Retro Review: The Legion Of Super-Heroes (Vol. 4) #51-61 By McCraw, Immonen, Boyd & Others For DC Comics!

The Legion of Super-Heroes (Vol. 4) #51-61, (December 1993 – September 1994)

Written by Tom McCraw (#51-61), Mark Waid (#60-61)

Co-plotted by Stuart Immonen (#57), Ron Boyd (#57)

Co-scripted by Mark Waid (#59)

Pencilled by Christopher Taylor (#51-52, 57), Stuart Immonen (#52-56, 58-61)

Inked by Wade Grawbadger (#51-52), Ron Boyd (#52-56, 58-61), Dave Cooper (#57)

Colour by Tom McCraw (#51-61)

Spoilers (from twenty-six to twenty-seven years ago)

I remember being cautiously optimistic when Tom and Mary Bierbaum left the Legion of Super-Heroes, handing the reins to Tom McCraw, who had been the colourist on this version of the Legion since it began, and who had frequently contributed to stories as part of the very organic-feeling creative team.  I especially liked that in his half of issue fifty (discussed in my last column), he brought back Wildfire, a favourite character of mine.  

I remember being not too sure of the problems that Universo was creating for the Legion, as it seemed a little simple, but my love for these characters, and my enthusiasm for Stuart Immonen’s art, had me on board for this latest creative team change.  What I didn’t know was that in a short time, McCraw would oversee some of the dumbest changes to the team I’d ever seen, and then ferry them to Zero Hour, when they would effectively cease to exist for all time.

Returning to these comics for the first time in decades, knowing how much I hate the ending to this run (even all these years later, and with the nice shiny new Legion book that DC is producing, I am still a little bitter about what was done to the Legion here), it’s hard to muster any real enthusiasm for reading them.  I hope that there is some decent stuff amidst all the things that I remember despising. Let’s find out together.

Let’s track who turned up in the title:

The Legion of Super-Heroes

  • Kent Shakespeare, formerly Impulse (#51-54)
  • Celeste Rockfish, aka Neon (formerly Celeste McCauley; #51-60)
  • Karate Kid (Val Armorr; #52)
  • Timber Wolf, aka Furball (Brin Londo; #52-60)
  • Ayla Ranzz, aka Pulse (formerly Lightning Lass and Light Lass; #52-61)
  • Rokk Krinn, aka Polestar (formerly Cosmic Boy; #52-57, 59-61)
  • Brainiac 5, aka B-5 (Querl Dox; #52-61)
  • Devlin O’Ryan (#52-54, 60)
  • Drura Sehpt, formerly Infectious Lass (#52-56, 58-59)
  • Imra Ardeen-Ranzz, formerly Saturn Girl (#52-54, 60-61)
  • Chameleon, formerly Chameleon Boy (Reep Daggle; #52, 54, 60)
  • Salu “Vi” Digby, aka Virus (formerly Shrinking Violet; #52-61)
  • Gim Allon, formerly Colossal Boy (#52, 60)
  • Dawnstar (#52, 55, 58-59)
  • Mysa Nal, aka Jewel (formerly The White Witch; #52-60)
  • Laurel Gand (#52-59)
  • Sussa Paka, aka Wave (formerly Spider Girl; #52-60)
  • Jo Nah, aka Emerald Dragon (formerly Ultra Boy #52-59, 61)
  • Blok (#52)
  • Projectra, formerly Sensor Girl (#52, 54, 60)
  • Nura Nal, formerly Dream Girl (#52, 56, 60-61)
  • Wildfire, aka N.R.G. (Drake Burroughs; #52-61)
  • Brekk Bannin, formerly Polar Boy (#52, 60)
  • Thom Kallor, formerly Star Boy (#52, 60-61)
  • Dirk Morgna, formerly Sun Boy (#52)
  • Jacques Foccart, formerly Invisible Kid (#53-54, 56, 58-59)
  • Garth Ranzz, formerly Lightning Lad (#54, 56, 60-61)
  • Troy Stewart, formerly Tyroc (President of New Earth; #54, 59)
  • Luornu Taine, formerly Triplicate Girl and Duplicate Girl (#57, 60-61)
  • Chuck Taine, formerly Bouncing Boy (#57, 60-61)
  • Flederweb (#57-59)
  • Valor (Lar Gand; #57, 59)
  • Tasmia Mallor, formerly Shadow Lass (#57, 59)
  • Jan Arrah, formerly Element Lad (#60-61)
  • Kid Quantum (James Cullin; #60)
  • Kono (Brita An’Nan; #60)
  • Tenzil Kem, formerly Matter-Eater Lad (#60-61)
  • Phantom Girl (Tinya Wazzo; #61)

The Legionnaires (aka Batch SW6)

  • Computo (Danielle Foccart; #54)
  • Invisible Kid (Lyle Norg; #59-60)
  • Brainiac 5 (Querl Dox; #59-61)
  • Alchemist (Jan Arrah; #59-61)
  • Apparition (Tinya Wazzo; #59-61)
  • Gossamer (Ayla Ranzz; #59-61)
  • Leviathan (Gim Allon; #59-60)
  • Dragonmage (Xao Jin; #59-60)
  • Triad (Luornu Durgo; #59-61)
  • Inferno (Dirk Morgna; #60-61)
  • Star Boy (Thom Kallor; #60-61)
  • Ultra Boy (Jo Nah; #60-61)
  • Dream Girl (Nura Nal; #60-61)
  • Matter-Eater Lad (Tenzil Kem; #60-61)
  • Shrinking Violet (Salu Digby; #60-61)
  • Catspaw (April Dumaka; #60)
  • Bouncing Boy (#60-61)
  • Cosmic Boy (Rokk Krinn; #61)
  • Saturn Girl (Imra Ardeen; #61)
  • Live Wire (Garth Ranzz; #61)

Villains

  • Cocheta Drisden (#51)
  • Grimbor the Chain-Master (#51)
  • Karth Arn (#52)
  • Doctor Regulus (#52)
  • Glorith (#53, 58, 60)
  • The Time Trapper (#53, 61)
  • Universo (#53-55, 57-59)
  • Chairman Trombi (#55-56)
  • Kakiqik (Khund; #56)
  • Khunds (#57-58)
  • Chameleon Chief (#57-59)
  • Garak of the Glow (#57-58)
  • Ramjet (#57)
  • Firefist (#57-59)
  • Veilmist (#57-58)
  • Starfinger III (#57)
  • Starbright (#57)
  • Starlight (#57)
  • Pantok (Khund; #57-58)
  • Cupid (#57-58)
  • Mordru (#58, 60)

