The Legion of Super-Heroes (Vol. 2) #293-313, Annual #2 (November 1982 – July 1984)
Written by Paul Levitz (#293-313, Annual #2)
Co-Plotted by Keith Giffen (#293-313, Annual #2)
Pencilled by Keith Giffen (#293-313), Howard Bender (#295, 300), Kurt Schaffenberger (#300), Curt Swan (#300, 306), Dave Cockrum (#300), James Sherman (#300), Joe Staton (#300), George Tuska (#308), Pat Broderick (#309), Gene Colan (#311), Dave Gibbons (Annual #2)
Inked by Larry Mahlstedt (#293-294, 296-304, 306-311, 313), Dave Hunt (#295), Kurt Schaffenberger (#300, 305), Frank Giacoia (#300), Dan Adkins (#300), Dave Cockrum (#300), James Sherman (#300), Dick Giordano (#300), Mike DeCarlo (#309), Karl Kesel (#312), Dave Gibbons (Annual #2)
Colour by Carl Gafford (#293-313, Annual #2)
Spoilers (from thirty-five to thirty-seven years ago)
Reading the comics for the last column got me more excited about this on-going project of mine than I’ve been in ages. The idealism of the Legion, coupled with the quick maturation process that Paul Levitz put the book through made for some truly great comics in the early 80s, long before I’d heard of the team or was reading their adventures.
For the books in this column, Levitz was joined by his artist, Keith Giffen, in the plotting of the comic, and I remember it being even better than it was before. Giffen increased his role in the middle of the Great Darkness Saga, perhaps the best known Legion story of all time. From there, they shared a good long run together, that I’ve never read in chronological order. I got all of my issues from back issue and sales bins over the years, mostly when I was a kid. As such, I read them when I got them, so this will be the first time I’ve ever read them as they were meant to be.
I already know they’ll be as good as I remember, but maybe they’re even better than that? Let’s find out…
Let’s track who turned up in the title:
The Legion of Super-Heroes
- Ultra Boy (Jo Nah; #293-294, 296-298, 300-305, 307-310, 313, Annual #2)
- Dawnstar (#293-294, 296, 298-299, 302-305, 308, 311, Annual #2)
- Wildfire (Drake Burroughs; #293-294, 296, 298-300, 302-308, 310-311, Annual #2)
- Superboy (Clark Kent; #293-294, 300, 306, 312-313, Annual #2)
- Sun Boy (Dirk Morgna; #293-294, 296-297, 299, 301-303, 307-310, 312-313, Annual #2)
- Invisible Kid (Jacques Foccart; #293-294, 296, 298-300, 304, 307-310, 312, Annual #2)
- Mon-El (Lar Gand; #293, 296, 299-300, 302-305, 307-310, 313, Annual #2)
- Dream Girl (Nura Nal; #293-294, 296, 299, 301-303, 306-310, 313, Annual #2)
- Light Lass (Ayla Ranzz; #293-296)
- Blok (#293-296, 298-299, 301-303, 307-310, 312-313, Annual #2)
- Shadow Lass (Tasmia Mallor; #293-294, 296, 299-300, 302-305, 307-310, 313, Annual #2)
- Phantom Girl (Tinya Wazzo; #293-294, 296-298, 300, 302-305, 307-310, 312-313, Annual #2)
- Duo Damsel (Luornu Durgo; #293-294, 303-304, 311, Annual #2; as Triplicate Girl, #295)
- Saturn Girl (Imra Ardeen-Ranzz; #293-299, 301-303, 306, 307-310, 312, Annual #2)
- Cosmic Boy (Rokk Krinn; #293-297, 299-300, 302, 307-310, 312-313, Annual #2)
- Lightning Lad (Garth Ranzz; #293-299, 301-303, 307-310, 312, Annual #2)
- Bouncing Boy (Chuck Taine; #293-294, 303-304, 311, Annual #2)
- Chameleon Boy (Reep Daggle; #293-294, 296-298, 300-301, 304-305, 307, 313, Annual #2)
- Queen Projectra (#293-294, 296, 299, 303, 308, Annual #2)
- Karate Kid (Val Armorr; #293-294, 296, 301, 303, 308, Annual #2)
- Colossal Boy (Gim Allon; #293-296, 298, 300-306, 308, 312-313, Annual #2)
- Shrinking Violet (actually an imposter; #293-294, 296, 298, 300-305, Annual #2)
- Element Lad (Jan Arrah; #293-294, 296, 298-302, 304-305, 307, 310-313, Annual #2)
- Timber Wolf (Brin Londo; #293-297, 299, 301-305, 307-310, 313, Annual #2)
- Star Boy (Thom Kallor; #293-294, 296, 299, 301-308, 313, Annual #2)
- Brainiac 5 (Querl Dox; #293-294, 296-297, 300-306, 308-313, Annual #2)
- The White Witch (Mysa Nal; #294, 296, 298-300, 302, 304, 308, 311-313, Annual #2)
- Supergirl (Kara; #294, 300-303, 306, Annual #2)
- Matter-Eater Lad (Tenzil Kem; #296-297)
- Invisible Kid I (Lyle Norg; #299, 310)
- Shrinking Violet (Salu Digby; #305, 308, 312-313)
- Orion clone (Servant of Darkness; #293-294)
- Superman Clone (Servant of Darkness; #293)
- Guardian of the Universe Clone (Servant of Darkness; #293)
- Darkseid (#293-294)
- Validus (#294)
- Lydea Mallor clone (Servant of Darkness; #294)
- Green Lantern Vidar (#295)
- Kharlak (#298-299)
- Ontiir of Tsauron (Science Police Commander for Weber’s World; #299, 301-303)
- Lightning Lord (#302)
- Emerald Empress (#302-303)
- The Dark Circle (#303)
- Sun Emperor (#305)
- Micro Lad (#305)
- Golgoth (#306)
- Omen (#307, 309-310)
- The Prophet (#307-310)
- Gurkak (#307)
- Computo (#309, 311)
- Prince Pharoxx (#309)
- The White Witch (Mysa Nal; #293)
- Magic baby/Highfather (Izaya; #293-294)
- Polar Boy (Legion of Substitute Heroes; #294)
- Dev-Em (#294, 299)
- Evolvo Lad (Heroes of Lallor; #294, 296, 299, 313)
- Life Lass (Heroes of Lallor; #294)
- Duplicate Boy (Heroes of Lallor; #294, 296, 298-299, 313)
- Gas Girl (Heroes of Lallor; #294, 313)
- Fire Lad (Legion of Substitute Heroes; #294)
- Celebrand (Wanderers; #294)
- Ornitho (Wanderers; #294)
- Guardians of the Universe (#295)
- Green Lantern Galte-Re (#295)
- Unnamed female Durlan Green Lantern (#295)
- Douglas Nolan (brother of Ferro Lad; #300)
- RJ Brande (Legion funder; #293, 298, 300-301, Annual #2)
- Night Girl (Lydda Jath, Legion of Substitute Heroes; #294, 296-297)
- Circadia Senius (Chronarch, Time Institute; #295, 300)
- Magnetic Kid (Pol Krinn, Legion Academy; #296, 304)
- Shvaughn Erin (Science Police Legion Liaison Officer; #296, 298-299, 300-302, 304-305, 307, 310-313, Annual #2)
- Doctor Gym’ll (Medicus-One; #296-297, 302, 308, 312)
- Kimball Zendak (Science Police Chief; #298, 303-304, 306, 310, 312-313)
- Doctor Larsh (#299)
- Rond Vidar (Time Institute; #300)
- Proty II (#301)
- Gigi Cusimano (Science Police Executive Branch; #301-307, 312-313)
- Marte Allon (President of Earth; #303, 308, 313)
- Laurel Kent (Legion Academy; #304)
- Shadow Kid (Grev Mallor, Legion Academy; #304)
- Power Boy (Jed Rikane, Legion Academy, #304)
- Lamprey (Tayla Skott, Legion Academy; #304)
- Nightwind (Berta Skye Haris, Legion Academy; #304)
- Quislet (Legion Academy; #304)
- Crystal Kid (Bobb Kohan, Legion Academy; #304)
- Comet Queen (Grava, Legion Academy; #304)
- Yera Allon (Durlan who posed as Shrinking Violet; #305, 308, 312)
- Ambassador Relnic (#307-310)
- Ambassador Yeasmyr (Gil’Dishpan; #307, 310)
- Danielle Foccart (#309-312)
- Computo (as friendly servant; #311)
Let’s take a look at what happened in these books, with some commentary as we go:
- The entire Legion have come together, spread over a number of starships, are hunting for the Servants of Darkness. Mon-El is in a coma after his battle with the Master, and Dream Girl and the White Witch don’t know how to help him. Mysa explains that her magic isn’t powerful enough to track the Master. Ultra Boy leads Phantom Girl and Shadow Lass to the planet Shady and Mon-El explored before. They are immediately attacked by three of the Servants. Superboy thinks about how one of the Servants is a clone of him, and how he’s had to leave his parent’s anniversary party to return to the future (as a time traveller, couldn’t he have waited until it was over to come?). The original three Legionnaires are joined by Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel. On Takron-Galtos, Chameleon Boy has to fight off an attack by four other Durlans. RJ Brande, his father, comes to visit and it appears that they finally have an emotional moment. The Master arrives on Daxam. Queen Projectra and Karate Kid fly to join the Legion, as do Colossal Boy and Shrinking Violet. White Witch and Invisible Kid check in on the baby, and see that he’s grown considerably in one day. Element Lad is testy with Dream Girl, and says that he’s going to step down as deputy leader when this crisis is over. The Master takes over the populace of Daxam, and then swaps its place in the galaxy with his dead world, thereby moving Daxam into yellow sunlight. Dawnstar and Wildfire arrive where