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#896227 - 05/06/16 09:53 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders

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.


Brainy focused on the return of the problem (Infinite Man getting stronger) while Rond thought about the man, finding a cure for Rugarth. That makes Rond more human and Brainy more removed from emotion for me, whether it was intended or not. Maybe Rond took it more to heart, being responsible for the whole experiment and Brainy was just thinking like a Legionnaire should.

Originally Posted by Cobalt Kid

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.


Agreed - it could have been established with a few lines of dialogue. Too bad they never did a Time Institute mini-series.

Originally Posted by thoth lad
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.


That's true, it would have been much less effective to have someone who was just a Trapper copy. Also, Infinite Man has a wild, unhinged madness about him, flinging things about like an insane toddler, screaming "I hate you!"; the Time Trapper, whoever/whatever he is, schemes and manipulates.



Holy Cats of Egypt!
#896270 - 05/07/16 09:29 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Brainy focused on the return of the problem (Infinite Man getting stronger) while Rond thought about the man, finding a cure for Rugarth. That makes Rond more human and Brainy more removed from emotion for me, whether it was intended or not. Maybe Rond took it more to heart, being responsible for the whole experiment and Brainy was just thinking like a Legionnaire should.


That's a really interesting look at their characters. No wonder he misses the likes of Rond and Lyle so much. I wonder how much more balanced Brainy would be, with their, and Kara, being around more than they were.


Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Also, Infinite Man has a wild, unhinged madness about him, flinging things about like an insane toddler, screaming "I hate you!"; the Time Trapper, whoever/whatever he is, schemes and manipulates.


That links nicely into that feeling that he's almost childlike in the discovery and use of his powers, when he escapes his time loop.



The Legion loop Rugarth round the ‘90s music scene…

Tunnelin’ through time like an outdoor mina’
If you’re Rond Vidar, I’m gonna find ya

Drop T-Rexes on your @ss, as easy as my flow
Back to the dawn of time, that where’s we’re gonna go

Ain’t got no Time Bubble
That’s gonna keep ya outta trouble…

Ain’t got no Time Bubble
That’s gonna keep ya outta trouble…

…Trip Hop Trapper


"...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."
#896273 - 05/07/16 10:02 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer

Brainy focused on the return of the problem (Infinite Man getting stronger) while Rond thought about the man, finding a cure for Rugarth. That makes Rond more human


This is as it should be, as Rond is human, and Brainiac 5 is not.

In the old Legion cartoon, not really human at all.


Show me the monkey!
#896278 - 05/07/16 10:53 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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He Who Wanders Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.
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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
Originally Posted by Fat Cramer

Brainy focused on the return of the problem (Infinite Man getting stronger) while Rond thought about the man, finding a cure for Rugarth. That makes Rond more human and Brainy more removed from emotion for me, whether it was intended or not. Maybe Rond took it more to heart, being responsible for the whole experiment and Brainy was just thinking like a Legionnaire should.



Good point in how they reacted differently.

Also, good observation on the differences between the Infinite Man and the Time Trapper.


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The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#896367 - 05/08/16 10:46 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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She ran and called him Wildfire.
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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
I hope nobody minds if I go ahead and review the backup story in 233. I don’t want us to forget it.

233/The Final Illusion

For me, the standout and most disturbing image of this story is the first one: Jeckie lying in a very revealing pose on a lab table while Cham, with oversized ears and antennae, looks on. What is he thinking?

For that matter, what are Nura and Imra thinking? Their expressions suggest more curiosity than concern for their teammate?

Perhaps it would be uncharitable to describe Mike Nasser’s art in this story as voyeuristic, but he provides plenty of images of the helpless Jeckie lying in provocative poses. It’s also interesting that the only significant male character in the story (other than a nondescript doctor and illusory figures such as Val and Universo) is drawn with exaggerated parts of his distinctive anatomy. (This idea is not as silly as it may first seem. In one of his books, Leonard Nimoy described an unauthorized cartoon ad which showed Spock with limp ears. After he drank whatever beverage was being advertised, his ears perked right up. The sexual allusions, according to Nimoy, were unmistakable.)

The story’s disturbing sexual imagery is made even worse by its premise: So distraught over her lover returning to the 20th century is Jeckie that her mind shuts down and she becomes unable to separate reality from illusion. The idea itself is not bad—in fact, it sounds like the premise for a Victorian novel—but it seems somehow out of place in a series which had sought to establish its female characters as strong and independent. Indeed Levitz’s previous scripts had shown Saturn Girl, Shadow Lass, and other female Legionnaires to be strong and competent, and to have distinct personality traits. Here Jeckie is once again helpless, as she was in two previous stories (206 and 209, albeit by different writers). This time, it’s not a disease that waylays her; it’s the stereotypical notion that she can’t face reality without her man.

