Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Week of 22 September 2010

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

"A Choice of Destinies"


Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Dawnstar, Dream Girl, Earth-Man, Gates, Lighting Lad (cover only), Lightning Lass (cover only), Phantom Girl, Quislet, Saturn Girl (cover only), Sensor Girl, Shadow Lass, Shrinking Violet, Sun Boy, Tellus, Timber Wolf, Ultra Boy, High Seer Beren, Circadia Senius, Doctor Li, S.P. Chief Zendak, Durlans

CUTE BOYS: Brainy, Brin, Dirk (looking exceptionally adorable), Gim, Jo (cute green shorts on the last page), Rokk

Two covers again this time around. The regular one, by the magnificent Yildiray Cinar,  is a stunning group action shot of a bunch of Legionnaires; it would make a great poster or cover of a trade paperback.  The alternate one, by Jim Lee, is a beautiful picture of Timber Wolf and links up with last month's Mon-El cover.

A Legion team goes to the Painted Desert refugee camp to rescue Titanian refugees from a starliner that crashed in their camp. An army of Human supremacists called the Earth Force appears to attack the Legionnaires. The Earth Force nearly has the team defeated, when Earth-Man shows up (followed in short order by a second team of Leigonnaires). In the end the Earth Force is defeated and S.P.s take them into custody.

Earth-Man, professing a change of heart, leads the Legion and the S.P.s to his erstwhile comrades, telling the supremacists that they are not his kind.

Meanwhile on Naltor, Dyogene appears and offers a power ring, not to Nura, but to Doctor Li...who angrily refuses it, talking trash about the Guardians. (Guess she's pissed because she broke their law and got the Time Institute -- not to mention Titan -- blown up.)

Meanwhile meanwhile, Brainy (with the help of his old friend and teacher Circadia Senius) repairs the time bubble that was damaged in Saturn Girl's recent trip. Circadia Senius talks about his favorite student, the first humanoid he could really relate to: Professor Harmonia Li. Seems that Doctor Li has "been studying time theory for so many decades, so obsessively -- she was determined to master it."

Meanwhile meanwhile meanwhile, Chief Zendak (looking very distinguished, might I add) arrives at S.P. Headquarters for a conference. He doesn't make it, though -- he is killed by those Durlans we saw a few issues back. One of them takes Zendak's appearance and identity, for nefarious reasons of vengeance.

And finally, Tinya walks in on Shadow Lass and Earth-Man in the sack together. Tinya is not happy. (Old joke: Shady says, "No, my dear, I am surprised. You are merely astonished." No, not really.)


When Dyogene shows up on Naltor, Nura says "I saw myself with you." Dyogene answers, "This ring calls to one brave, strong, and gifted as you are...and yet not." Way back in the Universo Project storyline (Legion of Super-Heroes #32-35, March-June 1987), it was established that Nura's willpower is extremely strong (same with Brainy, Cham, and well as Atmos, Xera of Manna 5, the Silver Sword, Gas Girl, and Energax, among others). Since willpower is what makes green power rings go, it's not surprising that Nura would be considered as a possible Green Lantern.

Harmonia Li is an ambiguous figure. She's been cast as a tragic hero as well as someone suffering under a huge load of guilt...yet at the same time, she pushed the whole "look at the beginning of the universe" thing, and the others who've done that are usually villains: Krona, Sinestro, even Vidar/Universo. On the other hand, Pariah also did the same, and he was a good guy.

One suspects that Doctor Li will become a bad guy of some sort, perhaps a major one. Knowing Paul Levitz, one also suspects that Doctor Li is not all she seems; that perhaps she is a known villain in disguise. Luckily she has dark hair, so we can hope she's not Glorith (shudder). She might be the Time Trapper...everyone is, sooner or later. But with the announcement that the upcoming Legion Annual will feature a new Emerald Empress, I wouldn't be surprised to see Harmonia Li find an Emerald Eye somewhere, and take on a new identity.

Come to think of it, the Emerald Eye is a sort of evil counterpart to a green power ring. Both use green energy, both depend on their owner's willpower to manifest green energy constructs, both have virtually infinite potential limited only by the will of their owners. You Read It Here First.

(Either that, or Doctor Li is Darkseid. Think about it...have you ever seen the two of them together?)

