Monday, January 30, 2017

Superman Family #207

Superman Family #207 (June, 1981)
title: "Look Homeward, Argonian!"
plot: Jack C. Harris
script: Roy Thomas
penciller: Win Mortimer 
inker: Vince Colletta
letterer: John Costanza
colorist: John Drake
editor: Julius Schwartz
cover: Ross Andru & Dick Giordano (signed)
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Supergirl; cameo guest-star appearances by Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, Chameleon Boy, Blok, Brainiac 5, Sun Boy

Opponents: 
Universo



Synopsis: 
Supergirl in her civilian identity as Linda Danvers arrives back at Santa Augusta from a business trip when she steps off her airplane to be greeted by the sight of Argo City. The people are intangible, and do not seem to be aware of her. She knows she is not actually in Argo City, but is not sure what actually is going on. Her friend, Val, arrives to pick her up, which "breaks the spell." Kara uses her telescopic vision to check, and is surprised to see that the real Argo City has not been destroyed, and that it is still in orbit around a yellow sun! Also, the Argonians are all looking up as if they are looking back at her.

As soon as her friend drops her off at her apartment, Linda changes to Supergirl and speeds into space. She arrives on Argo City and meets her former Kryptonian neighbor, Kam-Par. He tells her that after she was sent to Earth, her parents used an experimental projector to send themselves and all of Argo City into the "Survival Zone." The ray worked on almost everyone; although some people died, most were saved by becoming intangible wraiths.  but on a delayed reaction.


The Argonians tell Supergirl that one of her father's inventions, the Density Intensifier, might be able to help them. He had created it to grant her invulnerability in the case that she had ever lost her powers, but the Argonians think it will re-animate them. Supergirl agrees to look for the invention, but when she points it out to them, everything fades and she is suddenly alone in space. She flies towards Argo City, which she finds really is a destroyed relic orbiting a red sun, just as she expected it to be. She then uses her telescopic vision and sees Universo on Argo,  holding the Intensifier. He boasts towards her that he is going to use the weapon against the Legion, then disappears into the time stream. She follows.

In the 30th Century,  Universo is about to blast the Legion head-quarters when Supergirl arrives. She draws his attention and is blasted by the Intensifier. She then easily destroys it, and punches him.


It turns out that Supergirl knew that Argo City was an illusion; no one besides she and her parents ever knew about the existence of the Intensifier. So she played along until she could smoke out the culprit. The Intensifier was actually a table lamp.


Brainiac 5 asks Supergirl to stay in the future for a little while, but she tearfully declines, flying off as she thinks back about her dead parents and destroyed city.


Commentary: 
What an awful story! There is so much wrong with this story that I almost don't know where to start.  I'll give it the ole' Legion try, though.

First of all, if the only people who knew of the Intensifier were Supergirl and her parents....how did Universo know about it? He says that he pulled the illusions of Argo City from her mind, but did he really risk telepathically scanning her on the CHANCE that her dead father had created some incredible weapon? That doesn't make sense. (I won't even talk about how Universo had to have access to time travel without using his son Rond Vidar's machinery. I guess we'll assume that happened off screen.)

By the way, Supergirl acts like she had never heard of Universo. However, she was present at the beginning of his attempt to take over Earth waaay back in Adventure Comics #359-360. I find it hard to believe that she wouldn't have remembered who he was, even if she had never actually met him.

You know what else doesn't make sense? Supergirl's situation. I hate to sound stupid, but...are her parents dead or not!? I thought that they were alive, and had sent her to Earth. Then it seemed in the context of the story that they were dead, or maybe in the Survival Zone? When she flies off from the Legion's era, she cries about them, but the emotional tag isn't there because we don't know what the heck is going on! Or is this just me?!?

Besides that, the Legion is featured on the cover, and she fights a Legion foe, but they appear in, literally, six panels. Not really a "guest star" amount of screen time, you know. Each page they appear on is represented in this review.

And to match the quality of the story, the art is a heavy-ink job by Vince Colletta. There is almost no Win Mortimer left over. You can see the level of quality in these scans.

Lastly, for the "big reveal" of the story to be that Supergirl was never actually on Argo City, it's quite a spoiler to have Universo right there on the cover! What with being a super hypnotist and all. Sure, I bought this issue because the Legion was drawn on the cover, but you better believe I didn't pick up the next issue of Superman Family after reading this junk.

Science Police Notes:  
  • Although the cover clearly lists itself as "June, 1980," the issue was actually published in June, 1981. Obviously the issue was sent to press in late 1980, and no one caught that the year when it would be printed was incorrect. 
  • After Universo appears in the 30th Century and attacks Legion HQ he boasts that he'll be able to dispose of seven members of the Legion. However, there are only ever six members shown. Sun Boy pops up at this time in only ONE panel, then disappears for the rest of the story. 
  • This story must take place sometime after Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #272, wherein Blok joins the Legion. According to an in-house ad, Legion (v2)  #275 was on sale at the same time as this issue. 
  • Although this would have been the first time Supergirl ever met Blok, no one is shown introducing them, and no pleasantries are exchanged between them. 
  • This Dollar Comic featured the following stories besides Supergirl: Mr. & Mrs. Superman (Earth-2 Superman and Lois Lane) in "The Turnabout Powers!"; Private Life of Clark Kent in "Too Good To Be True!"; Lois Lane in "The Expose' Expose'!"; and Jimmy Olsen in "Death and Taxes." 
Status: 
This story has not yet been reprinted.

3 comments:

  1. One of those comic books you're glad you didn't spend a buck on or have taking up space in a comic box !

    ReplyDelete
  2. You'd think Kara could take a few hours and talk things out with Brainy. Does she *want* him to go and build another sexbot?

    ReplyDelete