Comics Reviews: JLA 190, Legion of Super-Heroes 275, New Teen Titans 7

JLA 190 coverJustice League of America #190 – “Our Friends, Our Enemies” – Gerry Conway/Rich Buckler/Bob Smith

Last issue, a piece of Starro the alien starfish, was fished out of a lake by a kid named Terry Watson. Starro soon reconstituted himself and dominated the minds of Terry and his family, using them to get the alien conqueror to New York. Starro shot millions of small starfish replicates from his body, taking over the minds of everyone in New York … including a number of JLA members. As this issue starts, the rest of the League (Batman, Flash, Elongated Man, Aquaman, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and Zatanna) are on an aircraft carrier with a gung-ho admiral who thinks the only way to contain Starro might involve bombing New York back to the Stone Age. The JLAers convince him to give them twelve hours to defeat Starro; the admiral agrees, but says when the twelve hours are up, he’s nuking Manhattan. In New York, Starro has beenWonder Woman vs Red Tornado directing his mind-slaves to bring him sustenance (or maybe to be sustenance, in some cases), but he’s decided to get his energy straight from the source. Starro uses his control over the JLAers (specifically Superman, Green Lantern, and Firestorm) to rig up a way he can drain power directly from the grid. Between that and his control over eight million New Yorkers, Starro is almost ready to start expanding his takeover to the rest of the country … and then the world. But one of Starro’s thralls is just faking it; Red Tornado’s android mind is immune to Starro’s influence, so Reddy has been pretending to be enslaved until he can find an opportunity to get away. When he makes his move, a mind-controlled Wonder Woman tries to stop him, but Reddy roughs her up and takes off. The rest of the JLA advance on New York in preparation for the fight against Starro, Hawkman having used subway attackThanagarian tech to whip up some repellor disks. The disks will protect the JLA from being enslaved by Starro’s little starfish replicates, but the range is limited so the disks are only good at short range. Aquaman heads into the ocean to ensure Starro doesn’t try to spread his influence that way, and the Hawks cover the sky, leaving Batman, Ralph, Flash, and Zatanna to go after Starro. In Manhattan, one of the mind-slaves bringing food for Starro is Terry Watson, the kid who brought him back in the first place. But when Terry goes into a freezer at the marketplace, Starro’s control over him ends and Terry remembers everything. Starro sends some thralls out of the city on a boat, but Aquaman stops them. Batman’s team sneaks into Manhattan through the subway, where they’re swarmed by replicates. The JLAers fight them off and split up to look for their friends. Red Tornado has decided to head for a power relay station to shut off Starro energy supply. The stationBatman vs Black Canary is manned by mind-controlled slaves, but Reddy takes them out and tries to shut off the power. Unfortunately, his plan backfires and he’s zapped with electricity. Hawkman and Hawkgirl bring down a helicopter trying to get out of the city and they land right beside the market where Terry is hiding. They hear him crying and find him in the freezer. Uptown, Batman finds a mind-controlled Black Canary and she attacks him. He manages to knock her out, but when he tries to pull he replicate off her face, it almost kills her. In the power station, Red Tornado wakes up and uses his damaged body to short the circuit boards, cutting off all power along the subway lines. Starro (who’s hanging out in Grand Central Terminal) freaks out when his food supply is Starro frozensuddenly shut off. His mood gets worse when the entire JLA confronts him, no longer under his control. When Hawkman and Hawkgirl discovered Terry had been freed from Starro’s control by hiding in a freezer, they passed that knowledge on and Zatanna used her powers to freeze the air around her teammates, getting rid of the replicates. With some help from Firestorm and Green Lantern, Zatanna freezes Starro into a solid block of ice, rendering him helpless. I’m not sure what they’ll do with him afterwards, but Starro’s threat is over for now at least.

Noticeable Things:

  • Flash and Zatanna are still hemming and hawing over whatever happened on the Satellite a couple issues ago. Gerry is being cagey about it, but from reading between the lines, I’m pretty sure they banged.
  • I’m not sure why Reddy got zapped when he turned the power off in the relay station; it might have been some kind of feedback, or maybe Starro’s thralls sabotaged it. The story doesn’t make it clear.
  • There’s a scene with Zatanna feeling sick after casting a spell; apparently this has happened to her before, but she’s keeping it from her teammates. I assume this is a sub-plot that’ll be expanded on in future issues.

