We're back to following the period of Legion history that I got really hooked on the Legion. The book got split between two titles, the original newsstand title, renamed Tales of the Legion and the new Legion of Super-Heroes title that was part of DC's line printed just for comic shops on premium Baxter paper stock. The real story at this time, focused on by long-time Legion writer Paul Levitz was in the Baxter series. Tales of the Legion ran smaller stories that tied up some loose ends or offered stories with a smaller cast of Legionnaires. Among the loose ends was Lyle Norg's seeming return from the dead in Legion of Super-Heroes #310. Previous to that, he had appeared in a strange dimension discovered by Wildfire and the second Invisible Kid. This issue tied up that subplot using the same Legionnaires that found Lyle Norg.
I was going to review Tales of the Legion #316 a month or so ago, but then realized I would have been jumping the gun on it, since Legion of Super-Heroes #3 comes before it chronologically. If I wanted to continue reviewing the Legion from the point I really became a fan, then it would have to wait. Now it has its turn. Tales of the Legion #316 went on sale to comic shop on July 3, 1984. This was just a week after the third issue of the companion magazine. However, the direct market was still very new and like me, many fans had no close comic book shop, so many fans read this story out of order. I actually didn't read the Baxter series for some time, years, probably. Of course, that means that Tales of the Legion was my only outlet for new Legion stories, so this was the only way that I knew about anything that happened in the Baxter series. You'll see the problem later.
Before I get started, I need to make an admission. I was going to make my next Legion review Tales of the Legion #316. However in reading, I realized that I was skipping an issue. I’ll certainly be happy when I get to the end of this year they published two Legion books every month.
I initially started this review of an old comic reviewing an early independent comic featuring one of the earliest creator-owned characters of the Bronze Age of comics, E-Man #2. I abandoned that after months of trying to sum up a comic that not only featured of the most bizarre stories around a bizarre character, but also a story from the legendary Steve Ditko that seemed a little different in tone. After a while, I had to accept that my heart was just not into reviewing a comic just to get another Review of Old Comics done. I wanted to review something I was a little more nostalgic for, and that meant revisiting the Legion of Super-Heroes.
Wow. It's been a while, hasn't it? Let's skip the apologies and continue like nothing happened to keep me from reviewing old comics and sharing a love of the Legion of Super-Heroes. I even love the Legion when they shared their title with Superboy. I'm taking a break from reviewing every single issue put out in order and instead jumping to one that I remember getting at a discount store in a Whitman 3-Pack.
THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #2 September 1984 Let's continue with reviewing the Legion of Super-Heroes comics that helped hook me on comics. Here we continue with the five issue Legion of Super-Villains story. The super-villains are now a full-fledged Legion each with a sworn oath to kill a Legionnaire. The threat is much more dire than the last time that they showed up running a school for super-villains. Now, they have some really powerful and dangerous super-villains, some just recruited in the previous issue. While they have some Legion rejects, they have the power of Lightning Lord, Sun Emperor and the mad Daxamite Ol-Vir. Dream Girl has even had a vision of a Legionnaire dying, making this threat really foreboding.
THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #1 August 1984 My reviews of the Legion of Super-Heroes comics that helped hook me not only on the Legion, but on comics as a whole continues. Today, we have the first issue of their series that featured printing on better paper that was initially sold only to comics shops. Yes, back in 1984, this was a big deal. At Marvel, when a comic went direct sales only, it was usually the kiss of death, but DC bet that comic shops and the direct sales market was the future for the industry. We'll argue the ramifications of that another time, but in 1984, this was a big deal. Unfortunately for me at the time, I was only thirteen at the time and did not know of a comic shop that wasn't two hours away. It would be almost a year before I would read this issue, but I'm reviewing it roughly as it came out, so the narrative is preserved.
