Monday, July 6, 2015

TOS: Adventure Comics #293 Group Review

The Legion of Super Bloggers Round-Table Discussion on

Adventure Comics #293 (February, 1962)
title: The Legion of Super-Traitors!
writer: Jerry Siegel
penciller: Curt Swan
inker: George Klein
letterer: Milton Snapinn
editor: Mort Weisinger
cover: Curt Swan and George Klein

Mission Monitor Board: 
Superboy, Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad

The Legion of Super-Pets (Krypto the Super-Dog, Streaky the Super-Cat, Comet the Super-Horse, Beppo the Super-Monkey), Lana Lang, Pa and Ma Kent, Mon-El, Supergirl (cameo)

The Brain-Globes of Rambat, Jax-Ur, General Zod
Evil space-brains manipulate the Legion into defeating Superboy, and only the Super-Pets are immune, so they are brought together for the first time to save the day.

(Round table discussion between Siskoid, Russell Burbage, Tim Wallace)

Siskoid: This meeting of the Legion of Super-Bloggers in now in session. Adventure Comics #293 is the topic of the day.
Russell: The cover is cool.
Tim: Will this Legion harassment never end? Tease him with membership, humiliate him, now zap poor Superboy with kryptonite?!
Russell: Yeah, with friends like these, who NEEDS the LSV?
Siskoid: I think it looks strange. Like they're using the beams as if they were ropes, keeping a Superboy balloon down. It's all very Green Lantern.
Tim: It's the Legion's Thanksgiving Day Parade!
Russell: I wonder if this is the reason somebody came up with flight rings. "You mean we DON'T get kryptonite rings?!"
Siskoid: And then it's interesting that the splash page is like the very next moment, like a 2-panel teaser.
Russell: Where's the Bizarro Lex? As promised on the cover?
Siskoid: The other story.
Russell: That's a total cheat, man.
Siskoid: Well, not putting the Super-Pets on the actual cover is a bad case of burying the lede.
Russell: True, true.
Siskoid: AND calling it The Legion of Super-Traitors, not The Legion of Super-Pets... come on!
Russell: I wonder how salesworthy Bizarro Lex would have been. Shouldn't it have said "Featuring the Legion of Super Pets!" instead?
Tim: As far as the splash page goes... and the rest of the issue frankly... I get the "why" behind it, but am I the only one a little disturbed by the idea of telepathic talking super animals?
Russell: No, Tim.
Siskoid: They're not telepathic, it's just that there are so many telepaths in this story to translate for them. as we'll see. Note that there's absolutely no reason for there being two time bubbles in the splash page.
Russell: The second one just magically appears in the middle of the story.
Siskoid: What is that? Does Lightning Lad have his own sweet ride?
Tim: Also, I've always know them as Beppo the Super-Monkey, and Comet the Super-Horse... but here they're just Super-Monkey and Super-Horse?
Siskoid: Shhhh, don't blow their secret identities! Anything else on these two teases?
Russell: Neigh.
Siskoid: Hahaha.
Tim: No... lets check out Clark's super store-stocking skills!

After a hard day's work at Pa Kent's general store, Superboy needs to save a plane, but gets a strange urge to wreck it instead. Krypto the Super-Dog saves the day, earning his master's thanks, then ire. What's wrong with the Boy of Steel?

