Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Addendum to the Review of the Legion of Super Heroes: Part 1, By Johnathan

A while back I did a great big review of the whole durned Legion of Super-Heroes, circa the "Origins and Powers of the Legion" pages that ran way back when. Well, not long after I published that post I found another of those crazy things, in Legion of Super-Heroes v3 No. 17, and since that one included all of the pre-Five-Year Gap Legionnaires that I hadn't already covered I figured that I should probably do some sort of follow-up post. Kind of leery of long posts, though, so I've broken this one in two. First up: Legionnaires that I've already reviewed! Because what's obsessive completeness without, uh, completion?


You know, it's really hard to think up new things to say about Brainiac 5 when he's just standing there. That's what comes of a guy not having a costume change for 20+ years, I guess. The boots are nice and it looks like he's been working out, so that's two things. I suppose I can mention that I like the 'no black lines, just colour' style of forcefield more than the sheet of glass-lookin' ones that tend to show up in forcefield-centric comic books. I don't like this one, though. Purple forcefields aren't as good as green ones.



Probably my least favourite Chameleon Boy pic, both because of the costume and the 'how do his powers work' bit. Okay, I guess the costume's not too bad but it's definitely super-horrible with regards to palette. It's like, um... it's like Color Kid involuntarily used his powers whilst a sneeze/belch/hiccough combo was ravaging his cranial cavities - it's super-ugly, yo. Similarly, this "Let's slap CB's head on a little monkey-thing! It shows that they're the same guy!" approach to the whole issue of how to demonstrate his powers in a single panel seems even more ham-fisted than that one panel from the Sixties featuring him as an exposition-spouting garbage can. Bah!



See, Chameleon Boy? Speed lines help! They show us that Colossal Boy's getting bigger and they could've showed us how you were getting all transformative! Though in Colossal Boy's case, a wee little Gim Allon standing between his feet would've been nice. A new reader could potentially draw the conclusion that they were about to read a tale about someone who had the fantastic ability to emit gusts of wind from their fists, armpits and groin. And the only place that you're going to find that kind of action is in John and Paul Present: The Adventures of the Mighty Turbine! I like that they didn't alter his costume just for the sake of doing so - it's definitely better than the current incarnation - but I think that I might be pining for his old singing cowboy-style gloves for the rest of my life.



Decent picture of Dawny in space, no real alterations to her costume (though they may have added some more fringe, I'm not sure). Not too much to talk about here, really. I mean, her wings look like they're made of papiér maché, that's one thing., but it's not really what I'd call a conversation-starter. I'd really like to know what she's looking at, though. I mean, she flies around in the depths of space fighting super-villains, 9-5: what's really going to shock her that much? My guess? A left-over missile from the Great Darkness Saga, shaped like a giant, nude, anatomically-correct Darkseid and spewing laser fire from horrible, horrible places. That, my friends, would be a hell of a sight.



You know, until I took a close look at this picture just now I had thought it a pretty standard Dream Girl image. But now? Now I see that it's terrible. That's probably the worst rendition of the Dream Girl shiny one-piece that I've ever seen. It looks like it would require a whole roll of that special supermodel-brand double-sided tape to hold in place. Plus, I think she's wearing a cup. Bleh, I say. And while I'm bitching: whatever happened to that blue thing that she used to wear in her hair? That thing was great! It looked like a wireless cell phone headset, like she was constantly networking or prepared to network. Super-proactive! This all-glam look just doesn't have the same kind of synergy. Dream Girl is unlikely to land that big new client, and that's a shame.



Despite the fact that I'm no big fan of Interlac, I appreciate the thought behind changing the 'e' on Element Lad's chest to it's fakey future language equivalent. I was about to say that I wouldn't run around with the Cyrillic letter j on the front of my shirt, but that's a complete lie, unless Cyrillic is one of those alphabets that don't acknowledge the majesty of the j or, you know, admit to the existence of the sound. In any case, Element Lad manages to rock the pink costume far more thoroughly than Cosmic Boy ever did. I, uh, I don't really know what he's doing in this picture, though. I can only guess that he's turned an oxygen atom into one of Element 476, Gigantium (discovered c. 2674 CE), an atom notable mainly for being almost ridiculously huge.



So at some point Light Lass got her original powers back and became Lightning Lass again. This worked well because Lightning Lad had just retired, so the Legion was still able to say that it had lightning-slinging capabilities. And I guess that the ol' Light Lass powers weren't as useful as they could be. Trouble is, lightning is kind of a boring power to have - that's why Lightning Lad had the cape! It added flair! Lightning Lass' costume needs flair. Or zazz. Or possibly some moxie.



Mon-El’s another one of those cats who hasn’t changed his uniform in… ever. Admittedly, it is a pretty snappy bit of cloth – Daxam surely must have the best-dressed astronauts around. Plus, you’re bound to get attached to a tunic after wearing it for a thousand years whilst being verbally abused by ghostly assholes. I’m sure that both of those big gold buttons had its own name and complicated backstory by now and that for a while the cape was a serious competitor for Shadow Lass’ affections. I’m also sure that the ‘underwear over tights’ look doesn’t go well with this costume – so sure that I sort of blank the fact that Mon-El indulges in this abominable practice from my mind and have had more than one nerd-argument over the question of whether Mr. Gand wears ‘em inside the pants or not. Looking over my records, the answer turns out to be: both, on occasion. I believe that I have a comic shop employee to apologise to.

This is a perfectly nice picture of Mon-El, by the way. Except... Ol' Lar here has always been a character that manages to look cool despite the fact that he has a really bad haircut. This is, however, no reason to make that haircut the focal point of the image. It's like there's a hair-helmet coming to crush us, on its way to woo the Bouffant. Aiee!


Grr. My life has become too busy for long posts. I'm gonna break this up a bit (not like the last time, I promise - this time I'll finish). Tune in soon for Phantom Girl!


Adrik said...

this is possibly the greatest sentence i have ever read

"Dream Girl is unlikely to land that big new client, and that's a shame."

thank you!!

Johnathan said...

You're welcome!

Dream Girl's never going to win that trip to Space-Hawaii if she doesn't pick up the pace.

Adrik said...

damn right!

Anonymous said...

wait... wait... Mon-El isn't his actual name? wtf! i'd just assumed he hadn't thought of a superhero name forhimself... like Daxam Boy or Powerful Lad... but Mon-El is his "hide my identity" name?

please explain.

Johnathan said...

Okay, here's the poop:

Way back in the day, a rocket ship landed in Smallville and out popped a young man in a snappy red outfit. This being Smallville, Superboy was on the scene and discovered that a) the red-clad one had super-powers and b) that he had amnesia. Based on the fact that the stranger had a similar set of super-powers to himself and a star-map signed by Jor-El, Superboy concluded that the guy was his brother and named him Mon-El, since he'd landed on a Monday (coincidently enough, this is also the reason for my full name being Johnathurs). Mon-El took the identity of a traveling salesman named Bob Cobb and everything was grand until he regained his memory of actually being named Lar Gand and having gotten the map while stopping on Krypton for directions by contracting lead poisoning. Blah blah blah Phantom Zone, Blah blah blah 1000 years.

Anyway, there is no really good reason that he is still called Mon-El.

spazmo said...

Once as a kid, I bet a friend that he couldn't tell me the origin of Mon-El's name. He told me. I don't know how, but the little bastard knew about the stupid Monday thing.

So I had two options: pay up, or punch him and run away. We were riding the subway at the time, so. I gave him the five dollars. My LAST five dollars. Grrr.

I love that you picked up on the fact that being trapped in the Phantom Zone for eons surrounded by nothing but criminal psychopaths is a sure recipe for mental instability. If those yellow buttons had been any smaller, though... I shudder to think what shape the galaxy would be in today.
(Well, a thousand years from today, actually)

Johnathan said...

Man, I totally would have been that kid. I'm definitely a lifer, nerd-wise.

erebus said...

Thank you. I have read your blog from start to finish. In fact, I started an account just to tell you Thank You. I can honestly say I cannot remember when I laughed so hard. I actually had tears steaming more than once. You really are a very gifted writer. The blog is doubly good for me for I had bought and read many of the ones you talk about. (I'm 45 and been reading comics off and on for 40 years) And I confess you made me look at them in a whole new way. Telling Matter Eater to take smaller bites. That was a classic among a blog filled with great stuff. Thank You!!

Johnathan said...

No, thank you. It always means a lot to me to know that someone's out there enjoying the ridiculous things that I write. I've been having a pretty good week, but you just made it better!

erebus said...

I still think I got the best of the bargain.