New Reviews of Old Comics
When I first started collecting comics Legion of Super Heroes was one of those direct market books you could only buy in comic specialty shops, not newsstands. These direct market comics had vibrant colors printed on thick, heavy “baxter” paper (whatever that is) and cost about double the price of a regular comic. Living in the middle of nowhere (i.e. Vermont) I rarely went to a comic shop and when I did those “baxter” books weren’t high on my list because I wouldn’t be able to get it every month like my other newsstand titles. They were like a big tease. The first time I remember reading a Legion story was when I picked up Tales of the Legion of Super Heroes in a little store in Fryeburg, Maine. Tales were reprints of earlier Legion stories, as I recall, and I really grew to like them. As I got older and gained an appreciation for those Golden and Silver age comics I read some of the earliest Legion stories and grew to like them even more.
Maybe I’m not going to the right places, but I don’t come across Legion comics very often in my travels. This particular issue has two people kissing on the cover in front of a parchment labeled “wedding proclamation” and rows of super heroes as part of the onlookers. A comic book wedding. Oh, boy. I’m not a fan of comic book weddings. They’re generally sappy, boring and overly contrived (a considerable statement for comic book stories, I know). Despite that aversion I still bought this one. Had it been more than a buck I wouldn’t have bought it. I even held off reading this for quite awhile, with my love of the Legion in conflict with my hatred of wedding stories.
Turns out “Whatever Gods There Be…” written by Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen with art by Dave Gibbons wasn’t all that bad because it had more to do with Legionnaires getting to the wedding, not the wedding itself. Nor was there a cataclysmic fight scene with some super baddy that destroys everything, but leaves the bride and her make-up unscathed. The main focus is on Dream Girl, Ultra Boy, Cosmic Boy, White Witch and Star Boy who are leaving an assignment that seems to be dismantling a planet shaped like Darkseid’s head. Apparently I missed something. As they approach the planet where the wedding is taking place, Orando, Superboy is also approaching the planet through time travel which causes a magnetic disruption that tosses the Legionnaires into a time warp. That damn Superboy seems to unknowingly cause problems quite often. They wind up in a temple with Greek gods and the Greeks believe the Legionnaires to be space travelers like themselves. What? The gods are real? And they’re aliens? After the obligatory fight scene (not at the wedding) the gods take off for parts unknown. Chameleon Boy helps them get back to the wedding planet and everything goes off WITH a hitch. Wedding? Hitch? Get it? Er, guess not. At least the comic was better than my joke.
Best Ad: Full page ad for a Superman III contest takes the crown this time around. As if it’s not bad enough the movie itself was made, someone decided to launch a promotional sweepstakes around it. The grand prize was an Atari 5200 with a “surprise video game cartridge” (probably the one that came free with the console), which is pretty cool for 1983. 50 2nd place winners got a book of Superman comics, also pretty cool. 100 3rd place winners received a vinyl LP soundtrack from the movie; uh, now you’re starting to lose me. 100 4th place winners got a jar of Superman peanut butter, which probably couldn’t be given away in current times because a peanut allergy stricken mailman would have convulsions if it wound up in his truck. Finally, 100 5th place winners were awarded a one year subscription to Superman. Wait a minute! A jar of peanut butter is considered a better prize than a one year subscription to DCs flagship title? What does that say about your comic when someone decides people will enjoy a couple of crappy sandwiches more than a year of Superman stories? I wonder if prizes for the Superman IV sweepstakes were a kick to the crotch or copy of the comic adaptation of the movie.