Who's Online Now
2 Legionnaires (Brain-Fall-Out Boy, Brain-Fall-Out Boy, Paladin, Paladin), 1 Murran Spy and 15 Spider Guild Agents online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Television Trouble-Finder
Time-Scope
Star Trek:Discovery
by Brain-Fall-Out Boy. 09/25/17 06:07 PM
Inane One Word Posts XXX - keep it clean
by Legion Tracker. 09/25/17 06:05 PM
Birthday wishes to He Who Wanders
by Legion Tracker. 09/25/17 06:04 PM
More evidence of future LSH in CW Supergirl
by Legion Tracker. 09/25/17 05:34 PM
WR's Legion Pixels
by Harbinger. 09/25/17 02:33 PM
Answering Questions with Questions XVI
by Quislet, Esq. 09/25/17 02:24 PM
Kill this thread - one second edition
by Quislet, Esq. 09/25/17 02:23 PM
Universe-Monitor
DC Comics
Legion Wiki
LMBP Yahoo! Group
LMB Wiki
Facebook Legion World
Twitter Legion World
Legion at Cosmic Teams
Legion of Super-Bloggers
The Legion Omnicom
Legion Abstract
Year 3000 - Legion RP site
The Future Begins Now - Legion RP site
We Are Legion - Legion RP site
Unofficial Guide to the DC Universe - Legion
Mike's Amazing World of DC Comics - Legion
Legion of Super-Heroes Online Companion
Hero History at Major Spoilers
Interlac, the Legion of Super-Heroes APA Facebook group
Klordny: Devoted to the Legion of Super-Heroes
APA 247 Yahoo! Group
It's OK, I'm a Senator
Get-a-Life Boy's Legion of Super-Heroes Site
Titanstower
The Legion Files
Heaven4Heroes - Legion
Legion of Super-Heroes fanfic
Glamazonia presenta: Legione Dei Super-Eroi
Super Future Friends
Legion of Substitute Podcasters
Blockade Boy
The Legion of Super-Heroes - Kevin Leung's Original Comic Art Gallery
The Superhero Network Entertainment Group
Omnicom
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Page 6 of 6 1 2 3 4 5 6
#930257 - 05/30/17 09:14 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 23,449
He Who Wanders Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.
He Who Wanders  Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.

Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 23,449
The Plateaus of Ecstasy
281 does indeed feel like it's played for laughs, and most of it bombs terribly. I did enjoy Val being pressed into the service of dealing with the neighbor lady. Kal/Jo forgetting his glasses was an understandable faux pas.

Paul Levitz returns as scripter with this issue, and it almost feels like he and Thomas kept a running competition to see how much trivia they could throw in. We've got the Molecule Master (a long forgotten villain from eighty issues earlier), whose only purpose here is to tie him into Reflecto's "death." We've got Lana as snippy and unreasonable snoop who leaves in a huff. We've got a scene of "Jo" testing out his Superboy powers, even though it was already established that he can use more than one power at a time. We've got the Time Trapper's Iron Curtain of Time to prevent Superboy from traveling into the future. And, of course, we've got the Time Trapper himself.

When I first read this issue, I probably appreciated all of these nods to past Legion stories. Continuity always made super-hero universes seem "real." Nowadays, these things just grate on me. Nothing should be in a story unless it serves a vital purpose for being there, and little of the above does. The plot is padded beyond belief, and the action scenes are neither convincing nor satisfying.

Tinya's use of her Bgztlian dimension-hopping to save Superboy and Dawnstar is one redeeming feature, even though it makes no sense that she couldn't use her powers at all a few moments earlier. At least she shows character here by not running and leaving her friends behind.


Check out my new Power Club website!

The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#930548 - 06/02/17 07:47 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 34,598
Cobalt Kid Offline
Bold Flavors
Cobalt Kid  Offline
Bold Flavors

Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 34,598
If you don't want my peaches, ...
I've caught up on LSH #280 and 281, having read them together, and my general thought it this: there is certainly a lot of potential in this storyline to be something good, or at least 'pretty good', but there are a lot of narrative shortcomings that really make the story fall flat. FC says #281 starts to "wear thin" and that's a great way to put it, especially having read them both in one sitting (and on a noisy train too, which didn't help).

It's a combination of things: they spend too much time in Smallville, the Time Trapper acts too much like a cipher (as usual), the nosey neighbor lady is played like a 60's sitcom, the Ditko art in part 2 doesn't work, the Jo / Superboy plot is really dragging on, the Imra & Tinya costumes in Smallville scene felt like a creepy attempt to show sexy humor (as does the random Dawnstar shower scene)...I could probably go on. While there are some nice bits, such as Val, Dawnstar and Blok having nice moments and the military played up well, overall the issue felt like it was taking too long to get there and it was too distracting to enjoy the journey.

The use of the Molecule Master is inspired but even that isn't well done because the fight with the Legionnaires feels totally flat and un-choreographed. It's a classic Roy Thomas moment, where he wraps up a decades old dangling plotline, but it's hard to actually enjoy it when the story doesn't exactly bring it home.

The most exciting thing about this issue ended up being Levitz back as scripter and announcement at the end that he was returning.

For most of this thread, the statement I've made again and again was that the Conway issues were nowhere near as bad as people remember them to be, and that there was actually a lot of good. But as this 'Reflecto Saga' continues, I've found that these issues are actually pretty rough. I'm eager for it to be over.

#930690 - 06/03/17 12:44 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: thoth lad]  
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 23,449
He Who Wanders Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.
He Who Wanders  Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.

Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 23,449
The Plateaus of Ecstasy
Originally Posted by thoth lad
Legion 281

Perez arranges his cast like a target on this great cover that again is added to by the text. Perez is the man for detail, and it’s the sheer number of soldiers he draws that crushes our heroes in a circle around Supeboy. But is it Superboy? They think so, but he denies it, even though he’s in the suit. The street sign gives away the fact that they are in our century. Not only that, but the sign tells us it’s Smallville too. Karate Kid has a great defensive pose, Dawnstar looks about to fly while Blok does what he does best, act as a shield to the others. I really hope the soldiers don’t fire while encircling.



Great analysis of the cover, thoth. Perez put so much thought into this single image. How things might have been different had he drawn the whole book!

Another aspect I admire about this cover: the number of non-white soldiers--eight by my count. This was at a time when black people still weren't featured in Legion comics or even on many covers of other comics.


Check out my new Power Club website!

The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#931085 - 06/07/17 11:56 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 15,346
Fat Cramer Offline
Fat Cramer  Offline


Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 15,346
Café Cramer
LSH #282 If Answers There Be by Roy Thomas & Paul Levitz, art by Jimmy Janes & Bruce Patterson, colours Gene D'Angelo, letters Ben Oda

[Linked Image]

The Legionnaires are jailed in Smallville, talking to Chief Parker and Major Crowell; Val manages to insult the army major. All is viewed by a delighted Time Trapper.

On Bgtzl, Superboy realizes that he no longer has Jo's memories. He, Tinya and Dawnstar take on the Dirigible Dictator, as Tinya vaguely recalls that this was a troubled time on her home planet, then decides that they shouldn't get involved. Dawnstar has a feeling that they should search for Jo in the trans-dimensional space between Earth and Bgtzl. They find Jo, but can't tell if he's alive.

Lana Lang tries to see the Legionnaires in jail and activates her Insect Queen Powers. Garth prays that his wife is alive.

Jo turns out to be alive, but encased in an aura; he can speak but not move and explains what happened. When the power crystal exploded, he was not only turned into a phantom but found he could move backwards in time. He headed to 20th century Smallville for Superboy's help/ He was still a ghost and could not be seen or heard, but somehow felt his mind move into Superboy and take over. However, it was only his memories that moved and he no longer knew who he was. He did know that he needed power to be freed, so took he atomic bomb that was being tested to explode in the air. It didn't work, but he did get to 2981. The post hypnotic command Imra had put in Superboy's mind was activated, leaving him very confused. For protection, he assumed the disguise of Reflecto.

Superboy thinks that another nuclear explosion might free Jo from the aura and proceeds to create one with radioactive rocks.

