Comics Reviews: JLA 146, Superboy & the Legion 231, All-Star Comics 68

JLA 146 coverJustice League of America #146 – “Inner Mission” – Steve Englehart/Dick Dillin/Frank McLaughlin

This one follows immediately after last issue, with a resurrected Red Tornado being mobbed by the Justice League. But not everyone is thrilled to see old Reddy back from the dead; Superman is suspicious since last time Red Tornado came back from the dead, it was part of a plot by T.O. Morrow.Everyone else tells Superman to lighten up, but he quizzes Reddy and itJLA fights Reddy turns out Supes was right—it’s really the Construct using Tornado’s empty body. He mixes it up with the League briefly, then takes off. Some of them decide to track down Atom, Aquaman, and Ralph (who faced the Construct before), but Wonder Woman thinks the Construct might’ve had something to do with her being mind-controlled a couple issues back, so she takes a team to check that out. After they leave, Red Tornado’s hand moves … he’s alive! At least until he gets blown up again. Superman, Batman, and Green Arrow head to Atlantis to see Aquaman and Atom. They talk about how it must be a reconstituted version of the Construct they’re fighting now, but its emotions are intact so it hates them without knowing why. Aquaman kicks assWe get confirmation of that theory, as we see Construct eavesdropping electronically, trying to learn why it’s compelled to attack the JLA. It gets pissed off and tries to blow them away by commandeering an Atlantean ship, but Aquaman stops the ship. Atom traces the Construct’s location and they head after it. On Paradise Island, Wonder Woman uses the Memory Chair to try and recall the time under the Construct’s control. Hawkgirl warns her against using the chair, since Construct can infest any machine, but Diana says Paradise Island is protected by shields that block every wavelength. But as soon as she’s in the Chair, the shields start heating up under an onslaught by the Construct. In Vermont, we see a resurrected Red Tornado trying to fly … and fucking it up. Wonder Woman bolts out of the Memory Chair and says she now understands Construct’s mind and knows how to beat him. In Manhattan, Superman and Batman look for the Construct but can’t findno onstruct him. Wonder Woman shows up with the others and says she knows where Construct is … in the computer banks in the World Trade Center basement. They check it out and find a hidden tunnel in the computer room which leads them to the Construct—or the Construct’s android body, anyway. But its consciousness isn’t there. They’re wondering what to do when Red Tornado shows up and keels over. He says he’s the real Red Tornado this time, his consciousness rekindled when Construct used his body, but nobody believes him. Superman, Batman, Arrow, Black Canary, Aquaman, and Atom take off for Metropolis, telling the others to lock Reddy up. He begs them to listen and Hawkgirl believes him; so does Wonder Woman, saying she feels no trace of the Construct’s mind in Reddy.Reddy begs He tells them he can track the Construct and they head to Metropolis and the WGBS Building. Superman and the others are inside and the Construct animates a bunch of machines to run amok in the building. Construct Reddy vs Constructdominates the people at WGBS, including the Leaguers, and sends them after their friends. Reddy takes on the Construct and almost gets blasted, but the JLA form a pep squad (seriously, they all stand around yelling motivational phrases at him, Hawkgirl especially … I’m surprised she didn’t have pom-poms) and he goes back after the Construct, making  him blow his own circuitry out. Wonder Woman sets up a “continuous random wave pattern in the ether” so no sentient mind can ever coalesce from the void again. And we get a happy ending, with Reddy and Hawkgirl immediately being elected to the JLA as full members. I guess cheerleading isn’t so bad after all.

Noticeable Things:

  • There’s a debate about Hawkgirl joining the team, with some of them pointing out how stupid the rule against duplicated powers is.
  • Phantom Stranger claims to be a member, but I always thought is membership was honorary.
  • Apparently they didn’t know the Construct was behind Wonder Woman’s brainwashing a couple of issues ago; it seems like they should’ve realized it when they were on the Injustice Gang’s Satellite, but I guess nobody put it together.
  • Superman originally asks Black Canary to go with him, Ollie, and Batman, but she says she and Ollie aren’t always a set. I guess she wanted some sisterhood instead of wall-to-wall testosterone.
  • When they take off to look for the Construct, the League just leaves Red Tornado’s body lying on the hill. Green Arrow said they’d come back later and give him a proper burial, but … damn, that’s just cold! I wonder if they’d have done the same if it was a human corpse lying there? When Superman and the others head for Metropolis, he says he’s going to treat them to a meal, but they end up eating in the WGBS cafeteria. Clark Kent, last of the big spenders.
  • When Construct takes over all the people at WGBS, Supes and the other Leaguers are still in costume. Does that mean they were eating at the cafeteria in their heroic identities? I assumed they’d change to their civilian Ids for that … although the sight of Bruce Wayne and Oliver Queen eating at the WGBS cafeteria with Clark Kent might’ve been a little suspicious.

LSH 231 coverSuperboy & the Legion #231 – “A Day in the Death of a World” – Paul Levitz/James Sherman/Jack Abel

