Monday, August 24, 2015

If the Time Trapper remembers each reboot, no wonder he's a villain...

Legion of Super-Heroes continuity is renowned for being an utter wreck, with reboot after reboot, and another one inevitably coming in the future. But sometimes, a creative team manages to get a good story out of that continuity wreckage--like today's book! From 1998, Legion of Super-Heroes #105, "Time Won't Let Me" Plot by Roger Stern, co-plot and dialogue by Tom Peyer, pencils by Jason Armstrong, inks by Ron Boyd. (And an Alan Davis cover!)

Previously in Legionnaires #61 (yes, the LSH was basically a biweekly title then!) the mysterious and chatty villain the Time Trapper had most of the team locked in battle with their alternate timeline counterparts, but had saved a space for the heroes who didn't have alternates! Gates, XS, and Monstress were completely new; Kid Quantum, Kinetix, and Ferro Lad were substantially different from any prior versions, and young Lori Morning hailed from the 20th century...but the Trapper had taken an interest in her, giving her the H-Dial previously used in assorted versions of "Dial H for Hero." He explains that he's "been both 'villain' and 'hero'...I may even be one of you." (And he was, in the "Five Years Later," pre-Zero Hour version of the Legion's continuity, the Time Trapper was Cosmic Boy.)

While most of the alt-Legionnaires are good and band together pretty quickly, there's enough evil ones (or ones seeking revenge for misfortunes that befell them in their own timeline) to still be a problem. The Trapper granted Lori one of her wishes, aging her back to a "glorious" young adult, which is somewhat creepy, but he also takes away the H-Dial before she can betray him. Lori rejects the Trapper and dials...turning into Galaxy Girl, now even younger than she was before! Confused, she only remembers being pissed at the Time Trapper, who realizes he may have given her too much power. Ferro Lad convinces Galaxy Girl to stop beating on the Trapper for a moment to free the Legionnaires; by play-acting as the Tin Man and that without them, he'd never get a heart. Multiple Legionnaires compare differences and similarities (including a few members who may be dead elsewhere) before Superboy gives the Time Trapper the "old 'planet-smasher'" punch. Still, it takes all the teams at once to shut down the Trapper, although this was just another of his tests for the current Legion.

Returned to the moment they left, Lori is distraught, afraid her H-Dial may no longer work properly, and that the Legion might even take it away from her. And Ferro Boy and Triad share a moment to think about what they saw, since in other continuities they both died; but Triad tells him they're going to watch out for each other.

The book may have even got rebooted before this plotline went the distance, but Lori (who first appeared in the Underworld Unleashed crossover, of all places) was going to be revealed to be Glorith, who had a brief one-issue appearance in the original series as the Time Trapper's henchwoman. Memorably, the Trapper de-aged her into protoplasm; but she made a big comeback to be one of the major bad guys of the "Five Years Later" era. The plan here may have even been to make Lori the Time Trapper, but I think Abnett and Lanning took the title in a different direction when they came on in issue #122's "Legion of the Damned."

I know Alan Davis even did an issue or two in there somewhere, but it looks like he did the covers up to #118, and they really make that look like a fun batch of books. DC needs to put, like even the least little effort into leveraging their back catalog of Legion stuff into sales of new books. (And they need to start, oh, I don't know, maybe nine years ago when the Legion had a cartoon...) I honestly think getting these comics in people's hands, even if it was at a loss, would only create more Legion fans down the line...


Dale Bagwell said...

The LEGION franchise has got to be at its lowest ebb in years. Its hard to imagine with all the fans they booast, its not a top 10-25 seller in the right hands, but alas that's been their fate of late.

I blame it on the original CRISIS. I'm beginning to strongly susect the LEGION, much like certain SA and GA heroes and elements, were but one of many casualtoes left behind after the reboot. It seems that after that 5 year later era, DC honestly didn't know what else to do with the LSH, so they kinda ignored the 5 years later storylines, and then Zero HOur came along to help further reboot things back to their teenage years. But the running joke seems to be they have more reboots than even the DCU has had so far in total.

How would you fix 'em?

googum said...

For Legion try-outs, a new girl auditions, but she's mostly just there to meet her heroes. Calling herself "Continuity Lass," she has a near-encyclopedic knowledge of the team and its history...except things keep changing, and she's the only one who notices...and she may not even be able to convince anyone that anything's wrong.