LSH 275 coverLegion of Super-Heroes #275 – “Of Pride Passion and Piracy” – Gerry Conway/Jimmy Janes/Frank Chiaramonte

Last issue, Ultra Boy was thought to be dead after getting blasted by Pulsar Stargrave, but ended up being rescued by space pirates. But the trauma from the blast gave him amnesia, so he ended up joining the pirates—partly out of gratitude and partly due to the amorous attentions of the pirate captain, Frake, who’s quite a babe (although she looks about eighty years old on the cover). When the Legion came to fight the pirates, Ultra Boy disabled their ship and fought some of them (conveniently for the plot, none of them saw his face), but when he ran into Phantom Girl he had a weird feeling that he knew her from somewhere … and that he cared for her. As this issue opens, the Legion are discussing whether or not they should go after the pirates; Wildfire is all for it (naturally) and so is Saturn Girl, but forUltra Boy saves innocent alien a different reason. She thought she sensed Ultra Boy’s mind (or whatever’s left of it) last issue and wants to see if she was right before she tells anyone. Lightning Lad agrees to take the fight to the pirates. Speaking of which, we see the space buccaneers looting a ship. Ultra Boy (or “Seeker” as his crewmates call him) is using his powers to transfer cargo to the pirate ship. When one of the pirates tries to kill a member of the other ship’s crew, Ultra Boy instinctively protects the innocent victim. Captain Frake agrees not to kill any prisoners—at least for the moment. It seems she’s quite taken with her amnesiac boy-toy. (She thinks to herself that she’s in love with him, though “in lust” might describe it better.) On Earth, Timber Wolf is still going on about how civilization is keeping him caged and how he’d like to just take off and be wild and free. He tells Light Lass the only reason he sticks around is because he loves her so Colossal Boy being a goofmuch. Colossal Boy is hanging out in a restaurant with Mon-El and Shadow Lass, bitching about his mother being elected President of Earth and how she’s been giving the Legion grief. His mood gets the better of him and he turns into a big klutz, knocking stuff over and having to enlarge in the middle of the restaurant. I’m sure that’ll get his mom off his back. Ultra Boy and his crewmates are on a planet called New Tartuga, and much like Tortuga in Pirates of the Caribbean, it’s a shithole full of drunken scumbags. Ultra Boy knows he doesn’t belong there, or on the pirate ship, but Captain Frake distracts him with her sexiness. Unfortunately, she’s not as sexy as she thinks; Ultra Boy is still thinking about Phantom Girl. He confesses that he can’t get her off his mind, even though he has no idea who she is … but he does know he loves her. That pisses Captain Frake off, but the Legion cruiser shows up before she can do anything. Frake tells Ultra Boy if theLegion attacks the pirates Legion destroys their ship they have no chance. She leads him across town, knocking a civilian out of the way as she goes. When Ultra Boy realizes the civilian is dead, he gets all pissed off. The Legion blasts the pirate ship and start pounding the pirates hand-to-hand. Ultra Boy has decided to fight the pirates too and finally feels like he’s doing the right thing. He takes a bunch of them out, leaving Wildfire to wonder who’s helping them. Saturn Girl is mind-scanning the facility and detects Ultra Boy fighting the pirates. She had wondered if he’d turned traitor, but now figures she can let Phantom Girl know he’s alive. Frake has made it to her secret weapon facility where she has a stolen Quintile crystal hooked up to a huge cannon. She targets the Legion cruiser and fires up the cannon. The Legion are still pounding pirates and Wildfire Ultra Boy's sacrificeand Shrinking Violet rescue a bunch of civilians. Ultra Boy finds the giant cannon aimed at the Legion cruiser and even though he still doesn’t remember being a Legionnaire, he knows the difference between right and wrong. He jumps in front of the cannon, taking the blast full in the chest. The collateral damage shatters the Quintile crystal, blowing the whole place to hell. Saturn Girl freaks out, figuring there’s no way even Ultra Boy could survive that. After being wrong about his demise before, you’d think she’d be more thorough, but I guess we’re supposed to believe Ultra Boy really is dead this time. I for one, don’t believe that for a second.

New Teen Titans 7 coverNew Teen Titans #7 – “Assault on Titans’ Tower” – Marv Wolfman/George Perez/Romeo Tanghal

