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#922650 - 02/27/17 06:52 AM Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17  
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Café Cramer
We'll be kicking off the 17th Volume with Secrets of the Legion of Super-Heroes, starting tomorrow - or whenever anyone wants to post something on that issue. The future is open!


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#922673 - 02/27/17 11:48 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Future Offline
The Present is Past
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The Present is Past

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click to enlarge click to enlarge


The future is open? I see what you did there!

Legion of Super-Heroes Archive 17 contains the following for your weekly review pleasure:

- Secrets of the Legion of Super-Heroes #1-3
- LSH v2 #273
- Superman Family #207
- LSH v2 #274-279
- Brave & Bold #179
- LSH v2 #280-283

#922693 - 02/27/17 10:48 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Café Cramer
#273 The Past... Seen Darkly by E. Nelson Bridwell & Paul Kupperberg, art by Jimmy Janes & Frank Chiaramonte, colours Gene D'Angelo, letters Ben Oda

[Linked Image]

The Legionnaires assemble around a hospital unit, in which R.J. Brande is dying of Yorrgian Fever. This disease baffles the doctors; it's the first case on Earth and only the second time an Earthman has been infected.

Meanwhile, the HQ is unguarded and two masked figures break into the files on Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad. After viewing details of their childhood and how they came to form the Legion, the two conclude that these are not the people they're looking for. They continue on with files on Duo Damsel and Phantom Girl, revealing a previously untold story about Lucifer Seven, who threatened to destroy the Eyth System. After capturing Lucifer Seven, R.J. Brande gave them a Time Bubble in order to recruit Superboy and Supergirl from the 20th century.

The two intruders continue through the files on other Legionnaires in order of membership, up through Star Boy. When the Legionnaires return to their HQ, they discover the two intruders, who are unmasked as Marla Latham and his blonde female associate, Arlayn. Marla explains that one of the Legionnaires' files might hold the key to saving R.J.'s life. Brainiac 5 wonders if a Legionnaire is trying to kill R.J. Brande.

Comments:

What do the doctors know that we don't? Why do they think there's some link between R.J.'s fever and the Legion? Does Marla know what he's seeking in the Legionnaire's files, or is he fishing for clues? That's the big mystery, the rest is pretty much filler for old Legion fans. At the end of the issue, we don't know if this is a medical or a murder mystery.

I'm not sure how much of this material is new, other than the Eyth System incident. There have been so many origin stories over the years; was this the first for some of the Legionnaires depicted (such as Gim Allon's Israeli heritage)? There are also some details which were dropped or omitted in future origin stories, such as Rokk's father was a wealthy industrialist who fell on hard times, the time bubble was a Brande Industries invention.

There really isn't any purpose for Marla and Arlayn to dress in black with masks other than to hide their identities from the reader. Given that Marla has been an infrequent character to date, it's unlikely that readers would have recognized him in any event.

Blonde female associates all look distressingly the same to me and Arlayn not only receded to the background once the Legion showed up, she soon joined the ranks of Very Obscure Characters, along with Lucifer Seven.



Holy Cats of Egypt!
#922694 - 02/27/17 10:51 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Café Cramer
Another excellent cover set, Future, featuring a great mix of characters and an enticing mystery!


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#922696 - 02/28/17 12:15 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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More Polyanna than Poison Ivy
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Thank you, Cramer and Future.

Now then...the coffee's kicking in, I'm in my nightgown, breakfast has been taken care of, the first few rays of the sun are starting to break through the dark sky, AND most importantly, SotLSH #1 is lying right next to me. Gods, I'd forgotten how much fun this is.

Secrets of the Legion of Super-Heroes #1

As I've mentioned a couple times previously in other Legion forum threads, the main reason I bought these back issues in the first place (circa 1996), was because of the artistic involvement, if only on the front covers, of the late, great Dick Giordano. So I thought I'd start there.

The cover to the first issue, unfortunately, is only inked by DG. Jimmy Janes, the Legion's default artist at the time, provides the pencils. And while, overall, the results are palatable -- with Imra looking especially adorable in her soon-to-be-discarded Cockrum-brand pink bikini -- there's a few things about JJ's pencils that not even DG's inks can save.

For instance, as cute as Imra is, it's downright giggle-inducing that she looks like she's doing calisthenics ("Up, down, one, two. Our secret's out? Oh, poo.") And Cham -- even in his default form, he just can't seem to switch off the actor within, can he? I mean, those OTT hand gestures are straight out of the school of bad ham!

Open the issue, and the first thing I notice is not that R.J. Brande is dying, but how utterly mediocre JJ's splash page is -- interchangeable poses, samey faces, downright clumsy layout. And the interior-art inker, Frank Chiaramonte, a hit-and-miss journeyman, is definitely a miss on this opening image, IMHO.

Page 2 -- Paul Kupperberg's dialogue and captions are barely functional at best, cringe-inducing at worst (with my boy Wildfire getting the worst clunker: "Yeah, well, you're the doctor, Doc, just do what you can, okay?".) Also, Imra gets her first closeup, and...GAH, she should sue her hairdresser for giving her such awful bangs and such limp tresses! One redeeming quality -- it's my girl Tasmia who calls Brande "Our dear, dear friend." I always knew she was a softie under the warrior-woman hauteur.

The break-in sequence on Page 3 is a far, far inferior cousin to the break-in sequence that opened Mike Grell's first Legion issue, the one where Lyle is killed by Validus.

Page 4: A Readers' Digest version of third-wheel-among-the-founders-Rokk's back-story, with the intruders quickly decided that "He's not the one." I could've told them that!

Page 5: Imra's origin...now, this is more like it. The revelation of her extraordinary telepathic potential is the seed from which shall blossom her finest hours in the years to come -- single-handedly saving the galaxy from Universo, keeping the near-omnipotent Progenitor from running amok...I could go on, but then I'd be off-topic.

