L.E.G.I.O.N. ’89 #1

L.E.G.I.O.N. ’89 #1 cover


February 1989


(Cover Title: “The Future is Now! / Sign Up Today!”)


Vril Dox and his companions wait in orbit above Colu for a signal, a signal which comes in the form of an attack.  Evasive action and Lyrissa Mallor’s powers save them from the first attack, but their ship is destroyed by a second one and they are captured by the Computer Tyrants of Colu.  Imprisoned, Vril tells the others about Coluan society, his own history, and the group’s escape from the prison of Starlag.  The Durlan has escape detection, though, and frees the prisoners.  But the Computer Tyrants decide to cut their losses: they blow up the entire building.


Keith Giffen (Plot) • Alan Grant (Script) • Keith Giffen (Breakdowns) • Barry Kitson (Penciller) • Mike DeCarlo (Inker) • Gaspar Saladino (Letterer) • Lovern Kindzierski (Colorist) • Art Young (Assistant Editor) • Karen Berger (Editor) • Kevin Maguire / Al Gordon / Lovern Kindzierski (Cover)


Date of Change
Content of Change

Tinted cells and text indicate missing or incomplete information.

Character and Object Tracking



Previous Appearance

Next Appearance


Garryn Bek <Invasion Book Three>
<L.E.G.I.O.N. ’89 #2>
Also appears in flashback to <Invasion Book Three>
Vril Dox II <Invasion Book Three>
<L.E.G.I.O.N. ’89 #2>
Also appears in flashbacks to before <Invasion Book One> and to <Invasion Book Three>
Lyrissa Mallor <Invasion Book Three>
<L.E.G.I.O.N. ’89 #2>
Also appears in flashback to <Invasion Book Three>
Strata <Invasion Book Three>
<L.E.G.I.O.N. ’89 #2>
Also appears in flashback to <Invasion Book Three>
The Durlan
     (also appears as a Computer Tyrant, an insect, and a Magellanic Maned Frenzikker)
<Invasion Book Three>
<L.E.G.I.O.N. ’89 #2>
<Invasion Book Three>
<L.E.G.I.O.N. ’89 #2>
Also appears in flashback to <Invasion Book Three>
One-shot or Unnamed Heroes:
     The Thing (Benjamin Grimm)


Computer Tyrants of Colu (footnote #1)
< >
<L.E.G.I.O.N. ’89 #2>
Also appear in flashbacks to before < >

Supporting Characters

Vril Dox Senior (footnote #2)
Appears in flashbacks to before L.E.G.I.O.N. ’89 #1 (and before The Adventures of Superman #438)
One-shot or Untracked Characters:
     Holy Mother of Grok
     unnamed Coluan female (Vril Dox II’s mother)
     Coluan Council (2 are seen)
     unnamed Coluan prisoners (5)
     assorted Starlag internees


Colu (including at least six moons) None
<L.E.G.I.O.N. ’89 #2>
Cairn No appearance; mention only
Talok VIII No appearance; mention only
Dryad No appearance; mention only
Durla No appearance; mention only
Magellanic Clouds No appearance; mention only
Starlag (exterior and interiors)
<Invasion Book Three> None in Legion books
Coluan Command Center
None None; destroyed this issue
One-shot or Untracked Locations:
     unnamed city on Colu
     Vril Dox Senior’s labs

Alien Races and Creatures

Coluans Appear in flashbacks to before L.E.G.I.O.N. ’89 #1
Appear in flashbacks to before <Invasion Book One> and to <Invasion Book Three>


Cargo trawler <Invasion Book Three> None; destroyed this issue
Also appears in flashback to <Invasion Book Three>
Computer Tyrant drones None
<L.E.G.I.O.N. ’89 #2>
SleepNet (footnote #3)
None <Showcase ’96 #11>
One-shot or Untracked Items:
     Coluan probe / homing-bomb
     assorted furniture
     koola (drink)
     planetary force field units
     sensor jamming unit
     Coluans sensor cameras
     Coluan prison cells
     <Spider Guild robot manipulator>
     prisoner transport cocoons

