Omnicommentary #4: Emerald Eyes Are Watching You

(I told you these weren't dead yet.  Schedule is still hectic as sin, and I won't be able to do the review-a-month I'd hoped, but I'm still doing them.  Apologies for the delay.- Mela)
Legionnaires #4: If Looks Could Kill

Creative Team: Tom & Mary Bierbaum (writers); Chris Sprouse (artist); Karl Story (inker); Pat Brosseau (letterer); Tom McCraw (colorist); July 1993

Legion Roll Call: Catspaw; Chameleon; Ferro; Inferno; Invisible Kid; Live Wire; Matter-Eater Lad; Saturn Girl; and Ultra Boy.

Miscellaneous Notes: The roll call starts a new running gag.  Whenever Tenzil is in the roll call, they describe as powers as "Eats Matter (stupid!)" or something similar.  I like it - it fits with Tom Bierbaum's view of him as a humorous & not at all serious but still competant character, and that's probably how Tenzil himself would describe his powers if asked.

Summary: Cera Kesh has the Emerald Eye, and she wants righteous vengeance for her humiliation.  She gets her chance when Ultra Boy takes some of the guys (including Live Wire & Inferno, the team's resident dicks) to a dive bar on Rimbor.  What starts as subtle karmic vengeance of the "let's see how you like being mocked for your weight" variety quickly turns into a firefight thanks to Garth's temper.  In the ensuing fight, he's almost killed (yay!), and the Emerald Eye is almost destroyed (yay?); Cera regains control over herself for a moment and asks Saturn Girl to help her, but thanks to Imra's (uncharacteristic) hesitation, the Eye takes her over again & the two escape.  Meanwhile, the Persuader busts Mano out of prison, and the best the Legionnaires can do is contain the prison riot left in their wake.  Persy & Mano are gathered together with Mordecai by Leland McCauley, whose arm candy Ingria has an Emerald Eye of her own; McCauley is also rebuilding Tharok so he can have the Fatal Five as his personal goon squad.

Continuity Notes: We learn a lot about the Emerald Eyes in this one.  First, we see that it's the Eye calling the shots, not whoever the Empress is at any given moment (we saw some of this in the Baxter Legion & in L.E.G.I.O.N. but it's done here for the benefit of newbies like me).  Second, we learn of the second Eye, as Ingria Olav is playing the role of the Empress for McCauley's Fatal Five.
Speaking of McCauley, I finally got the 5YL run for myself to read, and it turns out that this isn't the same McCauley who was a rival to RJ Brande in the earlier Legion.  This is his son, who is such a creep that the elder McCauley turned him in for stealing priceless artifacts during Earthfall instead of aiding in evacuations.  So we've got a real winner here, complete with pseudo-sensitive douchebag guy ponytail.
Finally, we get the real start of Saturn Girl & Live Wire's relationship troubles.  While this issue ends with them declaring their oh-so-healthy love for each other, it'll come up again... and get more & more Lifetime-y with each resurfacing.

We Get Letters: The bios are done, so here's the first letters page, a relic of an earlier age that only sporadically appears in current books.  Most of the letters are from people who really enjoyed the first issue, including a few put off by the main Legion title's change in direction.  The section at the end is for one-off tweet-like questions like "When will we see Kid Quantum?", "Where are Dream Girl, Star Boy, & Bouncing Boy?", and "Are the Legionnaires really clones?".  Surprisingly, all of these are answered before Zero Hour.  Last, we have some helpful letter-writing tips; choice offerings include not to send fish and not to write your letters on bedsheets.

I Love the 90s: No 90s-tastic ads this time (see below for details).  However, in-story, Live Wire & Inferno are using "laser blades" - roller blades with frickin' laser beams and Flash emblems.

DC Commercial Break: Strangely, all of the ads are house ads in this issue.  I have no idea why.  Notable is the "Sword of Azrael" trade so you can get into "Knightfall".  If you're allergic to 90s excess, just looking at Azrael's design will hurt you.  We also have Batman covered in rats & being drowned.  Apparently "Knightfall" was totally insane.

Commentary: I think the lack of outside ads helped this issue.  It had a lot to tell, and it needed the extra pages.  This one seems to be making up for the slowness of the last issue, too.
Sprouse's art continues to be awesome.  I especially love the first page and that look of unbridled joy on Cera's face as she takes flight.  Also, the pool game's rapid-fire panels are very effective.
Niceties out of the way, I just want to say something.  Remember people complaining about how the Threeboot Legion kids were a bunch of bratty punks?  They're nothing compared to this team.  There's a three page scene (the one with the "laser blades") where everyone needs a good, firm smack.  Live Wire continues to be the worst, and his sheer unlikability manages to make it hard to like Saturn Girl, since her attachment to him is inexplicable except in that creepy "abuse girlfriend" sort of way.  The more you see of these "heroes", the easier it is for me to empathize with Cera.  Not just a victim of bullying & public humiliation, she's now a victim of mind control, too, and the one hero who could've saved her (and would have in any other incarnation of the Legion) blew off her pleas for the sake of her horrible boyfriend.  I look at an issue like this one and wonder why I've stuck with the Legion as long as I did (and plan to return once the main book is Genocidia Li free).
There's potential for a great series here, if only they'd take the focus off of the team's main horse's ass or at least do a better job of humanizing him.  I'm re-reading Generation X, and the proof this can be done is Monet.  If a 90s X-book can do it, sure the Legion can, too.


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