Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #8

Legion of Super-Heroes (vol 3) #7 (March 1985)
a review by Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage
title: "To Destroy A World!"
writer: Paul Levitz
penciller: Steve Lightle
inker: Larry Mahlstedt
letterer: John Costanza
colorist: Carl Gafford
editor: Karen Berger
cover: Steve Lightle & Larry Mahlstedt (signed)

Mission Monitor Board:  
Ultra Boy, Chameleon Boy, Shrinking Violet, Element Lad, Phantom Girl, Cosmic Boy, Shadow Lass, Invisible Kid, Wildfire, Blok, Mon-El, White Witch, Lightning Lass

Guest Stars: 
Night Girl; Legion Academy students Laurel Kent, Comet Queen, and Magnetic Kid

renegade members of the Legion of Super-Villains: Sun Emperor, Cosmic King, Spider Girl, Neutrax, Chameleon Chief, and Micro Lad

Phantom Girl shows the other four Legionnaires on the planet in Limbo the mini-Sun Eater that she found last issue. They decide that they must destroy the planet. Ultra Boy breaks the roof off the factory they are in to scan the world for possible ways to destroy the place. However, this action alerts the automated repair team, which attempts to "fix" the Legionnaires. After they take care of the machines and Ultra Boy apologizes for being rash, they seriously discuss the best way to destroy the place while possibly using it to escape back to Earth.
On Earth, Cosmic Boy decides to take Night Girl up on her offer to visit her home planet on vacation. He promises to tell her his plan "to change things around here."

On Scardas IV, a group of Legionnaires helps the Science Police round up the un-captured Legion of Super-Villain members. Blok faces his former team-mate, Neutrax, and Lightning Lass captures Micro Lad, who lets out a tiny little scream.

On the planet in limbo, the Armorer arrives back to work and reviews the automated sensors to learn that the Legionnaires are on his planet. He sends out a powerful robot sentry who catches the three guys. Shrinking Violet and Phantom Girl investigate behind the scenes on how to blow up the whole world and they hit upon a plan.

On Earth, the students at the Legion Academy are enjoying time off at the Montauk Point beach when Laurel Kent is shot. The shooter disappears before Magnetic Kid or Comet Queen sees him.

Back on the planet in limbo, the Armorer uses mental telepathy on Ultra Boy learn who the Legionnaires are, and he begins to speak in Interlac for their benefit. Still, he refuses to explain or shut down the factory. Chameleon Boy impersonates a Controller (his boss) and then Ultra Boy knocks him out. Element Lad transforms the control center's floor and structure into radioactive materials. So as the Armorer is tossed through the star gate to the Controllers' world and the others step through to Earth, Ultra Boy tosses an Element Lad-transformed fissionable rock into the floor at super-speed, making the entire planet go KATHOOM.

The first great thing about this issue is its cover. The large face of the Armorer looms dangerously over the five Legionnaires, who have just disposed of another automated sentry. The logo of the book is incorporated into the wall of the factory, a creative design that bode well for what the tenure of Steve Lightle would bring. Also, it is great to have Larry Mahlstedt back on the interior as well as here on the cover. And the coloring, again! Carl Gafford is a genius. Check out those pages shown here....the sunset, the smoke and dirt in the atmosphere on the factory planet, the robots and effects as Element Lad and Ultra Boy destroy their attackers....this is just beautiful, beautiful stuff...!

There is a good balance between the Legionnaires this issue. Ultra Boy is again portrayed as something of a "dumb jock," but if that is his current characterization it works well with Phantom Girl's thinker, Chameleon Boy's strategist, Element Lad's empathy, and Shrinking Violet's impatience. These are five of the most interesting Legionnaires; writer Paul Levitz chose them well for this extended adventure.

The rest of the issue was spent closing out the Legion of Super-Villains plot and beginning a new one by having Laurel get shot. (This is actually continuing an already established plot begun with the murder of the Batman descendant last issue, but we don't learn that they are connected for another few months.) It does seems somewhat anti-climactic for the Villains to be captured so quickly. Cosmic King has Element Lad's power to transmute the elements; he at least should not have been captured so easily.

Science Police Notes:  
  • This story promises to be continued in DC Comics Presents #80 before returning to Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #9.   
  • Science Police officer Shvaugh Erin joins the Legion in their mission to capture the remaining members of the Legion of Super-Villains, even though she is supposedly on duty in the Dark Circle world with Dev-Em, as shown in current issues of Tales of the Legion
Reprinted in the TPB The More Things Change

1 comment:

  1. This is the issue where Steve Lightle really makes his mark on Legion history. His art had been good to this point, but in this issue he has a style and voice that puts him among the best. His figures are particularly dynamic and his faces are beautiful. There’s a real sexiness along with the adventure and characterization. Unfortunately, Legion artists usually leave the book right as they’re finding their greatness — Cockrum, Grell, Sherman. Not only is Mr. Lightle doing beautiful work, the inker and colorist are brilliant and all work in harmony. There’s so much going on here and it only makes me want more.
    This is an exciting time for the Legion and Legion fans!