1. Treated as a single entity.

2. Eventually known as Brainiac.  Not a Villain in this issue,

3. Referred to as “edu-bloks”.


Analysis Notes

General The title of this series changed each year: L.E.G.I.O.N. ’89 to L.E.G.I.O.N. ’90 to L.E.G.I.O.N. ’91, and so on.  The numbering stayed the same.
This series came directly out of the Invasion mini-series, which teamed up several Legion-era races — including Khunds, Dominators, Daxamites, Gil’Dishpan, and Imskians, plus some Vegan races from the Teen Titans continuity — to attack Earth, intending to put stop to the power of the metagene, the genetic signature which causes many humans under life-threatening stresses to spontaneously gain super powers.  One part of this was to imprison undesirable aliens (potential Earth sympathizers), and another was to detonate a “gene bomb” on Earth which would wipe out most extant metahumans.
Many of the members of L.E.G.I.O.N. were related to then-current (pre-Zero Hour) Legionnaires: Vril Dox was the ancestor of Brainiac 5, Lyrissa Mallor was the ancestor of Shadow Lass, and Strata and the Durlan were from the same races as Blok and Chameleon Boy.  (The Durlan would later be revealed to be R.J. Brande, following meddling by the Time Trapper, later revised to be by Glorith.)  Post-Zero Hour, much of these connections still remain true, although Blok has not yet appeared in the Legion (and may not, since Dryad has been destroyed), the lineage of Brainiac 5 isn’t clear, and while the Durlan was still swapped for (one body of) Tinya Wazzo, he is presumably not R.J. Brande.
In doing analyses of issues of L.E.G.I.O.N., we will presume that all stories are still valid in the postboot continuity, but we will make special note of things which have been invalidated and need to be processed differently in the revised continuity.
Cover This is a parody of the classic Uncle Sam “I Want You” poster. Not that Vril Dox will give these folks a choice.
1 An occasional epithet of Brainiac 5 was “Moons of Colu”; note that there are two moons seen here.
Per 11:3, Colu has a 50/50 split between water and land.  (Compare to Earth, which is about 70% water.)  The purple area here could be either, but whichever it is, it is less than 50% of what is visible, and thus there must be a reverse situation on the planet’s other side.
2:5 Perhaps many, many moons of Colu.
3:1 Note the reference to an I.D. Demand.  No one on the ship refers to receiving one.  Dox presumably intercepted and refused it, hiding the request from the others.
The text is these sorts of panels constitutes dialogue for the Computer Tyrants of Colu.
The silhouette icons do not count as panel appearances.
3:2 Unusual that the Tyrants would have presumed Dox to be dead when all they did was ship him to Starlag.  This implies that the <Psions? Citadellians?> at Starlag tried to cover up for the escape and declared that Dox and company had been killed.
3:3 These icons do count as panel appearances, since they depict the individual characters rather than being purely generic.  (Well, except for Stealth, but it counts for her, too.)
Note the lack of any information about Stealth, including a body shape and a gender.  This probably means that much of the details here are coming from files transmitted from Starlag rather than direct scanning.
4:6 Dialogue is from Garryn Bek and Vril Dox.
5:2 Dialogue is from Garryn.
5:5 Dialogue is from Garryn.
6:1 Dialogue is from Garryn.
6:4 “Wedgehead”: Garryn Bek, referring to his hairstyle.
7:2 Despite Stealth’s complaints, Garryn does have some value.  (Obviously: why else would anyone have bothered putting him on Starlag?)
7:3 This planetary forcefield echoes both the preboot continuity 30th century Earth’s polymer shield and Brainiac 5’s forcefield belt.  And of course, it implies that Brainy’s belt was thus not something unique to him, but a reuse of old, even ancient technology (albeit undoubtedly improved, reduced to a personal scale).
8:2 Off-panel dialogue is from Dox.
8:3-6 Dox presumably intended for Lyrissa to overhear and do just this.
8:4 Garryn’s comment may be a reference to an X-Men story from a few years earlier where Kitty Pryde did just that, doing a spacewalk in the middle of a battle situation in order to repair the ship.
8:5 Dialogue is from Garryn and Lyrissa.
8:6 While a shadow bubble does the trick, it’s a simple and, per 8:5, potentially dangerous thing to do.  Better might have been to just add a shadow form — maybe a half-bubble — to the back of the ship, changing the shape but not impairing the ability of the most skilled pilot to do his job.
Dialogue is from Lyrissa.
8:9 Dialogue is from Lyrissa.
9:5 Where is the Durlan?
10 There is a weird color shift on this page.  Compare the color of Dox’s jumpsuit with pages 9 and 11.
10:1 Strata is the speaker.  Stealth is next to Strata (to the left), and then Garryn Bek, Lyrissa Mallor (in the cape), and Vril Dox below her.
10:2 But Dox probably had the timing of the entire scenario well mapped out.
11:1 These drones count as appearances for the Computer Tyrants of Colu.  (None of them is the Durlan, though.  He is currently disguised as a rock, but since we can’t tell which one, this is not a panel appearance for him.)
11-12 The captions here are dialogue from Dox.
12:3 This counts as an appearance for the Computer Tyrants, but the floating cameras do not.
12:5 Big Brother is watching.
12:6 After the defeat of the Computer Tyrants, there won’t be any particular change to this part of Coluan society.  All the way into the 30th century, this child rearing and education method will be used, termed SleepNet.  Brainiac 5 will be of the opinion that it is a leading cause of Coluan society’s stagnation.
