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#897047 - 05/17/16 12:52 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Cramer
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.


I put the gosh darn approach down to Bounty knowing and working within the law as his career. He'll get punished for this transgression, but fighting further will just delay his return even longer. It does make a change from the villain vowing his return/self destructing etc.

Originally Posted by Cramer
The character he apprehends early in the story looks like an older version of the Imskian who picked a fight with Violet in #232.


Now we know what Vi will do if she becomes the Time Trapper. Go back and frame people who have always annoyed her smile

Originally Posted by Cramer
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?


Good spots on the crowbar and Jeckie. I did notice her sudden appearance, but didn't flip back to check assuming I'd just missed her. After all, Dupe Boy was in there for no reason. Like HWW, I thought he was a Jo stand in. But why? It may be that Conway though he really was part of the team.


"...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."
#897154 - 05/18/16 10:57 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
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.


That's a good explanation of the issue.

Quote

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.


I think Bounty would have had potential if he'd been less cartoonish. The Legion could have worked alongside him, even with the moral ambiguity.

Quote
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.)


It is likely that they'd clash with government/political oversight, especially as they moved beyond the teen crime-fighting club phase. Many of the Legion's clashes with government were or would be a result of government being controlled by outside forces (Universo, the Dominators), so Wildfire bickering with the President is a good change of pace.

Quote
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.


Nice analogy. We need a "Burp" smiley.

Originally Posted by thoth lad
Superboy 234
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.
...

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.


Interesting point that Bounty relies on weapons, not superpowers, and escalation. Apart from the Bounty concept, I hadn't thought about this as as source material for TMK. Which came first: the Bounty entity or Bounty himself, who inspired the name for the entity? We'll never know.



Holy Cats of Egypt!
#897206 - 05/19/16 11:18 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Over in Tom Bierbaum's Blog there's his thoughts on Bounty.


"...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."
#897215 - 05/19/16 01:33 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Tom never mentions the Bounty from 234. It's just as well. They were two different characters who happened to share the same name.

The idea of this Bounty and the Legion working together poses some interesting possibilities. Since the Legion was sworn not to kill and Bounty preferred to kill when he could legally do so, the situation is ripe for conflict should the Legion somehow be forced to work with him.


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#897420 - 05/22/16 08:46 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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I think there may be a mention elsewhere then, as I was opening up a few links along with the one above. It's much the same message though. Al Gordon created that particular concept, and TB didn't really know for sure if there was a connection between the two.

When I read it, I thought there had to have been. But nothing was ever done with it. Form what I remember Dawnstar spent most of the rest of the run in bed or being shipped back to Starhaven. A brief return coincided with Zero Hour, so that was that.


"...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."
#897630 - 05/23/16 09:14 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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#235 The Legion's Super Secrect by Paul Levitz, art by Mike Grell & Vince Coletta; colors by Jerry Serpe

[Linked Image]

Superboy thinks he's just getting a routine psycho-medical exam, but it's really a Hypno-chair mind-wipe – and it's causing him considerable pain. Timber Wolf, Light Lass and Cosmic Boy look on; Brainiac 5 is at the controls. Cosmic Boy questions the treatment, but Brainy asserts that it's necessary.

Unbeknown to the Legionnaires, a circuit breaks, affecting the Hypno-chair. The Legionnaires are interrupted by an emergency alert that Sklarians are attacking the Life Institute. Superboy is reviving, although Ayla cries out that the treatment hasn't ended. A woozy Superboy regains his senses, then flies off after Brin and Ayla to deal with the Sklarians. Brainy sees that the brainwashing treatment didn't work and suggests that there could be serious consequences if Superboy's suppressed memories surface. He and Rokk join the others to battle the Sklarians.

Sklarians need some technology that the Life Institute possesses but, despite their best efforts, are stopped by the Legion team. Their escape is stopped by the Science Police and the Legionnaires focus on helping the Life Institute staff. Brainy tries to divert a suspicious Superboy's attention; a doctor is surprised that Superboy hasn't heard of the Institute's work.

Aboard a Legion cruiser checking Earth's space for other Sklarians, Sun Boy asks if the Sklarians were after the Life Institute's serum stock. It's supposed to be a secret location, but if the secret's out, Rokk asks why Superboy can't know about it. Brainy explains he could use the knowledge to play God and destroy the 20th century; this information is so important that they can't use the standard post-hypnotic command but must brainwash Superboy.

Back at Legion HQ, eavesdropping Superboy hears this as he plays a ball game with Ayla, Brin and Tasmia. Their game is interrupted by another alert of Sklarian attack, this one on Technos, a cutting-edge lab orbiting above Earth. SPs and Legion battle the Sklarians once again. Brainy warns Superboy to stay away from the Life Sciences section so that he doesn't damage any equipment. Supes is suspicious, but obeys. Sun Boy even refuses Superboy's help, causing further suspicion. The Sklarians are defeated and make a desperate appeal to the Legionnaires. The U.P. gave Sklaria some limited technology, but it destroyed their society; they want the full technological banquet to pull things together. Brainy tells them outright that societies can't be brought up to ultra-modern technical levels all at once, or the shock would be too great.

