Comics Reviews: JLA 140, Superboy & the Legion 225, All-Star Comics 65

JLA 140 coverJustice League of America #140 – “No Man Escapes the Manhunter” – (Steve Englehart/Dick Dillin/Frank McLaughlin)

This issue starts the whole Manhunters story, which eventually leads to Millennium and everyone’s brother, wife, or co-worker being a robot. We start with a bang: a Manhunter attacks Green Lantern, Green Arrow, and Black Canary at the Wayne Foundation, where GL has asked for a meeting of the JLA. Arrow and Canary are slapped down pretty fast and GL surrenders. Batman then takes on the Manhunter and gets tossed off the roof. The Manhunter teleports away (with GL, GA, and Canary) just as Superman and Wonder Woman show up. Supes manages to grab a piece of Manhunter’s tech as he’s fading out and keeps it vibrating at the same frequency until Flash shows up to match the vibrations and track the Manhunter … got all that? Anyway, Flash figures out the Manhunter went to the Himalayas, so they all head that way. At the Manhunter base, GL, GA, and Black Canary meet the leader, Grandmaster, and learn that the guy who captured them is just some schmoe named Mark Shaw. They’re imprisoned and GL says he deserves whatever happens and was planning on resigning from the JLA. Supes, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Flash show up and tangle with the Grandmaster. He leads them inside to hear why GL was targeted. Apparently, GL destroyed a planet, though he says it was accidental

GL destroys planet
Hal Jordan destroying a planet? Preposterous!

. Naturally, the Leaguers want to investigate, so they head for the Procyon system, leaving GL, GA, and Canary as hostages. On Pinola (a planet in the Procyon system) they talk to the governor and save a Guardian of the Universe from an angry mob. After checking out the nearby moon and fighting an illusory magnosaur,magnosaur Batman realizes the planet was never destroyed in the first place. Back at Manhunter HQ, another Guardian brings GL’s power battery and they bust out of the prison. The governor of Pinola is revealed to be a Manhunter and the whole thing was a plot to discredit the Guardians so the Manhunters could take over.Manhunter revealed Apparently, there’s quite the history between Guardians and Manhunters, but we don’t get to hear it until next issue.


Noticeable Things:

  • The Manhunter is startled that Batman heard him walking in the bushes, but Bats was standing on the roof outside the penthouse while a big brawl was going on inside; why the hell didn’t he hear that?Batman confronts Manhunter
  • The Manhunter says there can be no witnesses (the Manhunters have operated in secret until now), so he tries to kill Batman by throwing him off the building. So why does he take Ollie and Dinah with him? Why not just kill them too?
  • When they’re in the Himalayas, Flash asks Wonder Woman if she isn’t cold in her barely there outfit and she basically tells him she was raised to be tough; he feels like an idiot, naturally. But later, they’re all wandering around on the small moon in the Procyon system … wouldn’t it be a hell of a lot colder there?Flash and WW
  • There’s no indication yet about the Manhunters being robots. Mark Shaw is obviously human, and they mention Paul Kirk as being a “failure” before he died. No mention of Dan Richards, which is strange considering the part he eventually plays in Millennium.

Superboy and the legion 225 coverSuperboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #225 – “And Who Shall Lead Them” – (Paul Levitz/James T. Sherman/Bob Wiacek)

This issue is basically filler before we get back to the Pulsar Stargrave storyline. I don’t know if these stories were inventory, or done just to fill this slot. I’ll look at them one by one. The first one is about Superboy and Wildfire fighting over who gets to be the leader of the Legion. Wildfire is elected because Superboy has been spending all his time in the past Superboy saves Dream Girllately. The team fights the Resource Raiders and after some fake-outs about who’s who (we’re supposed to think Superboy has taken Wildfire’s place, but he really hasn’t), the Legionnaires win. Turns out the computer predicted the new leader would get blasted, so Superboy tried to take over, but Wildfire convinced him he’d have a better chance of surviving—which worked out for the best, since the Resource Raiders’ beam contained Kryptonite.

