Thursday, October 8, 2015

Superboy and The Legion #237

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #237 (March, 1978)
title: "No Price Too High"
writer: Paul Levitz
pencillers: Walt Simonson
inker: Jack Abel
letterer: Ben Oda
colorist: Adrienne Roy
editor: Al Milgrom
cover: Mike Grell (signed)
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Cosmic Boy, Phantom Girl, Superboy, Colossal Boy, Dawnstar, Brainiac 5, Shrinking Violet, Ultra Boy, Mon-El, Dream Girl, Timber Wolf, Light Lass, Sun Boy, Star Boy, Shadow Lass, Chameleon Boy, Princess Projectra, Wildfire

Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad, RJ Brande

Arma Getten

On RJ Brande's private asteroid estate, Cosmic Boy presides over the official farewell ceremony for Saturn Girl and Lighting Lad, presenting them with a memento of their Legion careers.
As soon as the newlyweds leave on their honeymoon, microdroids attack Brande's robotic guards. Arma Getten teleports to his side, surrounding them both with a highly unstable energy field. Brainiac 5 believes that if they attack, it will explode, killing both Brande and Arma. Arma holds Brande hostage, ordering the Legion to acquire three important items.
The art of Walt Simonson shining through here....! 
Out at the Helics mining station, Mon-El leads his team in just as Khund warriors have calculated a weapon that can hurt him. They launch an attack, stunning Mon-El and Superboy. Dawnstar escapes the blast, weaving in and out to get the attackers to fly into the nearby sun (the pilots escape). Sun Boy then blasts the Khunds with his solar powers. Superboy and Mon-El revive, tossing the Khund ship out of their solar system. The mining staff are happy to lend them a star core sample, which is what Arma sent them to get.
The Legionnaires locked *themselves* up? Impressive trick. 
Back on Brande's asteroid, Arma teleports manacles "designed specifically for you" and orders the remaining Legionnaires to put them on. He reveals that he wants revenge on Brande because his Stellar Spice Company bankrupted his father. Brande doesn't know or remember the incident.

On Earth at Legion HQWildfire and Princess Projectra are arguing about the rule that says two Legionnaires must be on duty at the head-quarters at all time when an intruder alert goes off in the trophy room. They rush there and find Shadow Lass, who pretends to flirt with Wildfire while Phantom Girl escapes with the Quintile Crystal. Projectra knows Shadow Lass is up to something, so Shrinking Violet reveals herself by suddenly growing into view and opens Wildfire's visor, freeing his energy form. Shadow Lass and Violet knock out Projectra and high-tail it off of Earth.
Out in deep space, Cosmic Boy and his team attack the alien race known as the Graxls in an attempt to acquire the Graxl Crown. Using their abilities they are able to convince the aliens to give them access to the item. Later, Timber Wolf is able to steal the crown before the Graxls can stop him.

Back on Brande's asteroid, Colossal Boy grows to draw Arma's attention while Chameleon Boy disappears. Arma's robots stop building their device to try to find Cham, but when they are stalled and unable to detect him, they give up and go back to building what appears to be a doomsday machine.
The others return and receive a clue from Star Boy, who uses his gravity-control powers to move the entire asteroid. Superboy guesses that Arma is planning to destroy the entire asteroid, and possibly the solar system, so they rush in to stop him. However, Arma is still holding Brande hostage, so the Legion reluctantly backs down. When Brande realizes what is happening, though, he decides that he must sacrifice his life in order to stop Arma. He dives into the energy field, and it explodes.

However, it does not kill either Brande or Arma. The Legion steps up to grab Arma, but when he unleashes his energy glove, the power proves too much for him and he suddenly fades away.
It turns out that Chameleon Boy had taken Star Boy's place, and that Star Boy had actually escaped so that he could use his mass-control powers on the asteroid.

Finally, Brande and Brainiac 5 use some of the material Arma had acquired to re-create a sun for the Graxls, re-heating their section of space.

This is hopefully another rushed story due to a deadline crunch, because it sure does read like it! The issue starts off well, with a genuinely moving display of affection for Saturn Girl and Lighting Lad as they leave the Legion. As soon as they leave we immediately get thrown into a worn-out "need for revenge" story. It seems like a good idea: "unhappy victim of Brande's capitalism wants revenge." However, we never get any real motivation for his actions or explanation as to who or what he is. Where do his "toys" come from? Is he really powerful enough to keep sixteen Legionnaires at bay? This is just stupid. And is his name *really* "Arma Getten"? Come on!!

The art is classic Jack Abel, which is not in and of itself a bad thing, but when it's Jack Abel inking the dynamic, exciting Walt Simonson....well. I tried to add a few samples of Simonson's machines and aliens to this review to convey his raw talent, but there are just so many other scenes where his dynamism is watered down. It's truly a shame.

Overall the story moves along nicely, like a summer blockbuster movie. But like that same "brainless" movie, after you finish it you realize, "Hey....! Red-sun radiation shouldn't stop Mon-El?! And why did the Legion create a sun at the end? Why not just give the Graxl's back their Crown?" etcetera etcetera.

Science Police Notes:  
  • Although Princess Projectra is shown on the cover, she was on Earth when Brande was taken prisoner. 
  • Cosmic Boy is inexplicably wearing a cape during the retirement ceremony, then ditches in when he goes into action. 
  • Star Boy is back in his non V-neck uniform in this story, although that is what he was just shown wearing at Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad's wedding. 
  • Mon-El visited the Helics mining station last issue. 
  • Although Ultra Boy attacks Arma at the outset of the adventure, he is never seen again. 
  • Although Phantom Girl is on the asteroid and even pilots the ship back to Earth to steal the Quintile Crystal, she does not have any dialogue in this story. 
  • The Quintile Crystal first appeared in DC Super-Stars #17, the "secret origin" of the Legion of Super-Heroes. 
  • This story occurs after the events in Limited Collectors' Edition C-55, the wedding of Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad.  
This issue has not yet been reprinted.

Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad officially resign from the Legion in this story.

No comments:

Post a Comment