Our story begins with a shadowy figure being incarcerated on a remote prison world. He confesses that he joined the Legion of Super-Heroes under false pretenses, which is against the law. Who is this guy? This question is never answered! We never see him again. He exists solely to impress upon us that there’s a law forbidding joining the Legion under false pretenses—which seems a bit excessive, if you ask me. Being drummed out and publicly ridiculed would seem to be enough. And the law plays a pretty peripheral part in this story, merely giving its hero one more thing to cry about—and he already has enough.
We see the Emergency Board, a fantastic piece of technology through which worlds throughout space can call for the Legion’s help. Working in close proximity to a 911 Center, I can tell you we pretty much have this technology now, on Earth. But it must have seemed awfully cool and futuristic in 1964.
FemiNazis… from… Spaaaaaaaace! (You think I’m kidding?)
“Too bad the girls weren’t on the level about those romances, but who knows what the future may bring?” Element Lad’s sentiment in the last panel brings out the most significant aspect of this Legion adventure: Jerry Siegel’s stories had heart, for all the grief I give him. In this one, readers are titillated, really for the first time, with what would later become a key feature of the Legion stories—who’s in love with whom, who’s sneaking off to a romantic setting to snuggle, whose feelings for a fellow Legionnaire are going to tip the story in a different direction? After six years, it’s nice to fully recognize that a group of teen boys and girls, living and working together, are going to show an interest in each other.
I love rationality. Seriously, for me, it’s like a nice, warm shower on a bitter, cold day; or a snow cone at the beach when it’s a hundred degrees outside. Rationality cuts through the oppressive wrongness and makes me believe that everything just might be okay. When things go wrong, rationality helps us process why they went wrong and how we can fix them. Sometimes it takes it some time to jumpstart—a few minutes, a couple of days—while we take out the emotional garbage and moan about how unfair life is. But, if we’re trained to make use of it, rationality always does jumpstart our competence, and helps us make things better.
IF we’re trained to make use of it.
If we’re not? Well, we tend to panic, to get angry, to make stupid decisions and, generally, to make things a whole lot worse.
September 15, 2017 (Continued)
Dear Daddy –
Let’s talk about the shower…
I hired Mike the plumber (and his son Gary, and his grandson Cody) on the recommendation of a friend. I knew that finishing the plumbing for three bathrooms and the kitchen was going to be too much for me. It turned out to be the biggest expense associated with the house so far, but it was worth it.
So the first thing Mike the plumber told me about the shower cubicle was that it had to go. It was designed for the plumbing codes of decades ago, and he really recommended I use a pre-fab, fiberglass cubicle. That would be fastened right to the studs, not to the plywood. Now I didn’t see any reason the plywood couldn’t be there in between. But once I had measured the available cubicle base and walls, I realized that I needed the combined inch of width that removing the plywood would provide. So out it was going to come, and it needed to go before Mike and his crew could even do the rough-in plumbing. Continue reading
This is an example of a fun Jerry Siegel story, with no glaring plot holes or scientific gaffes. The plot is straightforward: a teen Lex Luthor (with a full head of hair) comes forward in his “time cylinder” to meet his idols, the Legion of Super-Heroes, whom he’s observed on his timescope.
Okay, it’s not a scientific gaffe, but it does defy belief that a teen Lex Luthor created two devices that it took the rest of the human race 1,000 years to develop, as witnessed by the fact that they’re still considered pretty rare and nifty in the Legion’s time.
The Legion quickly realize that this charming, innocent boy, who has saved Triplicate Girl and Matter-Eater Lad from death at the hands of the inhabitants of the planet Khann! (established as a penal colony by the William Shatner fan club, no doubt), is actually Lex from before the time that his hair fell out, resulting in his conversion to villainy.
Remember Jungle King? The kid with the power to control animals, who applied for Legion membership, was rejected, never collected his complimentary flight belt, and then turned super-villain? You don’t?
Yeah, that’s reasonable.
Say, how many rejected applicants did become super-villains? Not that many, at this point in time, but a bunch of the ones we’ve met in the last few issues joined the LSV some time before Adventure #372, so one wonders if the Legion shouldn’t oughtta GPS track all their failed applicants.
Anyway, Jungle King has a much older brother—guy looks about 60 if he’s a day. Jungle musta been a serious life change baby. His name is Marden King, and he has the power to control all other people named “Marden.” But there aren’t any of them in this story, and we never see Marden King again, so… Well, that gives us something to hope for if the Legion gets their own book again in 2018, doesn’t it? Their first adventure can be a battle with the Legion of Super-Mardens.
It’s election day at the Legion clubhouse. It’s been one year since Saturn Girl stole the last election (Adventure #304), and it was never officially confirmed, until now, that she had been allowed to remain in the job. Certainly Sun Boy, who loves to shout orders, gave no evidence that she had.
Apparently, amongst all the many things delineated in the Legion Constitution, there is no instruction given as to how the leader will be selected. The idea of letting a computer pick the smartest Legionnaire is floated, but Brainiac 5 modestly declares that that’s not fair, because, of course, he’ll win hands-down. Continue reading
Photo by Gage Skidmore
Yep, William Shatner Is My Hero
Why? Because he never gives up.
In GalaxyQuest, the parody of Star Trek that’s so wonderful that most people place it high on their list of “Best Star Trek Films,” Tim Allen’s character has the motto “Never give up, Never Surrender.” He says it over and over, and it resonates as something James T. Kirk might have said, although he never did. Trust someone who’s watched James T. Kirk enough to have memorized his dialogue.
You know that song from Disney’s Hercules? The one about going the distance? “I have often dreamed of a far off place, where a hero’s welcome would be waiting for me… I’ll be there some day, I can go the distance… when I go the distance, I’ll be right where I belong.”
I’ve been going the distance for fifty-two years. I don’t feel like I’m where I belong. I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll never feel that way.
How’s that for a cumbersome title? But it says what the story is, and, while it might feel like filler in the midst of a series of stories building towards a confrontation with the Time Trapper, it is firmly a part of that epic, built around the Legion’s plans to confront the villain.
Left with the Super-Pets to guard the clubhouse while the Legionnaires fly off to try and break the Iron Curtain of Time, Proty decides he wants to be a member of their group. (Does anyone else find it odd that the Legion brings in the animals to guard the clubhouse, when the Substitutes are available? Seems a little insulting.)
So, any time the Legionnaires start quoting rules and regulations, you know you’re getting into Bastard People territory. Whenever these kids think someone has broken the rules, they get more uptight than a Baptist minister in a speakeasy full of BDSM aficionados.
The cover promises us that Lightning Lad is going to be locked in a giant birdcage—until the end of time, no less—with only a vending machine to keep him company. Said vending machine claims to dispense food, water and books.