Posts tagged ‘Chemical King’

Adventure 379 – The not-quite-dead Legionnaires

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The concluding half of Jim Shooter’s 2-parter is not much better than the first.  His final few Legion tales have lost the spark of his earlier stories.  Adventure 379 (April 1969) is mediocre at best.

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Ultra Boy and other Legionnaires return from a mission to find their dead friends, and time stopped by an odd alien, who convinces them to go to his realm of Seeris.  The beings from that world have mental abilities, but frail forms, and are being over run by brutal invaders.

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The best scene takes place between Ultra Boy and Phantom Girl, some sincere elements of their relationship, and Ultra Boy agonizing over his responsibilities as leader, which none of the previous ones were ever shown to do.

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Chemical King also gets a good bit, using his powers on himself, to increase his metabolism, briefly endowing himself with super-strength.

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The Legion convince the aliens to use their mental powers to defend themselves (sad they had to be convinced), and that turns the tide.

They return home, and Ultra Boy uses the Miracle Machine to restore the dead-ish Legionnaires to life.  The biggest disappointment in the issue is that the killer is a nothing character, a person who never appeared before, or since.

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Adventure 377 – The Legion gets greedy

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This off-beat tale by Jim Shooter is the first to really make use of Chemical King, a sadly underused character, whose powers were much greater than most people understood.  Adventure 377 (Feb 69) also has one good page of psychedelic 60s art.

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Brainiac 5 goes all hallucinatory after a chemical attack by thieves from the planet Modo, operating under the aegis of the crime lord Modulus.  But rather than take him on, the story goes in a curious direction, as the Legion start charging people for their assistance.

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Leland McCauley makes his second appearance, with Superboy charging for rescuing him from a crashing spaceship.  This is the last appearance of the character until the 80s.

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The purpose behind the acquisition of money was two-fold; to make the Legion an attractive target for Modulus to rob, and also to gather a variety of currencies, of different materials, that Chemical King could use his powers of speeding up (or slowing down) chemical reactions on.  He causes a chain reaction among the currencies that turns them into a paralyzing gas, which takes out the criminals on Modo.

The story does point out that the Legion confiscate the loot they find on Modo, and use it to reimburse those they had charged.

With better art, this could have been a memorable tale.

 

 

 

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.

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