Omnicommentary #5: Designated Fight Time,Yo

For those familiar with my Twitter feed, I said these would be back next month.  Well, I'm home sick with a particularly weird thing, so I might as well do something halfway practical with my time.  Behold - the return of the Omnicommentaries!

Legionnaires #5: New Life, New Death!

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

Legion Roll Call: Andromeda; Apparition; Catspaw; Computo; Cosmic Boy; Ferro; Matter-Eater Lad; Shrinking Violet; and Ultra Boy.

Miscellaneous Notes: I have nowhere else to put this, but it's worth a mention.  Mile High Comics is opening another Mega-Store, now in Anaheim!  Rob Liefeld is appearing in person on June 25th, but that's not important.  No, what is important is that Jim Shooter is appearing on the 26th.  So let's travel back in time and see if we can convince him not to take the run on the Threeboot together, everyone.


Summary: McCauley sends "his" Fatal Five to take over New Earth's capital and give him control; however, the Legionnaires are there on a diplomatic visit, so they're ready to stop the Five.  Unfortunately, Ingria (McCauley's arm candy & acting Emerald Empress) freaks out, scared of actual combat.  Thanks to her own Eye, Cera sees this and dismisses Ingria as an "insult" to the title of Emerald Empress.  After a bit, Ingria panics & bails, leaving the rest to take the chairperson hostage and hold the Legionnaires at bay.  Ingria returns to McCauley, who blows off her pleas for love & comfort.  Unfortunately, Cera shows up and incinerates her, ready to claim both Eyes for herself.

Continuity Notes: I honestly have no idea where Tharok was that he managed to miss the Earth first being conquered by the Dominators, then invaded by the Khunds, and then blown up.  Either way, he's now mostly under McCauley's control, although an adrenaline rush allows him to gain brief moments of independence.
McCauley is openly using the Fatal Five to stir up unrest so he can gain political power & take over New Earth (of course!).  He doesn't care what happens to them or anyone else in the process, so he's mostly an off-the-peg bad guy.  Most interesting is his germophobia, which escalates with him so afraid of contamination that his paranoia makes him immune to a Charma lookalike's advances.

We Get Letters: Nearly all of the letters join me in expressing sympathy for Cera Kesh.  One of the replies says that Live Wire is learning from his bad behavior, but mark my words, you never actually see it in the book itself.  Oh, and the coming attraction list has LoSH Annual #4, the "Bloodlines" tie-in.  Come and meet Jamm, a totally radical skater dude who has nebulous mind control powers he uses mostly to make the female Legionnaires disrobe.  Y'see, cuz he's totally funny!  Sigh...  I guess Hitman really was the only good one, even if I personally dug Anima.

I Love the 90s: Back cover ad?  MORTAL KOMBAT!  Home systems, September '93.  Hope you had a Genesis.

DC Commercial Break: There's a truly hideous cover ad for JLI's "Bloodlines" tie-in.  The new guy looks like he stole Judge Dredd's armor & dyed it purple-black.  Big Ben's tower is apparently free-standing in the middle of a lightly wooded field.  Ralph Dibny, the DCU's resident attention whore, suddenly has a mask, and the less said about Power Girl's costume, the better.  This... isn't an effective ad.
The company news page is extra weird this month.  The text gets progressively smaller, the pipeline has a list of parody titles, and the outside frame has random observances.  Here's one - "Can we not have any more 'Unplugged' concerts by people who need to be plugged?"  So it wasn't just me?  Huh.

Commentary: Finally, an issue free of Live Wire's douchebaggery and Saturn Girl's OOC Lifetime-y-ness.  Most of the issue is a huge fight designed to showcase both the Legionnaires and the Fatal Five; it does so quite well, ending on a logical & interesting cliffhanger.
Cera crosses the line in this issue when she kills Ingria; it's unclear how much is her own will and how much is the Eye's, though, which is intentional.  Her string of Code-approved insults directed at Ingria suggests it may have been mutual.  After all, seeing a rent-a-diva horn in on the gig that gave your life new meaning has to smart a big.  (BTW, my favorite insult from Cera's tirade is "Utter poultry!"  What does that even mean?)
I can't help but feel sorry for Ingria.  You get the sense that she was told that this would be a big, fun lark, and she's get to play around & wear fun clothes (including a clean, sharp costume design) & travel.  But her freak-out is so bad that even the Persuader feels the need to step back and console her.  By the time McCauley tells her he never loved her, her death almost feels like a mercy kill.  Had Ingria lived, she'd no doubt be completely broken.
All in all, it's a good issue.  While fight heavy, it's done in such a way that it doesn't feel lazy, and the cliffhangers for the tandem final showdowns are suitably effective.  As for next issue?  Prepare for the most awesome thing ever, courtesy of Mr. Tenzil Kem.

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