Thursday, April 16, 2015

Superboy starring The Legion #215

Superboy starring The Legion of Super-Heroes #215 (March, 1976)
A Review by Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage
title: "The Final Eclipse of Sun Boy"
writer: Cary Bates
artist: Mike Grell
editor: Murray Boltinoff 
cover: Mike Grell (signed)

Mission Monitor Board:  
Phantom Girl, Sun Boy, Superboy, Element Lad, Brainiac 5, Saturn Girl

Opponents: 
unnamed would-be assassin

Synopsis: 
On Bgtzl, Phantom Girl captures a man after witnessing him kill someone. The assassin's gang swears that she will not live long enough to testify against him. Phantom Girl's brother, Gmya, is concerned for her safety. Sun Boy, Element Lad, and Superboy arrive on Bgztl to pick her up, and Gmya disappears in the crowd.

Back on Earth, but before the Legionnaires make it back to their head-quarters, Sun Boy is "possessed," and his powers go wild. Superboy tries to stop him, but his super-energy only adds fuel to Sun Boy's fire. Element Lad turns the hydrogen around Sun Boy to nitrogen, putting out his flames. This allows Element Lad to get close enough to knock him out.

Element Lad looks good in black and white, don't you think? (it's asbestos)
Just as Superboy surmises that Sun Boy has been "eclipsed," Saturn Girl rushes in pretending to be Dream Girl, with a premonition of Phantom Girl's murder. Sun Boy suddenly goes blank, and  two phantoms are fighting each other over Brainiac 5's mega-blaster.
Your powers don't work that way, Saturn Girl! 
It turns out that Gmya stowed away "in" Sun Boy while the would-be assassin was hiding in Element Lad. However, Sun Boy's different molecular system trapped Gmya until he saw the other phantom make an attempt to kill his sister. That spurred him on with adrenaline and he was able to break free from Sun Boy's body.

Commentary: 
This is another silly story by Cary Bates. Maybe I don't understand the theory behind Bgtzl, but is it even possible for non-phantoms to visit there? I thought it was an actual different dimension (like the Phantom Zone) that you go to WHEN you're a phantom. So everyone there is by definition a phantom. Is that wrong? For example, I always thought that Phantom Girl could go back and forth between her world and Earth easily. However, here she needs a Legion cruiser to pick her up!?! (How did she get there in the first place?)

Besides that huge plot hole, the misconception that phantoms are invisible really bothers me. The two men somehow got onto the Legion cruiser without any of the others seeing them....did they "possess" Element Lad and Sun Boy while they were on Bgtzl? In front of a crowd of dozens of people, none of who saw anything? But then Sun Boy went wild a few minutes later? That is confusing.

And the climax: how could the phantom assassin hope to kill Phantom Girl with a mega-blaster? She could just turn into a phantom, d'uh! Also....why in the world is Brainiac 5 carrying a mega-blaster?!? He never had before and never will again.

title: "The Hero Who Wouldn't Fight"
writer: Jim Shooter
penciller: Mike Grell
inker: Bill Draut
letterer: Ben Oda
editor: Murray Boltinoff

Mission Monitor Board:  
Cosmic Boy, Chameleon Boy, Light Lass, Ultra Boy, Lightning Lad, Shadow Lass, Colossal Boy, Sun Boy

Opponents: 
Emerald Empress  


Synopsis: 
On remote planetoid Kar Zagas, Chameleon Boy is trying to infiltrate an army of criminals to learn who they are and what they are up to. However, he is caught by the Emerald Empress, who is creating the army to take over her home planet of Vengar.

She uses Chameleon Boy to set a trap, catching five Legionnaires. Light Lass manages to escape back to the orbiting cruiser, warning Cosmic Boy and begging for him to save their friends. She goads him into attempting a rescue, even though it's a holy day on his home planet of Braal and he is forbidden to use his magnetic powers.
Cosmic Boy sneaks into the army camp and finds his friends, freeing them by using his flight ring. He then blocks a shock shell meant for Ultra Boy, who then frees everyone else. The Empress' paid army rushes out to escape a fighting-mad Legion, allowing them to capture her. Ultra Boy offers her her freedom if she saves Cosmic Boy. A moment after she disappears, Cosmic Boy awakens, restored to life.

Commentary: 
Now THIS is more like it! What a great story! Except for the slapping scene, which I didn't like then and don't like now, this is one of my all-time favorite Legion stories. I guess I really am a Cosmic Boy fan.
I hated Light Lass for years after this scene...!
On the other hand, why in the world would the Legion bring a powerless man with them to raid an army of criminals? Cosmic Boy should never have gone on that mission in the first place. If he hadn't been there, Light Lass might have had to step up and earn her keep. And why in the world didn't she go down to the planet with Cos?!? Also, why did Cosmic Boy feel the need to step forward to guard Ultra Boy froom a shock shell. Ultra Boy is invulnerable.

Science Police Notes:  
  • Phantom Girl's father is dead.
  • Her brother Gmya's name is mis-spelled "Gyma" on page 5. 
  • Saturn Girl appears at the space dock ready to go on furlough wearing the wrong boots. 
  • Cosmic Boy and Colossal Boy debut their new uniforms in this issue. Both were famous for showing much more skin than was normal for male Legionnaires. When asked, Mike Grell said that Cos himself kept the uniform up using his magnetic powers. 
  • This is the third and last Bill Draut inked back-up story. 
Status: 
Reprinted in The Legion of Super-Heroes Archives vol. 11 

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