Lana Lang as Insect Queen has been captured by soldiers, when Jo appears to free her; Tinya revives Imra and Superboy frees the other Legionnaires. They leave for 2981, assisted by Jo and Kal's super-speed. They arrive at the Time Trapper's lair and turn a time-ray on him, sending him into oblivion – although Garth doubts that he's gone for good.

The Legion welcomes Jo back, Imra plants a new command in Superboy's mind to forget the entire Psycho-Warrior incident and he leaves to return home. The Legionnaires add a Reflecto statue to the Hall of Dead Heroes. Jo and Tinya depart for some serious snuggle time.

Comments: Repost from original misplaced in the Archive 14 thread.

Thank heavens that's over! The contortions used to explain the Reflecto mystery are worthy of an Olympic acrobat. Many WTF moments while reading; it barely made sense, even by comic book standards.

Even the editor appears to have eyes glazed over as Major Crawford in #281 becomes Major Crowell in this issue.

Imra's power is often used to move a plot along by revealing important information, but here she's kept out of the action to drag the story out long enough for guest appearances by Chief Parker and Insect Queen, as well as a bit of social commentary by Karate Kid and severe anxiety from Garth.

The Bgtzl Dictator scene didn't do anything except give the trio an excuse to go back to Earth.

Phantom Girl AGAIN takes the defining action by turning the time-ray on the Trapper.

That the Trapper was so easily defeated is disappointing. This wasn't one of his better appearances and I wonder why he didn't just turn everyone into glorp (or whatever that was that he did to Glorith). We can only take Garth's caution that the Trapper might be back as hope for a more challenging foe next time.

The ending was upbeat but, really - do you think Jo Nah would have nervously gulped when a sultry Tinya tickled his chin and suggested a getaway? It made me think of Ayla hitting on Pol Krinn - which hasn't happened yet - but it seemed out of character for Jo.

Last edited by Fat Cramer; 06/07/17 11:58 AM.

Holy Cats of Egypt!
#931107 - 06/07/17 03:26 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 18,522
thoth lad Offline
Tempus Fugitive
thoth lad  Offline
Tempus Fugitive

Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 18,522
Touring Bgtzl and Bgztl with M...
Legion 282
No Perez for this cover. But there’s a nice framing technique all the same. Three Legionnaires have found Ultra Boy in some sort of phantom zone, but they’re in trouble from the Time Trapper who is watching them in his Villains-R-Us Omni Viewer. The text goes along well with the expressions of the heroes. The three are well chosen. Dawny to find him, Tinya to access the zone and Superboy to increase sales, and also to deal with any big threats.

We open with the male Legionnaires in a cell, having been knocked unconscious at the end of last issue. It doesn’t seem to matter what year you find yourself in as a comic character. The locals will also have a steady supply of power dampening shackles on hand. They’ve also managed to get a lot of really quick drying cement in order to encase Blok inside a …well...block. Our futuristic heroes are trapped. The locals are actually prepared to give them some benefit of the doubt, which makes a nice change. Despite Superboy clearly messing with an atomic test, they look as though they’ve been through enough Superboy stories in the past to realise that not everything is as it seems. Val is drawn as Caucasian this issue, which is just as well, as some of the dialogue would take a different tone otherwise.

An easy way for a writer to link scenes is to have the villain able to monitor everything that’s going on. As per the cover, the Trapper can magically view inside the police station. Another way to link scenes is to have a flashback as a way of reminding us of what happened last issue. Then, with those characters shown to us again, we can see what they’re up to know just as our villain ponders about it.

Dawny, Tinya and Kal have ended up on Bgztl (and not Bgtzl). Of course, it’s a thousand years before the Legion’s time and we’re told it’s before the race got their phantom powers. Interestingly Tinya’s powers work differently when she’s home. She phases into Earth’s plane in order to be a phantom on her home world. Dawny’s powers don’t seem to work at all well, which is unconvincing, but characteristic of the way they are portrayed over the years.

Kal recovers his own memories and there’s a nicely drawn panel showing the loss on Tinya’s face. She realises that her chances of finding any chance of Jo has become more remote. The trio have a pedestrian encounter with some aerial villains, with the only plus spot being a reminder that the Legionnaires have spent a lot of years in space combat. This has honed their spatial awareness and balance. Having decided that it’s not their place to alter Bgztl’s history, and having padded enough panels, Dawnstar hints that she might know where to find Jo.

Somehow Jo has ended up in trans-dimensional space a thousand years before his birth. Dawnstar was able to detect his trail as the three moved from Earth to her home world last issue. Had she mentioned it earlier we could have been saved from seeing the Dirigible Dictator. Jo is surrounded by an aura, but recovers with convenience to tell the others not to break it. Dawny goes back to Earth for help.

Jo fills in Tinya and Kal on what has been going on. Unfortunately, there’s no facilities in inter-dimensional space for them to get a coffee or catch some sleep in between chapters.

What seems like a lot of issues ago, Jo was caught in a power sphere blast. This was when he was an amnesiac pirate, after he’d already gone through a similar blast and been considered dead. The explosion turned him into a phantom, although not one Tinya could see, which seems like a wasted opportunity. Years later, Threeboot Tinya would be the one to spot Mon El for example, while Brainy was haunted by the personality of Dream Girl.

Although amnesiac, the explosion must have reminded Jo who he really was as he managed to travel back to Earth with the Legion. When he couldn’t contact them after a single attempt, he gave up rather impatiently after found he could travel back in time. Why hang around in Brainy’s lab, or try to contact one of the others, when you can go back a thousand years? Jo was bounced back in time in later years too, and it’s a shame he couldn’t have just used his newfound powers to travel back the way on either occasion.

Back in Superboy’s time, Jo’s attempt to communicate with Clark only succeeded in
shunting the Boy of Steel’s personality aside. Brainy may want to look more closely at those telepathic earplugs (which the writer had mentioned deliberately earlier on, so he does get some points there). Trying to get free, Jo felt he needed a burst of energy. What better than an atomic bomb test? Rather than burrow underground where it was to occur, he brings it up to the surface to endanger everyone involved (although they all looked much too close anyway)

Rather than clear his mind, Jo/Clark just became even more confused. But he knew enough to travel into the future and to the Legion. This is where something comes in form an older issue to add another wrinkle to proceedings. Clark had received a post hypnotic command from Saturn Girl to forget the future after he learned about the death of his parents. It was much stronger than the usual mind wiping his “friends” put him through every time he visits them. It used to be that Clark would remember when he got into the future, but with this new mind wipe he doesn’t remember much at all after it hits him again.

As confused as a reader of this saga, he doesn’t know who he can trust. Jo/Clark creates a Reflecto disguise so that he can go and stalk Tinya as seen in previous issues. Years later, TMK would show us that he took this persona from a real Rimborian hero called Reflecto. It’s also another use of his disguise skills that would also come to the fore in the TMK era.

As we’ve seen, the confused hero is revealed to be Jo’s brain in Superboy’s body during their fight with Grimbor.

We return to inter-dimensional space with Tinya and Clark desperately looking for Dawny’s help to guide them out of the Plot Labyrinth.

Although Jo warned Tinya and Clark not to touch the aura surrounding him, Clark figures that this won’t apply if the force used is one from an atomic explosion. In his head, and probably the plotter’s this adds some symmetry to the story. But only in their heads.

With Jo not obliterated by Superboy smashing two planetoids together, they return to Bgztl and free their comrades. There, Garth had been thinking that Imra might be dead, although there’s no evidence of anything of the sort. He was slumped outside Grimbor’s castle having a rant, and he’s doing something similar here. These are scenes that help determine how Garth’s tenure as leader is remembered.

Lana Lang, rebuffed last issue, tries to break in with a silver age, and very creepy, reprisal of her Insect Queen persona. She’s inexperienced as is caught, just in time to be saved by the returning Legionnaires. Imra goes in for a bit more effortless mind reading of her colleagues along the way. I’m sure she can make up with Tinya about it later, which is a recent theme.

