Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Week of 12 May 2010

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

ADVENTURE #514/#11 (7/10)
"Last Stand of New Krypton: The Epilogue is the Future"

ROLL CALL (Major):
Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Matter-Eater Lad, Mon-El, Sensor Girl, Starman/Star Boy, Tellus; also Vril Dox

ROLL CALL (Cameos):
Bouncing Boy, Chameleon Girl, Colosal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Dawnstar, Duplicate Damsel, Gates, Invisible Kid (Jacques), Lightning Lass, Night Girl, Phantom Girl, Polar Boy, Saturn Girl, Shadow Lass, Shrinking Violet, Sun Boy, Timber Wolf, Ultra Boy, Wildfire, XS

MYSTERIOUSLY ABSENT: Element Lad, Lightning Lad, Quislet

CUTE BOYS: Brainy, Dirk, Gim, Jo, Mon, Rokk, Tenzil, Vril Dox (but Brainy's cuter!)

This issue has two covers, and Legion fans are going to want both. The variant one departs from the usual Adventure #300 style, and instead divides up space into polygons and circles, recalling Flash Comics #1; you don't suppose someone read my post The Tale of a Classic Cover, do you?

In this one issue, all the Legion-related dangling threads from the Superman books are tied up, almost as an afterthought. If James Robinson wrote as concisely as Sterling Gates does in this first story, Last Stand of New Krypton would've been one single oversize issue...and vastly improved for it.

Anyway, the story: Cham and some of the Espionage Squad (Quislet and Element Lad are mysteriously absent) follow the instructions of R.J. Brande's will, repairing the broken strands of time that have fractured the continuum and sealed off the future. They enlarge one of Brainiac's bottled cities, filled with Durlans, to become New Durla. This city contains Queltop Daggle, ancestor of Ren Daggle (R.J. Brande) and Reep Daggle (Chameleon Boy). Thus, one broken strand of time has been repaired.

Next, Brainy is in a ship taking his ancestor, Brainiac, back to Colu for imprisonment. Brainiac almost escapes, but is stopped by Vril Dox of L.E.G.I.O.N. (another ancestor of Brainy's). Vril takes Brainiac to Colu to collect the ransom. Brainy reflects that the Legion stopped Brainiac from killing Superman, and saved the bottled cities that would have been destroyed. The space-time continuum is healed, and Brainy takes a time sphere back to the 31st century, where he is welcomed by almost all the active Legionnaires. (Blok and Mysa are presumably on Xerox, but Lightning Lad is mysteriously absent. Montior duty, maybe?)

BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS: Over the thousand years between our time and the Legion's, New Durla has become simply "Durla." Brainy mentions that in the 21st century, the Durlans are nomadic, and "there are thousands of tribes hidden in pockets across the universe." The ones Brianiac captured ("centuries ago") were called the Kel'par.

Brainy's log entry is numbered 20100512, which is the date that this comic hit the stands: year 2010, month 05, day 12.

Time bubbles are now known as "time spheres." The one Brainy uses is Time Sphere 426. Does this imply that there have been at least 425 others?


ADVENTURE #514/#11 (7/10)
"Man of Valor Finale"

ROLL CALL (Major):
Cosmic Boy, Mon-El; also Superboy (Conner), R.J. Brande (recorded voice)

ROLL CALL (Cameos):
Brainiac 5, Chemical King, Cosmic Boy, Duplicate Damsel, Element Lad, Invisible Kid (Lyle), Lightning Lad, Matter-Eater Lad, Quislet, Saturn Girl, Sensor Girl, Shrinking Violet, Starman/Star Boy, Sun Boy, Superboy (Kal), Tellus, Timber Wolf, Ultra Boy

CUTE BOYS: Brainy, Conner, Dirk, Garth, Jan, Jimmy Olsen, Jo, Mon, Rokk, Tenzil

Well, it all played out pretty much the way I expected. Mon planted the bottled cities all over the galaxy; their original planets and/or suns were destroyed, but he found empty ones. In doing this, Mon became a legend...not "Valor," but "Mon-El"...who seeded many of the important worlds of the galaxy. In previous continuity, Valor seeded the worlds with Earth humans who had been experimented upon by the Dominators; this time around, Mon-El seeds the worlds with aliens from Brianiac's bottled cities. The other way, it explained why so many "alien" races looked human and could interbreed; this way, it begs the looks and interbreeding questions, but allows the other worlds to be populated by true "aliens." This fits into the Geoff Johns notion of Earth hostility toward aliens.

