Tuesday, June 6, 2017

TOS: Adventure Comics #282 Group Review

The Legion of Super Bloggers Round-Table Discussion on
Adventure Comics #282 (March, 1961)
title: Lana Lang and the Legion of Super-Heroes
writer: Otto Binder
artist: George Papp
cover: Curt Swan and Stan Kaye
editor: Mort Weisinger

Mission Monitor Board: 
Superboy, Star Boy; cameos by Chameleon Boy, Lighting Lad, Saturn Girl, and Cosmic Boy

Lana Lang, her parents, Pa Kent, Star Boy's girl-friend Zynthia

jealousy, a ferocious Parakat

Lana Lang happens to meet Star Boy while the Legionnaire is on a mission to the past and tricks him into bringing her into the future to try to make Superboy jealous.

(Round table discussion between Russell Burbage, Tim Wallace, Jude Deluca, and Glenn Walker)

Russell: Call to order! Let's get right to it. What does everybody think of the splash page?
Jude: Is this a rehash of that story with the kid from Mars?
Tim: For a second I thought Superboy was guest starring in Disney's Honey I Shrunk the Kids...that giant spider web in the back being used to weave clothes and all.
Russell: Tim, I never noticed that, but yeah....those do look like gigantic flowers and a spider web.
Tim: And Lana using Star Boy to make Superboy jealous makes total sense...these silver age stories have lots of kids acting like jerks...but it's all in good fun!
Russell: Jude....uh? Yes? Not sure which story you mean, but probably
Jude: This one!
Adventure Comics Vol 1 195
"Lana Lang's Romance on Mars": Superboy helps his old friend Marsboy catch a Martian crook, but Lana Lang blackmails Marsboy into a scheme to make the Boy of Steel jealous. (dc.wikia.com)

Russell: Yeah, that sounds like this story. DC really DID recycle old plots.
Jude: "Oh Superboy I was just trying to get your attention by going out with Star Boy."
"But Lana how could you get my attention if I wasn't supposed to know about it?"
Lana Lang is moping around Smallville, sure that there is no way for her to make Superboy jealous, as there are no other "super boys" around. Meanwhile, Star Boy from the Legion of Super-Heroes has time-traveled to Superboy's era in pursuit of a dangerous criminal. He gives his origin about having traveled through the tail of a comet, which granted him powers similar to Superboy's. 

