Posts tagged ‘Legion of Super-Heroes’

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.  But the Saturn Girl one is a bit of a cheat, as it’s by comic pros Andru and Giordano.

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.

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Adventure 379 – The not-quite-dead Legionnaires

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The concluding half of Jim Shooter’s 2-parter is not much better than the first.  His final few Legion tales have lost the spark of his earlier stories.  Adventure 379 (April 1969) is mediocre at best.

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Ultra Boy and other Legionnaires return from a mission to find their dead friends, and time stopped by an odd alien, who convinces them to go to his realm of Seeris.  The beings from that world have mental abilities, but frail forms, and are being over run by brutal invaders.

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The best scene takes place between Ultra Boy and Phantom Girl, some sincere elements of their relationship, and Ultra Boy agonizing over his responsibilities as leader, which none of the previous ones were ever shown to do.

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Chemical King also gets a good bit, using his powers on himself, to increase his metabolism, briefly endowing himself with super-strength.

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The Legion convince the aliens to use their mental powers to defend themselves (sad they had to be convinced), and that turns the tide.

They return home, and Ultra Boy uses the Miracle Machine to restore the dead-ish Legionnaires to life.  The biggest disappointment in the issue is that the killer is a nothing character, a person who never appeared before, or since.

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 377 – The Legion gets greedy

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This off-beat tale by Jim Shooter is the first to really make use of Chemical King, a sadly underused character, whose powers were much greater than most people understood.  Adventure 377 (Feb 69) also has one good page of psychedelic 60s art.

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Brainiac 5 goes all hallucinatory after a chemical attack by thieves from the planet Modo, operating under the aegis of the crime lord Modulus.  But rather than take him on, the story goes in a curious direction, as the Legion start charging people for their assistance.

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Leland McCauley makes his second appearance, with Superboy charging for rescuing him from a crashing spaceship.  This is the last appearance of the character until the 80s.

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The purpose behind the acquisition of money was two-fold; to make the Legion an attractive target for Modulus to rob, and also to gather a variety of currencies, of different materials, that Chemical King could use his powers of speeding up (or slowing down) chemical reactions on.  He causes a chain reaction among the currencies that turns them into a paralyzing gas, which takes out the criminals on Modo.

The story does point out that the Legion confiscate the loot they find on Modo, and use it to reimburse those they had charged.

With better art, this could have been a memorable tale.

 

 

 

Adventure 376 – Chameleon Boy fights alone

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Chameleon Boy is revealed as the winner of the contest in the previous issue, and spends almost all of Adventure 376 (Jan 69) in solo action in another dimension, even getting a romantic storyline, thanks to Jim Shooter.

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The story reveals how Chameleon Boy beat Psyche, and adopted the identity of Bouncing Boy, having Proty II impersonate him to complete the cover-up.

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Although he has won the championship, and was teleported to the dimension to face off against Kodar, the King gets upset that his daughter, Princess Elwinda, has fallen for the Durlan, and wants to stop him from fighting to save the kingdom.  Pretty racist king there, willing to lose everything just to keep his daughter from marrying a man he doesn’t like.

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But though he defeats Kodar, the Legionnaires track him down just as he is undergoing a bizarre wedding ritual (derived from the native ritual in the wedding between John Smith and Pocahontas, in fact), and teleport him back to “safety,” which also seals the gap between the worlds.

Chameleon is less than pleased to be home.  Princess Elwinda never appears again, but he will meet a woman who resembles her in a story in Action Comics.

 

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 374 – The Legion vs the Taurus Gang

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The Legion gets drawn into a war between gangs on Earth in Adventure 374 (Nov 68), a Jim Shooter tale that introduces Leland McCauley, a business rival of RJ Brande.

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The Legionnaires get attacked at a variety of locations, and the five who remain, Ultra Boy, Supergirl, Element Lad, Dream Girl and Matter-Eater Lad, are teleported by the leader of a gang called Scorpius, who informs them that their teammates will be killed unless the five take down the members of a rival gang, Taurus.

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The Taurus Gang are a kind of half-assed Fatal Five.  None would appear again after this story, except for Black Mace.  For many years though, Legion fans would theorize a connection between Quanto and the similarly costumed Reflecto from the Adult Legion story.

The Legionnaries fight them in disguise, so out of costume, but the Substitute Legion try to break up the fight, and Polar Boy recognizes them.

The current chief of the Science Police, Zoltorius, is the actual leader of the Taurus Gang, but disguises himself as RJ Brande, and tries to frame rival millionaire Leland McCauley as being the head of Scorpius.  This is kind of pointless as far as the story is concerned, but Leland McCauley will appear again in a number of stories.

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Dream Girl infiltrates the Taurus Gang by posing as Mystelor, and Quanto reforms on his own, leaving the gang, but it’s the Subs who get to swoop in and save the day at the end, their last appearance before the end of the Legion’s run in Adventure.

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