Posts tagged ‘Saturn Girl’

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 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 350 – Sir Prize and Miss Terious, Evillo and the Devil’s Dozen

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There are so many things in the two-part story starting in Adventure 350 (Nov 66) that I am going to make fun of, you’d think this was a terrible story.  And I suppose it is, but I love it dearly.  E. Nelson Bridwell steps in to write this tale that has new villains, new members, and nonsense galore, but it’s more than just Curt Swan’s lovely art that makes this a lot of fun.

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Superboy and Supergirl discover their powers fading, and Brainiac 5 explains that a cloud of kryptonite dust has encircled the Earth, and despite the efforts of the Legion, it will remain there for years.  Since the two heroes will not be able to stay in the 30th century during that time, the Legion give them a going away party, and some nifty presents.

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“Hey, Supergirl, remember when red kryptonite made you try to kill all the female members of the team?  Wasn’t that fun? ”   Or better yet, Saturn Girl giving Superboy a memento of the time the Legion wound up at each others throats.  “Remember how you were on my side, until you met that Atlantean bitch and betrayed me?  So many laughs.”

But it’s not as if they get to keep the gifts anyway.  Invisible Kid immediately takes them all back, so they won’t have any foreknowledge of the future.  And to make sure the Kryptonian cousins do not accidentally remember the Legion, he has Shrinking Violet implant kryponite capsules in the parts of their brains that control memory.

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She flies up Superboy’s nose and gets stuck in….ummm…antibodies.  Yes, thats what that is.  Not snot.  Antibodies.

So before they leave, Superboy and Supergirl appoint replacement members for themselves.  Two being sealed up in metal uniforms that make them look like robots, who go by the names Sir Prize and Miss Terious.  Because those are the best names they could come up with, I guess.

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Meanwhile, on the planet Tartarus, Evillo summons the four people he calls his Devil’s Dozen.  Either there is a completely different math system on Tartarus, or Evillo’s vision is so bad he sees three of everyone.  At any rate, he sends each of them off on separate criminal endeavours, cause that’s the kind of thing you do when your name is Evillo, even if you rule your own planet.

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Sir Prize accompanies the group who head to defend the Interplanetary bank against Apollo.  Apollo’s charms are almost enough to sway Saturn Girl, and Lightning Lad has his robot arm eaten by crystal creatures.  The Legionnaires thwart the robbery, but Apollo’s men take Lightning Lad back to Tartarus with them.

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R.J. Brande makes his first appearance.  The financier of the Legion, he is referred to as the richest man in the Universe in this tale, although later stories would amend that.  All he does in this story is appear briefly calling for help, setting up his appearance next issue.

The story ends as Ultra Boy plans to use his penetra-vision to determine the identities of the new members, and concludes next issue.

 

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.

Adventure 341 – The Legion vs Computo

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Computo’s reign of terror concludes in this story, but Brainiac 5 seems almost as destructive in his attempt to defeat it.  Jerry Siegel crafts an above par story in Adventure 341 (Feb 66), and Curt Swan’s art brings it to life beautifully.

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Triplicate Girl’s remains are gathered and sent off to Shanghalla, a cemetery satellite that will appear in a number of Legion stories.  An urn for Beast Boy is also shown, a nice nod to continuity.  And of course, we can all mourn over the loss of Hate Face.

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But wait, Luornu isn’t dead after all!  Have to give Siegel kudos for killing off one of her bodies, without killing off the other two.  Rather than a cop-out, this adds some interest in exactly how Carggian physiology functions, and as the years pass, we will learn more about it.  True, she does not seem even mildly distressed at the loss of a body in this scene, but the trauma she has experienced will be dealt with in later years as well.

Proty II once again shows himself far more than a mere pet as he adopts the identity of the Weirdo Legionnaire to distract Computo as the Legion free their captive teammates Star Boy and Sun Boy from his robot army.

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Sun Boy leads the team to the Batcave to hide out, although Computo finds them relatively easily.  Another nice nod to continuity, and the Batcave will appear again in Legion stories.