As the SPs take them into custody, Rokk questions whether they should be called pirates and cites his own planet's experience. Brainy interrupts him and declares they should go home and finish Superboy's psych exam. Superboy isn't buying it. He thinks the secret is the creation of artificial life; Brainy and Rokk confirm that's it – and Superboy might accidentally reveal the secret in the 20th century. The universe could be unbalanced by “countless artificial beings needing to be fed”. With that explanation satisfying him, Superboy leaves for the 20th century.

An aged Doctor B'relden congratulates the Legionnaires on their deception, remarkable thinking for people who aren't even 50 years old. The reader learns that the secret is really a serum that extends life for centuries – and even Superboy might be tempted to use it on people he loves. This life extension serum is also why people in their twenties are still called “Boy” or “Kid”. This life extending serum is gradually being made available to planets. One day, the doctor muses, the entire universe will be ready to handle true immortality, which he's working on.


Comments: I believe this is the story that Paul Levitz regretted writing. The idea of selective life extension and the resulting justification of “boy” and “girl” monikers for what we regard as adults could have presented logic problems for future stories. Grounds for revolt, if not war, since it would certainly be hard to keep that secret for long. I'm not sure the idea was ever entirely disavowed; perhaps it remains the elephant in the Legion HQ to this day.

(The Coluans, with their 300 year lifespans, pretty much soak up the extended life possibilities in the Legionverse in future stories – and not much is done with that. Did they originally invent it and incorporate it into their DNA? Could the serum have been outlawed but still available on a premium black market? Many untold tales remain!)

Unlike the Time Institute, the Life Institute and Technos do not become entrenched in the Legionverse.

The plot is about keeping a secret from Superboy – and the reader. I think this would have been interesting for a first time reader; it's clearly an important secret and many possibilities come to mind as the story advances.

For all his suspicions, Superboy accepts the explanation given without question or further curiosity. Why did the brainwashing cause him such pain? Was he fighting to retain knowledge of the life serum, or was this a prophyalactic treatment for something he might learn later? I think the story might have been better if Superboy had been out of it entirely and it was just a battle between Sklarians and the Legion.

The Sklarian attacks add interest along the way as well as upping the ante: the secret is a technology so valuable, they're taking great risks to steal it. At the least, you've got to love sexy ladies on flying sleds. Brainy must have a hard heart to stare into those big sad eyes and tell her no advanced tech for you.

I liked to see Rokk question the Hypno-chair therapy as well as the treatment of the Sklarian people. It added a lot to his character while providing a platform for the other side of the debate. Grell did a good job of converying Rokk's worried expression.

The question of bringing advanced technology to relatively backward societies is a fascinating one and has figured in many sci fi stories, not to mention historical accounts in our own time. I'm sorry this wasn't explored at greater length in the Legion series, although it's likely not the best medium for such a complicated issue. It will emerge from time to time, whether regarding a particular society or a villain's quest for immortality. That the question was addressed at all makes me appreciate this story and I'm glad that Levitz at least put the matter on the table.



I'll post Part 2 of Issue #235 on Saturday; anyone who wishes to forge ahead and review it earlier is most welcome to do so!


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#897636 - 05/24/16 02:44 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Superboy and the LSH #234

Some last minute thoughts on S&LSH #234 before we move on--apologies for tardiness!

I agree this story was a total mess. And like FC, I hate these type of ridiculous "composite" stories where everyone combines into one being. It's a bad premise and this is about as bad as it gets. Add in some weak moments where people are out of character (Imra, Gim, etc) and the sci-go in the beginning that is rife with potential but then goes totally off the rails, and it's a forgettable story.

Bounty reminds me of a lot of Conway's creations at Marvel, like the Punisher, (and others who followed that mold) who were becoming prominent in the 70's. His opening sequence is good, but he quickly becomes forgettable too. If he was used in a different story--perhaps tracking Jo when Jo is wanted for murder--then he may have shined more.

One thing I did like was the Superboy / Wildfire scenes. As Wildfire starts to finally show cracks in his confidence, its ironically Superboy who gives him a pep talk, finally having come to respect his colleague as leader. The scene could have used some real polish, but I like the sentiment after all the build up we've seen.

Duplicate Boy's presence makes no sense. A theory I have is that it was originally Condo but had to tweaked on the art. Perhaps if this and Conways other story were drawn early than Condo's death? A little far fetched but for the life of me, I can't figure out what purpose it served to use Duplicate Boy unless someone screwed up.

#897665 - 05/24/16 09:27 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Good catch about Superboy giving Wildfire a pep talk. It was nice to see a transition in their relationship.


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#897669 - 05/24/16 10:54 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Superboy 234

It was only a matter of time before Superboy would figure out he’d travelled to the future of the Legion of Evil. It was only a matter of time before the villains would have to deal with him once and for all.

