Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #62

The Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #62 (July, 1989)
title: "Why Must Magic Triumph?"
writer: Paul Levitz
co-plotter/layout artist: Keith Giffen
finished art: Mike DeCarlo
lettering: Agustin Mas
colorist: Carl Gafford
asst editor: Art Young 
editor: Karen Berger 
cover: Steve Lightle
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Sun Boy, Invisible Kid, Timber Wolf, Element Lad, Phantom Girl, Sensor Girl, Chameleon Boy, Dawnstar, Wildfire, Colossal Boy, Tellus, Ultra Boy, Lightning Lass, Polar Boy, Blok, Magnetic Kid, Shrinking Violet, Saturn Girl

Ambassador Relnic, Heroes of Lallor (Duplicate Boy, Gas Girl, Life Lass, Evolvo Lad), Brainiac 5, Bouncing Boy, Duo Damsel, Dr. Gym'll, SP Chief Cusimano, former Chief Zendak, SP Officer Shvaughn, SP Officer Dvron

the entity responsible for the resurgence of magic

On Webers' World, three Legionnaires are helping Ambassador Relnic evacuate all of the inhabitants, as all of the technology on the bureacrats' planet is failing. Invisible Kid notices that even Sun Boy, who is usually so positive, is gloomy.
On Lallor, their heroes are also trying to stem the tide of magic against science.

Out in space, the majority of Legionnaires head towards Zerox, the Sorcerers' World, but are stopped by a huge spider web. Several Legionnaires try to smash the giant spiders individually until Element Lad changes the webs to hydrogen. The Legion in cruisers then continue forward.
On Colu, Brainiac 5 witnesses the collapse of technology on his home planet. The inhabitants are frantic, so Brainy calls on his friends to help.
Approaching Zerox, the Legionnaires are met by a huge mass of glop. The Legion cruisers are able to blast through it. However, they then get close enough to the world to see a "wall" and a lock surrounding its atmosphere.

On Earth, Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel have opened Legion HQ as a medical facility. At Metropolis Spaceport, various SP officers try to maintain order in the face of chaos.
Above Sorcerers' World, Phantom Girl tries to shift through the wall, but cannot. Others try their energy powers, but nothing seems to work. Sensor Girl uses her power to "see" the lock, realizing that the spell to open it requires a human sacrifice.
As soon as the Legion understands the situation, Element Lad volunteers to commit suicide. As senior members discuss what to do, Magnetic Kid blasts off. Polar Boy and Lightning Lass head after him, but he is determined to sacrifice himself.
He tells Polar Boy, who comes closest to stopping him, "It's not how long you stretch (your life) out...it's what you do with it."
Using his life, Magnetic Kid successfully opens the gate to Sorcerers' World...and allows the mystic power to get out!

This story moves at an exciting pace,as the Legion is on the move (literally, and figuratively). There are menaces to face as they head out to Sorcerers' World, which means there is team-up action and drama that we have not seen too much of recently.

Of course, as soon as the story ends you realize that it was always heading towards this type of denouement. And Element Lad gets huge props for immediately volunteering to commit suicide for the sake of the universe. He went up another few notches in my book with that scene.

Look again at the last panel of page 21 (reprinted above). Magnetic Kid, standing behind Dawnstar all but unnoticed, is clearly making his own decision. I complain about how I'm not a fan of Keith Giffen's 9-panel pages and other short-cuts he is taking, but he nails this panel. He and inker Mike DeCarlo makes me *know* that Magnetic Kid is thinking, "I can't let any of these real heroes sacrifice themselves. I have to do it. I'm expendable."

I dare anyone who has followed the Legion any amount of time to not get misty-eyed when young, naive, hero-worshiping Magnetic Kid sacrifices himself to help save the universe. Maybe it's because I'm a younger brother myself, but the whole last scene when he calmly tells Polar Boy that he knows exactly what he is doing gets to me every time. "Tell Rokk I finally proved I -----" what? Belonged? Was a hero? Was a man?

This is the kind of scene that reminds me of the quote, "No greater love has a man, than to lay down his life for his friends." Pol Krinn loved and respected the Legion so much, he was willing to pay the ultimate price rather than see one of the other "better" members die. THIS is heroic. Rest in Peace, Pol, you were a hell of a Legionnaire.

The rest of the story pales in comparison to the last few pages. Also, I was sorry to see that Al Gordon was replaced by long-time Legion inker Mike DeCarlo. My guess is that Gordon was not as fast as DeCarlo....also, I believe Gordon was busy inking the 5YL stuff that was to come.

For the first time ever, we will continue our story on Thursday of this week instead of on next Tuesday. Don't miss the fantastic conclusion!

Science Police Notes:  
  • Wildfire returns to active duty in this issue, back in his traditional ERG-1 uniform.  
  • Shadow Lass and Mon-El do not appear in this story. 
This story has not yet been reprinted.  

With this story, Magnetic Kid becomes the fifth Legionnaire to die in battle. In a story that echos Ferro Lad sacrificing himself to stop the Sun Eater, Magnetic Kid literally gives his life so that his friends can fight on.  


  1. Stupidest Legion Death ever. (And that's over 'Accidentally killed by Reflecto') Worst Legion moment ever. And there's a lot of competition out there. Death by pure, contrived author fiat. Lowest point within the story that's already entirely low points.

    1. I'd argue that the whole Reflecto storyline was worse than this, but I do agree with you that this stuff is pretty bad.

  2. Man, DeCarlo's inks did no favors to Giffen's new style.

  3. I'm polar (ha ha) opposite to Jeff R, this death is second to KK at the most significant. It's awful and happens fast but the situation demanded that. It stills gets to me even after all this time.

    1. I think that Ferro Lad's death was the most significant, but this sacrifice does have more emotional punch than, say, Chemical King's or Invisible Kid's.