Posts tagged ‘Karate Kid’

Adventure 403 – new costumes for the Legion

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Adventure 403 (March/April 1971) is a reprint issue, collecting the stories of Lightning Lad’s death and resurrection, all of which I have already written about.  But it also has three pages of new costumes for the Legion, sent in by readers.  Most would be used, at least once, though they vary from decent to horrible.

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Saturn Girl’s bikini would become her standard outfit through the 70s, as would the two-tone splitting costume for Duo Damsel.

I think the Phantom Girl outfit does appear in one story, though the legs are not seen. Light Lass and Shrinking Violet costumes would not appear.  Violet’s is wildly off the mark for her character.

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A host of awful costumes on this page.  Cosmic Boy, Ultra Boy and Lightning Lad would never wear these clothes, but astonishingly the hideous outfits for Karate Kid, Princess Projectra and Shadow Lass would all appear once.  It’s difficult to imagine a princess of any world wearing a bra with a crown on it, and the slave girl look does not suit Shadow Lass at all.

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The outfit Saturn Girl adopts in the 80s is a bit like the one shown here, but the removable jacket was never a part of it.  Of the outfits proposed for the Substitute Legion, Chlorophyll Kid’s really isn’t that bad, but Night Girl looks like she was caught in an s&m club.  Neither of these would be used either.

Adventure 378 – Brainiac 5’s deadly birthday

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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 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 373 – The Legion meet the Tornado Twins

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Win Mortimer takes over the art on the Legion series with Adventure 373 (Oct 68), as Jim Shooter introduces a pair of mysterious siblings, the Tornado Twins.

For the rest of the run of Legion in Adventure Comics, the art is not impressive.  Part of that is due to the backlash against costumed heroes that followed the Batman tv series.  Costumed villains would all but disappear over the next few years, and none of the characters introduced in the remainder of the Legion tales would have costumes worth noting.  Even the Legionnaires themselves would suffer from this.  Most notably,Ultra Boy’s symbol would reduce, or even vanish completely, in these last 8 issues.

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The Legion spend most of this issue showing up late to crime scenes and disasters, repeatedly encountering the Tornado Twins, whose powers seem only equalled by their obnoxious arrogance.

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The Legion try investigating them, but can find no information on them at all, and for much of the issue, their powers are not even clearly defined – we see the results of their actions more often than the actions themselves. Karate Kid loses his cool and gets into a fight with them, but they quickly defeat him.

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Ultimately, it turns out that they are Don and Dawn Allen, “descendants” of Barry Allen, who temporarily acquired super-speed in order to erect a statue of the Flash, and memorialize the hero by acting like complete jerks.

Don and Dawn Allen would appear sporadically over the years, and eventually be acknowledged as the children of Barry Allen, not merely his descendants.

By the way, take a look at the highlighted letters in the third picture reproduced above.

 

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.

Adventure 362 – The Legion vs Mantis Morlo

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Not one of the better Legion tales, JIm Shhoter’s 2-parter in Adventure 362 (Nov 67) does have the saving grace of taking the reader to three of the Legion homeworlds: Daxam, Orando and Naltor.

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The Legion discover that an old foe (in his debut appearance), Mantis Morlo, has been poisoning the upper atmosphere.  He’s a fairly standard mad scientist, with robotic “chemoids” as muscle.

After receiving alerts from Daxam, Naltor and Orando about similar problems, Invisible Kid sends out three teams to investigate, under Mon-El, Dream Girl and Princess Projectra, respectively.

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The rest of this issue deals only with the team on Orando, a world that resembles medieval Europe.  With no industrialization, the source of the pollution is a mystery, but of course it’s Mantis Morlo creating it.

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We meet Projectra’s parents, the rulers of Orando, but more importantly, this story begins the romance between Projectra and Karate Kid.  Not a bad scene, but it does make one long for Curt Swan’s art, especially the skulls over the doorway.

The story concludes next issue.

Adventure 347 – The Legion traitor revealed

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Jim Shooter’s first Legion story concludes in Adventure 347 (Aug 66), and although the resolution is a tad lame, it’s better than the crap I was writing at 14.

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Unlike last issue, this story is almost non-stop action as the Legion fight off Garlak and his Khund army.  All three electro-towers fall to the Khunds, and suspicion continues to grow about Karate Kid.

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Superboy uses his telescopic vision to find Karate Kid, who is back at the Clubhouse, and they follow him there, discovering him in the arsenal, which has been destroyed.

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In the one shamefully weak sequence Karate Kid is confronted by the rest of the Legion, and then Nemesis Kid pops out to confess, having assumed they were confronting him.  Duh.  Loooo-ser.

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The traitor exposed, and a secret electro-tower put into action, the Legion board some odd flying platforms for the climactic battle with the Khunds.  These have never been seen again, and look far less stable than the flight rings they have been relying on.

Nemesis Kid escapes from the team, his power to take on any one foe defaults to teleportation when he is confronted by a group.

Both Nemesis Kid and the Khunds would return, though Garlak would not.  Later stories would make it clear that the Khunds have no sympathy for leaders who fail.

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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