Yet despite some rather strange assumptions underlying both the story and art, “The Final Illusion” possesses a few positive qualities. Nasser’s close-ups, such as Jeckie’s joyful smile on page 3, are expressive and beautiful, and the images in her nightmare are imaginative and frightening. One very nice touch is how her hair changes lengths in the third panel of the last page, symbolizing her dream-self waking up to reality.

The resolution of the story is also clever: At Cham’s suggestion, Imra deprives Jeckie's dream state of that which she most wants—Val—so she wants to return to reality. It may be a simplistic application of psychology, but it fits the story. (A similar psychological trick will later be used to cure Brainiac 5 of insanity.)

So, this story is not among my favorite backups. It’s pretty much dispensable as it tells us nothing new about Jeckie or the other Legionnaires.

The idea of Jeckie’s power turning on her, incidentally, came from Nasser—hence his credit. According to The Legion Companion, he had discussed several story ideas with Levitz, but this is the only one which made into a full story.


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#896374 - 05/08/16 04:09 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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everybody knows that she's really Daddy Feelgood
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[snip]

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
I hope nobody minds if I go ahead and review the backup story in 233. I don’t want us to forget it.

233/The Final Illusion

For me, the standout and most disturbing image of this story is the first one: Jeckie lying in a very revealing pose on a lab table while Cham, with oversized ears and antennae, looks on. What is he thinking?


Probably that the poor woman is going to catch a chill, if somebody doesn't throw a blanket on her.



Did this story appear before or after the story featuring Grimbor and/or the one featuring Brainy's Supergirl robot?

ElasticLad



I like to think that I would've picked up on the overtones you mention, but maybe after reading those other two stories, my Innuendo-Meter blew up and never got repaired.

I definitely remember Jeckie's revealing poses. They were tough to avoid. But definitely not the other stuff.

Last edited by cleome49; 05/08/16 04:18 PM.

Hey, Kids! My "Cranky and Kitschy" collage art is now viewable on ipernity! Drop by and tell me that I sent you.
#896375 - 05/08/16 04:35 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: cleome51]  
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She ran and called him Wildfire.
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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
Originally Posted by cleome49
[

Probably that the poor woman is going to catch a chill, if somebody doesn't throw a blanket on her.


I like to think that the lab table provided its own source of heat. But maybe not. shake

Quote
Did this story appear before or after the story featuring Grimbor and/or the one featuring Brainy's Supergirl robot?


After both. Grimbor first appeared in 221, and the Supergirl robot was from 204.

There's nothing wrong with a little bit of cheesecake/sexuality in the art. The depictions of the males were also exaggerated in most stories. But this one went too far for my taste.



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#896376 - 05/08/16 04:52 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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cleome51 Offline
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Alas, I don't have the books in front of me, but I did find the image. It's here:

http://legionofsuperbloggers.blogspot.com/2015/08/superboy-and-legion-233.html

Yeah. At the very least it's just... odd. Despite the explanation that he's scanning the room for a solution.


Hey, Kids! My "Cranky and Kitschy" collage art is now viewable on ipernity! Drop by and tell me that I sent you.
#896382 - 05/08/16 09:52 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Fat Cramer Offline
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Café Cramer
Thanks HWW for the review & Cleome for the link. This story wasn't in my copy of #233 (and I see the Super-Bloggers place it in Archive #13 (?)). Maybe we're all in parallel universes that intersect on the Internet. wink

This certainly isn't the best story for Projectra. Is she the Legionnaire most likely to pass out? Maybe it's a side effect of illusion powers. She doesn't even save herself in her nightmare, it's Val who comes to the rescue.

The images are rather provocative! I hadn't made the connection about Cham's big ears although I noticed them (how could one not?). Perhaps a more child-safe explanation is that he extends his antennae and ears to "read" a life form (although we haven't seen that before) - and here he's trying to get some insight into what's plaguing Projectra.

I did find the doctor looked a bit like Val from the back, the white, belted tunic, short hair and boots. Could Jeckie's subconscious be picking up on that image?

Does Saturn Girl use Universo as the threat (which would say more about her) or was he already in Jeckie's nightmare?

It's curious that Nura claims her people don't understand their own clairvoyant powers. I find that sort of weakens her as well.

I did like the final message, that reality is better than fantasy.

Good catch on the hair length!

The Super-Bloggers point out that we have three of the four Universo Project characters in this story; if the doctor had been Brainiac 5, all four would have been included.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#896383 - 05/09/16 12:27 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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When I read this on last week I wrote only two notes:

1) the story is an excuse for Netzer to draw crazy splash pages. Some of these are pretty dynamic. Some of them are super sexy. But like HWW says, a few are a little too sexy, and there is definitely a "creep factor" lingering here that I also felt.

