itsokimasenator (itsokimasenator) wrote,

Recollections of Legionnaires #6

Our six-issue Fatal Five arc comes to a climax with the re-constituted Five attacking the capitol of New Earth, while the villainous team’s patron, Leland McCauley IV, off at his estate on the planet Gallàn, discovers to his dismay that there are two Emerald Eyes and two Emerald Empresses.

Issue 5 ended with the Cera Kesh version becoming enraged by the incompetence of McCauley’s trophy-girlfriend Empress, so Cera invades Gallàn and incinerates the rival Empress.

Cera says she’s the true Empress, somebody with the kind of dreams and emotional fury that the Emerald Eye feeds on. She dismisses McCauley as someone who thinks he can simply purchase the power of the Eye. But McCauley is able to grab mental control of “his” eye and uses it to mount a counter-attack against Cera.

Back at Legionnaires HQ, Saturn Girl has tracked the retreat of McCauley’s Empress back to Gallàn and the Legionnaires send the team of Gossamer (Light Lass), Triad (Triplicate Girl) and Dragonmage to investigate.

From there we jump to the New Earth Capitol dome, where Fatal Five leader Tharok has U.P. Vice Chairwoman Jeryl as a hostage and demands the New Earth be surrendered to the Five or the politico dies.  Apparition (Phantom Girl) phases through the floor and comes up undetected behind Tharok and manages to free Jeryl.  The Legionnaires pounce and the Fatal Five are quickly sent reeling.

Meanwhile, the team of Gossamer, Triad and Dragonmage arrive at Gallàn. Security Drones immediately confront them and, in typical Gallàn fat-cat style, automatically lodge civil suits against the visitors. The team uses its powers to dispose of the drones and they move on to find the McCauley-vs.-Empress fracas.

Back on New Earth, the battle continues and we get my personal favorite bit of business where we see Tenzil accomplishing something I’d long wanted to show him do to the Persuader’s Atomic Axe. While the axe itself seems to be quasi-invulnerable and probably would destroy Tenzil if he tried to eat its atomic blade, the weak link of the weapon is the handle, and Tenzil defends a vulnerable Shrinking Violet by chomping right through that axe handle.  The Persuader is left stunned, holding his useless end of the axe handle and staring at the separated blade, now lodged in the ground. He’s not so stunned, however, that he isn’t able to start hammering Tenzil with his fists, until Violet uses her growing power to shoot up out of nowhere and catch Persuader with a surprise punch to the jaw.

That puts Violet back in danger face-to-face versus the enraged Persuader, but she’s bailed out by the latest wave of reinforcements -- Chameleon grows giant hands and puts the squeeze on the Persuader before he can retaliate against Vi. Invisible Kid and Alchemist (Element Lad) have also shown up and are able to subdue Mano and the Persuader.  Outside, Ultra Boy teams up with Andromeda and they finally finish off the super-strong behemoth Mordecai. In one of those edits that still grates to my ear 20 years later, one of the editors had Jo call Andromeda “’Dromeda,” which I’d guess is in place of us maybe having had U-Boy call her “Andie.” For some reason, I’ve never liked nicknames that cut off the start of a name (calling the Astros the “’stros,” for example) and I also feel like a nickname that only reduces a four-syllable name to three syllables doesn’t feel all that practical or natural. Obviously not an important thing at all, but it shows you how much I could “hear” our dialogue and how obvious it is to my ear when somebody says something that, to me, they wouldn’t say.

And by the way, I clearly remember working on some of the dialogue for Pages 15-17 while sitting the stands at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the “Carburetion Day” practice session a few days before the race back then in May 1993.  I think we wrote out the dialogue in long hand, found a Fed Ex in Indianapolis later that day and over-nighted the pages back to the DC offices in New York.

In this sequence, Tharok is able to break Computo’s hold on the computer half of his mind by shutting down his mechanical half and letting his biological half take charge. Tharok uses his human half to drag along his de-activated robot half and then commandeers a Science Police sled, collects Mano and Persuader and takes off. That gives Cham the opportunity to instruct Ultra Boy and Ferro to team up on a maneuver they call “the old Alley Oop” – Ferro turns to iron and U-Boy hurls his ferrous body up into the air. Ferro goes flying through the escaping sled, blasting it apart and causing the escaping Fatal Fivers to come crashing back to Earth. Cham gives himself giant net-hands and snags the villains.

Back on Gallàn, the Legionnaires interference distracts McCauley long enough that Cera is able to overcome him and wrest away control of his eye. The triumphant villainess takes off, master of both Emerald Eyes.

To the surprise of the Legionnaires, with the loss of his Emerald Eye, McCauley has been transformed into a twisted, wrinkled creature. We now realize McCauley had been maintained as a youthful, handsome young man by the power of the Eye, which has evidently been taking a great toll on the physical well-being of its host human.

We go back once more to New Earth, where the four surviving members of the Fatal Five find themselves incarerated in a Science Police holding station. They’re trying to decide whether to testify against McCauley or count on their patron to bail them out. Before they can figure out which strategy makes the most sense, they find themselves consumed in a green glow and they’re fazed out of  the prison. They’re surprised to discover they’ve been sprung by their new boss, the Emerald Empress Cera, who seems to have some interesting plans for them.

We didn’t get the chance to pick up on the further adventures of any of these characters, and I honestly don’t recall that we had any particular plans for them. I think we realized the odds were against us being around long enough to pick up on this incarnation of the Fatal Five.

Off the top of my head, my first thought is that we might have eventually seen Cera use her team to conquer a world, perhaps Venegar, from which the original Empress and Eye had originated. And I have the feeling her one-time Legion tormentors Live Wire and Inferno might find themselves in the dungeon of her imperial digs on such a conquered world, with Cera daring the Legionnaires to rescue their captured teammates. She might also use the eye to brainwash / hypnotize Live Wire and Inferno into becoming her lieutenants.
Tags: cera kesh, emerald empress, fatal five, ferro lad, legionnaires, leland mccauley iv, matter-eater lad, tom & mary bierbaum, ultra boy

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