Guest Stars

  • Rush (Mara Williams, UP Academy; #51-52, 57)
  • Quake (UP Academy; #54)
  • R3Z7 (UP Academy; #54, 57)
  • Crystal Kid (UP Academy; #54, 58-59)
  • Stone Boy (UP Academy; #54, 57-59)
  • Stun (UP Academy; #54)
  • Colour Kid (UP Academy; #54, 57-59)
  • Shift (UP Academy; #54, 58)
  • Jagged (UP Academy; #57)
  • Dragonfly (UP Academy; #57)
  • Porcupine Pete (UP Academy; #57)
  • Visi-Lad (UP Academy; #57)
  • Evolvo Lad (Heroes of Lallor; #57-58)
  • Life Lass (Heroes of Lallor; #57-59)
  • Gas Girl (Heroes of Lallor; #57-59)
  • Duplicate Boy (Heroes of Lallor; #57-58)
  • Chlorophyll Kid (#57)
  • Dev-Em (#57, 59
  • Xera (UP Academy; #57)
  • Fire Lad (Staq Malvern, UP Academy; #57)
  • Lamprey (Tayla Skott, UP Academy; #57)
  • Ringtoss (UP Academy; #57)
  • Ron-Karr (UP Academy; #58)
  • The Infinite Man (Jaxon Rugarth; #60)

Supporting Characters

  • Ivy (#51, 54)
  • Garridan Ranzz (#51)
  • Spunge (#51)
  • Lynk (#51)
  • Scales (#51)
  • Rond Vidar (formerly the Green Lantern; #52-53, 57, 59-60)
  • Lydda Jath, formerly Night Girl (#52, 54, 60-61)
  • Englenna (Lauren’s nanny; #52, 54, 60)
  • Lauren Vidar (Rond and Laurel’s daughter; #52)
  • Pol Krinn (Rokk and Lydda’s son; #52, 54, 60)
  • Doctor Gym’ll (Medicus-One; #52)
  • Anton Relnic (UP Council Chairman; #53-54, 56-59)
  • King John/Jonn/Jon (Leader of UP Militia; #53-54, 56-59)
  • Graym Ranzz (#54)
  • Mekt Ranzz, formerly Lightning Lord (#54, 56, 60)
  • Loomis (#54-60)
  • Circadia Senius (Chronarch, Time Institute; #57, 59)
  • Officer Dvron (#60)

Let’s take a look at what happened in these books, with some commentary as we go:

