Posts tagged ‘Bouncing Boy’

Adventure 380 – Legion of Super-Heroes ends

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After 81 issues, the Legion end their run in Adventure with issue 380, by Jim Shooter and Win Mortimer.  The story is “inspired” by the Odyssey, and the title of the story clearly derived from the Kubrisk film.

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Superboy receives a call from Dream Girl, who warns him of a prophetic dream she had.  Immediately after, he, as well as Ultra Boy, Bouncing Boy, Duo Damsel, Light Lass, Sun Boy, Cosmic Boy and Invisible Kid are teleported to a strange planet, and Superboy is devoured by a dinosaur with kryptonite teeth.  Cause, you know, it makes total sense for an animal to have teeth made from kryptonite.

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The Legionnaires are in shock, but Ultra Boy rouses them and gets them working on a space ship so they can get back home.  Bouncing Boy consoles a distressed Duo Damsel, the first hint at the romance between them, forecast in the Adult Legion story that saw them married.

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The ride home lurches from disaster to disaster.  Ultra Boy really shows his mettle in this story, saving the rest of the team time and time again.  But repeatedly unusual events occur, strange things appear and disappear, enough that there is clearly something going on that the Legionnaires are not aware of.

 

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Upon returning to Earth, they see robot duplicates of themselves being killed.  Superboy then pops up to explain it all.  Dream Girl foresaw their deaths, and the entire “odyssey” was arranged to keep them out of the way, while the robots suffered their fate.  The Super-Pets had been acting in secret, causing the strange events.  The villains behind the murder plot?  More irrelevant characters who kill themselves without explaining their grand plan.

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Not a high note to go out on.

The Legion switch places with Supergirl after this issue, being demoted to the back-up spot in Action Comics, while she takes over Adventure.

The Super-Pets appear again, in a few stories, but this is the last time they have a major role in any Legion tale.

Adventure 376 – Chameleon Boy fights alone

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Chameleon Boy is revealed as the winner of the contest in the previous issue, and spends almost all of Adventure 376 (Jan 69) in solo action in another dimension, even getting a romantic storyline, thanks to Jim Shooter.

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The story reveals how Chameleon Boy beat Psyche, and adopted the identity of Bouncing Boy, having Proty II impersonate him to complete the cover-up.

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Although he has won the championship, and was teleported to the dimension to face off against Kodar, the King gets upset that his daughter, Princess Elwinda, has fallen for the Durlan, and wants to stop him from fighting to save the kingdom.  Pretty racist king there, willing to lose everything just to keep his daughter from marrying a man he doesn’t like.

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But though he defeats Kodar, the Legionnaires track him down just as he is undergoing a bizarre wedding ritual (derived from the native ritual in the wedding between John Smith and Pocahontas, in fact), and teleport him back to “safety,” which also seals the gap between the worlds.

Chameleon is less than pleased to be home.  Princess Elwinda never appears again, but he will meet a woman who resembles her in a story in Action Comics.

 

Adventure 375 – The Legion vs The Wanderers

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The Wanderers are introduced in Adventure 375 (Dec 68), another team of super powered heroes in the 30th century, but they quickly get mind-controlled and the Legion must battle them rather than work with them.  Jim Shooter crafts a decent tale that is sadly undermined by Win Mortimer’s art.

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The two teams meet in peace at first.  But just as the Wanderers get mind-controlled the Legion receive a mysterious message challenging their “mightiest member” to combat.  Quantum Queen, another of the dead heroes shown in the Adult Legion story, is part of the Wanderers.

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Ultra Boy merges the two situations, arranging a contest between the Legionnaires interested in winning the right to stand for the team, by taking down the Wanderers.  There is even a nifty little chart to show the breakdown.  Curiously, Celebrand is at the highest point of the competition, despite having no powers.

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The Legion progress through the chart, with some surprising winners.  The Wanderers, on the other hand, do little to impress, not even Quantum Queen.  Of all the battles, Karate Kid does the most impressive job, defeating Ultra Boy and Sun Boy despite having no powers.  Chemical King and Timber Wolf both take part, but neither fares very well.

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In the end, it appears Bouncing Boy triumphs, but the way the scene is drawn makes it clear the reader is missing something – and indeed, as we discover next issue, as the story continues, it is really Chameleon Boy who won, but disguised himself as Bouncing Boy to keep an edge, and is teleported away.

