Posts tagged ‘Mon-El’

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.

 

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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 363 – Mantis Morlo attacks Legion homeworlds

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The concluding half of Jim Shooter’s 2-part Mantis Morlo story sees the Legionnaires on Daxam and Naltor, but the mediocre art prevents Adventure 363 (Dec 67) from even equalling the previous issue.

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Mon-El’s team finds Daxam in ruins, its cities destroyed by chemical storms, which means the artist doesn’t have to bother drawing them.  I chose the above page because it has the only Daxamite building in the issue.  Morlo’s base is underwater, and the Legionnaires chase him there, but he escapes.

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Meanwhile on Naltor, Morlo has poisoned the food supply, causing bad dreams on this planet of psychics, which is causing mass panic.  Again, little is shown of Dream Girl’s homeworld, but at least we get some idea of how this unusual world works – or doesn’t, in this case.  Ultra Boy has an impressive scene, using his penetra-vision to view the planet layer by layer until he finds Morlo’s base deep underground.

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But neither Morlo is the real one, nor was he actually on Orando.  They are all chemoid duplicates of himself.  Chameleon Boy figures that out, as his antenna react to the Morlo he encounters on Naltor.  We learn that Durlan antennae “read” any new form they encounter, and since he read Morlo twice, one must be a fake.  He impersonates a chemoid in order to learn the villain’s plan – to blow up the Earth – then alters his cannon’s aim so he fires at a fake Earth built by Superboy and Mon-El.

Mantis Morlo returns in the late 70s, in a mildly better story.

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 360 – The Legion in chains

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Adventure 360 (Sept 67) cuts between the Legionnaires imprisoned on Takron-Galtos, those running a resistance movement on Earth, and a mysterious villain whose identity is subtly hinted at, but not revealed until the conclusion of Jim Shooter and Curt Swan’s tale.

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After checking to see that Superboy, Mon-El and Ultra Boy are still safely imprisoned, Kandro Boltax goes to check on his very immobile and unemotional son.  Really perceptive readers might be able to identify this lad, but this scene is about as close as the story gets to giving away the identity of the mastermind of the plot.

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Invisible Kid leads a breakout of the Legionnaires imprisoned on Earth, bringing them to an underground lair of Lex Luthor’s.  Though some of the team want to lead a breakout of those on Takron-Galtos, Invisible Kid insists they solve the situation on Earth first.

Duo Damsel gets to put her powers to use, infiltrating Kandro Boltax’s office and discovering secret info on the water purification plant (remember that?), which has been used to chemically control the minds of people on Earth.

Brainiac 5 devises an antidote, and Invisible Kid’s team leads an assault on the water plant, while the imprisoned Legionnaires manage to break out on their own.

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Everyone comes together as Boltax is revealed to be Universo in disguise, and the son, who managed to get the cure into the water, is, of course Rond Vidar, who is granted honourary membership at the end of the story.

Despite Universo not appearing, except in disguise, for the bulk of this 2-parter it works very well.  The story would heavily influence an 80s Legion tale, The Universo Project – in fact it would be the very similarities that would alert the Legion members to Universo’s actions in that tale.

 

Adventure 356 – Baby Legionnaires

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E Nelson Bridwell returns to script the story in Adventure 356 (May 67).  Curt Swan’s art is the best thing about it.  The story isn’t awful, just nothing particularly special, although it does establish a few things about the Legionnaires and their universe.

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It’s Family Day, and all the Legionnaires with parents go off to celebrate, leaving Superboy, Mon-El, Brainiac 5, Element Lad and Dream Girl to hold the fort.  Superboy`s and Element Lad`s origins make it obvious that they are orphans, and though it hadn`t been clearly stated about Mon-El, the fact that he spent a thousand years in the Phantom Zone makes it a bit of a given as well.  Brainiac 5`s descent from Brainiac had never been made completely clear, but this is the first time we hear of him being an orphan.  Similarly, this is new news about Dream Girl.

They get called to the planet Zinth to investigate a stolen power crystal, but their attempts to retrieve it from a deep lake wind up reducing them all to infants.  Dream Girl warns Superboy and Mon-El that they would be vulnerable to this, but they arrogantly ignore her.

They get adopted, while Brainiac 5, whose intellect has not diminished with his age, finds a cure.

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It turns out this was all a plot by the adoptive parents, who had lost their children earlier and wanted super-babies.  Not only are the Legionnaires in no way upset by this, Dream Girl even gives it all a happy ending, forecasting that they will have new children by the end of the year.

The most significant thing is the mention of two planets, Yod and Rokyn.  Brainiac 5`s homeworld is always called Colu, but in this story it`s called Yod.  Later continuity would clear this up, giving it as an alternate name for the world, presumably from a different dialect.  The Rokyn reference is more significant, as the story states that this is the name the Kandorians gave to the planet on which their bottle city was enlarged, the first indication of that event, which came to pass in the late 70s.

Adventure 345 – Matter-Eater Lad faces execution

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The concluding half of the Edmond Hamilton/Curt Swan prison story in Adventure 345 (June 66) ups the drama, as we discover a spy in the barracks, and Matter-Eater Lad faces a firing squad.

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As Nardo always seems to know the escape plans the boys are forming, Brainiac 5 realizes there must be a spy among them.  He builds a little flying “bug” and discovers that Weight Wizard is the traitor.  Confronted by the other prisoners, he flees, but his escape costs him his life.

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Nardo proves ever more sinister as the story progresses.  Invisible Kid’s failed escape attempt results in Nardo shrinking him and leaving him to some nasty insects, though Lyle Norg is resourceful enough to survive.

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It’s the female Legionnaires who save the day, really.  Saturn Girl mentally contacts Brainiac 5, alerting him to their plans.  Light Lass uses her powers to weaken a gate, and Duo Damsel breaks it down, while her other body distracts the guards.  They free the boys, and Superboy, Mon-El and Ultra Boy swoop in to the rescue.

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Matter-Eater Lad’s execution is deflected by Superboy, as shown on the cover, but the ray gun still has an effect, enlarging him to Bouncing Boy size.

Shadow Kid has little to do in this story, but will return over the years.

This also marks the final Edmond Hamilton Legion tale, and possibly his final comic book story, as he retired at this point.

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