  • McCraw’s first issue is a bit of a fill-in, set on Quarantine and finally showing us what’s going on with Kent Shakespeare and Celeste Rockfish.  The art is by Christopher Taylor, who has a Keith Giffen vibe to his art. It opens on Takron-Galtos (that should be Takron-Galtos II), as Cocheta Drisden, who we last saw fighting the Legion as a Dominion agent, attempts to use her control of men to break out of the prison planet.  Her attempt is foiled by two female SP officers. A news broadcast (it’s been ages since we’ve seen one of those in a Legion comic) shares that Drisden is being moved to the water planet Quarantine, news that makes an unknown man very unhappy. On Quarantine, Kent is talking to Ivy, explaining to her once again that he is leaving and that she can’t come with him.  She storms off. Celeste goes to check on Mara Williams, a young woman who was given speed powers that she can’t quite control by the Dominators, against her will. Mara talks about how frustrating it is that she can never lose her concentration, and Celeste tries to comfort her. A doctor comes with a new device that should help her manage her speed better. The vessel from Takron Galtos II approaches Quarantine, followed by a smaller vessel.  Celeste talks to a doctor about her own growing control over her powers (which we still don’t know much about), and sees the prisoner being brought in. Kent is talking with Ivy again, explaining why she can’t come with him to the Legion, when he hears an alarm. Kent finds the intruder, Grimbor, the Chain Master, a classic Legion villain, who is also Drisden’s father. He starts to fight Kent, and manages to catch him in some energy-draining chains.  Ivy tries to figure out what’s going on when the alarm cuts off suddenly. Celeste and Mara respond as well, and start to fight Grimbor. He traps Celeste in a cage, and uses some electronic bonds to short out the device on Mara’s neck. Ivy goes to get Garridan Ranzz, who is practicing using the mindblasts he apparently still has from his days as the villain Validus. Ivy knows he has these powers, and convinces him to come help her. They see Kent being taken to the infirmary, and while the Probe nurse tries to keep them away, Ivy gets another friend, Spunge, to absorb the energy of the bonds on Kent, freeing him.  She gathers the other kids to go track down Grimbor. They find Celeste and Mara, and then see Grimbor, who carries the unconscious Drisden. The kids attack him, and do a little better than expected, keeping him busy until Kent arrives. Kent starts to fight him again, and manages to free Celeste. Mara comes to, and uses her speed to disable Grimbor’s armor and weapons. After that, Kent punches him out. Later, we learn that when the device shorted out, it caused Mara to gain control of her abilities. Kent tells Ivy that he might take her with him, but she says she now has her own team to train.
  • Issue fifty-two has art duties shared by Stuart Immonen (in the present-day story), and Christopher Taylor handling flashbacks, which is great because of how much his art looks like late-volume three Keith Giffen art).  It opens with Brin dreaming about his early days in the Legion, when Karate Kid was training him to fight, and Ayla coming to get him for a date. He wakes up to find himself in Brainy’s lab, with Ayla standing over him.  Brainy is still examining Rokk, and not saying why, and he agrees that if Ayla keeps on eye on Brin, in case he transforms again, he can walk around headquarters with her. Brin remembers his father giving him the zuunium infusions that provided his strength.  His father collapsed and died, and somehow the evil android Karth Arn convinced Brin that he was himself the android Karth Arn. Eventually Brin escaped, and ended up with the Legion, where he slowly regained his humanity. Kent, Celeste, and Mara, who is now calling herself Rush, arrive on Talus (Mara is on her way to Xolnar to train with the UP Academy, where, we learn, the Subs are now working).  Jacques, Drura, and Devlin meet them, as Ayla and Brin walk past. Brin remembers being on the icy asteroid with Imra, Cham, Vi, and Gim back in the day. Brin and Imra shared a moment, just as Dawnstar and Ayla found them, which started the crack in Brin and Ayla’s relationship. As they continue their walk, Brin and Ayla see Rond working on repairs, and Mysa receiving mystical warnings of doom. They also see Lydda, Laurel, and Englenna spending time with the babies.  This causes Brin to remember how much his parents fought over how to best raise him. They see Sussa pestering Jo, and Brin remembers when Jo came to get him, in his Furball days, from Medicus-One, and the horror he felt at seeing his reflection. He also remembers a fight in the Five Year Gap with Doctor Regulus. In this fight, Brin was hurt badly when Regulus’s device, which was supposed to blow up a star, went off early. As Kent and Ayla rushed Brin to their cruiser, Wildfire realized that to save the star from exploding, he had to merge with it, leaving behind only an empty suit.  The newly returned Wildfire stands in his quarters going over containment suit options, and it’s clear that something has changed that he’s keeping a secret. Brin and Ayla comment on how withdrawn he’s been. Brin remembers when Ayla left him, and all the times that she’s supported him, especially when the Legion fought Karth Arn, and when Brin kicked his addiction to zuunium. He remembers Ayla sitting with him just before he transformed to Furball. She filled him in on the latest Legion happenings (the news of Imra’s second pregnancy creates a lot of continuity issues, as she has it happening at the same time that the Legion disbanded, which we knew to be at least two years before the twins were born).  In the present, Brin thanks Ayla for always being so supportive of him. Vi is in the monitor room, where she learns of how many planets are falling to the Khunds in their renewed war effort. Jo and Sussa join them, and they talk about going up against the Khunds. Rokk and Mysa interrupt to tell them that there’s another, more immediate threat. With Mordru out of the way, Glorith is going to become more powerful than ever, and so the Legion heads out to confront her. Jacques, Drura, and Mara stay behind, as their cruiser is too full (although in many ways, Mara’s super speed would be an asset against a villain who controls time).
  • Issue fifty-three is where things really start to fall apart.  To begin with, it’s a mess of an issue, jumping around in time some, ending abruptly, and containing an extra narration running across the bottom of most pages that I will tack on to the end of this summary.  Glorith ages Brainiac 5 to an advanced age while other members of the Legion (Laurel, Brin, Vi, and Ayla) fight against dinosaurs, Nazis, and ape men from different eras. Some rocks fall on Ayla’s legs, and Laurel can’t reach Glorith through her force field or something.  Glorith approaches Ayla, and Vi can’t get to her to help. Devlin grabs Glorith’s hand, and she powers up, triggering Devlin’s power to create some kind of feedback. On Talus, Jacques and Drura talk with Anton Relnic, the UP’s Council Chairman (although Jacques refers to him as Ambassador), who has video evidence of Tenzil Kem helping the Khunds take over a planet.  Relnic tells Jacques that the UP delegates are calling for the Legion to be arrested. Rond Vidar gets his time beacon viewer working, and witnesses something that needs to be dealt with quickly (although, if it’s in time, it probably doesn’t need to be), so he jumps into an untested Time Bubble and goes to check it out. The Legion arrive on Baaldur (I guess we’ve moved back in time without having that explained to us), where the Legion finds that Glorith has not repaired any of the damage from their last visit.  They find her cowering in her throne room (this is where that other narrative begins), having not recovered from their last encounter. She summons the Nazis, dinosaurs, and some killer robots, and the fight begins. She figures out that the Legion is there to distract her, and teleports away. Wildfire, Jo, and Mysa are working on their part of the plan. Jo has to hold up a heavy piece of equipment while Mysa prepares a spell, but Glorith arrives and grabs her by the neck. Wildfire tries to help Mysa, and Glorith recognizes something about him, which makes him angry.  Glorith tells Jo that she took Tinya from him, and then teleports away again. Elsewhere, Rokk is on another piece of equipment held aloft by Celeste, while Sussa stands by on a flying platform. Glorith appears and grabs Celeste’s neck, aging her. When she teleports away with Celeste, the thing Rokk is on starts to fall. Glorith returns to the fight, dropping the now-dead Celeste, and taking in the fighting. Kent sees what happened to Celeste, and rushes to her. Glorith grabs him and de-ages him to childhood. Brainy worries that they are losing, and almost gets killed, but Laurel saves him.  Glorith’s done something to Mysa, and Jo and Wildfire rush her towards the battle, intending to get Glorith to “turn her back.” Rokk, using some power enhancers, manages to use his latent magnetism to keep the device he was on aloft. He fails, but Sussa catches him before he falls. They decide to head to the others. This brings us back to the point where we started, with Brainy getting aged. Wildfire joins the fight, helping Laurel, while Jo looks for a safe place to put Mysa. Glorith approaches Ayla, and once again Devlin grabs her. This makes Glorith go all star-patterned, and the rest of the page all white, before she disappears (that other narrative ends here).  The team tries to pull things together – Devlin digs Ayla out of debris, Laurel tends to Old Brainy, while Young Kent cries over Celeste, and Mysa helps Brin, who looks human again. Jo wants to know where Tinya is. On Weber’s World, Universo, Relnic, and King Jonn discuss the evidence that Tenzil and Kono are working for the Khunds; various delegats talk about what to do, but it seems they are angry with the Legion. In this other narrative, an unnamed narrator (it could be either the Time Trapper or Mordru, with the latter being my guess) speaks to Glorith, starting by talking about how the founding Legionnaires tried to go to the 20th century, but were shunted to the Pocket Universe.  These trips made the Pocket Universe unstable, so Glorith was enhanced and sent to fight the Legion. She failed and was devolved, although she eventually restored herself. The Pocket Universe was eventually complicated by the Crisis, and that the Legion’s interest in examining inconsistencies in their stories led to the death of Superboy. This led to some stuff with the Time Trapper and some villains, while Glorith grew more powerful and killed everyone on Daxam. At this point, the narrator claims that a “secret army” was created on Earth, and hidden in the Time Institute. The art makes it clear that this is referring to the SW6 Legion. Later, Glorith defeated the Time Trapper, replacing his role in the timeline.  The SW6 Legion were discovered by the Dominators, which they assumed were clones, but eventually they broke free and helped fight the Dominators before calling themselves the Legionnaires and sending their Valor back to what they thought was their time. In the 20th century, Glorith caused the death of an early iteration of Valor, which broke the timestream, letting the narrator return (okay, now I think it’s the Time Trapper talking, and sometimes referring to himself in third person). As Devlin turns Glorith’s power on her, this narrator takes control of things, leaving her lying on the ground, perhaps dead, as he (?) decides to reshape the timestream and claiming his (?) heroes for his own. This is a lot of changes to cram into one issue, and not all of them are very clear.
