Posts tagged ‘Win Mortimer’

Adventure 421 – Zatanna ends

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Zatanna’s run in Adventure comes to a close with a mediocre tale in issue 421 (July 1972) by Steve Skeates and Win Mortimer.

She encounters an aging stage magician who has lost his faith in himself, and who is being pursued by the mob.  Exactly why they are after him is never addressed, or even treated as something unusual.  Mobsters are always trying to kill magicians, it seems.

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Zatanna rescues him from an attack, but then sets up a situation where he can rescue her.  Not that he saves her with real magic, or even a magic trick, just by pushing away a falling pillar.

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Nevertheless this act restores his confidence, and Zatanna goes on her merry way, completely convinced that the old magician will be able to take out the rest of the gang when they come after him.

Can’t help feeling that her confidence in this was misplaced, and the old guy got fed to the fishes an hour or so after the story ended.

Zatanna’s back-up feature moves with Supergirl when she gets her own series in a couple of months.

Adventure 381 – Supergirl begins

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After a decade as a back-up feature in Action Comics, Supergirl moves to take the lead in Adventure Comics, with issue 381 (June 1969).   Cary Bates and Win Morimter take the reins on this tale, which has Linda visiting her cousin Superman in Metropolis.

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She encounters a group of female thieves, one of whom is a friend from Stanhope College.  After being captured, the women have no memory of their crimes.  Supergirl connects them to a “sleuth school,” and decides to enter it undercover to investigate.

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The top student is a woman named Barbour, who has her own secret agenda, but the man running the school, Jonathan Maxom, is unaware of that, and pits her and Linda against each other.

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It turns out Barbour is Batgirl in disguise, who saves Supergirl when Maxom tries to kill her with kryptonite.

Not a bad story, mediocre art though.

Adventure 380 – Legion of Super-Heroes ends

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After 81 issues, the Legion end their run in Adventure with issue 380, by Jim Shooter and Win Mortimer.  The story is “inspired” by the Odyssey, and the title of the story clearly derived from the Kubrisk film.

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Superboy receives a call from Dream Girl, who warns him of a prophetic dream she had.  Immediately after, he, as well as Ultra Boy, Bouncing Boy, Duo Damsel, Light Lass, Sun Boy, Cosmic Boy and Invisible Kid are teleported to a strange planet, and Superboy is devoured by a dinosaur with kryptonite teeth.  Cause, you know, it makes total sense for an animal to have teeth made from kryptonite.

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The Legionnaires are in shock, but Ultra Boy rouses them and gets them working on a space ship so they can get back home.  Bouncing Boy consoles a distressed Duo Damsel, the first hint at the romance between them, forecast in the Adult Legion story that saw them married.

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The ride home lurches from disaster to disaster.  Ultra Boy really shows his mettle in this story, saving the rest of the team time and time again.  But repeatedly unusual events occur, strange things appear and disappear, enough that there is clearly something going on that the Legionnaires are not aware of.

 

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Upon returning to Earth, they see robot duplicates of themselves being killed.  Superboy then pops up to explain it all.  Dream Girl foresaw their deaths, and the entire “odyssey” was arranged to keep them out of the way, while the robots suffered their fate.  The Super-Pets had been acting in secret, causing the strange events.  The villains behind the murder plot?  More irrelevant characters who kill themselves without explaining their grand plan.

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Not a high note to go out on.

The Legion switch places with Supergirl after this issue, being demoted to the back-up spot in Action Comics, while she takes over Adventure.

The Super-Pets appear again, in a few stories, but this is the last time they have a major role in any Legion tale.

Adventure 375 – The Legion vs The Wanderers

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The Wanderers are introduced in Adventure 375 (Dec 68), another team of super powered heroes in the 30th century, but they quickly get mind-controlled and the Legion must battle them rather than work with them.  Jim Shooter crafts a decent tale that is sadly undermined by Win Mortimer’s art.

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The two teams meet in peace at first.  But just as the Wanderers get mind-controlled the Legion receive a mysterious message challenging their “mightiest member” to combat.  Quantum Queen, another of the dead heroes shown in the Adult Legion story, is part of the Wanderers.

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Ultra Boy merges the two situations, arranging a contest between the Legionnaires interested in winning the right to stand for the team, by taking down the Wanderers.  There is even a nifty little chart to show the breakdown.  Curiously, Celebrand is at the highest point of the competition, despite having no powers.

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The Legion progress through the chart, with some surprising winners.  The Wanderers, on the other hand, do little to impress, not even Quantum Queen.  Of all the battles, Karate Kid does the most impressive job, defeating Ultra Boy and Sun Boy despite having no powers.  Chemical King and Timber Wolf both take part, but neither fares very well.

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In the end, it appears Bouncing Boy triumphs, but the way the scene is drawn makes it clear the reader is missing something – and indeed, as we discover next issue, as the story continues, it is really Chameleon Boy who won, but disguised himself as Bouncing Boy to keep an edge, and is teleported away.

The story concludes next issue.  The Wanderers make occasional cameos over the years, eventually getting a dismal, sort-lived series in the 80s.

Adventure 373 – The Legion meet the Tornado Twins

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Win Mortimer takes over the art on the Legion series with Adventure 373 (Oct 68), as Jim Shooter introduces a pair of mysterious siblings, the Tornado Twins.

For the rest of the run of Legion in Adventure Comics, the art is not impressive.  Part of that is due to the backlash against costumed heroes that followed the Batman tv series.  Costumed villains would all but disappear over the next few years, and none of the characters introduced in the remainder of the Legion tales would have costumes worth noting.  Even the Legionnaires themselves would suffer from this.  Most notably,Ultra Boy’s symbol would reduce, or even vanish completely, in these last 8 issues.

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The Legion spend most of this issue showing up late to crime scenes and disasters, repeatedly encountering the Tornado Twins, whose powers seem only equalled by their obnoxious arrogance.

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The Legion try investigating them, but can find no information on them at all, and for much of the issue, their powers are not even clearly defined – we see the results of their actions more often than the actions themselves. Karate Kid loses his cool and gets into a fight with them, but they quickly defeat him.

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Ultimately, it turns out that they are Don and Dawn Allen, “descendants” of Barry Allen, who temporarily acquired super-speed in order to erect a statue of the Flash, and memorialize the hero by acting like complete jerks.

Don and Dawn Allen would appear sporadically over the years, and eventually be acknowledged as the children of Barry Allen, not merely his descendants.

By the way, take a look at the highlighted letters in the third picture reproduced above.

 

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