Comics Reviews: JLA 224, Legion of Super-Heroes 309, New Teen Titans 40, Warlord 79

JLA 224 coverJLA #224 – “The Supremacy Factor” – Kurt Busiek/Chuck Patton/Dick Giordano

This one starts with Hal (Green Lantern) Jordan, Clark (Superman) Kent, and Oliver (Green Arrow) Queen meeting for lunch at a restaurant in Star City. The waitress thinks she’s ht the jackpot having three studs like them at her table, but Oliver is more concerned with Black Canary, who’s late for lunch. We see Black Canary on her way to the restaurant (having stopped a bank robbery) getting delayed by an altercation in an alley. Some punks are attacking a dude in a trenchcoat and hat, but before Black Canary can come to his defense, the guy kicks the crap out of the muggers. The mysterious “victim” is wearing some kind of mask and costume underSuperman saves Black Canary the coat and he gives a speech about how the criminals are like animals and deserve to die. Black Canary stops him from killing the muggers, but soon finds herself in over her head as her adversary counters all her martial arts moves perfectly. She uses her Canary Cry, but the guy is unaffected by it. At the restaurant, Clark’s super-hearing lets him know Canary is in trouble, so he and the others head out to help her. Superman arrives just in time to keep the guy from killing Black Canary, but gets a surprise of his own when the dude punches him so hard that Supes is knocked into the upper atmosphere. By the time the others arrive (and Superman gets back) the guy is gone, but he left behind a pocket torn from his coat that has some papers in it. Black info on ParagonCanary is pissed off about being beaten but otherwise fine, and she suggests they go to the Satellite to let their teammates know about this new threat. On the Satellite, the foursome discuss what happened with Red Tornado, Wonder Woman, and Firestorm. Nobody can decipher the complex equations on the papers until the Professor Stein half of Firestorm says they’re about transubstantive RNA coding. GL looks that up and finds an award-winning scientist named Joel Cochin who’s been making all kinds of big breakthroughs lately. Green Arrow is ready to go pound Cochin, but Wonder Woman suggests they need more info. Black Canary agrees and says she’ll lead the team (herself, Green Arrow, and Firestorm) that checks Cochin’s place out. When they get there, Cochin (who’s calling himself Paragon now) attacks, using Firestorm’s atomic restructuring powers against them. Yeah, that’sParagon pounding JLA Paragon’s power … he can steal any physical or mental powers from anyone near him, but he can also enhance the powers to enable him to defeat the person he stole them from. Green Arrow tries his trick arrows, knowing Paragon can’t duplicate them, but Paragon uses Firestorm’s powers and Black Canary’s sonic cry to take Green Arrow down. He makes short work of the others too, but Black Canary manages to send an emergency signal before she’s knocked out. She, Firestorm, and Green Arrow wake up in Paragon’s lab, where he tells them his origin story. He was born with mental superiority and decided he was better than everyone else, so he used his intelligence to give himself powers and now is building a machine to wipe out the 90% of humanity he JLA knocks Paragon all over the placeconsiders inferior, leaving him to rule whoever’s left. So he’s basically just an old-fashioned eugenicist. Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, and Red Tornado show up (I guess Canary’s signal got through) and Paragon eagerly attacks them. Since he can duplicate (and enhance) their powers, Paragon gets the upper hand. But Black Canary figures out how to fight him, telling Red Tornado and Green Lantern to attack and keep him off balance. Since their powers are artificial, Paragon can’t use them. The others jump in, hammering away at Paragon so he has no time to think. They knock him around until he’s so disoriented Black Canary can deliver the final blow, a kick to the face. Once Paragon is unconscious, Firestorm asks the obvious question: how are they going to keep him in prison? We don’t get an answer to that, but I don’t think Paragon ever appears again so they must’ve figured something out.

LSH 309 coverLegion of Super-Heroes #309 – “As the Sky Burns” – Paul Levitz/Keith Giffen/Larry Mahlstedt

