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#900262 - 06/17/16 02:43 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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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
Null Girl: The energy being of my dreams (or maybe Drake's).


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The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#900289 - 06/17/16 09:53 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Weekend Special: #238 was a reprint of Adventure 259-260, with an apology from editor Al Milgrom (artist pressures due to the many pages of the comic) and a new wrap-around cover by Jim Starlin:

[Linked Image]

The cover expands and adds considerably to the Takron-Galtos scenes in the actual story. Most notably, we have unicorns, a bare bone, a giant cat-like creature hovering over a bowl (the source of the bare bone?), reptilitan guards with whips, Dream Girl, in chains, collapsed on the ground and Saturn Girl chained, hands and feet, to the rocks. Two pink moons hang in the sky. Takron Galtos never looked so interesting! I think the rather nasty-looking unicorns were a particularly great touch.

The reprint ended with an essay by Jay Zilber on parallel 30th century worlds extant in the DC line-up of the time. He speculates that an R.J. Brande of Earth-2 might have been inspired by Power Girl to form a different Legion - but that "There are no editors, writers or artists anywhere who even want to think about adding another 20-odd characters to the LSH's already enormous backlog of supporting characters!"

Oh Mr. Zilber, how limited your ambition!



Holy Cats of Egypt!
#900300 - 06/18/16 05:25 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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I remember Zilber's essay. In fact, my 14-year-old self took it as a challenge to create "another 20-odd characters" to populate the Legion of Earth II. Like the JLA/JSA, I had variations on established characters as well as totally new ones. Instead of Lightning Lad, I had Electric Lad. He and Cosmic Boy were brothers.

I even sent some of my characters to DC in order to propose an Earth II Legion. Never heard back from them.


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The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#900303 - 06/18/16 07:03 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
I even sent some of my characters to DC in order to propose an Earth II Legion. Never heard back from them.


Decades later in the DC Offices... another pointless free for all ensues around continuity.

Dan: We can't have the Legion on Earth-1, now that we're cancelling the book. It will mess with our plans. We're handing it over to the safe, respectful hands of Giffen.
Paul: But it's my baby!
Dan: I appreciate that and your work here. (pause to watch large amounts of Before Watchmen books go by now that Paul has been out of a position to stop them for a whole minute.) But it's not on.
Paul: If only there was a solution. I know! What if they were all in a pocket universe, where a purple robed...
Dan: Nah! I'm now the Trapper in DC's So Nu It's Almost Precognitive-verse!
Paul: Darn! Looks about frantically... and spies a pile of old papers... Hey! This kid, He Who Wanders, is suggesting a Legion on Earth-2! That's perfect!

And so in the last issue of the Legion, DC shifted the Legion across to Earth-2, even if they did make a continuity mess of even doing that for a few panels. And all would be right in the world in the new reboot forever...well, for about an hour before the next reboot came along anyway.



"...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."
#900307 - 06/18/16 07:40 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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DC . . . let's talk. smile


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The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#900309 - 06/18/16 07:49 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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I heard a rumour that the new (Nu/uN/Fu) Phantom Stranger would have the subtitle of He Who Wanders. 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."
#900310 - 06/18/16 07:58 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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Seems appropriate. A few years ago, I used the Phantom Stranger as my LW avatar.


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The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#900471 - 06/20/16 03:14 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Collectors Edition C-55

I am catching up once more with the goal of reading Earth War week by week with you guys. Thus, I finally was able to read that "damn tabloid issue" this morning while on a plane, which was a true treat as I've never read it before. I was utterly delighted with what I found: a huge, epic story that featured a vast number of Legionnaires, a perfectly paced story that allowed for both big and little moments and amazing Grell art from start to finish.

I was hoping for something special and the story surpassed expectations. It's probably the best Time Trapper story thus far in LSH history and it has the truly momentous event of Imra and Garth being married. But it's also chock full of nice characterizations, including the great Wildfire / Superboy tension, Shady sticking up for Supes, and various Legionnaires showing great concern for Imra and Garth. One could have a lot of fun analyzing why which Legionnaires choose to go where--you guys mentioned Mon which makes sense. For example, Sun Boy? Perhaps he's truly convinced? He's been shown to be making more progress since Cockrum's run to overcome his self doubt; perhaps he choose the logical idea over the emotional one, since he's well known to be very close friends with Garth? It could be a bit moment for him.

Alternative timeline stories are probably my least favorite in comics but this was effective in its subtleties. I love the various ideas presented and the very measured, limited way we get them.

All in all I loved this issue. It was a true treat as part of this reread. Much of the story is negligible in terms of future connections to LSH adventures; but the farther implications are that it showed what could be done when the creators had a lot of room to flex their muscles. I think the positive reaction to this story must have influenced the decision to do Earth War, which in turn led to GDS years later and then subsequent epic stories.

#900576 - 06/20/16 07:42 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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#239 Murder Most Foul by Jim Starlin/Paul Levitz; art by Josef Rubinstein, colours by Cory Adams

[Linked Image]

Ultra Boy enters the seedy Hotel Orion on Rimbor, called there by his former girlfriend An Ryd. He questions why she wants to meet and how she got a message through LSH Communications. She's fallen on hard times and has sold him out. Jo, caught off guard, is blasted and knocked out by a masked assailant, who then murders An. Jo awakens in an unfamiliar ship, flight ring gone and doesn't know where he is.

Suddenly, Legionnaires appear. He's relieved to see them, but they say he's in big trouble and wanted by the police. Adult advisor Marla Lantham tells him he's to be arrested for An's murder; she was killed with a heat beam and his ring was found on her corpse. Tinya asks for a moment alone with him; confirms that she believes his innocence. He uses the opportunity to escape, evading all the Legionnaires and even manages to have Superboy and Mon-el collide. As he flies off in the Legion cruiser, Shady commiserates with Tinya.