they expect Daxam to be, but instead find the dead world, Ultra Boy’s team lying injured on it. Element Lad’s cruiser follows them in, and is attacked by the Servants, one of whom pulls Dawnstar into a space warp. It turns out that Element Lad and his squad (Star Boy, Timber Wolf, and Brainiac 5) had already abandoned ship, and enter the battle. Wildfire, furious, destroys the Guardian clone. Superboy arrives, wearing circuitry under his suit so the red sun of Daxam doesn’t drain his powers. The Master sends all the Daxamites, who now have the same powers as Mon-El, into space to begin destroying and reshaping their planet. Superboy makes some headway against the Superman clone, but is knocked down. Jan surrounds him in lead, and then turns the other rocks around them into yellow kryptonite, draining the clone’s powers. Timber Wolf breaks him into pieces. The other remaining Servants warp away. Later, after another cruiser arrives, the Legion feels congratulatory, but Wildfire disagrees. Invisible Kid somehow pulls Dawnstar back from an invisible stasis (this part makes no sense), and Brainiac figures out that the Master has stolen Daxam. We see that the Master has had his thralls use their powers to carve their planet into a statue of his head, and we finally confirm that he is indeed Darkseid. This issue came with a sixteen page Masters of the Universe comic by Paul Kupperberg and Curt Swan, but it was pretty unreadable.
- Issue 294 is the end of the Great Darkness Saga, and it’s another giant-sized issue (the third in about six months; these guys worked hard in those days). Brainiac 5 has figured out that they are facing Darkseid, who is thought of as a myth in the 30th century. He also figures out that the planet they are on is Apokalips. Dream Girl, on her cruiser, decides to call in all the help they can get, including the Legion of Substitute Heroes, and Supergirl (who is in the past?). The Daxamites lay waste to many worlds, including Thanagar, where fashions don’t change in a thousand years. Dev-Em fights to hold back some Daxamites, and is joined by the Heroes of Lallor, who bring him to their ship, and take him to Weber’s World, where a stand is being made. There, we see the Subs fighting bravely, joined by the Wanderers, although it is only Dev-Em and Duplicate Boy who have much luck. Light Lass and Blok watch over the magical child, who is older again, but doesn’t speak. Their cruiser is attacked by the Orion clone, who commands a group of Daxamites to destroy the vessel. Orion flies off with the child, leaving the rest of the Legionnaires floating in space. On Takron-Galtos, a Daxamite child searches for Chameleon Boy, who is able to trap the kid in Validus’s cell before passing out from fatigue. The White Witch manages to use a survival spell that she always has ready to save the Legionnaires on the cruiser that Orion destroyed, and tries to figure out a way to get help. She wakes up on a cruiser manned by Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy, Duo Damsel, Bouncing Boy, and Lightning Lad. They all want White Witch to mimic the space warp Darkseid created to take them to him. She feels more powerful than ever, and manages to complete the spell. Darkseid senses their boom tube coming. Colossal Boy and Shrinking Violet are in the headquarters on Earth, when they are attacked by the Lydea Mallor clone. Vi is able to give her a stroke by growing inside her veins. Arriving on Daxam, the Legion faces heavy opposition from the Daxamites, who aren’t the best fighters because they aren’t used to their powers and are under Darkseid’s control. Ayla and Shady find the child. White Witch watches from space, and hears a voice, which increases her power. Element Lad introduces small amounts of lead into the atmosphere of Daxam, instantly poisoning all the Daxamites. Darkseid moves everyone back to Apokalips, and personally takes on the Legion, having a number of them face their greatest fears. Next, he blasts Ayla, and faces Shady, who is the only one left to defend the child. When he blows away Shady’s darkness, he is surprised to see in front of him Highfather, and Orion, restored to normal. As Orion fights Darkseid, Shady finds the White Witch in space, where Highfather teleported her. As Orion keeps fighting, Highfather speaks to the Legion, introducing himself, explaining that he’s dead and about to fade away, and then using the last of his power to power up some Legionnaires, and heal the rest. Darkseid manages to defeat Orion, but then is attacked by Superboy and Supergirl, both of whom have been given more power. Darkseid is no match for them, although he does manage to grab Supergirl and cause her pain, before almost all the Legionnaires face off against him. He then sees all the Daxamites, being led by the other heroes, coming his way. Recognizing that he’s lost, he admits defeat, and teleports away, taking Apokalips with him, leaving everyone in space. Just as Wildfire begins to celebrate, Darkseid’s image appears, cursing them all with “the curse of darkness growing within you, destroying you from within”, and promises that the purest will be the first to go. Later, Timber Wolf and Light Lass start to talk. Ayla decides that she is quitting the team, and offers to have Brin come with her. Brainiac 5 and Supergirl chat, and she says she’s going to return to her time. When Kara comments on how much more calm Brainy is, he tells her that he is over his crush on her. She says that’s a shame, as she thinks he’s cute, and then she flies away.
- Timber Wolf seeks out Blok’s company as he has to decide between staying with the Legion or leaving it with his girlfriend, Light Lass. Blok suggests he watch an archive tape with him, and Brin agrees. The tape shows an early Legion mission, when the team consisted of Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy, Triplicate Girl, and Colossal Boy. They were called to the Time Institute to deal with a fire, and learned from the Chronarch, Circadia Sentius, that it was caused when their time viewer tried to look at the origins of the universe, and was struck by lightning. Ayla is unhappy to learn that Brin is watching tapes instead of making his decision, and uses her powers to leave him floating by the ceiling (I don’t know why he can’t use his flight ring to come back down). The Legion were with Sentius when he tried to look back again, and again lightning strikes. The image of one of the Guardians of the Universe appeared, telling them that they can’t seek that knowledge. The Time Institute was taken off Earth, and they were joined by three Green Lanterns, who normally stayed away from Earth. There was a short fight, which was stopped when Imra telepathically contacted the Guardians, who brought them all to Oa. Ayla’s powers wear off, and while Brin wants to leave, Blok convinces him to keep watching. The Guardians explained that when one of their number, Krona, first looked at the origins of time, he unleashed evil into the universe. The Guardians agreed to return everyone home, so long as they promised not to look so far back. The Green Lanterns helped to restore the Time Institute, and the one for this sector, Vidar, stayed behind. The Legion used a time bubble to return to the 20th Century to meet Superboy, but something went wrong, and they returned with a number of wild animals and dinosaurs they had to stop. Garth realized that Vidar slipped away, and found him attempting to look at the origins of the universe in a bid to gain immortality. The Legion stopped him, and returned to Oa with him. The Guardians claimed he was the first to betray them since Sinestro. Cosmic Boy told them that the government of Earth demanded that the Green Lanterns stay away from Earth, and the Guardians agreed. Somehow, all of this has helped Brin make up his mind. He goes to see Ayla, and declares his love for her, but tells her he is going to stay with his family, the Legion. Blok looks through some archives, and comes up with the notion that the Legion’s enemy, Universo, is in fact the Green Lantern Vidar. He then figures he must be wrong, as Brainiac 5 never noticed this.
