Thursday, May 14, 2015

Superboy starring The Legion #219

Superboy starring The Legion of Super-Heroes #219 (Sept, 1976)
title: "Plunder Ploy of the Fatal Five!"
writer: Jim Shooter
penciller: Mike Grell
inker: Bob Wiacek
editor: Murray Boltinoff  
cover: Mike Grell (signed)
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Shrinking Violet, Superboy, Colossal Boy, Brainiac 5, Lightning Lad, Light Lass, Saturn Girl, Mon-El, Sun Boy, Ultra Boy

The Fatal Five

On Imsk, Shrinking Violet is on vacation with her boyfriend, Duplicate Boy, when Validus and the Persuader raid a micro-circuit factory. Duplicate Boy stops the Persuader using Superboy's strength, but when he tries to "absorb" Validus' power, he blacks out long enough for the Persuader to rip him open with his atomic axe. The Legion picks up Duplicate Boy, but he is in bad shape. They leave him at Legion HQ as they head to Imsk.

Out in space,  the Legion happens into the Fatal Five's cruiser, but Shrinking Violet, desperate to save her boyfriend, stops Brainiac 5 from shooting them out of the sky. Later, on the six-mooned planet Cyrem, Validus actually breaks off a chunk of the planet. Reports come in that android parts and poisons have also been stolen. Brainiac 5 is afraid that the Fatal Five is planning something big.
Back at Legion HQ, Saturn Girl reaches into Duplicate Boy's mind and gently turns on his power to mimic Superboy's invulnerability.
The Legion arrives at Cyrem and suddenly realizes where the Fatal Five are hiding. The Legion breaks up to chase after the individual members. Superboy wraps his cape around the Emerald Eye of Ekron, capturing the Emerald Empress. She had androids built to be her slaves.
Lightning Lad and Mon-El try to capture Validus, but he only wants to play with a huge baby rattler. Light Lass and Sun Boy go into a poisonous chamber to catch Mano. He knocks Sun Boy out, but Light Lass makes him super-light, then brings him back down to earth with a thud. The poisons were to mimic his native home's atmosphere.

Colossal Boy and Shrinking Violet catch up to the Persuader, and capture him as he Brainiac 5 and Ultra Boy attack Tharok, who is working on a new robotic body. Ultra Boy destroys it, but Tharok escapes, vowing vengeance because the Legion has "made this personal."
The Legion has captured three of the five, as Tharok escapes and commands Validus to fly away with him. It turns out that the Fatal Five wanted to live in comfort while they hatched their plans. Lastly, Saturn Girl communicates that Duplicate Boy will be okay.

This is a great story, probably one of the best Legion stories of the Seventies. Not only does it feature a dozen Legionnaires against their greatest foes, it's a mystery, a drama, and a romance, too. Except for the extended guest-appearance by Duplicate Boy and the melodrama that ensues, there are no sour notes in this issue.

With Superboy/Legion going monthly this issue, penciller Mike Grell was given an inker. Bob Wiacek adds a bit more detail to the backgrounds and to the overall look of the series. This is a combination that worked well. If you have the chance, you should pick this issue up. It's worth it.

Science Police Notes:  
  • The plot of the Fatal Five comes out of left field, but when revealed makes perfect sense. 
  • The hiding place of the Fatal Five is genius, benefiting the robotic brain of Tharok. 
  • Although Light Lass uses her powers to make Mano super-light-weight, after he falls she hits him with her oxygen bag, criticizing herself for doing so. 
  • This was the first issue of Superboy/Legion I received in my subscription to that title. After missing several issues, I finally saved up the money to subscribe. It was delivered directly to my house in a protective brown wrapper. 
Reprinted in The Legion of Super-Heroes Archives vol. 12 

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