Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #53

The Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #53 (Dec, 1988)
title: "Hunters and Hunted"
writer: Paul Levitz
layouts/co-plotter: Keith Giffen
finisher: 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:  
Magnetic Kid, Lighting Lass, Tellus; Element Lad, Polar Boy, Colossal Boy, Timber Wolf, Shadow Lass, Mon-El

Hywndr, the Khunds

On Braal, the three Legionnaires continue their search for Hywndr. They talk about calling in others, but Magnetic Kid wants to solve the case on their own. Suddenly, Hywndr attacks, first with a cyclone and then with a landslide. Magnetic Kid stops the boulders as Lightning Lass attacks Hywndr. He takes what she throws at him, then teleports away.
Afterwards, Lightning Lass is content to relax at a pool with Magnetic Kid, but he can't stop thinking about the case. She tries to hit on him when he gets an inspiration to track weather anomalies, which should lead them to Hywndr.
Impressed with his back-side, maybe? 
They then find tornadoes where there shouldn't be any, so head out towards them. They find Hywndr, and Tellus uses his telekinetic powers to bring him on-board their cruiser. Away from the planet, which is his power source, Hywndr is unable to attack. Lightning Lass easily shocks him unconscious.
At Legion HQ, more new Medi-Lab pieces are delivered. Element Lad is concerned that no one can use them, as the Legion's top scientists (Brainiac 5, Mon-El, and Dream Girl) are all unavailable. Colossal Boy hopes that someone can use it so that he can be treated at HQ instead of at home. Timber Wolf helps move the equipment, telling the others that Blok has gone missing.
On Daxam, Shadow Lass takes Mon-El off-world to continue to search for a cure for what the Time Trapper did to him. Out in space they are attacked by Khunds, who had heard rumors that Mon-El was deathly ill. Shadow Lass uses her powers to get close to their war-ship and confuse them. Then Mon-El is able to use his heat-vision to damage their vessel so that they can escape.
On Labyrinth,  Garak of the Glow is brought before Warden Tsaquin as he is admitted as a new prisoner. Outside the prison's air space, the Emerald Eye watches.

For the umpteenth time, a Legion story seems like something of a place-holder. Even though the regular creative team is on-board here, nothing really happens in this issue. Shadow Lass and Mon-El, specifically, are literally wandering through space. Why? I don't understand why they aren't just shuffled off-stage (like White Witch and Star Boy have been) and then brought back when/if Levitz & Geffen decide what they are going to do with them.

Similarly, Garak of the Glow was introduced two issues ago and this time is shown being brought to the prison planet. So? Was all this space really worth the last page pay-off? Sure, I got goose-bumps with that last scene. However, I think we could have gotten the same kick (or maybe more) if we had ONLY gotten this one page scene. Maybe that's just me.

The main part of the issue, of course, is the action on Braal with Tellus, Magnetic Kid, and Lightning Lass. I do like that the two humans take Hywndr's attacks personally while Tellus does not, even though he is the one that the villain insults the most. Hywndr refers to Tellus' race as "inferior" and as his master throughout this adventure; then when Tellus captures him, he throws the term back at him sarcastically. Bits like this really make me like Tellus. 

Speaking of Hywndr, though....what WAS his plot? It's never made clear. And what is it about Braal that makes bad guys want to terra-form it? Refer back to World-Smith in Superboy/Legion #236, when a similar attack occurs on Braal.

The most notorious (?) thing about this issue is the "cougar attack" of Lightning Lass on Magnetic Kid. As mentioned in last issue's review, although the Legionnaires' ages were never clearly established, Lighting Lass is definitely the same age as Cosmic Boy, who is several years older than Magnetic Kid. Still, that isn't such a big deal, is it? Best friends go out with their buddy's little sisters all the time, right? The age difference doesn't bother me so much.

What strikes me every time I read this story, though, is the passion of Lighting Lass, especially compared to the lack of interest shown by Magnetic Kid to her advances. Take another look at that page shown above. In panel 4, where is Lightning Lass' left hand? On Magnetic Kid's abs, or even lower? And yet he isn't reacting at all! Now that I'm older, I always read this as trying to tell us that Magnetic Kid is gay. What do other fans think?

Science Police Notes:  
  • Lightning Lass' new uniform is destroyed in her attack on Hywndr. She later borrows an SP uniform to wear. 
  • Polar Boy has returned to his original, pre-Legion era uniform (with fur) but without a skull-cap or helmet. 
  • This trio of Legionnaires featured in this adventure has the same powers of the three founding Legionnaires: magnetism, lightning, and telepathy. 
  • The interlac on the cover reads, "BS Tech" on the left and "Pulse Code Modulater" on the right. 
This story has not yet been reprinted.  


  1. The Pol/ Ayla hook up always struck me for it's casualness. Both Ayla and Vi had come out of long term relationships. Both were becoming more assertive but not really finding anyone they clicked with.
    It really seemed like a natural step from here that their friendship deepened and they became one of my favourite all-time Legion couples.

    I also love this issue for how Ayla, Pol & Tellus form a mirror to the 3 founding members.
    Hywyndr was also cool as he was a Gil'dishpan with a different power back when teleportation had been written as tech and not a species-wide power. It's a pity we never saw him again.

  2. Maybe he was gay,maybe she wasn't his type, or maybe Pol just wasn't into aggressive women (not saying there's anything wrong with ladies going for what they want, but some guys get scared off when a woman makes the first move)

    Perhaps he was afraid that it would make things awkward between Rokk and Garth, or he was worried that Timberwolf would get jealous and take it out on Pol.