Dawnstar has been disabled for at least a day with a nerve block, so no one can track Jo. He destroys the cruiser and returns to Rimbor to think about what to do. In disguise, he heads for his friend Sy's inertron-lined apartment and is surprised when the couch turns out to be Chameleon Boy. As head of the Espionage Squad, Cham knew about Jo's Rimbor-based friends and their dwellings.

Cham gives him the benefit of the doubt but agrees that Marla, who had been getting youth treatments, was over-zealous in his condemnation. He states that anyone in the Legion, as well as Marla, could have framed Jo and intends to investigate.

The Legionnaires are arguing about Jo and, while Marla condemns him and expresses concern that this will help the U.P.'s anti-Legion factions, Superboy argues for getting the facts. Wildfire announces that they will return to Rimbor, since that is the most likely place for Jo to hide.

Cham checks out each Legionnaire's physical IDs and confirms there are no imposters. Only Brainy's computer files are messed up, but that's par for the course, and Cosmic Boy had been experimenting with some files. Not only facts, but instinct, leads Cham to conclude that “the most dangerous Legionnaire” is behind the murder and frame-up.

On Rimbor, Wildfire suggests that Superboy and Mon-el look for an x-ray proof building that isn't a lab or government facility – that's where Jo is likely to be. Jo senses Mon locating the apartment and crashes through multiple floors to escape through the sewer, only to be met by Legionnaires. He manages to escape from each one, stealing Sun Boy's flight ring, but is ultimately taken by Superboy and Mon-el.

Before he can be turned over to the legal system, Cham announces that Jo is a victim of an imposter: Wildfire. Rather, a robot impersonating Wildfire, who is being held in a force field in his quarters. The robot Wildfire, however, is just part of the frame, not the killer. Cham is afraid to name the killer until he has proof.

Thus, Jo is exonerated. He tells off Marla and thanks Cham. As he and Tinya share a kiss, they are monitored by the masked killer, who tells himself that next time he plays with the Legionnaires' lives, it will be for the destruction of the universe.

Comments:

This story is a big change in tone from the previous ones and begins a devious and challenging murder mystery. We don't know who the villain is, or what he really wants; it's a man in a mask, working in the shadows, and, most interesting, a Legion insider. Could it be Marla, brain affected by youth treatments? Cosmic Boy? Brainiac 5? Wildfire himself, the robot Wildfire being a diversion? There are clues, but they aren't conclusive, or could apply to more than one character.

Ultra Boy does well in this issue. Although the usual “stupid Jo” remark is made, he does show skill and resourcefulness in evading his fellow Legionnaires. It ultimately takes the combined forces of Superboy and Mon-el to bring him down. However, one wonders if he was chosen as a fall guy because he was considered to be less intelligent.

However, it's Chameleon Boy who's the brains of this tale, living up to his role as leader of the Espionage Squad, staying a step ahead of his teammates and giving Jo the benefit of the doubt. He's come a long way from impersonating waste baskets. His deep intel on his fellow Legionnaires makes him into J. Edgar Daggle.

The Legionnaires were pretty quick to condemn Ultra Boy, based on circumstantial evidence. Were they influenced by Marla? Superboy, once again the moral voice of the comic, argues for an examination of the facts. Shadow Lass steps back in both helplessness and sympathy, having had her own planet once turn against her. Regardless of their position on his guilt or innocence, the Legion did step up to take care of their own: they rushed to find Jo before the Science Police could get him. Perhaps they weren't even really trying very hard to capture him.

Marla Lantham is back as a character. The former Adult Advisor is far more concerned with the political ramifications of R.J.'s Legion project than with the well-being of the kids themselves. His rapid condemnation of Jo must have been particularly hurtful, given that he had been Jo's supporter for Legion membership. Marla's rejuvenation treatment picks up the thread of long-lasting youth that was explored in #235.

Taking out a character who can easily solve a problem is often handled clumsily, but this case (Dawnstar tracking Jo) was dealt with in a believable manner which involved Timber Wolf teaching a super-nerve pinch to Ultra Boy.

The writer even tied this story into the previous issue's reprint, with Jo accessing a cache of supplies he stored after the events of Adventure #359-360.

This is the beginning of the Rimbor as crime planet concept. Up until now, it was just another planet. It will slide further into degradation in the years ahead, maintaining its bad reputation through the decades and different versions of the Legion.









Holy Cats of Egypt!
#900654 - 06/21/16 07:14 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Jo has been portrayed as a traitor to the Legion way back in the Adventure days. He would later be shown as a pirate, a smuggler, and from the wrong side of the tracks. But here, his clean cut heroism sticks out like a sore thumb.

Whatever Jo’s history things have got a lot worse on Rimbor, and there’s a rare touch of noir as an old flame betrays him to the issue’s villain.

It’s worth noting that we don’t see the Legion spend a lot of time with friends and other acquaintances. Jo left his behind when going to Earth. Perhaps it’s the Foreign Legion inference in the title. That the heroes are devoted only to the team. Or perhaps it’s just that the artists had enough to contend with.

Jo is blasted unconscious. Later, Jo would reveal that he doesn’t drop his powers unnecessarily. In that instance, his Ultra Invulnerability was revealed to be on. Perhaps that’s due to his betrayal in this issue. He learned not to drop his guard.

He recovers in an unfamiliar ship on an unfamiliar planet. TMK would devote a nicely paced subplot dropping Jo back in time and space in v4.

While it’s tough to really imagine Jo escaping Superboy & Mon El, it was really nice to see Shady not try and capture him. Levitz not only picked up on some of her own personal history, but cemented the Shady/ Tinya friendship.

