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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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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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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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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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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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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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#922916 - 03/03/17 02:10 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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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.


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#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.


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#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).


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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.


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#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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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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#923237 - 03/08/17 04:33 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
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.


I remember getting my paws on the Amazing World Legion issue and being impressed by the information in it. The RPGs too. It's a good point regarding getting a peek at a book's history through something like a more readily available Secrets mini.

As DC touted it as a collector's item sure to become a classic, newer fans could get an early opportunity to catch up on the whole group. Every issue is someone's first after all. I remember picking up a post Byrne issue of Alpha Flight and getting a nice history recap. It really helped me stick with the book. Later, I'd realise that a lot of issues had such a recap, as the writer was aware that every issue was a potential jumping on point.

As for similar books, the Teen Titans had a mini series where they recounted their origins at the Grand Canyon (somewhere like that).


"...not having to believe in a thing to be interested in it and not having to explain a thing to appreciate the wonder of it."
#923240 - 03/08/17 06:03 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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I can't think of anything similar at Marvel, though specific issues of regular series would sometimes be devoted to recaps. Avengers #150-151, for example, showed reporters recapping the team's history while the current members decided on a line-up shuffle.


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#923334 - 03/11/17 03:06 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders


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.


Originally Posted by thoth
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.


On the idea of there not being one definitive view of the Legion's timeline, I was reminded of our Continuity Match Up thread and our Order of Membership thread shows some retconning too,


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#923363 - 03/12/17 05:10 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Hey, all,

I got sidetracked from the re-read this week for various reasons, so I'll just wait until Tuesday, review both 2 and 3, and reply to the comments on 2.


Read LEGIONS OF 7 WORLDS in the Bits forum:

Retroboot (Earth-7.5) Arc 1 (COMPLETED)

Retroboot (Earth-7.5) Arc 2 (WORK IN PROGRESS)

"Don't look for role models, girls, BE the role model."

- Legion World member HARBINGER
#923381 - 03/12/17 06:23 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Good to hear. Looking forward to that.


"...not having to believe in a thing to be interested in it and not having to explain a thing to appreciate the wonder of it."
#923406 - 03/12/17 01:50 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Thanks, Thoth. smile


Read LEGIONS OF 7 WORLDS in the Bits forum:

Retroboot (Earth-7.5) Arc 1 (COMPLETED)

Retroboot (Earth-7.5) Arc 2 (WORK IN PROGRESS)

"Don't look for role models, girls, BE the role model."

- Legion World member HARBINGER
#923534 - 03/14/17 02:45 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Secrets of the LoSH #3 Revelation by Paul Kupperberg & E. Nelson Bridwell, art by Jim Janes & Frank Chiaramonte, colours Gene D'Angelo, letters Ben Oda


[Linked Image]


Legionnaires speak with the doctor attending R.J. Brande after learning that one of them is Brande's child. R.J. has a rare blood type and needs a relative with a matching type for a transfusion. Marla instructs the Legionnaires to recount the origin stories of the remaining Legionnaires, the deceased members, the Subs and the Reserves. None of these yield the clue that Marla seeks.

In the middle of this, the Legion receives an urgent call to help stabilize Varltul XVI, a sun with several inhabited planets. Wildfire takes on the mission, ordering Chameleon Boy, Shadow Lass and Element Lad to accompany him.

Saturn Girl suddenly realizes that she might be able to read Brande's mind and discover the truth.

The Marltul XVI team suffers an equipment failure and is unable to stabilize the star – but they do learn that it's an artificial star, created by Brande. Brande might have helpful information if only he were conscious.

Saturn Girl returns to Legion HQ with the information that Brande once had special powers, but lost them and was forced to live in the form of an Earthman. Consulting the computer, Marla learns that Yorggian Fever only affects selected races, of which four are human; Talokians have no natural powers, the Coluan Brainiac 5's ancestry is thoroughly documented. That leaves Durlans.

Marla contacts the Marltul team to give Cham the news and tell him to get back to Earth to save his father. The transfusion proves successful, Saturn Girl is able to extract the information needed to stabilize the star Marltul XVI. R.J. and Reep meet as father and son for the first time. R.J. explains that he, Reep's mother and Theg/Doyle contracted Yorrgian Fever; the mother died and R.J. and Theg left Durla to avoid infecting anyone else. Their next shape change would be their final one. Reep was left with an aunt who raised him as her own son.

Comments:
Saturn Girl's power was limited by R.J. being in a coma. It seems to be an odd limitation, although it serves the story. It's also convenient that she couldn't pick up any "I'm a Durlan" thoughts.

Why couldn't they detect exactly what blood type R.J. had? Wouldn't Durlan blood be recognized? We're so used to DNA today, I find it a real stretch that doctors couldn't analyze R.J.'s DNA. This wasn't a problem when I first read the story; that R.J. was Cham's father was a major surprise. There weren't many clues and the reasons for eliminating other Legionnaires seem flimsy, however. If Reep's aunt posed as his mother, why couldn't other Legion parents have fed their children a similar deception?

The story ended with a happy family reunion, but we know things between father and son won't be so rosy later on. I'd be pretty pissed if I found out my dad had stayed away from me entirely for 18 years – not even a “can't visit you as long as I'm contagious” - but I guess the first flush of revelation is pretty exciting for Cham.

Nice to see a quick run-through of Subs and Reserves.

They're still in touch with Marzal. Who knew? Or is that secret Brande Industries information as they work on developing interdimensional transportation, or stargates?

Winathians, Braalians and Imskians are humans. Talokians & Coluans aren't. Does this imply that they were settled by Earthlings? Or could Earth have been settled by one of those planets? Invasion was still 8 years away – is this the source of Lar Gand's seeding of the planets, or had that concept been established before this?

The mission to Marltul XVI adds a bit of action to the issue, although it's not necessary to the story of saving R.J. After mining, stars going nova could be the biggest industry of the 30th century.

Wildfire continues to act as if he were still leader. He and Marla are both pretty hot-tempered; they might play off well against one another, but their attitudes seem gratingly unrelenting and unprofessional. Arlayn serves no purpose other than to display a pretty face in a couple of panels, although her masked presence in the first issue added some mystery.



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#923571 - 03/14/17 04:03 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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There are a lot of convenient plot turns in # 3 in order to make the story work, the least of which is probably the explanation for why Tyroc was at the med center back in # 1. (No explanation for why Superboy and Supergirl were there, though.) To me, it undercuts the emotional impact of Tyroc saying goodbye forever if he can return every few weeks.

# 3 does what it needs to do: It wraps up the stories by including the origins of Wildfire, Tyroc, and Dawny, plus every Sub, reservist, and honorary Legionnaire to date. Wisely, though, there's more to the issue than a recap. An actual world is at stake, and its fate ties in nicely with Brande's fate (convenient but nice).

Of course, the big revelation is that Cham is R.J.'s boy. I remember that this hit me like a bolt at the time, as it must have hit Reep. The notion that the very human-looking Brande was father to the very alien-looking Reep was one of those moments where the Legion defied culturally induced expectations, as the series did in the early days when Saturn Girl served as leader. This is the future, and race is not a barrier to parentage any more than gender is a barrier to leadership. (For context, it was still considered unusual and a bit odd in the late '70s to encounter people of mixed race, at least in my Midwestern neck of the woods. I can only imagine how such people must have felt about being regarded as "different," which was not intended as a slight but an expression of naive wonder, as if one were staring at a unicorn.) The Reep-Brande connection obliterated those expectations and did so in a way that left this reader asking, "Why not?"

It's rather nice that the writers brought in Reep's mom/aunt to wrap up the story. I have little problem with her and R.J. withholding the truth from Reep. I recall reading that actor Jack Nicholson learned the woman he thought was his mother was actually his grandmother, and that his "sister" was actually his mother. It happens, and families have all kinds of reasons for hiding such secrets. Perhaps Yorggian fever was considered a curse on Durla.

I also recall re-reading over and over again the page where Marla puts all the clues together. Yes, the evidence is flimsy in the sense that none of these clues were referred to previously and had no bearing on previous Legion stories. And, yes, Marla could have figured this out without listening to all of the Legionnaires' origins. Still, I thought it was a decent exercise in logic; he eliminated those of human ancestry, Brainy and Tasmia, and those born on earth based on the limited clues he had. Columbo had nothing on Mr. Latham.

And then . . . it was all forgotten. Reep's parentage was not mentioned again, as I recall, until a few years later, when Levitz used it as a springboard into one of the most interesting and defining character arcs in Legion history.



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#923575 - 03/14/17 05:14 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Secrets of the Legion #3

RJ Brande has been talking in the throes of his Yorggian fever, and has told his doctor that he’s the father of one of the Legionnaires. This has prompted the doctor to consider that a blood transfusion may save his patient. But rather than tell the Legion any of this, he drops a hint that there may be a solution and lets them go back about their business. Heck, instead of just asking the Legion if they’d donate some blood on the off chance it would help Brande, he lets them go.

Perhaps the doctor had already contacted Marla to look into it. Perhaps Marla was there when Brande spilled the secret. But instead of Marla asking the Legion about it, he tries to break into the team’s personnel files.

The above makes things a bit more coherent sounding than they are shown in the book, which isn’t really interested in connecting up the plot.

Still, now that the secret is out, the Legionnaires can all just give a blood sample (sorry Drake) and it can be DNA sampled against Brande’s. But no! Such things are beyond 30th century plotting and only origin stories can provide the link!

Tyroc gets a few origin panels, which is more than we’ve seen of him in the series, or elsewhere in some time. With Dawnstar’s origin out of the way next, we’re on page 7 and out of Legionnaires. Bridwell sets up some suspense by having some of the Legion go off on a mission. Then, as all good Legion summations do, we move onto the origins of the dead, the subbed and the honorary parts of the team. Disappointingly, there’s no Super Pets. For the dead Legionnaires, Brainy surmises that their surviving relatives may be able to still help Brande. Failing that, he could always dip into the Legion’s cell back, grow the Legionnaire required and take some blood that way.

To be fair to the writer, the away team aren’t just sent away because one of them is Brande’s kid. They also realise that the only way to solve their own plight is Brande’s recovery, as he’s the only one who can fix a star going nova. I wonder if the locals get a warranty on their star. I wonder if any of them can escape alive to activate it.

Meanwhile, Imra has figured out that she could just read Brande’s mind. Perhaps it’s tough to do because he’s unconscious and/or on Yorggian fever drugs, but Imra can only get a Plot Hint rather than the identity of the kid.

Marla gets to work to winnow down the field.
His assistant Arlayn seems to have turned into Dream Girl. Saturn Girl calls Dream Girl “Arlayn” in one panel.

The kid is identified, with shaky reasoning on Imra’s information, and is whisked back to save Brande followed by a father/kid reunion.

Poor kid. He’s about to inherit all of Brande’s debts after all the lawsuits pour in form systems with wonky stars.

It must really begin to dawn on the kid that their father has known their identity all along, and has left them to get over hostility and isolation. The reasons why Brande left his home planet are reasonable. But not the reasons for keeping everything a secret since that time.

It’s an okay issue that does its job of updating us on the Legion origins while giving us a framing story around them. The identity of Brande’s child is a decent left field choice, but still one of the main Legionnaires. As soon as his Plot job is done, Marla vanishes from the story. No thanks for him. Sure, his work in nearly the whole story was for nothing, but he did work it out at the end.


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#923581 - 03/14/17 05:31 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Originally Posted by thoth lad

Disappointingly, there’s no Super Pets.


I guess Marla had ruled out bestiality. smile


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#923588 - 03/14/17 10:44 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Well, Comet occasionally turned into a human being. And Proty was just as likely as a Durlan.


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#923589 - 03/15/17 01:01 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Comet and Proty would have been bigger shockers - and Proty did turn into a human being eventually.


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#923605 - 03/15/17 11:25 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Wasn't there some dubious Reep goings on or was that Aviax?

I just felt that the letters page could have been dropped for another twist. Where it turns out that RJ was Reep's mom and that Streaky is the partner of the guy who financed the Legion and the father of one of its most influential members. Now *that* would stick in people's minds.



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#923609 - 03/15/17 11:38 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Quite possibly that was the basis for a lost/rejected Keith Giffen Legion annual. In 5YL, Catspaw would have been the obvious choice for Streaky's child/kitten/whatever. Nothing's too weird in the future.


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#923612 - 03/15/17 11:47 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Thanks Cramer! I had a little plot to go into Bits about who Reep would find as a successor, following some injuries, as he was RJ's. Catspaw is now the only choice lol


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#923739 - 03/18/17 05:12 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Cramer
The story ended with a happy family reunion, but we know things between father and son won't be so rosy later on. I'd be pretty pissed if I found out my dad had stayed away from me entirely for 18 years – not even a “can't visit you as long as I'm contagious” - but I guess the first flush of revelation is pretty exciting for Cham.


I wonder how long it will take for the resentment to start, as he wonders if Brande watched him join the Legion and laughed about not telling him his origins.

Originally Posted by Cramer
They're still in touch with Marzal. Who knew? Or is that secret Brande Industries information as they work on developing interdimensional transportation, or stargates?


Back in #265 Dawnstar seems certain that they would be seeing him again. Perhaps she had seen the script for the mini series smile


Originally Posted by Cramer
... is this the source of Lar Gand's seeding of the planets, or had that concept been established before this?


I, Velcro Gand, take exception at the very idea of Lar seeding these worlds! He's a good boy and would never be involved in such things!


Originally Posted by Cramer
Wildfire continues to act as if he were still leader. He and Marla are both pretty hot-tempered; they might play off well against one another, but their attitudes seem gratingly unrelenting and unprofessional.


After it was pointed out form earlier issues, Wildfire does seem to be in charge. I wonder if it was just an easy personality for the writer to work with, or whether the seeds of the story were thought of some time before.

Originally Posted by Cramer
Arlayn serves no purpose other than to display a pretty face in a couple of panels, although her masked presence in the first issue added some mystery.


Had it just been Marla sneaking into the clubhouse, I'd not have been so interested. No matter what he'd done to his hair, or what make up he was wearing smile

Originally Posted by HWW
The notion that the very human-looking Brande was father to the very alien-looking Reep was one of those moments where the Legion defied culturally induced expectations, as the series did in the early days when Saturn Girl served as leader. This is the future, and race is not a barrier to parentage any more than gender is a barrier to leadership. (For context, it was still considered unusual and a bit odd in the late '70s to encounter people of mixed race, at least in my Midwestern neck of the woods. I can only imagine how such people must have felt about being regarded as "different," which was not intended as a slight but an expression of naive wonder, as if one were staring at a unicorn.) The Reep-Brande connection obliterated those expectations and did so in a way that left this reader asking, "Why not?"


Thanks for that HWW. That's an interesting view. I didn't read Secrets until well after all the later issues. I had seen it much more as a plot device, and hadn't thought about it in those terms.

Originally Posted by HWW
Columbo had nothing on Mr. Latham.


Columbo Latham leaves Legion HQ for the twentieth time.
Wildfire: Jeez, I thought he'd never go.
Garth: I was *this* close to a breakdown. Those endless questions...
The door opens...
Columbo Latham: ...and just one more thing that's been bothering me....
Wildfire & Garth: Gah! We confess! We Confess! It was Brainy that did 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."
#923972 - 03/21/17 02:47 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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LSH #273,The Man Who Framed Brainiac 5 or A Murderer – Among Us? by Gerry Conway, art by Jimmy Janes & Frank Chiaramonte, colours Bob LeRose, letters Ben Oda

[Linked Image]

President Allon tells the Legionnaires that they must, by law, disband. Wildfire asks on whose side United Earth Council is; Allon explains that since Brainiac 5 has killed and remained unpunished, the Legion has violated their charter. The Prosecutor General recounts the murder of An Ryd. Wildfire argues, but Brainiac 5 quits the Legion since his innocence is in question. Cham contemplates and proposes that the Legion further investigate the murder. Brin suffers headaches. Gim questions his mother and gets the brush-off.

Cham leads a team to Rimbor to examine the room in which An was killed. Thom finds blaster marks which could not have come from a Legion weapon; Cham, as Seekerhound, could not detect any scent of Brainiac 5. Suddenly, a blast rocks the room; Cham sees someone and realizes that person is the true murderer, someone they thought was dead, then falls unconscious from a bright blast.

Jo and Tinya bribe a port controller to let them examine records of ship arrivals and departures, finding no record of any vessel carrying Brainiac 5. The controller, enjoying a pipe outside, is confronted by someone, then choked by a green hand. Jo and Tinya hear a scream, investigate and Tinya comes face to face with Pulsar Stargrave. He claims that his goal is to destroy Brainiac 5, then blasts Tinya and takes Jo off-guard, making him disappear – or disintegrate.

Brainiac 5, in a spaceship above Earth, concludes that he could not have murdered, despite his bout of insanity. He presented this conclusion to the Legion and learned that the Rimbor team had already had the same idea; he leaves for Rimbor, concerned for their safety.

On Rimbor, he finds Cham, Tinya and Thom and takes them for medical care, saving their lives. Cham is blind, Thom is fully bandaged and Tinya is weakened. He tells them that he must confront Stargrave alone. They learn that Jo is believed to be dead.

Brainy finds Stargrave on Rimbor's moon, they trade insults, Stargrave blasts, Brainy activates a forcefield than encompasses both of them. Stargrave increases his radiant energy to destroy the forcefield. There's a big explosion and Stargrave disappears. Brainy reveals, talking to himself, that he had created two fields, one just around him and one around both himself and Stargrave. With his nova blast, Stargrave obliterated himself. Brainy speculates that Stargrave/Brainiac lost his logic and gave into the emotion of hatred, which always demands the ultimate tribute of life.

Comments:
Conway returns to revisit the An Ryd incident and absolve Brainiac 5 of murder. The defence of insanity clearly didn't sit well with somebody, perhaps Conway himself.

While I question the idea that you can't murder if you have a deep sense that it's wrong, it works for this story, emphasizing the high moral code of the Legion as well as Legionnaires' confidence in Brainiac 5. Their faith in him (and his in himself) may have wavered, but it was a temporary questioning. Although Brainy makes much of logic over emotion, he succumbs to a few emotional moments when he heads off to save his friends and teammates and some philosophical musing (Ă  la Blok) at the end.

Earth government continues to lock horns with the Legion, despite Gim Allon's mother being the new President. Gim continues to behave like a petulant kid. Wildfire continues to act as leader.

Stargrave/Brainiac survived being hurled into a sun; one may wonder that he could survive his own apparent obliteration.

Although we're told that Jo might be dead, he's only disappeared for sure, having fallen into something that looks like a dimensional portal.

The console at Rimbor's space port appears to display an early form of the Interlac alphabet. It's a nice touch that Rimbor has strict entry and exit controls; no doubt they want to make sure everyone makes a payoff, like a planetary cover charge.


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#924037 - 03/21/17 04:13 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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LoSH 273

It’s Wildfire front and centre as Colossal Boy’s mom looks to disband the Legion on the splash page.

She reminds the team that none of them shall kill, and points down to the group. Star Boy looks nervous, but she’s referring to Brainy. Brainy gives up rather easily in a Plot derived huff, while Cham does his best investigator chin rubbing. Janes loses points for not letting Cham change into a bearded detective head.

This story seems to be set up to get Brainy off the hook for a previous writer’s set up of having Brainy really go nuts. But it’s not really the Legion without Brainy in some capacity, so he needs to have his name cleared. Who better than the guy who got Ultra Boy off the last time?

While I wonder if Brainy walking off has allowed him to escape law enforcement, we are given some subplots. Has Marte Allon changed since becoming Earth president? If so, why? Perhaps she’s just peeved that her son is such a whiner, when she clearly has to remain impartial if she’s dealing with the Legion in an official capacity.

Brin’s getting headaches. While we know these have been caused by pushing his hair too tightly to form those points, he’s having some angst ridden breakdown in front of the long suffering Ayla. Ayla’s commitment to stay by Brin’s side doesn’t quite work out, as we’ll see later.

At the Orion Hotel we learn that blaster marks are really hard to get out of the furnishings. Cham’s theory is that an insanity plea doesn’t work if you’re too insane. Later Brainy will conclude that he couldn’t have been a murderer because the Legion’s traditions trump doing really bad things like murder when you’re nuts. Tell that to Omega buddy.

Star Boy realises after a cursory check that the marks didn’t come from a Legion blaster. Mainly because the Legion so rarely carry them around. Considering Marte Allon’s comment about the Legion not killing, I’m surprised they have blasters even capable of it. Cham bravely becomes a scent based creature in a Rimborian hotel. I imagine that this is the real reason he goes blind a few panels later, and not the encounter with the villain.

Cham finds no trace of Brainy. To have discovered so much in much a short visit, makes you wonder what was wrong with him the last time he accused someone else of the murder. Cham meets the villain, who he has encountered before. He’s blinded, but doesn’t become one of the many multi eyed organisms on offer preferring to take the form of a Screaming Legionnaire.

Meanwhile at the impeccable Rimborian immigration control (presumably to keep checks on all the Silverale shipments) Jo bribes an official. Surely there must be bylaws against that? They learn that Brainy never visited Rimbor.

When Brainy finds out how easily duped everyone was before they accused him, he’s going to be mad enough to build an Omega-Computo.

To be fair to Conway, who is writing out of a plot hole, the clues are solid enough. Cham’s been blasted by the person before; the person can travel through space under their own power; is considered to be a fake and can control advanced computers.
A final clue is the green hand that throttles the bribed official. Tinya faces Pulsar Stargrave. Conway may be trying to clear one dangling plot thread, but in the following battle another mess is about to start.

Stargrave, who was also considered to be Brainiac, has renounced any familial connection with Brainiac 5. Actually, he’s become quite obsessed with Querl. After all, he’s been hanging around Rimbor a long time, waiting on the investigators to show up. Jo’s invulnerability prevents him being “disintegrated” by Stargrave’s first blast. But he needlessly drops it when he sees Tinya injured. Then he’s blasted into nothing. This will end up being part of a fairly tortuous storyline to come.

Querl’s huff has led him to a ship in which he’s approaching Rimbor in. I just hope the other 30th century crooks don’t realise that the way to escape a murder rap is to walk slowly out of the court room with your head down, sulking. Brainy, after justifying to himself why he couldn’t be the killer, goes to help his colleagues. Star Boy showed a trick to his powers. He absorbed a lot of stellar energy, as that’s where his powers derived. We see him almost completely bandaged as a result. This would have been a nice moment, particularly with Jo’s removal, to restore his lost powers.

