“The Triumph of the Legion of Super-Villains” (Adventure Comics #331, April, 1965)

Last week, as you recall…

Okay, it was last month, for readers in 1965, that Dynamo Boy, aka Vorm of the Space Pirate Pack, wormed his way (vormed his way?) into the Legion and expelled all of the sitting members, promising to turn the Legion of Super-Heroes into a “Legion of Super-Villains.” As if somehow sensing that someone in the past was infringing on the intellectual property, the three founding members of the actual Legion of Super-Villains arrive from “a few years in the future.” More than a few, to judge by looking at their middle-aged selves.

Cosmic King, Lightning Lord and Saturn Queen want to join Dynamo Boy’s Legion. Of course, he’s lying to applicants and saying it’s still a Legion of Heroes, and they’re lying to him and saying they’re reformed and want a chance to be heroes in a time before they’re known as villains.

At no time is it mentioned that, at the end of her previous appearance, Saturn Queen was revealed to have become a villain solely because of the mind-warping effects of leaving her home planet. By wearing a chunk from Saturn’s rings in a necklace, she could be the moral person she was meant to be. Guess either the King or the Lord stole that necklace, ’cause she’s evil to her core this time.

The actual Legion is almost entirely absent from this story, since they’ve all been expelled. The Super-Villains take over, performing heroic deeds by day and committing crimes by night. The Substitutes show up to challenge the three new members’ motives, but seem convinced that Dynamo Boy is pure as the driven snow. When he calls them “rejects” and orders them to piss off, they do so, teary-eyed.

But there is no honor among thieves, and Dynamo Boy soon finds himself exiled into the distant future by his new cohorts. With him and his Awesome Belt of Power out of the picture, the Villainaires intend to, um… well, do villainous stuff. No sooner are they rid of him, however, than the real Legionnaires return and issue a challenge. To be “sporting,” three of them will fight the three villains. Superboy, Mon-El and Element Lad trounce the villains, as you would expect.

“Sporting?” What motivates the Legion to be “sporting” with three villainous pretenders who have taken over their name and real estate? For that matter, why is Dynamo Boy so fearsome that 19 Legionnaires remain in hiding until he’s exiled into the future? Because he has an Awesome Belt of Power? Oh, that’s right, they don’t know about the belt, because reasons.

This issue and last give the Legionnaires very short shrift and make them look like idiots. It’s nice to see the LSV again, but it would be nicer to see them presented as the real menace they are, and not as a bunch of clods trying to ride the coattails and then steal the coat of a piss-ant like Vorm.

Membership: 19 when all is said and done.

Roll Call: Superboy, Mon-El, Element Lad

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