The Legion #31

The Legion #31 cover


May 2004


(Cover Title: “Another Fine Mess!”)


Chuck Taine and Gear break into Brainiac 5’s lab to find a gadget to help them clean up Legion World after the recent crisis.  In the process, they let loose a swarm of experimental nanites.  They track the nanites throughout Legion World by the extremely clean traces they leave behind, but with little luck.  They eventually use Superboy as a patsy to take the blame, but he ends up serving as bait for the swarm, and eventually as its demise.  Meanwhile, blackmail is used to keep Brainiac 5 from complaining about the missing nanites.


Dan Abnett / Andy Lanning (Storytellers [Writers]) • Keith Giffen (Storyteller [Penciller]) • Al Milgrom (Inks) • Sno Cone (Colors) • Rob Leigh (Letters) • Stephen Wacker (Apologizes for Everything [Editor]) • Tom Feister / Tony Harris (Cover)


Date of Change
Content of Change
Typo corrections

Tinted cells and text indicate missing or incomplete information.

Character and Object Tracking



Previous Appearance

Next Appearance


Gear (I.Z.O.R.) The Legion #30 The Legion #32
Andromeda (Laurel Gand)
Appears only in holo-pics
Brainiac 5 (Querl Dox) The Legion #30 The Legion #32
Invisible Kid (Lyle Norg) The Legion #29 The Legion #32
Kid Quantum II (Jazmin Cullen) (footnote #1) The Legion #30 The Legion #32
Apparition (Tinya Wazzo-Nah) The Legion #30 The Legion #32
Triad (Luornu Durgo) The Legion #29 The Legion #32
Dreamer (Nura Nal) The Legion #29 The Legion #32
Superboy (Kon-El / Conner Kent) The Legion #30 The Legion #32
Timber Wolf (Brin Londo) The Legion #30 The Legion #32
Live Wire (Garth Ranzz)
The Legion #30 The Legion #32
Umbra (Tasmia Mallor) The Legion #30 The Legion #32
Cosmic Boy (Rokk Krinn) (footnote #2) The Legion #30 The Legion #32
Spark (Ayla Ranzz)
No appearance; mention only
Ambush Bug (Irwin Schwab) None in the 31st century None in Legion books
Gunfire (Andrew Van Horn)
No appearance; mention only


No appearance; mention only

Supporting Characters

Chuck Taine
The Legion #29 The Legion #32
Cub Nah The Legion #< > None to date
Dr. Gym’ll
The Legion #< > The Legion #32
Legion of Super-Heroes v4 #124 The Legion #33
One-shot or Untracked Characters:
     assorted Legion World staff and visitors
     Richard Nixon


Legion World (exterior and assorted interiors, including Sub-Level 17 and Habitat Deck 43)
The Legion #30 The Legion #32
The Legion #30 The Legion #32
Brainiac 5’s lab, Legion World
The Legion #30 The Legion #34
Medilab, Legion World
The Legion #< > The Legion #32
Command Deck, Legion World
The Legion #29 The Legion #32
Clubhouse, Legion World
None None to date
One-shot or Untracked Locations:
     Sector 19

Alien Races and Creatures

Naltorian Insomnivore
No appearance; mention only


Experiment N-13 (nanites) (footnote #3) None None to date; self-destructed
No appearance; mention only
The Legion #< > The Legion #32
Holovid displays
The Legion #29 The Legion #< >
One-shot or Untracked Items:
     holodoor with virtu-lock
     holo-pic viewer
     sonic shower
     plasma lead node
     Khundian Idol (holovidshow)
     Reflections, by Diana of Themyscira
     antibacterial derm-plants
     laser floss

