Yes, my blogger friends, it’s time to once again climb aboard our fictional time machine and travel to the 30th-Century for another adventure from DC Comics’ Silver Age with the Legion of Super-Heroes in…
“Heroes for Hire!”
Adventure Comics #377, February, 1969
Writer and layouts: Jim Shooter, Penciller: Win Mortimer, Cover: Neal Adams
The story begins with the Science Police chasing a fugitive criminal to the planet, Modo. Legend has it that the entire planet is controlled by a powerful, evil entity, Modulus, and the incredulous officers quickly become believers when they are subdued.
Back in Metropolis, a contingent of Legionnaires – Brainiac 5, Duo Damsel, Karate Kid, Princess Projectra, and Superboy – breaks up an attempted robbery of experimental mind gas from a research center. One of the criminals is captured and divulges that numerous criminal gangs utilize Modo as a base of operations because of Modulus’ protection.
Emboldened by their evil lord’s patronage, the criminal gangs of Modo wreak havoc throughout the galaxy with impunity. Meanwhile, in a shocking twist, the Legion begins to uncharacteristically extort money for their services. In a short period of time, the Legion amasses a fortune made up of various planetary currencies, storing it aboard one of its space cruisers. The teen heroes begin spending the money like drunken sailors at port, catching the attention of one of the Modo gangs.
Shortly afterwards, the gang attacks the Legion cruiser and tows it to Modo. However, Chemical King uses his powers to surreptitiously release the living crystalline currency from the planet Rojun that’s in stow. The metal-eating creatures, in turn, consume the protective casing of several other strange and volatile currencies. A chain reaction ensues, resulting in a paralysis ray that overpowers every criminal on the planet, including overlord, Modulus.
As the Science Police round up the dazed criminals, the Legionnaires celebrate the success of Brainiac 5’s improbable booby trap and resolve to return all of the money they had collected as part of the ruse.
Ach. What started out as a decent plot-line fell apart with the ham-fisted ending. Only three more Silver Age LSH issues left to review! Will writer, Jim Shooter, give us at least one more five-star tale?
Noteworthy: The full-page illustration on page 5 (see below) showing the effects of experimental mind gas on Brainiac 5 is a good example of late-60’s psychedelia art.