I annotated issue #1 way back when, and so here I am again, writing whatever pops into my head and telling you what I know about the best of the Final Crisis spin-off books.
Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #2: The Annotations
Cover: Once again, I bought the character-centric cover instead of the one with the ugly red bars on the side. This one's all about the Saturn Girl, as the Levitz-by-way-of-Johns SG thinks real hard and her two parallel selves pop out of her brain. Dave McCaig does a great job digitally painting these covers over the George Perez pencils, don't you think? (Correct answer: yes, you do think.)
Page 1: Ah, a "white-event." The Legion's had a few of those, and this one stuck for a while as the Reboot Legion got whited out once the Threeboot came into existence. This here's Shikari, the Dawnstar-esque character introduced in Legion Lost. (Hence the "lost again" reference by the off-panel Dream Girl.) Like Dawnstar, Shikari has super-tracking skillz.
Page 2: Sorcerer's World is actually Amethyst's "Gemworld," by the way, but in the future! And White Witch? She's a sorceress, and the sister of the Dream Girl from this reality. Not the Dream Girl from the Threeboot, who's dead, or the Dream Girl (or Dreamer, whatever) who's hanging out with Shikari.
Meanwhile, Superboy-Prime gives the evil Saturn Queen her very own "S-ring," and that looks like bad guy Lightning Lord's hand sporting the new jewelry as well. Geoff Johns likes his villains to sport matching accoutrements -- for more examples, see the Sinestro Corps War.
The purple cloaky guy is the Time Trapper. You can tell because he calls himself "The Time Trapper," and he traps time.
The great thing about his character, is he can be used to explain away any continuity problems ever. Even ones in Marvel comics. That's how powerful he is.
Page 3: "Mordru" is, of course, the super-evil-sorcerer who has imprisoned White Witch. And look who shows up to bust her out, the hot-headed Wildfire, the League-of-Super-Assassins-member-turned-White-Witch-bff Blok, and the super-tracker with the 70s Native American motif, Dawnstar. I think every Legion fan loves Dawnstar, don't they? She is awesome, and Wildfire agrees.
Page 4: Apparently Dawnstar's super-tracking ability lets her see metaphorical paths into the future, which is nice, because, really, if they have Google Maps, she ain't all that useful anymore, otherwise.
Page 5: The last Green Lantern (maybe), Rond Vidar! Son of Universo, the man with the monocle. Rond Vidar was a super-scientist and best friend of Brainiac 5, and then he died, but actually, no, he lived! Because he was secretly a Green Lantern! Why he would not ever use the ring before that, I have no idea. I guess he likes surprises. Well, surprise, he dies for real later in this issue!
That's Mordru with the beard and the purple goblin blasts.
Page 6: Glorith, Dragonmage, and Evillo are supporting characters from Legion history, all of whom have magic connections. Glorith was a former wife of Mordru, and she was also a pal of the Time Trapper, and sort of became a Time Trapper-esque character of her own (in one continuity). Dragonmage actually appeared after the Giffen Five-Year-Gap stories, which Johns seems to be ignoring otherwise, so his mention here shows how screwed up the 31st century timeline really is. And Evillo was evil. Oh.
Pages 7-8: Yeah, Mordru was White Witch's teacher and husband(?) at one point.
Mordru talks like Darth Vader a bit here, and later, Universo kind of does a Lord of the Sith kind of thing. I like to imagine that all of them sound like James Earl Jones throughout the comic. In fact, just imagine everyone in the future talks that way. Except Superboy-Prime. He sounds like Matthew McConnaughey.
Some people criticize Geoff Johns for his bloodthirsty streak, but it's pretty obvious that Mordru's the real crazy one, not Geoff Johns! Seriously, "make love bathed in your blood"? Dude, you're like a thousand years old.
Pages 9-10: The new Legion of Super-Villains, with matching rings! From left to right, top to bottom: Neutrax, Beauty Blaze, Zymyr, Ol-Vir, Emerald Empress, Grimbor, Validus, Tharok, Golden Boy, Tusker, Storm Boy, Sun Emperor, Esper Lass, Dr. Regulus, Universo, Lightning Lord, Superboy-Prime, Saturn Queen, Earth-Man, Hunter II, Persuader, Mist Master, Mano, Spider-Girl, Cosmic King, Micro Lad, Terrus, Lazon, Silver Slasher, Tyr, Black Mace, Echo, Radiation Roy, Chameleon Chief, Titania, Magno Lad.
