Legion of Super-Heroes Re-Read – “Lex Luthor Meets the Legion of Super-Heroes!” (Adventure Comics #325, October, 1964)

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.

The Legion quickly forget about the evil ruling brain of Khann!, which they’ve brought to their clubhouse in order to—um—guys, what were you gonna do with the brain? Bring it to justice? Okay, well, I guess they did that, because the brain isn’t mentioned again after they meet up with Lex. Instead, they focus on preventing Lex from becoming a villain. Only they can’t prevent Lex from becoming a villain, because they know they can’t change history. So Brainiac 5 recommends that they attempt to mitigate the consequences of his becoming a villains. It’s not clear how they’re going to do this.

Nor does it matter, because this is not pre-Hair-Club-for-Men Lex. It’s the evil Lex, whose bought himself a clever toupe, in order to fool the Legion into trusting him, so he can destroy them.

Aha! Gotcha, Legion!

The trusting Legionnaires have shown charming Lex their arsenal of Very Dangerous Weapons, including the slagged remains of the Dissolver Ray, which was so powerful it could even dissolve Superboy and Mon-El. Lex figures out how to recreate this weapon, and promptly uses it to dissolve, well, pretty much the entire Legion. Only it turns out that the dissolver ray was really only a Phantom Zone projector, so the Legion aren’t dead, they’re just in another dimension. And the Zone is empty this month, because it’s a Siegel story. And it turns out that Mon-El, who was previously shown being able to telepathically communicate with people outside the Zone while he was in the Zone, also knows how to mind-control people from within the Zone.

It’s never mentioned that Phantom Girl can walk in and out of the Zone any time she wants to, which was established in the last Siegel Legion story.

Still… Aha! Gotcha, Lex!

Supergirl is prominently portrayed on the cover, and it’s her first Legion adventure in some time. Alas, she’s only in a few panels. On the other hand, Chameleon Boy’s brief appearance is very interesting: we’re told that he and Proty are in another dimension, visiting their parallel universe equivalents. Is this the first (and, during the Silver and Bronze ages, the only) time that the possibility of an Earth-Two Legion was touched on? Could be. Of course, it could also be an Earth-Three counterpart, now couldn’t it? And maybe he took Cham’s place. And maybe he’s been there, all along, plotting the downfall of the Legion, while Earth-Three Proty turned into Lightning Lad and cheated on Earth-One Proty 1 with Saturn Girl, and…

Wow, I’ve been reading too many comic books.

Roll Call: Matter-Eater Lad, Triplicate Girl, Lightning Lad, Sun Boy, Phantom Girl, Brainiac 5, Shrinking Violet, Light Lass, Star Boy, Invisible Kid, Cosmic Boy, Mon-El, Superboy, Saturn Girl, Ultra Boy, Chameleon Boy, Supergirl, Element Lad, Colossal Boy

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