So why, in the Leigon's time, do so many alien races look human and have the ability to interbreed with humans? Perhaps there was some earlier common ancestor: the Kryptonians were shown spewing colonies across the universe, so it's conceivable that Rimborians and Xanthusians and all the others are degenerate Kryptonian stock. Or, perhaps convergent evolution leads to the humanoid form, and interbreeding is possible through advanced 31st century science.

Anyway, Mon takes the last city (the telepathic Lanothians) to Titan. He spends four...whole...pages fighting with Jemm, Son of Saturn, for no apparent reason, then the Lanothians charm Jemm and take on the name "Titanians."

Back to Metropolis, where Jimmy Olsen laments the fact that he never had hot boy-boy Daxamite sex with Mon. We are told that Mon is ill and looks awful, but honestly I don't see it -- he looks fine, except for the occasional discreet cough (and a poignant panel where he pretends to be weak just to get a hug out of Conner). Jimmy, who seems remarkably understanding about that whole leave-me-to-get-shot-and-float-face-down-in-Metropolis-harbor-for-two-months-until-the-giant-slug-resuces-me thing, gives Mon the location of a hidden Atlantic Ocean base where the General Lane's gorilla scientist (yes, there's a gorilla) is hiding out. Incidentally, the gorilla's name is Calomar. We learn the secret that the writer has been keeping from us for no good reason, that Calomar's also been studying a Daxamite woman.

Who is Calomar and where did he get a Daxamite woman? A footnote refers us to Human Defense Corps #2 (2003). Guess I have to visit the back-issue bins.

Anyway, Mon rescues the Daxamite (whom he has left to be tortured by Calomar this whole time had other things on his mind? He was trying to emulate Superman, and figured behaving like an asshole was the best way? Because the writer wanted to save this surprise until the end of the interminable series?) (I mean, seriously, couldn't he have rescued the woman before heading out to seed the universe? The rescue took him all of 23 seconds.) We are left to figure out that the reason Calomar was so interested in Daxamite boy-parts is because he'd already had an eyeful of Daxamite girl-parts, and he wanted to compare. Seems to me, based on Billi Harper and the numerous Human boys Mon-El has fooled around with, that there can't be that much of a difference between Human boy-parts and Daxamite boy-parts -- and that both are probably similar to gorilla boy-parts -- so Calomar's curiosity looks awfully prurient.

Anyway. Mon puts the Daxamite woman aboard his repaired rocketship (which Conner repaired for him). She tells Mon that "Lar Gand, the Wanderer" is a hero and a legend on Daxam, well-known among those, like her, who "seek the stars." She came to Earth to find him. Mon answers, "Well, chippie, you found me, now get out of here and leave me alone with my boy-toy Conner, we've only got a few minutes for a few dozen super-speed quickies before lead poisoning kills me."

Suprise, in pops Chameleon Boy -- grown-up Chameleon Boy, fulfilling the last task in Brande's will. Cham explains that the Phantom Zone has "been recreated, but it's locked off from the 21st century. That's how it has to be." How come? Because that's what the writer says, that's how come. Because we already know that Mon has to spend 900-odd years in the Zone, and why not torment him further by rubbing in the fact that it's going to be at least the 22nd century before he can get out?

Does Cham say, "Hey, buddy, step into this time sphere, I'll zap you to the 29th century and then we'll pop you in the Phantom Zone for a few years, just long enough to satisfy history, I promise it won't be long"? Does Cham say, "I am a caring and compassionate hero in my own right, and there's no way I'm going to leave you to suffer for nearly a thousand years because my dead father said so"? Does Cham say, "I represent the Legion of Super-Heroes, a group powerful enough to defeat gods, rewrite history, and bring deliverance to all who suffer, and I am not going to allow you to spend a thousand years in torment no matter what"? No. Cham says, "Hey, sorry about the suffering and torment, wish I could give you some concrete hope, but wotthehell, it'll all be over sometime in the future. Now get in the Torment Zone and leave me alone with my boy-toy Conner, we've only got a few hours for some hot Durlan sex."

