New Reviews of Old Comics
It’s hard not to love the Legion of Super-Heroes. The silly names, unique powers and often crazy uniforms make them nothing short of endearing. It would be a tough to call to say which I like more; the Legion or the Avengers. I find the Legion to be the prototypical comic book do-gooders, kind of having fun while they do their thing, but the Avengers always struck me as being a little more angst driven. Plus I’ve never been a big fan of The Vision, and he’s in like 98% of the Avengers stories I’ve read. On the other hand I’ve read a ton more Avengers than Legion stories. Thankfully this issue has two stories so the Legion is gaining some ground.
The cover story, “The Final Eclipse of Sun Boy” was written by Cary Bates and illustrated by Mike Grell. A few Legionnaires visit Bgtzl, a planet that lies in a similar path of Earth, but in a different dimension. In addition to being unpronounceable, it’s the home planet of Phantom Girl, where everyone has her same power. Phantom Girl and her brother have just testified against some criminal there, making them the object of an assassination attempt. Once Phantom Girl regroups with the Legion they head back to 30th century Earth where Sun Boy’s power goes out of control and he turns black, like an eclipse. In this state Sun Boy is so powerful not even Superboy can take him down. It takes the combined brain power of several Legionnaires to solve the mystery. Phantom Girl’s brother, Gmya has this cheesy, creepy pornstar mustache, but I guess it was written in the 70s so one shouldn’t expect anything else. Is this Boogie Nights or the Legion of Super-Heroes?
Our back-up story, “The Hero Who Wouldn’t Fight” was written by Jim Shooter, with art by Mike Grell and Bill Draut. Anyone have an idea as to how many Legion stories Jim Shooter wrote? I know it was a lot since he was getting them published as a teenager. The setting is the one day of the year Cosmic Boy is forbidden to use his power due to a sacred tradition on his home world of Braal. He stays behind to man the transporter while his fellow Legionnaires head into a short-lived battlethat sends Light Lass back to the ship where she tells the story of an ambush resulting in the others being captured. Light Lass implores Cosmic Boy to use his power, but he refuses to break tradition. Of course he still wants to help his teammates so he jumps in the transporter. After a decent fight scene Cosmic Boy frees the other Legionnaires, who bring the evil Emerald Empress into custody. Sadly Cosmic Boy perished in the struggle, however the Emerald Empress has the power to revive the dead so a deal is made to release her in trade for Cosmic Boy’s safe return to the land of the living, which of course happens. As if they’re really going to kill a Legionnaire, much less a founding member, in a back-up story. Oh, and Cosmic Boy just used his strength, intelligence and a Legion flight ring to save the day, keeping his sacred vow to not his powers on the special day.
Notable Ad: This is more of a theme than a particular ad, but the average reader could get him or herself a good start on a career just from the ads in this issue. First off there is customizing cars, vans, cycles and buggies inside and out; you can learn all about it by sending away for a free brochure. Next La Salle Extension University has a coupon for information, again free, about all of their courses to help men and women on the road to great accomplishments in fields like accounting, mechanics, computer programming, hotel/motel management and many others. Finally the North American School of Motorcycle Repair has a coupon for a free career kit, telling you all about the fascinating opportunities in their world. If you sign on for a class they set you up with a tool kit that is “yours to keep in your action-packed career as a motorcycle mechanic.” I’m not knocking mechanics of any sort, but c’mon, action-packed? Really? Hyperbole aside, from just this one issue an ambitious comic reader could theoretically begin to launch a motorcycle repair and refinishing business AND learn about how to run the business side of his/her operation. For all we know one of those Orange County Chopper guys might have read this very issue, saw these ads and became inspired. All of their fans may have Superboy #215 (or another issue published that month) to thank.