It begins quietly enough, with Star Boy going to visit his parents at an observatory on a distant world. Before he leaves, he’s invited to join the other Legionnaires in a game—asking the big computer to pair the Legionnaires off to kiss each other. Invisible Kid, who never had an on-page romance until literally the day he died, observes that Star Boy has “no time for romance.” Romance? The girls involved in this game—Light Lass and Shrinking Violet—have declared their love for non-Legionnaires already. (And, as we know, would later declare their love for each other.) Seems more like just getting cheap thrills to me.
The second part of the Computo crisis seems to be a tale in search of a marketing ploy. On the cover is depicted “Colossal Boy’s One-Man War!”—a scene of CB apparently killing Sun Boy and Star Boy, and declaring that the entire Legion will die next. On the inside splash, we’re told it’s the tale of “The Weirdo Legionnaire!” although “Colossal Boy’s One Man War!” is again referenced.
I can hear the conversation now:
Element Lad and Star Boy stop by a top secret research facility to visit Brainiac 5, thinking how happy the reclusive young scientist will be to see his friends after what we presume must be weeks of hard work in the lab. Instead of being happy, however, Brainy is furious at the interruption. Wild-eyed, he tells his friends to go away and not come back. He’s not even moved that Proty II has disguised himself as a piece of lab equipment just because he likes being near Brainy. (I guess an ordered mind is soothing to a telepathic animal.) All Brainy cares about is his crucial project—an ambulatory super computer. Continue reading
John Forte’s final Legion adventure, capping more than three years of faithful service to the team, evokes a story from early in writer Edmond Hamilton’s career. That story, “The Conquest of Two Worlds,” tells the tale of human colonization of Mars and Jupiter. That colonization is carried out much the way the colonizations of many lands on Earth were—by driving natives off their lands, killing them liberally to make room for humans. One of the three men who bravely explores and conquers these new worlds develops sympathy for the natives, and helps first the Martians, then the Jovians. He dies for his trouble.
Like that turncoat, Beast Boy of Lallor, a mutant hated and feared, like his mutant counterparts over at Marvel, turns on humanity and does his part to help exotic animals in space. The Legion is alerted that animals on a hunting preserve planet are displaying intelligence, using strategy and teamwork to battle hunters. It’s not a very nice planet. Humanity attempted to colonize it many times, failing each time. Now they keep one, small city going to host hunters who come to capture the beasts of the planet.
September 22, 2017
Dear Daddy –
The bathroom is a big project. Its floor is down. Its outlets are partially wired. I furred out (is that the right spelling?) the opening above the now-installed shower walls, so that backing board for the tile would both fasten to the studs and slip down over the lip at the top of the fiberglass walls. How does one make furring strips—pieces of wood that are used to fill what would otherwise be a gap between a finished surface and the rough wall? You had obviously made a bunch of them. I wound up making more out of scraps of paneling you’d saved for years, left over from finishing your library and our family room. Continue reading
A young man in a turban and jumpsuit shows up at Kent’s General Store, asking Clark if he can supply Superboy’s home address. Clark explains that nobody knows that, and wonders if this strangely garbed young visitor is from some foreign land. He doesn’t have time to call ICE, however, because an emergency erupts on the street outside. A live electrical cable has fallen right next to a truck full of nitroglycerine. Continue reading
At long last, the Time Trapper! This guy was set up months ago, but has only been teased thus far. Now we see him in all his glory, living in a post-nuclear holocaust world in the far future. He’s a tyrant who apparently rules with an iron fist. As one of his slave-vassals observes, “When the master laughs, the universe trembles.” He meets with a beautiful woman named Glorith of Balduur, who is set to do his bidding in the past and end the Legion of Super-Heroes forever.
It’s yet to be explained, in the course of all these stories where he’s been mentioned, how the Legion first encountered the Time Trapper, and why they, out of all the heroes of history, would be a target for him. It would not be explained for a long time to come. Readers presumably were to accept that he was the villain and they were the heroes, so of course they were after each other.
So here we have the first story where romance comes out of the closet—heterosexual romance, at least. Any other kind would wait another three decades to surface in these pages. We knew that Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl would eventually get married. We knew that Phantom Girl had a “thing” for Ultra Boy, but it hadn’t been referenced since that one issue where it was established. This is the first time that the four characters came right out and admitted their attraction to each other, and revealed that, ultimately, they wanted to get married.
For teens who were attracted to each other in 1965 the only polite word to follow “get” was “married.” Well, maybe “engaged.” The lesser status of “going steady” did not begin with “get,” because it was assumed in polite society that no one was getting anything.
Oh, my, I have the vapors…
I’ve already reviewed this story just recently, but that was before I started the Legion re-read. So, in addition to linking the original review of that issue of Superboy (which I had just happened to pick up at a dollar sale, if memory serves), here’s a few thoughts.
This is one of Legion co-creator Otto Binder’s few stories to be found in a Legion collection. In addition to this, he wrote only “The Sacrifice of Kid Psycho,” which I’ll be talking about in a few days, the first appearance of the Legion, “Lana Lang and the Legion of Super-Heroes” (which was really just the first appearance of Star Boy, and did not involve the Legion), and “The Six-Legged Legionaire,” again about Lana as Insect Queen. Clearly, Binder had a fondness for Lana, but he actually wrote no headline stories for the Legion. The closest he came was their first guest-shot in Superboy.
Firsts: Insect Queen
With Chameleon Boy, Shrinking Violet and Triplicate Girl appearing in this issue, 18 of the 19 Legionnaires have joined the battle with Starfinger. Only Supergirl is excluded, and she often was. But one of the Seven Wonders of the 30th Century, threatened last issue by Starfinger, reminds us of her, if our memory goes back that far.
The Global Tunnel parallels one dug by Supergirl in her first (unsuccessful) bid to join the Legion. This time, Hamilton introduces the idea of how fragile such a structure could be.