Friday, October 31, 2014

5YL Legion of Super-Heroes #7

Reviewer: Anj
Super-power: Super-respect for Rokk Krinn

The first half-year of the 5YL Legion of Super-Heroes has been a roller coaster ride. It is a darker universe with a disbanded Legion. The heroes seem to be suffering through difficult lives with physical and psychological wounds since the team disbanded. The history of the team and the universe has been rewritten twice over. And the small band of Legionnaires that have reunited have decided to take on Mordru.Insanity.

The book itself has been a creative tour de force with its 9 panel grids, its risky plot lines, its 'done in one' new universe issues, its text page back matter, and the grim feel to a Legion book.

Suffice it to say, the creative team of Keith Giffen, Tom and Mary Bierbaum, and Al Gordon don't pause to rest on their laurels ... or their Laurels. 5YL Legion of Super-Heroes #7 continues the momentum of the first six, moving things forward, introducing us to Laurel Gand ... the first big revelation of the Glorith universal rewrite, and taking another creative and artistic risk. This risk is one that worked for me but not for everyone, so I'd love to hear people weigh in.

The art in the book continues to be strong. Giffen continues to put a lot of content into the smaller frames. And like last issue's splash page, anytime the strict grid is broken, it carries tremendous weight for the readers.

Have I convinced anyone yet to love this series?

Well, last issue my jaw dropped when a headband wearing blond woman was standing on Tharn's moon and then flew off to confront Mordru. Could she be Kara Zor-El, somehow saved from the Crisis by a timeline retcon?

Well she isn't Supergirl ... sort of ...

We learn on the second page that at the very least she isn't Kara Zor-El. She is 'the Daxamite', she who can pulverize defensive walls, the one and only 'great Laurel Gand'.

She is no newcomer; she isn't an emergency secret weapon. She is a known commodity with a reputation.

She oozes some Supergirl vibe so there is definitely a feeling that she is the Kara-analogue of this new Legion history. (In a couple of issues, it will be apparent she takes Kara's place.) But the name Laurel Gand also is key as well. Laurel Gand .... Lar Gand ... is she the Mon-El analogue in this place as well?

One thing we know is that Vrykos, Mordru's muscle and a vampire, is hungry. Mordru will not let him feed on the captured Legionnaires. But Laurel isn't in that category.

So we get to see a great brawl between these two bruisers.

Right off the bat you get a sense of Laurel's personality. She isn't shy. She seems pretty confident. And she isn't afraid to dust her knuckles a bit.

Now the artistic risk.

Remember that Rokk was able to fight off Mordru's psychic attack last issue. Rather than invite a brawl, Mordru decides that diplomacy might be the best way to repel this upstart Legion. A quiet conversation over a fancy dinner between Mordru and Rokk becomes as big a 'fight' as Laurel and Vrykos' melee. There is almost more tension here.

But rather than put it into 9 panels, the conversation is presented in a text page. We get to read more about internal monologues, what the two are thinking, and how unnerving it must be for a powerless Rokk to stare down one of the most powerful beings in the universe.

These pages work for me as we see Rokk slowly go from overwhelmed, scared, and hiding his feelings to knowing he is in the position of power. And it is just as interesting to watch Mordru sink himself as he accidentally reveals he is holding Rond Vidar.

A text page ... incredible.

As for the captured Legionnaires, they are trussed up in medieval pajamas and trapped in a mystical labyrinth. Alas, Furball (Timber Wolf) is drugged and in a stable. Brin's story, devolving into a beast, is one of the sadder of the 5YL.

But Kono remains a revelation. I love how she is irate over being put in this corset/merry widow get-up, warning people not to laugh.

The fight between Laurel and Vrykos carries into the prison. I love these panels.

The look of determination on Jo and Reep is great. There is no hesitation or surprise. Their friend is in a fight. And when you fight one Legionnaire, you fight the whole Legion.

And I love that grit and confidence in Laurel as she tells them to stay back. She wants him alone. Great.

Of course Kono doesn't listen to people. She collapses the ceiling onto Vrykos sending him through the floor.

You get so much information about these characters in these few panels. Great storytelling.

And then this sequence, as Mysa ... just damaged from her relationship with Mordru ... tries to pull it together.

She released Mordru to help repel a Khundian invasion. She hoped she could control him. But she couldn't. That third panel, all in red, a battered Mysa, is shocking.

And then the lower set. That crying Mysa trying to muster her own courage and strength. And that shot of her smiling, as the White Witch, with Blok ... but crumbling, breaking the 9 panel grid just enough to show us that she is broken ...