Another well worked reaction to a previous Legion adventure is finding out that the team have little caches of emergency supplies stashed away across the galaxy in case of emergencies. Considering foes like Universo, their sometimes outlawed status and their various espionage missions, this makes a lot of sense.

Speaking of espionage missions, Cham is the one who manages to track Jo down. The switch from action to detective works well, and we get a pretty much definitive look at how Cham thinks. Better yet, Cham knows that Jo will get caught. So, he advises him to run in order to give Cham time to investigate.

We’re expected to think that Marla, Jo’s advisor back when he joined, will be the villain. Marla gives a hint that there are UP factions opposed to the idea of a Legion. We don’t see much of this, but it does give a more complex impression of their world. Much like the demonstrators of Marko Chang did.

We learn that Marla has been undergoing youth treatments. Now bearing in mind the issue where it was revealed that life extension was available. Does this mean that the technology is fairly recent, and that Marla hadn’t the opportunity to take advantage of it? Or does it mean that Marla is really from a world that the UP didn’t see fit to give that particular technology to (See Sklarrian Raiders)? After the murdered An Ryd, Marla provides a darker look at the Legionverse.

Cham does throw in Cosmic Boy and Brainiac as other possible suspects. He opens it up by thinking that the Legion’s most dangerous member could be behind it. So that could be Mon El, or even Superboy. Strangely Cham dismisses Jo being able to set himself up, which is exactly what he did in that old Adventure story, when he pretended to turn traitor.

Cham’s work is well underway by the time the Legion arrive on Rimbor, showing what an advantage the Durlan’s reasoning can be. Seeing Superboy and Ultra Boy both using their vision powers reminded me of the cover where Ultra Boy was introduced.

We get another fun series of mini fights as Jo, once again, tries to evade his comrades. Timberwolf threatening to rip Jo’s throat out, is tempered by the context and Jo mentioning that they are regular sparring partners. It’s a deliberate touch that Brin would be the one to track Jo down first, emphasising those wolf traits.

But this time, Superboy and Mon-El are more than a match for him. But Jo has done enough, for a guy that Wildfire hints isn’t the smartest. Cham has had time to reveal the villain as … A Wildfire robot! There is reasoning behind it, but the robot is really just a stand in for the real villain, who remains unrevealed. It’s a little bit of a let down, as I’m reminded of the Brainiac 5 robot that was revealed as an impostor issues ago, but who then just sat around doing nothing until it was destroyed. There is a tell-tale reveal to who the possible traitor is in some of the bold text on page 32.

Now if someone could replace Wildfire with a robot, frame a Legionnaire and kill one of their acquaintances then you’d expect the team to be on edge, and desperate to track down the culprit. But it won’t be until issue 250 that this is picked up on again (well there’s at least one hint before then).

Despite the strong characterisations of Jo, Tinya, Shady, Cham and seeing the others in action, not everyone came out well. Marla and Jo’s relationship has soured, due to Marla seemingly desperate to see Jo behind bars. His appearance was a nice nod to Jo’s debut and offered an alternate villain. Marla claimed it was for bigger reasons, but he really just didn’t want his student to be an outlaw.

The other character who didn’t come out at all well was Dawnstar. If you don’t want something tracked, she has to be the first one knocked out. Worse, it would seem that Timberwolf has trained at least Jo in how to do just that. Why? We don’t see them use it on anyone else. Poor Dawny. It’s just one of the many times that her power won’t work, can’t work or isn’t available due to unconsciousness.

Overall it’s a strong issue and Starlin on the art chores was always going to make it look good. Sharing the writing duties with Levitz also seems to work in the issues favour. It’s just a shame that the follow up was so long in coming, due to reasons that will no doubt come up at the time of that re read.


"...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."
#900698 - 06/21/16 02:06 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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239:
This is one my favorite single Legion issues ever. It just rocks. At the time, it left me excited that Jim Starlin might become the regular Legion writer/artist. I was disappointed when he did not.

“Murder Most Foul” is indeed a marked departure from recent stories, and a welcome one. The Legion finally feels like it’s aimed at a more adult readership, as the story touches on themes of seduction, murder, and betrayal. We’re left with the tantalizing revelation that one of the Legionnaires is a murderer. That revelation alone took the Legion in a much different direction than any previous story had dared to try.

In the decades which followed, DC would expend much effort in “darkening” its heroes—turning Hal Jordan into a drunk driver, for example—a trend that continues today with the cinematic depictions of Batman and Superman—and this story might be seen as a precursor to that trend. However, in the Legion’s universe, such a revelation arguably makes more sense and doesn’t jeopardize the overall sensibility of the characters. In fact, it stands in stark contrast to the altruistic heroes we’ve come to know; it's an anomaly. When we learn what one of our heroes is truly capable of, it comes across as a real shock—not the gratuitous emotion usually generated by “dark” heroes.

On a story-telling level, the tale keeps moving but never feels rushed. An Ryd is introduced on Page 3 and murdered on Page 4, yet she comes across as a vivid personality—an old love of Jo’s who’s fallen on hard times. We sense that Jo still cares about her, which makes her callous betrayal of him all the more painful. I also felt sorry for her, instead of thinking she had received her just deserts, when the masked man turned on her.

Starlin (with assistance from Levitz) does a masterful job of making us care about Jo. I felt his confusion when he was confronted by his teammates and even his old mentor, and then learned he was accused of An’s murder. The shot of him saying he can’t explain what happened reeks of despair.

But Jo will not stay a hapless victim. He takes matters into his own hands, demonstrating courage, skill, and resourcefulness in taking on and defeating eight of his teammates. His one-power-at-a-time limitation is used to great effect here and in his battle with the Legionnaires on Rimbor; it gave me plenty of reason to root for him. Despite overwhelming odds, Jo perseveres and comes close to getting away.

