The Super-Sacrifice of the Legionnaires! (Adventure Comics #312, September, 1963)

He’s aliiiiiiiiiiive!

Well, he is by the end of the story. Seven months after his death, and after many, many dropped hints, Lightning Lad returns to life in this issue. With Mon-El returning from his native world of Daxam, bringing the sad news that his people’s technology cannot restore the fallen Legionnaire, the Legion becomes obsessed with finding a way to restore life to a boy who was quick-frozen to death. They consult their library and find every reference to every technique known for restoring life. You might think they’d have done that earlier, but I guess they were busy.

Is it just me, or does the rocketship clubhouse look way too small to have a library this size, much less the meeting room they’re always showing?

Superboy visits a world with a binary star, one orange, one blue. Should he still have super powers? According to later lore, a blue sun actually super-charges a Kryptonian, so I guess so. Not sure about an orange one. I know Supergirl didn’t have powers under a green sun—of course, there is no such thing, so she’s safe. Seeing that the blue sun brings the denizens of a far-off planet out of comas, Superboy brings a chunk of it back to Lightning Lad’s body, where it does nothing. Not so sure about the science of this. Stars shine because they’re nuclear engines. Bringing a piece of one doesn’t sound practical, but it’s a pretty cool trick.

Mon-El and Saturn Girl follow a red herring—a beast that can return to life. Turns out it regenerates as a new creature, which is of no use to Lightning Lad. But Saturn Girl does learn that Mon-El is hiding a secret way to return their friend to life. She just can’t get through his mental shields, and wonders why he’s hiding his thoughts.

I dunno, Imra, maybe because people don’t like to be telepathically spied on?

Sun Boy, Chameleon Boy and Lightning Lass find out about a “radium capsule” that can return frozen bodies to life. It does no good either.

Finally, Saturn Girl lures Mon-El near Daxam and then drains the air from her space suit so he has to take her there. She learns that he is hiding a method for restoring Lightning Lad, and angrily confronts him. Mon-El constructs androids to demonstrate the method—someone holds up a lightning rod and lets himself be blasted so that his life force can restore Lightning Lad. Of course, the one holding the rod dies.

All the Legionnaires volunteer, and Saturn Girl volunteers hard, arranging to use a higher conductivity rod to make sure she’s the one who dies. Ultimately, Chameleon Boy’s heroic pet Proty, who is devoted to Saturn Girl because she’s also telepathic, takes her place and dies to save Lightning Lad. It was only Proty’s second adventure with the Legion.

Firsts: Return of a Legionnaire from the dead

Membership: 20

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