Comics Reviews: JLA 188, Legion of Super-Heroes 273, New Teen Titans 5

JLA 188 coverJustice League of America #188 – “The Metamorph War” – Gerry Conway/Don Heck/Frank McLaughlin

Last issue, a weirdo villain named Proteus used something called an Identi-Factor to change the physical forms of several Justice Leaguers (Superman, Zatanna, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Elongated Man) and suppress their memories. Proteus created his own JLA duplicates so he could use them to rob a jewelry store, but without the super powers possessed by the originals. Flash figured out what was happening, but when he confronted the fake Leaguers, they actually did have super powers, so Flash assumed he was mistaken. He soon found out otherwise, as Proteus ambushed him in an alley so he could be replaced with a fake Flash. The other heroes (except Zatanna) regained their memories—though not their original forms—andFlash pounds Proteus headed for the jewelry store. Flash reacts with super-speed to Proteus’s ambush, vibrating down through the pavement and coming up behind Proteus and the doppelgänger Flash. The Scarlet Speedster knocks Proteus out, but is surprised to find his criminal counterpart has his own super-speed powers. Inside the store, the other fake JLAers also use super powers to rob the place, but they’re met outside by the real Leaguers (still looking like everyday schmoes). The real JLA quickly shows the fakes how it’s done, kicking the shit out of them. During the fight, they find out their foes’ “super powers” are provided by mechanical devices. Flash joins the fight, dragging the Flash interrogates Proteusunconscious Proteus with him. He interrogates the villains and learns that Proteus can’t restore the other Leaguers to their real forms because his Identi-Factor was smashed during the fight. Flash makes him tell where the real Zatanna is—she’s been metamorphosed into a bag lady in the subway. Flash finds her and jogs her memory by mentioning all the personal stuff she told him during their completely platonic dinner on the Satellite. Zatanna’s memory returns and she changes herself back to normal. Flash tells her she needs to change the others back too and reiterates that they’re just friends. I still think they banged on the Satellite.

“The Miracle at 22,300 Miles” – Gerry Conway/Rich Buckler/Frank McLaughlin

This one starts with Hawkman and Hawkgirl on the JLA Satellite, talking about how much they miss Thanagar and how they hate being exiled to Earth. In Ivy Town, Ray (Atom) Palmer and his wife Jean go to some Jewish professor’s house and we get a crash course on Hanukkah … specifically theBatman and Black Canary fight smugglers Menorah and how the Temple oil lasted for eight days instead of just one. Pay attention to that, it’ll be important later. Near Gotham, Batman and Black Canary stop some smugglers (and Canary gets pissed off when none of the crooks recognize her). They get an emergency call from the Satellite and head up (arriving with Atom) to find the Satellite has been attacked by another satellite in orbit around Earth. The smaller satellite showed up out of nowhere and started blasting the JLA satellite with lasers, so Hawkman flew out to disable it. He gets wounded by one of the lasers (don’t worry, it only winged him … yeah, I said it), but manages to tear the killer satellite’s wiring out. Unfortunately, that knocks him out and the others are in no position to help, since the lasers screwed up all the Satellite’s systems, including life Hawkgirl goes for suppliessupport. Only one space suit is intact, so Black Canary dons it and heads out to retrieve Hawkman. Hawkgirl heads to the Thanagarian ship to bring back supplies, while Atom and Batman try to fix the life support … Atom actually shrinking down and going inside the computer. By the time Canary gets back with Hawkman, Atom emerges from the computer and passes out from he cold and exhaustion, but he managed to fix the life support systems and the environment starts going back to normal. Hawkgirl returns with replacement parts s they can fix the life support permanently, but Batman points out that a bunch of the circuit connections were never fixed. Atom wakes up and says they were beyond repair, but he tried to fix them anyway. Black Canary wonders how the life support held out with the broken circuits and Atom says it must’ve been a miracle, like the oil in the Temple.

LSH 273 coverLegion of Super-Heroes #273 – “A Murderer—Among Us?” – Gerry Conway/Jimmy Janes/Frank Chiaramonte

