Posts tagged ‘Phantom Girl’

Adventure 333 – The Legion goes to war – against itself

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The Legion goes to war with itself in Adventure 333 (June 1965), written by Jerry Siegel, an event so abrupt that it must reveal some long-simmering tension within the team.

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It all begins innocently enough, with Phantom Girl helping out at an archaeological dig, where a plaque is discovered that refers to a war between Krypton and Earth.  Saturn Girl and Superboy travel back in time to ancient Krypton, along with Lightning Lad, Colossal Boy and Element Lad, while Brainiac 5 takes Phantom Girl, Light Lass, Star Boy and Chameleon Boy back in time on Earth.

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Superboy discovers a group of his fellow Kryptonians are leaving the planet to set up a colony on Earth, and his group of Legionnaires accompany them.  Meanwhile, Brainiac 5’s group discovers some alien settlers who are building the city of Atlantis.

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When the two colonizing parties meet, Saturn Girl and Brainiac 5 immediately start a furious argument, which quickly escalates into war.  Just to be clear on this, the war is NOT started by the Kryptonians or Atlanteans, but by the Legionnaires themselves!  Superboy, who ought to be on the Kryptonian side completely, is instead trying to make time with Atlantean Leta Lal, fatally attracted by her initials.

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The war is, at least, a sort of peaceful one.  Neither side actually wants to kill the other, although the Atlantean weapons do accidentally cause some Kryptonian deaths.

In the end, the environment determines the winner, as the Atlanteans cannot exist with the xenon in Earth’s air.  Brainiac 5 artificially “evolves” them into mer-people, and Star Boy sinks their city below the water.  The Kryptonians fare no better in the long run, being killed off by the giant lizards they brought from their home planet.

Although all seems well with the Legionnaires, and Saturn Girl and Brainiac 5, at the end of the story, his resentment over this may be the cause of his behaviour during the Computo story a few months down the road.

Adventure 326 – The Legion’s Battle of the Sexes

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This is one of those uncomfortable sexist stories that were far from uncommon in comics from the 1960s.  While it does show the female Legionnaires as capable of besting their male counterparts, the fact that they are being controlled by the leader of the planet Femnaz prevents this from being as fun as it might.  Like seriously, why shorten it?  Jerry Siegel was pretty obviously thinking Feminazi.

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Saturn Girl sends most of the male members of the team on a fake mission, and then the rest each pick one of the remaining boys to take down.  Triplicate Girl takes on three boys!  Tramp.

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Supergirl gets a role in this story, though that’s nothing to really crow about.  Her victim of choice is Chameleon Boy, and in defeating him she invents Cancellite, which freezes Durlans in the form they are in, preventing them from shape-shifting.  Cancellite will appear again over the years.

Saturn Girl’s target is Superboy, instead of the more obvious Lightning Lad, but as she is leader and he is the star member, that is easily explained.  More curious is the scene with Phantom Girl and Star boy making out before she tricks him into plunging into the ground.  Ultra Boy was one of the ones sent on a mission, but Star Boy is always shown enamoured of Dream Girl.

Much later, this story would be referenced as a fling Phantom Girl had before settling down with Ultra Boy.

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The conclusion is even worse than the story, if that’s possible.  Queen Azura releases the women from her mind control after the women of her planet accidentally blow up their own moon.  Split it in half, actually, in some really poorly drawn panels.  Because Mon-El and Ultra Boy save them from dying as a result of their stupidity, she realizes how important men are.

Let’s just move on to the next story, shall we?

Adventure 316 – Ultra Boy betrays the Legion

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Ultra Boy stars in the Legion’s first “full-length” story, which is also the first issue of Adventure to feature only one story, in issue 316 (Jan 64)

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Jo Nah’s origin is shown, getting swallowed by a space whale.  I guess that’s the best origin one is likely to get with the name Jo Nah.

The Legion discover that he has a criminal past on his home planet of Rimbor, and joined the team under a fake name.  So none of them questioned the name Jo Nah.  Guess the space whale made it plausible.

Ultra Boy is expelled from the team, and goes on a rampage.  Phantom Girl is devastated, and the romance between the characters builds out of this story.

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Jo joins a group of space pirates, as the rest of the Legion try to hunt him down.  Chameleon Boy actually manages to track him, but Ultra Boy escapes.

Phantom Girl also finds him, remembering a secret place he had told her about, but shows up just as the space pirates arrive.

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She gets brought aboard their ship with Ultra Boy, who almost immediately turns on the alien raiders and apprehends them.

We learn that it was all a ruse concocted by Ultra Boy to be able to get close to the pirates.  He had planted false information about his past, intending to be expelled.  Once the Legion discover this, they welcome him back.

Aside from setting up the Ultra Boy/Phantom Girl romance, Edmond Hamilton’s story also gives Jo the semi-shady background on Rimbor that would be a major part of his character as the Legion continue through the decades.

One final note about this story.  Proty II is introduced, again a pet of Chameleon Boy.  We see, for the only time, a statue of the original Proty.

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One cannot help but fear that Cham simply got a new Proty to hang onto in case he or some other member of Legion died, and then they would just sacrifice this one to bring the dead member back.

Adventure 313 – The Legion vs Satan Girl, and Superboy learns his heritage

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Supergirl makes her first appearance with the Legion in their Adventure Comics run, in issue 313 (Oct 63) in a story that sort of features the female Legionnaires, in so far as they all come down with a mysterious disease.

