Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #267

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #267 (Sept 1980)
title: "To Bottle A Genie!"
writer: Gerry Conway
penciller: Jimmy Janes
inker: Dave Hunt
letterer: Milton Snapinn
colorist: Gene D'Angelo
editor: Jack C. Harris
cover: Dick Giordano
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Colossal Boy, Element Lad

Guests: 
Duo Damsel, Bouncing Boy

Opponents: 
Klaatu, bad writing


Synopsis: 
In space, the four Legionnaires are drifting unconscious after their encounter with Klaatu. Element Lad has a crack in his space suit and is slowly dying. Duo Damsel awakens and splits into two; one of her saves Bouncing Boy and Colossal Boy, and the other to tend to Element Lad. She drags him to a nearby asteroid and uses a fast-hardening mending paste to repair his helmet. He slowly revives.
At the mining colony of Vulkan, Kantuu arrives and decides to destroy it. Although their self-defense force attempts to stop him, they are wiped out. Only one person survives. Kantuu tells her telepathically who and what he is before he speeds off to Earth. When the Legion arrives, she tells them what she learned.
Kantuu told her that he is a member of the Djinn, an alien race intent on conquest. They were intent on conquering the entire universe 2500 years ago when they faced off against the Guardians of the Universe of Oa. The Guardians stopped them, shrank them, and imprisoned them in individual bottles. They then commanded them to give whoever found them three wishes before they were allowed to be free, and dispersed them throughout the universe.
In Kantuu's case he landed on Earth, in Arabia, which is why he speaks Arabic. His previous master used his third wish to wish Kantuu off Earth, which is how he landed on Windril IX, where Duo Damsel and Bouncing Boy found him. And they learn that Kantuu is going to Earth in order to reconnect with his old allies, the Djinn.
Duo Damsel and Bouncing Boy remember that when they freed Kantuu his bottle was destroyed, so that is why he was able to ignore Bouncing Boy's order for him to return to it.
The Legionnaires rush to Earth and locate all of the bottles, then hide them on the moon. Colossal Boy fights with Kantuu until Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel arrive. They order him to re-create his bottle, which he must do. Then for their last wish, Duo Damsel splits into two. Kantuu threatens to kill her, but she says he can only kill one of her; if he tries it, the other will order him to kill *himself.* Stymied, Kantuu gives up and Duo Damsel orders him to return to his bottle. Element Lad asks Duo Damsel and Bouncing Boy to rejoin.

title: "The Grounded Legionnaires!"
writer: Paul Kupperberg
penciller: Steve Ditko
inker: Dave Hunt
letterer: Todd Klein
colorist: Jerry Serpe
editor: Jack C. Harris
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Shadow Lass; Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Mon-El, Saturn Girl

Opponents: 
Vibrex


Synopsis: 
On Earth, Shadow Lass meets a group of children touring the Legion head-quarters. One of their questions is about the Legion Flight Ring.

Shadow Lass pulls up the computer log for "the Legionnaire Lemon," the adventure when Mon-El joined. As part of his initiation he created Element 152, which is an anti-gravity metal.
Months later, four Legionnaires are returning to Earth in a cruiser when the Science Police ask them to un-stick a shipment of ore in the Seattle Space Elevator 4 km above Earth. When Mon-El attempts this simple feat, he comes face to face with Vibrex, master of vibration. He shakes Mon-El up, then blasts his flying belt and makes him fall out of the side of the elevator car.
The others arrive, so Brainiac 5 chases after Mon-El to stop him from falling to Earth while Saturn Girl and Cosmic Boy try to stop Vibrex. However, he uses the same trick on them that he used on Mon-El, forcing them to "fall" out of the car towards Earth.
Out of his range, their flying belts work again, and they meet up with the others. Brainiac 5 takes this opportunity to unveil the Legion Flight Ring.

The Legionnaires use them as Vibrex concentrates on their belts. Mon-El strikes him before he can turn his attention away from the belts, then Cosmic Boy uses his magnetism and Brainiac 5's force-field to short-circuit Vibrex and knock him out.

Commentary: 
I don't think I'm wrong when I say that the cover by Dick Giordano is the best part of this issue. And even there, Colossal Boy and Bouncing Boy are gritting their teeth as if to say, "Watch out for the crap in this one....!"

Why in the world would Kantuu tell his life story to a woman he is about to murder? Oh, to make the story-telling easier, that's why. Also, raise your hands if you think that making the Guardians of the Universe the creators of genies in the DC universe is a good idea. Anyone? (By the way, how exactly do the Guardians "make" the Djinn have to grant three wishes to their "masters"?) And of course, in their infinite wisdom the Guardians then disperse these angry aliens all over the galaxy. Not one of their smartest plans, ya know?

Likewise, the idea that the Legion is now going to store all of the Djinn on Earth's moon....? So that anybody with a space cruiser and a space suit can find them and unleash them? Not one of *their* smartest plans, either.

Although I was happy to see Element Lad return to action last issue, this time I think I realize why he was gone for so long: Conway and Harris don't know how to use him! He does absolutely nothing in this story.

Speaking of Legionnaires, this would have been a great time to see Princess Projectra use her "magic" to make Kantuu believe that he had reached Earth and that he had freed his friends.

Oh, and the Legionnaires were behind Kantuu, stopped off to investigate Vulkan (really, Gerry?), and then STILL was able to beat Kantuu to Earth with enough time to round up all the missing Djinn bottles? Really?!

This issue Dave Hunt is back inking Jimmy Janes and the results are adequate. The close-ups of women are probably the best thing about Janes' style.

As for the back-up, we get two pages of nothing to set-up the flashback, and then a silly story about a silly villain which serves as the Flight Ring's first adventure. I think it's telling that Vibrex never came back.

The Legion's new head-quarters just opened and already they're giving tours?

One quick note, however. The Science Police tell the Legion that the Space Elevator is stalled four kilometers from Earth. The Space Elevator is a transportation method for ore consisting of a line of cables stretching from Earth to the asteroid fields 36,000 kilometers away. And yet we've never heard of these before, and they clearly don't cause any trouble to space travel to and from Earth. Right.

Anyway, my point is that according to the SP, the elevator car is stalled 4 kilometers from Earth. Yet artist Steve Ditko, who appears to be phoning this work in from 4 kilometers himself, draws the action in deep space. In actuality, 4 kilometers would place the action squarely in the atmosphere (it's approximately 2 1/2 miles for you Americans out there). And that is why, my friends, the Legionnaires really could "fall" from the car and hurt themselves. Unlike in the vacuum of space, where they would absolutely NOT "fall." If Steve Ditko didn't take the time to note that the background should have been blue skies and clouds, possibly inker Dave Hunt or definitely editor Jack C. Harris should have.

Science Police Notes:  
  • Mon-El joined the Legion as "Legionnaire Lemon" in Adventure Comics #305.  
  • There are currently 118 known elements. We have 33 more to go before Mon-El discovers his anti-gravity metal. 
  • The Legion Flight Rings first appeared in Adventure Comics #329.  
  • The Science Police officer working with the Legion in the back-up is Commander Hagbard, who returned in the Legion: Science Police mini-series. 
Status: 
Although the lead story has not yet been reprinted, the back-up story can be found in Steve Ditko Omnibus Vol. 2.

Milestone: 
Duo Damsel and Bouncing Boy are asked to rejoin the Legion in this issue. Although their response to Element Lad's request is not actually shown, they do remain with the Legion for the next two years.

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