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#895487 - 04/25/16 12:59 PM Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14  
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Café Cramer
Posting Monday evening since I may not be available tomorrow...

JLA # 147-148 by Martin Pasko & Paul Levitz, Art by Dick Dillin & Frank McLaughlin, October-November 1977

[Linked Image] [Linked Image]

The JLA and JSA get together when Mordru drops in and spoils the fun. The Legion guest-stars.

For first-time readers, an explanation of Earth One and Earth Two is given. After helping the JLA capture the Psycho Pirate, members of the JSA prepare to return home - but the dimensional transporter has to warm up, so everyone stays to mingle - and trade snide comments.

Power Girl, in another room to examine JLA trophies with Superman, screams and the other heroes rush in. Both she and Superman are held by a giant hand, which Doctor Fate pronounces as magical. The hand grabs ten of the superheroes and withdraws from the JLA Satellite, carrying them through space and time. From the JLA: Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow and Black Canary; from the JSA: Power Girl, The Flash, Green Lantern Hawkman and Dr. Fate.

They appear in 2977, in the palm of a disgruntled Mordru, who throws them to the ground, saying he has no need of "more puny mortals". An hourglass at his feet, filled with sand in the top half, contains five other puny mortals: Legionnaires Saturn Girl, Chameleon Boy, Shadow Lass, Lightning Lad and Ultra Boy.

Superman recognizes Mordru, who, in true supervillain fashion, proceeds to explain what he's up to: he wants to steal the Red Jar of Calythos, the Green Bell of Uthool and the Silver Wheel of Nyorlath - and now he's mad. The 20th century heroes go on the attack, but fail and are themselves imprisoned in a globe. However, Mordru decides (thanks to a suggestion spell cast by Dr. Fate) that he can use the superheroes to get these mystical objects for him, which he will use to free three demons and recapture the planet Zerox. He had tried to get the objects by using Legionnaires (holding the five in the hourglass as hostages), but believes they have failed and now takes Arrow & Canary as hostages until the others bring back bell, jar and wheel.

Mordru further explains, at the insistence of Black Canary, the backstory of the demons and the artifacts, which goes back to the beginnings of the JLA. (Also explained by the more reasonable ExNihil in his podcast on Felix Faust.)

The rest of the story shows different teams of Legionnaires trying to get the objects where they come to rest by 2977, and teams of JLA/JSA finding and helping them. The hostages, with Mordru, follow the action on display screens.

Mordru reluctantly releases the Legionnaires and begins the spell. The heroes realize that Arrow and Canary are still hostages in the hourglass, with the sand running out. The spell is completed, the demons appear and send the JLA/JSA back to their own time. They then knock out Mordru, claiming the world will be theirs once they destroy the three objects. Canary and Arrow are still hostages in the hourglass, becoming submerged in sand.


#148 opens with Green Arrow (still stuck in the hourglass with Black Canary) recapping the events of the previous issue.

The demons, having cast the magic objects to the floor and destroyed them, are now free. They command the Legionnaires to take Mordru's astral body to his physical form. By moving him, the hourglass tips, enabling Arrow and Canary to breathe - but if the sorcerer's spirit is buried with his body, they too will be buried and die.

Things are looking good for the demons, until Abnegazar says he likes the peace and harmony that humans have achieved in the 30th century. Rath wants to make the humans slaves and amass wealth while Ghast wants to get rid of the humans. Now it's war among the demons, but with perfectly equal power, they have to choose proxies to fight. Fortunately for them, there are three separate groups of superheroes.

Abnegazar appeals to the Legion to save Earth; the other two take control of the JLA and JSA, hauling them back from the past, and the rest of the story details the complicated fight among the three hero groups. The JLA are physically controlled, but mentally aware; the JSA are completely manipulated. At one point, Green Lantern frees Ollie and Dinah, who then come under Ghast's control. The Legionnaires can now reunite Mordru's spirit and still-buried physical form without killing the two JLAers. Mordru is now out of the picture.

Both Superman and GL realize that Power Girl is not mentally controlled (because she's younger, according to her); this gives Hal an idea. He fakes a fight with Power Girl, broadcasts it on his ring to the other JLAers, who realize that Ghast only thinks they're without free will. Dinah suggests that faking a defeat of the JLA and arranging a stalemate between JSA and Legion would force the demons to fight themselves. This stalemate is accomplished by JLA members. Abnegazar and Rath destroy one another; only Ghast remains. Dr. Fate is able to summon the broken pieces of the JLA Satellite to recombine around Ghast; the residual energy left by the magical objects is enough to imprison the demon.

The heroes are all pals again but, before the 20th century heroes leave, GL gives everyone the old post-hypnotic suggestion to forget anything from the 30th century that relates to their own personal futures. Superman takes JLA & JSA home, encased in a Lantern-generated bubble.