There’s just time to defeat the Time Trapper in half a dozen panels. The poor guy was initially only taking advantage of the situation. But the Legion track him down easily and he’s blasted away. Mordru was given short shrift recently too, and they deserve a lot better, especially if they are to remain as major threats. As we’ll see in later issues, their status is certainly greatly reduced with The Great Darkness arrives.

As some of the memory problem arose from his post hypnotic implant, Imra wipe the Psycho Warrior episode from Kal’s mind. This removes the need to constantly block his knowledge of his parents’ death. I got the feeling it was something that bothered the writer, and it opens up the book for Superboy’s return to the team in some capacity.

The final scene shows us a statue of Reflecto in the Hall of Heroes. It had been the Jo statue, but they’ve modified it. It’s good that they can wander into the Hall of Heroes and laugh at how the statue came to be. Because the Hall of Heroes was clearly lacking in comedy, what with people coming in to pay their respects to Andrew, Lyle and Condo. Later, TMK would reveal that the statue would be switched to show the real Reflecto. He died fighting the Molecule Master as per the Adult Legion story showed way back in the Adventure days. That’s parallel with what was briefly hinted at during this story, but which never came to anything.

Jo and Tinya then take off for a few days to catch up in a rather grown up way. It’s another example that the kids that started in the book are quite a bit older now.

Superboy goes back to his own time hoping for a presidential pardon. I don’t think “I was possessed by one of my friends from the future2 is going to do anything other than set up Anti-Supes contingency plans.

That was the closing issue of the Reflecto saga. I do remember quite a few ridiculously convoluted comics of this era, and this has to be right up there with them. I associate it as more of a Marvel thing, and it’s no surprise to see Roy Thomas involved here. The creative switching around won’t have helped anyone, and he is someone who seems quite happy wrangling with various bits of continuity.

I’m struck by the negatives in this one. There are whole chunks of the story that didn’t do anything. Bgztl was a side trip in panel padding. The Time Trapper was really wasted, appearing as a meddling Golden Age villain whose plans are easily thwarted.

Having to devote so much time to explain what had really been going on in the last few issues, shows how off track the whole thing had become. Even when they find Jo, his aura becomes yet another needless plot twist. It could all have been condensed into a much simpler story. I put down the shifts in the changing creative teams, making it almost like DC Challenge adventure of the Legion.


"...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."
#931120 - 06/07/17 09:10 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 23,449
He Who Wanders Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.
He Who Wanders  Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.

Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 23,449
The Plateaus of Ecstasy
I re-read 282 last night and enjoyed it, though, after reading FC's and thoth's reviews, I agree that much of it doesn't hold up. Okay, almost all of it. This is a dopey Silver Age-type plot that makes sense only if you don't think too much about it. But it hits a lot of emotional chords: Jo's back. Kal's back. Tinya's love for Jo. Even Lana's failed attempt to play the hero. It's good to see her and Chief Parker again. This issue is imbued with the sweet smell of nostalgia.

I also didn't mind the detour into 20th century Bgztl, as it gave us a glimpse of the history of a Legionnaire's homeworld. Disappointingly, though, 20th century Bgztl looks just like 20th century America, down to the policeman's uniform. It would have been nice to see something totally off the wall in their culture. Instead we get the Dirigible Dictator (ugh! What a name.) We also learn that Bgztlians hadn't discovered their powers yet. While the latter is no doubt a plot-convenient device to make Tinya unique in battle, it provides us with some intriguing hints of back story which could be developed by some enterprising writer.

The lengthy exposition of what happened to Jo is a tried-and-true device used by both Marvel and DC. What works for me here is seeing events from Jo's perspective. I did appreciate how Thomas tied everything together, including Imra's post-hypnotic command as the cause of Jo/Kal's amnesia. Again, it's something that works only in comics, but it builds nicely off of what had been established before.

Other things don't work quite so well. Why does Jo's ultra energy allow him to travel backwards in time? How do the telepathic earplugs enable him to impose his consciousness on Superboy? Why does Superboy think an atomic explosion will free Jo from the aura, and why does it? Because the writer sez so, that's why.

So, the Reflecto "saga" lumbers to a close, and the big pay-off is the truth behind the Reflecto statue in the Hall of Heroes. This kind of adds a new perspective to the image of Superman walking down the Hall on the cover of Adventure # 354, but that perspective doesn't amount to much.


Check out my new Power Club website!

The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#931201 - 06/09/17 04:04 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 15,346
Fat Cramer Offline
Fat Cramer  Offline


Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 15,346
Café Cramer
The nostalgia appearances certainly would have some appeal. The story did remind me of those Adventure era tales in which just about everybody appears. This issue did draw on a lot of earlier events to explain the situation; it just seemed to throw it all into this final story rather than build the connections slowly like a well-crafted mystery.

Quote
Having to devote so much time to explain what had really been going on in the last few issues, shows how off track the whole thing had become. Even when they find Jo, his aura becomes yet another needless plot twist. It could all have been condensed into a much simpler story. I put down the shifts in the changing creative teams, making it almost like DC Challenge adventure of the Legion.


Fewer convolutions and less padding would have made this a significantly better story. I figure three issues could have covered the whole thing. Comparing it to a DC Challenge is a good description, it's just a challenge that lost its way. It reminds me a bit of that scene in the movie Apollo 13 when a NASA director dumps a box of components on a table and tells the engineers: here, fix the problem with this stuff.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#931212 - 06/09/17 10:54 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 23,449
He Who Wanders Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.
He Who Wanders  Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.

Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 23,449
The Plateaus of Ecstasy
Yes, the entire Reflecto saga did not need half a year to be told.

One aspect that bears mentioning, though, is that the famed "dilation of time" has caught up with Superboy's era. Val remarks that it's now the early '60s. Vietnam hasn't happened yet, but there's a reference to the Beatles, suggesting this story takes place in 1964-65. Dilation of time was a continuity device to keep Superboy's stories always about 15 years before Superman's adventures in the present. It was a convenient device but one that played at odds with the desire of fans and some creators to see our heroes grow up. (This "desire" is hinted at, almost literally, in Tinya and Jo's dialogue at the end of the story. We're not told explicitly that they're going to go off and have sex, but come on!)

If any of you've read Scott McCloud's wonderful series, Zot!, he plays homage to the dilation of time device in an inventive ways. The characters on Zot's world celebrate New Years Eve, but, as 1964 rolls into 1965, the clock resets itself to 1964--and only Zot's friend from earth, Jenny, notices that the year hasn't changed.


Check out my new Power Club website!

The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#931261 - 06/09/17 04:56 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 18,522
thoth lad Offline
Tempus Fugitive
thoth lad  Offline
Tempus Fugitive

Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 18,522
Touring Bgtzl and Bgztl with M...
Originally Posted by Crameycat
Even the editor appears to have eyes glazed over as Major Crawford in #281 becomes Major Crowell in this issue.


Good spot. I thought that it was a decent change to have the supporting cast, not be completely against the heroes.

Originally Posted by Cramer
Imra's power is often used to move a plot along by revealing important information, but here she's kept out of the action to drag the story out long enough for guest appearances by Chief Parker and Insect Queen, as well as a bit of social commentary by Karate Kid and severe anxiety from Garth .


Good point about Imra. It's probably just as well Levitz came aboard, if Imra was going to have to be knocked out every issue just because the writer had made her too powerful/ couldn't build in some power limitations. Having said that, under Levitz she was preggers and then left, so...

Originally Posted by Cramer
Phantom Girl AGAIN takes the defining action by turning the time-ray on the Trapper.


This story goes down as a plus from Tinya. Even though a lot of it is all about Jo, it does show how good she is when they're not clinging onto each other.

Originally Posted by Cramer
That the Trapper was so easily defeated is disappointing. This wasn't one of his better appearances and I wonder why he didn't just turn everyone into glorp


It turns out that Splorrps are actually where Proties come from and they beat the Trapper up.

Originally Posted by Cramer
The ending was upbeat but, really - do you think Jo Nah would have nervously gulped when a sultry Tinya tickled his chin and suggested a getaway? It made me think of Ayla hitting on Pol Krinn - which hasn't happened yet - but it seemed out of character for Jo.


