Friday, June 30, 2017

Review: Legion of Super-Heroes #306

I have talked a lot about how fantastic this particular time in the history of The Legion of Super-Heroes has been exemplary, a high water mark for the characters. Creators Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen were producing incredible stories and characterization. But one thing I think they had a great handle on was pacing. Since the end of the Great Darkness Saga, the book has had a number of plotlines open and close. And despite LSH #304 being mostly about the Legion Academy, it still introduced a new plotline. Incredible.

Last issue was the culmination of the 'imposter in the Legion' story, revealing that Shrinking Violet was actually a Durlan for over a year of issues. After a bombshell like that, the readers probably needed a chance to breathe before moving into the next arc. So Legion of Super-Heroes #306 was something of a rest issue, recapping the origin of Star Boy while showing us the latest election for Legion Leader. And this little tap of the brakes worked. I needed to cleanse my palate after the Vi reveal and this issue did just that.

Add to that a great mix of art by Giffen, inker Larry Mahlstedt, and legendary Curt Swan and this issue was a winner. On to the issue.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #87

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #87 (December 1996)
title: "She's Not There"
writers: Tom Peyer and Tom McCraw
pencillers: Mike Collins, Lee Moder and Paul Pelletier
inker: Ron Boyd
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Ruben Diaz
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Alan Davis
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Apparition, Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Gates, Saturn Girl, Spark, Ultra Boy

Deadman, Inferno, Phase, Rama Kushna, Shvaughn Erin, Strata, Tiffany Cross, construction workers, policemen, Tiffany's client, people Deadman jumps into (a skater, a nun)

Tommy the Swami/Gurubhanda/Poltergeist

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Who's Who: Antennae Boy

Antennae Boy
by Russell & Siskoid

Real Name: Khfeurb Chee Bez
Super-Power(s): Hears radio transmissions across space and time

Planet of Origin: Grxyor
Relationship to Legion: Legion reject and member of the Legion of Substitute-Heroes

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

TOS: Superboy #98

Superboy #98 (July, 1962)
title: The Boy With Ultra-Powers
writer: Jerry Siegel
penciller: Curt Swan
inker: George Klein
cover: Curt Swan & George Klein
editor: Mort Weisinger

Mission Monitor Board: 
Superboy, Ultra Boy

Lana Lang, Pete Ross, Marla Latham, Krypto, Pa Kent, Ma Kent (sort of)

Legion Initiation Test, heart attacks

Ultra Boy and Legion advisor Marla arrive in Smallville. Ultra Boy's initiation into the Legion hinges on his being able to find out Superboy's secret identity. At the same time, Pete Ross is concerned about the diary he keeps, where he admits that he knows Superboy's real identity. When Pete goes to the bank to lock up his diary in a safe deposit box, he is accidentally trapped in the vault. Ultra Boy reveals himself to Superboy and working together, they save Pete.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Legion Bugs Bunny Review

Legion of Super-Heroes/Bugs Bunny Special #1
Title: The Impostor Superboy!
Writer: Sam Humphries
Penciller: Tom Grummett
Inker: Scott Hanna
Letterer: Josh Reed
Colorist: Steve Buccellato
Cover Artist: Tom Grummett
Variant Cover Artist: Ty Templeton
Assistant Editor: Michael McCalister
Group Editor: Marie Javins
Substitute Hero(?): Joey Cavalieri
(I have no idea what "Substitute Hero" is supposed to mean.)

Legion Roster: Brainiac 5, Lightning Lass, Dream Girl, Ultra Boy, Timber Wolf, Wildfire, Sun Boy, Chameleon Boy, Shadow Lass, Supergirl, Phantom Girl, plus many cameos

Friday, June 23, 2017

Review: Legion of Super-Heroes #305

How do you critique a book that floored you when you read it as a kid?

Legion of Super-Heroes #305 shocked me back when I first read it off the rack and it still sort of shocks me to this day. This was the culmination of a storyline which had begun back in Legion of Super-Heroes #287, the abduction and replacement of Shrinking Violet. Once again, it showed just how far ahead Paul Levitz was thinking back then. In this day and age of rebooting, renumbering, and quick axes on creative teams, I cannot imagine this approach in comics today.

Moreover, at this point, the reveal wasn't an 'out of the blue' shock by this issue. Levitz was inserting clues and dropping hints, bringing the readers up to speed. I, of course, didn't pick up the clues back then. But now, rereading these issues, it is as all there. Still, stunning twist.

