Friday, July 30, 2010

Week of 28 July 2010

 The only Legion content in DC Comics this week was the variant cover of Legion of Super Heroes #3. The actual comic came out last week; I don't know why there was a delay.

Meanwhile, I've been revamping my LSH Stories Index. I haven't touched these pages for too many years, and I've been having a wonderful time cleaning up the HTML code, verifying listings, adding some comics I forgot or didn't have at the time...and putting in the all-important but stupidly-petty pictures of Legionnaires and other characters. This has sent me to the scanner a million times to get pictures of minor characters, family members of Legionnaires, etc. (Yes, I have no life.)

Problem is, right now we have no Internet service at home (boo, Verizon). A summer storm knocked out our Verizon landline and DSL service earlier this week, and we can't even get an estimate for when it will be back up. So even though I'm doing a lot of work and making things look really, really pretty, I can't upload any of the changes until service is restored.

Stay tuned....


Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Who Are These Legionnaires?

I've been working on my Legion index, and I need some help. Here's a panel from Adventure #353, the Death of Ferro Lad story:

I'm trying to identify the Legionnaires pictured. Here's a closer view (click to embiggen):

 The first two rows are easy: Brainiac 5 and Invisible Kid in the first row; Cosmic Boy, Superboy, Saturn Girl, and Princess Projectra in the second. It's those next two rows that are giving me some problems.

Here's a version with identifying numbers to the right of each figure:

#1 is pretty clearly Mon-El, and #6 is Colossal Boy.

#7 and #8 look like girls. The possibilities are: Dream Girl, Duo Damsel, Light Lass, Phantom Girl, Shrinking Violet, and Supergirl. #7 looks like Violet. #8 seems to have a cape, which means either Duo Damsel, Phantom Girl, or me she looks most like Duo Damsel.

That leaves #2, #3, #4, and #5. The possible boys are Bouncing Boy, Chameleon Boy, Element Lad, Karate Kid, Lightning Lad, Matter-Eater Lad, Star Boy, Sun Boy, and Ultra Boy. We can eliminate Bouncing Boy on body shape. #5 has a distinctive collar that only Sun  Boy and Invisible Kid have; since Invisible Kid is in the first row, #5 must be Sun Boy.

. #3 has a cape, which means it's either Lightning Lad or Star Boy. I'm going back and forth between the two, but leaning toward Lightning Lad (Thom has brown hair, about like Invisible Kid's: look how Invisible Kid's hair is darkened but #3's isn't.)

#2 is either Chameleon Boy, Element Lad, Karate Kid, or Matter-Eater Lad. He's clearly not Chameleon Boy or Karate Kid; M-E Lad has dark hair and it looks like #2 doesn't, so I'm inclined to go with Element Lad.

That leaves #4 as Chameleon Boy, Karate Kid, or Matter-Eater Lad (or possibly Star Boy, but I'm having trouble believing that #4 has a cape.) I want it to be Chameleon Boy: he appeared in the previous panel, so we know he's there. But there is no hint of antennae, and this figure seems to have hair. Cham has those funny sticky-out shoulder-things, but they could be obscured by the word balloon on one side and Lurornu's head on the other. And those two tiny lines just over Luornu's right shoulder might be meant to indicate part of Cham's costume.

I want to say we can leave out Karate Kid, based on the the hint of a collar around #4's neck. But we can also rule out Matter-Eater Lad because #4 has light hair and Tenzil's hair is dark.

So it's either Cham (without antennae and with a mistaken hint of hair) or Matter-Eater Lad (without his hair colored in).

So what do you think, loyal readers? Who's who in this picture?


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Week of 21 July 2010

(SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers. Don't read it before you've read the comics.)

"Earth-Man's Choice"


Brainiac 5, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Earth-Man, Element Lad, Invisible Kid (Jacques), Lightning Lad, Lightning Lass, Phantom Girl, Saturn Girl, Sensor Girl, Shadow Lass, Sun Boy, Tellus, Tyroc, Ultra Boy, Wildfire; also Aven, Saturn Queen

CUTE BOYS: Brainy, Dirk (looking stunning in his full-page appearance), Gim, Jacques, Jan, Jo, Rokk, Tyroc

Two covers this time, and Legion completists will want both.

There are three plotlines, plus two setups for the future.

Earth-Man is driven by the Green Lantern Ring to rescue sapient insects on the planet Ozifer. He is assisted by a mission team led by Sun Boy. Disgusted, Earth-Man gives up the Power Ring (or does he?)

A mission team led by Sensor Girl defeats Saturn Queen in the wreckage of Titan.

Lightning Lad and Lightning Lass retrieve Saturn Girl from her stalled time bubble. The three of them follow Imra's telepathic image to the planet Avalon, where they meet a big surprise.

Meanwhile, in a Titanian refugee camp, Aven comforts Doctor Li (who was one of the scientists responsible for destroying Titan...although that fact is not common knowledge yet).

And remember that ship full of Durlans? Seems they are on a mission to avenge the death of R.J. Brande.