Pages 6-7: Mostly-the-numbers Ranzz sibling backstory drama, though Mekt's verbal jab at Garth -- "Quiet, you idiot!" -- is amusing enough. Then we see Garth and Rokk meet on the space liner, and we learn that Rokk is a caffeine field, drinking it by the mugful. Moderation, you jerk, your temper's hair-trigger enough as it is! And then he's intimidated by Imra's telepathy -- well, of course he is, he's got one of the ugliest minds in the galaxy!

Page 8: Enter Brande, allowing JJ to stage one of the all-time dullest and stiffest re-enactments of the three kids' rescue of him. And, up close, Rokk looks just like David Schwimmer, whom I've never liked either.

Pages 9-10: More by-the-numbers re-hashing of the Legion's founding...but wait, are the three founders VOGUING at the top of page 10?? Also, they're not wearing the original Al Plastino costumes, the first sign that continuity is not a priority for this era of the Legion's creative/editorial team.

Page 11: More ridiculous JJ poses as the founders' first mission proves to be a walk in the park -- look at how the bad guy lets out a "GASP" of embarrassment as Imra glares at him and reads his thoughts; clearly, he's got some real doozies locked up in that cowled head of his.

Page 12: The diamond amidst the plastic toy jewelry is this All-Luornu Page -- clearly, inker F Chiaramonte has a thing for brunettes, because he goes above and beyond in making her look DEEE-GORGEOUS! Rather timely, too, because I had already recently stopped being a Lu hater. In fact, I just might go as Lu instead of Titania for Halloween this year -- I am a natural brunette, after all.

Psge 13: Enter Tinya, and I can't recall ATM if the crossing-the-vibratory-planes-between-dimensions origins had been established, but even if it's only reiterated here, it's still an awesome concept whose potential will continue to elude Legion creators all these decades later.

Page 14: Training session gone awry -- so it turns out that Imra once saved Rokk's life. Well, nobody's perfect.

Page 15: Lucifer Seven is utterly hideous to look at, downright nightmare-inducing, with his sharp teeth, demonic eyes, weird brows, and, worst of all, fashion-victim hair on both his face and head. And while it's nice to see Tinya taking the initiative, it's hard to figure out how she was inspired by an old video of Superboy sending an Oompah-Loompah into the Phantom Zone.

Pages 16-18: The Legionnaires take down Lucifer Seven, with Lu being a bad-ass and looking pretty doing it, while yet more of the awesome potential of Tinya's power is showcased (presumably thanks to plotter E. Nelson Bridwell)...in vain, sadly.

Pages 19-20: Ye Gods, how TIGHT are those pants that Brande and Latham are wearing? That's a male-senior-citizen fashion faux pas if I ever saw one. Poor Supergirl, she really gets short-shrift here, and Kara's face would be indistinguishable from Imra's if she didn't have the better hairdo.

Pages 21-22: Reep and Gim's origins. Is this the first time we find out that Gim is of the Jewish faith? I'd always thought Paul Levitz was the one who'd established that, but I guess not (unless he did it during his first Legion run?)

Page 23-24: Wah-huh? Boring old Star Boy gets TWO WHOLE PAGES?

Page 25: Uh-oh, Latham, BUSTED! So why all the voyeurism? I haven't re-read this mini-series in years, but something tells me we're not going to get a satisfying answer. That last panel, though, with Querl wondering if one of the team members is under suspicion of trying to kill Brande, is admittedly intriguing.


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#922707 - 02/28/17 03:10 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Cobalt Kid Offline
Bold Flavors
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If you don't want my peaches, ...
Secrets of the Legion of Super-Heroes #1

At long last, I’ve gotten the chance to read the Secrets of the Legion miniseries! This is my first time ever doing it and I have to say that even with some high expectations, I was not let down at all! I enjoyed it from start to finish and found myself smiling and enjoying every inch forward in Legion history.

E Nelson Bridwell, a man who loved the Legion perhaps more than any one, shows both his unequaled knowledge of the LSH (at the time) and the aforementioned love of the franchise. Paul Kupperberg’s script is seamless (for the most part) and the art by Jim Janes and Frank Charamonte is fantastic, continuing their excellent run of Legion stories thus far. All of this makes for an issue that dumps a huge amount of information but never feels like an index—instead it is full of mystery, action, intrigue and just a huge swath of great characters.

Of course, the best part is how Bridwell builds off his late Silver Age origin of the LSH to further condense and lay out the Legion’s still murky history. While a lot of it is familiar to all of us, it must have been quite a treat when it came out. Even more than that are the little things that he includes, like the by-now-ultra-obscure Concentrator, Marla Latham’s involvement, etc. This issue particularly does such a good job showing the earliest days of the Legion that you can see how it was the single biggest influence on the first few issues of the Reboot, which Waid & company so brilliantly delivered (which made me a Legion fan for life).

The Lucifer 7 sequence provides a nice break in the story, and also lets Luornu and Tinya have a chance to shine.

Of course, the opening panel with all the Legionnaires is wonderful. It’s amazing how few of these types of panels there have been thus far in Legion history. The entire team just didn’t get together all at once that often.

All in all, it’s hard to find any negatives here. I’m anxiously awaiting the next issue!

Last edited by Cobalt Kid; 02/28/17 03:14 AM.
#922708 - 02/28/17 03:17 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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If you don't want my peaches, ...
Future: love, love, love this cover set! As usual, you have your fingers on the pulse of the issues encompassing the Archive.

FC, you are correct that this is the first time Gim is mentioned as coming from Israel! Very interesting addition to the mythos! We already knew he was Jewish an Archive or two back (the Christmas story?).