So why is it just Thom back in the past?
And the comet also made him schizoprehnic-whaaat, it didn't really?
Tim: It's classic teenage crush stuff. When Lana clutches the picture of Superboy to her chest I can almost hear Judy Jetson talking about how dreamy Jet Screamer was, or that sort of thing
Glenn: I always wanted that Jet Screamer song...
Tim: Whoa...wait...this is the same bearded crazy Star Boy that showed up in Geoff Johns' JSA?!
And Glenn, I have a version by the Dickies in my playlist!
Glenn: Is this Thom's first appearance?
Russell: Yes, Glenn, it is. This story starts off kinda fun, but whoa on page 3 it starts to get Silver Age crazy. Huge iron horse shoes!?
Jude: Johns retconned he was always mentally ill. 31st Century medicine just made it less noticeable, he said.
Glenn: I always liked that explanation.  Finally 30th Century science did something useful.
Tim: Russell, almost everything on pages 3 & 4 is nuts...not just the horse shoes! The ice prison, the flying baked clay letters...
Glenn: These stunts to get Superboy's attention could be said to be a little mentally 'off'
Russell: Yeah, why IS Star Boy by himself? And isn't he calling undue attention to himself, by announcing where he wants Superboy to meet him...!? Dare I say it, it's ....crazy!
Glenn: Is it just my copy with the typo of Superboy caught in a 'flock' of ice?
Russell: Glenn, my Archive copy clearly re-wrote the F into a B!
Jude: Well I guess considering the Legion went back to the past whenever they felt like it...
Glenn: I like Superboy's dismissal of those Legion kids. Those pesky Legion brats lol
Tim: I want a spacemobile.
Russell: Tim you can't be trusted not to drive thru a comet. Who is the blonde on page 5? Or is she not a blonde in other versions?
Glenn: I don't mind fixing typos, but when they change colors in reprints, it's a bit annoying.  I understand Theaksonization, but still...
Russell: "Theaksonization"?
Jude: Legionnaires, dyeing their hair, changing their genders, getting all fat-assed, turning out to be kryptonite doubles up in this bidness
Tim: I love that Lightning Boy's (Lad?) wearing his goofy cape!
Russell: Admit it Tim you love the name plates.
Tim: I do! The labeling of things in these books is one of my absolute favorite things!
Tim: Russell I see the Blonde...not sure who she is though
Glenn: Supergirl! "Let's prank my cousin as a kid again!"
Russell: Ah, yes! Of course!
Jude: Supergirl: That's for sticking me in that orphanage, ya dick!
Superboy: Who ARE you?!
Supergirl: EXACTLY!
Russell: Haha!
Glenn: lol
Jude: Saturn Girl: See, this is why we can't have them in the clubhouse at the same time.
Glenn: Wait, two heroes with super senses and neither one knows Lana is eavesdropping?
Jude: Or dooooo they? Criss-cross!
Tim: Yes, Glenn, my thoughts exactly!
Tim: I know you didn't want us getting too far ahead of ourselves Russell, but can I just say how odd it is that Superboy had no idea Lana was listening in when he and Star Boy were talking...but he's right there listening in when Lana tries to rope Star Boy into her plan?
Russell: So if the story so far isn't odd enough, Lana stumbles up and does't hear Star Boy's real name but pretends that she does.
Jude: Selective obliviousness. Or everyone's just an idiot.
Russell: That, I think.
Glenn: It -is- the Silver Age
Russell: And a guy who isn't wearing a mask HAS a secret id
Besides, you know, the obvious guy.
I love that panel where his parents say, wear that costume, and only we will know your real identity!
Tim: Isn't Lana's whole plan teetering on super villainy?
Glenn: So Star Boy is the -only- boy she's met who is Superboy's equal?  Really?  Really???
Russell: Is his belt pointing to his crotch? Moving on....
Having caught one of the escaped felons, Star Boy asks Superboy to come to the future with him to track down the accomplice. Lana overhears the plan, and tricks Star Boy into bringing her along in an attempt to make Superboy jealous. Superboy, of course, overhears Lana and decides to play along with her. 

Tim: I mean she's blackmailing some poor time-lost teen into being her fake boyfriend...and encouraging him to kidnap her and take her to the future!
Jude: ...so she's a sociopath.
Russell: And he's an idiot.
Glenn: Oh come on, we knew that. Both. LOL
Russell: haha
Tim: Please tell me this isn't how she earned honorary membership into the Legion?
Glenn: Electrical vision?  I know Star Boy lost these powers, but what?
Jude: I wonder if R.L. Stine read these comics and this is where he got the inspiration for writing his kid and teen characters. They're always horrible to each other.
Russell: I definitely see where John Byrne wouldn't care for the Superboy stories, haha
Glenn: Can you imagine Stine writing the Legion...?
Jude: He's writing Man-Thing.
Glenn: and that is some weird wild stuff
Tim: Glenn, sure he can have electric vision...why not? Superboy lit Pa's cigar a few pages back using x-ray vision...why he didn't just use heat vision I don't understand....but whatever, play fast and loose with the powers, it's the Silver Age!
Jude: Maybe they're x-ray cigs.
Glenn: I think x-ray vision eventually evolved into heat vision
Jude: Oh so that's how Pa died! All those Malboros.
Ew that left a bad taste in my mouth sorry.
Glenn: It did all the same things, just name hadn't changed yet
Tim: There's the lesson! Don't smoke if an alien offers to light it for you kids!
Jude: "Oh thank God she's finally gone." "Where's the good crack pipe, dear?"

Superboy gets permission from Lana's parents to take her into the future with him and Star Boy. They then head to Xanthu, where Lana begins to make Star Boy's life miserable by ordering him to weave her new clothes and to use his electrical vision to form a huge diamond for her. 