2) Jeckie comes off really poorly--AGAIN. And since its already happened twice, that kind of makes this story more annoying than anything else.

The best story where Jeckie is subdued and her powers run rampant is actually the Jeka story in Adventures of the DC Universe. That one removed all the negatives these stories have had and focused on the fun, superhero-y elements instead.

#896427 - 05/09/16 10:42 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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He Who Wanders Offline
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
This story wasn't in my copy of #233


How is that possible? Are there pages missing from the back? if so, you didn't get your 60 cents worth. smile

Quote

Does Saturn Girl use Universo as the threat (which would say more about her) or was he already in Jeckie's nightmare?


Very good question. It reminds me of Jeckie's illusion of Mordru back in 224. Apparently any Legion villain can serve as the bogey man.



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#896440 - 05/09/16 12:23 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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The Final Illusion

You've all picked up on things I didn't spot in this one. I wasn't taken with the idea of Jeckie's mind turning against her, just because Val is spending time in another century. Despite the fact that he's made plenty of appearances in the book since he left, and she ends up visiting the 20th century, it just makes her look pretty weak and hysterically dependant on him.

Nasser's art is pretty suggestive for Jeckie, but then Dreamy and Bikini Imra are also around. I put it down to better artists, and more revealing costumes, making it a bit more obvious. There's also Universo's toes for the foot fetishists smile

I'm not convinced about the solution to Jeckie's problems either, whether it's the traumatising her further or showing her the emptiness of her illusory world. I'm not too convinced by Cham superior understanding of illusion either, and how it would apply to Jeckie. But I can see what was intended.

As mentioned, Dreamy saying that Naltorians don't know how their powers work (despite her being one of the Legion's foremost biologically based scientists)makes her a passenger in the story.

On Cham's enlarged...extremities...I was expecting the source of the threat to Jeckie to be in the room. I thought he was scanning for it. When nothing happened with that, I didn't really bother, putting it down to artist interpretation, like Ralph Dibny constantly using his power for no real reason.

Excellent catch about the appearances of the Universo cast in the story. That doctor could have been Brainy for all the difference it would have made. The doctor is awfully familiar with "Cham" in the last panel. I think Universo was there as a projection of Imra. The later Levitz story certainly brought out the impact of the villain tampering with minds.




"...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."
#896457 - 05/09/16 08:05 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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Fat Cramer Offline
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Originally Posted by thoth lad
The Final Illusion

You've all picked up on things I didn't spot in this one. I wasn't taken with the idea of Jeckie's mind turning against her, just because Val is spending time in another century. Despite the fact that he's made plenty of appearances in the book since he left, and she ends up visiting the 20th century, it just makes her look pretty weak and hysterically dependant on him.


One could make a case (as an exercise) that Projectra is mildly to severely insane and we're just seeing indications of it in this story. Royal lineages have their problems.... She did kill Nemesis Kid pretty quickly and without compunction or even a "Legion Code be damned" thought. There was the whole personality change with Sensor Girl. She let Orando decline to famine and fall under the influence of the Dark Circle, then it was all picnics and ball games with her Legion pals. Maybe Val, at the end of the last Levitz run, was indeed an illusion. No wonder Waid wrote her as a psycho in the Threeboot, there was enough basis for it.

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
This story wasn't in my copy of #233


How is that possible? Are there pages missing from the back? if so, you didn't get your 60 cents worth. smile


The previous owner was obviously a Projectra fan and removed the offending story. smile


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#896458 - 05/09/16 08:12 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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DC Superstars #17 Secret Origins: The Legion's First Case by Jack C. Harris, art by Juan Ortiz art, Bob Smith inks, Liz Berube colors

[Linked Image]

Wow! That Huntress story is fantastic! That was seared in my mind from the first day I read it!

But this is the Legion discussion, so onwards to “The Legion's First Case” aka “The Secret of the Quintile Crystal!”

An SP Officer shows the three founders and Superboy the Quintile Crystal, a fist-sized crystal which has been powering Metropolis for a decade and is due to be replaced. Superboy questions why the Legion is needed for this task and is told that the crystal was involved in the Legion's first case. As the team waits for the old crystal to cool, Cosmic Boy begins the tale.

We all know how the three teens foiled the attempt on R.J. Brande's life; in this version, he brought them together to fight crime and injustice, citing Superboy as a model. R.J. tells them about the Quitile Crystal, “recently discovered by Floyd Marr, the famous star explorer”. It's enough to run the new powersphere – or would be, had it not been stolen. Diplomatic considerations prevent official intervention, but Brande's contacts claim that someone will be smuggling it through customs to sell it to an Earth enemy.

