Reviews Of Old Comics: Legion Of Super-Heroes #313
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
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.
Element Lad and Colossal Boy are still undercover with the Science Police when they uncover some smugglers who flee with jet packs. However Sun Boy and the White Witch apprehend them. Sun Boy gets a little jealous when he spots GiGi Cusinamo and Colossal Boy being overly friendly, to which GiGi explains that she and Colossal Boy are old friends. Element Lad and Shvaughn Erin share their frustrations that they haven’t been able to uncover the blackmailer within the Science Police. Meanwhile on Ventura, Dream Girl has a prophetic vision of a Legionnaire dying.
Shvaughn gives Element Lad and Colossal Boy a tour of Science Police Headquarters where she explains more of how the organization works, with drones and computers taking care of most of the work, with only about a dozen officers actually in Metropolis and only a hundred on Earth. They also use brain scans to interrogate criminals. On Lallor, Shrinking Violet confronts Duplicate Boy about not letting anyone know that he saw her being impersonated within the Legion..
In the United Planets Council Building, President Allon’s elevator is sabotaged and the Legion is able to just save her, as Science Police and Legionnaires struggle to solve the mystery with time running out on the blackmailer’s demands. Meanwhile, on Daxam, a team works to repair the massive damage caused by Darkseid.
In the United Planets Council Chamber, all of the SP drones in the chamber run amok attempting to kill all of the delegates. The Legionnaires destroy the drones and save the delegates, discovering that the blackmailer made demands of all of them, walking away with millions of credits if just a few delegates paid his demands based on the threats he had already carried through. The Legionnires rush back to Science Police Headquarters, where GiGi and Element Lad’s team have deduced that the blackmailer is a civillian programmer hired by the Science Police for a minor task. Brainiac 5 tracks down the programmer to Metropolis Spaceport, where they confront him trying to board a flight to the Dominion. The capture him using one of the White Witch’s spell to trick him into walking right into their waiting arms.
This story is extremely linear, and the breaks for subplots serve as much to ease the transition of time in the main story as much as to develop the subplots. With the three subplots, two conclude stories and one sets up the next major story arc in the new, deluxe title that debuted the next month.
Keith Giffen’s art is not as well constructed as the previous issue, but still making use of his new style. The layouts are not so unconventional to be confusing, and Larry Mahlstedt replaced Karl Kesel as the inker showing how good an inker Kesel is.
Now comes a perfect point to analyze the Legion at this point in its history. The Legion was one DC’s best-selling books so it was a natural to be a candidate for the Deluxe Format printed on better paper and sold exclusively to comic book shops, which in 1984, was a bigger deal than it would have been a few years later, after comics all but vanished from the newsstand. Paul Levitz was crafted long storylines that took months to pay off, but had experienced a little creative bump with the Omen/Prophet storyline, and Keith Giffen was hitting a creative high point with his transition in his style. Unfortunately, he was coming off of working on a poster to capitalize on the popularity of the Legion that put so much stress that he wouldn’t be on the Legion in just three months. This is the perfect end for the first series the legion had to itself, as it had almost every major plotline wrapped up with the next one set to debut with the launch of a new series.
This issue has been collected in The Legion of Super-Heroes – The Curse (ISBN #1401230989). Like most comics in this series, it can be found in bargain boxes, so I definitely recommend not paying too much for it. You can still get The Curse through Comixology for just under $20 as I write this, so if finding the individual issue is a problem, you can go still that route.
FINAL RATING: 9.0 (out of a possible 10) In comparison to the previous issue, the strengths in the story make up for the weaknesses in the art. It continues explaining how 30th century society works, which is always refreshing for a super-hero book that occasionally delves into science fiction.