Legion of the Damned
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Legionnaires 78 (epilogue)
- Main article: Legionnaires 78
A cascade of energy travels through stargates, collapsing the stargate network as it passes over Aleph, Xanthu, Braal, Winath, Korzon 5, Rimbor and Loberzia, on its' way to Earth...
Part One: The End of All Things
- Main article: Legion of Super-Heroes v4 122
One Month Later, the Blight has taken over Earth, "blighting" most Legionnaires and the visiting Amazers into its' service. Live Wire, XS, Chameleon and Shvaughn Erin are all that remains free of the Legion, and they begin to despair even as they try to get a bunch of refugees to R.J. Brande, who is planning to open a last stargate away from Earth once he has collected as many refugees as possible. Confronted by a couple of Blight and the Blighted Karate Kid, Umbra and Ultra Boy, they lose. Live Wire radios Brande to move the refugees even as Shvaughn and XS are captured, while he is "choke-weeded". Only Chameleon escapes, disguised as a rat.
With the captive Legionnaires and refugees taken to an internment camp, and then on to the Blight's headquarters, The Stem, for interrogation given their Resistance origins. Chameleon, meanwhile, is lost, unable to return to Brande's headquarters in case he is followed, and knowing that they would move soon if they hadn't already. He hides in the ruined Science Police HQ to wait to see if he had been followed. He isn't disappointed, as the Blighted Star Boy and three Amazers. Using stun grenades he'd pre-wired, he takes out the Amazers, then blasts Star Boy with a maximum intensity stun from his blaster. Hearing more noises outside, and expecting more Blighted, he reluctantly sets the blaster to lethal levels before checking.
- *Subtitle taken from the "Next issue" blurb of Legionnaires #78, since all other subtitles from LotD and Widening Rifts were also used in "Next issue" blurbs.
Part Two: Damned if we do
- Main article: Legionnaires 79
Chameleon relates the Blight's arrival at Earth to his four teammates, where their teleportation tendrils crashed through the attempts of the Legion, Science Police, Amazers and Workforce to prevent them touching down and "entwined" Earth in less than five hours; before the Blight themselves emerged when victory was already assured. Many were believed killed in the process, but soon reappeared as the Blight's slaves, known as the Blighted. The others are shocked, but confirm for Chameleon that, with the Stargates down, it took them a month to return from their mission to rescue a freighter. Chameleon then points out the Blights' interment camps - and their headquarters, the Stem.
In the Stem itself, those captured in the attack in part one are being processed after interrogation. XS, as the only metahuman among them, is sent deep for power-tapping as one of the humans is killed by a Blight member.
Apparition dreams of her and her three teammates' arrival back at Earth, her frustration at being separated from Ultra Boy, and how, on discovering the Outpost abandoned in Earth orbit, they had only had time to find Chameleon's flight ring before realising they had triggered a booby-trap. As she remembers the explosion knocking their cruiser out of control, she wakes to find Chameleon hadn't slept, traumatised by the previous month.
XS, regaining full consciousness thanks to her accelerated metabolism, is carried down the Stem in a bubble of sap by three Blighted. As this happens though, she hears a small telepathic voice, who can't remember its' name, telling her to escape. She then sees several Legionnaires hung like slabs of meat, but, as it grows louder, she begins to recognise the telepathic "voice" moments before she sees the source - Saturn Girl. Immediately, she bursts out, grabs Saturn Girl from her prison, and sprints away at super-speed. The Blight look for them, but Jenni, forced to stop, vibrates them invisibly until they pass. Once they are gone, however, the exhausted and defeated Saturn Girl tells Jenni to go without her, and roughly implants what she had learned of the Blight into XS' brain before collapsing.
Meanwhile, Cos' team are approaching the Stem, when a group of Blighted fly out, looking for them.
Part Three: Damned if we don't
- Main article: Legion of Super-Heroes v4 123
Flashbacks to the Blight's origin from Saturn Girl's mental dump keep stopping XS dead as she tries to escape the Stem, pursued by Blighted - the Blight were an incredibly advanced race, but now they no longer remember who they were or where they came from. With immortality their only remaining goal, they made a deal with Entropy, who gave them "Eternal existance... for a price."
As XS emerges from one of the trances, Saturn Girl wakes and knocks the Blighted out, while Cos' team arrive and rescues them as XS fuges out once more - the Blight were trapped in a state of entropic decay by their deal, needing to feed off other races to maintain their existence. Becoming insane over the course of many years, they eventually found and enslaved the Doda, a benign network of tendrils which grazed on the "life force bloom" of inhabited planets. The Blight corrupted it to be their transport. After a chance encounter with the Legion, they saw the Earth and its' richness of lifeforce for the first time.
XS wakes in Monstress' arms, as Chameleon directs them to a Resistance shelter, then apologises to Jenni for letting her and the others be captured. XS reassures him it wasn't his fault, and hugs him. With the Blight out looking for the escapees, M'Onel - unBlightable, but being tapped for power - senses a chance to escape, but is quickly brought down by Atrophos, who calls him the key to exterminating all life, and ending the Blight's curse.
The small group of free Legionnaires hunt down a Blight Attack group and, despite Apparition being thrown when about to knock the Blighted Kinetix out, successfully retrieve a Blight identity signature so they can move about at will in the Stem safely. Cos says that, if XS' story is true, they need to destroy the Doda to shut the Blight down - but Saturn Girl thinks in response that, while she "wishes she could tell them", she may need to "betray them all."
