Monday, December 31, 2018

Karate Kid #4

Karate Kid #4 
"The Rage of Yesterdays Lost"
script by David Michelinie writing as Barry Jameson
art by Ric Estrada and Joe Staton
color by Carl Gafford
letters by Milt Snapinn
edited by Joe Orlando
cover by Ernie Chan (penciller) and Mike Grell (inker)
cover date: Sept/Oct 1976
review by Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage
dedicated affectionately to Glenn "Continuity Kid" Walker

I have had a bit of a problem turning my attention to reviewing the short-lived Karate Kid series from 1976-1978. Although I have access to all fifteen issues, I really have no interest in the odd way that the series was created and presented. I didn't really get into it until later into the run, after it gets its feet more firmly planted, as it were. And that is only speaking generally; as you are about to read (I hope) I have huge specific problems with Karate Kid #4 due to my life experiences with Japan.

So consider this long-winded introduction my apology for not getting to this series earlier. I promise to try to do a monthly review of Karate Kid to the page for the next year; at fifteen issues total that means this should work for the entirety of 2019. Now let's try to muddle through this particular issue where the greatest fighter of the 30th Century faces off against the menace of Master Hand!

Friday, December 28, 2018

Fridays with Anj: Happy New Year!

Hey everyone!

Happy New Year!

Hope when the clock strikes midnight and we turn the calendar over to 2019, you have that special someone nearby for a kiss!

As for me ...

Well, next on the list for 'Fridays with Anj' will be Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds!

They said it couldn't be done!
They said it would take a Legion to review this book!

But I am up for the challenge!

See you soon!

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #115

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #115 (May 1999)
title: "Imperfect Bizarros"
writers: Tom McCraw and Tom Peyer
penciller: Scott Kolins
inker: Ray Kryssing
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Frank Berrios
editor: Mike McAvennie
cover: Alan Davis and Mark Farmer
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Brainiac 5.1, Ferro, Invisible Kid, Karate Kid, Kinetix, Live Wire, M'Onel, Sensor (computer image), Spark, Thunder (computer image), Triad, Violet

Biz-Koko, Koko, Magno, Marla Latham, R.J. Brande

Biz-Brainy, Biz-Ferro, Biz-Karate Kid, Biz-Kinetix, Biz-Leviathan, Biz-Live Wire, Biz-M'Onel, Biz-Magno, Biz-Spark, Biz-Triad, Dr. Deacon, Lord Pernisius, Scurrches (computer image)

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Who's Who: Organus

by Russell & Siskoid

Real Name: Organus
Super-Power(s): Energy parasite, limited hypnotic or telepathic control
Planet of Origin: Unknown
Relationship to Legion: Adversary

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas with the Legion

Art by Gary Frank.

It's that time of the year again! As has been chronicled in the comics, Christmas is still celebrated in the Legion's time. Which, arguably, is a hard sell because with the known galaxy consisting of so many different lifeforms and races, it's odd that this observance of the holiday period should continue to hold such prominence, secular or otherwise. 
    But let's not let that spoil our festive fun. You've seen the great Denise Zhang commission in the previous post. In this special yuletide edition of the blog, we feature several more pieces of art and commissions commemorating Christmas with the Legionnaires!

Here's a great piece by former Legion artist Chris Batista. When it snows during Christmas, Polar Boy is course the Legionnaire most associated with the weather. And note little Proty in the picture!

Chris did actually draw an official Legion story with a Christmas holiday theme. it appeared in the DCUniverse Holiday Special of 2010. Here's the last panel of the story!

Here's a lovely whimsical look at how Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel would celebrate Christmas, drawn by artist Colin Fawcett. As the couple kiss under the mistletoe, they are surrounded by their son who has inherited Luornu's original triplicate powers, and some of his dad's bouncing potion.

Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazar were the names of the three wise men who brought gifts to the baby Jesus. In this homage to the cover of Adventure Comics #247, Daniel Maine shows the the Legion of Super-Kings refuse membership to Santa. 

In 1980, Christmas wrapping paper licensed from DC Comics was released, featuring artwork by Dick Giordano. An assortment of characters were shown celebrating Christmas, including members of the Legion.