- Shady and Mon-El, who has recovered from his issues with Darkseid, are taking a vacation together in a remote asteroid field. Mon-El has arranged a place to stay on the Science Asteroid, a massive research facility. Blok shows The White Witch around the headquarters, including the tesseract closet facility, until they are summoned telepathically by Saturn Girl, who is holding a small party to celebrate Lightning Lad’s health, and to bid goodbye to Light Lass. Sun Boy’s piggish ways disgust Phantom Girl, while Element Lad confirms that he’s resigned as Deputy Leader, leaving the job for Ultra Boy to fill. Colossal Boy and Shrinking Violet make out. They are summoned to an emergency – a nuclear explosion has happened on Earth. They work to contain the damage, and then assist in rescue and recovery operations. They suspect that this is part of a weird extortion scheme, as this kind of thing used to happen on Earth with regularity. Sun Boy realizes they are in the area where Cosmic Boy’s family lives, and we see his brother, Pol, badly burned. Saturn Girl says goodbye to Ayla, and manages to confirm there are no hard feelings between them. Imra runs into Timber Wolf, who is kind of cold to her. Vi and Colossal Boy increase their flirtation, not knowing that Duplicate Boy is watching from worlds away. Evolvo Lad stops him from overreacting, and gets him back to helping fix Weber’s World. Officer Erin joins Element Lad in investigating the nuclear attack, while Doctor Gym’ll is grumpy. A group of four crooks gather, and talk about their plans, when they are approached by the Science Police. When they run, the Legionnaires stop them, although one, Cyfril, gets away, helped by a mysterious figure. Queen Projectra is still on Earth, arranging some diplomatic matters before returning to Orando; Karate Kid is bored, and making art. When she tells him that they are going back to her planet, he more or less proposes. Brainiac 5, assisted by Invisible Kid, works to cure Matter-Eater Lad of whatever’s wrong with him. Jacques is summoned for a mission, joining Wildfire, Dawnstar, White Witch, and Blok. The guy who helped the crook gets some information out of him, then reveals that he’s actually Sun Boy; Imra got the location of the person responsible for the bombing. The squad heads to the spaceport. On Takron-Galtos, the governor thanks Chameleon Boy for stopping the Daxamite that was trying to wreck the place, and informs him that he’s been pardoned of his earlier crime. When the bindings come off his antennae, he’s upset to learn that he can’t use his powers. Ultra Boy, Star Boy, Phantom Girl, and Sun Boy surround the guy behind the bombing. He calls in some cargo robots to help him, but the Legion makes light work of them. As they wrap up, Sun Boy talks about his concern for Cosmic Boy and his family. We see Cosmic Boy, and Night Girl, his girlfriend, on their ship as they return to Earth. Rokk talks about the work they did helping the Daxamites rebuild, and how he’s looking forward to seeing his family. Colossal Boy and Violet are out dancing and kissing, not knowing that they’re being watched.
- Cosmic Boy, having learned about his family being at the sight of the nuclear firebombing upon returning to Earth, attacks the SP craft taking the perpetrators to Takron-Galtos. He uses his magnetism to stop the ship, and pull those responsible out towards him. He is about to kill them when Night Girl knocks him out with a surprise punch. A few Legionnaires arrive to provide some exposition, and they take him home. Brainiac 5 accompanies the now cured (but in a wheelchair) Matter-Eater Lad to the spaceport. Tenzil is returning to his political life. Cosmic Boy wakes up with Night Girl by his side, and they talk about how lonely he feels with his family hurt. He talks about the history of his planet, his powers, and how he was actually born on Earth while his parents looked for work there. When they returned to Braal, they faced poverty and hardship, which his magnoball career barely helped. Upon turning 14, he travelled alone to Earth for work. Rokk abruptly gets up to leave, and Lydda follows. Timber Wolf is upset that Ayla has left, and has decided to go to Old Boston to pick up girls, but is upset that he missed the airbus. He jumps up onto the bus, deciding I guess that sitting on the outside of public transit is better than using his flight ring. Rokk goes to visit his family at the Medi-Complex, but isn’t allowed in because patients can’t be disturbed (which makes no sense). He uses his powers to gain entry anyway, while Lydda explains how the Legion was formed to the doctor or nurse or administrator that wouldn’t let him in. When they join Rokk, he’s looking at a video screen that shows that his brother and father are likely to recover, but that his mother has died from her radiation burns. Rokk feels responsible for her death, having brought her to Earth (because maybe it would have been better if they kept barely eating on Braal?), and feels bad that he spent more time with the Legion and Night Girl than his family. Angry again, Rokk knocks Lydda through a wall, and then takes off to the spaceport again, using his magnetic powers to fly faster than normal. At the same time, Chameleon Boy returns to Earth, and is met by a few Legionnaires. He is explaining that his powers aren’t working anymore when they spot Rokk’s energy pattern and hear screams. They see Cosmic Boy attacking again, but Sun Boy makes them hold back, figuring he has to face his demons. Rokk finds the bombers again, and is about to kill them when he realizes what he’s doing and stops himself. Cosmic Boy flies off alone.
- Wildfire arrives with his squad (Dawnstar, Blok, White Witch, and Invisible Kid) on a mining asteroid, but learns that the person who contacted them for help is dead. They take the man’s body to their cruiser, so the Witch can perform a spell to learn how he died. Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl go to Medicus-One and ask to speak to the doctor handling Doctor Gym’ll’s caseload while he is away; the conversation with the receptionist is confusing. Duplicate Boy is furious, and he comes to Earth, borrowing Dawnstar’s tracking powers to find his prey – Colossal Boy, who is lounging in a resort hotel in the Himalayas with Shrinking Violet, who doesn’t appear to recognize Duplicate Boy. The White Witch learns that the man died by having his heart squeezed. This makes Dawny ill, and the spell wipes Mysa out. Wildfire heads into the mine with Blok, leaving the others behind. There is a quake, and the two heroes work to save everyone, although the miners don’t appear to care that much. One miner points them in the direction of what they are looking for. Element Lad is hanging out with Officer Erin, playing old video games and complaining about Dream Girl’s leadership. They receive a call from SP Chief Zendak, who says they need to get to the Himalayas to help Colossal Boy. The only Legionnaires left on duty are Jan, Ultra Boy, and Phantom Girl, and they head out, with Erin accompanying them. Jan continues to complain about Dream Girl, while Jo rushes on ahead in his capacity as deputy leader. He is surprised to find a giant Duplicate Boy fighting Gim, and uses his powers creatively to help topple the Hero of Lallor. Wildfire and Blok have brought Dawnstar and Invisible Kid with them while they investigate the mine, and discover a Khundian challenge court. Karlak, the guy who fought Chameleon Boy on Khund, teleports in, and they start to fight. He smashes Dawnstar into some rocks, and blows apart Wildfire’s containment suit. It looks like he’s killed him, although Jacques thinks he saw something. Blok manages to crush Karlak’s arm (he’s a cyborg), but then gets knocked down. Jacques turns invisible to look for Wildfire’s energy being. Karlak teleports away, and we learn that Dawny wasn’t badly hurt, but Blok wants to call in reinforcements. A large Science Police faction surrounds the unconscious Duplicate Boy, who upon waking, shrinks to his normal size and promises to not continue fighting. He makes the comment that Violet is no longer the girl he fell in love with, and flies off. Vi looks relieved. Everyone leaves, but Element Lad stays back with Shvaughn, and they talk about how Violet looked frightened, a mystery they can’t quite solve. Chameleon Boy is on Brande’s Planet with his father, and reveals that he’s lost his powers. He tells him he wants to go to Durla, and Brande offers to come with him.
