Legionnaires #68
Legionnaires #68 cover

Date:

February, 1999

Title:

“When Robots Attack”
(Cover: “In This Smash Issue: A Monstress of Another Color!”)

Plot:

While Monstress and Kid Quantum are out shopping, she starts to change color from green to yellow and continuing through the spectrum.  At Legion headquarters, Dr. Gym’ll tests Star Boy and grounds him until his powers stabilize.  At the Time and History Museum, Xotar the Weapons Master searches for a mystery power source, keeping Cosmic Boy busy with a horde of remote-controlled robots; Saturn Girl and Gates eventually stop Xotar.  Monstress confronts Element Lad about her color change, and settles on orange as a new color.  And Lori Morning prepares to steal the H-Dial from Brainiac 5.1’s lab, preparing a copy to leave in its place.

Credits:

Roger Stern (Co-Scripter) • Tom McCraw (Co-Plotter / Colorist) • Jeffrey Moy (Penciller) • W.C. Carani (Inker) • Pat Brosseau (Letterer) • Frank Berrios (Assistant Editor) • Mike McAvennie (Editor) • Carmela Merlo (“Adult Legionnaire” [Co-Plotter / Co-Scripter]) • Chris Sprouse / Al Gordon / Patrick Martin (Cover)


CHANGE HISTORY

Date of Change Content of Change
01/19/99
Posted
03/14/99
Updates from Legionnaires #70
03/23/99
Updates from Legionnaires #71
04/21/99
Updates to real names
07/10/99
Updates from Starman v2 #50
02/03/00
Unifed to a single file
02/28/00
Name correction
08/21/00
Tracking corrections
Notes updates to Cover, 9:1, 11:6, 11:7, and 12:1
08/08/02
Name revision from Legion Worlds #5 (story #1)
Tracking update from Legion: Science Police #2
Added Appearance Counts and associated Notes items

Tinted cells and text indicate missing or incomplete information.


Character and Object Tracking

         

Name

Previous Appearance

Next Appearance

Heroes

Monstress (Candi Pyponte-Le Parc III) Legionnaires #67 Legionnaires #69
Also appears in dream sequence and in flashback to Legionnaires #67
Kid Quantum II (Jazmin Cullen) < > Legionnaires #71
Also appears in dream sequence
Star Boy (Thom Kallor) Starman v2 #50 Legionnaires #69
Also appears in dream sequence
Sensor (Princess Jeka Wynzorr) No actual appearance; mention/thought bubble only
Ultra Boy (Jo Nah) < > Legionnaires #69
Element Lad (Jan Arrah) Legionnaires #67 Legionnaires #71
Also appears in flashback to Legionnaires #67
Cosmic Boy (Rokk Krinn) < > Legionnaires #70
Saturn Girl (Imra Ardeen) < > Legionnaires #69
Gates (Ti’julk Mr’asz) < > None to date
Brainiac 5.1 (Querl Dox) No appearance; mention only
 
Atmos (Marak Russen) No actual appearance; dream sequence
Insect Queen (Lonna Leing) No actual appearance; dream sequence
Justice League of America:
     Aquaman (Arthur Curry)
     Martin Manhunter (J’Onn J’Onzz)
     Flash II (Barry Allen)
     Green Lantern II (Hal Jordan)
     Black Canary II (Dinah Drake)
In flashback to JLA: Year One #7
Superman (Clark Kent) In flashback to Action Comics #650
Dreamer (Nura Nal) < > Legionnaires #70
 
Incredible Hulk (cameo appearance)

Villains

Xotar the Weapons Master (aka Xotar the Conqueror) None in Legion books
Action Comics #650
None to date
Also appears in flashbacks to JLA: Year One #7 and Action Comics #650
 
Chronos No appearance; mention only
Time Trapper No appearance; mention only

Supporting Characters

[James] Olsen (clothing store proprietor) None None to date
Dr. Gym’ll < > None to date
Tari Gro (Time and History Museum curator) None None to date
Lori Morning < > Legionnaires #69
Proty < > Legionnaires #69
Athramites (2) < > Legionnaires #71
 
