Saturday, April 25, 2009

Week of 22 April 2009

There was no new LSH content in DC comics this week. Alas, the mysterious Superwoman was revealed to be someone who has never, to my knowledge, appeared in any LSH comic.

However, there was some old Legion content: Showcase Presents Legion of Super-Heroes volume 3.

The Showcase Presents volumes are a great way to read a lot of old stories for not much money (this one was $19.99). The paper is perhaps one step up from newsprint, and the stories are presented in black-and-white outline. But each volume is something like 500 pages: this one includes nearly two years worth of stories from Adventure 349 - 368 and Jimmy Olsen 106.

And what stories! This period was the first part of the original Shooter years, and many of the stories are classics. The Rogue Legionnaire was the first appearances of Universo and Rond Vidar. The Outcast Super-Heroes/The Forgotten Legion featured the Devil's Dozen (including the White Witch) and Dr. Zan Orbal, who restored Lightning Lad's arm, Bouncing Boy's powers, and Matter-Eater Lad's normal weight; as if that wasn't enough, Star Boy and Dream Girl rejoined the Legion. The Fatal Five/The Doomed Legionnaires introduced the Fatal Five and the Sun-Eater, and killed off Ferro Lad.

The Adult Legion/The War of the Legions showed a possible future of the Legion. The Six-Legged Legionnaire brought Insect Queen to the 30th century and granted her Reserve status. In The Five Legion Orphans we got to see Brainiac 5, Dream Girl, Element Lad, Mon-El, and Superboy as babies, and the world Rokyn (settled by the inhabitants of an enlarged Kandor) was introduced to the DC universe. The Ghost of Ferro Lad was a spooky story that added another bit to Legion lore. Lyle Norg showed his stuff in The Hunter.

Universo and Rond Vidar returned in The Outlawed Legionnaires/The Legion Chain Gang (Mon-El in bondage, whoo-hoo!), which also introduced R.J. Brande. The Unkillables introduced the Dominators. The Lone Wolf Legionnaire Reporter was a fun Jimmy Olsen/Elastic Lad story. We got a glimpse of several Legion homeworlds (Daxam, Orando, and Naltor) in The Chemoids Are Coming/Black Day for the Legion. The Super-Pets starred in Revolt of the Super-Pets.

The Fatal Five returned (and wrecked the Legion clubhouse), the Legion visited Talok VIII, and Shadow Lass joined in Escape of the Fatal Five/The Fight for the Championship of the Universe. The Legion got a new clubhouse (with built-in Miracle Machine) and faced the Dark Circle for the first time in No Escape From the Circle of Death. And the last sotry in this collection, The Mutiny of the Super-Heroines, contained those immortal lines, "Gasp! All of a sudden, there's an army of Due Damsels!" "They're comin' through the walls!"

Now, look at how many elements from these stories have appeared in recent DC comics. Rond Vidar, Universo, the Fatal Five, the Legion of Super-Villains, an Adult Legion, New Krypton (aka Rokyn), Daxam, the Miracle Machine, an army of Luornus (okay, seven), a war of Legions, and even the Fatal Five trying to penetrate a force-shield around the Leigon clubhouse (a shield made with Brainiac 5's force-shield belt).

It's been 40+ years since these stories were published, and current writers are still mining them.

I would not be surprised to see the Super-Pets and Insect Queen showing up in Legion of 3 Worlds before it's over.



Michael X. MacArthur said...

My store sold out, so I have to wait until next Wednesday. These are my favorite stories of all time. I have always maintained that if Jim Shooter had never been offered a job writing the Legion, the series would have never made is out of the sixties. Mort made comics for kids. Shooter made comics for kids like himself.

Meerkatdon said...

I know just what you mean, Michael. There were some really great stories in this period. The next volume should contain what is probably my personal all-time favorite Legion story, the Mordru two-parter.