Posts tagged ‘Ferro Lad’

Adventure 357 – The Ghost of Ferro Lad

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Adventure 357 (June 1967) has a pretty decent mystery story by Jim Shooter, with Curt Swan art.  It manages to play both sides, with a phony ghost and a real one.

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The Legionnaires are feeling guilty over Ferro Lad`s death, many of them having bad dreams.  And then deadly accidents begin to occur, with ghostly messages left behind.  They decide the Clubhouse must be haunted, and Princess Projectra holds a seance to try to contact his ghost.

Brainiac 5 is not at all impressed with her oracular background, the first tension between him and a magic user on the team.

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She manages to contact Ferro Lad`s ghost, who insists that he wants vengeance against the four members who `let him die,`and demands that the Legion disband.

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Brainiac 5 orders this to happen, and they go their separate ways, but almost immediately after Superboy is snatched by a Controller.  This is the first time the Controllers appear in any DC book.  There is as yet no backstory linking them to the Guardians of the Universe, but we do learn that the one in the tale was responsible for the creation of the Sun-Eater, which he planned to use for conquest.  It is the Controller who created the ghost of Ferro Lad, and wants revenge on the Legion.

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Superboy`s flight ring gets activated by a mysterious force, which summons the rest of the team, who free Superboy, while the same force, revealed as the true ghost of Ferro Lad, takes down the Controller.  Nicely done for a dead guy.

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This story also features a brief appearance by Cosmic Boy`s younger brother and future Legionnaire, Pol Krinn.

 

 

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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 346 – 4 new members and a new writer for the Legion

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Jim Shooter was only 14 years old when he wrote and drew his first Legion of Super-Heroes story, in Adventure 346 (July 66), which introduced Ferro Lad, Karate Kid, Nemesis Kid and Princess Projectra, as well creating the Khunds, a militaristic alien race bent on conquering the Earth.

Much of this issue, the first half of a two-part story, is devoted to introducing the new characters at their Legion try-out, which is not a bad thing at all.  It gives an opportunity to demonstrate their abilities and provide some background before we discover that one of them is really an agent of the Khunds.

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Princess Projectra is up first, showing off her illusion-casting powers.  She is royalty from the planet Orando, a magic user like Command Kid.

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Nemesis Kid is Hart Druiter, who hails from Myar, the “alchemists planet,” and has taken a potion he created that gives him whatever powers he requires to defeat any individual foe he is up against.

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Ferro Lad, Andrew Nolan of Earth, is a sort of an upgraded Stone Boy, as he can turn his body into iron, but loses no mobility by doing so.

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Karate Kid is also from Earth, and has the curious name Val Armorr.  He has mastered every form of martial arts, and while he has no super powers per se, the fact that he is able to take on Superboy and almost defeat him is impressive enough to win him membership.

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Garlak, the leader of the Khunds, announces his intent to attack Earth, which is very sporting of him.  Had he not alerted the Legion, his army might have succeeded.  But thanks to the warning, the Legion split into teams to guard three electro-towers, which they are counting on to defeat the invasion.

Comic Boy and Phantom Girl head to Alaska with Karate Kid to defend the tower there.  When it gets destroyed, Phantom Girl notes a variety of suspicious circumstances, all of which seem to indicate that Karate Kid was working to aid the Khunds.

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The story concludes in the next issue,

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