Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #47

The Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #47 (June, 1988)
title: "Conspiracy Theory"
writer: Paul Levitz
pencillers: Greg LaRocque & Pat Broderick
inker: Mike DeCarlo
lettering: John Costanza
colorist: Carl Gafford
editor: Karen Berger 
cover: Ken Steacy
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Quislet, Timber Wolf, Lightning Lass, Magnetic Kid, Tellus, Phantom Girl, Ultra Boy, Dawnstar, Shadow Lass, Chameleon Boy, Shrinking Violet, Dream Girl, Brainiac 5, Invisible Kid, Sensor Girl, Polar Boy, Mon-El, Sun Boy, White Witch, and Wildfire

Bouncing Boy, Duo Damsel, Yera

the threat of Starfinger, the threat of a Conspiracy in the Legion

On Earth, the Atlantic Broadcasting Tower is on fire. Lighting Lass leads a team to rescue people and keep the tower from collapsing. However, Tellus is preoccupied with thoughts of the Conspiracy he stumbled upon by telepathically "hearing" about it from Saturn Girl.
On their way back from Rimbor, Phantom Girl admits to the others that she had found Chameleon Boy but had left him alone after he waved her off. Dawnstar is not happy at being lied to or by not being able to bring Cham back per Polar Boy's orders.
On Ventura, Chameleon Boy continues in his disguise as Reefej. His mission this time is to laundry credits for Starfinger. He does well, and gets praise from Starfinger himself via a secured line. Cham isn't sure it is really Starfinger, though. He wants to see him in person to verify that he is in fact still alive.
At Legion HQ, Brainiac 5 comes out of the multi-lab to clear his mind. Sensor Girl confronts him regarding his mysterious plans, which makes him more anxious.
Polar Boy leads a mission team away to patrol the Khund border in an attempt to clear *his* mind. Unfortunately, Tellus wanted to talk to him about his fears regarding the Conspiracy. He now has no one to talk with.

On Nix Olympia, Chameleon Boy's next mission is to kill a gambler who did not pay Starfinger what he was owed. Using his shape-shifting powers, Cham is able to portray the corpse, convincing Starfinger's men that the man is dead.
In deep space, Mon-El is flying through when he comes upon a Khund battalion threatening Nullport. He takes a few moments from his assignment to cripple their engines.

Back at Legion HQ, Tellus asks Shrinking Violet about imposters in the Legion in general and when she was held captive specifically, but she rudely rebuffs him.

Somewhere near Mars, Chameleon Boy as Reefej is finally brought before Starfinger, who brands him with his star "mark."
On Earth, Colossal Boy has gone missing without so much as a message to his wife or parents.

At the Legion Academy, Tellus has decided to approach his former teachers Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel with his concerns about a Conspiracy. Bouncing Boy is occupied with students, but he finds Duo Damsel in her office. She listens intently to his concerns and then advises Tellus to keep what he knows secret while she promises to investigate. As he leaves, she reveals to us that *she* is part of the Conspiracy, too!

Because of a timing glitch, I read this issue before I read the last one. So I hadn't realized that former Legion artist Pat Broderick was sharing the art work with Greg LaRocque. So I was confused by the different art styles when I read it. I thought at first that inker Mike DeCarlo had changed up his style somehow. A quick perusal of the credit box revealed that the art team is the same as last issue. I should have known DeCarlo wasn't responsible. Going back through the story, it's fairly obvious who drew what.

Don't believe me? There are seven panels reprinted above. Three are by LaRocque and four are by Broderick. I'm guessing you can tell who did which. As a final example, here are two landscape type pages by the two different artists. Tell me in the comments who you think did a more creative job.
Mon-El in space, fighting the Khunds....
A landscape of somewhere near Mars....
The story is mostly about Chameleon Boy, which is why he gets the cover. It's another great one by Ken Steacy, who even manages to make Starfinger look good. We get more detail in this story on how Cham does his espionage work than we have ever gotten before, which makes it interesting.

Tellus is the other featured player of the issue, as he swims around from Legionnaire to Legionnaire trying to decide who to confide in. I always liked Tellus, so this is fine with me. His naivete and basic trusting nature have never been illustrated so well as they are here. And the last bit of irony is great: when he finally decides to talk to Duo Damsel, we learn that she is part of the Conspiracy. Very well plotted by Paul Levitz. I also like how Sensor Girl/Projectra confronts Brainiac 5. I love her "Do not lie to me" in-your-face anger. She comes off looking very good in this story, whereas Brainy has never been less sympathetic (except when he was crazy, but that doesn't really count).

A few random comments. Polar Boy is really doing an awful job as leader. He can't decide what to do about various problems, so he runs away by assigning himself to an away mission. What a disappointment. Likewise, Shrinking Violet is so wrapped up in herself that she doesn't even consider that Tellus might have an actual reason for asking her about her experiences. Neither of them come across very well in this story. And lastly, Colossal Boy goes missing without leaving any message whatsoever? That sounds like he has been kidnapped. I was genuinely concerned about him at the time, figuring that his disappearance had something to do with the Conspiracy or Starfinger. We find out next issue where he went, which makes him, too, look like a jerk. The least he could have done is left a note!

Science Police Notes:  
  • It is unclear what exactly Chameleon Boy is doing on Ventura. Passing bad credit slips? How is that "laundering" Starfinger's money? 
  • Commander Rogir Allon is in charge of protecting Nullport when the Khunds attack. He is Colossal Boy's cousin, as introduced in Superboy/Legion #232.  
  • At the Legion Academy we get quick glimpses of Lamprey and Shadow Kid, as well as various other students who we never see again.  
This story has not yet been reprinted.  


  1. Where's the review of issue #46? The one before this was #45, and this is #47, so why is #46 missing?

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