Saturday, August 30, 2008

High-Tech Tomorrow: Review of the Concentrator, Part One, By Johnathan

Hey there, friends - it's time for another review-as-voted-on! Looking way back to Adventure Comics No. 321, we're going to have a look at the fearsome Concentrator, mua-ha. I think, though, that this is one of those times that it's better to look at the whole issue, rather than extracting bits of it for humourous out-of-context ridicule. I estimate... three entries, maybe? And this is a three-day weekend! Keep tuning in to see if I can manage to meet my own very easy deadline! (Ha ha ha! It's Monday already: I fail!)

We join the Legion on page two:


Man, I sure do wish that Phantom Girl had remained all ghostly and pigment-free - just imagine how much weirder her string of peek-a-boo uniforms would have been if the cloth and her exposed bits were all the same colour. Also, think of the savings on ink! Im sure that by now we'd have seen a Phantom Girl and the Phantom Squad, Featuring Phantom Ape miniseries or something, if only because of the rising cost of little pink dots.


"Who is this stranger with Bouncing Boy's haircut, clothes and voice? Dammit, I told you not to let just anyone wander in here! Now, where's my chair? No, that's not it. No, my chair was facing the other way, so that can't be it! Also, this isn't the cactus that was here before - that cactus was shorter!"

See, what I'm trying to hint at here is that Star Boy has poor recognition skills.


Also, he's an A-1 jerk. "No, you can't be Bouncing Boy - he was a fat asshole. "

And I'll tell you exactly what Mon-El - and possibly Sun Boy - is thinking in this panel: I wonder if anyone's noticed the new way I combed my hair?

Bouncing Boy goes on to tell the story of his slimmening, which involves a shrink ray and is patently something that the writer threw together just to get rid of the guy. Not that anyone was listening to him anyway:


They were far too busy voting on whether to toss him out on his ear or not, with maybe a quick roughing up by Ultra Boy to make sure he keeps his mouth shut if any reporters think to ask about the Big Computer Sex Parties or anything like that.

So presumably they send the Reservist out for Astro-coffee or something, and then it's back to the meeting!


Now, this is back from when the Time Trapper was a super-scientist hiding behind the Iron Curtain of Time, thirty days into the future or so. Long, long before he became the Irritating Emo Plot Device From the End of Time that we all know and I loathe, he was actually mildly interesting. He sat behind that curtain and made fun of the Legion and every once in a while he tried some ridiculous scheme involving Glorith or the Molecular Master or someone like that.

Ah, there's the first mention of the Concentrator. Time to find out what it is: speak on, Star Boy!


Aw. I guess we'll never learn what that darned thing is. grumble grumble this is why I have to write such long reviews, damn Legion and their secrecy...

Superboy: Hey, Mon-El's hair looks great. I wonder if I should change my 'do?


Chameleon Boy and Triplicate Girl then show up and completely coincidentally tell everyone about some really lame attempts to wrangle info about the Concentrator out of them. This elicits some fairly elaborate eyebrow-raising and not a little nose-wrinkling, and then, in a completely coincidental occurrence:


Science Police Commissioner Wilson shows up! He's heard some talk of a Concentrator of some kind and he wants the poop! He's... kind of paunchy!


Now, this comes up later, so I'd like to point it out specifically: the chain of events here is that a) This guy hears a vague rumour about the Legion having a super-weapon of some sort. b) He asks them about it and they say that it could potentially threaten the entire Universe. c) He believes them, just like all good people should when a group of teenagers make grandiose claims.


d) Based solely on space-radio scuttlebutt and their collective word, he decides to put them through gruelling psychological torment, with possible life imprisonment waiting for anyone who blabs.


Planet Althar, uninhabited except for strange life-forms! (Space Directive X21v states that planets may be considered inhabited only if the life-forms in question are regular, small or boring. Technically, Althar is considered to be in-friggin'-habited, but the term was coined in the 2530s, and scientists of the Legion era don't talk like that any more.)

A better site for testing astronauts' suitability for space travel, you say? Could it be, just as an example, somewhere that you don't need a rocket ship to get to? I only ask out of curiosity, you understand.


Heh, Matter-Eating Lad. Nice one, Querl.


See, it came up again (sooner than I'd thought, but still): based solely on their word, this man is prepared to imprison these people for life if they reveal a secret that they themselves decided to keep. That's like... ag! I can't even think up a good example! Legion logic hurts my head!

Good issue, though.

NEXT TIME: the Legionnaires get psychologically tortured!

2 comments:

Blockade Boy said...

Bwah! Sweet post!

John Forte's morbidly constipated artwork makes my eyes feel like somebody has taken a cheese grater to them, but I'll give the guy props for this: he was a staunch believer in "hair continuity." In other words, if a Legion character had originally been drawn by some other artist, he would draw the character's hair in precisely the same style. Thus, Forte's Mon-El had the mechanically-tousled swoop that George Papp had given it back in "Superboy" #89. Likewise, his Ultra Boy retained the "edgy", juvenile delinquent cut that Curt Swan had first given him in "Superboy" #98. Okay, so it's a goofy sort of compliment, but I think it's neat that Forte thought about that stuff.

Johnathan said...

Ha! Hair continuity!

So that's why Mon-El's hair looks so weird in this issue...