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#898300 - 05/30/16 08:30 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Café Cramer
A 3-story issue. Part 1 today, part 2 on Thursday, part 3 on Saturday. Anyone who wishes to cover all three at once, write long and prosper!

#236 1st Story: A World Born Anew! By Paul Levitz & Paul Krupperberg, art by James Sherman & Bobo McLeod, Colours by Anthony Tollin

[Linked Image]

Brainy monitors Rokk and Lydda relax on Braal and grouses about never getting leave himself. Superboy consoles him and offers a rematch at 3D Chess.

On Braal, Rokk and Lydda play magnoball with brother Pol and his girlfriend Polla. Suddenly, the ground turns to sludge, engulfing Polla and then Pol, who are rescued by Rokk and Lydda.

The two superheroes meet with the President and learn that massive geological changes have been occurring on Braal. Rokk calls in the Legion to investigate and he and Lydda begin to look into the problem.

They encounter a vessel operated by a cigar-smoking sentient, Worldsmith, who blasts the couple. They're rescued by Superboy as the other Legionnaires tackle Worldsmith's “Planetchanger” machine. An enraged Worldsmith, worried about cost overruns, uses his power to enclose the team in a stone sphere. Superboy and Colossal Boy fail to break out, but Element Lad, after some consideration, turns the stone to oxygen. Projectra emerges from the cruiser to announce that she has an idea how to beat Worldsmith.

Worldsmith resumes his project, only to be interrupted by Cosmic Boy, who appears to now have world-changing powers of his own thanks to a combination of Jeckie's illusions and Legionnaire powers. Finally, an angry Worldsmith acknowledges failure due to escalating costs and disappears in a space warp, threatening that he will not be forgotten on Braal.

The team looks around and sees that Worldsmith has left a series of statues resembling his own face, which happen to look just like Earth's Easter Island figures. Superboy tells the others that Worldsmith must have been on Earth a long time ago.

Comments:

Worldsmith is a comedic character and the story, while taking a swipe at rapacious developers, is a light story to give some insight into a few Legionnaires, with an unexpected, joke ending.

Brainy monitoring Rokk and Lydda on vacation is exceedingly creepy – where does it end? - but universal surveillance was a common element of Legion stories. In this case, it's used to show that Brainy doesn't have much of a life outside the Legion – which could have been accomplished by him simply griping about Rokk and Lydda's fun-filled vacation.

Continuing the “Superboy is really smart” concept, he's not only a match for Brainy at 3D chess, but also shows a sympathetic, caring attitude.

It's pleasant to see Rokk and Lydda having fun, her winning the game despite a lack of magnetic or night-enhanced power. Maybe he's just letting her win. The relationship must be serious is he's taking her home to meet the family. Easy access to the Braalian president reinforces the high esteem in which the Legion is held.

That Worldsmith could be terraforming Braal without prior discovery does stretch credulity. The changes could have occurred in remote locations and/or at night (sort of like crop circles...), mystifying the residents until Rokk and Lydda actually found the source. Who is the client? Does the client intend to take over Braal once the project is finished or is this just a vacation home? Surely Worldsmith could have been a useful partner to someone like R.J. Brande, but he wasn't used again. Fed up with those pesky kids, no doubt.

Nevertheless, he's formidable enough to create a stone sphere that even Superboy can't break. Does Element Lad wait to turn it to oxygen because he expects Superboy to save the day once again? I thought his delay in taking action was interesting.

There's also a hint that all is not well in the Gim-Salu-Ord triangle, with Gim claiming that the Legion is not always a happy family.

Edit to add: Projectra uses illusions to help Rokk deceive Worldsmith, but other Legionnaires also pitch in with their powers. I think Jeckie could have accomplished the whole thing by herself, but she's continually underplayed in these stories. Of course, it is Rokk's tale - but this is the girl who overwhelmed the Legion on her try-out, stalled The Persuader and helped defeat Mordru. Now she just sort of hangs around and comes up with the occasional idea. She won't exercise the clout that she could until she takes on the Sensor Girl role.

Last edited by Fat Cramer; 05/30/16 09:53 PM.

Holy Cats of Egypt!
#898361 - 05/31/16 11:59 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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236/A World Born Anew

When I first read this story, I had never heard of Easter Island--so the ending left me mystified. Was I supposed to recognize those giant heads? And what about that scarab-type symbol on the ground?

My confusion, I think, illustrates a disconnect between what I'd come to expect from Legion stories (and comic book stories in general) and what Levitz was trying to do. I was so used to having all the information I needed spoonfed to me, to having everything explained, that I was at a loss to account for this ending, which required the reader to know something other than comic books. (Duh!) During the Boltinoff era, this tendency to spell everything out was in full force--expectations of readers were very low. (One fan didn't recognize Star Boy in his old costume in 211's flashback.) But Levitz and his new editor, Al Milgrom, respected readers' intelligence or at least expected more from them. It took me awhile to catch on to this.

And not all of Levitz's efforts are successful. Gim's "not all one happy family" line comes out of the blue (or black, since they're in space). Is he referring to his unrequited love for Vi or something else? We never find out.

Not all of the action scenes are convincing either. I, too, was puzzled as why Jan held back, especially since he so easily turned the rock into oxygen. The Jeckie scenes are contrived, though I suppose they were an attempt to show the Legion using teamwork. These scenes come across as amateurish and remind me of Levitz' less-than-stellar turn on Karate Kid # 1.

However, this story has lot of pluses. The premise of a "worldsmith" transforming existing worlds poses an original threat and opens up a new mystery. (Just who is his client?) It's good to see Rokk and Lydda having fun, and to get a sense of their relationship outside of the Legion. (But there go Lydda's self-esteem issues again: Rokk is too busy showing off to pick up on her not-so-subtle hints, but she loves him anyway.)

Brainy's moping about not having a vacation could be seen as early signs of his madness (which will come to the fore in 239, though we won't realize it until much later.) I wonder if Levitz had planned on Brainy's breakdown this early.

As for the Worldsmith--I like the concept of the character and his singular focus on business. But the character's appearance put me off then and even somewhat now. I get where Levitz was going with the character--his unsubtle digs at developers--but the cigar, business suit, and overweight appearance struck me as too stereotypical of a 20th century businessman. This character and Sden back in 230 seemed like throwbacks to the childish aspects of early Legion stories and out of place in a series that was trying to grow up.



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#898383 - 05/31/16 03:05 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Superboy 236

The villain of this issue isn’t exactly subtle. You’d be as well calling the Worldsmith, the Capitalist. A cigar chomping, pin striped suited wearing despoiler of resources. His operations are finely costed. When there’s no profit, he’ll move on.

I’m reminded that there has been at least one Doctor Who villain, similarly obsessed by costs. There’s also the George Lucas film THX 1138 where police pursuits are costed and called off when no longer viable.

Sherman’s art is nice, even if a few of the faces seem a little exaggerated.

Pol has grown up here. Was he portrayed as younger when they moved to Earth later? Why they’d want to move form a nice part of Braal to Metropolis was perhaps for economic reasons. Is Polla a girlfriend or a Krinn relative?

Magnetic bracelets would give Rokk help Rokk get his powers back late into v4. However, they had a detrimental effect on his mental health. I wonder if that’s the same for other Braalians who use them.

