Thursday, September 13, 2018

Reboot: Adventure Comics 80-Page Giant #1

Adventure Comics 80-Page Giant #1 (October 1998)
title: "Team Work"
writer: Tom McCraw
penciller: Kevin West

inker: Ray Kryssing
lettering: Kurt Hathaway
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: L.A. Williams
editor: Paul Kupperberg
cover: Steve Lightle
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Cosmic Boy, Ferro, Kid Quantum II, Live Wire, Saturn Girl, Star Boy

Guests: 
Lori Morning (Dialed identity: Blip)

Opponents: 
Alien blobs

Recap: 
The Legion currently has two 20th Century people living with them. One is Ferro, the other is Lori Morning who, unbeknownst to them, has been helping them as different heroes thanks to her H-Dial...

Synopsis: 
Ferro is drawing the Legionnaires who were on a recent mission with him when Lori Morning asks him about it. He recounts how the team was investigating something that fell out of the sky in Georgia, when a malevolent alien blob popped out of it and started trying to kill them, apparently designed to fight each of their powers. It doesn't go well.
Ferro is about to be struck by acidic goop when - as Lori remembers, but does not reveal - Blip, the Mistress of Teleportation, shows up and moves him out of the way. The creature splits into several copies of itself and keeps the fight going. The Legionnaires are losing until Blip accidentally moves Ferro out of one blob's way and into another's, which reveals that each blob is tailored to fight one specific Legionnaire. Switching opponents, the Legion makes short work of its blobby enemies, though they never find out who sent them.
Blip is admonished for acting without thinking and not working with the team. She leaves in a huff, but of course would have anyway lest she reveal she is really Lori. Ferro nevertheless would have liked to thank her, and does without knowing it when he gives Lori a sketch of Blip for her wall.
Commentary: 
Shotgun
That makes two stories that feel very out of place one after the other. At the very least, this one has the excuse of being part of another issue instead of being part of the main storyline. I mean Lori hasn’t been in control of the H-Dial for a long while now. Basically, ever since she turned into Galaxy Girl. Not going to lie, I kind of liked seeing Lori turning into different heroines. It’s an interesting artifact and the results were always unpredictable. I wonder if we will hear from the Dial again anytime soon. I’m curious to see what Brainiac thinks of the gadget and what the team will decide to do with it.
Interesting creature that the team had to fight. What I don’t really understand is how whoever was hiding behind this attack could predict exactly which one of the Legionnaires would be sent to investigate the crash. Isn’t it weird that the blob knew how to fight these particular heroes? Maybe it was also able to cancel any other Legionnaire’s power but only adapted to the one in its presence. In retrospect, that thing never should’ve split, revealing its weakness while doing so. Will we ever know who sent it or will they move on with the story and ignore this adventure completely?
Finally, I must say that I’m glad Ferro could come up with such a good analysis of the situation, but I must say that the way the Legionnaire jumped to fight the creature is exactly what he told Lori a hero shouldn’t do. There was no cohesion in the way the team fought with or without Blip being involved. The instant Imra’s got pushed away, they just charged without plans. Live Wire was acting out of anger and didn’t wait to think or plan ahead. Anyway, it just felt a little hypocritical from Ferro to tell Lori the story this way.
Siskoid
I honestly don't have any recollection of whether or not the enemy behind the blobs was ever revealed. I kind of doubt it, though since Tom McCraw is one of the regular Legion writers, maybe it will be. I kind of wave my hand at it and say it's probably Leland McCauley. Usually is. And I think you're quite correct that the lesson about team work really isn't one given the action in the story. It's just Legionnaires fighting on their own until Blip gives them a better idea. This is just too thin a story.
I am tickled that you like the concept of Dial H for Hero because it's one of my long-time comic loves. I've read every story (Robby Reed's, Chris and Vicki's, Hero's from the Ravers, Dial H...). And of course, it totally belongs in this special because the feature ran in Adventure Comics in the early 80s. But it feels like a missed opportunity not to do more with it here. I guess it wouldn't do advance Lori's story here rather than in the main books, but it's still not central to the story. Similarly, there was something interesting to say about these two characters being displaced in time by 1000 years, but aside from Ferro using old-timey paper, it just doesn't get us there. It's too interested in showing a handful of Legionnaires use their powers against a generic foe. If this is meant to be an introduction to the Legion books for people not already reading, well... would it have made ME pick up Legion? Well, yes, but just because of the Dial H connection!

Science Police Notes:  
  • All the features in this special used to have a strip in Adventure Comics (v1), including the Legion of Super-Heroes (#300-380, 516-527) and Dial H for Hero (#479-490). The others are Wonder Woman(#459–464), Green Arrow (#103-249), Captain Marvel (#491-502), Superboy (#103-299), Supergirl (#381-424), and Tales of the Bizarro World (#285-299). (Issue numbers represent only sustained runs, not every appearance; Captain Marvel's was intermittent.)
  • Though published after the Dark Circle storyline, the fact that Lori's Dial hasn't been impounded by Brainiac 5.1 for study places it some time before.

3 comments:

  1. I usually love Steve Lightle, but that cover is almost as hard to look at at the art in the Legion story.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Every time I turn around, you guys are finding Legion stories I've never seen.

    ReplyDelete