1. Does not directly appear, but her presence is noted.

2. Does not directly appear, but his presence is noted.

3. Although it plays a Villain role in this issue, the nanite swarm is merely Technology.


Analysis Notes

Cover Note that we never see Brainiac 5 holding the holo-pics in this issue, we never see Cosmic Boy and Kid Quantum, and we certainly never actually see the nanites.
1:1 Chuck is at the door, with Gear in the foreground.
1:2 This is Chuck doing the lock-picking.  Gear might be as likely to be able to do it, but the dialogue is a better match for Chuck.
1:3 Dialogue is from Chuck.
1:4 Interlac: “experiment n-13”.
The shoulder is Chuck’s.
1:5 Again, Gear in the foreground, Chuck further on.
1:6 A Naltorian Insomnivore presumably “eats sleeplessness.”  One with a sore head would be unable to sleep, and that would throw the entire creature out of whack.
1:6-7 This is Chuck.
1:8 Those are holo-pics of Andromeda.
2:1 The Darkseid Crisis was the previous storyline, titled “Foundations”: Darkseid tried to collapse time into itself.
First dialogue is from Gear, second is from Chuck.
2:3 This is Chuck.
2:4 Brainiac 5 is theoretical science, Invisible Kid is applied science, and Gear and Chuck Taine are engineering.
Dialogue is from Gear.
3:1, 3:3, 3:5, 3:9 All these appearances are Chuck.
2:4, 3:9 Dialogue is from Chuck.
3:6 Dialogue is from Gear.
3:7 This is Gear.
4/5:5 Silverale is a (presumed) alcoholic beverage.
6:3 Cub is the rapidly-aged son of Apparition and Ultra Boy.
7:1 Even after reading this story, I can’t figure out why Chuck was taking a shower.  (Because nudity is always funny, of course!)  Maybe he was looking for the nanites in the shower, but the space cannot be entered unless the person is nude or only wearing a towel?
First dialogue is from Dr. Gym’ll, second is from Gear.
7:2 This is Dr. Gym’ll, the Legion’s physician.
Chuck Taine can be seen in the shower stall.
Dialogue is from Triad.
8:2 Whispered dialogue is presumably from the technician seen in 8:5.
8:4-5 This is Chuck’s butt.
8:9 This is Dreamer and Invisible Kid.
9:2 Note the peculiar “inverted rocketship with fins” shape amongst the rubble, not unlike the shape the original clubhouse was after the Fatal Five attacked it, or perhaps later when the Legion of Substitute Heroes recovered it from the junkyard.
9:5 Not everyone.  In addition to Superboy, Ferro is also a refugee from an earlier millennium.
What would the significance of an hourglass be here?  The recent Darkseid crisis involved a collapsing timestream, but this seems peculiarly placed. Even moreso because it is apparently still running.  Does this imply the presence of Chronos?  The Time Trapper?
10:1 Khundian Idol: a riff on American Idol (or Pop Idol, since the writers here are British).
10:6 Chuck’s shoulder is in the foreground.
11:1 Live Wire is wearing an outfit more in line with him being Garth than being Jan.  This is good.
Tinya’s outfit is reminiscent of what one of her bodies wore as Phase.
11:5 Those are Ambush Bug’s antennae behind Gear.
11:6 That is Proty next to Superboy’s leg, not seen since before the Blight invasion.  Proty is the only known surviving Protean of the group created by Mantis Morlo, so this must be him.
12:1 Dialogue is from Gear.
12:2 Dialogue is from Chuck.
12:3 Dialogue is from Chuck, Chuck, Gear, and Chuck.
12:4 Dialogue is from Gear and Chuck.
12:5 Dialogue is from Gear.
12:6 Dialogue is from Chuck.
12:2-6 Except for where Gear’s eyes are seen, no appearances are counted for any of the characters.  If we can’t see them, they might not be in the panel.
12:7 That is Chuck’s side.
13:1 No idea what Superboy is holding here.
14:4-5 Shoulder and associate dialogue is from Gear.
15:4 Gunfire is one of the New Blood heroes (characters who gained their powers by surviving have their spinal fluids sucked out by alien parasites).  He had the ability to spontaneously create weaponry similar to this.  (It was a fad in the early 90s; lots of characters did that.)  So far as I can tell, Superboy and Gunfire never met.
16:2 This effect is reminiscent of the Tornado Tyrant, the root of Red Tornado.
16:7 Gear may not be organic, and thus was not “eaten” by the nanite swarm.
18:3 One can only imagine just what Cosmic Boy and Kid Quantum might be doing to engender this sort of reaction from his powers.
20:2 Reflections is the book of essays by Wonder Woman which kicked up such a furor in her title around the same time as this issue.  Its presence must be caused by another temporal aftershock; there is no way a printed copy of the book (or a facsimile) would be around in the 31st century.
20:4-6 Dialogue is from Superboy
21:1-4 In other words, the War of the Worlds solution: kill the buggers with something they have no immunity to.
22:3 “Reboot”: among other things, this refers to Giffen’s presence on this issue, and its humor theme.
“In--” as in Invisible Kid. Who kissed Brainiac 5 a couple issues ago.

Appearance Counts

Character Name


Panels / Speaking

Gear (I.Z.O.R.) X 66 / 62
Andromeda (Laurel Gand)
X 1 / 0
Brainiac 5 (Querl Dox)
X 7 / 8
Invisible Kid (Lyle Norg) 1 / 1
Kid Quantum II (Jazmin Cullen)
X 0 / 0
Apparition (Tinya Wazzo-Nah) 1 / 0
Triad (Luornu Durgo) 7 / 4
Dreamer (Nura Nal) 1 / 0
Superboy (Kon-El / Conner Kent) X 39 / 36
Timber Wolf (Brin Londo) 1 / 0
Live Wire (Garth Ranzz) 1 / 0
Umbra (Tasmia Mallor) 1 / 0
Cosmic Boy (Rokk Krinn)
X 0 / 0
Ambush Bug (Irwin Schwab)
1 / 0
Supporting Characters
Chuck Taine X 68 / 66
Cub Nah 6 / 5
Dr. Gym’ll 5 / 6
1 / 0