But that’s not this issue. This issue, we see the Legion try to brainwash the embodiment of their own inspiration. They note that it’s getting harder to do each year, sowing the seeds of a time when Superboy simply won’t be coming back. But this isn’t the usual mind wiping we see (frequently) in the Legion. They are trying to prevent Superboy from knowing something about his time in the 30th century. I thought he already had a post hypnotic suggestion to forget all this stuff. This story seems to think that’s not enough.

I thought it would all be related to something about his parents. But the scope is bigger than that. In the Legion’s time, they can extend lifespans into the centuries. The whole story is designed to explain why the Legion still use “boy” “lad” and “lass” when they are now into their twenties. With far longer lifespans, the Legion are all still comparatively young.

The Legion subject Superboy (and presumably Supergirl) to annual extra brain tampering so they won’t be tempted to use this sort of knowledge to extend the lives of their nearest and dearest back in the 20th century. Such meddling would result in a stern telling off from the Time Trapper. Perhaps that’s why there’s an iron curtain of time. It’s the Trapper’s way of keeping even more advanced technology out of the hands of the Legion, without needing to book in hypno-sessions for them all.

Trapper: Who’s my 12:30 today?
Glorith the receptionist: That’ll be a Mr Rokk Krinn.
Trapper: Really? That has...possibilities. Anyway, after that, tell all callers I’m playing golf with one of the Endless.
Glorith: A date with Destiny? Haven’t we all.

There’s a lost series where Krypto, having not been brainwashed, organised an immortal army of super pets that fought heroes from across time. That’s why you stopped seeing the Super Pets.

Superboy works out that something’s not right when his treatment is interrupted by the Sklarian raiders. They are looking particularly slinky this issue, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t notice the well-choreographed fights, where everyone gets to show off their powers. It’s a treat to see Brin and Ayla work well together.

During the course of the story, Superboy pieces things together. He confronts Brainy, and the truth is… not revealed to him. The Legion lie to Superboy, telling him that in the future they can create new life and that the Legion guard that secret. I’m reminded of the later blue probes in the TMK run, as well as shades of the immortal Ivo.

This is one I had to buy for the reread threads. Previously, I had read snippets about the attempts to explain the “kid/lad/lass” stuff with a grimace. They all seemed unnecessary and clumsy in execution.

I do still feel the whole story is unnecessary. It goes out of its way to explain something that doesn’t necessarily have to be explained. There’s a whole thread that could be devoted to that.

However, if such a thing had to be explained, this was a decent way of doing it. Having “Kids” in their late twenties or older seems odd. But that’s more from our difficulty in grasping the social pressures of such a long lived society from our own limited lifespans. The explanation poses all sorts of questions about this future society from societal structures to resource management.

There are plenty of other questions raised from the tale. We learn of Braal and Sklaria’s social issues. There’s a developmental hierarchy in the United Planets. There have been catastrophic consequences in advancing some worlds too quickly. Ironically, this was just the charge that would be levelled against the Fatal Five.

There are lots of stories and world building that could have come from this. Levitz did take a lot of time to expand the cultures of the30th century. I don’t think we saw Technus again, which is a shame. The story certain puts the actions of the Sklarians in a different light. They’re a lot different here, than the petty thieves as portrayed later on.

Rokk Krinn’s actions in this issue are interesting. He’s clearly very unhappy at putting Superboy through the treatment. Brainy warns him away, in case Rokk’s powers interfere with it. Considering Rokk’s control over his abilities (he doesn’t cause computer chaos in other issues) is there a hint form Brainy that Rokk might derail it sort of on purpose? I see hints of Rokk the Braalian revolutionary in this one. It’s emphasised by his sympathy for the raiders.

Brainy continues to be particularly harsh throughout. I think it’s partly his way of showing his distaste at treating Superboy this way. But it’s also from following the conclusion that this has to be done, with sentiments like Rokk’s not helping it get done any quicker. Or he’s just a git, with questionable judgement.

We’re shown that despite the names, the Legion aren’t kids. They have huge responsibilities for the worlds in their galaxy. That they have to so thoroughly mind wipe their friend and lie to him, would suggest that they have not only outgrown the wonder of the early Superboy tales, but that the relationship is now damaging to all concerned.

The life extension is another classic sci-fi what if scenario, along with one of my recurring Legion favourites of mind control being used as enforcement.

In summary, it’s a story seeking to answer a question that shows the evolvement of the book from the Weisinger days, but that poses many more interesting questions along the way. The Grell art certainly adds a lot to the script too.


"...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."
#897681 - 05/24/16 01:22 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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235/Legion's Super-Secret

Thoth is right that this story answers an unnecessary question of why Legion sticks with the "Girl" and "Boy" codenames, but I see the issue as deeper than that, and that's why--controversy aside (or maybe because of the controversy)--this remains one of my favorite Legion stories of this era.

The "Lad/Lass" element is a superficial explanation for a deeper evolution going on in the comic: The Legion is growing up. Two issues hence, two more of their members would get married and leave. 235 subtly acknowledges that this evolution has already taken place, and that the Legion has, in some ways, outgrown Superboy.

