Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Week of 25 August 2010

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

"That Which is Purest Among You"


Brainiac 5, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Dawnstar, Dream Girl, Earth-Man, Gates, Lightning Lad, Lightning Lass, Quislet, Saturn Girl, Sensor Girl, Shadow Lass, Sun Boy, Timber Wolf, High Seer Beren, Garridan Ranzz, Graym Ranzz, Doctor Li, Sodam Yat, Darkseid (telepathic image)

CUTE BOYS: Dirk, Garth (intense, but cute), Gim, Rokk

On Avalon, a cult of Darkseid has grown up around an unnamed wizard who aspires to become a "true servant to the darkness." Using traces of Mordru's power and residue of Darkseid's, he has brought the Ranzz boys ("the children touched by our lord") to Avalon for nefarious purposes.

Ayla, Garth, and Imra do a masterful job of kicking ass, and recover the boys alive & well.

Meanwhile, Earth-Man meets with Human supremacists who want his help eliminating the Titanian refugees. He refuses, saying that he will save humankind his own way. Oooo, scary.

On Naltor, Dream Girl (with Dawnstar and Gates) talks High Seer Beren into accepting thousands of Titanian refugees to live on Naltor. The possibility of having the Time Institute established on Naltor is a good part of the deal. The Naltorians want the Institute in order to see further into the future than their visions allow them. Doctor Li, from the Time Institute, charms Beren.

Legion elections are set for next month; Sensor Girl seems displeased with Cosmic Boy's leadership.

Dyogene returns to Oa and tells Sodam Yat he has failed, since Earth-Man rejected the power ring. Yat seems intent upon beginning the new Green Lantern Corps with an Earth person, so he sends Dyogene back to live among humans until he finds a candidate.

Finally, Earth-Man and Shadow Lass are leaving Headquarters at the same time, and seem destined for some kind of hook-up...and Earth-Man has a nasty look in his eye.

A busy issue with a lot of excitement.


Imra: Over in Adventure, young Imra worries that she will never be able to compete with the boys physically. She should see Full-Page Kick-Butt Imra on page 11: wow!

Inactive Status: Cos says there are 26 active Legionnaires. He says that Matter-Eater Lad "resigned yesterday to go back to Bismoll." Timber Wolf points out that he is counting Blok and Mysa out; Cos says that "they wouldn't come in when we called."

Mission Monitor Board: The Monitor Board shows the familiar symbols of the active Legionnaires. Earth-Man's symbol is a stylized Earth showing the Western Hemisphere. Gates' symbol is obscured by speech balloons (Ken points out in comments) represented by a blank square, so we don't yet know what it is.

That Which is Purest Among You: The title recalls Darkseid's curse at the end of the Great Darkness: "The curse of darkness growing within you, destroying you from within...and that which is purest of you shall be the first to go." In the immediate aftermath of the Great Darkness, Ayla resigned from the everybody thought she was "that which is purest of you." Later, we assumed that Garridan was the purest, and Darkseid's curse was fulfilled by turning him into Validus. Eventually, it turned out that the "purest of you" was Paul Levitz, and Keith Giffen began the process of destroying the Legion from within."

Now it seems we're back to the Ranzz kids.

Which raises a question of continuity. Darkseid stole Garridan, sent him back in time, and transformed him into Validus. Later, Saturn Girl appealed to Darkseid's mercy, and he turned Validus back to Garridan. Since the return of the Legion, however, we've seen Validus in action. How can the simultaneous existence of Validus and Garridan be reconciled?

Easy. Validus, as far as we know, is ageless and eternal. So when Darkseid turned Validus back into Garridan, he probably took a version of Validus from the far future, after the Ranzz family was long gone.

Legion Elections: In the past, readers voted on the Legion's leader and Levitz and his team worked the result into the narrative. I hope he'll find a way to start that tradition up again. It was part of what made the Legion so special. (Note to DC: If you guys do this, please don't limit voting to people at Comic Con or something like that. Open it up to all Legion fans.)

CHRONICLER'S ERROR?: (added 26 Aug 2010) On page 10, Garth says to Ayla: "If we're identical twins, how'd you get such a smart mouth?" Actually, male-female twins are fraternal, not identical. Unless...maybe Ayla has always been a boy, but she's been talking Pro-Fem to make her a girl all these years....