Comments:

This is really a JLA/JSA story; Mordru is a Legionverse villain, but his quest for bell, jar and wheel relates to one of the earliest JLA adventures. The Legionnaires are either hostages, or less competent than the 20th century heroes. There's some good banter between the characters, but generally the "adults" are rather condescending to the teen Legionnaires. Apart from Wildfire, we don't have too much sense of individual Legion personalities; the JLA characters are better developed as individuals. Well, it is their book.

The two issues total 67 pages and present a fairly dense story. There's an early Adventure-era quality to the planets and beings that held the three mystical objects. Consequently, the various missions had their silly elements, but the efforts taken to retrieve the objects were interesting. While the Legionnaires assist, it's the JLA/JSA who really get the job done.

Mordru is bombastic and chatty, despite being a true menace. For all his power, he needs others to retrieve the three objects. He claims to be bound to the Earth and 2977, yet he was able to reach into the past as an astral body, as well as appear in the Legion HQ and take hostages.

For a Legion fan, it's not the greatest story, since our guys don't come off that well in the first part and aren't the key players in the second part. Nevertheless, the characterization of those Legionnaires who do get some panel time is well-done. Saturn Girl complains about Wildfire, Brainy goes off in a complicated direction, Wildfire calls Superman on his patronizing attitude and Sun Boy, looking square-jawed and noble, upholds the Legion code against killing. There's a reminder of the election that Wildfire "stole" from Superboy. We also see, in Part 2, a couple of 30th century sights: the Global Tunnel through the center of the Earth and Ice City in Antarctica.

The second part is one fight/confrontation after another, as hero is pitched against hero. These make good use of the various powers, but there's nothing particularly gripping about the fights. Power Girl, who is younger, is able to resist the demon's mental control; the Legionnaires are left uncontrolled by their demon, who prefers to enlist their voluntary help. I wonder if there was some message there about the independence of youth, but it's never expressed in any clear form.

It's curious that two females are key to defeating the demons: Power Girl, for being resistant to mental control and Black Canary, who comes up with the idea to have the demons fight each other. (She gets rewarded with a kiss from both Bats and Supes for this and told that she's beautiful.) Nevertheless, the victory is truly a team effort: every JLA member and Dr. Fate from the JSA plays an active part in the scheme.

I wonder if the demons were killed, or just vanished to some other dimension. Was there ever a follow-up to Ghast left as a prisoner in the JLA satellite? I don't recall any further appearance by him or the others, but I'm wondering if this ties in somehow to the later story in which Invisible Kid I appears to come back to life.

As a 1970s comic book, the story delivers a lot of content; not too much depth, but there's a lot going on to entertain. I would have liked to read more references to this adventure in succeeding Legion issues, since meeting JLA and JSA members must have had some impact on the Legionnaires.




Holy Cats of Egypt!
#895517 - 04/26/16 03:13 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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If you don't want my peaches, ...
Major thanks to FC for continuing to lead the charge with this "fictional" 14th Archive we've created for the LSH. I hope to be back with my thoughts on this story later today.

For those of you who may want to jump in to this excellent era of LSH history, the Archive #14 thread will proceed as follows:

- JLA / JSA Crossover in JLA #147-148 (reviewed at once)
- Superboy & LSH #233
- DC Super-Stars #17
- Superboy & LSH #234
- Superboy & LSH #235
- Superboy & LSH #236
- All New Collectors Edition C-55 (Tabloid Issue)
- Superboy & LSH #237
- Superboy & LSH #238
- Superboy & LSH #239
- Superboy & LSH #240
- Superboy & LSH #241
- Superboy & LSH #242
- Superboy & LSH #243
- Superboy & LSH #244
- Superboy & LSH #245

Also, the uber-talented Future has created an amazing Archive cover design--complete with "back cover" design as well. I'll let him post it so as not to steal his thunder!

Last edited by Cobalt Kid; 04/26/16 11:26 PM.
#895557 - 04/26/16 01:42 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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If you don't want my peaches, ...
Justice League of America #147-148

So I have to say, I didn't really enjoy this story much at all.

I have always loved JLA / JSA crossovers, and I loved the choice of all the heroes used for each team. But adding my favorite superhero team to a tradition I love should have produced great results and instead all I can focus on is:

- LSH basically relegated to non-players here, and at times totally patronized by the other heroes.

- even Mordru getting the shaft story-wise, played by the obscure and kinda lame Demons Three.

- random sexist dialogue in the beginning about women's lib, on top of a weird Power Girl hitting on Superman sequence to start to the story.

- a story that kind of rushes through its first part, adds in a long drawn out "stop and fill the readers in" sequence, and then bounces around in a ton of different directions that don't really give any sense of tension or drama.

I don't know. I wanted to enjoy this story but it felt very flat. The plot was thin and no single character stood out as all that compelling. I'm kind of surprised by how disappointed I am, as I read this story once before when I was a teenager and liked it.

#895560 - 04/26/16 02:21 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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The Present is Past
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click to enlarge click to enlarge


Looks like I almost missed a great lead-in by Cobie to post these. I thought these faux covers may be a fun way to get myself to contribute more to the thread. The Archive 13 cover sort of set the bar real low. ...yeah, I said it.