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Saturn Girl,Phantom Girl,Triplicate Girl, Shrinking Violet and Lightning Lass fall ill from the Crimson Virus, as does Night Girl from the Subs, and are taken to Quarantine World.

Satan Girl shows up and claims responsibility for the disease, and that she intends to head to Quarantine World and kill the women.  Rather than pursue her, Sun Boy appoints Supergirl temporary leader and sends her off to battle Satan Girl, while the rest of the guys stay safely on Earth.  Cowards.

Anyway, Supergirl is mystified by Satan Girl, who not only is equally powerful, and immune to kryptonite, but also seems to know everything about Supergirl.

Supergirl heads back to Earth, and convinces the boys that they need to move the girls to a secret location.  Bouncing Boy once again proves himself extremely useful.

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As Satan Girl’s powers cannot affect animals, Supergirl assembles the Legion of Super-Pets and has them take down the villain.

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Ultimately, it turns out Satan Girl was an evil duplicate of Supergirl, created by red kryptonite she was exposed to on her trip to the future.  Satan Girl does make one further appearance, as part of the End of an Era storyline in the early 90s.

Not the greatest Legion tale by Edmond Hamilton, but it does have Curt Swan art.  And I’m a sucker for the Super-Pets.

 

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After giving Pa Kent a Father’s Day present, Clark uses a mind-probe machine to remember how the day was celebrated on Krypton.

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We get to see Jor-El taking baby Kal to the family tomb, with its row of statues commemorating great heroes of the El family.   Superboy seeks out the statue and in space, and wouldn’t you know it, finds it intact and floating around, along with a box of curious objects.

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It’s much more of a challenge to approach the poisonous statuary group than to figure out the purpose of the objects, which clearly fit into the hands of the statues.

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Superboy succeeds by covering the whole thing with lead, and we (and he) learn that the El family included a great explorer, inventors, the writer of Krypton’s constitution and a renowned architect.

This statue group would appear occasionally, as would some of the men pictured.  Primarily, it would be the basis for part of the Krypton Chronicles mini-series.

 

 

Adventure 304 – Lightning Lad dies!

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What?  Killing off Lightning Lad just a few issues into getting their own series?  Impossible!

But that’s what happened in Adventure 304 (Jan 63), in a story by Jerry Siegel that also saw the first election for Legion leader, and as later continuity would have, the first appearance of the Khunds.

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After reading and destroying a mysterious message, Saturn Girl rigs the election so that she becomes the new leader of the team.

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She immediately turns tyrannical, and forces the Legionnaires to wear medallions with her image.  Why on Earth they have a medallion making machine would actually be addressed in a story in the 1980s.  Cause Legion fans care about stuff like that.

Saturn Girl then finds reasons to put all the members on suspension, and thanks to the properties of the medallions, steals their powers.

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But all of this is actually to protect the team from Zaryan the Conqueror.  The mysterious message had been a computer prediction that a Legionnaire would die in battle against him.

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Lightning Lad, informed of Saturn Girl’s plans by Mon-El, from his Phantom Zone vantage point, swoops in to save Saturn Girl, but perishes himself, as does Zaryan.

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And this was 1963!  Heroes did not die!

This story helped cement the notion that there was something special about the Legion of Super-Heroes series, and its best days were still in the future.

(That was a funny.  Future.  The series is all set in the future.  Get it’?  Aren’t I clever?)

Adventure 301 – The origin of Bouncing Boy

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As new applicants to the Legion fret over whether they are good enough to join the team, Bouncing Boy relates his origin, and how he became a member, with the apparent message that, if someone as silly as him can become a Legionnarire, anyone can!

Adventure 301 (Oct 62) was written by Jerry Siegel, so perhaps that’s why there is something almost Bizarro about this story.

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Thanks to Storm Boy’s embarrassing attempt to join the team, we learn that one must have actual powers to become a member, that high tech devices are just not good enough.  Storm Boy is so bitter about this that he spends years and a fortune having devices implanted into his body, returning 40 years later in vengeance.  Triplicate Girl gets to show off her ability to single-handedly gang up on someone.

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Then we get the intense origin of Bouncing Boy.  Check Taine was a lazy delivery boy, who stopped to watch a robot gladiator tournament while carrying an experimental formula to the Science Council.  He then mistook it for a bottle of pop and drank it.

This borders on Jimmy Olsen level stupidity, so it’s appropriate that it endows him with Jimmy Olsen level goofy powers, in this case becoming a big bouncing ball.

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He applies for Legion membership, but is promptly rejected.  The Legion even seem to follow him around, laughing at his feeble attempts to stop crime.  But ultimately Bouncing Boy proves himself against a villain with electrical powers, who he can defeat because he is not grounded during his attack.

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Other Legionnaries appear in the story, but few really get much opportunity to do their thing.  Cosmic Boy runs the whole application process, as Legion leader. One of the two men shown in the final panel is credited as being Matter-Eater Lad, who becomes a member by the next issue.

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The earliest version of the Mission Monitor Board appears in this story.  It neatly demonstrates the far ranging scope of Legion activities, while at the same time allowing some Legion members to be shown in action, without detracting from the story.  In this case, Colossal Boy, Phantom Girl and Ultra Boy.

 

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