Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Legion: Secret Origin #3

In which Phantom Girl signs up, Invisible Kid shows up and a spaceship blows up. Said unfortunate craft is coming through a wormhole in United Planets space, and it's assumed to be the latest assault from whoever attacked the planet Amatrom. Given its seeming size, Admiral Allon's fleet is taking no chances and with the aid of teenage genius Querl Dox - who likes to be called Brainiac 5 - they calculate the proper firepower to take it down.

That's the climax of this issue; before that we have Tinya Wazzo meeting the UP Security Directorate to hand over the data her homeworld, Bgtzl, has gathered on the Anotrom attackers. The big revelation is that Bgztl somehow moved itself out of reach before it was itself harmed - presumably, like Phantom Girl Tinya, the world can phase from the UP's plane of existence. Job done, she's off to join the Legion.

On Earth, Legion financier RJ Brande learns from telepath Imra Ardeen, the future Saturn Girl, that his would-be assassins were brain-addled dupes. Legion leader Cosmic Boy, aka Rokk Krinn, ponders how to sift through the best applicants coming forward to join the tyro team, and is thinking of an initiiation test. Brande, though, has other ideas - his aides Mala Lathan and Pheebs will take a look at the candidates. One fellow he pushes to the top of the pile looks to be a Durlan in off-planet form ...

Losing the admin frees up Rokk for a walk through 31st-century Metropolis with Brande, and a discussion about just what their new super-hero club will do. One obvious inspiration is the fabled Superman, whom Rokk insists existed - Imra having done the research. Ushering Rokk away, Brande utters the issue's best line: 'Now shoo, boy. I have to go over to UP Council and see today's price of cooperation.' The departure of Brande's 'bodyguard', though, opens the door to another attempt on his life - one stopped by an unseen employee - Lyle Norg, Earth-born Invisible Kid.

This is writer Paul Levitz's best issue yet in his extrapolation of the Legion's origins. While it still lacks the presence of a big, colourful foe, 'Connections' isn't lacking in interest. I enjoyed the surprise arrival of Invisible Kid hugely, while Brande's subtle 'sponsorship' of Chameleon Boy for membership seems to affirm that he remains Reep's father in this tweaked continuity. The characters of the young members are starting to show through - breezy Tinya, responsible Rokk, superior Querl - while the mystery of the Anotrom invaders builds.

On the art side, penciller Chris Batista, inker Marc Deering and colourist Wes Hartman are a fine team. My favourite sequence this time is the stroll through Metropolis taken by Rokk and Brande, showing us how densely - and fascinatingly - populated the mega-city is. It's a full page splash split into four and ... actually, it's easier to simply show you (click on image to enlarge):
Love that Protean with the briefcase.

By the end of this issue the Legion has five official members (Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy, Triplicate Girl and Phantom Girl), with two more teenage heroes around (Brainiac 5, Invisible Kid) and two others (Colossal Boy, Chameleon Boy) likely to show up at any minute. It's not quite Legion numbers, but we're getting there.

5 comments:

  1. I think I need to read the first three issues in a chunk to feel a little more of the momentum and the overall connections between the characters. For some reason, as a reader who's followed these characters since 1977... I'm a little lost. Or at least, not quite understanding the significance of certain events... which is strange, given my history with the title. For one thing, I have no clear idea what Brainy accomplished (or how he accomplished it) at the end of the issue.

    It was pretty late when I read it, though. Maybe I should just read it while awake.

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  2. I have to say that this is the most interesting of the Legion titles that we currently have (and there are 4 of them!!!). There's a number of mysteries that are still to be resolved, that we've never read about before. Then there's the new "spin" on all the other events. It's a good read.

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  3. Im sure I read in an old LSH issue that Phantom Girl's home world of Bgtzl can 'phase' in and out of its dimension just as Tinya can.
    This issue was much better, with a lot going on and a suitable move forward in plot; an interesting read so far.

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  4. I'm finding the modern incarnation of the LoSH so slow and so dull, it's actually irritating.

    I said in my own blog that I'm reninded me of the late 80s- the glacial pace of The Universo Project or the Conspiracy.Even the last LSV was about two or three chapters too long. Levitz needs someone like Giffen to liven up these snoozers.

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  5. Rob, I simply took it that Brainy was calibrating the energy blasts for optimum damage, though I can see 'full power' doing the job as efficiently.

    Novelty, as I was reading this issue I got the feeling I had when I was reading Elliot S Maggin's superb Last Son of Krypton Superman novel in the Seventies. Something about the 'behind-the-scenes feeling', I suppose.

    I'm pretty sure you're right, Karl - perhaps it was around the time of the Great Darkness Saga, to avoid marauding Daxamites?

    Oh, I loved the Universo Project, Dougie. Am clicking through to your blog ...

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