In this issue, the galaxy is dealing with the outbreak of open warfare on Earth between the Dominators who’ve been secretly running Earthgov and the humans who’ve risen up in revolt since the Dominators’ manipulations of Earthgov has been exposed by, among other things, the enterprising reporting of the Daily Planet. Now a United Planets fleet has arrived to take on the Dominators and support the anti-Earthgov resistance.
In the early pages of the issue, we get an on-the-spot report from a news reporter whom I’m guessing was male in the layouts, because we named the reporter Cefn Gould after Interlacker Kevin Gould, but Jason Pearson drew a female reporter. The news anchor back in the studio, by the way, is one-time Legion applicant Antenna Boy.
We then see Universo and his “handler” from the Dark Circle, who says it’s time to signal the Dark Circle and have them move to seize Earth through Universo’s arm of the underground resistance, but Universo uses his hypnotic powers to convince the Dark Circle agent to kill himself. We never find out who the agent behind the Dark Circle mask actually is, but his coerced suicide ended any speculation that the agent was secretly Devlin O’Ryan, whose sweater carries the same star-and-circle insignia the agent wore. Universo then takes off, leaving all the Dark Circle members of his resistance behind in the secret headquarters, allowing Universo to detonate a destruct mechanism and rid himself of his inconvenient allies. The driver of Universo’s shuttle is named “Linder” after our X-Apan friend Randy Linder.
We shift to the U.P. fleet being headed up by a member of Tellus’ race, an officer referred to as Admiral Darios. He’s got his hands full in a duel with the Dominator leader, Pinnacle Command, who orders his fleet to take positions directly above Earth’s major populations centers, so if Dario fires down on the Dominator Battle Wagons, the debris and missed shots will rain down on the human population below.
Next we go beneath Science Police Earth HQ, where the unlikely team of Bounty, Spider Girl and former crooked SPE officer Circe are tunneling into the SPE station. They catch some Dominators linking the Dominion database to the Earthgov database and Circe takes advantage of the opportunity to hit the Dominion database with a purge code that starts wiping out their computer network.
In another scene, we see a group of former SPE officers battling Dominion soldiers and find out that one of the leaders of this group of ex-Science Police officers is Sean, the true male identity of the character formerly known as Shvaughn.
There’s a page that I like where members of the underground resistance like Jacques (Invisible Kid II), Tyroc, Tenzil (Matter-Eater Lad) and Staq (Fire Lad) are debating whether they can continue to work with Sade, one of the subjects the Dominion was experimenting on in the underground chambers. It seems that after Universo’s reckless, ruthless lieutenant Grinn blew up the underground chambers, killing numerous people including three of the young SW6 Legionnaires, Sade reacted by unceremoniously dumping Grinn out of their ship, sending him to his death.
Nearby we find Sade arguing the merits of her ruthless approach with Dag (Stone Boy) and then moving on to chew out Valor for his inaction when his great powers could quickly mop up the Dominators and end the bloody war for control of Earth. Valor says he’s not going to impose a quick, clean solution on this mess —this is a fight the people of Earth will have to win for themselves. I don’t know that we made a real case that there was a good reason for Valor to do anything but use his full powers, but it does make sense that the idea of one extremely powerful hero imposing an instant solution to what’s somewhat of a civil war doesn’t really appeal to a character like Valor. In reality, I think what Valor was doing was awaiting specific orders, and if the wise leaders of the resistance, the Legion and the U.P. had thought about it and decided Valor should just start trying to win this war single-handedly, that’s what he would have done. But it wasn’t Valor’s style to ignore the chain of command and use his powers to impose solutions on other people.
Back in Metropolis, we run into what’s left of Dirk (the adult Sun Boy), whose powers have been burning him alive since he was bathed in the “null radiation” of a powersphere explosion. He’s clearly still going through the delusions we saw him experiencing back in LSH #28. He’s just emerged from a pile of rubble, having survived the detonation of the underground chambers that Grinn set off.
Elsewhere in Metropolis, we find out that the arm of the underground resistance that Jan (Element Lad) is working with has been assigned to liberate that city. Jan is itching for action after the Dominator ships streaking across the sky remind him of the fleet Roxxas used back on Trom when he wiped out the entire native population of that planet except for Jan.
Back up in the atmosphere, the Dominion leader Pinnacle Command finds his ship suddenly controlling itself, flying toward capture by a U.P. warship. At that point, Pinnacle Command discovers the young SW6 Laurel Gand has been shoving the Dominator ship to the enemy fleet. So things are not looking good for the Dominators, especially when we go to the home world of the Dominion, Elia, and find out it’s about to be invaded by an unnamed force that’s been overrunning that empire. The home world will no longer be of any help to Pinnacle Command and his reeling forces on Earth. And that’s where we leave the story at the end of #34.
This was a time when it felt like the book was moving pretty efficiently, with Keith cranking out the layouts and Jason Pearson delivering the pencils right on schedule, after we’d gone a few years needing to improvise fill-in issues every several months because it was so hard for Keith to keep up with all the plotting and penciling duties. We probably lost a little of the impact of Keith’s pencils telling his own story — I think in a lot of ways, the story would evolve as Keith decided how to draw each panel, so a particular expression or interesting visual would find its way onto the page and the story would get a dose of inspiration and unpredictability that didn’t happen as often when the last time Keith was directly involved was when he laid out a page. As dialoguers, we were probably hitting the nail on the head less often during this era because we were now dialoguing off Keith’s layouts prior to Jason’s pencils and couldn’t as exactly match the expressions and feel of the actual pencils the way we could when we were dialoguing directly off of Keith’s pencils. But these all seemed like very minor compromises to allow us to keep the book closer to a regular schedule. In fact, in this issue’s letter column, they talk about a month of double Legion issues, which I guess came to pass and demontrated how much more efficiently the book was running through this period than it had been earlier.
It was an exciting time for the Legion, with this issue including a six-page preview of Al Gordon’s “Timber Wolf” mini-series and the letters page explaining that the Terra Mosaic would be wrapped up in the following two issues, then three issues later there’d be a double-sized Legion featuring the introduction of the new “Legionnaires” series. The letters page also teases the sports-related issue #37 and the “earth-shattering” events coming in Legion #38.
It's OK, I'm a Senator
Legion Recollections by Tom Bierbaum
- Recollections of Legion #34