Sunday, May 26, 2013

LSH 1994 Reread, part three

(Covering Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 4 # 68-71, (but not Annual # 6), and Legionnaires # 25-28 (but not Annual #2), 1995)

Major developments:

*The Legionnaires defeat Tangleweb, who has been augmenting his intelligence by absorbing his victims' minds, but Andromeda's horrible attitude and phobias are not winning her any friends, even though she comes through in the end.
*A war criminal from Durla comes to Earth to hunt down Cham. He has the power to not just shape-shift, but to copy all the Legionnaires' powers. He calls himself the Composite Man. Shutting down the villain's brain is more than Imra can take; she is transferred to a psychiatric facility, catatonic.
*Kinetix, looking to increase her power or gain more through ancient artifacts, loses her abilities when she uncovers a star-shaped object that counteracts the effects of the first one that had originally given her superpowers.
*Jo and Tinya get to know each other a little better, and Jo's team, the Work Force, breaks up a criminal gang. These are revealed to be more members of the White Triangle, who resent the Work Force's owner, McCauley, selling arms to both themselves as well as to the people of other planets whom they detest.
*The White Triangle makes its move. Mostly racist Daxamites, they start murdering interspecies couples on Earth before destroying the stargates that allow interplanetary transport, and then wiping out the population of the planet Trom in a genocidal attack from space.
*Andromeda confesses that she's an unwitting White Triangle agent and, after Brainiac 5 gives her a new serum to make her immune to lead poisoning, she goes out for revenge on the Daxamite diplomats who maneuvered her into the Legion.
*The White Triangle attacks Earth, and I'm not sure how it ends because I didn't know that I needed Legionnaires Annual # 2 to finish the story. Blast.
*The basic creative team is as before: Mark Waid, Tom McCraw, and Tom Peyer writing, with Lee Moder and Jeffrey Moy the principal artists. Guest artists include Mike Collins and Joyce Chin.

Mark Waid finished out his co-writing and development of the Legion with this run of issues. They wrap up the first major subplots, culminating in a battle with the White Triangle. That will have big repercussions, which I'll look at in the next installment.

Beyond that... well, I apologize to anybody following along who's looking for any real insight from me into these issues, but I find analyzing them a little tough. They are rock-solid, very entertaining comics. As the team wrapped up their first year developing the new Legion, they could honestly say that they did even better than anybody reading would have guessed. The letters pages of both books were absent for several months, and when they returned, the editors had the right attitude and printed quite a few letters from older fans who were aggravated that DC Comics had closed the original Legion off and started fresh.

I would love to see a good reprint program for these comics, and not in any half-assed way, either. This book is every bit as good, if not better, than the wonderful Starman from the same period, and look at how beautifully DC spruced up those collections.

Well, I say that now, but looking ahead to the next batch of issues, I see that the very silly and badly dated '90s Superboy - you remember, the one with the really bad haircut and the Lennon spectacles - shows up for a three-issue guest star part. Gulp.

Anyway, my favorite moments involve the nascent formation of the Espionage Squad, with Invisible Kid, Apparition, Triad, Vi, and Chameleon basically doing their own thing regardless of what the leader-man tells them. It leads to the big cliffhanger about halfway through the run, when Vi comes back from Andromeda's room holding a White Triangle pendant. My least favorite moments were realizing that I needed two more issues to read the whole story. I don't own either of the 1995 Annuals. LSH Annual # 6 contains the story in which Kinetix loses her powers, and the whole shebang is wrapped up in Legionnaires Annual # 2. I ran by a couple of places in the 'burbs that still sell back issues and they didn't have copies of these issues. What an aggravation. Maybe I'll find them one day.

No comments: