Reviews Of Old Comics: Tales Of The Legion #314

blogheader

TLSH_314TALES 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.

 

On Earth, Invisible Kid has taken his sister Danielle home to his sister Francine after being cured by Brainiac 5 of Computo’s influence. As he says goodbye to his sisters, he contemplates his place in the Legion since Lyle Norg, the original Invisible Kid has apparently returned from the dead.

totlosh314-8On Weber’s World, speculation is wehter or not Ontiir’s escape is an admission of guilt, and SUpergirl takes it upon herself to go recapture Ontiir, taking Brainiac 5 and Sun Boy with her, which prompts some playful flirting from Sun Boy. Meanwhile, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl foil a smuggler without drawing attention to themselves as they make their way to Medicus One to have their baby.

Ontiir is now on trial by the Dark Circle, who believe he has betrayed them as well, claiming that his years of inaction were to gain trust to deliver United Planets secrets to them under the auspices of spying on the Dark Circle. Speculation on his claims is interrupted by reports of the Legionnaires attacking their border patrols. Supergirl, Sun Boy and Brainiac 5 make short work of them with Supergirl’s banter conveying her feelings for Brainiac 5.

Back at Legion HQ, Lyle Norg is watching holo-tapes of Validus killing him years before, when Jacques Foccart, the current Invisible Kid offers his place in the Legion to him, if he wants it. Lyle is extremely depressed, sending Jacques away to leave him alone in his misery.

A second story finds Blok, recovering from injuries suffered battling Omen viewing the historical tapes of the White Witch. The Witch was born Mysa Nal on the planet Naltor, the younger sister of Dream Girl, but without the Naltoran power to forecast the future. When she was a young child, her mother died. Mysa rejected Naltoran society after that and pledged to leave and go to the Sorceror’s World, where Naltor’s original settlers came from. This confuses Blok when he finds his solitude interrupted by the White Witch herself who offers to share the rest of her history with him personally.

totlosh314-18REVIEW:

Normally for a comic with two stories, I would break the review into two parts, but Paul Levitz wrote both stories and did an admirable job of wrapping up subplots that we didn’t know existed. LOSH #303 ended so completely, I never thought that there was another story there, but not only do we get a great story where Ontiir’s trial for treason leads the Legion into conflict with the Dark Circle, but we get some great development of Supergirl’s relationship with the Legion and even more specifically, with Brainiac 5.

I always liked the Brainiac 5/Supergirl relationship and when Kara died in Crisis on Infinite Earths, I felt so bad, and immediately worried about Brainiac 5. Had I been reading Legion for a longer time, I would have worried more, because his romantic feelings for Supergirl once drove him to create a Supergirl android and his past bouts with insanity made Kara’s death so much harder on him than it would someone without that past behavior.

The layout of the pages is clearly the work of Keith Giffen, but Terry Shoemaker and Karl Kesel do such excellent work at making the Legionnaires look younger, despite the fact that they’re easily in their 20s. The use of shadows really give the story an ominous feeling, even with the final page of the first story being so bright. SHoemaker drew Supergirl’s final costume so well that it doesn’t look at all dated, unlike many artists of theis period, George Pérez included.

In the White Witch story, George Tuska is a pro, although he gets Blok’s proportions wrong. Howver the work on the White Witch’s origin is very, very nice. The technology looks like a throwback, but remembering that this is a story set in the Legion’s past, it kind of makes sense for tuska to render it the same way he did in the late 60s and early 70s. It might be inadvertent, but it works all the same.

NOTES:

This issue has yet to be collected. The good news is that it’s easy to find in back issue bins and probably can be found for a nice price. Sadly, at this time it’s not available on Comixology, either. However, if you’re looking for some reading recommendations to go with this, I would suggest getting Legion of Super-Heroes: The Curse (ISBN: 1401251390) which contains the story where the Emerald Empress takes over Weber’s World.

(FULL DISCLOSURE: The Recommended Reading links to pages on Amazon where you can buy those books and support Needless Essentials through their Associates program.)

FINAL RATING: 8.5 (out of a possible 10) It’s a really good issue, although it loses some points for being so short, so that both the Trial of Ontiir and the White Witch’s origin can both be told.

(Images from Legion of Superbloggers)