It is, of course, disturbing that the Legion brainwashes their iconic inspiration and lies to him--but it's supposed to be disturbing. And that's what makes this story stand out to me: there are no simplistic right or wrong answers. As readers, we're left wondering if the Legion did the right thing--just like in real life.

To illustrate why I think the Legion may have made the right choice, let's pretend that the surviving US presidents form a club, and a secret CIA experiment allows them to travel through time. They decide to invite Abraham Lincoln into the present and to join them. It all sounds great, but, as Abe becomes a regular visitor to the 21st century, Barack, Bill, Jimmy, George, and George W. are faced with a dilemma: Should they tell him to avoid the Ford Theatre on April 14, 1865, or not? And if they decide not to, should they try to keep him from finding out through films, books, etc., what will happen there?

And even if Abe's a noble sort who is willing to face his own death for the sake of the union (there's some evidence of this), what if he got it in his head to take modern medical advances back to his own time to save his sons, Edward (who died in 1850) and Willie (who died in 1862)? Would the temptation be too great even for him?

Viewed in that context, the Legion's actions make sense. They were looking beyond friendship to the larger context: Could even Superboy resist the temptation to save his loved ones?

The story handles this idea in a highly mature fashion, and the subplot of the Sklarian raiders provides another dimension: Are they greedy technological thieves or is the UP withholding technology they need? There are no clear-cut answers. Each side thinks they are doing what's right.

There are, of course, some problems with the story (aren't there always?). As FC suggests, Superboy accepts the brainwashing too readily at the end. The notion that his friends and teammates have been lying to him since day one doesn't bother him a bit. Well, good for you, Super-Saint.

Actually, that's pretty much the only problem I have with the story. I was going to say that the Sklarian raiders plot seemed too drawn out, but I think only the splash page on Page 14 is unneeded, though it is nice to look at.

Among other things I enjoyed:
--The palpable tension between Brainy and Supes. It is unnerving to see these guys who have fought side by side for years suddenly at odds with each other. (Hint to fellow writers: Unnerving the reader can be a good thing.)
--Rokk's role. He waivers in his acceptance of the brainwashing (even though it was initiated when he was leader) and then reveals that his homeworld, Braal, paralleled the circumstances faced by Sklar. This deepens his character immeasurably and builds nicely off of what we know of his origin (i.e., he came to earth to find a job because of Braal's economic problems).
--The scene of the Legionnaires having fun in the courtyard. Such scenes of our heroes hanging out as friends are always a plus.
--Grell's art (yay!), though I miss Wiacek's inks.


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#897683 - 05/24/16 02:27 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Superboy & LSH #235

This was a story with a lot of good things but also with some weak delivery that made the story feel flat rather than effective in places. The big one off the bat is that Grell returns, which should be a huge deal, but his art feels rushed and scratchy here--almost unfinished. I know his schedule was chaotic at the time and he was doing a bit of a favor, but it feels like a lost opportunity to me.

The story itself, based on keeping a secret from Superboy, has potential but I found myself not enjoying it. Brainy is a bit too dickish, and the plot itself, with extended life feels forced. It *could* be good, but it feels more like Paul wanted to simply address the Legionnaires having "boy" and "girl" code names still, and that type of slavery to continuity is something I've grown to dislike immensely. I do think there is a place for good stories about Superboy being prevented from learning things about the future, and I also think there is a place for stories about the Legion getting older (which frankly is one of my favorite things about this era). But this story feels like neither in execution.

I do like the concept of worlds getting an influx of technology they aren't ready for yet. Cos's commentary on Braal and the usage of the Sklaarians worked well here, and this was much more interesting than the "secret" story.

So a mixed bag here: a lot of good, and some failed execution in places.

#897684 - 05/24/16 02:29 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Also, I agree with you guys on Rokk's dislike of the brainwashing. That added a good side to the tension that fleshed it out more.

#897743 - 05/25/16 10:27 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Cramer
I believe this is the story that Paul Levitz regretted writing.


I wonder if it’s really that people couldn’t quite get their head around it, and considered it to be a failed attempt at fudging the issue. That would be a shame, as it does have some logic to it, and as you mention…

Originally Posted by Cramer
Grounds for revolt, if not war, since it would certainly be hard to keep that secret for long. I'm not sure the idea was ever entirely disavowed; perhaps it remains the elephant in the Legion HQ to this day.


Originally Posted by Cramer
Did they originally invent it and incorporate it into their DNA? Could the serum have been outlawed but still available on a premium black market? Many untold tales remain!


Originally Posted by Cramer
it's clearly an important secret and many possibilities come to mind as the story advances.


Originally Posted by Cramer
I'm sorry this wasn't explored at greater length in the Legion series…


… It’s certainly a story that opens up the 30th century to a lot of strong questions and ideas, raising it above your standard comic story.

Originally Posted by Cramer
For all his suspicions, Superboy accepts the explanation given without question or further curiosity. Why did the brainwashing cause him such pain?


I think his powers were adapting to it. He’s invulnerable to pretty much everything else, and he’s starting to resist it. I do think that it’s really a way of indicating that, as Superman, Clark won’t be with the Legion.

