Thursday, January 14, 2016

Superboy & The Legion #247

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #247 (Jan, 1979)
title: "Savage Sanctuary!"
writer: Len Wein
penciller: Joe Staton
inker: Jack Abel
letterer: Ben Oda
colorist: Glynis Wein
editor: Jack C. Harris
cover: Joe Staton & Dick Giordano (signed)
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Superboy, Element Lad, Colossal Boy

The Fatal Five

In outer space, Superboy is flying away from Corvan IV. He is calling for reinforcements after the Fatal Five defeated him, Element Lad, and Colossal Boy.

On Earth, Mano and The Persuader are called telepathically by Tharok. They had voluntarily turned themselves in to wait for the Legionnaires to report after their investigation on Corvan IV; however, after Tharok had captured Element Lad and Colossal Boy, Tharok called them back to Corvan IV. They break loose and head off into space.

In outer space, Superboy has no luck contacting any other Legionnaires, so he heads back to Corvan IV alone.
Please note there are no other meteors to "bury" Validus. 
On Corvan IV, the Emerald Empress and Validus want to kill the captured Legionnaires, but Tharok convinces them to wait so that they can use their captured Legionnaires as hostages against the others.

On the way back to Corvan IV, Superboy spies some green Kryptonite in an asteroid field. He decides to use it against the Emerald Eye. In a complicated maneuver he forces the asteroid belt to hit the Emerald Eye. However, Validus breaks free from the asteroids immediately and attacks Superboy.
During his battle with Superboy, Validus damages the power structure of the area. This allows Element Lad and Colossal Boy to break free from their energized bonds. As Tharok, Emerald Empress, and Validus corner Superboy, the other two join the fray, evening the odds somewhat. Then Mano and the Persuader arrive from Earth and also join the fight.
Suddenly, one of the local people yells, "Enough!" The Fatal Five stops to listen to them. The people explain that they want the Fatal Five to leave. Chastised, they disappear.
If you thought the first part of this story was bad....sheesh. There is so much wrong with this story, I don't even know where to start. How about with the fact that Tharok contacts Mano & The Persuader on Earth telepathically.....millions of miles away, even though Tharok has never had any telepathic powers. Or the fact that Mano is shown blasting at things and Legionnaires, when his power has always been only via touch.

But those points are nothing compared to the idea that the subjugated people complain to the Fatal Five and then these cut-throat murderers....give up and leave!?! This is ludicrous. Everyone involved in this story should have read the return of the Fatal Five in Adventure Comics #365-366, where they subjugate Shadow Lass' planet. When *those* people asked them to leave, the Fatal Five laughed at them. Then beat them.

Also, Jack Abel inking Joe Staton is not attractive art. That is all.

title: "Celebration!"
writer: Paul Levitz
penciller: Joe Staton
inker: Dave Hunt
letterer: Mike Stevens
colorist: Cory Adams
editor: Jack C. Harris

Mission Monitor Board:  
all Legionnaires are shown, with featured players Brainiac 5, Wildfire, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Shadow Lass, Element Lad, Ultra Boy, Chameleon Boy, Mon-El, Star Boy, Dawnstar, Cosmic Boy, and Superboy

a "jinx" preventing the leader election from occurring  

It is election day at Legion head-quarters, and Shadow Lass admits that she has voted for Brainiac 5. Element Lad is also a candidate, and hopes to finally win. When he gently teases Brainy about that, Brainiac 5 storms away angrily.
Wildfire is about to vote when the computer short-circuits. Wildfire is up for re-election, and Brainiac 5 accuses him of sabotage, then storms off.
The 2979 Legion (sans Superboy, Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, and Tyroc) 
Wildfire leads everyone to the old voting computer in the trophy room. However, before they can start using it it suddenly falls through the floor into the underground lake. Without either computer to use, the election committee goes off to the create a back-up plan.

Several members are in the lounge when a fire explodes out of the fireplace, scaring Brainiac 5.

Chameleon Boy suggests that everyone assembles on a Legion Cruiser to vote. The fuel begins leaking, but Chameleon Boy surprises everyone by catching the jinx: Superboy!
Superboy explains that it is the anniversary of the day he was inducted into the Legion. At that time he had to endure four pranks: a short-circuited robot, a sunken statue, a fire, and leaking fuel. He was just getting back at them today by pranking them.

Everyone appreciates the practical joke. Then the computer on the cruiser spits out the election results: the winner is Lightning Lad!
This is a cute little story that shows us just how much Paul Levitz knew about the Legion. Except for the scenes of Brainiac 5 acting irrationally, though, there really isn't much to this story. However, because the Legion made their debut in Adventure Comics #247, I guess it is nice that Superboy #247 features a "celebration" of them.

This is the first instance where inker Dave Hunt is paired with penciller Joe Staton.  In my opinion, Dave Hunt was one of the few Staton inkers who could successfully tone down Staton's "cartoonishness."

Science Police Notes:  
  • This story is dedicated to Mort Weisinger, the editor who commissioned the very first Legion story in Adventure Comics #247.
  • Tyroc sends in his vote, but is not present during the election. 
  • Chameleon Boy shows us (again) that he a capable detective by realizing that the "jinx" was Superboy, then baiting him with the Legion cruiser's fuel.  
This issue has not yet been reprinted.

With this story, Wildfire is denied a second term as leader; Lightning Lad is elected as the Legion's 13th leader. Officially, Wildfire's term lasted from 22 issues, from Superboy/Legion #225 thru this issue. Although the letter column announces that the next election will be held "in a few months," Lightning Lad will not be replaced until Legion #291 (Sept 1982), a span of nearly four years.


  1. I sometimes wonder if Jack Abel is the anti-Colletta. Instead of erasing artwork like Vinie, he just spotted it in blacks. Every artist he ever touched suddenly got really handy with an inkwell, when he worked over their pencils. Sometimes the results were nice, but often times, it just looked REALLY heavy, versus their usual stuff.


  2. But they weren't subjugated. That was just the UP's assumption. These were just random aliens who had been kind to the five, and then the Legion shows up and jumps to conclusions assumes all that, incorrectly, violating their sovereignty based on those errors and resorting directly to violence.

    (Also, concerning legion danglers, was there ever any kind of answer given to the 'why is the Eye sensitive to Kryptonite' question? Even a definitively dismissive one saying it's just a coincidence that that kind of radiation harms it?)

    1. Well I guess we could argue the meaning of "subjugated." Clearly they were not as enslaved as the people on Shadow Lass' planet, I'll grant you that. But Our Heroes saw enough unhappy people to tell The Fatal Five that they were concerned, and then it was Tharok who screams, "I have no other option but to kill you!"

  3. Tharok DID have telepathy in earlier appearances, but it only worked on Validus. I suppose it could be a variation of the Legion's telepathic earplugs, assuming that he was continually upgrading his robot half.

    1. It's true Tharok had mind control powers (over Validus and then over the people of Talok VIII) but I still argue that isn't really the same as telepathic communication.
      I would agree with your telepathic ear-plugs idea if it had actually been sold that way.