Onward to our fictitious Archive 14! Lots of classic tales within!

I haven't re-read the JLA/JSA crossover in awhile. A lot of the included comments are appreciated as they jog my memory and bring up ideas I hadn't thought about, such as the possible subtle commentary about youth culture. I do recall that leading up to this adventure, I figured this was when the Legion hit the big leagues and stood side by side with other team powerhouses. The first reading shocked me with how much they really didn't factor in, though this makes sense as their title didn't contribute to the crossover. It was still a fun tale and I'm glad they got some moderately good press in those pages.

#895561 - 04/26/16 03:08 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Cobalt Kid]  
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He Who Wanders Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.
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She ran and called him Wildfire.

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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
Originally Posted by Cobalt Kid

For those of you who may want to jump in to this excellent era of LSH history, the Archive #14 thread will proceed as follows:

- JLA / JSA Crossover in JLA #147-148 (reviewed at once)
- DC Super-Stars #17
- Superboy & LSH #234
- Superboy & LSH #235
- Superboy & LSH #236
- All New Collectors Edition C-55 (Tabloid Issue)
- Superboy & LSH #237
- Superboy & LSH #238
- Superboy & LSH #239
- Superboy & LSH #240
- Superboy & LSH #241
- Superboy & LSH #242
- Superboy & LSH #243
- Superboy & LSH #244
- Superboy & LSH #245



Let's not forget 233.


Check out my new Power Club website!

The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#895562 - 04/26/16 03:10 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Posts: 23,518
He Who Wanders Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.
He Who Wanders  Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.

Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 23,518
The Plateaus of Ecstasy
Great cover, Future! I like that you used the splash page from the first Earth War issue. That's a powerful shot of the Legionnaires flying into action.


Check out my new Power Club website!

The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#895563 - 04/26/16 03:39 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Cobalt Kid]  
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He Who Wanders Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.
He Who Wanders  Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.

Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 23,518
The Plateaus of Ecstasy
Originally Posted by Cobalt Kid
Justice League of America #147-148

So I have to say, I didn't really enjoy this story much at all.

I have always loved JLA / JSA crossovers, and I loved the choice of all the heroes used for each team. But adding my favorite superhero team to a tradition I love should have produced great results and instead all I can focus on is:

- LSH basically relegated to non-players here, and at times totally patronized by the other heroes.

- even Mordru getting the shaft story-wise, played by the obscure and kinda lame Demons Three.

- random sexist dialogue in the beginning about women's lib, on top of a weird Power Girl hitting on Superman sequence to start to the story.

- a story that kind of rushes through its first part, adds in a long drawn out "stop and fill the readers in" sequence, and then bounces around in a ton of different directions that don't really give any sense of tension or drama.

I don't know. I wanted to enjoy this story but it felt very flat. The plot was thin and no single character stood out as all that compelling. I'm kind of surprised by how disappointed I am, as I read this story once before when I was a teenager and liked it.


This sums up my reaction, as well. As a kid, I'm sure I loved this story--but more for what I imagined it could be than what's actually here. On re-read, I it took me three sittings to get through 147. I just wasn't into it.

There is indeed a lot of content to this densely plotted story, but little of it means anything. The story ultimately comes down to a game of the JLA and Power Girl outwitting the demons and their enthralled comrades. However, I was not convinced by the notion that GL could not control his actions but could control his will (and, hence, his power ring), or that Superman could fake being defeated so easily. It's all too convenient.

There's so much going on in 148 that it's difficult to keep track of heroes and their various missions and schemes. As a reader, I did not feel engaged in the story. I felt I was along for the ride and being forced to trust a driver who couldn't bother to tell me where we were going. (The self-congratulatory captions made things much worse. "Gee, gentle reader, look how clever we are! Bet you wonder how our heroes get of this mess. Well, we will tell you ... later.")

The Legion is an afterthought. The team provides the setting and the first villain, but then becomes assimilated into a swarm of heroes who constantly trip over each other.

I did enjoy the Superman/Wildfire moments. There were nice reminders of their feud (which, ironically, was old news to Kal but fresh to Drake). Mentioning that Wildfire won the election was a nice touch.

No, I don't think we ever saw the JLA satellite or Ghast again. That's a shame, as the ending was the one thing I did like. The destruction of the JLA satellite was mentioned at the beginning of the story, so its reassembly provided a nicely fitting closure. I also felt sorry for Ghast, who, despite it all, had lost everyone--even his eons-old companions, and now was totally alone, trapped once more.

I just wish I could have felt something for the heroes, as well.


Check out my new Power Club website!

The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#895575 - 04/26/16 10:40 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Future]  
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Originally Posted by Future
click to enlarge click to enlarge


Looks like I almost missed a great lead-in by Cobie to post these. I thought these faux covers may be a fun way to get myself to contribute more to the thread. The Archive 13 cover sort of set the bar real low. ...yeah, I said it.

Onward to our fictitious Archive 14! Lots of classic tales within!



