Thursday, December 3, 2015

Superboy & The Legion #243

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #243 (Sept, 1978)
title: "Earth's Last Stand"
writer: Paul Levitz
penciller: Joe Staton
inker: Jack Abel
letterer: Jean Simek
colorist: Cory Adams
editor: Al Milgrom
cover: Mike Grell & Joe Rubinstein (signed)
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Wildfire, Sun Boy, Superboy, Colossal Boy, Element Lad, Mon-El, Ultra Boy, Dawnstar, Chameleon Boy, Princess Projectra, Star Boy, Cosmic Boy, Timber Wolf, Phantom Girl, Light Lass, Shrinking Violet, Dream Girl, Brainiac 5

SP Officer Shvaughn; Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, Duo Damsel, Bouncing Boy; the Legion of Substitute Heroes (Polar Boy, Night Girl, Stone Boy, Fire Lad, Chlorophyll Kid, Color Kid)

the Khunds, the Dark Circle, unnamed terrorist

At LSH HQ, SP officer Shvaughn is watching the current situations on Weber's World, in space near Earth, and in outer space. She has a message to them about an escaped foe, but no one is there to receive it.
On Weber's World, missiles attack the arriving Dominators. Ultra Boy and Mon-El stop the missiles and rescue the aliens while Dawnstar and Wildfire try to catch the terrorists. However, they disappear before they could be captured.

Superboy and his group of Legionnaires arrive on Weber's World after tracking the hyper beam from Khundia. The Dominators trust the Legion, but not Relnic & Ontiir. They insist that all the Legionnaires stay on Weber's World.
Above Earth, the Khund invasion continues. The remaining Legionnaires arrive from their off-world mission to try to stop them, but they are captured.

Brainiac 5 is flying towards Weber's World when he is caught in a Black Hole and disappears. Even Superboy, Mon-El, and Ultra Boy with their super-vision cannot find him.

Peace negotiations begin on Weber's World, but Relnic explodes and they all disappear. Outside, the Legion traces the hyperbeam to the conference room. Ontiir tries to stop them from entering the conference room with his security robots. By the time they burst into the room, all the negotiators are gone.
On Earth, the Substitutes try valiantly to repel the Khunds, but eventually fail. Meanwhile, the four retired Legionnaires Duo Damsel, Bouncing Boy, Saturn Girl, and Lighting Lad step up to help defend Earth.

Oh how the great have fallen...! After two fantastic issues featuring Jim Sherman art, this time out we get the talented but nowhere near as appropriate Joe Staton as penciller. Worse, we get Jack Abel on inks. A comment in the letters' page says that Staton & Abel will be the regular artists from this issue, and Jim Sherman & Bob McLeod will do the occasion fill-in. Unfortunately, Jim Sherman never came back to The Legion except for two guest-appearances several years later.

Besides the drastically different art, however, the story is moving along nicely. I question why SP Officer Erin could not leave a message of some kind for the Legion, or contact them somehow...but perhaps she is being manipulated NOT to? Hmmm.....maybe.

The major criticism I have of this issue is the total absence of Tyroc. It was established last issue that he was on "detached duty." However, with the entire planet Earth under attack, you think Paul Levtiz could have given us a single panel of him being struck down by the Khunds with the other Legionnaires. This is just silly not to throw him into a panel.

The tension is getting ratcheted up as the Dark Circle-Khund alliance seems to be paying off...!

Science Police Notes:  
  • Shadow Lass and Tyroc do not appear in this story. 
  • Element Lad is shown wearing his Dave Cockrum-designed suit at the beginning of the adventure, but then is shown in his Jim Sherman-designed but never worn "alchemist" uniform for one panel (see above; that's Element Lad behind Ultra Boy).   
  • Night Girl and the Substitute Heroes are all wearing their "classic" uniforms, and not their more recently re-designed Mike Grell uniforms.  
This issue has not yet been reprinted.

This is the first Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes issue in the short-lived DC Explosion format.  


  1. I thought it was obvious from the very first issue #241 first pages, that officer Erin was being manipulated by "forces" (I won't reveal them to those who haven't read the whole series) to prevent her from giving her message to the legion, and it won't be delivered until too late, at the end, because of that same force.

    1. I guess I was just a bit slow on the uptake. I only noticed it here because she never even considers calling them or writing a note or anything...