Tuesday, February 6, 2018

TOS: Adventure Comics #329

Adventure Comics #329 (February 1965)
title: "The Bizarro Legion!"
writer: Jerry Siegel
penciller: Jim Mooney
editor: Mort Weisinger
cover: Curt Swan & George Klein
reviewer: Russell "Bizarro Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board: 
Saturn Girl, Superboy, Triplicate Girl, Invisible Kid, Lighting Lad, Chameleon Boy, Brainiac 5, Light Lass, Ultra Boy, Mon-El, Cosmic Boy, Element Lad

Bizarro Superboy and his Legion of Stupid Heroes: Bizarro Saturn Girl, Bizarro Lightning Lad, Bizarro Invisible Kid, Bizarro Brainiac 5, Bizarro Chameleon Boy, Bizarro Cosmic Boy, Bizarro Ultra Boy, and Bizarro Mon-El
It's the beginning of the new year, and Legion Leader Saturn Girl reviews with several members the open cases that they have on their docket: the Time Trapper, the Mystery of the Vanishing World, and a deluge of hardened criminals reforming and surrendering. They promise to look into each of these items soon.
Saturn Girl then introduces Brainiac 5 and his new invention: the Legion Flight Ring, which is powered by the wearer's will. It will take the place of their cumbersome Flight Belts.

Suddenly, Bizarro Superboy arrives. 

He not want to join the Legion, boasting that he has all the powers of Superboy plus he is also super-handsome. Not ugly like Superboy. When he is not voted in, he happily returns to Bizarro World. This is the end of the story. 
Bizarro Superboy doesn't use the Imperfect Duplicator Ray to create his own Bizarro Legion. His last five members all have to do a "bad deed" in order to prove their lack of worth to not join his Legion. Unfortunately, they all succeed and must not join.  

The Bizarro Legion takes their Hey Lil Kobra space-ship to shut 'em down. In space they rescue a radio from a stranded Science Police ship because SP officer really needs it to call help. Too bad, Superboy arrives and hears about the Bizarro Legion. He knows that means trouble. 

Sooner, on the Paradise Planet Bizarro Saturn Girl doesn't use her physical telepathy to control the construction crew to create facsimiles of beautiful buildings from the Bizarro World. After the Bizarro Legion leaves, Ultra Boy and Mon-El arrive and are able to fix the damage. 
On Bizarro World, Superboy Bizarro creates fewer Legionnaires Bizarro Cosmic Boy, Bizarro Ultra Boy, and Bizarro Mon-El.  (His name Fri-Em?) They decide that because the Legion responds to emergencies, the Bizarro Legion is going to create emergencies instead. They build a bomb to destroy a planet just like an explosion destroyed Krypton, making everyone on the planet happy. Unfortunately, Light Lass is able to use her mass-controlling power to toss the bomb out into space, where it explodes harmlessly. 

At a junkyard where men are working to repair damaged space ships, the Bizarro Legion destroys them all, making them beautiful. Then they punish the workers for trying to repair them by giving the men treasure. 
Not able to compete with awesomeness of Bizarro Legion, the Legion rushes to Bizarro World to face off against them. Bizarro Superboy too smart for them. He tells them that they are going to shoot Superboy with Kryptonite if the Legionnaires try anything. When Superboy arrives, Bizarro Superboy threatens to kill all of the Legionnaires unless Superboy can change diamonds into coal. 
After a moment Superboy agrees, but only if the Bizarro Legion disbands and lets his friends go unharmed. Greedy Bizarro Superboy, knowing that coal is most valuable jewel on Bizarro World, agrees. Superboy then squeezes a few diamonds into coal and he rushes the Legion off. 
Later, Element Lad admits that it was he changing the carbon in the diamonds into carbon-based coal. All's awful that ends awful. 

I think comic book fandom must be broken into two types of people: those who like Bizarro and those who don't. You can imagine which group I fall into.

Still, there are some interesting things going on in this story. First of all, that whole first page where the Legion talks about their ongoing cases. Clearly, the editor and writer(s) hadn't forgotten that they never got around to fighting the Time Trapper....and here writer Jerry Siegel clearly throws in the towel and admits he isn't going to write that story! They Mystery of the Vanishing World sounds vaguely like Marzal or some other-dimensional world, and I wish someone had written the Legion's investigation of it. And the hardened criminals turning themselves in sounds like a plot to take over the prison or maybe create a Legion of Super-Villains from the prison planet or something.....Again, I wish editor Weisinger had assigned that story.

And of course, this is the debut of the Legion Flight Ring. From this issue on no artist would have to include those ugly, cumbersome belts....they would just have to try to remember to draw a dot on each of the Legionnaires' hands. Making their rings their flying devices was a stroke of genius.

As for the Bizarros....I don't know, but didn't we have a Bizarro SuperMAN? So wouldn't that be the creature that would have appeared in this story? And I hate to ask this question, but doesn't this story mean that even though the Bizarro Legion disbanded, they were still "alive" on the Bizarro World, right? As far as I know they never re-appeared. 

Science Police Notes:  
  • "Tales of the Bizarro World" was a back-up series in Adventure Comics #s 285~299. It was replaced by....yes, the Legion of Super-Heroes. 
  • Diamonds and coal are both made out of carbon, but diamonds are pure carbon crystallized by heat and pressure, while coal is a petrified mix of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur, arsenic, selenium, and mercury. They are not the same thing. 
  • For no special extra we not include Letters' Page from this issue. 

This issue has been reprinted in The Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol 4 and Showcase Presents: The Legion Vol. 2.

The Legion Flight Ring makes its debut in this story, taking the place of the Flight Belts.


  1. It is worth pointing out that, at some point, Superboy does learn how to turn diamonds back into coal. Superman does just that in JLA, number 9 published three years earlier than this story. (Feb-62). He does this by rubbing it "the wrong way".

  2. Enjoyable letters page... so many readers trying to call out “mistakes”! No wonder Marvel invented the No-Prize.

  3. Has anyone else ever noticed how Jim Mooney managed to keep Brainy from making a rude gesture to the other Legionnaires when presenting the flight ring?