It’s also interesting how some of these details which Bridwell painstakingly lays out eventually get shuffled around, such as Gim joining before Lyle, and Star Boy being the 13th Legionnaire. That is all done by Levitz in the next few years, showing that perhaps there has never ever been a single point in Legion history where the history was set in stone.

I’m also interested in Arlayn! Who the heck is she? Why hasn’t she ended up being a super-important character in Legion lore?

#922767 - 02/28/17 12:14 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Touring Bgtzl and Bgztl with M...
Secrets of the Legion #1

The story opens on a lovely groups shot of the Legion worrying over their founder, RJ Brande. Only a miracle can save him, and let's hope it's not needed in a hurry, as no one could get through the throng of heroes to administer it. Just the mention of a miracle, would have previously brought in the miracle machine for a very short mini series. But that's been eaten by Matter Eater Lad.

The doctor is a bit light on the facts and heavy on the hints. Brande is the second person to contract Yorrgian Fever (a close relation to Handwavium Hangovers according to the Drura Sehpt Bumper Book of Boo-Boos and Sniffoos).

I've only been able to think of one possibility, but the merest detail of it, so early in the book would clearly anger the Plott Gods.

While the Legion are all with Brande, who's minding the store? Tee Hee, the writer is thinking the same thing, and the HQ is being infiltrated by two persons that the security system treats as allies. With a pause for the female burglar to strike a pose and show us her long blonde hair, it's off into the Legion's personnel files!

First up is Cosmic Boy, and we get an on panel origin from the text piece in Adv #352, with the addition of Rokk�s dad having been quite rich. We get more on Imra Ardeen. In v7 Levitz showed Imra using telekinesis as a mistake. But her mom did have those powers as shown here. I also think that a series of Imra Ardeen: Teen Agent is well overdue.

Lightning Lad's origin shows us both Mekt and Ayla, as well as Mekt's departure to what would eventually be a berth in the Legion of Super villains. Superboy 147 picks up nicely from that point, showing Garth going to look for him.

We learn that the two infiltrators are looking for a particular Legionnaire. But they don�t find that person in the origins of the founders.

We see the trio save RJ Brande, again much as per Superboy 147, and we learn that the person behind the assassination attempt, Doyle, died in prison. There's a hint that not much is known about Doyle, that will pay off later on.

The updated history allows for the inclusion of the Quintile Crystal from DC Super Stars 17. But it's not all dry files, and we see the early Legion tackle Lucifer 7 after the destruction of the Eyth system. Lucifer is used as the ret conned introducer of the concentrator, first shown in the Legion�s possession back in Adventure #321. Both this and the crystal would be part of the introductory issue of the TMK run in v4. Although there, the text said that the system had been saved.

So Bridwell weaves the early issues of the Legion around the Superboy 147 origin, tweaking things like Time Bubbles; order of membership; the omission of heroes with mechanical devices; and upgrading spacecraft along the way

But as the files start to become a bit tedious, the infiltrators also feel their time undetected is nearly up. The plot becomes very thin, when it's revealed that the male burglar is Marla Latham. He was shown in the origin files, earlier in the issue which is a nice touch. He was always best known from his association with Ultra Boy, and we know they later fell out when Ultra Boy was accused of murder. Perhaps it is this souring of relations that resulted in him entering the Leigon HQ in this way. It does seem odd. If he's there to find something to help Brand, then why not just tell the Legion, so they can help? If Brainiac's concern that there could be a Legionnaire behind Brande's illness doesn't go anywhere in the next issues, it would seem to be a very odd approach. Considering Brainy's own mental state, the most likely suspect would be himself.

Another strange thing is why Latham thinks there's a clue in the Legion files. The doctor wasn't exactly giving hints out earlier in the issue. Perhaps he's given Latham some additional information? I hope that thread also makes more sense next issue.

I can take or leave origin issues really. While this tries to weave a consistent origin for the team, I had no problems not knowing before I even read Superboy #147. I don't mind so much if it's a strong story in it's own right. This issue tries to introduce a mystery connecting Brande's condition to one of the Legionnaires, while giving us a potted history of each member. So, if you had to give the reader the details of each, it's as good a way as any. The plot form Bridwell is certainly better than the dialogue from Kupperberg though.

But it was all beginning to become a bit dry towards the end. While we got an adventure for the three founders and for the two that joined after them, the later part didn�t provide much context in terms of adventures as we jumped through profiles. There are the odd plot threads to be resolved too. The art is a bit of a let-down, particularly as I've seen much better Janes work elsewhere. It looks a bit rushed, between more regular jobs.

Great cover as always Future!


"...not having to believe in a thing to be interested in it and not having to explain a thing to appreciate the wonder of it."
#922774 - 02/28/17 02:45 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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She ran and called him Wildfire.
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Yay! More reviews. I loved FC's succinct assessment of the issue as well as Fanfie's page-by-page breakdown. Cobie continues to find fannish joy in all this, and thoth provides his own detailed analysis.

And Future delivers on the cover once again!

When Secrets of the LSH came out, it was this fanboy's dream--though, in hindsight, it doesn't offer much that is new. Nevertheless, combining all of the Legionnaires' origins into a single volume is the stuff upon which fandom is built. I was always a sucker for such things.

Much of this issue is very dry, though, and some things get short shrift while others are expanded upon with no rhyme or reason. Cos's origin gets all of six panels, while Tinya's first mission is given six pages to establish her as a valuable member of the team. On the other hand, Lu gets a one-page recap of events we already know while Star Boy's origin (also info we already know) takes up two pages.