We’ve seen a Legion squad fall to Stargrave. We’ve seen Brainy look to help his dear friends, having admitted his previous alienation from them. So, obviously we’ll ignore all of those lessons and just let him go off to face Stargrave alone with Cham’s blessing.

After his standard maniacal rant, Stargrave attacks Brainy, only to become trapped in a force field. Rather embarrassingly, Stargrave then blows himself up trying to escape from it. Brainy had trapped him between two force fields, rather than one with access to Brainy’s force field belt as he surmised. Brainy ponders about the cost of hatred. He’s referring to how Stargrave had changed, but it also refers to his own insanity and the hatred he felt at his fellow Legionnaires at the time.

Trying to fix old plot holes can often make things worse. Brainy’s murder was important enough for something to be done. From his first cosmic appearance as Brainy’s possible father, Stargrave has declined into being a bit of a ranting acme, Plot powered villain. Later in v4 his plot to drive Brainy insane would be taken over by Glorith, and his status relegated further.

I quite enjoyed the Janes art this issue, from Brin’s sweaty angst (Lotus fruit withdrawal?) through Tinya’s shock at Jo’s possible death to Brainy’s stoic look out from the finale.


"...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."
#924086 - 03/22/17 04:09 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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More Polyanna than Poison Ivy
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Confession time: I tried, I really did. But I find it hard to sustain a sense of snarky effervescence over a slog through three whole issues of numbing mediocrity, which is what I've found Secret of the Legion of Super-Heroes to be. So instead of reviewing the 2nd & 3rd issues, I'll just reply to some of the comments by other posters:

Originally Posted by thoth lad
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.


I concur for the most part, but I do have to say that I think Marla's attitude and disposition are just as bad as Drake's. And the banter between the two (which goes on and on and on and on) is so badly written, so puerile and so much another example of DC's inept efforts to "Marvel-ize" their books during what we've already agreed was an awkward phase for the publisher, which started right after The Implosion, and ended, IIRC, just a few months after this mini-series' last issue. There was an executive reshuffle at DC, which ended up leaving the estimable triad of Kahn, Levitz, and Giordano calling the shots, and subsequently led to at least a couple of pretty damn awesome years for DC overall, followed by a couple erratic ones, and then the whole post-Crisis continuity mess, and so on...

Originally Posted by thoth lad
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.


Indeed, and again, indeed.

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
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?


It's a pity, IMHO, that lazy writers and editors (and not just those working on the Legion, but also those working at other publishers) often decide to simply phone in a character's default persona and/or the most reductive approach to said character. "If the consensus on Wildfire is that he's a hothead, well then, let's just make him the most obnoxious and one-dimensional hothead we can. Who cares about those annoying fans? It's just comics." :rolleyes:

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Did DC or Marvel produce anything similar for other groups like JLA or X-Men?


I mentioned in a Gym'll's thread recently that I think the 1990 mini-series "The Atlantis Chronicles" would qualify as such:

http://www.legionworld.net/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=923479#Post923479

Originally Posted by thoth lad
As DC touted it as a collector's item sure to become a classic, newer fans could get an early opportunity to catch up on the whole group. Every issue is someone's first after all. I remember picking up a post Byrne issue of Alpha Flight and getting a nice history recap. It really helped me stick with the book. Later, I'd realise that a lot of issues had such a recap, as the writer was aware that every issue was a potential jumping on point.


True, but I think in the case of this mini-series, a little more quality-control would have been nice. Such as...

Originally Posted by thoth lad
As for similar books, the Teen Titans had a mini series where they recounted their origins at the Grand Canyon (somewhere like that).


Actually quite good IMO, thanks to what I feel was a far greater degree of the aforementioned quality-control.

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Saturn Girl's power was limited by R.J. being in a coma. It seems to be an odd limitation, although it serves the story. It's also convenient that she couldn't pick up any "I'm a Durlan" thoughts.

Why couldn't they detect exactly what blood type R.J. had? Wouldn't Durlan blood be recognized? We're so used to DNA today, I find it a real stretch that doctors couldn't analyze R.J.'s DNA. This wasn't a problem when I first read the story; that R.J. was Cham's father was a major surprise. There weren't many clues and the reasons for eliminating other Legionnaires seem flimsy, however. If Reep's aunt posed as his mother, why couldn't other Legion parents have fed their children a similar deception?

The story ended with a happy family reunion, but we know things between father and son won't be so rosy later on. I'd be pretty pissed if I found out my dad had stayed away from me entirely for 18 years – not even a “can't visit you as long as I'm contagious” - but I guess the first flush of revelation is pretty exciting for Cham.


Beautifully (and hilariously rotflmao ) put, Cramer. And to reiterate something I said RE: issue #1 of this mini-series, I think the lion's share of the blame for the plot holes and the rest of the overall sloppiness of this mini-series on just about every level should go to editor Jack C. Harris. As my hero Alan Grant (who has been both and editor and a freelance writer) once said, "A good editor is worth their weight in gold."

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
They're still in touch with Marzal. Who knew? Or is that secret Brande Industries information as they work on developing interdimensional transportation, or stargates?


There's a comedy sketch there for sure, preferably from a troupe similar to that of the first 2 seasons of "In Living Color." (David Alan Grier in a 'fro wig as Tyroc? A heavily-padded Jim Carrey as Brande?) lol Talk about giving Tyroc a good reason to act the Angry Black Man, sheesh! scream

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Of course, the big revelation is that Cham is R.J.'s boy. I remember that this hit me like a bolt at the time, as it must have hit Reep. The notion that the very human-looking Brande was father to the very alien-looking Reep was one of those moments where the Legion defied culturally induced expectations, as the series did in the early days when Saturn Girl served as leader. This is the future, and race is not a barrier to parentage any more than gender is a barrier to leadership. (For context, it was still considered unusual and a bit odd in the late '70s to encounter people of mixed race, at least in my Midwestern neck of the woods. I can only imagine how such people must have felt about being regarded as "different," which was not intended as a slight but an expression of naive wonder, as if one were staring at a unicorn.) The Reep-Brande connection obliterated those expectations and did so in a way that left this reader asking, "Why not?"


That's a really good point, He Who. Thanks for broaching it. If only the execution had been better as far as art, dialogue, and plot, SotLSH might really have been the classic it was hyped as.

Originally Posted by thoth lad
Disappointingly, there’s no Super Pets.


Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
I guess Marla had ruled out bestiality. smile


:roftlmao:

Not in the "Tijuana Bible" version of this story! ORALE, MUY PICANTE


Read LEGIONS OF 7 WORLDS in the Bits forum:

Retroboot (Earth-7.5) Arc 1 (COMPLETED)

Retroboot (Earth-7.5) Arc 2 (WORK IN PROGRESS)

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#924087 - 03/22/17 04:42 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Fat Cramer:

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


DC had a 4-issue mini-series called "America vs the Justice Society" which was basically a vehicle for comprehensively recapping the history of the JSA (pre-Crisis).


Chaim Mattis Keller
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#924144 - 03/24/17 07:15 AM 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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Just reading through Cramey's summary of 273, and a couple of things I noticed . . .

Why does Thom assume that if a Legionnaire killed An Ryd, said Legionnaire must have used a Legion blaster? Certainly Brainy is smart enough to buy a weapon on the Rimborian black market or somewhere else.

Likewise, isn't Brainy smart enough to forge travel records or travel in disguise?

Did the Orion Hotel not clean and rent the room in all these months since An Ryd's death? Pity to let all that business go to waste.

Perhaps bribery is legal on Rimbor. Maybe they call it tribute or taxes.

This is one of those stories that makes sense only if you don't think about it.

On the plus side, I do like the fact that the Legion gets in trouble for ignoring its own bylaws. The conflict between the president and the Legion was well-played, as I recall, as President Allon could not show any favoritism to the Legion.


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#924206 - 03/25/17 02:28 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Why does Thom assume that if a Legionnaire killed An Ryd, said Legionnaire must have used a Legion blaster?


If anyone's a Legion expert on killing people with blasters it's Thom smile

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Likewise, isn't Brainy smart enough to forge travel records or travel in disguise?


There's a reason why his disguise skills don't get him on the legion Espionage Squad missions....

[Linked Image]

Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
Did the Orion Hotel not clean and rent the room in all these months since An Ryd's death? Pity to let all that business go to waste.


You couldn't really go back from a trip on Rimbor *without* sleeping in a run down hotel room with an authentic crime scene in it. It's a *feature*



"...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."
#924212 - 03/25/17 05:13 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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Leave it to thoth to have the answers! You should have written these stories. smile


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The Semi-Great Gildersleeve - writing, super-heroes, and this 'n' that
#924517 - 03/29/17 02:58 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Café Cramer
Power has been out 2 days, then my computer failed, so apologies for being late. It appears that the quality of this story has not inspired anyone else to leap into the fray yet!

LSH #274, The Exaggerated Death of Ultra Boy by Gerry Conway, art by Steve Ditko & Frank Chiaramonte, colours D'Angelo, letters Costanza

[Linked Image]

Ultra Boy begins to regain consciousness in a strange place in space, but he feels nothing and can't tell if he's dead or alive. At the same time, Legionnaires hold a funeral service for him and, at HQ, dedicate a statue to his memory.

A spacecraft detects him and brings him aboard on a tractor beam.

Imra approaches the mourning Tinya; Tinya calls her “the ice maiden” and accuses her of knowing nothing of love. Imra calls up Tinya's many memories of Jo to comfort her and receives a hug from Tinya.

Jo awakens aboard the ship Antares, crewed by what appears to be pirates and commanded by Captain Frake. A crewmember attempts to question him with knives and is beaten by Jo, who is uncertain how he managed to overcome the attacker. Captain Frake appears, a sexy woman, and orders Jo to her cabin.

Rested and recovered, Tinya joins the others the next morning, just as the Deep Space Alarm from Pluto orbit sounds.

Jo is now dressed in pirate gear, but can remember nothing of his identity or what happened to him, beyond being blasted with energy in a battle. The ring he wears gives no clue, since it's face was melted by the blast. Frake tests his invulnerability, strength and kissing ability.

A Legion cruiser approaches Pluto and fires on Frake's pirate ship, which is attacking a space-freighter. Frake orders Jo to deal with the Legion's ship while her crew boards the freighter. Jo senses it is wrong, but must repay his debt of being rescued.

Rokk mans the guns and fires on the pirates. Val sees that the weapons pod is losing air and runs to rescue Rokk. Before he can remove him to safety, Val is attacked by Jo and knocked out, falling into the corridor. Jo attempts to burn through the hatch to the control room.

Garth tells Tinya to stop the intruder. She hits the space-suited Jo from behind; he reaches out and hits her unconscious, attempts to hit her again but, on seeing her face, is unable to strike. Jo returns to the pirates.

As Rokk, Val and Tinya like in hospital beds, Garth asks Jeckie why Imra appears so shaken. Jeckie claims that no one can understand a telepath. Imra's thoughts reveal that she knows a secret which would break Tinya's heart, but has to confirm it. Jo and Frake relax together as the pirate ship speeds away.

Comments:

This issue begins what I consider to be a tedious and drawn out story. Just a few comments because I'm rushing.

Some character development for Ice Maiden Imra, in terms of her disproving Tinya's catty comment. Tinya can be forgiven for speaking from grief, but Imra shows herself the true hero, not only for not reacting to Tinya's criticism, but for reaching out to help soothe Tinya.

Jo appears to be the only good-looking pirate on Frake's ship. Is the Captain a maneater, literally? Did her other toyboys walk the plank?

The Legionnaires seemed to give up on Jo pretty quickly! Brainy should have had some device to detect what happened, but then we wouldn't have a tedious and drawn-out story ahead of us. Am I being harsh? Could this story be improved by an affair between Garth and Jeckie?



Holy Cats of Egypt!
#924611 - 03/29/17 03:15 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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LoSH 274

On the cover, an emotionally crushed Legion look on the statue of Ultra Boy in the hall of heroes. His partner, Tinya, has unveiled the statue and is on her knees in front of it. But all is not lost as Ultra Boy bursts in to tell them that he’s really alive.

Last issue Pulsar Stargrave blasted Ultra Boy. Jo had oddly dropped his ultra-invulnerability as he went to save Tinya from the villain. He was blasted into oblivion, which in DC circles is a small Pacific island in the 20th century where characters go for some R&R when no body has been found after their apparent demise. Jo’s journey reminds me of a later dimensional trip he made following his encounter with Roxxas in v4.

The opening pages intercut Jo’s ghostly cosmic journey with the Legionnaires conducting his funeral and unveiling his memorial statue. We’ve already seen the statue on the cover, but the scene itself goes well beyond repeating the image. It’s a well-balanced, sombre affair that weighs heavily on those present. There’s a nice transition linking the final parts of both scenes. The narrator wonders what Jo will think when he wakes up, having been taken aboard a passing ship, as Imra wakes up Tinya in the Legion HQ.

Imra looks to comfort Tinya, but she gets the brunt of the pain and anguish instead. There’s some uncomfortable words in there about how Tinya speaks of Imra, and it goes a long way to reinforce the theory that Imra is some sort of ice maiden. There’s even a pot shot at Saturn Girl’s marriage to Lightning Lad, indicating that there might have been a sense of duty involved after Garth sacrificed his life for her back in the Adventure days.

But these are just words, and Imra’s actions have always risen above them. They do so again here, as she allows Tinya to tap into her fondest memories of her time with Jo.

There’s another well worked link to the Jo and Tinya scenes. Following Tinya’s rush of memories, we learn that Jo has lost his. He’s been picked up on a pirate ship. He might not know how he can beat the aggressive crew, but he uses his powers to hold of a group of them effortlessly. The panel where he throws them all off was repeated in the first arc of the v3 Baxter story.

A rested Tinya re-joins her Legion colleagues, and she has bonded with Imra. There’s no sign that the latter has dwelt on the harsh words, wanting only the best for her colleague. The team are summoned to an alarm. Elsewhere, we may be about to see the cause of the emergency.

Jo is seduced by the leader of the pirates, Captain Frake. She’s quite happy to nearly kill him, to test his powers. Fortunately, Jo seems to unconsciously know when to switch his ultra-powers, as the scene treats him as if he’s Superboy.

Jo seems not to have been teleported away by Stargrave, but simply blasted off Rimbor entirely at super speed, which doesn’t seem to work as well. His Legion flight ring has been turned to slag, but there’s still enough of his costume left to form his Ultra Boy logo. But rather than ask about that, he gets a change of clothes and another link to his past is gone.

Sure enough, Captain Frake’s pirates are the cause of the Legion emergency, and the two plots combine. There’s an interesting look at the roles each Legionnaire has aboard a Legion cruiser, as they intercept the pirates. There’s six on this mission and it takes at least five to fully run the ship, which I like as a nice nod to the five man teams of Curt Swan’s time on the book.

Frake does the natural thing, and sends Ultra Boy to disable the Legion, mistaking them for a SP Patrol. Having shown the duties of each Legionnaire, we know where they are on the cruiser. This feeds into the resulting combat very nicely. Cosmic Boy falls, because he’s just where the pirates have struck the ship. The bridge is cut off, and Tinya gets to use her powers well in getting to Rokk and the blindsided Karate Kid. Karate Kid has a moment of doubt, in solid Legion tradition. Has his time away (which seems like quite a while ago) affected his ability as a Legionnaire? He acts decisively, but is ambushed by Jo, before he can get a good look at his attacker. As Tinya begins to phase her way through the ship, Imra makes a shocked discovery.

They are unable to recognise him in the space suit he wears, but Jo’s actions slow as the ghosts of recollection begin to haunt his mind. Tinya is the last to confront him, showing that she can disrupt someone’s biological systems by phasing through them. Jo does manage to knock her out, but flees when he looks at her. In another story, the love that we saw between them in Tinya’s memories would have been enough to shock Jo back, leading to a quite different ending. Here, he doesn’t quite remember, and flees back to the pirates.

In the closing scene, Garth and Jeckie wonder why Imra reacted strangely during the battle. In a reprise of Tinya’s insults earlier in the issue, we see that Jeckie, and even Garth in his silence, don’t know what goes on in the mind of a telepath. Imra’s abilities keep her at a remove from her team mates. Her team mates seemingly keep her at arm’s length a lot of the time. Probably not consciously but through the odd remark or reaction. But that will only have built over time.

Without anyone to confide in, she wonders if she imaged sensing Jo in the encounter. Perhaps she feels as though she was influenced by Tinya’s rush of loving memories. This reaction would also recur during Imra and Brin Londo’s time trapped on an asteroid in a Levitz story. There, Imra’s sense of love between Brin and Ayla resulted in her growing close to Brin, as if reaching out for that love. Looking at both together, seems to illustrate just how lonely Imra must feel sometimes.

I liked the shape of the story in this one. We have two plots, with Jo on one side and the Legion (through Tinya and Imra) on the other. The two interweave at the start, before breaking off into parallel solo development (memories), then combine once more in the space battle, only to separate into two ongoing plot threads again at the end of a single issue story. It’s a nice example of the craft that goes into writing a comic book.

In addition, we get a very close look at Imra, how she is perceived by others and how she acts as a result. The decision not to reconcile Jo and Tinya was interesting. Considering how clingy they are, any kind of break is sometimes welcome.

Ditko got in a few memorable panels, and the art complimented the story nicely.

The change of writers when Brainy was removed from the team, made that story a bit of a mess. I know we’re about to get into similar territory with the removal of Jo.


"...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."
#925061 - 04/03/17 11:19 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Cramer
This issue begins what I consider to be a tedious and drawn out story. Just a few comments because I'm rushing.


Yeah, I've posted on a few occasions that this was one part of the rereads I wasn't particularly looking forward to. But I think that feeling might have overshadowed this issue, which was fine to me.


Originally Posted by Cramer
... but Imra shows herself the true hero, not only for not reacting to Tinya's criticism, but for reaching out to help soothe Tinya.


I was wondering if Imra felt that she now had a bond with Tinya. I was also wondering just how much of that bond Tinya truly felt back, or more precisely how long it would last once she was back in her clingy relationship with Jo.

Originally Posted by Cramer
Jo appears to be the only good-looking pirate on Frake's ship. Is the Captain a maneater, literally? Did her other toyboys walk the plank?


She's a maneater. No, literally. Supplies at in short demand and they're wanted pirates... smile


Originally Posted by Cramer
The Legionnaires seemed to give up on Jo pretty quickly! Brainy should have had some device to detect what happened...


I was reminded of the old Adventure days, where the Legionnaires absolute sense of duty would override any personal loss that they clearly felt for their fallen comrades.

Originally Posted by Cramer
...but then we wouldn't have a tedious and drawn-out story ahead of us. Am I being harsh?


No, I'm still not looking forward to the rest of it.

Originally Posted by Cramer
Could this story be improved by an affair between Garth and Jeckie


They did look as though they shared a common thought there. Which is a real shame for Imra. It would end up being Imra's sense of closeness to others that would be closest to an affair with Brin. I recall a Super Sulky of Space Garth going on about it. What Imra saw in the Ayla/Brin relationship there was what she saw in the Tinya/Jo story here. Something she feels that she could never be close enough to someone to have, due to her abilities. Which is a shame. The real reason that she feels that her relationship is slightly remote, is that she married a Protean in a Corpse. That's just not going to come up in counselling sessions too often.



"...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."
#925103 - 04/04/17 02:58 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Originally Posted by thoth lad
LoSH 274

Last issue Pulsar Stargrave blasted Ultra Boy. Jo had oddly dropped his ultra-invulnerability as he went to save Tinya from the villain. He was blasted into oblivion, which in DC circles is a small Pacific island in the 20th century where characters go for some R&R when no body has been found after their apparent demise. Jo’s journey reminds me of a later dimensional trip he made following his encounter with Roxxas in v4.


Good point, I'm trying to think if there are other stories in which he vanished. Levitz had a team disappear with Orando but I don't recall if he was part of that.

Quote
Jo seems not to have been teleported away by Stargrave, but simply blasted off Rimbor entirely at super speed, which doesn’t seem to work as well. His Legion flight ring has been turned to slag, but there’s still enough of his costume left to form his Ultra Boy logo. But rather than ask about that, he gets a change of clothes and another link to his past is gone.


Hah! I guess that logo is so common (Marla could be marketing it), nobody thought to remark on it. Even the pirates - Ultra Boy shirt, Ultra Boy powers, who is this guy?

Quote
They are unable to recognise him in the space suit he wears, but Jo’s actions slow as the ghosts of recollection begin to haunt his mind. Tinya is the last to confront him, showing that she can disrupt someone’s biological systems by phasing through them. Jo does manage to knock her out, but flees when he looks at her. In another story, the love that we saw between them in Tinya’s memories would have been enough to shock Jo back, leading to a quite different ending. Here, he doesn’t quite remember, and flees back to the pirates.


It's a good change from what we'd expect (the lovers reuniting) and serves to continue the story.

Quote
Without anyone to confide in, she wonders if she imaged sensing Jo in the encounter. Perhaps she feels as though she was influenced by Tinya’s rush of loving memories. This reaction would also recur during Imra and Brin Londo’s time trapped on an asteroid in a Levitz story. There, Imra’s sense of love between Brin and Ayla resulted in her growing close to Brin, as if reaching out for that love. Looking at both together, seems to illustrate just how lonely Imra must feel sometimes.


As we'll see in the next issue, she doubts herself a second time. This is pretty rare for Imra, isn't it? She's sometimes unclear, but I don't know that she has thought she's imagining the mental images she picks up.

Quote
I liked the shape of the story in this one. We have two plots, with Jo on one side and the Legion (through Tinya and Imra) on the other. The two interweave at the start, before breaking off into parallel solo development (memories), then combine once more in the space battle, only to separate into two ongoing plot threads again at the end of a single issue story. It’s a nice example of the craft that goes into writing a comic book.


True, and I was a bit harsh on this story. It is well balanced.



Holy Cats of Egypt!
#925104 - 04/04/17 03:11 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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LSH #275, Of Pride, Passion and Piracy by Gerry Conway, art by Jimmy James & Frank Chiaramonte, colours G. D'Angelo, letters Ben Oda

[Linked Image]

Garth reviews the pirate problem and prepares another mission to find them; Imra is troubled but won't reveal why.

Jo, still without his memory, helps the pirates and discovers his innate super-powers as well as an aversion to murder.

