Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Best of DC #24

The Best of DC #24 (May 1982)
title: "Murder In Glass"
writer: Paul Levitz
penciller: Carmine Infantino
inker: Rodin Rodriguez
letterer: John Costanza
colorist: Anthony Tollin
editor: Mike W. Barr
cover: Ernie Colon
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Colossal Boy, Sun Boy, Karate Kid, Wildfire

Guests: 
President Marte Allon

Opponents: 
Tarik the Mute and his android companion

Synopsis: 
On Earth, the four Legionnaires who are from Earth are honored by Earth President Marte Allon, who happens to be the mother of Colossal Boy. After the ceremony, Colossal Boy and his mother spend a few minutes chatting as they walk around in the park. Suddenly, she is attacked by a terrorist, who blasts her and turns her into glass. The Legionnaires catch him, but not before he tosses the weapon at her in an attempt to shatter her. Colossal Boy destroys it before it can hit his mother, wrecking it.

Frantic, Colossal Boy relates the story of the first time this happened, to both of his parents. At that time, it was a plot of the Legion of Super-Villains. (Cue screen fade-out segueway into the reprint "The Colossal Failure" and "School For Super-Villains.")

The Science Police arrive and cart the terrorist away, who admits that the weapon came to him anonymously. Now that the weapon is destroyed, there is no way to re-wire it to reverse the effect. Colossal Boy asks Karate Kid and Wildfire to guard his mother as he and Sun Boy go after Tarik the Mute, the previous leader of the Legion of Super-Villains.

At first Colossal Boy can't find any trace of him. Then it occurs to him to look for his android "mouth-piece" instead. Colossal Boy knows that the best androids are manufactured on the planetoid Rerel, so he and Sun Boy go to check it out. They fight some machines to get to the head man, who can only tell them that Tarik has died.

The two Legionnaires leave, dejected, until Colossal Boy realizes that the head man had to be Tarik's android. They return, and rather than admit to anything, the android self-destructs.

Using notes for the glass-weapon that they find at the factory, Brainiac 5 is able to create a reverse-ray, and President Allon is restored to normal.

Commentary: 
This issue is usually forgotten when someone thinks about the classic Paul Levitz Legion era, 1981 thru 1989. However, it is a painless little "whodunnit" that is something of a sequel to the classic "Colossal Failure/Legion of Super-Villains" story from 1968. And it also shows the friendships that exist between the four Earther Legionnaires at the time (Invisible Kid joined soon after this story saw print).

It also features the first time that Carmine Infantino drew the Legion of Super-Heroes. This story came along when Infantino was a free-lance artist, working mostly on The Flash and Supergirl after a long tenure on Marvel's Star Wars. He would go on to draw one more Legion story, in Legion of Super-Heroes #289.

There is an editor's note in the story that sets this adventure before the events of Legion of Super-Heroes #s 284-285. That means this story takes place before Levitz' first recorded Legion stories.


Science Police Notes:  
  • Light Lass, Shadow Lass, and Cosmic Boy appear on the cover, although they do not appear in the framing sequence. The women do not appear in any of the reprinted adventures.  
  • The reprints in this issue are "The Colossal Failure" from Adventure Comics #371, "School of Super-Villains" from Adventure Comics #372, "Invisible Invader" from Superboy #176, and "The Ghost of Ferro Lad" from Adventure Comics #357
  • The covers to the reprinted stories are not reprinted. No reprint references are provided.  
  • Two of the reprinted stories feature former Legionnaire Chemical King, a character Paul Levitz has specifically pointed out as dull. Perhaps editor Mike W. Barr liked him? 
  • There is a sixteen page feature showing each of the members, the head-quarters, and the cruiser called "Meet the Legion!" with art by George Perez. 
  •  Three advertisements are at the end of the book: ads for Legion of Super-Heroes issues 287 and 288, and for Saga of Swamp Thing #1 (with an On-Sale date of February 11). 
Status: 
This story has not yet been reprinted.

Milestone: 
This issue reveals that the founder of the Legion of Super-Villains, Tarik the Mute, has died. This story is the first Legion adventure to be illustrated by Carmine Infantino.

6 comments:

  1. That's twice now you've described this story as being set before all Levitz's other Legion stories... but you know Levitz had an earlier run on the Legion in the '70s, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry if I confused you. Yes, I'm referencing Levitz's second, more well remembered run.

      Delete
  2. It was always fantastic for me as a kid to 'fill in the blanks' of my Legion knowledge with reprints.
    And I always enjoy the stories where the different friendships are highlighted, even for a moment.

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  3. Chemical King was an under used / poorly written character who had excellent potential.

    He just needed better writers.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Infantino drew an "ALL-NEW!" Teen Titans story in Best of DC #18 as well.

    Chris

    ReplyDelete