- Invisible Kid finds himself on a strange world, unable to determine where Wildfire went, how he got there, or how to get home. Dawnstar is uncharacteristically rude and impatient while waiting for the White Witch to perform a spell to help find their missing comrades. She can’t find them, but knows they have switched planes, and are “near death”. Blok mentions that he called for reinforcements, and Kharlak suddenly appears and attacks. He hurts Dawnstar, then stomps on Blok. On Earth, Element Lad plays Scrabble with Shvaughn Erin, and expresses his concern over whatever is going on with Shrinking Violet. Erin makes it clear she’s interested in Jan. Duplicate Boy joins up with the other Heroes of Lallor and Dev-Em on Weber’s World, and is rude to Ontiir, the Science Police Commander for the world; the Heroes leave. Ontiir informs someone that they left, and is praised for being a good slave. Jacques discovers Wildfire in that strange place. He’s recovered his human body, and is dressed in Arabian Nights cosplay, while accompanied by alien women. He, insisting on being called Drake, doesn’t want to return to his usual plane of existence, and rejects Jacques’s arguments against this. Kharlak faces off against the White Witch, but Mysa has prepared two spells that make short work of him. The three Legionnaires don’t have long to be happy, as a Khund vessel appears above them. On Medicus One, Saturn Girl waits while Lightning Lad is examined by Doctor Larsh, who is filling in for Doctor Gym’ll. He says Garth is fine, but then we learn that he has some sort of plan that sounds evil. Jacques continues to argue with Drake, and then just punches him out and starts to carry him. Walking through a portal, he finds himself in front of Lyle Norg, the first Invisible Kid. Lyle seems a little nuts, and attacks him because he’s been alone for too long. He gets ahold of himself, and walks away. Next, Jacques decides to try to use his powers to disappear from this place. It works, but he finds himself on Orando, where Queen Projectra has had her court perform a seance to get permission to marry Karate Kid, an outsider. She views his arrival, alongside Drake who has returned to his energy self, as a positive side. Jacques passes out. Dawnstar and Blok are having a hard time fighting off the Khunds, but are joined by Dream Girl and a crew in some new cruisers. They take down the Khund ship. On the Science Asteroid, Mon-El learns that the Legion were in the area, and is pleased that they didn’t call on him. Shadow Lass shows off her new look – she is wearing Caucasian makeup, and calls herself Shadow Woman (this is a nod to the old Adult Legion comics from years ago, which will apparently play into the next issue).
- The Statement of Ownership for 1982 lists the Legion as having an average press run of 288 000, with average newsstand returns of 158 000.
- Issue three hundred is massive, and featured a number of guest artists from the Legion’s past, but only used them to draw Elseworlds-type glimpses into alternate reality versions of the Legion. The issue opens with Superboy arriving for a special celebration. People are happy to see him, and others get Legion Plaza ready for the afternoon’s big event. Supergirl arrives (and we learn that she is coming in from the 1980s, whereas Superboy lives in the 60s). Invisible Kid and Wildfire show up, and we learn that Drake is refusing to wear his containment suit again, so he’s just a blob of flying energy. Brainiac 5 has been called to the Time Institute by the Chronarch and Rond Vidar. It seems that they have a patient there who is in constant agony, and is always dreaming. They now have a device that allows them to see what he sees, which is a look into alternate timelines and realities. They think that this patient, who they take pains not to name, can be cured when he finds his proper timeline, but they need Brainy to work the device since he thinks faster than they can. The first vision Brainy can see shows Superboy and some Legionnaires defeating Lex Luthor in the past, but after that mission, Superboy resigns from the Legion, wanting to devote his time to Earth to fulfill a promise he made to Pa Kent on his deathbed. Brainy sees how this timeline is different from his own. The next vision shows the Legion accepting members of the Substitute Legion after losing seven members to the Legion of Super-Villains and Computo. Computo rages some more, killing Triplicate Girl, before Polar Boy sacrifices himself and Colossal Boy to stop it. Brainy and the others worry they are damaging their patient. At the Science Asteroid, Shady dances around in whiteface, when they learn that a large humanoid robot, piloted by Khunds, is about to attack. The third of Brainy’s visions involves the Adult Legion, as written famously by Jim Shooter back in the day. They fight the Fatal Five and think about how many Legionnaires they’ve lost. The Chronarch finds that this vision eases the patient a little. On Earth, Chameleon Boy and RJ Brande arrive for the celebration before heading to Durla. Yet another vision shows an adult Legion voting to amend their no killing policy so they can better fight off a Khund invasion, although this makes Superman quit. The aged Dream Girl and Star Boy watch on TV as their former friends behave in a bloodthirsty way, and Tyroc gets killed. Mon-El and Shady fight the Khund robot in a fight that damages the Science Asteroid’s generator. In yet another vision, Brainy sees a world where Mordru, the Khunds, and the Dark Circle have taken over Earth, and most of the Legion are dead. Mordru sends out things that look like fetuses in balls to track the rest of the Legion, although they are able to steal his magic and defeat him. Getting frustrated by his lack of progress, Brainy talks to Rond Vidar about time for a bit. Another vision shows a reality where the team has suffered some losses, and we learn that Blok is preparing to betray the team for his master, the Dark Man. With this vision ended, Brainy figures things out. We learn that the patient is Douglas Nolan, the brother of the deceased Legionnaire Ferro Boy. By showing Douglas a world where he takes his brother’s place on the team after Ferro Boy’s death, his anguish is relieved, and he disappears, using teleportation abilities no one knew he had. Shadow Lass’s white makeup is melting off of her, and then the reactor explodes, making it look like she’s exploded with it. On the very next page, we see Mon-El talking to Queeg, the being that runs the Science Asteroid. They talk about how Mon-El defeated the Khunds by tossing the exploding reactor at them. Shadow Lass appears, totally fine, but wearing a new full-body uniform, and still wearing her “white” makeup. The last two pages of the issue are a double-page spread of the Legion standing in Legion Plaza, with every inactive member or any other character from the book standing behind them. Interestingly, Shady is blue again in this image.
- Chameleon Boy (wearing the purple and yellow costume that I’ve always been most familiar with) and RJ Brande are on Durla, talking about how their home planet is tribal, isolationist, and unfriendly. They are surrounded by creatures that are all probably shape-shifted Durlans. Karate Kid and Queen Projectra leave Earth for Orando. Saturn Girl thanks Proty II for having taken pictures as last issue’s ceremony (aka the cover to #300), and gets shamed for how she used to treat them like a pet. Some of the team is hanging out when Dream Girl calls for some to leave on a mission to Daxam, including Ultra Boy, and leaves Brainiac 5 in charge as temporary leader. Cham and Brande are brought before their tribe, and the First Speaker offers them their space back in society. Cham rejects this, and so the Durlans fly their prisoners, held captive in a force bubble, and dump them in the highly radioactive water-filled pit where the atomic explosions that wrecked Durla generations ago were detonated. Brande explains that the radiation there can disrupt shape changing, and Cham figures that’s what happened to his powers during his fight with the Daxam. Brande breaks them out of the bubble (which might just be glass?). Officer Erin brings another SP, Gigi Cusimano, to meet with Element Lad, who is also now wearing a new pink and black costume. They’ve brought him a file. Sun Boy flirts with Gigi until he is called away for a mission; Jan is surprised by something he’s found. Cham and Brande have to climb out of the pit (Cham’s flight ring isn’t working), while they absorb radiation and bond. Above Durla, two SPs tasked with quarantine duty worry. Cham and Brande make it to “the temple”, a structure with an energy beam running through it. Cham walks into the beam, which causes him pain. Brainiac 5 registered that Cham’s flight ring was broken, so he scrambled a team (himself, Supergirl, Sun Boy, Shrinking Violet, and Colossal Boy) to investigate. Passing Weber’s World, they are attacked by three one-man fighters, which they quickly destroy (protecting the pilots’ lives). They are joined by Ontiir, who claims that the attackers are his patrol, who got “carried away.” He invites them all to Weber’s World. Cham has his powers back, but they are again confronted by their tribe. The First Speaker enters into a combat challenge with Cham, which ends with Cham victorious. Cham and Brande decide to leave. Timber Wolf and Blok are hanging out at the Mission Monitor Board when they receive a call from Karate Kid inviting the whole team to his wedding; Timber Wolf is clearly jealous.
