itsokimasenator (itsokimasenator) wrote,

Recollections of Legion #41

This was an interesting issue that combined the artwork of Stuart Immonen and Chris Sprouse, with Chris contributing 14 pages that launched readers directly into Legionnaires #1.  Chris also did the cover, which was one of what’s been at least a few homages to the cool cover of Adventure #300 (a main character in the middle of the cover and then three smaller panels featuring other characters down each side of the cover.  In this case, Chris added four characters to the background of the middle panel so he managed to show 11 Legionnaire characters on this one cover in the brand-new uniforms he designed for the new book would be introducing in this issue.

The opening scene of the issue rubs me the wrong way a little because they got us to set it with some of the old LSHers playing a futuristic form of racquetball. And with the Earth in shambles and needing as much effort as everyone could contribute, it just didn’t feel right to me to show them partaking in recreational exercise.  I don’t remember what we originally had them doing in this scene, but I’d have rather seen them at rest, drinking a Silverale, watching holos, or something else showing them recovering from effort, rather than exerting recreational effort.

I am pleased to say we didn’t show them training.  For some reason to me, that’s the most tiresome thing modern comics show their heroes doing, training for super-hero fights instead of showing them in actual super-hero fights.  To me, it’s as boring as football shows that show the teams in practice instead of in the games.  Not very interesting to me.

At any rate, it’s an OK scene showing Jacques (Invisible Kid II) and Cham each complaining about how stressed out they are in their current positions, Jacques as President of the “New Earth” linked cities in space and Cham as co-leader of the Adult Legion.  Virtually on the spot, they agree to have Cham resign and let Jacques replace him, which makes V.P. Troy (Tyroc) Stewart president of New Earth.

There’s also a page showing Sean Erin, formerly Shvaughn Erin, now acting as chief of Science Police Earth.  Jan (Element Lad) visits and acknowledges that he’s been going through some challenging times.

We then see Jacques meeting with Rokk (Cosmic Boy) and Tenzil (Matter-Eater Lad) to start getting involved as co-leader of the Adult Legion.  Jacques is a little amazed at what an informal ship Rokk and Cham have been running.  They talk about the possibility of adding members, such as the Subs.

The next page shows the younger versions of Brainy and the original Invisible Kid speculating about whether they’re the “real” Legion or whether the Adult Legion is the real one.  They’re interrupted when they bump into I-Kid’s parents.  I’m surprised how much of the subtext of this scene we only implied, but longtime readers would understand that the original young I-Kid had died many years earlier and now here was this “new” I-Kid showing up and bumping into his parents, who are a lot older (about 17 years) than this new I-Kid has ever seen them before (something Brainy rather undiplomatically points out).

Jacques and Rokk are now out on foot tracking down the people they want to invite to join the Adult Legion, though to their puzzlement, the Subs and Jacques’ sister Danielle are reluctant to commit and say they’ll have to think about it.  When we find Danielle, she’s being pestered by Crystal Kid, who assumes he’s invited to join the Adult Legion too, though nobody is particularly interested in him.  We played Crystal Kid as being kind of an egotistical dope, though everyone’s polite enough to just ignore him rather than tell him what an ass he really is.

We next see the older Brainy trying to draw out the catatonic Dawnstar, who’s been unresponsive since the predatory entity Bounty fled her body a few issues ago.

Having made no progress on that front, the older Brainy confers with the younger Brainy about which Legion is the real Legion (the “genetic original”) and which is the clone (“genetic duplicate”).  The younger Brainy astonishes everyone by informing the young Duo Damsel that she’s had her third “Triplicate Girl” body all along and just hasn’t known to materialize it.  Sure enough, Luornu concentrates and produces all three of her Triplicate Girl bodies.  But that doesn’t prove she’s not the original, the two Brainys agree, because there’s known science the Dominators could have used to restore Luornu’s third body.

So nobody knows if the young Legion is “real” and if they belong back in time, and even if they do, there’s no evident break in the time stream where the young Legion could be re-inserted back into the past, so the question is where do they go now and what do they do.

