Thursday, August 27, 2015

Superboy and The Legion #233

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #233 (Nov, 1977)
title: "The Infinite Man Who Conquered Time The Legion!"
writer: Paul Levitz
pencillers: Jim Sherman
inker: Bob Wiacek
letterer: Ben Oda
colorist: Liz Berube
editor: Denny O'Neil
cover: Mike Grell (signed)
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Superboy, Star Boy, Lightning Lad, Brainiac 5, Dream Girl, Wildfire, Colossal Boy, Phantom Girl

Guests: 
Rond Vidar, Professor Jaxon Rugarth (Metropolis University Time Institute)

Opponents: 
Sklarian Raiders, Infinite Man

Synopsis: 
On Earth, four Legionnaires are bringing an experimental hyper-time drive back to their head-quarters when they are ambushed by Sklarian Raiders. This is only a slight delay in their schedule, however. When they return to LSH HQ Dream Girl is overjoyed to see them return. She admits that she had foreseen the attack, but that it was too late to do anything to help them, including her boyfriend, Star Boy. Wildfire is absolutely unsympathetic, and the others ignore him.


In the Legion HQ's laboratory, Rond Vidar works with Brainiac 5 to hook up the most powerful time machine he has ever created. He hopes to prove that time moves in a circular flow, and is not linear. Prof Jaxon Rugarth arrives as the volunteer for the time travel experiment. All machinery is connected, and the hyper-time machine blinks once, reappearing immediately. However, it had actually traveled through the circular time loop millions of times in that instant. Rugarth is now the Infinite Man. He wants to punish Rond for making him suffer in their experiment.

The Infinite Man breaks the time barrier, bringing dinosaurs to attack the Legion. He "time-stops" Star Boy and throws Superboy into another dimensional plane. When the Legion refuses to give up, the Infinite Man decides to escape to re-plan.

Legion leader Wildfire sends Brainiac 5, Dream Girl, and Phantom Girl to three different planets to try to find a way to destroy the Infinite Man. Meanwhile (?), the Infinite Man is in his own land, somewhere beyond time and space. He is honing his powers and also trying to decide how and when to return to exact revenge on Rond.

On Naltor, Dream Girl gets no help from the High Seer. Likewise, on Colu Brainiac 5 gets no advice from his people, either. On the planet Gendyx, Phantom Girl tries to communicate with the Timeless Ones, a race of immortal spirits, but they refuse to even listen to her.

Back on Earth, the Infinite Man returns, attacking Lightning Lad and the other Legionnaires. Brainiac 5 returns, just in time to hit on the idea of "overloading" him. Rond manages to re-connect the hyper-time machine, which sends the Infinite Man hurtling back into another circular time trip. He and Brainiac 5 vow to work on curing him and bringing him back.

Commentary: 
This is my favorite Paul Levitz-Jim Sherman LSH story. Not only is the art fantastic, but the story is just plain exciting. The adventure starts off simply, with a bothersome attack by Sklarian Raiders, but is illustrated so nicely by Sherman and wonder-inker Bob Wiacek that there isn't anything dull about it. Then almost immediately the story segues into a cosmic adventure of time travel and time theory. Although I do wonder why the Infinite Man seemed to be so easy to beat, that didn't occur to me until *after* I had finished reading the story.

I can't say enough about the illustrations. The reflections of the Legionnaires in the glass of their HQ is one of the all-time classic Legion illustrations. Speaking of reflections, check out how often and how well the Legionnaires are reflected on Wildfire's face-mask. And on page (21), check out how Star Boy and Brainiac 5's Legion flight rings are used to switch scenes. Great idea by Paul and great art by Jim! Sherman is a fantastic artist, and Bob Wiacek is such a better match for him that Jack Abel ever was! After I read this issue I had hope that the Legion quality was on the upswing....!


title: "The Final Illusion"
writer: Paul Levitz (story idea by Mike Nasser)
penciller: Mike Nasser
inker: Bob Layton
letterer: Ben Oda
colorist: Liz Berube
editor: Denny O'Neil

Mission Monitor Board:  
Princess Projectra, Saturn Girl, Chameleon Boy, Dream Girl; cameo by Karate Kid

Opponents: 
loneliness; cameo by Universo  


Synopsis: 
Princess Projectra has collapsed into a coma after Karate Kid left her to go back to the 20th Century. Saturn Girl "reads" the situation going on in her mind: Projectra is so lonely without him that she has "turned off" and retreated into her sub-conscious illusional world in order to be happy.

The doctor they have called in warns Saturn Girl that she should not intrude into Projectra's sub-conscious or it could prove fatal. Dream Girl suggests that Saturn Girl give Projectra a nightmare, forcing Jeckie to want to escape her sub-conscious and return to reality. However, after the nightmare starts Projectra retreats even farther into her sub-conscious instead of facing the illusion of Universo.

Chameleon Boy suggests that Saturn Girl re-enter Projectra's mind and this time, gently push her sub-conscious forward. Projectra then sees Karate Kid, who saves her from Universo. However, as they embrace he suddenly disappears. Wanting more, Projectra wakes herself up.

Commentary: 
Here is another "Princess Projectra projects herself into her illusions" stories. This is atleast the second one I have read. Did the creators really think that this type of story was more interesting than, say, Projectra making some bad guys see their own nightmares?!? To me this story portrays Princess Projectra as a weakling and as a coward. If this was followed up by a serious butt-kicking story than I would be more inclined to let this one go, but as we all know, Projectra had to wait another eight years before anything exciting happened to her. Not a fan of this.

That being said, it is lovely to look at. This time out we get Mike Nasser's dynamic pencils inked by Bob Layton. He didn't do a lot of Legion stuff, but he should have. The backgrounds are nice and each Legionnaire looks distinctive. This is a huge improvement over Jack Abel.

Science Police Notes:  
  • Saturn Girl and Mon-El appear on the cover but do not appear in the story.  
  • The Infinite Man does not reappear until LSH (v3) #18. Our review of that story is HERE
  • Although the Editor's note says Karate Kid went back to the past "last issue," that scene was never shown. This is probably a reference to Karate Kid and Princess Projectra appearing in the Fatal Five story TWO issues ago.  
  • In an odd coincidence, Dream Girl, Chameleon Boy, and Saturn Girl are three of the main Legionnaires who battle the real Universo in LSH #33 (not #233). Brainiac 5 should have been in this story instead of the nameless doctor, and then we would have all four of the Universo Project Legionnaires here.  
Status: 
Reprinted in The Legion of Super-Heroes Archives vol. 13 

2 comments:

  1. If this isn't my favorite LSH issue ever, I'd be hard pressed to say which one I like better. The art is amazing, and the Infinite Man is the best villain Paul Levitz ever created. And while I'll concede the backup story isn't the best, the young me certainly appreciated the way Mike Nasser drew the female characters.

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  2. Looking back, I can't help but feel there was some political wrangling that got Jeckie into the Legion, much like in the Waid version. President Boltax: "Look, Rokk, I know it's a lame super-power, but it is a super-power, and we need Orando in the UP to keep it out of Mordru's clutches."

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