Part Four: Damned for all Eternity!
- Main article: Legionnaires 80
Aprophos tells M'Onel how there is one way to end their curse - using a catalyst, they plan to send a vast energy wave through the Doda's network, causing a detonation of "life energy" throughout the galaxy, which energy will reverse the Blight's state of entropic decay and "free" them at the cost of every other living thing. M'Onel is told that he will be the catalyst as the Blight begins and he screams.
The Legionnaires, with Chameleon posing as a Blight, infiltrate the Stem posing as captives. Saturn Girl guides them, searching for where they need to go - until she locks onto M'Onel, and pain knocks her off her feet. She whispers Atrophos' plan to Cos, and he breaks from the "prisoners" act, and they rush for where M'Onel is being held. Monstress is knocked unconscious by the Blighted Ultra Boy, but the sight of Apparition stops him in his tracks. As he stands confused, Tinya tells him he can beat anything, their bond is stronger than the Blighting, reaches out to him... and phases through him.
The others make their way to the central chamber, where Cos tells Brainy to block the door with his forcefield, and unleashes a great mass of metal at Atrophos, knocking him to the side. He rushes at the controls to where M'Onel is being held, but Saturn Girl tells him to leave them, and knocks him out when he refuses. As the others stand baffled, Atrophos gloats, and Chameleon attempts to stop her and is knocked back as she asks him to believe in her. He can't, and is about to shoot her with his blaster when XS intervenes and talks him down, based on the impressions she got from Imra in her mindblast, and he lowers it.
A spike of energy from the energy vortex now surrounding M'Onel knocks them off their feet, and Saturn Girl links with M'Onel, telling him she intends to guide him into using his link with the Doda into freeing it from the Blight's corruption, allowing it to flower and finally complete its' life cycle. As the others wonder what's happening as the vortex changes from purple to cream-coloured, Brainy struggles to block the entrance - then steps aside, as Atophos, realising what's happening, lunges at the crontrols... to allow Apparition, Monstress and the no longer Blighted Ultra Boy through, who promptly picks him up and hurls Aprophos into the doda's energy vortex.
The Stem then blows apart, and the Legionnaires are tossed around as the liberating pulse, borne from M'Onel's power, speeds through the Doda's tendrils everywhere, evaporating the Blight, and Saturn Girl and M'Onel, linked to it, watch as it finally flowers.
She then comes back to reality, and XS looks down at her and tells her to "come and see the light show" as everyone, including the formerly-Blighted, look up at the sky. Brainiac 5.1 is left almost speechless, and Imra reconciles with Cos and Chameleon - and then, as she wonders what she'll do without Live Wire, is alerted to Garth, Lyle and others coming up from where the root of the Stem had been.
While they savour their victory, however, "tomorrow [they]'ve got work to do", repairing the wounds left on Earth and in their hearts.
The Blighted included, in addition to a number of unknown or unclear characters:
- Atmos (LSH123)
- Element Lad (Lgs79, LSH123)
- Evolvo (Lgs79)
- Ferro (LSH123, Lgs80)
- Insect Queen (LSH122)
- Karate Kid (LSH122, possibly also LSH123)
- Kid Quantum (Jazmin Cullen) (LSH123, Lgs80)
- Kinetix (Lgs79, LSH123)
- Lori Morning (Lgs79)
- Particon (LSH123, Lgs80 (cover only))
- Radion (LSH123)
- Spark (Lgs79 (cover only), LSH123)
- Spider-Girl (Lgs79)
- Star Boy (LSH122, Lgs79, LSH123)
- Thunder (LSH123, Lgs80)
- Triad (Lgs80)
- Ultra Boy (all issues)
- Umbra (LSH122, Lgs79 and LSH123)
- Violet (Lgs79)
In addition, Triad, Kid Quantum, M'Onel, Ferro and Atmos are shown in the process of being Blighted in Lgs79; although LSH123 reveals that the attempt to Blight M'Onel fails. The head of someone who appears to be Invisible Kid is also seen, but LSH124 confirms Chameleon's mention in LSH122 that Lyle was chokeweeded.
The following were "chokeweeded" - a process that drains the life directly from its' victims, who are imprisoned in the lowest tier of the Stem.
DC Comics Presents: Legion of Super-Heroes - Legion of the Damned.
Reprinted the four issues (not including the Legionnaires #78 epilogue) in one stapled comic. Initially recalled on publication (April 20, 2011) due to the issues being printed out of order (with the two Legionnaires issues before the two Legion of Super-Heroes v4 issues, meaning it was printed as parts 2->4->1->3 ). Republished May 11th, 2011 with the cover altered to have a white rather than yellow logo.
DC COMICS PRESENTS: LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES – LEGION OF THE DAMNED
Written by DAN ABNETT and ANDY LANNING; Art and cover by OLIVIER COIPEL and ANDY LANNING
With the hardcover collection of LEGION LOST coming in June, DC Comics collects the tale that led into that space-spanning epic: LEGION OF THE DAMNED, originally published in LEGIONNAIRES #78-79 and LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #123-124. Featuring spectacular art by Olivier Coipel, the story begins as Cosmic Boy, Brainiac 5 and other heroes return to Earth, only to find it dominated by the alien race known as the Blight. How can the team stop these alien invaders when they’re being picked off one by one?
On sale April 20 • 96 pg, FC, $7.99 US