Saturday, November 06, 2010

Week of 3 November 2010

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

ADVENTURE #520 (2011/01)
'Tragedy: The Death of Lightning Lad"


Bouncing Boy, Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Invisible Kid (Lyle), Lightning Lad (died), Matter-Eater Lad, Mon-El, Phantom irl, Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, Star Boy, Sun Boy, Superboy, Supergirl, Triplicate Girl, Ultra Boy, S.P. Lieutenant Zendak

CUTE BOYS: Brainy, Chuck, Dirk, Garth, Gim, Jo, Kal, Mon, Rokk, Tenzil, Thom, cute boy in crowd over Chuck's left shoulder on page 1 (anyone else think he looks a little like Tenzil's sexy little bro Renkil?)

This story tells the immediate aftermath of Lightning Lad's death: his funeral, the Legion mopping up Zaryan's gang, and Saturn Girl's anguish as she must decide whether or not to resign. In flashbacks we witness the events that led to Garth's death, including Imra's election as Leader, as told 216 issues ago in Adventure #320. The story ends with Imra vowing that the Legion will find a way to reverse the freeze ray and restore Garth to life.


Notice that Superboy and Supergirl are both present at the same time. Last week, in Supergirl Annual #2, Brainy said that "Superboy cannot come to future while [Spergirl's] here. One potential threat to the space/time continuum at a time." That didn't last too long, did it? It looks as if Paul Levitz has decided to ignore last week's chronicler's error. I think we can tacitly assume that Supergirl's Legion career unfolded pretty much the same way it did the first time around.

Legion Roster: The roster of Legionnaires is pretty much identical to that presented Adventure #304, with two exceptions. Phantom Girl and Star Boy were absent from Adventure #304, even though both were certainly Legionnaires at the time. In fact, Phantom Girl didn't start appearing regularly until Adventure #316; and after his first appearance in Adventure #282, Thom didn't show up again until Adventure #310. This can only have been an oversight by the original creative teams. Levitz correctly shows both of them in action during this period.

Saturn Girl glosses over the events of Adventure #304 in a quick bit of narration: "...we needed to elect a new Leader for the first time since the Legion's founding. So I cheated, and planted the thought in everyone's head that I was [Rokk's] natural successor...use[d] my authority as Leader to ground the others. Use[d] one of Brainiac 5's experimental substances to borrow their powers long enough to stop Zaryan." No mention of spectrium medallions with her picture on them, but I think we can forgive that. Still, I'd love to have one of those medallions....

Funeral Attendees: In Adventure #304, only 10 people were shown attending Garth's funeral: Bouncing Boy, Chameleon Boy, Cosmic Boy, Mon-El, Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, Sun Boy, Superboy, Supergirl, and...Lori Lemaris(!) It's hard to believe that Brainiac 5, Colossal Boy, Invisible Kid, Matter-Eater Lad, Triplicate Girl, and Ultra Boy all refused to go to the funeral, or were on a mission at the time. In this story, all are present except for Lori Lemaris. I think the difference is easily explained: in Adventure #304 the funeral got 3 panels, where here it gets a full double-page spread. And Lori Lemaris was probably washing her hair.

Mysteriously Absent are R.J. Brande (who is, at least, mentioned) and Garth's parents & sister. One assumes that the Ranzz family couldn't get passage from Winath to Earth in time for the festivities.

The black armbands with a lightning bolt are a fine touch.

I feel like I've seen Imra's orange vest and green tights outfit before (as opposed to the orange underwear with green jacket and leggings outfit that she wears on Titan). At first I thought it was what she was wearing in the first "Origin of the LSH" story in Superboy #147, but no. Anyone recognize it?

The image of a giant ghostly Garth hovering over Titan on the last page echoes a panel in Adventure #304, as aliens mourn Lightning Lad. I'm impressed by this attention to detail.

As in Adventure #304, Lightning Lad's coffin is placed under perpetual lightning bolts. In the original story the lightning was symbolic; Levitz makes the electrical discharge serve the duty of protecting his cells from deterioration, paving the way for Garth's eventual reanimtion. That's the way it's done.


Saturn Girl's ID bubble gives her name as "Imra Ardeen-Ranzz," which is technically incorrect: it's only with Garth's death that she even realizes she loves him. As always, I am inclined to be lenient with this one.

Invisible Kid's bubble identifies him as "Jacques Foccart," and this time I'm going to allow complaining. This Invisible Kid is Lyle Norg. Yes, I know it's confusing to have two different Invisible Kids in comics that are published in the same month. But still...uh, guys? Some better proofreading, maybe?

