Reviews Of Old Comics: Tales Of The Legion #315

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totlosh315TALES 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.

Brainiac 5 talks out the teleportation of every person on the Dark Circle homeworld, and realizes that they had to use the power from their own sun to power it. Meanwhile, Chief Zendak of the Science Police is taking a ship with officers through the path the Legion left in their wake in order to retrieve Ontiir.

The Dark Circle continues Ontiir’s trial and when recorded testimony implicates that Ontiir was actually an agent for the United Planets, he is ordered to show his loyalty by taking his own life. Before he can, the Legionnaires barge in. One the Dark Circle removes his robes to take on Sun Boy while Supergirl fend off guards. Ontiir tries to use the chaos to prove his loyalty by shooting Sun Boy in the back, when Zendak enters and shoots him in the head. Having nothing left to fight over , the Dark Circle stops battling the Legionnaires and lets them take Ontiir’s body with them. Supergirl is crestfallen over the ordeal and realizing that she doesn’t fit in with the Legion leaves to return to the 20th century before Brainiac 5 can say or do anything to stop her.

In the back up story, the White Witch continues telling Blok her origin. She was left on the Sorcerer’s World alone and only accepted as a pupil when she manifested magical abilities. Among her teachers was Mordru, who despises her from the start for the potential she had. As she learned from the sorcerors, she grey more powerful and earned more of Mordru’s contempt by besting him in ritual mystic combat. When she went for final test, Mordru corrupted the mystic flame with his treacherous blood and turned her into the Hag that the Legion encountered many years before.

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REVIEW:

Paul Levitz wrote both stories and get the resolution to an older story in a way where we may never know the truth. That part has a much more mature and realistic ending to a Legion story than almost any writer before him had ever told. With this story, it’s as if the Legion turned a corner and became a much darker book, and that’s

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 way Supergirl leaves here makes that farewell so much more tragic for Brainiac 5 in retrospect. He knew that this was the last time he was going to see her, and still failed to tell her what he really needed to say to her.

I’m standing by what I said about the artwork in my review of the previous issue. Terry Shoemaker and Karl Kesel do such excellent work at making the Legionnaires look younger, and the shadows really give the story an ominous feeling. Shoemaker drew Supergirl’s final costume so well that it doesn’t look at all dated, unlike many artists of this period, George Pérez included, firmly cementing it as one of my favorite Supergirl costumes of all time.

In the White Witch story, it works much better that the first part, although it does come across as too brief. He also illustrates the young Mysa as far too old during her trials. She comes across as in her late teens/early twenties and should probably be a little younger, mid teens at the oldest.

NOTES:

This issue has yet to be collected, which is the bad news. 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, which this story builds on.

(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: 8.7 (out of a possible 10) It’s a really good issue, and a little better than the previous one. It still 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)