Comics Reviews: JLA 157, Superboy & the Legion 242

JLA 157 coverJustice League of America #157 – “Till Doom Do Us Part” – Gerry Conway/Dick Dillin, Juan Ortiz/Frank McLaughlin

This one starts with a really attractive woman (named Siren) going on a diatribe about how much she hates the Justice League. She’s surrounded by enthralled helpers—all men, naturally—and says it’s time for them to eliminate the JLA once and for all. In Ivy Town, Ray Palmer finally tells his fiancée Jean Loring that he’s the Atom. You might say he left it a bit late, since their wedding is tomorrow, but Ray was worried that Jean might have another nervous breakdown when she found out. Jean’s not going nuts, but she is pretty pissed off and leaves Ray wondering if there’ll still be a wedding. On the JLA Satellite, everyone (including Supergirl) is preparing for the wedding tomorrow. Green Arrow’s still going on about Atom making a mistake, but it’s mostly justsatellite shenanigans bluster, as Flash points out. Arrow does seem a bit wistful about all the changes in the last few years, but he’s not quite ready to start belting out “Wedding Bells Are Breaking Up That Old Gang of Mine”. Phantom Stranger pops in and we get a recap of last issue’s fight with the Oceanian Gods. Stranger says one of the gods didn’t merge with the others and sink back into the sea, but sent a doppleganger instead. Gee, I wonder who that might be? Stranger takes Batman,Green Arrow, and Aquaman to the site of the gods’ temple in the Pacific Ocean. Red Tornado and Green Lantern head for Gorilla City to pick up Solovar (who helped Atom recently on a case) for the wedding. Black Canary wonders if Green Arrow is mad at her and tells Wonder Woman they’ve been fighting lately. In the Pacific, Batman’s plane is attacked by some of Siren’s thralls in another plane. Aquaman dives down to check the temple and Phantom Stranger is thrown from the plane and disappears. Arrow and Batman repel the boarding party, plane fightthough both get punched in the face. Batman describes the punch as “numbing, like a shot of novocaine”. But their opponents disappear—plane and all—just like Phantom Stranger did. Aquaman comes back up and says there’s no sign of anyone in the water, but the temple is missing one of its gods … the love goddess, Mauri. In Africa, Green Lantern and Red Tornado are bringing Solovar back to the States when they’re attacked by Siren’s goons in a helicopter. Reddy gets blasted and GL saves him, then disables the chopper. They’re met on the ground by Siren herself (aka Mauri, in case you hadn’t figured that out yet) and she puts the moves on Green Lantern. He falls under her spell and blasts Solovar at her command. Reddy wakes up in time to see GL carrying Siren into the air, dragging Solovar behind like a sack of shit. Reddy keels over before he can figure out what to do. Batman’s plane lands in Coast City and the Leaguers prepare to head up to the Satellite. But Batman’s remark about their opponents’ punches being like novocaine proves literally true, as he and Arrow are nowLantern enthralled under Siren’s thrall. They deck Aquaman and head up to the Satellite, joined by Green Lantern, Siren, and an imprisoned Solovar. Superman is on monitor duty (the women all went with Flash and Ralph to help Jean get ready for the wedding) and Siren soon puts Supes under her power too, with a big smooch. On Earth, Sue and Iris are getting ready to head over to Jean’s place as Ralph and Flash wait for them. Superman and Green Lantern come busting in and pound Flash and Ralph. They blather on about Siren and how she’ll rule after the JLA are eliminated, then they grab the beaten superheroes and their wives and take off. At Jean’s place, she’s still worked up about how Ray kept his secret for so long. Without giving anything away, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Black Canary (in their civilian identities) try to help Jean deal with her feelings. Wonder Woman gets an emergency signal and they head out of town where the male Leaguers (except Atom, Red Tornado, and Phantom Stranger) are waiting. The Siren deckedenthralled dudes attack and the women fight back, doing pretty well against their male counterparts. Supergirl and Black Canary both assume the guys must be fighting Siren’s control and Supergirl decides to test that by letting Superman kill her. Of course, he doesn’t, and all the Leaguers snap out of Siren’s control thanks to the power of love … real love, not the kind Siren trades in. The women deck Siren and all men reunite with their women. Later, everyone is at the church for the wedding, including a few special guests: Hawkman and Hawkgirl, Professor Hyatt (inventor of the Time Pool), and Enrichetta Negrini (Ray’s ex-lab assistant). Ray and Jean make up and get married and we get a big double page shot of the wedding. Afterwards, there’s a more detailed explanation of how they escaped Siren’s thrall (having to do with super-hypnotism, blah, blah, blah) and it’s said that Phantom Stranger imprisoned Siren (or Mauri, if you prefer) with the other gods in the temple. Stranger also brought Red Tornado (and Traya) to the wedding, although they weren’t shown on the big splash page. splash pageSo, all’s well that ends well, except for Mauri, who’s condemned to live a loveless existence once more.