The story also affords other Legionnaires a chance to shine in new and unexpected ways, especially Shady and Cham. Shady’s role is small but crucial. She’s the voice of reason—the one who knows she doesn’t have a chance of stopping Jo and doesn’t want to try anyway; this is consistent with the rebellious and independent streak she’s shown in other recent stories. Cham is the inscrutable detective—the one who maintains his calm and sense of logic throughout, yet shows loyalty to his friend, Ultra Boy. It’s a telling comment when he says “And I’ll see you when you get caught!” He knows this is going to happen, but Jo’s fugitive status buys Cham the time he needs to figure out what’s going on. There is a stoic quality in this Cham that I find very appealing.

As for Marla—the story needed an identifiable “bad guy,” and this one-off Legion mentor fits the bill well. We know next to nothing about him, but he provides a nice tie-in with the story of Ultra Boy’s first appearance. Marla is someone we come to hate in this story, and that makes Jo’s parting shot—“Haven’t you got to go the Science Police or something, Marla?”—highly satisfying.

There are, of course, some problems in logic, story-telling convenience, and even an error or two. (Is Jo wearing the cloak of an undertaker or an executioner—or both?) But, to me, these problems pale in comparison to Starlin’s achievements as both writer and artist. He gives the Legionnaires individual faces, uses inventive layouts (such as the tension-building panels of the masked man pointing the gun on Page 3), and infuses the story with a dynamic energy throughout.

It is indeed a shame that this story wasn’t followed up on until almost a year later. If I recall correctly, there were behind-the-scenes reasons for this. The original plan was to turn the sequel into another tabloid, but when DC cancelled the tabloids, the decision was made to split the story into two issues. Starlin, I understand, was not happy with this decision and that’s why he took his name off the credits of 250 and 251.

Whatever the cause for the delay, this story raised the bar considerably in terms of story and art quality. It also pushed the boundaries of what could be done with the Legion. The only downside was that subsequent issues could not maintain these qualities, and the lengthy delay in resolving the story became a constant letdown.


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The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#900699 - 06/21/16 02:19 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
There is a tell-tale reveal to who the possible traitor is in some of the bold text on page 32.


Are you referring to Cham's force field comment? Good catch!


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#900797 - 06/22/16 05:56 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Are you referring to Cham's force field comment?


I am.

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Good catch!


thanks! 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."
#900805 - 06/22/16 07:36 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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I haven't posted to this thread much, but I want to say this is an absolutely awesome issue. It came out when I was maybe 14, and a story with this kind of depth was a magical thing.

#900871 - 06/22/16 11:47 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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I also love this story too, and HWW does a great job at summarizing why. Its masterfully told with the art being stylized and dynamic while the dialogue is crisp and pacing is steady and unrushed. Jo comes off better than ever as capable and heroic, feeling a complex array of things about his predicament. And both Cham and Shady shine here for various reasons: both show great character and both are strong and firm in their own ways.

The issue has a much more serious tone, as Starlin uses a lot of the darker inks and space opera suspense techniques he had mastered at Marvel throughout the decade. As HWW says, it's a welcome evolution of the series that is long overdue. It isn't grim and gritty--comics haven't gotten there yet--but there's a level of sophistication that is now being reached. We see that in other ways: the lack of resolution between Jo and Marla which is all to realistic, Shady standing up for Jo and Gim's obvious annoyance over it; the implied "rough times" Ann Ryd has had. All of it is exciting!

I hadn't known about the behind the scenes stuff in regards to why it took so long to follow up on. 17 years with the LMB and I still am learning LSH secrets smile.

At this point it feels like the series is on a role. Levitz has brought the series up a notch since his run began, and the recent tabloid issue was phenomenal. Simonson's art on #237 made that story feel more special than it probably deserved and this story is just terrific. With Earth War to come, there's a sense of excitement!

#900956 - 06/23/16 08:00 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: thoth lad]  
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I wasn't aware of the reasons for the delay either. Thanks for that info, HWW.

Originally Posted by thoth lad
Cham does throw in Cosmic Boy and Brainiac as other possible suspects. He opens it up by thinking that the Legion’s most dangerous member could be behind it. So that could be Mon El, or even Superboy. Strangely Cham dismisses Jo being able to set himself up, which is exactly what he did in that old Adventure story, when he pretended to turn traitor.


The force field comment together with the Wildfire robot certainly does point to Brainiac 5, although the recent use of a force field by Arma Getten suggests that they may not be exclusive to the green kid. I don't think I would have associated Brainy with "most dangerous Legionnaire" at the time, so it's a good misdirect.

Interesting that Cham does dismiss Jo as setting himself up; I hadn't made the connection to that earlier story. This could be the result of Cham's early investigation and/or the fact that he's come to know Jo better since that time.

Is Marla considered to be R.J.'s assistant at this point, or just someone who worked with the Legion? Did he appear in any story since the first one with Ultra Boy?


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#901027 - 06/24/16 07:56 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Here are Starlin's comments from the Legion Companion (p. 123-124) on the delay:

"... [The sequel] was supposed to be one giant issue and it got split up. There were a lot of other problems with it, [so] I asked my name to be taken off it, and used my pen name, 'Wolfgang Apollo' or 'Steve Apollo.'"

When asked if he had done the story and its sequel back to back, he responds:

"Fairly close. Like I said, the second part was inked by Dave Hunt. Paul couldn't get around to scripting them, and so they sat for a long time. Joe Rubenstein was off on some other project at that point and couldn't ink them, and that's how they ended up with Dave Hunt."

Starlin goes on to say that he had laid out a 64-page story for Rubenstein to finish because he knew what the latter could "fix-up." However, the final product was truncated to 48 pages and completed by an artist who "wasn't prepared to deal with what I had left him."