Glenn: Xanthu is a weird planet, I have no trouble believing Atmos came from here now.
Jude:  NO ARMPITS! He may not be capable of B.O. but he sure does stink!
Russell: It is odd how Lana's parents allow her to go with Star Boy, JUST because he's as powerful as Superboy. Like "the jock" never raped anybody. Lord. More innocent times I guess...
Jude: I reiterate my point about the crack pipe.
Tim: It looks more like Honey I Shrunk the Kids here than it did on the splash page! Look! There's a criminal running through a hamster tube!
Glenn: "as long as you marry a nice super-powered boy"
Russell: Thom has traded his space-mobile for a flying saucer time machine. Nifty!
Jude: For all dem gank honeys.
Glenn: Have we gotten to the parakat yet?
Russell: No Glenn hold your horse.
Russell: So we have Star Boy weaving clothes for this young tart.
Glenn: it's not a horse, 😉 it's a parakat
Russell: Then using his electrical vision to alter their atomic structure. Because electricity does that to diamonds.
Jude: "Don't I look gorgeous, Superboy?"
Janet from Rocky Horror Picture Show: SLUT!
Tim: A Rocky Horror reference? Nice!
Jude: Because it was the Silver Age, you see!
Russell: What....happens to the diamond? Does Lana bring it back to Earth? She wears the dress back. Does Superboy, or her parents, allow her to keep it?
Jude:  It fell out of her pocket in the time stream and when it landed it tore a hole through the Titanic.
Glenn: ...and that is why we love you, Jude, bringing Rocky to the Legion!
Jude: But I don't even like Adrian!
Tim: You know...there was a time I liked Lana more than Lois...because Lois was a manipulator...but now....I see they're cut from the same Xanthu spider wed woven cloth
Jude: Ten to one they're both assholes
Russell: We're bouncing all over the pop culture plain tonight!
Jude: Clark should've just married that woman who looked like his cousin. Or Lex Luthor. Or the Legion founders.
Russell: Lana can dish it out, but can she take it?
Superboy meets a local girl, and they start to make Lana jealous instead. Her plan a bust, Lana admits her scheme. Superboy takes her back to Smallville. 