Again, great storytelling, using words and art together to tell more than the sum of their parts.

As for Rokk and Mordru, Rokk senses weakness in Mordru. He might be powerful ... but he isn't omnipotent. Keeping Mysa and Rond trapped, killing this group of Legionnaires, might embolden the rest of the Legion to organize and attack. It might make free worlds attack. He couldn't hold all those people at bay.

Rokk's cool calm demeanor infuriates Mordru who has to control himself. Because Rokk is right.

This is the strength of Cosmic Boy. Not his magnetism. It is his leadership. He just beat Mordru ... with words.

Meanwhile, Vrykos decides the only person he can easily feed on is Rond. But before he can sink his teeth into Vidar, he is battered back by Cham (who took the form of Rond).

So Vrykos decides that the only way he can survive this is to grab and threaten to feed on a hostage. He grabs Mysa.

The old White Witch was always in control. In control of her magic, her feelings, her relationships. Nothing showed me just how marred Mysa's psyche is than this. Threatened, she loses control of her powers, vaporizing Vrykos while letting out a primal scream.

If Brin's story is one of the sadder, Mysa's is probably the saddest.

In contrast to that fight, we see the tranquil battle of wills between Rokk and Mordru.

Rokk sees that his implied threats have worn down Mordru. There is compromise. The Legion can leave with Mysa and Rond. And there won't be any immediate retaliations.

A super-powered throwdown between vampires and Daxamites is a good thing. Rokk verbally outmaneuvering Mordru is a great thing.

So what do people think of the text pages. Good idea to convey this? I think Giffen wanted to contrast the two fights as starkly as possible. This format adds to that dissonance.

While this issue has entirely taken place on Tharn, we finally shift focus to the other big storyline brewing in this book. A second group of Legionnaires seems to be forming around Roxxas.

Jan Arrah, picked up by Celeste Rockfish, thinks the right move is to go to Winath. That is where Blok's body is. It is a good place to start. And it will allow Jan a time to mourn.

While Rokk might be the backbone of the Legion, Jan is the soul. The last panel shows he is mourning, clothed in the black of the shadows.

But maybe Rokk does have a little hubris in him. Rokk tells Mordru 'this isn't over'. Perhaps he shouldn't have jabbed one last time.

You can tell that Mordru has respect for Rokk.

And then one more new plotline is added into the mix. An odd energy cloud seems to be trailing the Legion. It left Earth, was heading to Trom, but suddenly took a 90 degree turn to Winath.

Hmmmm ... an energy cloud that seems to have intelligence? Any guesses?

What can I say? The roller coaster ride continues.

Laurel Gand is added to the cast, a mix of Supergirl and Mon-El.
We see how defeated Mysa is.
We see the teamwork of the Legion come out, like reflexes.
We see Rokk use diplomacy alone to defeat Mordru.

Add to that artistic choices of shadows, crumbling panels, and text pages.

Giffen is experimenting here, making the Legion a heavy meal of story and art.

We are 7 issues in.

What do people think???

Hot: Dream Girl or Cover Girl?

Dream Girl. The name kinda says it all, doesn't it? She's been identified by Who's Who as the most alluring Legionnaire. Certainly for some, she's the hottest Legionnaire. For others, she's over-sexualized. Many artists certainly tried to do justice to her codename. So what do you think? Hottest Legionnaire or over-rated?
(Legionnaires #16, art by Adam Hughes and Karl Story)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Superboy 191

Superboy #191 (October 1972)
A review by Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage
title: "Attack Of The Sun Scavenger!"
writer: Cary Bates
artist: Dave Cockrum
letterer: Ben Oda
editor: Murray Boltinoff
cover: Nick Cardy

Mission Monitor Board:  
Sun Boy, Shadow Lass, Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy; cameos by Timber Wolf, Princess Projectra, Bouncing Boy, Dream Girl, and Karate Kid

Dr. Regulus

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Who's Who: Invisible Kid (i)

Invisible Kid
by Russell & Siskoid
Real Name:  Lyle Norg
Super-Power(s): Ability to become invisible
Planet of Origin: Earth
Legion Seniority: It has been shown that Invisible Kid joined the Legion after Chameleon Boy and Colossal Boy, which makes him Member #8. Invisible Kid was Leader during Year Six.
Legion Log 
Invisible Kid made his debut appearance as a guest-star in a Supergirl story in Action Comics #267. It was later shown that although he, Colossal Boy, and Chameleon Boy were introduced to Supergirl as "new" members, Invisible Kid had joined after the other two. It was also shown that Invisible Kid was one of the members present when Superboy was inducted.

