggeratedly large eyes. I loved the new costumes that the team had, and the more unified look that they brought to the kids. Adam Hughes issues and pages were great too, as were many of the guest artists (Jeffrey Moy would return after the reboot).
Chris Gardner’s issues are interesting. He does not appear to have had a very extensive career (only nine credits show up on Comic Vine, four of which were in this comic), but I think he showed a lot of promise. If you were to blend Chris Sprouse with Rob Liefeld, Gardner is what you would get, which is a lot better than most of the rest of 1994.
After the reboot, LSH and Legionnaires were effectively one title, as the story jumped from one series to the next. I’m going to cover both titles in the same column, although I don’t promise I’m going to stay interested long enough to get through to the end. Maybe that’s not fair though – I do remember liking some aspects of these books. I guess we’ll find out next time!
If you’d like to see the archives of all of my retro review columns, click here.
This run was never collected in trade, so you’d have to do some digging to read these issues.