Earth-Man's former comrades, the Human supremacists, are a really multicultural group. I see a Native American, East Asians (including an Avatar Aang lookalike), a South Asian, an African, men and women both. This is a really fine touch -- it shows how anybody can become a bigot, no matter what their ethnic background...while at the same time it brings us 21st century readers face-to-face (literally) with some of our own prejudices. This is the kind of things that an illustrated medium like comics can do so tremendously well.

On another level, notice how diversity and uniformity are portrayed in this series. In this issue, the Earth Force members are all in uniform and look identical; the bad Durlans all take on the same form (and even transform themselves into identical-looking birds). The Legion, on the other hand, are made up of a lot of different body types in colorful, individualized uniforms.

I'm not saying this holds up in all cases. As mentioned above, the evil supremacists are a pretty diverse-looking group, and the S.P.s (presumably on the side of good) run around in identical faceless uniforms. But it's still an interesting visual statement.


Dyogene names Doctor Li "the new Green Lantern of Sector 2814." Do we know for sure that Naltor is in Sector 2814? And in last issue, Sodam Yat told Dyogene that "The Corps is fated to be reborn on Earth, among humanity on the mother world of that species." Now, if Sodam Yat told you to go birth the Corps on Earth, would you go scurrying off to Naltor? Me neither.

One possible explanation is that Doctor Li is an Earth-person, even if she's temporarily on Naltor, and Dyogene was going for the next available Earth-person candidate no matter where she was. Another explanation is that Dyogene has a really, really bad sense of direction, and thought he was on Earth the whole time.



Cosmic Comix was having a 50%-off sale on miniseries. I rescued one copy each of the Legionnaires 3 (1986) and Cosmic Boy (1986-7) miniseries. Both are four-issue series.

I already have both, so I'm going to give these away. In order to spread the wealth, the prizes will go to two different people. Here's how you can win one:

The Legionnaires 3 miniseries will go to the person with the most creative answer to this question: Who will Doctor Li turn out to be? Put your answers in comments to this post.

The Cosmic Boy miniseries will go to the person with the most creative answer to this quesiton: Who will Dyogene choose next as the new Green Lantern of Sector 2814? Put your answers in comments to this post.

Points will be awarded for cleverness, absurdity, originality, and total lack of plausibility. Extra points to those who can work a naked Mon-El into their answers.

I will make my final decision on Wednesday, October 13, and announce it in the post for that date.

Good luck!


Craigopher said...

On the subject of Harmonia Li, I interpreted from the Chronarch's words that she was his favorite teacher, not his favorite pupil. Brainy is talking about how great teachers can be crucial, and the Chronarch mentions her as his own favorite (teacher). He also says she has been studying time travel for "so many decades," which implies to me more decades that the Chronarch has been studying time - significantly more, and Levitz emphasizes the Chronarch's age several times in this issue. .

However, in issue #1, Harmonia tells Saturn Girl that they have met once before, when Harmonia was Rond Vidar's student. If she is truly obsessed with time and time travel, then its not a stretch that she might be both the Chronarch's teacher and Rond Vidar's student.

Your conjectures that she is the Time Trapper or Glorith are both valid. While its not strong evidence, I note that she is wearing purple in this issue, and she scoffs that the Guardians are "least of the immortals" as though being immortal is no big deal to her. If she has been living in multiple time periods, then its conceivable that she could have met the Legion as the Time Trapper in a later stage of her life but an earlier period for the Legion. This gives her plenty of time to develop a hatred for the Legion which will explain the Time Trapper's vendetta against them.

If she is really obsessed with time, it would be easy to imagine her becoming the Time Trapper's student (Glorith) and eventually taking the Trapper's place. I too would not be thrilled to see Glorith return in this timeline if she has the same personality. But if handled well, I could live with it. Of any Legion writer, I would trust Levitz to use this in an interesting way.

Prof. Lemaris Lang said...

I can't recall if we have seen him in action, but I am going out on a limb and saying . . . Chuck Taine.

Rob said...

Hmm. Who will be the new GL in the 31st century?

Well, highly unlikely to be anyone already powered. They tried that with Earth-Man and I doubt Levitz would mess with any existing LSHers without incurring readers' wrath! So it has to be a side character who has exhibited bravery in the past. How's about Gigi Cusimano?

Or, failing that, Dyogene gets it really wrong and hands it to Mordru by accident...