There's been a group of thought that Jo is a complete faker. Sure, Rimbor has a tough reputation. But Jo may well have been from the more privileged side of it, either going off to play with the naughty kids, or faking that he had. Jo's much more of a jock than a brain, and that reputation may be useful to him. It may also have helped him get through his training programme leading to that trip with Marla that got him membership.

Originally Posted by He Who Reviews
Disappointingly, though, 20th century Bgztl looks just like 20th century America, down to the policeman's uniform. It would have been nice to see something totally off the wall in their culture.


That's how I remember Bgtzl. Utterly dull, but with the possibility of airship travel.

Originally Posted by HWW
The lengthy exposition of what happened to Jo is a tried-and-true device used by both Marvel and DC. What works for me here is seeing events from Jo's perspective. I did appreciate how Thomas tied everything together, including Imra's post-hypnotic command as the cause of Jo/Kal's amnesia. Again, it's something that works only in comics, but it builds nicely off of what had been established before.


Having read a lot of Thomas comics, this isn't out of place. He does get points for adding in some ties to previous stories. More points, because they're a combination of major and minor things. He's taken that Reflecto statue, and instead of giving us the loss of a long term Legionnaire, has given us something a little more prolonged than Supergirl as Unknown Boy or Mon- El as Legionnaire Lemon. So, it's in keeping with that sort of story but updated to Thomas' approach. Well, partly with that approach, and partly distorted through creative changes.


Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
One aspect that bears mentioning, though, is that the famed "dilation of time" has caught up with Superboy's era. Val remarks that it's now the early '60s. Vietnam hasn't happened yet, but there's a reference to the Beatles, suggesting this story takes place in 1964-65. Dilation of time was a continuity device to keep Superboy's stories always about 15 years before Superman's adventures in the present. It was a convenient device but one that played at odds with the desire of fans and some creators to see our heroes grow up. (This "desire" is hinted at, almost literally, in Tinya and Jo's dialogue at the end of the story. We're not told explicitly that they're going to go off and have sex, but come on!)


That's an excellent observation perhaps showing the widening of the gap between Superboy and his childhood friends, that would see him take less and less of an active role as publishing time went on.


Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
If any of you've read Scott McCloud's wonderful series, Zot!, he plays homage to the dilation of time device in an inventive ways. The characters on Zot's world celebrate New Years Eve, but, as 1964 rolls into 1965, the clock resets itself to 1964--and only Zot's friend from earth, Jenny, notices that the year hasn't changed.


I've not read Zot! although saw it advertised in a number of things I have read. I'll need to see if I can find it.


"...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."
#931344 - 06/10/17 09:08 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 23,449
He Who Wanders Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.
He Who Wanders  Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.

Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 23,449
The Plateaus of Ecstasy
I highly recommend Zot! There's a certain nostalgia embedded in it, but McCloud also addressed contemporary issues teenagers were going through and did so with unflinching honestly. Hands down one of the best comics series I've ever read.


Check out my new Power Club website!

The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#931575 - 06/13/17 03:52 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 15,346
Fat Cramer Offline
Fat Cramer  Offline


Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 15,346
Café Cramer
LSH #283 The Startling Secret of Wildfire by Roy Thomas & Paul Levitz, art by Howard Bender & Bruce Patterson, colours Gene D'Angelo, letters Ben Oda

[Linked Image]

Wildfire is training Legion Academy students Lamprey, Nightwind and Crystal Kid in mock battle. He easily defeats them. The two women ask if they have a chance at the Legion; he replies that they need more practice. When they playfully embrace him, he reacts badly with an energy burst which sends them falling through the air since they haven't mastered the flight ring. Apologies all around; Wildfire decides to tell them his story to explain his bad reaction.

He was a disinterested student of astro-engineering, with a girlfriend Kerri and an interest in Professor Vultan's daughter Zera. Fooling around during some lab work on a new propulsion system, he casued a discharge of anti-matter energy which somehow transformed his body and repelled any positive matter. He was contained in a tube and Vultan declared that his only chance for existence was to be contained in an experimental Erg-suit – but secretly, so as to avoid trouble with the university. Kerri learned of the accident and assumes he has died. Anti-matter being Drake is transferred to the suit and he regains full consciousness.

Zera explains how the suit works and Vultan explains Drake's predicament – that the world thinks he's dead and that he can not be restored to human existence. Although devastated by this, Drake sets to learning how to master his suit and powers. He approaches his old girlfriend, frightens her but, as she speeds away in her car, she nearly causes a serious accident. Wildfire prevents it by blasting her car; he saves her although she's injured and he blames himself.

He then recounted his history applying to and becoming a Legionnaire. He returns to see Professor Vultan, learns that he died and accepts to help Zera with an experiment. She has fooled him and is draining his bio-energy, blaming him for her father's death. He implores her to relent and she does, but, weeping, tells him to never return. He then checks in on Kerri, who has a new love; he approaches her to apologize for scaring her without revealing he is really Drake Burroughs.

The cadets leave for the day as Wildfire thinks about what the Legion means to him and how he no longer has the extra powers of his original suit. Unseen, Lightning Lad has been listening to his story. Garth catches up to him and they walk to the HQ together, trading a few mild insults.


Comments:

If this story was meant to make me like Wildfire, it succeeds. Apart from his initial appearance as Erg-1, he's been an angry, critical loudmouth with a few flashes of sincerity, leadership and heroism. This reveals the roots of his personality and, while I can't comprehend what it's like to be an anti-matter energy consciousness, I get a sense of what he's lost. It makes the bluster less tiresome.

He has often been at loggerheads with Garth so it's a rather comforting ending to have Garth not only hear Wildfire's story, but extend a hand of camaraderie as they walk to the HQ. It will be interesting to see, in the issues ahead, to what degree Garth and Wildfire get along – of if this aspect of their relationship is just forgotten and it's back to trading insults.

That Wildfire would share this very personal story with three cadets is telling. Does he trust them not to spread it around, or does he not care at this point? Does he feel he has nothing to prove to them and can reveal his vulnerabilities? His relationship with Dawnstar has not really progressed at this point, and it appears that he has no close friends among the Legionnaires. This makes his situation even more poignant.

Zera is a one-shot appearance, which is disappointing. She could have either turned villain or hero in a future story. A cold fish with her own problems, she might have become a friend to Wildfire and a help to the Legion, in a mad scientist sort of way.

The artist is a new one for the Legion, I believe, and is a welcome change as far as I'm concerned.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#931605 - 06/13/17 08:04 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 528
Ann Hebistand Offline
Active
Ann Hebistand  Offline
Active

Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 528
LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES V.2 #283, "THE STARTLING SECRET OF WILDFIRE"

Writer - ROY THOMAS Artists - HOWARD BENDER (pencils) & BRUCE PATTERSON (inks) Editor - MIKE W. BARR

It's no secret in the Legion World community that Drake "Wildfire" Burroughs is my favorite male Legionnaire. And so, this issue has a special place in my heart, being as it finally confirms what Paul Levitz had only hinted at during his 1977-1979 (Mark-1) Legion run, particularly in the span of issues covering Earth War through Omega: That underneath the bad temper and the frequent lapses into arrogance, Drake is a deeply melancholy and highly principled sentient whose idealism not only makes a vital contribution to the Legion, but also keeps him sane. How ironic, then, that the only credited writer on this issue would be Roy Thomas, that distinguished chronicler of all things Golden Age Retro, barbaric, and late Silver Age/early Bronze Age Marvel, but whose few contributions to the Legion mythos are considered, overall, a misfire by fan consensus?

But before I put in my 2 cents about Roy and Wildfire, I want to talk about the front cover, as pencilled, inked, and signed by the late, great Jim Aparo -- at this time, he was doing many covers for DC, in a seemingly random set of assignments, and with mixed results. LSH #283, however, has what I consider a truly awesome cover! I find it dynamic, well-designed, and making good use of the way Aparo's style had evolved since he'd arrived at DC nearly 15 years earlier -- the finely-stippled detail of those classic early-70s Brave & Bold and Phantom Stranger issues having gradually given way to a straightforward, direct and economical purity of line. It may not have worked for every artistic gig thrown Aparo's way, but IMHO it sure as hell works on this issue's front cover.

