This is as much as anything Bounty’s issue. She's the coldly efficient bounty-hunter character who has an uncanny resemblance to a certain ex-Legion lady. In #36 for the first time, we get into the head of this character and find her lusting after adrenaline and the thrill of a kill, virtually going through withdrawals after the end of the killing orgy she was enjoying during the war. The perky SW6 kids are driving her crazy, so she takes off and runs into Sade, the assassin who joined forces with the Subs’ underground resistance during the war for Earth. Since technically there’s a “dead or alive” bounty out for the assassin Sade, Bounty decides she’ll be the one to bring Sade in, preferably dead.
They have an interesting, intense battle, matching Sade’s teleportational powers with Bounty’s uncanny tracking abilities. Sade prevails and blows some huge holes in Bounty’s abdomen. With Bounty near death, an entity flees the body and leaves behind the actual inhabitant of the body, who yes, turns out to be ex-LSHer Dawnstar, and she’s now suffering horrible pain because she’s suddenly once again conscious and in control of her body, which has been grievously wounded.
We find out that everyone had noticed the similarity between Bounty and Dawnstar but couldn’t get past what a totally different person Bounty was and so believed it was someone else who happened to look a lot like their old teammate (sans wings). With quick medical attention from the SW6 Brainy, Dawnstar has a chance to survive her wounds. The older Brainy and Rokk are hoping to learn more about the Bounty entity that inhabited her, but I don’t believe we ever picked up on the plotline again, other than to show the traumatized Bounty in the medi-bay, recovering from her injuries.
I think Al Gordon came up with the concept of Bounty and by this point Al was working on the Timber Wolf mini-series and was no longer actively involved in the mother book. And once the main plotting had shifted to Mary and I as of #39, we weren’t as interested in picking up on this storyline, in part because it was kind of complicated to tell clear, simple stories involving an entity that takes over a body of someone else and because any Bounty story so tended toward intense violence, which isn’t my favorite thing to write. It’s also a lot simpler to write characters that are kind of “community property” — having been written by lots of writers over the years — than ones that have just been created by other writers who have a valid “ownership” claim on those characters (probably part of the reason Kono and Devlin reportedly haven't been used much since our exit).
There are a few scenes in the issue where we see that Jacques (Invisible Kid II) Foccart has been drafted into the role of President of Earth and he’s not very happy with the heavy responsibility, especially after having just spent years in the high-stress/high-risk role of leader of the underground resistance during the war for Earth. The highlight of these scenes for me is the first one, where a very shapely and barely fig-leafed Drura (Infectious Lass) is alternately comforting and teasing Jacques about his predicament.
The most powerful plotline in this issue is probably the grimmest moment of the entire series. The adult Dirk is suffering a long, agonizing death as his runaway powers incinerate what’s left of his body. Circe (the corrupt Science Police Earth cop who was heading up Earth’s police force and secretly doing the bidding of the Dominators) takes matters into her own hands and kills Dirk to end his suffering. Then we find out how much Dirk actually meant to the cynical, compromised cop as she turns the gun on herself. It’s a very bleak conclusion to a very bleak storyline, and one I didn’t relish at all. It felt genuine and honest to me, though, and a meaningful commentary on corruption and the steep cost of cooperating with those who wield power amorally.
Giving the storyline an additional level of poignancy is the presence of the young SW6 Dirk, who has to witness the horrific end of his older self. We find out in this issue how much the young Dirk realizes the traits that led the older Dirk to his demise are traits that the younger Dirk completely shares. This adds irony and possible tragedy to the SW6 Dirk, who we’ll see falling into his same, old negative behavior patterns as time goes on during the “Legionnaires” series.
The issue then closes with three vignettes. As kind of a transitional scene, we see the older Valor heading out into space, needing to get back to Shadow Lass and forget all the carnage he’s witnessed on Earth. Then we pick up with Jan (Element Lad) informing Jacques that he's heading out into the galaxy himself to resume his "spiritual journey." And finally we see the smitten young couple Devlin O’Ryan and Violet, as Devlin thinks about the people who didn’t survive the war — the SW6 Cham, Projectra and Karate Kid, as well as Dawn and Don Allen and many others. Violet says Devlin’s reporting for the Interstellar Press will help people understand what went on and make sure the galaxy learns from the mistakes that were made on Earth. Devlin has the feeling the people Earth can ultimately survive the horrors they've gone through, with heroes like the Legionnaires to lead the way. On that hopeful note, the issue closes with a silent full-page shot of Earth, as it awaits what fate has in store for it next.