  • Issue fifty-four comes with a silver foil cover with a large cut-out in the middle, revealing the Legion in their new uniforms and identities.  It opens on Baaldur, where the team is recovering from their fight with Glorith. Brainy struggles with his rapidly-aged body, while Vi frets over Ayla, Jo obsesses over what Glorith said about Tinya, Devlin reacts poorly to being a teenager again, while Mysa revels in it.  Kent, de-aged to about eleven or twelve, cries over Celeste’s body. Wildfire locates Rokk and Sussa, and brings them to the rest of the team. Sussa runs to Jo, but he rejects her violently. Celeste gets up, fully alive, but now completely green. The team goes to Quarantine, where Ivy seems pleased that Kent is about her age.  It seems like everyone is okay, and Brainy is in an exo-skeleton that helps his mobility. He tells Celeste that he’s suspected she’s been dead since her fight with Roxxas, and that her green energy has kept her body alive. The doctors suggest that Kent stay on Quarantine, and Brainy wants Devlin to stay there too. He talks to Rokk and the doctor about how he can’t figure out how to reverse Glorith’s work.  He wants to return to his lab on Talus. He mentions that he wants to check out Rokk as well. Kent’s not that happy to be staying behind. The team loads into their shuttle, and Jo tells Rokk that once they are back on Talus, he’s going to take a time bubble to look for Tinya. Sussa wants to get dropped off on the way, but Rokk wants her to join the team officially. Wildfire also wants to leave, and begins to argue with Rokk, but Ivy interrupts them.  On Winath, Lydda, Englenna, and the children arrive because Garth pulled some strings to keep them safe while the Legion deals with its problems with the UP. The Legion discover this problem as they approach Talus. A bunch of UP ships are waiting for them, and inform them that they’ve been charged with treason, and order them to surrender. Jo rushes out the airlock, determined to get to Talus. Wildfire and Laurel go after him, but the UP Academy students (many of whom are former Subs) interpret their movements as attacks, and a cadet named Quake uses his powers on them.  A robot called R3Z7 also starts fighting. Celeste goes to back them up, and Crystal Kid and Stone Boy join the fight. Someone called Stun manages to zap everyone on the shuttle, knocking them out. Color Kid takes out the others. On Weber’s World, Jacques and Drura are speaking with UP representatives, while Universo continues to speak against the Legion. The team is brought before the council, and Universo, who is the Earth (not New Earth?) ambassador presents evidence that the Legion have been aiding the Khunds in their invasion of UP space. The evidence shows Jo helping the Khunds fight the Dominators on Elia (so that’s who attacked them back in the early 30s of this series?).  Jacques thinks these images must be fake, and Laurel accuses Universo of being behind this plot, but the representatives go nuts, and Relnic announces that the Legion is being disbanded and placed in custody, with Jacques staying free to work in their defense. Jacques, invisible, follows Universo and sees him talk to someone over vidscreen about his success in getting the Legion taken down. We see that on Orando, Queen Projectra now has SP minders. Jacques sneaks a small tool kit to Brainy in his cell, and tells him and Rokk that they should free themselves, and that Loomis is in the docking bay waiting for them. Brainy gets them out of their cells, and Sussa gets them out of their bonds, but the alarms go off, and they have to fight their way to Loomis.  Vi seems to take command of things as they escape, which bothers Rokk. Once they are clear of Weber’s World, Loomis is able to use stealth mode to get them away. Vi basically takes command, and they decide to hide out in an old warehouse of Jo’s on Rimbor. They see that Loomis has filled the ship with all sorts of things, and after Vi suggests that they all disguise themselves and take on new identities, Laurel finds some goggles and a tarp. Universo contacts the Legionnaires on New Earth to let them know what’s happened, and feels smug. Imra comforts Lydda on Winath, while someone opens a door somewhere (that panel makes no sense to me). On Rimbor, Laurel and Mysa bargain in the market, selling off some of the things they don’t need, and Mysa uses her newfound feminine wiles to get a better deal.  In the warehouse, Loomis and Celeste work to upgrade their ship, which is in rough shape. Vi and Brin go over the evidence against them, realizing that there are few images of them in their new circumstances. Vi wonders how they have pictures of them from the Khund station they went to during the fight with Mordru. Brainy tells Wildfire that he’s building him a new suit that will better protect his body, which Ayla asks about, but they are interrupted by Laurel and Mysa returning. Rokk shows up in a new intense superhero suit. Sussa turns up in rough shape, and tells them that she lost Jo. We see that Jo is lying unconscious somewhere, with a few people wearing gang symbols standing over him.
  • Brainy, Laurel, and Vi gather around the injured Sussa.  She explains that she was separated from Jo. The narrative backs up, and we see that the Legion made it onto Rimbor because Jo, in a stealth suit, used a scrambler Brainy gave him to slip past the security satellites.  They flew very quickly to Jo’s warehouse, surprised that it was abandoned. Jo told them he was going to get them supplies, and then leave. Sussa tried to talk to her, and he yelled at her and stormed off. When the others tried to comfort her, she followed him, while Loomis realized that their ship was damaged.  On the street, Sussa caught up to Jo, but she got them noticed by someone. When Jo approached his other warehouse, he was caught by the security system. His friend, Kelvin, freed him, but just then a rival smuggling operation, the Dragins, attacked and made off with a shipment of silverale. Jo got shot, and Sussa got knocked out.  When she woke up later, she heard her guards talking about how all the silverale gangs are at war, and how the Broncs are being funded and protected by the government. Eventually, Sussa escaped, and got shot, but made her way back to the Legion. The team, now wearing new outfits and using new codenames (many of which were the ones that Jacques had suggested when he first rejoined the team), plans a rescue mission.  Rokk, now going by Polestar, refuses to lead it, so Vi gives the job to Wildfire, now going by N.R.G. Sussa shows off her new blue hairdo, and says she’s going to use the name Wave. On Starhaven, Dawnstar is going to repeat a test, some sort of vision quest thing, it appears, that she first passed years ago as a way of proving to herself that she is recovering from her injuries. Her chief encourages her, and she heads into a forest where she sees a vision of the stampede that almost killed her as a child, and of Mordru’s zombies that almost killed her on Talus.  Someone appears to her, shocking her. On Weber’s World, Universo gets the Rimborian ambassador to get in touch with his government, namely Chairman Trombi, to check and see if the Legion is there. Trombi contacts some of the Broncs, and we see that he answers to someone we don’t actually see. The Legion (Polestar, Laurel, Ayla, NRG, and sometimes Brin) follow Sussa to the place she escaped from, but it turns out to be a trap. The team is captured by the Dragins, and their leader, the Emerald Dragon, who Sussa recognizes as Jo before he knocks her out. Dawnstar is visited by a vision of Wildfire, and reconciles her feelings to him, before being confronted by a vision of Bounty, who talks about how she took over Dawny, and will do so again.  Dawnstar vows to kill her. On Rimbor, the team wakes up to find themselves captured. The Dragon is holding an auction, selling the Legion to whichever gang wants to pay the most. Some of them ask why they would want them, and the Dragon explains that there is a reward for them, but also has to explain why the Dragins don’t want it. Realizing that his argument isn’t a good one, Jo (the rest of the team know it’s him now) frees the Legion, and they attack the gang leaders. Jo makes it clear that he wants to unite the gangs against the Broncs. At the same time, Mysa is flirting with Trombi’s secretary, while Vi, shrunken down, sneaks into Trombi’s office (where he’s sleeping), and puts a device on his computer to access it. She sees mention of a “trade agreement” and it makes her angry, but we don’t know with whom yet.
  • Issue fifty-six introduces more of the Legion’s new code names, and it’s weird that everyone uses them so easily already.  NRG and Pulse (Ayla) are fighting some of the Broncs in the sewer alongside other Rimborian gangsters. As some Broncs escape, they get caught by Furball (Brin).  On Talus, we see that the Science Police have set up a command base in the Legion’s headquarters. They have scientists examining the time beacon that Rond Vidar set up, and discuss turning the place into the new Time Institute.  They also find the canister that Sussa stole, and get a Daxamite/Braalian SP officer to open it – it holds what looks like a jaw bone and some teeth. They report that the bones belong to Molock Hanscom, but the Captain (I think it’s Dvron, although they spell his name wrong) doesn’t recognize the name to be that of Starfinger.  The Sp’s searching Kono’s room get buried under all the stuff she’s hoarded. On Rimbor, Brainy (who is now going by B-5, which is the worst of these terrible codenames) experiments with his new more powerful forcefield, and gets a report from Virus (Vi) that she is sending over the information that she found. Vi is almost caught when Trombi wakes up and has to take a call, as the Broncos report to him that they are under attack.  Vi sneaks out and grabs Mysa, who is now being called Jewel (I guess that’s a play on Amethyst’s name?), and they disappear. Laurel (who still doesn’t appear to have a codename), Rokk, and Sussa fight some more gangsters. Rokk seems to be getting too much enjoyment out of using his new powers sadistically, and the gang they are working with turns on them. Rokk goes off on them, while Laurel grabs the Broncs’ leader. On Winath, we learn that the SP are searching the exports of the Ranzz’s farm, which makes Mekt angry.  On Weber’s World, Relnic meets with Jacques and Drura, but we don’t know why. Back at Jo’s headquarters, Ayla gets her injuries patched up, Laurel drops off the Broncs’ leader, and Laurel updates Jo. NRG finally gets Jo to explain why he captured them – he felt the need to help his old gang, and was worried that the Legion wouldn’t help him because he’d left them so abruptly (this is a very weak assertion). As Jo is about to deal with the gang that betrayed him, the rest of the Legion (Brainy, Vi, Mysa, and Celeste, who is now called Neon) bust in.  