Prefect Lamar No actual appearance; dream sequence
Tenzil Kem No appearance; mention only
Element Lad’s parents (Arn and Valla Arrah) No actual appearance; holo image
 
One-shot or Untracked Characters:
     unnamed shoppers and staff at Fashion-By-Olsen (at least two of each)
     unnamed pedestrians (35 or more, in various locations)
     unnamed bystander with vid camera
     unnamed Science Police officers (9)

Locations

Xanthu No actual appearance; dream sequence
 
Fashion-By-Olsen clothing store, Metropolis [presumed] None None to date
Medical Lab, Legion Headquarters Adventures in the DC Universe #10 Legion of Super-Heroes v4 #124
Time and History Museum, Metropolis [presumed], including the main lobby, The Universe of Robots, and Power room None None to date
Mission Monitor Room, Legion Headquarters < > Legionnaires #69
Lori Morning’s quarters, Legion Headquarters < > None to date
Element Lad’s quarters, Legion Headquarters < > None to date
Brainiac 5.1’s lab, Legion Headquarters < > Legionnaires #69
Legion Headquarters (exterior) < > Legionnaires #69

Alien Races and Creatures

“Alien Nationer” < > Legionnaires #71
Khund No actual appearance; mention only
Quothoni <Legion: Science Police #2> None to date
“Monkey Tailer” <Legion: Secret Files #1 (second story)> Legionnaires #71
Durlan No actual appearance; museum poster None to date
“Alien Nationer (Whiteface)” None None to date
 
One-shot or Untracked Creatures:
     C’thulhoid

Technology

Levitating furniture < > Legionnaires #70
Holovid camera No actual appearance; dream sequence
Omnicom Starman v2 #50 Legionnaires #69
Gravcar < > Legionnaires #69
Handheld vid camera None None to date
Science Police cruiser < > None to date
Fake H-Dial None Legionnaires #69
Body cuff restraint < > None to date
Holo crystal of Element Lad’s parents None None to date
H-Dial < > Legionnaires #69
 
One-shot or Untracked Items:
     Fashion Holo-Imaging device
     Levitating hat racks
     Medical sensors
     USS Enterprise NCC-1701 (reconstruction)
     20th century space shuttle (reconstruction)
     World War I biplane (reconstruction)
     20th century stealth bomber (reconstruction)
     20th century deep sea exploratory vehicle (reconstruction)
     Robots (numerous, most/all reconstructions and thus not tracked individually; identified in Analysis Notes)
     Xotar’s control disks
     Holographic museum guide
     Laser rifles