Braal was later portrayed as a bit of an industrialised dump. Considering the President of Braal states that the Worldsmith is affecting sites all over Braal, perhaps he’s one reason why this is.

Brainy seems a little stressed that he never has a vacation, hinting at thing to come. Gim foreshadows it further with the subtlety of a brick a little later.

The devil horned Worldsmith is more than Galactus style world plundering equipment. He has the power to shape things to his will. He punishes the Legionnaires by trapping them in a stone sphere that would later appear on the cover of Gilgamesh II. Suddenly Superboy can’t break through it. Not even a mention of Kryptonite.

Element Lad just stands there heroically, doing absolutely nothing until prompted. Sure, he’s powerful and writers are often careful with him. But there are times where he seems very slow to act. I’m reminded of poor Mon El in Levitz’s last run, who could easily have been saved had Jan bothered himself.

I was going to say that the Worldsmith is a bit of a caricature. But then, neither he or is client are ever caught and punished for their money at all costs actions. Just like here! We don’t even find out why he chose Braal.

Forced away, the Worldsmith signs off with some Easter Island statues. A little odd, since he doesn’t look like them. Perhaps that’s who his clients are? I’m sure there’s a couple of stories out there, where the statues reveal buried bodies and come to life.

For someone whose costume should block sunlight, Night Girl’s is more than a little revealing.

In summary, the villain is a bit one note. He’s overly powerful for no real reason. Why have machines at all, when you can reshape the world yourself? That would cut costs. Without any backstory, he has more in common with the JLI’s cosmic redecorator than a serious villain.

Sherman’s art is nice and there are plenty of nice visuals as the Legion fool the Worldsmith into leaving Braal.

But it’s hard to see Rokk being so rubbish at Magnoball. Champions fall hard.



"...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."
#898389 - 05/31/16 09:50 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Café Cramer
Re: 235 and the murder of the Psycho-Beast - I was re-reading the Conspiracy arc for another project and saw that Polar Boy cited the Legion Constitution:

"4.3 Members shall be subject to expulsion for any failure to conform to the provisions of this Constitution applying to them. Grounds for expulsion shall include, but not be limited to:
...

(viii) knowingly taking the life of a sentient being in other than a provable situation of self-defense or as a provable only available alternative to the death of sentient beings."

We could make a case that the Psycho-Beast wasn't considered to be a sentient being (like the Proteans, until they rallied for recognition). Furthermore, it could be argued that this was the "only available alternative" to the death of Wildfire, as well as Redvik.

Nevertheless, pretty cold-hearted by our current standards. An interesting aspect of this re-read is to consider how much our attitudes, values and expectations have changed in four decades.




Holy Cats of Egypt!
#898390 - 05/31/16 10:03 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Re: 236 - Both HWW and Thoth suggest that this is the prelude to Brainy's madness. I hadn't realized that was coming up so soon and missed that connection. Gim's gripe does foreshadow all sorts of problems ahead. Levitz is giving us a warning signal: things are going to be shaken up.

Also curious is HWW's point that we've had a lot of grown-up themes in childish stories. Growing pains? Maybe it takes a while for writers to get the change in tone, or to see how readers react to more serious topics. It does explain why these stories, while building the Legionverse, don't have the same appeal as the later ones; they're just somewhat out of sync.

I always attributed Braal's degeneration to the war with Imsk, but like the idea that Worldsmith could have started it. Perhaps there was more damage to the landscape - and the economy - than was indicated in this story. The geological changes could have set off natural disasters later. It could also explain why the Krinns moved to Earth - Braal was a mess, no jobs, environmental and natural disasters. A weakened planet would look like easy pickings to the Imskians.




Holy Cats of Egypt!
#898440 - 06/01/16 10:17 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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thoth lad Offline
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Re: 236 - Both HWW and Thoth suggest that this is the prelude to Brainy's madness. I hadn't realized that was coming up so soon and missed that connection.


I'm never exactly sure when he goes off the deep end. I don't know whether it's the odd sequence I read these in, or the numerous creative team changes that gave lots of false starts and delays.


Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
It could also explain why the Krinns moved to Earth - Braal was a mess, no jobs, environmental and natural disasters. A weakened planet would look like easy pickings to the Imskians.


That would make a lot of sense. The president did hint at global upheaval. I think v4 had Braal attack Imsk only to lose in the end. Of course, the Imskians could have provoked it or faked a Braalian attack. That happens often enough. But there's also the though that a desperate Braal looked to attack Imsk because their own planet was such a mess, that they needed to relocate/ minerals etc. They'd need that shrinking ray though.

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Re: 235...(viii) knowingly taking the life of a sentient being in other than a provable situation of self-defence or as a provable only available alternative to the death of sentient beings."


First online dictionary ...

1. having the power of perception by the senses; conscious.
2. characterized by sensation and consciousness.

So that's a yup in both for poor old Titan Beast.


"...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."
#898467 - 06/01/16 08:04 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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2nd Story: Mon-el's One-Man War by Paul Levitz, art by Mike Nasser and Brubinstein/Bryant, colours by Mike Nasser

Mon-el is on vacation at the edge of the galaxy. He's stopping at a highly secretive U.P. operation which is mining a form of stellar energy that's so experimental nobody knows how to use it. Khunds attack, using drone ships. Mon-el repels them, only to be met with a second invasion minutes later, which turns out to be a massive Khund battleship. This one's more of a challenge, but Mon-el defeats it in short order, disabling the ship, but leaving the life support system intact.

He decides to continue his vacation, but will mention the incident to Wildfire on his return to Legion HQ, so that the U.P. may consider whether the Khunds are preparing another military attack on Earth.

Comments:

It's good to see Mon-el shine in a solo story. It struck me as out-of-character that he wouldn't at least have sent a report on the incident to the Legion and U.P. - but his devotion to duty is an aspect that will be more developed in future stories. Nevertheless, he's the real deal hero, not quitting, not calling for back-up and thinking through how to preserve life while disabling the threat. This story also establishes his love of deep space isolation.

I had to wonder if this is the first step in dialing down the Superboy presence and shifting the powerhouse focus to Mon-el. Or the second step, since an earlier story showed him fighting to break out of Superboy's shadow.

Mon-el's reputation is established: he believes that the Khunds wouldn't have sent an armada of drone ships if they'd known he was in the area - implying that it takes something with a lot more military clout than drones to take down Mon-el.

More mining, though.... I swear, doesn't anybody manufacture teddy bears or widgets or toothpaste? Could this star energy be connected to R.J. Brande's star-building business?

There's a gentle dig at Karate Kid's stubbornness, of which we have seen evidence in earlier tales.

I've always wondered who the Khunds are modeled after – Soviet Russians or Mongolian raiders? Here their leader looks somewhat like a Saracen at the times of the Crusades.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#898497 - 06/02/16 10:06 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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#235 - Second Story

This is a simple tale of Mo El on vacation, saving a mining station form a huge Khund battleship. Mon-El shows that he's a strong enough character to solo in a short tale. He's powerful enough to take on any threat, but there's still the odd moment where he can get blasted away, if only to return. It's nice to see a story without Kryptonite or red solar radiation getting in the way of a super character.