Originally Posted by HWW
As FC suggests, Superboy accepts the brainwashing too readily at the end. The notion that his friends and teammates have been lying to him since day one doesn't bother him a bit. Well, good for you, Super-Saint.


Superboy has been figuring it out through the story. Sure, he may or may not realise Brainy’s lying to him even at the end. But Clark is super smart on a human level that Brainy probably will never grasp. I think he’s ready to come back to get the brainwashing precisely because he’s seen the ramifications of having access to those secrets. He understands that it’s not easy for his friends to do this. And because they are his friends, he trusts them to do the right thing by him.

It still hurts though. He’s very quick to race back to Smallville to take care of something, and his “see ya!” farewell is a bit abrupt, and tells me he wants a little space from them for a while.

I think it hurts all the more, because that same intelligence and outlook means that Superboy would be the one not to fall to such temptations. Because he understands the consequences so fully.

As I posted earlier, I think the story shows that the relationship between Superboy and the Legion has changed as the Legion are no longer “kids” as we’d know them, despite what they call themselves. Superboy, too, has been growing up in the title for some time. I think that’s a key part of the story, and that it wouldn’t have worked so well with just the Legion and the Sklarians.


"...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."
#897755 - 05/25/16 02:49 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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That's a wonderful interpretation of Superboy's actions, thoth. It shows his total faith in and loyalty to his friends.


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#897771 - 05/25/16 11:36 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Originally Posted by thoth lad
Over in Tom Bierbaum's Blog there's his thoughts on Bounty.


While reading Tom's comments I came up with a theory of my own. What if Bounty (the entity from 5YG) was actually Boston Brand? After hanging around for 1000 years, who knows what his mental state would be?


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#897784 - 05/26/16 02:46 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: the Hermit]  
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Originally Posted by the Hermit
Originally Posted by thoth lad
Over in Tom Bierbaum's Blog there's his thoughts on Bounty.


While reading Tom's comments I came up with a theory of my own. What if Bounty (the entity from 5YG) was actually Boston Brand? After hanging around for 1000 years, who knows what his mental state would be?


Or, the Red Jack entity from Star Trek TOS 2xO7: A Wolf in the Fold.



I'm nigh invulnerable. I have the reflexes of an Olympic-level jungle cat. I have the strength of 10, perhaps 20 men: a crowded bus stop of men. But my greatest power is this: when destiny speaks, she speaks to me.
She says hi, by the way.
#897835 - 05/26/16 01:37 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: the Hermit]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
That's a wonderful interpretation of Superboy's actions, thoth.


Thank you for the comment that made me think about it, or it wouldn't have got posted. 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."
#897883 - 05/27/16 04:04 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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If Boston Brand had become Bounty, I wonder if he could be rehabilitated. That would be an interesting and unusual connection to present day DC. Evil spirits, djinns, etc. have a long history of possession for malign purpose. Seeing that it was used in a Star Trek episode brings to mind that it is a sort of alien encounter, and well suited to sci fi stories.

Thoth came up with a reasonable and rather poignant explanation of Superboy's behaviour. The Legion is growing up, or being grown up, as is Superboy. The alternative is Peter Pan, so I guess we should welcome this development.

Something that never occurred to me is just how smart Superboy is. I guess I figured he's super-smart, like he has super this and that power, but if his father was a top notch scientist, he could be well above average intelligence throughout the galaxy.



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#897884 - 05/27/16 04:07 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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#235 - Second Story - Trial of the Legion Five by Gerry Conway, art by George Tuska & Vince Colleta, colors by Jerry Serpe

Marko Chang, Earthgov councilman, stands in court to accuse Timber Wolf, Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, Shadow Lass and Brainiac 5 (in absentia) with murder. Other Legionnaires observe from the gallery. Jeckie suggests that this is payback for some trouble they caused Chang in an election; Superboy muses that they don't know the facts.

Chang testifies that his son, lying in a stasis cylinder as Exhibit 1, died from Synapse Syndrome, which gradually destroyed his nervous system's electrical activity. Dad believed he had found a cure: a Titanian Psycho-Beast, while dying, would emit radiation which would restore the young man's system. Despite the youth's protest than a creature would have to die, Chang left for Saturn's moons; on arrival, he encountered a team of Legionnaires. Brainiac 5 declared that the Legion needed the Psycho-Beast and Timber Wolf attacked Chang, knocking him unconscious.

Coming to, he saw that Brainy and Beast had gone; the SPs were summoned but, in the meantime, the boy had died, so Chang blamed the Legionnaires. Chang's testimony is deemed true by the Truth Tube – or at least the truth as Chang understands it.

Saturn Girl testifies for the Legion: when attempts to save Wildfire's life failed, she remembered the Psycho-Beast legend and, as a last resort, went to get the Beast themselves. She also is deemed truthful, but the Court wants more information.

As Shadow Lass takes the stand, Lightning Lad ponders the question of whether the Legionnaires were right or wrong to put Wildfire's life above Redvik Chang's. Meanwhile, two shaded figures approach the courthouse and enter, disabling the guards.