Fanboy writers such as Bridwell have to make difficult choices about what to include and what not to include when they retell old stories. At this remove, we probably don't need a recap of Thom's Superboy-like powers--but it's there nonetheless. The Quintile Crystal episode (the Legion's first mission) is significant, but it could be shortened. And then there's Lucifer Seven, the badass new villain of the Legion's past. He serves as nothing more than a bridge to explain how the Legion came to invite Superboy and Supergirl into their ranks. One would think that the Legion's victory over someone who had annihilated an entire star system would carry more weight.

I'm not clear at this point if Marla and Arlayn know what they are looking for in the files. They brush past Cos's origin yet spend an inordinate amount of time on other things. It makes sense that they would bypass the origins of Legionnaires whose parents are well established, if they know they are looking for

R.J.'s offspring or a blood relative


but why spend all this time on Gim's origin, for example?

The book does what it needs to do--present the origins and collective history of a large number of characters--and does so in a way that is more or less competent for the times: there is a plot concerning the Legion's benefactor dying, several mysteries, and some new information worked in. It's not perfect by any means, but it gets the job done.




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#922789 - 03/01/17 05:27 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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He Who, thanks for the kind words, and for providing an important perspective...

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
When Secrets of the LSH came out, it was this fanboy's dream--though, in hindsight, it doesn't offer much that is new. Nevertheless, combining all of the Legionnaires' origins into a single volume is the stuff upon which fandom is built. I was always a sucker for such things.


...while still maintaining enough objectivity to see it for what it is, no more and no less:

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Much of this issue is very dry, though, and some things get short shrift while others are expanded upon with no rhyme or reason.

Fanboy writers such as Bridwell have to make difficult choices about what to include and what not to include when they retell old stories.


Agreed, and I would add that I think it also comes down to a lack of firm editorial guidance -- Jack C. Harris is certainly not my least favorite Legion editor of all time, but from re-reading both "Secrets" currently, and the first few Conway issues recently, I get the impression that, for Harris, the Legion was nothing more than paycheck work. He's not without talent -- as a writer, he co-created the Modern Age version of the Ray back in the 90s -- but with the Legion, he seemed to be...indifferent. And with Conway (or in this case, Bridwell) appearing to have been an unsteady metaphorical helmsman, it's clear to me that Captain Harris was never going to inspire him to do his best. To stretch the metaphor to the breaking point, the good ship Legion completed its missions and made it back to port safely, but it just all seems so...humdrum. At least it does to me.

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
And then there's Lucifer Seven, the badass new villain of the Legion's past. He serves as nothing more than a bridge to explain how the Legion came to invite Superboy and Supergirl into their ranks. One would think that the Legion's victory over someone who had annihilated an entire star system would carry more weight.


Good point. I admit I was too busy laughing at how ridiculous he looked to pay proper attention to the captions and dialogue.

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
The book does what it needs to do--present the origins and collective history of a large number of characters--and does so in a way that is more or less competent for the times: there is a plot concerning the Legion's benefactor dying, several mysteries, and some new information worked in. It's not perfect by any means, but it gets the job done.


It's a pity that this projects successor-of-sorts, "Who's Who in the Legion of Super-Heroes", ended up getting the dry encyclopedic format. This time around, there were people involved who really cared about the Legion -- Karen Berger, Barbara Randall-Kesel, Mark Waid, and several Legion-fans-turned-pros on art (albeit with some artists admittedly being more talented than others) -- and I think if had been done in the sequential format, it would have been awesome.


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#922831 - 03/01/17 03:59 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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She ran and called him Wildfire.
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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
I'll trust your insight on the editor and writers, Fanfie. I have no idea how they worked together or what sort of guidance Harris may have offered.

I do think that for many of these men (and they were almost always men in those days), it was indeed about earning a paycheck. Conway, in one interview, described being under contract to write a certain amount of pages for DC every month. No matter what your passion is, it becomes rote after awhile--a matter of meeting goals or metrics. It's difficult to sustain passion over several years of doing the same work when you have mortgages, taxes, and other things that demand your attention and finances.

I still have "Who's Who in the LSH," and I suppose I should re-read it before commenting further. However, I remember very little about it. There is something to be said about working all this information into a narrative--it's much harder to do and requires much more from the writer (and from the audience). Encyclopedias are very easy to put together--they require no creativity, only a repetition of already established facts and maybe a few added details. To write a compelling story around exposition takes talent.


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The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#922916 - 03/03/17 02:10 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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thoth lad Offline
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Originally Posted by Cramer
I'm not sure how much of this material is new, other than the Eyth System incident. There have been so many origin stories over the years;


Bridwell has diligently gone through the bits and pieces of previous stories and combined them into a single tale. That’s quite a bit of research, eased by the Superboy issue origin he did earlier. I’m sure he really enjoyed making the decisions involved in combining them all. Cobie points out all the little things he’s brought in, like the Concentrator, to make it all a ore seamless whole.

The trick is to make it worth reading as a story, and not have the exercise itself become the focus of a dry recap. It pretty much works, and when even the characters are wanting to get a move on, it would seem that Bridwell knows it’s time to move the plot on.


Originally Posted by Cramer
There really isn't any purpose for Marla and Arlayn to dress in black with masks other than to hide their identities from the reader.


Yeah, it comes across as a device to take the reader into the story, but without the necessary pay off to make it work. I guess we’ll find out f Marla has any ulterior motives in the next issues. For example, he needed to determine the link to a single Legionnaire because that Legionnaire is a killer, or that Latham values Brande’s life over that of a Legionnaire and is willing to kill to get Brande back.


Originally Posted by Cramer
Blonde female associates all look distressingly the same to me

A recent OmniSurvey revealed that this is one of the most popular disguses for Durlan infiltrators. “Everyone in the books is a blonde goddess to the point, they all blur into the background,” revealed Durlan activist A’irr H’ehdd.