- Timber Wolf has changed his mind about acting out on his hurt feelings, and he and Blok talk about it when the alarm goes off. Lightning Lord has broken into Legion headquarters, and is rampaging, looking for his brother, Lightning Lad. He blasts Shadow Lass, and then Dawnstar. Timber Wolf and Block arrive, but since he knows that Garth isn’t there, Lightning Lord flies off. Element Lad and Officer Erin are on a cruiser, flying past Weber’s World, but decide to not check in with the Legion team there, since they don’t want someone to know what they are investigating. They set a course for Imsk. On Weber’s World, Ontiir shows the Legion around, pointing out how the planet is almost repaired after the Daxamite attack; Brainy and Supergirl chat a bit. We learn that the Emerald Empress is on Weber’s World, and appears to be in control of it (does that mean she’s running the entire United Planets?). Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl are on Medicus One meeting with Doctor Gym’ll, who chastises them for getting a checkup from Doctor Larsh, despite the fact that he was away, and then wants to read his comics. Lightning Lord busts in, immediately starting a fight. It seems what he wants is to know where Ayla, their sister, went, although it isn’t explained why he didn’t just ask the other Legionnaires that. They fight, and then Mekt knocks open an airlock, sending them into space (their automatic space suits save them). Dream Girl’s team has arrived outside Daxam, which still looks like a giant bust of Darkseid, and Mon-El realises that the UP view his people as threats now. Once they are all back on their cruiser, Wildfire wants to share information he’s learned, but Dream Girl beats him to it, announcing Projectra and Karate Kid’s upcoming wedding, and that Lightning Lord has attacked. Officer Cusimano’s borrowing of a Durlan file has been noticed by her higher ups, and she’s nervous. Lightning Lord has landed on the polymer shield now surrounding the Earth, and is attacked by a group of Legionnaires. They fight, but don’t do well until Lightning Lad arrives, and he is assisted by Saturn Girl, who helps knock him out. Garth shares that he doesn’t know where Ayla went, which upsets Timber Wolf some again. Ontiir shows the Legionnaires back to their ship on Weber’s World, but when they enter it, they find the lights out, and see the Emerald Eye hovering over the injured Sun Boy. The Eye blasts them all.
- The Emerald Empress has taken over Weber’s World, and is working with the Dark Circle, of whom Ontiir is a member. They have the five Legionnaires they captured held in stasis by neutralizer pods. The Empress crushes Sun Boy’s jaw in her hand. Some Legionnaires head in two cruisers towards Orando, leaving Duplicate Girl and Bouncing Boy to man the monitor board in their absence. As they cruise, Garth worries about his sister, while Timber Wolf sleeps, confusing Blok. Supergirl is able to use her breath to activate Brainiac 5’s forceshield, saving the Legionnaires from a firing squad; Sunboy and Supergirl together knock out the neutralizer pods, freeing them. The Empress takes off and the team is about to pursue, but Brainy stops them to strategize. Supergirl suggests the Empress is using Weber’s World, which is transportable, as a weapon, so he sends the rest to pursue her while Brainy and Kara investigate that angle. They learn that she has Weber’s World on a collision course with the UP’s main fleet base. Chief Zendak is upset with Gigi Cusimano for accessing the Durlan files; he is interrupted when the president calls to tell him about Weber’s World. Bouncing Boy learns of this too, and lets Dream Girl, who is on Daxam, know what’s up. She sends Wildfire and Mon-El to help their teammates, which irritates Ultra Boy to the point where he perhaps steps down as deputy, using carved rock to make his point. Colossal Boy, Shrinking Violet, and Sun Boy pursue the Empress towards the central data banks, which Gim thinks odd that Vi recognizes. The Empress enjoys taking total control of the planet, and when the three Legionnaires enter the computer room, she uses the Eye to attack them. At the same time, Brainy has Supergirl trying to stop the planet’s course; pushing it doesn’t work, so he suggests she knock the planet like a pool ball, saving the day, and shaking up the Empress. Brainiac 5 is able to stop her from killing his teammates by trapping the Eye in his force shield. CB stops Ontiir from shooting Brainy, but Supergirl has been brought down by the Empress’s convenient store of kryptonite. Vi is able to get the kryptonite away from her, and uses a “Durlan nerve-cruncher” to knock out the Empress. Ontiir tries to escape, but runs right into the newly-arrived Mon-El and Wildfire. On Orando, Karate Kid and Projectra prepare for their wedding, trying to avoid fears of something happening (like in every comic book wedding ever). As the team from Weber’s World flies towards Orando, Brainy tells Supergirl that she is too much of a distraction for him.
- Dream Girl’s team (Cosmic Boy, White Witch, Ultra Boy, and Star Boy) work to help restore the planet by smashing rocks into topsoil and watering it while Ultra Boy takes shots and Dream Girl acts like a princess. They Daxam to go to Orando for Projectra and Karate Kid’s wedding. On Orando, the happy couple are happy as their friends arrive. Saturn Girl swears Lightning Lad to secrecy about some happy news, while Timber Wolf acts oddly, telling Val about his jealousy of him. As Dream Girl’s cruiser approaches Orando, it is caught in a time vortex caused by Superboy’s arrival. Superboy approaches the planet unaware that he’s caused his friends to disappear. Wildfire is rude to Superboy, who decides that the wedding should be free of paranoia. Dream Girl’s cruiser crashes on Earth, and the team figures out that they are in the 2nd century BC. They have no way to get home, and are soon attacked by Ancient Greek soldiers, who they put down gently. They decide to head to the closest city, and as they fly Star Boy and Nura argue a bit. The people in the town are surprised to see them, and lead them to a temple, where they are attacked by what appears to be the Greek gods. Duplicate Girl and Bouncing Boy keep monitoring the Monitor Board, when Chameleon Boy and RJ Brande arrive. They chat about Cham’s powers, then noticed Dream Girl’s team leaving the board. They check in with Dawnstar, who can’t find them, while the rest of the team enjoys the wedding festivities. “Zeus” talks to Dream Girl, but puts the rest of her squad to sleep. As they talk, it’s clear he doesn’t believe she’s from the future, but also admits that he and the other gods are aliens. Nura figures out that they are Durlan, and tries to warn Zeus of the coming 6-Minutes War. Cham decides that the squad must be lost in time, and contacts someone. Nura’s group free themselves from Greek Durlan capsules, and fight some of the other Durlan Greek Gods. When Nura flips Zeus, he decides that it’s time for them all to return to Durla, and they teleport away, before launching their temple. Just then Chameleon Boy shows up, having used the guy he called’s science to track them. On Orando, Projectra and Val are wed, and it’s pretty. In the Epilogue, Element Lad and Officer Erin approach Orando, realizing they missed the wedding. Jan says it’s fine, and we learn that he has proof one Legionnaire is an imposter.
- Issue three hundred four focuses a lot on the Legion Academy, where Bouncing Boy and Duplicate Girl run things. They tell their students that with some openings in the Legion, they might consider applying. Some, like Shadow Kid know that he can’t be chosen while his cousin Shadow Lass has the same power set, but that doesn’t seem to deter Magnetic Kid, Cosmic Boy’s little brother. Wildfire interrupts their chat by dropping off Invisible Kid and the White Witch for some training, and then gets annoyed when Gigi Cusimano gives him a hard time (I’m not sure why she was there). Element Lad and Officer Erin meet secretly with Chameleon Boy and Brainiac 5, to tell them that they’ve discovered that Shrinking Violet has been kidnapped and replaced with a Durlan. They don’t know where the real Ivy is, but Cham has a plan. Bouncing Boy, Invisible Kid, White Witch, Laurel Kent, and Power Boy respond to a Science Police emergency involving some escaped animals near some radioactive waste. Chief Zendak’s not too impressed by who is helping, and that makes sense, as the rookies and kids don’t do a great job against these big weird animals. Luornu and the rest of the Academy watch via vidscreen, and she points out issues with their technique. Later, Shadow Kid and Magnetic Kid talk, and while Pol makes reference to the fireballing that almost killed him, he says nothing of how he’s recovered so completely. Comet Queen, who we haven’t seen before, is complaining to Laurel about how much she hates Wildfire. The White Witch doesn’t agree. Shadow Lass and Timber Wolf respond to a raid by some organ pirates, and while their battle robot gives Brin a hard time, he’s not happy when Wildfire shows up and takes care of it for him. After Wildfire flies off, Brin and Shady discuss what he’s going through. Lamprey and Nightwind talk about how they’ve felt close to Wildfire ever since he opened up to them. Cham gets Colossal Boy and Shrinking Violet onto a cruiser, telling them they need to go to Imsk, Vi’s planet; it’s clear this is part of his plan. Shvaughn watches them leave, and then has a chat with Star Boy, who has been made Deputy Leader, but doesn’t appear too impressed. He chairs a meeting with Phantom Girl, Ultra Boy, Timber Wolf, Mon-El, and Shady, trying to decide which of the Academy kids are ready to graduate to the team. The Academy women argue about Wildfire, which gets physical when Comet Queen gets insulting. Magnetic Kid and Power Boy jump in to stop things, pointing out if the Legion saw this, it could be the end of their chances. As it turns out, Invisible Kid and White Witch are close by. Mysa uses a spell to show them all what burdens Wildfire suffers under. We see Dawnstar telling him that she’s leaving to complete her “grand tour” of the galaxy, and to find her soul mate. She tells him that when she returns, they will always be friends. As she leaves, Wildfire says he loves her, and then bursts his containment suit like a balloon. As it turns out, Star Boy and the others debate for three hours, but decided no one at the Academy is ready.