Shady and Garth complete their testimony: after they found the Psycho-Beast, Timber Wolf fought and stunned it with a powerful blow. Suddenly, Wildfire bursts into the court, holds an energy-emitting hand over the dead youth, who revives. Brainy, following him, explains that he carted the Beast off to a secret lab and used the dying creature's radiation to revive Wildfire. Since Chang so resented the Legion, Brainy knew it would have served no purpose to talk to him on Titan; better to save Wildfire first, who could then come to the court to revive the younger Chang. Truth is complex, concludes the Judge. Case dismissed.

Comments:

Something about this story seems clumsy, but I can't place it. Is it telling the story through courtroom testimony? The too-quick wrap-up by Brainiac 5 and the immediate restoration to full health of Redvik? An over-demanding suspension of disbelief?

This story serves to save Wildfire, last seen dying from over-exposure to Space Dragon radiation. Instead of drawing out that particular event to fill pages, Conway made Wildfire's rescue part of a bigger story. The search for the Psycho-Beast takes up a few pages, but the real interest is why Chang believes the Legionnaires murdered his dying son. This mystery is compounded by the convenient addition of the Truth Tube, the assertion by Superboy that none of the other Legionnaires know the facts, Lightning Lad's internal self-doubts that they might indeed be responsible for Redvik's death and Brainy's unexplained absence from Court.

The final resolution is not clear-cut: does the elder Chang still believe that the Legionnaires killed his son, even if they did revive him?

There's a backstory to Chang and the Legion, but we're only given some vague information. A potential is established in this story for a future conflict with Chang, which never comes to pass. It seems to me that the Legionnaires got off a bit lightly; Brainy might have been charged with infliction of mental suffering.

A radiation overload put Wildfire close to death, yet it is radiation that restores him. It's a further bit of mind-bender to think that this radiation would be equally effective on a dead young man as on a fading energy being.

We're given a number of clues as to who the two shadowed figures are breaking into court - a forcefield around one, the manner in which they speak. It's clear in retrospect, but I expect there might have been some mystery for first-time readers.

One point that isn't addressed is the killing of the Psycho-Beast by Timber Wolf. Young Redvik raises some concern about a creature dying so that he might live, but the Legionnaires do not. They exploded a Space Dragon a few issues ago as well. Maybe Conway wanted to be a big game hunter?

The Psycho-Beast is a big bruiser. It seems unlikely that it could have remained a myth living on a moon full of telepaths. Could it have just become very, very good at hiding after being hunted to death for generations?

It's a quibble, but I find the persistence of the medieval peasant look in these Conway stories to be a bit strange. Everyone but the Legionnaires looked liked backwater thugs.



Holy Cats of Egypt!
#897891 - 05/27/16 05:48 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
If Boston Brand had become Bounty, I wonder if he could be rehabilitated.



How does one rehabilitate a ghost? A paranormal support group? Counseling sessions for the damned? (Hm. There may be a fanfic in there.)

With few exceptions, I don't like the idea of established heroes turning evil and then being "rehabilitated." Once you've crossed that line and harmed others, it's hard to go back to the other side. Something really drastic has to happen, as in a character flaw, to justify the shift to "evil" in the first place.

Such a shift requires abandoning the morals, principles, and values one holds dear to begin with. If one chooses to be a hero, it follows that one values helping others, doing what benefits the community, or devotion to something one holds as "good" (a country, religion, or family, for example). Abandoning such values suggests one had only a superficial connection to them in the first place--which probably explains 5YG Dirk and reboot Jan "coming over" to the dark side.

The notion that people could turn evil after spending centuries or millennia on their own also strikes me as a superficial rationale. It makes people victims of circumstances in their lives (or deaths) and removes agency. Yet real people overcome horrific events--some of which have led to lifelong debilitation--and choose to make something good of them. (NPR aired an interview with a woman who, at age 13, survived the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima. She recounted in horrific detail what she experienced and observed. Today she is an anti-nuclear activist.)

I know little of Boston Brand as a character. However, I'm willing to accept the Spectre's loss of humanity following his death, and Jan and Dirk giving in to their less-than-noble impulses, because they are the exceptions to the rule. Most heroes would find some way to turn their circumstances to their advantage.


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#897900 - 05/27/16 06:25 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
#235 - Second Story - Trial of the Legion Five by Gerry Conway, art by George Tuska & Vince Colleta, colors by Jerry Serpe

Comments:

Something about this story seems clumsy, but I can't place it. Is it telling the story through courtroom testimony? The too-quick wrap-up by Brainiac 5 and the immediate restoration to full health of Redvik? An over-demanding suspension of disbelief?


My vote is for all of the above.

Just why are Redvik Chang's body and coffin in the courtroom? Mighty convenient.

Again, Conway seems to be injecting mature themes into a story aimed for children. The result is a mishmash of ideas and actions that do not fit together well.

I love the idea of the Legion having a longtime political opponent who would even use the death of his own son to bring the team down. This fits in well with the hatred and self-serving malice we see in real-world individuals and groups. The competing goals of Chang and the Legionnaires (one wanting to save his son, the others wanting to save their teammate) creates realistic tension.

