Comics Reviews: JLA 235, Tales of the Teen Titans 50, New Teen Titans 5, Tales of the Legion 320, Legion of Super-Heroes 7

JLA 235 coverJustice League of America #235 – “Heavy Metal” – Gerry Conway/Chuck Patton/Mike Machlan

This one starts with the League gathering to discuss Vixen’s assault on the police station last issue. Aquaman’s pissed off about it and doesn’t much care why Vixen (who’s not there to defend her actions) did it, even though the others want to understand her motivations. When steel gets pissed off, Aquaman uses his telepathy to calm him down, which leaves Steel feeling sick and he heads outside for some air. J’onn (Martian Manhunter) J’onzz suspects what Aquaman did and isn’t happy about it. He gets even less happy when Aquaman tells Sue Dibny she’s not really part of the team and to keep her mouth shut. Outside, Steel runs into Gypsy, who’s been spying on the team again. She seems kinda hot for steel, but before that can go anywhere, they’re attacked by a goof calling himself Fastball, who throws explosive metal balls around.Steel smashes Fastball Steel protects himself (and Gypsy) and slams Fastball with a huge piece of pavement, but by the time the rest of the team shows up, Fastball has disappeared. He did leave a weird medallion behind, which J’onn figures is probably a trap. In New York, Vixen busts into the Embassy for the country of M’changa to attack its dictator, Maksai, who killed Vixen’s father. He’s expecting her and wants her Tantu totem, so he fights her and turns out to be stronger than she expected. She tries to get away and takes a bullet through the arm, falling into a tree outside. Maksai’s guards go out to get her, but the rest of the JLA has shown up (except Gypsy, who vanished after the fight with Vixen fights MaksaiFastball) and they pound Maksai’s men. They’re about to take Vixen back to Detroit on their jet when the cops show up. Maksai prefers to handle things his own way, so he tells the cops to forget the incident (which took place mostly on foreign soil). The cops want to take Vixen in, but Aqaman refuses and the JLA takes off. Steel is happy until Zatanna explains that it’s not really a win, since Maksai is still free and now the cops are pissed off at them. Zatanna says they probably should’ve turned Vixen over, to stay within the law, but Steel says his grandfather believes the law only exists to coddle criminals and punish victims. Zatanna asks about Steel’s grandfather, Hank Heywood, who’s apparently a cross between Howard Hughes and Billy Mitchell. He was in the Army and became Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, thenSteel's origin retired and buit an industrial empire. Steel (whose name is also Hank) was born in 1965 and his parents both died when he was a baby, so his grandfather raised him with help from his dad’s best friend, Dale Gunn. The general sent Dale to Detroit to construct the Bunker, while he had Hank turned into a cyborg for no apparent reason, which shocks Zatanna. Before she can digest that, the jet is attacked by a glowing ball of light and the JLA is transported somewhere else, where the Overmaster is waiting with his new super-powered minions, the Cadre.

Tales of Teen Titans 50 coverTales of the Teen Titans #50 – “We Are Gathered Here Today …” – Marv Wolfman/George Perez/Mike DeCarlo, Dick Giordano