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Analysis Notes

Cover “A Monstress of Another Color” is a reference to “A Horse of Another Color,” an indication of a surface change which seems to be meaningful but is really just cosmetic.  Given the dislike of Monstress among some facets of Legion fandom for her green color (indicating her alleged status as a Hulk rip-off), this title is most accurate.
Credits Carmela Merlo is Roger Stern’s wife, and does a lot of plotting/scripting work with (or for) him.
“When Robots Atack” is a riff on the FOX Network reality-based programming with titles like “When Animals Attack!”
1 Coloring error: the gold portions of Star Boy’s outfit got missed in the Roll Call.
Note the reactions of the various Legionnaires in the Roll Call to Monstress’ fashion choices.  Good use of body language to provide characterization.
“Fashion-By-Olsen” is apparently owned by a descendant of Jimmy Olsen; we’ll assume the name “James” for the proprietor.  (Recall that in the Silver Age, Jimmy Olsen had a vast stock of costumes.  Making him a clothing store owner is a nod to those old tales.)
Frankly, Monstress looks like she’s wearing a bath towel.
Although Jazmin’s comment could be read as “Wear whatever you like,” she is also tacitly agreeing with Mr. Olsen.
“When Robots Attack” could be a reference to either the science fiction film “When Worlds Collide” or to the traditional comic book story title “When Titans Clash!”
2:2 We’ll presume proper motives from Mr. Olsen, and thus by “stress” he means risk from superhero activities and Monstress’ heavily muscled form rather than any commentary on her simply being, er, large.
2:5 Monstress’ floating head counts as a separate panel.
2:6 This is a non-continuity appearance of all the characters, of course.
“Amazers” is short for “Uncanny Amazers,” the resident superhero team on Xanthu.
3:1 The holo image to the left is the Incredible Hulk, of whom Monstress was originally something of a parody.  The Hulk was noted for the shredded purple pants seen here (Bruce Banner had a lousy fashion sense, it seems).
The second holo image is a traditional school girl uniform.  None of the others are particularly identifiable.
The holo images do not count as separate panels.
3:2 Perhaps Monstress supplied her with the Carmen Miranda-style chapeau from Legionnaires #59?
3:4 Note the increased amount of yellow in Monstress’ skin tone.  This is where her color change starts.
3:5 Khunds are typically yellow or pink, so Mr. Olsen’s assumption is at least somewhat founded.
“Xanthian” would seem to settle the question of what natives of Xanthu are called.  (A pity.  There is a certain cachet to “Xanthan,” as in the food additive “xanthan gum.”)
4:1-3 Star Boy’s “flame breath” is reminiscent of the original power set of the Green Fury, aka the Green Flame, aka Fire of Justice League International.
4:2 Star Boy’s chest emblem is smaller than usual here.  Compare to the first page, where the bottom points of the star cross the black/white divide on his shirt.  Presumably he has several outfits with slight variations on the theme.
4:4, 5:1, 5:5 Dr. Gym’ll’s log comments do not count as speaking.
5:1 Interlac translation: left panel says “starb” and right panel says “boy,” both in reverse (so they are readable by Dr. Gym’ll).  The obvious extended text is “starboy” and “ultraboy”.
The round disks on Thom’s shoulder and wrist are medical sensors of some sort.  Jo also has one on in 5:2.
5:2 It is doubtful that Thom’s fire powers would have burned his lips off.  It’s kind of automatic that superpowers are accompanied by “support powers” sufficient to make them work.  Otherwise Jo’s strength would be unusable due to no invulnerability to prevent the tissues involved from being damaged, and so on.
5:4-5 Chuck Taine is going to love this: another hole to fix.  Sigh.
5:6 Cute use of that ultimate teenager punishment: “You’re grounded!”
6:1 Ah, so that’s what the inset of Monstress was about in < >: Lyle was setting up a plan that ended up being unnecessary.  (Unless we want to be cynical and tag this as the end of a dropped plotline...)
Interlac translation (sign with the crab): has unknowable lettering cropped by the top of the panel.  The first line of text is “?in?”, with the first character being E, F, N, or V.  The second line is “seaf?” plus unknown additional letters, with the fifth one being G, O, P, or Q.  It is thus almost certainly a restaurant advertising “[F]ine[E] Seaf[OOD]”.
Interlac translation (sign in the upper right): starts with “jo”, with an unknowable remainder
<The character in the lower right is from early Japanese anime, but I don’t recall the character’s name.>
6:2 Interlac translation: “ctory”; perhaps “[Fa]ctory [Outlet]”, since the characters are in a shopping district.
It’s unclear whether Monstress is making a comment about herself, Kid Quantum, or someone else; that is, whether she is being observant or catty.
It is also unclear whether Kid Quantum is reacting to Monstress’ comment or to the skin color change, since she mentions it in the next panel.  It’s possible that she mentions the color change to cover her reaction to the “mixed backgrounds” comment.
6:3 The character with the three dots is a “Monkey Tailer” alien, first seen in Legion: Secret Files #1.
Interlac translation (sign above the guy with big hair): unreadable
Interlac translation (sign to the right): “toys”
6:4 Sounds like there’s a story here with regard to Monstress’ origins.  Even Kid Quantum, a former teammate on the Amazers, may not know any details about Monstress’ origins.
6:5 Since Monstress is so quick to conclude Element Lad’s hand in the color change, her comment in 6:4 indicates that she believed she would never change color again, rather than that she was expecting to and it simply had taken a long time.
6:6 Monstress’ floating head counts as a separate panel.
7:1-2 Sign translation: unknown
7:3 The Time and History Museum is perhaps the 30th century version of the 25th century’s Space Museum (last seen in <Legionnaires #47>).
Tari Gro seems certain to be a breath of “Fresh Air” (the name is a parody of Terry Gross, host of the NPR program).
7:4 The hanging posters are for an H.G. Wells exhibit (Wells was the author of The Time Machine); the word at the top is Interlac for “time”.
As well as having lived there, Cosmic Boy’s interest in the 20th century echoes his similar hobby in the preboot.
In the upper right is a space shuttle.  In the upper left are the power nacelles of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701.
7:5 Tari Gro appears to be an “Alien Nationer” alien, but her face is different.  We’ll call her race “Alien Nationer (Whiteface)”.
The item behind the biplane is a stealth bomber.  The orange item is a deep sea exploratory vehicle called a < >.
We’ll call the aliens in the background C’thulhoids.
8:1 Interlac translation (arched sign): “[TH]e universe of robots”
Interlac translation (orange sign): “this ar[EA] is close[D]”
All the robots in this story are either classic DC robots or in-jokes from other media.  All are undoubtedly reconstructions, of course.