The experience soured Starlin on the Legion, and that's why he never did another: "When something goes bad, you just don't want to go back and revisit it."

All of this underscores how important Rubenstein was to the project. Starlin may get all the glory, but the finished artwork of 239 owes a great deal to its inker/finisher.


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#901092 - 06/25/16 09:16 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer

Is Marla considered to be R.J.'s assistant at this point, or just someone who worked with the Legion? Did he appear in any story since the first one with Ultra Boy?


I believe this is only Marla's second appearance (the first being Superboy # 98). He isn't seen again until the Secrets of the Legion mini-series, when he seems to be working more closely with Brande.


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#901348 - 06/27/16 09:51 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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#240 The Man Who Manacled the Legion by Paul Levitz & Jack C. Harris, art by Howard Chaykin & Bob Wiacek, Colours by Cory Adams

[Linked Image]

In the first story of this issue, Grimbor the Chainsman is hard at work devising shackles to hold Superboy and the Legion.

The Legion are providing some emergency repairs to the Atlantic Highway until the Earth Emergency Service arrives. Supreboy marvels at the wonders of the future. Cosmic Boy is sad that Garth and Imra left and that he can't marry Lydda, since the Legion is more important to him. Phantom Girl holds a grudge against Colossal Boy for assuming Ultra Boy murdered An Ryd, but still serves him and Sun Boy some Bgtzlian goodies sent by her parents.

The team is called to rescue an enchained President Boltax as Grimbor himself arrives at the scene. They are quickly bound with power-cancelling chains and taken to his citadel. There he tells them that Charma was murdered in prison by other women – and he blames the Legion. Tinya breaks free, since Grimbor only designed chains for her phantom state, and frees the others. However, she resents Gim telling her to grab Grimbor, hesitates and loses the advantage. Grimbor activates robot attackers and escapes with Superboy in pursuit.

Grimbor turns out to be a robot as well. The Legionnaires decide they should first free the President, and Superboy has deduced that it will take the simultaneous use of the five Legionnaires' powers. Sun Boy finds this suspicious; the President is also a robot - and detonates. Fortunately, the team found a tracking device chez Grimbor and use it to find the origin of the beam which triggered the explosion.

They find the real Grimbor, holding the real President; Superboy captures Grimbor and gives him a lecture about how Charma still controls him. Tinya, Gim and Dirk prepare to free the President, unaided by Cosmic Boy, who doesn't like his politics.

Comments:

Grimbor's out of jail already? Must have plead undue influence or something – unless they have a time distorter that makes a one-year sentence seem like 10 years. Different social policy from our time? Or maybe he broke out.

Regardless, he's back and he's not nearly so interesting without Charma. A bit off his game as well, since he neglected Tinya's power to rematerialize. He also had a lot riding on the chance that the five Legionnaires he had prepared for would be the ones to answer the call to rescue the President. Someone from the Pluto team might have stayed behind, or returned early, for some reason.

Worse, nearly everybody turns out to be a robot. We've had an awful lot of robot deception lately.

Charma's fate was a sad one; it's a good story but wouldn't an enlightened, future society have put her in some protective custody, or found a way to dampen her effect on females? The fact that the Legionnaires were oblivious to her fate adds to their image of privileged sentients. I'm trying to think of a better term for this disregard/disinterest, but can't come up with it at this hour of the morning. Perhaps I'm too harsh; Charma's murder could have been covered up by prison authorities since it pointed to incompetence on their part. However, we've had indications in recent issues that the Legion is sometimes regarded as cavalier in their activities. Superboy's admonishment of Grimbor at the end played into this dismissive attitude.

President Boltax, or Kandru as he's called in this issue, is back as well, after dumping the Legion in the soup with the Deregon affair. That's a good bit of continuity; Rokk's anti-Kandru comment at the end could have referred to that mission, but Superboy's light-hearted laugh suggests a less personal political difference.

I did enjoy the use of Tinya's resentment of Gim; not only was it obvious, it got in the way of their mission, as resentments often do, and she had the grace to both acknowledge and get over it. It was also good to see how Rokk was affected by the marriage and departure of Garth and Imra.

For once, it was someone other than Superboy who put the pieces together, as Sun Boy figured out Grimbor's bait.

The opening mission, repairing the trans-Atlantic highway, had a real Adventure-era feel to it. The concept was a mix of future and contemporary: a 20th-century style suspension bridge spans the Atlantic Ocean, with nine lanes of land-based cars, damaged by a 20th-century style freighter. It gives Superboy an opportunity to marvel at the future, with the hint that we should as well, but it didn't come off as very futuristic to me.

Zall Morgan and EES were a one-shot appearance. Too bad, they could have worked many missions with the Legion. It makes sense that Earth would not depend on the Legion for all its emergencies and that there must have been some response team prior to the Legion. Morgan and the EES reminded me of a team like the Blackhawks – or maybe they were based on some other comic-based group of the time?



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#901389 - 06/28/16 09:38 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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240/Man Who Manacled the Legion

This issue tries to establish Grimbor as a badass new villain for the Legion, but, as Cramey says, he's just not as interesting without Charma.

The whole issue has a retro feel to it--from the robots to the not-so-futuristic future (an expansion bridge across the ocean? Really?) to the robe-wearing minister in Kandru's court---it feels like the series has taken several giant leaps backwards after the progress of 239.

I can't understand why Tinya was upset only at Gim. Dirk, Kal, and Rokk were all part of the team that went up against Jo last issue. Why single Gim out? (I do agree that it was effective how her animosity interfered with the mission.)

