Thursday, December 8, 2016

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #74

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #74 (November 1995)
title: "Prisoner of the Super-Heroes"
writers: Tom Peyer and Tom McCraw
penciller: Lee Moder

inker: Ron Boyd
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Mike McAvennie
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Alan Davis & Mark Farmer
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Brainiac 5, Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Invisible Kid, Leviathan, Live Wire, Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, Spark, Triad

Dalya Ranzz, Kirth Ranzz, President Cho, Superboy (Kon-El), Ultra Boy, a journalist called Brad, a one-eyed informant, Korr Institute personnel


In the late 20th Century, when Valor's lead serum failed, Superboy was forced to send him to the Stasis Zone, a dimension where he could survive. Unfortunately, the portal immediately blew up. When Valor's "ghost" started appearing in the 30th Century, Brainiac 5 took several Legionnaires back in time to find out what happened. They lost XS on the way, but brought back Superboy to help them free Valor. They just didn't ask his permission, that's all...

The Legion, accompanied by Superboy, return to the future barely a minute before they left. Superboy begrudgingly agrees to help the team get Valor out of the Stasis Zone before he returns to his time, and seeing how fanatical Triad is becoming over the prospect of the great "Seeder of Worlds" returning, Cosmic Boy orders the mission be top secret. But Superboy's loose lips sink that ship when he blurts it out in front of a civilian who immediately sells it to a news outlet.
While the galaxy reacts, Superboy and some Legionnaires are sent to the Korr Institute Archives for a piece of technology Brainy requires. The part was stolen by a mysterious collector, however. Trying to steal it back, the Legion comes face to face to Scavenger, an old Superboy villain, still alive and in possession of dozens of super-powered artifacts, many from heroes and villains from our own time. A battle ensues, which ends when Scavenger picks up Dr. Alchemy's Philosopher Stone and turns it against the heroes, trapping them in various materials.
Superboy really has no clue, does he? I only read a couple of his comics for our last review, but I love how they really gave him a teenager’s personality. I’m glad he finally put Brainy in his place. It’s about time someone acts a bit more radically with this guy. Sure, he’s a genius, but that doesn’t give him the right to be a prick or to do as he pleases. Triad’s split personalities are the highlight of this issue. Haven’t we all faced a situation where we couldn’t make up our mind between two options? I guess it is way easier for her to debate the point when she can split up, instead of having the full argument in her head.
The Scavenger’s place must be filled with lots and lots of references to other DC heroes. Like is that the Batmobile in a showcase?! The rest are completely lost on me though. I’m sure Siskoid will have a lot more to report than me on that page. The Philosopher’s Stone is an interesting artifact. Nothing like the only other time I’ve heard such a stone mentioned. Yes, I’m referring to Harry Potter in case it wasn’t clear. Scavenger thinks he’s victorious but there’s an important flaw in his plan. Using the Stone was a good plan but, the problem is, how can you aim at something – or someone – you can’t even see? I guess we all know who’s going to save the rest of the group in the next comic.
Glad SOMEone tracked Invisible Kid. I keep forgetting to. And yes, there are loads of references to 20th-Century comics; I had fun inventorying them in the Science Police Notes (if anyone can confirm others, like, is that Plastic Man in ball form in the upper right-hand corner of the splash page, let me know). But remind me, what did the Philosopher Stone do in the Harry Potter stories? Because if it didn't transmute elements, which is what the HISTORICAL stone was reputed to do, then what was the point of calling it that? End rant. Back to the Legion.
As a fan of the Superboy series, I was happy to see Scavenger used as the villain, crazy coincidence though it may be. The Legion seldom includes immortals we know from our own century, and while some readers might see them as pollutants, I don't think I do. I mean, it gave us the Great Darkness Saga, right? (Granted, it doesn't always work. Here, it was fun.) The big question, however, is what consequences bringing Valor into the series will have? (If they succeed, of course.) He seems like a Moses figure now, but what if also were a resurrected Messiah? Triad already shows a certain zealotry (though part of her is more interested in Superboy's butt, ha!), and in these already precarious first days of the United Planets, could it cause a holy war? And what of Valor, who certainly isn't expecting this? Well, this is just the fun action beat before we get to the moral dilemmas, isn't it?

Science Police Notes:  
  • "Future Tense" started in Superboy #21 and ends in Legionnaires #31.
  • Leviathan mistakes Superboy for "Superman when he was a boy", something that was true only in pre-Crisis continuity.
  • Violet's monitor screens show the Enterprise-D.
  • Scavenger is a Superboy villain who first appeared in Superboy (v2) #2. He is not to be confused with the Aquaman foe of the same name.
  • Scavenger's vault includes such recognizable artifacts as the Golden Age and Silver Age Batmobiles, Brainiac's skull ship, Blue Beetle's Bug and costume (including his BB gun), a Kryptonian warsuit, Blue Devil's trident, the second Ray's helmet, Batman's utility belt, flight discs like those used by Mister Miracle, The Guardian's shield, Steel's kinetic hammer, Superboy's own jacket (and wallet!), a giant Rubik's Cube, McDonald's golden arches, the Bat-Cave's giant penny, Captain Cold's freeze gun, Hawkman's helmet, an Emerald Eye of Ekron, the Flash's costume ring, and Dr. Alchemy's Philosopher Stone.

Part 2 of the Legion's first crossover with a 20th-Century DC star (Superboy).


  1. To answer your question Siskoid,the Philosopher Stone in HP is slightly less complex than this one. It can change any metal into pure gold and produces the elixir of life, granting immortality to its owner.

    This one offers a lot more liberty and uses a lot more of its user's imagination.

  2. It's the same thing, just weaponized for your comics reading pleasure.

  3. Kon-El was Terrib-El !

  4. I don't know if it was just the colorist having fun, but on page 18 that cylinder in the background sure looks like the original Legion clubhouse... And is that Guardian's shield on Page 16?

    Also, am I the only one who noticed that the one-eyed informant seems to be calling the press from a Science Police facility?

  5. Definitely Guardian's shield!

    Violet is in communication with the Science Police, I wonder if he works there. A snitch wouldn't have access to coms like that, would he?