Left to right: <brown/yellow/gray-green>, <floating brown>, Gort (from The Day the Earth Stood Still), <red>, Mechanique from All-Star Squadron (or Maria from Fritz Lang’s Metropolis), the Construct (from Justice League of America #< >), <brown with long arms> (parodied as Nanny in Ninja High School), <floating gold>, G.I. Robot (from Weird War Tales), Ultimo (from the Forgotten Villains), Xotar’s Ilaric robot (from JLA: Year One #7), <glass cylinder>, Nomad (from the Star Trek episode “The Changeling”), <small green on floating stand>, a Terminator

8:3 The “power source” is never identified in this story, but it is almost certainly Lori’s H-Dial.  Xotar’s emerging in the Time and History Museum gives added weight to the site being the same as the old Space Museum, since that is where the Time Trapper apparently got the H-Dial from.
9:1 Clockwise from left: Automan and Ilda (from the Silver Age “Star Hawkins” feature), <maroon>, <grey>, incorrect version of Platinum
9:2 “Platinum” is carrying a boogie board; maybe she was misconstructed as “Platinum Blonde”?  Mercury has been redone as the FTD Florist logo.  Gold is < >.  Iron appears to be a miner.  And Lead is perhaps a Mexican wrestler.
Cosmic Boy’s knowledge of Rin Tin Tin is interesting, since the dog’s name and likeness are hardly in common circulation in the late 20th century.
9:6 Yes, another one.  You’ll never be free of them!
10:1 Xotar’s floating head counts as a separate panel.
10:4 Xotar is presumably activating the controls disks that he throws in 10:6.
10:5 A “secret mission,” the stranding of half the team in the 20th century.
10:6 Clockwise from left: <floating with yellow “eyes”>, Ultimo (of the Forgotten Villains), <gray with claw arms>, <gold with red visor>
11:1 <Green with claw arms (see also 11:6)>
11:2 <Unknown robot>
11:3 Construct
11:4-5 Robotman II (Cliff Steel)
11:6 Clockwise from left: Robotman II, <green with claw arms>, <cylinder head>, Ultimo, <green monolith>, Automan, <grey with claw arms>, Construct, Maximilian (from The Black Hole), Alphonse (mecha from Mobile Police Patlabor)
11:7 Clockwise from top: Automan, <grey with claw arms>, <red with white visor>, Robotman II, Construct
12:1 Robots: Construct, Ultimo, <green with claw arms>, Automan (arm only), Ilda, Robotman II
12:1-2 Ah, at last: acknowledgment that not all metals have strong magnetic properties.  One of the traditional bastions of Bad Comics Science shot down.
12:4-5 The self-destruct was presumably caused by Cosmic Boy trying to magnetically pry off the control disk, not simply that it was noticed.
12:6 Cosmic Boy is calling for backup because he’s realized that he can only stop the robots by destroying them (which won’t make the museum staff very happy).  Not that Monstress – a strength character – will do much better, but Kid Quantum’s time powers might.
13:1-2, 14:2 We’re finally getting to see use of the Legionnaire icons again.  In 13:1, we see icons for Element Lad (Interlac “e”), <circle>, <Terran “F”>, Star Boy (star), Chameleon (circle with antennae), Ultra Boy (his chest emblem), and Apparition (female symbol with dotted edges).  In 13:2, XS (streaking comet), Karate Kid (yin/yang), <unknown, below Karate Kid’s>, and Kid Quantum II (her chest emblem).  In 14:2, we see Live Wire or Spark, <unknown circle>, Sensor (snake), and Kid Quantum II.
13:1-3, 14:2 This use of a white streak to emulate glare off the viewscreen is, I think, a new coloring effect.  It seems to work very well in 13:2, but poorly in 14:2.
13:2 Saturn Girl undoubtedly telepathically called Gates to the Mission Monitor Room.  It is unlikely he would have just randomly chanced into the middle of the conversation otherwise.
13:3 Gates is right, of course.  Vandal Savage (presumably) is the true criminal in this case, not Kono and Storm Front.
13:5 Dreamer has presumably foreseen Star Boy’s grounding, that being her power and all.  On the other hand, people looking for clues about Imra’s reasons for splitting the team can read Saturn Girl’s reaction as “What news this time?!”, an indication of Dreamer possibly being connected to the Outpost split decision, perhaps via a prediction she shared only with Saturn Girl.
14:1 “Bytes” with a “y”?  Please.
14:2 Monstress’ color has shifted again, green to yellow to orange.  She is apparently cycling through the spectrum.
14:3 Tenzil is Tenzil Kem, the Legion’s chef.
None of these bystanders nor their races are identifiable as anything tracked.
The blond man below Monstress is chasing his hat, pulled off by the Legionnaire’s passage.  (I guess this answers the classic question from Company: “Does anyone still wear... a hat?”)
