Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #325

Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #325 (July 1985)
A Review by Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage
title: "5 To The Infinite Power"
plot: Paul Levitz
dialogue: Mindy Newell
penciller: Dan Jurgens
inker: Karl Kesel
letterer: Gaspar
colorist: Carl Gafford
editor: Karen Berger
cover: Dan Jurgens & Karl Kesel (signed)

Mission Monitor Board:  
Ultra Boy, Mon-El, White Witch, Colossal Boy, Sun Boy, Element Lad, Phantom Girl, Blok; cameos by Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad

Dev-Em, Science Police Officer Gigi Cusimano, SP Chief Zendak

The Dark Circle

Out in Dark Circle space, Ultra Boy, Mon-El, and White Witch are confronted by the Dark Circle themselves as Dev-Em is dying of green Kryptonite poisoning. Mon-El tells Ultra Boy to steal the body back as he creates a diversion, then propels all four of them out of the area. Back at Gigi's ship, Mon-El begins to administer first aid to Dev-Em, discussing how Kryptonians and Daxamites are similar biologically. Dev-Em appears to be recuperating.

On Earth at Legion HQ, Colossal Boy is working out in the gym as Sun Boy stops by. Colossal Boy tells him that he wants to remain friends, but never wants to hear about his love life again. (This is a reference to the story in Tales #320 where Colossal Boy's wife helped pull a prank on Sun Boy.) Element Lad then calls on a team to rendezvous with Mon-El and company.
Mon-El isn't waiting for his team-mates to join them; they and the revived Dev-Em head back into Dark Circle space again. Dev-Em is angry that the Dark Circle cloned him, as he explains to the Legionnaires that the Dark Circle is actually made up of clones of the five leaders! White Witch promises that she will stop the Dev-Em clones from doing any more damage.

At the Dark Circle citadel the five Dark Circle leaders are arguing as the Legionnaires and Dev-Em attack. White Witch recognizes the humanoid Dark Circle leader before they teleport away. When the Dev-Em clones attack, White Witch casts a re-combination spell. All of the clones are then re-absorbed back into Dev-Em.
Chief Zendak contacts Gigi and orders her back to Earth, telling her he gave her this adventure with Counter-Intelligence to make up for the recent Bismoll adventure (recounted in Legion of Substitute Heroes Special #1.)

The other Legionnaires arrive and capture the five Dark Circle leaders. Rather than face punishment, however, they commit suicide. This causes all of the Dark Circle operatives throughout the galaxy to also, simultaneously, drop dead.
Back on Earth, Gigi goes out on a date with Dev-Em. At Legion HQ, Blok updates the Legion's holo-tape records. He and White Witch then decide to review the past year's activities, but fall asleep. The next morning, Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad show up to make a pitch for  the new Legion "Baxter" series and for the "Tales" series that will continue with reprints of LSH volume 3.
LOVE the size disparity between these two Legionnaires here
This is a nice way to end the new stories in Tales of the Legion title. For the past year this title has been featuring smaller teams of Legionnaires, so it seems fitting that this story starts with Ultra Boy, Mon-El, and White Witch, then ends with them being met by five other Legionnaires, so this becomes a true "Legion" story.

As for the plot itself, as mentioned last issue I never felt anything for Dev-Em one way or the other because I didn't understand who or what he was. He seems like a dashing, fun character, but we only see him once more in the Legion mythos that I am aware of. He must not have been very popular.

The Dark Circle ceases to exist in this story, which seems like a shame. I liked the idea that the entire organization was comprised of innumerable clones of the five leaders, but were Dark Circle soldiers *never* captured alive before this? This story makes me want to go back and read their previous appearances to see what I may have missed the first time. Also, purely from an artistic stand-point it doesn't seem like fair play to draw the five leaders as five different body types, but all of their clones as one, other type. Other than that complaint, however, I am a huge fan of Dan Jurgens' work here. I'd love to see him back on the Legion.  

The epilogues, first with Blok and White Witch, then with Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad, throw the whole chronology of the last year's worth of stories of the Legion into question. When Tales began, twelve issues ago, it was announced that the stories running here would in theory occur *before* the stories in the Baxter series. However, it became pretty obvious pretty quickly that the stories were running concurrently. This issue features Lighting Lass on the cover, for example, but she is a character who never appeared in Tales at all and is about to re-appear as Light Lass in LSH (v3). And the advertisement here mentions she is coming back soon...? If Blok has spent the time to get the records updated, then why are we about to fight the Legion of Super-Villains....and a member is about to die? And most confusing of all, why is the ad for stories that are about to be reprinted in Tales, but the subscription form is for the Baxter series!?!

I can't help but think there should have been tighter editorial control on Legion continuity for this year. As it finally ended up, it's just a confusing mess.

Science Police Notes:  
  • It seems odd that Dev-Em survives his green kryptonite poisoning. It is also odd that the Dark Circle, in their effort to clone Dev-Em, leaves him in his bikini briefs. If they are out to take over the galaxy, I find it hard to believe that they would care much about his modesty. 
  • Dev-Em gets a new blue, green, and white uniform in this issue, which is never seen again. 
  • The ad at the end of the story mentions several incidents from the Baxter series as if they were in the past, even though they are about to "happen" in the Tales book. 
  • The ad also references the Legion election and resignations from the group, incidents that occur in Legion (v3) #12, making that issue chronologically first. However, we decided to review this issue first because the action at the beginning of this issue picks up immediately after the ending of Tales #324, and because the story in Legion (v3) #12 continues right into Legion (v3) #13, making the insertion of this story in-between those two issues difficult. 
  • This is the last issue of Tales to feature new stories. From the next issue (Tales #326)  the stories that had been published in Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) are reprinted in chronological order.  
This issue has not yet been reprinted.

This is in effect the last issue of Superboy (v1), Legion of Super-Heroes (v2), and Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes. This book would reprint stories from Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) for the next few years until being cancelled with issue #354 in 1987.

1 comment:

  1. "He must not have been very popular."

    Dev-Em's problem wasn't a lack of popularity, it was his history tied in with Superboy's history that was the problem, and probably why he is seen so little as we go on.