Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #52

The Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #52 (Nov, 1988)
title: "Rites of Passage"
writer: Paul Levitz
penciller/co-plotter: Keith Giffen
inker: Mike DeCarlo
lettering: John Costanza
colorist: Carl Gafford
asst editor: Art Young 
editor: Karen Berger 
cover: Steve Lightle
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Polar Boy, Element Lad, Saturn Girl, Dream Girl, Quislet, Magnetic Kid, Lightning Lass, Tellus, Shadow Lass, Mon-El, Blok

Opponents: 
Hywyndr



Synopsis: 
At Legion HQ, Brainiac 5 has packed up and left, leaving behind an A.I. named Computo but looking very much like how Validus used to look. This annoys Polar Boy (because Brainy is gone) and Saturn Girl (Validus' mother). Quislet doesn't understand why everyone is upset, as Legionnaires leave and join all the time, so Element Lad tells him to shut up.
Polar Boy is feeling overwhelmed. He reaches out to Dream Girl, who tells him it's time to prove he can be a Leader. Polar Boy FINALLY understands that he must start making decisions on his own. He decides to come up with a plan to cover Brainiac 5's absence.
On Braal, Magnetic Kid, Lightning Lass, and Tellus are called out to investigate earth-quakes. During their welcoming ceremony, an earth-quake occurs and the three Legionnaires do what they can to keep the crowd from getting hurt.

On Daxam, Shadow Lass has brought Mon-El to be operated on, but doctors there cannot incise or run analysis on his indestructible body. They do what they can to stabilize him. Meanwhile, Shadow Lass has "bound herself" to him by cutting off her finger in the traditional Talokian wedding ceremony.
At the Trans-Cultural Museum (in Cleveland), Blok is ruminating on not ever being able to know his past when a little alien man asks him to join him on a journey.
Back on Braal, the three are visiting the Reservations where Metallic Monsters are kept when the creatures go wild, attacking the magnetic fences. The Legionnaires stop the animals from getting out, then Tellus communicates with them to find out what they were thinking.
Tellus leads the others to an Open Pit Mine that one of the Metallic Monsters had in its head. They investigate and find a Gil'Dishpan named Hywndr causing the quakes. He then starts an air funnel and drops tons of rock on them, but thanks to their quick thinking they survive and vow to catch him.
Commentary: 
My favorite part of this story is probably the page where Polar Boy finally decides that it is time to stand on his own two feet. He was elected leader in LSH (v3) #36 but it has taken nearly his whole term to realize that he has not been his own man. Clearly writer Paul Levitz wanted to show the problems of being Legion leader, which is fine. I just wish this scene had happened about six months earlier.

In another odd bit of characterization, Lightning Lass is shown to be actively pursuing the younger Magnetic Kid. Chronology is a difficult thing to talk about in comics, but two things are inarguable: Lightning Lass is the same age as Lightning LAD, who is similar in age to Cosmic Boy; and Cosmic Boy has been shown to be quite a few years older than his younger brother, Magnetic Kid.
An older woman going after a younger man is an exciting dynamic. It will be interesting to see where this goes.

However, the sub-plot with Mon-El appears to be going nowhere quickly. If Mon-El is indestructible and therefore incurable, isn't the smartest thing to just let him recuperate? Let his own super-body cure itself? It is interesting that Shadow Lass chose to marry Mon-El when he could not stop her.

I have to say that Magnetic Kid and Tellus have quickly become two of my favorite Legionnaires. Both are just so good-hearted and enthusiastic about being Legionnaires. Plus, I think they get along very well, both personality-wise and power-wise.

Science Police Notes:  
  • The Braalian official is proud to boast that Braal is one of only four worlds that can claim more than one Legionnaire. For your information the others are Earth (Wildfire, Invisible Kid, Colossal Boy), Naltor (Dream Girl and White Witch), and Winath (Lightning Lad and Lightning Lass). He probably forgot Krypton (Superboy and Supergirl) because they are no longer in-continuity. 
  • This adventure features three Legionnaires with telepathic, lightning, and magnetic powers.... but who are not The Founders. 
  • There is no reason given for why the three Legionnaires head out to the Braalian Reservation. 
Status: 
This story has not yet been reprinted.  

Milestone: 
Shadow Lass marries Mon-El in this issue. 

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