As for the inside contents, I think that guest penciller Howard Bender, who would go on to contribute the majority of LSH #295 (the flashback to Universo's days as a rogue Green Lantern), and one sequence of LSH #300, does a capable but rather bland job. And Bruce Patterson, an inker who'd cut his teeth at Marvel (particularly over Kerry Gammill's superb pencils for Power Man & Iron Fist), was often very good, but seems rushed here (and given the turnover of writers, artists, and even editors over the course of the infamous Reflecto saga, I can only assume that this issue was drawn in a desperate rush to get the LSH book back on schedule.

In the end, though, the art performs its storytelling functions with clarity and efficiency. And this is, after all, much more a writer's issue than an artist's issue -- kudos to Roy for reining in his worst quirks (stilted dialogue, overcrowded cast, pointless continuity fixes that slow the pace down to a crawl) in the service of a no-nonsense and character-rich script, in which Drake's sketchy backstory is more-than-satisfactorily fleshed out: A bored, careless, aimless, party animal of a college-boy suffers an accident and suddenly becomes...well, very much unlike other humanoid sentients. Roy doesn't rub the disability-related subtext in our faces, but it's there in plain sight -- in Drake's feelings of helplessness and freakishness as he adjusts to his new life, in his poignant encounters with his ex-girlfriend, and in the near-homicidal (yet almost understandable) mania of Zera, the bereft daughter of the scientist who saved Drake's life at the cost of considerably shortening his own.

By issue's end, Drake has achieved a degree of what today would be termed "closure," though he doesn't understand exactly what prompted him to open up to the Legion Academy students and why he goes back to his default sarcastic abrasive persona immediately upon seeing Garth. But then, Drake does tend to be a doer rather than a thinker, which, given the context of his newly-provided origin, makes perfect sense, because if he did allow himself to overthink anything, it would make him a danger to himself and others. And therein lies the secret of Drake -- tremendous resilience born of desperate need barely keeps him together, both literally and figuratively.

#931733 - 06/14/17 03:44 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 18,522
thoth lad Offline
Tempus Fugitive
thoth lad  Offline
Tempus Fugitive

Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 18,522
Touring Bgtzl and Bgztl with M...
LoSH 283

It’s another well designed cover, with Wildfire’s power using body splitting up the page into vignettes from his life. He’s been a popular addition to the group, with his attitude often at odds with the Adventure outlook of many of the others. So, it’s not a surprise that we see him get a spotlight issue. No mean feat considering the size of the cast.

Thomas gives us a look into Wildfire’s origins, through a standard framing sequence, with one little switch two thirds in and a nicely paced (if almost fatally careless) introduction.

The framing sequence, and the reason why Wildifre is keen to share his origins also acts as a catch up with three applicants last seen in issue 272. Crystal Kid has had a colour change, and his overconfidence and high opinion of himself ends his training session with a splash. Nightwind sends Wildfire into the same pool as her fellow applicant, Lamprey, blasts him. Wildfire quickly turns the tables, although I don’t believe for a second he’s agile enough to jump through energy rings. It’s all for the purposes of the plot.

Thomas needs to get the two female applicants away from Crystal Kid. That’s because this issue’s inciting incident comes when the two ladies attempt to kiss Wildfire after being let down graciously after their test. Although he effectively started proceedings by mentioning their attractiveness, he reacts badly at their touch.

Lamprey is nearly impaled on a pointy spire. Fortunately, her fellow applicant can control winds. In comic book terms, this means she can move people around easily. Unfortunately, the plot insists that Wildfire saves Lamprey and, by way of apology, feel obligated to tell his origin story. It’s a Secret Origin too, as he hasn’t told his fellow legionnaires. I note that the spire was destroyed and that no one bothered to check who, if anyone, it landed on.

I had always wondered if Drake was too old to gain admittance into the Legion, as his earlier origin stated he was a fully-fledged astro-engineer when his industrial accident converted him into Erg-1. This origin adds that he was actually a student doing some placement lab work. It changes him from being a capable engineer in an unfortunate accident into being a clowning student who brought it on himself and who was lucky no one else was hurt. There are pluses and minuses to both.

Drake was a not very attentive student and we meet his lecturer, Professor Vultan, and his daughter, who play an important part after his accident. We also meet Drake’s girlfriend and their young love relationship. The relationship Drake has with all three are really the story in this issue.

Burroughs is saved by Professor Vultan. At the time he thinks it’s convenient that the professor had the ERG-1 suit around. His daughter seems reluctant to let Drake use it, but instructs him during the testing of it. She is also the one to convince everyone that it would be better for Drake to be considered dead. That’s certainly what Drake’s girlfriend thinks. Even when she suspects the truth of what Drake has become, she convinces herself that she’s wrong. She runs form the truth and into an accident that Drake saves her from. But it’s an event that further reinforces what he’s become. His initial horror had been replaced by curiosity and a sense of discovery helped by proximity to Vultan’s daughter. Now, he had been firmly reminded of his true situation.

We get a reprise of Drake’s failure to get into the Legion in #195 and his subsequent sacrifice. We see his return in #201 to foil the Molecule Master. This origin story connects the Molecule Master’s links with the Time Trapper from recent issues. Wildfire’s story may have come from Mr Thomas’ plots for those issues.

It’s the time it took for Erg-1 to return to Legion HQ and become Wildfire that make all the difference. In his absence, Professor Vultan has died. His daughter had been using Drake’s bioenergy to keep her father alive. With him gone, her father wasted away. In another twist, the suit was originally supposed to be for her father who willingly sacrificed it without a word. Although vengeful, his daughter can’t bring herself to kill Drake, although he does have to remind her of her father first.

Drake’s relationships don’t get any better when he goes to see his former girlfriend only to find that she has moved on. Again, Kerri suspects, but she has chosen her path.

The framing sequence ends with Wildfire encouraging the trio of applicants to keep trying. Nearby, we discover that Garth has either super disguise or super hearing powers, as he’s caught Wildfire’s secrets. The two have often been on opposite ends of arguments, but there’s a sense of mutual respect as they walk back into the clubhouse together.

Legion books have had a long tradition of applicants. We get to see more of these three than the usual few panels of the Adventure days. It won’t be long before the Legion Academy becomes a bit more prominent and they become part of it. Later stories will show that they still have strong sympathies for Wildfire.

This issue is another step to showing Drake as an instructor and advocate of the Academy in bringing forward the next generation of Legionnaires. It’s something that will remain all the way to the Legends of Dead Earth Annual, where a centuries old Burroughs tries to bring through new versions of the team.

Apart from goofing off to cause the accident, there’s something endearing about the young Drake. He’s rightfully caught up in the experiences he’s having. It makes him becoming something he considers a thing all the more difficult for him to take. I did think that it looked a little like another version of Sun Boy’s origin and personality. Drake has a few doomed relationships in this issue. It doesn’t get much better between him and Dawnstar, reinforcing the work here.

There is something creepy about the way he leches after the Academy girls. Later writers could have focused a little less on his clingy scenes with Dawnstar, which ended up being to the detriment of both, and more on showing how difficult it was for him to adjust to simple longings. The other option is to have a big reveal issue where it turns out that the Academy lech is really Terry Long under the visor.

It’s a little too convenient for Garth to have overheard the story. I’m sure it comes over as a nice ending but I’m not sure how much long term genuine growth there is. Garth knowns how vulnerable he is, so is willing to let go what a tool Drake can be. There’s no need to help Drake develop as a person. Drake, on the other hand, thinks it’s fine to be a tool because he’s completely self-aware this issue. He knows it’s just a form of lashing out from his condition. Again, there’s no real desire to overcome being like that, so much of an acceptance that it’s fine to be that way.

But in summary, a good issue. It connects up previous Wildfire appearances with the attention to continuity that Thomas does so well. In addition, we have some excellent character moments, a cast that grows through the story and some lovely Bender art.


