Posts tagged ‘Cosmic King’

Adventure 355 – The Adult Legion vs the Legion of Super-Villains, plus Insect Queen

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As with many of Jim Shooter’s stories from this period, the first half of the two-parter had introductions and set-up, while the second half, in Adventure 355 (April 1967) has the bulk of the action, again rendered by Curt Swan.

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The Legion of Super-Villains bring two members into their team for this, Beauty Blaze and Echo.  Neither would really return, although Echo made a cameo in a Legion story from the 90s, and in the 80s Flare joined the Fatal Five, a woman with powers identical to Beauty Blaze.

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They divide and fight, along the usual lines: Lightning Lad against Lightning Lord, Cosmic King against Element Lad, and Saturn Girl against Saturn Queen.

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Beauty Blaze us quickly bested by Polar Boy, and Echo falls to Cosmic Boy.

But it turns out that the villains the Legion were fighting were all illusions, and the real group is holding Brainiac 5 hostage below the sea.

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In the end, the day is saved by two masked figures who reveal themselves to be descendants of Mr Mxyzpylk and Lex Luthor, who join the Legion.  Neither of these characters ever appeared again, and though I enjoyed the story as a child, the ending does feel weak.

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There is a second story in this issue, which sees Lana Lang attempt to join the Legion in her Insect Queen identity.  It’s Curt Swan art again, but the story is by Otto Binder.

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She gets rejected because her powers come from her bio-ring, rather than being innate, but she gets to accompany them on a mission anyway.  Dream Girl warns her that she has seen disaster for Lana if she takes on the form of a moth, which of course happens eventually.

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After briefly losing her bio-ring, it is returned by Superboy, who “didn’t know” he had it in his cape.  Right.

But as she saved Shrinking Violet and Sueprboy during the course of the adventure, she is rewarded with honourary membership, and does make a couple more appearances with the team.

Adventure 331 – The Legion of Super-Villains join the Legion of Super-Heroes

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The Legion of Super-Villains had been introduced in the Superman series, adult criminals corresponding to the three founding Legionnaires.  Adventure 331 (April 1965) marks their first appearance in the Legion series itself.

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Dynamo Boy holds try-outs for new Legionnaires, but uses his power belt to determine if they are corruptable, eliminating ones like Animal Lad, whose powers are much the same as Beast Boy.  Tusker is rejected simply for being inept, but will return in the 80s.

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The Legion of Super-Villains come to apply, pretending to be heroes, and we get the origins of these characters for the first time.  It was always unusual that Cosmic King had powers along the lines of Element Lad, rather than Cosmic Boy, but at least we get his alchemist background.

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Lightning Lord is the elder brother of Lightning Lad and Light Lass, and we get another retelling of the crash landing on Krobal and encounter with the lightning beasts, now with Mekt a part of the group.  As usual, they are shown in their costumes before gaining their powers.

Saturn Queen is not given an origin, and her powers are illusion-casting in this story, though later tales would endow her with the ability to control minds.  I suppose the two are mildly related.

Dynamo Lad knows they are really evil thanks to his power belt, and gives them Legion membership.  The Legion of Subs try to apprehend them, but not only fail to do so, but are sent away and mocked by Dynamo Boy.

The Legion of Super-Villains turn on Dynamo Boy, tricking him into fleeing into the distant future, which he is unable to return from.

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Superboy returns to Earth and challenges the villains to a showdown on a distant asteroid.  They accept, but find themselves no match for Superboy, Mon-El and Element Lad.

Dynamo Boy is never seen again, but the adult Legion of Super-Villains do return in a classic tale.

 

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