13:2 Curiosity would certain explain their keeping Stealth alive.  They may also be attempting to reconcile data differences from what the Citadel provided to them.
13:4 Looking ahead to the next couple pages, there is no evidence of the elder Vril Dox’s treachery.  The Computer Tyrants were simply afraid than he might someday turn on him.
14:3 Notice the lack of information about Vril Dox II’s mother — and the lack of concern on Vril’s part.  Compare forward to the 30th century and the relationship between Brainiac 5 and his mother.
14:4 Born an adult, and with no fashion sense.  I mean really: pink fabric against green skin?
14:5 There is no clear reason for this hate.  Perhaps Vril Dox Senior arranged to have it bred into his son, in the hope of being able to use him to some end?
15:2 This apparent destruction, of course, dispersed Vril Dox Senior’s intellect, which travelled to Earth and possessed carnival mentalist Milton Fine, turning him into Brainiac.  Things have gone downhill ever since.
15:6 The figure in blue and yellow is a Citadellian.  The spider is a <Spider Guild robot manipulator>.
Note that there are six Coluan prisoners being turned over to the Alliance here, indicating that more than just Vril and his father were deemed enemies of the state.  Since we cannot be sure any of them is Vril Dox II, this does not count as a panel appearance for him.
16:1 Starlag looks rather underdetailed here.  Perhaps Kitson didn’t have a good design reference to go from?
“Starlag” is of course a reference to “Stalag”, the term for German prisoner of war camps during World War II.  (Does than make L.E.G.I.O.N. a riff on Hogan’s Heroes?)
16:2 None of these prisoners are from readily recognizable races (although some certainly could be from races seen in issues of Omega Men).
16:2-3 When Brainiac 5 was imprisoned on Planet Hell, he reacted somewhat similarly, becoming quite and withdrawn, while he was actually put all the “tracks” of his mind to work on the escape problem.  And it similarly confused those around him.
16:5 Like Vril, like Querl.  They can’t quite see that those around them aren’t whining, per se, nor that they end up treating the others like children or inferiors.
17:1 Square borders = current images, rounded borders = flashbacks.
17:2 The captions on this page are all dialogue for Dox, although that isn’t clear until 17:5.
Again, the creatures in blue and yellow are Citadellians, and the others are not from recognizable races.  The redhead in the foreground is Primus of the Omega Men.
17:3 Unclear where the Durlan is in this.
Based on previous panels, the colorist got lazy, to end up coloring all the prisoners pink.
The Thing (Ben Grimm) is in the upper right corner.  Miscolored, of course.
18:2 From what Dox told us, the problems on Colu existed before his father came along.  The issue must be in how much Dox Senior aided the Computer Tyrants, increasing their control of the planet and its populace in every dimension.  In all probability, Dox Senior moved the Computer Tyrants into their “Tyrant” role, enabling them to go from observing to controlling.  (Note that this would also work into 31st revelations about Robotica and the origins of computer sentience.  Dox Senior — and thus Colu itself — may have been responsible for a quantum leap for the Tyrants.)
18:5 How in the world could they have not missed the Durlan?  (This is something of an “idiot plot”.  Them not realizing that the Durlan was missing only works because we’re told it works.  It doesn’t make much actual sense.)
19:1 “Vrrrmmm!  Vrrrmmm!”?  Okay, whatever.
Seems very odd that these computer systems, with all their sensors and such, wouldn’t detect that one more drone had joined the bunch.  (What was that about an “idiot plot”?)
19:1-2 As referred to in 3:3, the Durlan has apparently been on Colu — has infiltrated the control center — before.  Why would he have done that?  Was he working for himself, for the Durla government, or for someone else?  This probably relates to why he was imprisoned on Starlag.
19:3 “Bingo”: now there’s a word you expect aliens to use a lot.
19:4 The Durlan appears in this panel in two forms; we’ll count it as an appearance or the Computer Tyrant form.
19:5 There must be extra sensors in Central Control.  Despite the Durlan shapeshifting ability, the Durlan would surely still read as organic when disguised as a drone.
20:1 The Tyrants are exceptionally slow on the uptake.  A Durlan was known to be among the crew of the ship.  No Durlan was captured with the others.  No corpse was found in the wreckage.  Ergo, a Durlan is loose.  An organic lifeform suddenly appears on the sensors in a highly sensitive area, a rare enough occurrence to trip a major alarm and bring out shoot first/ask later weaponry.  Gee, I wonder what the lifeform could be?
21:4 Based on the next page, it appears that the Durlan set an explosive charge, destroying the systems rather than merely turning them off.  This of course isn’t what Dox would prefer, since he wants to preserve Colu’s infrastructure in the process of freeing his people.
Stealth’s powers are (or include) the damping of sound.  The between Lyrissa and Stealth, the group cannot be seen or heard.
Dialogue is from Garryn and Dox.

Appearance Counts

Character Name


Panels / Speaking

Garryn Bek X 33 / 34
Vril Dox X 44 / 48
Lyrissa Mallor X 22 / 12
Strata X 15 / 7
The Durlan
     (also appears as a Computer Tyrant,
     an insect, and
     a Magellanic Maned Frenzikker)

9 / 5
4 / 4
1 / 1
4 / 4
X 13 / 5
Computer Tyrants of Colu
9 / 15
Supporting Characters
Vril Dox Senior
7 / 0