The Legion navigates a convoluted ruse

Yes, my friends, it’s time to once again climb aboard our fictional time machine and travel to the 30th-Century for one final adventure from DC Comics’ Silver Age with the Legion of Super-Heroes in…

“The Legion’s Space Odyssey!”
Adventure Comics #380, May, 1969
Writer and layouts: Jim Shooter, Penciller: Win Mortimer, Inker: Jack Abel, Cover: Curt Swan and Mike Esposito

3 Stars

Plot

At the Legion’s headquarters in Metropolis, Superboy is performing a routine inspection of communications equipment when he is contacted by Dream Girl, who informs him of a mysterious pending catastrophe. The Boy of Steel immediately proceeds to gather up the other Legionnaires present at the compound – Bouncing Boy, Cosmic Boy, Duo Damsel, Invisible Kid, Light Lass, Sun Boy, and Ultra Boy – when they are all suddenly transported to a distant planet. As the team contemplates how they’re going to get back to Earth, a powerful, dinosaur-like creature attacks and apparently kills Superboy (see cover).

After the team builds a monument to their fallen comrade, they create a temporary shelter on the apparently hostile planet and then proceed to build a makeshift spaceship using their unique powers. The team begins their slow “odyssey” back to earth, but encounters several challenges along the way, which they overcome.

As the returning wayfarers approach Earth, Ultra Boy, using his “penetra vision,” observes a deadly ray apparently annihilating everyone in the Legion clubhouse. But after the dust settles, Ultra Boy sees Superboy and Mon-El standing unharmed amidst the strewn parts of faux decoy Legionnaire robotic-doubles. The Legionnaires land their ship and learn from Superboy that he sent them to the distant planet to protect them from the prophesied attack, and the Legion of Super-Pets assisted in delaying their return by staging the multiple challenges.

The source of the deadly attack upon the Legion’s headquarters came from a ship that improbably plies the Sun’s molten surface. Inside the vessel, two criminals, Skyzznx and Alrrk, celebrate their assumed victory over the Legion, but the heroes teleport themselves inside the craft and confront the villains. With no way out, the dastardly duo destroy themselves.

Commentary

Shooter’s plot line in this tale is rather ridiculous. Why didn’t Superboy just warn his teammates of the impending attack you ask? He justifies the complicated ruse by saying he knew his teammates wouldn’t have believed him. Ach.

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This was our last review of DC Comic’s Silver Age Legion tales. We began our Legion “odyssey” way back on April 2018 with our review of “One of Us is a Traitor!” (Adventure Comics #346, July, 1966), Jim Shooter’s writing debut, and continued with the next thirty-four issues of Adventure Comics.

Following this issue, DC pulled the Legion from Adventure Comics and consigned the franchise to the secondary story in Action Comics. Jim Shooter’s last Legion tale appeared in Action Comics #384, January 1970.

I hope you had as much fun looking back at these old Silver Age Legion tales as I did! I’ll be posting an index of all 35 reviews shortly. In the meantime, DC is in the process of relaunching the Legion franchise and I’ll be posting about that very soon.

Postscript: Human beings have been attracted to tales of good heroes overcoming evil foes and dispensing justice for millennia after millennia. I’ll be writing a post about mankind’s fascination with heroes, super and otherwise, down the road.

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24 thoughts on “The Legion navigates a convoluted ruse

    1. LOL! These old comics had relatively simple plots compared to today’s which have multiple plot lines going at the same time and tons of intense navel gazing. It takes a PhD. in theoretical physics like Sheldon has to make heads or tails of today’s story lines.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: she was excited to hear that you regularly review comics.

      Thanks! Brother Jimmy put me up to it! 🙂 After finishing this looooong 35-post series, I’m looking forward to writing a post about how society/culture is absolutely fascinated with the themes of hero vs. villain and good vs. evil in its literature and films.

      RE: DC vs. Marvel

      DC was noted for portraying classical goody two shoes heroes while Marvel tended more towards ambivalent anti-heroes. The lines are definitely not as distinct as they used to be.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll eventually get around to reading these prequels. So much to read! They’re parading the Legion in those other titles to try to drum up readers. I hope DC learns from the past and doesn’t portray the Legion in a glum and gloomy manner like they did previously. They drove readers away.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It seems there’s an infatuation of making things dark these days. I hope they do learn! Concerning the person last week, I don’t know what happened to him after he took off. I hope he’s ok, he’s not really stable right now and thinks everyone is an enemy.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I worked with a guy at Kodak who had mental health issues. Major paranoia. He believed everyone in the department was against him. I went to my boss a couple of times and he said there was nothing management could do unless he directly threatened someone. The guy had joint custody of his two children, but he was in no shape to take care of himself let alone dependent children. The look on his face was always controlled rage.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Man there’s so many scary guys out there. I know people talk about many shootings but I’m surprised there’s not more of them (I’m not saying I want more of them, on the contrary)…

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I don’t have a lot of experience with people with major mental illnesses, but that situation at Kodak with that guy was very unsettling. The women in the department were frightened on a daily basis.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Scary. I feel it’s always more scarier at work than church, the relations to church sometimes help makes things less problematic. But in my case the guy just read everyone with sinister motives in the most darkest possible light.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. We’re all capable of being a little paranoid at times, but when a person has paranoia as a mental illness and is consumed by it, it’s such an incredibly strange thing to witness. There’s absolutely no “talking them down.”

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Yeah, this issue was a lackluster finale to the Legion’s 11-year-run in Adventure Comics. Shooter wrote some excellent stories in his tenure that are still being discussed today, but also resorted to hamfisted plotlines that were typical of the Silver Age, like this story.

      Liked by 1 person

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