This one starts with Karate Kid and Princess Projectra heading for Earth when they get grabbed by a tractor beam and pulled into a huge ship. Tharok and Validus (of the Fatal Five) are waiting for them and make short work of the Legionnaires. Meanwhile, a bunch of other Legionnaires (Colossal Boy, Superboy, Mon-El, Ultra Boy, Saturn Girl, and Shadow Lass) are evacuating a planet called Mordan, whose sun is about to go nova and kill everyone. The three studs are building space arks, while Saturn Girl tries to warn everyone on the planet about the impending disaster. In orbit, Brainiac 5 and Element Lad analyze the sun, trying to find out why it’s sudden gone cuckoo-bananas. Sun Boy uses his powersfighting Emerald Empress to protect them, but he gets blasted by Emerald Empress. She fights the three Legionnaires using the Emerald Eye of Ekron. Element Lad encases her in Inertron, but she busts loose. On Mordan, Saturn Girl and Shadow Lass find some kids who were too scared to evacuate, but they’re attacked by Validus, Persuader, and Mano. They mix it up, but nobody can get the upper hand. Tharok broadcasts to the fighters that he’s planted a bomb in the sun and when it goes nova, the Mordanites who die will be turned into Energite and the Fatal Five will be rich … rich as astronauts. Superboy takes a shot at Tharok’s ship, but just bounces off.Superboy bounce Tharok tells them he’s captured two of their teammates and he’ll kill them unless the Legion lets the Mordanites die. They keep fighting though, and Karate Kid and Projectra escape the cell on Tharok’s ship. He LSH vs Fatal Fivesends a robot after them, but Karate Kid totals it and they start bashing their way into Tharok’s control room. On Mordan, the Fatal Five members take off and the Legionnaires go back to trying to save the people. Mon-El pounds Emerald Empress and she teleports away. On Tharok’s ship, Karate Kid and Projectra confront him, but the rest of the Fatal Five show up. Colossal Boy and Ultra Boy hollow out a meteor and use it to crash into Tharok’s ship. Karate Kid busts loose and he and the others mix it up with the Fatal Five. Suddenly, Mordan’s sun goes nova, well ahead of schedule, freaking Tharok out. He tries to salvage something from the screw up, butLSH busts in Superboy and Mon-El come crashing in, followed by Brainy and the others. They kick the shit out of the Fatal Five (a little too easily, I must say) and Brainy tries to defuse the bomb in the sun, but can only delay the detonation for a while. Tharok triggers a self-destruct and the Legion take off just before the ship blows up … I’m sure the Fatal Five escaped too. The Legion manages to finish evacuating Mordan just before the sun blows. Superboy explains the master plan to Karate Kid … Sun Boy created the illusion of the sun going nova with his powers, which made Tharok rush to his console to check things, thus identifying the controls for the bomb, which Brainy used to slow the nova reaction long enough to evacuate the planet. Makes sense to me!

Noticeable Things:

  • Apparently, the population of Mordan is one million, which seems like a pretty small planet to me.
  • Levitz seems to have a running thread in the last few issues about Saturn Girl and how she’s emotionally distant (or “cold” as her teammates put it) when it comes to empathy for people n trouble. I think it’s meant to be a comment on how hard it would be to have Saturn Girl’s telepathic powers and have to read minds all the time … she’d pretty much have to be “distant” or she’d lose her mind. I’m not sure if it ever develops into anything, or if it’s just hinted atProjectra horny here then dropped when the next writer takes over.
  • Before getting mugged by Tharok at the beginning of the issue, Projectra’s getting kind of … frisky with Karate Kid. the fact that he doesn’t immediately crash the ship proves he has more self-discipline than me, that’s for damn sure.

All Star Comics 68 coverAll-Star Comics #68 – “Divided We Stand” – Paul Levitz/Joe Staton/Bob Layton

This one starts with Power Girl, Flash, Wildcat, Hawkman, and Star Spangled Kid returning to their HQ to find Dr. Fate waiting for them. He tells them about Green Lantern’s destructive spree (which we’ve been seeing for the last few issues) and they head to the current scene of carnage, the airport. Of course, we know Lantern is being controlled by Psycho-Pirate, but I don’t think anyone in the JSA suspects that yet. We see Hourman and Dick Grayson heading for Gotham from South Africa. Back in Gotham, GL is still trashing the airport when the JSA shows up. Fate confronts GL and the others rescue victims and try to divert incoming planes. Power Girl helps Fate against GL and it almost seems like they’re getting through to him, but he freaks out again. Fate finally figures out Psycho Pirate is responsible for GL’s weird moodFate vs GL swings, and the villain shows himself. He escapes with the help of a completely enthralled Green Lantern, leaving Fate and Power Girl with a hefty shot of despair. Hours later, Dick and Hourman’s plane lands and they’re met by Bruce Wayne, police commissioner. He tells them the JSA is responsible for the destruction at the airport and he’s issued arrest warrants for them, but he wants Robin and Hourman to help capture their teammates. At JSA HQ, the team argues about why they can’t find GL anywhere and Flash gets pissed off and leaves. Power Girl tries to follow, but loses him right away, which makes Fate think Flash (and GL) might not be on Wildcat decks PsychoEarth-2 anymore, but across the dimensional barrier on Earth-1. Fate zaps the  JSA to Earth-1 and they find Psycho Pirate’s base right away. They fight GL and Flash (who Psycho also has in his power now) and get their asses kicked … except for Wildcat. He challenges Psycho Pirate to a fight and manages to avoid Psycho’s fear-face by not looking at him and just swinging blind. He decks Psycho Pirate with one punch and GL and Flash keel over from shock at being released from Psycho’s control. Everything seems cool as the JSA hangs out at the JLA’s Satellite HQ, but back on Earth-2, Bruce and his cohorts are preparing to take down their teammates. We’ll have to wait till next issue to see how that plays out.

Noticeable Things:

  • Power Girl is still yelling a lot, but now she seems to be focusing her anger better, like making her teammates stop bickering. She’s showing some leadership potential here.
  • The resolution of this one was a bit anti-climactic, with Wildcat taking Psycho Pirate down with a blind punch. But, I guess I can buy that Psycho has a glass jaw.
  • Power Girl was taken out way too easily; she’s basically as strong as Superman, but she gets knocked out running into a wall? I get that it’s hard to write credible threats for someone that strong, but getting KOed by a wall is bullshit.PG vs wall

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