This one starts with the newly elected President of Earth (who just happens to be Marte Allon, Colossal Boy’s mother) telling the Legion they have to disband. According to their own Constitution, the Legion members aren’t supposed to kill, but Brainiac 5 killed a woman named An Ryd (in issue 239) and framed Ultra Boy for it. Brainy was later deemed insane (he’s feeling much better now), but the fact remains that he killed someone. Brainy stipulates to the facts and resigns to keep the Legion from disbanding. The rest of the Legionnaires are pissed off, especially since there was no formal trial. A bunch of them head back to headquarters to discuss the situation, but a small contingent (Chameleon Boy, Ultra Boy, Phantom Girl, and Star Boy) decide to look into things further. ChameleonChameleon Boy blasted Boy hints that Brainiac 5 may not be as guilty as everyone assumes. Timber Wolf declines to help, since he’s been having weird headaches lately. Apparently his wild nature is affecting him and he thinks he might have to leave the Legion soon; Light Lass says she’ll go with him, if it comes to that. Colossal Boy tries to talk to his mother, but her new rank has gone to her head and she’s really snotty to him. Chameleon Boy and his team head to Rimbor, where An Ryd was murdered, and they split up to look for clues. (No sign of Scooby or Velma.) Cham and Star Boy check out the scene of the crime and Cham changes into a Rigellian Seeker Hound to sniff out Brainy’s scent … but there’s no trace of him. Star Boy points out the blast marks and says there’s no way a Legion blaster did that kind of damage. Before they can leave with their newfound knowledge, Phantom Girl poundedthey’re attacked by someone. Star Boy tries to absorb an energy blast, but burns himself out. Cham recognizes their attacker (though we can’t see who it is), but gets blasted in the eyes and knocked out. At Rimbor’s Port Control, Ultra Boy and Phantom Girl bribe a controller so they can check the logs from the time of the murder. They find that no ships arrived that Brainy could’ve been on, and none were unaccounted for, so whoever killed An Ryd must’ve set Brainy up and then drove him nuts. And whoever it was can travel through space without a ship. Outside, someone attacks the Port Controller and when Ultra Boy and Phantom Girl go out to check the ruckus, they find the real culprit … Pulsar Stargrave! Yup, it was him who set Brainy up for everything and he makes short work of these Legionnaires too, knocking Phantom Girl out and (seemingly) disintegrating Ultra Boy. Meanwhile, Brainiac 5 has used logic to arrive at the same conclusions as his teammates and shows up inBrainy takes out Stargrave time to save their lives, though Stargrave has already retreated to Rimbor’s moon. Cham is blind, Star Boy is in a full-body cast, and Phantom Girl is basically okay … until they tell her Ultra Boy is probably dead. Brainy leaves to confront Stargrave and gets ambushed. But Brainy is ready and manages to save himself with his indestructible force field. He then uses the force field to surround himself and Stargrave, saying he’ll do anything to keep Stargrave from menacing the galaxy. Stargrave may not need food or air (at this point, Stargrave was thought to be the original Brainiac android, though that was later retconned away), but being trapped inside Brainy’s force field for centuries would drive him crazy. Stargrave says he won’t be trapped and starts spewing out massive amounts of energy to burn through Brainy’s force field. But it turns out Brainy tricked him … he actually encased Stargrave in a separate force field before throwing the second one around both of them, so Stargrave ends up destroying himself. Brainy points out how Stargrave’s original computer logic was replaced by emotion and hatred, which ultimately led to his demise.

NTT 5 coverNew Teen Titans #5 – “Trigon Lives” – Marv Wolfman/Curt Swan/Romeo Tanghal

Last issue, Raven revealed to her Titans teammates that she brought them together to fight an extra-dimensional demon named Trigon. Unfortunately, her methods for getting them to cooperate included using her emotion manipulating abilities on them … especially on Kid Flash, who she basically made fall in love with her. The Titans were understandably upset and walked out on her, despite the threat of Trigon. Raven vows to keep fighting Trigon, but he sics his minion (Goronn) on her and she’s forced to send her astral self to plead for help from the Titans. They’re discussing her betrayal and Kid Flash is lashing out at everyone (even though they all tried to warn him about Raven’s weird influence on him). Cyborg tells Wally to stop acting like a dick, but when Raven’s astral self shows up to ask for help fighting Goronn, Wally doesn’tGoronn beaten care. Robin, Wonder Girl, Starfire, and Changeling decide to go help her, but Cyborg stays behind with Wally to give him a little reverse psychology. Kid Flash admits he does still care what happens to Raven and zooms off to help the others, which is probably what Cyborg was going for all along. When Kid Flash catches up (followed closely by Cyborg), Goronn is surrounded by Titans but they’re not having much effect. Raven refuses to join the fight, so Robin directs the others and they take Goronn down. Robin points out this is the first time they’ve acted as a team instead of seven individuals. They think they’ve won, but Raven points out this was just a servant of Trigon. The real deal shows up and we get our first good look at him. He ain’t pretty, that’s for sure. We also learn that he is Raven’s father and wants her to join him in Trigon revealedhis takeover of this dimension. She refuses and the Titans end up back at the Tower, though I’m not sure if Trigon zapped them there or if Raven used her power to teleport them back. Trigon summons his henchman Psimon and dissipates him, then blasts Goronn for his failure. At the Tower, Raven finally comes clean about Trigon being her father and how she formed the Titans to fight him. She’d been hoping for more time, but Trigon has accelerated the schedule, so they’ll just have to make the best of it. Raven tells the others to hold Trigon as best they can while she goes to Azarath for help. Kid Flash is sick of her taking off all the time and says he’s quitting the team as soon as Trigon is defeated. The Titans head into Manhattan to confront Trigon and Cyborg admits to Changeling that he’s scared; Changeling says they all get scared and that’s why he constantly acts like such a goof. They tackle Trigon, but he’s way too strong for them, tossing them around likefighting Trigon playthings. Raven tries to convince her mother (Arella) and the Council of Azarath to help fight Trigon, but they’ve taken vows of pacifism and refuse. Trigon appears in Azarath and says he’ll destroy everyone, but even that doesn’t move Arella or the others to fight. Raven is sick of their apathy and uses her powers to bring the Titans to Azarath to help her fight Trigon. But he’s still too powerful and slaps the shit out of them again. Robin begs Arella to help, since Raven mentioned the people of Azarath had the power to defeat Trigon, but Arella says she won’t turn her back on the peaceful ways she’s learned there. Robin says peace has to be earned and Raven sacrifices herselffought for, but Arella won’t listen. Raven finally decides it’s up to her and offers to go willingly with her father if he’ll spare this dimension. She knew he could’ve killed her plenty of times but didn’t, so she holds out hope that there’s some spark of decency inside him, some part of him that actually cares about her. The others implore her not to sacrifice herself, but she says it’s the only way. Wally tries to tell her he loves her, but before he can finish his sentence, Raven and Trigon are gone. We’ll see whether she returns or not next issue.

Noticeable Things:

  • We see the mysterious figure who built the Titans’ Tower lurking around again. It seems like he has a connection to Cyborg, and judging by his silhouette, it could be Victor’s father, Dr, Stone.

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