Reminding the three that he's incredibly wealthy, he provides them with a space cruiser and clearance to dock at the Space Station customs. Saturn Girl discovers the thief/smuggler and the boys apprehend him, only to be stopped by an SP Officer who tells them that the man is Lord Lorval, an ambassador of Oianus, with diplomatic immunity. He certainly looks like a sneaky one and flourishes a box which must contain the Crystal, but won't press charges – and leaves. The Officer explains that Earth wants to simply buy back the crystal to avoid diplomatic problems.

Nevertheless, the kids prefer action, and begin to hatch a plan.

Lorval, in the lowest levels of Metropolis, arrives at a secret meeting attended by three other figures in purple cloaks, and begins the auction. He gets angry with the low bids (no more than four million credits) and vows to sell the crystal to the Khunds. Too bad for his Lordship, who sees the three Legionnaires throw off the cloaks; the crystal can't be moved, since Cosmic Boy has magnetized it.

Lorval trots out the old “This means war!” threat, but Rokk says they're not from Earth, so no diplomacy issues – and there are no witnesses either. Garth says they only want the crystal, not Lorval and Imra reminds the ambassador that he has unclean hands, having stolen the crystal himself.

The three run across town to take the crystal to R.J., who gets it back to the government and later leaks the basic details of its recovery, making the teens heroes to the populace.

They're escorted by Brande to S.P. Headquarters and informed that the Legion now has honorary membership on all U.P. worlds as well as the authority to make arrests as deputized S.P. officers.

By now, the old crystal has cooled and the S.P. officer hands it to Rokk for the Legion's trophy room, saying this has redeemed him – since he was the one who tried to arrest them on the Space Station.

Comments: This isn't a bad addition to the origin story. After a brief recap of how they saved R.J. Brande, we're given the first case that the three founders bumbled through, but persevered to a successful conclusion.

It makes sense that they'd be impetuous and make mistakes their first time out. Was R.J. Brande out of his mind to trust three kids with a spaceship and a mission? Wouldn't they be traced back to him if it all went wrong? Nevertheless, R.J.'s faith in the three is rewarded, indicating that he was a better judge of character and potential than I would have been. For me, that's where the worth of the story lies: it establishes the three founders as exceptional people right from the start.

I'm surprised they didn't give the S.P. officer a name; I suspect that's something Levitz would have done. The crooked ambassador is named, but we see neither him nor his planet again. There's a nice touch with his peculiar fingernails – natural or fashion statement? Purple robes must be the apparel of evil in the 30th century – but there's no connection drawn to either the Time Trapper or the Dark Circle. Lorval does mention the Khunds as potential buyers of the crystal; this could have been all set up by the Khunds to weaken Earth, but the story didn't go that far.

Too many characters would weaken the story, but it seems unlikely that there wouldn't have been a few technicians around for the crystal exchange. In a similar vein, were the Legionnaires the only bidders at the crystal auction? Did they dispatch the other potential buyers and take their places?

The full-circle ending was a pleasant one, but the Legionnaires didn't look surprised – and when the SP officer takes off his helmet, his face is meaningless to the reader as well.



Holy Cats of Egypt!
#896460 - 05/10/16 03:19 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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DC Superstars #17

The Legion story has Jack C. Harris taking what E. Nelson Bridwell had previously established as the Legion’s origin and then expand upon it to show their first case. What I like about this is it reaffirms for another generation what the Legion’s past continuity was: for a new reader in the 70’s, this was how it had always been; whereas an original Legion reader from the 60’s didn’t get the origin until near the tail end of the Silver Age. It also shows RJ Brande once more as a crucial part of the Legion’s story, despite it being somewhat amazing at just how rare a Brande appearance has remained for the first 20 years of Legion history.

This story is a minor one but it has a lot of things I like. The rookie Legionnaires learn firsthand about official business, authority and what they can and can’t do. This bureaucratic side of superheroes has always interested me, and I loved that part of the Avengers as a kid.

I also like Cosmic Boy’s “damn the man, we’re going in” attitude, which Levitz later references in his 2nd run. Other characters may question the morality of stealing from a thief, but Cos has no doubts, and that makes me, the reader, not even bothering to second guess it.

Lastly, the story is anchored by a brief, but effective, heart & soul in the form of the “Policeman who tried to arrest the Legion of Super-Heroes on their very first case”. The idea that he had been kidded throughout his career about this, and then gets to meet them again later on, is very appealing. In a way, I’m glad he never really shows back up in any storylines (where tons of stupid crap could happen to him). It makes it feel more real yet whimsical.