Russell: Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear, where Superboy spends his time hawking canned peaches.
Siskoid: And of course, the big thing here is that Clark catches Lana Lang shoplifting!
Russell: That's not what happens! She doesn't have peaches in her purse.
Siskoid: HAHAHA no you're right, it's just a shopping list. What the hell was I reading?
Russell: You must have been under the control of the Rambats!
Siskoid: That seems likely.
Tim: Stupid Rambats! But yeah, that was a little creepy. "Hey, let me use my X-ray vision to see what's in Lana's purse"...what?!
Siskoid: LOL!
Russell: Right, that IS pervy.
Tim: From super-stocking to super-stalking in two panels!
Russell: When I read this first page, I thought, "Oh, this is going to be another Lana suspects Clark story..." and then Lana waltzes out of the story forever.
Russell: So WTH was the point of this whole page?
Tim: Filler?
Russell: I would have preferred a page of Superboy frolicking in the sky with Krypto.
Siskoid: Ok, so then Clark gets home and his hotline rings. I like the list of people who have the number.
Siskoid: The President, the Pentagon, and... Smallville mayor. Or Police Chief, sorry.
Russell: You on crack, Siskoid?!? What version are you reading!?! haha
Siskoid: I may be a little tired.
Tim: Not the Governor?!
Siskoid: If you say Governor, you acknowledge that Smallville must be in a State, and then you need to say which one!
Tim: Kansas, of course!
Siskoid: Now, sure, but then? It was a real Springfield, with the ocean AND the desert close by.
Russell: It's not like Alfred is there to take a message. Didn't we just read a story where the light blinks and almost gives Lana an idea that something is up? "Uhh... the bulbs keep burning out..."
Siskoid: The electrics in that place...
Tim: Speaking of electrics... I was (still am) thinking the plane is a fake! A model or something... You never see people in it! No pilot, no passengers... nothing!
Siskoid: That's true, there's really nothing to make us think there's a human drama going on. I didn't notice because 1) PUPPY! and 2) I seem to have lost the ability to read tonight. Doggy saves the day by cutting the roof off a barn! And dumping a plane right in the hay! And Superboy turns evil, like we always knew he would.
Russell: Yep.
Tim: Evil? What was the giveaway? Him shouting "FALL, PLANE!!!"?
Russell: How convenient that Krypto showed up.
Tim: PUPPY! I gotta say, these Krypto shots are some of my favorites! That last panel on page 4... priceless!
Siskoid: And horrible!
Russell: Yip! I gotta ask, though... why didn't Krypto just fly under the plane and then guide it to earth? Why cause destruction to the barn?
Siskoid: Krypto has a super-tail and he so rarely gets to use it!
Russell: Riiiight.
Siskoid: You're asking a dog to have a coherent plan.
Tim: Squirrel!
Siskoid: Dog about to be swung into space by master... it's like news out of Florida. (Where's Shagg to respond to my taunt when I need him to?)
Russell: So... WTH was the point of these two pages? (I think I'll keep that statement on hand for the rest of this issue, haha.)
Tim: Filler! Filler! We've got 14 pages, and about 9 worth of story... how about Clark working in the store? And then Krypto saves a plane! Yeah, that's it!
Siskoid: That Superboy is being turned evil. Intermittently so. His honest relationship with his parents make him admit to it when he gets home. Be like Superboy, kids. Fess up!
Russell: If I were Krypto I totally would have bitten. "Swing me around will ya, ya bastard!?"
Siskoid: Inhumane!
The next day, the Legion founders visit Superboy and ask him to identify Phantom Zone criminals for their files, but Mon-El warns him they really want to release them from captivity. When this fails, they attack Superboy with kryptonite-projecting rings.

Tim: Ok... for potential newbies like myself... Time Cabinet? I thought they were Time Bubbles?
Siskoid: Time Bubble or Sphere is proper. Calling it a cabinet is flying in the face of all reason and logic. How does it look like a cabinet, Clark?
Tim: Cabinet sounds more like a description of a TARDIS.
Russell: So... the desk lamp blinks blinks blinks and that means "Meet in the Gobi Desert." Got it.
Tim: Morse code?
Siskoid: Right, where IS that? I guess it's the Kansas Desert. Because where they USUALLY meet is the woods outside his school.
Russell: Please note there is only ONE cabinet bubble.
Siskoid: Counting them. One.
Russell: The woods outside his school is where they meet Supergirl later.
Siskoid: Yes. Those are the woods outside her orphanage ;-)
Siskoid: Well, Zod and Mon-El cameos at any rate. Mon-El still not forgotten.  He's in it for the long haul, still waving happily after a few months of 1000-year sentence in the Zone
Russell: So... why didn't Jax-Ur and Zod step forward? WTH?
Siskoid: I don't know why they can't Russell, maybe Mon-El's been tagged differently? But you want padding! Discussing of Kryptonian villains who aren't important to the story!
Tim: I have to admit, the next 4 pages or so left me a bit confused... Who's good? Who's bad? Does it matter? Why are brains in goldfish bowls a threat?
Russell: Did Bad Clark do anything rude at school? Inquiring minds want to know!
Tim: And why the heck do villains always reveal their ENTIRE plan?!
Russell: Plan A failed. Quick use plan B. How is deadly Green K rays NOT Plan A?
Siskoid: Plan B! The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Gambit!
Russell: Haha.
Siskoid: And Cosmic Boy smashes all those dang Superboy Robots. Finally, a Legionnaire who uses his powers.
Russell: Tim, brains in goldfish bowls are always a threat. Because comics.
Tim: Is the coloring off? Why is Superboy only half green from Kryptonite radiation?
Siskoid: Because he's not dead yet. Full green = full dead.
Russell: ...but Siskoid, they STOP blasting Superboy!?! He was full green on the splash.
Siskoid: Splashes always lie.
Tim: It's pretty consistent that it's his back half, I guess because the Legionnaires shot him the back.
Russell: Haha. But in the Archive edition, the rays aren't even green.
Tim: Except the shot where he's laying face down.
Siskoid: No?!
Russell: Nope.
Siskoid: White beams... Huh. That's absurd.
Russell: More absurd than the general story, you mean, with murderous disembodied brains?
The force behind all these unheroic actions is revealed as the Brain-Globes of Rambat, aliens who have forgone humanoid bodies in favor of gross brain forms that can control minds and telepathically deliver loads of exposition. They want to steal Earth and need to eliminate Superboy first. In a (to them) shocking twist, Krypto is immune to their mind control and chases them off.