Rokk's discontent over Garth and Imra leaving is handled better. I'm sure Lydda would love to hear that Rokk will never marry her so long as the Legion's around, but, considering her self-esteem issues, maybe that's a good thing. However, Rokk's feelings and Tinya's grudge-holding do contribute to a general sense of discontent that will build among the Legionnaires over next several issues, culminating in the destruction of their HQ and the revelation of Brainy's insanity. This subplot, at least, was quite effective, as I recall.

President Kandru/Boltax's appearance changes just about every time he appears. This is extremely annoying. What's handled better, though, is his sense of entitlement (or rather the robot Kandru's) that the Legion should be at his beck and call and put his safety above everything else. I hadn't thought about his portrayal here building off of his actions back in 229. Good catch, Cramey.

The art is by Howard Chaykin, whose presentation I got to attend at Planet Comicon in KC last month. He's a hoot: like listening to your New York Jewish grandfather (which is pretty much how Chaykin described himself) talk about how bad things were in the old days of the comics industry and how even worse they are now. If I'd remembered that he'd done a Legion issue, I might have taken this issue along and asked him to sign it. His take on the Legion is very different from Starlin's, but appealing in its own way.

Charma's tragic fate is the most memorable aspect of this issue for me. She was truly doomed from the start, and her helplessness echoed my own feelings at the time--feelings that intensified as I became more aware of current events in the world. Late '78 was when the Jonestown Massacre happened, and the Iran hostage situation would occur about a year later. We had an ineffective president who, although widely considered a good man, just couldn't keep "the bad guys" at bay. In that context, a 30th century prison system that couldn't protect Charma didn't seem so far-fetched.




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#901394 - 06/28/16 10:07 AM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Tempus Fugitive
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Touring Bgtzl and Bgztl with M...
Superboy 240

There’s an artistic side to the Legion Super villains we don’t often see. We once saw the LSV gloat over a perfect model replica of a target they wanted to see destroyed. Here, Grimbor spends his spare time making drawings of Superboy in manacles. It’s not a technical spec. It’s a doodle of his trapped foe.

Elsewhere, Superboy undergoes some future shock at the technology of the future. Even though it’s just a bigger version of a bridge he’d see in his own time. Such a reaction seems a little odd from a teen who has already had so many adventures with the Legion. Perhaps it’s one of the things that gets mind wiped, so that he goes through these reactions every time he visits the future. But he’s very “gosh! Wow!” for the guy who interrogates Grimbor’s control board later in the story.

Superboy does offer some insight into why Cosmic Boy seems a little off. Kal figures that Rokk is feeling abandoned after the resignation of the other two charter members. We see a Cosmic Boy that is dedicated only to the Legion, even at the expense of his relationship with Lydda. Years later Johns and Levitz would show us a Cosmic Boy who allows allows Garth & Imra to have a family, while he supports the Legion at the cost of his own life. Here, he’s just as focused.

Yet, he also says “back to boredom” at the thought of returning to HQ without Garth or Imra there. It shows the bond that the founders must have shared. Perhaps Cos should have reached out to a few others along the way. Rokk would utter a similar “sitting around doing nothing” comment in the TMK run as the Legion were waiting for an adventure from their base on Talus.

Levitz offers a link to the last issue by developing the relationship between Gim and Tinya. She hasn’t forgiven him for acting against Ultra Boy. It’s a nice little scene that opens up the Legion’s characters.

The story, when it arrives, isn’t a particularly memorable one. A villain out for revenge captures a Swan of Legionnaires, having drawn them into trying to save a shackled President. The heroes are captured easily. The shackles are tailored for each victim, and ensnare them all without any resistance. This allows more panel space for Grimbor to tell the reader about why the loss of Charma has driven him to hate the Legion.

We then get some standard twists. Robotic Knights take the place of any attempt to use Grimbor’s trademark traps to give the Legion a battle. The Grimbor they face also turns out to be a robot. The President is another robot. I’m beginning to wonder if Grimbor supplied the Legionnaire who framed Jo with robots.

The heroes manage to track the real one, thanks to being able to track a transmission that has already been sent back to its source. That sort of plot resolution will put Dawnstar out of a job. Which is a shame, since she’s in this issue’s back up story.

Grimbor becomes just another fill in villain, without any ingenuity, here. His plot is pointlessly over elaborate. We don’t get any resolution to Cosmic Boy’s feeling of abandonment, or his focus on the Legion. Although Tinya and Gim share the last panel, there’s no real continuation of their friction from earlier in the story. Tinya was about the only plus point in the story. Her personality is enhanced and she’s the one who escapes Grimbor.


Is the Earth Emergency Service a cross between Challengers of the Unknown and Thunderbirds? Is Zall Morgan a descendant of Ace Morgan of the Challs?


"...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."
#901575 - 06/30/16 08:23 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders

I can't understand why Tinya was upset only at Gim. Dirk, Kal, and Rokk were all part of the team that went up against Jo last issue. Why single Gim out? (I do agree that it was effective how her animosity interfered with the mission.)


I wondered about this as well, why pick on Gim? Looking back at #239, one could say, with a stretch, that Gim was quicker to condemn Jo as guilty and criticize Tasmia for doubting his guilt ("It's attitudes like that Shady, that give us all headaches. You know we're just going to have to track Ultra Boy down now, and put him away."). The others just wanted to bring him in as a person of interest, give him a chance to explain.

Quote
Rokk's discontent over Garth and Imra leaving is handled better. I'm sure Lydda would love to hear that Rokk will never marry her so long as the Legion's around, but, considering her self-esteem issues, maybe that's a good thing. However, Rokk's feelings and Tinya's grudge-holding do contribute to a general sense of discontent that will build among the Legionnaires over next several issues, culminating in the destruction of their HQ and the revelation of Brainy's insanity. This subplot, at least, was quite effective, as I recall.


