Comics Reviews: JLA 214, Legion of Super-Heroes 299, New Teen Titans 31, All-Star Squadron 21

JLA 214 coverJustice League of America #214 – “The Siren Sisterhood” – Gerry Conway/Don Heck/Romeo Tanghal

Last issue, Ray (Atom) Palmer had a slight freak-out and took off into the microcosmos, a vast realm that exists at a sub-atomic level. Some of Atom’s JLA teammates (Batman, Green Arrow, Red Tornado, Black Canary, and Hawkman) followed him into the microcosmos and ran into a friendly native who calls herself the Wanderer. The Wanderer filled them in on a despot named Goltha who’s been keeping this world (L’arra Sha) under his thumb for three generations using some kind of secret weapon. The Wanderer led the JLA to a city where they found out Goltha’s secret weapon is actually the Atom, who is a giant on this world for some reason. The JLAers had amnesia after their harrowing trip into the microverse, but seeing Atom jogs Black Canary’s memory. Not only does she remember his name, she recalls those of herself and her teammates, and knows they’reKass'andre takes an interest part of some kind of League. Wanderer snaps them out of their reverie to warn that Goltha’s huge palace guards are attacking. The JLA does okay at first, but ends up being overwhelmed. They wake up in a dungeon, held in some old-fashioned wooden stocks, while Goltha’s interrogators prepare to have some fun with the Wanderer. A new player enters the scene, a good-looking woman named Princess Kass’andre, who looks like she’s really into bondage. Kass’andre wants to know about these strange new rebels and takes a special interest in Green Arrow. When one of the interrogators (who seems to be a telepath) tells her Black Canary doesn’t like her, Kass’andre blasts Canary with some magical force bolts. Outside the palace, a couple of women (who wear the same sorts of robes as the Wanderer) try to sneak inside. They’re Kaa revealedcaught by a guard, but one of the women (the aptly-named Twigg) is like a living tree and can stretch her limbs out and use them as weapons. She takes out the guard and her friend (Sister Light) says they’d better get inside fast if they want to save the strangers. In the torture chamber, Kass’andre finishes with Black Canary and gets word that intruders have breached the palace. Wanderer throws off her guards (and her robes) and reveals herself as Krystal Kaa, the rightful ruler of L’arra Sha. She tells Kass’andre that she and her father’s usurping days are over and Kaa is here to reclaim the throne. Kass’andre’s not so tough now that she’s facing someone who can fight back. She sacrifices one of the torturers to protect herself and takes off, leaving the guards to mop up. Without her magic staff, Kaa is hard-pressed to hold off the guards, but Twigg and Sister light show up to help. They release the JLA, but Green Arrow is devastated to learn Black Canary is dead. Their rescuersBlack Canary revived lead the JLA to an underground hideout where their organization—the Siren Sisterhood—plots to take L’arra Sha back from Goltha. They meet the Sisterhood’s leader, Mother moon, who says Black Canary is only mostly dead. Mother Moon uses her powers to bring Canary back, while simultaneously restoring everyone’s memories. Mother Moon knows the JLA are there to help Atom, but reminds them that Goltha has been using him as a weapon to keep people in line. Wanderer (who apparently isn’t part of the Sisterhood, despite their similar taste in fashion) asks who the Sisterhood is and what they’re all about. Mother moon is somewhat evasive, but says the Sisterhood is a Atom goes wildhaven for those who don’t fit anywhere else and those who desire peace. She does make it clear that the Sisterhood opposes Goltha, but Batman has his suspicions (as usual), especially when he catches a glimpse of an ominous shape watching from the shadows of a nearby cave. In the palace, Kass’andre fills her father in on Kaa and the breakout. Goltha says it’s time to remind people who’s in charge by using his secret weapon. As he says this, Atom rises up, throwing off his restraints and roaring like a mindless beast … which he kinda seems to be at the moment. We’ll see if Atom destroys Tokyo next issue.