Some Other Thoughts:
Green Arrow story has some tremendous Grell artwork and is a pretty good, straight forward Green Arrow origin story.

The final story, the Huntress origin, is fantastic. We’ve talked about it on LW in the past in the Gym’lls forum, but reading fresh just now reaffirmed how awesome it is. The pre-Crisis Huntress was such a phenomenal character, and its always been a shame to have lost her, even when the post-Crisis Huntress was good. This story is a good example of when the late 70’s and early 80’s could be darker and grittier but still maintain a readability factor for kids. It could be serious but still be superheroes. Somehow, that was lost in the 00’s.

#896474 - 05/10/16 05:47 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: thoth lad]  
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She ran and called him Wildfire.
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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
Originally Posted by thoth lad
The doctor is awfully familiar with "Cham" in the last panel.



Once again, this is an example of poor word balloon placement. The "What's going on, Cham?" speech almost certainly belongs to Jeckie.


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#896475 - 05/10/16 09:58 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
She did kill Nemesis Kid pretty quickly and without compunction or even a "Legion Code be damned" thought.


Digressions....of spaaace!

Despite the Legion code, Jeckie didn't hesitate for a moment in carrying out what she felt was her duty and royal privilege. I think it showed that the Legion code will only take some members so far. I recall Element Lad pulling the trigger against Roxxas. Brainy's actions in Baxter #50 in using Rugarth would be another example. Only in Brainy's case did we see any really fall out, as he was called to account and quit.

I think Jeckie's execution of Nemesis Kid was a strong piece of characterisation, highlighting the different values by which she was raised and governed. No remorse, no guilt. Simply duty, will and action.




"...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."
#896485 - 05/10/16 11:12 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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thoth lad Offline
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DC Superstars #17

By the time I got to read the issues containing revisits to the Legion’s origins, they looked like dated variations of the original, without much of the charm.

I’m supposed to be seeing a gap in the Legion’s history filled through the use of a brief, but functional, framing sequence. I’m supposed to feel pride as the Legion moves from its humble beginnings to being the galaxies greatest super heroes.

Instead, I wince at “Call me Cosmic Boy—My plan’s official business!”, the clunk of “The Legion Cruiser” or watching the heroes run through the streets because no one gave them credits for Space Cabby or rocket packs.

I wonder why Brande needed the teenagers. He’s already identified who has the crystal and where it’s going to be. The Legion's first case turns out to be an espionage squad mission, before there was an espionage squad. I can imagine Lyle and Reep doing all the leg work on this case, behind the scenes, before being brought into the Legion by Brande later on.

Of the three we do see, Imra is the only one that’s needed. She identifies the villain and plucks the whole plan straight out of the villain’s mind. That just raises more questions. If it’s so sensitive diplomatically, you’d have thought using a telepath would have huge repercussions later on. What’s to stop Oianus (do we ever see them again) getting their own telepaths and spying on the UP and so on?

Even the framing sequence doesn’t work. The officer who had to redeem himself, knew full well who the villain was. The SPs had their own operation in progress, and Brande and his protégés had stepped all over it. He has nothing to feel embarrassed about. He’s not the one who endangered crew and passengers by breaking the anti-gravity systems or by electrocuting diplomats.

In the first issue of TMK’s run, they had to put in a little page showing some of the Legion’s history and the Quintile crystal got a mention. So, the story lived on.

“It’s happening all over…and I love it!” says garth about the adulation from citizens. That made me think of the personality TMK showed him to have that would lead on the feistier Livewire versions of Garth.

Even the rough and ready approach the Legion showed in this story lived on in the TMK version of the team’s origin, so it seems that this issue made an impression with them.

The villain’s trademark purple robe and the clandestine grouping made me think of the Dark Circle.

Rokk trying on the purple robe, meant that his descent into becoming the Time Trapper started off really early in his Legion career.

Finally, where is Floyd Marr, Star Explorer? What is his connection to RJ Brande? Perhaps there’s yet another origin reprise in there…


"...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."
#896486 - 05/10/16 11:14 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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He Who Wanders Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.
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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
DC Super-Stars # 17:

Cramey and Cobie hit the highlights of this brief but memorable story. What I liked about it at the time was that it expanded on the Legion's established origin while remaining faithful to it (also not a commonly accepted practice then) and seeing the old Adventure-era costumes again.

In fact, this tale fits in very faithfully between the panels of the Legion's origin back in Superboy # 147 (reprinted in Secret Origins # 6). In that story, the three teens accept Brande's offer and then are sworn in as Science Police deputies. It's a charming origin story of the time, in that it takes for granted that the Legionnaires were always received as heroes. DC Super-Stars # 17 fills in the blanks, showing how they earned that trust.

