Legion of Super-Heroes Re-Read – “The Doom of the Super-Heroes!” (Adventure Comics #310, July, 1963)

Fifteen Legionnaires are featured on the splash page of this adventure which claims to star every member of the Legion, but does not. For the record, there were 19 living Legionnaires at this point, plus the dead Lightning Lad. Supergirl is not pictured and not mentioned in the story, nor is Matter-Eater Lad. Phantom Girl is mentioned but never shown at all, and has still not appeared since her introduction in Action Comics. Mon-El is not pictured on the splash, but is very much apparent in the story, and seems to have loaned his hair color to Star Boy, also entirely absent, save for the splash page, also a no-show since his first adventure a while back.

Mask Man, whose mask resembles both the title prop in “The Face Behind the Lead Mask!” and the later, lamented Ferro Lad’s, is, like the lead-masked figure, a hand-me-down villain from Superboy’s time. He’s pretty effective, however. He kills the entire Legion. At least, we’re told it’s the entire Legion. Again, a few are missing.

And they’re really dead. No tricks. No time travel. But don’t worry, their deaths are reversed. Heh. Get it? ‘Cause, see, Mask Man is a descendant of Mr. Mxyzptlk, and he has to… say his name… backwards to disappear back into the fifth dimension…

Sigh… Sometimes it ain’t easy to milk a joke out of these stories. Edmond Hamilton adds another wonder to the future—the Mount Rushmore of Space, which is pretty cool and imposing. He creates the world of the “doll people,” who have the stature and the architecture of The Wizard of Oz’s munchkins. It gives Shrinking Violent and Chameleon Boy the chance to use their powers a little differently. With Invisible Kid hanging around, this is almost the first adventure of the Legion Espionage Squad. Hamilton also has the Legionnaires build a citadel which looks an awful lot like a certain headquarters they would build about 60 issues down the road.

But, speaking of down the road, this Mr. M. must be a different descendant than the one the adult Legionnaires will meet later, because he was a good guy, not a mass murderer.

A fairly gripping, if bloody adventure, even if you knew Superboy was going to find a way to bring everyone back.

Firsts: Not really.

Bastard People: Not so much.

Membership: Two, at one point in the story, assuming that the unmentioned Star Boy and M.E. Lad were actually killed. 19 when it’s all done.

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