They quickly explain what’s happening, and Vi tells Jo off for not asking for help the proper way. She shows Jo what she learned, and the Broncs’ leader identifies his boss. We learn that the Broncs didn’t know that they were also working for the Khunds. Later, Trombi meets with his Khund liaison, a guy called Kakiqik. Jo and Vi come to Trombi’s office, disguised as an injured Bronc. They reveal themselves (the Khund hid before they came in) and confront him, and he calls for security help. The rest of the team, and the various gangs they allied with, begin to fight the SP outside the office building, which causes Celeste to worry that they are exposing themselves.  Kaliqik shows himself to Jo, and has one of the big synthetics that Jo and Kono fought at the beginning of this series with him. Jo starts to fight the thing, which is stronger than its predecessors, and they fall through the wall. Vi takes out the Khund, and then tells Brainy she’s ready for the next step. Jo takes out the synthetic with some help from NRG, but gets recognized as Ultra Boy in the process. Vi starts to transmit video everywhere showing that Trombi was working with the Khunds. Jo hands over his business to his friend Kelvin, and while the SP tell them they are under arrest, the Legion flies off, leaving in Loomis’s ship. On it, they set a course for the Darzyl system, and Vi lets Jo know that she’s angry with him.  She says that once they’ve cleared their names, they will help him find Tinya. Brainy wants to tell Vi something about Ayla. On Naltor, as Nura dreams, and her stenographer writes down her prognostications, the SP listen in, hoping for news of the Legion. Nura sees something that makes her wake up screaming, “Not him!” before passing out.
  • Issue fifty-seven is where things really start to fall off the rails.  Christopher Taylor returns as guest artist, and his work is not as tight and Giffen-esque as it was before, taking on more of a general 90s sloppiness.  There are a million characters in this issue, many of whom only show up for a panel or two with no real explanation of how they got there. It opens on Xolnar, where at the UP Military Academy, Porcupine Pete runs some of the cadets through Danger Room style drills.  Rush is disconcerted when he makes the robots they are fighting look like the Legion, which leads to a lecture for her about how they have to do their job. Luornu and some others talk more, and Visi-Lad comes to say that the Khunds are approaching the Darzyl system. Chuck wants Fire Lad to take a squad, but Luornu wants to be a part of it.  Darzyl has only one planet, and it’s owned by Starfinger II. The Khunds are already there when the Legion arrives. Their cloaking field allows them to get past the Khunds, and Vi has the team enter the battle. Somehow, Tenzil, the Heroes of Lallor, and Garak of the Glow are all there fighting for the Khunds. Ramjet (whoever that is) seems to be in charge of the Khund forces, and has them focus on the Legion.  We learn that Celeste’s body isn’t solid. Loomis warns them that the UP Academy has a ship approaching. Firefist, Veilmist, and Flederweb are also there, with a four-armed massive Khund who never gets named, and they enter Starfinger’s office. He has his guards and Starlight and Starbright fight them. A Khund ship approaches Weber’s World, where Stone Boy and King Jon (this is the third spelling of his name) are joined by Anton Relnic and Universo (who isn’t happy about all this).  The Khund ship docks, and Pantok, who I guess is important, emerges to enter into negotiations with Relnic for peace. Vi, Jo, and Brainy enter Starfinger’s office, where Firefist has just shot Starfinger through the chest. The Legion are surprised to see Firefist alive, and they start fighting. Brainy gets shot and collapses. Outside, Tenzil grabs Ayla and she shocks him, revealing that he’s really Chameleon Chief. On Weber’s world, Universo contacts his secret associates, only to learn that he’s been fired by them.  On Darzyl, the fighting continues, with most of the Legion fighting the Heroes of Lallor. Ayla tries to shock Evolvo Lad, but instead makes him light, like she did when she was Light Lass. Rokk gets angry when Laurel takes down Garak of the Glow. The Academy arrives, and join the fight. On Daxam, Valor is fighting Dev-Em, angry that they are both there to honor the anniversary of the Daxamite genocide. As they fight, a strange glow hits them, and they see their planet restored to the way it used to be. It lasts only a moment, but when it flashes away, Dev-Em is restored to the way he looked before the Five Year Gap.  On Darzyl, there is more fighting, involving some cadets that don’t even get named. It seems that the Legion and the Khunds aren’t able to stand up against them. Vi checks on Brainy, who is not badly injured; his suit is leaking though, making it hard for him to move. Luornu, Lamprey, and Fire Lad enter Starfinger’s office, where the Legion are still fighting the Khunds. Somehow, they can’t tell that’s what’s happening, and they start fighting everyone, although they also disappear in the panels where the Legion are still fighting the Khunds. Brainy catches Flederweb in a forcefield, so that when Firefist orders Veilmist to teleport them away, he is left behind.  Luornu is about to shoot Jo, who she doesn’t recognize, but Vi, who she does recognize, stops her. The cadets outside finally recognize the Heroes of Lallor, but as the fight continues, they are also teleported away, as are the remaining Khund forces. Jagged (a cadet) fires his energy at Garak of the Glow as he teleports away, and instead kills a cadet named Ringtoss. Wildfire lays down covering fire so the Legion can escape, as they feel the need to chase the Khunds. In the office, the fighting continues between the cadets and the Legion. Wildfire and Rokk break through the wall to gather everyone. When Loomis flies past the office, they all get in the ship (bringing Flederweb with them) and pursue the Khund ships.  Mysa flirts with Brin, while Brainy recognizes that Flederweb has a Titanian Mental Restrictor on him. Loomis tells everyone that he took the generator off the Academy ship, so they won’t be followed, and that the Khund ships are splitting up, one flying towards Weber’s World, and the other towards New Earth. Brainy frees Flederweb from the mind control, and he tells them that Firefist is aiming to blow up Weber’s World. Vi tells Loomis to head to Weber’s World, but Rokk wants to go to New Earth, and they argue again. Ayla turns into a little kid, which Brainy thinks is part of Glorith’s attack (obviously). Rokk steals the ship’s mini-pod and heads to New Earth, while Vi states that he’s like a different person lately.  In the time stream, we see that Rond Vidar is in a time bubble with Circadia Sentius, who died back when the Moon exploded. They are approaching what appears to be a large black hole in the stream. 
  • The Legion’s ship catches up to the Khund vessel as it approaches Weber’s World.  NRG and Celeste fly out to disable its engines and weapons systems, and most of the team fly over in one of Brainy’s forceshields.  Laurel rips open the airlock, while Celeste fires on the ship, making it blow up. The team engages some Khunds in a fight, and Mysa appears, having apparently used magic to make the explosion of the ship look real.  We see that Loomis, Vi, and Ayla are still on the intact ship, although it took some damage. Loomis manages to land it on the hull of Weber’s World. Inside the massive administrative planet, Jacques and Drura head to Relnic’s office.  Universo is telling Relnic that his contacts have told him that the Khunds are making a move on the core planets. Relnic still believes that the Legion is working with the Khunds. They are interrupted with news that the Legion’s ship has crashed onto the planet (but apparently they haven’t seen the Khund warship in orbit yet?).  In a mystical infinite library, Glorith rejuvenates, angry that the Time Trapper left her for dead. She decides to go to Baaldur to start to regain control of time. UP soldiers board the Legion ship, but find only Loomis and the young Ayla, who poses as his daughter. They are taken into custody. On the Khund ship, the Legion keeps fighting their way towards the command centre.  They are confronted by Firefist, Veilmist, the Heroes of Lallor, and a lot of Khunds. At the same time, Sussa, Wildfire, and Celeste are making their way to the supposed location of the bomb, but find themselves in a massive store room, with Garak of the Glow, Cupid (whoever she is) and Duplicate Boy waiting for them. They start to fight. On Weber’s World, Loomis demands to see Relnic.  Relnic arrives with King Jon and Jacques. Loomis tells them that the Khunds are making their move, and Relnic sends the academy to get Pantok and the other Khunds on the planet. Stone Boy, Colour Kid, Ron-Karr, and Shift try to get to Pantok, but he activates a device and then commits suicide. On the Khund ship, the Legion have trouble using their communicators. Duplicate Boy blasts through some of Sussa’s hair, causing her pain, and then tries to blast Celeste, who is intangible.  He blows out the hull of the ship, and it looks like some of them might get sucked out. A ship approaches from the outside, with an unknown Legionnaire aboard. On Weber’s World, Universo uses his hypnosis to interrogate one of the surviving Khunds, and learns that it’s planted on Weber’s World. Vi, who has been hiding in Ayla’s hair, heads off to find and defuse the bomb. Jacques doesn’t trust Universo, and presses King Jon to get the ambassador from Titan to read the Khund’s mind. On the Khund ship’s command centre, the Legion continues to fight while Brainy tries to access the ship’s systems.  He learns, while the others protect him, that there are actually several bombs planted around Weber’s World. While Brainy works to defuse the bombs from the ship, Laurel flies off to find them herself. The Titanian ambassador learns of the multiple bombs as well, and they rush to inform Relnic. Jacques decides to do some investigating of his own, while Loomis fails to get ahold of Vi. He also realizes that Ayla has taken off on him. Duplicate Boy is about to destroy Wildfire’s armor when he is suddenly knocked out by Dawnstar, who didn’t seem to know that Wildfire had returned (even though they were both on Talus at the same time from issues 50-52).  Celeste returns with everyone who was blown into space. Brainy still can’t shut down the bombs. Veilmist agrees to help them if Jo will “have her”, but Firefist kills her before she can do anything, hurting Mysa in the process. Laurel rushes around Weber’s World, locating bombs, while Ayla crawls through a ventilation shaft looking for Vi. Vi has mostly disabled the big bomb, but isn’t sure which wire to cut, and doesn’t know why help hasn’t come. She decides to take a chance, and we see a large explosion take place on Weber’s World. Glorith arrives on Tharn, entering Mordru’s cell. She offers him power if they work together, and restores some of his youth along with it.  He immediately attacks and absorbs the powers of the teachers of Sorcerers’ World, and then reverts to an even younger form. He gives Glorith an amulet to augment her powers, and they raise glasses to taking over the universe together.