And it is a worthy story--one in which the stakes are very high but secret enough that the mission can be entrusted to three teens without public disclosure. (If they had failed, the UP could have disavowed their involvement--take that, Impossible Missions team!) The story presents a credible problem, a realistic obstacle (the villain's diplomatic immunity), and a clever resolution on two fronts (hoodwinking the villain and the officer revealing his identity).

Cramey's right that the officer's face means nothing to the readers, and that's a shame since the artist had gone to great lengths to hide his face in the present day. If we'd seen the blonde hair in the scenes set in the past, the connection might have resonated better.

Cramey's also right that the Legionnaires don't seem surprised. In fact, they seem rather sullen. C'mon, guys! It's time to forgive and forget.

In spite of such gaffes, Ortiz acquitted himself well in this story. The faces are expressive and the action clear and easy to follow. He also faithfully depicted the Adventure-era costumes--again something that was not always done with accuracy by other artists.

For me, the most interesting aspect of this story is the officer's dialogue that he had been kidded about nearly arresting the Legionnaires for ten years. It's a throwaway line, but it establishes that the Legion had been operating for a decade. The notion that a definitive chronology could be worked out for the Legion was something Levitz would later explore in depth. It was also something I became obsessed with as a fan.


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The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#896796 - 05/14/16 01:11 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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thoth lad Offline
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In the Best of the Legion Outpost Jack Harris talks about setting this tale between the two panels of the Legion's origin.

He's asked if the science police officer was being set up to be a recurring character.

"I thought so at the time, but no one ever picked up on it."

"...I thought it would be kinda neat to have some sort of guy that we recognised in the Science Police, almost like a Commissioner Gordon type of guy who would be their liaison. But no one ever picked up on it. But yes, that was my intention."

Officer Erin would fill the liaison role, first appearing in #241. Chief Zendak is possibly the closest to a Commissioner Gordon type. He first appeared in Annual #1


"...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."
#896812 - 05/14/16 02:07 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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He Who Wanders Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.
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Thanks for the info, thoth. It's always interesting to read writers' behind-the-scenes intentions.

I'm fine with the guy not becoming a recurring character. Not everybody in the Legion's history needs a return appearance (*cough* Double Header *cough*). Besides, Shvaughn was a great addition. The Legion needed a recurring female non-Legionnaire.


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#896928 - 05/16/16 06:54 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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thoth lad Offline
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I guess someone really did pick up on his idea, even if it wasn't the specific character he expected.

I do like the behind the scenes stuff as well. I just wish I remembered more of it, as I just rad for the enjoyment of reading them. It was luck that I happened to see that just as we reread this issue 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."
#896967 - 05/16/16 08:13 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Café Cramer
#234 Wanted – Dead or Alive: The Composite Legionnaire by Gerry Conway, art by Ric Estrada & Jack Abel; colors by Tony Tollin

[Linked Image]

The four Legionnaires from the Klordny dance (Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Superboy and Shrinking Violet) in #232, plus Colossal Boy, fly towards the planet Imsk. They are hunting a space dragon and Saturn Girl tries to capture the beast solo, with a neutro-blast. The dragon's more fierce than it looks and she has to be rescued by Garth. His lightning blasts don't subdue it; Violet reminds them that only all five Legionnaires' tractor-rays will control the creature. After Imra apologizes for jumping the gun, Vi explains the history of Imsk and the space dragons. Short form: Imskians depend on the radiation emitted by harvested dragon scales to maintain their shrinking powers so that, when their planet goes through its shrinking phase, the inhabitants will survive.

Meanwhile, a gap-toothed, decrepit man on a far planet is accosted and killed by a bounty hunter, appropriately named Bounty.

Back at Legion HQ, Wildfire rages at Earthgov President for supporting a bill to force U.P. oversight on the Legion. Phantom Girl and Chameleon Boy debate the President's position, while Duplicate Boy of Lallor contemplates Wildfire's lack of a physical body.

Back at the space dragon, Gim decides to expedite the harvest by taking a giant crowbar to the scales to pry off a dozen at once. Unfortunately, this causes the dragon to explode and four of the Legionnaires are merged into one composite figure, leaving Superboy amazed, then stunned by the Composite's maddened attack. The Composite grabs the Legion cruiser and heads for home....

...where Cham and Tinya continue their debate on Wildfire's leadership. The cruiser lands, evoking suspicion since it's back from Imsk well ahead of schedule. Cham and Tinya investigate; both are knocked out by the Composite.

