Monday, March 26, 2007

Review of Super-Human Detritus of the 30th Century, Part 4, by Johnathan

This time around, we're taking a look at Dynamo-Boy, a greasy little elf who manages to highlight many of the Legion's delightful absurdities in his two issues of fame (Adventure 330 and 331, for the curious). Dynamo-Boy's not the first villain to join the Legion, but he is a personal favourite of mine. Let's take a look at the little scamp, shall we?

That's him looking all cunning (and greasy) up front. This is a great frontspiece for this issue - Mon-El is getting kicked out on a technicality and can't get anyone to believe that he was framed. Meanwhile Dynamo-Boy couldn't look more triumphantly villainous if he was cackling and touching himself. It's a terrific illustration of how thoroughly oblivious the Legion is to his shenanigans and machinations.

So Dynamo Boy is actually Vorm, a youngster from a planet full of criminals. He's a go-getter and no mistake. Just look at him volunteer! (Ridiculous Legion Thing No. 1: The tendency of bad guys in the old days to refer to the Legion as a 'club'. Always makes me picture the Fatal Five battling a local chapter of the 4H)

Vorm and Pargg are given some pretty nice belts. This is where Vorm really distinguishes himself for the first time. By wearing an orange tunic that could only really look less than ridiculous with a belt, yet leaving his belt at home, Vorm puts on his super-belt and *boom!* he looks like a million bucks! At this point the crowd is totally on his side, despite Pargg's good looks and pirate hat.

Oops! It's a fight to the death! Vorm's still ahead - his banter is much more ominous than Pargg's.


Again, Vorm comes out on top. Not only does Pargg slip up and call the Legion of Super-Heroes the "Super-Legion", but Vorm drops a Jimmy Olsen reference! Since Elastic Lad had at this point been active in the Thirtieth Century for about, say, an hour, this is a clear indication that Vorm has Done His Homework. Were this a battle for dominance of the local comic bookshop, Pargg would be dead of shame by now.


But instead of shame, he dies of Atom-Blast Vision. Take note: Vorm has kicked ass thoroughly enough that he has had time to think up names for his powers before using them. The guy shouting "Bye-bye Pargg... we hate losers!" is, by the way, one of my favourite background characters of all time.

Okay, so having killed off Pargg, Vorm heads to Earth and suckers Star Boy into inviting him to the ever-popular Legion tryouts. He tells the above tale to explain his powers, which I guess is good enough that the Legion never thinks to question why he's constantly pushing buttons on his giant mechanical belt.

This brings us to Ridiculous Legion Thing No. 2, Tryouts. Even though I love them, I gotta admit:


Eye-ful Ethel is just silly. (Review-Within-A-Review: Silly, but kind of hot. JOHN APPROVED)


Also Appearing: The Mess! (Review-Within-A-Review: I like The Mess because he kind of looks like Alfred E. Neuman. I hope that Cosmic Boy hired him as Legion janitor or something afterward. JOHN APPROVED)


Dynamo-Boy gets into the Super-Legion Club by showing that it's okay to blast old men with radiation. Old men wearing long-sleeved leotards and vests with flared shoulders, that is. Also: why does this man have a crutch? Shouldn't 30th century technology have solved all crutch-worthy ailments by now? Or at the very least developed the Rocket- or perhaps Robo-Crutch?

There follows a period of time where Dynamo-Boy is a member of the Legion and is devoting all of his time to having everyone else kicked out. I have no images of this, but rest assured, it all happened due to Ridiculous Legion Thing No. 3: Bylaws. The Legion charter's full of all kinds of ridiculous rules, and every time someone runs afoul of them and gets kicked out for getting married or failing to salute the Legion flag everyone acts helpless, like it's the US Constitution, rather than a set of rules laid out by three 14-year olds on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

In any case, Dynamo-Boy is eventually the last person in the Legion, and so, in a rare treat, Legion tryouts are held two issues in a row:



First up is Golden Boy, who both crashes and burns. (Review-Within-A-Review: Though Golden Boy does have Economy Destabilizing Action, I like his snappy outfit. Plus, he's so sure that he's going to get in. I can't help but say: JOHN APPROVED)



Next up: Polecat, another reject. (Review-Within-A-Review: While Polecat does share Golden Boy's optimistic outlook, and while I am pretty fond of the expressions that all of the wannabe heroes in the second panel are making [Especially Dynamo-Boy, who's not so much holding his nose as gently caressing it] I'm filled with maddening question marks over the reasons behind giving the guy stinky horns. Was the thought of excessive body odour considered risque by the Comics Code Authority? Are the horns meant to be the literal 'poles' of the Polecat? So perplexed! So NOT APPROVED)


Animal Lad turns someone into a bear! Luckily, the concept of suing over 'mental anguish' was abolished in the 2500s, or he'd be... uh... Frying Up Animals Lad... At McDonalds. Because He's Poor. Because Of The Lawsuit. (Review-Within-A-Review: I don't think that Vorn's thought this through enough. Animal Lad's lame. NOT APPROVED)


Lame but upright, apparently, so he's out the door! That's okay, though, because once he's gone it's time for the best of the bunch:

The Tusker! Observe his fangs closely:

Comic gold! (Review-Within-A-Review: The Tusker is great. Not just because of his ferocious assault on that tree or how much it impressed all of the losers that were hanging around the woods that day, and not just due to the fact that he got stuck and ruined the tryouts for everyone, but because of this:

The Tusker can dance. JOHN APPROVED)

So Dynamo-Boy's out of luck re: recruiting new Legionnaires. Out of luck, that is, until he finds and inducts the perfect underlings:


The Legion of Super Villains! Oh boy! This oughta be good!


And it is! The poor Legion of Substitute Heroes get the tar whomped out of them, which is fine. But then:



Betrayal! In an impossible-to-anticipate occurrence, the Legion of Super Villains screw someone over! Really, Dynamo-Boy, you greasy little elf-monkey, did you not see that coming? If nothing else, your belt should have had an Irony-Sensor on it somewhere, ticking away like mad. Ah, well. How bad can it be?


Oh... bad.

"Ha, ha! The Timescope screen reveals Dynamo-Boy's despair!" Now that's villainy.

JOHN APPROVED

2 comments:

Tyroc said...

Wouldn't be cool if somebody decided to bring Dymamo Boy and Animal Lad back? Dymamo Boy could actually be retconned to be The Time Trapper...now that would be sweet.

Johnathan said...

That is a damned fine suggestion. I could definitely get behind a Time Trapper who was just a guy who had found the "Iron Curtain of Time" and "Immortal Jerkwad" buttons on his special belt.

We must start a petition! Quick, before the Legion of Three Worlds is finished!