Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Tales Of The Legion of Super-Heroes #320

Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #320 (Feb, 1985)
A Review by Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage
title: "The Magpie Complex"
plotter: Paul Levitz
writer: Mindy Newell
penciller: Dan Jurgens
inker: Karl Kesel
letterer: Adam Kubert
colorist: Carl Gafford
editor: Karen Berger
cover: Dan Jurgens & Karl Kesel (?) 


Mission Monitor Board:  
Dream Girl, Star Boy, Colossal Boy, Sun Boy, Timber Wolf, Dawnstar

Opponents: 
Magpie, The Monitor, Universo

Synopsis: 
On Earth, the hired thief known as Magpie has agreed to undertake a very difficult crime: steal a time-chip from inside the Legion's head-quarters. Armed with devices from The Monitor, such as a teleportation device to get in, a dematerializer to imitate Phantom Girl's Bgtzlian physiology, and a scanner to fool the clearance monitors into thinking he is SP Chief Zendak, Magpie makes it in, just as Dawnstar flies away and Sun Boy and Colossal Boy log "off-duty."  The two old friends talk about women in general and Gigi Cusimano in particular. Gigi was a good friend of Colossal Boy's when they were together at the SP Academy, and Sun Boy thinks he might be jealous that she is still single.
While searching the trophy room for the time-chip, Magpie comes across Timber Wolf, pining in front of a statue of Light Lass. Moving on, he heads to Brainiac 5's laboratory, where his multi-faceted eyes allows him to spot the time chip immediately. He grabs it, but Dream Girl and Star Boy are there to confront him. Dream Girl saw him robbing the Legion in her dream, which alerted them. Star Boy makes the chip super-heavy as Dream Girl fights him. He teleports out rather than face capture. The two Legionnaires discuss how he could have gotten in, confused. Magpie returns the borrowed devices to The Monitor, who reports to Universo that the robbery was unsuccessful.
Commentary: 
This is the first story in this run that feels like a fill-in. Absolutely nothing happens in this story of any consequence, and Magpie as far as I can recall is never seen again. Obviously this story was written as a "Crisis" tie-in, as we see The Monitor and his assistance working in shadows. Although it is nice to see Universo taking advantage of The Monitor's service, that is the only part of this story worth mentioning. It would have been neat if instead of Magpie the antagonist had been Ben Pares, the thief from Superboy/Legion #213. Atleast that way there would have been some nice inner-continuity history going on.

This is the first issue illustrated by Dan Jurgens, who took over from Terry Shoemaker. There is not much to this story except the interior of the Legion HQ, but the architecture is beautifully illustrated. Jurgens does a good job and would only get better. Meanwhile, Paul Levitz' assistant, Mindy Newell, quietly becomes the first woman to write a Legion story.


title: "Triangle?"
plotter: Paul Levitz
writer: Mindy Newell
penciller: Dan Jurgens
inker: Karl Kesel
letterer: Adam Kubert
colorist: Carl Gafford
editor: Karen Berger

Mission Monitor Board:  
Sun Boy, Colossal Boy

Guest Stars: 
Yera, Gigi Cusimano  


Synopsis: 
Sun Boy is out with a pretty girl when he sees Colossal Boy with Gigi. He thinks the worst of the scene when they embrace affectionately. The next day Sun Boy confronts Colossal Boy, who blows him off. Sun Boy then confronts Gigi, who asks her to not get involved with Colossal Boy. She feigns ignorance, then basically dumps him, pointedly taking him to task for never returning her calls. It is strongly implied that after they had sex and he stopped calling her.
The next day Colossal Boy, Yera, and Gigi meet for lunch. They congratulate themselves on a job well done, as Yera was the beautiful girl from the night before. Gigi had asked her to help make a fool of Sun Boy because she had felt used by him.

Commentary: 
Huh? This is a beautiful story, with beautiful people doing not so beautiful things, but other than the art, the point of this whole thing escapes me. Sun Boy is a cad, but he has strong affection for his team-mate, Colossal Boy, and doesn't want him to be hurt. The art of the men working out in the gym is nice, especially their reflections in the mirrored walls. And if Yera was the dumb blonde the night Sun Boy sees her husband....if Sun Boy is such a womanizer, then I would have liked to have seen how she got out of having to go home with him!
Science Police Notes:  
  • This story occurs chronologically before Legion (v3) #7, the issue where Lighting Lass returns to the Legion, because Timber Wolf is shown pining in front of the Light Lass statue. Also, Star Boy references that Light Lass is no longer a member. 
  • Timber Wolf is shown to be distrustful of the new "butler droid" Computo. 
  • The title, "The Magpie Complex" probably refers to a magpie bird's habit of collecting shiny objects. It is something of a silly title, for a silly story. 
  • Star Boy is shown weighing down the time-chip, then not being able to lift it himself moments later. Surely he can negate his own power? 
  • Is that a descendant of Tomar Re studying the birds at the Metropolis Zoo? 
  • There is a two-page spread of the Legion HQ featured in this issue. It is the same illustration that was later used for the Who's Who guidebook series. The art appears to be by Keith Giffen, but because it is in the story by Jurgens & Kesel, we must assume that it is their work.  
Status: 
This issue has not yet been reprinted.

Milestone: 
This is the debut of artist Dan Jurgens on the Legion of Super-Heroes.

1 comment:

  1. I'd gotten and read a couple of Legion issues before, but this was the first issue after I decided to starting getting LSH monthly. Even though nothing really happens in it. It's why I can say I'd decided to give Legion a monthly shot before actually getting the issue. Pleasant art from Dan Jurgens probably convinced me, though I do think Magpie had some potential. He never returned. The HQ plans fired up my imagination.

    You don't mention it but am I wrong to remember Oliver Queen's descendent on the opening page, giving a tour?

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