Mon-El's idea of a vacation is exploring deep space. I recall this being what his adult self was up to way back in Adventure #354 The um...shadow.. of Shadow Woman's death sort of hangs over seeing Lar by himself. Another plus is that they don't appear as a couple here. There's no mention of Shadow Lass at all. Seeing her on vacation later in the issue, or attending to duties on Talok, by herself would have given some balance.

We get some history of the Khunds' involvement with the Legion. They have been a persistent threat. Their dislike of the Gands would increase when Laurel Gand was retconned in to have been fighting them more directly in v4.

Nasser's art is very good here, keeping the sci fi and not have the same facial exaggeration as the odd Sherman panel. The drones and the battleship are impressive.


"...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."
#898498 - 06/02/16 10:11 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
More mining, though.... I swear, doesn't anybody manufacture teddy bears or widgets or toothpaste? Could this star energy be connected to R.J. Brande's star-building business?


Battle Bears, Drone Widgets and Expanding toothpaste, yup.

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
I've always wondered who the Khunds are modeled after – Soviet Russians or Mongolian raiders? Here their leader looks somewhat like a Saracen at the times of the Crusades.


I think they are a combination of them. A horde that relies on sheer numbers rather than super powers, with technology that may not be quite as sleek as the UPs but has more guns attached to it. I thought their name was a play on a not very nice word.


"...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."
#898507 - 06/02/16 12:08 PM 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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235/Mon-El's One-Man War

This story was an unexpected treat for me when I first read it. After being ignored for much the Superboy run, Mon finally gets his own solo spotlight. The story is competent, with a believable threat to the UP installation, and Mon's personality comes off as confident, bold, and even cocky. He reminds me of a soldier marching into battle: The enemy, no matter how big and powerful they may be, are going down.

All of these qualities are still there on re-read, and yet I felt underwhelmed. The Khund vessel doesn't really pose a threat to Mon-El, though it does make him work harder in thinking of a way to defeat it. However, he doesn't even break a sweat in battle. (Yeah, I know sweating is not likely in the space, but still.)

More, we learn nothing new or interesting about Lar. The story builds nicely off of what's been previously established about him (e.g., his love of space exploration), but it treads no new ground (pun not intended). It's like listening to a friend tell a story he's told before--one in which he comes off looking good. (Okay, but what did you learn about yourself, or the world, or anything?)

I do find it interesting that Shady isn't even mentioned. Perhaps Mon needed a vacation from her? smile

The art is dynamic and forceful, especially in the two full-page spreads of the Khund ship on pp. 5 and 7, the latter cleverly broken up into a series of smaller panels to show Mon's flight path. These panels convey the impressive size of the ship well. However, the inking is too heavy on the first four pages (Rubenstein's contribution, I guess). The art lightens up a bit during the rest of the story, and Mon's knowing grin at the bottom of page 8 conveys how easy the victory was.

Mon's decision to wait until he's finished his vacation to call for a UP Defense Council session seems irresponsible, but it could also be an indication of his confidence. Notice that he says he will "have" Wildfire call for the session, not ask. Drake may be in charge, but Mon knows who he is and what he can do, and he knows the Khunds will be busy with the "debacle" of their stranded vessel for some time.


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#898580 - 06/03/16 02:01 PM 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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Originally Posted by thoth lad

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
I've always wondered who the Khunds are modeled after – Soviet Russians or Mongolian raiders? Here their leader looks somewhat like a Saracen at the times of the Crusades.


I think they are a combination of them. A horde that relies on sheer numbers rather than super powers, with technology that may not be quite as sleek as the UPs but has more guns attached to it. I thought their name was a play on a not very nice word.


I always thought the Khunds were the Legion's version of the Klingons--hence their militaristic culture and name that begins with "K".

I also thought the name was play on a dirty word--but whether it was a insult aimed at women or African Americans I couldn't decide.

It's an interesting name, though. "Hund" is German for dog, and we've got the "K" initial, which, as I noted, reminded me of Klingons. Perhaps Shooter studied German as well as Spanish (Mano).

And just how is one supposed to pronounce "Khund"? Does it rhyme with "wound" (the painful kind) or with "fund"? Perhaps the Kh uses a sort of German/Yiddish pronunciation, similar to clearing one's throat.


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#898582 - 06/03/16 02:25 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
And just how is one supposed to pronounce "Khund"?


carefully.


"...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."
#898583 - 06/03/16 02:27 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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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
^ smile


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#898612 - 06/03/16 08:03 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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3rd Story: Words Never Spoken by Paul Levitz, art byJames Sherman & Joe Rubinstein, colours by Tony Tollin

Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad are getting all smoochy on Titan. They've come here to help Imra decide if she wants to get married. Garth's all for it, but she's holding back; what's more important to her, Garth or the Legion?

She's going to seek direction from her professors at the Academy of Psychic Science. Prof Vndaar seems especially happy to see her, greeting her with a tight embrace. He suggests Imra and Garth use the “Sensacomp Stimulator” (later called the Simulator), which will cancel her powers and put them both in harmless artificial situations.

The couple go through a series of not harmless, but dangerous simulations. Even though these are illusions, they could die. At one desperate point, they do manage to communicate without words or telephathic thought, because the bond between them is so strong. They defeat the illusory opponents, the session ends and Imra realizes that she wants to marry Garth. We're all invited to the wedding in the next issue.

Comments: Good grief, what if she'd said no? The logical approach would have been to propose a change to the Constitution which would allow her to remain in the Legion. Why would the other Legionnaires oppose this?

However, the story presents a Saturn Girl who, for all her competence, determination, confidence and mental abilitites, can't make up her own mind. Know thyself, young Imra! She looked a bit weird with all that make-up; I know it was sort of spoofing the Romance comics, but still... this is Saturn Girl.

The Simulator (was that a planted joke that the youngsters would miss, initially calling it the Stimulator?) is a contrivance; the only thing it adds that a real Legion mission wouldn't have is the blocking of Imra's power. It's not clear to me what the intention is: to help clear her mind, force her to think differently? The couple already know that they can face danger together.

I expected something to develop with Professor Too-Close-For-Comfort, but that was just a throwaway scene. He claimed that the machine malfunctioned – or did he mess with it? And what was that bit about them dying in real life if they die in the simulation?

The psychedelic transitions were well-illustrated but the simulations were not particularly interesting, only leading to a point where the two soul mates could achieve perfect communication. I can't help but think that a comparable test would be to see if they completed each other's sentences.

Regardless, I find it interesting that Levitz didn't write an all roses and bluebirds story. Garth and Imra are realistic characters. They don't have stars in their eyes and appreciate that marriage isn't without sacrifice, obstacles, misgivings and doubts.





Holy Cats of Egypt!
#898640 - 06/04/16 06:05 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
235/Words Never Spoken

Cramey pegged this story for what it is--an attempt to say something meaningful that relies too much on contrivance. Why don't they just change the constitution? Why do Garth and Imra have to go to such lengths to clarify how they really feel? Why does the simulator (heh) malfunction? Why would they die in real life if they died in the simulator?

There are a lot of unanswered questions because the writer never bothered to think of them. He wanted to write a "mature" tale about two people coming to a momentous decision, but he still had to put in some super-hero danger and action. A truly risky story would have dispensed with all that and dealt with the real issue at hand: Do they stay in the Legion or get married?