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At this point, Brainiac 5 seems to have a mental breakdown.  He somehow comes to the conclusion that creating a Bizarro Computo is the best bet they have to defeat the monstrous computer.  Need I say that he is very wrong on this?

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Chuck Taine shows courage, if not brains, by charging in against Computo, who temporarily restores his Bouncing Boy powers, only to show how useless his attempt to rescue Saturn Girl truly is.

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Meanwhile, Brainiac 5 has activated an anti-matter force cannon he found in the Batcave.  While this does have the desired effect of destroying Computo and his robot army, the anti-matter force also threatens to destroy Earth.  The big three, Superboy, Mon-El and Ultra Boy, do what they can to rescue people.  Brainiac 5 finally gets it right, figuring out how to rewire the cannon to send the anti-matter force back to its own universe.

Whew!  For all the power the Legion has as a team, until this story they never really had faced anything that challenged their abilities to this degree.  Ironic that their most powerful enemy to date was created by their own leader.

Adventure 338 – The Legion vs the Time Trapper

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The long-running stand-off with the Time Trapper comes to a disappointing resolution in Adventure 338 (Nov 64), largely because writer Jerry Siegel keeps the character off to the side even with this story.

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Glorith of Baaldur is introduced in this tale, an operative of the Time Trapper, who he sends out to attack the Legion.  The Time Trapper gives her an hourglass that has the power to reduce people’s ages, turning them back into – well, it’s called “protoplasm” in the story, to be polite.

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Interestingly, it’s Saturn Girl who leads this mission, not the new leader Brainiac 5, who is on a different mission when this story begins.  This could be read as a bit more tension between these two, Saturn Girl wanting to defeat the villain that had eluded her through her two terms of leader before Brainiac 5 can steal her glory.  If that is her intent, it fails dismally, as she and her squad are reduced to children.  A chemical fountain at the amusement park she chooses for her assault prevents them from de-aging any further.

Annoyed that his plan has failed, the Time Trapper comes to the park himself, and tries to use the children to commit crimes.  But the kids view it all as play, to his frustration, and the frustration of the reader, who couldn’t help but want more out of this long-awaited face to face confrontation.

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The Time Trapper eliminates Glorith, using the same hourglass she had been using.  She does return, but not for a very long time, restored to life as a side-effect of the reality warping spells of Mordru in the late 80s.

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Element Lad uses his powers to turn the Time Trapper’s rocket into candy, and the Legionnaires eat it.  Oh, the intensity.  Clearly this is intended to be funny.  Maybe it made someone laugh.

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In the end, it is Brainiac 5 who outwits the Time Trapper, as he and Superboy arrive.  He makes a deal with the Trapper, who restores the Legionnaires to their proper ages in exchange for his freedom.  But in fact his own force barrier is used against him, and the Trapper is trapped.

Saturn Girl appears happy at the end of the story, but Brainiac 5 has shown himself far more adept at handling the Legion’s greatest foe, even if the story was not quite up to par.

The Time Trapper is next seen in a story in Action Comics, where he torments Superman.  He does not face the Legion again until the mid-70s.

Adventure 337 – A Legion Double Wedding

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Wedding bells are ringing in Adventure 337 (Oct 65), but the Legion Constitution forbids married members, and spies from Murra plot to take advantage of that, in this Edmond Hamilton story.

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Brainiac 5 has been elected as the new leader of the team, though the election is not shown or its process explained.  It’s no surprise that it’s Brainiac 5, who had been touted as a possible leader in the last “election,” and lead the side against Saturn Girl when the Legion warred against itself.

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The two established inter-Legion romances come to the fore, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl, and Ultra Boy and Phantom Girl.  When they announce plans to marry, they are also forced to resign from the team, but none of the four seem to mind that in the slightest.

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The unusual sticks with figures of the members on them, shown both in the story and on the cover, re-appear in a story in the early 90s, in which they are called “ceremonial wedding sticks,” and their use is very formal and old-fashioned.  In that story, we learn that the couple that wed get to keep the sticks, as a memento of those who were part of the wedding party.

