Posts tagged ‘Curt Swan’

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 370 – Pete Ross and Insect Queen to the rescue

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Adventure 370 (July 1968) concludes the introduction of Mordru storyline by Jim Shooter and Curt Swan.

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Superboy uses his hypnosis machine to erase the Legionnaires memories of their real identities for an hour, correctly assuming that Mordru will search everyone’s minds in his hunt for them.  What he doesn’t realize is that Mordru’s magical hunt will alter the effects of the machine, extending the memory loss.

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As Mordru takes control of Smallville, Pete Ross realizes Clark must have lot his memory of being Superboy, and goes to Lana for help.  She dons her Insect Queen guise, and together they restore Superboy’s memory.

But once the Legionnaires are back in action, they fall to the extremely powerful villain, who puts them on trial, along with Lana and Pete, and imprisons them all in a lead and kryptonite cage.

Or so it seems.  Mon-El and Superboy are both puzzled by its lack of effect, and it turns out one of Mordru’s pawns is working against him.

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Deception follows deception.  Mordru believes he has destroyed Legion headquarters, but that was an illusion cast by Princess Projectra and White Witch, alterted by a vision by Dream Girl.

Mordru’s attempt to destroy Superboy, Mon-El, Duo Damsel, Shadow Lass, Pete Ross and Insect Queen backfires completely as the fireball he creates causes a cave-in, entombing him.  And being buried is the only thing that renders Mordru helpless.

A great tale all around, and one of the first Legion stories I read, in the oversize reprint from the 70s.

 

Adventure 369 – The Legion vs Mordru

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The last great Legion story from its run in Adventure Comics is this 2-parter beginning in issue 369 (June 1968), as Jim Shooter and Curt Swan introduce the sorceror Mordru.

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Shadow Lass goes poking around Legion headquarters, and when she finds a massive sealed chamber, she does the rational thing and starts to open it.  Mon-El tries to stop her, but too late.  As Mordru frees himself the four Legionnaires who happen to be there (Superboy and Duo Damsel being the other two) flee in the Time Cube back to Superboy’s Smallville to hide.

Although this was Mordru’s debut, the tale gives him a backstory and previous encounter with the Legion, explaining how he wound up in the vault.  However, when this battle occurred is a bit of a mystery.  It would seem to have to have taken place after the new headquarters were built, or the vault would likely have been cracked open during the Fatal Five’s assault on the Clubhouse.  But it’s also clear that it took place before Shadow Lass became a member, which of course she became DURING the Fatal Five’s assault on the Clubhouse.  So it’s a puzzlement.

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At any rate, the four try to blend in to life in Smallville.  Mon-El re-adopts the identity of Bob Cobb, which he used there previously, when he first met Superboy.  Shadow Lass gets some good body make-up to let her blend in, and moves in with Lana Lang as an exchange student.  Duo Damsel pretends to be a distant relative of Police Chief Parker.

She also gets a much beloved scene, as Shadow Lass switches her affections from Brainiac 5 to Mon-El, but Duo Damsel’s attempts at some romantic interaction with Superboy result in her having to clamber through a sewer on her own.

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Mobster “King Carter then tries to take over Smallville, and the heroes are reluctant to use their powers and give themselves away, figuring (rightly) that Mordru has spies looking for them.  But rather than just cower in fear, they lead the townspeople in standing up to the hood and driving him out of town.

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Feeling guilty about hiding instead of fighting, they don their costumes one night, prepared to take on Mordru, but Lana Lang is one of his unwitting spies and sees them.

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Oh oh.

The story concludes next issue.

Adventure 368 – The Legion’s battle of the sexes (reprise)

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After the embarrassingly sexist “Revolt of the Girl Legionnaires” a few years ago, one could be sure that this version, by Jim Shooter and Curt Swan, would be much better, right?  After all, this is May of 1968.  But nope, Adventure 368 is just as bad as the earlier version.