(Time out for gagging.)

Way, way back in the early days of the Legion, it was Garth and Mekt who were twins, and Ayla was their younger sister. In that case, I think the retcon (Ayla and Garth twins) makes much more sense.


SUPERMAN/BATMAN #75 (2010/10)


Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Dawnstar, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, Superboy, Superman, Ultra Boy, Batman

CUTE BOYS: Garth, Jo, Kal (Superboy), Rokk, "Bite Me" Boy Outside Luthor's Limo

In the 31st century, a kryptonite-laced clone of Lex Luthor breaks into Legion Headquarters and steals a time bubble. He goes back to Superman's time and beats the crap out of Supes, then digs up a lead box and vanishes in the bubble. The Legion comes back to enlist Batman's help; Brainy builds an anti-clone gun, and the Legionnaires follow the clone back to Smallville in Superboy's time. The clone is attacking Superboy; Brainy's gun works and they save Kal. Saturn Girl erases Kal's memory of the incident, and also the memories of the Smallvillians. Garth points out that they don't know who sent the clone, and maybe there will be others.

There are a lot of unanswered questions and dangling threads...I sense a sequel coming up. I hope it will be soon.


This was like an old-time Legion story. The Legion popping back in time to Superman's time, interacting with Batman, and finally showing up in Superboy's Smallville to save the day. Kal/Clark is dressed in his Superboy costume in downtown Smallville, out in public and everything. I suppose it's too much to hope that John Byrne is turning in his grave, but I can dream, can't I?

When Superboy sees the Legionnaires, he thinks " least, they sort of look like the Leigon. Except they're kind of old...and scruffy." In the olden days, the teen Legionnaires often visited Superman, and the adult Legion visited Superman...but as far as I know, the adult Legion never visited Superboy.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Week of 18 August 2010

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

TINY TITANS #31 (2010/10)
"The All Super Issue"


Tiny Brainiac 5, Tiny Chameleon Boy, Tiny Cosmic Boy, Tiny Lightning Lad, Tiny Saturn Girl; Beppo, Krypto, Proty, Streaky

The Brainiac Club pulls up to the Fortress of Solitude just in time for a birthday party. Suddenly, some new guests arrive: The Legion of Super-Heroes.

(click to embiggen)

If you're not reading Tiny Titans, you're missing an awful lot of fun. And the cutest version of the Legion ever. . . .


Monday, August 16, 2010


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

A further thought about Adventure 517, after reading a lot of blather on the Internet.

At the time of this story, Rokk and Imra were about the same age as Romeo and Juliet.

The beliefs and mores of our time are not universal; other eras might have their own ideas of when someone is considered adult. Would everyone stop being so provincial?


A housekeeping detail: Our home internet connection is back, and I've been busy updating my lists of Legion appearances. There's still a long way to go, but take a look. It's easy to tell where I left off....


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Week of 11 August 2010

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

ADVENTURE #517 (2010/10) 
"Saturn Rising" 


 Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Superboy (image), S.P. Sergeant Esquivel (died)

CUTE BOYS: Brainy, Garth, Rokk (In bed. Naked. Asleep. What more can I say?)

A nice little story from the very beginning of the Legion, showing Imra's uncertainties and feelings of inferiority in comparison to the boys. In S.P. Sergeant Esquivel, Imra finds a mentor and combat instructor. When Imra distracts Esquivel during battle, Eaquivel is fatally wounded. Imra, blaming herself, swears "I am never, ever going to let anyone die in my place again."

Rokk and Imra go out to a bar, and when Imra wakes up in the morning Rokk is there in her bed. She telepathically erases his memory of the event, and starts her reputation as the Ice Maiden. At the end of the story, Brainiac 5 (not yet a Legionnaire) calls from the Time Institute to tell her that the Time Bubble is ready for a test voyage to the 20th century.


Esquivel: As far as I know, Esquivel has never appeared in Legion comics before. It's nice to see a woman of color  (a wise Latina, no less!) playing a prominent role in the early Legion.

Zaryan: The offstage villain of this story is an offworlder named Zaryan, who is raiding technology companies for parts. This will be the same Zaryan who menaces Earth in Adventure #304 (1963/01). Learning that whoever goes up against Zaryan will die, Saturn Girl steals the powers of the other Legionnaires and expels the other members, so that she is the only candidate left for the mission. However, Lightning Lad finds out about her plan and goes after Zaryan himself -- and dies. (Yes, once again someone has died in Imra's place.)