Excellent cover, just excellent. Had me fooled for more than just a moment... as I did not buy #13 when it came out cause I own all the single issues, I thought I might have missed #14 smile

#895576 - 04/26/16 11:26 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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If you don't want my peaches, ...
Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Originally Posted by Cobalt Kid

For those of you who may want to jump in to this excellent era of LSH history, the Archive #14 thread will proceed as follows:

- JLA / JSA Crossover in JLA #147-148 (reviewed at once)
- DC Super-Stars #17
- Superboy & LSH #234
- Superboy & LSH #235
- Superboy & LSH #236
- All New Collectors Edition C-55 (Tabloid Issue)
- Superboy & LSH #237
- Superboy & LSH #238
- Superboy & LSH #239
- Superboy & LSH #240
- Superboy & LSH #241
- Superboy & LSH #242
- Superboy & LSH #243
- Superboy & LSH #244
- Superboy & LSH #245



Let's not forget 233.


Good call!

#895577 - 04/26/16 11:31 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Future]  
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Posts: 34,599
Cobalt Kid Offline
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If you don't want my peaches, ...
Originally Posted by Future
click to enlarge click to enlarge


Looks like I almost missed a great lead-in by Cobie to post these. I thought these faux covers may be a fun way to get myself to contribute more to the thread. The Archive 13 cover sort of set the bar real low. ...yeah, I said it.

Onward to our fictitious Archive 14! Lots of classic tales within!

I haven't re-read the JLA/JSA crossover in awhile. A lot of the included comments are appreciated as they jog my memory and bring up ideas I hadn't thought about, such as the possible subtle commentary about youth culture. I do recall that leading up to this adventure, I figured this was when the Legion hit the big leagues and stood side by side with other team powerhouses. The first reading shocked me with how much they really didn't factor in, though this makes sense as their title didn't contribute to the crossover. It was still a fun tale and I'm glad they got some moderately good press in those pages.


I agree with Chem--this is just absolutely phenomenal. Future showed me a quick preview a day earlier and I couldn't wait for him to post it. Talk about creative! I love it! And I love that Earth War image too on the cover, one of the more iconic panels of the LSH in this era IMO.

And HWW, glad to see we're on the same page. You mentioned it took you three tries to get through #147 and I had a similar experience. By the middle of #148 I was starting to just look at the art and skip dialogue. That's when I know I'm at my most bored. It's a shame and a missed opportunity (though obviously, the LSH didn't suffer all that much at the time).

#895653 - 04/28/16 06:15 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Café Cramer
Of all the Archive front covers, I think this one has the most dynamic image. There are a few with Legionnaires flying, but they show more (and smaller) characters, which dampens the effect.

Thanks Future! I hope you're working on covers for Archives 15 through....? I dunno, maybe we should stop at Archive #247.


I'm also relieved to read that others found these JLA issues hard to get through. Although not entirely without interest, they were just a common slugfest for the most part. I don't think I ever reread this story after it first came out and, strangely, the only thing I remembered was Power Girl waltzing off with Superman at the start. I didn't even remember that the Legionnaires had appeared in the story!



Holy Cats of Egypt!
#895671 - 04/28/16 09:55 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Touring Bgtzl and Bgztl with M...
Justice League of America 147 & 148

A giant, ghostly hand plucks superheroes through time from their orbital headquarters. As scope goes in these things, that’s pretty decent.

Big, bold and brash, and that’s the way the rest of this two parter comes across. Wildcat and Arrow are nearly at each other’s throats early on, and this passes for characterisation along with Power Girl hitting on Earth-1 Superman. We learn more form the large, introductory captions to the characters than we do through the story itself.

Mordru is a large, mouthy villain combining feats of space and time crossing magic along with large exposition dumps. He’s powerful enough to kill the heroes, but is duped by a magical suggestion from Fate.

Even the message of the story is a little too loud. Dispatched to retrieve three artefacts, each of the JLA/JSA teams saves the Legionnaires through their greater knowledge or experience. And they do belabour the point even as the Legion’s significance dwindles before them. The Legion have already defeated Mordru a couple of untold times, as well as the ones we’ve seen, thank you very much. But they are not written anywhere near that potential here. A later balance that the young have the vigour to resist the demons, seems weak in comparison.

The relics retrieved, no amount of experience can help the heroes, if they forget two of their members are being held hostage. But Mordru is equally forgetful. He doesn’t really put much effort into a protective circle before summoning demons. He’s only himself to blame when they easily defeat him, and look to carve up the Earth for themselves.

But, in a twist I liked, they are unable to agree Earth’s fate. But where to find three groups to fight on their behalf? Aha! A lot of the second issue involves the various groups being controlled in mind and body and fighting each other. Along the way they hatch improbable plans that result in the defeat of the demons. Everything goes conveniently well for them, including handily having someone immune to certain magical effects.

There are a few things I’d like to have seen used later.

Clearly, the residents of Antares II were enslaved to become Venturan walking money later on. What happened?

A planet with a bas relief of a dragon on it. A planet that could have become either a Lythl or the home of the legends that created Dragonwing.

