Thursday, July 16, 2015

DC Special #28

DC Special #28 (July 1977) 
Earth Shattering Disasters! 
title: "The City That Stopped---Dead!"
writer: Paul Levitz
penciller: Arvell Jones
inker: Bob Layton
colorist: Liz Berube
lettering: Bill Morse
editor: Paul Levitz 
cover: Al Milgrom
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Phantom Girl, Brainiac 5, Ultra Boy, Timber Wolf, Chemical King

Opponents: 
Fenton Pike

Synopsis: 
On Earth, the fusion power-sphere in Metropolis suddenly goes dead. Brainiac 5's team investigates it while Timber Wolf and Ultra Boy are on damage control.



The three Legionnaires come face-to-face with Fenton Pike, who is determined to get revenge on the city of Metropolis. He has rigged the power sphere to stall, building up energy but not releasing it. He disappears as they realize that if they can not turn off the sphere's override, the power sphere will explode....destroying all of Metropolis.

Chemical King manages to slow down the reactor, lowering the amount of radiation. That allows Phantom Girl to enter the sphere itself to manually turn off the override.


Brainiac 5 sends Ultra Boy and Timber Wolf back to Legion head-quarters, guessing that the safest place to experience the explosion would be the Legion's head-quarters. They find Pike hiding in the basement and take him in.


Meanwhile, Phantom Girl is successful at fixing the damage he caused, and she and Chemical King both collapse, exhausted.

Commentary: 
This is one of my favorite stories, only because it works on so many different levels. I always knew that Chemical King was a good character, so he and Phantom Girl saving the city of Metropolis doesn't surprise me. In a future with more radiation and chemicals, not less, Chemical King should have had a whole slew of cool abilities.

I also like the group of Legionnaires here: you can imagine that when the alarm went off Phantom Girl and Ultra Boy were at the club-house about to go out on a date, and that maybe Timber Wolf and Chemical King were just hanging out. They joined the Legion together, remember, so were good friends.  And Brainiac 5 was probably chilling in his lab.

The action is exciting, and the scale of the disaster is well represented. Artist Arvell Jones does a good job conveying the amount of chaos in Metropolis that night; I wonder if he had been in New York City during their actual black-outs? Bob Layton's inks add a metallic-like polish to the pencils, making them more futuristic and cool.

It's odd to see bad-guy Fenton Pike here. When he appeared in Superboy/Legion #222 who would have thought that he would come back as an Iron Man? Like he said, it would have been nice to have seen Tyroc, too.

Science Police Notes:  
  • Brainiac 5 is armed with a force-field, but does not enter the fusion sphere to help Phantom Girl. 
  • Pike planned to hide in the bunker where the Legion had imprisoned Mordru. 
  • This adventure occurs after the incidents shown in Superboy/Legion #227, as Chemical King references that story by saying that both Brainiac 5 and Phantom Girl had just gotten back from Colu. 
  • Ironically, Ultra Boy was the Legionnaire who originally captured Pike in Superboy/Legion #222
  • According to a PR notice in a Daily Planet blurb, this issue was originally supposed to feature the Legion, Aquaman, and Superman instead of Batman. 
  • Jim Aparo drew the Table of Contents page featuring co-stars Batman, Aquaman, and the Legion. 
Status: 
This story has not yet been reprinted.  

Milestone: 
This is the first time that Arvell Jones drew a Legion of Super-Heroes story. He was never the official "regular" penciller, but he did quite a few "back-up" or "secondary" stories in the Giant Sized Superboy/Legion book. 

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