Posts tagged ‘Star Boy’

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.

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Adventure 351 – The Legion, the Subs, the Super-Pets, guest stars, villains and happy endings

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The concluding half of E Nelson Bridwell’s Legion epic brings in not only the entire line-up of the team, and the Substitute Legion, and the Super-Pets, but even former members of the team are a part of this.  In a way, this reads as if the series was being concluded on a high note.  A season finale, so to speak.  Excellent art by Curt Swan helps make this ascend from silliness to a pure delight.

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Invisible Kid is not keen on Ultra Boy using his vision powers to find out the identities of Sir Prize and Miss Terious,and knocks him out.  I believe this is the first time we see someone taking advantage of his limitation of one-power-at-a-time.

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Miss Terious accompanies the team who head to RJ Brande’s private planetoid, where they encounter the Hag, who threatens them with paintings!  No, not art!  This sequence is actually more effective than it seems at first, as Ferro Lad’s painting hints at his death, which happens only a few issues down the road.  Miss Terious refuses to let Cosmic Boy see what future his painting shows.  Nothing awful happens to Cos in the short term, or middle term, so I figure this must show his ultimate fate from End of an Era.

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Miss Terious then puts the Legion to work gathering elements for a magic spell that will conteract the Hag’s hexes.  This proves extremely complex, and both the Substitute Legion and the Super-Pets get involved in its creation.  A lock of Mr Mxyzptlk’s hair is required, so the Legion head to Smallville and Element Lad changes the kryptonite implanted in Superboy, allowing him to remember the team, and aid them.

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Meanwhile, both Chuck Taine and Matter-Eater have been captured by Evillo’s men, but Evillo is none too pleased with Sugyn, and we get to see their nifty powers.  Sugyn can super-spit.  Yup, wow.  That’s a power.  Evillo can grow little horns out of his head, which emits beams that banish Sugyn to “the realm of darkness.”  This is not, in fact, a polite way of saying he is dead, but we do not see the realm of darkness, or Sugyn, or even Evillo for that matter, again until the 90s.

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OK, time to start wrapping things up here.  Sir Prize and Miss Terious are revealed to be Star Boy and Dream Girl, and the spell transforms the Hag into the White Witch, Dream Girl’s missing sister.  Remember her?  She appeared in…umm….well, she was mentioned in….ummm.  Ok, she was missing and just take our word for it.

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And holy crap, wouldn’t you know it EVERYONE is healed and back to the way their way, all thanks to Evillo’s doctor.  Apparently that was the reason to kidnap the three Legionnaires.  To heal them.  Oh, what a nasty nasty man that Evillo is, having people cured.  All right, I concede that Evillo supposedly didn’t know what his doctor was doing, but even still.

But does this actually bother me?  Not at all, it’s such a joyous, all-encompassing ending you just want to cheer out loud for thin Matter-Eater Lad, fat Bouncing Boy and two-armed Lightning Lad.

Even Superboy and Supergirl get to rejoin the team, as Color Kid, now part of the Subs, has used his power to turn the green kryptonite dust into blue, which only kills Bizarros.  And may explain why the Bizarro Legion never appeared again.

Love it, despite its flaws.  A Legion epic.

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 343 – The Legion vs the Luck Lords

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In Adventure 343 (April 66) Edmond Hamilton introduces the Luck Lords, and the possibility that all the bad things that have befallen the Legion recently have a supernatural origin.  Curt Swan does his usual excellent work on this story, and I particularly like the bizarre tower he created for the Luck Lords.

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The Legionnaires discuss the ideas of bad luck on various worlds, in various cultures.  Chameleon Boy gets Proty II to turn into a jinx stone, which Durlans consider unlucky.  As a joke, the other Legionnaires touch it (as do the Super-Pets), and then bad luck starts to befall them.

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Suspicion begins to run rife within the team.  Lightning Lad, Star Boy, Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel all realize they did something “unlucky” before their tragedies struck them.

The Legion head to Thaun, the most superstitious planet in the galaxy, and the home of the legendary Luck Lords.

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The resolution is a bit of a let-down, as the Luck Lords turn out to be nothing more than aliens with a long range hypnotic ray, the cause the of the Legion’s recent problems, but not the events from earlier issue.  The Super-Pets, who are immune to the ray, are called on to defeat them, which is fun.

The Luck Lords return many years down the road, but in all further stories they truly are supernatural beings.  So these ones are just straight out frauds.

Adventure 342 – Star Boy is expelled for murder

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Another rarity in comics from this era, Star Boy murders a man in self-defense in Adventure 342 (Match 1966), in a story by Edmond Hamilton, with art by Curt Swan.

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Kenz Nuhor is a rejected suitor of Dream Girl, who blames Star Boy for that.  He hunts down the hero, and equips himself with a shield that reflects Star Boy’s density increasing power, so Star Boy simply incapacitates himself.  In desperation, Star Boy grabs a gun and kills Nuhor before Nuhor can kill him.

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Star Boy is acquitted by the Science Police, who have no problems accepting his self-defense explanantion, but Brainiac 5 is having none of it, and holds a trial among the Legion to determine whether his explanation is adequate justification for breaking the Legion code against killing.

Superboy acts as defense council for Star Boy, believing that the Legionnaires who are not, like him, invulnerable should have the right to defend themselves this way in extreme circumstances.

Brainiac 5 leads the prosecution, and uses a nifty little model to illustrate how Star Boy could have saved himself, using his powers on the tree Nuhor stood under, without killing him.

The vote is close, 10-9.  Invulnerable heroes Mon-El and Ultra Boy support Superboy’s side, agreeing with his views, while most of the female Legionnaires do as well.  But their views are kind of appallingly attributed to voting to acquit Star Bay because of his romance with Dream Girl.

Jimmy Olsen even gets to vote, and votes guilty.  What a jerk.  And as Star Boy gets expelled as a result of this, we can all blame Jimmy Olsen for it.

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Although he gets booted from the Legion, Star Boy is accepted into the Subs, which Dream Girl has recently joined as well.

As a side note, early in the story another hero is rejected by the Legion and sent to the Subs, Color Kid.  Just hate spelling it that way, but it’s his name so I will follow the spelling the comic uses and not call him Colour Kid as I so desperately want to.

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In such a usually positive and light-hearted series, this story comes as a real shocker.  And there is no obvious right or wrong decision on Star Boy’s plea of self-defense.  A landmark for the Legion.

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 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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