I also like the idea of the Legionnaires giving different testimony. This creates an almost Rashomon-like effect, which could have been expanded further. As it is, I appreciated the judge discounting Shady's testimony as hearsay. It shows how "eyewitness" testimony can be unreliable.

But, yeah, clumsy is the word. I could do without Superboy's melodramatic thoughts (or even with his presence in the story). Garth's doubts while he is on trial are more believable, though.

Yet it all comes down to the premise that the Legionnaires needed to save Wildfire so they could, in turn, save Redvik Chang, and they knew this (or at least Brainy figured it out) before or during the fight. Either that, or they were just being selfish. In the fight scenes, the Legionnaires come across as bullies who use their superior powers to best Chang, who only wants to save his son. (Of course, these scenes are told from Chang's biased point of view, but the Legionnaires never dispute the basic facts of the case.)

And it is all resolved nicely and neatly. Chang looks like a bad guy who let his hatred of the Legion influence his actions by wasting the court and public's attention with a trial. No one seems to care that he was a grieving father--least of all the Legionnaires, who could have reached out to Chang at any point and explained their plan. (Just how long does it take to arrest people and put them on trial in the 30th century? Given the urgency in saving Wildfire, it looks as if the trial took place later the same day as the encounter with the psycho beast.) Chang may have refused such overtures, but the Legion could have tried.

Of course, maybe they kept silent because they weren't sure the plan would work. Why get Chang's hopes up, after all? Just let him go on grieving and hating and wasting the court's time.

It is interesting, though, that both this story and the lead feature portray Brainy--and to some degree the other Legionnaires--as being cold and unsympathetic toward civilians and the Sklarian raiders. The Legionnaires have their own agenda to pursue and woe to anyone who gets in the way.

Quote

It's a quibble, but I find the persistence of the medieval peasant look in these Conway stories to be a bit strange. Everyone but the Legionnaires looked liked backwater thugs.



That is certainly odd--but it ties in with my comment above about the Legion being "above" everyone else. smile


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#897939 - 05/27/16 12:31 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Thoth came up with a reasonable and rather poignant explanation of Superboy's behaviour. The Legion is growing up, or being grown up, as is Superboy. The alternative is Peter Pan, so I guess we should welcome this development.

Something that never occurred to me is just how smart Superboy is. I guess I figured he's super-smart, like he has super this and that power, but if his father was a top notch scientist, he could be well above average intelligence throughout the galaxy.



Clark is always tinkering about with advanced science/ engineering projects in his basement workshop. Not only that, his ingenious solutions, with or without powers, show an advanced intellect and ability to apply it.

In this issue he even says that the Legion's secret must be "something unknown on 20th century Earth ---- or Krypton!"

So, not only does he have a pretty good grasp on the extent of Earth science, but also the super advanced science of Krypton in the 20th century, with it's rocket ships, and phantom zone projectors etc.

Being with the Legion is about having a peer group with which Superboy feels comfortable and with friends. But there might also be a part that views 30th century Earth as a reminder of the advanced Krypton of the 20th century. So it's a little like going home for him.


"...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."
#898227 - 05/29/16 11:45 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Superboy #235 Backup

Imagine you’re taking a walk, minding your own business. You don’t look for any trouble and you just want to be left in peace to get on with your life.

Suddenly a group of people try to kidnap you. They are confronted, not by someone looking to save you, but by another man looking to kidnap you. They fight and the first group takes you away, after beating you up.

Neither group wants a ransom. Neither group makes demands. They simply want to kill you for what you are.

That’s the lot of the Psycho Beast of Titan. The last of its kind, presumably due to all its loved ones having been killed off.

While the story plays with the idea of perspective forming each person’s truth, it completely misses the actual crime committed by everyone taking the stand.

It’s Brin Londo who stuns the beast, so that Brainy can take it off to kill it. If groups of hunters had arrived for Brin in his Furball days, for a similar reason, would the Legion have been so keen to hand him over?

The only redeeming character is Redvik Chang. He didn’t want the creature’s death on his conscience. He’s the only one who understands that his life has no more value than the Psycho Beast’s. It’s a shame that Brainy and his accomplices didn’t come to that conclusion, as it marks a low point in the Legion for me.

But this may not be the end of the story. The Legion has a history of transferring the energy of one being, upon death, into the body of another. Margie Spears’ excellent article gave us the Eltro Gand personality in Mon El and the Proty personality in Garth Ranzz. Could this be a third instance?

I’m particularly struck by Redvik’s expression as he leaves the court room in the last panel. There’s an eerie intensity to it. Could the Beast of Titan now share a mind with Marko’s son?

Of more specific Legion relevance, is the Titan Beast now sharing a mind with Drake Burroughs?


The thoughts and actions of the Legionnaires are odd. Cham, the master of subterfuge & investigation, is stumped beyond wanting to actually help them.

While it’s not a positive in the sense of the group or its utopian future, we see that there’s a certain anti Legion sentiment on Earth. It’s not just a point for debate either. These people “violently oppose the Legion’s extra-Legal standing.”

