It's time to get back to covering the Legion of Super-Heroes stories that hooked me in the 1980's. When last we left the Legion of this Era, Tales of the Legion was focusing on Shadow Lass and Mon-El returning to Talok VIII. There, they ran afoul of Lady Memory, the inheritor of a legacy of hatred of the Mallor family. As I recall, this came out when I was in eighth grade. The cover made an impact on me, and when it came time to decorate a field trip journal for school, I did the Legion, copying this cover and adding the rest of the Legion. My classmates were impressed, but my teachers really hated that I didn't illustrate the theme of the field trip, Washington, DC. They expected me to draw something really nice on my journal cover, but super-heroes wasn't it. It was beautifully colored, though, a rarity for the journals my class had. Enough of that , though, let's get onto the comic.
We're back to the Legion of Super-Heroes stories that hooked me in the 1980's. With the story of the Legion of Super-Villains pretty much finished, we're shifting our view over to the newsstand title, Tales of the Legion. To be honest, I wasn't reading the Baxter title at the time this issue was published. I didn't have easy access to a direct market comic shop. I bought all of my comics from the newsstand. It wouldn't be until about a year later that I managed to snag a few copies at a nearby comic show at a shopping mall. A couple of years later, I would discover a direct market shop in that same nearby town.
As I’ve said before, I’ve tried to keep a pattern to Reviews of Old Comics, but the last attempt to write a DC review that wasn’t the Legion was so daunting that it delayed the schedule for three weeks. For me to write these regularly, and have something every week, especially for Patreon supporters, it
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.
It's been long enough that I feel like I can get back to the task that I set for myself back when I last wrote Reviews of Old Comics on a weekly basis, the coverage of the Legion of Super-Heroes in the era that I got hooked on them. This issue is actually one that I didn't read until many years later. In the 1980s, Annuals were a little harder to come by than they are now. These were the days before comics were exclusively in comic shops. The direct market was still in its infancy, with DC still in the first year of it's line specifically for comic shops. Often, one wouldn't know an Annual was coming out until it was seen on the newsstand or spinner racks. Some vendors might not even carry the Annuals. Many times, the Annuals would be self-contained stories and if it was missed or overlooked, a reader wouldn't even realize it for months.
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.
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.
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 #310 April 1984 It's been awhile since I continued these sequential reviews of old Legion comics from the 1980s. This was an especially hard storyline to get through, but let's save that for the review, shall we? SYNOPSIS: Omen has arrived on Khundia after the Legion has defeated his Prophet, but only with exceptional effort. Saturn Girl's telepathy is of no use in scanning either of them, and Omen reaches out with his power to draw the Prophet towards him, much to his dismay, and despite the Legion's efforts to keep them apart. Meanwhile, Element Lad is spending time with Shvaughn, who begins kissing him , but they are interrupted by Science Police Chief Zendak, who tells Elelment Lad about the battle on Khundia that is threatening to develop into a war. Once he convinces Element Lad that he was indeed elected leader of the Legion, Element Lad flies off to gather a team to go to Khundia.