Russell: Plot Synopsis - The evil brain creatures of Rambat are on the cusp of victory, and then free the Legionnaires so that they can foil them, rather than, say, continue to murder Superboy. You sure these things are brains? And not, say, poop? Cuz that's a shitty plan.
Tim: Or pink armadillos?
Russell: The Murderous Pink Armadillos of Planet Rambat!
Siskoid: May I just say how juvenile I am to have chuckled at the line "The super-heroes stiffen"? Because I did.
Tim: LOL!
Siskoid: If they could take over Superboy the day before, how is THAT not plan A? And if they can take over people 1000 years in the FUTURE, how is THAT not plan A?
Tim: I love how Krypto rushes in just wanting to play fetch!
Siskoid: Well, if you're going to throw a ball, a dog is going to run after it... "What are the globes thinking, Saturn Girl?" We've been asking that for pages. And despite it all, they still manage to "outwit" Krypto.
Russell: I'm not good at math, but how did "learned their planet will explode 1,000 years ago" become "blew up a few days ago"?
Siskoid: It's thousands of years ago TO SATURN GIRL. Time travel is confusing.
Saturn Girl has an idea and off the Legion goes, in their time bubble, to pick up other Super-Pets, including Streaky the Super-Cat, Beppo the Super-Monkey, and from "our" near future, Comet the Super-Horse!

Tim: I'm more concerned with why Saturn Girl is bossing all the animals around! "I command this... and I command that."
Siskoid: And look, the sphere is bigger on the inside.
Russell: It really is a TARDIS.
Siskoid: She's very bossy - wait til you see her stint as Legion leader, Tim. Now, as a cat lover, and slave to a 15-year-old tomcat, I can say with certainty Streaky is very badly characterized.
Russell: No kidding!
Siskoid: "I'll obey, gladly"? NOPE!
Russell: Hell no.
Siskoid: It should be "I sense she's a friend. I'll let her pet me, gladly."
Russell: "I am forced to abandon my nap time to help this crazy blonde woman who isn't Supergirl!"
Tim: I like Beppo's "YEEP! Me like her!"
Siskoid: Everybody likes Saturn Girl it seems. She's a Super-Pet whisperer.
Russell: She MAKES them like her.
Siskoid: Yes, it's mind control, but what can you do?
Russell: So... the super-horse. What the hell.
Siskoid: Yes, the as-yet unnamed Super-Horse... this is an amazing tease!
Russell: Why in the world debut a super horse and not trumpet it!? And why not get Streaky and Comet from the same era?
Siskoid: Using time travel to preview future stories (or see if the readers are interested?) is crazy, but I like it.
Russell: WHY does a super horse need a corral? "Don't fly over these wooden walls, Comet!"
Together with Krypto, they battle and defeat the Brain-Globes who abandon all hope of taking Earth over. The animals are officially named the Legion of Super-Pets before being taken back to their proper times before Superboy wakes up and finds out about his future (or Supergirl's).