Jude: Oh so THIS is where Zynthia came from!
Glenn: I think Zynthia rocks, did she ever show up again?
Russell:  Was she mentioned someplace else?
Jude: Dream Girl had her killed.
Glenn: lol
Tim: WHAT? Seriously?
Jude: To be fair Zynthia WAS getting clingy. "I'm not gonna be IGNORED, Thom!"
No, not really Tim.
Glenn: Zynthia is a character ripe for revival, given more back story.
Jude: She joined "The Real Ex Boy and Girlfriends of the Legion" Reality Show.
Glenn: That would be a great show, who else would be on it?  Janice Warren maybe, Myla the ghost girl....
Jude: Polla, Markita...Duplicate Boy (douche)
Russell: I don't know what 's real and what's not any more. I feel like Star Boy.
Jude: Zynthia made a crack about Gigi Cusimano's hair and Gigi had her framed for drug trafficking.
Russell: Glenn, here's your parakat. Didn't it make a return appearance on that LSH poster by Giffen, I think?
Glenn: Poor kitty, I guess Xanthu has no PETA.
Tim:  I kinda like the parakat. I just wish it was wearing a name tag!
Jude: No yeah I don't know why I screamed that.
Glenn: I dig the kitty too, I want one, just no beak. The beak is kinda freaky
Russell: Superboy with his cultural imperialism, "the stripes run the wrong way." Schmuck!
Glenn: The parakat should have joined the Legion of Super Pets
Russell: Yes!
Jude: Superboy wears his underwear on the outside, of course he's a shmuck.
Glenn: If I was writing LoSP,  I'd have the parakat, and a Kryptonian Thought Beast in the roster!
Tim: I like the underwear on the outside...I just wish it was labeled!
Russell: Haha! Ma Kent labels it on the inside.
Tim:  Ma Kent could sew on little name tags, lol! Great minds Russell!
Glenn: ....and like Superboy and Beppo, all the pets would wear underwear. Labeled underwear
Jude: "Clark wear the labeled underwear."
"Um, Ma, the whole secret identity thing?"
"Oh okay, it's not like I didn't carry you in my body for nine months..."
"You didn't."
"Who told you?!"
Russell: So we're up to the scene where Lana the Super Hussy calls out Zynthia for being...a hussy?
Dem's fightin' words here on Earth.
Tim: Pot...I'd like to introduce Kettle
Russell: Ha! Then the old "I feel faint" routine.
Jude: Take a salt tablet
Tim: It's ok Lana...let me stick this goldfish bowl on your head!
Russell: LOL Silver Age goodness
Jude: Okay now just stand over here so we can dump the pig's blood over you.
Tim: If only Superboy had fashioned it to look like a dunce cap...that would have been perfect!
Glenn: Where did Superboy get the filter?
Jude: Oh my God has anyone ever done that with Saturn Girl? Or White Witch?
A Carrie reference?
Russell: I think it was in The Legion of Super-Hazers Special from 1978.
Jude: Of course nothing could top this (Tiny Tunes Carrie clip)
Glenn: White Witch would not let them get away with it.  Those kids would burn.  Bwahahaha
Glenn: I'd forgotten that Tiny Tunes bit, Jude, thanks
Jude: Although I guess Kinetix would make more sense, power-wise.
Russell: I love that bottom panel where Superboy plops that bowl on Lana's head. I can almost hear her seething. And notice Superboy winking at Z, and Thom laughing
Tim: It's almost cruel Russell! I know she deserves her comeuppance...but that little humiliation almost makes me feel bad for her.
Jude: Oh and this
I only feel bad for how huge that thing makes Lana's head look. Like Evolvo Lad!
Russell: I wonder if it's a generational thing, but I was genuinely surprised that Lana does NOT apologize.
Glenn: sociopath, remember?
Russell: Oh, right.
Jude: Also her parents are crack fiends.
Russell: Oh, right again.
Glenn: But then again, so was Superboy, amazing he grew up to be Superman
Tim: Yeah, I felt bad...but next page she still hasn't learned her lesson
Jude: That's the real reason the Time Trapper made them forget about Superboy. He was an idjit.
Glenn: Ya know, "the best comics are still ten cents" That's the ad at the end of the story... what year was this?
Russell: 1961.
Glenn: Wow. I guess Marvel was rearing its ugly head at this point, for two cents more.
Jude: Can't we just read the one where the Time Trapper fucking whispered his entire plan to Glorith and she thought it was the best thing ever?
Russell: Well if DC was publishing drivel like this, no wonder Marvel caught on in popularity.
Jude: "And THEN *psst psst*"
"How delightfully wicked, sire!"
Tim: I wouldn't call it drivel...I'd call it...THE SILVER AGE!
Russell: So, as Star Boy says, all's well that ends well. Lana is back on Earth with a shiny new dress and no lessons learned.
Jude: At least DC's stuff kept people interested. Wasn't Marvel's Silver Age stuff just Jack Kirby drawing characters reaching out and looking surprised?
Glenn: The back up story in this issue had crooks stranding Aquaman and Aqualad in the desert. They make it out okay.
Jude: Was it drawn by Ramona Fradon?
Russell: Yes
Jude: Because if it ain't Fradon I don't give a rat's ass.
Glenn: Not signed, Jude, but I'd bet on it.
Jude: That woman saved my life.
Russell: I have a copy of that. That Aquaman story is awesome!!
Tim: Most Aquaman stories are!
Jude: Except the one where Tempest got his heart ripped out and afterwards no one cared he was dead.
Russell: So....final thoughts on this 5th appearance of the Legion?
Glenn: A great story in an economy of pages, the wonder of the Silver Age.  Why can't today's writers learn to do that?
Jude: They're too busy absolving Barry Allen of being an asshole or making Steve Rogers a Nazi.
Glenn: Only the fifth?  wow.  I liked it, hadn't read it in decades before tonight.
Russell: Tim meant real Aquaman stories, Jude, not Peter David crap. 😉
Jude: That was Geoff Johns crap.
Russell: Whatever.
Glenn: Don't. Get. Me. Started. On. Steve. Rogers.
Russell: Okaaay, I'm beginning to re-evaluate the value of the Silver Age...!
Jude: Peter David got fired from DC because they're run by soulless monsters.
Tim: Final thoughts? Labels, extraneous capes, parakats, Superboy, ill behaved teens...it was great! Another Silver Age classic!
Jude: It was like if Shakespeare wrote Twin Peaks
The passion, the lies, the reveals!
Russell: All that and a shiny new dress!
Jude: And no one learned a god damn thing.
Glenn: I thought it was good, I love the simplicity and fun of these tales.
Tim: That's a big part of my enjoyment, Glenn, the simplicity...simpler times
Jude: I honestly don't know what to say. I was more reacting to everyone else's comments than the actual story.
Russell: A bit of continuity trivia.... although Star Boy makes his debut here, he would not actually re-appear until 1963, two years later! Clearly, the writers and editor forgot about him.
Like he was Mars Boy or somebody!
Tim: I picture it more like an agent. "Sorry kid, we ain't got nothing for you right now...but something'll come up soon"
Glenn: Maybe he went off his meds... and ended up in the 20th Century again
Russell: I can't prove it, but I bet some fan somewhere wrote in a letter to the editor asking where Star Boy was!
Glenn: He was over at the Doom Patrol and the Challengers, but they didn't want any
Russell: He and Zynthia were in the Web of Xanthu!
Jude: He was on the toilet and fell asleep with his pants down.
Glenn: Great band name, Zynthia and the Web of Xanthu
Tim: I gotta run...early day tomorrow,! goodnight guys!)
Glenn: That's how she could come back, as a band
Jude: I'd say it's time for me to leave but I don't have any plans anyway.
Russell: I gotta go, too, thanks for hanging out in the 30th Century 1962~!
Say good night Thom.
Glenn: Good night, Thom
Russell: :-)
Jude: So we conclude this tangled love tale with words of wisdom from Jem and the Holograms:
Love gets you going, at the start. Then it grows and makes you lose your heart. And then you fall