Fred Hembeck LOVES Christmas. Between the covers he's done for COMIC SHOP NEWS and plenty of sketches he's drawn over the years, he's illustrated many Legionnaires enjoying the holiday season. Here are a few:

Fred is always happy to accept commissions, and his rates are extremely cheap! You can contact him here

Another prolific artist is Gene Gonzales. He's probably drawn more Legion-related sketches than any other of his peers. In this piece, he uses Antennae Boy to illustrate the carol "Do You Hear What I Hear?"

Inspired by the Christmas covers of the Saturday Evening Post, Gene Gonzales drew this beautiful rendering of Ivy receiving a tree from her mentor Kent Shakespeare. Ivy was one of the children on the world of Quarantine and had the power to communicate with plant forms. At one stage she was destined to be a bona fide Legionnaire, even being included on a Legion poster.

Meet Kid Christmas! If Santa was a super-Hero, would he qualify for Legion membership? Gene Gonzales thinks he would.

This piece originally ran in the now defunct WIZARD magazine. It's a great take on the FINAL CRISIS series by Brian Douglas Ahern, in a clever play on the 12 Days of Christmas. "Legionnaires" shown include Milking Maid, leaping Lord, Prince Piper and Dancing Damsel.

The 1978 DC Comics Calendar featured the Legion for the month of December.  A glorious Jim Sherman spread detailed the Legion's battle against the Toyman, disguised as Santa,  amid Christmas decorations in the city.

Jeff Moy is best known for his long run on the Legion series. In these commissions by Jude Deluca,e he draws two fan favorites enjoying the festive season: Monstress and Kinetix. 

Laura Duffie draws the speedster XS having a grand time on the ice. The character has of course appeared on the CW show The Flash recently. Again, this was commissioned by Jude Deluca.

And here's XS again, representing the Legion in this montage of carolling heroes by Sergio Aragones.

Speaking of the CW shows, here's Luca Fantasia's sketch of Supergirl giving Mon-El a Christmas gift. The show has so far featured several Legionnaires and there is reason to believe the whole team will show up in a future season.

Steve Lightle is fondly considered one of the Legion's best pencillers. This whimsical piece shows Bouncing Boy dressed up as Santa while evading pointy Christmas stars.

Boop boop be doop! Steve Lightle also helped create Quislet, the energy being which could animate objects. Here, Levy Rasputin shows the character putting some life into a snowman.

Former Legion scribes Tom and Mary Bierbaum used to send out personal Christmas cards in the form of illustrated Legion tales with a Christmas theme. This one (above and below) shows how Christmas is spent on Matter-Eater Lad's home of Bismoll.

The Bierbaums sent another Legion card in 1990, spanning four pages. It was based on the 5YL Legion and you can see them here.

The piece above is by talented artist Agnes Garbowska. She gives the seasonal scene a charm that has become the trademark of her work. Click on it to view it in greater detail.

Have you checked out Greg Fox's Legion blog? Best known for the syndicated comic strip Kyle's Bed and Breakfast, Greg also includes amusing strips about Legion life on the site. He drew Ultra Boy in a yuletide greeting because his costume bore the colors of Christmas.

And that's it for this year. I hope you enjoyed that visual look at Christmas and the Legion, which is a timely opportunity for me to wish all blog readers Season's Greetings and Happy Holidays. I'll be back in 2019 with more musings and articles of interest to the Legion collector, and I hope to have you with me.

I'll leave you with another gorgeous Christmas gift from Gene Gonzales.

Bits Boy runs the comprehensive Legion completists’ site Bits of Legionnaire Business.

Sarcasm Kid's 2018 Holiday Wishes

This is the holiday commission I set up specifically for Super-Bloggers. Instead of having the commission double for here and Legion World, I'm now commissioning one each for each website. It wasn't right to make you guys share a gift.

This year's piece is done by Denise Zhang from over on twitter.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Legion of Superheroes S02 E08: Message in a Bottle

"Message in a Bottle" was directed by Scott Jeralds and Brandon Vietti, and written by Joseph Kuhr.

Original airdate: December 1, 2007. Review by Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane.

Mission Monitor Board: Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Lightning Lad, Shrinking Violet, Superman, and Timber Wolf.

Opponent: Imperiux and Validus

Friday, December 21, 2018

All Anj Wants For Christmas

Okay, maybe it isn't realistic to want Ayla Ranzz to wish me happy holidays personally.

