Tuesday, July 3, 2018

TOS Adventure Comics #347

Adventure Comics #347 (Aug 1966)
title: "The Traitor's Triumph!"
writer: Jim Shooter
layouts: Jim Shooter
penciller: Curt Swan
inker: George Klein
letterer: Milton Snapinn
editor: Mort Weisinger
cover: Curt Swan & George Klein
reviewer: Anj

Mission Monitor Board:  
Cosmic Boy, Superboy, Shrinking Violet, Chameleon Boy, Phantom Girl, Lighting Lad, Light Lass, and brand-new Legionnaires Princess Projectra, Ferro Lad, Karate Kid, and Nemesis Kid

The Khunds, Warlord Garlak, traitorous Legionnaire

Hello all! It's Anj and I have the honor of reviewing Adventure Comics #347, a key comic in my collection. You see, I am a fan of Nemesis Kid (you can hear me talk about this in the Who's Who in the Legion Podcast) and this was the second part of his first appearance.

This is the finale of Jim Shooter's first Legion story as well. That alone makes this book historic in a sense. Shooter revitalized the Legion in a major way, bringing in so much to the Legion mythos.

But for me, the big thing is Nemesis Kid. Some of this has to do with his fascinating power of manifesting whatever power he needs to defeat a foe. Some of it has to do with his brutal tenure as leader of the Legion of Super-Villains in the early Baxter Series issues. He, in essence, kills Karate Kid in that run after taking over Orando and bringing that world into a cosmic limbo.

Of course, that story's ending with Nemesis Kid squaring off against Karate Kid is a nod to this story where the two are newly inducted Legionnaires and ultimately rivals. So that is a nice nod to the past seen here.

Curt Swan is on art here and brings his steady hand to the proceedings.

So settle in and enjoy 'The Traitor's Triumph'!

The Earth is about to be invaded by an alien fleet (later identified in Legion history as the Khunds). The Earth's main defense is three electro-towers, massive weapons arrays which could destroy the approaching ships.

Unfortunately, the first tower ends up being destroyed by sabotage. The protective troops were knocked out with gas. The Legionnaires were called away on a wild goose chase. In fact, the only one around is Karate Kid, making him the prime suspect as the saboteur.

Interesting that Phantom Girl, who so vociferously defended Ultra Boy on his charges of murder, would be so hasty in pinning the crime on Val.

Superboy arrives to see the tower destroyed. Before joining up with the Legion, he runs off for a secret side project.

The team wonders just who could be behind the destruction of Earth's defenses. While they are discussing the incident, the second tower is attacked. Superboy, then leader, splits the team up. In an odd decision, he takes the veterans with him leaving the newbies to defend the other tower on their own.

That new crew turned out to be important to the team moving forward: Ferro Lad, Karate Kid, Princess Projectra, and (of course) Nemesis Kid. 

Before the team can even set up a perimeter, the tower is vaporized by a blast from the third tower.. When the team heads to that last tower, they find the crew unconscious and that tower destroyed as well. The traitor has effectively destroyed all of the Earth's defenses.

It looks like the title will be true and a traitor will triumph.

And the idea of a traitor makes the team livid. In particular, seeing the usually staid Rokk lose his mind is wonderful. He is the Legion historian, their soul, and backbone. Of course he would be angry by this deception.

And it seems the case against Karate Kid is building. He is missing from the crew.

Hmmm ... but there were 11 Legionnaires on the roll call. And nine are here. Karate Kid is missing sure. But so is someone else.

With the towers destroyed, the most potent defensive weapons are now in the Legion arsenal. The team heads there only to find Karate Kid in the headquarters and all the weapons destroyed.

It does indeed look like Karate Kid is guilty.

 Superboy rushes in and says that they caught Kid red-handed. But instead of Karate Kid confessing who steps out of the shadows ... Nemesis Kid.

He has been working with the alien armada from the beginning. He set up Karate Kid to be present at the towers so Val would look guilty. Karate Kid knew it was Nemesis Kid and so was tailing him but at prior sites he was too groggy from the gas attacks to intercede.

With the towers destroyed and the weapons cache demolished, the alien fleet swoops in.

In a bit of deus ex machina, the second tower rises anew from the ground and annihilates a major portion of the alien fleet.

It turns out Superboy's side mission was to build a dummy tower to be destroyed, leaving the active one safe underground.

This is great news for the Earth. But they aren't out of the woods yet. A major portion of the enemy fleet was destroyed but not all. It is up to the Legion and their powers to act as the last line of defense.

In a few nice pages including this splash page, Curt Swan shows the Legionnaires each vanquishing ships in their unique ways.

And in another twist, the Legionnaires use 'jet platforms' to get into the action!

And the coup de grace belongs to Karate Kid who chops his way into the head ship and incapacitates the leader.

Thankfully, and only because Nemesis Kid revealed himself, Karate Kid is able to be the hero.

As for Nemesis Kid, the decision gets made to toss him in jail for his actions. But before the Legion can get him there, he activates his powers. Can he negate/deflect a whole team of Legionnaires as opposed to just one?

The only power that can negate that many opponents? Teleportation to get out of there. Not exactly an offensive power to defeat people.

It is an interesting last panel. Superboy laments the taint of Nemesis Kid, the wasted potential. I would have liked a 'sorry we jumped to conclusions Karate Kid' ending instead. But I suppose it only plays up the myth of Nemesis Kid and his powers.

We'll see Nemesis Kid again, of course. But for me, his first story and his death in the Baxter series make perfect bookends for a little known character. Great powers. Great arc.

So what do you think of Nemesis Kid?

Science Police Notes:  
  • Princess Projectra took a moment between the meetings to switch from an all-red uniform she wore in the last issue to her more traditional royal blue/royal violet uniform that she would wear for the rest of her Silver Age career. 
  • Nemesis Kid is rejected from the Legion after the incidents in this adventure. He will not be counted in the overall number of official Legionnaires. 
This issue has been reprinted in The Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol 5, Showcase Presents: The Legion Vol. 2, and The Life and Death of Ferro Lad.


  1. Apart from this intro story and the later "Baxter series", Nemesis Kid makes only one other appearance that I'm aware of and that's it the two-parter "Colossal Failure/School for Super-Villains" story in Adventure 371/2.

  2. Nemesis Kid also appeared in Superboy 208


  3. And he was in the first issue of KARATE KID.

  4. Okay, so this issue is a little clunky, but given that Jim Shooter was 14 when he wrote it ... seriously, it's kind of impressive how well he managed to absorb and utilize all the tropes of the series, from traitors to contrived reversals, overly expository dialogue, and sudden reveals. And there's also a way that I feel like how they're written here that he's questioning those tropes a little -- which will ultimately lead to some great stories.

    Anyway, I still enjoyed this one a lot despite a few weaknesses. I certainly couldn't have done much better myself at that age!

  5. Always loved Nemesis Kid and hated that he turned out to be a bad guy. Why not Fero Lad instead? Nemesis Kid had a far cooler power than Fero Lad. Fero Lad was more disposable in my opinion.