Now it's the 30th century. Last issue (which preceded this story, chronologically) it was the 31st. Hey, DC: I have two compromises to offer you. Compromise #1 (which has no chance in hell of happening): stick to a fixed chronology for the Legion. Start off with "The year 2992" or whatever, and keep track of your dates. Compromise #2: Can you say "About a thousand years from now"?


SUPERBOY #1 (2011/01)
"Coming Soon..."


Superboy (Kal-El), Superboy (Conner)

CUTE BOYS: Conner, Kal, Conner's boy-toy Simon Valentine

Even though the Legion has had an intimate connection with the Superboy comic since the very beginning, I don't intend to include Conner's new title here unless there is actual Legion content.

In this issue, the "Coming Soon..." feature shows "Superboy Meets Superboy?!" and pictures Kal and Conner shaking hands while a big orange planet circled by debris hangs in the sky behind them. Here's the thing: in current continuity, Superboy (Kal) is pretty much only seen in connection with the Legion. So on the strength of his appearance, I'm counting this as a Legion appearance.


"A Moment in Time"


Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Dawnstar, Dream Girl, Lightning Lad, Mon-El, Phantom Girl, Saturn Girl, Star Boy, Ultra Boy, Wildfire, Jim Lee, Paul Levitz

CUTE BOYS: Brainy, Dirk, Garth, Jo, Mon, Thom (but I liked him better before the beard), Jim Lee

Paul Levitz actually wrote this story just before he took up the reins of the Legion again. It's set in the Modern (1970s) period of the Legion.

Saturn Girl, Ultra Boy, and Wildfire return to Headquarters after (barely) breaking out of "the Time Trapper's pocket universe." Jo describes the pocket universe as a crazy existence where "we were everywhere at once -- no limits -- as though it was a story, and we could change anything we wanted." He describes seeing Mon-El crash-land in the 20th century, the Kents serving him breakfast, and reading Saturn Girl's mind and experiencing her jealousy of Dream Girl.

Meanwhile, Dream Girl, Saturn Girl, and Brainiac 5 are sitting near the Miracle Machine, when Brainy is pulled out of time and lands in the offices of DC Comics on Earth-Prime in roughly the present day. He confronts Jim Lee and Paul Levitz (Lee says "It's even more fun drawing you than reading about you when I was a kid.") Lee (who as the artist can alter Brainy's reality) plays a trick or two, then send Brainy back home. We are left with Paul Levitz scratching his head (while clutching a book of "Untold History of the DC Universe") and Jim Lee grinning.

It's a cute little story, probably completely out of continuity, except...that mention of "the Time Trapper's pocket universe." Longtime readers will remember that the pocket universe (or, at least, a pocket universe) was the immediate post-John-Byrne retcon designed to preserve Superboy's place in Legion history. As with most retcons of the period, this one got more and more complicated as reset followed reset -- the pocket universe got involved with Supergirl/Matrix, and the SW6 Legion, and Glorith, and who knows what else, until Zero Hour came along and wiped everything out.

Problem is, the pocket universe was a pretty important part of the Legion's continuity. Not only did it produce a really great story (the death of Superboy), but it also led to the Conspiracy storyline and the big attack against the Time Trapper that revealed Rond Vidar as a Green Lantern. While the original rationale for the pocket universe is no longer necessary (may John Byrne rot in peace forever), removing it from Legion continuity would be difficult.

I'm glad to see Levitz establish that there was/is a pocket universe, and I'm eager to see what he's going to do with it in coming stories.


"Cosmic Boy"

This is a hand-painted lead figurine of Cosmic Boy, accompanied by a 14-page magazine all about Cos and the Legion in their various manifestations through the decades. The figurine is exquisite, and the magazine is pretty good. Definitely worth having.



Nikki said...

I just assumed that Brainy backed down on the Superboy/Supergirl thing like he always seems to do. Seriously, Legion are one kryptonite pill to the brain from bringing Hawaii Kon just because they can.

As for the identity squares. Notice all the squares have full names, Supergirl's just labels her as Kara.

Meerkatdon said...

Nikki, I think you're right about Brainy. Glad he backed down, it's nice having Kal and Kara together again.

" kryptonite pill to the brain away from..." BWAH-ha-ha!! That's the best line I've heard in a long, long time.

I was wondering about Kara being listed as just "Kara." In the old days, she would've been called "Kara Zor-El," because Kryptonian women always carried the name of their fathers. That's kinda sexist, and I wouldn't mind seeing it go away...but if so, you'd think they'd call her "Kara-El."

My theory is that the letterer didn't receive any instructions about her last name, so he/she queried the higher-ups. And they didn't get and answer to him/her in time.

Ken Arromdee said...

Lori Lemaris shouldn't be there because her presence depended on being Supergirl's friend. I don't think they've even met in modern continuity.