- Chameleon Boy, Brainiac 5, and Element Lad have brought Colossal Boy and Shrinking Violet to Imsk. While in orbit, Cham sprays Violet with something called “cancellite”, a chemical Supergirl invented to block Durlan shape changing. When Violet is unable to grow to her full height, it is proven that she’s a Durlan. At Legion headquarters, Wildfire works out his aggression and anger by sparring with Timber Wolf, Ultra Boy, and Mon-El while Phantom Girl and Shadow Lass watch. Star Boy joins them, and makes it clear that he hopes Dream Girl loses the upcoming Legion election. Brainy and the others use a psych probe on the Durlan, who they learn is named Yera. An actress, Yera agreed to play a role, posing as Violet for a group of Imskians, who told her that the real Violet was ill. They didn’t ask her to spy, only to replace Vi so the Legion wouldn’t know they had her. The day she joined the team was the same day that Cham led her and a squad to Khundia, which coincides with the beginning of her romance with Colossal Boy. Element Lad apologizes to CB for keeping things from him, but explains he didn’t want to tip her off. CB punches Jan in the face. On some less-developed world, a man that the internet identifies as the Sun Emperor burns a village and tells a survivor to tell the world to surrender to him and his group. Shrinking Violet (but which one?) is seen on Imsk. She is noticed by a woman from the cell that captured the real Violet. This woman, Marlu, grabs her, and leads her to the cell. She explains to Yera that they are planning to secede from the United Planets, and have been preparing for war. She captures Yera in a plastic sleeve, and takes her to the others, including their leader, Micro Lad. He shows her Violet, who has been kept in a tank for months while they strip information from her mind. On Starhaven, Dawnstar joins her people, preparing for her Grand Tour. Her mother gives her a gem that will help lead her to her soul-mate, and as she flies into space, she wishes she could be with Wildfire. Yera reveals herself to actually be Chameleon Boy, who is more powerful than the bubble the Imskians have trapped him in. He turns into large beasts and starts wrecking the place. They are joined by the other three Legionnaires, who tracked a radioactive element Jan placed on Cham. Colossal Boy is especially effective at trashing the base, and Brainy uses a new version of cancelite to stop the shrunken Imskians from growing again. The SPs arrive to help clean up, and are surprised by how effective the Legion was. They all show concern for Violet as they prepare to take her. Later, Colossal Boy is sitting with Yera, who makes it clear that she really loves him. He promises he loves her too, but then talks about how it might be hard to love a Durlan (which is kind of racist), and worries about how to tell his mother that they are actually married, which is news to us too.
- Issue 306 spotlights Star Boy, and features flashback art by Curt Swan. Star Boy and Wildfire are hanging out on election night (Dream Girl and a squad are still off on a diplomatic mission). Thom explains that he does not want Dream Girl to win again, as their relationship has been on the backburner for too long. He is certain that she’s going to win, and sees it as part of a long pattern in his life of him not getting what he wants. He, the man with a beautiful girlfriend and a cool costume explains to Wildfire, the guy who is a ball of energy animating an otherwise empty suit whose girlfriend has left him, just how hard his life has been. He developed his weird mass powers as an infant, crashing the floating observatory he was born in and almost killing his family. After that, he was an object of study. He decided to run away at sixteen, stealing his father’s spacecraft, but he passed through the tail of a comet, picked up a weird glow, and returned home, crashing the ship in the process. He discovered he had new powers – invulnerability, strength, flight, and others, and went to try-out for the Legion and got accepted. Wildfire interrupts to point out that more votes have come in, including three for Element Lad, who isn’t even running. Thom is still convinced that Nura will win though. He explains that he was sent on a mission to Takron-Galtos, where some escaped convicts took a bunch of SPs prisoner, including Lieutenant Zendak and first week officer Cusimano. Star Boy crashed his ship, thinking that would be a good ploy, and got captured and beaten on. The votes are tied between Dream Girl and Ultra Boy. Star Boy was taken before Golgoth, who was leading the prisoners. Star Boy learned his powers had faded, and had to use his original mass power, bringing down the whole building on himself and his captors. Later, he spent time recovering from his injuries. Ultra Lad pulls ahead of Dream Girl. Star Boy talks about how he first met Dream Girl when she applied to the Legion, and there was some kind of complicated situation that involved her changing Lighting Lass’s powers to try to avoid a dream where she saw seven Legionnaires die, not knowing they were robots or something, and then she quit. She and Thom stayed in touch, but then some guy tried to kill Thom so that Nura would marry him, and Thom had no choice but to kill him, although the Legion didn’t see it that way and expelled him. He joined Dream Girl in the Legion of Substitute Heroes. Wildfire points out that the squad that’s away with Dream Girl might not vote right away, delaying the results. Thom enjoyed his time with the Subs, but when some other typically complicated thing happened necessitating that Superboy and Supergirl leave the team for a while, they nominated two people in lead suits – Sir Prize and Miss Terious (seriously) to take over for them, and they turned out to be Star Boy and Dream Girl! Once revealed, they were welcomed to stay with the team. The final votes are in, and Element Lad has won. Thom, excited, fires his powers into the air, making a flying billboard heavy. Luckily, Wildfire destroys it, and Thom feels like his luck might be changing.
- A small squad of Legionnaires – Phantom Girl, Shadow Lass, Invisible Kid, and Timber Wolf have been sent to investigate a research station on an asteroid called Trewsk, which has been incinerated, killing one of Jacques’s friends. As they look around, they see a glowing ball separating from one of the three local suns, and given its speed, decide to follow it, discerning two humanoid figures in it. As the Legion cruiser approaches, the beings attack, sending the damaged cruiser flying towards a planet or large rock. Timber Wolf opens a hole for the Legionnaires to escape through, but Phantom Girl decides to try to save the cruiser, which crashes hard. Element Lad and the crew he took to Imsk returns home (having dropped off Shrinking Violet on Medicus One, and with Colossal Boy having left with Yera). Star Boy lets Element Lad know he won the election, but he doesn’t believe him. Dream Girl and her team are on Khundia to support the efforts of Ambassador Relnic in negotiating peace between the Khunds and the UP; he figures having the Legion there will infuriate the Khunds, who hate them. Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad tell Cosmic Boy that Imra is pregnant. A Khund, Gurkak, attacks the compound, wanting to fight Blok, because Blok defeated Kharlak, which Gurkak felt entitled to do. The Legion easily dispatch him. Shady and Phantom Girl chat in their already repaired cruiser about how without their boyfriends on the mission with them, they have to do a lot for themselves. They follow the two beings’ radiation trail to Corvan IV. Upon entering the atmosphere, they are attacked by the planet’s defenses, and their cruiser is wrecked. They all bail out this time, and fight off the attack craft (Phantom Girl takes control of one). They land in the jungle, and decide to have Tinya and Jacques scout around. Shvaughn Erin and Gigi Cusimano chat about Element Lad in their shared apartment, and then he shows up, talking about Star Boy’s “joke.” Tinya and Jacques approach a village, where a large glowing ball is talking to the inhabitants, warning them of a coming enemy. The force of the telepathic image it projects causes Jacques to become visible, and the villagers see him and Tinya. They attack, and Tinya is saved by the sudden appearance of Ultra Boy. He and Mon-El got bored without their girlfriends, and decided to follow them. On Khundia, a Gil’Dishpan ambassador is present to mediate between the two parties. He starts negotiations, but they are quickly interrupted by news that Khundia has been invaded. The glowing figure has arrived, and easily destroys the Khund attack forces. He’s revealed to be human-looking, and delivers the same warning about a coming enemy. Phantom Girl’s squad follows the being’s trail towards Khundia, and the next issue box refers to these two entities as Omen and the Prophet.