Last issue, a supremely powerful entity calling himself the Prophet attacked Khundia and took over their weapons and space fleet. The Prophet wants to warn the Khunds about some impending threat and says they’ll need to muster all their defenses to fight this threat. A contingent of Legionnaires (Ultra Boy, Timber Wolf, Phantom Girl, Shadow Lass, and Invisible Kid) followed the Prophet to Khundia and attacked him, but his power dwarfs theirs. Meanwhile, there’s another group of Legionnaires already on Khundia as diplomatic escorts for Ambassador Relnic, who’s warned themLegionnaires attack Prophet not to get involved in the fight since the Khunds will take that as an insult. Ultra Boy’s team attacks the Prophet again, even as he repeats his warnings of the coming doom and exhorts them (and the Khunds) to join him against the massive threat. The Prophet kicks the shit out of the Legionnaires without too much trouble. On another planet, a guy goes to a castle to demand the inhabitants surrender. When they refuse, he says his masters won’t be happy. On Earth at Legion Headquarters, Brainiac 5 is still trying to cure Danielle Foccart of her madness and sever her connection to COMPUTO. He accidentally awakens COMPUTO again, but manages to tranquilize Danielle before any damage is done. On Brainy makes a mistakeyet another planet, the big threat that the Prophet is worried about (known as Omen) is wandering around looking at stuff. Apparently Omen is so far beyond humanity that we can’t even understand his thought processes … sounds like a bit of a Beyonder rip-off to me. Anyway, Omen discovers the Prophet is missing and goes to find him. On Khundia, the Prophet realizes Omen is coming and gets tired of fighting the Legion and the Khunds (who have gathered a new fleet to oppose him). Ambassador Relnic tries to convince the Khunds that the Legion wants to help fight the Prophet, but the Khunds are too proud to acknowledge needing any help, so they tell Relnic the Legion can do whatever they like … and live with the consequences. Relnic tells theProphet withstands Legion attack Legionnaires guarding him (Dream Girl, Sun Boy, Blok, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, and Mon-El) to go help their teammates. The Prophet resists the combined efforts of all the Legionnaires until Invisible Kid realizes he draws power from the sun through his eyes. He tells Shadow Lass to cover the Prophet’s eyes with her darkness powers and that weakens him enough for Ultra Boy to deck him. Unfortunately, that’s when Omen shows up. We’ll see how the Legion handles him next issue.

Karate Kid and Projectra honeymoon“Monarchs of All They Survey” – Paul Levitz, Keith Giffen/Pat Broderick/Mike DeCarlo

This one is about Karate Kid and Projectra’s honeymoon, which takes place on a resort planet called Luxuris. It seems like one of those SF planets where everything is arranged from behind the scenes, like Fantasy Island or the Planet in the TOS episode “Shore Leave”. Anyway, Karate Kid and Jeckie are having a nice honeymoon when Jeckie’s cousin Pharoxx forces the head technician (a Chironian named B’hanath) to start sending monsters and stuff after them. Pharoxx still feels like Projectra stole the throne of Orando from him (with Karate Kid’s help in issue 288) and wants revenge. Pharoxx knocks them out and when KarateKarate Kid duels Pharoxx kid wakes up, Pharoxx says he had help escaping prison from someone else who hates Projectra. Pharoxx challenges Karate Kid to another duel and uses his magic to tip the odds in his favour. Karate Kid turns Pharoxx’s magic against him, but before Pharoxx disappears (having been retrieved by whoever sent him in the first place) he warns Karate Kid and Projectra that Orando’s doom is coming soon. Projectra doesn’t know who might be helping her asshole cousin, but she doesn’t seem too worried about it, wanting to get back to the honeymoon right away.

New Teen Titans 40 coverNew Teen Titans #40 – “Lifeblood” – Marv Wolfman/George Perez/Romeo Tanghal

This one starts with Brother Blood being resurrected for the umpteenth time. The ritual involves him rising from a pit covered in blood and surrounded by fire, with Mother Mayhem really laying on the bullshit. But the ritual impresses the acolytes, making them truly believe in Blood’s power … which was probably the point all along. Back in New York, Gar (Changeling) Logan and Tara (Terra) Markov are being tutored, but Gar keeps acting like an idiot (yeah, I know, what else is new?) and the tutor quits. Gar’s guardian, Steve Dayton, gives him hell (apparently that was tutor number six) and says Gar better smarten up or he’ll send him to (gasp) public school! The horror… the horror… On the wayLogan gets in trouble to a news conference, Gar calls Tara out on some of her lies and her attitude in general. It almost sounds like she might be having second thoughts about her double-crossing ways and spying on the Titans for Terminator. The news conference is a Q and A sort of thing between Brother Blood, the Titans, and some politicians. They’re debating whether America should send weapons to Zandia (Brother Blood’s country) or not. Wolfman gets into a lot of topical stuff here (“If we don’t arm them, the communists will”… oh, that old chestnut); Brother Blood says he doesn’t want weapons, his government does and he gives a speech that seems to strike a chord with many of the young people watching, despite the Titans’ warnings about Blood being evil. debate between Titans and Blood's peopleThat’s another topical reference, with Blood appealing to disaffected youth who feel like they don’t belong anywhere… shades of the Manson Family, the SLA, Jim Jones, the Moonies, Hare Krishna, and so on. They realize Blood is a master of propaganda and swaying public opinion, so Dick disguises himself as a reporter and convinces three politicians to go to Zandia on a fact-finding mission. He tags along, but his disguise doesn’t hold up to scrutiny and he’s captured. When the Titans get an emergency signal, they head over to Zandia (in a cool submarine) and tunnel up through the island, with Terra doing most of the work. They fight Blood’s henchmen, but are gassed and captured. When they wake up, they get a shock as Dick seems to be brainwashed and is now working for Blood. That’s one of the fewinvading Blood's fortress complaints I had about the New Titans series… they seem to recycle villains/plots quite a bit: Brother Blood (or his successor) comes back over and over, with Dick “joining” him again in the Baxter series (as well as Raven); Trigon keeps coming back, so do Terminator, Blackfire and the Gordanians, and don’t even get me started on how long they drag out the Wildebeest story. Anyway, the rest of the Titans are hung up over Blood’s pit full of … well, blood. He says that by bathing in the blood of his enemies, he gains their strength and he’ll soon add the Titans’ power to his own. We’ll see how that turns out next issue.