LSH 299 coverLegion of Super-Heroes #299 – “Not a Ghost of a Chance” – Paul Levitz/Keith Giffen/Larry Mahlstedt

Last issue, Wildfire was blown away while fighting Kharlak, the Khundish warrior who lured a contingent of Legionnaires to the Asteroid Archipelago so he could get revenge on them for an earlier defeat. But Invisible Kid’s power lets him see (and travel) into other dimensions, and he insisted Wildfire was still alive. Invisible Kid disappeared, traveling to a dimension that looks straight out of Steve Ditko’s Dr. Strange. After almost getting eaten by a member of the native fauna (or possibly flora), Invisible Kid goes looking for Wildfire. Back on the asteroid, White Witch uses her powers to search for Wildfire and Invisible Kid and tells Blok and DawnstarBlok fights Kharlak that the missing Legionnaires are elsewhere … and near death. Before they can digest that, Kharlak returns, having repaired his armour from Blok’s attack last issue. Kharlak is ready for revenge and starts by blasting Blok with an energy beam to get him out of the way while he takes care of the others. Dawnstar attacks Kharlak and gets pounded, and Blok comes back to face the Khund again. This time, Kharlak gets the best of him, pounding him into the ground. Back at Legion Headquarters on Earth, Element Lad and Shvaughn Erin are playing Scrabble and Shvaughn’s winning. Element Lad is distracted because he knows Dream Girl (who’s now the legion leader) is taking a team to the Asteroid Archipelago to help the others. Since Element Lad is deputy Element Lad and Shvaughn get closerleader, he’s a little pissed off at being left on monitor duty at HQ. He’s also still wondering why Shrinking Violet was acting so weird last issue, but Shvaughn soon gives him something else to think about when she hints that she has the hots for him. On Weber’s World, Duplicate Boy rejoins his teammates in the Heroes of Lallor after beating the shit out of Colossal Boy last issue. The Heroes have been helping rebuild Weber’s World (after Darkseid’s rampage) and they introduce Duplicate Boy to the Science Police commander for the planet, Ontiir. After the Heroes leave, Ontiir reports to someone by communicator and we learn that Ontiir is being mind-controlled. In the other dimension, Invisible Kid tracks down Wildfire, except this is Wildfire as he was before he turned into plasma energy; whatever weird dimension they’re in has reconstituted him as Drake Burroughs, his original human identity. Drake is loving his new lifeInvisibkle Kid finds Drake Burroughs (he’s got lots of food and hot women around, so I guess he’s not hard to please) and tells Invisible kid he doesn’t want to go back to the real world. Invisible Kid says they need him to help against Kharlak and tries to guilt him over his feelings for Dawnstar, but Drake knows if he returns he’ll be a bundle of plasma again and won’t be able to love Dawnstar anyway. On the asteroid, White Witch shows up to face Kharlak and he figures he’ll have an easy victory. But she’s been preparing spells especially for him and turns his weapon into a bouquet of flowers. She then blows up his armour and all his other weapons, knocking him out and impressing the hell out of Blok and Dawnstar. But Kharlak didn’t come alone … a huge Khund ship looms over the Legionnaires. On Medicus One, Lightning Lad is in with Dr. Larsh (Dr. Gym’ll is away) getting checked to Khund ship loomingmake sure his nervous breakdown didn’t leave any lasting damage. Larsh is not as nice as he seems and we learn that he has secret plans for Lightning Lad, though we don’t know exactly what just yet. In the other dimension, Drake is adamant that he won’t return, so Invisible Kid decides to take the decision out of Drake’s hands by decking him. Invisible Kid carries the unconscious Drake toward what he thinks is the way out, but they wind up in another strange dimension, on top of a replica of the Legion’s original “buried rocket” HQ (which Invisible Kid doesn’t recognize, since he’s too new to the team). But there’s someone else here … the original Invisible Kid, Lyle Norg. Lyle tells his younger counterpart about how he was killed by Validus and entered the ghost dimension in pursuit of Myla, a woman he’d fallen in love with. But apparently Myla wasn’t real, just an illusion like everything in that dimension. Invisible Kid says he and Drake have to get back to the real worldLyle goes nuts and Lyle freaks out; the prospect of being alone again makes him go nuts and he jumps Invisible kid. They fight and Lyle is so pissed off he’s ready to kill Invisible Kid rather than be alone again, but he comes to his senses and tells Invisible Kid to get out while he can. Invisible Kid feels bad about leaving Lyle is his own private hell, but he concentrates and tries to return to the asteroid. He makes it back to the real world this time, although he’s a little off target … he shows up on Orando, where Queen Projectra has been leading a séance to determine if she’s allowed to marry a commoner (Karate Kid, In case you didn’t know). The oracles take Invisible Kid and Wildfire’s appearance as a sign from the ancestors that the wedding should proceed, but before Invisible Kid can feel too good about himself, he passes out. On the asteroid, Khund ship totaledDawnstar draws the Khund ship’s fire and Blok tries to smash it with some debris, but the ship just disintegrates it. White Witch has no spells prepared to fight a Khund ship (I guess she’s a D&D type magic user), but Dawnstar senses something coming in from outside the system. She leads the Khund ship toward the newcomers, who turn out to be more Legionnaires in cruisers, led by Dream Girl. The other Legionnaires have been complaining about Dream Girl since she was elected leader, but she’s obviously a skilled tactician; she maneuvers Sun Boy, Cosmic Boy, and Star Boy into flanking positions where they can all use their powers against the Khund ship, bringing it crashing down on the asteroid. At the far end of the Archipelago, Mon-El and Shadow Lass are finishing up their vacation. Mon-El has heard aboutShady's new look the ruckus elsewhere in the Archipelago and briefly wonders why he and Shady wren’t called in, but concludes it must’ve been a minor problem. Mon-El is startled to see Shadow Lass’s new look: an ultra-short haircut and white makeup over her blue skin. I’m not sure what prompted her to make such a radical change, but maybe we’ll find out in next issue’s big spectacular. Yup, it’s issue 300 and it’s a big one with tons of guest artists, so don’t miss it!

