Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #20

The Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #20 (March, 1986)
title: "To Control A World"
writer: Paul Levitz
penciller: Greg LaRocque
inker: Larry Mahlstedt
colorist: John Costanza
lettering: Carl Gafford
editor: Karen Berger 
cover: Greg LaRocque & Larry Mahlstedt (signed)
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Ultra Boy, Phantom Girl, Chameleon Boy, Shrinking Violet, Element Lad, Sun Boy, Dawnstar, Wildfire, Mon-El, Lightning Lass, Shadow Lass, Brainiac 5, Sensor Girl

Opponents: 
Tyr and his mobile planet of war, Tyrraz

Synopsis: 
Out near the border of our universe, Ultra Boy and four other Legionnaires are investigating Tyrraz. A Controller had wanted to destroy it, but the Legion stopped him from creating a sun-eater to devour it. Now they are working to come up with a plan to stop Tyrraz' path of terror. Element Lad tries to explain to the Controller that the Legionnaires all swore an oath to preserve life. Chameleon Boy reminds them that not everyone on the planet may have supported the war effort, so it would not be right to execute the entire population. While they are talking, the Legionnaires enter the atmosphere of Tyrraz and come face-to-face with their old foe, Tyr!


Back on Earth, Sun Boy goes out with Gigi Cusimano, who wants details on the recent Techno Park incident. Sun Boy, however, wants something else, as his current girl-friend, Shrinking Violet, is off-world.  Shadow Lass tries to get Brainiac 5 to come out of his quarters, although Lightning Lass has no sympathy for him at all. Brainy, for his part, is busy obsessing over who Sensor Girl is. Oddly enough, she is aware of his obsession but is not willing to confide in him.

Back on Tyrraz, Ultra Boy has his hands full fighting Tyr and his sentient gun. Phantom Girl mentions in passing that the problem is Tyrraz' mobility, and that gives Element Lad the idea to target the planet's engines. Phantom Girl and Shrinking Violet end up gutting the machines as the boys get roughed up by various guards.

Meanwhile, Dawnstar leads Wildfire and Mon-El into deep space in an effort to find their friends. Eventually, Dawnstar believes she has found them, and Mon-El sees Ultra Boy. They arrive on Tyrraz just in time to take the entire engines off-planet. The Controller decides to stay on Tyrraz as the Legion heads home.

Commentary: 
This is a very clever finish to a very difficult situation as introduced last issue: how do you "control" a group of people intent on pillaging your universe? The Controller repeatedly tells the Legion that he wanted to "control" Tyrraz by destroying it. To their benefit, the Legionnaires are not having any of that. In one particularly nice exchange, Element Lad tells the Controller that he has forgotten the meaning of "control," replacing it with "destroy" or "murder." It's a very nice example of what the Legion stands for. These five members are also a very good blend: their powers interact well, and their personalities are contrasting, making them fun to read about.

The comments I want to mention are minor. The first is linking Tyr to this mobile planet. I think this was a needless bit of back-story for a perfectly fine independent character. (Besides, how did Tyr escape Takron-Galtos to make his way back to Tyrraz after the LSV was captured in LSH #7-8?) The second complaint I have is the characterization of Lightning Lass. I liked how Shadow Lass tried to be sympathetic towards Brainiac 5, but Ayla's harshness came out of left field, atleast in my opinion. It's as if Levitz needed some harsh criticism but resident critics Dawnstar, Wildfire, and Shrinking Violet were all unavailable, so he used Lighting Lass. And lastly, the characterization of Sun Boy as a gigolo with no loyalty at all never sat well with me. I suppose he represents an actual type of man, but I never liked to see him shown so unmistakably crass. To me it's pathetic.  


title: "Night of Madness"
writer: Paul Levitz
penciller: Keith Giffen
inker: Mike DeCarlo
colorist: John Costanza
lettering: Carl Gafford
editor: Karen Berger

Mission Monitor Board:  
Dream Girl, White Witch

Synopsis: 
Dream Girl gets off duty and is hanging out with her sister when she gets a vision of monsters in the street. White Witch also sees in her crystal ball that there is a monster in Metropolis. The two Legionnaires head out to give chase. Dream Girl "accidentally" stops White Witch from capturing it. Then they arrive at Colossal Boy's & Yera's apartment to find that they are hosting a Halloween costume party. Dream Girl had to trick her sister to get her to come. Bouncing Boy explains to Mysa that they had to have her attend because she's a real witch.

Commentary: 
What was the point of this story? It's cute, I guess. "Humorous" shenanigans from Keith Giffen.

Science Police Notes:  
  • There were no women shown on the planet Tyrraz. 
  • Guests at the Halloween party include Leonard Nimoy, Star Boy, Bouncing Boy, Marvel's Impossible Man, Marvel's The Thing (Ben Grimm), Superman, and Wonder Woman. 
Status: 
This story has not yet been reprinted.

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