On the various Fickles (Welcome Back!) points, I agree that the dialogue is worse than the plot and that the art is weak by the standards of those involved. I didn’t mind the opening panel, and it even provides a plot point as they’re all away form the unguarded HQ. From recent rereads, it’s been well established that the HQ security is

Good comparison on the previous HQ break in, and I got a chuckle from the Rokk comments. Even in this recap, it’s clear that Imra is the star of the three founders, in terms of experience and potential.

The costumes, the original names, the inventions are all tweaked along with the removal of pretty much anything before a flight ring. If it wasn’t for those being a key invention by one of the team, I’d imagine that they would be in a retconned origin from the start.

Star Boy’s changing powers (due to being completely forgotten and essentially replaced by Ultra Boy’s power expansion) are always going to get him extra panels in an origin, it would seem.


Originally Posted by Cobie

…showing that perhaps there has never ever been a single point in Legion history where the history was set in stone.


Very much this. Bridwell has pulled together an internally consistent background. But there could be any number of interpretations from the same source material. I think there’s a lot to be said for the original writers being more concerned with delivering an entertaining story, that slavishly setting up a framework that all of their work had to fit within. There’s so many gaps where imagination can flourish.



Originally Posted by HWW
The Quintile Crystal episode (the Legion's first mission) is significant, but it could be shortened. And then there's Lucifer Seven, the badass new villain of the Legion's past. He serves as nothing more than a bridge to explain how the Legion came to invite Superboy and Supergirl into their ranks. One would think that the Legion's victory over someone who had annihilated an entire star system would carry more weight.


I was wondering if the first mission got so much space, due to it being a more recent addition. It perhaps had a different weight to trying to summarise lots of the early adventure issues. That might explain the extra space devoted to Lucifer, and why what he had done didn’t have more of a lasting impact. I mentioned that v4 thought the Legion had saved the system.

Other panel space considerations may have had to do with upcoming character focus. Gim has been getting some subplots in the main book for example. Or perhaps, like everyone else, Bridwell has his favourites.


Originally Posted by Fickles
I get the impression that, for Harris, the Legion was nothing more than paycheck work. He's not without talent -- as a writer, he co-created the Modern Age version of the Ray back in the 90s -- but with the Legion, he seemed to be...indifferent. And with Conway (or in this case, Bridwell) appearing to have been an unsteady metaphorical helmsman, it's clear to me that Captain Harris was never going to inspire him to do his best.


As has been mentioned, Conway’s contract, at one point, meant that he was guaranteed to get a certain number of books/pages in a month. That was pre implosion. After that, he’d get the books, but the choice of which books was a lot narrower. With fewer books, I could see a lot of people simply happy to have the work.


Originally Posted by Fickles
Good point. I admit I was too busy laughing at how ridiculous he looked to pay proper attention to the captions and dialogue.


While I did think was silly looking previously, I did notice he has a certain bulk to him compared to the other characters, that sets him physically apart. And a certain Japanese demon quality too.


Originally Posted by Fickles
It's a pity that this projects successor-of-sorts, "Who's Who in the Legion of Super-Heroes", ended up getting the dry encyclopedic format.


I only knew about the Legion Who’s Who well after I’d got the ain run. But I really like the format, and that whole Who’s Who series generally. It’s the narrative parts at the front of each book that I don’t go back to. I’ve used them quite a bit since joining LW.


"...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."
#922917 - 03/03/17 03:22 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Thank you for the kind welcome-back wishes, Thoth.

Originally Posted by thoth lad
Originally Posted by Cramer
Blonde female associates all look distressingly the same to me

A recent OmniSurvey revealed that this is one of the most popular disguses for Durlan infiltrators. “Everyone in the books is a blonde goddess to the point, they all blur into the background,” revealed Durlan activist A’irr H’ehdd.


LOL lol

Originally Posted by thoth lad
On the various Fickles (Welcome Back!) points...

Good comparison on the previous HQ break in, and I got a chuckle from the Rokk comments.


Yay! Thankies.


Originally Posted by thoth lad
Originally Posted by Cobie

…showing that perhaps there has never ever been a single point in Legion history where the history was set in stone.


Very much this. Bridwell has pulled together an internally consistent background. But there could be any number of interpretations from the same source material. I think there’s a lot to be said for the original writers being more concerned with delivering an entertaining story, that slavishly setting up a framework that all of their work had to fit within. There’s so many gaps where imagination can flourish.


I agree 100%, Thoth, and, at the risk of sounding pretentious, I've become fond recently of referring to a 1976 comment from Todd Rundgren after an interviewer asked him why he would court controversy by recording covers of songs from the most highly-regarded artists of the previous decade -- Todd replied that he saw his artistic intentions as being in a similar mould to those of a classical-music conductor reinterpreting familiar symphonies. I think that applies to Bridwell's intentions here, and certainly to the overall concept of fan fiction as well.

Originally Posted by thoth lad
Originally Posted by Fickles
It's a pity that this projects successor-of-sorts, "Who's Who in the Legion of Super-Heroes", ended up getting the dry encyclopedic format.


I only knew about the Legion Who’s Who well after I’d got the ain run. But I really like the format, and that whole Who’s Who series generally. It’s the narrative parts at the front of each book that I don’t go back to. I’ve used them quite a bit since joining LW.


Glad you mentioned the front-loaded narrative sections in each issue. They could have definitely been done better. It might have had something to do with Steve Lightle apparently jumping off the project shortly after it was already under way. Perhaps Berger & Waid were forced to cobble together any old things just to fill the allotted pages. Ah, well... sigh

Oh, and as for reference, my go-to resource of late has been not Who's Who in the LSH, but rather the Legion section of Michael Kooiman's Cosmic Teams website:

http://cosmicteams.com/legion/


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#922992 - 03/04/17 11:25 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Originally Posted by thoth lad
Originally Posted by Cramer

[quote=Cramer] There really isn't any purpose for Marla and Arlayn to dress in black with masks other than to hide their identities from the reader.


