Thursday, January 21, 2016

Superboy & The Legion #248

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #248 (Feb, 1979)
title: "Beneath The Streets Lurks....Death!"
writer: Gerry Conway
penciller: Joe Staton
inker: Dave Hunt
letterer: Ben Oda
colorist: Gene D'Angelo
editor: Jack C. Harris
cover: Joe Staton & Dick Giordano (signed)
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Sun Boy, Phantom Girl, Cosmic Boy, Shadow Lass, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Mon-El, Superboy, Brainiac 5; cameo of Light Lass and Colossal Boy

RJ Brande

muck monsters "living" in the sewers under Metropolis

Under the city of Metropolis, Sun Boy is leading a group of Legionnaires to investigate a problem with the city's sewer filtration system. The Tech Corps have investigated, but the team that went farthest were scared by something out of a fright holo-picture. The SP has asked the Legion to help out.
Just as they finish reviewing the situation, Shadow Lass is grabbed by a tentacle and slammed against the wall. The sewer heaves like a living volcano, as a monster come to life. Phantom Girl attacks, but is scared and remains tangible a moment too long. She recovers and causes the monster to slam into the wall. Sun Boy then bakes it.
At Legion HQ, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl are enjoying dinner together when Saturn Girl "senses" that Shadow Lass has been injured. They rush to the Medi-Lab, overlooking an infiltration that has begun in their sink.
Mon-El is distraught at Shadow Lass' injury, blaming Sun Boy. He grabs Shady and flies her at super-speed to Brainiac 5 in the Medi-Lab. Brainiac 5 insists he is too busy to look at her until Mon-El threatens him with bodily harm. After running some tests on her he tells everyone that she will either live, or die. Brainiac 5 then walks off. This angers Mon-El and the others, but there is nothing they can do.

At Brande Enterprises, RJ Brande hears the news that he is bankrupt. He refuses to believe it is not some type of plot when he, too, is attacked by a sewer monster. He sends out an emergency signal to the Legion, and most of the members rush off. Brainiac 5 refuses to go, Mon-El refuses to leave Shadow Lass' side, and Sun Boy is too distracted over Shady to go. Suddenly, the sewer monster who has infiltrated the HQ through Lightning Lad's sink attacks.

This starts off as a fine "horror" story, as a handful of classic Legionnaires are called in to investigate odd occurrences in the Metropolis sewers. Earth is still cleaning up after the Earthwar, so the Legion is (mostly) happy to help out. However, as soon as the monster(s) attack, the story starts to break down. Shadow Lass caught unaware? Phantom Girl too scared to use her powers? Mon-El threatening Brainiac 5? Brainiac 5 putting an experiment before the life of one of his team-mates? Sun Boy being too upset to go out on a mission? What the heck is going on here?

Mostly it is a new writer and a new editor trying to "get" the characters. All of these mistakes can be attributed to their being unfamiliar with the Legion. Things will get better by the end of Gerry Conway's tenure.

The art this time is by the newest "permanent" art team of Joe Staton and Dave Hunt, who now have two issues in a row to their credit. So far so good.....they are clearly trying to give each member their own unique look. And the monsters are sufficiently horrible.

Science Police Notes:  
  • The cover scene features Mon-El threatening Sun Boy, but in the story he actually threatens Brainiac 5.
  • Shadow Lass is "dead" on the cover, but not in the story. 
  • Sun Boy boasts that his body exudes wattage which will fry the sewer monsters. Wattage is a measurement of electricity (amperage times voltage). It is not a measurement of heat.
  • For this one issue, Lightning Lad parts his hair to his left. 
  • Sun Boy is mistakenly referred to as Superboy on page 11.
This issue has not yet been reprinted.

Gerry Conway becomes the regular writer of Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes with this issue. He will miss the two-parter in S/LSH #250-251, then return in #252 for approximately two years' worth of stories.

1 comment:

  1. I remember buying this off the rack at my local drugstore and being dismayed to find it was the first part of a two-part story, since back in those days there was no guarantee I'd ever be able to find the next part. (My hometown didn't get its first comic shop until several years later, when I was in high school.) I wasn't a regular-enough reader of the title at that point to pick up on any of the issues mentioned above. I just knew it was a damn exciting story and I was terribly anxious I'd never find out how it ended.