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
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.
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.
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.