Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #13

The Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #13 (Aug, 1985)
A Review by Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage
title: "If You Think The Khunds Are Cuddly You'll Love the Lythyls!"
writer: Paul Levitz
artist: Steve Lightle
inker: Larry Mahlstedt
letterer: John Costanza
colorist: Carl Gafford
editor: Karen Berger
cover: Steve Lightle & Larry Mahlstedt (signed)

Mission Monitor Board:  
Timber Wolf, Blok, Shrinking Violet, Sun Boy, Element Lad, White Witch, Invisible Kid, Mon-El; cameos by Ultra Boy, Phantom Girl, Shadow Lass, and Star Boy

Opponents: 
the population of the planet Lythyl

Synopsis: 
On Earth, Blok is trying to keep all of the new Legion applicants calm, telling them that each of them will be processed fairly, but that they need to be patient. The lawyer Ziirf comes to him to deliver a message from Timber Wolf. 



On Lythyl, Timber Wolf and Karate Kid's surrogate father, the Sensei, are going through immigration. Lythyl is a world where respect is based solely on physical powers, so the Sensei believes that they should be treated well. As they are being processed, however, they whisper, angering a guard. He attacks the crowd, which starts a fight. Timber Wolf and Sensei garner attention right away, and are pulled from the other new-comers.

On Earth at Legion HQ, Shrinking Violet begins to flirt with Sun Boy. Elsewhere, Blok and Element Lad review Timber Wolf's message. He tells them that he has gone to Lythyl to fulfill a last request from Karate Kid's will, but is not clear as to the specifics. Element Lad plans a stealth mission to rescue him.

Back on Lythyl, Timber Wolf and Sensei are judged by Steggus, Gorax, and Myg to see if they are strong enough to become part of Lythyl's "upper crust." Their first mission is to get past a monster. They fight it, then stare it down. Myg takes responsibility for the two, leading them onto their next mission. While they travel through Lythyl, Myg explains about the planet. Timber Wolf understands why Karate Kid hated the planet so deeply.

On Earth, at Leland McCauley's estate, he gets his update from his contacts regarding the new Earth President, the UP Council, and RJ Brande. Brande has been seen with several Proteans working for Protean Civil Rights. McCauley is angry that if Proteans are granted rights as sentient beings, his former pet Proty can now betray his secrets.

In space, Mon-El, Invisible Kid, and White Witch are racing towards Lythyl. Mon-El chastises Invisible Kid for not knowing his own abilities, which resulted in the killing of a Khund soldier (in LSH (v3) #11).
On Lythyl, Timber Wolf and Sensei overpower Myg, then head towards the Sacred Garden of Lythyl. While Sensei is fighting off the guards, Timber Wolf breaks loose to get to the Great Temple, on an island of stones. He then calls the Legion, having faith that the message he left with Blok would get through and that his friends would be in space waiting to rescue him. Sure enough, the White Witch casts a spell of invisibility on them, so he, Sensei, and the kidnapped Myg fly off to space to be met by Mon-El.
On their way back to Earth, Timber Wolf explains why he went to Lythyl. Karate Kid's father went to Lythyl as a young man and was corrupted, turning into the Black Dragon. Karate Kid blamed the planet, and wanted to shut it down. He shared with Timber Wolf the legend that said that if anything ever grew around Lythyl's sacred stones that they would grow soft and crumble. And if they did, the planet would follow. So Karate Kid in his will asked Timber Wolf to plant seeds on Lythyl to help make the legend come true.

Commentary: 
This is a fun story that is not what it first appears to be. Similar to Karate Kid himself, this story looks like it's going to be all about action, but then turns out be deeply philosophical. It is a pleasant spotlight on Timber Wolf, the most physical Legionnaire of this era. I have read that Timber Wolf was one of writer Paul Levitz' favorite characters, and reading this story I find that easy to believe. Artists Steve Lightle and Larry Mahlstedt handle all the action scenes well (their one-page battle with the sea monster is awesome) but they also handle the "small" moments well, too, such as the fear on Timber Wolf's face when he thinks Sensei has been hurt. The body language of Blok in his concern for his friend, and the facial expressions of Shrinking Violet and Sun Boy are also done well. These guys were at the top of their game here.

Science Police Notes:  
  • This is the first appearance of Blok's blue and yellow uniform. 
  • Among the Legion applicants waiting in line in this issue are Michael Jackson, E. T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Future-Batgirl, and a character we will meet next issue, Energy Boy. 
  • This is the debut appearance of Myg, who will later become the second Karate Kid
  • Sensei's eyes are colored green several times in this issue, but all Japanese people have brown eyes. Either this is a coloring mistake, or Sensei is not a full-blooded Japanese man. Or he wears green contact lenses. 
  • Although the aliens on the cover are predominantly unknown races, in the center, directly behind Timber Wolf, is very clearly a Gordanian (from The New Teen Titans). 
Several Legion applicants waiting in line.
Only Energy Boy (far right) will appear again. 
Status: 
Reprinted in The More Things Change TPB 

No comments:

Post a Comment