Saturday, November 22, 2008

Week of 17 November 2008

(SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers. Don't read it before you've read the comic.)

"Whatever Happened to the Bug of Yesterday?"
ROLL CALL (Legion of Scrutinizers): Caustic Boy, Leering Lad, Sarcasm Girl

I knew it! I knew that if I kept buying issues of this crappy comic, sooner or later there would be some kind of lame Legion reference. And sure enough, here it is: a typically unfunny Keith Giffen joke.

The rest of the comic is unreadable. Sheesh. Only two more issues left...I wonder if there's going to be another Legion cameo, or can I stop wasting money now?

Things to do with the other 3 (non-Legion) issues of AMBUSH BUG YEAR NONE:

- Shred pages so the hamster can add to his nest
- Burn them to keep warm
- Wrap small presents in them
- Fold pages into colorful pirate hats
- Make papier mache Christmas tree decorations

"The Secret Origin of Starman"
ROLL CALL (Lightning Saga Legion): Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, Dawnstar, Dream Girl, Element Lad, Light Lass, Phantom Girl, Polar Boy, Starman/Star Boy, Superboy (hand & cape), Triplicate Girl, Wildfire
ROLL CALL (Earth-Zero Legion): Brainiac 5
ROLL CALL (Teenage Revolution Legion): Brainiac 5

A pretty important story: it fills in some of the missing pieces in the Lightning Saga Legion. (I'm tempted to start referring to this version as the Retro Legion, but we'll see.)

First, we see the three Brainiac 5's creating Star Boy's multiverse-map uniform, during the first Legion of Three Worlds adventure. Hey, this gives a way to roughly place that adventure in chronology. When did Thom start wearing this outfit? Sometime in the Levitz years, no? I shall have to go downstairs and search through the collection. It was definitely before the beard. And the Earth-Zero Brainy doesn't have white circles on his face, so this predates his upgrade to Brainiac 5.1.

Second, in the same scene, Brainy makes reference to "the lives of the Tornado Twins and Barry Allen's legacy" -- hinting that the first Legion of Three Worlds had something to do with Don and Dawn Allen.

Third, there's a flashback to (I'm guessing) a time shortly after the Lightning Saga. Brainy has a single lightning rod, and he makes reference to the coming Crisis of Tomorrow (i.e. L3W). Now here's the confusing part (okay, here's a confusing part): Only after the Lightning Saga did Thom leave on his mission to the 21st century. I had assumed that all the Legionnaires in Lightning Saga left the 31st century together.

So Dream Girl, Wildfire, and Dawnstar in this story have already been back to the Lightning Saga, while Thom has not yet been there. Thom is about to go back in time, spend a period in Kingdom Come, and then join up with the Justice Society to live through the Lightning Saga.

Brain hurts.

BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS: This is a fairly faithful retelling of key events in Thom's life. It leaves out his extra comet-inspired powers and the whole Sir Prize stuff, but that would have complicated things anyway. The implication is that he didn't rejoin the Legion until he got his new outfit, but I think that's another simplification; in classic continuity, he rejoined fairly soon after he left.

Okay, who's the caucasian crew-cut blond guy in the panel where Thomn joins the Legion? His nameplate indicates that he's Brainy, but his outfit is brown-not-purple, and his skin is white-not-green. Colorist's error? That seems unlikely, although it's possible. (But Brainy is colored correctly a few panels later, on the same page.) Could this possibly be an inside joke, based on the obscure history of ADVENTURE 247?

The explanation requires a digression. When ADVENTURE 247 was originally published, there were a few panels that showed other Legionnaires besides the three founders. One of them was a caucasian guy in a brown shirt. In later reprintings of that story, this guy was recolored to have green skin and a purple shirt. Later fandom assumed him to be Brainy, and used that as a clue in deducing the order in which the Legionnaires joined...establishing, for one thing, that Supergirl joined before Superboy. Eventually, this order became an established part of Legion continuity. Geoff Johns just making a nod to the fans (ha, ha, I'll have the colorist make an "error" and portray Brainy as caucasian and brown-shirted")? Or is tis an even more elaborate retcon, meant to establish that there was a period when Briany actually was caucasian and wore a brown shirt?

That's a bit baroque and convoluted even for Get-a-Life Boy, but I kinda like the idea. Maybe Brainy was in the middle of some mission that required him to masquerade as a caucasian brown-shirt...a mission that covered the period when Superboy and Starboy joined the Legion?

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