Sunday, July 7, 2013

LSH 1994 Reread, part seven

Covering Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 4 # 82-85 and Legionnaires# 39-41, 1996)

Major developments:

*Shrinking Violet has been elected team leader.
*After months of speculation, Tinya is confirmed to be alive. She "hid" inside of Jo's body at the point of her own body's physical death and it has taken all this time to get the strength to leave. She can only be seen by or communicate with Jo or other Bgtzlians like her mother.
*Cos and Imra seem to have started dating. Ayla's secret admirer is outed as Chameleon. She's not pleased.
*The heroes chase down Dr. Regulus, who's escaped captivity. Very weird things start happening. Triad splits into her three bodies, but they're all quite radically different: one is a seven or eight year-old girl and one is a brazen sexpot.
*The weirdness escalates. Cos believes that he is dating Imra, but XS believes that she is dating Cos. Brainy is getting room to work. Gates is thrilled that people are listening to his political rants. Leviathan's heart's desire is to die a hero. He gets his wish, breathtakingly, stopping Regulus and dying of his injuries. We learn why: Violet has discovered the Emerald Eye of Ekron, which is warping her subconscious wishes into reality, and everybody is getting what they want. But even the Eye can't revive the dead...
*The Eye has completely taken over Vi and enslaves the rest of the heroes. Imra breaks free from its control first, and there's a massive explosion as the Eye shunts half the team a thousand years into the past. It still has control over poor Salu, and retreats into space.
*Leviathan is buried with full honors on Shanghalla. Wazzo tries to enlist his parents into her cause to disband the Legion, but she is immediately put in her place by Admiral and Mrs. Allon, who remind her that their son was a soldier, and who died doing what he loved.
*Cos, Saturn Girl, Spark, Brainy, Gates, Ultra Boy, and Apparition arrive in the 20th Century above Metropolis, along with Science Police officer Shvaughn Erin and the Work Force's Inferno, who were present when the Eye was being overwhelmed. The city's Special Crimes Unit tangles with the team until Superman, who met the previous Legion on one of his recent travels in time, arrives to clear up the confusion.
*The creative team is as before: Tom McCraw, Tom Peyer, and Roger Stern writing, Lee Moder and Jeffrey Moy as principal artists. Mike Collins pencilled several pages in LSH # 83.

Argh, every time they pull the Legion out of the 20th Century, somebody pulls them back in. The previous two defied expectations, but this one is setting off all my alarm bells, and with good reason. The nine characters are going to stay in the 20th Century to first join the DC Universe in fighting the Sun-Eater during a weekly crossover called "Final Night," and they'll stay in the contemporary day for at least the next twelve months of issues.

But before that, things are very fast-paced and wild. I really love the way the creators chose to introduce the slightly altered realities from each Legionnaire's P.O.V. as apparent art errors. It looks, for all the world, like Lee Moder just plain forgot who he should be drawing in certain panels, but it all comes together as Violet loses her grip on the "real" reality. This means there's an interesting beat - a pause where we have to question whether Leviathan is really dead. This was a simply huge surprise. Nobody saw this coming.

The whole of the story, as it plays out across several issues, is really entertaining. The writers do a great job in just keeping the action moving. Yes, it's about five issues, but it's not like a five-issue fight scene. So much is going on that it feels epic, and it doesn't feel like the heroes are right to want to help Violet. In time, I believe that she'll be rescued, but for the present, it feels like she is gone, completely absorbed by the Emerald Eye. Reader sympathy is torn between the conventions of the genre - and like of the character - and what we see on the page, which does not suggest that anything of Salu Digby is left. It also leaves me wondering whether the Eye will meet up with the Empress of Venegar anytime soon.

But, sadly, things come to an end, and this story, again, leaves the team scattered. Several heroes have been transported back to the contemporary DC Universe. As it happens, I kind of like this version of DC - it's right on the cusp of Grant Morrison's very entertaining takeover of JLA - but I'm simply not looking forward to seeing what will happen with them next. I'd rather my Legion stay in the future.

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