Yeah, it comes across as a device to take the reader into the story, but without the necessary pay off to make it work. I guess we’ll find out f Marla has any ulterior motives in the next issues.


We'll find out that Marla wanted to be a super-hero and was insanely jealous of the Legion, so he put on a costume any chance he got.

Arlayne went along because it was time and a half.

Quote

Originally Posted by Cramer
Blonde female associates all look distressingly the same to me

A recent OmniSurvey revealed that this is one of the most popular disguses for Durlan infiltrators. “Everyone in the books is a blonde goddess to the point, they all blur into the background,” revealed Durlan activist A’irr H’ehdd.


I'd totally read a comic starring A'irr H'edd.

Quote

I didn’t mind the opening panel, and it even provides a plot point as they’re all away form the unguarded HQ.


Loved the opening panel--though it features Superboy and Supergirl, who both quit some time ago.

Quote



Originally Posted by Cobie

…showing that perhaps there has never ever been a single point in Legion history where the history was set in stone.


Very much this. Bridwell has pulled together an internally consistent background. But there could be any number of interpretations from the same source material. I think there’s a lot to be said for the original writers being more concerned with delivering an entertaining story, that slavishly setting up a framework that all of their work had to fit within. There’s so many gaps where imagination can flourish.


Absolutely. Who knew that decades later fans would be parsing stories, looking for clues, and trying to make sense of throwaway lines?

Levitz in an interview somewhere said that he saw the writers and artists as sort of a conduit through which information about the characters flowed, meaning the information would change depending on the writer and artist. In one way, this explanation is a cop out, a way of excusing inconsistencies. In another way, it makes perfect sense: Everything from Star Trek to the Bible is reinterpreted by different tellers.

Quote


Originally Posted by HWW
The Quintile Crystal episode (the Legion's first mission) is significant, but it could be shortened. And then there's Lucifer Seven, the badass new villain of the Legion's past. He serves as nothing more than a bridge to explain how the Legion came to invite Superboy and Supergirl into their ranks. One would think that the Legion's victory over someone who had annihilated an entire star system would carry more weight.


I was wondering if the first mission got so much space, due to it being a more recent addition. It perhaps had a different weight to trying to summarise lots of the early adventure issues. That might explain the extra space devoted to Lucifer, and why what he had done didn’t have more of a lasting impact. I mentioned that v4 thought the Legion had saved the system.


Case in point!

Quote
Other panel space considerations may have had to do with upcoming character focus. Gim has been getting some subplots in the main book for example. Or perhaps, like everyone else, Bridwell has his favourites.


Good point. It makes sense that current Legionnaires like Tinya and Gim would be emphasized over retired Legionnaires like Lu and deceased Legionnaires like Lyle (though we return to him later on, as I recall).


Quote


Originally Posted by Fickles
Good point. I admit I was too busy laughing at how ridiculous he looked to pay proper attention to the captions and dialogue.


While I did think was silly looking previously, I did notice he has a certain bulk to him compared to the other characters, that sets him physically apart. And a certain Japanese demon quality too.


Lucifer Seven would have fit in quite nicely with the theatrical/glam rock scene in the '70s (Alice Cooper, Kiss, Angel, etc.). Too bad this comic was published in 1980, when that scene was pretty much passe.



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#923009 - 03/05/17 06:09 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
We'll find out that Marla wanted to be a super-hero and was insanely jealous of the Legion, so he put on a costume any chance he got.


I thought that's what Spiffany would turn out to be. "Look! In the Sky! Gem Lad will save us from this Jello villain!" "No, I won't. It's too stupid! Stupid!"



Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Loved the opening panel--though it features Superboy and Supergirl, who both quit some time ago.


Yeah, it was a nice surprise to see them there. I wonder if this was plotted before Tyroc left, as he's there too. Actually, all three are next to each other. Superboy's appearance means that he can be front and centre on the cover


Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Levitz in an interview somewhere said that he saw the writers and artists as sort of a conduit through which information about the characters flowed, meaning the information would change depending on the writer and artist. In one way, this explanation is a cop out, a way of excusing inconsistencies. In another way, it makes perfect sense: Everything from Star Trek to the Bible is reinterpreted by different tellers.


I've always liked the Levtiz explanation. I always felt it bolted on very nicely to all the times the reader is told "history is very vague on what happened to..." or "WWIIII/Infinite Secret Time Wars meant that so much of history was lost from that period." as a way of avoiding having to detail anyone's fate. But mainly, it's a nice way of saying not to worry too much about it, as interpretations are bound to vary and conflicting information is going to appear.

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Lucifer Seven would have fit in quite nicely with the theatrical/glam rock scene in the '70s (Alice Cooper, Kiss, Angel, etc.). Too bad this comic was published in 1980, when that scene was pretty much passe.


Yes, KISS posters from the 70s. I thought there was something familiar. Thanks HWW!


"...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."
#923011 - 03/05/17 06:32 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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There was a Kiss comic book (a one shot?) which I confess to having bought frown but don't recall if they tried to take over the galaxy. I do wonder if Lucifer Seven could have been the inspiration for Lobo.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#923019 - 03/05/17 08:18 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
I do wonder if Lucifer Seven could have been the inspiration for Lobo.


And inspiration for Ze Tongue 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."
#923107 - 03/07/17 03:38 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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#274 R.J. Brande is Dying! by E. Nelson Bridwell & Paul Kupperberg, art by Jim Janes & Frank Chiaramonte, colours Gene D'Angelo, letters Ben Oda

[Linked Image]

Marla defends himself against Wildfire's angry accusations, but refuses to say why he's combing through Legion personnel files. An unusually modest Brainiac 5 recounts his own story, going back to the original Brainiac, followed by his ancestors Vril, Pran and Kajz, along with Supergirl's admission to the Legion; then a brief background on Shrinking Violet is read. Marla still refuses to say exactly what he's looking for. After the Superboy story, Mon-el is asked to tell Sun Boy's history then Ultra Boy chimes in on himself and Bouncing Boy. Projectra deals with Matter Eater Lad and bemoans his current state of insanity.