"...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."
#931746 - 06/14/17 04:45 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: thoth lad]  
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 528
Ann Hebistand Offline
Active
Ann Hebistand  Offline
Active

Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 528
I'm afraid I have to take issue with a couple points from your review, Thoth:

Originally Posted by thoth lad
There is something creepy about the way he leches after the Academy girls. Later writers could have focused a little less on his clingy scenes with Dawnstar, which ended up being to the detriment of both, and more on showing how difficult it was for him to adjust to simple longings. The other option is to have a big reveal issue where it turns out that the Academy lech is really Terry Long under the visor.


Firstly, he's only 2 or 3 years older than them at most. And either way, he's not a lecher. Dawnstar is strikingly beautiful, and even though Drake no longer has red blood coursing through his now-nonexistent veins, he's still capable of intense sexual attractions. For all his mooning over Dawnstar and his pining for her, it was, as I recall at least, always very chaste and tasteful, in keeping with the Comics Code of that time. And where the HELL is he seen leching on Nightwind and Lamprey? Nothing personal, Thoth, but I'm getting more than a little sick of readers seeing that kind of s**t where it isn't necessarily there. Is it in a lot of Wolfman Titans issues? Yes, that's undeniable. But comparing Drake to Terry Long is not funny -- in my opinion, it's defamation, fictional characters or not.

Originally Posted by thoth lad
Garth knowns how vulnerable he is, so is willing to let go what a tool Drake can be. There’s no need to help Drake develop as a person. Drake, on the other hand, thinks it’s fine to be a tool because he’s completely self-aware this issue. He knows it’s just a form of lashing out from his condition. Again, there’s no real desire to overcome being like that, so much of an acceptance that it’s fine to be that way.


It seems quite obvious that our opinions of Drake are 180 degrees apart. But even with me being willing to accept that, I still think you went too far. He does NOT think it's okay to be a tool, and I don't think the story portrays his attitude that way. Yes, he has been often been a jerk before this issue, and he will often be a jerk after this issue. That doesn't effing mean that he's resigned himself to being that way, or that he doesn't try to work on it (to the best of his ability, at least, being as he is a doer rather than a thinker), or that he's without redeeming qualities.

Again, Thoth, nothing personal, and if I had not already been in such a foul mood this evening, I'm sure my answer would be a lot less angry. But I think there have to be boundaries -- hell, even I, with my reluctance to mince words, still try to set boundaries for myself even when talking about Legionnaires I dislike.

#931761 - 06/14/17 08:35 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 23,449
He Who Wanders Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.
He Who Wanders  Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.

Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 23,449
The Plateaus of Ecstasy
I don't think Wildfire is a lech--just a flirt. As for his being a tool, it seems to me that "tool" and "jerk" are pretty much the same thing--a slight difference in degrees, perhaps. I'm not sure I understand your objection to thoth's point, Annfie. I think each of you interprets the character and his motivations somewhat differently.

As for me...Drake falls into the same realm of characters as the Thing: a hero so tragically misshapen by circumstances that he cannot find love in the usual sense. Ben Grimm found love in Alicia Masters, a blind sculptress. Drake does not find love but he does find purpose, belonging, and even camaraderie in the Legion. Interestingly, both Drake and Ben rely on sarcasm and tough guy talk. In Ben's case, this personality seems to have been shaped by his upbringing more than the effects of gamma rays. Drake seems to have adopted this personality as a defense mechanism against the horrific reality he found himself in: loss of a physical body, confined to a suit, and, ultimately, loss of the relationships which mattered most to him.

There is so much in his origin story, and yet...the telling of it falls flat to me. It's a by-the-books origin: a ne'er do well kid who makes a fateful mistake (see: Johnny Blaze), great power at the expense of great personal cost, a lost love or two, a mentor who cannot be saved (see: Crash Simpson). The story did not contain any surprises for me or tell me anything new about Drake Burroughs. Sure, we learn he was just a student, not a real astro-engineer, and we learn of his relationships with Prof. Vultan, Zera, and Kerri, but these are all surface revelations. They don't really tell me anything about what makes Drake tick. I guess I'm wanting to know where his discipline, dedication, and leadership qualities came from. This is not the first or last time we will see him shepherding Legion Academy students. Something in him responds to the role of the teacher, the mentor. And, as we saw during Earth War, he has what it takes to be a leader even if it means making unpopular decisions. Where did these attributes come from?

In short, we get a nice tale that fills in the gaps of his back story but doesn't really tell us anything about him.

I did appreciate how the back story was woven into already seen events. Howard Bender went to some effort to depict the events of Superboy # 195 and 201-202 as they were shown in the original issues. Most artists don't do that. They alter things for artistic licence, to put their own spin on the story, or just because they can. Bender did his research and put the story first. I also agree that the Aparo cover is first rate.

As for Lamprey, Nightwind, Crystal Kid and even Garth, they are just devices in the story: vehicles to reveal Drake's back story. I did appreciate how the two girls tried to flirt back with Wildfire: a reminder that these are young people discovering and exploring their sexuality, with sometimes unintended consequences (in this case, a near fatal dive for Lamprey).

So, 283 is a good story, but, for me, not a particularly great or memorable one.



Check out my new Power Club website!

The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#931839 - 06/15/17 04:09 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 528
Ann Hebistand Offline
Active
Ann Hebistand  Offline
Active

Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 528
Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
I don't think Wildfire is a lech--just a flirt.


My sentiments exactly. Thank you, He Who.

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
As for his being a tool, it seems to me that "tool" and "jerk" are pretty much the same thing--a slight difference in degrees, perhaps. I'm not sure I understand your objection to thoth's point, Annfie. I think each of you interprets the character and his motivations somewhat differently.


I was using both adjectives for the same purpose, so, yeah, no argument from me that they have the same meaning.

My problem with Thoth's post was that his criticisms came across to me -- whether it was his intention or not -- as mean-spirited and cheap, rather than constructive or illuminating. Gods know I've certainly indulged in nasty words at the expense of certain Legionnaires, but I've been making an effort these past several months to not do that anymore. So I guess I'm less patient with other people when I perceive them -- rightly or wrongly -- as doing the same things I used to do in this forum.

#931888 - 06/16/17 05:12 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 18,522
thoth lad Offline
Tempus Fugitive
thoth lad  Offline
Tempus Fugitive

Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 18,522
Touring Bgtzl and Bgztl with M...
Dawnstar, the 16-year-old Academy student, was 8 pages into her debut when (the not age defined but portrayed as an industry professional) Wildfire has his hands on her arms telling her that he’d kiss her if he could. That’s Wildfire, the Legion leader, with the power to bring people into the team and who is already looking out for new recruits coming through the Academy. We’re four pages into this issue and the attractiveness of the two female academy recruits gets a mention. This is Wildfire who was put in charge of new recruits and has the power to influence whether or not they make it into the team.

That’s a 100% record on the female Academy students he’s been seen with in these two issues. There was the Dawnstar Rising issue, where he didn’t hit on Laurel Kent. But then, she’s shown as critical of Dawny for showing Drake the “cold shoulder” after Drake asks her to stay behind so he can ask her out. So, it’s not much of an improvement. Jed's thoughts in that issue, show what at least one of the students thinks about it.

At the risk of defaming fictional characters, I might have been doing a disservice to Terry Long. I’m sure he didn’t have that sort of record. Surely there are some female background students he didn’t comment on or who we see not comment on him. (Typed with tongue in cheek for the avoidance of any doubt).

So, a couple of incidents. Enough to start making a connection (or “seeing that kind of s**t” as can be known) and thinking of the possibilities as we do on so many other occasions for all sorts of things here.

Flirting is one thing, but it’s his position of influence over the student (I hesitate to say) body, that pushes it up a notch. If this was your teacher, coach or boss, you might think that this was quite inappropriate behaviour.

It’s not a question of whether he still feels impulses or not. It’s certainly not a case that it’s somehow okay because Dawnstar is beautiful and he has urges. It’s a point based on how he has to be around people whose future he has influence over.