Later, when a way is found to revive Lightning Lad, Imra is prepared to sacrifice herself so that he can live. This week's story adds a bit of background to her feelings and her motivations at that time.

Zendak: While Sgt Esquivel accompanies Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl to Taiwan, Lieutenant Zendak goes to Silicon Bay with Lightning Lad. Kimball Zendak will later rise to the position of Science Police Chief.

Flight Belts: In this era before flight rings, the three Legionnaires use "overpriced fly-belts." This is consistent with early stories (although in the very, very early ones, the Legion used rocket backpacks).

Imra & Rokk: The affair (or at least one-night-stand) between Imra and Rokk recalls the Earth-247 Legion, in which Imra and Rokk were a romantic couple for a while.

In classic chronology, Rokk left Braal when he turned 14 (that being the legal age for a Braalian to begin work). Even allowing a generous amount of time for the trip to Earth, the founding of the Legion, and some training, he can't possibly be more than a very young 15 at the time of this story. Imra, you cradle-robber! (And I guess Braalians are mature at 14.) Lucky, lucky girl.

Ice Maiden: They really did used to call Imra that. Also, the phrase "Iron-Butt Imra" is floating through my head, although I don't know from where.


Flight Belts: The Legionnaires' flight belts keep appearing and disappearing in the heat of battle. On page 13 (panel 2) Rokk is clearly wearing a flight ring instead of a belt (Imra's belt is still visible). One can suppose that flight belts have a built-in invisibility circuit (like flight rings do). And that ring Rokk's wearing? Just a standard-issue Legion secret decoder ring. (When Brainiac 5 developed the flight ring, he obviously modeled it after the secret decoder ring.)

ABOVE: Rokk with flight ring (click to embiggen)

31st Century?: In Legion of Super-Heroes, it's the year 3010. From the death of Esquivel to the destruction of Titan was only ten years? Really?

Yes, I know, I am the only one in the universe who is disturbed at this. What can I say? I'm a science fiction writer -- I do this sort of thing professionally. Take a look.

And I know it won't matter in another five or ten years, when the "current" Legion year is 3015 or 3020. Interestingly, there was the same kind of confusion in the first few years of the Legion's existence -- sometimes the Legion was in the 21st century, sometimes in the 30th.

Why does the Legion's time have to be exactly 1,000 years from the present? Why can't it be anchored on an exact year (2958 or 3010 or whatever)? It's not like Superman or Batman, which always take place in "today." With an appropriate time differential, the Legion's time could pass slowly enough to allow decades of adventures to be chronicled in today's comics.

Sigh. I know, I know, I'll try to get over it.



ToyFare Magazine #158,  October 2010

Cover story on Mattel's upcoming Legion of Super-Heroes action figures 12-pack (for only about $180, so start saving now). Due date, probably April or May 2011. In addition to the 12 figures, there is also a Proty and a flight ring (which I assume has the same inhibitor circuit as the others they've sold -- but those circuits are easy enough to disable).

The 12 figures, in Cockrum-era costumes, include only one female: Saturn Girl. Come on, Mattel, get with it! From the very beginning, the Legion has been all about gender equity. In fact, right after Tinya and Luornu joined, girls outnumbered boys 5-2 (I'm counting Luornu as 3.)

I understand that toy buyers and collectors in general don't go for lots of female action figures...but "this is really aimed at those hardcore Legion fans." I would guess that the average "hardcore Legion fan" would love to have a few more female figures. (Besides, a lot of hardcore Legion fans are women; doesn't Mattel think women want action figures they can identify with?)

Ah, well. I'll have to be content with my own figures.


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Week of 4 August 2010

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

R.E.B.E.L.S. #19 (10/10)
"Sons of Brainiac Part 2: Name & Number"


Amon Haak, Captain Comet, Lobo, Lyrl Dox, Pulsar Stargrave, Vril Dox

CUTE BOYS: Captian Comet, Lyrl Dox, Vril Dox, assorted Coluan boys

The cataclysmic meeting of the three Brainiacs continues, and the planet Colu is looking a little worse for wear.