The reader is reminded of Lightning Lad's death and revival, the loss of his arm, Light Lass's impersonation of him, Mon-el and Element Lad's backgrounds, various tragic events, Karate Kid and Projectra, the Evillo/Devil's Dozen story, Dream Girl, Shadow Lass and Timber Wolf. Througout the retelling, Wildfire and Marla bicker.

Then Saturn Girl arrives and spills the beans, having read Marla's mind and berating him for “this farce”. She announces that R.J. had said, in his fever delirium, that he was the father of one of the Legionnaires.

Comments:
Different Legionnaires chime in to tell the stories, which helps the flow of this history lesson. It's pretty much a retelling of old stories, but there is a lot of material so I had the sense of reading a substantial issue.

Marla should have known all of these stories; at the very least, he knew Ultra Boy's history, yet no mention is made of his role in sponsoring Jo for Legion membership.

There are a few new nuggets: Mysa accompanied Nura to Earth, Projectra sought Legion membership because she was bored with being a princess, Bismollians evolved the ability to eat anything after their crops were made poisonous by microbes, the names of Brainy's ancestors.

There's also a text page on The Fatal Five and the LSV and a two-page spread of the Legion HQ. The HQ has a Missile Launching Platform, but I don't recall that it's ever been used in a story. The structure is “reinforced with thyno-plastic lined with maganium intertron” - they must have meant inertron and I believe thyno-plastic was a newly mentioned material.

The end-panel bombshell promises a more significant story in the next issue. Only Dawnstar and Wildfire have not had their histories told (although the deceased members Ferro Lad, Invisible Kid and Chemical King were skipped over), so one might wonder if one of them is R.J.'s offspring.

I can't say I loved the art; it seemed pretty rough in places.



Holy Cats of Egypt!
#923124 - 03/07/17 09:37 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Secrets of the Legion of Super-Heroes #2

It’s kind of odd reading Secrets of the LSH. As a rabid LSH fan for so long, and someone who has enjoyed milking every ounce of minutiae possibly for years (well, decades now, but let’s not dwell), reading all of these origin stories is kind of…well, boring. I mean, I love that this miniseries exists and it’s cool to have all the continuity up to this point all in one place, but I can’t help but start breezing through it without reading all the dialogue since for the most part I know it all already. I think indexes such as this are much more effective for new or casual readers. In fact, they are probably the best thing for casual readers who are then converted into more hardcore, dedicated readers. I know when I was a kid and I read my Dad’s History of the DC Universe, Who’s Who and Marvel Index comics, I absolutely loved them and absorbed them.

So I didn’t really like #2 as much as I liked #1. At least there we had some sidebars where we got some new stories for a few pages. Here, it was all pretty straightforward other than some bickering between Marla and Wildfire and then the surprise ending.

The artwork was also a little rough here too. It felt inconsistent and therefore a little rushed.

I’m also interested in the parts that are left out, as if perhaps they aren’t quite as important and the pages can’t be spared. Where is Ferro Lad? Chemical King? Nemesis Kid? Once again, I’m also intrigued by the order presented here, which is totally tossed aside in almost no time. I never once in my LSH reading career thought the order of membership was anything like presented as it is here. By the time I was an avid reader, a lot of this had long since been replaced. Now that I’m reading it for the first time, it’s like find an apocryphal Gospel at Nag Hammandi.

If anything, this issue reminds me that when a story includes a large info dump and therefore needs a narrator as a tool, it almost never works to have multiple narrators. The "I guess I'll take over now" and "well, my turn to tell the tale" side comments as jarring and annoying. It's something I've noticed all my life (especially in comic books during the Bronze Age and 1980's), but I never really spent time thinking about it.

#923126 - 03/07/17 10:18 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Secrets of the Legion was the first place that Gim was said to be Israeli, but he was already established as Jewish in the Legion story in DC Special Series # 21 (the holiday issue).


Chaim Mattis Keller
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#923151 - 03/07/17 03:20 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Secrets of the Legion #2

The Legion welcome their old friend Marla by threatening to punch him in the face. Wildfire is a complete tool. It’s another scene where no one gives a straight answer and the obvious follow up questions don’t occur. The secret to saving RJ Bande’s life lies within the computer. But rather than get help finding it, we go straight into the chronological membership files. At least there’s a decent segue from Brainy talking to Marla into his own history.

I always thought Supergirl’s retrieval of Excalibur was a little daft, but I suppose it’s all part of the charm. Besides, Levitz took care of it later. Some of the stories this issue covers aren’t huge favourites. But at least they’ve upgraded the Super Moby Dick of Space! smile

Marla drops a hint on what he’s looking for, but the flashbacks continue, instead of anyone pushing the issue. Other characters begin to wonder what’s going on, and drift into the room in time to tell their stories. When Jo appears, I thought we were going to see why Marla kept his infiltration secret. The two are far from being on best terms. But there’s not a mention. Nor is there a mention of Marla’s role as adult advisor and Jo’s guide to becoming a Legionnaire in the first place. In all of the origin stories, this is a missed opportunity to tie the story into more current tales, and provide a bit more personality to the proceedings.

Jeckie seems very concerned about Tenzil’s miracle machine inspired madness. Were there rumours about the two? Or was that Nura and Tenzil?