This is basically the LSV from the early Baxter issues of Legion, plus the Johns Justice League from recent Action Comics issues, a few members of the League of Super-Assassins, the Fatal Five, and a couple of guys who usually work solo (like Universo and Dr. Regulus). In other words, its the most awesome team of bad guys ever.
They all sound like James Earl Jones.
Page 11: Flashback, to Infinite Crisis, written by Geoff Johns. Flashback to "Sinestro Corps War," written by Geoff Johns. Foreshadowing: Sodam Yat -- remember when you beat up a random guy that one time, S-Prime? Not really important right now, but by the end of the issue: important! Sodam Yat, btw, was a Daxamite (like Mon-El) with a power ring, and took the mantle of Ion post-Kyle Raynor.
Page 12: Legion HQ, in panel two, from left to right, top to bottom: bad stuff on monitors, Superman, Lightning Lad, Night Girl, Brainiac 5, Invisible Kid II, Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, Polar Boy, Ultra Boy, Phantom Girl, Lightning Lass, arrogant S-Prime holo, Chameleon Girl, Tmber Wolf.
The Legion has a code against killing. They also have a code against anyone over 18 joining the team, or at least they did. Changing codes is a slippery slope. Now look at them, all a bunch of long-haired hippie fascists.
Page 13: "gathered some magic," is a reference to Magic: The Gathering, the card game I used to play with all the free time I used to have not annotating comic books. Back when I was cool and hip.
Panel five features the first time in comic book history that "clubhouse" and "bastards" appeared in the same panel. Unless you count the obscure Silverwolf comic from 1987, "Clubhouse Bastards," illustrated by Tim Vigil, which I don't, because it doesn't exist.
Page 14: Superboy-Prime hates whiners! Take that, fanboys!
Page 15: You'd think, by the 31st century, they'd come up with a more elegant computer interface than just a keyboard with extra buttons. Must be the Time Trapper messing up the development of technology by making future tech slightly more annoying than it has to be.
Garth (Lighthing Lad) and Imra (Saturn Girl) are married. One of the old-timey Legion rules was that married couples couldn't remain members. They changed that one too. Seriously, besides the "no murder" rule, what's left? Might as well get rid of that one, too. I'm with the Lad with the Lightning.
Pages 16-17: See, "Lethal Force Enabled." That's what I'm talking about. The Green Lanterns got rid of their "no murder" policy a millenia ago, in a story written, not coincidentally, by Geoff Johns.
The Legion used Stargates way before MacGyver did.
Saturn Queen is all up in her Nurse Ratched mode here, but those black word balloons let you know that you're supposed to say the speech in a deep voice, like, you guessed it, J. E. J.
Pages 18-19: Universo, as Rond Vidar's dad, was Green Lantern once, maybe, or I could be totally misremembering that. But what I'm not misremembering is that the "snap" panel is an allusion to the Levitz/Lightle scene when Princess Projectra snapped the neck of Nemesis Kid after he killed her husband (Karate Kid). She did the deed off-panel, too.
Superboy-Prime is basically from our Earth, so he knows about Parker Brothers board games and their mascot. Although Rich Uncle Pennybags doesn't have a beard. Or mind control powers. As far as I know.
Page 20: "Human supremacist trash," is a reference to Earth-Man's xenophobic Justice League who convinced everyone on Earth that aliens were evil and that Superman was actually a human. Racists are bad guys, even in the future.
"Long Live OUR Legion," is a twist on the famous "Long Live the Legion," the rallying cry of the Legion of Super-Heroes and pretty much anyone who's ever sent me an e-mail about the Legion ever.
Page 21: Ah, the lightning rod from what seemed, at the time, to be a completely pointless Justice League/Justice Society crossover a few years back. You remember "The Lightning Saga," right? A speedster is stuck inside that rod! I wonder who it could be? If we take Brainiac's dialogue in the last panel, "..how SMART I really AM" and take out the letters h,o,w, s, I, r, e, y, a, m, and add a B and an "e" and an "n," I think you'll have a great clue! Geoff Johns is also smart, with his 31st century cryptography!