Brin tells Ayla that she's the only reason he has stayed in the Legion, since he feels more affinity with wild beasts and feels caged.

In a restaurant, Gim moans to Tasmia and Lar about his mother's presidency, while Tasmia counsels understanding. Gim feels like a klutz, knocks over a waiter yet saves people from being scalded by hot food.

The pirate crew enjoys some recreation and mayhem on New Tartuga, while Jo watches in disgust. As he kisses Captain Frake, he sees an image of a woman (Tinya) and breaks away, to the great annoyance of Frake. Suddenly, Frake sees the Legion cruiser; Jo does not remember who the Legion is. As he and Frake take off for a fortress, she knocks a peasant woman down and kills her, angering Jo.

The Legionnaires blast the pirate ship, which sits empty on the ground, and are confronted by the angry crew. Putting their powers to good use, the Legionnaires effectively battle the pirates. Meanwhile, Jo is attacking the pirates himself and his actions are detected by Imra. This revelation brings tears to her eyes. The Legionnaires continue to mop up the pirates; Salu manages to stop Drake from blasting a room full of women, children and old men.

Frake reaches her fortress, which houses a powerful weapon, and targets the Legion cruiser. Just before Frake fires on the cruiser, Jo bursts in and intercepts the blast. The blast ricochets, causing the quintile crystal powering the weapon to explode, destroying the fortress.

A distressed Imra tells Garth that she saw Jo in her thoughts, then he suddenly wasn't there. She wonders if she really sensed him fighting the pirates. When she says, “Let's go home”, Jan questions if they can find the way after what they've done.


Comments:

Curious that on the cover, both women appeal to Jo to fulfill his team responsibilities, not to be their lover. I like that this is more than a catfight over a romance, even though we never see that scene in the story.

This story is like one of those Day in the Life tales we will occasionally get from Levitz. We get glimpses of what's going on with a number of Legionnaires: Brin's growing alienation, Gim's lack of confidence, Salu's cool head opposing Drake's trigger finger. Jo becomes increasingly repulsed by the pirates' behaviour; although he still doesn't remember who he is, he's starting to know what he is - a good guy.

Imra's happiness at detecting Jo fighting the pirates is soon undermined as he disappears from existence once again. Her doubt that she truly sensed him, as Thoth pointed out in the previous issue, could develop into a crisis of faith for her - but I don't believe it does.

The Legionnaires stopped the pirates; it doesn't appear that they killed anyone, but they did cause a lot of destruction. Jan's comment that they may not find their way home is a curious one, coming from him with his known distaste for pirates - but who better to say it? He knows what price vengeance demands.


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#925105 - 04/04/17 03:22 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Good point, I'm trying to think if there are other stories in which he vanished. Levitz had a team disappear with Orando but I don't recall if he was part of that.


I think he was (without having issues around) He went with Vi, Jan, Tinya and Cham to some Controller place where he was building a Sun Eater. They might have vanished again later on, when they had to go and fight Tyr's world, which was what the Sun Eater had been for.


Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Hah! I guess that logo is so common (Marla could be marketing it), nobody thought to remark on it. Even the pirates - Ultra Boy shirt, Ultra Boy powers, who is this guy?


They probably thought they were dealing with Marla Latham, who Captain Frake has long had the hots for. smile


Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
As we'll see in the next issue, she doubts herself a second time. This is pretty rare for Imra, isn't it? She's sometimes unclear, but I don't know that she has thought she's imagining the mental images she picks up.


It was a thing in DnA's postboot too, where she becomes more immersed in the Tinya construct she's created.




"...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."
#925193 - 04/04/17 06:54 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Originally Posted by thoth lad


She's a maneater. No, literally. Supplies at in short demand and they're wanted pirates... smile



Poor Jo. Caught between a maneater and a rich girl. I guess no one ever taught him to say "I can't go for that, no can do."


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#925215 - 04/05/17 09:23 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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#925224 - 04/05/17 10:15 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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#925244 - 04/05/17 03:11 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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LoSH #275

The Legion look to respond to the growing pirate threat from Captain Frake we saw last issue. Garth is firmly team leader and Drake is annoying team nag. It’s good to get that confirmed as Drake’s personality tends to hog proceedings. We learn that Cosmic Boy and Karate Kid are in hospital. We’ve only really just met the pirates, but Jo’s death and the injuries may have put them all on edge. Which is exactly where Imra is. Having sensed that Jo is alive last issue, she doesn’t trust her thoughts and powers. Not that this stops her dropping a little hint to her colleague, just to go all mysterious when they ask her more. It’s a shame that, after all this time, she feels she has no one to confide in.

Back on the pirate ship, we see Jo instinctively use his powers and morals to rob without killing. He’d now like to be called Seeker, although we’ve not seen him use his ultra-vision to find anything yet. Captain Frake is a little conflicted. She’s the undisputed boss, but can already see some moral issues getting in the way of her new crew member and partner.

As the Legion team leaves to capture the pirates, there’s a nice segue to another of the subplots. This involves Timberwolf becoming more of a loner and Ayla putting up with it like Doormat Damsel. It’s essentially more of the same this issue, but with a few more panels devoted to it. We get extra angst from Brin about how caged he feels. There’s a moment or two where you can see the conflict through the whining. But it’s mainly whining.

It’s nice to see Ayla actually asking him why he stays. Brin stays only for her, apparently. Or rather, only for as long as he can make her jump through the hoops of his relationship control.

The next subplot involves Colossal Boy’s moaning about his mother being president. Poor Jo’s dead, but they agree that it’s best just to carry on, so that Gim can talk about his issues. They also agree than Tinya’s on the mend. So, that’s all right then. Gim’s been getting a fair bit of attention, and he’s also the recipient of the latest self doubt sub plot. Lost in thoughts about his mom, he makes a clumsy mistake that makes him think of himself as a klutz. No words of wisdom form either Lar or Tasmia, who are there just to have people for Gim’s words to bounce off.

With our subplots acting as an interlude this issue, it’s back to the Legion hunting down the pirates. The Legionnaires were shown as dutiful following Jo’s death, and it continues here as they man their posts ahead of a military style attack on the pirates. What’s even better, is that we see they can manage to do this without Brainiac Five anywhere near the team. It’s a dangerous business being a superhero. Seeing the Legion as professionals makes a lot more sense than so many comics that have their teams run blindly into all sorts of needless danger.

The Legion launch their strike just as Seeker’s relationship with Frake falls apart. Seeing his new colleagues at play makes him realise that he’s not one of them. He’s thinking of Phantom Girl (not quickly enough to avoid Frake calling him “lover” I notice) and Frake isn’t used to being rejected. They travel through the city to launch their counter attack against the Legion. We’ve already seen one of the crew knock another out of the way, in what turns out to be a nice set up. Frake also does this to a girl, who dies after hitting her head during her fall. An incensed Jo stays by the body, and then goes on to attack the pirates himself.

We get to see each of the Legionnaires in battle. Shrinking Violet has come a way when she says that her name isn’t a reflection of her shyness. She later chides Wildfire, who is about to blast open a door. Violet uses her powers more subtly throughout to good effect.

Garth considers Dawnstar to be abrupt, but he’s no better in their exchanges. Dawny gets to show how her enhanced speed comes in handy during combat.

As the pirates fall, Frake reaches her secret weapon, a giant laser. It’s powered by a Quintile crystal in a nice nod to Legion history. As Imra picks up Jo’s presence once more, he throws himself in front of the laser blast, vanishing for the second issue in a row. Imra, who hasn’t told anyone about sensing Jo the first time, doesn’t reveal what she thought was going on this time either.

The issue returns to where we left off last issue. Jo has vanished in a burst of weapon fire, and Imra doubts if he really survived at all. Could we have jumped straight form last issue into next?

One the plus side, there’s more craft shown in building the parallel Legion, Frake and Jo scenes into the climax with the Quintile energy weapon. Both this and last issue have stood out on this.

Conway also continues with his solid character building, with Salu and Dawny getting some panel time this issue. Jo’s intrinsic grasp of what’s the right thing to do also shines through. It’s a theme that writers would build on him again, and this story lays a lot of the ground work of his later smuggling days, and what separates him from the villains. There’s more to being a Legionnaire than simply powers. All of the cast show that this issue (well, maybe not Wildjerk).

Like the main plot, the subplots don’t really go too far either, but there is some progress. Gim still moans about his mom, but there’s a suggestion that how his mom acts reflects on how he sees himself as a Legionnaire. Brin is still angsty, but there’s more of a definite hint that his, and by extension Ayla’s, time on the team could be limited. Both plots would be picked up by other writers.

While the Quintile Crystal was a nice nod to Legion continuity, the mention of Reflecto in the next issue box must have set some tongues wagging and hearts racing. His memorial statue had been seen all the way back in 1967, and many readers will have known that a new, and ill fated, Legionnaire would be making an appearance.

And that's goodnight for this issue Legion Worlders... Don't let the Talokian Night Wigglers...um....wiggle.


"...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."
#925245 - 04/05/17 03:40 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Curious that on the cover, both women appeal to Jo to fulfill his team responsibilities, not to be their lover. I like that this is more than a catfight over a romance, even though we never see that scene in the story.


Perhaps both see Jo, not just as a mate, but as a means to gain something more ?

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Jo becomes increasingly repulsed by the pirates' behaviour; although he still doesn't remember who he is, he's starting to know what he is - a good guy. .


Yeah, I liked the build up of this over the two issues. Even an amnesiac Legionnaire is still a Legionnaire. A nice change from mind wiped characters doing all sorts of daft, out of character things.


Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
Imra's happiness at detecting Jo fighting the pirates is soon undermined as he disappears from existence once again. Her doubt that she truly sensed him, as Thoth pointed out in the previous issue, could develop into a crisis of faith for her - but I don't believe it does. .


This really could have been a character arc for Imra and it's touched on a few times here, and in issues to come. But I don't recall it going anywhere either.


Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
The Legionnaires stopped the pirates; it doesn't appear that they killed anyone, but they did cause a lot of destruction. Jan's comment that they may not find their way home is a curious one, coming from him with his known distaste for pirates - but who better to say it? He knows what price vengeance demands..


He sure does, having pulled the trigger on Roxxas.

Jan: Home? I wonder, after this, if we can find the way...
Gartth: What do you mean?
Jan: I turned the navcomp into helium by mistake. We're stranded.





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#925356 - 04/07/17 06:25 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Well, it's been a few weeks since I've posted at all on LW, but I'm finally back and ready to start by trying to catch up on the Archive reread. It's been a difficult and frustrating few weeks at that, all on the personal side of things with work, some other personal stuff, selling / renting my old condo, my kids sports (that's been fun just time consuming) and various other things that of course relate to the root of all evil, money. But I'm here, it's been nothing I can't handle and it's time to get caught up.

I'll be brief since I'm behind. I had to read them rather than skip ahead as I'm determined to read every issue as we go through this!

LSH # 273
This issue was actually quite good! Conway at long last resolved the dangling plot of Brainy murdering someone, and uses a pretty natural resolution--a plot by Pulsar Stargrave--to do it. I liked this issue a lot because it was chalk full of character moments and because it gave us a lot of plot without dragging things out. I though Cham and Brainy came off especially well, while many others also shined. I also like the political tension with Marte Allon, Gim's dealing with it, and the continued usage of subplots, such as Brain's growing problem.

One thing I note is I'm surprised that Star Boy would be part of this group, as IMO, he probably is the Legionnaire who holds the greatest animosity towards Brainy. My personal theory is he joined this group for opposite reasons: to make sure that if the evidence proved his guilt, he'd make sure Brainy was prosecuted. However, he is a hero after all, and personal feelings aside, at the end of the day when the evidence points to Brainy's innocence, he's ready to step up and do his duty as a Legionnaire.

LSH #274
Just as we end the dangling subplot of crazy Brainy, were pushed into another subplot which will end up dragging on: dead Ultra Boy. It starts here in a bit of a quirky issue, and that's mainly because Steve Ditko's art continues to be so ill-suited for an early 1980's LSH story. I actually think this is his best LSH issue, as his mystical sensibilities work well when depicting a near death Jo traveling through cosmic space. But overall, the art distracts more than anything. (And let's not get started on mis-coloring Cos and Tyroc as statues).

The story isn't bad at all, but it's hard not to sigh when you know that it will drag out immensely. Instead I'll focus on the good: I like the initial appearance of Capt Frakes and her crew, as she is an aggressive, dominant leader who also is sexy and proud to show it. I also love the Tinya / Imra sequence here, which I've long felt is the best interaction the two characters had during the entire preboot, which is interesting because they are two of the longest serving and most iconic female Legionnaires. Beyond that, this is kind of a standard "believed dead, really has amnesia with the enemies" storyline that was a trope in fiction going back to at least the dime novel westerns, though I'd be shocked if there isn't a story in antiquity somewhere along those lines. The only difference here is it isn't resolved right away.

I should hopefully have up #275 shortly and will be all caught up. Then I'll be back to the monthly schedule.

#925389 - 04/07/17 12:50 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Cobalt Kid]  
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Originally Posted by Cobalt Kid
Well, it's been a few weeks since I've posted at all on LW.


Good to see you back, Mr. Kid.

Originally Posted by Cobalt Kid
I'll be brief since I'm behind. I had to read them rather than skip ahead as I'm determined to read every issue as we go through this!


Looks ahead to Reflecto saga... you brave, brave poster Cobalt Kid...



Originally Posted by Cobalt Kid
LSH # 273 One thing I note is I'm surprised that Star Boy would be part of this group, as IMO, he probably is the Legionnaire who holds the greatest animosity towards Brainy. My personal theory is he joined this group for opposite reasons: to make sure that if the evidence proved his guilt, he'd make sure Brainy was prosecuted. However, he is a hero after all, and personal feelings aside, at the end of the day when the evidence points to Brainy's innocence, he's ready to step up and do his duty as a Legionnaire.


Even in v7, Dream Girl had to remind Thom to let it go, and bury the hatchet. As you say, Thom is too much of a hero to express where he'd like to bury the hatchet, but it was a subplot pretty much right up to Thom's demise.

Originally Posted by Cobalt Kid
LSH #274 (And let's not get started on mis-coloring Cos and Tyroc as statues).


Although I noticed Cos and Tyroc beside the dedded heroes, I put it down to the room having statues of everybody (one of the many Statue rooms in the HQ), and that Cos and Tyroc's could be seen form the area where the Statues of the Dead (dum, dum... DUM) could be seen. I'd much rather that you've just uncovered a hidden Legion story. That Coz is really dead. The man who we think is Coz is really the Time Trapper. A few of the team know that the Trapper believes itself to really be Coz and have to keep it happy in case it realises and breaks loose on a temporal rampage. For anyone not convinced by this off the cuff idea, just wait a few issues and it will seem like a masterpiece. lol

Originally Posted by Cobalt Kid
I should hopefully have up #275 shortly and will be all caught up. Then I'll be back to the monthly schedule.


Yay!


"...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."
#925390 - 04/07/17 12:53 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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The Cos / TT theory is actually hilarious! It certainly explains why he was never elected leader again until continuity got all rearranged!

#925400 - 04/07/17 01:40 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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The big clue came in the Mayavale issue. It's no coincidence that the people looking at Cos here, were a shocked Imra and Garth who are having to keep the secret.

[Linked Image]


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#925402 - 04/07/17 02:22 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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LSH #275

Catching up on #275, I don't have much to add as FC and Thoth have covered the issue quite well. It's a standard plot dropped into an LSH setting, though there's some nice moments.

Like you both, I like that Jo gradually starts to know who he isn't throughout the issue as he turns away from the pirates. That is well done and says more about him.

Also, as you both mention, I like how central Imra is in this arc but also feel there's a bit of missed opportunity in the follow up.

Overall, the fact that Jo is lost / presumed dead a second time doesn't have the intended effect on me. I'm not interested and more tired by the plot development, wanting them not to drag it out. And it's with that mindset that the Reflecto saga starts...(oh boy)...

#925404 - 04/07/17 02:40 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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I'm glad you're back for it Cobie. Strength in numbers, and all that. smile


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#925416 - 04/07/17 06:05 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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^ That was the last time Cos wore contacts . . . of space.


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#925418 - 04/07/17 06:15 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Originally Posted by thoth lad
[Linked Image]


E TU VIVRAI NEL TERRORE -- L'ALDILA


Read LEGIONS OF 7 WORLDS in the Bits forum:

Retroboot (Earth-7.5) Arc 1 (COMPLETED)

Retroboot (Earth-7.5) Arc 2 (WORK IN PROGRESS)

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#925607 - 04/10/17 05:08 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Superman Family #207, Look Homeward Argonian! By Jack C. Harris & Roy Thomas, art by Win Mortimer & Vince Coletta, colours John Drake, letters John Costanza

[Linked Image]

Linda Lee Danvers returns to college in Santa Augusta aboard a commercial flight, but when she deplanes, she's in Argo City. The residents don't see her and she can't touch them. Suddenly, this disappears and she's in the terminal, greeted by her friend Val. As they head for home, Linda uses her telescopic vision and instead of seeing remains of the city, sees a domed Argo in a new orbit around a yellow sun. Baffled, she pleads fatigue, then changes to Supergirl and flies out to investigate.

She lands in Argo City and speaks to the people but finds they are still immaterial. Kam-Par explains that some of them had survived, but in this semi-real state. He says that Supergirl could rescue them with a Density Intensifier her father had invented. Just as she finds the device in her old home, Argo City disappears and she hears laughter.

She finds the real Argo City in its red sun orbit, views it from afar and sees Universo with the Density-Intensifier. She follows him to the 30th century.

The Legionnaires detect a disturbance in the timestream; Brainy is summoned and declares that two people have broken through the time barrier and landed in front of the HQ. As they rush out, the Legionnaires see Universo attacking Supergirl with the device and delivering some corny lines. To Universo's surprise, she is unharmed; she destroys the device telling him it's really just a table lamp and slugs him.

She tells the Legionnaires that she was never fooled by the image of Argo, just played along to trap Universo; she knew that the Argonians could never have known about the Intensifier, which her father kept as a family secret.

Brainy begs Supergirl to stay a while; she refuses. She also refuses to tell them where her father's weapon was hidden, then departs with sorrowful thoughts of her parents and home.

Comments:
Legion editor Jack C. Harris turns his hand to plotting this Supergirl story and throw in a token appearance by the Legion. Too little Legion for my taste, but it's a short story.

The Supergirl history is sort of foggy for me, but a first time reader could follow the tale thanks to the explanations of Krypton's and Universo's histories. The explanations do drag this simple story out, however.

They mystery of the intangible Argonians isn't much of a mystery since Universo was on the cover. Someone not familiar with the Legion might not have suspected.

There's a discussion of our technology and Colu elsewhere on this forum, so it particularly struck me how odd it seems for an advanced civilization to have table lamps. Ugly table lamps. Argonians are too advanced to concern themselves with such trivial matters as home makeovers, no doubt. (Was there ever a story tying the Argonians to the Argonauts? That seems like a natural for the Silver Age.)

Why did Cham have to fetch Brainiac 5 – and why change into some sort of dog to find him? All communications devices down?

Brainy didn't add much to the conversation; he only deduced that two people had landed outside the HQ from the timestream. They could have opened the front door and learned that. I don't recall what the status of the timestream was at this point: were people from the past blocked? There was an iron curtain of time, but I think that was for traveling into the future.

Supergirl gives Brainiac 5 the brush-off, which is sort of disappointing for those of us who enjoyed this time-doomed relationship.

Wow! Does Supergirl not trust the Legion? Could they just be figments of Universo's power as well? There could have been a Part 2 to this tale in which Supergirl unmasks a second layer of Universo's deception.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#925663 - 04/11/17 03:21 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Superman Family 207

Supergirl is flying back from a student councillors meeting somewhere, back in the days when being a student councillor was a jet setting, glamorous life.

Back in the old Action Comics Supergirl’s thought bubbles were always full of smug “If only they knew” comments. “If only they knew I had a green future boyfriend and a merboy-friend” or “If only they knew my secrets” after Lois Lane points out Linda Lee’s similarity to Supergirl. So, credit to the writer as she’s not changed a jot, thinking “of course I could have flown there and back in a fraction of the time, as Supergirl…”

She gives a really good excuse for not having done so, as it’s the everyday things like unused tickets that can trip up a global super heroine. She completely blows her secret identity by having a breakdown on the aircraft’s steps feeling that she’s now in “Argo—The Kryptonian city where I was born.” If it’s an illusion, everyone will now know her secret.

Whoops! An illusion is exactly what it turns out to be, as she passes through fellow travellers. Fortunately, everyone wjo is real just thinks she’s either drunk or stoned. Normal for air passengers. Her friend kindly puts it down to jetlag, but Supergirl has been in too many stories not to know that something is wrong. She uses her telescopic vision to see all the way to Krypton. Her destroyed home world is luckily in view from the taxi window. The super character’s powers were always difficult to control, but this goes quite a bit too far. Argo isn’t where it used to be, but that’s OK, super vision soon picks it up around another sun.

I wonder if, in her days as a student councillor, Supergirl considers helping out astronomy a bit.

Supergirl has often struggled to find her place in the world. It’s been tough for her. Form the orphanage to hiding away as Superman’s secret weapon. But it’s not helped by ignoring your friends at the first sign of super deed. Poor Valerie has gone to all the trouble to pick up her friend form the airport, and gets the brush off.

A pompous caption declares “..and she must learn, this day, if you can go home again.” Well, of course she can. She’s just seen it, and is now flying at beyond light speed through space to get to it. Even handier, it’s now under a yellow sun, meaning that Supergirl can keep her powers.

When she gets there, Supergirl is confused at the sight of people she thought long dead, in a city she though long destroyed. She discovers that the residents, like the people back at the airport, are immaterial. But they have a solution, and you should take a deep breath if you want to read it out loud.

Like all the superbaby stories, Supergirl was involved in lots of the Plot-Friendly activities that everyone on Krypton managed to cram in around the time the planet exploded. If the Kryptonians had spent less time setting up Super Family stories and more time saving their planet, and its cast off cities, they would have been fine.

Here, Supergirl’s dad was working on a device to project all of Argo city’s residents into the Survival Zone. The ray seems to have worked, in that Supergirl saved her parents. But the other residents were left in a sort of ghostly state. Fortunately, Supergir;s dad was well versed in Pointless Plot Twists. While he was working on the device, he was also working on a device to increase the mass of things and people. Just in case his daughter lost her superpowers on Earth.

