The Legion vs. History’s Deadliest Assassins

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…

The Unkillables!
Adventure Comics #361, October, 1967
Writer and layouts: Jim Shooter, Penciller: Jim Mooney

Plot

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.

Comments

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.

26 thoughts on “The Legion vs. History’s Deadliest Assassins

  1. Tom, have you ever watched the Big Bang Theory? I hate to admit it, but I am a big fan. Anyway, you and bro Jim remind me of those guys when you start talking about comic books. In a good way LOL

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks, Wally! While I’m not a regular viewer of the Big Bang Theory, I have caught several episodes and it is a pretty funny show. Sheldon is a great character. I think the series’ creators had a great idea by making Sheldon a theoretical physicist AND a big fan of DC Comics’ super heroes. That’s seems pretty quirky initially. But not so fast! The plots of today’s comics (unlike the plots of the old ones I’m reviewing) are so convoluted and complicated that you almost need a PhD to understand them.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Well, it makes sense to me. I mean I consider you and bro Jim to be rather intellectual, and you both like comics. There may be a linkage there, I wonder. The show? I love it honestly. It’s got some problematic themes at times, but the character development is excellent, and it’s been fun to watch them all change, and often improve, over time.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thanks for the compliment, Wally! I’ve always enjoyed reading, but as we know book-smarts doesn’t necessarily translate into real wisdom. Brother Jim’s reviews of comics inspired me to reach back and review my favorite comics series from fifty years ago. It’s funny how comics have changed over that span. Back then they were aimed primarily at junior high kids/young teens. As much as I enjoyed my DC comics, I quit them as I entered into eighth grade because I knew my peers viewed reading them as “uncool.” Over the years the industry changed and comics gradually became geared towards older teens and young adults (only adults with jobs could afford the $4.00 per issue price tag with the rising cost of paper. I used to buy two comics for a quarter!). So for my sons, reading comics with their intricate plots during their high school years was completely acceptable. Also, today’s comic artwork is so advanced compared to the illustrations when I was a kid. Being an ex-amatuer artist, I’m really amazed at how comic art has progressed.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi brother I watch the Big Bang Theory But I don’t like it when the talk bad about Jesus. I grew up with DC and Marvel but I don’t like when they both make god’s out of their characters or when the comics are demonic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not a regular watcher of the BBT so you would know more than me. I was a fan of DC Comics way before they got into all that new gods business, which was unfortunate. Yup, there’s a lot in secular entertainment that makes reference to the occult, either directly or indirectly. We must be discerning and not fill our minds with trash, but neither should we withdraw from society like the Amish. In my case, the Lord used such movies as “The Exorcist” and “The Omen” to draw me to Him, although I’m not a fan of horror flicks now.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes I agree like when in I believe one of the current Superman movies they make him in a savior and I don’t like horror movies either I mean just look at the people who watch the movie Slender Man or Harry Potter both of which are demonic.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. When they show a horror film with a demon possessed person and a Catholic priest exorcist, I always tell people that the most dangerous character is the Catholic priest because, although he appears benign, he teaches a false gospel that’s sent billions to hell. Yes, the Harry Potter books and films have made occultism appear okay. I don’t get too worked up about these things though because it’s all just unsaved people thrashing about searching for some type of spirituality. They’re just being who they are.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I don’t mean to completely disregard the great popularity of entertainment that references the occult like Harry Potter. I’d much rather that fans of that stuff were reading the Bible. But Christians can also make wariness of these things the focus of their life and they develop a legalistic “bunker mentality.” I started out as a Christian in a hardcore fundamentalist church and everyone spent their time stressing about the unbelieving culture. As I said, we shouldn’t be surprised that the unsaved behave like unsaved people. I think part of the problem was for centuries American believers defined their nation and culture as Christian, and when that proved not to be the case, they saw it as the roof caving in and the sky falling. Here’s another one: Star Wars. Although it’s more subtle than Harry Potter, it does rely heavily on a pseudo-spirituality utilizing the good guy rebels who are aided by the nebulous “force” versus the evil empire. Not demonic but supports the “good people are redeemed” mentality.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. There’s going to be some disagreement between believers on this topic of entertainment, which is understandable. I attended a church for about a year and overheard the young pastor and his deacon buddy discussing at length “The Wolf of Wall Street.” That pastor and deacon were so steeped in the world that they could publicly discuss seeing that movie with no shame or embarrassment.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this review of this issue! Wow it does show the times with the 60s turbulence. What a time that decade was! I’m surprised that the villains in the comics referred to actual assassins in real life!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the good comments! Yup, it’s interesting to see Shooter making connections to the turbulent times he was writing in. Having the “Unkillables” be descendants of historical assassins was an interesting twist. I was trying to think of other famous assassins pre-1967 besides the three mentioned but drew a blank. A quick google search brought to mind several others like Polish American Leon Czolgosz who murdered President McKinley.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Glad you were able to eventually get to it. Did you read Wally’s comments below the post? He paid you a compliment.
      Speaking of squeezed for time, I was able to work from home all this week to help take care of my wife, but with the additional domestic duties, I couldn’t get to WordPress as much as I normally do.

      Liked by 3 people

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