There’s a bit of a thematic grouping as Lighting Lad loses an arm, Bouncing Boy his powers and Star Boy is expelled. Something from a Luck Lords story. But then it’s back to the origins. In the end, Imra walks in and reveals that Marla has been investigating the files because Brande is the father of one of the Legionnaires.

Imra doesn’t usually go in for invading someone’s mind, so it doesn’t sit to well here. Neither does Marla stringing the Legion along, when he could just have easily told them.

I’m curious how Marla knows Brande’s links. Perhaps it’s to do with his history with Brande. It’s a shame that it also wasn’t linked to his time as an adult advisor too. His seeing a connection between some of the Legionnaires and Brande, as they joined would have added some depth to the proceedings. But if the story went that way, he wouldn’t have to sit through all the files. Nor is there a feeling that the reader is being let in on what could be the secret. There’s an isolated hint, and that’s about it.

In summary, we start with Latham discovered and end with the next plot point; the secret of Brande. Filling in all the panels between is a little pointless hostility with Wildfire and a series of origin stories.

Last issue, I noticed that Tyroc had been missed out of the text page. This issue, they’ve skipped on giving origin issues, realising that a lot of them are in this series.


"...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."
#923152 - 03/07/17 03:24 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Will post my review of SotLSH #2 sometime tomorrow, and catch up with all the comments after that. One thing I will say right now -- out of the 3 front covers, I think the one for the 2nd issue is easily the best. Gods bless Dick Giordano, as underrated a penciler as only someone with so many other accomplishments (as inker, editor, and executive editor) can be.


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#923159 - 03/07/17 03:40 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fanfic Lady]  
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Originally Posted by Fanfic Lady
Will post my review of SotLSH #2 sometime tomorrow, and catch up with all the comments after that. One thing I will say right now -- out of the 3 front covers, I think the one for the 2nd issue is easily the best. Gods bless Dick Giordano, as underrated a penciler as only someone with so many other accomplishments (as inker, editor, and executive editor) can be.


Yeah, all that time going through the computer and it was in The Legion File Book all along. The figures along the border, while distracting away form the main image, are lovely. It's a shame it wasn't a theme in the other two issues. Like the faces in the JLA/Squadron team up. The cover for #3 reminds me of the JLA cover where they're shown abandoning the Earth. Here, they're just trying to get away from Mr Selfish 2980. But that lies in the future...


"...not having to believe in a thing to be interested in it and not having to explain a thing to appreciate the wonder of it."
#923175 - 03/07/17 06:33 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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She ran and called him Wildfire.
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The Plateaus of Ecstasy
Secrets of the LSH 2 is like listening to a song you've heard on the radio countless times. There's nothing new here, but it's an enjoyable experience nonethless. As FC notes, we learn that Mysa accompanied Nura to earth for the latter's Legion tryout, but nothing comes of this revelation. We also learn that Jeckie was bored being a princess, a nice character motivation but ultimately inconsequential. The revelation about Bismoll's microbes and the names of Brainy's ancestors' had been introduced before.

Even though the story employs multiple narrators, it seems to work here--especially the conversational feel to the origins. Things are presented out of order, as they would be if people were simply sitting around, chewing the fat. This non-linear retelling helps lump some information into themes (such as the unlucky Legionnaires) and requires some back and forth with Dream Girl's membership--but it works, and keeps the "talking heads" narrative less predictable.

I didn't much care for the revamped Super Moby Dick of Space or Thom killing Kenz Nuhor by causing a tree limb to fall on him instead of shooting him. I don't know if this was due to lack of reference or an editorial decision, but these depictions were jarringly inconsistent with past stories.

I also didn't care for the cover, which is misleading on two fronts: Superboy does not appear in the present story (and is even mentioned as having left the Legion), and there's no reason why the Legion's secret must mean the end of the team--but perhaps Brainy had forgotten to take his anti-psychotic meds.

It also must be noted that, in 1980, this comic and others like it performed a valuable service for fans. The Internet did not exist, and back issues were hard to come by. I lived in St. Joseph, MO, at the time, and the closest comics shop was in Kansas City, 60 miles away. Clint's Comics (which still exists on Main Street) had most of the back issues, but they were incredibly expensive--$3-4 each! It took me several years to collect these stories. But here are the main parts, all summarized in a nice, three-issue volume: The Legion's greatest hits.


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#923189 - 03/08/17 03:57 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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Originally Posted by thoth lad

Jeckie seems very concerned about Tenzil’s miracle machine inspired madness. Were there rumours about the two? Or was that Nura and Tenzil?


In 5YL, it was Nura and everyone. I'd have to check, but I know Jo was mentioned and I think Tenzil also, as "visitors" to Naltor's High Seer.

Quote
In summary, we start with Latham discovered and end with the next plot point; the secret of Brande. Filling in all the panels between is a little pointless hostility with Wildfire and a series of origin stories.


Pointless hostility seems to be the point of Wildfire in many instances. I felt in this issue he was still occupying the leader's role. Where was Garth?

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
The revelation about Bismoll's microbes and the names of Brainy's ancestors' had been introduced before.


New to my fading memory! smile

Quote
It also must be noted that, in 1980, this comic and others like it performed a valuable service for fans. The Internet did not exist, and back issues were hard to come by. I lived in St. Joseph, MO, at the time, and the closest comics shop was in Kansas City, 60 miles away. Clint's Comics (which still exists on Main Street) had most of the back issues, but they were incredibly expensive--$3-4 each! It took me several years to collect these stories. But here are the main parts, all summarized in a nice, three-issue volume: The Legion's greatest hits.


Good point; these issues would have been a great recap of history that a lot of readers would have missed. It's easy to forget that there were no Archives back then, and back issues were expensive, or unavailable. Like Cobie, I prefer the index-style for character histories but this series would have been a boon for Legion fans at the time.

Did DC or Marvel produce anything similar for other groups like JLA or X-Men?


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