Comics Reviews: JLA 148, Superboy & the Legion 233, All-Star Comics 69

JLA 148 coverJLA #148 – “Crisis in Triplicate” – Martin Pasko, Paul Levitz/Dick Dillin/Frank McLaughlin

There’s a lot going on in this issue, so hang on to your hats. We start with a recap of last ish—Abnegazar, Rath, and Ghast were summoned to the 30th Century by Mordru to serve him, but they zapped him instead so they could have all the power for themselves. The JLA and JSA were banished into Limbo, except for Green Arrow and Black Canary, who are trapped in a miniature hourglass around Mordru’s neck. Oh, and the Legion of Super-Heroes is there too. Got all that? So, the Demons Three are about to destroy the Bell, Jar, and Wheel that were used to free them, because the artifacts could be used to re-imprison them. Ultra Boy, Sun Boy, Saturn Girl, and Brainiac 5 try to stop them, but don’t get too far, and the Demons banish the artifacts. The four Legionnaires are mesmerized by the Demons and ordered to reunite Mordru’s spirit with his trapped body. (Yeah, apparently the Mordru fromLegion last issue was just his astral form; his body’s still trapped underground. I’m not sure how his astral form managed to physically grab Power Girl, but whatever.) But now the Demons disagree on what to do; Abnegazar wants to live in harmony with humans of the 30th Century, since they’ve advanced past their barbaric ancestors. Rath wants to loot the galaxy of its riches, and Ghast wants to wipe everyone out and make Earth like it was before humans existed. The three Demons clash, but their power is evenly matched, so they decide to use proxies to fight for them. Abnegazar picks the Legion, some of whom (Lightning Lad, Projectra, Shadow Lass, Chameleon Boy, and Wildfire) are still shackled nearby. He doesn’t have to force them to help, since he’s trying to save humanity. But the other two retrieve the JLA and JSA from Limbo and compel them to fight; Ghast enthralls Superman, Batman, and Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), while Rath uses Flash (Jay Garrick), Green Lantern (Alan Scott), Power Girl, Dr. Fate, and Hawkman as his champions. The Legionnaires are blasted by the other heroes’ explosive return, knocking them out of the fight for a bit. Dr. Fate Big fighttries to resist Rath, but his body is disintegrated and Rath uses Flash to hypnotize Fate and the other JSAers. Power Girl’s mind seems resistant to the compulsion (though she can’t physically resist), whereas Flash, GL, Fate, and Hawkman are compelled body and soul. Ghast uses Hal in a similar fashion, to force Superman and Batman to submit. Again, the three JLAers manage to keep their free wills, even though they can’t resist the takeover of their bodies. So the League, the Society, and the revived Legion start fighting. The brawl goes back and forth, but the Legion seem to get the worst of it. Ghast realizes he only has three fighters while his opponents have five each, so he sends Hal to get Green Arrow and Black Canary. Hal finds them, still trapped in the hourglass around Mordru’s neck, and releases them. The four Legionnaires sent toJLA vs LSH reunite Mordru’s body and soul attack the JLAers, but quickly get their asses kicked. The Leaguers finish what the Legionnaires were supposed to do, trapping Mordru’s spirit underground with his body. They’re immediately zapped away to their next “assignment” by Ghast. Back on Earth, the Legion are getting pounded by the other two teams. Superman and Power Girl compare notes and realize they (and Batman and Hal) still have their free wills, unlike the other JSAers. Rath brings Dr. Fate and Alan to a huge tunnel that goes right through the Earth. It’s shored up with some high-tech bullshit, and used by geologists to study the Earth’s innards. Alan and Fate prepare to remove the safeguards, which I guess will make magma spew out and kill shitloads of people or something. Rath says if control of Earth isn’t given to him, he’ll let the safeguards go and kill GL and PGthousands. Abnegazar revives Projectra and Wildfire, who kick the crap out of the two JSAers. Hal and Power Girl show up, but instead of fighting the Legionnaires, they use their free will to go after each other, giving Wildfire a chance to blast them. At the South pole, Superman, Batman, Green Arrow, and Black Canary are zapped in to destroy the ice caps and flood the world. Since they all still have their minds free of domination, they try to figure out a way to go against Ghast’s power without tipping him off. Dinah says they need to “throw the fight” with the Legion, so the Demons will think their proxies are evenly matched too and go back to attacking each other. They manage to get “defeated” by the Legion (while slyly helping the Legionnaires against the JSA), until Rath gets pissed off enough the attack Abnegazar.Superman helps They channel everything they have into the fight (which releases the JSA from mental domination) and end up blowing each other to hell. Dr. Fate absorbs the magical energy from the explosion and uses it to reassemble the far-flung pieces of the destroyed JLA Satellite around Ghast, the last remaining Demon. Since the Satellite holds the residue of the three artifacts used to imprison the Demons, it serves as an effective prison for Ghast. Ghast beatenSo, all’s well that ends well, and everyone goes home. (Though they use that old “let’s erase everyone’s memory so it’s like the whole thing never happened” trope, which I hate. They say it’s to keep the modern-day heroes from knowing stuff about the future, but it still pisses me off.)