Titan and the Lanothians: Saturn Queen says that her ancestors left Earth for Titan long ago, and she refers to a time "before we went to Titan and met the Lanothians." That removes the question of why the current Titanians seem to be human. Presumably the Lantohians somehow gave telepathic powers to Saturn Queen's ancestors (or perhaps there was interbreeding). One obvious question: are there any Lanothians left in Legion times? (Or were there, before Titan blew up?)

Tyroc and Marzal: Saturn Queen says to Tyroc: "You took your people away from Earth when they didn't understand Marzal." In classic continuity, Marzal was an island which existed in another dimension and appeared on Earth for a few years every two centuries. It was settled by African slaves who revolted on a slave ship in the 1700s. It appears that the current version of Marzal may have a different (and possibly more interesting) story.

Green Lantern Earth-Man: The Power Ring transforms Earth-Man into a Green Lantern complete with a green-and-white version of his costume (which also recalls Rond Vidar's Green Lantern uniform).

Avalon: Avalon is a medieval world once dominated by Mordru (under the rather transparent alias "Lord Romdur"). It appeared in Legion of Super-Heroes #276 (8/1981) "Lord Romdur's Castle," and again briefly in the Great Darkness Saga. It was a world with great untapped magical potential, which Mordru sought to exploit and Darkseid also took advantage of. Lightning Lad says, of Avalon, "It was during my term as Legion Leader..." Oddly enough, Lightning Lad was not among the team on Avalon in LSH #276, although we can probably assume that he saw mission monitor tapes.

Aven gets a first name in this issue: Preem. This is probably a reference to Preem Palver, a character in Isaac Asimov's novel Second Foundation.

Around Saturn, Tellus weakens Saturn Girl's hold on Brainy and Tyroc, while Sensor Girl seems to remove everyone but Saturn Queen from their perception, so that they attack Saturn Queen. I love Jeckie's line: "The temerity of this commoner to call herself a Queen." Jeckie should know, being Queen of Orando.

Incidentally, it is only within the last few years that I came to realize that all of the original (adult) Legion of Super-Villains used titles that meant "leader": Saturn Queen, Lightning Lord, Cosmic King, Sun Emperor, and Chameleon Chief.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Week of 14 July 2010

(SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers. Don't read it before you've read the comics.)

ADVENTURE #516 (9/10)
"Brande Speaks"


Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Superboy; also: Circadia Senius, Marla Latham, Pheebes, R.J. Brande, Universo

CUTE BOYS: Garth, Kal, Rokk (and don't miss Ray Palmer in the Atom story)

Brianiac 5 (of the current Legion) arrives in the 20th century to bring Sueprboy to a special Legion meeting. R.J. Brande speaks, via recorded hologram, and retells the story of how he escaped from Durla, became the richest man in the universe, and bankrolled the Legion. He leaves three specific bequests: he leaves Chameleon Boy and the Legion as much money as they need, and he gives Brainy a "nice endowment for new time laboratory."

BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS: Superboy is in the 20th century; Brainy takes him to the 31st century. That's what I've been saying for the last few issues. It all hinges on Superman's age (traditionally  mid-30s). If Superman is 33 (a Christlike age) and Superboy is 15 (he's in high school), then Superboy's time is roughly the mid-1990s (i.e. the 20th century). Along about 2018-2020, Superboy's time will have  been in the 21st century, and I'll stop nattering about this.

While Pheebes is a new character, notice R.J. Brande's assistant Marla Latham in at least two flashback panels. Marla was the Legion's "adult advisor" for a while.

Also, in the panel where Brande is giving away grants for time-travel research, notice Universo standing there with a scowl on his face. We know that Universo had an interest in time-travel -- and that his son, Rond Vidar, invented the time cube and worked at the Time Institute.

Interesting that it's Superboy and not Superman who comes to Brande's presentation. Pheebes seems to think that it would be Superman; the Legion corrects him. On the surface, Sueprboy's presence would seem to cause problems: he learns of Brande's death before it happens in his own timeline, he learns other details of the Legion's "future," and we are to assume that Brainy has been working on the destruction of cockroaches for many, many years without success.

I don't really have a problem with this. Due to Saturn Girl's telepathic influence, Clark will only retain a hazy memory of this encounter. I see the choice of Superboy as an act of respect for Brande -- after all, Brande didn't know Superman, he knew Superboy.

All in all, this was a very good story. I'm not ashamed to say that I shed a tear or two at the end.


The History of Durla: Brande's story has several inconsistencies -- although most can be explained away by his hint that he might not be telling the truth. The most serious inconsistency, at first blush, appears to be Durla's history. Brande claims that the Six-Minute War happened after Mon-El and the Legionnaires settled the bottled city of Durlans on New Durla (which they did just a little while ago in the DC "present," call it 2010). Only after that did the Durlans gain their shape-shifting powers.

This can't be right. There were shape-shifting Durlans in the DC universe a while ago (in Invasion, for example, and more recently in the Green Lantern Corps). Ciji, a shape-shifting Durlan, is a member of L.E.G.I.O.N. as we speak. In Superman/Batman, a shape-shifting Durlan recently appeared from "the ancient past." In Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #2 (1983), the Six-Minute War was placed in the second century BCE, and a tribe of shape-shifting Durlans existed before the war.