It was later established that Invisible Kid had been a boy genius at Metropolis University studying biochemistry when he created a serum that would render its user invisible. When he heard of the Legion, he decided to try to serve The Greater Good through his abilities and inventions. Upon his admittance he became the second member from Earth (after Colossal Boy). 

Invisible Kid served the Legion with merit for eight years. He was elected Legion Leader in Year Six,  a testament from this team-mates that they valued his intelligence and leadership. He was Leader during one of the Legion's most tumultuous years, as they had to face being outlawed by Universo and then had to face the threats of a Khund invasion, the Sun-Eater, the Fatal Five, the Dark Circle, and Mordru. Exhausted at the end of his term, he vowed to spend more time in his lab, which to him was the same as relaxing. His activity in Legion missions went down dramatically during this time. Less than two years later, he was crushed to death by Validus, who was acting under the command of Tharok. 

Invisible Kid was friendly with everyone when he was off-duty. When he was working, however, he was a no-nonsense professional who expected everyone to do their best at all times. This is probably due to lingering self-doubts as to his worth in the company of ultra-powerful members such as  Mon-El, Ultra Boy, and Colossal Boy. He often kept to himself, spending more time in the lab or with his parents than with his fellow members. After Chemical King came to Earth to be treated for the side effects of his power, Invisible Kid struck up a close friendship with him based on their mutual interests and their time spent together. He was also close to Brainiac 5, Phantom Girl, Chameleon Boy, and Shrinking Violet, the former due to their shared academic interests, the latter because he worked closely with them as a member of the Legion Espionage Squad. 

A sample of the serum that gave Lyle his invisibility powers was kept in the Legion lab. It was this serum that was used two years after his death by the man who would become the second Invisible Kid. 

Invisible Kid was one of the members of the SW6 Legionnaires, and appeared in Legionnaires when it was spun-off into its own series. He acted as the team's leader and was surprised to discover his adult self had died.

After the Reboot, Invisible Kid's parents being absent, he was raised by the Foccard family as a prodigy, with Jacques his foster brother, lost when he tried to imbibe Lyle's invisibility serum (he would later return as a helpful ghostly presence). As a member of the Legion, he invented the flight ring, acted as translator for Chameleon, led the Espionage Squad, and had a long-standing rivalry with Brainiac 5. He led the Legion for one term, during which the team defeated Mordru.

According to The Definitive Guide to The Characters of the DC Universe (2004), Lyle was in a gay relationship with Condo Arlik (Chemical King). This, however, was never stated explicitly in the comic book itself.

After the Threeboot, xenochemistry prodigy Invisible Kid injected himself with his invisibility serum rather than let his unscrupulous Science Police father give it to Earthgov. Having already worked on the flight rings with Brainiac 5, he is inducted into the Legion. Invisible Kid loses an arm when his flight ring explodes, and replaces it with an alien limb. When he returns to active service, he falls in love with a Tritonian mutant called Gazelle, for a time duping her into thinking he was older and more buff thanks to a virtual reality avatar. Gazelle didn't seem to mind either way.

After Infinite Crisis, Invisible Kid's original history has more or less been re-established, which means he has been dead for some time.

Important Invisible Kid Stories: 

Action Comics  #267
(reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 1)

debut appearance, already a Legionnaire

Adventure Comics  #323
(reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 3
cameo appearance in this flashback clearly shows Invisible Kid
was already a member when Superboy joined
Adventure Comics  #348
(reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 5)
 Invisible Kid is elected Legion Leader

Adventure Comics  #351
(reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 6)

Invisible Kid brooks no insubordination from Ultra Boy

Adventure Comics  #358
(reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 6)
Invisible Kid refuses to give up against The Hunter

Superboy  #176
(reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 10)
Invisible Kid's origin and friendship with Chemical King

Superboy/Legion #203
(reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 11)
Invisible Kid is killed by Validus

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #206
(reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 11)
Invisible Kid's "ghost" is just as brave and resourceful as the real thing

Legion of Super-Heroes(v3) #59
Invisible Kid's friendship with Chemical King is shown

Secret Origins #47
Invisible Kid's friendship with Chemical King is shown

Legion of Super-Heroes(v4) #25
Invisible Kid returns to the universe as a member of the SW6 Legion

Legionnaires #13
SW6 Invisible Kid fights a rogue telepath who calls himself Kid Psycho

