Comics Reviews: JLA 231, Tales of the Teen Titans 47, New Teen Titans 2, Tales of the Legion 316, Legion of Super-Heroes 3

JLA 231 coverJustice League of America #231 – “Family Crisis” – Kurt Busiek/Alan Kupperberg/Rich Buckler

This (and the next one) is obviously a fill-in issue before the big revamp. This story is narrated by an unseen being (the Commander), who’s been watching the JLA for a while but doesn’t seem to understand them too well, and is involved with someone he calls “the Champion”. After nine JLAers transported to Earth during the Martian invasion (which we saw in the last few issues), Superman, Wonder Woman, and Supergirl showed up on the Satellite in response to a call from Flash. It’s not an emergency, Flash just wants to talk about his upcoming trial. But they’re interrupted when three people (two kids and a woman) suddenly appear on the Satellite saying they need help. The unseen foe decides to send an invasion force against the JLA, but nothing happens. The threefighting winged monkeys intruders tell the JLAers they need help and all of them vanish. They reappear on Earth-2, where members of the JSA (Starman, Green Lantern, Dr. Fate, and Dr. Mid-Nite) are fighting what look like winged monkeys. Obviously, the invasion force ended up on the wrong Earth. The JLA jump in to help fight the weird creatures and by using teamwork, manage to handle them. All the while, the unseen presence is evaluating them, finding them all to be formidable foes, except Dr. Mid-Nite, who he dismisses as someone with no real powers who relies on technology. The unseen dude makes the winged monkeys disappear and reveals himself as a giant holographic head, telling the heroes his second attack will be unstoppable unless they surrender by Victoria tells their storythe end of the day. Superman realizes the trio that brought them here probably know what’s going on, so he makes them spill it. The two kids are Victoria and Ian Champion (children of a famous physicist named Joshua Champion) and the woman is their Aunt Meredith. Victoria tells how their father vanished from his lab while working on dimensional travel, then popped up again three months later, glowing like a miniature star. Champion told them he’d found something beyond his wildest dreams and soon the entire world would learn about it. He gave the three powers, but right before vanishing again, Champion seemed to come to his senses and tried to warn them of some great danger. Now, Victoria wants to find her father using the powers he gave them, although Ian is much more cynicalfighting demons at the Pentagon about his father’s character and motivations. Victoria offers to take the heroes to find her father, but some of them have to stay behind to deal with his coming invasion. Yeah, it’s another classic split-up of the teams: Superman, Flash, Dr. Mid-Nite, and Starman go with Victoria and Meredith to look for Champion, while the others (and Ian) stay behind to deal with the imminent invasion. While being a general pain in the ass, Ian accidentally figures out that the Pentagon is the target and when GL, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Dr. Fate show up there, they find a horde of demons about to attack. While they fight off the demons, Victoria’s team ends up in a strange visions of paradiseworld where the very ground is unstable. They find a domed city and head inside, but they’re assaulted by an ear-shattering amount of noise that almost kills all of them except Superman. The Man of Steel gets everyone to a quieter location, a nearby tower. But that’s just what their unseen opponent wanted; when they enter the tower they’re blinded by a hypnotic light that enthralls their minds, causing them to see what they most desire. But Dr. Mid-Nite is unaffected (being blind) and uses his blackout bomb to banish the light and bring everyone to their senses. They find Joshua Champion unconscious strapped into a machine and they rescue him. But the people in the city have all gone nuts and attack the heroes as soon as they emerge from the tower.getting back home On Earth-2, Dr. Fate, GL, and Wonder Woman combine their magical resources to banish the invading demons. Meanwhile, Meredith and Victoria manage to use their powers to get themselves, their father, and the four heroes out of the other world and head back to Earth-2. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what the Commander wants, since he still has mental control over all of them except Dr. Mid-Nite.