Page 22: Oa, former home of the Guardians, now kind of a downer. Note, this is Sodam Yat and his collection of jewelry. "Mogo" is the planet-sized Green Lantern, created by Alan Moore, and he was Yat's best bud. Before the dark times. Before the rebellion...
Page 23: Happy Harbor, former home of the Justice League of America, the Doom Patrol, and pretty much anyone who wanted to hang out. All you need is Aquaman's garage door opener to get in, apparently. Trophies on display include Despero's chess board, Abnegazar, Rath, and Gast class photos with accompanying wheel, jar, and bell. Prometheus's digital download helmet, and Dr. Destiny's Materioptikon. Also, some Amos Fortune playing cards, a giant Starro Heroclix, and, of course, that crystal ball that's not really a crystal ball. You may remember that from the first JLA/JSA team-up.
"Sub's satellite," refers to the Legion of Substitute Heroes, who have taken over the old JLA satellite after the dorkface racists got defeated, thanks to the Subs, in Johns's Action Comics issues earlier this year.
Page 24: The Time Institute! In the background we see Booster Gold's sis, Goldstar, Skeets, Rip Hunter, Time Master, and some other dude who I'm probably expected to remember. Time bubbles are good. For time travel.
"He's a Daxamite" is more Sodam Yat foreshadowing, for all you playing the at-home version.
Page 25: "red sky" is a reference to Crisis on Infinite Earths, or maybe Infinite Crisis, or Final Crisis, but definitely NOT Identity Crisis. "The Tornado Twins" are Barry Allen's kids who live in the future, and end up becoming Bart Allen's dad and aunt. Whatever adventure White Witch is talking about is the previous team-up between all three Legions that we still haven't seen. Stupid Time Trapper!
A "Legion Lost" joke. And a reminder from Johns that the Threeboot Legion is still being published. Buy your copy today!
Pages 26-27: Hoo-boy, at least the Threeboot Legion is on the left page, and the Reboot team on the right. Here goes, from left to right, top to bottom: Element Lad, Star Boy, Micro Lad (aka Colossal Boy), Saturn Girl, Shadow Lass, Ultra Boy, Chameleon, Triad, M'Onel, Ferro, Triplicate Girl's legs, Invisible Kid, Light Lass, Atom Girl (aka Shrinking Violet), Karate Kid, Brainiac 5.1, Andromeda, Star Boy, Phantom Lass, Ultra Boy, Triplicate Girl, Lightning Lad, Lightning Lass, Cosmic Boy, Sensor, Timber Wolf, Violet, XS, Dreamer, Princess Projectra, Karate Kid, Chameleon, Timber Wolf, Kid Quantum II, Saturn Girl, Apparition, Triplicate Girl, Brainiac 5, Shadow Lass, Triad, Gates, Invisible Kid, Shikari, Element Lad, Gear, Wildfire, Kinetix.
Page 28: Threeboot Brainiac 5 is from the "Eat it, Grandpa" incarnation from the team. You thought "Long Live the Legion" was a catchy phrase? "Eat it, Grandpa" is the type of thing Matthew Elmslie writes essays about!
Page 29: Sun boy is very sad, as he drinks his SODA POP. Ever since he spent years hooked up to an evil machine that made him turn the sun red, in a story written by Geoff Johns, he just hasn't been the same womanizing douchebag he used to be.
Page 30: Superboy-Prime does have a history of scorching planets with giant space graffiti. His threats are not empty. I've read Countdown, so I know everything there is to know about pain and suffering.
Page 31: The power battery on Oa all black and spooky is a great image. Note to Geoff Johns: you might want to think about basing a huge event on that image next summer. Call it "Shadowy-est Evening," and you'll sell a million books. Mon-El and Shadow Lass make a nice couple, don't they? What a romantic getaway -- going to Oa with a corpse and all.
Page 32: Sodam Yat, I am not a fan of your haircut. But a man with the powers of Mon-El and a Green Lantern ring who hangs out on a planet with a bunch of dead guys is probably not really in the mood to listen to anything I have to say. When you read his final speech, remember that it rhymes with "This is CNN."
And that, my friends, is the greatest Legion story so far this week. Maybe ever.