Monday, December 21, 2020

The Return of the League of Infinity (#3)

 

“The Perplexing Puzzle of Pilot X-U”
Supreme-The Return #4
(March 2000)
Writer: Alan Moore
Artist Rick Veitch
Review: Emsley "Ultra Fan" Wyatt

The story opens with a typical Silver-Age style splash panel. 

It tells us that the story will show us how the League of Infinity recruits new members.  The applicant we see is “Pilot X-U”, who seems to shop at the same store as the Legion member Wildfire.  It also presents itself as a “reprint” for “Advantage Comics, March 1963”.  This, of course is a total fabrication.  

The story proper opens with Future Girl and Young Bill Hickok welcoming several prospective members. 


Who are these people?  Well, let's find out.  First, they give them a tour of the League's headquarters, the Time Tower.

Again, I think this thing needs elevators.  Maybe skateboards for going down.  It is kind of amusing to see Hickok trying to describe the setting in the only kind of terms a man of his time could understand.  But, dude, I'm pretty sure that “Chinaman” is not the preferred nomenclature.  Rather than try to explain away time paradoxes, the League cheerfully embraces them, with a statue room that shows even future members.  (This could be interpreted as a nod to the famous “Adult Legion” story.)

But let's meet our applicants.  First up is Chu-ko Liang.  Like most of his fellow applicants, he is based on either an actual person or a fictional character.  I ran across this website giving some information on them. http://forgottenawesome.blogspot.com/2017/12/the-new-members-of-league-of-infinity.html

Given his penchant for tinkering, perhaps he would be an analog of Brainiac 5.

Next up is “Siegfried, son of Siegmund and Sieglinde”.


Wow, he's invulnerable and he can talk to birds.  Well, so can I, but with him the birds will talk back.

And then we have Mata Hari, Queen of Spies.  Hey, that's what she says.

Then we have Wilhelm Reich, aka “Orgone Lad”.

And finally, the titular character “Pilot X-U”.  And an arrogant SOB he is, too.  Kind of like the character he's clearly modeled on.

He displays his powers in a fashion reminiscent of Wildfire's initial appearance in Superboy #195, although the next panel where he demonstrates the ability to create illusions put me in mind of Princess Projectra's try-out scene where she spooks the whole Legion. Gotta love Giganthro's exclamation of “GNNARGHH!”.


So after this impressive display Future Girl sends them to wait in the reception garden.  The four stand around lamenting that they clearly don't have a chance after Pilot X-U's impressive audition, but.....................
 

…....all is not what it seems. 

So Future Girl summons the prospective members back in.

Yes, he is being singled out, but not for the reason that he expects. Achilles announces that Pilot X-U is rejected but all four of the other applicants are being accepted for membership.  And here is why. 

To make a short story even shorter, the blue bird that you see in the panel above, watching as Pilot X-U while he's off gloating to himself tips off Siegfried.  Yes, it's a case of “a little birdie told me." Then Mata Hari slips into League Headquarters and gets the names of League enemies, especially those of Kid Supreme.  And it turns out that “Pilot X-U” is really Optilux, a Supreme villain who's sort of an analog of the original Brainiac.  He does not react well to his exposure.

And with his containment suit punctured, Optilux starts to “leak” out.  But “Orgone Lad” is ready to hit him with his Orgone beam.

So Orgone Lad asks the League if they have really destroyed Optilux or not, and Young Bill Hickock says probably not, slyly acknowledging the comic trope of death not being so, well, fatal.

And the story ends with the new members being welcomed into the League.

If there is one unifying theme to the three League of Infinity stories reviewed so far, it would be imposture. In the first story, Kid Supreme was impersonated.  In the second, Suprema encountered the League impersonating a family of “space hillbillies.” And in this one, of course, Optilux is impersonating “Pilot X-U” (OK, and Wildfire, too.)  These League of Infinity stories have been a lot of fun, but there is one more coming that isn't light and funny, but quite serious.


2 comments:

  1. I remember this story. It was pretty fun.

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