Noticeable Things:

  • I’m not sure how Ray was planning on explaining a gorilla at his wedding. (Yeah, I know Solovar was wearing a hat and trenchcoat, but what kind of disguise is that? Good thing nobody walked up to say hi.
  • It’s said that Sue doesn’t know the secret identities of any of Ralph’s JLA teammates, but I think she’d be able to figure it out. Flash kisses Iris after the rescue and just having everyone around at the wedding, even in civilian clothes, I think Sue would put two and two together. She’s a pretty good detective, after all.
  • When fighting Ralph, Green Lantern uses his ring to create a mask that emits sleeping gas, another instance of the ring being basically magical and granting whatever the story needs.
  • Siren specifically says that her power can’t control women, but if she’s the goddess of love, shouldn’t she affect everyone equally? I guess the world wasn’t ready to see Siren laying a smooch on Wonder woman or Supergirl back then, Lost Girl style.
  • At Jean’s place, it’s kind of weird to see the three superheroic women in their civilian identities, since none of them looks like her heroic counterpart; Diana has glasses, Linda has brown hair, and Dinah has dark hair.Jean's place
  • Doesn’t Jean have any friends or family? The only people involved with the wedding seem to be JLAers and their friends. How would Jean know Diana Prince, Linda Danvers, or Dinah Lance anyway? And wouldn’t she find it weird that famous people like Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne were at her wedding? No wonder she’s nuts.
  • There’s a key at the back of the book identifying everyone on the splash page. Most of them are pretty easy to figure out; the only one that threw me was the brown-haired guy at the back between Aquaman and Flash … it’s Adam (Captain Comet) Blake, though why he rated an invite to the wedding I don’t know.

LSH 242 coverSuperboy & the Legion #242 – “Startarget: Earth” – Paul Levitz/James Sherman/Bob McLeod

