It’s another split book month, with the first feature concluding the Academy students’ trip to the planet Phlon, and the second focusing on XS, super-speed Legionnaire from a lost universe.
‘First Hints’ has Chemical Kid enlisting Gravity Kid, Dragonwing and Glorith to cover up the fact that his father had dealings with the criminal Taurus Gang. They do this by robbing the coffin of late Legionnaire Chemical King, then mystically ripping the powers from Gang member Alchemical Girl – a soul-searing experience. Working the spell is Glorith, who’s too naive to know better, but old enough not to be so naive. And silly bint Dragonwing would rather kill Alchemical Girl than settle for anything as piddling as, let’s be honest, disabling her. Only Gravity Kid shows qualms about their actions, especially when he finds Chemical Kid has profited from their run-in with the criminals.
If the ‘hints’ of the title refers to which of these students is going to be good enough to join the Legion, at this point the answer seems to be ‘one’. If we’re lucky.
XS doesn’t come off much better than the newbies in her solo, ‘Mosaic’. Having apparently been keen to join the Legion of this new – to her – world after the Legion of Three Worlds adventure, she’s now sitting on her bottom in Africa, putting together a mosaic centred on the two sides of her family. Very slowly. When Night Girl shows up and makes an offer for her to join Legion Academy as an instructor, she refuses and zooms off to find more pretty pebbles. She finds something far worse, but chooses to sit on it. ‘Let the Legion worry …’ she thinks. Loser.
Night Girl, though, is a winner. We learn here that Cosmic Boy dumped her so he could focus on leading the Legion, then transferred her from the main team to the Academy. What a git. But is she moping? Is she heck. Lydda Jath is training a new generation of Legionnaires/criminals and teaching her breasts to impersonate the beak of an owl (don’t click to enlarge, they don’t need the encouragement).
Now that’s Legion spirit! Or maybe Legion Spirit is the stuff she’s drinking. (I admit it, this image is from the first story – but the busty beak’s in the second, too!)
Together, the two tales make for a highly enjoyable issue. Paul Levitz’s scripts are as considered as we’ve come to expect, full of character shading and incident. Penciller Geraldo Borges does regular artist Phil Jimenez proud as he concludes the Phlon story, with the standout moment being a full-page depiction of Glorith’s spellcasting. Marlo Alquiza’s inks are suitably shiny.
The second story is a blast from the past as it features the pencils and inks of Jeffrey and Philip Moy, who owned the Legion during the Nineties. It was a different Legion, but XS is their girl, and she hasn’t changed a bit, visually. Character-wise, mind, she seems to have lost her nerve, but I’m sure she’ll come through for the Legion. The ever-blunt Gates, who also hails from her universe and Legion, needs to have words.
Topping off the issue is a cracker of a cover from Jimenez, coloured by Hi-Fi. I hope to see many more such, if not in Adventure Comics then in a Legion Academy spin-off. Anyone else?