gnaw on fence

It's OK, I'm a Senator

Legion Recollections by Tom Bierbaum

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Recollections of Legionnaires #9
gnaw on fence
With this issue we move into a stretch where Chris Sprouse and Adam Hughes are teaming up on the penciling, splitting up the pages of the issue, and we coincidentally start weaving multiple storylines through the next few issues It’s a bit of a change of pace after a tight opening six issues versus the Fatal Five and then a couple standalone fill-in issues.

This was about at the point we were finding out sales had dropped quickly enough after #1 (a pretty typical pattern) that our outside chance of staying on the book beyond our contract was disappearing and our mandate if we wanted to stick around was to create some highly promotable storylines to try and juice sales.

In retrospect, we should have really made a dramatic move to introduce twist after twist to the series, which is probably the only way we could have kept ourselves around, but there’d been some emphasis on introducing new members and we asked if we should tell those stories before taking off in any other dramatically new directions and was told that sounded like a good idea so in our minds, that’s what we did. And you folks can decide for yourselves if in the seven remaining issues we did a reasonable job of giving them the kind of promoteable twists and turns they were looking for.

The starting point of this issue is a Legion cruiser heading out into space, reflecting a little guidance from Chris Sprouse in terms of the kinds of stories that might make his job a little easier and more stimulating and he didn’t have much of a preference but said maybe something that got the Legionnaires out into space a little, so that was the next place we went.

In this case, it’s Andromeda (Laurel Gand), Matter-Eater Lad, Catspaw, Shrinking Violet and Dragonmage responding to a distress call. After a Khund craft goes charging past the Legion cruiser and lures Laurel out into space to chase the Khunds, a second ship attacks the Legion cruiser and damages it. The reeling ship gets sucked into the gravity of a nearby planet and crash-lands.

Catspaw wakes up having been thrown clear of the wreckage and finds herself looking at a handsome young man named Ansis who she recalls as the former lover who betrayed her to the Dominators during the war for Earth (it was while a captive of the Dominators that she was turned into the cat-person we now know as Catspaw). Ansis says it isn’t true that he betrayed her, he loves her too much to have done such a thing, and his passionate kiss seems to support the claim in the mind of lusty Catspaw. Then as the scene ends, we see some kind of whispy presence is observing the couple.

We then jump to where M-E Lad is being woken up by a flirty Shrinking Violet, which surprises Tenzil (since Violet gently rebuffed his advances in #7), but he isn’t complaining. And nearby, Dragonmage wakes up to the sight of a Madame Chu Hua, his former instructor in the mystic arts, who’s also being surprisingly warm and supportive of Dragonmage.

We jump back to the Khund ship where we see Andromeda has quickly and thoroughly kicked some Khundish ass, and the Science Police has shown up to cart away the warrior aliens. The SP contingent is headed by a Captain Allon, whom long-time Legion readers will recognize as the original adult Colossal Boy, but new Leginnaire readers will probably just assume is a random background character. But Allon has alarming news, there are no Legion cruisers anywhere in the area, meaning something has happened to the ship that was carrying Andromeda’s comrades.

And that’s our cue to jump back to the enigmatic world where the other four have crashlanded. We find Ansis showing Catspaw another mysterious crashlanded ship that Ansis says has something inside of extreme value, something he’s desperate to get to. Then, even after deadly blaster fire explodes out of the ship and nearly fries Catspaw and her boyfriend, Ansis still insists that what’s inside that ship is worth the deadly risk of another attack on the ship.

Elsewhere, Madame Chu is also guiding Dragonmage, Tenz and Vi toward the ship, and as a curious Tenzil tries to question Chu, Violet asks for a little alone time with the new subject of her affection. The smitten couple is just about to seal their budding romance with a kiss when M-E Lad hears the moans of an injured person from the nearby weeds and, dedicated Legionnaires that he is, takes a rain check on Vi’s smooch and dashes off the help whoever the injured party may be. And to his astonishment, that party turns out to be… another Shrinking Violet.

Readers will have to wait until next issue to find out what the heck is going on here on this mysterious world because we now jump to some Adam Hughes-pencilled pages. In the first we see Invisible Kid and Leviathan (the SW6 Colossal Boy) answering another distress call, this time from a freighter under attack by Murgadori pirates. But they find the distress call was originating from a mere lifepod, and that lured the Legionnaires to the wrong spot as the actual freighter full of grain was being commandeered by the real pirates, who we learn were female Sklarian raiders.

And from there, we jump to Legionnaire headquarters for the latest batch of Legion try-outs. Adult advisor Chameleon and team leader Cosmic Boy are conducting the auditions and we start out watching them gently rejecting an applicant called Accordion King, whose mid-section is litrally a music-producing accordion. His stage-mom-ish parent is haughtily leading him off, huffing at the Legionnaires, “Hmph! Some judges of talent YOU are!”

Next up is Barber Boy (an applicant suggested by the son of one of DC’s staffers), who had the powers of scissor fingers and mousse-vision – suddenly Accordion King is looking somewhat more viable. At this point, we see Inferno flirting with the fan-girls while Coz gets an emergency call from Deputy Leader Computo, who says the President of New Earth is calling. It turns out those pirated shipments of grain are worsening a food shortage on New Earth and riots are starting to break out. New Earth President Troy Stewart is hoping the Legionnaires can visit the Acapulco dome and calm down the unruly crowds there.

They show up in time to shield the mayor from debris being thrown by the angry mob, but when Saturn Girl attempt to telepathically calm the crowd, one sloshed citizen responds by heaving a rock at Imra’s noggin, causing Garth to flip out and he hurls a deadly lightning bolt at Imra’s attacker just as Cosmic Boy is attempting to intervene (as we switch to the third penciller of the issue, Brian Stelfreeze, who handles the final two pages).

Rokk takes the full brunt of Garth’s massive bolt. As the issue ends, Saturn Girl finds that Coz has stopped breathing and declares that Garth has killed Cosmic Boy.


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