Thora, an ambassador from the matriarchal world of Taltar comes to Earth, supposedly to meet with Kandro Boltax but really to increase the powers of the female Legionnaires, and get them to turn against their male teammates.

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At first the power increase seems to just be a plus all around.  Duo Damsel can make hundreds of bodies, Shrinking Violet can grow or shrink, Phantom Girl can make others intangible, Supergirl is immune to kryptonite, and so on.

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Brainiac 5 is suspicious of the situation, and acting on his advice, Invisible Kid orders the women quarantined.  They take that as jealousy, and, fanned by the effect of Thora’s power charge, rebel and battle the boys.

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There has been no element of the romances on the team through much of this story, but when Shadow Lass starts expressing her disdain for Brainiac 5, whom she feels rejected her, Supergirl’s love for him causes the “spell” on her to break.  She figures out that Thora is behind it, and causes her bracelet, the source of the power charge, to break.  Thora kills herself, and we hear that the matriarchy on her planet has been overthrown, and men returned to their rightful place of dominance.

OK, just as bad as before.

 

Adventure 367 – The Legion vs the Dark Circle

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A new headquarters, a new enemy and a mysterious machine in the Jim Shooter/Curt Swan tale in Adventure 367 (April 1968).

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The Legion are constructing a new headquarters after their battle with the Fatal Five, and the story spends a lot of time showing us the new facilities.  They also receive many gifts from around the galaxy.

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The Dark Circle are introduced, though who they are and what they want is kept a mystery – for many years, as it turns out.  But seeing the Legion busy with the reconstruction, they figure this is a good time to attack the Earth

They assault Tokyo while Karate Kid is there, meeting with his Sensei.  At this point, all we learn of the man is that he trained Karate Kid, but he will return in the 70s, and his story expanded.

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When the Dark Circle’s forces attack the headquarters, Brainiac 5 wishes silently that Karate Kid was there to help defend them, and then abruptly, Val is there.  Brainiac 5 correctly theorizes a mysterious present is the cause, and uses the device, the Miracle Machine, to repel the invasion and complete the new headquarters.

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Every Dark Circle operative on Earth is shot off into space, and Curt Swan creates a 60s sci-fi masterpiece in the new hq, which would last until the rebuild in the 80s.

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One of the Controllers appears, explaining that the Miracle Machine was a present from them – although at the same time warning them that it can make any thought into reality, and a stray wish could obliterate the universe.  Christmas must be a riot with the Controllers.

The Legion seal the Miracle Machine in a cube of inertron, where it stays for many years, though even encased it appears again in the early 70s.  The Controllers do not appear again until the late 70s.

Adventure 366 – Shadow Lass joins the Legion

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A great second half to the return of the Fatal Five in Adventure 366 (March 1968), though at no point do Superboy and Validus face off in a boxing ring, despite the cover.

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While Cosmic Boy, Superboy, Brainiac 5, Shadow Lass and Karate Kid manage to avoid the Talokian army until the find and destroy the machine controlling their minds, the Fatal Five run rampant on Earth, capturing Metropolis.

The Five discover that the key they need to unlock the U.P. weapons cache is in the Legion Clubhouse, but when they get there, the five Legionnaires are already there, having returned from Talok VIII

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I suppose I should have said four Legionnaires, as Shadow Lass is not a member at this point.  Brainiac 5 wonders why she has chosen to accompany them, and we discover that Shadow Lass has fallen for him.  And its enough of a crush that she is willing to abandon her home and put herself in deadly danger for it.  Still, Brainiac 5 dismisses this possibility as “illogical.”  He likes using this word a lot in stories from this time, probably because Spock uses it on Star Trek, which was on television at this point.

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Besieged by the Fatal Five, Shadow Lass asks to join the team, making her the first member sworn in in the midst of battle.

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And she proves herself quite a capable member, taking out the Emerald Empress despite her broken arm.

The 5 teammates battle the Fatal Five to a draw, but when the U.P. army arrives the Fatal Five flee.

The Fatal Five return again a few months down the road.

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