  • After the explosion on Weber’s World, Crystal Kid and Stone Boy examine the damage, and find that a fusion powersphere is leaking.  They move to get away, but Valor comes swooping in and moves it away before it explodes. He, Tasmia, and Dev-Em saw the explosion on the station, and Lar feels bad that they weren’t there quickly enough to help.  Most of the Legion, with Jacques and Drura, are in a waiting room in Weber’s World’s medical facilities. Mysa is upset, and Brin comforts her. Brainy is cold, and talks about figuring out what Glorith’s done to them.  Mysa recaps what happened. As Laurel rushed around trying to get all of the bombs, and Vi worked to disarm the main bomb, the rest of the Legion were still fighting on the Khund ship. Flederweb got the mind dampener off Life Lass, but what stopped the fight was the explosion on Weber’s World.  It’s clear that something terrible happened from Mysa’s reaction, but we aren’t clear what yet. We learn from Jacques that the Heroes of Lallor have already returned home, taking Flederweb with them, to coordinate the fight against the Khunds. Jacques tells Celeste what happened with Universo. After the Titanian ambassador uncovered the truth about the multiple bombs, Loomis told Jacques that the child with him was Ayla, and that she’d gone off looking for Vi.  As word came to evacuate Weber’s World, Jacques sent a message to Drura, and she caught Universo trying to leave in a hidden shuttle. She gave him an illness, and by the time he woke up, he was on Takron-Galtos, since Jacques revealed that he’d been working with the Khunds all along. Jo is frustrated, as he can see that “she” is being operated on, but he doesn’t know how it’s going. Lar feels responsible, and Dawnstar’s attempts to talk to Wildfire go nowhere. When she asks why he won’t discuss their relationship (I mean, it’s been years at this point since they were together), he explains that he’s not the same man as before.  Dev-Em (who has stayed in his more classic, sane, form) talks to Shady about how it was Dawnstar and Celeste who found “her” after the explosion. Rond Vidar, and the Legionnaire versions of Invisible Kid and Brainiac 5 enter, just as a white flash turns Celeste from her now-regular green form into someone wearing a Darkstars uniform. Rond recognizes that there are issues with the time stream, and adult Brainy tells him that he needs to talk to him. Lyle brings the others up to speed, explaining that the three of them, with Circadia Sentius, were in a time bubble, trying to figure out why the stream was only a black void past the 31st century.  Circadia disappeared on them, and they figure that it’s all connected with the time issues they’ve been experiencing. They came looking for adult Brainy’s help. Jo wants to use the time bubble to go searching for Tinya, and Lar suddenly remembers that when he lived in the 20th century, he knew Phase, who he only now puts together might have been Tinya. Jo is angry at first, but then can’t decide what to do. Susa encourages him to go, which grants her some praise from Ayla. Ayla is preoccupied with worrying about Violet. She explains that when she found her, Vi was shocked by feedback from the bomb she successfully disarmed. Ayla tried to absorb the charge, but it was too late.  She’s sure Vi is dead, but just then she comes to her, and they embrace. Mysa keeps trying to flirt with Brin. The news reports that all charges against the Legion have been dropped. Just then, Troy Stewart, president of New Earth calls, asking for help with the unknown person who is using magnetism to threaten the domes of New Earth. Vi recognizes him as Rokk, and explains that his power gauntlets have affected his mind. Vi wants the Legion to go deal with this problem, but hasn’t realized that Laurel was badly hurt, and that people are in the waiting room for her as much as for Vi. Just then the doctor comes out, and it’s clear that Laurel did not survive her injuries (which doesn’t seem likely, to be honest).  Outside New Earth, Rokk is convinced he can gather the remaining debris to put the Earth back together again. When some of the Legionnaires approach him, he sees them as Khunds, and attacks them. It seems that the Legion are now not worrying about Rokk, and are instead headed towards Shanghalla to bury Laurel. Brainy accepts his younger self’s condolences by talking about how Laurel is on a journey of knowledge, although he does shed a tear (this is not the way he reacted to Supergirl’s death).
  • Issue sixty is the third chapter of the End of an Era crossover, continuing from issues of Legionnaires and Valor (see my columns on those titles for the big picture).  Glorith and Mordru have taken Rokk (who is now in his right mind again). He manages to get away from them in their magic time castle, and uses his diminished magnetic powers to elude some guards.  The problem is, the corridor he’s in takes him right back to his foes, who put him in a wooden stock. Mordru wants to kill him, but Glorith thinks he has a destiny, and that killing him would have consequences, like it did when she mucked around with Valor’s life in that title.  They discuss an “other”, who they need to deal with so they can have unlimited power. On Winath, Garth and Imra tell Lydda that Rokk’s been taken, but also that all of the Legion is on their way to help out. We see that Loomis, Celeste, and Wildfire have picked up Chuck, Luornu, and Gim, while Cham travels with Jan and the Legionnaires Inferno, Alchemist, Star Boy, and Gossamer.  Nura and Thom arrive on Winath, where we see that Mekt is telling some Legionnaires (Kid Quantum, Violet, Triad, Apparition, and Ultra Boy) stories about Rokk’s heroism. Kono is travelling with Tenzil, Brek, and Devlin. Mysa, Dragonmage, Projectra, and the two Nuras use magic to figure out what’s going on, and once they learn that Mordru has left Tharn, they figure that they will find them on Baaldur.  Vi, Ayla, and Celeste go to pay tribute to Laurel in the memorial garden, and are joined by the Legionnaire versions of Ayla and Vi. Brainy, Lyle, and Rond work in the lab trying to figure out what’s going on with the timestream, but none of them notice when Catspaw, who comes to interrupt them, is suddenly replaced by Inferno (who Brek calls Sun Boy) in a flash of light. Lyle suspects that there is a connection between Rokk’s abduction and what’s happening to time.  Glorith talks to Mordru about how the Time Trapper left her to die, but how she revived in the Infinite Library. He’s interested in seeing this place, and when Glorith pulls out her keye and opens a door to the Library, Rokk jumps through, using his powers to bring the key with him. The door closes behind him (Glorith says he won’t be able to get out without a spell of passage), and Rokk finds himself trapped in the Library. Gorith sees this as a victory, as this keeps Rokk from connecting with their true foe, and they move on to their next step.  All of the Legion and Legionnaries gather on Winath, as Cham and Vi tell them that they are going to get Rokk back. Dvron, who we haven’t seen in ages, calls Cham from Talus, to tell him that Gorith and Mordru have attacked the Legion’s former headquarters. The teams rush to two cruisers, and Lydda hands over her baby to Mekt, so she can join them as Night Girl. On Talus, the villains fight the SPs, and approach the time beacon. The Legions arrive, and Glorith immediately regresses Thom, Kid Quantum, Legionnaire Violet, and Chuck to small children.  Leviathan tries to knock over the time beacon, but Glorith ages him to dust, killing him. The adult Gim fades out of existence. Projectra, Jan, and Alchemist almost have Mordru defeated, but Glorith ages them. The Infinite Man, “the embodiment of the time-space continuum,” appears, and Glorith and Mordru use their magics to pull him apart. Things get strange, as many of the Legion look younger than they have in years, and are shown in their classic costumes (Garth even has a metal arm again), while Ayla is back to her proper age. Some more timeflashes occur, but they just move people around.  We see that Glorith and Mordru have absorbed the powers of the Infinite Man, and now they are tall, glow, and are prepared to “rule the universe.”
  • The final issue of the End of an Era crossover also has a Zero Hour logo on the cover.  The remaining members of the Legion and the Legionnaires arrive on the Pocket Earth, which is unstable, and made worse by the fact that Mordru has just been teleported into its core.  There’s no sign of New Earth, or any of the other heroes that were there before, and we learn that other team members have faded out of existence on the trip there. The heroes are barely out of their cruiser when an eruption hits, and their ship falls into magma.  They are only saved by SW6 Brainiac’s force shield. The spring into action, with the two Jan’s creating an inertron raft for them to stand on. Out of nowhere, the SW6 versions of Rokk, Imra, and Garth appear, alongside the adult Jo, having just arrived from the Zero Hour event.  They try to figure out what they should be doing to save the planet, when the Time Trapper arrives. They prepare to fight, but Adult Rokk emerges from his hood, telling them to wait, and that the Trapper is their best hope. Lydda hugs Rokk, but then fades away. The Trapper reveals to everyone that he is also Rokk Krinn, only an older version of him.  Rokk keeps the teams calm, while the Trapper explains that he divided the Legionnaires away from the Legion, at a time before they were touched by death (although, in this newer retcon, Kid Quantum had died by that point), which created the paradox that has been ruining time ever since. The Trapper feels that the only way to save the future is to have each Legionnaire unify with their Legion counterpart.  As he speaks, we see that other characters – Englenna, Garth and Imra’s sons, the UP Academy cadets, Loomis, Mekt, Ivy, and Kent Shakespeare, are all fading away. The Trapper believes that the universe can be rebuilt and realigned, by fixing the paradox of having two Legions. To speed things along, the planet erupts some more. Inferno doesn’t understand why he’s still there, since adult Dirk has been dead for a while.  Wildfire reveals that he, Drake Burroughs, has been contained inside Dirk’s body, and that he’s been too ashamed to tell anyone. The Dream Girls share that they don’t see a future anymore. Apparition starts to fade away, and Jo angrily insists that the Trapper save her. Instead, the Trapper brings the original Tinya back, and she and Jo embrace. The Trapper once again asks that everyone unify. The two Jans go first, blinking out in a flash of life.  Next, the Aylas and Vi, then the Luornus, followed by the Chucks. Before the two Nuras unify, adult Thom gives adult Nura one last kiss. The remaining heroes pair off, until all that’s left are the Rokks, the Garths, and the Imras, and the Trapper. They talk a little more about sacrifice, and how there will be a new thirtieth century emerging in their wake. The Trapper flies away, saying he has one last task to perform. The two sets of founders deal with another eruption, and then gather on a fragment of rock.  They say their goodbyes, and join hands, going out in a flash of light that shows us a few proud moments from the Legion’s history. The image of the three founders saving RJ Brande’s life fades away, and we are left with four empty, all-white pages.

