Thursday, February 24, 2005


"I like being naked"... and we like it too, Jan.

Another fantastic issue, this one even better for being not so much about kids versus grown-ups. Instead, it's about the gang's intrasquad relations -- both professional and personal and where the two blur.

Lu (Triplicate Girl) gets her origin story told over dates with Jan (Element Lad) and Dirk (Sun Boy) while her third self runs wild with Jo (Ultra Boy). While having a good time, Lu is in fact testing her teammates at Cosmic Boy's suggestion to see where their motivations lie -- for who else better than the hive of one to determine the group mind?

As someone whom I tend to remember as bland and uninspiring as one of the founding troika, Cos is showing some spunk and spike as the Legion's head -- his interactions with Brainy alternately crackle with tension and inspire laughter and he's showing command and purpose instead of Mark Waid telling us that everyone respects him and expecting the reader to believe him. Brainy talks of zookeeping, but it is Cos who is a remarkably effective head of the asylum. All the more so because he's doing it behind the scenes -- neither Brainy nor Jan nor Dirk nor Jo realize how sharp Rokk is.

As can be expected, Waid is tweaking backstories here -- most notably that in prior incarnations, Carggites only ever had three bodies (no unlimited division) and it was Jan who was the sole survivor of a destroyed world and not Lu. The change works as far as Triplicate Girl -- Lu has Pre-Boot Jan's sensitivity to the soul of the team and the idea of Lu's other selves rejecting the ones who became 'alien' is a good one. Where this leaves Jan, I hope we find out soon.

The comic relief in this issue, as for the entire series, has been top-notch. The 'rite of vegetation' (the ancient custom of presenting flowers on a date) and other mating tips as gleaned from that most useful of sources -- Batman comics -- and the other SCA-for-the-31st-century games that are played are great fun, as is rakish Jo's intense date with Lu, Gim (Colossal Boy Micro Lad) and Ayla's (Light Lass) bickering, and Lyle's (Invisible Lad) hiding from the Science Police exactly like the truant child he is. I feel a little bad for how Cham is coming out in this new series -- I fell in love with Reep's quiet strength and intelligence back in the Levitz-written books and it's a little sad for me to see him as the punchline to so many jokes.

The Legion is arguably DC's most daunting team to get into -- unlike the also-confusing JSA, the Legion exists a millennium past the rest of the DCU and has been rebooted more times than a computer running Win95, which means they've had more series names than the Teen Titans. The JLA may get bloated, but the Legion is aptly named -- there are many, many members. All of this adds up to an accessibility problem... solved by this latest reboot. We're all starting new here, so take the time, pick up the two back-issues, and enjoy the best team book in DC Comics' current arsenal.


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