Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #86-87 Point-Counterpoint

Jimmy Olsen #86 (July 1965)
title: "The Team of Olsen and Brainiac!"
writer: Jerry Siegel 
penciller: Curt Swan 
inker:George Klein
editor: Mort Weisinger
cover: Curt Swan and George Klein

Jimmy Olsen #87 (September 1965)
title: "The Arena of Doom" 
writer: Jerry Siegel 
artist: Al Plastino 
editor: Mort Weisinger 
cover: Curt Swan and Sheldon Moldoff 
reviewers: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage and Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane

While covering a story, Jimmy sustains severe brain damage. Brainiac offers to help but secretly replaces Jimmy's brain with an electronic one. Now programmed to serve Brainiac, Jimmy lures Superman into a trap. The Man of Steel quickly defeats Brainiac. The villain agrees to restore Jimmy's brain in exchange for his freedom, but places him under hypnotic control. Now teamed with Lex Luthor, Cosmic King, Lightning Lord, and Saturn Queen, Brainiac forces Jimmy to steal kryptonite from the Fortress of Solitude and lure Superman into another trap. Weakened by the kryptonite, Superman offers to help the villains if they would agree to spare him. Lex and Brainiac want to accept, but are outvoted by the Legion of Super Villains. Jimmy executes Superman by exposing him to the kryptonite, but the moment Jimmy realizes what he has done, the villains are encased in transparent globes. It turns out that thee kryptonite is not real, but merely a container holding the bottled city of Kandor. Superman's cowardly behavior was so that he could bide time until the citizens of Kandor could activate a special machine to entrap the villains. Whew!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Karate Kid #2

Karate Kid #2 
"The International Dooms of Major Disaster"
script by Paul Levitz and David Michelinie writing as Barry Jameson,
art by Ric Estrada, and inks by Joe Staton,
cover by Mike Grell,
cover date: May-June 1976,
review by Glenn 'Continuity Kid' Walker

Editor's Note: This is the second of three reviews of the 1970s Karate Kid series that Glenn Walker completed for the Legion of Super-Bloggers before his untimely death. Glenn was looking forward to reviewing this entire series, and had enthusiastically written up and prepped three posts before he passed away due to illness in December of last year.  
We present the review to issue #2 to you today and will present the review of #3 next month. We do this not only as a  memorial of sorts to our friend, but also because they are so well written. To not use them seems like a monumental waste. We hope you agree. ~Russell  

This issue was actually the first issue of Karate Kid that I purchased off what was then a spinner rack in the Anning's 5 & 10 (now a specialty ice cream shop) in my home town. First I was stunned to see a comic titled Karate Kid. I think it was a sudden move from DC Comics, and they'd kept it a bit on the down-low from Legion fans unless you were really paying attention (which I must not have been). But here it was, a beautiful Mike Grell cover with Karate Kid protecting the United Nations and a redhead (always my favorite, so much so I married one) from the despicable and dangerous Major Disaster. The Legion fan in me had to have it.

Friday, March 16, 2018

A look back ... And a look forward ... At Friday's With Anj

Hello all, it's Anj again.

It is hard to believe but in a couple of months I will be hitting my four year anniversary on this blog.

It was back in the spring of 2014 that The Irreedemable Shag asked me to be on the site and I had to say yes. The Legion has been a near constant in my comic book fandom. How could I say no?

I have been manning Fridays here since then. It is an interesting side truth that since this blog went live, no Legion book has been on the shelves. We have come close to a dramatic comeback. We have seen characters and heard hints of it since Rebirth. We even have a live action Legion on the Supergirl show.

But no comic.

And I recently had the (un)luck of covering the book that was the final nail in the coffin, the New 52 Legion. So what is next for the team? And what is next for Fridays? It is an interesting question. And I will try to answer both, in a way, by looking at what I have done before.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes Secret Files and Origins #1

In August of 2016, before we started reviewing the Reboot era, our fearless leader Little Russell Burbage reviewed the Legion's 1998 Secret Files (the first of three such specials). So for the issue's recap and an alternative opinion, please follow THIS LINK back to the original review. No redundancies, Siskoid & Shotgun will only give their own impressions of each "File".
Legionnaires Three (Legion origin)
I’m surprised they chose to retell the origin of the Legion from Triad’s point of view. Her perspective is an interesting twist on what we first read what...? Almost two years ago already? It was pleasant to revisit the beginning of our story as so much happened since then. I must admit that I was a bit scared it would only be a retelling, so I was happy to find the new story at the zoo. It does bring up some questions though. I remember the team being a lot less in sync during the bomb incident during their introduction at the U.P. Assembly. Since this story at the zoo actually happened before the bomb, and we know it’s happening before since they still wear the super generic costumes and are only the original three, one would assume they’d be able to work together more efficiently in a second crisis, no? Anyway, as Brande's assistant, Triad gave us plenty more information on his struggle with the installation of the United Planets and the idea behind the Legion.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Who's Who: Holdur

by Russell & Siskoid

Real Name: Hald Atovio
Super-Power(s): Super grip
Planet of Origin: Earth
Relationship to Legion: Villain

