Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #48

The Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #48 (July, 1988)
title: "A Time To Die"
writer: Paul Levitz
penciller: Greg LaRocque
inker: Mike DeCarlo
lettering: John Costanza
colorist: Carl Gafford
editor: Karen Berger 
cover: Ken Steacy
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Brainiac 5, Saturn Girl, Mon-El, Chameleon Boy, Magnetic Kid, Tellus, Sensor Girl, Element Lad, Dream Girl, Timber Wolf, Blok, Colossal Boy, Quislet, Invisible Kid

Guests: 
Duo Damsel

Opponents: 
Starfinger, the threat of the Conspiracy



Synopsis: 
At Legion HQ, Duo Damsel is communicating with Saturn Girl and Brainiac 5, telling them that Tellus learned that Saturn Girl is part of The Conspiracy via their telepathic communications. Brainiac 5 warns them that Sensor Girl is also aware of their activities.
Out in deep space, Mon-El contemplates Brainiac 5's sanity as he picks up a superfluous dwarf star from a binary star system and brings it back to Legion head-quarters.
Somewhere else, Starfinger is posturing before his lackeys, boasting that his Armorer is working on a "projector" that can reach out and destroy the Legionnaires from a distance. Starfinger tells them to attune the death ray to the Legionnaires' flight rings. Chameleon Boy in his role as a spy is assigned the job of acquiring a real flight ring.
At Legion HQ, Magnetic Kid and Tellus are talking about the Conspiracy when Sensor Girl interrupts them to join in their discussion. She sets up a privacy shield so they can talk in private.
Element Lad is on monitor duty when Mon-El arrives with the dwarf star. He flies it into the lab, but it proves to be unstable, so Mon-El has to quickly fly it off Earth.
Elsewhere, Chameleon Boy decides to copy his own flight ring at the Science Police "duplicator" in order to provide a "mock" ring. However, he is seen by SP officers, so instead of explaining what he is doing, he vanishes without completing his task. He decides to go back to Starfinger and bring him down, regardless.
As Mon-El and Blok work together to get the dwarf star back into space, Magnetic Kid and Tellus confront Brainiac 5 and Saturn Girl. All four Legionnaires are angry; the newer members know that something is going on, and the elder members refuse to explain to them.
On Mars, Chameleon Boy admits defeat to Starfinger, who promises to kill him. He hands Cham over to Dr. Hazeg, the man who created the death ray projector. He has solved Starfinger's problem by teleporting a flight ring from a corpse on Shanghalla. Chameleon Boy is upset with him until he realizes that Dr. Hazeg is actually Colossal Boy in disguise!
Commentary: 
This issue is another "place holder" to pad out the seemingly never-ending Starfinger and Conspiracy storylines. We get artificial drama from Chameleon Boy trying to duplicate a Legion flight ring; why in the world would he not just show himself to the SP officers and tell him he needed to make a mock-up of a Legion flight-ring? "Too hard to explain...."?? Or he could have gone back to Legion HQ and acquired one and tinkered with it so it wouldn't work properly. Where was he going to say he got it from, anyway? OR, he could have gone back to Mars with the Legion Espionage Squad, seeing as how he knew where Starfinger's base was.

And then Starfinger, who loves to strut around like a peacock but doesn't actually do much, doesn't blast Chameleon Boy when he fails. Surprise! Because it's Chameleon Boy, of course he isn't blasted. He's handed over to a mad scientist who just happens to be Cham's best friend. So let's review....we have seen over the course of three issues where Cham has gone to great lengths to set up a new identity in order to worm his way into Starfinger's organization, and yet now we see Colossal Boy do the exact same thing only better, in the space of one issue, and he's not even wearing a mask?! What the hell?

The characterization of Mon-El seems spot-on this issue, as he questions Brainiac's actual state of mind. Requesting a dwarf star be brought to Earth, just to try an experiment? That is sheer lunacy. I find it hard to believe that he and Saturn Girl didn't insist that their lab be relocated off-Earth.

I also liked the anti-Conspirators actions this issue. Magnetic Kid, Tellus, and, to a lesser degree Sensor Girl, all seemed to have their hearts in the right place as they stood up for what they believe the Legion stands for. This part of the story was very well done.  

Science Police Notes:  
  • According to Mon-El, the heat of the dwarf sun is strong enough to melt inertron, yet his clothes are not so much as singed. 
  • There is a ballot on the letters' page for the next election, but Shadow Lass is inadvertently left off the list of current members.  
Status: 
This story has not yet been reprinted.  

Milestone: 
This is the last regular issue of Legion of Super-Heroes for penciller Greg LaRoque. He began his run as regular artist with LSH #17, staying with the title for more than three years. 

2 comments:

  1. Ah, the "Mon-El brings a white dwarf star to Earth" issue. *Lots* of reader complaints on that one; turns out even comic book fans have a limit on how much physics they're willing to ignore. (Though I guess Ray Palmer gets a pass because it was only a "fragment" of a white dwarf, not that that makes any sense, either.) (Levitz, to his credit, admitted it was a mistake pretty much right away.)

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    1. Yes, I just yesterday re-read that letter column when he basically said, "Oops, sorry." Pretty funny and endearing, actually.

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