Even the JLA satellite. It’s reformed with a demonic prisoner 9innn a nice panel of it peering through the glass). Did it become Dr. Gym’ll’s Medicus I?

Is Power Girl’s resistance to magic an early hint that’s she’s Arion’s relative?

It’s a story crammed full of characters but the fight scenes still seemed padded and rather static, as they moved between plot points. There were nice touches. The way the demons were used; Fate being reduced to the Helm of Nabu and Superman’s explanation of his association with the Legion. There aren’t many of the big character-fest JLA stories that work well for me, and this is another one. Despite all that big scope, the story never really seemed to match it in plot, dialogue or art.


Great Cover Future!


"...not having to believe in a thing to be interested in it and not having to explain a thing to appreciate the wonder of it."
#895915 - 05/02/16 04:54 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Chemical King]  
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South Dakota
Originally Posted by Chemical King
Originally Posted by Future
click to enlarge click to enlarge


Looks like I almost missed a great lead-in by Cobie to post these. I thought these faux covers may be a fun way to get myself to contribute more to the thread. The Archive 13 cover sort of set the bar real low. ...yeah, I said it.

Onward to our fictitious Archive 14! Lots of classic tales within!



Excellent cover, just excellent. Had me fooled for more than just a moment... as I did not buy #13 when it came out cause I own all the single issues, I thought I might have missed #14 smile


The fake cover had me fooled as well. I thought maybe I missed a new release!

#895927 - 05/02/16 09:40 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Café Cramer
#233 The Attack of the Infinite Man! by Paul Levitz, art by James Sherman & Bob Wiacek


[Linked Image]


Sklarian Pirates attack a team of Legionnaires transporting an experimental hyper-time drive to Legion HQ. The battle is short-lived, with heavy hitters Superboy, Lightning Lad, Star Boy fighting the women and Brainiac 5 protecting the machine with his force shield.

Arriving at the HQ, Dream Girl rushes out to hug Star Boy as Rond Vidar thanks the team for bringing the hyper-time drive. Wildfire disses Dream Girl's power and breaks up their smoochy reunion.

Vidar explains that he's testing a theory that time is circular as Phantom Girl escorts Professor Jaxon Rugarth into the room. Rugarth is the volunteer chosen for the experiment - and quite happy to be sent "full circle" through time, despite possible dangers.

The time machine is activated and returns in a fraction of a second, surprising Vidar and Brainy. Out of the machine bursts a form, berating them for their mistaken knowledge. Rugarth not only went full circle through time, but was in an infinite loop for eternity, which transformed him into the Infinite Man. He's insane, exceedingly powerful and very, very angry with Rond Vidar.

He brings forth dinosaurs and tanks from the past to fight the Legionnaires; Wildfire and Star Boy fail to stop him. Superboy is hurled through other dimensions, but manages to return, surprising the Infinite Man, who announces a retreat to perfect his attack on Rond Vidar.

Wildfire appoints Superboy to protect Rond and sends Brainy, Phantom Girl and Dream Girl off to look for answers to the problem: how to destroy the Infinite Man. Brainy visits Colu and is met with useless theorizing, Nura attends the High Seer of Naltor, gains some knowledge but nothing that can help in time, Tinya appeals to some eternal psychic beings who refuse to help her.

Meanwhile, the Problem has gone beyond time, somehow increasing his powers and planning how to maximize Rond's suffering. The Infinite Man returns to nervously waiting Legionnaires, who are unable to bring him down. Then Brainy appears, throws Rond his force field belt and announces that an overload would stop anything. Good thing he made that announcement, because he gets zapped by the Infinite Man, which leaves Superboy to realize that destroying the fail-safe mechanism on the hyper drive will allow an overload.

As more menaces from the past distract the Legionnaires, Rond fiddles with the time machine and, because of power it has absorbed from Lightning Lad and Wildfire, he's able to send the Infinite Man back into an infinite cycle of time that the former Rugarth can't break.

Whatever came from the past is suddenly returned to its rightful temporal place. The Legionnaires stand amid the wreckage as Rond hopes a cure can be found for Rugarth and Brainiac 5 underlines the urgency, since the Infinite Man will continue to strengthen as he circles through time.

Comments:

I'm a sucker for time travel stories, so I may regard this issue more benignly than it deserves. The concept is captivating, although not unique: the human compelled to repeat for eternity. From Sisyphus to Ground Hog Day, it's a haunting proposal. In this story, the infinite repeated has driven Rugarth mad - but not so mad that he doesn't understand what's happened to him.

It's also a cautionary tale of the unintended consequences of scientific experiments. The Legion and Vidar fix the immediate mess, but are left with a problem that they know may come back,
with even worse results, in the future.

Rond Vidar is a welcome addition to the Legion family. He provides, here and in future stories, a linch pin for time travel tales as well as a character who's the near-equal of Brainiac 5, at least in some areas of study. Although Superboy destroyed the fail-safe mechanism, it was ultimately Rond Vidar who figured out, in practical terms, what to do to save the day. It's disappointing that we never got more of his backstory, such as who was his mother? Did he grow up with Universo?