It would have been more interesting, I think, if there truly had been an obstacle to changing the constitution. Considering how difficult it is to change the US Constitution, it shouldn't be too hard to think of similar problems in modifying the Legion's constitution. Garth and Imra could even have mentioned that they'd already tried, but their proposal had been shot down for one reason or another.

I don't mind Imra not being able to make up her mind on this matter. She's worked hard in her career and doesn't give it up lightly. Garth, on the other hand, seems all too willing to move on. Significantly, he's the only founder who has not served as leader at this point. Perhaps he feels he has less invested in the team than Imra and Rokk do.

But, anyway, the tale accomplishes what it needs to. A decision has been made which will result in a significant change for the book. It will also lead into the tabloid-sized wedding special. This was something I was both excited and nervous about because newsstand distribution in my area could be spotty for comics with special formats. (I had missed Giant-Size Avengers # 2 a few years earlier.) I was quite elated when I found the tabloid.

I still couldn't accept that Garth and Imra were getting married though. I was only 14 at the time. How could they even think of giving up being super-heroes for marriage? Blecch!


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#898655 - 06/04/16 09:16 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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#236 - Third Story

Trapped in the Matrix, before that became a thing, the depth of Imra & Garth's relationship pulls them through and helps them make a decision.

And depth is what really makes this story work. The Legion has been going for twenty years by this point. We get a story that is a natural growth from the very early issues. In those days the emphasis was on plot rather than characterisation. But even so, Garth and Imra felt strongly enough to want to sacrifice their lives for each other.

This story emphasises the characterisation, while still having some action. But nothing has changed for either of them. There’s no hesitation as they both face danger for each other, when the Simulator goes awry.

“They were little more than children at the time. A decade later, they are older and wiser.”

They have experienced so much over the intervening years, that Imra’s “Obviously something has gone terribly wrong” before getting on with things, brings a smile. There’s no panic, just a desire to solve the issue at hand.

More depth is revealed when we get to visit Titan. We know of Imra’s background, and there have been moments when we’ve seen the personal cost of having her powers. That comes together here, where we see more of her training before she was ever a Legionnaire. As a graduate of the Titan Academy, Imra was looking to continue a career with the Science Police. She was by far the most prepared of the three Legionnaires we saw all those years before.

But, as Garth mentions, returning there is a cold way to decide on their future. It reads as a critical statement, but there’s a lot of support in words and actions. Both characters have their flaws and both have been all too willing to make adjustments. >Gasp!< a mature relationship in a comic book.

The personal cost of Imra’s powers is also spotlighted by her mentor Vndaar. His warm hug startles her, even as he tells her that her flaw is not being connected with her sense of self. She’s too focused on self-control, and her mentor shows her that both ability and self are attainable.

On the other hand, the creepy hug could mean that Vndaar is the descendant of Terry Long.

Imra tells Garth that there wasn’t anything like the Simulator in her day, nicely emphasising that them of history and change. I note that there’s a lot of group learning going on. I wonder if that was there in Imra’s day. I imagine that it possibly wasn’t which may have led to some of what she feels are problems.

There’s also a brain-in-a-tank and I wonder if all the brain-in-a-tank villains are actually vengeful Titan escapees.

Garth’s electrical powers are responsible for making the Simulator lose control. No doubt it’s a very sensitive device, but I’ve wondered why Garth and his sister don’t cause more damage due to their powers. We got a recent hint of something similar when Brainiac warns Cosmic Boy away from brainwashing Superboy, due to his magnetic powers.

The scenarios within the Matrix Simulator are basic. Although they are beside the point of the story, they don’t provide anything more than a setting. Having said that, urban decay/ sci fi movies were picking up steam around that time, so it probably had more impact then.

Without any way of communicating in the simulation, it’s their understanding look that allows them to defeat the machine. Levitz is a little vague (“somehow conveys the idea”) on the bond that the whole story has been showing us they have. That bond includes all that legion training and combat together, as well as complete faith and comfort with each other. There’s not really any need for it to be a vague psychedelic panel there.

Which brings me to Sherman’s art, which is a real treat. Those psychedelic panels are lovely and we get a well realised setting as well as excellent character art.

Sherman combines very well with Levitz’s script. Levitz doesn’t hit the reader over the head about all the changes the couple have been through. There’s no need for flashbacks here. There’s nothing forced as Sherman shows us two adults reaching an important crossroads in their lives.

That brings me all the way back to depth. The crux of the story is that the couple are deciding to get married even if it means leaving the Legion. The clause was probably in there so that a spouse wouldn’t be too emotionally involved to make the tactical decision in combat. Couples like Jo and Tinya mooning over each other for decades really undermined it. Actually, it was probably in there to keep the cast young and the emotional teenage angst high. This is what happened in the book as the final panel shows us. What Levitz hinted at in an earlier issue, and what the adult Legion stories showed us will begin to change the team. Evolution of any book brings lots of fresh and difficult challenges, and this decision will have important repercussions later on. It’s fitting that this issue also showed us Pol Krinn & Lydda Jath who would be part of those changes.

You certainly get a lot for your pennies with this issue. It’s taken us across the week to review it. Three stories that focus on the founders and a key member in Mon El who can easily carry a story when given the space to do so. We’ve seen more of Braal and Titan, as Levitz looks to let us live and breathe in the 30th century with his cast. We get character progression as well as hints to plotlines lying ahead, such as Brainy’s issues.



"...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."
#898845 - 06/05/16 12:51 PM 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
#236 - Third Story

Trapped in the Matrix, before that became a thing, the depth of Imra & Garth's relationship pulls them through and helps them make a decision.


You ought to write log lines for movies, if you don't already. smile


Quote
More depth is revealed when we get to visit Titan. We know of Imra’s background, and there have been moments when we’ve seen the personal cost of having her powers. That comes together here, where we see more of her training before she was ever a Legionnaire. As a graduate of the Titan Academy, Imra was looking to continue a career with the Science Police. She was by far the most prepared of the three Legionnaires we saw all those years before.


Good catch. This story rounds out Imra's background nicely.


Quote
The personal cost of Imra’s powers is also spotlighted by her mentor Vndaar. His warm hug startles her,


Vndaar was looking for the missing vowel in his name. He wondered if Imra Ardeen had stolen it.


Quote
Imra tells Garth that there wasn’t anything like the Simulator in her day, nicely emphasising that them of history and change. I note that there’s a lot of group learning going on. I wonder if that was there in Imra’s day. I imagine that it possibly wasn’t which may have led to some of what she feels are problems.


Another good catch. It can be startling to go back to one's hometown or old school and see all the changes that have been made. It can make one feel left out.

I started my teaching career at the same university where I earned my BA. When I went back, there were new buildings, redesigned suites, and smart equipment in every classroom. I was glad for the changes, but it made me feel as if part of my own educational experiences had been erased.

Quote
There’s also a brain-in-a-tank and I wonder if all the brain-in-a-tank villains are actually vengeful Titan escapees.


The Brain-Globes of Rambat: The secret origin!

Quote
Garth’s electrical powers are responsible for making the Simulator lose control. No doubt it’s a very sensitive device, but I’ve wondered why Garth and his sister don’t cause more damage due to their powers. We got a recent hint of something similar when Brainiac warns Cosmic Boy away from brainwashing Superboy, due to his magnetic powers.


A recurring theme seems to be that the Legionnaires don't have complete control over their powers, or perhaps are emitting radiation when they don't intend to. Interesting.