Now, Supergirl’s dad presumably had a tea break in between all this inventing. That’s when he must have come up with the idea of disguising the mass increasing device as a table lamp. Why he would do this when it was to go with his daughter to Earth. Is there another rocket, full of furniture from Krypton out there somewhere, destined to come to Earth and gain superpowers?

We’ll never know, as the whole thing turned out to be another illusion. Supergirl spies the real Argo city, back under its red sun.

We don’t have to wait long to find out who’s behind the illusions. It’s Legion nemesis (and rejected member) Universo! His Super-hypnosis has enabled him to cast illusions all the way from Krypton to Earth. He’s created a completely illusory city and sun, exact in every detail from an earlier time. He then waits for Supergirl to explore it to find the device he really needs. Then he searches in the ruins of the real Argo City until he finds it.

Whew! I’m glad he didn’t go for something complicated. Like just going back in time to watch Supergirl’s father invent the thing in the first place.

Universo uses time travel technology (probably pinched from his kid) to return to the 30th century and get vengeance on the Legion. Supergirl follows. For all the super-super powers we’ve already seen, it should be remembered that Supergirl can also travel through time too. So she doesn’t have to follow Universo in the way shown.

Universo’s method of travel sets off all sorts of alarms. A group of otehrwsie incidental Legionnaires respond. Rather than using telepathic earplugs or HQ comms, we get to see Cham racing down a corridor to fetch Brainy as a small metallic dog. Which is quite cute.

Universo is about to blast the weapon at our heroes, only to find Supergirl in his way. She easily defeats him after the weapon has no effect on her. Apparently Supergirl had only been playing along with Universo’s plan and hadn’t been fooled for a minute. She certainly goes to some lengths to show she had fallen for it. All of her dialogue to herself also thought that the weapon had been captured.

That was the first time I’d read this story. It’s complete filler and the plot (by Jack Harris) doesn’t stand up to any sort of scrutiny. The set ups are ridiculously overly elaborate for a nice, but standard, pay off at the end. Roy Thomas’ script has a few touches, but can’t escape the story. At least the Mortimer/Colletta art was a nice treat. Things like the Legion reread makes me appreciate the artists of this period, more than I had earlier.


"...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."
#925798 - 04/14/17 03:45 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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I know I am a bit late to this conversation but thought I would join in and try to catch up.

RE Secrets of the Legion of Super-Heroes

I was a bit surprised when I read this. My memory from years ago was of three issues of nothing but recaps, so the plots inserted into each issue (thin though they may have been) were a welcome surprise. On the other hand I guess there is a reason that I had forgotten they were there at all.

I actually enjoyed seeing Marla give Drake a bit of his own medicine. This was one of the few cases where I thought the artwork perfectly mirrored the writer. The look on Drake's "face" (well his body language anyway) shows how stunned he is at being spoken back to like that and the following panel with him walking off waving off Marla is spot on.

My biggest thought from the rereading? How ironic it is that some members were rejected as being possible offspring because they were born in the 20th Century, considering the later Giffen-led retcon that Brande actually came from that century.

#925799 - 04/14/17 03:56 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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One more thought I almost forgot to mention: It would seem the artist (or the writer) was a bit confused over Star Boy's expulsion when instead of drawing the actual ray gun shooting which Thom did in self-defense, the comic portrayed the possible alternative action from Brainy's prosecution which would have left the attacker alive. As mentioned this probably reflects badly on the editor as well who should have caught it.

Other than this one item, I wasn't so bothered about the differences in retelling of the origins and tales. Get any two people to independently describe an event they were both witness to and you will get two similar but different stories. Obviously from a real world perspective it shows the different desires of different writers (or possibly poor research but let's be nice). However from a Legion perspective it is till ok as all the "true' origins and events are told by the characters and different ones among them could be remembering it differently.

#925800 - 04/14/17 04:05 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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RE #273 A Murderer - Among Us?

The comments made above summarise it pretty well. It seems to be a well meaning attempt to clear up not just a dangling plot line but a stain on one of the characters. However it does not stand up to very close scrutiny. besides all the items already mentioned, I always wondered why Stargrave simply didn't try to melt or even just grab Brainy's force field belt if he truly believed they were stuck inside together. I guess though that you could wave that away with Brainy's statement of Stargrave's emotional ranting and unstable state leading to his downfall.

Not much else to say except that I stifled a sigh when Jo "disappeared". I suddenly remembered what storyline this was leading to and how disappointed I was when I first read it. Oh well maybe rereading I will find some gems I missed last time.

#925828 - 04/14/17 11:32 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Cramer
There's a discussion of our technology and Colu elsewhere on this forum, so it particularly struck me how odd it seems for an advanced civilization to have table lamps. Ugly table lamps.


A lot of worlds, like our club & societies here, pretend to have hidden depths or secrets to make them more appealing./mysterious. In Colu's case, all that intellectual/ technological mastery hides the sad truth that they have no concept of interior design. They're too embarrassed to invite the neighbours round. Which is a shame as Mr and Mrs Rimbor are really nice people.


Originally Posted by Cramer
Why did Cham have to fetch Brainiac 5 – and why change into some sort of dog to find him? All communications devices down?


I vote for a "Pointless Powers Use" thread!


Originally Posted by Cramer
Brainy didn't add much to the conversation; he only deduced that two people had landed outside the HQ from the time stream. They could have opened the front door and learned that.


I vote for a "Space Science made me Lazy" thread!


Originally Posted by Cramer
I don't recall what the status of the timestream was at this point: were people from the past blocked? There was an iron curtain of time, but I think that was for traveling into the future.


The Superkids could come and go as they pleased to Legion HQ at this point, I believe.


Originally Posted by Cramer
Supergirl gives Brainiac 5 the brush-off, which is sort of disappointing for those of us who enjoyed this time-doomed relationship.

Well, that student councillor jet set lifestyle must have been appealing. Perhaps she felt that Briany and her Merboy boyfriend were just a bit too clingy, as she looked to get a bit of space for herself.

Originally Posted by Cramer
Wow! Does Supergirl not trust the Legion? Could they just be figments of Universo's power as well? There could have been a Part 2 to this tale in which Supergirl unmasks a second layer of Universo's deception.


Sadly, the Legion could have invaded her mind at any time as they did regularly to Superboy. Perhaps they're surprised that Kara would keep anything from them. But probably they 're just surprised that there's a glitch in their mind wiping equipment. 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."
#925830 - 04/14/17 12:28 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by stile86
I know I am a bit late to this conversation but thought I would join in and try to catch up.


Always good to have more views on the reread thread!


Originally Posted by stile86
I actually enjoyed seeing Marla give Drake a bit of his own medicine. This was one of the few cases where I thought the artwork perfectly mirrored the writer. The look on Drake's "face" (well his body language anyway) shows how stunned he is at being spoken back to like that and the following panel with him walking off waving off Marla is spot on.


That reminds me of a later issue where Drake is called on his conflicting approach regarding the Academy. He goes off in a huff there too.


Originally Posted by stile86
My biggest thought from the rereading? How ironic it is that some members were rejected as being possible offspring because they were born in the 20th Century, considering the later Giffen-led retcon that Brande actually came from that century.


There was the sequel called "Secrets of the Legion so Secret They've Been Kept Secret!" After readers complained about 26 pages containing only CLASSIFIED stamps, DC released a further series, "Hidden Mysterious Legends of the Legion!"

Who was RJ Brande's *real* kid? It turns out that Reep's Durlan blood morphs into the blood of another race, enabling it to save Brande's life. But Reep's not his kid!

Will Tenzil Kem and his glamorous assistant, Brek Bannin, be able to reveal the true Brande lineage before Lester Spiffany obtains control of Brande Industries?!

Rumours of Phantoms from the 20th century lead the team to find out more about their L.E.G.I.O.N. predecessors. But it turns out it was Phantom Girl herself as Phase. There’s a suggestion that Tinya did some time travelling of her own and could have helped in the colonisation of her world in the first place.

Could it have been Mon-El? There are rumours that the isolationist Daxamites and the Durlans were involved in a unified Invasion! force. Did Brande meet Lar’s mother/father? It turns out that, confusing history aside, Lar was already well in the Zone before Brande left Durla. This similarly rules out Brande being a relative of Kal or Kara.

In their travels, our heroes uncover a species of technologically enhanced Lycanthropes that went with humanity as they colonised the galaxy. It turns out Brin was a bit of a dog (smile) during his miniseries in the 20th century.

They also find out that Iris Jacobs still has no luck with men, following on from her appearances in the Karate Kid series form the 1970s. She did successfully sue Marvel for stealing her gimmick and giving it to Emma Frost though.

It turns out that the lineage is more direct that they thought. Visitors from Tharr helped out Superman in an old story. They turned out to be Polar Boy’s parents. One of the parents quite liked the use of the Time Bubbles, and had further adventures where they met a certain exiled Durlan. Brek Banin is their child.


Originally Posted by stile86
One more thought I almost forgot to mention: It would seem the artist (or the writer) was a bit confused over Star Boy's expulsion when instead of drawing the actual ray gun shooting which Thom did in self-defense, the comic portrayed the possible alternative action from Brainy's prosecution which would have left the attacker alive. As mentioned this probably reflects badly on the editor as well who should have caught it.


Looks like an error, although there's speculation that the tree was actually either Chameleon Boy or Swamp Thing looking to *frame* Star Boy for the killing, if he had chosen that alternative approach smile Perhaps they didn't want to show a Legionnaire shooting someone? There's also the possibility that the characters didn't want to mention shooting someone in cold blood with Brainy around somewhere. smile


Originally Posted by stile86
Other than this one item, I wasn't so bothered about the differences in retelling of the origins and tales. Get any two people to independently describe an event they were both witness to and you will get two similar but different stories. Obviously from a real world perspective it shows the different desires of different writers (or possibly poor research but let's be nice). However from a Legion perspective it is till ok as all the "true' origins and events are told by the characters and different ones among them could be remembering it differently.


I like this approach, as I like Levitz’s chronicler’s interpretation as a way of not getting too hung up on the details (except for the sheer fun of it)

Originally Posted by stile86
I always wondered why Stargrave simply didn't try to melt or even just grab Brainy's force field belt if he truly believed they were stuck inside together. I guess though that you could wave that away with Brainy's statement of Stargrave's emotional ranting and unstable state leading to his downfall.


Yeah, Stargrave was in full Maniacal Megavillain mode, rather than taking a more subtle approach. The Coluans must have been really embarrassed that Stargrave turned out to be the chief export villain form their world. He wasn’t the brightest. I here, they’re not keen on Questor either. smile

Originally Posted by stile86
Not much else to say except that I stifled a sigh when Jo "disappeared". I suddenly remembered what storyline this was leading to and how disappointed I was when I first read it. Oh well maybe rereading I will find
some gems I missed last time.


Yes, come with us to reread the hidden gems in the Reflecto Saga. Please. >sob< Don’t leave us in there! >choke< 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."
#925877 - 04/14/17 07:36 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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I've always maintained that if Star Boy had, in fact, made the tree limb super-heavy, it might have broken Nuhor's neck and killed him anyway. Of course, there is a slim chance that he might have lived. The Legion Code says nothing about rendering anyone a quadriplegic.


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#925880 - 04/14/17 11:13 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Originally Posted by thoth lad


There was the sequel called "Secrets of the Legion so Secret They've Been Kept Secret!" After readers complained about 26 pages containing only CLASSIFIED stamps, DC released a further series, "Hidden Mysterious Legends of the Legion!"

Originally Posted by stile86
Not much else to say except that I stifled a sigh when Jo "disappeared". I suddenly remembered what storyline this was leading to and how disappointed I was when I first read it. Oh well maybe rereading I will find
some gems I missed last time.


Yes, come with us to reread the hidden gems in the Reflecto Saga. Please. >sob< Don’t leave us in there! >choke< smile


LOL!
If I am ever feeling a bit down I just have to read a post from Thoth and I am feeling much better (except perhaps from my mouth muscles aching from laughing too much).

#925881 - 04/15/17 12:11 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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#274 The Exaggerated Death of Ultra Boy

Well this story wasn't a bad start at all.

I have to say I don't really like Steve Ditko's artwork. However there are some good spots like the opening page which matches well with the narrative, and while much of the rest feels stiff it still conveys the important points well such as the Imra/Timya memory sharing and Jo's reaction to seeing Tinya.

I thought Gerry Conway's writing was pretty good but my appreciation increased even more following Thoth's analysis. Conway did a good job of paralleling the two storylines and the balance of the story is excellent.

The Imra/Tinya moment is really good and much appreciated, both for not just moving on past Jo's apparent death with business as usual but also for the character development for both women.

There is a bit of a mixup in the timeline with the team heading off to foil a pirate attack before it actually begins, unless Captain Frake enjoys "trying out the new meat" in the middle of an operation. (Kinky?) On the other hand perhaps the Legion's alert actually came from Dream Girl who is otherwise unaccounted for. (She does appear in the statue scene along with the mysterious statues of Cos and Tyroc.)

Always feels a bit strange to see Legionnaires using weapons. Cox could probably rip the ship apart magnetically quicker than his laser rounds.

Overall not bad at all. If only the quality remains at this level, although Thoth's comments and my own memories leave me with some trepidation.


#925882 - 04/15/17 12:15 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Oh and one further thought on #273

Was it really necessary to have an empty bed in the hospital to prompt Tinya to ask after the missing Jo? Do hospitals regularly leave a bed vacant in a room for each person that has died BEFORE getting to the hospital? Why not have just enough beds or use the beds for other patients? And even if there is an empty bed why should Jo need it to make her wonder where Jo is?

It's the sort of flimsy plot point sometimes thrown into stories which is not only flimsy but not really needed in the first place.

#926000 - 04/16/17 04:17 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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LSH #275 Of Pride, Passion and Piracy

Another quite reasonable story from Conway. The plot progresses well (even if I agree with Wildfire in the opening scene which feels a bit too expositional).

As Cramer and Thoth have said the development of Jo's turn away from the pirates is handled well and a at a satisfying pace. It is also nice to see other characters being developed, although the Vi/Drake bit was better than the Brin and Gim parts which felt a little awkwardly squeezed in. Interesting that Tinya does not appear at all, and yet the one small mention of her not only excuses but satisfies.

Conway was apparently trying for a tragic note with Jo almost being rejoined to his teammates but then being lost again, and it works a bit but also a bit "here we go again".

Overall I like this. May it continue. (I can dream can't I?)

#926001 - 04/16/17 05:29 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Hey Stile! Good to see your comments on these issues. The empty bed scene - pretty clumsy indeed. I hadn't thought about it and wonder now if we should blame the writer or the artist.

Set your trepidation aside and prepare to attack the Reflecto Saga. We have a sword & sorcery interval with the next issue (#276) then it's on to the hunt for hidden gems.


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#926201 - 04/17/17 02:03 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: stile86]  
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Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
I've always maintained that if Star Boy had, in fact, made the tree limb super-heavy, it might have broken Nuhor's neck and killed him anyway. Of course, there is a slim chance that he might have lived. The Legion Code says nothing about rendering anyone a quadriplegic.


Hopefully the branch would have killed him. Thom would have a lot of explaining to do when the footage showed him beating the guy to death with a branch. "Steal the love of my life back?! I don't think so!" >thump< >thump<

Of course, the trial of Thom missed out a key witness.
Superboy: I present Douglas Nolan. Douglas, you can see across parallel realities. What other actions could Thom have taken.
Douglas: Thanks for having me Kal. It's nice to get off that gurney, where I strapped like Hannibal Lector once in a while. Using my powers... I see... nope. Thom's pretty much hell bent on killing the guy in every universe.
Superboy: Um... you can go now Douglas.


Originally Posted by stile86
LOL! If I am ever feeling a bit down I just have to read a post from Thoth and I am feeling much better (except perhaps from my mouth muscles aching from laughing too much).


awwwww.. thanks.


Originally Posted by stile86
I have to say I don't really like Steve Ditko's artwork. However there are some good spots like the opening page which matches well with the narrative, and while much of the rest feels stiff it still conveys the important points well such as the Imra/Timya memory sharing and Jo's reaction to seeing Tinya.


It's something that's well worth mentioning. As indifferent as I am to Ditko's work on the Legion, it certainly doesn't seem to derail Conway's story. I've seen plenty of comics by more in form artists where that doesn't happen.


Originally Posted by stile86
The Imra/Tinya moment is really good and much appreciated, both for not just moving on past Jo's apparent death with business as usual but also for the character development for both women.


A few of the Legionnaires went down in my estimation over their attitudes towards Imra. How dare they be fallible? smile


Originally Posted by stile86
There is a bit of a mixup in the timeline with the team heading off to foil a pirate attack before it actually begins...

I read it that there's a deep space alarm that goes off alerting the Legion to a ship in the area rather than a ship attacking. Frake and Jo are "walking the plank" before the attack, but after an alarm has been triggered. smile


Originally Posted by stile86
unless Captain Frake enjoys "trying out the new meat" in the middle of an operation. (Kinky?)


And the Sentient Perv of the week award goes to stil86... and don't tell me that "Cox" reference was a slip. smile


Originally Posted by stile86
On the other hand perhaps the Legion's alert actually came from Dream Girl who is otherwise unaccounted for. (She does appear in the statue scene along with the mysterious statues of Cos and Tyroc.)


Considering how obsessed with statues of themselves the Legion are, I took the Cos and Tyroc ones to be part of a wider collection of all the team that's just out of shot. I reckon there's a Sculptor Lad character we just never see. Either that, or the most unpopular Legionnaires of the month, get their statues taken into the Hall of Heroes as a hint to improve their attitudes. smile


Originally Posted by stile86
Always feels a bit strange to see Legionnaires using weapons.


We just don't get to see Gim using the giant cannons often enough! What's the point of having the armoury if you don't use it? smile


Originally Posted by stile86
Was it really necessary to have an empty bed in the hospital to prompt Tinya to ask after the missing Jo?

Cos was all for putting a body bag on the bed and Tyroc called to put a gravestone on it, in place of a pillow. That's why their statues are with Nolan, Norg and Arlik's smile

Originally Posted by stile86
Interesting that Tinya does not appear at all, and yet the one small mention of her not only excuses but satisfies.


Conway was apparently trying for a tragic note with Jo almost being rejoined to his teammates but then being lost again, and it works a bit but also a bit "here we go again". [/quote]

Good spot on Tinya not being there. Considering how important she was last time, and to the whole Jo/Tinya bond, that's a bit of a susrpirse. And I agree about it being functional, but getting to the same end point.

Can I also ask who this guy on page 2 is?

[Linked Image]

I reckon it's Sculptor Lad just off to do some Gim and Brin statues . They've both been whiny and that's unpopular enough to get them moved to the Hall of Heroes. Is Sculptor Lad Marla Latham? 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."
#926225 - 04/18/17 12:49 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Originally Posted by thoth lad
Originally Posted by He Who Wanders
I've always maintained that if Star Boy had, in fact, made the tree limb super-heavy, it might have broken Nuhor's neck and killed him anyway. Of course, there is a slim chance that he might have lived. The Legion Code says nothing about rendering anyone a quadriplegic.


Hopefully the branch would have killed him. Thom would have a lot of explaining to do when the footage showed him beating the guy to death with a branch. "Steal the love of my life back?! I don't think so!" >thump< >thump<


With this and Glorith's Tree Dude, we have the makings of a Trees of the Legionverse thread.


Quote
Is Sculptor Lad Marla Latham? smile


A young, time-traveling Marla Latham, invoking yet another untold Legion tale.


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#926226 - 04/18/17 01:04 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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LSH #276, Who Dares Enter Lord Romdur's Castle? ByGerry Conway, art by Steve Ditko & F. Chiaramonte, colours Gene D'Angelo, letters Ben Oda

[Linked Image]

A Legion team seeks three lost U.P. explorers on Avalon, a feudal-level planet. They are stopped by a knight and soldiers; only Projectra going full princess stops the melee. They are brought to the local lord, who asks if they have come to free the King from Lord Romdur. A strange apparition appears, saying he is Lord Romdur, and warns them to not interfere.

A knight explains to them that Romdur appeared from an unknown place the day of King Leon's coronation. Romdur took possession of a castle, warned the King not to intefere and left in a rain of black hail. As assault on Romdur's castle failed miserably, with Romdur enslaving the King and his men with sorcery.

The Legionnaires set out with the knight to investigate, encounter many obstacles and suspect the knight of sabotaging their mission. The approach the castle, which is high above the ground, and deduce that Mordru is Lord Romdur. As they enter the castle, an image of Mordru explains that he requires a new world since the magical resources of Zerox are exhausted. Mordru himself appears, attacks the Legionnaires. The knight arrives and spears Mordru with his sword which allows Star Boy to bring down Mordru. They find King Leon and the three U.P. explorers; the king tells them that his men are on the northern border. The King also tells them that the knight is his son.

Comments:
The cover, as is so often the case, has little to do with the story. It might have been a more enticing story had Jeckie declared herself queen of Avalon and – what? - knighted Sun Boy.

I just didn't find this story very interesting. The legionnaires fight a series of mystical and material foes, display their powers, complete their fantasy quest. The big reveal that Romdur is Mordru doesn't follow a number of clues, just the observation that the castle is raised above the ground. Seriously, who was reading the name Romdur and thinking to rearrange the letters? The entire fight with Mordru is settled far too quickly; the great mage is felled by an ordinary sword and Star Boy. It might have made more sense for the knight/prince to have a magic sword for that task. The reveal that the knight is really the crown prince is thrown into the final panel and left to drop with a dull thud. So what? Why did the prince have to conceal his identity from the Legion?

This doesn't seem like Mordru's style; why does he have to hide in the castle? Is he building up his magical powers slowly?

It is curious that Zerox is supposedly losing its magic. This could have been threaded throughout future stories to culminate in the Magic Wars, but I don't believe there was another reference to this.

The three U.P. explorers aren't explained; they're just a device to get the Legion to Avalon. Are they scoping out the planet as a potential source of raw materials for the United Planets?


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#926322 - 04/19/17 02:51 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Originally Posted by thoth lad

Can I also ask who this guy on page 2 is?

[Linked Image]

I reckon it's Sculptor Lad just off to do some Gim and Brin statues . They've both been whiny and that's unpopular enough to get them moved to the Hall of Heroes. Is Sculptor Lad Marla Latham? smile

I thought for a moment it was Star Boy who smetimes wore a crewcut? But no, his haircut in #274 was different. It must be Sculptor Lad!