Noticeable Things:

  • This is another one of those Legion stories where someone tries to connive their way into the leadership to save the team. Dream Girl did that way back when she first debuted, and Saturn Girl did something similar trying to save Lightning Lad. Why don’t they just tell their teammates what’s going on?
  • I know Superboy is doing everything he can to become leader because he wants to spare his teammate from harm, but he comes off as a complete prick. I guess the Super Dickery started at an early age. (Wildfire’s kind of a dick too, but he’s always like that.)Superboy is a dick
  • Jim Sherman’s art is great … especially on Dream Girl and Shadow Lass.Dreamy and Shadow Lass

“A Matter of Priorities” – (Paul Levitz/Mike Nasser/Bob Wiacek)

killer dfeatedThis one is about a handful of Legionnaires (Projectra, Sun Boy, and Timber Wolf) going undercover to escort Ambassador Relnic to a secret diplomatic conference with the Dominators. Unfortunately, the space cruiser they’re travelling on has an unexpected passenger: Tseln of Thaun, a serial killer the Legion’s been trying to catch for a while. When Tseln kills a passenger, Timber Wolf wants to go after him, but Relnic reminds him they have to stay undercover or risk blowing the peace treaty with the Dominators. Timber Wolf gets another idea and they lure Tseln out with a combination of Projectra’s illusions, Sun Boy’s powers, and Timber Wolf dressed as a demon.

All-Star 65 coverAll-Star Comics #65 – “The Master Plan of Vandal Savage” – (Paul Levitz/Wally Wood)

This one’s a bit convoluted, so hang on to your hats. We start with Superman (that’s the Earth-2 Superman, of course) and his cousin Power Girl trapped in a weird energy sphere from last issue. They bust out and find themselves in a futuristic city. They’re lured into another trap by a hologram. Meanwhile back in Camelot (there’s a phrase you don’t hear every day), a no longer bewitched King Arthur tells Flash that Vandal Savage boasted about taking Supes and PG 20,000 years away. So Flash starts searching through time. Superman and Power Girl escape the trap, but PG is captured by Savage while Superman finds himself inexplicably weakened. Superman loses his strengthApparently, whatever planet they’re on has twin green (as in Kryptonite) suns. I’m not sure how that would work, but that seems to be the case. Flash realizes Savage’s “20,000 years” boast could refer to light years, not actual years, so he stops searching through time. Back in Gotham, in the present, Green Lantern is spewing angst-ridden exposition all over the place when some weirdo approaches him; my guess from the dialogue is that it’s Psycho-Pirate.Psycho Pirate Back on the futuristic world, Power Girl is restrained and Savage goes to beat the shit out of a weakened Superman. Savage wants to restore his immortality by stealing Superman’s life force … or something. Merlin, now free from Savage’s influence, springs Hawkman from prison. Merlin is disintegrated, but Hawkman fights his way into Savage’s complex where he rescues Star-Spangled Kid.

Hawkman rescues SSK
Shirtless Hawkman is unstoppable

Sylvester uses his cosmic thingamajig to whip up some new wings for Hawkman and they go to help Supes. Sylvester gives Supes an outfit to help block the Kryptonite radiation, but Savage keeps pounding him. SSK realizes Savage is getting his power from Power Girl and frees her. Supes turns the tables and starts wailing on Savage, then brings the whole place down, Samson style.Superman as Samson Savage runs away and is pulled through a space warp (much to his surprise) by a couple of mysterious figures. Back in the present, Wildcat comes to JSA HQ to relieve Hourman, but Hourman blasts him. Hourman is under the control of Icicle, which sets up next issue’s fight with the Injustice Society.

Noticeable Things:

–This issue seemed a bit strange, plotwise. According to the credits, Wally Wood did the plotting, so maybe that explains it.

–Power Girl is the second strongest member of the team, but spends most of the issue tied down on a table and has to be rescued by Sylvester; yup, that sounds like a Wally Wood plot, all right.SSK rescues PG

2 thoughts on “Comics Reviews: JLA 140, Superboy & the Legion 225, All-Star Comics 65”

    1. Welcome aboard, Tony. As for your Linear Men theory, it’s a pretty good guess. As far as I know, this was never followed up on; Vandal Savage’s next appearance is in Action #515 (which I’ll be reviewing when I get to the 1981 comics), so maybe there’s an explanation there. But Bronze Age DC weren’t exactly sticklers for continuity, so I won’t hold my breath!

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