Quote
Sherman combines very well with Levitz’s script. Levitz doesn’t hit the reader over the head about all the changes the couple have been through. There’s no need for flashbacks here. There’s nothing forced as Sherman shows us two adults reaching an important crossroads in their lives. ... You certainly get a lot for your pennies with this issue. It’s taken us across the week to review it. Three stories that focus on the founders and a key member in Mon El who can easily carry a story when given the space to do so. We’ve seen more of Braal and Titan, as Levitz looks to let us live and breathe in the 30th century with his cast. We get character progression as well as hints to plotlines lying ahead, such as Brainy’s issues.



More great points. There's a lot more to this issue that I thought. Thanks for pointing all this out.


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#898931 - 06/06/16 09:27 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Originally Posted by thoth
There's also a brain-in-a-tank and I wonder if all the brain-in-a-tank villains are actually vengeful Titan escapees.


The Brain-Globes of Rambat: The secret origin!


Another Lost Tale of the Legion! smile


Originally Posted by HWW
Originally Posted by thoth
Garth's electrical powers are responsible for making the Simulator lose control. No doubt it's a very sensitive device, but I've wondered why Garth and his sister don't cause more damage due to their powers. We got a recent hint of something similar when Brainiac warns Cosmic Boy away from brainwashing Superboy, due to his magnetic powers.


A recurring theme seems to be that the Legionnaires don't have complete control over their powers, or perhaps are emitting radiation when they don't intend to. Interesting.


As an earnest bunch, the Legion have been shown using their powers in emotional displays. Lightning Lad and Lass, Cosmic Boy, Wildfire and Sun Boy among others. Their world is hugely dependant on technology (emphasised in Magic Wars and Tharok destruction stories).

But we don't see any impact on those surrounding when there's a power outage form the Legion. I imagine it's just the sort of thing Earthgov cited in order to shut them down. It doesn't have to be an out of control applicant to cause real problems.

This was a subplot used by Gery Conway in Firestorm. It also introduced Felcity Smoak. She would be used in other media and Conway would out DC's dreadful creator equity programme.


Originally Posted by HWW
More great points. There's a lot more to this issue that I thought. Thanks for pointing all this out.


You're very welcome HWW. smile

Another reason why Garth and Imra felt so close, and extra perceptive of each other's thoughts and feelings, could be because they just spent an issue in the same form, as the Composite Legionnaire.

The experience didn't dampen Gim's affections for Vi. Any additional connection felt by her, must have been lost in the disappointment of Gim not noticing she had been replaced by a Durlan impostor later on.


"...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."
#898949 - 06/06/16 10:49 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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Originally Posted by thoth lad

Another reason why Garth and Imra felt so close, and extra perceptive of each other's thoughts and feelings, could be because they just spent an issue in the same form, as the Composite Legionnaire.

The experience didn't dampen Gim's affections for Vi. Any additional connection felt by her, must have been lost in the disappointment of Gim not noticing she had been replaced by a Durlan impostor later on.


Makes one wonder why Garth didn't fall for Gim or Violet or some combination thereof.

A menage a quatre. Now that would be interesting. eek


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#898952 - 06/06/16 11:41 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Makes one wonder why Garth didn't fall for Gim or Violet or some combination thereof.

A menage a quatre. Now that would be interesting. eek



Wasn't that the plot of the TMK reunion annual? smile

Actually, could the Composite Legionnaire story have provided Gim with an extra attraction to the form shifting Yera?


"...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."
#898992 - 06/06/16 07:56 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Café Cramer


SLSH Collector's Edition - The Millenium Massacre by Paul Levitz, art by Mike Grell & Vince Coletta, colours by Gerry Serpe, Tony Tollin and S. Harrison

[Linked Image]

Superboy arrives in the 30th century for Garth and Imra's wedding at Legion HQ – only to find a future he doesn't recognize. Metropolis is heavily armed; the SP Officers who apprehend him wear skulls on their helmets. Legionnaires arrive and accuse him of not using the necessary passwords. A befuddled Superboy's questions are interrupted by a Lunarite attack on Earth, which he and the Legionnaires repel.

At Legion HQ, Projectra reminds Superboy that mankind has been in a constant state of war ever since the U.N. dissolved in 1978.

Superboy maintains that something is terribly wrong. However, the wedding awaits. Garth and Imra tie the knot, leave for their honeymoon, then are captured in another Lunarite attack. Wildfire cries out for the team to get to their ships and head for the moon to rescue the couple, but Superboy once again tries to tell the team that the 30th century has been terribly changed and they must go back in time to find the problem, not rescue Garth and Imra. Some of the Legionnaires support him.

The Legion angrily divides into two camps: one for the rescue under Wildfire and one for the time fix under Superboy. A small team remains to guard HQ.

Chapter 2 Murder by Moonlight: In New Cathay on Luna, Oseldan Kahn informs Garth & Imra that they are hostages for bargaining in his war with Earth. Imra accuses him of having no intention of releasing them; he slaps her, which ignites Garth's anger. The couple escape, steal a ship but are forced to crash land on the moon when attacked.

Wildfire's team has arrived, fight off Lunarite attacks and detect where Garth and Imra had been held. Dawnstar can't track them anymore, since her powers are “nearly useless except in the void”.

Without a life support system, Garth and Imra prepare to die; Garth vows to blast them both to powder to avoid suffering. However, Cosmic Boy has been able to track Garth's effect on the magnetic field, using Ayla's residual lightning power as a template. At the last minute, they're rescued by the Legion and Wildfire vows to deal with Superboy and his “renegades”.

Chapter 3 The Twisted History Mystery: Superboy's team have taken a time bubble to 1978 New York City. It's a powerful group: Brainy, Mon-el, Star Boy, Shadow Lass, Karate Kid and Projectra. Since you can't be at two places at the same time, Superboy has to remain in the Time Bubble while the others investigate the strange flux in the time-stream that Brainy has now detected. Disguised in 20th century garb, the Legionnaires track down a mystery man common to the three U.N. delegations responsible for the dissolution. They trace him to an abandoned building at the old World's Fair site and are met with considerable resistance: it's the Time Trapper. As he immobilizes them and completes his tasks, he declares that he will at last be triumphant, then leaves for the End of Time.

Chapter 4 Showdown at the End of Eternity: Both Wildfire's and Superboy's teams arrive back at Legion HQ, 2978. Things are still militarized. Wildfire angrily accuses Superboy, who counters with a statement that his suspicions were right all along, confirmed by Brainiac 5. The two nearly come to blows, but Imra stops them, saying she knows both believe themselves to be right. The entire Legion meets, hears the evidence and concludes that the Time Trapper has meddled with time. Imra, back in uniform, connects Superboy's subconscious to Dream Girl's mind to discover where/when the Trapper has gone.

Rond Vidar supplies the hypertime drive, Tyroc is chosen randomly by the computer to guard the HQ, and everyone else departs for the End of Time.

The Time Trapper is a tough opponent, however, and once he's reduced the Legion to impotence, he reveals himself to be a Controller. He's going to use the Miracle Machine, which he grabbed from Legion HQ, to conquer all time. First, he'll use it to kill the Legionnaires – but the thought energy moves slowly, giving the Legion enough time to think hard enough in unison to take over the Machine themselves. They send the Time Trapper back to the Controllers' universe where he shall surely meet justice.