Science Police Notes: 
  • This story was published between "The Army of Living Kryptonite Men" (Superboy #86) and "Supergirl's Three Super Girl-Friends" (Action Comics #276). 
  • Lighting Lad is called "Lightning Boy" in this story. 
  • Although Star Boy is a member (before Supergirl officially joins in Action Comics #276) Superboy is already a member, which suggests that this story has not been published in correct chronological order.  Or, you know, time travel. 

Milestones: First appearance of Star Boy, first mention of Xanthu, and first meeting between a Legionnaire and Lana Lang. 


  1. First, let me start by saying that I love this site.. I visit it each weeknight after work.

    I used to comment on posts often when books about 'my' Legion were being reviewed.. but stopped commenting when the reviews were about the Re/Three-boot Legions as I did not read those stories. I was very happy when I read recently that you were going back to review the early Legion stories in Adventure Comics! These were some of my favorite Legion stories as a kid. Unfortunately, I found myself disappointed with this summary and stopped reading somewhere around the crack pipe 'joke'

    I think these stories would be better served with a single reviewer or a pair of reviewers who actually LIKES the stories. Of course, there are some elements of the plot and some visual features that are silly by today's standards... but the constant (seemingly mean-spirited) attempts at humor by one member in particular, made the review impossible for me to complete. Even the Legion tales that appeared in Action Comics (which in my opinion are the worst Legion stories in the history of the team) received better treatment than this.

    I may be in the minority, but a straightforward summary with a review afterwards with the reviewers opinions might be a better way to handle these stories. I am not against laughing at some of the absurd things in the book-- like the parakat-- but making jokes about Superboy wearing his underwear on the outside of his pants seems to be far below what the site has been about.

    1. TomG, I'm sorry this review was not to your liking. Maybe next week's post, a Point-Counterpoint type discussion of The Seventh Super-Hero, will be more your cup of tea. If not, we do have a few "real reviews" scheduled for TOS Tuesdays after that. Please stick with us!
      I'm a fan of The Original Series, for sure, but I am also a fan of good story-telling, and, come on, you have to admit that Lana tricking Star Boy into being her boy toy is not the same level of story as the sacrifices of Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl. Please trust us, when we get to the better stories we'll treat them more respectfully.
      Long Live the Legion!

  2. Having stopped before the end, you missed the bit where half the panelists said they liked the story!

    Of course, not every panelist's sense of humor will be to everyone's tastes, I get that.

  3. A weird, convoluted, but ultimately funny tale.

    When I saw that blonde I also wondered "Who is that girl and why she wears Bronze Age Supergirl's hairstyle?"

    Ah, Silver Age. How much I love you and miss you.

  4. For the record, Theaksonization comes from Greg Theakson, who I believe first created the comic reprinting system. It's not used as much any more, but it would bleach out the colored ink from pages, and ultimately destroy the original comic. These pages had to be recolored for printing (or reprinting if you will). It was used a lot in the 1970s when DC and Marvel were in the major business of reprinting their older stuff on a regular basis.

  5. Yeah, Heat Vision was 'the heat from his X-ray vision' for a long time before it became a distinct power. Which was a bit of a downgrade, because it had visible beams then whereas the X-ray-vision version was invisible and something he could do as Clark...

  6. You gotta wonder why they "downgraded" Star Boy in favor of making Ultra Boy one of the Legion heavy hitters. Things would have been a lot different if Star Boy had kept the "comet powers" and Ultra Boy only had the "vision powers", including "make stuff heavy" vision.