The older Cham pops in and says he’s got an idea…

That takes us to the Chris Sprouse pages, which start with the older Cham and Danielle poking around in the remains of the old Legion clubhouse.  We see how Danielle’s “Computo” power works, she has virtually a “psychic” link with computers, which helps her to rouse the dormant computer system of the old clubhouse and get it up and running again.

She and Cham are immediately presented as kind of a bickering couple, he trying to lend the kids the benefit of his experience and wisdom and she taking a skeptical eye toward whatever Cham has to say.  We generally thought of Danielle as a sensible outsider, almost as if she were a non-fan hanging out with a bunch of fans.

Using a combination of powers, the Legionnaires transport the old clubhouse from whatever junkyard it had fallen into and deliver it to Weisinger plaza, where it will be the symbolic center of their new HQ.

As Light Lass uses her power to gently lower the old clubhouse down to the ground, and Laurel Gand hovers nearby we see the Legionnaires staring up in awe.  Ferro Lad says “Man, what a sight!” to which Matter-Eater Lad replies with one of my favorite lines: “Yeah, thank God for short skirts.”

As the Legionnaires work on restoring the clubhouse, we get various cutaways showing the personalities of the group:
Sun Boy is flirting with Catspaw, but when she responds to his advances enthusiastically, he gets himself pretty scratched up in the process.

Matter-Eater Lad causes Cham and Computo a lot of hardship by trying to activate the legendary Planetary Chance Machine while they’re still trying to stabilize the power grid.

The young sorcerer Dragonmage is using magic to restore a room in the clubhouse, but a compliment from pretty Triplicate Girl flusters him and he ends up blowing out the wall.

Next we see Sun Boy and Lightning Lad trying to convince Cham that the group needs new codenames and uniforms so they aren’t all a bunch of “Dweeb Lads,” while Saturn Girl tries to stick up for Legion tradition, in a scene that clearly mirrors the kind of debates that happen all the time between new-guard fans and old-school fans.  To Saturn Girl’s consternation, Cham agrees with the guys, recognizing that the group needs to be a source of inspiration to the citizenry of 2995, and some new elements will help them accomplish that.

Cham and Danielle hatch a practical joke to get back at Tenzil for the disaster he created with the Planetary Chance Machine, but the gag backfires and Cham ends up with a bucket of goo on his head.  All of this so entertains Computo that she decides she can’t pass up an invitation to join this group and see what sort of mischief might be hatched in the future.

New uniforms show up from Brande Industries and we see the new look and new code names of  the “Legionnaires.” We get formal introductions to the new members, Computo, Dragonmage and Catspaw, and then a call comes in from Science Police Chief Erin and the group is sent on its first mission, which picks up in Leginonaires #1 the month after this issue came out.

The Legionnaires pages are fast-paced and fun, and I think do a good job of setting up the kids book.  Our goal was to cover a few continuity issues and introductions for the long-term Legion fans so the new series could hit the ground running with no necessary explanations and background and no reference to the Adult Legion.  We wanted the new book to be something someone could just pick up with no knowledge of recent Legion history.  About all you needed to know was that they were operating on the New Earth collection of domed cities that were the surviving remnants of a destroyed Earth.  Beyond that, we just wanted to tell stories about this particular version of the Legion, stories that someone could buy off the rack and enjoy with no other background required. 

I think these pages were among our more successful of this era, and I remember someone at DC who hadn’t been shy about expressing his dislike of our run telling us, “I have to admit, that was a good issue.” 

I’d guess I felt a little more comfortable writing Legionnaires because at this point, it really was our group and the uniforms, code names and more traditional adventures were probably more in my wheelhouse than the innovative elements of the adult book.

I think it was also a little liberating to be able to split the old and young groups up into their own books.  There’d been an Adult Legion and a SW6 Legion in the main book for 17 issues and by comparison, writing one book with about 15 heroes and another with about 20 seemed like a relatively simple assignment.

It was also a lot of fun for a brief period to be writing two different Legion books a month, and two that each felt unique and allowed us to do fairly different things.

Tags: catspaw, cham, chris sprouse, crystal kid, danielle foccart, dragonmage, invisible kid, jacques foccart, legion of super-heroes, legionnaires, stuart immonen, tenzil kem, tom & mary bierbaum

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