Epilogue: Time and history are restored to their rightful destiny; the Legionnaires return home to a clueless Rond and Tyroc, Wildfire apologizes to Superboy and Garth and Imra leave on their honeymoon.

“Never the end” closes the issue.

Comments: 60 pages of story! Double splash pages! Group shots! Extras!

The wrap-around cover differs significantly from the actual story, but I think it's impressive enough to merit a larger image in this recap.

The wedding is a beautiful double-page spread – but what's a Legion wedding without a disaster? The capture, escape and near-death of Garth and Imra may have been a bit melodramatic, but showed their devotion to one another. Although they're officially out of the Legion, when duty calls, they're right back in uniform. One gets the rather reassuring idea that they'll never really leave.

The fights with the Lunarites are standard Legion fare, as are the encounters with the Time Trapper. They're no less enjoyable, largely due to Grell's art.

Shady supported Superboy in his claim that history had been changed. She had also supported him in opposing Wildfire after the election. It's realistic to see some personal divisions within the Legion – as well as to see some of those divisions patched up in the end. The 20th century team is logical for the most part: Shady believes Superboy, Mon-el goes because she's going, Karate Kid is going “on faith” (although he might have claimed to have useful knowledge of that time period), Projectra goes along with him; Brainy is curious and I'm not sure how you'd explain Sun Boy joining them. Perhaps it's his scientific side which has pulled him into the mystery.

I'm not a big fan of putting the Legion in the 20th century, but this one worked out well enough – the U.N./New York City was a different setting from the usual Smallville. In great comic book tradition, they even managed to work in a fairground.

Mon says both he and Superboy are weakened by red sunlight. Is that an effect of the Time Trapper's manipulation? It seems unlikely Levitz would make such an error.

The Time Trapper has been so many different people/forces by 2016 that the shock value of him being a rogue Controller is pretty diluted. It actually makes more sense to me that such a powerful being as a Controller is the Time Trapper rather than Rokk Krinn, entropy, Glorith or Superboy Prime.

The Time Trapper has come a long way since his Glorp! Days. He's a considerable threat, but has underestimated Superboy, or entirely neglected to take him into account. But Holy Mandela Effect! The first thing Superboy should have thought of was the Time Trapper – although that would have been less of a story.

A Time Trapper story allows for all sorts of anomalies, but this one hasn't changed the Legionnaires themselves or their reason for existing. Apart from the warring worlds, the Chinese control of the moon is the only significant alternative development. Why is the Lunar settlement so primitive after nearly 1000 years? They only figured out a way to get water now? Blame it on the Trapper.

Would a first-time reader have expected the Infinite Man to appear, given that Rond Vidar shows up with his hypertime drive?

“Never the end” was the same closing for the final Levitz issue of the most recent series. It's a great wrap-up line for a Legion fan and, if you like the Levitz Legion, this issue is one big nostalgia trip.



Holy Cats of Egypt!
#899043 - 06/07/16 11:06 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Collector’s Edition c-55

Feh! Call that a dystopian future Giffen? I’ll give you dystopian!

Not only is the 30th century Superboy travels to, riddled with paranoia and impending warfare, it’s always been like that! Superboy doesn’t recall anything like this in his previous journeys. So we have a mystery and an everyman character to take us through it.

A future where superpowers colonise space, only to take their conflicts with them, is always a grim, but fairly realistic, outlook. Seeing it mixed with the 30th century provides the reader with the clear vision of what could be lost along the way. Even if they get as far out as Winath, the conflict goes with them. Even the cultures that they meet want nothing more than warfare.

On Earth, it’s more of a constantly heightened state of tension, than a devastated world at war. That also adds to its realism. It’s a cold war of terror. No one really wants a parade of triumph through a radioactive warzone.

There’s still a Legion, but “it’s the power of the Legion that keeps the universe from falling apart.” You wonder how much power they have, and how it has changed them. They certainly seem to be holding the balance of power between the cultures. I was hoping that we’ see some alternate Legionnaires as a result of this, but they end up the same as the legion we have always known.

The Legion has heightened security because of the threats from the Tyrants of Mars, the Venusian Hegemony & the Lunarites. But Superboy points out they really did use to have secret code words. We’ve previously heard of secret handshakes, and the Legion has been infiltrated on a fairly regular basis. So, there are close parallels to the past issues in this version of the future.

The double page wedding spread is really Garth, Imra and wedding guests of an alternate future. But you couldn’t tell the difference. Initially I was disappointed that it was a small HQ bound ceremony. Despite their ties to the team, it’s certainly cheaper than the Mars wedding of Chuck & Lu. But there are real security reasons behind this, as we see from the attack as the couple take off.

Wildfire wants to deal with the issue at hand, while Superboy, knowing something is wrong with the time stream, wants to go back. We get a genuinely tense split of the team. Previous Wildfire and Superboy conflicts add a lot into the argument. That it’s the kidnapping of two of their founders, makes it an emotional decision for them all. “…and those of you who have souls—help us save my brother and Imra!” exclaims Ayla.

I don’t think Superboy’s team are randomly chosen. I like to think it’s because of the Mordru story that it’s Shady who is first to Superboy’s defence. Mon El, also in that story, and now Shady’s partner, also goes back.

With Dream Girl relegated to watching the HQ, Briany and Dirk are the Leigon’s two best scientists. They are joined by the very self-contained Val who has recent time travel experience and Jeckie, who sees things from a different, royal, perspective.

I think it’s a team of people who can see a broader picture, while Drake’s team are more emotionally driven. Dirk’s womanising wasn’t quite the thing it would become later.

Levitz makes sure that all the Legion teams do well, and doesn’t play favourites. Garth & Imra aren’t you’re ordinary kidnap victims and escape. They are picked up by the Legion who succeed in tracking them. Back in the 20th century, the tam identify the source of the time disturbance, through some mission impossible spying. I’m disappointed Dungaree Jeckie didn’t keep that outfit.

Although we get a big villain in the Time Trapper, you wonder just how much persuasion he needed to give in order for the world to descend into war. We’re not far before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan for example.

The villain’s base is the old World’s Fair site, later popularise in Roy Thomas’ All Star Squadron. Post Crisis, this story would have had the Trapper using their old base and security features. One of which is a huge vault door that is also reminiscent of the Mordru issue.

But the villain isn’t the sorcerer, it’s the Time Trapper. He stops the Legion and escapes. Much like Crisis, the plot hinges on the master villain giving the game away by telling them all where he’s off to next.

Superboy and Wildfire have a confrontation. Wildfire is convinced by the evidence. It’s a shame we don’t see that happen. We get a pic of a full Legion meeting, which is nice, but it could have been resolved in the earlier scene. We could have seen Wildfire grow as a character at that point.

Despite Superboy knowing where the Trapper is, it takes an interesting power boost for Dreamy to pin point the location. Years later, we’d see the JLA combine powers to defeat the bad guys. To think that approach happened all these years earlier, with Imra, Superboy and Dreamy connecting.

The Legion, with help from guest star Rond Vidar go to the end of time. There’s no barrier, the Leigon’s journey is a lot easier pre crisis, and they see that the Trapper has a home here. It’s not all wasteland as per Giffen drawn issues. Poor Tyroc doesn’t get a line.