#926323 - 04/19/17 04:07 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Superman Family #207

This is a Supergirl story, period. The Legion are only there to be potential victims and to provide the background for the villain. There brief moments in the spotlight (two pages plus exposition from Supergirl on a third) don't really show them in a good light. The only one to demonstrate powers or abilities is Cham with the powerful ability to change into a metal greyhound (in puffs of smoke apparently and two heads at once - exactly what part of his body IS he changing into the dog in that panel?), perhaps Brainiac 5 with the ability to explain the obvious to his teammates who can't figure it out without him, and Blok with the ability to ... talk ... slowly. (Should I include Imra with the ability to tell her husband what to do?) After a demonstration like that is it really surprising she doesn't share her secrets with them?

Perhaps I am being a bit harsh, but I really have to wonder, did this story come from how to include the LSH in a short Supergirl story or was it the other way around? "What can we do with Supergirl in 12 pages? I know! Let's take her back to her Kryptonoan home (because that's never been done before - how many times has her cousin gone back to Krypton?) but have it all just be an illusion, like hypnosis. Now what villain do we have with hypnosis (super-hypnosis to affect a super)? How about that LSH villain Universo? He'd be perfect!

He certainly was perfect with his super-duper-interstellar-reaching hypnosis. Why he has to go to so much trouble every other time to take over the earth if he can do this I don't know. Still Supergirl was pretty powerful with her interstellar vision as well as Thoth pointed out.

Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
There's a discussion of our technology and Colu elsewhere on this forum, so it particularly struck me how odd it seems for an advanced civilization to have table lamps. Ugly table lamps.


I agree, but that isn't the biggest problem with this. Universo not only apparently can't tell the difference between a table lamp and a weapon, this table lamp apparently has a trigger and emits scary light bursts (well I suppose it is a lamp) and smoke rings. Kara obviously remembered running around the house, pretending to shoot bad guys, with her parents chasing after her telling her to put the lamp back on the table.

I have never read this story before and my life was no poorer for it. Frankly, if this was intended to encourage Supergirl readers to get into the Legion I think it would have failed. The somewhat affectionate byplay between her and Brainy might have intrigued one or two but that's about it.

#926602 - 04/20/17 03:12 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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LoSH #276

Six Legionnaires find themselves on a medieval world, trying to track down 3 UP explorers.

It’s Ditko on the art, and the opening splash page of the marketplace eases me into the story nicely. I’m reminded of a number of fantasy and sci fi settings where the heroes have to do just the same. Being aware of the primitive attitudes of some planets, it’s perhaps an odd choice to have Cham and Shady on the team. It could potentially derail the success of the mission.

Jeckie notices that the culture reminds her of her home world, but is very oddly not the mission leader. Star Boy, not known for his diplomatic skills, steps forward. To be fair to him, there was always going to be a fight, and the six realize that themselves. It’s an excuse for Conway and Ditko to show them all in action individually. There’s peltny of dialogue as the fight goes on as the reader gets an introduction to their powers. Although one guard seems to collapse at Cham’s hands on hips pose.

I’m struck by the “We Legionnaires enjoy testing our ability to survive.” Line by Cham. Enjoy testing their skills perhaps. But anyone who loves jumping into harm’s way may not live too long.

With the skirmish over, we go back to the plot as it should have been with Jeckie taking charge. The group are quickly taken to Lord Harlund. He’s your stereotypical tired, besieged noble who is about to give into despair before the timely arrival of the heroes. Generally, they spend two to three hours before such an encounter to work on sagging shoulders, whiny voice and a tired stare that’s about to give into the inevitable. But Harlund does well with what little time he’s had.

The Legionnaires don’t even have time to ally themselves with Harland. Just asking about who’s behind Harland’s extra sagging shoulders is enough to bring the nosy villain of the issue into the story. Romdur the wizard looks like a psychedelic child’s identikit attempt gone wrong.

Like Mayavale, Ditko’s visuals do have a very odd lasting appeal to them. That’s not to be sniffed at in a genre of identikit villains.

He basically tells the heroes to butt out and throw down a few lightning bolts, as stipulated by the Wizard’s guild.

One of the bolts looks to have affected Tinya, who had gone immaterial. What I do notice is how hands on Dirk is with her. Being Dirk, it comes across as more seedy than supportive. Years later, he’d try the same thing, only for Tinya to rebuke him for it, in a sort of creepy way.

Phantom Girl tells Dirk that she goes immaterial out of instinct. That too, would be something Jo Nah would say years later. That he doesn’t turn off his powers needlessly. Shady shows some proactivity by tracking which direction the wizard came from.

It’s a very nice panel from Ditko. We don’t see Shady use her flight ring. She’s on the castle window ledge, looking out at the adventure to come. We see her fly down to finish her speech and to bring the reader into a flashback by one of the supporting cast, who led the guards’ attack back at the start. So, art that gives the story momentum and a character introduced to provide action but who, having been introduced to the reader, is familiar enough to give back story too. Good and effective.

It’s your standard story. Warrior King, beloved by his people who have never heard of democracy, is afflicted by vile magicks by an evil wizard who sets himself up at a handy quest location, in this case Skull Peak. If you’re going to call something “Skull Peak” you deserve everything you get. No evil Warlock sets himself up on Fluffy Bunny Mountain, so why not call everything things like that?

The fear in the locals, and the evil of the interloper are done well enough. The King leads an army against the wizard, and only a handful return. The remainder have been enslaved, killed by shadow demons (see Crisis) or worse…

There’s a few games that would later have similar premises, not to mention a small horde of role playing games. So, it’s no easy task that’s set before our heroes this issue. Now Cham’s already said that testing themselves against mortal peril is what being a Legionnaire is about. But just in case, the three explorers that the team were on the planet to find were last seen going to the Wizard’s place on Skull Peak.

The team travel in proper quest fashion, on horseback through the perils of the Grey Marsh. We’re given an unconvincing excuse as to why they don’t use flight rings. But if they were low in the air, we couldn’t get the subplot where Jeckie is injured and Star Boy turns against the knight form the start of the issue. There’s also the start of a subplot where Phantom Girl looks to have destroyed a creature. I was waiting for someone to say “and if you’ve killed it, you will be expelled from the Legion.” But the team go to lengths to establish that it was a construct. With Star Boy on the team this issue, I wonder how Phantom Girl voted when he was expelled.

After a science fail from Shady, the group reach the evil wizard’s castle, w Ditko does well in showing to be an odd, looming affair; a creature of stone living on the mountaintop. Seeing the body of the castle on stilts, the team automatically assume that it doesn’t look like a spider, nor a lurking creature or a skull. But that it can only mean that the builder had a fear of being on the ground. And that can only mean Mordru.

Mordru should be a very scary villain, and we’re on pages 22-23 when the reveal comes. Is this a two parter? No it’s not. Shady, who’s faced Mordru before, bravely runs interference so that Star Boy can use his powers on the castle structure. He’s the perfect character to have around, if you want to bury someone under a ton of rubble. A mystic sphere and a few lightning bolts are all that Mordru has to offer before he’s entombed.

Considering the trouble the team went through to clear Tinya earlier in the issue, you’d have thought that Star Boy would have thought twice about collapsing the entire castle. Handily, all of the King’s enslaved troops were elsewhere. The King and the three UP explorers, were conveniently in a presumably reinforced dungeon. As the castle was on stilts, it’s not clear where the dungeon would actually be. It’s also not clear what happened to any other servants Mordru had about the place. Who looks after the prisoners for example?

The knight from the start is the one who helps Star Boy get enough time to use his powers after Shady is incapacitated (but not killed, showing that Mordru is really losing that fear factor). I’m not sure if we’re ever told that the lance he’s using is iron, or some material traditionally used to against mystical forces. Star Boy’s animosity towards the man is resolved and it’s revealed that he’s the Prince of the region. So, no elections on Avalon for another generation at least.

Overall, this is a mediocre issue. It’s a diversion from the last few and gives us a different setting. It follows a tried and tested fantasy plot, with a twist of familiarity at the end. Mordru adds nothing more to the story, even if he has moved away from the Sorcerer’s World. It’s a far cry from his first appearance though. Considering how consistently well the Fatal Five are portrayed, it’s a bit disappointing to see a major villain defeated so easily.

There’s no moral greyness to the tale. The xenophobia hinted at in the opening scene is never used to show the locals the error of their ways. Nothing comes from Tinya being affected by the fog, or from Jeckie being injured by the plant.

Star Boy gets the spotlight this issue, but I don’t feel we get to know a great deal more about him. Perhaps he’s got an issue with authority figures. Perhaps he’s a little distrustful, but not to the extent he can’t see past it. Like the fog creature, there’s nothing that substantial in the end.




"...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."
#926701 - 04/21/17 11:14 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Originally Posted by thoth lad
With Star Boy on the team this issue, I wonder how Phantom Girl voted when he was expelled.



Tinya, like all the girl Legionnaires except Imra, voted Not Guilty, as I recall. The explanation given was that they sympathized with Thom because of his relationship with Nura.

As for Imra, she served as judge during the trial, so she should have recused herself from voting. But she voted Guilty nonetheless.


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#926771 - 04/22/17 05:07 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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LSH #276, Who Dares Enter Lord Romdur's Castle?


Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
I just didn't find this story very interesting.

Originally Posted by thoth lad
Overall, this is a mediocre issue.


I couldn't agree more, although what little appreciation I have for this story was enhanced slightly by thoth's highlighting a few of its good points, ones I certainly hadn't noticed before.

There's nothing really wrong with the story (i.e. no mistakes or continuity errors) but there's nothing really great about it either.

In particular I think that Mordru is given a very poor showing, especially for such a major villain. Star Boy does such a good job of burying him that he will remain here on Avalon right up to the Great Darkness Saga. In fact his few brief panels in that later story showing him utterly defeated and drained do more to give the impression of his enormous power and threat than this story shows. Years ago after reading the later Levitz story I was very curious to learn more about this apparently major villain, but was quite disappointed when I came upon this story. It wasn't until I had been able to go back and read his first appearance along with the dramatic Earthwar story that I began to understand what made him such a threat.

Gerry Conway has written an impressive number of comics over the years, with several popular characters to his credit. Possibly his most famous story, written when he was about 20, is the death of Gwen Stacey, an excellent and well paced script. This story is not that one. There is a very interesting quote from him included in the article on wikipedia, where he acknowledges how many of his stories written during his youth were either very good - or not so much.
Originally Posted by Gerry Conway from an interview posted on http://www.fantasticfourheadquarters.co.uk
Precocity is a well-known curse; most of the pressure I felt as a younger writer was self-imposed. I wanted to be accepted by other writers and artists as an equal, which put me in some awkward situations – pretending to be more mature than I was, emotionally and professionally. As it happened, I was pretty good at faking a maturity I didn't have, which had advantages and, obviously, some disadvantages. I think people often forgot how young I was, and expected me to perform at a level that was actually beyond me. The result was, I was pretty stressed for most of my early career as a writer, and I often felt like I had no idea what I was doing —which was true. I wrote instinctively and from the gut; when those instincts were appropriate to the material I was writing – for example, when I was writing [The Amazing] Spider-Man — the results were something I was quite proud of, then and now. When my instincts were off, I didn't have the experience to either recognize it, or to compensate for it, with results that were more uneven.

An interesting and revealing comment from him. However LSH 276 was written about 10 years later. Whatever lessons he may have learnt in the meantime are not apparent here.


#926971 - 04/23/17 03:20 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: stile86]  
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Originally Posted by stile86
An interesting and revealing comment from him. However LSH 276 was written about 10 years later. Whatever lessons he may have learnt in the meantime are not apparent here.


I think you nailed it in your post. After those 10 years he could turn out stories that had nothing really wrong with them, when he needed to. Or more likely, when the idea didn't quite transfer to the finished product. By this time, he'd being doing lots of work across a number of varied books for DC, with the variation imposed by Conway having a contract through the DC Implosion. Perhaps that also allowed him to produce the fantasy driven plot here, that was ok without really being rising above the average. It should also be said, that it's not up to the par of a lot of Conway's previous Legion issues and that every run has its uneven qualities.


"...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."
#927005 - 04/24/17 02:52 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Thanks for that Conway quote, Stile. Since Conway went on to write for TV mystery/legal shows, I wonder if mysteries were his real interest and he was told to design a fantasy plot - or maybe was just fooling around with a different genre.

We weren't told that the sword was iron, as Thoth pointed out, but it would have made sense and could have been mentioned in the story. The way Mordru was written here, they might have defeated him by pelting him with mud balls.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#927134 - 04/25/17 02:49 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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LSH #277, Because YOU Demanded it, “Behold Reflecto” aka “The Man Who Chained Earth” Gerry Conway(plot) & Roy Thomas (script) , art by Steve Ditko & F. Chiaramonte, colours Gene D'Angelo, letters Ben Oda

[Linked Image]

Legionnaires are rescuing a sinking ship, crewed by Dromedans, who do look like camels and can't swim. As the ship continues to sink, Phantom Girl phases through the deck to investigate. She is caught by tentacles which has ensnared the vessel; she's knocked out and rescued by a red-haired man in a yellow and orange suit. As he gives her mouth-to-mouth resucitation, Tinya imagines that this is Ultra Boy. He takes her to the surface as Karate Kid and Timber Wolf free the ship from the tentacles. The unknown hero flies Tinya back to Legion HQ, as Brainiac 5 observes them approaching and sends out an alarm to other members.

The hero identifies himself as Reflecto, humbly assures them that he's a good guy but not up to their standards and has nothing more to say. At this point, the rest of the team arrives with the rescued Dromedans, who explain that they were attacked by an airship which caught them with chains and used magnets to open the hatch and seize their cargo. The airship then fired a beam which caused sea plants to grow and wind around the ship. Reflecto has flown off, unnoticed, while the Dromedans were speaking; SPs arrive to aid the Dromedans.

Wildfire angrily (what else?) accuses Lightning Lad of failing to retain and question Reflecto. Garth agrees that his leadership has been one big screw-up and resigns, to the shock of all.

At the North Pole, a polar bear is captured by an inventive device; the inventor turns out to be Grimbor the Chainsman. He vows vengeance on the Legion and Earth for his beloved Charma, who died in prison. He activates a satellite which deploys chains to encircle the planet. A Luna-Earth shuttle has a fatal encounter with the chains. The SPs investigate; their ship is destroyed by the chains and they escape in astro-suits.

At this point, Grimbor appears before Earth Council and demands amnesty, informing them that it's only a holographic image of himself in prison. He also demands that the Legionnaires be given to him for “personal disposal”, reminding them that Earth will starve without food from the colony worlds, and gives them 24 hours to respond.

Lightning Lad puts his resignation on hold and splits the team into three groups: one to investigate the chains, another to discover what cargo Grimbor stole from the Dromedan ship and the third to liase with Earth Council, with Val and Jeckie remaining on watch at HQ. As the teams fly off, Reflecto emerges from behind a building and flies off after Tinya, observed by Val and Jeckie.

Comments:
To my surprise, I enjoyed this issue; there's a lot going on and the giant chains are just borderline goofy. If the Reflecto story had been wrapped up in the next issue or two, this could have been a nice little arc.

You couldn't get two more disparate titles between the cover (Reflecto - and just who demanded it?) and the opening page (Grimbor).

The gems, or at least, items of interest:

* The Dromedans, who must take dangerous work (for them, fearing water) because of economic decline.

* The fact that Earth is fed by colony worlds and is not at all self-sustaining.

* The married Legionnaires in everyday morning life, Garth & Imra unclothed in bed, Chuck & Lu having breakfast (with reference to 3rd helpings for Chuck - always joke about the fat guy). It's not explained if Chuck & Lu are visiting or have returned to active duty, unannounced.

* Garth's bombshell resignation, followed by his very effective leadership in the moment of crisis.

* Gim's considerable reluctance to be on the liaison team with Earth Council, due to friction with his mother.

* The mystery of Reflecto. You figure he's Jo Nah, but he doesn't look like him. Is his memory damaged, is he hiding, where'd the suit come from? His speech pattern is very formal. With those colours and that name, one might expect him to have Sun Boy-like powers.

* The return of Grimbor, who talks and lives like a cliché villain, but is an unusual foe presenting a considerable threat.

* A dose of reality with the deaths of people in the Luna-Earth shuttle.

*There are still polar bears in the future! Well, in their future, at least.

Blok had an out-of-character moment, calling Bouncing Boy "bubble-bottom". Pretty cheeky for the new guy on the team. In some later issue, I recall Bouncing Boy will be insulted again as "bubble-butt".









Holy Cats of Egypt!
#927164 - 04/25/17 10:00 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Future]  
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Originally Posted by Future
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


Ha! This cover is so great, just saw it now. Excellent job! Secrets of the Legion is one of my all time favorite stories. A great pity that Lucifer 7 was never used in the Reboot, he would have been a much better villain that UGH Tangleweg UGH frown

#927211 - 04/25/17 02:43 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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LoSH 277

This issue has an impressive cover. A new member to be introduced is often a good jumping on point for readers. He’s a mysterious new member too, adding to the appeal. He descends, like a shining angel, in front of the Legionnaires, carrying one of their own. Phantom girl adopts a traditional distressed damsel pose. We have our Wolverine clone and our spin off series character in Timberwolf and Karate Kid respectively, shocked at the new arrival. A character associated with Legion leadership, Cosmic Boy, is also awed (his costume is the most revealing of the group, thanks to the progressive Legion.) All of this takes place in front of the Legion HQ, with its big “L” symbol showing that this is a team of means. And the readers demanded it, according to the blurb! A book that listens to the readers! And it’s true! Old time readers picking the book up, will recognise Reflecto rom the cover of the Adult Legion stories. He’s not just mysterious, he’s ill-fated too. And it’s all drawn by George Perez. It must have been quite a treat for a new reader to turn the page and read the “honoured by a thousand worlds…” text

Our story starts normally enough, as the Legionnaires on the cover (including Light Lass) get to show off their powers in rescuing a cargo ship. This is something that Conway has used frequently, and to good effect. The heroes are confident, sure of their powers. Each uses their powers to progress the mystery of why they can’t refloat the craft. There’s a sense of continuation to the story. Events from the last few issues are referenced, giving the feel of an ongoing view of the Legionnaires lives, and not just a standalone story.

After finding anomalies in the cargo deck, Phantom Girl discovers that the ship is being pulled down by seaweed that acts to deliberately sabotage the ship. Unfortunately, despite using her powers she is knocked unconscious as she tries to weaken the weed’s control.

It’s a bit disappointing that, especially in the age of telepathic earplugs and transuits, that Tinya’s teammates feel they can’t contact her or go to her assistance. Black mark for veteran team leader Cosmic Boy here. But then, if the Legionnaires could have remembered Tinya, she wouldn’t have had to be saved by the mysterious figure that flies at super speed, locates exactly where Tinya went into the ship and provides her oxygen through the means of the super smooch.

Having been reminded about the threat to the boat, everyone else, including the weed gets back on track. Lone Wolf learns a lesson in teamwork. It’s good to see he can be captured as easily as Tinya was. He’s helped by Karate Kid, and the team rescue the crew. It takes all their effort, and Cosmic Boy can’t spare anyone to find out more about the mystery man. “If only we could spare the time…”

“Well, I could save Pol from the Archmage Coz, if only I could spare the time…”

We get little throw away moments from the characters that remind the reader of their pasts. How close Jo & Tinya are (in a Lori Lemaris fantasy) and how Brin got his powers for example.

Reflecto is definitely a good guy, obligingly re-enacting the cover, by returning Tinya right back on Legion Plaza in front of the HQ. Still, I wonder why Reflecto didn’t just get the water out of her lungs at the first available moment, say on the righted ship.

Seeing her still form in the arms of a stranger, Brainiac raises the alarm. Wildfire looks to attack (there’s also a firm reminder that Drake and Blok’s relationship is just platonic. There has to be a thread in there.), but the others see that she is alive.

To be fair to Drake, he’s the one who raises the idea that Reflecto could be an infiltrator. The others back Reflecto, but there was a spell when there was a spate of infiltrators. It also reinforces Wildfire’s continued support of the academy system.

Reflecto’s silence as to his origins comes across as more huffy than reasonable. It’s portrayed as a reaction to Drake’s near accusations, but no one really bothers to delve a little further, respectfully keeping their professional distance. It’s that professionalism that got Garth & Imra to change into costume at the emergency alarms going off, after all.

The group learn more about the mystery that was attacking the ship, as Reflecto makes his exit off panel. I quite liked the Dromedans in this issue. They could have come across as a bit jokey, but they are out of their environment due to some harsh economic conditions, and are just trying to earn their way in the UP.

Their attacker has advanced technology including tractor beams, rocket chains and a plant growth ray. It’s the last that seems a bit forced, as if the threat was thought of well before a satisfactory reasons for the villain to have such a device.

Drake continues his criticism of Garth back in HQ, and Garth quits as leader. We see the responsibilities he feels, even if Drake doesn’t criticise him for all of it. It’s a strong moment, because it’s the near loss of Phantom Girl that’s made up his mind, not some giant galactic battle. Imra is shocked that Garth didn’t discuss it with her.

The issue switches to our villain for nearly the rest of the issue. That’s quite unusual not only in terms of quantity, but that it’s not intercut with anything the heroes are up to. There are a lot of large panels too, making me think that this section was a little padded out. We learn that the sea heist was just part of the plans of Bondage Boy Grimbor. He’s wants vengeance for his lost love Charma. She has been killed by being put in a woman’s prison where her powers have caused them to turn against her. Grimbor is going to pay back Earth and the Legion for her death by encircling the Earth in giant energy chains. Chains that prevent food and aid from reaching the planet.

Like the Dromedans needing to work out of their conform zone, I like the idea that the mother world is now dependant on its colony worlds. It adds texture to the United Planets structure, as well as showing how vulnerable a system it can be.

Gim’s mom and UP President, Marte Allon alerts the Legion and Garth goes into full leadership mode, assigning teams and tasks. Why Gim is overruled in no uncertain terms. At the back, Blok insults Bouncing Boy, showing the difference between his grimmer personality here and Levitz’s later run. Showing these leadership skills now, and tabling his resignation to deal with the threat, is a sure indicator that he’ll stay on at the end and that this was a mini crisis of confidence.