Wildfire is distressed, sad and/or angry, looking at pictures of his former self, when Duplicate Boy alerts him to the problem that is the Composite raging through the city. They join Cham and Tinya to fight the creature, with no success. They realize (or believe?) it's four fellow Legionnaires, somehow combined.

Eighteen hours later, the Legionnaires confront Earthgov President to protest the reward that has been offered to capture the Composite, since that treats Legionnaires as common criminials. Wildfire accuses him of playing politics; Bounty has arrived and is set to claim the reward.

Superboy shows up with a plan and the Legionnaires leave to find the Space Dragons. They net the herd and Wildfire absorbs their radiation, passing out from the pain.

Bounty spends several pages in escalating combat with the Composite. When the Legionnaires return to Earth, Superboy arrests Bounty for using a nuke on the Composite, since nuclear weapons are outlawed on Earth. Wildfire is revived enough to be dropped on the Composite and emit the radiation, which restores the four Legionnaires. However, it appears that Wildfire is dying. To be continued....

Comments: I truly dislike composite hero/villain stories and this one is no exception. It didn't make much sense and the fight scenes, which took up much of the issue, were tedious. While it was good to see the Legionnaires look for a different approach to an opponent they couldn't defeat, it was Superboy, once again, who came up with the idea that saved the day.

Bounty is a typical tough-talking tough guy straight out of Hollywood B-movies. Nevertheless, he submits to Superboy's arrest with little more than a gosh darn.

The character he apprehends early in the story looks like an older version of the Imskian who picked a fight with Violet in #232. That scene introduces Bounty the ruthless pursuer, but otherwise adds nothing to the story.

Saturn Girl acted completely out of character by boasting of her fearlessness and underestimating the dragon's ferocity. Colossal Boy also acted rashly by harvesting a dozen dragon scales at once, not following Violet's direction. And where did he get that giant crowbar?

What was Duplicate Boy doing there? No explanation. His girlfriend's off with her love-sick admirer Gim and he's hanging out at the Legion HQ. Trying to pick up with Tinya maybe? Nothing is said, nothing developed regarding the Salu-Gim-Ord triangle.

Princess Projectra shows up out of nowhere in the second half, but doesn't do much except threaten to dunk Bounty in the water.

The history of Imsk was interesting, if somewhat implausible. I did appreciate that the mission to Imsk from #232 was continued. The discussion of politics and leadership between Tinya and Cham gave some depth to their characters. There appears to be some friction building between the Legion and the government (although I don't recall to what degree this will be developed in future issues).

Wildfire hotheaded in public while privately moped over his lost physical form. At the time this was written, that behaviour probably wasn't as worn as it is now, so that gets points for character development as well.

However, since Wildfire doesn't have a body, how can he feel the pain of radiation absorption?

The ending is abrupt, shoved into three small panels - and not really an ending. The Composite is no more, but Wildfire may be dying. We don't know what the four Legionnaires who became the Composite experienced, or even remember. There's not even a “Don't miss the riveting conclusion in next month's issue” at the end, just “Only time will tell...”, which leaves me wondering when they'll complete this story.






Holy Cats of Egypt!
#897025 - 05/17/16 09:17 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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thoth lad Offline
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Superboy 234

The story opens with a look at two groups of hunters. The first group is the Legion, collecting renewable space dragon scales that contain radiation that will prevent a planet from shrinking. That really doesn’t read any better having typed it, than it did in the story.

The second hunter is Bounty, a ruthless bounty hunter who is happy to bring his victims back dead as alive. As long as the reward is active, he doesn’t care how long ago the crime is.

Bounty reminds me of the hard as nails sci-fi anti-heroes of British comics. He relies on technology rather than super powers, he’s determined and operates in a morally grey area. It’s not Bounty who commits the crimes. Nor is it he who sets the punishments or the rewards.

Back to the Legion. We learn a lot about the history of Imsk. Violet is getting some exposure in recent issues, and this fleshes out why they are so concerned about hunting rights around their planet, to the degree that they would leave the UP to protect them. There are a couple of interesting moments for the others. Firstly, Gim tries to impress Violet by taking off lots of dragon scales at Colossal size, creating the conflict in the story as four Legionnaires are merged together by the weird dragon radiation.

More interestingly, we see Imra acting rashly. While it shows the reader the danger of the dragons, she puts it down picking up habits from Timberwolf. It reminds me of all the moments we don’t see in the comic in a group that shares the same HQ. In this instance, perhaps it leads all the way up to the asteroid embrace between Imra and Brin in #289.

Our Merged Legionnaires return to Earth and go on a creature feature rampage.