Rokk's gripe was something I hadn't remembered at all from this time. To have someone so central to the Legion moping about, even subtly, would surely affect team morale.


Originally Posted by thoth lad

Superboy does offer some insight into why Cosmic Boy seems a little off. Kal figures that Rokk is feeling abandoned after the resignation of the other two charter members. We see a Cosmic Boy that is dedicated only to the Legion, even at the expense of his relationship with Lydda. Years later Johns and Levitz would show us a Cosmic Boy who allows allows Garth & Imra to have a family, while he supports the Legion at the cost of his own life. Here, he’s just as focused.

Yet, he also says “back to boredom” at the thought of returning to HQ without Garth or Imra there. It shows the bond that the founders must have shared. Perhaps Cos should have reached out to a few others along the way. Rokk would utter a similar “sitting around doing nothing” comment in the TMK run as the Legion were waiting for an adventure from their base on Talus.


This presents a very consistent aspect of character for Rokk Krinn, which really contributes to taking him beyond the two-dimensional comic book character. Who, besides Garth, Imra and Lydda, were his close friends in the Legion? It would also explain his post-war depression as not just the result of acts of war, but the boredom of everyday life on Braal.


Quote
Elsewhere, Superboy undergoes some future shock at the technology of the future. Even though it’s just a bigger version of a bridge he’d see in his own time. Such a reaction seems a little odd from a teen who has already had so many adventures with the Legion. Perhaps it’s one of the things that gets mind wiped, so that he goes through these reactions every time he visits the future. But he’s very “gosh! Wow!” for the guy who interrogates Grimbor’s control board later in the story.


That really struck a false note in the story. Fortunately, we don't get too much of this in the series.

Quote
I’m beginning to wonder if Grimbor supplied the Legionnaire who framed Jo with robots.


Ah! Interesting idea. Did Brainy contract the work out? What a tidy bit of blackmail that could have been, and how enticing if Grimbor had dropped some hint about it.

Quote
Is the Earth Emergency Service a cross between Challengers of the Unknown and Thunderbirds? Is Zall Morgan a descendant of Ace Morgan of the Challs?


Challengers of the Unknown sounds like the most likely inspiration.


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#901684 - 07/01/16 10:11 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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#240 Dawnstar Rising by Paul Levitz & Paul Kupperberg, art by James Sherman & Bob McLeod, Colours by A. Roy

Legion Academy students are thrown about by a large robot. Jed, Laurel and Grev are not faring well. Dawnstar proves to be an able strategist and team player and with Jed's help, defeats the robot. Wildfire, as teacher, is not pleased with the team's performance. He dismisses them but asks Dawnstar to stay behind. She rebuffs his invitation to “go out and talk”; roommate Laurel later questions why she was so cold to him.

Dawnstar recounts her life story: gifted with exceptional tracking abilities, she was put to work at a young age to earn money for her planet. After completing a job for R.J. Brande, he offered her a place in the Legion, which she accepted for the money alone, considering the Legion to be show-offs. She is also disdainful of Laurel.

The next day, the four students are taken to complete a live test: capture some escaped animals at the Spaceport. Dawnstar flies off on her own but her overconfidence is dampened by the sight of the large and deadly Arcturian Ape and Graanian Deathbeast. She is rescued by her fellow students in a fine display of teamwork and apologizes for her vanity and haughty attitude.

Comments:

This story was considerably more interesting than the previous one. We are introduced to some new characters Jed, Laurel and Grev (who don't have their superhero names yet) and get some insight into frosty Dawnstar's background.

Wildfire as instructor is appropriately outspoken and direct, but does not sound like a hothead. Dawnstar's rebuff of his invitation made me wince a bit; we know how the story turns out, but there will always be that bit of chill from her.

Dawnstar's working childhood raises the point that not everything is easy in the future; some planets/cultures struggle to survive. It also explains her hardness towards other people.

R.J. Brande got her a place in the Legion - and it worked out. It would have been interesting to see what would happen if he sent a candidate who wasn't well-qualified. I did get a laugh at how she even managed to snark at R.J., while bringing up the idea of the Legion as entitled show-offs, something we've had hints of in recent issues.

Her clothing, when she meets Brande, is generic future style. I haven't been a real fan of the fringed costume, but her look would have been weakened if she had kept that blue & yellow number.

Her regret at going solo led to a rather hasty turn-around: the relief of the moment. While it may have made her realize that it was better to depend on and work with others, she will maintain her prickly personality, for which I'm grateful. It distinguishes her and makes her a more interesting character.

Silly giant killer beasties - we're not out of the Adventure era yet. Maybe we never leave, when it comes to the exotic beasts of the future; they always seem a bit cartoonish.

This is a side note, but I did an essay on Talok VIII for the Klordny APA and, reviewing the stories, noted that Grev is a real bumbler. He's usually shown screwing up or getting flattened by an opponent. It's not evident here, since they all mess up the fight with the robot, but I've often wondered if that was an intentional attribute of his character.)




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#901703 - 07/02/16 04:29 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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"Dawnstar Rising" possesses a lot of good qualities. It was one of the few Legion stories I'd read to this point in which one of the Legionnaires grows and learns something. Before this, they had always been portrayed as know-it-alls who were super-competent in everything they did. To see Dawnstar humbled like this was quite a revelation.

The story endeared her to me for this reason. It takes a truly mature individual to admit she was wrong, to promise to do better, and to learn the value of friendship in those she had previously dismissed.

I also appreciated the character bits Levitz worked into the story: Drake asking Dawny on a "date," her rebuff of him, Laurel calling her out on this, and Dawny's dismissal of Laurel. These characters sound and act like real people. I also appreciated Dawny's origin, which introduces us to a different culture in the 30th century and to her less-than-altruistic reasons for joining the Legion.

