Sunday, May 25, 2008
Super-Human Detritus of the Thirtieth Century: Review of Antennae Boy and the Dynamo Kid, By Johnathan
Today, we're looking at one of the earlier Legion tryouts, in Adventure Comics No. 305. This was one issue after Lightning Lad had sacrificed his life to keep Saturn Girl from... sacrificing her life to keep anyone else from dying whilst fighting some pirates or something (look, it was perfectly clear at the time. There was a little crystal spaceship with a prophecy inside and everything). This was a reasonably big deal, except for the fact that it was implied one page after his death that he would be resurrected. Of all improbable comic book death-undoings, Lightning Lad's was perhaps the most telegraphed.
But no matter! As of when we are talking about, ol' Garth's death is still a fresh wound and everyone's very sad:
Very, very sad, in fact. I like the theme coffin setup that they have here, though it leads me to unhealthy speculation regarding the fate of other Legion corpses. When Sun Boy died, did they just leave him out in the sun? Is there a mechanized hand above Karate Kid, chopping for all eternity? What the hell will they come up with if Bouncing Boy ever dies?
I've mentioned the Legion's Pygmalion-esque love of statuary before, and this is a great example: a statue commemorating the heroic sacrifice of Lightning Lad, a statue of the tragically exiled Mon-El and, just for the hell of it, a Sun Boy statue. I can't decide if the Legionnaires are all hopelessly in love with themselves or with each other. Either way, it's a safe bet that they all have mirrors on the ceiling above their beds.
Now: keep in mind that everyone is very, very sad. Lightning Lad appears to have died, like, within the last week.
I am: Tactless Boy! My abilities include acting like a complete tool and an aptitude for designing shirts that are far, far too busy (seriously, if you've got Showcase Presents: The Legion of Super Heroes, Vol. 1, check this panel out. The lack of colour highlights just how much is going on on this top and just how wrong it is). So, your friend is dead? Well, how can that benefit me?
(Incidentally, the brown-clad guy on the left is Mon-El, playing a "hilarious" joke by applying for membership under an assumed name. Just so you know)
Ah, Antennae Boy. I like the name of your planet, but your ears are possibly the grossest in all comicdom. All I can do is stare at those little hook-shaped growths and imagine the awful things that must happen whenever you are called upon to push through some dense underbrush. I mean, glasses are bad enough, but those things look designed to cause you pain and humiliation.
Every once in a while, that "Three-Eyed Sam from the planet WHAM!" line runs through my head and i try to set it to music or envision just who is singing it. My best guess is that 3-5 sultry ladies are sing-speaking it in unison and that Three-Eyed Sam is a bit like Shaft.
Whereas that Josephine/time machine line is very folk-rock in my mind. 808 Dy-7an sang it in 2605, during the Acoustic Guitar Renaissance. The Kennedy re-election thing, I don't know.
Antennae Boy is one of those applicants who might have had a chance if he hadn't gotten ahead of himself. Given a year or so of training, he might have been able to showcase the usefulness of being able to pick up broadcasts from the future instead of just randomly blasting out sound. Plus, his powers would be very useful for research. Also, no Legionnaire would ever again have to worry about leaving his iPod Yocto behind and having to endure a music-less mission. Over-confidence strikes again! Still, I like that shirt, so:
Okay, first impressions of the Dynamo Kid. Pros: I like the little bow, the crackling energy is kind of neat and a super-hero with a literal rather than figurative fat head is kind of novel. Cons: that's a fairly hideous costume, he's completely tactless, and the little pause before he says his name is super pretentious. Still, you have to give a guy a chance, right?
Just an aside: I hope that if the day ever comes that flying billboards are a reality it's far enough in the future that I have some chance of having developed lightning-based powers. Because I'll want to blast 'em good.
"I use my powers to engage in wanton destruction of property! I casually mention how rich I am! Let me into your altruistic club! I won't be insufferable, I promise!"
Okay, "AWP!" is a great sound to make when your deception is discovered.
Looking at how fat his head is in this panel, though. I think that that green thing around his waist is a girdle.
I know he's just miscoloured, but I like that look on Invisible Kid.
You know, this could have been a pretty good plot. The old-school Legion were suspicious as hell, and someone sneaking around taking notes and asking questions would have built them into a frenzy of paranoia, probably directed at Cosmic Boy (because the Legion never suspects the right person until the last second, that's why. Just ask Matter-Eater Lad). It could have stretched a cross a couple of issues, maybe with the Legion getting all perturbed over a series of exposes on all of the dirty teenage sex that was going on in that innocuous-looking yellow spaceship.
But alas, the Dynamo Kid never appeared in 'Secret of the Shocking Sex Scandals' and I've changed my mind about the fat head being charming. I've kind of grown to like the horizontal lightning stripe, though.
Nonetheless, he's NOT APPROVED
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
So the big-reveal surprise villain in Action Comics this month was a) not a huge surprise and b) the friggin' Time Trapper. I hate the friggin' Time Trapper. He was an interesting villain for all of three Silver Age stories, I swear, back when he was basically just a reason that the Legion could go into the past but not the future, even with all of their Mighty Technology. In fact, he was entertaining for exactly one story, the one that also introduced the equally-hateful Glorith, when he managed to turn a third of the Legion into irritating babies and kicked Invisible Tot around. Ever since then, the Time Trapper has functioned almost exclusively as a gigantic, nigh-unbeatable threat, trotted out to shake up the status quo with a few shocking deaths or resolve some continuity point with a time quake or something. He's featured in more angsty, dreary storylines than the entire cast of Dawson's Creek. And no matter how many times he's tediously defeated, he just keeps coming back - which isn't much different than, say, Darkseid, but at least Darkseid is fun.
BAH! NOT APPROVED.
Well! I was certainly filled with vitriol, hey? Needed a little more sleep? Well, I'm well-rested now, but I basically agree. Every time the Time Trapper shows up in a story I heave a little sigh and prepare to slog through some boring comic book. It's like... like reading a late-eighties crossover event. Or 8 out of 10 early Image comics. Don't get me wrong, I'm not writing this story off just yet. I'll be the first one to applaud if anything interesting is added to ol' TT's story - I just ain't holding my breath.
This is what I meant when I was talking about him kicking Invisible Moppet. Kicking Silver Age DC toddlers = comic gold! This one instant of the Time Trapper's life is: