Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #29

The Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #29 (Dec, 1986)
title: "No Star Shall Shine"
writer: Paul Levitz
penciller: Greg LaRocque
inker: Mike DeCarlo
ink assist: Arne Starr
lettering: John Costanza
colorist: Carl Gafford
editor: Karen Berger 
cover: Steve Lightle
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Mon-El, Shadow Lass, Element Lad, Widlfire, White Witch, Quislet, Tellus, Magnetic Kid, Polar Boy, Phantom Girl, Sun Boy, Lightning Lass, Dream Girl

Ambassador Relnic

Starfinger and his cronies, Universo (unseen)

On Labyrinth, the new prison planet, Mon-El and Shadow Lass stop to verify that the corpse that the authorities have is really Dr. Lars Hanscomb, the first Starfinger. They are surprised to see that he has had a star burned into his face.

At Starfinger's secret head-quarters, the new Starfinger is hearing the report of the assassin Galadron. He has successfully killed Hanscomb, and is about to be paid off when he makes a rude comment to Starfinger. So the crime boss, in a fit of pique, kills him. Starfinger's arrangers will have the assassin's body found on Titan so as not to create any ties with their organization.

At Legion HQ, Tellus is about to lead a group of Legionnaires to his home planet of Hykraius. They have been asked to investigate a sighting of the missing SP officers there. Element Lad then agrees to send Mon-El, Ultra Boy, and Blok with Ambassador Relnic on a diplomatic mission. As he does this, however, he is beginning to be concerned about the Legion being spread too thin.

At the Nix Olympica resort on Mars,  the Legion stops a band of thugs threatening the owner of Olympia Towers. However, he is not afraid of the thugs, he is afraid of their boss: Starfinger! After the owner explains the situation, the Legionnaires wait for another attack. Unfortunately, they are not disappointed, as a huge laser begins blasting the mountain resort. Phantom Girl is able to stop the laser, but not before it blasts a huge star-shaped emblem on the surface. Magnetic Kid is concerned that he is not pulling his weight as a  Legionnaire.

In space on the way to Hykraius, Tellus explains that his planet thought they were alone in "Great Mother Ocean" for generations until another alien race finally visited Hykraius. The Gil'Dishpan, when they visited them, revealed the universe beyond their atmosphere to them. Tellus knows that Wildfire's complaints about the nature of their mission are nervous jokes, as he reveals that it was Wildfire who had Brainiac 5 invent Tellus' life-support helmet in the first place.

At Starfinger's secret head-quarters, he orders one last attack on Mars. He is angered by the interference by the Legion, but he has promised someone that he would not attack Earth. So Starfinger plans to destroy the entire resort town, and hopefully those Legionnaires with it.

Another group attacks Mars, this time a gang of Braalian criminals. However, native Braalian Magnetic Kid takes this attack personally. Edged on by his anger, his recent frustrations, and his love of his home planet, Magnetic Kid fights all four thugs single-handedly and captures them while his team-mates are handling damage control.

Starfinger is fed up with the situation. He orders all activities on Mars to end because he wants the Legionnaires to think that he has given up. Then he orders that after one week the resort owner be killed; he also orders the Braalians killed for failing him. As he blasts another one of his cronies when he had said "us," Starfinger reminds him that it is "him," never "us." And he vows revenge against the Legion.

First of all, this cover is another one of Steve Lightle's best. Every time I look at it I see something new. Are all the Legionnaires there? I'm guessing yes, but I never took a list and went searching "Where's Waldo?" The colors and the layout are just perfect.

Unfortunately, the story seems like yet another "place-holder," if that is the word. Paul Levitz seems to be building up for his Universo story arc, which is fine, but in the meantime he wants to have a few other story plots boiling over, too. It might have been better to have a few one-and-done stories instead of giving us another non-ending. That is two in a row by my count.

Besides not enjoying how the story is laid out, though, I did mostly enjoy it. I especially like the interaction between Tellus and his group. White Witch and Wildfire are polar opposites, and it's fun to see Tellus react to both of them. Quislet is there, too, but he isn't really adding anything to the proceedings yet.

As for the other group, is it just me, or is Polar Boy coming off like something close to a pompous ass here? He is obviously annoying the resort owner, and his posturing about "The Legion can handle anything!' is seriously naive. And then his interaction with Magnetic Kid....I don't know what Levitz was going for, but reading it now it seems like Polar Boy is coming on awfully strong. Is he trying to impress Magnetic Kid, or is he trying to flirt with him? It just reads odd to me, especially since Polar Boy was always one of my favorites, and I am not appreciating this dweeb personality.

Speaking of Magnetic Kid, his moment to shine is written fine, and it IS a great moment. Unfortunately, due to the choreography of artist Greg LaRoque, I really have no idea what is going on during his battle. Look again at the panel reproduced above and tell me what is happening. LaRoque drew Magnetic Kid, and a whole lot of concentric circles, and blue and white colors....and that's about it. This is another example that proves to me that Mike DeCarlo was not the proper inker for LaRoque. Would Larry Mahlstedt have made this sequence better? I don't know. I do think that Keith Giffen and Steve Lightle could pull this sort of thing off, but obviously, these gentlemen can't.

Science Police Notes:  
  • The last time we visited Nix Olympica was the wedding of Duo Damsel and Bouncing Boy, which was crashed by....Starfinger! The attack in this story seems to be only a coincidence, as Paul makes no specific mention to any link between villains.  
  • The last time we saw Starfinger was in LSH Annual #3 (1984) when Lightning Lad captured him. 
This story has not yet been reprinted.  


  1. The Starfinger plot will be buried for most of the next year, story wise, coming up in 40-41, and then 47-49 as the B plot, with Annual 4 as the payoff.

    1. Right, a so-so villain stretched over a longer period of time than he really deserved.