Thursday, December 8, 2016

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #74

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #74 (November 1995)
title: "Prisoner of the Super-Heroes"
writers: Tom Peyer and Tom McCraw
penciller: Lee Moder

inker: Ron Boyd
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Mike McAvennie
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Alan Davis & Mark Farmer
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Brainiac 5, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Invisible Kid, Leviathan, Live Wire, Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, Spark, Triad

Dalya Ranzz, Kirth Ranzz, President Cho, Superboy (Kon-El), Ultra Boy, a journalist called Brad, a one-eyed informant, Korr Institute personnel


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Who's Who: The Persuader

The Persuader
by Russell & Siskoid

Real Name: Nyuen Chun Ti
Super-Power(s): The Persuader has control of the Atomic Axe, which can cut through every known substance, including gravity. He also boasts superior body strength. 
Planet of Origin: Unknown
Relationship to Legion: Villain; member of the original Fatal Five

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #269

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #269 (Nov, 1980)
title: "Who Shall Name the Dark Man?"
writer: Gerry Conway
penciller: Jimmy Janes
inker: Frank Chiaramonte
letterer: Ben Oda
colorist: Gene D'Angelo
editor: Jack C. Harris
cover: Dick Giordano
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Princess Projectra, Shadow Lass, Mon-El, Shrinking Violet, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Wildfire, Timber Wolf, Colossal Boy, Light Lass (not listed on Roll Call)

Colossal Boy's parents, Wynn and Marte Allon

The Fatal Five (Validus, the Persuader, Emerald Empress, Mano, and Tharok)

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Puzzle of the Postponed Plotlines

Loose lips sink ships … and loose plot threads can annoy the sprock out of loyal Legion fans. Over the decades, while there's certainly been many a classic Legion adventure, there have been just as many frustrating unresolved storylines, as the Legion meandered from one reboot to another.

Whether they were intentional, caused by a change in writer, poor editing, or cancellation of the book, or perhaps they were simply a forgotten sub-plot, the unsatisfactory resolutions definitely reduce the overall enjoyment of the respective story arcs.

Let's have a look at some of the chapters in the Legion's history where gaps are waiting to be filled:

Friday, December 2, 2016

Threeboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #38

Legion of Super-Heroes #38 represented the second issue of the new Jim Shooter/Francis Manapul and continued to cement the major plots of this run. There is an alien invasion happening, with brutal monsters overrunning planets. And the Legion is handcuffed, mummified by red tape which is limiting the team's effectiveness. These elements were introduced last issue but played up even more here.

Shooter also decided to maybe take a break from the bleaker storylines to bring in a tried and true humor element of Legion mythos - Legion tryouts. As a group, these might be the most ridiculous applicants I have ever seen. But this amusing subplot is actually a natural extension of the bureaucratic main plot. These are handpicked members from the UP, often the result of some favor or nepotism.

This aspect of the book is sort of the opposite of Waid's earlier 'revolution' theme of the Legion. Instead of rebelling and pushing things forward, this Legion instead is crushed by the system. One interesting wrinkle to this plot is how it is effecting Legion leader Lightning Lad. Historically, he has never been the most stable character. Here we see how the weight of this pressure is weighing on him.

The art on this book by Francis Manapul is just spectacular. There is a mild sense of anime here, not necessarily in the art style but in the kinetic feel of the fight sequences. The brawls on Triton are amazingly rendered. If there is a true positive to this run, it is the art.

On to the book!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Reboot: Superboy #18-19, 21

Superboy (v2) #18-19, 21 (August-September, November 1995)
titles: "Battle of the Century", "T-K-O!", "Making History!"
writer: Karl Kesel
penciller: Tom Grummett
inker: Doug Hazelwood
lettering: Richard Starkings and Comicraft
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Chris Duffy
editor: Frank Pittarese
cover: Tom Grummett and Karl Kesel
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Brainiac 5, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Triad

Babbage, Doctor Haley, Dubbilex, Hillary Chang, Krypto, Miss Snibbly, Norse Fielding, Professor Potter, Rex Leech, Roxy Leech, Sam Makoa, Superboy (Kon-El), Tana Moon, Valor, kids from school, the U.S. army

Ira Gambolli (killed), Knockout, Gambolli's men

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Who's Who: Night Girl

Night Girl
by Russell & Siskoid

Real Name: Lydda Jath
Super-Power(s): Super-strength, but only at night or in the near absence of light
Planet of Origin: Kathoon
Relationship to Legion: member of Legion of Substitute Heroes; later Legion reservist and Legionnaire

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #268

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #268 (Oct, 1980)
title: "Life After Life After Life!"
writer: J.M. DeMatteis
penciller: Steve Ditko
inker: Bob Wiacek
letterer: John Costanza
colorist: Gene D'Angelo
editor: Jack C. Harris
cover: George Perez & Terry Austin
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Chameleon Boy, Dream Girl, Karate Kid; appearances by Cosmic Boy, Colossal Boy, Shrinking Violet, Saturn Girl, and Lightning Lad

R.J. Brande

Dr. Mayavale

Monday, November 28, 2016

Legion of Super Heroes S01 E12: Sundown, Part 1

"Sundown, Part 1" was written by David Slack and directed by Tim Maltby, original airdate: April 28, 2007, review by Glenn 'Continuity Kid' Walker.

Mission Monitor Board: Bouncing Boy, Brainiac 5, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Ferro Lad, Lightning Lad, Phantom Girl, Saturn Girl, Star Boy, Sun Boy, Timber Wolf, Triplicate Girl, and young Superman.

Opponents: The Sun-Eater, the Controllers' robots, simulations of the Fatal Five.

This episode, and its second part, emulates one of the most legendary events in Legion history, the story of the Sun-Eater and Ferro Lad's sacrifice to save us all. In a time when superheroes didn't die every other day, and return from the dead with equal frequency, this was a big deal. Just another of Jim Shooter's landmark stories in Legion mythology, this time coming to animation, as the Legion of Super Heroes faces "Sundown, Part 1."

Friday, November 25, 2016

Threeboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #37

When is a reboot not a reboot?

When does something go from a simple 'continuation' and become a 'bold new direction'?

Legion of Super-Heroes #37 was the first issue for the new creative team of Legion and Comic legend writer Jim Shooter and (then) new talent artist Francis Manapul. The Mark Waid/Barry Kitson were in the rear view mirror. The Tony Bedard/Dennis Calero issues seemed like a pause. But their last issue definitely felt like a coda of sorts, ending with a splash of the team. The theme of those runs, of youthful political progression pushing on the establishment, was gone. Readers seemed to be clamoring for something more 'classic'. And what could be more classic than Shooter.

But this run feels hardly classic. Not that I want retreads or retellings. I don't mind good innovation. Remember, I actually praised the Waid/Kitson run. Instead, Shooter seems to be trying to infuse some of the 'extreme' nature of the  perhaps a more mature comic market to try to bring a gritty feel to the team. And Shooter also decides to bring in new characters very early on. You would think that a 'set up' arc to re-establish the team, would make more sense.

As for the art, I am a Manapul fan. This is relatively early in his work and lacks the sort of breathy, pencil-y feel of his current style. It has a nice, sort of Image feel it which seems at home with the story Shooter is telling.

If you can't tell, I am not a big fan of this run and this might be more difficult for me to cover than the end of the 5YL issues I did way back when. So bear with me.

Thanks to Russell for adding this poster, the complete image of the cover above. It is a nice showcase of his work on the book and the new costumes for some of the characters. Chameleon Boy's has a sort of classic Silver Age vibe to it.

And as a lover of Ayla, I like Light Lass's new look.

On to the book.