Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #59

The Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #59 (April, 1989)
title: "Ghosts In The Club-House"
writer: Paul Levitz
penciller/co-plotter: Keith Giffen
flash-back penciller: Mark Bright
inker: Mike DeCarlo
flash-back inker: Carlos Garzon
lettering: John Costanza
colorist: Carl Gafford
asst editor: Art Young 
editor: Karen Berger 
cover: Steve Lightle
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
NOW: Invisible Kid (Jacques Foccart), Wildfire, Polar Boy;
THEN: Invisible Kid (Lyle Norg), Chemical King, Saturn Girl, Lighting Lad, Mon-El, Ultra Boy

"ghost" in the Legion HQ, self-doubt

At Legion HQ on Earth, Invisible Kid II is walking around aimlessly until he finds himself in the Hall of Heroes. He then sits and listens (?) to an untold story of Invisible Kid (I).
Several years ago, the first Invisible Kid is investigating a "ghost" in the new Legion head-quarters. He finds that someone (or something) has in fact broken in, but he is knocked unconscious before he can investigate further. 

The next day Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl are concerned for him, but he keeps his own counsel as to what he is investigating. Invisible Kid then rushes off to an appointment with a young potential Legionnaire named Condo Arlik (Chemical King). Invisible Kid as a bio-chemist is helping the younger teen manage his power to control chemical reactions.
They chat, and Invisible Kid tells King that he is having trouble at the Legion HQ. He also suggests that Chemical King would make a great Legionnaire.

That night, Invisible Kid has assigned himself monitor duty again, intent on learning the secret of "the ghost." He is surprised to see Chemical King appear.
First Chemical King fouls up Invisible Kid's investigation, then he gets in the way as he confronts the definitely human intruder. However, from something Chemical King says, Invisible Kid deduces that the intruder is or was a Science Police officer, which is why the sensors are not reading him as an intruder.
They bait him with the Miracle Machine, the only weapon that the Legion has that SPs couldn't also acquire. They capture him, but he escapes, mentioning the crime boss Taurus.
He is about to kill one or both of them when a loud metallic THUD distracts him. Taking advantage of his momentary lapse, Invisible Kid and Chemical King over-power him. Invisible Kid calls for some back up, but before Mon-El and Ultra Boy arrive a light-being named Quanto speeds in and rescues him.
Later, Invisible Kid finds the memorial statue of Ferro Lad where it has mysteriously fallen. He ponders that the statue would have made a metallic thud if it had actually been Ferro Lad...but as a statue, it was molded from hard plastic.
Back in the "current" future, Invisible Kid II realizes that he should keep being a Legionnaire, to honor not only the first Invisible Kid but all other former Legionnaires. Meanwhile, Polar Boy and Night Girl are monitoring the leader election and are shocked to find that Sensor Girl and Timber Wolf have been elected Leader and Deputy.

We get another spotlight story on Invisible Kid, and guess what? It ends with him deciding that he's a worthy successor/Legionnaire/hero after all! Ho-hum. By this time I was very tired of the Jacques Foccart character, and he only comes out the lesser when compared to the original Invisible Kid. Lyle Norg is SO much a go-getter, a leader, and a caring scientist. Jacques is....just there. As this series of Legion is winding down, I guess there is nothing to say other than that this character is basically a failure.

Speaking of failures (!), Paul Levitz clearly had no affection for Chemical King. The scene between King and Kid at the hospital is nice, and sets up King joining the Legion Academy quite well. Then Levitz tosses Chemical King into the midst of the "ghost" mystery but doesn't let him do anything except foul everything up! Not cool, Levitz!! Chemical King could have been a great character (self-conscience, shy, gay?) but he for sure should not have been an idiot.

And lastly but not leastly, we get the news that the Legionnaires have voted in Sensor Girl and Timber Wolf as Leader and Deputy, respectively.  So, uh.....yeah. What!?! This is dealt with more in the next issue, but really, Timber Wolf? Who in the world would have voted for him?

Science Police Notes:  
  • This flash-back part of this story takes place after the Legion moves into their new headquarters and receives the Miracle Machine (Adventure Comics #367) but before Invisible Kid's leadership term ends (Adventure Comics #371). 
  • Invisible Kid somehow loses his flashlight between pages 5 and 6. 
  • Chemical King joined the Legion in Adventure Comics #372
  • Quanto and the Taurus Gang originally appeared in Adventure Comics #374.  
This story has not yet been reprinted.  

This is the first appearance by penciller Mark Bright in the pages of Legion of Super-Heroes. He would go on be the regular penciller of the Legion-related Valor series. 


  1. Hey! I love Timber Wolf! Maybe it was his fancy new costume that got him the votes!😀

  2. I was thrilled when T-Wolf won deputy. While not the sharpest knife in the drawer his instincts were pretty good. Clearly a Levitz favorite even if some of the other legionnaires didn't like him so much.

    I didn't dislike the Chemical King bit. Condo had just gotten his powers under control, was really quite young and hadn't even gone through the Legion Academy yet. But you're right, Levitz should have allowed him to shine a little bit versus being so clumsy.

    Jacques characterization, well, again another Levitz favorite who, if memory serves, had been pretty severely blasted by the Emerald Eye just recently and maybe just needed to think a bit given, as he notes, he had faced Darkseid (and ended up with the white hair as a result)

  3. I love that Chemical King is an interesting & more fleshed-out character in stories of the past than we ever saw. The idea of a bigger mythos to the 30thC always appealed.

    Timber Wolf for Deputy Leader?
    Don't blame me, I voted for Quislet!

  4. It's a shame that this volume of the Legion ended so abruptly right here at the end of this issue, but I suppose that things could have been worse and Levitz might have ended the run in some alternate dimensions with an Omen-and-Prophet-scale clunker of a finale.

    1. Funny that you say that.....oh, wait, you're serious? ;-)

    2. Honestly, if I had been setting up a retroboot legion, this would be the point of divergence. Take the Laurel Gand continuity patch from 5YL (and let the pocket universe explain any Superboy business that doesn't fit in right) and just say that the Magic Wars and anything following them didn't happen. Cleaner than the way they did it...

  5. "Chemical King could have been a great character (self-conscience, shy, gay?) but he for sure should not have been an idiot."

    Given how earlier this is in his career, I guess it's ok for him to be somewhat green in his actions. Though I'm not sure what him possibly being gay would have to do with him being a great character?

    Where Levitz and Giffen aware that title was going to be relaunched by this point? I do know Levitz wanted to leave the title after #50 but Giffen convinced him to stay on for a year. I'm just curious if the original plan was to restart the title after that year or if the plan for that came during this second Levitz/Giffen run...