Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #15

The Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #15 (Oct, 1985)
A Review by Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage
title: "Hostage On A Hostile Star"
writer: Paul Levitz
artist: Greg LaRocque
inker: Larry Mahlstedt
letterer: John Costanza
colorist: Carl Gafford
editor: Karen Berger
cover: Steve Lightle (signed)

Mission Monitor Board:  
Wildfire, Shadow Lass, Mon-El, Sun Boy, Shrinking Violet, Colossal Boy, Element Lad, Timber Wolf, Dawnstar, Dream Girl, Star Boy, Polar Boy, Magnetic Kid, Sensor Girl, Tellus, Quislet, Brainiac 5

Cosmic Boy, Night Girl, Shiratsuru "Sensei", Myg

Dr. Regulus
Out in space, on a routine training mission, the space cruiser with Wildfire and the five new Legionnaires on board are attacked by living solar flares. Wildfire's suit is destroyed, so as incorporate energy he gets back to Earth and alerts Element Lad that their newest members have been kidnapped.

Near Imsk, Shrinking Violet leads a group of Legionnaires to her home planet. They herd dragons away from populated worlds until she and Colossal Boy can bring a replacement light beacon to scare them away. As they complete their mission and start to leave, Element Lad calls them to investigate their kidnapped members. They are exhausted, but they are the closest.

On Shanghalla, Timber Wolf "tells" Karate Kid that his last request has been completed. He wonders what will become of Karate Kid's and Projectra's money, and also what will become of Myg, the young man he and Sensei liberated from Lythyl.

Out in space, Mon-El is grabbed by living solar flares and dragged down to an asteroid near a powerful star. The Legion is also pulled in, but Mon-El is able to recover quickly enough to save his friends' lives.

On Earth, Dawnstar leads another group as back-up to investigate their kidnapped members. After they leave, Element Lad, Star Boy, and Dream Girl worry about their newest members.

On the asteroid, Dr. Regulus reveals that he is the man who kidnapped the five Legionnaires. His allies, the solar flare beings native to the asteroid, destroyed their Legion cruiser before any of them could react. Sun Boy promises to face Dr. Regulus one-on-one if he lets the hostages go. Regulus agrees. Sun Boy remains while the others are all allowed to leave.

On Earth, Cosmic Boy and Night Girl attend the opening of the Super Hero Museum and talk about what they want to do now that Cos is not a full-time Legionnaire.

On the asteroid, Dr. Regulus beats on Sun Boy as the Legionnaire is unable to use his own solar power. When he tries, Regulus' solar flare alien allies attack him. Shrinking Violet wants to break their promise and help Sun Boy, but the others stop her. Regulus has the upper hand until Sun Boy uses his head, and out-thinks Regulus.

Back on Earth, Brainiac 5 is frantic that the next day is the 1,000th anniversary of the saddest day in history.

What a great adventure! From the fantastic cover and the begin-in-the-middle splash to the anxious one-on-one conclusion, this is a fiery issue! Although the cover "spoils" that the bad guy behind the kidnapping is Dr. Regulus, not too much of the story is taken up by this "mystery." In fact, I think that the reader knowing that the menace is Dr. Regulus actually increases our anxiety about the situation. And although Shrinking Violet is concerned for Sun Boy's welfare, I think we all knew he would be able to take Regulus, right?

The new members don't really get to do anything in this issue except whine about being taken out so quickly. However, from the cruiser Sensor Girl does "sense" that the temperature on the asteroid is rising, even though Mon-El says that heat illusions are stopping him from seeing clearly what is happening on the surface.

Greg LaRocque does a nice job filling in for Steve Lightle. In fact, the first few pages of Wildfire are similar to Lightle's style. It is not until we get to Imsk and see the body language, postures, and faces of these Legionnaires that we can notice the obvious difference between the artists. LaRocque does wild things with the solar flares and the flame effects, too. Another great job is done by colorist Carl Gafford, as well. The cover, especially, fairly exudes heat. Great job, Mr. Gafford!

Science Police Notes:  
  • Wildfire admits that there are half a dozen extra power suits in the store-room at Legion HQ, available for him when his suit is destroyed. He also tells us that each suit he inhabits makes him use his powers in slightly different ways. 
  • After the team herding the Imskian dragons finish and return to their cruiser, Sun Boy suddenly reacts to an alert from Element Lad....that hasn't actually arrived yet! Some caption or sound effect is missing between pages four and five, but Sun Boy reacts as if the cue was actually there. 
  • The Legion cruiser has a sleek new look in this issue. 
  • Night Girl breaks down in fear when surrounded by fans at the Super Hero Museum. This is an uncharacteristic reaction coming from one of the strongest women on Earth. Even though it was in the middle of the day, it was still an odd sequence. 
  • Dr. Regulus boasts that he escaped from Takron-Galtos during the Great Darkness attack during Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #291-294.   
This issue has not yet been reprinted.

This is the debut of new Legion artist Greg LaRocque.

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