 

New Teen Titans 31 coverNew Teen Titans #31 – “Inferno” – Marv Wolfman/George Perez/Romeo Tanghal

This issue starts right where the last one left off, with the Titans in Times Square recovering from their fight against the Brotherhood of Evil. The crowd has calmed down and Wally (Kid Flash) West is back from wherever Warp took him, but Raven is still missing. Kid Flash isn’t too sympathetic, since he’s still freaked out about Raven using her powers against him last issue. The others remind him she was under the influence of Phobia’s power and the evil Wally felt was just a manifestation of Raven’s father Trigon, but he doesn’t care. That sets off an argument, which Victor (Cyborg) Stone suggests they settle in private. Back at Titans’ Tower, Donna (Wonder Girl) Troy is waiting, wondering where they’ve all been. She tells them Terry proposed to her but she hasn’t said yes yet; she still doesn’t know who her real parents were or where she came from andRaven tortured by Phobia feels she’d like to figure that out before taking the next step in her life. Dick (Robin) Grayson promises to help her out (and Speedy reminds her he’s always available), but Wally tells the team Raven was shanghaied to Zandia, so they take off in the Titans’ Jet to find her. In Zandia, the Brotherhood want to know Brother Blood’s secret of eternal life and Brain figures Raven knows the truth. She insists she doesn’t, but Brain thinks she absorbed the knowledge when she merged her soul-self with Blood a few issues ago. The Brotherhood use their various powers to torture Raven, trying to force her to talk (including Phobia showing her all the Titans dying because of her), but nothing works. Brain thinks they might need to try a different approach. On the Titans’ Jet, Victor admits to Gar (Changeling) Logan that he’s been in a shitty mood lately Victor admits why he's in a bad moodbecause he found out Sarah Simms (who he’s kinda sweet on) has a fiancé. Starfire tells Dick she’s sick of him treating her like an idiot all the time and he apologizes, but says Earth people sometimes need room to work out their issues. Starfire doesn’t understand (on Tamaran, lovers basically give all of themselves to each other), but she says she’ll respect it. In Zandia, Brain and Monsieur Mallah try to reason with Raven, telling her Brother Blood is a threat to America and possibly the world but she can help stop him. Brain’s gentle approach works and Raven starts having flashes of memories she absorbed from Blood. She leads them through the forest to a cliff wall and says there’s a pit full of fire and brimstone inside the mountain. Plasmus melts through the rock wall and they go inside. At Zandia’s airport, the Titans land but are told by security that they’re not welcome there. Inside blood’s headquarters, Mother Mayhem receives word that the regeneration chamber has been breached by the Brotherhood. Brother BloodTitans fight Brotherhood is in America with most of the security forces, but Mayhem isn’t worried; she says the Titans will take care of the Brotherhood and orders airport security to let them in. In the underground chamber, Raven warns the Brotherhood that the pit contains an evil that could threaten their very souls. They aren’t worried, but before they can do anything, the Titans show up. Raven is surprised her teammates came to help her after everything that happened with Kid Flash. She watches as the Titans pound the Brotherhood and is disturbed that she enjoys the strong primitive emotions stirred up by the fight. But the Brain uses his mental powers to blast all the Titans, knocking them out. Seeing her friends sprawled around the cavern, Raven is Donna gets through to Ravenreminded of the nightmare Phobia forced her to life earlier and freaks out. She lets loose the part of her that she’s always kept restrained, the part that contains Trigon’s evil. She blasts the Brotherhood easily, reveling in the sensations until Donna grabs her and talks some sense into her, urging her to fight back against Trigon’s influence. Raven does resist, then tries to end Trigon’s threat by killing herself, but in the end refuses to take any life, even her own. Donna tries to reassure her that everything will be fine, but I don’t think either of them really believes that.

All-Star Squadron 21 coverAll-Star Squadron #21 – “A Tale of Three Citadels” – Roy Thomas/Jerry Ordway/Mike Machlan