With the Projectra/Armorr wedding plot done, the Weber's World plot done, and now the Violet plot done, Levitz starts laying down track for the next set of stories. And once again, we see just how far ahead Levitz was plotting. We see the beginning of the LSH/LSV arc which opened the Baxter run here. And we see the continuation of the Dawnstar arc which will eventually be covered in the later issues of Tales of the Legion. Both of those arcs see completion in over a year.

As always, Keith Giffen brings great art to the proceedings. There are some places where it looks like it may have been inked by someone other than Larry Mahlstedt, but he is the only inker listed.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Reboot: Legionnaires #43

Legionnaires #43 (December 1996)
title: "New Blood"
writers: Roger Stern and Tom McCraw
penciller: Jeffrey Moy
inkers: W.C. Carani and Philip Moy
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
associate editor: Ruben Diaz
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Jeffrey Moy & W.C. Carani
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Chameleon, Element Lad, Invisible Kid, Kinetix, Live Wire, M'Onel, Magno, Sensor, Star Boy, Triad, Umbra, XS

Arachno, Athramites, Blast-Off, Brad Majors, Cannus, Cat-Claws, Chlorophyll Kid, Chuck Taine, Derek Morgna, Dirk Morgna, Dragonmage, Dreamer, Hectorrr Arroo, Keema Delf, Lori Morning, Macaw, Night Girl, Particon, Polar Boy, Radion, Spider-Girl, Splitter (Arm-Fall-Off Boy), Stone Boy, Tenzil Chem; Cameos for Blockade Boy, Charma, Color Kid, Comet Queen, Crystal Kid, Dev-Em, Fire Lad, Graffiti King, Kid Psycho, Infectious Lass, Ladybug, Monstress, Plant Lad, Sugar & Spike (as teenagers), Tellus, Weight Wizard; lots of would-be heroes

Leland McCauley

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Who's Who: Animal Lad

Animal Lad
by Russell & Siskoid

Real Name: Ennis Janhson
Super-Power(s): Ability to turn people into animals, and animals into people

Planet of Origin: Earth
Relationship to Legion: Legion reject

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

TOS: Action Comics #289 Point-Counterpoint

The Legion of Super Bloggers Group Review on
Action Comics #289 (June, 1962)
title: "Superman's Super Courtship!"
writer: Jerry Siegel
artist: Jim Mooney
editor: Mort Weisinger

Mission Monitor Board: 
Supergirl, Superman, Phantom Woman, Cosmic Man, Chameleon Man, Duo Damsel, Sun Man, Saturn Woman, Lightning Man

Helen of Troy, Super Woman of Staryl, Fred Danvers, Edna Danvers


Supergirl sees a romantic movie on TV about a man who loses his love because he didn't speak up before she gets married. So Supergirl decides to play Cupid and introduce Superman to "the right girl." Her three candidates are Helen of Troy, Saturn Woman of the Adult Legion, and Superwoman from the planet Staryl.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Joe Prado and Lightning Lad

In last week's review post I mentioned that I was extremely fond of Joe Prado’s rendition of Lightning Lad from Action Comics #864. Today I'm going to go into details about this fondness. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Review: Legion of Super-Heroes #304

As I was finishing my take on Legion Secret Origin, I was wondering what would be the next Legion time period that I would review. Russell recommended the last year of issues in Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 2, covering Legion #300-313.

I didn't know how to respond.
I didn't know if I could do the job.

This book and this time period is revered by me. It is the high water mark for this incarnation of the team. It is Levitz and Giffen and Mahlstadt knocking it out of the park each issue. It is dripping with early  teen nostalgia. Could I do a good job of critiquing books that I inherently will love unabashedly?

Then I thought about Legion of Super-Heroes #304. It is one of my favorite issues in this run, embodying the complexity and depth that Levitz and Giffen were known for. This is an issue almost exclusively focused on the Legion Academy students, little known and seldom used characters that the creators somehow breathe life into. Their interactions with the bigger team and the universe around them shows how vast the Legion mythos is. And, as usual, they reference Legion history, showing how far that reaches. An Legion issue that is about their farm league is one of my favorites of the run! That is heavy praise.

