Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Tales of the Legion #322

Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #322 (April, 1985)
a review by Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage
title: "Lost Among The Missing"
writer: Mindy Newell
plot assist: Paul Levitz
layouts: Dan Jurgens
finishes: Karl Kesel
letterer: Ben Oda
colorist: Carl Gafford
editor: Karen Berger
cover: Dan Jurgens & Karl Kesel (signed)

Mission Monitor Board:  
Brainiac 5, Dawnstar, Dream Girl, Element Lad, Wildfire, Star Boy

Opponents: 
xenophobia
  
Synopsis: 
On the unnamed planet where Brainiac 5 and Dawnstar are trapped, the Reverend Mother orders an army to find Jhodan, Ina, and Dawnstar to bring them back to the high temple of Kol.

Dawnstar wakes up, confused about her feelings for Jhodan, and afraid that Brainiac 5 is dead. She decides to fly off but is still too weak. Ina catches her and they fight, but this wakes Jhodan up. He yells at Ina for being immature and not consulting him before trying to stop Dawnstar. Privately, he begins to think that Dawnstar really has "bewitched" him somehow.
Elsewhere, Brainiac 5 has also woken up. He takes a quick dip in the river to clean up. Spliff doesn't want him to wear his dirty, smelly uniform again, but seeing as how it is all Brainy has to wear, he puts it back on. He then over-hears Spliff talking to himself while he draws a picture that Brainiac 5 thinks represents Earth. This confuses him.

On Earth, Dream Girl and Element Lad are discussing how to call Dawnstar and Brainiac 5 back from their mission. Wildfire is angry that the missing Legionnaires are back, but Dawnstar is still missing. He blames Dream Girl, but Element Lad shuts him down, and he storms off.
Reverend Mother dispatches the army, then holds an audience with the towns' people. One of them had a dream that a green-skinned alien had arrived, and this freaks her out.

Jhodan is slowly taking Dawnstar to the temple when the guards that Reverend Mother had dispatched arrives at their location. They battle, and although Dawnstar has a chance to escape, she stays and helps Jhodan fight the men off instead. One of the guards trips and falls on her sword, killing himself. Dawnstar blames herself for the death.
Spliff and Brainiac 5 share a small meal, then Spliff leads him to the nearest village. All the time he says he does not know anything about Earth. At first the villages are scared by Brainiac 5's green skin, but when a domesticated pet licks him, he is accepted by the people as well. He walks around and finds the temple. Behind an altar he finds a computer reel. This confuses him.

On the Dark Circle home-world, special agent Dev-Em thinks he has infiltrated the Dark Circle army. However, he is secretly being monitored by the Dark Circle itself.

Jhodan does not understand why Dawnstar is upset. He tries to console her, and is about to kiss her when Ina stops him. She is upset, too, and runs off. Dawnstar and Jhodan finally try to communicate, learning each other's names. They ride off to the village together.
Back on Earth, Star Boy tries to take Dream Girl out to dinner, but she gets mad at his patronizing attitude and storms off, leaving him alone.

In the village, Brainiac 5 notices something like a parade occurring. He investigates, only to find that the villages are bowing to new arrivals Jhodan and Dawnstar!

Commentary: 
This story doesn't seem to know what it wants to be. Is it a romance comic, with the triangle of Jhodan and Dawnstar and Wildfire? Re-read those panels reprinted above and tell me they don't sound like a classic story from Young Love? Not that that is necessarily bad, but then all of a sudden you have a huge change in tone when Dawnstar accidentally kills one of the guards. The romance angle doesn't seem all that important any more. Side note: does Jhodan kill all of the others? Or does he just knock them out? They are armed and wanting to capture him, so I think it looks like he killed them...? This isn't clear, and is a major plot point for me, because, you know, if your high priest is murdering army guards left and right, that just seems wrong. Meanwhile, Brainiac 5 is confused because this planet is possibly a seeded planet from Earth? I suppose that is an interesting idea, but it doesn't seem to be going anywhere....And although Brainy finds a computer reel, there aren't any computers around. So...what are we supposed to make of that?

My biggest question after reading this issue, though, is this: don't the Legionnaires wear any protective gear underneath their uniforms?! Look at the panel reprinted below: it appears to just be Brainy's one-piece, his belt, and his boots. So...Brainiac 5 goes commando?! I would think he would wear Under Armour for support, and an athletic jock for protection! Or does he count a bit too much on his force field? Maybe artists Dan Jurgens and Karl Kesel just aren't showing them, but it does seem weird to me.

Science Police Notes:  
  • The scene on the cover never actually occurs in the story. 
  • This issue must occur after the events in Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #9, as Element Lad is now back on Earth.  
Status: 
This issue has not yet been reprinted.

2 comments:

  1. I really liked this era of LoSH, but I think it suffered from a case of evolving out of the "just because" logic of the late Bronze Age and not quite being in the deconstruction of the later 80s

    ReplyDelete
  2. I really liked this era of LoSH, but I think it suffered from a case of evolving out of the "just because" logic of the late Bronze Age and not quite being in the deconstruction of the later 80s

    ReplyDelete