As the team race off to save the Earth, Tinya’s team is tracked by Lurker Lad Reflecto. Our mystery man seems to have nothing better to do than hang around (presumably just outside Brainy’s sensor range, and wait for Phantom Girl. But who is he and in what way will he join the Legion?

The very good final panel shows Val and Jeckie walk back to Legion HQ. Above them, the giant chains can be seen across the sky

Overall, this is another decent issue. They Silver Age appearance of Reflecto is at odds with a more mature Legion team. But Conway does use that, by having Drake (a Bronze Age hero) be the one to point out some of the issues behind a mystery hero. With Kal and Jo gone, Reflecto matches their power sets, with a touch of Sun Boy visuals thrown in for good measure. Readers worried about the team relying on Mon El could see that there wouldn’t be a drop in that department.

We didn’t get much overt character development here, with Reflecto taking up that space. But Gim’s plot moved forward in a panel after Garth’s slap down, and that may be a part of the issues to come. Garth’s leadership issues were another thread as was Drake and Brin’s personalities within the team framework. Conway did get a fair bit in behind the main and sub plot.

Grimbor is a standard one trick vengeance vehicle, and it’s best to focus on his Deathstroke hunting scene than his costume. I remember the giant energy chains as being silly, but their appearance here does seem to work. It’s a large scale, themed threat from a technologically advanced, well prepared villain. How Grimbor plans to stop the chain generators being destroyed from outwith Earth remains for another issue.

Would we have the sky writing in Chew if it wasn’t for Grimbor? I think not 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."
#927281 - 04/26/17 10:54 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Originally Posted by thoth lad

And it’s all drawn by George Perez. It must have been quite a treat for a new reader to turn the page and read the “honoured by a thousand worlds…” text.


Maybe they should have just sold the cover!

Quote
Wildfire looks to attack (there’s also a firm reminder that Drake and Blok’s relationship is just platonic. There has to be a thread in there.), but the others see that she is alive.


Never thought of a Drake/Blok relationship before, but you have to figure Blok would at least be resistant to fire burns.

Quote
To be fair to Drake, he’s the one who raises the idea that Reflecto could be an infiltrator. The others back Reflecto, but there was a spell when there was a spate of infiltrators. It also reinforces Wildfire’s continued support of the academy system.


Drake's suspicion adds another mystery, just a hint to the reader that Reflecto might be a bad guy after all.

Quote
I quite liked the Dromedans in this issue. They could have come across as a bit jokey, but they are out of their environment due to some harsh economic conditions, and are just trying to earn their way in the UP.


I liked them too. Their story was a sad one, which kept them from being jokey and reminiscent of (or foreshadowing) Jar-Jar Binks.

Quote
Their attacker has advanced technology including tractor beams, rocket chains and a plant growth ray. It’s the last that seems a bit forced, as if the threat was thought of well before a satisfactory reasons for the villain to have such a device.


Even Grimbor seeks to diversify, or maybe he just took up gardening.

Quote
Drake continues his criticism of Garth back in HQ, and Garth quits as leader. We see the responsibilities he feels, even if Drake doesn’t criticise him for all of it. It’s a strong moment, because it’s the near loss of Phantom Girl that’s made up his mind, not some giant galactic battle. Imra is shocked that Garth didn’t discuss it with her.


I was surprised that Drake declined to take on the leadership when Garth threw it open to anyone, and even supported Garth to the extent of saying not to switch leaders in the middle of a crisis.

Quote
Grimbor is a standard one trick vengeance vehicle, and it’s best to focus on his Deathstroke hunting scene than his costume. I remember the giant energy chains as being silly, but their appearance here does seem to work. It’s a large scale, themed threat from a technologically advanced, well prepared villain. How Grimbor plans to stop the chain generators being destroyed from outwith Earth remains for another issue.


Haven't looked ahead to the next issue, but it occurred to me that the chains could be a holograph covering up an energy field. Of course, actual link chains would be a lot more scary; everyone could understand a holograph, but real chains are hard to get your head around. Maybe that's why we didn't see any more of Brainiac 5; he's blowing some circuits trying to figure it all out.



Holy Cats of Egypt!
#927350 - 04/27/17 11:00 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Just want to pipe in to say you guys are the best. I know I said I'd be back full-time, but I've been struggling to catch up--hopefully I'll do so shortly. In the meantime, I read Secrets of the LSH #3, which was as underwhelming as part 2, and the Superman Family issue, which wasn't much of a story at all, so I don't have much to say on those. Oh, other than one single panel of Supergirl and Brainy together (like 10 years after their last panel!!!).

Hopefully should be back next week!

#927380 - 04/27/17 04:25 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Cramer
Maybe they should have just sold the cover!


At least it wasn't quite the drop off in quality from the cover to the last page. I was fearing the worst with this one.

Originally Posted by Cramer
Never thought of a Drake/Blok relationship before, but you have to figure Blok would at least be resistant to fire burns.


I'll look at Blok's academy issue more closely now smile

Good point about the burns too. When he gets a more physical form in the Levitz issues, it would make sense for him to try and find someone he can have some physical contact with.

Originally Posted by Cramer
I liked them too. Their story was a sad one, which kept them from being jokey and reminiscent of (or foreshadowing) Jar-Jar Binks.


Alas, Jar Jar was the one that didn’t make it. Oddly he seemed to have been thrown overboard before Grimbor’s attack. smile

Originally Posted by Cramer
Even Grimbor seeks to diversify, or maybe he just took up gardening.


I’d definitely read the Grimbor vs Chlorophyll Kid Special.

Originally Posted by Cramer
I was surprised that Drake declined to take on the leadership when Garth threw it open to anyone, and even supported Garth to the extent of saying not to switch leaders in the middle of a crisis.


Picking up on Drake’s energy form, I think he has a lot of outward conflict issues due to his physical form. He wants to provoke a response. Not because he actually has a better alternative, but because it makes him feel human, and he’s only too well aware that he doesn’t have a human body anymore. Drake would be challenged later on his opinions (Levitz/ Johns) and wouldn’t have be able to expand on his views.

Originally Posted by Cramer
Haven't looked ahead to the next issue, but it occurred to me that the chains could be a holograph covering up an energy field. Of course, actual link chains would be a lot more scary; everyone could understand a holograph, but real chains are hard to get your head around.


They start off as energy beams, and the visuals and then the dialogue follow that, which I think is more visually effective than if they had just been beams.

Originally Posted by Cobie
Hopefully should be back next week!


Look forward to it. Only a well manned/womaned/sentiented Legion World squad should enter the Reflecto Saga. 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."
#927452 - 05/04/17 11:01 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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LSH 277

I have to admit I rather liked this issue as well. I thought the writing was really pretty good. There was lots of characterisation, some developing of characters but even more supporting of our heroes not being just cardboard cutouts. Even the "extras" such as the crewmen and the spaceport staff acted realistically. The pacing was also quite good with a good opening and an excellent cliffhanger finish. The artwork was also reasonable with a few standout moments that really complemented the writing like Tinya's drowning fantasy, Garth's appearance as he put his own wants on hold and faced the crisis, and the final panel.

If the rest of the Reflecto saga lives up to this standard we will be doing well. (I have read it before but many years ago so it is refreshing seeing it through new eyes.)

"Bubble-Bottom"? Seriously? I suppose it is alliterative with the same initials as his code-name but Chuck is very restrained in not bouncing all over Blok's head. Perhaps Blok is still trying to figure out human mannerisms (after all he is still confused by them in the years to come) and has been spending too much time with Timber Wolf. His friendship with Brin is strongly portrayed in later issues along with Brin's own name-calling such as "Pebble-Head". In fact in the very issue Brin refers to one of the crewmen as "Camel-man" which could well be construed as racist, so perhaps we can lay the blame at Brin's feet. Nevertheless I hope one of the other team members has a friendly little talk to Blok about appropriate references to comrades.

#927453 - 05/04/17 11:08 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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stile86 Offline
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
The gems, or at least, items of interest:

Nice list of highlights. Picked up a couple of things I had missed in my own reading.

Originally Posted by thoth lad
This issue has an impressive cover. A new member to be introduced is often a good jumping on point for readers.

Good points about the cover. I never thought of it as being attractive to new readers, nor had I noticed the attribution to George Perez. Nice analysis.

Pretty much agree with all you both had to say.

#927454 - 05/04/17 11:25 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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I was looking back through the re-read project discussion thread and found this:

Originally Posted by thoth lad - 01/09/15
Close up of a sobbing thoth Lad, head in hands in a darkened room.

Voice over: This poor man was left to start the Reflecto saga on his own. He had no one to turn to when the plot became convoluted. No one to share the sense of betrayal of being drawn in by Perez covers.

Spare just 20 minutes a week on the Legion World Re-reads thread, so that thoth lad doesn't have to suffer alone again.


We're all here for you Thoth, we're all here.

#927455 - 05/05/17 12:30 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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>sniff< thank you


"...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."
#927459 - 05/05/17 02:55 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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LSH #278, Tragedy at the Top of the World by Gerry Conway(plot) & Roy Thomas (script) , art by Jimmy Janes & Bruce Patterson, colours Gene D'Angelo, letters Todd Klein

[Linked Image]

Mon-el leads the charge against Grimbor's Earth-circling chains, with Shady close behind. They're hit with a great energy blast and fall towards Earth, Timber Wolf and Saturn Girl rescue the two unconscious Legionnaires as Light Lass berates her brother for his poor leadership which allowed this to happen. The Ranzz twins set aside their dispute to deal with the chains, but they are equally unsuccessful. Mon-el, recovered, wants to go after the chains once more, but Saturn Girl reports some link she picked up between the chains and a North Pole fortress, which she presumes to be Grimbor's lair.

The team meeting with President Allon is interrupted by a hologram of Grimbor, who now demands a response within an hour. Colossal Boy challenges Grimbor only to be hushed by his Presidential mother.

Grimbor, in his fortress, weeps over his lost Charma but is alerted to Legionnaires approaching.

The team investigating the cargo theft are in a Middle Eastern city and are encountering resistance from a spaceport official. As the official tries to stop Phantom Girl from entering a warehouse, he is hit by Reflecto. His sudden appearance rubs Cosmic Boy the wrong way, who resents this interference by a non-Legionnaire. Chuck & Lu whisper together that Reflecto seems somehow familiar. Reflecto and Cos fight, Blok joins in as well as Bouncing Boy, but all are defeated by Reflecto, who kisses Phantom Girl's hand and expresses his admiration for her before flying off.

Phantom Girl enters the warehouse and opens the door for the rest of the team. They discover a huge power crystal as well as broken brackets which would have contained a similar one. The Legionnaires conclude that such a power crystal could be the energy source for Grimbor's chains. They contact Legion HQ, get an update that contact has been lost with the Arctic team and Grimbor has given only an hour for Earth Council's response. As they fly off, Reflecto follows them.

The North Pole team, outside Grimbor's fortress, fall one by one to his traps, but are not killed. Timber Wolf evades capture until he enters the fortress, then he too is trapped in chains. Grimbor explains that he's willing to die with the rest of Earth.

Back at Legion HQ, Karate Kid and Projectra stand on the roof and observe that the chains are moving ever closer to the surface, strangling the planet.

Comments:
There was a good sense of frayed nerves in the opening scenes, as the team attacking the chains squabbled and blamed Garth. Unfairly, I think, since Tasmia should have stayed back; what could shadow power do against energy chains? Did she really think she was the equal of Mon-el in this situation? It gave me some sympathy for Garth as leader, blamed for everything that goes wrong.

Imra's telepathic alerts/discoveries are certainly useful as a plot advancement, scene changing device.

Not a fan of Gim Allon generally, but here I felt for his discomfort dealing with this tense situation under his mother's eye. President Mom rightly asserted her authority, but that must have stung nevertheless.

The Middle Eastern city was pretty much updated generic, but added some interest as a location we've seen very little of in the Legionverse.

Tinya, in addition to being centre-stage as the object of Reflecto's affections, once again takes the initiative of entering the location to reveal the mystery. Haven't tallied up the appearances, but I think Mr. Conway rather likes Tinya.

I do enjoy the little touches that give us some insight into how Earth's economy and political system functions. Here we learn that Earth exports power crystals to the colonies which we learned in the previous issue, produce food for Earth.

Grimbor's traps and tricks are inventive. You wonder if he hadn't met Charma, he might have been CEO of Grimbor Enterprises.

Reflecto has gone from a curiosity to being a bit creepy stalker. Still, it's surprising that Rokk lost his cool with the guy - maybe everyone is feeling the effects of Garth's leadership crisis and tempers are shortening all around.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#928041 - 05/09/17 02:31 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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LSH #279, Castle Grimbor Must Fall by Roy Thomas, art by Jimmy Janes & Frank Chiaramonte, colours Gene D'Angelo, letters Ben Oda

[Linked Image]

Of the two teams which attacked Grimbor's castle, only Lightning Lad remains standing, free and shouting challenges at a holographic image of Grimbor. A caged Mon-el contemplates their overconfidence and fails to break free.

Val and Jeckie observe that breathing is increasingly difficult as the chains tighten around Earth's atmosphere. Val considers there might be a weak link which he could sunder, but doesn't have enough information. He runs through the status of the Legion teams, the absence of Superboy, the death of Ultra Boy, and the apparent hopelessness of it all. Jeckie is angry with the situation but suggests they touch base with President Allon. Allon reports that Earth Council has refused Grimbor's demands and that military assaults on the chains have failed, fatally. Gim attempts to comfort his mother and is angrily pushed away; Violet consoles him. Wildfire tires of talk and flies off to Grimbor's retreat, joined by the other Legionnaires.

The people of Earth are panicking, praying, looting and drinking themselves into oblivion as the chains tighten.

Val decides to fly up to the chains to look for the weak point, but Jeckie refuses to accompany him, saying that, with her power, she'd just be “a cheerleader”, then departs for her quarters. Val is angry but carries on.

Garth continues to fight Grimbor's defenses as the Middle Eastern team approaches, followed by Reflecto. Grimbor's image taunts them, reminding them that Superboy and Ultra Boy are gone. Reflecto implores them to let him help. Rokk and Blok enter the castle and confront Grimbor in person, as Chuck and Lu whisper outside, suggesting that Reflecto might be Jo Nah. Grimbor now has mental powers due to the power crystals and controls Blok, forcing him to crush Rokk.

In her apartment, Projectra activates the Augmatron, a machine she has developed to augment her powers. Although it's not finished, she uses it and appears to collapse, unmoving and not breathing.

Val approaches the chains in a protective aura-suit and hesitates before striking. People on Earth collapse from lack of air.

At the North Pole, Chuck, Lu, Tinya and Reflecto mount a final offense, but all fail. Grimbor is convinced that Reflecto is Jo Nah and successfully uses a trap designed just for him. Suddenly, Charma appears, kissing Grimbor and asking how his energy-chains worked. Grimbor suddenly sees through the illusion, strikes Charma, whose image is replaced by Tinya. A desperate Reflecto breaks his bonds to try and save Tinya, as Grimbor fires on him.

Val prepares to strike, then is interrupted by an image of Projectra, giving him the weak point's coordinates, the main Earth-Council Satellite.

Reflecto is injured but rushes to Tinya's side, who explains that Projectra entered her mind and cast Charma's image. Despite repeated blasts, Reflecto defeats Grimbor, then collapses, saying he doesn't know who he really is.

Val destroys the satellite and the chains disappear. He then flies off to the Arctic and disables the power source for the various traps holding the Legionnaires. Tinya bends over the fallen Reflecto and discovers his face is really a mask. Astonished Legionnaires see that Reflecto is Superboy and may have died.

Comments:

Quite a few people die in this story. They are neither named nor numbered, but it's acknowledged that Grimbor's actions have resulted in numerous fatalities. There's also some panel time devoted to the actions of a desperate and panicking populace, something we don't see much of in comics, even today. However, nobody at Grimbor's Arctic retreat has trouble breathing, nor do we see any chains overhead.

It was a nice touch to have Jeckie refuse the role of cheerleader for Val, which is sort of what brought Tasmia to a near end when Mon-el attacked the chains. I was also pleased to see the two Legionnaires left out of the action, Val and Jeckie, were the ones ultimately responsible for saving Earth.

Sadly, the Augmatron is one of the many machines consigned to the Lost Tech of the Legion department. There could have been another story, a cautionary tale, in that. We've seen what happens when somebody like Thora augments Legionnaires' powers.

Reflecto follows Tinya like a lapdog. His behaviour somewhat echoes Grimbor's own obsessive devotion to Charma.

Lots of emotion between Gim and President Mom. It's not the sort of conflict which is resolved over a nice cup of tea, although I don't recall how it plays out in the issues ahead.

Regardless of all the hints Grimbor, Chuck and Lu supplied for Reflecto to be Ultra Boy, he apparently turns out to be Superboy. Readers will surely have found this to be yet another misdirection. If the story had ended here, with Reflecto not Superboy (nor Jo Nah), but some admirer from Tinya's past or unknown to her, this would have been a pretty acceptable three-issue story.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#928143 - 05/09/17 03:07 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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I can't believe Cramer fell for all that "Of course, we'll join you in reviewing the Reflecto Saga" smile

Hopefully I'll catch up this weekend. The board issue threw me off last week, and a few real life things this.


"...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."
#928147 - 05/09/17 03:36 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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here, more often than not
I picked this issue up in a charity shop several years ago, it cost me 1 pence as the cover was ripped in half and the previous owner had drawn big red nipples onto Tinya's more than ample bosom on the cover. I explained to the shop assistant that I was wanting it to rip and scrunch up to fill up a box with a fragile present in it. She didn't believe me.

I have a vague recollection of all the men standing around with their legs wide apart like they had really bad dropped hemorrhoids and Jeckie fainting.

Other than that I can't remember it and must have thrown in out when I moved as I no longer have it.

Sorry FC, but that's the best I can do for now though I do really like yours and everyone elses reviews..


Legion Worlds Four - awesome ongoing adventures set in the Retro-Boot, only in the Bits o' Legionnaire Business Forum.
#928206 - 05/10/17 10:36 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Harbinger]  
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Originally Posted by thoth lad

Hopefully I'll catch up this weekend.


A likely story. In any event, it's the Brave & Bold issue next week, so we all get a breather.

Originally Posted by Harbinger
I picked this issue up in a charity shop several years ago, it cost me 1 pence as the cover was ripped in half and the previous owner had drawn big red nipples onto Tinya's more than ample bosom on the cover. I explained to the shop assistant that I was wanting it to rip and scrunch up to fill up a box with a fragile present in it. She didn't believe me.


No doubt the nipple artist went on to a rewarding career in the fine arts.

Quote
I have a vague recollection of all the men standing around with their legs wide apart like they had really bad dropped hemorrhoids and Jeckie fainting.


That actually sums up quite a few Legion stories.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#928215 - 05/10/17 01:00 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer
No doubt the nipple artist went on to a rewarding career in the fine arts.


I think the nipple artist was the charity shop assistant. Overtly volunteering for good; covertly drawing rude bits onto everything in sight, and putting rude notes in books.

Quote
I have a vague recollection of all the men standing around with their legs wide apart like they had really bad dropped hemorrhoids and Jeckie fainting.


There's a page or a thread somewhere in Webland focusing on the comic device of framing things between people's legs.


"...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."
#928543 - 05/12/17 08:15 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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I just re-read #277-279.

Overall, as a story, it holds up pretty well. However, there is an awful lot of padding and pointless heroic posturing. Conway departs after plotting the first two issues, and Roy Thomas arrives to script the first two issues and take over the reins on the third. The effect of these these two Marvel veterans collaborating is of a Marvelized Legion, with heroes making dramatic gestures, long expository scenes that should be condensed, and, typical especially of Thomas, a lot of overwriting.

I found it annoying that the heroes kept referring to each other by their full real names every chance they got. Even Tinya refers to Jo Nah more than once. Speaking of which, how many clues about Ultra Boy being dead and Superboy being sent back to the 20th century do you need to drop, Roy? Some readers may be new, but they are not stupid.

The story does have many pluses, though, and they've been highlighted in the above reviews. Val and Jeckie, the two Legionnaires left behind, save the day. Many people die, creating a rare sense of consequence for a Legion story of this time (and a development that hearkens back to the casualties caused by Computo in Adv. 340-341). Gim's conflict with his mom seemed the most realistic of the interpersonal dramas. Garth's troubles as leader were somewhat less convincing. Everybody seems to be dumping on him.

As for Reflecto, he's there to mainly serve the needs of the plot, and to lead into the return of not one but two Legionnaires next issue. I had high hopes for this character, as he was a mystery figure from the old Adult Legion cover, but here he's treated as a rather wooden, flowery speaking stalker who shows up just in the nick of time when Tinya needs him. The most interesting thing about Reflecto is how the other Legionnaires respond to him. Garth respects his privacy and does not push to find out who he is. Cos acts as if his own territory is being invaded and attacks Reflecto. Wildfire's abrasiveness turns into paranoia about Reflecto being an infiltrator. (Why would he assume that? Reflecto never indicated that he even wanted to join the Legion.) Grimbor thinks he has figured out Reflecto's identity and plans accordingly--but surprise! The writers had to keep readers from guessing the truth, just as they later would when it came time to reveal Sensor Girl's real identity.

All in all, I appreciate what Conway and Thomas tried to do. There are some clever twists and turns in the story. But it needed much tighter editing and fewer Marvel-style emotional outbursts.

By the way, this is the last we'll see of the slanty Legion logo on the cover, and good riddance.


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#928685 - 05/14/17 05:42 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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A few thoughts on Garth's leadership or lack thereof:

In this story line, he demonstrates both good and bad qualities of being a leader. When Wildfire rakes him over the coals, Garth does not get upset. Rather, he agrees with Drake about his own shortcomings. He also demonstrates good leadership when he assigns Gim to the presidential detail. Whatever Gim's feelings, his power would likely be useless against the glowing chains and of unknown value on Cos's mission. He sent the Legionnaires where they might serve best. By process of elimination, Gim got the prez detail.

On the other hand, he makes some questionable choices in choosing the Legion teams. He keeps the couples together: Chuck and Lu, Ayla and Brin, Shady and Mon, Val and Jeckie, Imra and himself. But just what he thought Brin or Shady could do against the giant chains remains a mystery. Wouldn't it have made more sense to bring Element Lad or Wildfire along? Imra's presence is also questionable, though she pulls her weight by picking up some plot-convenient thought emanations which direct the team to the North Pole.

