Legion of Super-Heroes Re-Read – “The Five Legion Orphans” (Adventure Comics #356, May, 1967)

So, looking at the cover of this issue, you get that feeling you’ve been here before—not that long ago, either. Several Legionnaires were turned into babies by the Time Trapper back in Adventure #338. That wasn’t really an experience worth repeating, either, but Nelson Bridwell, filling in for Jim Shooter for the third time seven issues, obviously saw un-mined potential in the idea. It’s a different group of Legionnaires getting babified this, with just Element Lad taking a return trip to Toyland, and Superboy and Brainiac 5, who were the adults in the room last time out, getting shortened this time.

It goes down like this: It’s Parents’ Day in the 30th Century—a combination of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, proving that the greeting card lobby is weaker in a 1000 years, but not powerless. Metropolis celebrates with a parade led by the Legionnaires and their parents. Well, that is just the Legionnaires of have parents. While Star Boy, Invisible Kid, the Ranzz Twins, Duo Damsel, Sun Boy and Cosmic Boy share a sumptuous post-parade banquet with their families, the Legion orphans—Supes, Brainy, Dream Girl, Element Lad, Mon-El—eat cold sandwiches and guard the clubhouse.

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Legion of Super-Heroes Re-Read – “The Forgotten Legion!” (Adventure Comics #351, December, 1966)

BASTARD PEOPLE ALERT! This issue contains possibly the worst bastard people moment in Legion history. I’m talking about this panel, wherein Invisible Kid socks Ultra Boy in the jaw (knowing he’s not currently invulnerable) for disobeying an order. And, seriously, there’s no excuse for this. I know it was the 1960s, and punching each other in the face was just something boys did. Kids. Sheesh. But no, this is not okay in any time or context. The Legion is not the British Navy. It’s a futuristic, civilized collection of very intelligent individuals. Indeed, the person being the Bastard People here is arguably the guy with the second-highest IQ in the group. Intelligence doesn’t guarantee good behavior, but it sure as hell makes it harder to excuse.

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Legion of Super-Heroes Re-Read – “The Outcast Super-Heroes!” (Adventure Comics #350, November, 1966)

This may be the first issue of Legion’s Adventure run that I ever bought. And no, I did not buy it new, being only a year old when it was published. I bought it sometime around 1976/77 at the Antique Underground in Prince George’s Plaza. I was amazed to get it as cheaply as I did—probably for either a quarter or fifty cents. It was a well-read, clearly loved issue.

Nelson Bridwell, now about two years into his career writing DC super-hero comics, tackles his first Legion story, which is quite an atmospheric departure from the groundwork Jim Shooter was laying at the time. But it’s also a critical piece, tying up loose ends, creating a few new characters, and leaving Shooter more Legionnaires to play with.

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