Noticeable Things:

  • Power Girl speculates that her mind not being completely dominated by Rath is due to her being younger than the other JSAers. Superman agrees, since he and the other JLA members are a fair bit younger than the JSA guys too.
  • The tunnel that goes through the Earth doesn’t seem too well-guarded; there’s just a sign that says “Authorized Personnel Only”.

LSH 233 coverSuperboy & the Legion #233 – “The Infinite Man Who Conquered Time The Legion” – Paul Levitz/James Sherman/Bob Wiacek

This one starts in the middle of the action, as Superboy, Star Boy, Lightning Lad, and Brainiac 5 are jumped by some sexy hijackers. The Legionnaires are bringing an experimental hyper-time drive to their HQ, but the Sklarians want the drive for themselves. They say Earth has been hoarding too many resources for herself and they’re trying to even things up a bit. A noble enough reason, I suppose, but they’re still hijackers and the Legion kick their asses pretty handily. They get the hyper-drive back to HQ, where Rond Vidar (inventor of the Legion’s Time Cube) is waiting to set it up. Dream Girl, Colossal Boy, andSuperboy saves hijackers Wildfire are there too. They take the hyper-drive into the lab and Rond starts hooking everything up. He tells Superboy this is the most powerful time machine ever built, and he expects it to prove his theory that time is circular. They’re interrupted by Phantom Girl bringing in a guy named Jaxon Rugarth, from the time Institute at Met. U. He’s going to pilot the time machine far into the future, and—if Rond’s theory is correct—looping back around to the present. Rugarth volunteered for the test, even though it could be dangerous. He takes off in the time machine, but it reappears right away, which Brainiac 5 and Rond Vidar say is wrong, according to their calculations. The time machine busts open and a crazy-looking bastard emerges—the Infinite Man. Seems the “circular time” theory was right, Infinite Manbut the circle was infinite, so Rugarth got trapped in it and saw the universe die and be reborn a zillion times, which kinda drove him nuts. He blames Rond for his torment and wants to kill him. Of course, the Legionnaires can’t let that happen, so they fight him. But Infinite Man has power over the time-stream and summons dinosaurs and WWII tanks to fight for him. He immobilizes Star Boy and sends Superboy through time (or maybe into another dimension? I’m not sure), but Superboy comes right back. That freaks Infinite Man out a bit, so he takes off, promising to come back for Rond. Wildfire realizes Infinite Man has time on his side—literally; he could spend millennia planning, then return a minute after he left. So Wildfire sends Phantom Girl, Dream Girl, and Brainy on missions to see if they canColossal Boy decks Infinite Man find a way to beat Infinite Man. The others stick around to protect Rond. Dream Girl’s mission takes her home to Naltor, but the High Seer can’t help. Brainy also goes home to Colu, but the Coluans say they’ve been studying time for centuries and can’t figure it out. Brainy says they might need less study and more action. At HQ, infinite Man shows up again and they start fighting him. Phantom Girl is on Gendyx, where she tries to recruit the Timeless Ones. But they think she’s bullshitting about Infinite Man, so they refuse to help. Back on Earth, the Legionnaires keep fighting, but are getting their asses kicked. Brainy’s force-field works momentarily and he mentions an overload right before he gets knocked out. Superboy and Wildfire charge the remains of the time machine and Rond sets it to overload, pulling infinite Man back into the time-stream, but this time leaving him there. Rond says maybe they can find a cure for Rugarth, but Brainy worries about Infinite Man’s endless time in the void, planning and hating … what happens if he gets out again?

