It’s time once again to take a break from theological discussions and look back to the future 30th Century via another classic Legion of Super-Heroes tale from D.C. Comics’ Siver Age. Writer, Jim Shooter, adds an interesting twist at the conclusion of…
Adventure Comics #361, October, 1967
Writer and layouts: Jim Shooter, Penciller: Jim Mooney
The United Planets have been at war with a strange confederation of distant worlds known as the Dominion for two decades until the aliens suddenly sue for peace. But U.P. citizens on the political right are bitterly opposed to peace negotiations and threaten violence. President Boltax summons the Legion to escort and protect the Dominion’s negotiators.
At the same time, on the other side of Metropolis, a new recruit is indoctrinated into a group of assassins known as the “Unkillables,” who have sworn to eliminate the Legion and destroy the Dominator envoys.
Ten Legionnaires meet the Dominators at the neutral planet of Politor. Brainiac 5 opens Boltax’s secret orders, which instruct the Legion to escort the envoys to Earth through the Tenth Dimension to avoid an ambush. The route is 500 miles overland to a portal that will deliver the group to its destination.
The Unkillables are privy to the secret plan and journey to the Tenth Dimension themselves and create a rock avalanche, which threatens to destroy the Legion-Dominion convoy, but is successfully neutralized by the Legionnaires.
With their initial attempt foiled, the Unkillables launch a night attack on the convoy’s base, but are repulsed by the Legion.
The Unkillables anticipate victory as their “Ultimate Weapon” is finally completed. As the convoy approaches the portal to Earth, the villains launch their final attack with their Master firing a ray from the Ultimate Weapon upon the teen heroes. Initially, the weapon seems to have no effect, but as the Legionnaires respond to the attack, they discover their powers have been switched. Unfamiliar with each other’s superpowers, the heroes are thrown into disarray and the Master uses the opportunity to throw a bomb towards the Dominators. Brainiac 5 has Superboy’s super-powers, and with the Boy of Steel’s super-intelligence, he uses super-breath to blow the bomb back at the Master Unkillable, injuring him. The Master is revealed to be the deposed leader of the Dominators, who used a device to brainwash descendants of famous assassins, including Lee Harvey Oswald, Brutus and Cassius, and John Wilkes Booth to fill the ranks of his death squad. The Dominators then reveal they are actually decoy illusions and that the real ambassadors had already arrived safely at Earth.
This was a decent, one-issue tale. Once again, we see Shooter using the political unrest of the late 1960s as inspiration. The reader assumes throughout the story that the Unkillables are linked to the right-wing protesters cited initially, so the ending is a surprise. The tie-in to infamous historical assassins is a nice story twist. The illustrations are disappointing. Guest penciller, Jim Mooney, is no match for the artistry of Curt Swan.