Tales of Teen Titans 47 coverTales of the Teen Titans #47 – “Final Conflict” – Marv Wolfman/George Perez/Mike DeCarlo

Last issue, Aqualad and Aquagirl came to the Titans for help against HIVE, who had attacked Atlantis. The Titans found out HIVE had established an underwater base near Atlantis and went to check it out. They ended up being herded into a dead end chamber, which was launched into the ocean and detonated. The HIVE Queen (who acts more like a teenage girl sometimes than a ruthless villain) is celebrating their victory, but her minions inform her the Titans aren’t dead yet. Raven used her soul-self to protect the Titans from the explosion and they’re now floating around in the ocean depths. Raven is having trouble maintaining her soul-self under such pressure, so Aqualad and AquagirlRaven leaves leave her protective aegis and bust back into the HIVE base, finding a safe place for Raven to deposit her friends. Raven use of her powers has drained her, making her more susceptible to her father’s evil influence, so she teleports away to keep herself from harming them if she loses control. A squad of HIVE troops shows up to recapture the Titans, but Starfire blasts them. The HIVE soldier whose body Jericho “borrowed” last issue offers to guide them past all the base’s booby traps to the command centre. He says he has no loyalty to HIVE anymore since the Queen was willing to sacrifice him along with the Titans. He tells them the HIVE is planning on destroying Atlantis, which really Vic and Jillian talk to Garfreaks out Aqualad and Aquagirl. Jericho figures they can trust the guy, so they take him along. Back in Titans’ Tower, Victor (Cyborg) Stone finds Gar (Changeling) Logan, who he’s been looking for since Terra’s betrayal and death. Gar is still pissed off about Terra and about Terminator’s part in her death. Vic tells him Terminator will pay for what he did in a court of law. Vic’s not really getting through to him until he brings out an old girlfriend of Gar’s (Jillian), who’s just come back from London (where her father sent her to get her away from Gar). Jillian and Vic tell Gar he has to get his shit together and stop obsessing about Terminator. Gar says he’ll try, but he’s still thinking about revenge. In the HIVE base, the Titans have split up and both teams run into HIVE soldiers, who they handle with relative ease. The Queen activates theStarfire caught base’s automated defenses and Starfire is caught in some electrified steel tendrils. Before she’s fried, Wonder Girl uses one of the automated lasers to blast her free, but she’s unconscious. Jericho borrows Starfire’s body so they don’t have to leave her behind. They run into a wall of fire and Jericho/Starfire flies through, barely making it to the other side. Meanwhile, the captured HIVE goon has led Nightwing and Aqualad to the weapon chamber where they find a big-ass torpedo waiting to be launched. The HIVE goon says it’s a back-up missile, meant to destroy Atlantis; Aqualad can’t figure out why the HIVE Nightwing destroys controlsare targeting Atlantis in the first place, but Nightwing has more important things to worry about. He blows up the weapons controls (which saves Jericho/Starfire from getting zapped by a laser grid) and the HIVE Queen realizes they can’t defeat the Titans with manpower alone. She launches the missile at Atlantis and tells her people there’s only one thing left to do. Aqualad jumps on the missile as it launches and manages to redirect it far enough from Atlantis that it causes no damage when it explodes. When Wonder Girl, Starfire, and Jericho get to the control room, they find everyone dead, including the HIVE Queen. (Apparently, she electrocuted them all in their chairs, so theyQueen's final message didn’t commit suicide, although I assume the Queen herself did.) An automated message plays from the Queen, telling how HIVE wanted to blackmail Earth’s governments by threatening to poison the water and how they first attacked the Titans to make a name for themselves. As she drones on, Wonder Girl realizes it’s a distraction and warns the others. They make it to their mini-sub and take off right before the base blows up. So, I guess that’s it for HIVE, although you never know … it’s hard to keep good villains down.

New Titans 2New Teen Titans #2 – “The Search for Raven” – Marv Wolfman/George Perez