Garth also defuses his sister's anger and redirects her attention to the mission. He's right that he couldn't control Shady's actions, though he could have given her an order to hold back before she charged blindly into the chains. However, Shady's actions rest on her. No leader can control everything his or her subordinates do.

Garth's greatest failing, to me, is that once the team at the North Pole has been incapacitated, he does not summon the rest of the Legion to help. Rather, he chooses to go down fighting. Granted, the earth had only minutes to live and there was no guarantee that the others could reach him in time, but a good leader must hope for the best. He should have shown Grimbor that he was still in charge of his own emotions and actions and not made idle death threats (from a Legionnaire!). He also should have had a plan rather than charging the castle head on. (Mon-El also alludes to this lack of plan in 279.)

His other great failing is that, when adversity came during his tenure as leader, he announced his resignation. Nothing destroys confidence in a team more than a leader who jumps off the boat when things get tough. And what Legion leader hasn't had difficulties? Did Invisible Kid threaten to resign when Ferro Lad died? Did Mon-El turn in his notice when Invisible Kid was killed? Did Wildfire step down after Chemical King's death? Each of these leaders also faced numerous other challenges.

In the final analysis, Garth was no better and no worse than some of the Legion leaders we've seen, and he demonstrated some enviable qualities, such as level-headedness in the face of criticism.


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#928902 - 05/16/17 06:23 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Brave & Bold #179 Time Bomb with the Thousand Year Fuse by Martin Pasko, art by Ernie Colon & Mike DeCarlo, colours Carl Gafford, letters Ben Oda

[Linked Image]

An armoured car in Gotham stops before an old man lying in the street, but it's a trap for a heist. Batman happens to be close by and that's the end of that. The thieves were after a time capsule with “all kindsa scientific junk”; Batman is baffled why the capsule would be deemed valuable.

The answer lies in 2981, in which the “time capsule” is revealed to be the famous Mandorian Relic, being examined by scientists on a remote asteroid. This egg-like capsule has a yolk of living anti-matter, a shell which defies analysis. It is predicted to hatch in 1000 years and is considered to be a potentially serious weapon in the wrong hands. Then the wrong hands appear and two armed robbers seize the egg, triggering an alarm which brings the Legion of Super-Heroes.

They encounter armed robots and the human master thief, who uses an emerald light to hypnotize the Legionnaires. The thief then appears in Gotham City in 1981, in the museum housing the time capsule, then replaces the capsule with the stolen Mandorian egg. Batman is on the scene once again, observing then attempting to stop the thief; as they grapple, they both disappear.

The recovered Legionnaires see that the egg is gone and believe the thief was Anton Halkor, a renegade cyberneticist who must have escaped prison. They also suspect that his hypnotic beam means he's working with an old and dangerous Legion enemy.

Halkor is indeed working with Universo (as yet unnamed in the text); he has returned to Universo's underground lair with Batman, who he assaulted and left outside. The two villains watch a monitor on which is displayed Rond Vidar, demonstrating a dimensional time cube inside the Legion Arsenal. Halkor activates some device to stun Duo Damsel and Universo (named “Argus Oranx”) vows to destroy them.

Bats manages to figure out where and when he is, operate a clothing synthesizer and bypass the Legion's security systems, only to find himself greeted by suspicious Legionnaires.

As Batman gains the trust of the Legion and explains the situation, Rond Vidar returns to Universo with his time cube, which he reports, has dispersed Shadow Lass, Duo Damsel and Shrinking Violet.

Batman and the Legion figure out that the egg will hatch that very day and blow up a large section of the city. Batman wants to return to the past and prevent Halkor from planting the egg; Element Lad warns that the past can't be changed without serious consequences and Cham reports that all their time travel equipment has been sabotaged. Halkor appears on a monitor, telling them that the three women have disappeared and the Legion will have to find him before it's too late.

Rond Vidar is shown to be under Universo's mind-control. Batman has some ideas on how to find the villains, since the dripping sound he heard during Halkor's message suggested a sewer. They find Halkor, who tells them to surrender in exchange for the time-scattered female Legionnaires. He is defeated by cham, posing as a posionous snake, and Batman; the team then finds an unconscious Rond Vidar. Batman is told that Halkor was a fraudster until James Gordon-Wayne brought him to justice; now Batman assumes he has descendants in the 30th century and it's become personal.

The Legionnaires face off against Universo as Batman disables the egg and attaches it to an anti-gravity device, causing it to explode in space. Rond Vidar appears, just as the three girls fly out from the time-cube and mop up Universo. Rond repairs the Legion's time bubble; Cosmic Boy escorts Batman back to the 20th century.

[b]Comments:[b]

This seemed like a fairly long story, although it wasn't that complicated. I always liked the Batman of this era, even if he's somewhat bland and friendly – no Dark Knight, but he is a clever detective. There was a nice scene of the Legionnaires sitting at his feet, like children surrounding a story-teller.

Batman's easy adaptation to the future makes it seem a bit blasé, however.

Universo's name is Argus Oranx?? I don't think I ever knew that.

Halkor behaves like any other chatty villain of the period, with the usual atrocious fashion sense. The explanation that he and Universo set up their lair in a 20th century lead-pipe filled sewer to avoid detection is pretty far-fetched, but so is the idea of an egg with a live anti-matter yolk. Universo has a few good moments controlling the Legionnaires, but is pretty quickly defeated. He doesn't come off as the mastermind who controls Earth presidents and hiding in a sewer just seems so inappropriate for a major Legion villain.

I thought it was an unacknowledged Projectra who caused Halkor to think the floor was turning to quicksand, but a reread points to Element Lad. Projectra doesn't do much but call the Science Police. At least Shady, Vi and Duo Damsel get to defeat Universo. Perhaps they resented him calling them “nubile”.


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#929008 - 05/17/17 12:11 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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The name Argus Oranx III was also given for Universo back in Superboy @ 207.


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#929256 - 05/21/17 07:55 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Originally Posted by Fat Cramer


This seemed like a fairly long story, although it wasn't that complicated.


One of the challenges of writing B&B, I imagine, was telling a complete story in one issue, as Batman needed a different co-star in the following issue. This issue is doubly complicated by the fact that Batman can't simply waltz over to Metropolis or Coast City to interact with his co-star. There had to be credible plot to get him involved with the Legion a thousand years later. So, yeah, the story feels long--and choppy in places. There are some odd scene transitions and the plot isn't wholly convincing. It relies on a great deal of contrivance and convenience, such as the egg looking almost identical to the time capsule.

Still, there was a lot of fun in this story, mainly in Batman's interaction with the Legion. I loved the scene you mentioned, of the Legionnaire's sitting around as the "elder hero" regaled them with tales. Batman's full-page farewell also stoked the emotions. You're right: this is not the Dark Knight, suspicious of everyone. I miss the days when heroes recognized each other as colleagues and the Legionnaires got a special thrill from interacting with their forebears.

Vi's "Ah . . . be my guest . . . Batman?!" was also a nice touch.


Quote
Batman's easy adaptation to the future makes it seem a bit blasé, however.


I thought so, too, but he had been here before--in JLA 146 and 147, as a footnote reminds us.

Quote
Halkor behaves like any other chatty villain of the period, with the usual atrocious fashion sense.


Anton Halkor = Double-Hatchet-Header. A distant relative of Double-Header, perhaps?

Quote
Universo has a few good moments controlling the Legionnaires, but is pretty quickly defeated. He doesn't come off as the mastermind who controls Earth presidents and hiding in a sewer just seems so inappropriate for a major Legion villain.


All of the Legion's villains had their off-days, it seems, such as Mordru and the old Blood Crystals story. It must be tough being a villain in the 30th century. You have to be active every so often or you lose your membership in the Villain's Guild, which doesn't care if every scheme is brilliant so long as you instigate 2.5 acts of evil per year.

Quote
I thought it was an unacknowledged Projectra who caused Halkor to think the floor was turning to quicksand, but a reread points to Element Lad. Projectra doesn't do much but call the Science Police. At least Shady, Vi and Duo Damsel get to defeat Universo. Perhaps they resented him calling them “nubile”.


The role of the female Legionnaires in this story is quite interesting and not unusual for the time. Even the cover points out that it's the female "colleagues" who are trapped while the boy Legionnaires rush to save them. A sort of understated sexism, perhaps? Jeckie may be there for eye candy or to establish early on that the Legionnaires weren't an all-male team, as new readers might be led to believe. In any case, she needs help being pulled out of the pressurized goo on the floor, while the boys didn't seem to have much of a problem avoiding it.


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#929350 - 05/22/17 12:46 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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LSH #277-279

Well, it does my heart well to see so many people keeping the reread going. I finally got caught back up...well, almost, still have B&B to go...and read LSH #277-279, or as many Legion fans have referred to it over the years "those damn Conway Thomas Reflecto issues".

All in all, it holds up much better than I thought it would. Honestly, I was prepared to read a pile of crap, asI recall being disappointed the first time around way back when. In hindsight that might have been because I read them right before the Levitz / Giffen issues and unfairly compared them. This time around I was much more pleased. While there were some bumps in the road for both plotting and dialogue, it was overall a pretty enjoyable story!

The overall plot, with Grimbor and the chained Earth, was ridiculous yet batshit superhero fun. It was all action, melodrama and colorful superheroes and in that regard, it appeals to my purest love of the medium. Meanwhile, a lot of other things worked well too: continuing to add little character moments for a variety of Legionnaires, continuing to build subplots and an attempt to balance the larger Legion roster--all good things that have slowly become a regular part of the series over the last few years.

Reflecto had a lot of potential and its hard not to view it as a let down in hindsight. I much preferred the TMK retcon version of him. Still, its amusing that Thomas took the obvious "Jo in disguise" idea that everyone predicted from Reflecto's first appearance and decided to make it uber-complicated by having it be Superboy...which will lead to the Time Trapper and other things. Its such a Roy Thomas thing to do that you can't help but laugh.

Lastly, I remember when I bought these issues, I was totally expecting the interior art to be by George Perez, just like the covers. I was SO disappointed when I opened up each one to find out I was wrong. I still think of that whenever I look at the gorgeous Perez cover art.

Last edited by Cobalt Kid; 05/22/17 12:51 PM.
#929384 - 05/22/17 08:03 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Anyone would pale in comparison to George Perez, but I think Jimmy Janes acquitted himself quite well. He's probably my favorite Legion artist in between the early Sherman period and Pat Broderick.


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#929428 - 05/23/17 08:47 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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^ I have to add that I absolutely agree with you there. Jimmy Janes and the inker who most consistently worked with him, Frank Charamonte, did a fantastic job throughout Conway's run. My major takeaway of this entire era was that not only were Conway's stories much better than I ever remembered or gave him credit for, but the artwork was really great too for the most part. This is probably the most unfairly treated run in LSH history and Janes is criminally underrated.

#929517 - 05/24/17 02:43 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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LSH #280 O! Call Back Yesterday! by Roy Thomas, art by Jimmy Janes & Bruce Patterson, colours Gene D'Angelo, letters Ben Oda

[Linked Image]

In Grimbor's castle, Reflecto is revealed to be Superboy, to the astonishment of the Legionnaires. A captured Grimbor is silenced with a snowball in the mouth, turned to gold by Element Lad. Superboy appears to think he is Jo Nah, which greatly upsets Tinya; Imra confirms that his consciousness believes that, although his subconscious is that of Superboy. She also explains that she didn't tell Tinya that she sensed Jo among the pirates, since she wasn't certain.

Mon-el challenges “Reflecto” to prove his identity with a fight and demonstrates that he really is Superboy, since he has just used more than one power at a time. Lightning Lad convenes a meeting of the full Legion at HQ, after Grimbor is delivered to the SPs. Gim reflects on recent events and regrets arguing with his mother. As the Legionnaires fly off, a figure with a purple sleeve observes them on a monitor and looks forward to crushing them as well as Grimbor.

In Metropolis, crowds herald the Karate Kid and the Legion; Val is reunited with Projectra and Gim and his mother mend fences. These sentimental moments annoy Wildfire, but Blok claims it's his envy of their happiness which makes him speak rashly.

At the Legion meeting, Lightning Lad postpones his resignation as leader until the Reflecto/Ultra Boy/Superboy mystery is solved and requests that Imra read his mind. She recaps the events that led to Superboy being sent back to the 20th century, never to return, and declares that she can't find any answer to the mystery in his mind. Tinya asks him a very personal question and gets the answer that only Jo would know. Garth decides to send a team to the 20th century to investigate and Tinya insists that she go along.

As the time bubble departs, the shadow of Batman appears before Legion HQ.

Just before the bubble arrives, there's a great shaking and the bubble is surrounded by intense light, and emerges as a mushroom cloud rises into the atmosphere. Superboy creates a funnel by flying around the blast, sending it into the upper atmosphere and thereby protecting any people on the ground. Soldiers approach and fire on Superboy, accusing him of setting off the nuke above-ground, which they observed on film of the incident. Rather than be arrested, Lightning Lad leads the attack and the team escapes to the Kents' home in Smallville and see on television that they are all believed to be foreign agents who have control of Superboy. Superboy remains confused about his identity.

Garth decides to go back to the 30th century, then return to Smallville with appropriate clothing and identification. However, the time bubble shakes and cracks, and Superboy hurls it into space as it explodes. A voice in the sky calls the Legion and they are suddenly in another place, before the Time Trapper, who tells them that he has found ways to trap Legionnaires in the primitive 20th century and has taken advantage of their present dilemma to attack the Legion in the 30th century. The Legionnaires are suddenly back in Smallville, tracked by the military, which they evade. The Trapper's voice tells them they can get back home only by waiting 1000 years and the team responds “Long Live the Legion”.

Comments:

The Reflecto saga gets increasingly complicated and offers no clues to the reader about what could really be going on. As soon as a purple sleeve appears in a panel, one suspects the Time Trapper is behind it all, but the Trapper has only taken advantage of the confusion.

The cover says “Superboy Rejoins the Legion”, although we've learned by now to not place too much confidence in the cover story. Although it's pretty certain that this is really Superboy, however muddled, there's lingering doubt throughout the story, despite his use of multiple powers at one time. The Kents have left town: is that a red herring or part of the mystery? The big questions now are: Who did this to Superboy and why? Followed by: Is Jo Nah out there somewhere?

The story recaps quite a few prior events to explain how the situation developed, and presents the reader with a preview of the Batman/Brave & Bold issue which we reviewed last week. There's even a brief reference to Cham finding out that R.J. Brande is his father, quite a few issues ago. If I were reading the book on a monthly basis, these recaps would be helpful in creating a sense of continuity.

Despite believing he shouldn't be leader, Garth does a good job of directing the team and making decisions. There's some insight into the personalities of Blok, Wildfire and Colossal Boy; Tinya and Imra's emotional connection is reinforced (although it never leads to any great friendship long-term) and Karate Kid displays his familiarity with the 20th century. Tinya frets over Jo/Superboy. Otherwise, the Legionnaires are just figures in the story, occasionally displaying their powers. Well, not everybody can take centre stage.

The story wasn't without interest by any means, but was frustrating in its lack of resolution. The appearance of the Time Trapper, and the information that the next issue will include the Molecule Master, only suggests more confusion.

It occurred to me that this arc was the model for the Sensor Girl mystery, which also continued for many issues and gave confusing, seemingly contradictory clues. All the while, the Legionnaires had to deal with on-going missions as the mystery continued. One difference there was that Saturn Girl had vouched for Sensor Girl, thereby assuring the reader that she was neither a villain nor a hero under a villain's control (although some doubts were raised). With Reflecto/Superboy/Jo Nah, everything points to an outside influence, whether accidental or intentional.


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#929882 - 05/27/17 04:19 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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On 280:

I believe I bought this issue on one of my frequent trips to Kansas City, where Clint's Comics was just about the only comics shop I knew of. I loved seeing the cover, with Superboy front and center, and the classy new logo.

The story read then and reads now like an increasingly Marvelized version of the Legion. The previous story line isn't resolved but drags out with complications that thrust it in a new direction. There are a lot of emotional reactions and overreactions to events. Someone tell Wildfire to take a chill pill. On the other hand, there are some nice mini-resolutions, such as Gim's reunion with his mom and Imra and Tinya coming to a new understanding.

It seems fitting that Roy Thomas, who has spent much of his career writing about the JSA of the 1940s, would immediately thrust the Legion back into the past. Here, in the 1950s, they fight soldiers and an atomic bomb--threats more in keeping with his sensibilities than futuristic settings and aliens. But Thomas uses this era to deepen the mystery. Just why was Superboy moving an underground a-bomb explosion above ground, where it would endanger the soldiers, before he disappeared into the future? Also, the Legion's covert activities are now a matter of public record and they are trapped in Superboy's era. What will happen next?

Garth does indeed come across as a capable and effective leader. The psychological "trick" he plays on Phantom Girl seems dishonest, but it was effective and came from the right place in his heart. I also liked his decision to bring Dawny and Blok along on the mission because they'd never been to the 20th century--even though their flexibility on missions would be limited (e.g., no undercover work for the girl with wings and giant, living rock).

The lack of resolution is a bit of a downer, but it felt at the time that the Legion was moving forward in a bold new direction.

This issue holds a special place in my heart for another reason: The letters page contains a letter written by me under a pseudonym.


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#929901 - 05/28/17 12:34 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Do you still have that three-page letter? And the secret identity?

I suppose everything had to be tied to Superboy and Smallville, but given what you say about Roy Thomas' sensibilities, I wonder if he had thought of sending them back to the 1940s and the JSA. The time bubble disturbance could easily have sent them further into the past and it would have been a tie-in with Batman (in the Brave & Bold story) recognizing the future from his experience with the JSA-JLA-Legion crossover. Just to add more confusion to the arc....


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#929943 - 05/28/17 01:28 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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I'm sure I still have the rough draft. I kept all my drafts in those days. I used the pseudonym only a few times. It was an attempt to create a nom de plume.

I love the idea of the Legion meeting the JSA. It would have been a break from the tried-and-true approach of visiting Superboy's era.


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#929983 - 05/29/17 02:58 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Legion 278

The issue gets another great Perez cover. The Earth is surrounded by giant energy chains that not even the might of Mon El can break through. The leader, Lightning Lad, unleashes bolts at it, giving us more super power action and Wolvie-clone can’t make an impact either. Reflecto is also prominent on the cover, aiding the team.

The peril is enhanced and reinforced by the cover text. The Earth is “doomed” and the “world will die” gives us the level of threat. “we can’t” gives us the Legion’s chances” The readers are un obtrusively told that Reflecto is new, and brings subplots to the book.

Timberwolf in his Wolvie disguise isn’t the only early sign of Marveldom. The opening scene, as the team attempt to break the energy chains, repeatedly bubbles under with angsty passive aggression. Lightning Lad has his leadership abilities questioned by his sister, Ayla, and her partner Brin.

Garth goes so far as to agree with them as we see Imra being more decisive. If Garth knew that several cruisers had been obliterated trying to break the chains then he really is useless when he sends Tasmia anywhere near it. He may think it was Shady’s decision to make, but he perhaps could have told her all the information first. When making a character doubt themselves, with the idea of bringing redeeming them later on, it’s fairly important not to make them do things that are so useless that there’s no coming back from them. Garth stopping Mon El throwing himself at the chains for a second attempt comes too late.

At least an early bit of chauvinism by Mon El is countered with a reminder, from Tasmia, that he has weaknesses of his own.

The Energy chains are Plot-Powered making them resistant to superpowers. Still, Imra can now monitor everyone on the planet to compensate. She’s looking for thought emanations directed towards the chains. Oddly, I’d have thought everyone on the doomed, inescapable planet, would be giving them lots of attention. But she picks out Grimbor’s HQ pretty easily from the chaff.

Back on Earth the rest of the Legion hurl ineffective threats against a holo of Grimbor, as he pops in to tell them that he’s bored and is now only giving them an hour to live instead of a day. Grimbor wants revenge for the death of Charma, who he is obsessed with. The Legion might dispute how she died, but she met a very unfortunate death in prison. Gim wastes no time moaning like a kid about his mom being Earth president and how it revolves around him. His growing powers may be linked to the size of his ego. Wildfire shows he’s not someone you want to be around, when there’s a grown up conversation to have.

Grimbor has a moment alone in his citadel to reflect on his revenge against the Legion. I half expect him to reveal that he’s hired a taxidermist, and had Charma put on display. He’s distracted by approaching Legionnaires. I’m wondering how they got past the chains before I realise that it’s the cover that has them attacking the things form beyond Earth’s orbit, while the interior is consistent. Gimbor’s citadel? Why haven’t they asked Earth’s military to help them in such a crisis?
A third group of Legionnaires there seems to be a lot of them hanging around not doing much this issue) is investigating Grimbor’s craft. It’s set in the middle east, which is a nice change, although let down a bit by some stereotypical bribery. We’ve had crooked Science Police a while back, so there’s a definite undercurrent of human greed behind the scenes of this bright future. Luornu has come a long way (not necessarily in the right direction) to be the one to mentally urge Rokk to offer the bribe.

Rokk’s not the best at espionage. But he’s done well in placing Blok in the path of the official to allow Phantom Girl to spy. But a weird perspective shift moves everyone around. Tinya’s in no danger as she’s intangible. But the thought of her being approached by another man sets off her Super Stalker, and Reflecto arrives on the scene.

It takes a couple of panels for their mission and the giant chain like threat to the planet to be ignored before they all start fighting. Reflecto uses a range of super powers, showing that he outclasses the mission team. When Tinya is the only one left, he reverts to Super Creepy mode telling her he’s “come not to conquer, but to worship…” Ugh! Later on, we’ll find out more about Reflecto. So bear in mind, that he’s happy to call Bouncing Boy a “pathetic mountain of corpulence!” and Blok “blockhead”

Blok adds a bit of a physical presence, but once again you get the feeling that such a new character should be getting a bit more of a positive focus. As Reflecto departs, the Legionnaires hurl a few childish remarks in his direction, standing apart (well done Mr Janes) from a rather smitten Phantom Girl.

Pointless fight scene over, and it’s back to business. The team quickly discover a dodgy import/export business in power crystals and grumpy Rokk informs HQ. You’d have thought there would be much more control over such powerful devices. That there’s not makes you wonder why the LSV went to such elaborate plans to get their hands on them years later. They could have just got what they needed through this route. Ominously, they’ve lost contact with Garth’s team at the North Pole.

