Tuesday, January 9, 2018

TOS: Adventure Comics #326

Adventure Comics #326 (November 1964)
title: "The Revolt of the Girl Legionnaires!" / "The Triumph of the Super-Heroines!"
writer: Jerry Siegel
penciller: John Forte
inker: John Forte
lettering: Milton Snapinn
editor: Mort Weisinger
cover: Curt Swan and George Klein
reviewers: Siskoid

Mission Monitor Board:  
Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Element Lad, Invisible Kid, Light Lass, Lightning Lad, Matter-Eater Lad, Mon-El, Phantom Girl, Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, Star Boy, Sun Boy (figurine only), Superboy, Supergirl, Triplicate Girl, Ultra Boy

Proty II, men of Femnaz, Science Fair attendees, scientists, Space Police cadets, teaching assistant at Hall of Infinite Knowledge

Queen Azura, a living lead robot, Gowampi Trigocerus Lympodiary, warriors of Femnaz

Crank up your time machine, we're heading to the Silver Age, where nothing is as it seems... Oh, and to the 30th Century, which the Legion strip helped us discover, a little bit more each time...
Obviously, in this early 60s vision of the future, sexism is still a thing. The female Legionnaires are vain creatures who drop the pounds with science, and surround themselves with fawning boys. It seems the future is all about taking shortcuts, whether it's dieting, education, or just signing autographs!

Anyway, sorry to bury the lede, but this is a story in which Saturn Girl is leader. And you know what that means: DRUNK ON POWER!!! (Or seemingly so.) Indeed, she sends many of the boys on a month-long wild goose chase so the girls can choose which of the remaining male Legionnaires they want to DESTROY!
Note that Sun Boy was an option, but no one took it (he doesn't appear in the story), which is gonna make the Hot or Not girls sad.

The first match-up is interesting. Light Lass takes on Element Lad, flirting with him at the ol' Science Fair and luring him to a secluded location. And there...
It's particularly interesting because these two characters would later become favorites of the LGBTQ+ community, to the point where later writers would make Light(ning) Lass a lesbian (or at least bisexual), and Element Lad pansexual (as a matter of culture). Advocates used to point to these very panels and Jan's awkwardness with girls as early proof, while Ayla is most definitely "playing". Once Jan is on the hook, Ayla uses her powers to shoot him up into the sky, stranding him to starve and die!
As for Triplicate Girl, she'll go up against THREE Legionnaires (of course), including Cosmic Boy, Brainiac 5, and (another LGBTQ+ icon) Invisible Kid. She brings them all to the paining of "Kissandra" that makes men go wild for her, regardless of later revealed sexual orientation.
In each case, she puts an Imskian promise ring on the boy Legionnaire that shrinks him down to size. She keeps the three of them in match box.

Then, Saturn Girl begs for a kiss, but immediately switches tactics and sends Superboy to fight a monster, actually a robot with kryptonite innards.
Supergirl takes care of Chameleon Boy who will only win a kiss if he shows her a trick - turning into a phantom. And then zap, cancelite spray.
And finally, we have Phantom Girl totally making out with Star Boy until a deadly flying plant exploding spore thing arrives (as planned), forcing Star Boy to makes himself so heavy he traps himself in the Earth's crust.
The girls win. So. Why did any of this happen? Well, as soon as they return to club house to celebrate, they get a call from one Queen Azura, ruler of Femnaz (eech, Jerry Siegel sure isn't subtle, is he?) who reveals that she brainwashed the Legionnaires into hating men.
As soon as the beam is turned off, the girls regret everything and Azura tells her story. Essentially, the intellectual men of Femnaz refused to take part in the arena battles mandated by the Moon Goddess religion, so Azura banished them (this is why they hate men). But recently, the Femnazis split their moon in half in one of their rituals gone wrong, and it was fixed by Ultra Boy and Mon-El, who also returned the banished men. Which made Azura realize it was wrong to hate on guys...
Oh my God, this is a #NotAllMen story from 1964, isn't it? Ugh. Just throw that one the rest of the sexist bonfire that is this story, along with every female Legionnaire using sex as a weapon, and an amazon race that is (to say the least) irrational and angry while their male counterparts are reasoned pacifists. In the end, all the boys are saved before they perish (well, of course), disappointed the girls' affections weren't real. Indeed, none of the pairings showcased ever became a thing.

Science Space Police Notes:  
  • Reprinted in Adventure Comics #410, Best of DC #57, Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 3, and Showcase Presents: Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 2.
  • The issue also includes a Superboy story, "Bad Boy Clark Kent!", reprinted from Superboy #71, as well as a Super-Turtle half-pager.
  • First appearance of Cancelite, a chemical that nullifies Durlan powers; it would be used a few times over the years (sometimes spelled cancellite).


  1. Does anyone else think we should be worried that "Femnaz" can be viewed as an abbreviation for "Feminazi" decades before the concept was ever coined?

  2. I dunno if "worried" is appropriate here, but it certainly is... interesting.

    This was dated November 1964, so the real Nazis were still part of the common experience. Mort Weisinger was drafted to serve in World War II, but he spent the war stateside, mainly writing scripts for an Army radio show.

    Curt Swan also served in World War II, and while he mainly drew for Stars & Stripes, he did serve in Europe.

    Another thing: between the end of World War II and this story, 19 years passed. Since this story was published and today, it's been about 53 1/2 years -- almost three times as much time.

  3. Another fun factoid: exactly one year prior to this story, in Adventure 314, the Legion had three of its members possessed by "the three greatest villains in history -- Hitler, Nero, and John Dillinger!" (Yes, Dillinger.)

    I guess back then, it was "Nazi November" or something. Now I want to hop ahead and check Adventure 338...

    Nope. Time Trapper, Glorith, and Legion of Super-Babies, but no Nazis. And 302? No again, just "Sun Boy loses his powers."

    So much for Nazi November. Oh, well...

    1. I think this story was a reaction on Jerry Siegel's and editor Mort Weisinger's parts to the publication of Betty Friedan's 1963 best-selling book "The Feminine Mystique", which questioned the vapidity of traditional roles for women in postwar American society. I doubt that the other main Legion writer, Edmond Hamilton, would have written this story--his wife was the successful fiction writer Leigh Brackett, who went on to write the first draft of what became the 1980 film "The Empire Strikes Back", and had that movie dedicated to her memory by George Lucas.