This is something of a “filler” story. Nothing particularly relevant to Legion history happens, although it seems we’re finally in the 30th Century to stay. The villain is a bit boring and derivative of Tarzan and similar jungle heroes. Indeed, before taking on the name “The Monster Master” he calls himself “Jungle King.” And yet, at 17 pages, this is probably the longest Legion story to date. (Mon-El’s first appearance is longer, but not an actual Legion adventure.) Seems the Legion was catching on, and was given two thirds of the book, instead of just half.
Given the power to control all beasts by his animal trainer father, Jungle King tries out for the Legion. Unfortunately, while bragging on his abilities, he loses control of an animal. He suffers the same fate as Rainbow Girl—rejection. Unlike the placid maid of the spectrum, however, Jungle King leaves mad. He doesn’t even pick up his complimentary flight belt!
Jungle King goes to the Monster Planet and builds his own Legion of Monsters with which to commit crimes. Naturally, the Legion of Super-Heroes must defend their trademark—fight evil! They go after him.
There are some unfortunate moments, as when Brainy tells Bouncing Boy not to join them in battle. “He’s Jolly,” observes Brainy, but his power isn’t very useful.
The fat kid is “Jolly?” Oh, dear…
Later on, Brainy declares that the Legionnaires must draw lots to decide who goes into final battle with the monsters, but he excludes Saturn girl, because the mission is too dangerous “for a girl.”
Oh deary dear dear dear…
And the Legion’s leader doesn’t even call BS on his little, lime-green butt.
There are some nice touches, courtesy of Hamilton’s SF background, I’m sure, that bring the feel of the Legion together: The Space Bank, where currencies of all worlds are exchanged; the Sky City where treasures are kept above the polluted atmosphere of a planet. These exotic locales would become Legion trademarks. And a roll call appears on the splash page at long last! These would become a regular feature, and really helped the new reader keep track of all those characters.
Firsts: Roll Call, Pissed-Off reject
Bastard People Count: Oh… Brainy…