This one starts with Superman responding (belatedly) to the alert from last issue. He shows up at the Perisphere to find out Brainwave’s threat has been neutralized and everyone is fine, although Green Lantern’s still pretty shaken from committing genocide in his dream. Superman explains he was fighting Luthor, which is why he’s late to the party. The others explain how Brainwave put them all in a realistic dreamworld to try and kill them. Hawkman says one part of the dream was actually true: the president did ask the JSA (who’d all enlisted in their civilian identities) to form a Justice Battalion and help out against super-powered threats on the homefront. Since the Spear of Destiny and the Holy Grail prevent the most powerful heroes from taking the fight to the Axis, the JSA agree to comeAll-Stars talk back to their costumed identities. Johnny Thunder makes the idiotic suggestion that Wonder Woman serve as secretary (to save him from getting stuck with the job, since he’s obviously the most useless JSAer) and is immediately shouted down. But Wonder Woman says everyone has to do their part for the war effort, so she takes one for the team and agrees to be the JSA secretary. I guess that was Roy’s way of explaining the rampant sexism of the early 40s. Sandman and Tarantula mention the fake Thor (who was actually Sandman’s old enemy, Fairytales Fenton) busting up JSA headquarters a couple issues ago with a powerful blue hammer. Hawkman says it sounds like an artifact he lost a while back and that it could be Johnny's jealousydangerous in the wrong hands. Hawkman, Firebrand, Atom, and Dr. Fate head for New York to get the hammer. Wonder Woman, Johnny Thunder, Dr. Mid-Nite, Sandman, and Starman head to Washington, which leaves Superman, Liberty Belle, Tarantula, Johnny Quick, Robotman, Green Lantern, and Commander Steel hanging around outside the Perisphere. An off-hand remark by Johnny (who’s jealous that Liberty Belle is so fascinated by Superman) gives Belle the idea to take over the Perisphere as All-Star Squadron headquarters. Superman has to safely store the Powerstone he took from Luthor, so he offers to lend them some stuff from his Secret Citadel and Liberty Belle’s eager to check it out. Thy can’t get up to much mischief though, as Green Lantern invites himself along. Johnny admits to Tarantula that he feels inadequate next to guys like Superman and GL. Theyfighting Cyclotron check out the Perisphere and Robotman and Steel decide the robot Brainwave used against them could be reprogrammed as a butler. In New York, the All-Stars show up to find the JSA’s HQ on fire and Mayor LaGuardia watching the blaze. They help put out the blaze and sift through the wreckage looking for the hammer, which Hawkman says was given to him by a Norwegian archaeologist who didn’t want Hitler to get it for some reason. Atom finds the hammer, but is grabbed by someone who rises from the rubble. It’s a super-powered dude named Cyclotron, who’s glowing all over. Cyclotron has several creepy green gollum-type creatures helping him and says he’ll release Atom as long as the All-Stars give him the hammer and let him escape. Cyclotron tosses Atom at Hawkman and commands his green cop killed fighting Cyclotronmeanies to attack. Dr. Fate jumps him, but Cyclotron drains Fate’s power and kicks his ass. Firebrand uses her powers to drive the green creatures away (they seem afraid of the light more than the heat), but Cyclotron whips off one of his gloves and shoots an energy blast from his hand. A cop nearby decides to help out and Cyclotron tries to distract him by blasting a brick wall near the Mayor. La Guardia and the cop try to save each other and Dr. Fate dives on them just as the wall collapses. The Mayor is fine, but Fate rises from the rubble with the dead cop in his arms. Cyclotron actually seems to feel bad about killing the cop and gives the All-Stars shit for forcing his hand. Atom and Hawkman go after him but Fate jumps in front of them, taking Cyclotron’s nuclear blast. Cyclotron is surprised Fate can stand up to his blast, but eventually Fate keels over. Cyclotron grabs the hammer and orders the greenies to cover him as he retreats by melting a tunnel into theDeathbolt attacks ground. The JSAers swear vengeance on Cyclotron, but Firebrand decides to check out the green creatures a little more closely … and talk to Fairytales Fenton. In the mountains upstate, Superman shows off his Secret Citadel to Liberty Belle and Green Lantern. They’re interrupted when the whole place starts shaking and a bunch of those freaky green creatures burst up through the floor. They’re not alone either; an asshole in a green costume (Deathbolt) who wields electricity pops up and zaps Belle to get at the Powerstone. Superman and GL fight past the greenies, but can’t push through the Deathbolt’s electrical field. Belle tries to get the Powerstone, Ultra-Humanite revealedbut someone else grabs it before she can reach it, and she gets zapped again by Deathbolt. Superman and GL are ready to pound Deathbolt, since he dropped his protective field to zap Belle, but Deathbolt blasts them back. They notice the newcomer who grabbed the Powerstone, a good-looking woman in a rather revealing dress. Superman recognizes her by her eyes … it’s actually his old foe, Ultra-Humanite, except Ultra-Humanite was a man last time they met. Ultra-Humanite raises the Powerstone and Superman says if he’s allowed to absorb its energy, he’ll be the most dangerous criminal in history.

Noticeable Things:

  • Superman’s fight against Luthor where he retrieved the Powerstone happened in Action 47 and Superman 17, way back in 1942.
  • Yes, this is the same Ultra-Humanite we saw in JLA 195-197. How did he turn from a man into a woman, and a woman into an albino ape? Stay tuned.

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