Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #41

The Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #41 (Dec, 1987)
title: ",,,Shall Ne'er Burn So Bright..."
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:  
Colossal Boy, Element Lad, Sensor Girl, Mon-El, Polar Boy, White Witch, Sun Boy, Timber Wolf, Light Lass, Wildfire, Chameleon Boy, Shrinking Violet, Dawnstar, Dream Girl, Brainiac 5

Opponents: 
Starfinger and his lackeys Starlight, Starbright, and The Arranger



Synopsis: 
On Nix Olympia, three Legionnaires stop some of Starfinger's goons from destroying a resort. Meanwhile, Polar Boy is bringing his group back from the planet Tharr. White Witch believes Starfinger is on or near Mars. Sensor Girl, too, believes he is in that vicinity.

At Legion HQ on Earth, Sun Boy goes on a date while Timber Wolf is stuck on monitor duty.

In an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, several Legionnaires interrupt a transaction between Starfinger's goons and a black market customer. They push hard for information. Later, Wildfire tries to talk to Dawnstar, but she is still not used to his new appearance so brushes him off.
Dream Girl or Starbright? You decide...
Starfinger is frustrated by the Legion getting closer and closer to his organization. He threatens his Arranger with death if the Legion is not taken care of. Suddenly, the Legion breaks in. Starfinger and his super-powered lackeys, Starlight and Starbright, fight back. He shows a special hatred of Colossal Boy, which confuses the Legionnaire.
What is Brainiac 5 up to? Hmmm......
Back at Legion HQ, Brainiac 5 is too busy on his current investigation to take part in the attack on Starfinger.

Sensor Girl feels that Starfinger is going to destroy his own space station in order to kill the Legion. She orders them away just in time. After the explosion, the Legion is not sure what happened, or even if Starfinger is alive or dead.

Chameleon Boy visits his wounded friend, but Colossal Boy's wife throws him out.

In the debris of Starfinger's destroyed headquarters, we see his ring. The omniscient narrator informs us that Starfinger and his whole organization is hiding there.

Commentary: 
This issue is a disappointment from start to finish. The initial confrontation between Element Lad's team and the goons is just more of the same, and then is repeated again with Wildfire's team! This is boring! Speaking of Wildfire, since when does he "give off" radiation? That isn't how his powers work! If his altered form has different powers we should probably get a bit of back story on that, don't you think? Instead we get a throwaway line from Shrinking Violet that left me scratching my head.

Eventually, the Legion attacks Starfinger at his hide-out and I hoped to see some real action. Unfortunately, all we get is Starfinger running away and then disappearing. THIS is a super-villain?

I wonder now why Paul Levitz refused to give us any hint as to who or what Starfinger was in general, and the reasons he seemed to hate Colossal Boy in particular. SPOILER ALERT! By the time I read this story I had already learned that Starfinger was actually the escaped convict that Colossal Boy had a run in with on his very first mission (LSH #39). Why in the world that is not made clear here I have no idea!

As for the art, it continues to be dull and boring. Worst of all, this lethargy seems to have begun to infect the other creators. This time, the great colorist Carl Gafford, who has always done a terrific job, makes a huge boo-boo: he colors Dream Girl as Starbright by mistake....maybe. After the Legion attacks Starfinger's hide-out, a woman who might be Dream Girl or might be Starbright talks to Mon-El. She's colored as Starbright, but Mon-El calls her "Dreamy." However, Dream Girl is not shown anywhere else in the fight scene. So is it Starbright? Who knows. It's confusing.

And most disturbing of all, the cover by Steve Lightle is also dull and boring! While the characters look great, all it shows is the Legion is trying to attack Starfinger, who is just standing there. On second thought, that is a pretty good depiction of what happens in this story.

Lastly, I attempted to research the title, thinking it was a reference to "Tyger, tyger, burning bright...." by William Blake. It is not. I could not find any other poem with that stanza. Anyone have any idea where the title comes from?

Science Police Notes:  
  • Although Colossal Boy was shown to be on a mission with Element Lad and Sensor Girl, he breaks into Starfinger's headquarters with Wildfire and Dawnstar. 
  • Colossal Boy clearly sees Starfinger as soon as they break in; in fact, he speaks to him, However, Wildfire evidently does not, commenting that Starfinger might not even be present. 
Status: 
This story has not yet been reprinted.  

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