Wildfire as leader gets the job done, even if he does ruffle feathers. Not a good motivational decision to criticize Nura's powers, but he was right to break up the loving couple when there was work to be done. He assigned the most powerful member, Superboy, to protecting Rond Vidar, the target of the Infinite Man.

He also made good use of the available people by sending those without punching power to seek help for dealing with the Infinite Man. Those three missions were interesting in that we saw three different planets - Colu, Naltor and Gendyx - all which possessed great knowledge, but none which could contribute anything.

Brainiac 5 claims that his trip to Colu gave him the solution to defeat the Infinite Man, but I didn't see the connection. It seemed to develop off-panel, all in his head.

Lightning Lad is uncharacteristically optimistic and simplistic, saying the Infinite Man probably destroyed himself, problem solved.

The fight scenes make appropriate, but not surprising use of the Legionnaires. As a villain, the Infinite Man isn't as threatening as he should be; maybe he's weakened by madness. You'd think he'd be able to overwhelm the Legionnaires completely with dinosaurs, armies of the past (or future), halting time. Maybe it's a learning curve. If he's too powerful, there's no story, and the tale ends ominously, with the Infinte Man out there, able to return at any time, more dangerous than before.

The Sklarian Pirates were a good addition to the story, building up the Legionverse but fitting in well with the plot.

This doesn't look much like Sherman's art to me, I guess because Wiacek was inking. The Infinite Man has some interesting effects, such as transparency, but looks a bit silly. The Time Trapper is a lot scarier with his simple cloak and unseen face. There are some good scenes, such as Thom stretched out Dali-like as time is eliminated, or Colossal Boy lying on the ground under
an unconscious pterodactyl, but focused on the menace.



Last edited by Fat Cramer; 05/02/16 09:47 PM.

Holy Cats of Egypt!
#895965 - 05/03/16 06:48 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Superboy 233

The use of the Skalrian raiders to intercept the Hyper Time (later used by DC to bring back the multiverse) device, provides us with some action while introducing us to the plot.

Wildfire is pretty dismissive of Dreamy and her powers. There are some lingering looks between her and Thom after his put down. I see the look of a couple who are considering being away from the Legion for a while. I’m reminded of later run ins Wildfire had with Dreamy after she became leader. He had trouble accepting her there too. But she had authority to put him firmly in his place. He has trouble generally in that department.

It’s a nice premise to the story. Is time linear or cyclical? The short explanation, the reintroduction of Rond Vidar and the thrill of exploration from him, Brainy and Jaxon Rugarth all build up nicely to the experiment.

Obviously being comics, stepping into the unknown means the creation of a threat: The Infinite Man. Levitz has commented that he was better at revising older villains than creating new one. While The Infinite Man may have an abstract similarity to Time Trapper, but he’s distinct enough that the two would be foes later on.

Despite having cycled (gone through, rather than been on a bike) through time, the inner nerd of Rugarth can’t resist bringing back dinosaurs for the Legion to fight. Sherman’s visuals for Colossal Boy are usually a highlight, and seeing him grapple a T-Rex is another example of this. Another highlight is Gim smashing the helmet of Rugarth. It’s the sort of collateral costume damage that Giffen would enjoy doing later in the Baxter era and into the TMK run.

Rugarth hurtles Superboy into strange areas of space time. Using Superboy’s knowledge of such areas is to Levitz’s credit. It really uses Superboy’s established powers and background, in a way that that he doesn't often get to have when working with lesser powered peers. It also gives the Infinite Man pause to reconsider his strategy when Superboy returns to renew the battle. No other foe could prove so formidable. An echo of that scene might be the Trapper's admission that Mon El could destroy him in the TMK run. It's that level of surprise.

Sherman’s depictions of beyond space and time add a lot to the Infinite Man’s threat that he can devise a plan across millennia only to appear seconds after his last encounter with the Legion. Our heroes do look pretty worried and Levtitz does a good job of showing the suspense without anyone falling to pieces.

Oddly, Dreamy is sent away by Wildfire, as her powers aren’t considered useful in a fight. I’d have thought someone with the power to see ahead in time would be perfect, considering Rugarth's time based powers. Her side mission adds some background to the Legionverse, even if it doesn’t provide a solution to the story. Tinya’s powers could have been very useful too, but the Legion opt for a blast first policy when countering Rugarth.

Rugarth’s return to exact vengeance on Vidar results in another battle with a dinosaur and some cavemen. He may have travelled across infinities, but he still thinks like a kid with his toys.

The solution of overloading the Hyper Time device is a bit clichéd. It's a step above reversing the flow of energy in the device. But the execution of propelling Rugarth back through the cycles of time in a way that he would struggle to break free of, came across a little better than it's first suggested. Better yet, there's the knowledge that the Infinite Man would grow stronger with each cycle, and would eventually break free to fight the Legion once more.

I enjoyed this one. Sherman made the Infinite Man visually distinctive and threatening. Those visuals went some way to cover that a cosmic class villain couldn’t get past dinosaurs to threaten his opponents with. He was used just long enough to not outstay his welcome as a villain, and retained some threat as a result.