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Try-outs are held to replace the four members, and though Subs Night Girl and Chlorophyll Kid apply again, they are rejected (again) in favour of three Murran spies who have been temporarily endowed with powers, and join as Size Lad, Blackout Boy and Magnetic Kid.  While there would later be a Legionnaire named Magnetic Kid, his powers would be identical to Cosmic Boy, not the abilities of this one, to draw anything or anyone towards him.  Blackout Boy has basically the same shadow casting abilities that later member Shadow Lass would have,

The remainder of the story simply reveals that the weddings were a ruse to draw out these spies, the “Plan R”, for Romance, that was referred to in the first panel.  Brainiac 5 neutralizes the powers of the spies, while Superboy and Mon-El destroy the machine that created the powers.

As the weddings were a sham, the four members never really had to resign, but their relationships are pretty open from this time forward.  Curiously, the first Legion marriage would not be between these Legionnaires at all.

Adventure 336 – Who is Starfinger?

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Suspicion runs rife within the Legion, as the team wonders which of them is really Starfinger,  in Adventure 336 (Sept 65), the conclusion of this 2-parter.

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Starfinger destroys the tunnel that runs through the centre of the Earth, though it is seen again in a later story, so clearly gets rebuilt.  Although it is not stated, I have always assumed this is the same tunnel that Supergirl bores as part of her initiation to the Legion.

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Edmond Hamilton also introduces two bits of 30th century tech that would take a while to be referenced again, but eventually become s standard part of their universe.  The first is inertron, an extremely dense and impenetrable metal.  Great name for it.  The second sounds so plausible I fully expect them to exist one day, fusion powerspheres.

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Though they probably won’t be as twinkly in reality.

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Starfinger’s attempt to destroy the powersphere is foiled by the Legion, and they unmask him.  The team is stunned to discover Lightning Lad in the costume, but it quickly becomes apparent that he is being mind-controlled.

Saturn Girl uses her powers to break the spell over him, and Dr Lars Hanscom is revealed as the true Starfinger.  Lightning Lad’s robotic arm was rigged with devices that gave “Starfinger” his powers, while Hanscom himself had none, which was why he needed to con his gang.

Lars Hancom returns down the road, but the Starfinger identity will also be adopted by other villains over the years.

Adventure 335 – The Legion vs Starfinger

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No question where the inspiration for Starfinger’s name came from, the cover to Adventure 335 (Aug 65) even has the balls to point it out.  And his fingers even do things, unlike the Bond villain.

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The opening two panels of the story, while not bearing directly on the action, had long term implications for the Legion.  Sun Boy’s casual dismissal of Nila is the first indication of the womanizer he would become, and the shot of Cosmic Boy’s family introduces his younger brother Pol Krinn, one day to be a Legionnaire himself.

The we meet Dr Lars Hanscom, the doctor maintaining Lightning Lad’s robotic arm, and the story implies he is also the physician for the rest of the Legion as well.

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Starfinger first shows up to attack the Legion as they are protecting a shipment of rejuvium, taking out Ultra Boy immediately with a force blast, and the holding the rest of the team at bay while his gang tries to steal the valuable resource.  Sun Boy saves the day by heating the rejuvium so much that no one can touch it.

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Starfinger claims to have all the powers of the Legionnaires, but the reader is also alerted early on that there is something fishy going on, as Starfinger fakes powers in front of his own men.  And while the costume may look bulky and silly, it does serve to completely conceal the identity and gender of the foe, a critical point later in the tale.

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Starfinger then begins a reign of terror, announcing he will destroy the 7 wonders of the 30th century.  The Legion prevent him from sending Sun City to its death in the ocean, but Star Boy is critically wounded in the battle.

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Starfinger succeeds in topping the Stratosphere Laboratory, but Saturn Girl picks up a disturbing thought as he flees – that Starfinger is a Legionnnaire!

See, that’s why the bulky costume was important!

The story concludes next issue.  Curiously, it bears more than a passing resemblance to the story in the previous issue, with a masked Legionnaire, and a mystery as to their identity.  Perhaps as Edmond Hamilton was writing the earlier issue he thought of how much better he could tell the story if the unknown Legionnaire was actually a villain.

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