Part two of Jim Shooter’s cold-submission Legion story has artwork finished by Curt Swan, and shows us the Legion’s first battle with Garlak and his Khund warriors, humanoid aliens from a galaxy at the edge of known space. It gives a great showcase to new Legionnaires Ferro Lad and Karate Kid, with perhaps a bit less action for their cohort, Princess Projectra.
This issue continues to show the bigger, hipper, more action-oriented Marvel style being brought to the Legion’s pages, particularly in a second splash page being devoted to the Legion meeting the Khund forces in battle. If ever before a DC comic had present a splash page in the middle of a story, I don’t know about it. It was very rare. And, indeed, even the primary splash pages in the Silver Age weren’t full page—they usually had two to three panels of the story at the bottom. This shows the evolution of the Legion to a more visually gripping storytelling style. Continue reading
Here is possibly the most ground-breaking story in Legion history—the one that changed the game forever. For the first eight years of its existence, the Legion had been written by seasoned pros—Otto Binder, Jerry Siegel, Edmond Hamilton. All experienced and capable, but all also years past their teen years. America invented the very concept of the teenager, and it was in the 1950s and 1960s—the era of the Legion’s birth—that teens began to be recognized as a distinct body of people. They weren’t children, they weren’t adults, and it was considered rather difficult to communicate with them, to “reach” them, because they had their own ideas and pretty much their own secret language. Adults who tried to speak that language inevitably came off sounding like oafs. And teen characters written by adult writers came off a little too stiff, a little too-good-to-be-true.
Continuing my review (Part One was last week) of the first six Avengers issues written by comics legend Jim Shooter… For those who just want to dive in without reading part one, know that I like Jim Shooter. He did phenomenal work on the Legion of Super-Heroes as a very young teen, and he did a nice job with these issues. But, later, he wrote some phenomenally bad Avengers issues. I’ve often wondered why his second visit to the Mansion was so unsuccessful. So I revisited some of those early, favorite stories of mine to see if I could see the seeds of the bad in what I thought was the good.
(Total comic geekiness this week. No need to look within for any profound reflections on life. Sorry!)
I started reading Marvel’s premier team book, The Avengers (AKA, unofficially, The Mighty Avengers and sometimes The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes) in 1974. I grew up with it as one of my top favorite comics. As I grew peripherally aware of who was writing the scripts, who was drawing the pictures, I came to see Jim Shooter’s first tour as author of the Mighty Assemblers’ adventures as something of a golden age for the team. But then, to be fair, I pretty much considered the entire run, from about ten issues after I started reading and figured out what was going on, to the time seven years later when I just felt I’d gotten too old for comic books, to be a golden age. (Too old for comic books at 15. I know, right? Y’see, there was this girl…)
But Jim Shooter, the still-very-young writer who, at age 13, had taken over DC’s Legion of Super-Heroes a few years earlier and made it a fan favorite, brought some very special moments to the team’s history, especially when he was working with George Perez, arguably the greatest artist ever to draw the Avengers. (And that’s saying something, when you consider they were also drawn by Neal Adams, Don Heck, John Buscema and Jack Kirby, to name a few.) Continue reading