“The Final Illusion” – Paul Levitz/Mike Nasser/Bob Layton

This is an “Untold Tale” of the Legion, about Projecta losing her shitProjectra's dream when Karate Kid went back to the 20th Century. She’s apparently turned her illusion powers inward, conjuring a dream world in her mind where she and Karate Kid are together. The illusion proved more enticing than reality, so she’s retreated into it, rendering her basically catatonic. Chameleon Boy, Saturn Girl, and Dream Girl try to help, but Saturn Girl’s attempt to make the dream world less attractive just backfires. Cham tells Saturn Girl to nudge the dream in a way that Projectra will like, then take back enough to make Jeckie want to wake up. It works, and Jeckie’s fine.

Noticeable Things:

  • I know later artists sometimes use porn scenes as comic book panels; I didn’t think they were doing it back in the 70s, but some of those shots of Projectra make me wonder … especially the first one.

    porno shot
    Jeckie does Daxam.
  • The Sklarians return in future issues.

All-Star Comics 69 coverAll-Star Comics #69 – “United We Fall” – Paul Levitz/Joe Staton/Bob Layton

We get a bit of continuity here, as the JSA (Flash, Green Lantern, Power Girl, Dr. Fate, Star-Spangled Kid, Hawkman, and Wildcat) return from their adventure with the Justice League and the Legion in JLA #148. They arrive at their HQ to find a surprise visitor waiting for them … police commissioner Bruce Wayne. He’s got an arrest warrant for the JSA, for all the destruction their recent fights have caused. I gotta say, if that was actionable, super-heroes would’ve all been in jail or sued out of existence years ago. The JSA aren’t really in the mood for Bruce’s crap, but he’s brought a bunch of cops with fancy guns as back-up. Power Girl gets mad (of course) and confronts Bruce, and one of thePower Girl shot cops takes a shot at her. I’m not sure what kind of guns they have, but she’s actually wounded pretty badly, which pisses off the JSA even more. They pound all the cops and take off, so they can get Power Girl to a hospital. Right after they leave, Robin and Hourman come in and Bruce tells them the JSA basically resisted arrest and wailed on a bunch of cops. Strangely, he doesn’t mention Power Girl getting shot. He says they need more back-up to bring in the JSA, so he calls in Starman, Dr. Mid-Nite, and Wonder Woman. The JSA leave Power Girl at a secluded hospital and head back to confront Bruce. They’re watched by someone in the shadows, someone who has a very … Bat-like profile. But Bruce is back at Wayne Manor, so who could this be? (Actually, if you saw the cover, you already know who big brawlit is; way to spoil your big reveal, DC.) The JSA goes to the Batcave to confront Bruce, but are surprised to find the other five JSA members waiting. They all start fighting and Bruce’s team actually seems to be getting the upper hand. At the hospital, we see the same shadowy figure outside Power Girl’s room, plus another mysterious person visiting her. Back at Wayne Manor, the fight has moved up into the barn. The two teams are pretty evenly matched, so it looks like a stalemate until Superman busts through the wall with Power Girl in his arms. Supes says Bruce hasn’t turned into a bad guy, he’s just misguided and Power Girl mentions Psycho Pirate screwing with Green Lantern’s head. They all realize (finally!) that Psycho Pirate must’ve fucked Bruce’s mind up too. Dr. Fate zaps him back to normal and Bruce feels like an asshole for how he’s been acting lately. He asks Power Girl to forgive him, but she says he should forgive her, since she knew about Psycho Pirate and never caught on that he might’ve been affected. So, everything’s back to normal and everyone’s happy, including the mysterious eavesdropper, of whom we now get a full view.Huntress Yup, it’s Huntress, Bruce’s daughter. We’ll find out more about her next issue.

Noticeable Things:

  • The cops say they’re using some kind of stun blasters, but the beam actually breaks Power Girl’s skin, which I thought was basically impossible. The wound doesn’t look all that deep, but the way everyone’s acting, it must’ve been pretty serious. Maybe they couldn’t show a big gory wound back then.

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