Legionnaires #23
After the Reboot, Invisible Kid invents the flight ring

Legionnaires #66
Lyle is reunited with his foster brother, Jacques Focquart

Legion of Super-Heroes(v5) #0
After the Threeboot, co-inventor of the flight ring Invisible Kid joins
the youth movement known as the Legion

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #27
Invisible Kid gets his arm torn off; it will be replaced with an alien arm for a time

Legion of Super-Heroes(v5) #50
Love interest Gazelle finds out Invisible Kid's real appearance,
but decides to pursue the relationship anyway

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Happy Halloween Jeckie-O-Lantern

by Anj
I have been having a blast covering the 5YL Legion on this site and as a result my love of the Legion has been energized.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. One of the reasons is my love of carving jack-o-lanterns. And this year, I decided that I needed to do a Legion jack-o-lantern. Trying to figure out what design to do was a bit of a task.

I initially thought Wildfire as he is my favorite Legionnaire. Then I thought the Legion symbol alone would be interesting. I even toyed with Ferro Lad.

But then I decided that Sensor Girl had the right aesthetic to make a great lantern.

And, I have to say I am pretty pleased with the results! One thing I did with this lantern is carve the 'hair' with varying levels of depth, with no real pattern, just letting the tools do the work. As a result, the hair has a bit of energy and depth while the mask appears smooth.

Here is the lantern as it looks during the day.

And I admit the design is completely cribbed from the Steve Lightle cover of Legion of Super-Heroes #14, the first appearance of Sensor Girl.

I have been calling this my Jeckie-o-Lantern, a pun only I seem to get.

Hope everyone has a happy Halloween!

Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #317

Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #317 (Nov, 1984)
title: "Death Trip!"
writer/plotter: Paul Levitz
plotter: Keith Giffen
dialogue: Mindy Newell
penciller: Terry Shoemaker

inker: Karl Kesel
letterer: Ben Oda
colorist: Carl Gafford
editor: Karen Berger
cover: Terry Shoemaker & Karl Kesel (signed)

Mission Monitor Board:  
Wildfire, Invisible Kid, cameo appearances by Dream Girl, Duo Damsel, Bouncing Boy, Cosmic Boy, and dream versions of Ultra Boy, Mon-El, White Witch, Blok, Timber Wolf, Colossal Boy, Sun Boy, Cosmic Boy, and Superboy

Dream Demon

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Legion Constitution Article 3: Wanna Join?

Calling this meeting to Order! 
A review of the Legion Constitution by Sisskoid

Being the second of several articles looking at the Legion Constitution to help the prospective member understand just what is expected of him or her. Learn the rules, kids! You'll need them to survive!

So what DOES it take to become a member of the Legion?Ah yes, here we go: INEXPERIENCE REQUIRED! The United Planets have basically agreed to put their safety in the hands of teenagers, and ONLY teenagers.

Obviously, you can be quite a bit older when you get out. 

Another Superboy clause, but a necessary one given the variety of powers Superboy might exhibit on any given day in the Silver Age. Even so, prospective members must sure hate Mon-El and Ultra Boy! Note also that someone like Iron Man could never join the Legion. I guess it's also the clause responsible for certain prospects inventing terms like "super-karate" just to get in.
Hahaha. Good one, Val!
The reason for many a rejection, it's the difference between a Polar Boy and a Matter-Eater Lad.
Don't you just hate freezer burn? So does the Legion.
Oh really?
Plainly put, that contradicts reams of Silver Age continuity.

Here's the clause that's about try-outs. Note that any reasonable testing procedures may be used to evaluate the candidate, including screwing with his mind and making him cry.
Moving right along...
No time is wasted. Sometimes, half the Legion doesn't even know who that new member is.
And a legend is born.

Often, that token will be a worthless Legion flight ring, which the candidate uses to commit crimes.

Oh the shame! Imagine making it into the Legion and then being sent to school for some brushing up!
Actually, in the above issue of LSH, Invisible Kid II and the White Witch did exactly that. They fought escaped zoo animals. Yay!

Be careful about activating reserve members, you might not be able to get rid of them easily.

Again, a list: Pete Ross. Jimmy Olsen. This went to committee?!

Does this look like a legal vote to you?
Honorary membership RESCINDED!!!

So kind of anyone, so long as they're pure of heart.

Looks like Reserves have to go through stringent humiliation as well. Ok.

Whooo! Prompt induction into the reserve ranks! :P

Can we follow that training on alternate weekends?

When we next assemble: How to get out!

This article was originally posted in some form on Siskoid's Blog of Geekery.