14:4 As per previous notes, did Dreamer simply foresee Star Boy’s grounding announcement but not Monstress’ call/color change?  Or for those looking for veiled references to the Outpost split, could Monstress’ color change have an affect on any interpretation of Dreamer’s dreams?
15:1 Clockwise from lower left: <gray with red eyes>, Cyberman (from Dr. Who), <green with claw arms>, Ultimo, ED-209 (from Robocop), remains of the Construct, <brown with long arms>
“Terran Home Vids” is apparently an amateur newscaster program, rewarding people who capture news footage that the pros aren’t present for, rather than something tacky like America’s Funniest Home Videos.  (Or at least this guy takes it seriously.)
16:2 Left to right: <gray with red eyes>, <green with claw arms>, Cyberman, a Dalek (from Dr. Who), ED-209, Ultimo, <red> (from 8:1; although it positionally appears to be part of ED-209, <red> must be behind the other one).
There really should have been some special effect to show the Q-Spheres’ effect.
Note that Monstress is transitioning from red to purple in this panel.
16:3 Left to right: <red light on head>, <octopus with triangle head>, <braincase>, <gold>
16:4 <Don’t know what robot Monstress is destroying here.>
17:1 Left to right: Green Lantern II’s power battery, <jetpack>, display of Kirby Dots, <glowing torus>
Interlac translation (Kirby Dots display): “energ[Y]” (rotate 90 degrees clockwise to read)
Interlac translation (behind Xotar): “?ower”, undoubtedly “power” but with the initial “p” mangled
17:2 The staff is a replica of Starman VII’s (Jack Knight) weapon.
17:5 Left to right: <gold with dome>, Cyberman, <green with claw arms>, <floating white with red face>, Ultimo, <octopus with triangle head>, <doll size> (being destroyed by Monstress)
18:1 Of the figures on the ground, the rightmost two are Cosmic Boy and Kid Quantum II.  None of the others are large enough to be Monstress, so assume they are all Science Police (including the four from 17:5).
19:1 Ultimo
19:2 Ilda
19:3 <green with claw arms>
19:4 Cyberman
19:1-5 Curious that Xotar’s control disks would not only shut off but return to him when he is disabled.
20 All these Science Police officers were among those seen in 17:5 and 18:1.  The green and brown skinned ones were explicitly seen in 17:5
20:2 So much for the idea that the Legion’s reputation amongst the Science Police has improved much.
This is still in the museum’s Power room, based on the sign behind Saturn Girl.  Since the pink sphere seems to be where the Kirby Dots display was, we are probably seeing a different entrance to the room.
Apparently Xotar didn’t even know what he was looking for beyond that it was a power source.
20:5 One wonders if Grimbor might have designed this “body cuff.”  Xotar, of course, had not shown any super powers, just the control disks, so there was no perceived need for the Science Police to use a power damper as well as the body cuff.
20:6 Presumably Kid Quantum and the Science Police don’t know who the Justice League was.  (Of course, why would they?  The group ostensibly hasn’t existed for 1000 years or so.  As well, Kid Quantum may still not know the details of Team 20’s “secret mission.”)
21:6 It’s a pity they decided to settle on orange for her new color.  While fandom previously tagged her as “just a Hulk rip-off,” using orange just lets fandom gripe about her now “ripping off” the Thing.  (But maybe the creators settled on orange precisely to tweak fandom that way.)
21:7 Recall that Monstress overtaxed the Athramites in Legionnaires #<53>.
22:1 Recall that Lori is a genius and has learned her way around the Legion’s equipment far better than they realize.  She’s right in believing that they underestimate her.
22:4-5 One wonders what Proty knows that Lori does not.  Perhaps he can sense danger, or maybe he’s semi-telepathic (like the preboot Proty was) and is simply voicing Lori’s conscience.
22:6 This image is swiped from the opening sequence of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
General Note that one might expect to see Tom Servo and Crow (from Mystery Science Theatre 3000) among the in-joke references in this story.  However, perhaps they were intentionally left out: if MST3K takes place in the year 3000 (and the Legion is in 2998 at this point), then such robots would not belong in a museum exhibit.
<Other robots have been identified as: The Robot (from the first Tom Baker Dr. Who episode), a King Crab (also from Mobile Police Patlabor), Nanmo in green repaint (from Dirty Pair), a Kilg%re body (from The Flash), the Mars Surveyor mobile unit, a possible Brainiac-designed robot from the Superman Animated Series, Automan, and Ultivac, but I don’t know which each of those is in the comic.>

