Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #12

The Legion of Super-Heroes #12 (July, 1985)
A Review by Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage
title: "The More Things Change"
writer: Paul Levitz
artist: Steve Lightle
inker: Mike Machlan
letterer: John Costanza
colorist: Carl Gafford
editor: Karen Berger
cover: Steve Lightle & Larry Mahlstedt (signed)

Mission Monitor Board:  
Superboy, Wildfire, Dawnstar, Brainiac 5, Sun Boy, Timber Wolf, Blok, Phantom Girl, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Element Lad, Dream Girl

unnamed space pirates

Out in space, Superboy and four other Legionnaires are fighting space pirates when one of the ships simply vanishes. Dawnstar is afraid Brainiac 5's recent experiments on her before they were trapped on Exile may have weakened her powers somehow.

On Earth at Legion HQ, Timber Wolf designs himself a new uniform, then heads out on a personal mission. He leaves, suggesting to Blok that he, too, gets a new uniform. Blok appears to consider it.
Nearby, the three founders salute the Legion flag on their way to cast their votes for Legion Leader. Element Lad is running against Brainiac 5. Dream Girl isn't running this year, but still enjoys kissing babies (Graym Ranzz) and boys (Element Lad).
Back out in space, Brainiac 5 has guessed that Phantom Girl is required to help on their case. As soon as the space pirates re-appear, Phantom Girl phases into their ship in order to find their engineer. The ship disappears before the Legion can stop it, but moments later Phantom Girl re-appears with the engineer, a thief from her home dimensional world of Bgtzl. The space pirates had modified their warp engine to mimic Bgtzlian "phantom phasing."
Back on Earth, the three founders admit to Element Lad that they voted for him. And then they give him a bigger shock: each has decided to resign from the Legion of Super-Heroes.

This is a fun little story with plenty of nice little moments. First of course is the inclusion of Superboy, who is making his LSH (v3) action debut here (he had a cameo panel appearance last issue). I remember reading after he came back that he was supposed to show up almost as often as any other Legionnaire, but I don't really remember him taking part in too many adventures. It's nice to see him here. By the way, the space pirates featured here are the same aliens featured in Superboy/Legion #202, which is a nice nod to Legion continuity. And of course, the resignations of the three founders is a bomb-shell I did not see coming.

Steve Lightle does a great job on the pencils, and inker Mike Machlan gives a more "glossy" look to the art this time out. It's not a bad look at all, but we will get the wonderful Larry Mahlstedt back next issue.

title: "The More Things Stay The Same"
writer: Paul Levitz
penciller: Ernie Colon
inker: Larry Mahlstedt
letterer: John Costanza
colorist: Carl Gafford
editor: Karen Berger

Mission Monitor Board:  
Element Lad, Lighting Lad, Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy

Guest Stars: 
Legion Academy students Magnetic Kid, Tellus, Comet Queen, Power Boy, Laurel Kent; Bouncing Boy; SP officers Erin, Cusimono, Dvron, Smyt, and "Charlie" 

The United Planets Council's professional analysts meet to discuss the Legion membership change as well as the on-going election for leader.

At the Legion Academy, five of the students are talking about what the resignations mean to them. They pester Magnetic Kid especially, thinking that he has an "in" because his big brother (Cosmic Boy) has left the team. In his frustration, he uses his magnetic powers to propel his friends away from him. Then, Bouncing Boy arrives to tell them that the Legion was there to talk to them.
News outlets print and broadcast rumors and possibilities about the news that the founders have resigned, and the election results are to be announced by the end of the day.

At Science Police head-quarters, SP officer Erin and her friends discuss the Legion and the attempted murder of Laurel Kent.

At Legion head-quarters, the founders and Element Lad have formalized their new status: Rotating Permanent Advisors. There will have to be an amendment to the Legion Constitution, but they believe that is a mere formality. Then the election returns come in; Element Lad has been  re-elected against Brainiac 5, 13-10.

I suppose this is a separate story and not part of the "lead" because of the same dreaded deadline that had hung over this series from the start. However, these eleven pages absolutely do not deserve to be their own story. The pages about the UP analysts and the reporters are, in terms that they would understand, "filler." The scene at the Legion Academy is interesting, but Magnetic Kid's petulant "leave me alone!" emotional explosion doesn't bode well for his membership request. And the election results are dragged out over three pages, which is really something. As a side note, according to the letters' page, Element Lad beat Brainiac 5 in the real world, 91 votes to 87. I think I remember voting for Element Lad again....or maybe for Shadow Lass, who got 70 votes.)

Ernie Colon is back again this issue, and his talent makes this throw-away story look pretty. He is a great artist, but there is nothing here to get excited about. It is interesting to note that he draws Tellus with fingers and hands, the only time during this era when he is not drawn with his stumpy hands and feet. And the Science Police scene serves only to keep the shooting of Laurel Kent fresh in everyone's mind. That story resolution is coming soon.

Science Police Notes:  
  • Superboy is shown voting in the Legion Leader election, although he is no longer a full-fledged member.  
  • Dawnstar gripes about the possibility of losing her powers from an experiment that happened, in theory, almost a year ago. This is another example of messed up Legion continuity due to the simultaneous existence of Tales. With that series now reprinting the stories from *this* book, we should have a stronger, easier to understand continuity again. 
  • Tellus is drawn with fingers and hands, although when he re-appears in Legion (v3) #14 and thereafter he has only stumps. 
Reprinted in The Legion of Super-Heroes: The More Things Change TPB 

Element Lad is re-elected Legion Leader in this issue. At the same time, the founders (Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, and Lightning Lad) resign from full-time membership.

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