There, Garth gets a very overdue lesson that metals are very likely to conduct electricity. It’s a shame he didn’t realise this before electrocuting Imra. He and the rest of the team are taken out easily by Grimbor’s traps. Brin, who is the first to attack anything, is the last top do anything. This is so that the writer can give him some Wolverine in the Hellfire Club tunnels panel time. But it’s very out of character. Mon El got away with some chauvinism in the first few panels. But he dismisses Shady’s chances twice in this sequence. You wonder what their relationship is really like behind the scenes, if he’s constantly chipping away at her. It must be Eltro at work in there this issue.

Back at HQ, Jeckie and Val notice that the chains are a lot closer than they should be. It parallels the last panels of the previous issue nicely.

In summary, we had half a dozen scenes and nearly all of them felt padded. Across the issue, we saw Legionnaires being insecure, bratty and needlessly angst ridden.

Garth knew that the chains had destroyed craft, but risked Shady and didn’t allow Mon El to go it alone. Mon El’s put downs and Reflecto’s creepy personality that’s only heroic in the world of the emotionally underdeveloped set a constantly worrying emotional tone in the issue. The pointless fight between Reflecto and the Legion, Wildfire blasting at a wall as Gim whines added to the padded feel. Grimbor looks to kill the legion but all of his death traps fall short. There was a lot of nearly deaths for the Legion this issue. It makes them look less than competent and I wondered if the Luck Lords are behind their continued surv


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#930087 - 05/29/17 02:52 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Legion 279

Another text/art combo makes this cover a good one. “But…But How?” I hear you ask smile There’s the reveal of a mystery. But that’s not enough! Having solved it, they now have to save the life of the person they’ve uncovered! Is it someone they know? Is Tinya’s presence near the body an indication? Blok gives the Legion something visually different as he lurks in the background along with Chuck and Lu. Perez also manages to show us a captured Grimbor, now part of Garth & Imra’s open marriage. Oh, and there’s the lovely Perez style debris for good measure.

“Castle Greyskull must fall!” shouts an overwrought Garth on a disappointing splash page. Imra tells her husband to flee as Grimbor is too strong. She must have forgotten it was Garth that electrocuted her last issue. We get a reprise of the Plot Driven energy cage that saps Mon El’s powers and the weird arrow gag that disappears and then reappears on Shady’s mouth in early panels. I push back thoughts of Green Arrow’s private life and read on…

Thomas’ dialogue is very cliché heavy here, to the point that Garth threatens to break the Legion code during one of his rants.

Val & Jeckie provide the reader with a recap of what’s been happening in recent issues. Val points out that he does have the unerring ability to find the weak spot in anything, but fears he would do more harm than good. After all, he might kill everyone on the planet, which is what’s going to happen anyway.

Responsibility weighs heavily on the Legion in recent issues. Imra on holding her powers in check, Lightning Lad as leader and here Jeckie by the prospect of the Earth’s doom and Marte Allon’s role as Earth’s president. She lashes out at her son, which is a bit of an escalation on her side of that relationship. This time, it’s Gim who’s hard done by. While it’s not as recent scenes have shown things, it does show the complexities of any relationship. More consistently, Wildfire is the first to break ranks and head for Castle Grimbor. Thomas does well transitioning through each scene, providing a smooth storyline. While it’s not a fondly remembered storyline, it’s always good to see the craft involved.

Thomas makes the parallel between Grimbor’s actions and the threat of terrorism, and that no doubt leads into Earth’s stance of not negotiating. There’s also a page showing the various reactions from Earth’s residents to their impending doom from praying to hiding. One panel, of a man getting hammered before oblivion is very much like the first issue cover of the later Slash Maraud, which had a similar theme.

With all Legionnaires already combatting Grimbor, Val (who, like Timberwolf, should be one of the first into action) eventually decides to try and attack the energy chains. He looks to Jeckie for support, but she would rather be alone. Val has the usual response of being hurt by Jeckie’s reaction and questions their relationship. But from her point of view, the man she loves is leaving her behind so he can die in action. It has a lot of foreboding in light of later events, and is a well-crafted scene. Jeckie isn’t even abandoning her team. She’s been reading some old X-Men comics and has been working secretly (i.e. the writer just made it up and put it in) on Cerebro a power augmenter.


Back at Grimbor HQ, Garth rants at a holo of the villain. He gets past a few silly looking traps, but falls in the end having used up a few panels. The cavalry arrive, but don’t have time to rescue their comrades.

They have only minutes to act, but happily bicker with Reflecto and leave most of their number behind just in case, even as the people of Earth begin to die. Grimbor has conveniently changed his mind about using the castle’s defences, and lets Rokk and Blok in. It’s noticeable that Rokk seems to be seen as a more capable leader than Garth as the latter gets into the castle while a beaten Garth lies outside.

As mentioned, Blok really hasn’t had much to do to endear himself to new readers. In a new low point, he’s turned into a living chain under the control of Grimbor.

The others rush in, but are all overcome by Grimbor’s traps and Plot Derived increased powers. Even Reflecto is secured.

In the end even the cavalry need cavalry. It doesn’t come in the form of Wildfire’s team. They have oddly vanished from the plot. It comes in the form of Jeckie and Val.

Jeckie’s enhanced power enables her to get Tinya to impersonate Charma just long enough for Grimbor to reveal his secrets. She relays these to Val, just before he kills himself against the energy chains. Meanwhile, the sight of a hurt Tinya enrages Reflecto who overcomes Grimbor. In the process he’s revealed not to be Ultra Boy who the extremely well informed Grimbor, and the Legionnaires, thought he was… but Superboy!

The scenes with Val and Jeckie are by far the highlight of the issue, as both personalities are shown to be strong and independent. Jeckie uses the Deus Ex Machina machine to win the day, but there’s the chance that it could have been at a great cost. It’s always good to see Chuck and Lu in the thick of the action. It’s where they always go, despite their “weaker” powers.

One the other hand, Reflecto continues to be a creepy super stalker, Garth as a ranter not helped by Thomas’ ear for dialogue and Blok becomes a living trap.

The reveal is a surprise after the build up to it being Jo Nah. Superboy had been name dropped throughout as having left the team, which was a nice way to remind us of his connection to the team before the reveal. The next reviews will show if this is one twist too many.


"...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."
#930103 - 05/29/17 04:24 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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Legion 280
Yet another great cover, highlighting the return of Superboy as an ad for the Superman II movie is added to the bottom corner. Again, we have a number of things going on, none of which get in the way of Perez’ design. There’s the triumphant return, but also a great team shot in front of their own HQ. We also see a mission team, combining the team shot with the job in hand. They’re in a time bubble which connects with the cover text of going back in time to resolve Ultra Boy’s disappearance. Everyone involved does a great job.

The splash page is an improvement over last issue’s. We pick up from the last scene of the previous issue, showing us that Superboy is Reflecto, shocked Legionnaires, that Ultra Boy could therefore really be dead and, since Superboy may be dying, the impetus for a Legion mission. Wildfire’s team have finally made it to the villains’ HQ.

It turns out that Superboy isn’t dying at all. It takes only a few panels for him to come round. Just long enough for us to sense Tinya’s loss and to get a summary of the action from the last couple of issues. Janes gives the panel some chains as a border in a lovely touch.

But as Superboy comes round, we learn that he thinks that he really is Ultra Boy. There’s a reprise of an earlier issue when Tinya discovers Imra kept something from her, but the two quickly make up. Mon El confirms that the body is definitely Superboy’s and that there may be Superboy’s mind beneath Jo’s thoughts too. At this stage, I’d have suggested that the plot went along the lines of putting Ultra Boy’s personality into a brain globe and have him rejoin that way smile But, it’s not to be.

The team are viewed by a purple wearing villain. He has one of those omni-viewers that can record anything, anywhere from the comfort of their hideout. The omni-viewers must do something to the villains’ minds as they are frequently owned by the dumbest of crooks.

The team return to Metropolis to convene a meeting of the Legion’s full roster (excuse for a pin up?) As they travel, Gim realises how poorly he’s acted towards his mother and the two are reconciled. As are Val and an uninjured Jeckie. Wildfire reacts to the emotional lives of the others that he feels removed from. Something that’s pointed out to him by Blok, in an early example of his perceptiveness. There’s more perceptiveness going round, as a few of the team get to see Garth’s leadership skills as he stays in charge, at least to the end of this adventure. In the back of the team meeting is a man with short white hair. While it could have been intended as Star Boy the colouring means I get to claim it as another appearance of Sculptor Lad. smile

To be fair to Conway, he picks up nicely on some previous stories. Superboy had returned to the 20th century under a mental command not to return, after he learned about the deaths of his parents. Something has clearly gone wrong, which wouldn’t be the first time when it comes to Clark’s brainwashing. So a team is dispatched to the 20th century to find out more. It’s an interesting mission team with Dawnstar and Blok in it. No amount of disguise skill is going to make anyone believe they are travelling salesmen or cousins from out of state.

Meanwhile, out in the plaza, Batman’s shadow approaches the HQ. Is the Batman from the imaginary tale going to join?

The time travellers return to the 20th century, only to materialise in the middle of an atomic detonation. We’re shown what the Time Bubble can withstand. With Superboy/Jo having memory issues, he couldn’t tell them the circumstances under which they left. He reacts quickly redirecting the blast out into space.

Unfortunately for our heroes, the army seem to think that Superboy is behind the blast in the first place. The Legion aren’t about to get arrested, so we get to see each of them show off their powers to good effect as they escape.

The team retreat to Smallville. Other than a note form Ma Kent taking them out of the story, there are no clues. Garth then tries to take them back into the future, so they can come up back with IDs. Normally, you’d have expected this to be part of what they’d either bring with them or scrounge up from the Kents. The reason it’s an issue here is so that the Tie Bubble can be destroyed. As Superboy/ Jo throws it into orbit (two throws in one issue) we learn that the purple robe we saw earlier was none other than the Time Trapper’s.

The Trapper gives a brief explanation on how he has returned from his last encounter with the team. His goal here is to divide the Legion so he can attack the 30th century. He whisks the team to another space and then straight back to Smallville. It’s partly to show off how powerful he is, but it also gives Janes something different to draw. The Legionnaires are now stranded and hunted by the army.

It’s an okay issue all told. There’s a fair amount of time spent wrapping up last issue’s story with the conclusion of a few subplots and the continuation of Jo/Clark’s memory issues. The plot links up nicely throughout (no Grimbor pun intended). It’s good to see the group back in Smallville, as it always brings a switch in pace, and their predicament is an interesting one.

The Trapper seems to take advantage of the team’s problems, rather than being behind hem which makes for a change. So, there may be more mysteries to unravel. It’s a shame all those soldiers died of radiation poisoning though…


"...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."
#930118 - 05/29/17 07:26 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Originally Posted by thoth lad
Legion 280
In the back of the team meeting is a man with short white hair. While it could have been intended as Star Boy the colouring means I get to claim it as another appearance of Sculptor Lad. smile


It's always nice when a Legion fan gets a cameo. Don't tell me. Your real name is . . . Brynt Flojj!

Quote
It’s an interesting mission team with Dawnstar and Blok in it. No amount of disguise skill is going to make anyone believe they are travelling salesmen or cousins from out of state.


"This is my cousin, Dawn, from Wingfield, and my other cousin, Brock, from Rockford."

Quote
Meanwhile, out in the plaza, Batman’s shadow approaches the HQ. Is the Batman from the imaginary tale going to join?


It's a nice "commercial" for the B&B issue, though inaccurate. In that issue, Batman wore a stolen red cloak for disguise. His cowl ears shouldn't have been showing. (Continuity Kid to the rescue!)

Quote
It’s a shame all those soldiers died of radiation poisoning though…


I'm sure STAR Labs or its predecessor cured them. smile


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#930143 - 05/30/17 02:47 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: thoth lad]  
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Originally Posted by thoth lad
Legion 280
Janes gives the panel some chains as a border in a lovely touch.


Oh! flew by the recap and missed that - nice touch indeed.

Quote
The team are viewed by a purple wearing villain. He has one of those omni-viewers that can record anything, anywhere from the comfort of their hideout. The omni-viewers must do something to the villains’ minds as they are frequently owned by the dumbest of crooks.


Which raises the question, why don't the Legionnaires have omni-viewers on all known villains? It seems the Legion only spies on itself.

Quote
In the back of the team meeting is a man with short white hair. While it could have been intended as Star Boy the colouring means I get to claim it as another appearance of Sculptor Lad. smile


And thus begins the quest for all Archive Re-readers to carefully search for other appearances of Sculptor Lad.

Quote
So a team is dispatched to the 20th century to find out more. It’s an interesting mission team with Dawnstar and Blok in it. No amount of disguise skill is going to make anyone believe they are travelling salesmen or cousins from out of state.


Garth doesn't get a pass on that one - a trip to the 20th century is handed out like reward for good behaviour, regardless of how difficult it would be for those two to blend in.

Quote
The Trapper seems to take advantage of the team’s problems, rather than being behind hem which makes for a change. So, there may be more mysteries to unravel. It’s a shame all those soldiers died of radiation poisoning though…


There was potential for even more plot twists and turns with an even bigger Big Bad pulling the strings. It does make me wonder why the Trapper didn't take advantage of events more often. Ego? He had to be the puppet master?


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#930172 - 05/30/17 10:38 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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LSH #281 Madness is the Molecule Master by Roy Thomas, art by Steve Ditko & Bruce Patterson, colours Gene D'Angelo, letters Ben Oda

[Linked Image]

Superboy contemplates why he thinks he's Jo Nah while the Legionnaires are convinced he's Superboy. As he recaps prior events, he tests his use of multiple powers at one time to prove his identity to himself. He suspects the Time Trapper has the answer to his false memories and tries to fly to the future, only to hit a barrier and be taunted by the Time Trapper.

At the Kent's home, the male Legionnaires are dressing in 20th century clothing, while Blok and Dawnstar admit that they can't go out. A nosy neighbour comes to the door and Val covers by explaining that they're all rehearsing for a school play. She leaves when Clark appears, but remains suspicious. The group go out for groceries and, for some reason, Imra and Tinya remain in 30th century garb, attracting considerable male attention on the street. Clark is only navigating with Jo's memories of visiting Smallville years earlier.

The Army appears, but a bigger threat arrives in the form of Lana Lang, who recognizes the
Legionnaires and asks why they're with Clark. They ask her to just trust them and she leaves in a huff.

At the Kents, nosy neighbour is watching the house and sees Dawnstar and Blok fly out a window to investigate an explosion. They see the Molecule Master amid some rubble, confronting the Legionnaires. Clark uses his x-ray vision to confirm that it's an android, but mostly lead-shielded. Saturn Girl deduces that MM has been sent by the Time Trapper, since both the original Molecule Master and the Trapper were after the Miracle Machine. As the Molecule Master manipulates reality, the Legionnaires fight back, watched by frightened citizens. Their coordinated attack overloads the android's circuits and it explodes, knocking the Legionnaires unconscious. The army rounds them up, except for three in an alley: Dawnstar, Phantom Girl and Superboy, who shielded the girls from the full force of the blast. Tinya recovers first and discovers her power is paralyzed. She concentrates on her belt, an heirloom from her mother, and tries to access the Bgtzl dimension, holding onto Superboy and Dawnstar. She succeeds; the army suspends their search. The major picks up a piece of the Molecule Master and dumps it on the ground. As the army drives off, the Trapper gloats over his success.

Comments:

Superboy's doubts over his identity begin to wear thin for this reader, although I can appreciate that not being who you think you are would be a thought-consuming problem.

Imra's pink bikini and Tinya's white cut-out jumpsuit on the streets of Smallville – what was anyone thinking? Maybe it was written for laughs, but it was illogical and the leering young men came off as creepy. Surely they could have borrowed a dress or a coat from Martha Kent's closet.

The Molecule Master sparks some interest, but the conclusion that the android was sent by the Time Trapper struck me as a giant leap. There should have been more clues than a common interest in the Miracle Machine.

I rather liked the nosy old lady as a character, but she could have been used to better effect than just spying on the Legionnaires. Again, a scene likely written for laughs.

Legionnaires are always getting knocked unconscious in this era's issues and conveniently remain so as long as the story needs them to be non-functional. No bruises, broken bones, concussions – just lights out.

Tinya once again saves the day through determination and quick-thinking. She certainly shone in these late '70s/early '80s stories. The story that her belt is a family heirloom was an interesting tidbit, but I don't believe it was used again. Perhaps the heirloom idea inspired the Reboot red lifestone that she wore.


Holy Cats of Egypt!
#930234 - 05/30/17 03:09 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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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.

The first noticeable thing in the story is the change of art duties. Ditko is pencilling this issue instead of Janes, and it takes a while to get used to the switch. We get an opening five whole pages giving us a recap of the previous issues as Jo/Clark uses his powers firstly to agains determine that it is Superboy’s body and to try to break the Time Barrier. This reminds us directly of the Time Trapper’s power in stranding them in the 20th century.

The other Legionnaires realise early on that Dawnstar and Blok aren’t able to be seen in Smallville without drawing unwanted attention to themselves. Mind you, with all the things that happened in Superboy comics, you’d think they’d be past any kind of surprise by now. Although they’re all expecting a Trapper attack, it’s quite a light scene with Karate Kid being pushed into dealing with a very nosy neighbour. One nice touch is that Clark forgets his glasses because he still thinks he’s Ultra Boy. A not so nice touch is Saturn Girl too willingly looking to tamper with the neighbour’s mind.

The group travel into town, with the threat of the Time Trapper reminding me a little of Mordru’s first appearance. Possibly because Clark thinks that he is Jo, no one thinks to get the ladies to change out of their costumes. “Worse than wolf whistles” says a lot about the Smallville residents. A shower scene with Dawnstar continues this view of the female Legionnaires, as the nosey neighbour returns to spy on the newcomers. Dawnstar and the poorly portrayed Blok are alerted to an explosion in town.

There, the group have encountered Lana Lang. She knows that they are all Legionnaires. She even reminds them that she’s an honorary member of the group. Yet they dismiss one of the few people who could easily help them.

The explosion comes courtesy of the Time Trapper’s agent, The Molecule Master. Previously, the android villain attempted to steal the Miracle Machine and was destroyed by Wildfire. Here, he’s been sent to kill the team with vastly increased powers that are Plot dictated. He has force fields, he can animate matter, he can change elements and he easily pushes the team back, as they attack one by one. We’re told that his android brain isn’t so good at multi-tasking and a frontal assault by all the Legionnaires is more than he can handle. Oddly, he’s being doing just fine creating multiple traps simultaneously to hold off the heroes. The villain implodes under the strain. If his job was to kill the heroes, he had plenty of opportunity and that leads to a disappointing fight scene.

While Thomas makes the connection between the Time Trapper and the Molecule Masters quest for the Miracle Machine, the villain is also there because it was revealed way back in the Adventure run that he would be responsible for killing Reflecto. It’s a shame that the plot has moved on from showing Jo/Clark in a Reflecto costume.

One interesting point is Tinya’s “If I learn for sure that Jo’s dead, maybe I’ll come back [to my native dimension] to stay.” Years later, in the most recent Levitz run, Tinya faces what she feels is a hopeless situation and returns to her home dimension.

Molecule Man’s implosion has been enough to stun the heroes equally, including Blok and Superboy. Blok’s density is one of the reasons he’s on the team, so it’s another poor showing from his here. It is handy for the army which has been monitoring the combat and can now take Superboy into custody for that Atomic explosion mishap last issue. Oddly, the explosion has carried some of the heroes well out of sight range of the soldiers allowing Phantom Girl to recover. After some self-discovery on what she’d do (see Later Levitz parallel above) she manages to take Superboy and Dawnstar back to Bgtzl by focussing on the belt buckle that is a family heirloom. I recall the Reboot version of the character also having an heirloom in the shape of a red jewel.

It’s too early for the Terminator movie and the soldiers throw away all that future robotic technology. There has to be a plot thread to be developed here. I’ve always linked it with the technology used to develop the Justice League Detroit’s Steel.

As the unconscious heroes are driven off, the Time Trapper counts his Time Chickens, seemingly convinced that he’s won.

The story starts with the heroes stranded in 20th century Smallville. The story ends with the unconscious heroes trapped in 20th century Smallville after an encounter with the soldiers they’d already met last issue. Overall, there’s not a lot of plot movement.

We don’t learn much more about Jo/Clark’s predicament. The battle with Molecule Master was far too much like padding, rather than the terrible threat to Reflecto that he should have been (mainly because Reflecto’s not really there. This would be rectified, to a small degree, off panel in the TMK run where Stig Ah, the real Rimborian Reflecto is killed by the Molecule Master. Blok, once again, comes off badly this issue. He really suffered from the change in creative team so early in his tenure.

The change of artist half way through the story is a bit jarring, although a couple of the lighter touches in the writing were welcome, after the Marvel angst of recent issues.


"...not having to believe in a thing to be interested in it and not having to explain a thing to appreciate the wonder of it."
#930257 - 05/30/17 08:14 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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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.


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#930548 - 06/02/17 06:47 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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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 11:44 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: thoth lad]  
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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.


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#931085 - 06/07/17 10:56 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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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 10:58 AM.

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#931107 - 06/07/17 02:26 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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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 08:10 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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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.


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#931201 - 06/09/17 03:04 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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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.


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#931212 - 06/09/17 09:54 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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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.


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#931261 - 06/09/17 03:56 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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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 08:08 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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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.


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#931575 - 06/13/17 02:52 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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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.


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#931605 - 06/13/17 07:04 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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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 02:44 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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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 03:45 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: thoth lad]  
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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&#146;s no need to help Drake develop as a person. Drake, on the other hand, thinks it&#146;s fine to be a tool because he&#146;s completely self-aware this issue. He knows it&#146;s just a form of lashing out from his condition. Again, there&#146;s no real desire to overcome being like that, so much of an acceptance that it&#146;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 07:35 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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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.



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#931839 - 06/15/17 03:09 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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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 04:12 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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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.


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#931893 - 06/16/17 04:57 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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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 07:43 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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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.



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#931910 - 06/17/17 03:41 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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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 09:33 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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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 07:08 PM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: Fat Cramer]  
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He Who Wanders Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.
He Who Wanders  Offline
She ran and called him Wildfire.

Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 23,514
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.


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#931993 - 06/18/17 01:37 AM Re: Re-Reading the Legion: Archives Volume 17 [Re: He Who Wanders]  
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Tempus Fugitive
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Tempus Fugitive

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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."
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