Legion Of Super-Heroes #2: Reviews Of Old Comics
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.
Lightning Lord is trying to convince a captive Light Lass to join the Legion of SUper-Villains. he appears to have gone a little crazy, believing that the storm outside is talking to him. When Light Lass refuses to let Esper Lass put mental blocks in her mind to make her loyal to the Super-Villains, Lightning Lord lashes out with his powers and leaves his sister lying in the dungeon.
Meanwhile, Magno, Titania and Lazon of the LSV are stealing fusion powerspheres from a manufacturing center. They are interrupted by Wildfire and Dawnstar. While Lazon chases after Dawnstar, Wildfire finds his containment suit shredded magnetically by Magno.
At Legion HQ, Element Lad leads a meeting about the LSV, when they receive word of the powersphere theft. Dream Girl, Star Boy and Shrinking Violet are returning from Ventura.
Back at the powerspheres, Dawnstar is momentarily distracted by Wildfire’s defeat, allowing Lazon to strike her with full radioactive energy. She is saved from dying from the fall by Mon-El, who has arrived with Ultra Boy. Before they can grab the Super-Villains, they manage to warp away with the fusion powerspheres. The rest of of Mon-El and Ultra Boy’s team arrive to assist Dawnstar and Wildfire with a medical kit and a spare containment suit. On Medicus One, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl await the birth of their first child.
The LSV has a meeting where Ol-Vir’s crazed worship of Darkseid is kept in check by Esper Lass. Sun Emperor indulges himself by killing a serving girl. At Legion HQ Element Lad is trying to manage the crisis caused by the LSV when he receives word that the Super-Villains are using Zymyr’s warps to steal Earth’s polymer shield. Element Lad, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl try to stop them, but Saturn Girl finds her labor pains give the LSV an opportunity to escape with the Polymer shield.
In space, Mon-El’s team is attacked in an asteroid field by traps laid by the Super-Villain Terrus. As Element Lad and Lightning Lad wait for Saturn Girl to give birth, Karate Kid and Queen Projectra return from their honeymoon to find the royal castle on Orando has been taken over by the Super-Villains. A sneak attack by Magno Lad and Mist Master leave them unconscious as a mysterious member of the LSV that used to be a Legionnaire uses Karate Kid’s flight Ring to send a distress signal to the Legion.
This issue raises the stakes in the battle with the Legion of Super-Villains. It becomes apparent that the LSV has a plan outside of killing the Legionnaires. It also appears that some of the LSV are more vital to their plans than others. Zymyr is necessary, as is Ol-Vir, and Lightning Lord says so clearly. The identity of the person behind the ambush of Karate Kid and Projectra is kept a mystery except that they once was a Legionnaire. It is done in a way that could imply that Light Lass is the person behind it, but other candidates that could be betraying the Legion were Tyroc, Dynamo Boy, Matter-Eater Lad or Nemesis Kid, whom it turned out to be. The targeting of Karate Kid and Projectra is the real giveaway here, although the clues to Light Lass are there as well, down to the miscoloring of the gloves.
However, Tyroc would have been an interesting development. Tyroc’s relationship with the Legion had been rocky, starting off on a bad foot, and with the way he left the Legion, it could have been explained that he decided to side with the Legion of Super-Villains. Dynamo Boy had a similar past to Nemesis Kid and has worked with the future LSV. His presence would have necessitating his return from the far future he had been sent to. Matter-Eater Lad could have held some animosity for all the time he spent insane, and some of that could have lingered. However, that would be a real change of character for him. The only ones left with with any real reason for being the person behind the ambush were Light Lass and Nemesis Kid.
This is Keith Giffen’s last full issue of the Legion for some time. In interviews, he has stated that he had become burnt out and on some pages in this issue, it is apparent. Even with those pages, there are pages that are exquisitely rendered. There are very few artists that could take a comic featuring over thirty separate characters and make each one unique. The panel layouts are so well done in a manner that would become the norm in just a few years later. Keith Giffen did it first, and did it better.
If you’re looking for the issue itself, then you should be able to find it with a little searching. Don’t pay more than a few dollars for it, as you can probably find a copy in bargain boxes.
This issue has been collected in Legion of Super-Heroes: An Eye for an Eye (ISBN: 1401215696) Look for it, as this stroy is on par with The Great Darkness Saga (ISBN: 1401244165), which could also be read just to give a little reasoning behind Ol-Vir’s apparent insanity.
(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) The weaknesses are very minor. The readers are being kept in the dark almost as much as the Legion of Super-Heroes, but the story is progressing.