The story concludes next issue.  The Wanderers make occasional cameos over the years, eventually getting a dismal, sort-lived series in the 80s.

Adventure 372 – Timber Wolf and Chemical King join the Legion

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Adventure 372 (Sept 68) sees Timber Wolf’s long-awaited entry into the Legion, as well as Legion Academy member Chemical King, but Jim Shooter and Curt Swan also provide the earliest chronological appearance of the Legion of Super-Villains in this tale.

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After being expelled last issue, Colossal Boy gets recruited by Tarik the Mute for his new Legion of Super-Villains.  He joins expelled member Nemesis Kid, as well as Legion rejects Radiation Roy, Ron Karr and Spider Girl.

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Meanwhile, Bouncing Boy gets around to showing Ultra Boy the “life gem” he discovered at Gim’s place.  Shame he didn’t bother to do that when he showed him the missing training manuals.  Realizing the actual situation, Ultra Boy has Superboy, Chameleon Boy, and Academy members Timber Wolf and Chemical King adopt disguises to infiltrate the LSV.

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As well as the villains mentioned before, they also discover Lightning Lad’s missing brother Mekt, in his earliest story.

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Colossal Boy figures out who the Legionnaires are, and exposes them, rather than risk his parents’ lives.  Neither Timber Wolf nor Chemical King show particular prowess in their first outing.

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Chameleon Boy pulls off a really impressive transformation, impersonating Superboy, and then pretending to turn to glass, and then into shards of broken glass.  That last change really should be beyond the range of his powers, being dozens of separate objects, but there would be a couple of stories in which he adopted multiple forms like that.

The Legion raid the LSV, and Colossal Boy is restores to Legion membership, while Timber Wolf and Chemical King, neither of whom did anything particular in this story, become members as well.

This story is also the final Curt Swan Legion tale in Adventure.

Adventure 371 – The Legion Academy and a semi-reprint

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For reasons known only to DC, the cover of Adventure 371 (Aug 68) represents the back-up feature, a reprint of “The Valhalla of Super-Companions,” which originally appeared in Superboy 101.  The story is not a Legion tale at all, and they are added to two panels in a feeble attempt to make it one.

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Aside from noting that Ultra Boy, Sun Boy, Duo Damsel and Light Lass make their cameos, I will skip over this tale, and write more about it when I get around to the Superboy series in this blog.

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Ultra Boy becomes the new leader of the Legion in this Jim Shooter/ Curt Swan story, but Colossal Boy is the star, as his parents, making their debut, get turned into living glass statues by henchmen of Tarik the Mute.  They threaten to kill them unless Colossal Boy gets them information on the Legion training program.

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To do so, Gim Allon intentionally messes up on a mission, and Ultra Boy sends him to the Legion Academy for re-training.

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Bouncing Boy is serving as a temporary instructor at the Academy, beginning his long association with it.  Colossal Boy meets Condo Arlik there, a trainee soon to become Chemical King, another Legionnaire introduced as dead in the Adult Legion story.

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Bouncing Boy is suspicious of Gim`s situation, and hoping to get some insight and help him, he breaks into his parents apartment, where he finds Legino training manuals.  Apparently taking these home is really awful, much worse than breaking in to someone else`s apartment, because Chuck gets no punishment when he reports this, but Colossal Boy gets expelled from the Legion.

The story concludes next issue.

Adventure 354 – The Adult Legion

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There have been many stories that show the future of various heroes.  As I write this, “Future’s End” is showing the entire New 52 line five years ahead.  But no story influenced later tales as much as the Adult Legion story in Adventure 354 (March 1967), another classic by Jim Shooter and Curt Swan.

Of the five dead heroes that appear on the cover, only Ferro Lad had even appeared.  Chemical King’s fate would match the cover exactly, while stories of Quantum Queen, Reflecto and Shadow “Woman” (Shadow Lass when she got introduced) would play with the dooms foretold here.

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Superman’s visit to the 30th century to see his adult team mates was not just a list of dead members.  Marriages were shown for Cosmic Boy and Night Girl, Duplicate Boy and Shrinking Violet, even Light Lass and Timber Wolf, the former Lone Wolf, who had not appeared in any Legion tale since his introduction.

Aside from those shown as statues, the story let us see Ultra Boy and Phantom Girl with their children, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl, and Star Boy and Dream Girl all in wedded bliss.  More surprising was Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel and their “triplicate” son.