Is she the only Legionnaire who gets a salary? I think we were told at some point that the others get a stipend, but would that be enough to cover more than basic living expenses? If Dawny were paid more for her services, it would certainly create some jealousy. In any event, it's totally realistic that businessman R.J. spotted talent and recruited her to the Legion by offering her money. It gives us a very different perspective on the "every kid wants to be a hero" assumption behind the Legion.

On re-reading this story, though, I found it somewhat less than satisfying--I guess because Dawnstar is so thoroughly humiliated by her failure that I was left wondering what was heroic about her. If this had been my introduction to the character, that might have been my firm impression of her (and why does it have to be a Native American character who is so thoroughly humiliated? In the era of racial sensitivity, this comes across as demeaning--not unlike the "Tyroc-in-chains" cover. When you have few minorities in a comic to begin with, they tend to come across as symbolic of the entire race.) Fortunately, we've had a few stories in which Dawnstar is shown to be a competent Legionnaire (229 and 237, specifically); still, I wish she had "earned" her victory or redeemed herself in some way.

It helps to know, though, that this story takes place before her introduction in 226. A letters page comment will reveal that a caption, which would have clarified the chronology, was omitted. Knowing that we're seeing the "before" to earlier stories' "after" makes her journey more understandable.


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#901903 - 07/04/16 08:18 PM Re: Re-reading the Legion: Archives Volume 14 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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#241 Prologue to Earthwar by Paul Levitz, art by James Shermon & Bob McLeod; colors by Cory Adams

[Linked Image]

Main story:

Wildfire, Mon-el,Ultra Boy and Dawnstar race from their HQ into the sky to “prevent a war between the galaxies”. Wildfire's haste causes an SP cruiser to spin out of control. Mon-el takes action to save the cruiser, depositing a rattled red-head safely on the ground. She calls after him, without success, worried about delivering an urgent message from Chief Zendak.

At the Mission Monitor Board, Brainy frets over the few available Legionnaires, as Sun Boy whittles at an objet d'art. Element Lad enters with the SP officer, but a space alert sends the remaining Legionnaires flying off, at Brainy's command, without ever hearing her message. Element Lad is mildly annoyed that Brainy usurped his authority as Deputy Leader. However, the team must deal with another incursion of the Resource Raiders and do so with some difficulty. Superboy arrives to save the day, Brainy continues to complain about their reduced strength.

Wildfire's team arrives on Weber's World and meets with Ambassador Relnic and Security Head Ontiir. Their job will be to prevent any attacks on either the U.P. or the Dominators during negotiations.

The Resource Raiders attack Earth once again, stealing rare earth metals from an Antarctic base. After some mishaps, the Raiders are defeated; two ships escape but, unknown to the Raiders, Chameleon Boy is aboard disguised as some ore, as per a plan devised by Brainiac 5. The giant brain leader looks rather silly, but the Raiders are creepy enough and have some interesting tech (and sheer numbers) to provide an on-going challenge to the Legion.

Cham changes from rare earth ore to Raider but is found out, blasted and collapses, as a Raider gives an instruction to fire.

A flash erupts, but it's Wildfire and Mon-el saving some diplomats from a bomb planted in their meeting room. Dawnstar finds a fragment identifying it as U.P. material and the Legionnaires are suspicious of Relnic's team.

Cham awakes, unable to shapeshift as a result of the Raider's gun blast, and face to face with their leader, a giant living brain. Superboy arrives just in time, reverses the gun's controls and blasts Cham, returning his shifting power. The rest of the team arrives and manages to subdue the Raiders. Violet finds their control room and Brainy access the controls, discovering that the Raiders were but the advance guard in a Khund attack on Earth.

Comments:

This fast-paced story does a good job of blending the action of two teams and multiple scenes. We are presented with several problems: the return of the persistent Resource Raiders, the Legion stretched beyond its available members, a brewing war and sabotage, disputes over leadership.

We meet some new characters who will be with the Legion a long time: Shvaughn Erin (not yet named) and Ontiir; Relnic returns after his initial appearance in #225. Nobody asked Shvaughn what her name was, or they forgot it – and the reader is left with the impression that she's a one-shot character.

Mon-el displays his exceptional ability by both saving the SP Officer and catching up to his mission team, taking all responsibilities seriously. He stands up to Relnic and Ontiir when they resent questioning. Wildfire's cavalier brush-off of Mon's criticism is a clear negative mark on his character.

However, Brainiac 5 surpasses him in the cavalier department, dismissing the importance of the Shvaughn's message while displaying a bit of rank snobbery and usurping Jan's role as Deputy leader.

Element Lad is very forgiving: he comments, but makes a joke of Brainy's action. Sun Boy also laughed off Brainy's gripe about few available Legionnaires. In hindsight, there may have been too much “That's just Brainy being Brainy” among the Legionnaires and acceptance of his quirks and character allowed them to miss a developing problem.

Superboy again(!) saves the mission, but he's far from the solo hero. Brainy's plan to track the Raiders without Dawnstar works, Sun Boy goofs up but saves his teammates, Brainy in turn saves Sun Boy and takes a Raider craft. The Weber World team don't have to display any action heroics, but do their job and navigate the murky waters of pre-war diplomacy.

The one hitch that disturbed me was the Shvaughn's important message: why didn't she tell Element Lad immediately, especially since he is Deputy Leader? The team races off wondering what her message was, as does the reader. This, along with the final revelation of an impending Khund attack and the mystery of who planted the bomb on Weber's World, sets the foundation for a more complex and intriguing story than the standard fare.

The artwork was a also step up from previous issues: very dynamic, with lots of shadowing to give that ominous feeling.


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