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

TOS: Adventure Comics #334

Hey, it's Anj from the Supergirl site Comic Box Commentary, looking back at one of my favorite issues from the Silver Age, Adventure Comics #334, 'The Unknown Legionnaire'!

 People should know by now that I love the Legion and this issue has the bonus of including the Silver Age Supergirl as well. But the biggest mystery of the comic is who is the Unknown Legionnaire? Who is he? And why is he the 'greatest super-hero of all time'??

Now trust me, this is a wild story. One of the things that amazes me is how jam packed these Silver Age stories are. I mean, this is a dense story with plot twists and major turns and multiple scenes changes. This would be a 6 issue arc in today's books and here it was told in a crisp 17 page story.

And, of course, knowing my particular interests, I felt obliged to review this issue.

Monday, March 12, 2018

LEGION TOYS: Timber Wolf (Mattel 12-Pack)

by Derek William Crabbe
Brin Londo a.k.a Timber Wolf was sporting a Dave Cockrum designed Wolf-Man hairdo long before a certain two-bit Hulk villain burst onto the X-scene! But that's not the only thing they shared in common! Much like that hairy Berserker who calls everybody Bub pined away for Cyclops' girl, Brin was also macking on Lightning Lad's girl, Saturn Girl, when they all thought they were gonna croak in space!

Friday, March 9, 2018

The New 52 Legion of Super-Heroes: A Eulogy

Hey all, it's Anj.

I have been manning Fridays for a while here on the blog, reviewing Legion books and reliving my fandom one issue at a time.

But sometimes it is a hard job.

Last week I finished my retrospective view of the New 52 Legion of Super-Heroes. And I can say, it wasn't easy. So allow me a brief post to sort of put together some overall thoughts about this volume. I would love to hear everyone's thoughts about it.

I had issues with the New 52 as a whole. I was not excited for a company wide reboot. I especially didn't like the fact that it was mostly company wide with Batman and ancillary books like the Legion basically unscathed. And I didn't like the darkening of the universe as a whole. This was not a fun or inspirational or uplifting universe at all.

As for the Legion? Well, as a New 52 book which was following its older continuity, it is neither fish nor fowl. Is it a new team? No. Is it a good jumping on point for new readers interested in sampling the New 52? Not really. Is it the Legion that old school fans wanted? I don't think so.

The whole run seemed to struggle with trying to find itself. Was it a darker Legion in a more dystopian future? Was it a new younger team with its rookie recruits leading the way? Was it a classic Legion? Was it trying to be all of those things, ultimately being none of them?

And looking at the book as a whole, did the pace of the run make sense? Were their 'fill-in' issues that seemed oddly placed? Were there arcs that made sense? It seemed to stop and start over the two years. And that sputtering hurt it as well.

On to some moments ...

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Reboot: Inferno #1-4

Inferno #1-4 (October 1997-January 1998)
titles: "Run Come See the Sun", "A Houseful, a Holeful", "Girls Interrupted", "Who by Fire"
writer: Stuart Immonen
penciller: Stuart Immonen
inker: Wade von Grawbadger
lettering: Albert T. De Guzman
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Frank Berrios
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Stuart Immonen and Wade von Grawbadger
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  

Charlie Woodcock, Donna Ferri, Donovan Winter, Eldrid Hayes, Helen Cage, Jane Washington-Carter, Jilly Major, Saturn Girl, Sophie Desjardins; mall cops, mall customers; flashback only: Apparition, Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Evolvo, Gates, Inferno's parents (Jonn and Maja Anderson), Karate Kid, Live Wire, Shvaughn Erin, Spark, Spider-Girl, Ultra Boy; cameos only: Ferro, Invisible Kid, Superboy, Triad

Mall parasite (entity unnamed); flashback only: Emerald Eye of Ekron, Leland McCauley

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Who's Who: High Seer of Naltor

The High Seer of Naltor
by Russell & Siskoid

Real Name: Beren Kah
Super-Power(s): Precognition
Planet of Origin: Naltor
Relationship to Legion: Ally

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

TOS: Adventure Comics #333

Adventure Comics #333 (June 1965)
title: The War Between Krypton and Earth
writer: Edmond Hamilton
penciller: John Forte
inker: George Klein
letterer: Milton Snappin
editor: Mort Weisinger
cover: Curt Swan and George Klein
reviewer: Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane

Mission Monitor Board:
Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, Element Lad, Light Lass, Lightning Lad, Phantom Girl, Saturn Girl, Star Boy, Superboy, Triplicate Girl.