This issue starts with the Titans return to New York after defeating Trigon on their extra-dimensional jaunt last issue. Raven wonders if her teammates hate her for lying to them about Trigon and manipulating them into fighting him. Most of them are pretty forgiving, but Cyborg says he doesn’t trust Raven … and doesn’t really like her all that much. Raven tells the others about her powers … limited precognition, empathic reading, and the ability to separate her soul-self from her body. Kid Flash says he’s decided to go back home to take another shot at a normal life. He never really asked to be a super-hero and since Raven basically tricked him into joining the Titans with her ability to manipulate emotions, he’s quitting the team and heading back to Blue Valley. The others wish him luck, but they allTitans discover their HQ has been breached seem glad to have found each other and want to stick together as a team, even though the threat of Trigon is gone. Over in Jersey, the Fearsome Five (who are now the Fearsome Four) are talking about replacing Psimon, who was shunted to another dimension by Trigon. But Psimon makes contact and begs to be released, saying there’s a device in Titans’ Tower that can help. The others still don’t trust Psimon completely, so Gizmo suggests he sabotage the device to keep Psimon from gaining the upper hand if they do manage to bring him back. The villains invade Titans’ Tower, probing the place with Dr. Light’s beams. The shadowy figure we’ve seen lurking around several times before is inside and he doesn’t want to be found … at least not until he has a chance to reveal himself to the Titans and explain Raven saves Cyborgwhy he built the Tower for them. When the Titans return, they notice the smashed-in door and know someone’s inside. (Mammoth opened the door … he’s not big on subtlety.) Raven is desperate to prove herself to her friends, so she heads inside to look around and gets ambushed. She manages to send her soul-self outside as a warning, prompting Cyborg to rush to her rescue. He’s stopped by Wonder Girl and Robin points out the booby trap on the door. Starfire blasts a new entrance in the wall (she’s not much for subtlety either) and they head inside and revive Raven. She doesn’t know who attacked her, so the Titans figure they need to search the whole place. The Fearsome Four have already found the mystery man in the Tower and are trying to force him to use the dimensional transmitter to bring Psimon back. But the mystery man refuses, saying the transmitter has already caused death and mutilation, so he won’t risk that again. Outside the room,Gizmo almost kills Robin Raven senses the villains inside and warns Cyborg, but he’s blasted by Gizmo. Cyborg is hurt bad, but Raven uses her empathic ability to absorb his pain and pull him from the brink of death. Cyborg is impressed that she saved him after he gave her such a hard time, but she says she owed him for helping her against Trigon. Elsewhere in the Tower, Robin and Changeling tangle with Shimmer, while wonder Girl and Starfire tackle Mammoth … who turns out to be tougher than they thought. Gizmo blasts Changeling and wraps Robin in steel bands before tossing him in the swimming pool to drown. Starfire saves Robin and Cyborg punches Gizmo out. Raven helps Robin recover, but all of them are downed by Psimon’s mental blasts. While they were waltzing around, Dr. Light forced the mystery man to free Psimon Shimmer taken downfrom the other dimension. And who is this mysterious figure, who built Titans’ Tower without telling them, and has been lurking around watching them all this time? It’s Dr. Silas Stone, Cyborg’s dad. Cyborg has a grudge against his father and wonders if he’s in league with the Fearsome Five, but Psimon admits he only helped them under duress. Psimon says now that he’s free, their fight with the Titans is over and they’ll release Silas if the heroes let them go. They consider it for a bit, but Wonder Girl jumps in to rally them. Starfire blasts Psimon first, as Wonder Girl gets Dr. Light away from Silas. Mammoth starts pounding Wonder Girl again and Dr. Light blasts Starfire. Shimmer prepares to take Starfire out but her gloating distracts her and Cyborg electrocutes her. Changeling cuts off Mammoth’s air, giving Wonder Girl a chance to drop him … right on top of Gizmo. Dr. Light tries to kill Robin, but the Boy Wonder tells Light he has a new super-power. RobinCyborg's origin waves his hands in front of Light’s face and Light keels over. Turns out Robin had a sleeping gas capsule in his hand, knocking the villain out like a light. (Hey, it was Robin’s joke, don’t blame me.) After the fight, Raven urges Silas to tell Victor the truth and try to reconcile. Silas admits he built Titans’ Tower because he saw how happy Victor was to have friends (in spite of his constant grumbling) and wanted to make sure the team stuck together. We get Cyborg’s origin story: Silas and his wife were scientists who tried to interest their son Victor in science, but he leaned more toward athletics. Silas and his wife built the dimensional transmitter to contact other dimensions, but accidentally released a weird alien monster. It killed Silas diesVictor’s mom and ate most of his body away before Silas could get rid of it. Silas saved Victor by turning him into a cyborg, which Victor always resented. Silas finally admits that contact with the alien gave him cancer and he wanted to reconcile and help rebuild Victor’s life before he dies. Cyborg feels like an asshole and decides to spend some quality time with his dad while he still can. We get a flash-forward of the next three months, where Victor and his father go all Cat’s in the Cradle and spend all kinds of time together. In the end, Silas dies, telling Victor to try and find happiness in his life.

Noticeable Things:

  • When the Titans first head inside their building and decide to look for the villains, we get a full-page plan of Titans’ Tower. I’m a map geek, so I love that kind of thing. (As with all my images, you can click to get a better look.) HQ blueprint

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