But as the end of 2018 approaches and the calendar turns over, I thought I would look at a couple of things I am hoping to see in this upcoming new year.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Reboot: Legionnaires #71

Legionnaires #71 (May 1999)
title: "The Elements of Disaster"
writers: Roger Stern and Tom McCraw
penciller: Jeffrey Moy
inker: W.C. Carani
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Frank Berrios
editor: Mike McAvennie
adult legionnaire: Carmela Merlo
cover: Chris Sprouse and Al Gordon
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Chameleon, Cosmic Boy, Element Lad, Kid Quantum II, Monstress, Leviathan (flashback), Saturn Girl, Star Boy, Umbra, Violet (flashback)

Athramites, Brika, Chuck Taine, Del, Dragonmage, Ewa Krinn, Dirk Morgna, Flutter, Hu Krinn, Kuniko, Mysa, Pol Krinn, Shvaughn Erin, R.J. Brande; Alien terraformers, Brazilian kitchen staff, Gil'dan (AKA Brain Globes of Rambat), Magno-ball players, reptilian ambassador, scrap metal plant workers, Science Police

A'rie, Alux Cuspin, Domain (flashback), Ebb, Phy'r, Rrox

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Who's Who: Omen

by Russell & Siskoid

Real Name: Unknown
Super-Power(s): Energy manipulation, the extent of which is unknown
Planet of Origin: Unknown
Relationship to Legion: Antagonist

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

TOS: Superboy #147

Superboy #147 (May 1968)
title: "The Origin of the Legion!"
writer: E. Nelson Bridwell
artist: Pete Costanza
letterer: Ira Schnapp
editor: Mort Weisinger
cover: Curt Swan & Neal Adams
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage

Mission Monitor Board: 
Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Triplicate Girl, Phantom Girl; cameos by Invisible Kid, Superboy, and Supergirl

Guest Star(s): 
R.J. Brande

unnamed assassins

Monday, December 17, 2018

Legion Cameos: Helping Superboy Out

Editor's Note: Here is another installment of what we call "Legion Cameos." These are stories where the Legion or certain Legionnaires play a small but usually significant role in the proceedings. This time Bits Boy looks at a few times his future pals stopped by Smallville to help him out....

As the Legion started to gain popularity after its first appearance in Adventure Comics #247, editor Mort Weisinger cleverly promoted the group by featuring cameos of the team or individual Legionnaires within the Superman family titles that he was in charge of.

So it wouldn't be unusual to see them pop up in Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, Superman, Action Comics, Adventure Comics, or World's Finest, usually in one- or two-panel cameos that served little other than to alert unknowing fans of this band of super-powered teens from the future.

But sometimes the Legionnaires who appeared did more than merely guest-star. Often looking back through their time monitors, the Legion would spot either Superboy/Superman, Lois, or Jimmy in a spot of bother, and take it upon themselves to go back in time to lend a helping hand. Like they didn't already know how things would work out, as it would have been history to them!

One of the earliest issues in which a Legionnaire played a big role was Superboy #86 (“The Army of Living Kryptonite Men!”), with Lightning Lad aiding Superboy after he was lured into a trap on an asteroid, fighting a group of Luthor's animated Kryptonite Men. After confronting the electric warrior, Luthor learns of the existence of the Legion of Super-Heroes.

This story has been reprinted many times over the years. It's always included in any set of chronological releases of Legion-related publications, whether it's the form of digests, Showcases, Archives, or Omnibuses. Yet, strangely enough, there have been many other stories in which the Legionnaires played similar roles that have are not reprinted in the same way; some have never been reprinted. We look at four of those today.

Friday, December 14, 2018

The Legion ... LIVE!

Everyone has been craving a Legion of Super-Heroes comic book to be back on the shelves. And while there have been hints that DC is considering it, we haven't heard anything concrete.

What amazes me is that we are probably closer to seeing a true live action Legion on television than we are to seeing a comic. There is no way that I would ever believe that to be true.

Last season we had true Legion stuff on the Supergirl show to mull over. Mon-El, Saturn Girl, and Brainiac 5 all were present, hoping to stop The Blight from taking root in the future. There were flight rings and 'Long Live the Legion' and name drops. It wasn't a Legion proper but it was pretty close.

What amazes me is that the CW seems gearing up for more.

Over on Supergirl, Nia Nal has been added to the supporting cast. She is a woman from Naltor gifted with Oneiromancy. And Brainiac 5 seems to know a lot about her. In fact, he inadvertently calls her Nura in the scene they interact.

