Omnicommentary #6: The Tenzil Kem Is a Badass Case, Exhibit A

Legionnaires #6: An Eye for an Eye

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

Legion Roll Call: Chameleon; Computo; Dragonmage; Ferro; Gossamer; Invisible Kid; Matter-Eater Lad; Shrinking Violet; Triad; Ultra Boy; "and the other Legionnaires".

Miscellaneous Notes: The note at the end of the roll call isn't a joke; the entire team gets play is this issue to some degree, and listing them all would be kind of pointless.

Summary: Cera & McCauley have an Emerald Eye duel, where we learn he was the one who actually had control of Ingria's Eye.  Back at the capitol, there's an excellent fight between Persuader, Tharok, Mano, and many Legionnaires; we get to see Computo use her powers to make Tharok beat himself up, Alchemist give Mano a nice set of indestructible mittens, and - best of all - Matter-Eater Lad eats the Atomic Axe to disarm the Persuader.  Outside, Andromeda & Ultra Boy team up to knock out Mordecai, thus ending the Fatal Five's attack.  After charging through McCauley's ridiculous security system, Chameleon's group arrives just in time to witness Cera break McCauley's bond to his Eye and disappear with both.  The issue ends with Cera breaking the four other villains out of their prison transport and telling them she's their new boss.

Continuity Notes: Matter-Eater Lad did many other cool things under the Bierbaums' pen in the mother book, but eating the Atomic Axe might be the most badass thing on his resume.  That Axe cut Superboy and cleaved through time & gravity, and Tenzil just made it his mid-fight snack.  How this guy isn't half as beloved as Deadpool for being crazy awesome is beyond me.
When Cera steals the second Eye from McCauley, she does so by putting out his right eye.  I believe this is a throwback to the last Fatal Five story in the Baxter run, where Sarya tried to break her bond to the Eye by striking out her own right eye.  After losing his Eye, McCauley looks terrible, suggesting he may have been terminally ill along with his germ paranoia.
Finally, Ayla is lounging around topless before she's called into action.  This is another Baxter throwback, where we learned Winath is a bit of a "clothing optional" world, and Ayla just likes to exercise that option.

We Get Letters: Chris Smith from Mobile, AL (IF that is your real name) wants more of the torturous Founders' Love Triangle; I blame you for the pain that plot tumor will be bringing me, good sir.  I do find the letter from a father glad that this Legion is one he can share with his kids pretty sweet, though.  Hopefully they grew up to be next-gen geeks.

I Love the 90s: Seriously, this time it's last call for MORTAL KOMBAT!  But don't worry, if you miss the 13th, you can always pick up Mario Is Missing.  It's the same thing, right?

DC Commercial Break: There were NO house ads in this issue.  I guess ad sales were extra good for this month.

Commentary: This is how you do a 90%-fight-scene issue.  Even if the characters have a tendency to describe what they're doing as they do it (an Eighties holdover), the action itself is fluid, well-paced, and makes excellent use of the Legionnaires' varied powers.  It's worth noting that this is the only time in the proper narrative that we see Computo use her powers; I think they hit that point that Matthew Elmslie said hurt her as a character - that future tech advanced to the 30th century level would be so far beyond our grasp that her powers wouldn't make any sense.  Still, you could do worse for your only showing than making Tharok beat himself up.
It's a shame that this is the only story with this Fatal Five line-up.  There was a lot of potential - Cera's sheer power, Tharok's desire to be in charge, and Mordecai's mysterious past could all have been fleshed out over time.  Shame Zero Hour put the kibosh on that, too.
This is the most solid issue since the first, and I think one of the reasons I like it is because there is no Inferno, no Pod Person Saturn Girl, and especially no Live Wire to derail the story with their douchebaggery.  Next issue continues the welcome respite from the series' loads (although it's not without flaws); in fact, the one that does show up actually gets some much-needed development.  Enjoy it while it lasts, before the dreaded Founders' Love Triangle rears it ugly head again.  I hope you're happy, Mr. Smith.
Overall, these six issues are a good start to the series.  The serious flaws of too much focus on rather unpleasant characters who are given few to no good traits are balanced out by the good world building and more likable characters & interactions.  But as we'll see, this is a work where balancing the good & the bad becomes trickier and trickier as it continues.


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