Russell: A lot of weird captions and word balloons this time. My favorite is "You foe doesn't enjoy being lightly butted by your invulnerable head." YOUR foe... Can't type tonight. Pretty this up for me, eh, Siskoid? Saturn Girl commands you.
Siskoid: of course. I obey, gladly.
Tim: So... this is where the story lost me a bit... the Rambats control the minds of everyone but the animals? But the Legion rides into battle on the backs of the Super-Pets, and are somehow protected? Just by being near, or on, them?
Siskoid: LOL!
Russell: The Pink Armadillos forgot about the puny humans. And Superboy, it seems. Seems like the top of page 12 should have been the Super-Pets battling the mind-controlled LSH.
Siskoid: Riding into battle on a dog... This is why Lightning Lad probably told Brainiac 5 to invent those flight rings already.
Russell: That panel where Krypto runs on the armadillo as LL rides Krypto....!?! Oi vey!
Siskoid: Streaky is, of course, the most badass. He SIZZLES that brain.
Russell: Why is Cos the only Legionnaire with a jet pack this time?
Siskoid: Only Cosmic Boy apparently brought his rocket pack, or else he'd be riding the cat.
Russell: He should be riding Beppo.
Russell: It's a time cube cabinet sphere, they could have gone in one and come back in an instant after they left.
Siskoid: Streaky likes Superboy... He's the least finicky cat ever. He's so gee-whiz. When he really should be thinking "wake me when it gets interesting".
Russell: Hold on... Beppo first appeared when he met Superman? Did Streaky ever meet Supermanboy? Before this?
Siskoid: Streaky never met SuperBOY before for sure, and if he met the Man, monkey could just think this was another person entirely. Not asking a cat to understand time travel when this story's writer didn't.
Russell: My point is, Superboy shouldn't have seen Beppo either, right? Or Streaky for that matter, not just Comet?
Siskoid: No, not just comet, Saturn Girl's thoughts are incomplete.
Tim: Pa Kent understands time travel! He even gives Clark directions on how to do it if he wants to find out how the armadillos were defeated!
Siskoid: Pa Kent is wisdom incarnate... except in Man of Steel (Kyle Benning commemorative comment).
Russell: So... when did Superboy pass out? He was still listening to the Armadillos on page 9, and then, zoinks? Awfully convenient that he passed out just when the LSH needed him to.
Siskoid: Saturn Zap.
Russell: Haha.
Tim: Consider it payback for their hazing, Russell!
Siskoid: Whenever it's convenient, tell yourself telepathy is invisible.
Tim: I wish the pets had more page time! I can never get enough of Beppo the Super-Monkey!
Russell: I prefer Harpo.
Tim: Not Groucho though... he throws poop!
Russell: Speaking of Beppo, was this a case of "monkey see, monkey do"? He didn't have an original thought the entire time.
Siskoid: Just a copy cat. ;-)
Russell: Haha.
Siskoid: Krypto was definitely the smartest super-pet.
Russell: I just noticed that Super Horse appeared, but had no lines of dialogue.
Siskoid: They didn't know what personality he would have yet.
Russell: We don't even know if it is a "he". Cos calls it an "it".
Siskoid: We'll discover "it" is a viable dating option for Supergirl AND Lois Lane only later.
Russell: Lord have mercy, haha!
But wait! It's not over yet! Superboy notices the stars are in slightly different positions because the Brain-Globes have used machine to move Earth out of its orbit. He puts Earth back with his super-breath and all is well that ends well.

Siskoid: Superboy's "astounding feat of Herculean strength"... of the lungs. #WordChoice. But I like that Superboy's overriding concern is that calendars and clocks won't be correct. 
Tim: Why do these endings always feel so rushed? Oh, that's right... all that wasted page space with stocking the shop and saving a model plane, lol!
Siskoid: Does everyone in Brazil remember the freak blizzard of 1962?
Tim: So, for all its faults (and there were a few), this may have been my favorite story so far! It was full of off-the-wall stuff... multiple personalities,flying pink armadillos in gold fish bowls, and Beppo the Super-Monkey! Absolute wacky Silver Age fun beginning to end! I'm not sure there will be a story that can top this.
Siskoid: Fun for us, but Pa Kent wants closure dammit!
Tim: Well like the Rolling Stones sang "You can't always get what you want", Pa Kent!
Siskoid: Tim, I think there are some whackier ones, where they don't waste so much space on Clark's clerk adventures.
Russell: Did we ever get the promised Pets follow-up? It's not in the Archive.
Siskoid: Yes, but it's not a Legion of Super-Heroes story, I think.
Russell: There is this, though...
Russell: I can't wait until the Legion has its own series. SOME of this silliness goes away.
Siskoid: But then, the silliness is what makes these early stories great.
Russell: uh... yeah. ;-)
Siskoid: It's not what I'd hand to someone who would want to "get into" the Legion, but it's certainly amusing to rip it apart as a group. MEETING ADJOURNED!

Science Police Notes: 
  • This is the sixth appearance of the Legion; the story only features the three founders.
  • Though the Legion visits the Midvale Orphanage area, they do not encounter Supergirl (it is not clear if she is a member yet).
  • Though Mon-El appears, he is still a prisoner of the Phantom Zone and is not yet a member of the Legion.
Milestones: First appearance of the Legion of Super-Pets, and of Comet the Super-Horse specifically.


  1. Oh those crazy Brain Globes. LSP Fun Fact: Streaky wasn't telepathic, but his 30th century descendent Whizzy was.

  2. Thanks to 1000 years of evolution! Science!