And that was it.  After thirty-six years, DC basically pulled the plug on the Legion, rebooting it the next month, but divorcing it from its rich history and unparalleled depth of supporting characters and massive built environment.  I’ve made no secret of the fact that I don’t like this decision, and think that it has led to over twenty years of lower quality Legion comics. I’ve lost count of how many times they’ve rebooted or tried to fix the team, and I think it all could have been avoided had DC followed Keith Giffen’s plans when he retconned so much of the team’s continuity, editing out Superboy.

Regardless, the point of this column is more to discuss Tom McCraw’s whole run than the end of it, which I’ll get back to.

When these comics first came out, I remember really not liking them.  This time around, I see more strengths than I did before, and suspect that most of my problems with the title come from the firm deadline that Zero Hour would have imposed on everything.  McCraw’s story about the Legion being framed by Universo and the Khunds never had enough space to really breathe. Aside from the stupidity of the new identities (more on that soon), this story could have lasted a few more issues and had much higher stakes, had space not become so limited.  The pacing was off from the beginning, and there were too many story elements (Rokk’s growing madness, Jacque’s detective work, Jo’s desire to search for Tinya) that were shoehorned in but not properly explored. I also would have liked to see more of the United Planets Academy squad, and just how the Heroes of Lallor ended up mindslaves for the Khunds.