Once again, I don't have a problem with this seeming inconsistency. Brande is probably telling the story the way he learned it as a larva on Durla. On Durla, all these things -- the settlement of New Durla, the Six-Minute War, the race's shape-shifting powers -- are all legend, without any fixed time-frame. All of these things happened "long, long ago."

I suspect that classical continuity is correct: The Six-Minute War happened in the second century BCE and the only Durlans who were able to survive were those with pre-existing shape-shifting powers. Eventually there were various Durlan tribes scattered throughout the galaxy; one f those tribes was put in a bottle by Brainiac and later settled on New Durla. These are Brande's and Chameleon Boy's people.

But the point is, none of this matters in the Legion's time.

Brande's Style of Speech: In the past, Brande's Interlac has been translated as pretty standard English with a slight German flavor ("verdammt," one of Brande's characteristic expressions, is German). In this issue, his Interlac is translated as broken English with the flavor of a German (or possibly Yiddish) immigrant of the 1930s. In flashbacks he speaks the same way.

I've seem some complaints about this; people seem to think that it's some great retcon, or possibly proof that Brande is still alive and the person speaking here is an impostor.

I have a much simpler explanation. Remember that all the Legionnaires are "really" speaking Interlac. In the 1980s, the fashion was to translate Interlac into grammatical English, no matter what the original form. Now, a quarter-century later, our society has a greater consciousness of multiculturalism, so it's just  natural that today's chroniclers translate Brande's Interlac into something more like the form he actually spoke.

Early Legion Membership: Brande's story telescopes the early days of the Legion. Specifically, in one panel it appears that Brainiac 5 and Superboy were both present (along with the three founders) when Brande unveiled the Legion Clubhouse. In reality, the clubhouse came first, then Brainy, and by the time Sueprboy joined there were additional Legionnaires.

For the last time, I have no problem with this. Remember, this is Brande telling the story. Have you ever heard your grandparents tell a story and get things wrong? Memory is fallible, especially in someone who has been through multiple illnesses and traumatic experiences. Maybe this is exactly the way Brande remembers it -- are you going to tell him he's mistaken?


BRAVE & BOLD #35 (8/10)
"Out of Time Part Two of Two"


Chlorophyll Kid, Cosmic Boy, Fire Lad, Lightning Lad, Night Girl, Polar Boy, Saturn Girl, Stone Boy; also Awkwardman, The Blimp, Dumb Bunny, Merryman, The White Feather

CUTE BOYS: Cosmic Boy, Fire Lad, Lightning Lad, Stone Boy, White Feather

The flip side of last month's Legion tale, as the Legion of Substitute Heroes join with the Inferior Five and answer that immortal question, "Whose pink and white fluff is that?"

A really fun story that treats both the Subs and the Five with respect while still being really, really funny. This is a hard trick to pull off -- too many writers have no respect for the Subs at all, and it shows.

I have always respected the Subs, all the more so since their never-say-die attitude commands respect no matter what their actual abilities. Remember that the Subs have saved the day on several occasions, and two of them -- Polar Boy and Night Girl -- have qualified for Legion membership. I don't have a problem with them being a source of comedy, but they should never be a laughingstock.


R.E.B.E.L.S. #18 (9/10)
"Sons of Brainiac Part 1: Brainchild"


Amon Hakk, Bounder, Captain Comet, Ciji, The Durlan (flashback), Garryn Bek (flashback), Lyrissa Mallor (flashback), Lyrl Dox, Pulsar Stargrave, Starfire, Stealth (flashback), Strata (flashback), Vril Dox, Wildstar

CUTE BOYS: Captain Comet (woof!), Garryn Bek, Lyrl, assorted Coluans

Lyrl Dox takes Pulsar Stargrave to Colu to conquer the planet. Meanwhile, Vril Dox goes to Colu to collect the bounty on Brainiac and to gloat over his "father." The three meet and hijinks ensue.

Meanwhile, Captain Comet goes to Earth to mourn and finds that he doesn't belong there; Starfire brings him back and they do naughty things on the ride home. Amon Hakk shares some philosophical reflections on the meaning and nature of L.E.G.I.O.N. membership.

BITS OF L.E.G.I.O.N.NAIRE BUSINESS: Vril Dox states that he is a clone of the original Brainiac, who is identified as "Vril Dox the Elder."

In Lyrl's flashback to the formation of L.E.G.I.O.N., The Dulan is clearly present. In classical continuity, he was the first of his people to leave Durla. Going back to the discussion above about the history of Durla, his presence proves that shape-shifting Durlans were abroad in the galaxy in the current DC "present."


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Week of 7 July 2010

I did not see any Legion content in DC Comics this week.

That's okay; next week will make up for it. Adventure #516, The Brave & the Bold #35, and R.E.B.E.L.S. #18 are all due out on Wednesday. So life will be good again soon.


Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Week of 30 June 2010

I did not see any Legion appearances in Dc Comics this week.

Remember that due to the Independence Day holiday, comics will come out on Thursday July 8, 2010 instead of Wednesday July 7.