Having recently introduced his own temporal villain in The Infinite Man, Levitz reveals the identity of his version of the Time Trapper. It’s a renegade Controller. They have appeared throughout the group’s history, and so it’s a fitting enough reveal. He certainly has the power and has even stolen the Miracle Machine.

The collective will of the Legion, particularly with Imra there, allows the Legion to take command of the Miracle Machine. But it still hangs in the balance. It takes the pure, selflessness of Superboy to tip that balance against the power lust of the Controller.

It’s not as trite as it sounds. The Controller is driven by a focused personal goal. The Legion live in a world where their police force has a skull as an emblem. Who knows what compromises they had to make. Only Superboy is free from those focused concerns. His will is the only unfettered one in the room.

I note that the device the Controller reveals as the Miracle Machine bears an uncanny resemblance to the one Superboy ended up sacrificing himself on later in the Baxter series.

The Legion return to a restored 30th century. Rond Vidar doesn’t recall why they left, again pre-empting similar memory loss during the Crisis. Tyroc is there, but maintains his silence. Perhaps DC got his voice powers confused with Marvel’s Black Bolt?


I think Levitz revisited this concept of a militaristic alternate future for the Legion in #300. That story also begins with Superboy arriving at Legion HQ. Warfare also consumes their society. There’s a split in the Legion with Superboy and Wildfire taking different sides. But it’s nothing to do with the Trapper. Superboy leaves, never to return.

Star Boy & Dreamy, told to stay behind for part of this story, bemoan the loss of married Legionnaires. Garth & Imra are cited, and this story shows their marriage. As an additional similarity, Tyroc is killed in that story where he is clearly singled out as not being wanted in this one.

In summary, the scope of this story was impressive. In the Time Trapper we have a powerful villain. That's only increased when combined with a Controller. We get Time Travel as well as espionage. We get a marriage as well as a resolution to the Wildfire/ Superboy conflicts. We also got some very nice Grell art.

Finally, when I got this one I didn't notice the wraparound cover. I just read it once and didn't bother looking. It was only tripping across an online reference to it years later that made me dig it out for another look. I also stored this one with the annuals, and not in date order making it an utter pain to find. Grrr.


"...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."
#899069 - 06/07/16 01:10 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
C-55 (a.k.a. “That Damn Tabloid” by fans who couldn’t find it)

By coincidence, I just finished reading From History’s Shadow, a Star Trek novel by Dayton Ward, which deals with a convoluted premise of aliens trying to change earth’s history. Of course, the idea was not new even in 1978 and had already been mined by Star Trek (“The City on the Edge of Forever,” et al.). “The Millennium Massacre,” our tabloid story, reads like one of those inevitable tales—one that had to happen because our heroes are set in the future and time travel is involved, etc.

The plot throughout feels very by-the-book. Superboy arrives in the future. Things are not as he remembers them. Two of our beloved characters are kidnapped. There’s a division in the ranks. Fighting. Espionage. A big showdown. The will of the good triumphs over the will of the evil. Etc. Etc. Etc. We talked about how some earlier Legion stories felt as if they had been borrowed from movies and TV shows; this one seems to be a mishmash of several generic plots in science fiction and adventure stories.

Levitz, to be sure, makes the most of it. He uses the occasion to marry off Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl and then to focus on the two being heroes as they bravely face death on what should be their honeymoon. There are no tears or cries of how unfair the universe is. They stoically face their situation and take the only action they can. They would have bravely died if Tinya had arrived a few seconds later.

The conflict between Superboy and Wildfire is also extremely well handled. It builds well off of their previous relationship and escalates like a match being struck too close to a gunpowder keg until the inevitable explosion happens.

My favorite scenes, after Garth and Imra’s escape from Oseldan Khan, are those of the Legionnaires in the 20th century, staking out the UN. This is an espionage mission without the Espionage Squad (Cham, notably, is not involved); it affords us the chance to see some of our heroes in a different setting and to slow down the pace of the story a bit. There are also some great character moments. I loved Val’s line about people in the UN dissecting Brainy if he showed his green skin.

And, in all the speculation about why Mon-El joined the mission, let’s not forget the obvious one: He’s Superboy’s “big brother” and was probably the first to believe him, even though Shady was the first to act on her belief.

Speaking of Shady, I find it interesting that she sticks up for Superboy here and goes after him in back in 225. A former poster on these boards once had a theory that she was Superboy’s friend based on the scene in 225. I always thought all the Legionnaires were friends, at least a bit, and saw nothing special in that scene, but, when combined with this one, it does suggest a close relationship. Perhaps she had become fond of her lover’s “little brother.”

The showdown at the End of Time has become my least favorite part of the book. This is truly by-the-books superhero fare, with our villain appearing omnipotent—he’s even stolen the Miracle Machine out from under the Legionnaires’ noses. The resolution, in which our heroes overcome him through sheer willpower, smacks of cliché (though I like thoth’s explanation that Superboy’s purity won the day).

I did, however, appreciate the revelation of the Time Trapper’s identity. It came as quite a surprise when I first read it. (I think I had only recently found a back issue of Adventure 357—“The Ghost of Ferro Lad”—so the Controllers were not unknown to me.) I agree that this identity makes much more sense than any of the Trapper’s other identities over the years.

This revelation also built nicely off of past continuity. In fact, there are many references to past stories throughout the book, solidifying the sense that the Legion has a real history and exists in a cohesive universe. Among Levitz’s many accomplishments, this sense of unified history is surely among his finest.

As for the art, it was great to see Grell return. Colletta, however, does him no favors. The artwork comes off as scratchy and underdeveloped in places—flaws that are only magnified in the larger panels. Also, the colorist really should have tried harder to keep Superboy and Mon-El straight. Both Grell and the colorist seem to have confused Jeckie with Ayla on p. 45.

Because of its large size (both in terms of page count and page size) and the momentous events of the wedding and the Time Trapper revelation, this story was indeed a treat when it came out. On re-read, it holds up very well—much more so than most of the monthly stories.

Its long-term impact, though, is negligible. Garth and Imra did leave the Legion, but only for a short time, and the Time Trapper revelation/defeat went nowhere. As with most stories in which the timeline has been changed, the reset button is pressed without any lasting consequences.


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The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#899143 - 06/08/16 06:15 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: thoth lad]  
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 15,374
Fat Cramer Offline
Fat Cramer  Offline


Joined: Jul 2003
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Café Cramer
Originally Posted by He Who Wanders

And, in all the speculation about why Mon-El joined the mission, let’s not forget the obvious one: He’s Superboy’s “big brother” and was probably the first to believe him, even though Shady was the first to act on her belief.

Speaking of Shady, I find it interesting that she sticks up for Superboy here and goes after him in back in 225. A former poster on these boards once had a theory that she was Superboy’s friend based on the scene in 225. I always thought all the Legionnaires were friends, at least a bit, and saw nothing special in that scene, but, when combined with this one, it does suggest a close relationship. Perhaps she had become fond of her lover’s “little brother.”


I like that explanation better than Mon just following Shady's lead.

Quote
This revelation also built nicely off of past continuity. In fact, there are many references to past stories throughout the book, solidifying the sense that the Legion has a real history and exists in a cohesive universe. Among Levitz’s many accomplishments, this sense of unified history is surely among his finest.