This one starts in the dark hellscape of an Azarath, where Arella (Raven’s mother) finds herself buffeted by otherworldly storms. She sees Raven walking across a bridge of stone and realizes her daughter has succumbed to Trigon’s evil influence, but there’s nothing she can do to stop it. Back in the real world, Trigon’s evil is bleeding through, causing dark clouds and powerful storms over the entire world. Instead of running around like maniacs and looting, most people are so freaked out they’re just staying home. Donna (Wonder Girl) Troy returns to Titans’ Tower to find Raven gone and the rest of the Titans worried about her. Nightwing finds Raven’s rings, which she hasn’t removed since shefighting the fire received them from Azar (back in NTT 2). While the Titans are trying o figure out what to do, their friend Lillith shows up. Lillith is a precog and when she touches Raven’s rings, she freaks out and everything goes crazy. Lightning comes through the window, hitting Cyborg, and the door slams shut as a fire breaks out. The Titans fight their way out of the room, realizing Trigon is screwing with them from the other dimension. Lillith says she has to try again to find Raven, but she needs help from someone who’s closer to Raven than she is. That turns out to be Wally (Kid Flash) West, who’s reluctant to join them in what may be a hopeless fight. Wally’s girlfriend (Frances Kane) really doesn’t want Raven's warninghim to go—partly out of jealousy over Raven—but Wally finally agrees to help, saying he doesn’t love Raven any more but has to help if he can. Back at Titans’ Tower, Lillith leads a séance where they try to make contact with Raven. They succeed, but Raven is half-crazed with Trigon’s evil and warns them to stay away from her or they’ll all die. Another voice contacts them and they recognize it as Arella’s. She wants their help to save Raven and when they agree, Arella pulls them into Azarath, which is a twisted hellscape unlike the peaceful dimension it was before. As usual, the denizens of Azarath offer no resistance to fate, so the Titans leap into action to save them from the crumbling structures all around. Some of the Titans are knocked out by debris and Lillith becomes fascinated by a certain temple. Wally speeds into the temple (which almost kills him, since his powers have been acting up lately), which turns out to be Azar’s tomb. Azarath in troubleHe finds Arella and a group of priests and priestesses preparing themselves for the end of Azarath. They have resigned themselves to the end of their dimension and willingly accept death when fire-breathing demons swoop in to immolate them, despite Wally’s protests. Back on Earth, the storm inTrigon appears on Earth New York seems to be focused on Titans’ Tower, but a rift opens in the sky and winged demons pour forth, followed by Raven … but not the Raven we’re familiar with. She looks much more like Trigon now, with red skin and four eyes. Raven tells the assembled crowds that Trigon is coming and that they should accept him as their new god with no reservations and no dissent. Her words prove true, as Trigon manifests on Earth in all his unholy glory.

Noticeable Things:

  • The art for the other dimensional scenes is pretty cool; it kinda looks like it was done straight from Perez’s pencils, with some kind of Kirby-crackle colour-hold for the background.
  • There’s a reference here to a story that hasn’t come out yet, showing how Lillith and the Titans ran into each other again. That story will be upcoming in Tales of the Teen Titans. (Remember, there’s a year’s worth of stories in that mag that precede issue 1 of this Baxter series.)

Tales of the Legion 316 coverTales of the Legion #316 – “Meanwhile” – Paul Levitz, Keith Giffen/Terry Shoemaker/Karl Kesel

This one starts with Cosmic Boy helping a trio of Substitutes (Polar Boy, Stone Boy, and Night Girl, Cos’s girlfriend) stop some smugglers at the Metropolis Spaceport. Ever since Cosmic Boy’s family got fireballed, he’s been taking a special interest in smugglers, hoping to find the ones who brought in the nuke that totaled his family. But these smugglers are strictly low-level, so the Legionnaires pound them easily. The leader of the smugglers doesn’t like that and manages to trap them aboard his ship, launching it into outer space in the hopes they’ll end up dead. On Medicus One, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl check out with their new baby, planningshot into space to visit their families. At Legion Headquarters, Bouncing Boy takes over monitor duty from Jacques Foccart (Invisible Kid), who says he’s going to help the original Invisible Kid (Lyle Norg) get his shit together. On the runaway spaceship, Cosmic Boy and company find the controls are shorted out and the whole ship is full of booby traps. Polar Boy and Stone Boy are worried, but Cosmic Boy gets an idea. At Legion HQ, Jacques tells Lyle he owes him for inventing the serum that gave Jacques his powers, so he’s ready to pay Lyle back by taking him to the weird dimension where he was stuck for so long. Lyle is a little freaked out (he really thought he’d died and gone to the afterlife Cosmic Boy's magnetic distress callbefore Jacques pulled him back), but he agrees to go, just to put his mind at rest. On the runaway ship, Cosmic Boy and Polar Boy form an “escape pod” from ice and scrap metal and bust out through the ship’s hull. That’ll keep them from getting any farther from Earth, but Cosmic Boy’s power isn’t strong enough to pull them all the way back. Instead, he uses his power to send out a magnetic distress call, which is picked up by his brother, Magnetic kid, who’s currently studying at the Legion Academy. Magnetic Kid and some other students take a ship out to rescue Cosmic Boy and the others. Elsewhere, Wildfire, Dawnstar, and Mon-El are flying through space when Wildfire suddenly gets a weird feeling and vanishes in a flash of light.

