Monday, March 6, 2017

Secret Origins #46

"The Little Clubhouse That Could!"
writer: Gerard Jones
penciller: Curt Swan
inker: Ty Templeton
letterer: John Costanza
colorist: Tom McGraw
editor: Mark Waid
cover: Elliot R. Brown
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage
Fortress Lad created by KC Carlson

Mission Monitor Board:  
Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad

RJ Brande, Fortress Lad

Mnemonic Kid

On Earth, the three founding members are looking for a place to build their new headquarters. They politely refuse RJ Brande's suggestion to use one of his corporate buildings, but all other landlords are turning them down.
Tabling the conversation on where they should work for some other time, the three enter Metropolis Park to hold their first Legion try-outs. They meet Arm Fall-Off Boy, Mnemonic Kid, and Fortress Lad, among others.
Arm Fall-Out Boy is first, and impresses them with his unique abilities. Mnemonic Kid impresses them, too, but not in a good way. She is able to wipe out people's memories; when she demonstrates on a child playing in the park, the Legionnaires reject her as cold-hearted and evil.
Next, Fortress Lad from the planet Fwang is able to become a metallic fortress for the protection of others. The Legionnaires appreciate his enthusiasm, but do not consider his ability Legion-worthy.
Later, after the Legionnaires get through the remainder applicants, Fortress Lad happens to meet Mnemonic Kid again. She tells him that she is going to kill the Legionnaires. He watches in horror as she wipes out their memories so that they cannot defend themselves. Fortress Lad then jumps in front of them and becomes a huge structure to protect them. Mnemonic Kid grows furious, shooting him and then blasting him with her power. He begins to forget his memories, too.
Inside the structure, the Legionnaires are able to remind each other of their identities and powers, and their memories are restored. They confront Mnemonic Kid, who dies when she tosses a grenade at them that catches her in the blast.
The founders, not remembering who or what Fortress Kid is/was, petition the city of Metropolis to use this new structure and land as their headquarters.

This is an adorably sentimental story that reads like a Silver Age Legion adventure, only better. The Legion tryouts seem pitch perfect, and the ruthlessness of Mnemonic Kid contrasts nicely with the sacrifice of Fortress Lad. The art by Curt Swan invokes the era, and the inks by Ty Templeton adds more charm and detail to the proceedings. A wonderful little story that all true Legion fans should own.

As an extra added bonus, go listen to our Honorary Legion of Super-Bloggers pals Ryan Daly and Martin Grey talk about this very story at the truly great Secret Origins Podcast page  The Secret Origin Podcast #46.  You'll be glad you did.

Science Police Notes:  
  • The "group photo" at the end of the story does not feature Phantom Girl or Triplicate Girl, even though both of them joined the Legion well before others shown, such as Light Lass and Ultra Boy, did. 
  • Arm Fall-Off Boy re-appeared in Legion of Super-Heroes (v7) #48 as well as in the Legion Animated Series.
This issue has not yet been reprinted.


  1. I love this story. And Ty Templeton actually inks Curt Swan in a way that is truer to his pencils than a lot of collaborators, but also says 'Templeton" as well.


  2. There's an earlier version of this story that was scrapped due to Superman reasons, but survives online at