Posts tagged ‘Fatal Five’

Adventure 378 – Brainiac 5’s deadly birthday


A birthday party for Brainiac 5 turns into a deadly event in Adventure 378 (March 1969), but gives Karate Kid his most notable achievement during Jim Shooter’s tenure on the Legion.


Superboy, Duo Damsel, Karate Kid and Princess Projectra are the guests at Brainiac 5’s birthday.  Apparently the other 20 members of the Legion simply don’t like him?  At any rate, those who don’t attend are the lucky ones, as Brainy and his guests all get poisoned.  They have only 24 hours to live.


While Brainiac 5 desperately hunts for a cure, Luornu goes to spend her time with her parents, Sueprboy flies off to do as many good deeds as possible, Projectra hangs in a park and feeds birds, and Karate Kid decides to die in battle, and seeks out the Fatal Five.  He plunges into an attack, and defeats the entire group single-handed!


The five gather together as their deadline approaches.  At the last minute, Brainiac 5 remembers the Miracle Machine, but collapses on the way there.  A mysterious man enters to gloat, and then time freezes.  WTF?

Concluded next issue.

Adventure 366 – Shadow Lass joins the Legion


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.


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


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.


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


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.

Adventure 365 – The return of the Fatal Five and the debut of Shadow Lass


Another great 2-part story by Jim Shooter begins in Adventure 365 (Feb 68), as Curt Swan returns to the art.  Shadow Lass gets her formal debut, after appearing as a white-skinned Shadow Woman statue in the Adult Legion story.


The peaceful world of Talok VIII abruptly becomes war-crazed, and cuts off all contact with the United Planets.  Tasmia Mallor, the hero of that world, known as Shadow Lass, was off-planet during the change, and joins the Legion as they go to investigate.


Talok VIII is largely a desert world, and the team lands far from civilization, approaching the city in the guise of the Yakka-Mahor, desert dwellers who are looked down on as barbarians by the city folk.  This sharp divide in Talokian culture, while not made much of in this story, would be expanded on in later tales.

As it turns out, the disguises didn’t help at all, and each of the Legionnaires, as well as Shadow Lass, are teleported into deadly traps designed specifically for them.  They each break out, but that turns out to be part of the plan as well.


The energy they expelled in escaping is channelled into freeing the Fatal Five from the dimension they have been trapped since the end of the Sun-Eater story.  Tharok masterminded this entire scheme, including the transformation of Talok VIII in order to lure the Legion there.

The Fatal Five leave Talok by rocket, as the army converges on the Legionnaires.

The story concludes next issue.

Adventure 353 = The Legion and the Fatal Five vs the Sun-Eater


The tragic conclusion to this two-part story by Jim Shooter and Curt Swan must have been terribly shocking when it came out, irrespective of the major hint given 2 issues earlier.  Along with the first part of this tale, Adventure 353 (Feb 67) was a ground-breaking story, and another that proved that Legion of Super-Heroes was a team like no other.


When the Fatal Five first meet each other it is anything but harmonious.  It was quite wise of Superboy to split everyone up almost immediately, having the two teams form a V shaped gauntlet in the Sun-Eater’s path.


Tharok uses his scientific knowledge to boost the power levels of everyone, even Superboy, but none of them have any effect on the creature.


And then, the big finale.  Tharok devises a bomb that will absorb the Sun-Eater’s powers, which Ferro Lad steals and flies off with.


A mere 7 issues after being introduced, Ferro Lad sacrifices himself.


While the death of Lightning Lad was hinted almost immediately to be reversable, and the death of one of Triplicate Girl’s bodies left the other two intact, there was no question that the death of Ferro Lad was permanent.  The rest of the Legion show up for the funeral – but what in the world were they doing during the big battle?


Adventure 352 – the creation of the Fatal Five


The Legion’s greatest foes, the Fatal Five not only debut in Adventure 352 (Jan 67), but are actually assembled by the Legion itself, in order to combat the Sun-Eater.  Jim Shooter and Curt Swan are both at the top of their game in this classic story.


The story begins with the Legionnaires reviewing tapes of the galaxy’s five greatest villains: Tharok, who is half man, half robot, the Persuader, armed with an atomic axe, the Emerald Empress, with her extremely powerful Eye of Ekron, Validus, a giant mindless monster, and Mano, whose touch can destroy anything.


Shortly after, they are alerted to the fact that a Sun-Eater is approaching Earth.  Unlike the Sun-Eater shown in an earlier issue, this appears to be almost a force of nature, much like a black hole, consuming everything in it’s path, and drawn by the energy given off by stars.


The story never really explains where all the rest of the Legion are, even the leader, Invisible Kid, does not appear in the tale.  Superboy, as deputy leader, takes charge and he, Cosmic Boy, Sun Boy, Ferro Lad and Princess Projectra all set out to recruit the five villains they had been observing earlier.


While recruiting the Emerald Empress, she, and the reader, discover that both Superboy and the Eye of Ekron are vulnerable to kryptonite.  Sadly, nothing is ever made of this intriguing fact, and over the years it simply gets ignored and forgotten.


Validus is shown to be able to speak in this story, though later ones would restrict him to growls rather than words.

The story concludes next issue.

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