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Appearance Counts

Character Name

Cover

Panels / Speaking

Heroes
Monstress (Candi Pyponte-LeParc III) X 34 / 30
Kid Quantum II (Jazmin Cullen) 23 / 16
Star Boy (Thom Kallor) 16 / 14
Sensor (Princess Jeka Wynzorr) 1 / 0
Ultra Boy (Jo Nah) 8 / 7
Element Lad (Jan Arrah) 9 / 8
Cosmic Boy (Rokk Krinn) X 25 / 23
Saturn Girl (Imra Ardeen) 17 / 15
Gates (Ti’Julk Mr’Asz) 15 / 10
 
Atmos (Marak Russen) 1 / 0
Insect Queen (Lonna Leing) 1 / 0
Justice League of America:
     Aquaman (Arthur Curry)
     Martin Manhunter (J’Onn J’Onzz)
     Flash II (Barry Allen)
     Green Lantern II (Hal Jordan)
     Black Canary II (Dinah Drake)


1 / 0
1 / 0
1 / 0
1 / 0
1 / 0

Superman (Clark Kent) 1 / 0
Dreamer (Nura Nal) 5 / 2
Villains
Xotar the Weapons Master (aka Xotar the Conqueror) X 25 / 22
Supporting Characters
[James] Olsen (clothing store proprietor)
7 / 6
Dr. Gym’ll
9 / 7
Tari Gro (Time and History Museum curator)
12 / 10
Lori Morning
7 / 8
Proty
4 / 3
Athramites (2)
5 / 4
 
Prefect Lamar
1 / 0
Element Lad’s parents (Arn and < > Arrah)
1 / 0
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