- The Prophet takes control of Khundia’s weapons, preparing for the coming of the Omen, but when Ultra Boy, Mon-El, and the rest of that squad approach, he believes them to be demons and attacks, firing a number of missiles at them. At the UP embassay, Dream Girl’s squad wait around. Ambassador Relnic tells them that the Khunds believe the Legion are the ones invading the planet. The team denies it, but no one bothers to go check it out. Dawnstar continues her Grand Tour, and ends up in the Dream Nebula, where she feels destined to never find the man for her (I mean, how many single guys do you find just flying around the galaxy anyway?). The Prophet starts to narrate his story. He was a priest assigned to the research station at Trewsk, but left when he was invited to run an event back on Earth. Why would a science station in a remote part of space need a priest? This part makes no sense. Anyway, when he returned, he found everyone dead, killed when a flock of space creatures came to the twin stars of that sector, and the stars sent out radiation to feed them, frying everyone else. The priest felt like his pride was responsible for what happened, so he tried to fly into one of the stars to kill himself (cause that’s not a sin) when the Omen touched him and gave him power. Now the Prophet wants to stop the Omen. He’s able to withstand a punch from Mon-El, and then sends him flying. On Earth, Star Boy is still moaning about not getting to spend time with Dream Girl. Wildfire comes to him, and scrolls through the Mission Monitor Board, showing that Vi is improving, and that some of the other Legionnaires are busy. He gets very upset when he sees Dawnstar’s name. The Prophet announces that the Omen is coming, and that they must all destroy him.
- Issue 308 has a back-up featuring Colossal Boy. Gim has plans to have dinner with his parents, who don’t yet know he’s married. President Allon finishes work and returns home. The Allons are surprised to see that Gim has arrived with Yera, and even more surprised when they learn they are married (whereas I think I’d be more surprised by the fact that Gim decided to wear his Legion costume to dinner). The conversation moves to issues with Durlans, and Yera has to both defend her people and point out that she’s rejected them. When some SPs come to the door to deliver something, Gim is convinced his mother had Chief Zendak run a report on Yera. In truth, they brought a life crystal pendant as a gift for Yera. Later, Marte admits to her husband that she’s known for more than a month that her son was married, but never mentioned it to him, and she had the gift already picked out.
- Ultra Boy and his group are still fighting the Prophet on Khundia, which is odd, because the Prophet wants to stop the Omen, and should probably be working with the team. He has control of local Khund defense technology, and keeps turning that against them. On a medieval looking world, an old man, maybe the guy we saw before with the Sun Emperor, knocks on the door of a castle, telling the people within to surrender to his master, but they reject him. At Legion HQ, Brainiac 5 tries to do something to help Danielle Foccart, but when he awakens her, Computo is still in control of her, and so he puts her back to sleep. Omen is on a planet looking around when he realizes that Prophet is no longer with him. Prophet figures out that Omen is on his way, gets worried, and destroys the Khund fleet amassing around him. The Khund ambassador still believes that the Legion is invading, but Ambassador Relnic points out that the Legion is fighting the invader, and Relnic calls in the Legion squad that was travelling with him. They arrive just in time for Blok to block a blast from the Prophet. The various Legionnaires attack, but it is Invisible Kid who notices some kind of solar energy link through Prophet’s eyes, and gets Shadow Lass to black out his eyes, which allows Ultra Boy to land a good punch on him. Just then, Omen appears in the sky as a big glowing head.
- Queen Projectra and Karate Kid are on a paradise planet for their honeymoon. They engage in a bit of banter, and we learn that Pharoxx, Projectra’s cousin, has escaped custody and is threatening the technician who controls the climate and animals, to make the world attack them. They fight off a creature, and then fly towards the technician’s office. They are attacked by flying fish, and then knocked out by gas clouds. Pharoxx tells Val that he’s going to kill them both and take the throne. The two men prepare to fight, but Pharoxx uses his magic instead. Val still defeats him, and then he is teleported away, apparently against his will. The technician offers them a discounted extra week’s stay.
- Omen stands before the Legionnaires on Khund, and fires a blast that evades some, hitting Prophet and dragging him upwards. Mon-El tries to grab Prophet as he returns to consciousness, and screams. Element Lad is hanging out with Shvaughn Erin at her apartment. They finish the game they were playing, and Shvaughn finally makes a move on Jan, which is interrupted by Chief Zendak calling for him, to tell him that the Legion is causing an incident on Khundia that could lead to war. When Jan asks why he’s calling him, he finally gets that he actually is the new Legion leader. The Legion tries to rescue Prophet from Omen, with Ultra Boy taking a direct approach that doesn’t work. The whole team attacking at once doesn’t help either. Ambassador Relnic appears, via holographic transmission, to tell the team to disengage and leave the planet immediately. Brainiac 5 continues to work on Danielle Foccart, and worries that he is becoming less intelligent. Wildfire tells him to come with the rest of the team to Khundia, but Brainy refuses. Omen has Prophet inside an energy field, and is witness to him starting to dismantle the planet. Phantom Girl makes it through the field, but passes out. On the outside, the team continues to argue with the ambassador when they hear Tinya scream. They move on the field, but the Khunds arrive and try to stop them. As the others take out the Khunds, Cosmic Boy opens a hole in the energy field. Wildfire, Element Lad, and some others head towards Khundia with a large number of UP escort ships. The Khunds are frustrated that they can’t penetrate Omen’s field, but that the Legion made it in. Inside the energy dome, the Legionnaires learn that Omen has revealed a negaton bomb the Khunds have built in secret. This bomb opens a dimensional hole. Omen begins to absorb Prophet, so Mon-El punches Prophet so hard he sends him off-planet. Omen speaks for the first time, hurts Blok badly, and then blasts everyone except Dream Girl, who is hiding. She tries to figure out how to control the bomb, and when Omen sees her and blasts her, she hits a button. It looks like the bomb opens a dimensional hole, and Omen falls through it. Where the warp field was, now they see Lyle Norg, the first Invisible Kid, who was believed to be dead. Later, the Khund ambassador argues with Relnic that the Legionnaires should be executed. Relnic points out that the bomb the Khunds had was likely intended to be used on the UP, and the Gil’Dishpan ambassador agrees. Relnic leaves, making it clear that with their fleet damaged, the Khunds are not in the position to mess with the UP.
- The Statement of Ownership for 1983 cites an average press run of 330 000, with average newsstand returns of 159 000.
- Duplicate Girl and Bouncing Boy bring a friend of theirs to Legion HQ just as it collapses in front of them. They know that Brainiac 5 is the only Legionnaire present, and Chuck goes looking for him. Brainy, meanwhile, is inside, working to cure Danielle Foccart. An error he made caused the building to collapse, and also allowed Computo to awaken within Danielle’s body. As the Legion make their way home from Khundia, the backup team connects with the members that were involved in the fight with Omen. We learn that Lyle Norg is indeed alive, having believed he was dead all along. Wildfire asks Element Lad if he can see to some personal business, and flies off. Computo attacks Brainy, but he captures it in his forcefield, and tests out a thesis he’s been working on. Outside, Chuck and Luornu talk to the SP, when Brainy comes flying out of the wreckage. Chuck catches him, and he explains that he was able to funnel Computo’s essence into a new master system, curing Danielle along the way. Everyone is surprised when the headquarters reconstructs in a new, larger configuration. A glowing orb comes out, and we learn that this is the reprogrammed Computo, which is now to serve the team as a majordomo. Computo offers everyone lemonade.
- In a backup story drawn by the great Gene Colan, Wildfire arrives on Starhaven, looking for Dawnstar. Her parents explain that she’s on the Grand Tour, and expected to meet her soulmate. Dawnstar’s mother is concerned that Wildfire is not whole, as he flies off. Dawnstar continues her journey, thinking about what she wants in life. As she arrives at the place she is expected to see her intended, or at least receive a vision of him, she is met by Wildfire. She reacts in anger, thinking he is spoiling something sacred to her. He speaks nicely to her, explaining his feelings for her. Later, Dawnstar arrives at Starhaven, and tells her parents that she believes Wildfire is her soulmate, and that his disability is not going to stop her from loving him.