It’s particularly bad timing, as Wildfire has just had a falling out with the president of Earth. The government want to put an oversight committee over the Legion. I don’t recall what happened with this plot. However, it looks as though it was picked up by TMK when the Legion was later railroaded into disbanding. In both instances, the Legion have not their greatest leaders in place in Polar Boy and, here, Wildfire. Neither threaten to simply leave Earth and regroup elsewhere.

There’s some rather clunky posturing this issue. Leaving the Bounty/Legion methodology comparison aside, there’s a little Tinya lecture about democracy, while Wildfire seems to put anything he doesn’t quite understand in a big basket called “politics”

It seems unlikely that our composite Creature doesn’t kill anyone as it tears down buildings, but that’s what we’re told. The Legion can’t stop it, so Bounty is called in.

More attacks against the creature fail. None of the four Legionnaire that make up the creature is invulnerable, so it must be the dragon radiation that makes it so tough. That’s probably the reason it managed to knock out Superboy early in the story too. Convenient.

But while Bounty escalates his attacks by increasingly large, and ineffective weapons (possibly the real message of the story there) the Legion realise that a more subtle approach is needed. Blowhard Wildfire redeems himself by absorbing the radiation of the dragons and using it to change the Composite back. But at what cost to himself. For all their Adventure affection, there have been a number of issues around this period that TMK also mined. Wildfire would sacrifice himself again in the Black Dawn incident. TMK would also use at least the Bounty name, as it became an energy being ( a la Malice in the X-Men books) that possessed Dawnstar. In one of their not infrequent underutilised plot threads, we never found out the reason for the possession or if there was any connection to this Bounty.

I can’t say I’m a fan of Batman/Superman composites, Outsider composites or Composite Legionnaires. But it does the job of having a rampaging creature with more emotional punch.

It’s a mystery why Superboy couldn’t use his expando-cape to whisk it way though. Another mystery is the inclusion of Duplicate Boy. I was expecting some progress in his relationship with Violet. Perhaps a Gim/Dupe/Violet triangle being set up. But there’s nothing, leading me to wonder who he’s replacing in the story.

It’s a shame to see Bounty wimp out at the end, but I understand it’s a fitting end to a one shot villain who wasn’t much when he wasn’t the one doing the hunting.

While I’m not usually an Estrada fan, the art was very much a plus for this issue.


"...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."
#897038 - 05/17/16 10:56 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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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
234 is a mess. It reads like it was written in a rush by a writer who couldn't decide to aim for an older or younger audience.

On the "older" side, we've got more on the political conflict concerning Imsk. The origin seems plausible--until we get to the revelation that the dragons ate all the rocks which allow the Imskians to shrink. Is Conway writing for a Saturday morning cartoon or something? Such a convoluted explanation seems unnecessary. Why not just say the dragons' scales are needed to process the shrinking formula? (Furthermore, the exposition is dragged out much longer than necessary.)

The moral ambiguity of Bounty would also appeal to an older audience. Unlike Cramey, I quite liked Bounty's introductory scene as it establishes his ruthlessness but also that he acts within the law. (I also felt sorry for the fugitive, who, whatever his crimes were, just wanted to live in peace.) Bounty shoots this helpless old man in the belly, watches him die, and kicks his corpse. I'm set up to hate this guy but also to fear him.

Unfortunately, Bounty never progresses beyond being a one-dimensional villain. If we had been shown that he does indeed have some respect for the law, then his realization that he broke it might mean something. Instead, he's just a cartoonish baddie who's easily defeated.

The political tensions between Wildfire and the president are also very interesting and adult-oriented. This was still the late '70s, post-Nixon, post-Watergate and during Carter's ineffectual presidency. Politicians could not be trusted. The Legion was slow in incorporating this theme, but it seems real and palpable that they would be caught up in the wrangling of an oversight committee being established to look in on them. (This reminds me of a similar plotline in Avengers which came later.)

So we have all the makings of a mature and sophisticated drama. However ...

We also have Legionnaires acting rashly and out of character.

We also have Duplicate Boy hanging out at Legion HQ for no reason. (Did Conway think he was Tinya's boyfriend?)

We've got Cham getting injured, appearing in battle, and shown being injured again.

We've got Wildfire screaming at the top of his non-lungs when his teammate is only injured, not dead.

We've got Projectra appearing in the story for no reason and contributing nothing.

We've got a cliffhanger resolution that (SPOILER ALERT) will be resolved in a backup story in the next issue--and no real resolution to the Composite Legionnaire plot, the Bounty plot, the Imsk/dragons plot, or the government plot.

So we've got a lot of great ideas which go nowhere.

Thoth does a great job of showing how later writers picked up on some of the ingredients of this half-baked entree which has a lot of garnishing but doesn't go down well. In the end, this full-length course left me feeling I'd eaten a lot but came away undernourished.


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