No, I haven’t gone entirely “looney tunes.” With this post, I’m taking a short respite from theology, but I’ll be putting my “serious cap” back on very shortly.
When I was a little guy, my Dad used to bring home comic books for me every so often. “Sad Sack” and “Hot Stuff” were my favorites. As I got a little older, I began buying comics on my own at the local drug stores. They were only 12 cents back in the day (compared to $4.99 today!) so a loose quarter from my parents’ bedroom dresser* could buy me two. Oh joy! One title that I became a particularly big fan of was Adventure Comics featuring the Legion of Super-Heroes, a team of teenagers living in the 30th-century who hailed from different planets and had various super powers. Superboy and sometimes Supergirl traveled to the future to join the Legion on their planet-saving missions.
My first issue of Adventure was #350, “The Outcast Super-Heroes!,” published in November, 1966 (see photo below) and I eagerly bought each of the following issues up to and including #372, “School for Super-Villains!,” published in September, 1968. It was a coincidence that I just happened to pick up the Legion at the beginning of what many consider was its finest run, with the writing of Jim Shooter and the artwork of Curt Swan. The Legion and I drifted apart after that but every once in awhile I would check in just to see the latest team permutation. The franchise went dormant and was revived several times, but DC Comics finally pulled the plug on the Legion in August 2013 because of low readership. The main drawback of the Legion is its dizzying number of characters, names, powers, planets of origin, etc. However, the team continues to pop up in other titles every now and then.
Fellow blogger, Slim Jim, often posts about comics, which fueled my nostalgia and curiosity for the Legion, and whaddayaknow, the team had a new book recently published, sharing paper and ink with a rather improbable ally.
“The Imposter Superboy”
Featuring the Legion of Super-Heroes and…(gulp)…Bugs Bunny???
Written by Sam Humphries and pencilled by Tom Grummett
DC Comics, August 2017
The Legion’s resident genius, Brainiac 5, desperately struggles to save the sick and dying Supergirl. His robotic assistant, Computo 2, determines the only cure is Illudium Phosdex, an element that went extinct back in the 24.5th century. Brainiac orders Computo 2 to travel back in time to the 21st century and enlist the help of Superboy in acquiring the element, but rather than summoning the Boy of Steel, the robot inexplicably transports Bugs Bunny, yes, THAT Bugs Bunny, back to the future. The Legion is flabbergasted by Bugs’ appearance as is the rascally rabbit. Computo 2 blames the goof up on a mysterious “malfunction.” Brainiac attempts to convince Bugs to submit to a medical examination in the hope that he can provide the needed element, but the strong-willed and feisty hare refuses to cooperate and demonstrates that he has a few super powers of his own thanks to his special batch of super carrots. The tussle is interrupted with a BOOM! as one of the Legion’s most feared enemies, the gigantic Validus, crashes through the walls of the team’s compound. One by one, the Legion’s members succumb to the powerful and merciless blows of their legendary foe. All hope seems lost as Validus looms menacingly over the comatose Supergirl. But just in the nick of time, Bugs appears, clad in a Superboy-style outfit and with a half-eaten super carrot clasped in his hand…er, foot…er, paw. Super-Bugs predictably makes short work of the impressive villain. As the dust settles, Computo 2 admits it orchestrated the entire fiasco because it was jealous of Brainiac’s love for Supergirl and wished to eliminate its Kryptonian rival. Bugs’s super carrots prove to be an abundant source of the needed element. Supergirl is cured and Bugs is delivered back to the 21st century, a new hero in Legion lore.
As improbably looney as this crossover story was, it had its fun moments and that was the point. There are many, many comical allusions to Legion history, which fans will enjoy. For instance, the cover is a spoof of Adventure Comics #247 (April 1958), the very first appearance of the Legion. Bugs is his delightfully sarcastic and rascally self that I remember from the 1960s. Bugs Bunny made his animated film debut in 1940 and his first comic book followed the same year.
The artwork from penciller, Tom Grummett, is actually pretty good and a big improvement over the disappointingly amateurish penciling in most of the Legion’s incarnations. But, of course, I was spoiled by the classic artwork of Curt Swan. A shorter version of the story, done in a faux Shooter/Swan style, is tacked on at the end of the book.
Coming up in a couple of weeks, the Legionnaires drop in on the Dynamic Duo in the year 1966. Ah, what a great year that was!
Thanks, Jim, for the fun!!!
Final thoughts from a Christian believer: People are strongly attracted to fictional (and non-fictional) stories in which “good” overcomes “evil,” and where “justice is served,” but they fail to acknowledge their own evil thoughts and actions, e.g., like *stealing money to support a comics habit. Jesus Christ is the ultimate victory over sin and evil. Won’t you repent of your sins and trust in Him as your Savior by faith alone?