Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #266

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #266 (Aug, 1980)
title: "Kantuu!"
writer: Gerry Conway
penciller: Jimmy Janes
inker: Frank Chiaramonte
letterer: John Costanza
colorist: Gene D'Angelo
editor: Jack C. Harris
cover: Dick Giordano
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board:  
Colossal Boy, Element Lad

Duo Damsel, Bouncing Boy


On Wondril IX, Duo Damsel and Bouncing Boy are digging for Crystallak ore when a magnetic anomaly causes the laser digger beam to reflect wildly. The same magnetic force jams the controls, and before the couple can do anything but watch, the laser digger explodes.

The are both okay, but as they walk back into the ice cave they see an odd container trapped in the ice. When Bouncing Boy breaks the ice open, exposing the container to air, Kantuu appears, speaks Arabic, and flies away. He swats down a space cruiser that is in his way, which the retired Legionnaires save.
They then track the flight path of the giant and guess that he is on his way to Earth. They head after him.

On Earth, Element Lad and Colossal Boy are on monitor duty at Legion HQ when Duo Damsel calls in. Somewhat incredulous of her story, the two grab a Legion cruiser and head off to intercept Kantuu.
Out in space, Colossal Boy talks to Element Lad about their mission. Being from Earth, he is familiar with the legends of genies and wishes. He is very skeptical of Duo Damsel's emergency call.
Before Element Lad can do anything but disagree with his friend, Kantuu strikes. The Legionnaires try to stop him, but only succeed in detaining him until Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel catch up.
They think that if Kantuu really is a genie, Bouncing Boy as his "master" should be able to order him back into his bottle. However, when he so orders, Kantuu merely laughs and swats them all aside as he continues on his journey to Earth.

I think I saw this on an episode of an old Hanna-Barbera cartoon.

Really, with the entire 30th Century universe to play with, Gerry Conway decides to write about the Arabian Nights? Really!?

I think this could have been a better story if a few different things happened, such as we learn right away who/what Kantuu is. As it is we have one Legionnaire saying he's a genie and another thinking the whole menace is ridiculous. (I'm with him.) If we knew WHY Kantuu was on Wondril IX, and WHY he was rushing back to Earth, I think it would have made him more of a threat. There would have been more suspense as to what will happen if/when he gets back to Earth. That would have helped the plot a little, I think. I mean, given the juvenile premise this would never have been great, but it could have been good.

This story seems to be function as a way to bring back Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel. While I am not necessarily against that idea, getting beaten up twice by an alien genie doesn't show them in their best light, now does it?

I know I'm butchering a dead horse here, but I find it odd that all of a sudden, Colossal Boy and Element Lad are the only two members available. Don't most of the Legionnaires LIVE at the head-quarters? You would think that there would be more members available to respond to emergencies. On a related note, it is good to see Element Lad again, as he has not appeared in nearly a year.
Artist Jimmy Janes is teamed with a different inker this month. Frank Chiaramonte makes Janes' art a bit rougher, I think. Although for the scenes on Wondril IX, they recreate Steve Ditko's style very well. Not sure why they did, but it clearly resembles Ditko's work on the married couple from several issues ago.

Science Police Notes:  
  • Lightning Lad and Wildfire are drawn on the cover but do not appear in the story.  
  • When we last saw Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel, they had just arrived on Wondril IX (Superboy/Legion #257). 
  • Element Lad has not appeared since he was in a group scene in Superboy/Legion #254. No reason is given for his year-long absence. 
  • When we last saw Colossal Boy,  he was in the group that was out in space with RJ Brande. No mention of that mission being completed is made here. 
  • Duo Damsel is erroneously referred to as "Lourna" on pages 2 and 3. Of course (!) her real name is Lournu Durgo (Taine). 
This issue has not yet been reprinted.


  1. And by "Lournu", you mean "Luornu". Right?

    Thanks for these walks down memory lane, Russell. As dreadful as some of this era's stories were, they nonetheless cemented my love of the Legion I had first discovered as a child in the mid 70s. It was around these issues that I religiously made sure I managed to get every issue.

    1. Oops. And here I was thinking I could spell names like Bgtzl and Phlon and Luornu without having to look them up. I apologize in triplicate.

  2. Sometimes I forget what a dark Legion era it is... the silly plots don't even have the charming hindsight associated with the Silver Age.
    Element Lad from now on starts taking on a more prominent role, and of course, becoming The Man in Legion politics under Levitz.
    He's always been my favorite character, and I find this costume one of the best of the Seventies-revised ones (and better than the back-to-pink of the Giffen era immediately after)

    1. I agree, and as a kid I never thought the costume was "phallic" in anyway.
      A few years later I read that Dave Cockrum actually designed this uniform for Colossal Boy, and the arrow was supposed to represent "growing." However, Dave liked the other design he had already given Gim, so he gave it to Element Lad instead.

  3. It gets a bit better; Conway had as much groove as he's going to get by 272. (By telling some longer-form stories that presage the kind of storytelling we get in 2nd Levitz. Almost wonder if Letitz wasn't already whispering in his ear from that point...) Sort of lookng forward to 268-271, actually, since that was one of the gaps in my collection, to see if it's bad Conway or almost-good Conway.

    1. ".....to see if it's bad Conway or almost-good Conway."
      Unfortunately, Jeff, it's one issue of each, with some weird Ditko thrown into the mix as well!