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Aside from the marriages and deaths, we discover that Matter-Eater Lad has become the president of his home planet, Bismoll, and Colossal Boy in retirement after an injury.  Polar Boy disbanded the Substitute Legion and became a member of the Legion.  All of these elements would come into play in later stories.

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After all the revelations, the story gets into some action, as a masked figure starts destroying the Legion headquarters.

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Unmasked, he is revealed to be Douglas Nolan, the brother of Ferro Lad, who had been mind controlled by Saturn Queen.  The story closes with her, Lightning Lord and Cosmic King preparing for the final battle between the Legion of Super-Heroes, and the Legion of Super-Villains.

Douglas Nolan would not appear again until Legion of Super-Heroes 300, which would cast this whole two-parter in a completely different light.

The story concludes next issue.

Adventure 351 – The Legion, the Subs, the Super-Pets, guest stars, villains and happy endings

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The concluding half of E Nelson Bridwell’s Legion epic brings in not only the entire line-up of the team, and the Substitute Legion, and the Super-Pets, but even former members of the team are a part of this.  In a way, this reads as if the series was being concluded on a high note.  A season finale, so to speak.  Excellent art by Curt Swan helps make this ascend from silliness to a pure delight.

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Invisible Kid is not keen on Ultra Boy using his vision powers to find out the identities of Sir Prize and Miss Terious,and knocks him out.  I believe this is the first time we see someone taking advantage of his limitation of one-power-at-a-time.

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Miss Terious accompanies the team who head to RJ Brande’s private planetoid, where they encounter the Hag, who threatens them with paintings!  No, not art!  This sequence is actually more effective than it seems at first, as Ferro Lad’s painting hints at his death, which happens only a few issues down the road.  Miss Terious refuses to let Cosmic Boy see what future his painting shows.  Nothing awful happens to Cos in the short term, or middle term, so I figure this must show his ultimate fate from End of an Era.

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Miss Terious then puts the Legion to work gathering elements for a magic spell that will conteract the Hag’s hexes.  This proves extremely complex, and both the Substitute Legion and the Super-Pets get involved in its creation.  A lock of Mr Mxyzptlk’s hair is required, so the Legion head to Smallville and Element Lad changes the kryptonite implanted in Superboy, allowing him to remember the team, and aid them.

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Meanwhile, both Chuck Taine and Matter-Eater have been captured by Evillo’s men, but Evillo is none too pleased with Sugyn, and we get to see their nifty powers.  Sugyn can super-spit.  Yup, wow.  That’s a power.  Evillo can grow little horns out of his head, which emits beams that banish Sugyn to “the realm of darkness.”  This is not, in fact, a polite way of saying he is dead, but we do not see the realm of darkness, or Sugyn, or even Evillo for that matter, again until the 90s.

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OK, time to start wrapping things up here.  Sir Prize and Miss Terious are revealed to be Star Boy and Dream Girl, and the spell transforms the Hag into the White Witch, Dream Girl’s missing sister.  Remember her?  She appeared in…umm….well, she was mentioned in….ummm.  Ok, she was missing and just take our word for it.

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And holy crap, wouldn’t you know it EVERYONE is healed and back to the way their way, all thanks to Evillo’s doctor.  Apparently that was the reason to kidnap the three Legionnaires.  To heal them.  Oh, what a nasty nasty man that Evillo is, having people cured.  All right, I concede that Evillo supposedly didn’t know what his doctor was doing, but even still.

But does this actually bother me?  Not at all, it’s such a joyous, all-encompassing ending you just want to cheer out loud for thin Matter-Eater Lad, fat Bouncing Boy and two-armed Lightning Lad.

Even Superboy and Supergirl get to rejoin the team, as Color Kid, now part of the Subs, has used his power to turn the green kryptonite dust into blue, which only kills Bizarros.  And may explain why the Bizarro Legion never appeared again.

Love it, despite its flaws.  A Legion epic.

Adventure 343 – The Legion vs the Luck Lords

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In Adventure 343 (April 66) Edmond Hamilton introduces the Luck Lords, and the possibility that all the bad things that have befallen the Legion recently have a supernatural origin.  Curt Swan does his usual excellent work on this story, and I particularly like the bizarre tower he created for the Luck Lords.