Noticeable Things:

  • Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl’s kid was born in Legion Annual #3, which I’ll be reviewing (along with some other Annuals) after I finish the December issues.

“The Path Not Taken” – Paul Levitz (plot), Mindy Newell/George Tuska/Karl Kesel

This is the conclusion of the story of White Witch getting her powers and joining the Legion. Last issue Mysa Nal (White Witch’s real name) was cursed by Mordru and turned into a Hag. She joined up with Prince Evillo, who used her to fight the Legion, but her sister (Dream Girl) figured outMysa becomes White Witch what was going on and changed Mysa back to her original self. Dream Girl wanted Mysa to join the Legion, but Mysa went back to Sorcerer’s World to complete her studies. She threw herself into her magical pursuits to the exclusion of all else, which is what transformed her into the form she has now. Her powers grew and her tutors invited her to join them permanently on Sorcerer’s World. She was ready to accept, but Darkseid’s minions invaded Sorcerer’s World (as we saw in issue 292) and Mysa decided to join the legion. She’d declined before because she felt her magic might not measure up to the other Legionnaires’ powers, but now she feels herself their equal and is certain she made the right decision.

Legion (Baxter) 3 coverLegion of Super-Heroes #3 – “Everywhere a Villain?” – Paul Levitz, Keith Giffen/Steve Lightle/Larry Mahlstedt

This one starts with a contingent of nine Legionnaires leaving Sorcerer’s World and heading for Orando to answer the distress cal that was sent last issue. Unfortunately, that call wasn’t sent by Karate Kid, but by Nemesis Kid, a former Legionnaire and current member of the new Legion of Super-Villains. Terrus and Zymyr are waiting to ambush the Legionnaires and Zymyr opens one of his space warps right in front of them. Dawnstar is the only one who manages to escape the trap; the others are all pulled through the warp. On Earth, Element Lad is preparing to head for Orando too, taking several Legionnaires with him (and giving ShvaughnLightning Lord zaps Ayla Erin quite the goodbye kiss). Cosmic Boy is wary of taking so many Legionnaires to fight the LSV (it’s only him and Invisible Kid left on Earth), but a call from Night Girl offering the Subs’ assistance makes him feel better. On Orando, Karate Kid and Projectra have been thrown in a dungeon and hooked up to devices meant to drain their powers … or maybe kill them slowly. Ayla Ranzz (Light Lass) languishes in a nearby cell after being captured by her brother, Lightning Lord. She’s wearing power-inhibiting shackles, so she can’t resist when Lightning Lord comes in and tries to talk her into joining the Villains. She refuses and lightning lord gets pissed off, zapping her with so much Dream Girl attackedelectricity it burns the shackles right off her. He overloads her with his power and leaves her smoking body in the cell. In the remains of the ship that crashed last issue, Dream Girl wakes up to find the Hunter ready to kill her. She kicks his ass but gets distracted when she sees the royal castle … which is the same castle that’s been appearing in her vision where a Legionnaire dies. She’s so distracted, Silver Slasher gets the jump on her and takes her down. On Earth, Marte Allon and her husband are having dinner with R.J. Brande, who’s not happy she’s stepping down as Earth’s President, fearing he’ll end up with some idiot in charge. In space near Orando, the Legionnaires who came from Sorcerer’s World and a bunch of Super-Villains engage in a free-for-space brawlall in space after the destruction of the Legion Cruiser. The Villains outnumber the Legionnaires and get the upper hand, but Element Lad’s reinforcements show up just in the nick of time. On Orando, we finally see what the Villains’ big plan is; they’re going to use the stolen powerspheres to teleport the entire planet of Orando somewhere else, using Earth’s polymer screen to hold the atmosphere in. Nemesis Kid is in charge and he seems crazier than ever, having delusions of grandeur. In space, the extra Legionnaires start to turn the tide against the Villains, but Zymyr and Nemesis Kid activate a space warp Orando teleported awaythat teleports all the Villains away, with a number of Legionnaires too. The Legionnaires left behind are trying to regroup when they get an even bigger shock … the entire planet of Orando is teleported through a huge warp, disappearing before the eyes of the startled Legionnaires. Orando has been moved not just through space, but to a completely different dimension … but that’s just the first step. They plan to take Orando to another world, one they can conquer and rule.

Noticeable Things:

  • Nemesis Kid was once a Legionnaire, joining at the same time as Karate Kid, but betrayed them to the Khunds way back in Adventure 351.

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