Opponent: Themselves

Monday, March 5, 2018

GEE WIZARD: The Write Stuff part 7

To round off our look at the various publications that featured articles about the Legion, we feature WIZARD magazine, the high-end product that emerged during the comic speculator boom in 1991. At its prime, with its glossy pages and focus on all aspects of the industry, including independent publishers, trading cards, toys, games, and market information, the magazine and its subsidiaries enjoyed monthly circulation of more than 100,000 copies.

Yet, despite this, the Legion rarely featured in WIZARD's 233-issue run. By 2011, with the onset of Internet comic book sites that offered the same sort of content for free, the magazine's subscriber base was so low that it had no option but to cease publication.

Friday, March 2, 2018

New 52 Legion of Super-Heroes #23

On August 26, 2013, I posted this review of Legion of Super-Heroes #23, the final issue of this volume. That is just over four and a half years ago. That was the last time a new Legion book was on the shelves. Amazing.

And, looking back at this issue and this review, I have to agree with almost everything I said. In fact, at times I look almost prescient in my thoughts. 

This is a depressing ending for the team. I point that out throughout the review, characters saying how sad it is that the Legion is finished, wondering if a better version of themselves exists out there, and walking out of their now empty headquarters. It seems like Levitz realized that this was his last issue with the team and so decided to get a little metatextual. 

At least we get Kevin Maguire on art! Love seeing Maguire on anything. So seeing him drawing some of my favorite characters is a treat.

I would love to hear people's thoughts about this issue. Because it depressed me to read it again. How could we get here? And how could DC let it happen?

Legion of Super-Heroes #23 came out last week ... the end of the Legion.

There certainly have been blips and pauses in the Legion's history, some months without stories of this storied team. But somehow this one seems more final. In a New 52 world painted only grimy and gritty, an optimistic future and a team like the Legion seems out of place. Even some creators have talked about the Leigion as if it were toxic, Keith Giffen swearing that JLA3K will be nothing like the Legion and there won't  be visits to Braal (as if the planet's name is a dirty word).

That's right, a darker and grimmer JLA3K will take the place of the Legion.

Perhaps what is sadder is that this title tried to become rougher, filling the last story with meaningless death and destruction, trying to shove the square peg of the Legion into the round hole of the New 52. As a result, this last Legion story is about as un-Legion as you can get. It truly saddens me that this issue is the gravestone for the franchise because there is no optimism, no team spirit, no love in this issue. And for those Legion fans who have stuck it out, we at least deserved that. Instead we got death, despair, and disbanding.

Sure there are some familiar beats and one major continuity wrinkle but the thing that stuck out for me was some of the dialogue here. There are plenty of lines that sound like they could be coming from writer Paul Levitz or even long time readers, lamenting what has happened to this team and, metatextually, this book.

The art here is by one of my favorites Kevin Maguire and he brings his usual panache of facial expression and clean lines. I wonder if he got this gig because he was originally named as the artist for JLA3K before the title was considered too dark for him.

This book ended. The Legion are basically in comic limbo right now. And I didn't even get a 'Long Live the Legion!' Enough intro. On to the book.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #100

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #100 (January 1998)
title: "OK C.O.M.P.U.T.O."
writers: Tom Peyer and Tom McCraw
pencillers: Lee Moder and Derec Aucoin 
inkers: Drew Geraci and Ray Kryssing
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Frank Berrios
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Alan Davis and Mark Farmer
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Apparition, Brainiac 5, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Element Lad, Ferro, Gates, Invisible Kid, Kinetix, Live Wire, Monstress, Saturn Girl, Sensor, Spark, Star Boy, Triad, Ultra Boy, Umbra, Violet, XS

Durlan (flashback), Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, Highfather (flashback), Impulse, Koko, Martian Manhunter, Metal Men (Iron, Lead, Mercury, Platinum, Tin, Veridium), Metron (flashback), Phase, Robin III, Shvaughn Erin, Superboy, Superman, Taptree, Tiffany Cross; innocent bystanders

C.O.M.P.U.T.O., Luck Lords (flashback)