Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #263

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #263 (May, 1980)
title: "Day of Judgment!"
writer: Gerry Conway
penciller: Jimmy Janes
inker: Dave Hunt
letterer: Ben Oda
colorist: Gene D'Angelo
editor: Jack C. Harris
cover: Dick Giordano 
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, Light Lass, Wildfire, Tyroc, Shadow Lass, Dawnstar

Crav & Mytra Nah (the parents of Ultra Boy), Tarnia Tolarn (Shadow Lass' mother), Ji Daggle (Chameleon Boy's mother), Arn Digby (Shrinking Violet's father)


On Earth, a group of five people approach the newly rebuilt Legion head-quarters. They review amongst themselves who Omega was and how it destroyed the previous head-quarters. It turns out that they are parents of Legionnaires Ultra Boy, Shadow Lass, Chameleon Boy, and Shrinking Violet. They enter the building without any security checks. In the lobby of the Hall of Heroes, they are met by a costumed man calling himself Dagon the Avenger, who attacks them. Shrinking Violet's father uses a self-defense weapon that the Legionnaires gave each of their parents, but it does no good. Chameleon Boy's mother turns into Tigorr but is captured regardless. Shadow Lass' mother attempts to escape, then leaves her belt at her daughter's statue before she, too, is captured.
Later, six Legionnaires return from a wild goose chase at St. Croix Medical Center, having been called out on a non-existent emergency. They find signs of the struggle and the belt that Shadow Lass' mother left, and they begin to worry. They quickly verify that Shadow Lass' mother as well as several other Legion parents are missing. Light Lass calls for Dawnstar to return and help them search for them.
Out in space, Dawnstar is in the middle of a rescue mission when she gets the call. She rushes back to Earth, much to the chagrin of the rescued astronauts.
Back on Earth, Light Lass and Tyroc investigate the Brande facility that worked on the headquarter's security devices and the self-defense weapons the Legion had given their parents. Light Lass and Tyroc realize that the scientist technicians who did the work blame the Legion for RJ Brande's bankruptcy. They think that perhaps one of them may have sabotaged the devices.

Later, while Light Lass and Tyroc are reporting back on what they found, Tyroc receives an urgent summons from his home city-state, Marzal. He apologizes, but abruptly leaves. Wildfire is livid at his exit, but Light Lass continues with her summation. She believes that one of three specific scientists is responsible for the kidnappings.
Suddenly, Dagon appears in a hologram, demanding 1 billion solar credits or he will kill the Legionnaires' parents.

This issue is noteworthy for several reasons. First of all, this is the debut of the newest "permanent" Legion artist, Jimmy Janes. He would remain with the series for the next 18 months. Secondly, this is the beginning of the story which culminates with Tyroc leaving the Legion after four years of membership (but only four meaningful appearances).

The most important part of the actual story, however, is the strong role that Light Lass assumes in it. She takes the lead to investigate other missing parents, she takes it upon herself to call in Dawnstar, and she is one of the two Legionnaires to actually go off-site to investigate the security breach. Light Lass was not a "light-weight" character in this story, that's for sure.

Dagon is one of the worst designed characters the Legion ever faced; it's not for nothing that Ultra Boy's father laughs at him when he first sees him. Star Wars popularity was incredibly high at this time; clearly Gerry Conway or Jimmy Janes based Dagon's look on Darth Vader. Really, he's little more than an extortionist with powerful weapons, so I'm not sure why he felt the need to deck himself out in full (green?!) armor.

The most consistent criticism of Jimmy Janes' art that I've seen or heard was his lack of creativity in futuristic design. On the other hand, just checkout that page reprinted above: Light Lass is positively beautiful, and the shocked expressions of the Legionnaires in the last panel is brilliant. Inker Dave Hunt may be overshadowing Janes' pencils, but I am optimistic that this team will do a good job.

As for the story, one has to wonder why other Legionnaires are not called in. Ultra Boy and Sun Boy, in particular, were shown to be on Earth last issue. You would think that they would be alerted that their parents had been kidnapped.

It was absolutely terrific to see Tyroc back in action, using his sonic power to teleport him and Light Lass to the Brande factory and back to the LSH HQ. And how, again, is this a stupid super-power? His re-appearance, followed by his sudden disappearance, was truly dramatic. Of course, it does not bode well for him....

The new Legion head-quarters is shown off a little bit in this story, but the parents thinking that they had been invited to a ceremony does call into question why there wasn't more pomp and circumstance for their actual "grand re-opening."

Science Police Notes:  
  • Shadow Lass is drawn on the cover without her cape again. 
  • Chameleon Boy appears on the cover, but does not appear in the story. 
  • The Roll Call on page one lists the members investigating "the Circus of Death," none of whom actually appear in this issue. 
  • Ultra Boy's parents are named Crav & Mytra Nah. Shadow Lass' mother is named Tarna Tolarn. Shrinking Violet's father is Arn Digby. Chameleon Boy's mother is Ji Daggle. 
  • Ultra Boy's parents previously appeared in Superboy/Legion #208. They appeared a bit older and less "fit" in that appearance. 
  • On page 3, the mother of Ultra Boy is drawn but the dialogue is for the mother of Shadow Lass.  
  • St. Croix Medical Center is where Brainiac 5 had been treated, and where, presumably, Matter-Eater Lad was still being treated. 
  • On page 8, Wildfire punches a palm tree to death in anger as if he had super-strength. 
  • The parents of Colossal Boy, Sun Boy, and Wildfire are also reported missing. The assumption is that Dagon has already kidnapped them, as each lives on Earth. 
This issue has not yet been reprinted.

This issue is the debut of penciller Jimmy Janes, who stayed on the series through #282. This issue also features the debut of the third head-quarters for the Legion of Super-Heroes. 


  1. The real question here is " What is worse the story or the art work " ?

    I think both deserve an " F" !

  2. I think Wildfire did have super-strength. He certainly did in his original appearance, though maybe that's something that went away, like his ability to grow to giant size or form chemical compounds.

  3. Dagon always made me think of Baron Karza from Micronauts. And I always thought the clothes the Legionnaires parents were wearing made them look like Legion applicants. It's funny to think they were like "hey, our kids are superheroes, so why don't we dress like superheroes too!"

  4. I actively started reading the Legion with Superboy #197 and actively quit after this issue. Jimmy Janes, in my opinion, was the worst artist to ever draw the Legion. I picked the Legion back up again with #287.

    1. Well said Brody as I'd been reading / collecting since Adventure Comics circa 1965.

      Jimmy Janes was just plain HORRIBLE and I quit after this disaster myself picking it up again when Keith Giffen saved the book !