Warlord 79 coverWarlord #79 – “Paradox” – Cary Burkett/Pat Broderick/Rick Magyar

Last issue, Morgan, Krystovar, and Shakira were investigating the chamber full of futuristic weapons in New Atlantis when they disappeared in one of the small flying saucers. They’re pretty disoriented, but end up landing in an open field and meeting a guy named Reno Franklin who knows them. He starts going on about pulling them from the time-stream and says he just saw them a couple minutes ago. Morgan is confused until a familiar trio shows up … himself, Shakira (wearing a dress!), and Krystovar. The new Morgan says this has happened to them before and everything will make sense eventually. Their discussion is interrupted when Reno starts glowing. He says the chronal radiation in his body is being affected by having three sets of doubles in the same place.Tara prepares to follow Morgan Morgan grabs Krystovar and Shakira right before they’re thrown into the time-stream again. Back in Skartaris, Tara is wondering what the hell happened to Morgan and the others. She knows it has something to do with the saucers and the metallic cartridges used to open them, so she vows to open another saucer and follow Morgan. She’ll have a hell of a time finding him … Morgan and friends end up on the USS Eldridge in 1942. Yup, it’s the Philadelphia Experiment, Warlord style. Morgan explains how the Navy experimented with magnetism to try and turn ships invisible, but ended up teleporting the Eldridge from Philadelphia to Norfolk. As a sailor runs past screaming, Morgan recalls that most of the people involved ended up going insane. aboard the EldridgeReno pops in on the Eldridge, but he doesn’t seem to recognize Morgan and the others. As the magnetic field subsides, Morgan and friends are pulled back into the time-stream. In Skartaris, Jennifer Morgan and her servant Faaldren run into some New Atlantean troops looking for trouble. Jennifer uses her magic on them, but realizes something bad is happening and she’d better get to Shamballah fast. Morgan and the others run into Reno in the time-stream and he gives them chronal dampeners to keep them from bouncing around in time. All of them end up back in Reno’s lab in 2068, where he’s been trying to replicate the Philadelphia Experiment. Reno explains that he was a scientist on the original Experiment and the only one who didn’t goReno tells his story nuts. The government wanted him to continue his experiments and duplicate what happened on the Eldridge (which led to all the post-war flying saucer sightings), eventually sequestering him in a secret base when they found out the chronal radiation he’d absorbed was affecting time around him. So while Reno spent a few years at the base, over 100 years passed in the outside world. Reno says he’s close to replicating the original Experiment and the saucer Morgan and the others arrived in is one of their final efforts. Back in New Atlantis, Tara opens another of the saucers, but before she can get in, a New Atlantean hybrid (a wolf-man) shows up. He says he’s taking all the advanced weaponry to use against the Skartarians and he’s going to start by taking care of Tara and her troops.

Jinal meets YisrahBarren Earth – “Slave Market” – Gary Cohn/Ron Randall

Last issue, Jinal, Skinner, and Renna were captured by slavers. They’re being hauled to a slave market in a settlement called M’breem. Jinal meets a fellow captive named Yisrah who’s a traveling shaman of some kind. When Jinal mentions they’re looking for someone who still masters technology and has amassed great power, Yisrah says there’s a city called D’roz that floats through the sky. Skinner seems to recognize the name D’roz, but keeps that to himself. Jinal is thrilled to have a clue to what they’re looking for, until Renna reminds her they’re being taken to a slave market. In M’breem some Harahashan (also known as Lizards) buy Jinal and her friends, but she insists Yisrah beescaping the slavers included in the sale and almost starts a fight. The Harahashan buys Yisrah too, but when it comes time to pay up, they lead their “slaves” away at a rapid pace. Yeah, it’s actually Barasha (who disappeared last issue during the slavers’ attack) who bought them … but of course they have no intention of paying. The slavers chase them, but Barasha and friends (including more Harahashan) escape on giant lizards, fleeing into the desert. The slavers get all their vehicles ready to pursue the fugitives, since letting them go might be bad for business.

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