- Sun Boy is at Gigi’s, admiring her books and making out with her. They are interrupted by an emergency SP call, and Sun Boy escorts her to Metropolis Stadium, where a bomb has gone off during a big game. The audience is panicking, while Colossal Boy, Yera, and Element Lad, who were there for the game, try to help. Brainiac 5 works on the Mission Monitor Board, and talks to Blok, who is still recovering from his injuries, and looks a little worse for wear. It turns out that the SPs were warned about the bombing, but their computer ignored the threat, deeming it a hoax. Chief Zendak takes Element Lad and a few others to examine the computer, and they determine that it must have had its programming tampered with. Shrinking Violet defies Doctor Gym’ll’s orders and leaves Medicus One, looking to settle some scores. Gigi is stuck second guessing the SP’s computer’s decisions, while Colossal Boy and Element Lad have put on disguises to go undercover in the SP to help figure out what’s going on. There is another bombing in Metropolis’s Restaurant Row, and some Legionnaires turn out to help. Jan has called in Superboy, who is able to minimize the damage. We learn that a threat was sent to the restaurants as well. The White Witch is on hand to help figure out what’s happening with the computer, and she is almost able to conjure an image of the perpetrator, who is clearly in an SP uniform, but can’t be identified before the spell fails. Superboy hangs out with Brainy, who blushes at mention of Supergirl. Invisible Kid and Danielle come to thank Brainy for curing her, and as she leaves to return home, he notices that she’s shorted out some equipment or something by walking past it. The bomber, who we don’t recognize, carries on a nice little discussion with the SP computer. Zendak receives a warning, without a ransom, stating that the SP armory is going to blow up in minutes. As the SPs futilely look for the bomb, Mysa isn’t able to find anything either. The bomb explodes, but because of Superboy and Cosmic Boy, there is minimal damage. Zendak receives another note, threatening President Allon. At the HQ, Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad prepare to leave the team, until after their child is born.
- Chief Zendak, Blok, and Brainiac 5 are at President Allon’s house, where they hope to protect her from the bomber, but instead Blok just breaks some stuff. The SP try to stop a freighter that is smuggling in radioactive material, and the crew tries to escape but are caught by the White Witch and Sun Boy. This scene is mostly used as a reminder that Colossal Boy and Element Lad are undercover in the SP, trying to figure out who the bomber is. Star Boy and Dream Girl are on vacation on Ventura, where Dream Girl is overcome with a premonition of a Legionnaire dying. Gigi briefs a compliment of SPs, including our undercover Legionnaires, and later continue trying to figure out who could have infiltrated the organization given its intense security (although, that Ontiir guy helped the Emerald Empress take over Weber’s World). On Lallor, Duplicate Boy helps with a construction accident when Shrinking Violet suddenly shows up and punches him. She’s angry that when she figured out that someone was posing as her in the Legion, he never said anything to anyone about it. President Allon arrives at the UP Council building. Superboy searches the place for threats, yet the lift she is in, with Brainy and Cosmic Boy, starts to plummet; Brainy’s forcefield saves her. Chief Zendak starts to suspect off-planet SPs who come with UP delegates. Shvaughn, Gim, Jan, Mysa, and Dirk continue to try to puzzle things out. Mon-El and Shadow Lass enjoy a quiet moment on Daxam, which is starting to get back to normal. Ultra Boy, Timber Wolf, and Chameleon Boy work to restore Daxam, and Cham wonders if the same could ever be done for Durla. As President Allon addresses the UP Council, Brainy notices something odd about an SP drone. All the drones in the chamber begin attacking the various leaders and delegates. The Legion jumps in to save them, and one councillor makes it clear that it was also blackmailed; Brainy figures out that they all were. Jan and Mysa figure out who the perp is, just as Superboy and the others bust into the SP offices to reveal what they’ve found. Brainy reprograms the computer, and they find their bomber, who as a technician who worked on the SP computers, apprehending him before he boarded a shuttle to Dominion space.
At this point, the series changed. After issue 313, the ongoing series became known and Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes, and for a year continued to publish new stories. The main book was moved to a direct-only format, printed on Baxter paper (which they refer to here as their offset series). As this column is hella long, this is a good place to stop and take a look at things.
These are some incredible comics. Levitz and Giffen were the Legion dream team, creating original stories that expanded the Legion universe, and built on just about every character. What impresses me the most here is the way that they seeded stories for months before addressing them (the best example being the fact that Yera had taken Shrinking Violet’s identity and place in the team), and continued to explore the consequences of big events, such as Darkseid’s destruction of Daxam.
With such a large cast, it’s remarkable that almost every character got some space for development, with some key ones (Timber Wolf, Element Lad, Star Boy, Brainiac 5, Wildfire, Dawnstar, Chameleon Boy) being given either spotlight stories or multi-issue arcs. It really felt like Levitz and Giffen made the characters their own, and making them all more mature and complex.
I also like the way that Levitz and Giffen built up Officer Shvaughn Erin, and introduced Gigi Cusimano to the book. Both of these characters brought a lot to the book, allowing for an outside perspective on the team.
It does bother me a bit that every female character in this book is seen as a love interest, or as a potential love interest (things even appeared to start heating up between the White Witch and Blok, the most unconventional pairing here). The two SP officers get hooked up pretty quickly, and there is not a single single female character in this book.
While many would view the Great Darkness Saga as a highpoint of Legion history, I also see it as a launching point for a more expansive and experimental approach to the series. It is here that we start getting excerpts from the Encyclopedia Galactica, and the complexity of the Legion universe is made clear. Planets like Durla are explored as culturally distinct, as is Orando.
Many of the unique facets of the Legion from this time – the emphasis on the Mission Monitor Board, the existence of the Legion Academy, the leadership election cycle, the churn of wrecked cruisers, and the evolution of the headquarters all get a facelift during this time. These are aspects of the Legion that I loved, and it’s great to see them put to such good use. I was especially interested to revisit the elections, which were decided by actual readers writing in to vote (I guess there’s no other way that Dream Girl could have gotten in).
Technology is always a little awkward in older science fiction. We see the 31st century very much through the lens of the late 20th, with computers still being large devices. It gives the books a quaintness that they probably didn’t have when they came out.
Of course, these comics could not have been so memorable were it not for Keith Giffen’s contributions. It’s fascinating to see his growth over the course of a year and a half. When he started on the book, he was a pretty traditional artist, with very clean lines, and only occasional strange camera angles. After becoming co-plotter, we started to see varying experiments with page design. At times, he used the nine-panel grid that becomes such a staple of his 5YL Legion, but more frequently, we see very fluid page designs, broken panel borders, and more and more curious choices in camera angle or storytelling. And all of it is glorious.
The characters became more visually distinct during Giffen’s time on this book, and I didn’t always need to reference the costumes of the human characters to know who is who. He also slowly started updating many characters’ costumes, fixing terrible costumes belonging to Cosmic Boy and Element Lad. I feel like it was his decision to update the appearance of Legion headquarters and make the strange changes to Computo (not the first of those, too).
It’s been a lot of fun reading through these comics. Having collected all of them after they came out, but mostly as a kid, I’ve never actually read through them in sequence. I really appreciate the sense of continuity that drove these comics, and am excited to continue reading them through the brief time when there were two Legion monthlies producing new material. I’m going to read them in order of publication date, but separate my columns based on title, so it’s quite likely that my Tales of the Legion column will come out before the baxter series one, although I might wrap it up when Keith Giffen departs, which will make it kind of short. Normally I’d list a bunch of unresolved plotlines, but seeing as Levitz carried on with the book for another four or five years, I don’t see the need.
As I read these and write this, we are not very far away from Brian Michael Bendis’s new ongoing Legion comic starting at DC; prior to that we have the two-part Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium. At this point, I’ve only read their first appearance in Superman #14, and don’t know very much about them from that. I applaud the increased diversity shown there, but quite frankly have no faith in Bendis’s ability to juggle large numbers of characters successfully, and plan stories that take a long time to pay off. I hope he’s been re-reading these same comics I just have, and thinking about what makes them so special and amazing.
If you’d like to see the archives of all of my retro review columns, click here.
If you’d like to read any of the stories I talk about here, you can follow these links for trade paperbacks that encompass some of these issues.
The Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga
Legion of Super-Heroes: The Curse
Tags: DC Comics, Legion of Super-Heroes, Retro Reviews