This one starts (as so many do) with Wildfire pissed off at someone. Wildfire (along with Dawnstar, Ultra Boy, and Mon-El) are on Weber’s World, an artificial planet, to provide security at a peace conference between the United Planets and the Dominators. But there are those who don’t want the conference to succeed and have been trying to kill UP delegates (the Dominators haven’t even shown up yet). No peace treaty (or worse, delegates getting killed) could mean war between the UP and the Dominators, and because of the attacks on the conference, Wildfire doesn’t trust anyone … including Earth’s own Ambassador Relnic and head of security, Ontiir. Hence Wildfire’s outburst toward them. Outside, Ultra Boy wonders if Wildfire might be taking the mistrust too far and reminds everyone that Wildfire was ready to condemn Ultra Boy himself not long ago, so he could be wrong again. Before anyone can respond, Ultra BoyEarth attack spots explosives in a walkway full of diplomats and rescues them just in time. The diplomats say Ontiir told them to use that walkway and the Legionnaires are surprised to find Relnic hanging around below. Relnic says Earth has been attacked, but not by Dominators … by the Khunds. Above Earth, the Khundish fleet attacks in force, straining the UP defenses and the Legion to their limits. Superboy, Colossal Boy, Sun Boy, and Element Lad do their best, but they’re too badly outnumbered. Brainiac 5 pulls them back, telling them his calculations say it’s impossible to stop the Khunds from landing on Earth. Element Lad reminds Brainy that he’s the leader and decides to take the Legion cruiser to the Khundish homeworld. He sends Brainy on a different ship to Weber’s World for help. But Weber’s World has just moved outside the galaxy, to meet the Dominators on neutral ground. Wildfire and the others wonder who they can trust, but they’d better figure it out fast, because the Dominators have arrived. Mon-El guides searching Khund homeworldtheir ship into dock to make sure it doesn’t have a nasty accident. Superboy, Colossal Boy, Sun Boy, and Element Lad show up on the Khundish homeworld and are immediately set upon by the militia. They fight their way through the capital, looking for the Warlord, Garlak. They find him and Element Lad threatens to turn his blood to poison if he doesn’t call off the attack on Earth. But Garlak starts acting weird and Superboy detects a hyper-beam with his super-hearing. Element Lad uses a couple of telepathic plugs (which is the Legion version of a Universal Translator) to block the signal and Garlak starts gibbering like an idiot. It’s obvious he’s being controlled from somewhere else, but the Khunds refuse to believe it, saying the Legion turned Garlak into a vegetable. The Legionnaires start tacking the hyper-beam to find out who’s controlling Garlak. Elsewhere, we see a cabal of five masked  figures watching the developments on the Khundish homeworld. They say their plans might be derailed by the Legion, but one of them says he knows the Legionnaires very well, and that thisGarlak setback could be turned to their advantage. On Weber’s World, someone tries to squash Ultra Boy with a forklift and he just manages to turn invulnerable in time. Elsewhere on Weber’s World, Wildfire, Dawnstar, and Mon-El are ready to meet the Dominators. They’re still unsure who they can trust and Dawnstar has a feeling of being watched, which she shrugs off. Probably a mistake, as we see someone watching her through what looks like crosshairs. Superboy’s team are homing in on the hyper-beam that was controlling Garlak and are startled to find it’s emanating from Weber’s World. So, someone at the peace conference is behind the Khundish attack on Earth … but who? We’ll have to wait until next issue for more answers, and more intrigue.

girls night out“Girls Night Out” – Paul Levitz (plot), Paul Kupperberg/Arvell Jones/Danny Bulanadi

This is the back-up story about Dream Girl, Shadow Lass, Projectra, and Light Lass going out on the town to a restaurant that flies around the city. They run into some high-ranking Science Police officers, but don’t feel like talking shop. Unfortunately, they’ll have to go to work, as a bunch of scumbags bust in and take the whole restaurant hostage. The Legionnaires fight back, but the thugs grab the Police officers and say they’ll kill them if they aren’t paid a huge ransom. They also say their confederates are out looting the city and holding the cops is insurance that no one will interfere. They tie up the Legionnaires, but we find out it’s a ruse; Projectra has used her illusion powers to create dopplegangers that the thugs tied up, as well as shielding the real Legionnaires from being noticed. They scatter and each one defeatslast page one of the heist squads. They all come to the same conclusion, that the heist is too well-planned and has too much inside knowledge. They go back to the floating restaurant (where their ruse has been discovered) and pounds the hostage takers. They tell the Science Police deputy commander that they knew he’d be all right … since he’s the one who planned the whole thing. Only he could’ve had all the inside knowledge needed for the heists, and each heist was in the path of the floating restaurant. Light Lass decks him and Shadow Lass complains that she’s hungry, since they never got around to eating. I have to say, the ladies’ futuristic fashions are pretty funky.

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