I noted that Star Boy’s mind was rather stretched by the Infinite Man’s powers, and wondered about his later mental issues when subjected to the multiverse once again years later.

I had expected Dreamy to be more useful in the end. But we’re left with Wildfire’s attitude towards her unchanged.


"...not having to believe in a thing to be interested in it and not having to explain a thing to appreciate the wonder of it."
#895967 - 05/03/16 06:55 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Cramer
Lightning Lad is uncharacteristically optimistic and simplistic, saying the Infinite Man probably destroyed himself, problem solved.


A nod to his later leadership, where he'd not face a problem directly too well either?

Originally Posted by Cramer
As a villain, the Infinite Man isn't as threatening as he should be; maybe he's weakened by madness.


Although he's been through countless cycles of time, perhaps he's not really picked up a lot of wisdom as a result. Perhaps he has cosmic powers, but only a child's aptitude with them, hence the dinosaurs and the cavemen. He's not been free of his travels for long after all. He may need to mature into his new freedom. Something that the Legion don't allow.

Originally Posted by Cramer
Colossal Boy lying on the ground under
an unconscious pterodactyl, but focused on the menace.


Oh Gim. Not again...>shame< smile


"...not having to believe in a thing to be interested in it and not having to explain a thing to appreciate the wonder of it."
#895983 - 05/03/16 08:58 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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233/Infinite Man

When I first read this story, it became my favorite issue since Grell and Shooter left. Still is.

The issue just rocks. Levitz fires on all cylinders, creating a menace truly worthy of the Legionnaires. As a plus, he brings back a long unused supporting character and makes him an integral part of the story and its solution. Levitz works in numerous character bits to flesh out the Legionnaires' personalities and create realistic internal conflict for the team. (Yes, Wildfire is a sonofabitch, but he's a damned effective sonofabitch!)

There are also a lot of other little touches that work. We get more insight into the political situation of the 30th century and the fact that some worlds envy the UP's technology and will go to great lengths to steal it. There are nice day trips to Colu and Naltor, which, though they prove inconsequential in solving the story's problem, give us some insight into Nura's and Querl's worlds. There's even a nod to continuity when Thom mentions that Dr. Regulus interrupted Klordny Week.

For me, though, the real highlight of the story is the Sherman/Wiacek art. Wiacek brings out all of the best qualities of Sherman's stylized, fluid style while apparently adding details of his own or enhancing ones that are already there (something Staton never did). Of special note is the use of mirrors (Page 5, first panel, and on Wilfire's visor throughout)--an effect that must be difficult for any artist to pull off. (In the Legion Companion, Sherman admitted that it took hours to do one panel, such as the one on Page 5).

The Sherman/Wiacek art also shines in the cosmic scenes, such as the Infinite Man's realm on Page 15.

The issue ends with Brainy and Rond giving "crash priority" to finding a cure for Rugarth. This is one of a number of plotlines that weren't followed up on--at least not for some time. It's just as well. The Infinite Man was a unique villain, and his single appearance for many years gives weight and power to this story. Repeated appearances would have been hard to top this effort.


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#895984 - 05/03/16 09:14 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Originally Posted by thoth lad


Despite having cycled (gone through, rather than been on a bike) through time, the inner nerd of Rugarth can’t resist bringing back dinosaurs for the Legion to fight.


Great explanation for why Rugarth relied on cavemen and dinosaurs!

Re-reading this story reminded me of the Marcus Immortus story in the much reviled Avengers 200, even though that story came later. In it, the Avengers, too, find themselves overwhelmed with dinosaurs as well as warriors from various time periods.

I can only assume that space limitations prevented Levitz and Sherman from bringing in menaces from other eras to battle the Legion. It's just as well. Too many other concepts might have been a distraction.

Quote
Sherman’s visuals for Colossal Boy are usually a highlight, and seeing him grapple a T-Rex is another example of this. Another highlight is Gim smashing the helmet of Rugarth. It’s the sort of collateral costume damage that Giffen would enjoy doing later in the Baxter era and into the TMK run.


Good catch. The helmet shattering and Gim lying under the unconscious pteradactyl are among the many artistic touches that stand out. Another is the effective transition of Thom and Brainy nervously fidgeting with their flight rings (Page 16).


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#895986 - 05/03/16 11:08 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Thanks for mentioning the reflections used by Sherman HWW. I forgot to add that in, and it's one of the many flourishes Sherman brings to the Legion. Wildfire's visor is often used to capture the rest of the team's reflections to good effect.

Nods for the effective use of Rond. He's someone, like the Fatal Five, who is consistently used well in the Legion, whether it's at the Time Institute, against the Infinite Man/Trapper or against his father.

I wasn't so sure about the Sklarian raiders logic of blowing up half of Earth to get the technology. It's a bit self defeating in the long run. No more tech when all the UP is left in smoking ruins. Bad raiders.


