Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #44

The Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #44 (March, 1988)
title: "Quislet's Story"
writer: Paul Levitz
penciller: Greg LaRocque
inker: Mike DeCarlo
lettering: John Costanza
colorist: Carl Gafford
editor: Karen Berger 
cover: Steve Lightle
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Quislet, Wildfire; Brainiac 5, Tellus, Invisible Kid, Polar Boy, Dream Girl


the "people" of Quislet's dimension, the Luck Lords

At Legion HQ on Earth, Brainiac 5 is called in because Quislet and Wildfire have disappeared into a black hole in the white nothingness of Quislet's quarters. He can't discover anything about the black hole, calling it ridiculous. He walks off, announcing that either Quislet will come back on his own, or he won't. Although Polar Boy agrees, this doesn't sit well with either Invisible Kid or Tellus, who are concerned about their friends' welfare.
In Quislet's home dimension, Wildfire is over-whelmed, finding himself in an unknown location and back in his raw energy form. Quislet explains that when Quislet's family/friends sucked him back into the dimension via the black hole, they accidentally got Wildfire,  too. They absorb (?) Quislet into an energy sphere, then surround Wildfire with excess energy, capturing him.
Wildfire begins to understand their language as the energy beings dismantle Quislet's ship. It turns out that they consider him a traitor, and that their dimension is called/pronounced Teall. The energy beings try to assimilate Wildfire as they teach him their history, but due to the complexity of the human mind and to his Legion training, Wildfire is not susceptible to their brain-washing.
Someone put on "Sledgehammer" by Peter Gabriel
Instead, Wildfire inadvertently learns Quislet's story: Teall had a space program developed so that they could go out and search for other energy beings to convert to their hive mind. Quislet, however, "stole" the ship and went exploring through the black hole instead. They searched for him and brought him back to re-commit him to the hive mentality.

As the energy beings realize that they cannot control Wildfire, he realizes that he can re-form his body and strike back at them. However, when he is in front of the black hole they blast him, sending him back to Earth.
What an action shot! So exciting and dramatic---! 
Quislet is about to be assimilated via an energy lobotomy when he bluffs his way free. He tells the energy beings that he had rigged the ship to respond solely to his unique energy signature, and that if they don't let him back into the ship to alter the ship's sensors before he is assimilated, the ship will be useless. They believe him, reforming it and allowing him to get back in. Once in, of course, he escapes through the black hole again, returning to Earth.

On Earth, Atmos shows Polar Boy what he can do: fly and change the molecular structure of things. However, he treats Polar Boy rudely, then comes on strong with Dream Girl. However when asked about him she refuses to comment to Polar Boy, promising to abstain if Atmos comes up for a membership vote.

On a mountain-top on Ventura, the Luck Lords are about to challenge the Legion again.

This is my candidate for worst Legion story ever published.

I have been unhappy with the art of Greg LaRocque and Mike DeCarlo for several issues now, but this story is the apex of their awfulness. I dare you to read this story and tell me what the hell is going on. Specifically, on pages 4 and 24, I am literally WTH? These artists are absolutely not the ones to try to do Imaginary and Fantastic, and yet DC asked them to draw energy beings that have personalities, AND in such a way that we can tell which one is Wildfire, which one is Quislet, and which ones are the others?!? What we get is a bunch of electrodes and spermatozoa. Boring! It's like a badly made science short-film we had to watch in Junior High School.

And it's a minor point but telling: Wildfire and Polar Boy keep getting drawn incorrectly throughout the story.

Of course, the story doesn't help. How in the world did the Teallians find Quislet on Earth? And why can't they just reach back out and grab him again? If they just wanted their ship back, why do they promptly destroy it? Why or how does Wildfire suddenly start to understand them? How can Wildfire fight against being brain-washed when he doesn't actually have a brain? If they wanted an astronaut to search for more energy beings, why don't they just create another ship and send somebody else? WHY did they need to find more energy beings in the first place? And most importantly, because they dismantled Quislet's ship, why or how could his bluff possibly work?

Also, the narration by Wildfire and then by Quislet just does not work. It takes us OUT of the story in the worst possible way. You would think that a story narrated by the most arrogant and annoying Legionnaires would be a great idea, right?

The "real" Legion stuff isn't any better. Brainiac 5 has reached a new low in his disinterest in the fate of his team-mates. Even though I now know 30 years on what he is secretly working on in his lab, his blatant disregard for Wildfire and Quislet is shocking. Speaking of shocking, Atmos is a real jerk, yet Polar Boy and Dream Girl both let him get away with his attitude!?! Neither Legionnaire is shown in a good light here, but the representation of Dream Girl is especially frustrating, as she plays coy and mysterious to the point of idiocy. This is not who she is! By the way, since when do new candidates only interview with the Legion Leader? I thought there was a whole process for this now...?

This is some awful stuff.
Who Drew It Better, Greg or Steve? 
A similar scene as that represented on the cover occurs in the story. As you might expect, Steve Lightle definitely draws it better. Obviously, he can even make crap look good!

Science Police Notes:  
  • This issue if not bagged will permeate the rest of your collection with its odor.
This story has not yet been reprinted.  


  1. I agree.. this issue was a complete waste of paper. I HATED the Atmos/Dream Girl story arc. The whole thing is best forgotten.

    1. I believe they later explained their relationship as a result of his mentally overpowering her will/raping her mind, and thus forcing her to submit to him in the next few issues. I still hated it, just as you did.

  2. It seemed at first Levitz was trying to show Dream Girl self-sabotaging her relationship with Star Boy because she'd already seen him leaving.
    Bu then they decided to walk back the infidelity angle by saying Atmos had a 'quasi-hypnotic force of will'. That seemed to mean he mind controlled her without realizing it so he wasn't truly evil. It was truly a mess.
    Regardless of intent it should have immediately disqualified Atmos for even being considered for membership.

  3. Atmos was definitely a misfire. But believe me, there are far worse Legion issues than this...or at least, a few that are just as bad.