Comics Reviews: JLA 155, Superboy & the Legion 240

JLA 155 coverJustice League of America #155 – “Under the Moons of Earth” – Gerry Conway/Dick Dillin/Frank McLaughlin

This one starts out with Ray (Atom) Palmer and his fiancée Jean Loring on a moonlight walk. Ray’s asking if Jean has any secrets (not yet!) because he still hasn’t told her he’s the Atom. Before he can figure out what to do, the moonlight walk gets a lot brighter, as a second moon appears in the sky. We jump to Central City where Flash is putting Captain Cold away. When the second moon appears, it causes a huge earthquake in Central City. In the Atlantic Ocean, Aquaman is plagued by new undersea volcanoes popping up everywhere and disrupting the ocean environment. On the JLA Satellite, Red Tornado is on monitor duty and fielding emergency calls from Flash, Aquaman, and Elongated Man (who’s in Italy with his wife Sue). Superman,disasters Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern show up to help and Reddy tells them the extra moon is causing havoc all over Earth: tidal waves, earthquakes, blizzards, hurricanes, volcanoes, fires. Practically every government on Earth is begging for help, the JLA members already on planet have their hands full, and this could mean the end of humanity as a whole. Superman and Green Lantern head for the new moon to check it out while Red Tornado and Wonder Woman beam down to Earth. We see Batman in New Delhi (having tracked Ra’s Al Ghul there) when the city starts falling apart. Naturally Batman starts helping people and Red Tornado show up to et him know about the new moon in orbit. Reddy says there are certain spots on Earth that are more susceptible to the new moon’s influence, and one of them is New Delhi. We see a JLA helpingcouple of alien weirdos in cloaks hiding from Reddy and Batman, then breaking into a nuclear facility. As Reddy and Bats fly by, Batman notices the breached fence at the facility and goes to check it out. He pounds one alien (who immediately self-immolates), but the other grabs some radioactive control rods and beams away. Reddy finds the vulnerable spot near the ocean and prepares to deal with the upheaval of the Earth’s crust that’s currently going on. We get vignettes of other JLAers coping with stuff across the globe. On the rogue moon, Superman and Green Lantern head down to check it out. GL scans it with his ring and finds some strange shit. To start with, the “moon” has an atmosphere and a population—who aren’t too friendly. Supes and GL pound their warships and are approached by a peace envoy named Fornag, who surrenders unconditionally and waits for Supes and GL to destroy the planet (which is called Regna). They say they just want to move the planet, but Fornag says that will destroy Regna anyway. We see Wonder Woman saving a ship from anmore helping iceberg, then heading north to stop any more icebergs from getting into the shipping lanes. In Ivy Town, Jean is sedated after freaking out about the two moons and Atom tries to deal with the fires raging through the city. He heads for the nearby dam and opens it to quench the fires. In India, Red Tornado uses a vortex to redirect the energy from the earthquakes into the ocean. Batman pulls him out of the water and they fly off. We get another vignette page of JLAers performing heroics, then check back in on Regna, the rogue “moon” that’s causing all the trouble. Fornag tells Superman and Green Lantern that Regna’s continents float around the surface of the planet and they derive all their energy by harnessing “tidal” forces. He claims Regna has always existed in Earth orbit, but in a different dimension. When the other dimension was about to be destroyed, they built a machine to bring Regna into Earth’s dimension, but the machine melted so they can’t go anywhere else. GL can’t fix the machine because Batman attacksmost of it contains gold, rendering his ring useless. Supes says he might be able to reconstruct the machine, but we see Fornag thinking to himself that if his soldiers succeed in their mission to destroy life on Earth, they won’t need the machine. GL is suspicious of Fornag and starts pondering his earlier scan of the planet. On Earth, Batman and Red Tornado track the stolen nuclear rods to Panama and find a bunch of Regnans attacking a nuclear submarine. They tackle the aliens, but get knocked out. The Regnans have stolen the nuclear material so they can turn the submarine into a giant nuke and spread fallout over the whole planet. But Batman has been playing possum and he takes out one of the aliens and dons his cloak. When they’re beamed up to Regna (to make adjustments to the radioactive material they stole), he goes along. He steals the triggering device and takes off, ending up where Superman and Green Lantern are. When Batman explains what’s going on, the three heroes pound the shit out of the aliens. Green Lantern accuses Fornag of lying about Regna’s origins, deducing Regna isfighting aliens really from the distant past since it has the same composition as Earth did a billion years ago. Fornag confirms it, saying they were fighting a war with the fifth planet of the solar system and when the planet blew up, they were thrown into the future. Fornag assumes the JLA will slaughter the Regnans, but they decide to send them a billion years into the future, when the effects of Regna’s gravity won’t matter because Earth is no longer populated. The JLA ponders all the rebuilding Earth will have to do, and Red Tornado philosophizes about how the Regnans will always find the worst in people because that’s what they always expect.