But you be the judge.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Reboot: Final Night / Legion of Super-Heroes #86

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #86 (November 1996)
title: "Heart of Iron"
writer: Tom Peyer and Tom McCraw
penciller: Lee Moder
inker: Ron Boyd
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Ruben Diaz
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Alan Davis and Mark Farmer
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Apparition, Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Ferro, Gates, Saturn Girl, Spark, Ultra Boy

Batman, Captain Marvel, Flash III, Green Lantern Kyle Rayner, Impulse, Inferno, Kitty Faulkner, Martian Manhunter, Obsidian, Ray, Shvaughn Erin, Superboy, Superman, Warrior, Wildcat, Wonder Woman

Lex Luthor, Sun-Eater

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Who's Who: An Ryd

An Ryd
by Russell & Siskoid

Real Name: An Ryd
Super-Power(s): None
Planet of Origin: Rimbor
Relationship to Legion: Pawn in supervillain plot

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

TOS: Adventure Comics #290 Point-Counterpoint

The Legion of Super Bloggers Point-Counterpoint Review of
Adventure Comics #290 (November, 1961)
title: The Secret of the Seventh Super-Hero!
writer: Robert Bernstein (?)
artist: George Papp
letterer: Milton Snapinn
cover: Curt Swan & Stan Kaye
editor: Mort Weisinger

Mission Monitor Board: 
Superboy, Sun Boy, cameos of Brainiac 5, Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, Chameleon Boy, Phantom Girl, Cosmic Boy

Ma Kent, Lana Lang, Krypto, Police Chief Parker

Clark Kent lookalike Tom Tanner, Sun Boy impersonator, Cyclops robot

Sun Boy comes back to Smallville to work with Superboy in re-assembling a dangerous criminal weapon. At the same time, a runaway from the state reform school who resembles Clark Kent arrives in Smallville and impersonates him as Superboy is busy with Sun Boy. Sun Boy turns out to be an imposter, as well, and the two imposter plot-lines come together in a surprising way.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Action Comics #864 Review/Recap

Action Comics #864 (2008)
Title: Batman and the Legion of Super-Heroes
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Joe Prado
Inker: Jon Sibal
Colorist: David Curiel
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Editor: Matt Idelson
Assistant Editor: Nachie Castro
Cover Artist: Kevin Maguire
Reviewer: Jude Deluca, a.k.a. Sarcasm Kid

I have what you’d call a love/hate relationship with Geoff Johns’ writing. Well, it’s more hate than love at this point.

Things I love: Stars and STRIPE, the variety in the different Lantern corps, Bette Kane as Batwoman, that he actually tried to do something with Duela Dent, the One Year Gap Titans, Cyclone, Darla Dudley, Rainbow Girl in the Subs, the Legion rejects he brought back, and Action Comics #864.

Things I hate: Um, actually…

I don’t wish to use this as another excuse to rant about my dislike of Geoff Johns in gross detail. I’d prefer to sum it up by saying that over the years the glaringly racist, homophobic, juvenile, patriarchal, and misogynistic elements of his writing took a toll on me around the time “Brightest Day” began and which only grew worse with the birth of the New 52. I started to hate seeing his name associated with any projects for DC, especially those concerning the Titans, the Legion, and Wonder Woman, and I would rest better knowing he had no further involvement at DC.

That said, Action Comics #864 still holds a very important place within my heart and remains one of my favorite comics for a number of reasons I’ll divulge in this review/recap.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Review: Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #2 (1983)

Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #2 was something of a celebration issue for the team and it couldn't have come at a better time for the team. They are still reeling from the Great Darkness Saga. Much of the team is still helping Daxam reform the very planet itself. Team members are dealing with the loss of family. An away team has recently fought the Emerald Empress and the Dark Circle. Chameleon Boy has just gone through a personal crucible on Durla. And we have just learned that there is a traitor within the ranks.

Despite all of that happening, storytellers Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen decide to pump the brakes a little bit and let us see the more familial nature of this team. The cover announces the event. We are gathered this day to read the wedding of Karate Kid and Princess Projectra. And getting everyone together to witness this celebration allows Levitz and Giffen to give us little peeks into these characters and their lives. We see their feelings. We see their personalities. It isn't just combat and adventures. And it is this deep, layered approach to these characters that makes this particular run so fantastic.

We also get a side story of a team stuck in the distant past, something of a page filler with a story problem that I have a question about.

But perhaps the most intriguing thing about this issue is that Dave Gibbons is on art here. Obviously this is pre-Watchmen. I do like seeing Gibbons' take on these characters. In particular, the hairdo he gives Dream Girl is early '80s delicious.

