Comics Reviews: JLA 159, Superboy & the Legion 244

JLA 159 coverJustice League of America #159 – “Crisis From Yesterday” – Gerry Conway/Dick Dillin/Frank McLaughlin

This one starts rather sedately, with the JLA and JSA having one of their annual meet-ups, this time in a fancy restaurant in Gotham (Earth-1 Gotham, in case you’re wondering). Batman ponders retirement and envies his Earth-2 counterpart having a daughter like Huntress; Ralph tells Sylvester (aka Star-Spangled Kid) not to be ashamed of his name; and Black Canary confides in the Earth-2 Wonder Woman that Green Arrow and Hawkman’s newfound bonhomie is getting on her nerves. But this is a JLA/JSA meeting, so of course we know something’s going to happen. So I for one wasn’t shocked when the wall of the restaurant came crashing down and the heroes spotted some shadowy figures outside. But before we get to see who they are, we’re taken to “a dimension bordering on 3786 A.D.” where Lord of Time sits in his fancyhistoric heroes castle and contemplates his latest scheme. He talks to the sentient time computer he invented (the Eternity Brain) and says he’s the one who sent the attackers after the JLA and JSA. What he doesn’t tell his computer (but we find out, thanks to his thought bubbles) is that he ordered the computer to dam up the flow of time, so he could master it. But he discovered damming time would be catastrophic (you’d think a guy named Lord of Time would know that) and can’t be reversed. He’s figured out that plucking five beings from the timestream, imbuing them with super powers, and having them defeat the combined JLA/JSA will save the universe. Back on Earth-1, the intruders attack, bringing the restaurant down on the superheroes. We finally see who Lord of Time sent on his important errand: Jonah Hex, Enemy Ace, Black Pirate, Miss Liberty, and Viking Prince. They compare notes and determine that each of them was pulled from their own time and heard a “voice” in their heads telling them to do busting loosesomething, but they can’t recall what. They also can’t remember why they attacked the restaurant, so Miss Liberty suggests they go someplace quiet and figure out what the hell is going on. They take off and a few minutes later, Superman busts out from the rubble of the building. Turns out half the assembled superheroes were knocked out by the explosion in the restaurant. Dr. Mid-Nite says it was no ordinary explosion and the unconscious heroes are in some kind of weird coma, complete with fever and shock-like symptoms. Those who are still able (Superman, Hawkman, Flash, and Elongated Man from Earth-1 and Wonder Woman, Dr. Mid-Nite, Huntress, and Star-Spangled Kid from Earth-2) decide to track whoever attacked them and force them to help revive their teammates. Superman tracks some chronal energy with his x-ray vision and they start on the trail. They track the time-lost quintet to Valley Forgedefeated (where else would Miss Liberty lead them?) and attack. But the time-travelers’ powers and weapons have been beefed up by Lord of Time’s computer, so they make short work of the heroes, sending all of them into the same coma-like state as their friends back at the restaurant. Lord of Time grabs the time-challenged attackers and brings them to his citadel. He hopes the JLA and JSA members will be strengthened by their defeat, track the victors to his citadel, and be strong enough to destroy his computer before it brings time grinding to a halt. Will his plan work? We’ll have to wait until next issue to see.

Noticeable Things:

  • If you’re wondering how the historical people can all communicate, something in Lord of Time’s computer acts as a universal translator, making them all speak (and comprehend) English.
  • I’m not sure why some of the heroes were knocked out and not others; it seems weirdly convenient that one of the Supermans and one of the Wonder Womans were incapacitated. I guess Gerry had a list of heroes he wanted to use for the adventure and made sure the others were out of the way.

LSH 244 coverSuperboy & the Legion #244 – “The Dark Circle That Crushed Earth” – Paul Levitz/Joe Staton/Joe Giella

If you remember, the last few issues have been pretty intense. The Legion went to Weber’s World to act as security for a United Planets/Dominators peace conference, but someone kept trying to sabotage it. At the same time, Khunds attacked Earth in force and it turned out the Khundish warlord was being controlled by a hyper-beam which originated on Weber’s World. Then, all the U.P. And Dominator delegates disappeared from Weber’s World, leaving the Legion to suspect that some of their supposed allies (like U.P. Security chief Ontiir, or even Earth ambassador Relnic) might be involved with all the double-dealing. We also found out that the Dark Circle are the ones controlling everything behind the scenes, but the Legionnaires don’t know that yet. With the peace delegates missing, the Legionnaires on Weber’s World (Wildfire, Dawnstar, Superboy, Ultra Boy, Mon-El, Colossal Boy, Elementspace fight Lad, Sun Boy, plus Ontiir) head for Earth to help against the Khundish occupiers. Halfway home, they encounter a rogue ship filled with robots. The ship fires on them and they quickly trash the robots and find the Dominator delegates inside an Inertron cube. The Dominators tell the Legionnaires that Relnic is a member of the Dark Circle and was behind their disappearance. They pledge to help Earth fight the Dark Circle. Speaking of Earth, the Khunds have taken over most of the planet, except for the Legion Headquarters, and they finally manage to breach its defenses too. But inside the armory they find Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Bouncing Boy, and Duo Damsel waiting for them. The reserve Legionnaires kick the shit out on the Khunds and Saturn Girl mind-reads a Khundish commander, finding out that the Khunds are expecting reinforcements from the Dark Circle. Elsewhere on Earth, we see some HQ fightScience Police (including Shvaughn Erin) still bravely resisting the Khunds. Just before Shvaughn is overwhelmed, Karate Kid shows up in a time bubble and pounds all the Khunds. In Earth orbit, the eight returning Legionnaires encounter a Khundish fleet and destroy it without too much trouble. But Wildfire realizes they need to take the fight to their enemies, so they head for the U.P. Presidential Palace. At Legion HQ, Lightning Lad’s team watches them go and approves of Wildfire’s newfound leadership. They decide to link up with their friends by using a Legion tank to crash through the Khundish barricades. But the tank gets blasted, leaving Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel unconscious. Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl leave them behind and head for the Presidential Palace. At the Palace, Wildfire’s team busts in and takes out all the Khunds, finally confronting the Dark Circle. But the Circle has an ace up their sleeve—allnegasphere the Legionnaires they previously captured. They say if the Legionnaires surrender, everyone will live (as slaves to the Dark Circle), but if they resist, their comrades will die and so will everybody else on Earth. The Dark Circle have a Negasphere—a ball of negative energy that can expand and destroy the whole planet. Superboy and Wildfire call their bluff and order the others to pound the Dark Circle while they (and Ultra Boy and Mon-El) contain the Negasphere so it can’t expand. They succeed, though it almost kills them, knocking everyone out … even Superboy. When Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl show up, Superboy is the only one back on his feet—barely—and says they’ve finally beaten the Dark Circle. But Karate Kid and Shvaughn Erin show up to burst his bubble; remember how Shvaughn kept saying she had an urgent message about one of the Legion’s old enemies escaping, but nobody would listen to her? Well, they should have. Turns out Ambassador Relnic isn’t Relnic after all; he’s technically not even a member of the Dark Circle. He’s Mordru and he’s pissed off, vowing to destroy them all. We’ll have to wait until next issue to see if he succeeds.

Noticeable Things:

  • Karate Kid returns from the 20th Century here, a sojourn which was depicted in his own title. We can actually see his friend Diamondeth (aka Iris Jacobs) in the time bubble as he’s talking to Shvaughn. Iris was transformed into the villainous Diamondeth and Karate Kid brought her to the 30th Century to cure her, which happens a couple issues from now.

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