Posts tagged ‘Shrinking Violet’

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 368 – The Legion’s battle of the sexes (reprise)

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After the embarrassingly sexist “Revolt of the Girl Legionnaires” a few years ago, one could be sure that this version, by Jim Shooter and Curt Swan, would be much better, right?  After all, this is May of 1968.  But nope, Adventure 368 is just as bad as the earlier version.

Thora, an ambassador from the matriarchal world of Taltar comes to Earth, supposedly to meet with Kandro Boltax but really to increase the powers of the female Legionnaires, and get them to turn against their male teammates.

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At first the power increase seems to just be a plus all around.  Duo Damsel can make hundreds of bodies, Shrinking Violet can grow or shrink, Phantom Girl can make others intangible, Supergirl is immune to kryptonite, and so on.

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Brainiac 5 is suspicious of the situation, and acting on his advice, Invisible Kid orders the women quarantined.  They take that as jealousy, and, fanned by the effect of Thora’s power charge, rebel and battle the boys.

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There has been no element of the romances on the team through much of this story, but when Shadow Lass starts expressing her disdain for Brainiac 5, whom she feels rejected her, Supergirl’s love for him causes the “spell” on her to break.  She figures out that Thora is behind it, and causes her bracelet, the source of the power charge, to break.  Thora kills herself, and we hear that the matriarchy on her planet has been overthrown, and men returned to their rightful place of dominance.

OK, just as bad as before.

 

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 324 – The Legion vs the Heroes of Lallor

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Jungle King’s brother, Marden King, enacts a plan of revenge in this tale by Edmond Hamilton, using the mutant heroes of a distant world as pawns against the Legion, in Adventure 324 (Sept 64)

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The Heroes of Lallor include Beast Boy, who can become any animal, Gas Girl, who can become a vapour, Evolvo Lad, who can transform into a caveman of a futuristic genius, Life Lass, who can animate any object, and Duplicate Boy.  He is the leader of the team, and in this story has the ability to duplicate any super power.  That’s kind of vague, but also sort of all-encompassing, as in he can do absolutely anything at all, really.

Later stories would modify his power, but not really clarify it, by stating that he can duplicate the powers of any member of the Legion of Super-Heroes.  That leaves one wondering whether he gains and loses abilities as members join and leave the team.

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The teams are pitted against each other, each believing the other to be villainous.  Shrinking Violet goes up against Duplicate Boy, but his actions to save her life make her doubt that he is the evil person he is supposed to be.

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The other heroes of Lallor are also getting suspicious of the situation, and discover records of the Legion’s deeds, realizing that they have been lied to and manipulated.

They capture Marden King, and the two teams reconcile, while Violet and Duplicate Boy begin a long-distance romance.

Considering the later developments with Shrinking Violet’s sexuality, one cannot but think there is a bit more going on here, and why she is content to have a boyfriend on a planet very far away.

To paraphrase Avenue Q

I wish you could meet my boyfriend

But you can’t because he is on Lallor

I love him, I miss him, I can’t wait to kiss him

My boyfriend who lives on Lallor

 

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.

 

 

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