Are they the usual clueless lemmings we see rallying round any political demagogue?

Is there a genuine feeling that super heroes don’t belong in this ultra-scientific future of mankind? There are strong parallels with Lex Luthor and the Watchmen on that one?

Or are the mob using the Legion as stalking horses, to display their real resentment at the Supreme Court, its truth tubes and mind controlling devices?


"...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."
#898290 - 05/30/16 04:36 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Thoth's post made me re-read the story, and . . .

The major failing of the story is that it never explains what the psycho-beast died from. Did B5 kill it, or was it going to die, anyway? This much is not clear.

I think this is important because it highlights a distinction in our culture that many of us take for granted. Animals are animals, and people are people. People are more important than animals, and, therefore, people can kill animals in order to eat them or control them for any reason pertaining to human interests (e.g., driving them out of their habitats, putting them in zoos, etc.).

Perhaps Conway's biggest error in this story is that he never questions this assumption. Rather, he focuses on how Marko Chang's truth is entirely subjective. In his testimony, Chang claims the Legionnaires attacked him, yet Lightning Lad calls this an "out and out lie." Both are telling the truth, according to the truth tube. (I agree: the truth tube is a silly device, but it serves the needs of this short story.)

The real point of this story, I think, is that Marko Chang was so consumed with hatred that his feelings blinded him to a solution that could have saved both his son and Wildfire (and which did, anyway, because the Legionnaires took matters into their own hands).

It's interesting to look at this story now and see the psycho-beast as simply a creature that had its own right to live. That's clearly not how Conway saw it, and, as a reader at the time, I don't think I saw it that way either. Human beings capture animals and eat them or force them into servitude, so the treatment of the psycho-beast doesn't seem totally out of step with the assumptions of many people then or now.


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#898293 - 05/30/16 07:20 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders

The major failing of the story is that it never explains what the psycho-beast died from. Did B5 kill it, or was it going to die, anyway? This much is not clear.


Marko Chang: In it's death throes the beast produces an uncanny radiation.

Definition of "death throes": the process of dying or ending in a very painful or unpleasant way.

Redvik Chang: But father, if the Beast ahs to die--
Marko Chang: No price is too great to pay for your life.

The story bolds the "no" and there's nothing there that suggests that Marko cares less about the health of the Titan Beast. Brainy simply tells Marko he can't have it. Again, there's not a hint that there's any concern over the Titan Beast's health.

Having invaded its territory with the sole purpose of causing it harm it, the Legionnaires relate how the beast "swiped at him viciously" No kidding. As it's fighting for it's life, the Titan Beast doesn't look ill or wounded or particularly old. So, there's nothing to suggest that it's was going to die any time soon.

"and the beast fell stunned," shows that it was still very much alive when Brin attacked it. Since everyone else in comics gets up after being stunned, there's no reason the Beast couldn't have went along with its life.

Instead, we next see it strapped to a transference table in Brainy's lab. He uses it's "death energy to revive Wildfire." Now how does the creature move from being "stunned" to having "death energy"? Brainy would have to kill it, to save Drake in the time they had.

Worse, for "death energy" see "death throes." Although the creature looks still, I don't think it died easily. I think we're seeing it after Brainy has finished with it. I'd very much like to be wrong on that one. but Conway set it up that a violent death releases the energy. Since they are trying to save Wildfire, perhaps this puts the Beast's violent death up there with the moral heights of animal testing.

If the Titan Beast was the last one of its kind, then it's species wasn't going to survive. But the Legion have the distinction of being the ones who officially made it extinct. I'm surprised we don't see it's head mounted in HQ. Cramer mentioned big game hunting, and this was very much like that. Then there's the question of why it was the last of its kind...

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Animals are animals, and people are people. People are more important than animals, and, therefore, people can kill animals in order to eat them or control them for any reason pertaining to human interests (e.g., driving them out of their habitats, putting them in zoos, etc.).


You make the distinction of "in order to eat" going up to "any reason pertaining to human interests." This story is very much one of the latter. The Legion did it because they could. I was thinking of the Legion Outpost's KAL-EL (Keep Alien Legionnaires Exotic Looking). I also mentioned a Furball analogy last post. Would the legion have these attitudes with a Devil Fish in their ranks? How would they react when the Gil' Dishpan turn up and say "it's only a lesser creature" about Tellus as they set out their cutlery.


Since I'm posting, I was thinking a little more about a Wildfire/ Titan Beast combination following the energy transference. How would that be spotted. Would Wildfire seem lonely at being one of a kind? Would he seem cut off form others? Would he look to reach out to others more in some way? We saw the creature aggressively defend it's territory. Would Wildfire be aggressive around his interests?

Then I realised that's pretty much Wildfire anyway. If this happened, I think it's a good fit. Perhaps it helped Drake reach out to the likes of the academy students and Dawnstar. Perhaps it gave him more of a self of being. A reminder of being alive again. And certainly the cost of being alone and one of a kind.


"...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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