Posts tagged ‘Polar Boy’

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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Adventure 355 – The Adult Legion vs the Legion of Super-Villains, plus Insect Queen

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As with many of Jim Shooter’s stories from this period, the first half of the two-parter had introductions and set-up, while the second half, in Adventure 355 (April 1967) has the bulk of the action, again rendered by Curt Swan.

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The Legion of Super-Villains bring two members into their team for this, Beauty Blaze and Echo.  Neither would really return, although Echo made a cameo in a Legion story from the 90s, and in the 80s Flare joined the Fatal Five, a woman with powers identical to Beauty Blaze.

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They divide and fight, along the usual lines: Lightning Lad against Lightning Lord, Cosmic King against Element Lad, and Saturn Girl against Saturn Queen.

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Beauty Blaze us quickly bested by Polar Boy, and Echo falls to Cosmic Boy.

But it turns out that the villains the Legion were fighting were all illusions, and the real group is holding Brainiac 5 hostage below the sea.

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In the end, the day is saved by two masked figures who reveal themselves to be descendants of Mr Mxyzpylk and Lex Luthor, who join the Legion.  Neither of these characters ever appeared again, and though I enjoyed the story as a child, the ending does feel weak.

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There is a second story in this issue, which sees Lana Lang attempt to join the Legion in her Insect Queen identity.  It’s Curt Swan art again, but the story is by Otto Binder.

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She gets rejected because her powers come from her bio-ring, rather than being innate, but she gets to accompany them on a mission anyway.  Dream Girl warns her that she has seen disaster for Lana if she takes on the form of a moth, which of course happens eventually.

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After briefly losing her bio-ring, it is returned by Superboy, who “didn’t know” he had it in his cape.  Right.

But as she saved Shrinking Violet and Sueprboy during the course of the adventure, she is rewarded with honourary membership, and does make a couple more appearances with the team.

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 311 – The Legion vs the Substitute Legion

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Hey look!  Star Boy is on the cover!  So he must be in the Legion story in Adventure 311 (Aug 63), right?  Nope.

Actually, very few Legionnaires appear in this tale, which features the Substitute Legion once again trying to gain the respect of the team that rejected them.

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You have to give the Subs credit for persistence.  Being rudely dismissed and insulted has no effect on them.

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Polar Boy is the first to suspect that the Legion intends to kill them, though Night Girl refuses to believe such a thing about Cosmic Boy, whom she has a major crush on.

When the Legion blow up the spaceship the Subs were meant to be on, there seems no doubt to the issue.  But in fact, the Legionnaires who have been appearing in the story are actually evil aliens in disguise.  They are exposed and defeated by the Subs.  All of this occurring while the real Legion is off planet.

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Another triumph for the team, yes.  But a victory that no one knows about, including the Legion of Super-Heroes.

 

Adventure 306 – Superboy vs Mr Mxyzptlk, and the debut of the Legion of Substitute Heroes

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The young Mr. Mxyzptlk had been introduced into the Superboy’s world in his own book, and makes his first appearance in the Superboy series in Adventure in issue 306 (March 1963).

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Bored of school in the 5th Dimension, he heads to Smallville where he tricks Lana Lang, and then Superboy, into heading to his dimension while he runs wild in their hometown.

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It’s a fun little tale, which gives the reader more of a view of the 5th Dimension world than is generally seen.

 

 

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At a time when most comics had a supporting cast that could be counted on one hand, the Legion of Super-Heroes just kept adding more and more characters into the mix.  This story introduced not only five new heroes, but even banded them into a supporting team, with the unenviable name of the Legion of Substitute Heroes.

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Polar Boy, Night Girl, Stone Boy, Fire Lad and Chlorophyll Kid are all rejected for Legion membership.  They do get nifty flight belts as parting gifts, though.

Undeterred, they form their own team, and hang out in a cave just outside the city.

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We learn a little of the origin of each hero.  Polar Boy is from a very hot world where everyone has the power to radiate cold, and Stone Boy is from a world where people “hibernate” by turning to stone.  Night Girl lives on a world shrouded in darkness, so was unaware that her powers faded in sunlight until she came to apply for Legion membership.  Fire Lad acquired flame breath after exposure to a meteor.  But the best of these is the origin of Chlorophyll Kid, whose ability to stimulate plant growth came after falling into an experimental solution as a child.

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The Legion really take a back seat to the Subs in this story.  After a few attempts to help the Legion, the Subs discover that some unmanned rockets the team is fighting are really transporting alien plant life as part of an invasion.  They head to the world the ships are coming from, and destroy the floral army.

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The people of Earth, and the Legion of Super-Heroes, are unaware of the achievement of the Subs, but this team of rejects has proved themselves to the readers, and they would remain frequent supporting characters through the Legion’s run in Adventure.

This is also the first of Edmond Hamilton’s stories in this run.  While Jerry Siegel’s Legion tales tended to be very much a part of the Superman universe, Hamilton was more interested in expanding the Legion’s own reality, and is my favourite of the Legion’s scripters during this early period.

 

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