Posts tagged ‘Ultra Boy’

Adventure 363 – Mantis Morlo attacks Legion homeworlds

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The concluding half of Jim Shooter’s 2-part Mantis Morlo story sees the Legionnaires on Daxam and Naltor, but the mediocre art prevents Adventure 363 (Dec 67) from even equalling the previous issue.

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Mon-El’s team finds Daxam in ruins, its cities destroyed by chemical storms, which means the artist doesn’t have to bother drawing them.  I chose the above page because it has the only Daxamite building in the issue.  Morlo’s base is underwater, and the Legionnaires chase him there, but he escapes.

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Meanwhile on Naltor, Morlo has poisoned the food supply, causing bad dreams on this planet of psychics, which is causing mass panic.  Again, little is shown of Dream Girl’s homeworld, but at least we get some idea of how this unusual world works – or doesn’t, in this case.  Ultra Boy has an impressive scene, using his penetra-vision to view the planet layer by layer until he finds Morlo’s base deep underground.

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But neither Morlo is the real one, nor was he actually on Orando.  They are all chemoid duplicates of himself.  Chameleon Boy figures that out, as his antenna react to the Morlo he encounters on Naltor.  We learn that Durlan antennae “read” any new form they encounter, and since he read Morlo twice, one must be a fake.  He impersonates a chemoid in order to learn the villain’s plan – to blow up the Earth – then alters his cannon’s aim so he fires at a fake Earth built by Superboy and Mon-El.

Mantis Morlo returns in the late 70s, in a mildly better story.

Adventure 360 – The Legion in chains

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Adventure 360 (Sept 67) cuts between the Legionnaires imprisoned on Takron-Galtos, those running a resistance movement on Earth, and a mysterious villain whose identity is subtly hinted at, but not revealed until the conclusion of Jim Shooter and Curt Swan’s tale.

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After checking to see that Superboy, Mon-El and Ultra Boy are still safely imprisoned, Kandro Boltax goes to check on his very immobile and unemotional son.  Really perceptive readers might be able to identify this lad, but this scene is about as close as the story gets to giving away the identity of the mastermind of the plot.

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Invisible Kid leads a breakout of the Legionnaires imprisoned on Earth, bringing them to an underground lair of Lex Luthor’s.  Though some of the team want to lead a breakout of those on Takron-Galtos, Invisible Kid insists they solve the situation on Earth first.

Duo Damsel gets to put her powers to use, infiltrating Kandro Boltax’s office and discovering secret info on the water purification plant (remember that?), which has been used to chemically control the minds of people on Earth.

Brainiac 5 devises an antidote, and Invisible Kid’s team leads an assault on the water plant, while the imprisoned Legionnaires manage to break out on their own.

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Everyone comes together as Boltax is revealed to be Universo in disguise, and the son, who managed to get the cure into the water, is, of course Rond Vidar, who is granted honourary membership at the end of the story.

Despite Universo not appearing, except in disguise, for the bulk of this 2-parter it works very well.  The story would heavily influence an 80s Legion tale, The Universo Project – in fact it would be the very similarities that would alert the Legion members to Universo’s actions in that tale.

 

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 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 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 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.

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