Dream Girl exists in this continuity, in the future.

Okay, so Supergirl has dipped into Legion. But there is more ...

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Reboot: Legion of Super-Heroes #114

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #114 (April 1999)
title: "Imperfect Strangers"
writers: Tom McCraw and Tom Peyer
penciller: Scott Kolins
inker: Ray Kryssing
lettering: Pat Brosseau
colorist: Tom McCraw
assistant editor: Frank Berrios
editor: Mike McAvennie
cover: Alan Davis and Mark Farmer
reviewers: Siskoid & Shotgun

Mission Monitor Board:  
Ferro, Invisible Kid, Karate Kid, Live Wire; in flashback: Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl

Biz-Koko, Marla Latham, R.J. Brande, Superman (flashback)

Biz-Brainy, Biz-Ferro, Biz-Karate Kid, Biz-Kinetix, Biz-Leviathan, Biz-Live Wire, Biz-M'Onel, Biz-Magno, Biz-Spark, Biz-Triad, Bizarro (flashback)

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Who's Who: Omega

by Russell & Siskoid

Real Name: Omega
Super-Power(s): Destructive energy being
Planet of Origin: None
Relationship to Legion: Opponent

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

TOS: Adventure Comics #368

Adventure Comics #368 (May 1968)
title: "The Mutiny of the Super-Heroines!"
writer and layouts: Jim Shooter
penciller: Curt Swan
inker: George Klein
letterer: Gaspar Saladino & Charlotte Jetter
editor: Mort Weisinger
cover: Neal Adams
reviewer: Russell "Bilingual Boy" Burbage, Mike "Nostalgic Kid" Lane, and Jason "Anachronistic Kid" Knol

Mission Monitor Board: 
Girls: Duo Damsel, Light Lass, Phantom Girl, Princess Projectra, Saturn Girl, Shadow Lass, Shrinking Violet, Supergirl, Dream Girl
Boys: Brainiac 5, Invisible Kid, Karate Kid, Lightning Lad, Star Boy, Superboy, Ultra Boy

Thora, Ambassador from Taltar

Monday, December 10, 2018

Action Comics #860

Action Comics #860
Title: Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes Part 3 - Lightning and Shadows
Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Gary Frank
Inker: Jon Sibal
Colorist: Dave McCaig
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Editor: Nachie Castro and Matt Idelson
Executive Editor: Dan Didio

Legion Roster: Superman, Dawnstar, Colossal Boy, Wildfire, Polar Boy, Shadow Lass, Night Girl, Lightning Lass, Timber Wolf, Brainiac 5

PREVIOUSLY: Superman learned all about what a xenophobic nightmare Earth has become in the 31st Century thanks to a bunch of Legion rejects crying about reverse racism.

The Legion founders tried to search for Batman's kryptonite ring as proof of Superman's alien origins and were brought down by the Justice League of Earth, just like the Legion Espionage Squad were.

Superman, Dawnstar, Wildfire, and Colossal Boy hope to find Brainiac 5 and another Legionnaires being held captive in an alien internment camp that looks disturbingly similar to the Legion's original headquarters.

In this issue, we find out more about what's happened to the other Legionnaires and how they've dealt with the persecution Earth-Man and the League have spearheaded with their "Neo Nazis of the Future" nonsense. And Geoff Johns does more of what he did in the last issue, which I'll share my thoughts on later.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Fridays With Anj ... Rankings

Okay all.

This will be a quick post as I am formulating a longer one that will require YOUR input.

I have been manning this spot on the blog for four years and I have been reviewing all sorts of runs and titles of various quality and quantity.

Maybe with the end of the year and 'best of' lists in my mind, I have been sort of ranking them in my mind. I wanted to put that list here.

But then I thought wouldn't it be even better to ask you all what you thought was the best and what was the worst of the particular runs I have reviewed here.


Look at the runs below (with a quick blurb from me) and then just put in a comment. Which of these runs did you think was the BEST.

And which did you think was the WORST.

And if you have the gumption, rank them all.

We'll start with the most recent run, the Retroboot. Brought in after Geoff Johns' wildly popular Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes arc in Action Comics, this run swept the Threeboot under the rug. Paul Levitz had some good ideas (a Durlan infiltration, a new LSV) but in my mind, never quite pulled it off.