Thursday, November 08, 2007

High-Tech Tomorrow: Review of the Planetary Chance Machine, By Johnathan

A quick one:

This is from Adventure Comics No. 319, in which the Legion has a very dangerous mission against what turns out to be a couple of very old men. Before they can get the ageism train a-chuggin' off to Beat-the-Elderly Town, they have to be divided into teams for some reason - possibly because of drama.

This being the Thirtieth Century, those crazy kids don't just go 'eeny-meeny, etc' to choose folk, nor do they (god forbid) make logical team choices based on the skills, powers and personalities of various Legionnaires. No, they turn to the Planetary Chance Machine, because if the Legion has an unofficial motto, it's "Over-complicating everything through technology."


I'd just like to note that the Legion is attacking a planet. An eighth person on your team isn't going to make you much more noticeable, Sun Boy.


And that's the Planetary Chance Machine: better than, say, pulling names out of a hat because there's no way that the hat is going to pick a team consisting of Brainiac 5, Sun Boy, Proty II, Bouncing Boy's chair, two walls of the Legion Clubhouse and Brainiac 5 again.

The really sad part is that this was the simplest thing that they could come up with. I happen to know that by the Thirtieth Century Paper, Rock, Scissors has become a months-long strategy game involving thousands of tiny robots that are made out of the game's three elements, while the 'straws' involved in drawing straws are carbon nanotubes, each a light-second long, that must be drawn with a small space-tug and subjected to microscopic analysis to determine which is the shortest. Hot Potato is still pretty fast but humans aren't allowed to play it any more due to a poorly-worded treaty with the Dominion.

The Planetary Chance Machine made one more appearance in the Legion of Substitute Heroes special:


Did anyone else think that Fire Lad looked creepy in this one?


Poor Subbies. The don't get no breaks.

Planetary Chance Machine, for disrespectin' the Substitute Heroes you are:

NOT APPROVED

Not actually from the future, but still high-tech and from Dev-Em's appearance in Adventure Comics No. 320. Presenting Krypton's favourite game, Interplanetary Scramble!


I seriously wish that Earth had cannon-based party games - maybe then alien races would give us props like they do the Kryptonians, who didn't even know the difference between Interplanetary and Intraplanetary, for Rao's sake (and, uh, who didn't listen to their top scientist when he said the planet was going to blow up and then got blown up)! I bet it would bring families together like no-one's business, plus every once in a while someone's brother would get mad at them and they'd have to come to school with a bunch of Cyrillic characters printed across their forehead.

Intraplanetary Scramble is completely JOHN APPROVED.

5 comments:

TechWeasel said...

As a long time fan of the planetary chance machine, I've actually been hoping it would show up here sooner rather than later.

Imagine my dissapointment that the images don't appeal to load for me at all, even if I follow the links.

I'm sure, like the PCM itself, there are important life lessons to learn here. Something about putting blind faith in technology... and disappointment with the future. Heady metaphorical subtext indeed.

Johnathan said...

Cursed Machinery!

Fear not, gentle weasel - John is on the case.

Johnathan said...

Justice has triumphed: the Planetary Chance Machine is now fully visible.

ben said...

Dude, I'll have you know that the Planetary Chance Machine did appear again, after the Subs special, when the SW6 "We're not Clones!" Legion became the Legionnaires and upgraded the old upside down rocketship into a new headquarters. It was, in fact, responsible for the Matter-Eater Lad II / Chameleon / Daniell Foccart revenge triangle.

Johnathan said...

If only I weren't reading everything in order! If only I were farther along!

Sad sad sad, though rest assured that when I do get to these "not-clones" of which you speak I shall report on their PCM.