Sunday, September 09, 2018

The Legionnaires: Blok

Blok of Dryad. Created by Gerry Conway and Joe Staton.

Here's Blok, who was one of my favourites. Still is, I guess.

Blok's a rock creature from a destroyed planet. His powers are, obviously, strength and toughness... but also, sometimes, subtly, the ability to communicate with stone, the ability to absorb energy, and hypernaturally increased mass. (All of which are cool and could stand to be explored a little.)

There have been a few hiccups in Blok's characterization over the years, but for the most part he's been portrayed as a reflective, thoughtful sort of person, who struggles with understanding human(oid) culture, and whose reactions are always a step behind them. He formed a crush on the White Witch, and this seems to have evolved into some sort of relationship in which the two are devoted to each other in an unclear kind of way.

Paul Levitz decided that Blok was kind of a history buff and got a lot of mileage out of having him watching old Legion holo-tapes; useful for flashback stories. This fits in with Blok's origin: he was a child refugee from a planet destroyed by cataclysm, and was brainwashed by the Dark Man into blaming the Legion of Super-Heroes for this, and joined the Dark Man's Legion of Super-Assassins. He eventually thought better of this and became a Legionnaire. So: he thought about the past, learned things from it, and improved his life thereby. Why wouldn't he keep studying the past? Makes perfect sense.

Blok would continue to explore his own nature, including the various physical metamorphoses he went through, but his story was cut short in the 5YL era when Roxxas murdered him. His death was rolled back in the retroboot, but we haven't seen a lot of Blok since then; mostly, he quit the Legion when the White Witch did.

Blok's a great Legionnaire when the writer really engages with him and thinks about how to use him. Also he's good for comic relief.

I'd like to read some more comics about Blok.

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Blogger Jim Drew said...

Any thoughts on Strata, the Dryad in LEGION, or the proto-Blok who was intro'ed in the reboot?

4:31 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I don’t think there’s much to say about reboot Blok. And I wasn’t much of a LEGION reader. I did like the way they figured Dryadians wouldn’t mimic mammal biology and gave their sex difference a whole different basis.

10:50 PM  
Blogger Polt said...

Blok was always a favorite of mine as well. I never thought they did enough with him, but I, like you, quite enjoyed the holo-vid stories!

9:40 AM  
Blogger dbutler16 said...

Blok was also one of my favorites. In addition to liking his innocent, thoughtful personality, it was refreshing to see a non-human Legionnaire for a change. His crush on the White Witch was also an interesting side plot for me. I can relate, Blok!

2:21 PM  

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