Mon goes into the Zone and whiles away the centuries clinging to hope. Finally, after six panels (each one lasting about 160 years), a hand reaches in and pulls him out -- it's Superboy (Kal) and the teenage Legion.

BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS: Isn't it nice to see Lyle and Condo, if only for a moment? Good to see that the deceased Legionnaires aren't being forgotten.

It is not stated exactly when Mon was released from the Zone. It should have been the 30th century, but saying that would've been too confusing for readers, I guess.

The teen Legionnaires who welcome Mon to the future are Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Chameleon Boy, Invisible Kid (Lyle), Lightning Lad, Sun Boy, and Triplicate Girl.  In Classic continuity, there were a few others who were already members when Mon-El was first released from the Zone in Adventure #300: Bouncing Boy, Colossal Boy, Phantom Girl, Shrinking Violet, Star Boy, Supergirl, and Ultra Boy. When Mon joined permanently, in Adventure #305, Lightning Lad was dead.


BOOSTER GOLD #32 (7/10)
"Tense Future!"


Emerald Empress

CUTE BOYS: Booster's kinda cute. As is Rip Hunter.

Booster goes to to the future -- specifically, to Daxam during the heart of the Great Darkness Saga, when Darkseid has given super-powers to the entire Daxamite populations, and they're all using their heat vision to reshape the planet into the form of Darkseid's head. While he's there, he runs into the Emerald Empress and brings back Doctor Fate's helmet (to keep it out of Darkseid's hands) and a little girl he rescued.

BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS: According to Rip Hunter, Darkseid conquered Daxam on Thursday, April 8, 3082. This is so wrong. First, April 8, 3082 is going to be a Saturday...look at any calendar. Second, 3082 is deep, deep in the 31st century. The Great Darkness took place in the 30th century. He means 2982. Except, of course, he means 2984, which is when the Great Darkness took place in Classic and 5-Year-Gap continuity.


R.E.B.E.L.S. #16 (7/10)
"What Happens in Vega... Part 2"

ROLL CALL (Major):

Adam Strange, Amon Hakk, Bounder, Captain Comet, Ciji, Starfire, Vril Dox, Wildstar, Xylon

ROLL CALL (Cameos):

Garryn Bek (flashback cameo), Lobo (flashback cameo), Lyrissa Mallor (flashback cameo), Stealth (flashback cameo), Strata (flashback cameo)

CUTE BOYS: Adam Strange, Captain Comet, Vril Dox

Dox and L.E.G.I.O.N. are settling in on Rann, which is now located where Tamaran used to be. In the process, he's making lots of enemies within and without the Vega system.

BITS OF L.E.G.I.O.N.NAIRE BUSINESS: Dox establishes that he was cloned from the original Brainiac, "solely to assist his quest for knowledge." That clinches it: this time around, the original Brainiac is flesh-and-blood, not a robot/android/whatever.

Dox also recounts the origin of L.E.G.I.O.N. from the Starlag prison to the founding of the group. It's nice to see the original crew, if only in one flashback panel, but I miss Telepath. And wasn't there a Durlan intimately involved? One who, once upon a time, moved to the 30th century and became R.J. Brande? I'm assuming that didn't happen in this continuity (please, gods, don't let that have happened in this continuity), but surely the Durlan was there? (OTOH, he's a Durlan, so he could be in the picture. How would we know?)

Blackfire's identification bubble got mixed up with Wildstar's. It's Wildstar has powers of flight, energy projection,  and interstellar tracking; Blackfire's powers are flight, strength, and energy projection. Wildstar's homeworld of Starhaven is given correctly, but Blackfire hails from Tamaran, not Starhaven.


1 comment:

Brainy Pirate said...

Re: Mon-El back in the Zone

I was hoping they could simply shuttle him forward directly to the 3oth/31st century. (Besides, if he's built up immunity to Brainy's serum, how exactly are they going to be able to heal him in the future?)

Still, this part of the story should have gotten an entire issue, not just 1/2 of 1/2. Imagine the debates that could have gone on--what would Conner's take on this be? And they could rehearse his life so far and pull it all together for us.

Oh well....