TALES OF THE LEGION #315 September 1984 We're up to the next issue of the newsstand series Tales of the Legion. This is the second part of "The Trial Of Ontiir," the resolution of a story that appeared nearly a year before this. SYNOPSIS: Sun Boy, Supergirl and Brainiac 5 bust in on the Dark Circle's trial of Ontiir. They make handy work of the defenses, but when Supergirl tries to use her x-ray vision to see what the Dark Circle members actually look like, all of them teleport away, leaving empty robes. The second Invisible Kid is consulting with the Legion's physician about Lyle Norg's condition, but Dr. Gym'll refuses to help. Invisible Kid then goes to his predecessor and suggests that they go back to the dream-like realm that he first encountered Lyle Norg. The first Invisible Kid finds that funny.
TALES OF THE LEGION #314 August 1984 I was having trouble deciding which way to go with the reviews of old Legion comics, so thanks to a few people on the Legion of Substitute Podcasters Facebook page, I decided to go with the next issue of the newsstand series, which with this issue became Tales of the Legion. There will be links in this review to previous reviews since there's a lot of references to past Legion stories I've covered. SYNOPSIS: Ontiir is on trial for betraying the United Planets by helping the Emerald Empress and the Dark Circle take over Weber's World. He claims he was ordered to infiltrate the Dark Circle by the Science Police and his treason was part of that cover. Three Legionnaires that were there are present for the trial: Brainiac 5, Sun Boy and Supergirl. When Science Police Chief Zendak refutes the claim of Ontiir's orders, he signals for a Dark Circle escape ship, which helps him escape by keeping the Legionnaires busy keeping observers safe.
LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #313 July 1984 Did you think I'd forgotten about my reviews of the Legion of Super-Heroes comics that made me fall in love with the Legion? Well, I didn't, I was just caught up in getting things up on the site. Nevertheless, we get to the end of the Legion's first series of its own, and the last stop before the launch of its own series in DC's deluxe line of books that bypassed the newsstand altogether! It also concludes a two part story that highlights the Science Police and SYNOPSIS: The Science Police and the Legion are providing security for Earth President Marte Allon whose life was threatened by a blackmailer. Science Police Chief Zendak embarrassingly explains that they believe the blackmailer is a traitor within the Science Police, which is why the Legion is helping.
LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #312 June 1984 I know the frequency of Old Comics Reviews has been a little sparse in recent months, but my duties here at Needless Essentials generally keep me from going into my collection for something older that I can review. Because I go so into detail on the synopses for these comics, Reviews of Old Comics takes a little longer to write than a normal review. However, a very lackluster Legion appearance this month got me in the mood to resume reviewing the old issues of the Legion, now with an issue that looked at the Science Police and how the Legion works with them. SYNOPSIS: Sun Boy is in Science Police Officer's GiGi Cusinamo's apartment, romancing her, when a call comes in for an emergency at Metropolis Stadium. Sun Boy flies her there. A bomb has exploded in the middle of a Moopsball game. Colossal Boy and Element Lad were in the crowd and are able to keep damage and panic contained until the Science Police arrive. Back at Legion HQ, the injured Blok volunteers to debug the new Mission Monitor Board.
LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #311 May 1984 There's not been a return to my series reviewing the Legion comics as I started reading them for over a month, primarily because of our October Halloween celebration, although I was sorely tempted to do a review of the Ghost of Ferro Lad story from an old Adventure Comics, but I'm always hesitant to review a comic that old, but when Comixology exists, I probably shouldn't be. Nevertheless, now that the Omen/Prophet storyline is done, let's continue with the one Legionnaire that stayed behind, Brainiac 5. SYNOPSIS: Duo Damsel and Bouncing Boy are giving Legion fan Flynt Brojj a tour of Legion Headquarters when it falls apart, demolished from inside. When Bouncing Boy attempts to investigate, he discovers the shields are still up, preventing them from entering to assist Brainiac 5, the only active Legionnaire still at the Clubhouse when it collapsed.