Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tales Of The Legion Of Super-Heroes #319

Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #319 (Jan, 1985)
A review by Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage
title: "If Memory Should Fail..."
writer: Paul Levitz
penciller: Terry Shoemaker
inker: Karl Kesel
letterer: Adam Kubert
colorist: Carl Gafford
editor: Karen Berger
cover: Dan Jurgens & Karl Kesel (signed)

Mission Monitor Board:  
Mon-El, Shadow Lass, Colossal Boy, Timber Wolf, Star Boy, Brainiac 5, Dawnstar, Dream Girl, Saturn Girl, Superboy

Shadow Kid (Shadow Lass' cousin, Grev Mallor), Dev-Em
Lady Memory, The Persuader

In the space near Talok VIII, Mon-El is half-crazy because he is re-living all of his terrible memories from his 1,000 years in the Phantom Zone. Planetside, Lady Memory continues to lead the armed rebel forces to the city.  On their way to help we find Colossal Boy, Star Boy, and Timber Wolf. They have some awkward explanatory dialogue to bring the readers up to speed as to what is going on, and then they notice Mon-El speeding towards them.

Orbiting Earth, Lyla and The Monitor intend to break into the Legion head-quarters to acquire a certain item. Inside, Brainiac 5 and Dream Girl are waiting to see if the Q-wave Amplifier can increase Dawnstar's tracking abilities so she can find the missing Legionnaires.

Near Talok VIII, the guys try to capture Mon-El. Eventually, Star Boy controls the mass of Mon so he can't move. They don't know what to do with him, as he is incoherent. They call Saturn Girl, who is too far away to help, but suggests something that might return him to his senses.

Meanwhile, planet-side, Lady Memory challenges Shadow Lass to a battle to the death. We learn that Lady Memory grew up as an apprentice of the Maakas monks because she had the soul of living memory reborn in her. She wants Talok VIII to return to the ancient ways of worshiping Maakas, and she is ready to begin the religion by sacrificing Shadow Lass.

Outside Dark Circle space, Dev-Em begins his attempt to penetrate it by impersonating a guard on the outskirts of their controlled space.

Shadow Lass and Lady Memory begin their fight, neither using their powers, until Lady Memory begins to lose and tries to knock Shady out with her memories. Shadow Lass, however, is made of sterner stuff than that. "Memories are only memories. Today is real." The Persuader is about to kill Shadow Kid when Mon-El and the other Legionnaires arrive. Mon-El stops the rebels, and Colossal Boy and Timber Wolf stop the Persuader. Moments later, Superboy shows up. He explains that Saturn Girl's suggestion was for him to show up with the Phantom Zone projector; this shocked Mon-El back to his senses. Mon-El helps wrap up the rebel forces, then flies off into space, thinking he would like to travel the Universe.

Lastly, back on Earth, Dawnstar still can not find the missing members.

The idea of a super-villain whose power is to make you relive your past is a good one, but as Shadow Lass shows us, it's only good against characters who have regrets. Against Shady, Lady Memory doesn't stand a chance. Also, the idea of Mon-El haunted by his own memories is a great idea, so...we get one or two pages of him as a babbling idiot and that's it? I think the idea was much better than what we end up getting. Also, the choreography of the guys trying to stop Mon-El is not very good. Colossal Boy grabs Mon-El, but still falls down? Seems like Paul Levitz is trying to show us that these guys are not three of the smartest Legionnaires. Maybe I'm reading too much into their scenes. I am also not a big fan of how the story ends....Superboy shows up with a phantom zone projector, and that snaps Mon-El back to normal? Uh....okay, maybe, but then why isn't Superboy right there with the rest of his pals to help battle the rebels? I didn't understand that part. Also, by the time the end rolls around we have seen too much fight between Mon-El and the rebels, so we get no fight between the Legion and the Persuader! That's a gyp. I absolutely loved that Shadow Lass defeated the Persuader last issue and this time takes out Lady Memory, though. She was always one of my favorites, and this story really showcases her strengths.

This is Terry Shoemaker's last issue as regular artist. He had a good six issue run. Unfortunately, he was unhappy when DC changed some of his art, and quit before the year-long assignment was over. He didn't even stay long enough to draw the cover! His Dream Girl, Dawnstar, and Shadow Lass are all beautiful, and his men all look slightly differently handsome. He was a good artist for the book, and I would have liked to have seen him either continue or come back.  

Science Police Notes:  
  • Dev-Em talks about SP Officer Shvaughn being in orbit to pick up the Dark Circle guard he knocks out, even though she was shown to be back on Earth last issue moping about Element Lad.
  • Timber Wolf, Star Boy, and Colossal Boy are in a rush to rescue Shadow Lass from the Persuader, but then stop and capture Mon-El instead. For all they know, their actions might have doomed her. 
  • The skin color of the Talokians go from green to blue almost indiscriminately in this story. 
This issue has not yet been reprinted.

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