On to the story!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Reboot: Showcase '96 #10

Showcase '96 #10 (November 1996)
title: "Straight Time"
writer: Ron Boyd
penciller: Dean Zachary

inker: Ron Boyd
lettering: Chris Eliopoulos
colorist: James Sinclair
editor: Mike McAvennie
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Cosmic Boy, Ultra Boy; in flashback: Apparition (corpse), Brainiac 5, Gates, Saturn Girl

Police officers

Squirrel, Strafe, Winter

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Who's Who: Loose Leaf Edition

by Siskoid

Through most of this feature, we have exclusively used pages from the original Who's Who and its updates, only in a few cases posting images from the loose leaf version of Who's Who (1990) or its update (1993). Before we move on to the next phase, going through every character from Who's Who in the Legion that hasn't already appeared in these pages, we'd like to share the artwork we skipped over. We've chosen to show them in order of appearance (heroes, then allies, then villains), which for the loose leaf was quite haphazard, with issue 9 giving Legion the cover and most of the entries as a "theme". The first issue of the update also featured the Legionnaires. You'll see that in most cases, this edition of Who's Who gave the Legion (and similarly, L.E.G.I.O.N.) its own dress, the names fitted into the Legion logo.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

TOS: Adventure Comics #282 Group Review

The Legion of Super Bloggers Round-Table Discussion on
Adventure Comics #282 (March, 1961)
title: Lana Lang and the Legion of Super-Heroes
writer: Otto Binder
artist: George Papp
cover: Curt Swan and Stan Kaye
editor: Mort Weisinger

Mission Monitor Board: 
Superboy, Star Boy; cameos by Chameleon Boy, Lighting Lad, Saturn Girl, and Cosmic Boy

Lana Lang, her parents, Pa Kent, Star Boy's girl-friend Zynthia

jealousy, a ferocious Parakat

Lana Lang happens to meet Star Boy while the Legionnaire is on a mission to the past and tricks him into bringing her into the future to try to make Superboy jealous.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #2

Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #2 (July 2007)
title: First Flight
writer: J. Torres
penciller: Sanford Greene
inker: Nathan Massengill
colorist: Heroic Age
letterer: Rob Clark Jr.
editor: Jeanine Schaefer
cover art: by Steve Uy
reviewer: Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane

Mission Monitor Board: Bouncing Boy, Brainiac 5, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Superman, and Timber Wolf

Cameos: Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Triplicate Girl, and Phantom Girl

This issue is a continuation of the second episode of the cartoon. The team went to the planet Raal in response to a distress signal. The signal was sent by Dr. Mar Londo, who claimed he was being terrorized by a wild creature. The creature turned out to be Brin Londo, the doctor's son, who he purposely mutated as part of his experiments. Saturn Girl helped the wild Brin regain control over his bestial side, and Brin destroyed his father's equipment to put an end to his experiments. Brin left Raal with the Legion, and was sworn in as the newest member, Timber Wolf.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Review: Legion of Super-Heroes #303

Legion of Super-Heroes #303 continues the layered, complex, dense approach to the universe that creators Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen are famous for. As is the standard approach for their issues, their is a main plot that is maximally covered but there are also multiple looks past that story, peeking in on the lives of the rest of the team.

This approach allows the reader to keep tabs on almost everyone. It shows the breadth of this mythos. But most importantly, it means that if you have a favorite Legionnaire you won't go too long without seeing them. Levitz keeps us up to date on almost everyone.

I have said before, there is a slowly simmering storyline in these issues which will come to a head in a couple of months. Looking back now, reading this issue, I am impressed how Levitz and Giffen left a trail of bread crumbs for the readers to follow. I know I was blind to the clues even though they were all there. This ability to let a plot slowly unfold just isn't seen anymore.

On top of all that, this continues a period where Levitz and Giffen brought Supergirl back into the fold. Obviously, these issues hold a special spot in my heart. I love this cover. It definitely showcases Kara nicely. But the image of the Legionnaires trapped within the Emerald Eye is a nice touch.

On to the book!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #85

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #85 (October 1996)
title: "Metropolis Now!"
writers: Tom Peyer and Tom McCraw
penciller: Lee Moder
inker: Ron Boyd
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Reuben Diaz
editor: KC Carlson
cover: Alan Davis and Mark Farmer
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Apparition, Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Gates, Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet (flashback), Spark, Ultra Boy

Bibbo, Dan Turpin, Inferno, Jimmy Olsen, Maggie Sawyer, Shvaughn Erin, Superman, a cab driver, cops

A puff of Emerald energy corrupting everything it touches; Emerald Eye of Ekron (flashback)