"...not having to believe in a thing to be interested in it and not having to explain a thing to appreciate the wonder of it."
#895988 - 05/03/16 11:40 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Most terrorists/saboteurs/etc. use little logic in their plans: suicide bombers, for instance. One imagines that the Sklarians similarly thought of themselves as martyrs for the betterment of their world.

Quote
I had expected Dreamy to be more useful in the end. But we’re left with Wildfire’s attitude towards her unchanged.


Good point about Wildfire's attitude having not changed. For that matter, nothing else changes in this story, and that leaves an emotional hole at the end. Even if Rond had learned not to tamper with forces he couldn't control, that would have been something.

Even when I first read this story, I thought Brainy's "crash priority" speech came across as dodging the issue: Yeah, we screwed up but we'll get around to curing Rugarth . . . some day.


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#896024 - 05/04/16 05:08 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Good point about Wildfire's attitude having not changed. For that matter, nothing else changes in this story, and that leaves an emotional hole at the end. Even if Rond had learned not to tamper with forces he couldn't control, that would have been something.


Off the top of my head here, but is that sort of emotional resolution within an issue on the way out with the advent of Levitz's approach?


"...not having to believe in a thing to be interested in it and not having to explain a thing to appreciate the wonder of it."
#896027 - 05/04/16 05:30 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Possibly, and I don't think comic book writers then or now necessarily focus on an emotional resolution as the payoff for stories. Mostly, it's about good guys beating bad guys. Still, it's always great when something "changes" in a story.


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#896044 - 05/04/16 09:35 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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It's not a necessity, but it can add a bit more depth to a story. However, it can just as often slow down a decent action/ adventure story with a preachy/ tired moral. So, I guess it's all in the execution.


"...not having to believe in a thing to be interested in it and not having to explain a thing to appreciate the wonder of it."
#896045 - 05/04/16 09:53 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Superboy & the LSH #233

I also like this issue a real lot. One major thing I also noticed was I thought the art great was really great here, with some very dynamic poses and panel arrangements. I agree that Wiacek's inks may have been a great contributing factor. HWW also mentions the usage of mirrors which i agree was fantastic.

The Infinite Man in general has a few pros but a lot more cons. A lot of these are all the same problems of Time Trapper (too powerful, hard to define powers, etc), but then he's also coupled with the very fact that he's a bit redundant because of TT. Despite all of this, he's got a really great origin here, and the fact that we experience it firsthand with the Legionnaires makes it more appealing. I think he also has a great visual. And despite all those time-related "cons", I like time travel enough that I'm willing to forgive a whole helluva lot. So all in all, it's well executed here.

HWW also points out that since he didn't continually reappear and get watered down, it adds to his mystique. I agree. Great point!

I love the inclusion of Rond Vidar here, and FC provides a nice overview of why. His presence is a nod to past continuity and also nicely expands the Legion's "world" of close friends and allies in their inner circle. This issue also firmly establishes Rond's expertise in time travel which gives him a terrific reason to continually appear. That's a stroke of genius. He's one of my favorite LSH supporting characters and I love when he's included; like FC says, there's also so much unexplored material for him too.

My one complaint is I wish Jaxon Ruggarth had been a closer colleague of Rond and Brainy--someone better known to them and even a friend. It doesn't need to be too overboard, but it gives all his future stories extra gravitas.

I think Levitz used good action here with lot of Legionnaires, including Superboy. The science is wonky but comic book logical so it's just about forgivable. The action dragged too long at times and ended too quick but the soliton was pretty ingenious. It was also sadly cruel--made all the more by what we know eventually happens to him.

And he also does other great things which you guys have mentioned: more great characterization, more expansion of the Legion's "world" and most of it referencing previously established (and forgotten by most probably) continuity.

It was also cool to see the Sklarrian Raiders--as Thoth points out, it's a good interlude but also sets up the story.

#896098 - 05/05/16 05:33 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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I quite liked the inference of a wider academic circle around the work that Brainy and Rond do at the institute and elsewhere. Rugarth reading papers that Brainy produces gives some insight into his broader life.

There have been little hints about his worth to the UP. But the place I saw it most was in DnA's Legion parallel Hypernaturals. Their Brainiac stand in, Thinkwell, is immersed in academic life following his retirement from the team.

So in this case, I was fine with Rugarth's introduction and fate, without him having to have been a member of the supporting cast.

Looking at the way he's drawn, he could just as easily come out of the experiment as Sasquatch. It's a scene that bristles with the potential of origins. smile

It's a good point about coming in at the start and comparing Rugarth to the Trapper. The Trapper has done well to have moved away from some (powerful) but anonymous guy in a robe to being a sort of avatar of entropy at time's end. His multiple possible origins have worked for him, when they could easily have undermined the character (Tenzil: No! It's my turn to be Trapper this month! No one wants Timber Trapper Brin!) No such issues with Rugarth. He ends up reminding me of a number of Marvel's Silver Age cosmic class entities, while the Trapper could be any number of Golden Age hooded villains.


"...not having to believe in a thing to be interested in it and not having to explain a thing to appreciate the wonder of it."
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