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The Legionnaires discuss the ideas of bad luck on various worlds, in various cultures.  Chameleon Boy gets Proty II to turn into a jinx stone, which Durlans consider unlucky.  As a joke, the other Legionnaires touch it (as do the Super-Pets), and then bad luck starts to befall them.

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Suspicion begins to run rife within the team.  Lightning Lad, Star Boy, Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel all realize they did something “unlucky” before their tragedies struck them.

The Legion head to Thaun, the most superstitious planet in the galaxy, and the home of the legendary Luck Lords.

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The resolution is a bit of a let-down, as the Luck Lords turn out to be nothing more than aliens with a long range hypnotic ray, the cause the of the Legion’s recent problems, but not the events from earlier issue.  The Super-Pets, who are immune to the ray, are called on to defeat them, which is fun.

The Luck Lords return many years down the road, but in all further stories they truly are supernatural beings.  So these ones are just straight out frauds.

Adventure 341 – The Legion vs Computo

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Computo’s reign of terror concludes in this story, but Brainiac 5 seems almost as destructive in his attempt to defeat it.  Jerry Siegel crafts an above par story in Adventure 341 (Feb 66), and Curt Swan’s art brings it to life beautifully.

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Triplicate Girl’s remains are gathered and sent off to Shanghalla, a cemetery satellite that will appear in a number of Legion stories.  An urn for Beast Boy is also shown, a nice nod to continuity.  And of course, we can all mourn over the loss of Hate Face.

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But wait, Luornu isn’t dead after all!  Have to give Siegel kudos for killing off one of her bodies, without killing off the other two.  Rather than a cop-out, this adds some interest in exactly how Carggian physiology functions, and as the years pass, we will learn more about it.  True, she does not seem even mildly distressed at the loss of a body in this scene, but the trauma she has experienced will be dealt with in later years as well.

Proty II once again shows himself far more than a mere pet as he adopts the identity of the Weirdo Legionnaire to distract Computo as the Legion free their captive teammates Star Boy and Sun Boy from his robot army.

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Sun Boy leads the team to the Batcave to hide out, although Computo finds them relatively easily.  Another nice nod to continuity, and the Batcave will appear again in Legion stories.

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At this point, Brainiac 5 seems to have a mental breakdown.  He somehow comes to the conclusion that creating a Bizarro Computo is the best bet they have to defeat the monstrous computer.  Need I say that he is very wrong on this?

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Chuck Taine shows courage, if not brains, by charging in against Computo, who temporarily restores his Bouncing Boy powers, only to show how useless his attempt to rescue Saturn Girl truly is.

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Meanwhile, Brainiac 5 has activated an anti-matter force cannon he found in the Batcave.  While this does have the desired effect of destroying Computo and his robot army, the anti-matter force also threatens to destroy Earth.  The big three, Superboy, Mon-El and Ultra Boy, do what they can to rescue people.  Brainiac 5 finally gets it right, figuring out how to rewire the cannon to send the anti-matter force back to its own universe.

Whew!  For all the power the Legion has as a team, until this story they never really had faced anything that challenged their abilities to this degree.  Ironic that their most powerful enemy to date was created by their own leader.

Adventure 328 – Command Kid joins the Legion

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The first magic user to appear in the Legion, Command Kid joins for Adventure 328 (Jan 65), in a story by Jerry Siegel.

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Hailing from the planet Pretzor, Command Kid has the power to create realistic illusions, but is also extremely arrogant and rude.  He manages to belittle the Legion members enough that many of them accept his offer to “improve their powers,” which involves taking a pill he created, which renders them unconscious.

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His plot is to kill the Legion, which is fairly obvious to the reader.  Throughout the story he has displayed an intense aversion to certain objects: a gold badge, a gold trophy.  At one point he insists that he could save Superboy from a gold krpytonite meteor, but “allows” Ultra Boy to do it instead.

Saturn Girl and Element Lad return from a mission just as Command Kid is about the kill the Legion, and Element Lad turns his death machine into gold, which knocks him out.

Saturn Girl explains that the boy is actually possessed by a demon, and that gold has the power to drive the demon out.  Once he has been exorcised, his powers are gone, along with his memory of the events.

Although Command Kid never appears again, he can clearly be seen as a forerunner of Princess Projectra, another magic user who casts illusions.

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This story also has a really asshole-ish scene for Superboy, as he builds a ray that returns Bouncing Boy’s powers to him, but only for a minute or so.  Poor kid looks more miserable afterwards than he was before.

 

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