All the relationships were as tasteful as they could get away with in the Comics Code. We’re not shown anything beyond the comics code between Tinya and Jo, but they were clearly not going to be going away to build matchstick models on their weekend after the Reflecto saga.

There’s probably a few things that makes Drake feel more connected both emotionally and physically to the Academy students he oversees. We see from his origin, that developing his powers lifted from his despair and isolation. It made him come to terms, a little, with his situation. I think he sees a lot of the students as having similar problems. We see he’s had a couple of relationships that haven’t worked out well. The Dawnstar one won’t work out too well either. The students will be going through similar trials, without the experience of dealing with it.

Also, as a Bronze Age addition to the team, Drake may not find too many of the additions of that era easy to talk to I can’t see Brin being particularly chatty as he’s in his I-must-be-alone-but within-a-team phase, Tyroc has gone and the next member back, Shadow Lass?, is a planetary champion, and a bit more comfortable with herself. He may find the more established Legionnaires also difficult to discuss things with, despite their many issues of self-worth problems. So, he has a number of connections that bring him closer to the Academy students. And that’s not always going to work out well, if you have Drake’s issues and you’re supposed to be mentoring them.

HWW makes the good analogy between Wildfire and The Thing. I’m not as knowledgeable concerning Marvel. So, I was thinking of Cliff Steele. From his rage filled rampage of the ‘60s to his despair of the Morrison run. A run where he begins to help Kay Challis, and helps himself along the way. Much later on, one of Kay’s identities doesn’t react as it normally would when faced with a man. Cliff states that he’s not a man. It’s not acceptance. It’s not self-pity. It’s something else. And in those character changes that really good character arcs can be made.

But Wildfire may be trapped in his position of team antagonist. It adds to the group dynamic and gives the writers another voice to use. His personality was popular enough early in his career to be Legion Leader.

He rides Superboy pretty hard early on. He rides Lightning Lad pretty hard too, even as Garth struggles under the burden of leadership. It’s immediately after a confrontation with Drake, that Lightning Lad tenders his resignation. But when Garth lists Wildfire’s complaints back at him, Drake offers nothing as an alternative.

That’s a recurring issue with Drake. Years later he’s called on it but either officer Cusimano or Erin when he criticises their approach. He flies off, rather than resolve the issue. Decades later he’s called on it by Brainy who reminds him that he offers little of his own course of action. Drake offers a half-hearted insult in response.

That’s Drake being a jerk. Being a tool is a degree higher up. That’s because, from this issue, we know that Drake’s doing it on purpose to get a rise out of people. Never mind what they happen to be going through. “I may bait Lightning Lad and the others – but without them, I figure I’d have gone crazy a long way back.” Never mind that Garth will be heading for a breakdown himself. Yes, Drake has issues. So does Garth and every other member of the team. Baiting them, because you need a release isn’t a great approach.

At the end of this story we see Drake and Garth go back into the HQ together. It’s hoped that Drake, having shared his story, and realising why he acts the way he does, will mature and reach out.

Likewise, Garth should realise that not every criticism is the personal attack it seems to be. But I’m not sure that’s what happens. “How could I go on being the Legion’s resident gadfly,” Drake says, indicating that it’s not something he’s likely to change.

I don’t think I said resigned but that’s where “Again, there’s no real desire to overcome being like that, so much of an acceptance that it’s fine to be that way “came from (or “effing” came from in this case).

And that’s a shame. There’s a ton of potential to show Drake’s change in personality following his change in form. It might go well or terribly badly. But it would be progression, and that’s not always desirable for sales or team dynamics. We do get to see him adopt the energy form, as a blob and out with the suit later. But they weren’t lasting. We get to see him as a human again, but those weren’t lasting changes either. There are moments, but not too many.

“my favourite male Legionnaire” and “if I had not already been in such a foul mood” pretty much set the tone from what I could see from the above. “Cheap” I may be, but hopefully not “mean spirited” round here.

I made a good choice in not also posting my monograph on “The symbolism of broken spires pertaining to disembodied heroes” or my updated Wildfire schematics with new “relationship aides” with this issue’s review.


"...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."
#931893 - 06/16/17 05:57 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 528
Ann Hebistand Offline
Active
Ann Hebistand  Offline
Active

Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 528
I'm going to terminate this sidebar discussion on Wildfire before it gets any worse. And, yes, I am very well aware that I was the one who instigated it, and I take full responsibility for that. I could have reacted in a more civil manner with a more reasonable post, but what's done is done. Thoth feels how he feels about Drake, I feel how I feel about Drake, and never the twain shall meet.

Being a true Brit-phile, I now intend to have a strong cup of tea, and move on, without looking back, to the next matter at hand.

#931898 - 06/16/17 08:43 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 23,449
He Who Wanders Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.
He Who Wanders  Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.

Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 23,449
The Plateaus of Ecstasy
Well, Annfie may have terminated this sidebar, but I rather enjoyed it. Each of you approaches Wildfire from very different perspectives, and it was enlightening to read your thoughts.

Thoth...you make an excellent point about Drake's authority over the academy students. As a professor myself, I am very careful in how I interact with students. I won't even accept FB or LinkedIn requests from students until they have graduated or are no longer my students.

Yet I can see things a bit differently from Drake's (hypothetical) perspective. As Annfie notes, Drake is only a few years older than Dawny, Nightwind, and Lamprey. What might seem to him to be harmless flirting may be taken the wrong way. I want to give Drake the benefit of a doubt; however, we human beings are complex creatures, and we may have both innocent and not-so-innocent intentions at the same time.

I appreciate your thoughts about Drake not having any Legion peers to talk to. Not only does he not have any peers but the unique circumstance of his being in energy form is something other Legionnaires could not identify with. Just how are the physical Legionnaires supposed to council him on urges or desires he shouldn't have but clearly does and cannot express? (Maybe Tharok was available...)

I also appreciate your thoughts about Drake as gadfly, someone who doesn't have a comeback when people challenge him on his abrasiveness. There are a lot of people like that in real life, and they don't need to be transformed into energy beings in order to justify or excuse their behavior.

Since this is a superhero comic, we get to see only one or two sides of our heroes: the side that makes them noble and the side which makes them human yet still noble (hence, Garth's resignation as leader but still remaining a Legionnaire and hero). But real life is more complicated than that, and, if the expectations of superhero comics were different, we might have seen some real development from the issues raised in this story. Alas, we didn't. That's what message boards are for. smile

Thank you both for your thoughts.



Check out my new Power Club website!

The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#931910 - 06/17/17 04:41 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 528
Ann Hebistand Offline
Active
Ann Hebistand  Offline
Active

Joined: Dec 2009
Posts: 528
He Who, I think it's nice for a rather contentious episode to have an even-handed, objective coda like the one you posted. Thank you. smile

#931930 - 06/17/17 10:33 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 18,522
thoth lad Offline
Tempus Fugitive
thoth lad  Offline
Tempus Fugitive

Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 18,522
Touring Bgtzl and Bgztl with M...
Originally Posted by HWW
Well, Annfie may have terminated this sidebar, but I rather enjoyed it. Each of you approaches Wildfire from very different perspectives, and it was enlightening to read your thoughts.


One of the highlights here is certainly getting to enjoy other viewpoints as we read through the issues together.

Originally Posted by HWW
As a professor myself, I am very careful in how I interact with students. I won't even accept FB or LinkedIn requests from students until they have graduated or are no longer my students.


It’s what I’ve seen/known through academic and professional life, that made that stand out. With Drake in mind, it was particularly the younger people, who were still making big leaps in emotional maturity themselves that came to mind. I had mentioned Drake’s Doomed Dalliances (monthly from Alliteration Comics) that we saw in this issue. His youth and situation would it easier for natural errors in judgement to be made. What would make it more difficult is to see the Academy students graduate and move on, only for Drake not to be able to emotionally or because he’s cast in a particular role.

Originally Posted by HWW
I appreciate your thoughts about Drake not having any Legion peers to talk to. Not only does he not have any peers but the unique circumstance of his being in energy form is something other Legionnaires could not identify with. Just how are the physical Legionnaires supposed to council him on urges or desires he shouldn't have but clearly does and cannot express? (Maybe Tharok was available...)


