Legion of Super-Heroes Re-Read – “Superboy and the Five Legion Traitors!” (Superboy #117, December, 1964)

In a short-and-sweet entry from regular Superboy creators Jerry Siegel and Curt Swan, Clark Kent is surprised to see five of his pals from the future land a time sphere in the middle of Smallville. He’s the only one who’s surprised, though. Apparently, the Legionnaires have sent a message “by rocket,” alerting the townspeople of their impending visit. The Legion flag flies proudly in the town square, and a proclamation welcomes the distinguished visitors.

Shyeah, this kinda thing happened every day in my hometown in 1964. Rocketgrams, visitors from the future, what can ya do? It’s all parta bein’ small town America, amiright?

When Clark’s friends fly by him on the outskirts of town, later, they call him “Superboy,” even though he’s in plain clothes. He reminds them not to let his secret identity slip to anyone else.

The Legion Lads visit Clark and Lana’s high school, where the teacher is, I must say, pretty damn blasé about having five kids from the freakin’ future show up in her classroom. She announces that they’re going to demo their powers, and then, well, nobody demos his powers. Instead, they all answer inane questions about the future—what’s the strangest world? What’s the rarest element. (It’s energite, which is the universal cure-all. Can I get a, “Humanity has moved beyond the need to be ill in our century?” Holy Gene Roddenberry, Superboy!)

Oh, but then Ultra Boy demos his penetra-vision, and announces that he’s found Superboy’s secret identity.

At that moment, lightning strikes!

I mean, what are the odds? Pretty good, if Lightning Lad were around, but he’s not. Clark uses his x-ray vision to see if there’s any damage, and realizes he’s in “Smallvile,” not “Smallville.” This typo is on every sign he sees. Then he sees the Legion flag in the square.

Hey! The five boys didn’t salute the flag when they arrived in Smallvile, so that means they’re evil Legionnaires who are wanted criminals and Superboy has been catapulted to an alternate Earth. Damn, I’m glad he silently explains all that, ’cause me, I’m way too dumb to have figured all that out.

This is a better stab at an alternate-Earth Legion than we got a few months back when Chameleon Boy and Proty visited their other-dimensional selves. Still, it’s nowhere near the fully realized Earth Two Legion a lot of us would liked to have seen.

Roll Call: Superboy, Element Lad, Invisible Kid, Ultra Boy, Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy

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