Monday, November 01, 2010

All this week: Validus!

There are probably Legion of Super-Heroes fans who prefer the sprawling Legion of Super-Villains as the team's premier bad guys, but I have to doubt it: the Fatal Five has it all over the LSV. Tharok, half-man, half-cyborg, all criminal. Mano, of the disintegrating hand. The Emerald Empress, and her creepy Emerald Eye of Ekron. The Persuader, wielder of the Atomic Axe. And their big gun, the monstrous Validus.

He's a great design: inhuman and alien, yet he also looks like he's wearing a costume. As strong as the Legion's powerhouses Superboy and Mon-El, and able to shoot lightning from his brain. Oddly, I always remembered Validus as being a screaming, rage-filled monster; but the more of his old appearances I pull up, the more I see him talking occasionally.

In the original Legion continuity, before even the "Five Years Later" era; the Fatal Five fell apart piece by piece: Tharok killed by his clone, the Dark Man. The Emerald Empress died when Sensor Girl blinded the Eye; severing their link, and the Empress aged into dust. And Validus? Well, he was revealed to be the missing son of Legion founders Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl; stolen by Darkseid before he was born, then changed into a monster and sent back through time. Yeah, and that's a relatively straight-forward example of Legion continuity. Thankfully, I think that was later swept under the rug. For now, anyway.

But today's panels are of a more recent vintage, from Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's run. New Legionnaire Timber Wolf's second day on the job, and he ends up facing down the entire Fatal Five alone. Attempting to break Tharok out of Takron-Galtros prison, the Five has a good showing, easily defeating Wildfire, XS, Shikari, and Ultra Boy. Or 'Sprock-rod,' since in a reversal of the usual continuity, Timber Wolf and Ultra Boy weren't exactly buds: they were members of rival gangs back on Rimbor, which would've been bad enough, but Wolf also became close friends with his wife, Phantom Girl.

In the end, Timber Wolf's not powerful enough to beat the Five, but by dividing their force, he manages to hold them up long enough for a full team to arrive. A good issue, that sells the badassedness of T-Wolf, without making the Five look any weaker.

From the Legion, "Legion Rookie Blues" and "Five Reasons to Call in Sick" Written by Abnett and Lanning, pencils by Kev Walker, inks by Lanning, Coleby, and Milgrom. I just re-read a fistful of the DnA Legion, and liked it a lot. I liked it more than I liked sorting my Legion comics, anyway.

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