Thursday, March 31, 2016

Superboy & The Legion #258

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #258 (December, 1979)
title: "The Mind Attack of the Psycho-Warrior!"
writer: Gerry Conway
penciller: Joe Staton
inker: Dave Hunt
letterer: Milt Snapinn
colorist: Gene D'Angelo
editor: Jack C. Harris
cover: Dick Giordano (signed)
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Shadow Lass, Wildfire, Chameleon Boy, Sun Boy, Superboy, Shrinking Violet, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Karate Kid

R.J. Brande, EarthGov President Kandru

Psycho-Warrior, misguided philanthropy

On RJ Brande's asteroid home, the Legion shows Brande proof that the President of EarthGov is behind his recent bankruptcy. Brande can't believe it. Superboy reminds everyone that their evidence was obtained illegally because they committed breaking and entering at Brande's Metropolis pent-house during the Science Police investigation. Suddenly, SPs break-in to arrest the Legion. However, Saturn Girl knows telepathically that they are not legitimate SP officers. A fight ensues.
At the mental institute on St. Croix, an inmate escapes from custody and heads to the psychological profile computer. He acquires the psychological profiles of several Legionnaires. Along the way he destroys all the glass and/or light that he encounters.
The Legion arrives at the EarthGov General Assembly. Chameleon Boy reports to the representatives how they found out that President Kandru was siphoning money from Brande. He admits his guilt.
He explains that he did it in order to help the rebuilding efforts after the recent EarthWar. Touched by the President's determination, Brande allows EarthGov to keep his money, promising to remake his fortune again.

On St. Croix, the escapee has found his space survival suit and has successfully downloaded psychological weaknesses of the four Legionnaires he hates the most. He escapes the island to go off for revenge.
At Legion HQ, the Legionnaires volunteer to take staggered leaves from the Legion in order to help Brande rebuild his fortune.  Before Brande can respond to this kind offer, the Legion is attacked by the Psycho-Warrior.
Sun Boy is attacked by a blast of darkness. He goes crazy trying to free himself before he is freed by Superboy and Wildfire. Then Saturn Girl begins to hear everyone's thoughts, which drives her crazy, too.
And Lightning Lad thinks Saturn Girl has turned to sand and he couldn't save her, driving him crazy, too. The other Legionnaires are concerned about who or what is behind these mental attacks.

There are a few good moments in this issue. RJ Brande had been acting like a "broken" man after he realized his fortune was gone. Suddenly, faced with a passion and conviction greater than his, he returns to the strong-willed philanthropist businessman characterization we knew and loved before. Likewise, the passion that the Legionnaires show in their commitment to help out their financial benefactor is touching.

However, the behind-the-scenes stuff is confusing. I still don't understand why the Science Police would be involved in what sounds like a routine business failure. Why would there be any criminal investigation? And even if there were, why would Brande himself or the Legion be denied access to his mansion apartment? Likewise, why is the Legion attacked by fake SP officers? Who are these guys, and why are they attacking? The assumption seems to be that they were paid by the EarthGov President,, and why?

And is it just me, or did Superboy's comment about breaking and entering seem ironic, given that he and his team just last issue did the exact same thing at Cosmic World to help cure Brainiac 5's insanity?

The other drama with the Psycho-Warrior is also a bit off. Are you trying to tell me that the Legionnaires have no mental training to with-stand telepathic assaults? And for that matter, how did a patient at a mental facility suddenly have the power to create illusions AND be armed with black-out bombs?  Speaking of that specifically, does night-time really frighten Sun Boy? That whole scene seemed almost silly. By the way, Shadow Lass was standing there the whole time; couldn't she have "absorbed" or controlled the darkness?

The previous President of EarthGov was Klandu (as referenced in Superboy/Legion #240). Now he is Kandru. Methinks somebody didn't do their homework.

Science Police Notes:  
  • Lightning Lad shouts out fighting codes during their battle with the fake SP officers, presumably to confuse them. However, the other Legionnaires then uncode his orders for our benefit. 
  • Although Shrinking Violet is knocked out on page 4, she's wide awake and fighting again on page 7. 
  • Sun Boy now parts his hair on the left. 
  • Chameleon Boy threatens to "destroy" whoever hurt Saturn Girl, a rare exhibition of passion by him. 
  • Although the Legionnaires from the last two adventures meet up at Brande's asteroid, picking up Karate Kid and losing Brainiac 5 on the way, when they return to their HQ they don't find any of the members who should have been there, i.e. Colossal Boy, Phantom Girl, Ultra Boy, Timber Wolf, and Light Lass. Perhaps they're with Brainy somewhere. 
This issue has not yet been reprinted.

This is the last issue of this series with the official title of Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes. After next issue, the series that actually started as Superboy in 1949 will kick out their lead and become just The Legion of Super-Heroes.


  1. No, Shadow Lass could not have absorbed the darkness attack on Sun Boy. She could only manipulate darkness that she has created herself.

  2. Agreed...not the strongest issue...several plot holes...but the RJ Brande scene gets me every time!

  3. This was the first Legion comic I ever owned. It came in one of those Whitman Comic 3-packs, with the Whitman "W" guy in place of the DC Bullet.