Agreed; it's quite interesting to reread these stories and see how many elements were introduced in each issue which either strengthened the connection to the Adventure-era or built into the Legionverse that has endured for so many years. I wonder if Levitz had that sort of grand scheme world-building in mind or was just connecting things for his own enjoyment. It's more than Easter Eggs, as you say, it's a developing cohesive universe.

Quote
Its long-term impact, though, is negligible. Garth and Imra did leave the Legion, but only for a short time, and the Time Trapper revelation/defeat went nowhere. As with most stories in which the timeline has been changed, the reset button is pressed without any lasting consequences.


Why are timeline change stories so often negligible? If the Legionnaires remember everything, I wonder why they couldn't have brought this big adventure up in future issues. The cohesion thing again.... Maybe even some lingering resentments against those who didn't believe Superboy, or vice-versa. Ayla was certainly catty enough about how people with souls would help rescue her brother.

Originally Posted by thoth lad


A future where superpowers colonise space, only to take their conflicts with them, is always a grim, but fairly realistic, outlook. Seeing it mixed with the 30th century provides the reader with the clear vision of what could be lost along the way. Even if they get as far out as Winath, the conflict goes with them. Even the cultures that they meet want nothing more than warfare.

On Earth, it’s more of a constantly heightened state of tension, than a devastated world at war. That also adds to its realism. It’s a cold war of terror. No one really wants a parade of triumph through a radioactive warzone.


Do you sometimes feel that Legion stories are highly predictive?

Quote
There’s still a Legion, but “it’s the power of the Legion that keeps the universe from falling apart.” You wonder how much power they have, and how it has changed them. They certainly seem to be holding the balance of power between the cultures. I was hoping that we’ see some alternate Legionnaires as a result of this, but they end up the same as the legion we have always known.


It would have been fascinating to see how this Legion came into being. If there's no United Planets, how did they get the authority to operate? Are the Legionnaires considered to be traitors on their home planets? Is R.J. an arms dealer in this version? Maybe one who saw the destruction his product wrought and devoted his efforts to peace? I digress.


Quote
The double page wedding spread is really Garth, Imra and wedding guests of an alternate future. But you couldn’t tell the difference. Initially I was disappointed that it was a small HQ bound ceremony. Despite their ties to the team, it’s certainly cheaper than the Mars wedding of Chuck & Lu. But there are real security reasons behind this, as we see from the attack as the couple take off.


I missed that very logical connection to the small, HQ-based wedding and the security concerns.

Quote
I don’t think Superboy’s team are randomly chosen. I like to think it’s because of the Mordru story that it’s Shady who is first to Superboy’s defence. Mon El, also in that story, and now Shady’s partner, also goes back.

With Dream Girl relegated to watching the HQ, Briany and Dirk are the Leigon’s two best scientists. They are joined by the very self-contained Val who has recent time travel experience and Jeckie, who sees things from a different, royal, perspective.

I think it’s a team of people who can see a broader picture, while Drake’s team are more emotionally driven. Dirk’s womanising wasn’t quite the thing it would become later.


That's another great explanation for the Superboy team's motivations.


Quote
The collective will of the Legion, particularly with Imra there, allows the Legion to take command of the Miracle Machine. But it still hangs in the balance. It takes the pure, selflessness of Superboy to tip that balance against the power lust of the Controller.

It’s not as trite as it sounds. The Controller is driven by a focused personal goal. The Legion live in a world where their police force has a skull as an emblem. Who knows what compromises they had to make. Only Superboy is free from those focused concerns. His will is the only unfettered one in the room.


As HWW noted, that's a very good point about Superboy's purity of spirit, and a moral lesson about personal gain versus selfless motivation.




Holy Cats of Egypt!
#899164 - 06/08/16 09:54 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 19,008
thoth lad Offline
Tempus Fugitive
thoth lad  Offline
Tempus Fugitive

Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 19,008
Touring Bgtzl and Bgztl with M...
Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Do you sometimes feel that Legion stories are highly predictive? [/qupte]

I think that one of the general strengths of sci-fi is the ability to show us variations on our world in an entertaining way, while still retaining a core that we would recognise.

Originally Posted by Cramer
[quote=thoth]The collective will of the Legion, particularly with Imra there, allows the Legion to take command of the Miracle Machine. But it still hangs in the balance. It takes the pure, selflessness of Superboy to tip that balance against the power lust of the Controller.

It&#146;s not as trite as it sounds. The Controller is driven by a focused personal goal. The Legion live in a world where their police force has a skull as an emblem. Who knows what compromises they had to make. Only Superboy is free from those focused concerns. His will is the only unfettered one in the room.


As HWW noted, that's a very good point about Superboy's purity of spirit, and a moral lesson about personal gain versus selfless motivation.


It's not so much purity as openness. I see the Miracle Machine as a source of endless possibility. It's something that can reshape reality. I feel that since Superboy is the only one in the room who can harness more of that possibility then that's enough to tip the balance.

The others are too focused on themselves. The Controller wants power for himself. The Legion are focused on the constant warfare across their worlds. Superboy is the opposite. He's always looking to create a better world for everyone else. It's his selflessness that opens the doors of possibility and therefore the potential; of the Miracle Machine.

Incidentally, when I read it my first impression was much like HWW's. I reread the scene when I was checking to see if Imra was in it, when I changed my thoughts a bit.

Although I'm sure Imra made a huge difference too. Despite their power the Controllers may seldom get to actually exercise it, preferring to build sun-eaters and such. Imra uses her powers constantly.

Originally Posted by Cramer
“Never the end” was the same closing for the final Levitz issue of the most recent series. It's a great wrap-up line for a Legion fan and, if you like the Levitz Legion, this issue is one big nostalgia trip.


Brilliant spot Cramer and it leads nicely into...

Originally Posted by HWW
This revelation also built nicely off of past continuity. In fact, there are many references to past stories throughout the book, solidifying the sense that the Legion has a real history and exists in a cohesive universe. Among Levitz’s many accomplishments, this sense of unified history is surely among his finest.


and ...

Originally Posted by Cramer
Agreed; it's quite interesting to reread these stories and see how many elements were introduced in each issue which either strengthened the connection to the Adventure-era or built into the Legionverse that has endured for so many years. I wonder if Levitz had that sort of grand scheme world-building in mind or was just connecting things for his own enjoyment. It's more than Easter Eggs, as you say, it's a developing cohesive universe.


I'm much more used to reading the later issues of Levitz (at least I read some of those in order) so the rereads threads are certainly reminding me that Levitz knew more than enough of the Legion to make lots of subtle connections beyond just brining back villians. I think he did enjoy making those connections and wanted to make the Legionverse a consistent believable one. I think that's in an Interview somewhere too.

It is a shame that Ayla's comments or simmering tensions didn't come to the fore again. I do think Levitz had a clear idea of the interpersonal relationships later on. I wonder just how early he had those and if events such as this issue shaped them.

I'd also have liked to have found out more about the Worlds at War Legion. A Legion not formed by heroes but possibly by political power brokering to keep, if not peace, then from total annihilation. But that would have meant having more representation of Venusians (Cosmic King) Lunarians (Lady Lunar) and Mars (Miss Martian, although Gim Allon might have done). There are so many Elseworlds possibilities for the Legion, and it makes stories like these all the more enjoyable. And yeah, Arms Dealer Brande would have been a great fit!


"...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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