There were two errors in this run that I found to be almost completely unforgivable.  The random changes in age wrought by Glorith were hard to swallow. Had that situation lasted for only an issue or two, I’d have been fine with it, but it seems to have been mostly used to get rid of some characters like Kent and Devlin, and then wasn’t explored as much as it could have been.  Having only Ayla continue to de-age didn’t make a lot of sense either.

And then there’s the new costumes and identities.  It sort of makes sense, when the team is in hiding, to try to look different, but the team was identified as the Legion during their fight on Rimbor, and after that, all pretence to them not being the Legion was dropped.  So why continue calling Vi Virus, or Rokk Polestar? These names were, to a one, stupid, with B-5 being perhaps the worst “disguise” name ever created. It would be like calling Superman S-Man, and expecting no one to figure it out.  It just didn’t make sense to me that the team that Giffen and the Bierbaums so clearly portrayed as having outgrown code names and uniforms would suddenly be all excited to take on new identities, and then insist on calling each other by them, to the point where Brin nicknamed Mysa “Jools”.  

Long before we as readers knew that the book was scheduled to end, it became clear that so much of what Giffen and the Bierbaums had done with the title was being squandered.  It was sad to see the title that had been so intelligent and complex, with intricate plotting and characterization, devolve into a slapped together adventure book, before arguing itself out of existence.

I will say that it’s pretty clear why Stuart Immonen became a superstar after this run (I think he went from here to Superman before Nextwave made him a big name artist).  His storytelling is always clear, and his characters really breathe.  

I decided that I am going to give the reboot Legion a real chance.  I know I want to read Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning’s run, and Legion Lost, but I’m not convinced that I’ll get through everything before that.  After the Zero Hour-mandated zero issues, LSH and Legionnaires effectively became one book, with the story continuing from one title to the next every two weeks.  That means I’m going to combine them into one column.  

If you’d like to see the archives of all of my retro review columns, click here.

These comics have not been collected in any trades.

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