He always has Null Girl to turn to...


Originally Posted by HWW
I also appreciate your thoughts about Drake as gadfly, someone who doesn't have a comeback when people challenge him on his abrasiveness. There are a lot of people like that in real life, and they don't need to be transformed into energy beings in order to justify or excuse their behaviour.


It would be interesting to see what his personality would be like if he became human again for a longer period of time.

If that was his basic personality, there’s the plus of not everything being part of his situation and it would keep his personality type in the team. On the other hand, it means he doesn’t ever get past it, without offering anything more constructive.

It would have been just as nice for him to have been a young, but fully competent professional. Someone who could provide an alternative view to the likes of Brainy. At least allow the others to function scientifically without quite as much dependence on the Coluan.

He and Dirk would certainly have an eye on Legion HQ health and safety after their origins. I wonder how Drake and Dirk feel, being in HQ every time Brainy is about to perform one of his experiments. Does knowing that something could blow up at any moment put them on edge?

An alternative Legion Conspiracy could have had Drake being the first to realise what they were up to, simply by recognising a lot of the energy syphoning equipment that was making its way into the HQ delivery bay. In their desire to keep it all a secret, they didn’t pause to wonder what the guy who spends his life containing vast amounts of energy would think of it all.

Originally Posted by HWW
But real life is more complicated than that, and, if the expectations of superhero comics were different, we might have seen some real development from the issues raised in this story. Alas, we didn't. That's what message boards are for.


As fun as it is reading between the lines on all of these points, credit to Thomas for creating the complexity in the characters.

He needed something to get Wildfire to open up his life to others. You could put them all on a training mission and trapped them in a cave/ villain lair. I saw that done poorly recently where every character had the same voice. You could have had the students review the holo files, only to find something personal about him and investigate. But that might have been a bit remote and colder.

Instead, Thomas gets to the centre of Wildfire’s condition. He separates Crystal Kid from the group; has Wildfire make a comment to the ladies and their response opens up the emotions Drake carries around all the time, as well as providing us with an opening to the origin.

The impact and insight of that panel make it an excellent piece of scripting form Thomas. I think it’s matched by the conflicted character of Zera. As Cramer pointed out, it’s disappointing that this is her only appearance, once her decision on whether to exact revenge has been made.

Originally Posted by Cramer
He has often been at loggerheads with Garth so it's a rather comforting ending to have Garth not only hear Wildfire's story, but extend a hand of camaraderie as they walk to the HQ.


I think this is another good decision from Thomas. I also see this issue being a companion piece to the Conway’s origin issue of Blok in #272. It also had the three applicants, Garth and Wildfire. I think you get to see a glimpse of the non-blustering Wildfire there too.

My point being that both stories provide solid origin stories, tidy up bits of continuity as well as providing us with a plot and some insightful personal moments.

While this period of the Legion may not be the best liked, I think that at least it was being written by two very solid professionals, who delivered a lot more than it appeared at first glance. I can look at any number of other titles written into the ground to realise how good it is to have a safe pair of hands on this one.

Another reason for mentioning this, is that there are elements to the storytelling of both writers, and a lot of others in the wider industry, that are about to change as Levitz v2.0 comes on board. Coming soon, Legion World rereads…The Levitz Paradigm!


"...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."
#931988 - 06/17/17 08:08 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 23,449
He Who Wanders Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.
He Who Wanders  Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.

Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 23,449
The Plateaus of Ecstasy
That's a really good point about Drake suffering consequences if he gets emotionally attached to the Academy students. If he "crossed the line," there might be repercussions for him as well as them.

It occurs to me that since Drake does not have a physical body and cannot consummate any attraction he may hold, he may see nothing wrong with a little harmless flirting. As you pointed out, however, when the girls flirted back, it led to an unexpected reaction from him. Kudos to you for pointing out Roy Thomas's contribution to this. I was ready to write him off as unsuited to the Legion, but you pointed out a couple of things he did well in this story.

Back to Drake...I have an older friend who freely compliments women and has written a story featuring a teenage vampire and her indifferent but explicit attitudes toward sexuality (when you're undead and cold, sex doesn't quite hold the same attraction). I've had older relatives who freely flirted with waitresses and other younger members of the opposite sex. So perhaps it comes down to how far is too far? When does one become a "dirty old man" or an authority figure who is abusing his position? For my own sake, I think it's best not to cross that line or come anywhere near it, but I go to the other extreme by not approaching women who might be interested and available.

Logically, of course, it depends on context and good judgment--but neither has much to do with sexuality. wink

Drake's situation is certainly unique, but this is the 30th century and, just as Jan was open to the spirit of the person regardless of gender, perhaps there are other ways for an energy being to express intimacy.


Check out my new Power Club website!

The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#931993 - 06/18/17 02:37 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 18,522
thoth lad Offline
Tempus Fugitive
thoth lad  Offline
Tempus Fugitive

Joined: Sep 2013
Posts: 18,522
Touring Bgtzl and Bgztl with M...
Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
That's a really good point about Drake suffering consequences if he gets emotionally attached to the Academy students. If he "crossed the line," there might be repercussions for him as well as them.


It looks as though he and Dawny are going to be an on/off couple until the end of time. However, we have seen in stories like Dawny's trip to Kol where they may not always be together. How Drake reacts to that, and where he goes from there would be interesting.

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
It occurs to me that since Drake does not have a physical body and cannot consummate any attraction he may hold, he may see nothing wrong with a little harmless flirting. As you pointed out, however, when the girls flirted back, it led to an unexpected reaction from him.


In some ways, it's good that he feels that he can flirt with anyone. It could well be a hold over from what he was like before his accident, which could mean he's not always thinking about it.

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Kudos to you for pointing out Roy Thomas's contribution to this. I was ready to write him off as unsuited to the Legion, but you pointed out a couple of things he did well in this story.


I should probably do more of that. Thomas and Conway had written so many comics across all sorts of genres by this point. While they suite, and no doubt prefer, some genres they could put together a well constructed story in their sleep by this point. Considering their deadlines, they probably had to by this point.

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Back to Drake...I have an older friend who freely compliments women and has written a story featuring a teenage vampire and her indifferent but explicit attitudes toward sexuality (when you're undead and cold, sex doesn't quite hold the same attraction). I've had older relatives who freely flirted with waitresses and other younger members of the opposite sex. So perhaps it comes down to how far is too far? When does one become a "dirty old man" or an authority figure who is abusing his position? For my own sake, I think it's best not to cross that line or come anywhere near it, but I go to the other extreme by not approaching women who might be interested and available.

Logically, of course, it depends on context and good judgment--but neither has much to do with sexuality. wink


This is something I find really easy to...BOOM! ...no, it's a minefield... smile

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Drake's situation is certainly unique, but this is the 30th century and, just as Jan was open to the spirit of the person regardless of gender, perhaps there are other ways for an energy being to express intimacy.


Later on, Quislet shows Drake how to better control his energy so, this one will come up (poor choice of phrase) again there.


Teeds' great Comic Cover Cavalcade thread brought us a pic of the original Wildfire recently...

click to enlarge

For anyone who may not be aware, this was the character who Thomas wanted to have in the All-Star Squadron. But he couldn't due to perceived confusion with the Legion's Wildfire, whose origin story he wrote. So we got the second Firebrand instead.


"...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."
Page 6 of 6 1 2 3 4 5 6

Monitor Duty
Forum Statistics
Forums14
Topics20,206
Posts947,370
Legionnaires1,680
Most Online226
Aug 31st, 2017
Newest Legionnaires
Cyberstrike, Sparky54, Dunnomo, Brainwise, truce57
1680 Registered Legionnaires
Today's Birthdays
JT.Hawk
Time Bubble
Holo-Vids
21CL Shrinking Violet
Catalyst Queen for Legion AU Project
Color Kid by Jay Fosgitt
Roll Call
Nick Vinson
Nick Vinson
Texas
Posts: 266
Joined: April 2006
Show All Member Profiles 
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.6.0