Noticeable Things:

  • Apparently Jean has already had a couple of nervous breakdowns and Ray thinks she might be too unstable to handle knowing his secret identity. In hindsight, maybe he should’ve seen the warning signs.
  • Ray says he’ll talk to Barry Allen about how he told Iris his secret identity, but I seem to recall that she found out accidentally when Barry talked in his sleep.
  • Atom says he’s shutting off the dam’s waters right away, but I think a deluge like that would do a hell of a lot of damage, no matter how fast he shut it off.
  • While Regna was in its other-dimensional orbit, Earth’s gravity affected it but Regna’s gravity didn’t affect Earth … or so their envoy said. That should’ve been the first clue that he was full of shit.
  • The “fifth planet” that Regna fought with (and blew up) in the past is meant to be the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Superboy & the Legion 240 coverSuperboy & the Legion #240 – “The Man Who Manacled the Legion” – Paul Levitz (plot), Jack C. Harris/Howard Chaykin/Bob Wiacek

This one starts with Grimbor pondering how best to dispose of the Legion. We then see the objects of his hatred on Earth, helping at the scene of an accident. But this isn’t just a regular fender-bender … a ship has crashed into the turbo-car bridge that spans the Atlantic Ocean. Superboy, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Sun Boy, and Phantom Girl put things right and head back to Legion Headquarters. Cosmic Boy is down because Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl are one (they got married and had to resign due to a by-law about no married Legionnaires). Phantom Girl is still pissed off at Colossal Boy for trying to arrest her honey, Ultra Boy, last issue. They get a priority signal from President Kandru and head for his residence, where they find him trapped inside some weird device. None of their powers can affect it and Superboy figures out Grimbor must be behind it, since only heGrimbor traps Legion could devise a trap so diabolical. Grimbor busts in and uses different chains to shackle each Legionnaire. He drags them back to his lair and tells them he wants revenge for what happened to his former lover, Charma. She appeared in issue #221 and had a power that made men (including Grimbor) have protective feelings (and other kinds of feelings, if you get my drift) toward her. But apparently the flip side was her power causing women to hate her, so when she was thrown in a women’s prison, the inmates killed her. Which explains Grimbor’s quest for revenge. Phantom Girl gets out of her restraints (they were calibrated for her phantom form, so she just turns human and slips out of them) and frees the others. Grimbor sends some robots after them and flees, pursued by Superboy. The others handle the robots and Superboy catches Grimbor, who promptly blows himself up! Superboy realizes the Grimbor caughtGrimbor they were fighting was also a robot. Sun Boy says they should go back and try to free the President. Superboy says he analyzed Grimbor’s device and if they all combine their powers, they can break President Kandru out of it. That makes Sun Boy suspicious, so when they get to the President’s chamber, they evacuate his staff, just before the President blows up. They reassure he staff that it was a robot and trace the destruct signal back to the real Grimbor’s hideout. They take care of Grimbor (kind of anti-climactically, with one punch) and rescue the real Kandru. Superboy points out that Charma’s hold on Grimbor has survived her death.

Noticeable Things:

  • I’m not sure about the whole “bridge over the Atlantic” thing. They say it’s for “turbo-cars” and make a point of showing how fast travel is on Earth in the 30th Century, but those look like regular cars to me, so how long would it take to drive across the Atlantic? I hope there are some rest stops on the way!
  • Why are they still using ships to move cargo? Shouldn’t they have some high-tech, futuristic way of doing it?
  • I’m not sure why Phantom Girl’s ire is so focused on Colossal Boy; the whole team was trying to arrest Ultra Boy last issue.
  • It’s interesting that when the Legionnaires find out what happened to Charma, the guys are sympathetic, but Phantom Girl just brushes it off. It’s almost like Charma’s power was still affecting them.

fighting robot“Dawnstar Rising” – Paul Levitz (plot), Paul Kupperberg/James Sherman/Bob McLeod

This is the second story in the issue and it deals with a group of trainees at the Legion Academy: Jed Rikane (super strong); Laurel Kent (invulnerable descendant of Clark Kent); Shadow Lad (Shadow Lass’s little brother here, though I think he was retconned to be her cousin later on); and Dawnstar, who we’ve met before. They’re in the Danger Room (or its non-trademarked equivalent), fighting a giant robot. They do okay, but make some mistakes. Eventually, they take the robot down, but Wildfire (who’s overseeing their training) gives them shit, saying if they’d cooperated better they could’ve beaten the robot in half the time. After the session, Wildfire tries to ask Dawnstar out but, rather ironically, gets shot down in flames. Later, Laurel asks Dawnstar why she was so shitty to Wildfire and Dawnstar says human customs are strange to her. We get her origin story … she’s descended from American Indians and has a supernatural tracking ability (so, that’s one stereotype out of the way), so her parents started hiring her out as a bounty hunter and scout. Dawnstar says she spent allDawnstar knocked down her time working off-planet—hence her lack of social skills—and all the money she made went to her planet’s space fleet. R.J. Brande made her an offer to join the Legion and said he’d pay her well, so she said yes. But now she’s at the Academy, learning to fight and be a “team player” and hating every minute of it. The next day, Wildfire tells them a couple of dangerous beasts have escaped from their cages as they were being transported through the spaceport. (An Arcturian Ape and a Graalian Death Beast, for those of you keeping score at home.) Nobody offers to team up with Dawnstar, so she flies ahead and tracks the beasts herself, thinking she’ll catch them before the others even show up. But she gets blasted and hits the ground like a sack of shit. As she’s about to get stepped on, the others show up and use teamwork to take down the two beasts. Dawnstar realizes how stupid she was to think herself better than everyone and says she wants to stay in the Legion—with her friends.

Noticeable Things:

  • I’m not sure why Dawnstar was so dismissive when Wildfire asked her out. I think we’re supposed to take it as “she’s not familiar with socializing”, but it kinda comes off like she’s just being really snotty to him.
  • We learn that Laurel wears more clothing to bed than she does during the day, and Dawnstar apparently sleeps naked.sleepy times
  • When Brande makes his offer to Dawnstar, he mentions her having “unique endowments” and it comes off as a bit creepy.
  • The beasts’ trainer looks pretty young to be handling monsters as vicious as these.

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