As you can tell by the title, this is a wedding issue, specifically the wedding of Donna (Wonder Girl) Troy and Terry Long. I know a lot of people just loathe Terry; I don’t love the character, but I don’t hate him either. I mostly just find him boring, but he seems to be Wolfman’s POV character sometimes, representing an average person who gets to hang around with super-heroes. As such, Terry can come off like a bit of a Mary Sue sometimes, which makes him kinda annoying. But overall, I really don’t care that much about him one way or another. This is obviously a quiet issue with lots ofGar trying to get organized character moments. (A running joke is that they keep expecting something bad to happen … but it never does.) Gar (Changeling) Logan is in charge of the arrangements (since it’s being held at the mansion of Gar’s adopted father, Steve Dayton) and he drives himself—and everyone else—nuts trying to get every detail right. Like I said, this is a “character” story, so it basically breaks down into a series of vignettes and guest appearances. The story starts with some Amazons on Paradise Island waiting outside Athena’s Temple, where Hippolyta has been praying for days, although the Amazons have no idea what she’s praying for. In East Hampton, Gar is going nuts trying to Jericho's wedding presentorganize everything, but manages to impress Questor (Dayton’s majordomo) with his foresight, even hiring a clown to entertain the guests’ kids in another part of the mansion. Joseph (Jericho) Wilson shows his mother Adeline the painting he did of Donna and Terry as a wedding present, but he isn’t ready to share his art with the rest of the world. Victor (Cyborg) Stone is on his way to the wedding with Sarah Simms and he’s worried about what everyone will think seeing him there. Donna’s Wonder Girl identity is basically a secret, so he’s afraid he’ll blow her cover … or that people will just look at him like a freak. Sarah reminds him that Gar promised to deal with Victor’s problem, which worries Vic even more. Raven is hanging out in-betweenRaven gets angsty dimensions, getting all angsty about the growing feelings of evil inside her. She seems pretty freaked out by it and I didn’t notice her at the wedding later, so I guess Trigon’s influence really has her worried. Questor harangues Steve Dayton to not get wasted and follow up on some promise he made to Gar; as usual, Dayton’s kind of a dick but agrees to do it. As the ceremony draws closer, we see various family members and attendants: Donna’s mother and stepfather, half-brother, and half-sister (who she met back in issue 38), Elmira Cassiday, Terry’s daughter Jennifer and his parents and brothers, plus Lilith, Starfire, and Sharon Tracy (Donna’s old roommate). Of bridal partycourse, Diana (Wonder Woman) Prince is Donna maid of honour and helps calm Donna’s pre-wedding jitters. (By the way, George Perez manages to sneak his wife into the scene as the dress designer Phoenicia Banu, which was apparently her name when she worked as a dancer, and she also gets her real name, Carol Flynn, in the credits because she actually did come up with the dress designs.) The ceremony goes off without a hitch, with Dick (Nightwing) Grayson giving Donna away. (I think Wolfman and Perez snuck themselves into the wedding as guests too.) Gar is still worried something will ruin the reception, but it goes just fine. Questor gets an eyeful when he finds Aqualad and Aquagirl swimming naked in the pool, but they do have to be in water every hour, so he can’t complain too much. Terry and Donna’s first dance isceremony to John Denver’s “Annie’s Song” (seriously?) and then everyone else lets loose on the dance floor. We get a few more cameos: Vic meets Sting (who isn’t bothered by his appearance at all … in fact, he doesn’t even seem to notice); Mal and Karen Duncan (who used to be Guardian and Bumblebee, but are retired and married now); Clark Kent and Lana Lang (of course Clark refuses to dance). Of course, Wally (Kid Flash) West, Frances Kane, and Roy (Speedy) Harper are there, reminiscing with Aqualad and Aquagirl about their old Titans days. Bruce Wayne’s there too (getting all the women worked up) and he and Dick talk about why he never got around to formally adopting Dick like Dick and Bruce talkhe’s trying to do with Jason Todd now. We finally find out why nobody’s mentioned Cyborg’s appearance: Gar has Steve Dayton using his Mento helmet to give everyone the illusion that Vic just looks like a normal dude. That pisses Vic off and he gives Gar shit, saying that’s worse than being stared at by everyone. We get a few more cameos: Adrienne Roy (colorist on the comic); Hank and Don Hall (Hawk and Dove, and Wolfman slips in a joke about everyone expecting them to be older, which is a reference to Brave & the Bold 181); and Duela Dent, who looks a lot older and has gained a lot of weight since her Harlequin days. Dick points out that Duela is too old to be Two-face’s daughter and she says he should’ve figured that out a long time ago. It almost seems like they’re setting up another appearance for Duela,Titans West reunion but as far as I know that never happens. Speaking of the Titans West, we see Charley (Golden Eagle) Parker and Betty (Bat-Girl) Kane trying to talk Aqualad and Aquagirl into reviving the West Coast branch of the Titans, but they aren’t interested. Vic apologizes to Gar for giving him shit, saying he knows Gar just wanted to make everything run smoothly for the wedding. Terry and Donna receive Hippolyta’s blessing on their marriage, which kinda freaks Terry out. We get a look at the guest registry, which contains the names of a bunch of DC staffers (including quite a few inkers, whose work may have made it into the book in a few panels). The Titans give Gar a medal for being a Master Caterer and Terry and Donna fly off on Dayton’s private jet to start their honeymoon (which should be fun for Terry if Donna’s sexy Amazon outfit is any indication).

New Teen Titans 5 coverNew Teen Titans #5 – “The Terror of Trigon” – Marv Wolfman/George Perez/Romeo Tanghal

Last issue, the Titans’ souls made it through their their personal tests and returned to kill Raven. That woke Trigon from his trance and he’s pissed off that they took Raven—his daughter and herald—from him, so he’s ready to obliterate Earth. It seems he’s pretty close already, since the Titans can’t raise anyone on their communications network, making them think they may be the only people left on the planet. Wally (Kid Flash) West figures Trigon’s going to wipe them all out anyway, so he attacks and is cut down quickly. The other Titans rally but end up buried under a huge rock. Nightwing decides to go down fighting, despite Lilith telling him it’s not the right time, and he gets smashed too.Titans bust out from under the rock Arella curses Trigon for infecting Raven with his evil and blames him for her death. Trigon says he will siphon the life force of everyone on Earth to return to his own dimension and rule it. Lilith senses the Titans are still alive and she’s happy to see them bust up from the rock Trigon dropped on them. (Starfire’s power protected them from the impact.) They rescue Nightwing and wonder what to do next. Lilith (who seems to be channeling Azar, the goddess of peace from Trigon’s dimension) gathers them and tells them Raven’s rings can possibly defeat Trigon. Wally doesn’t see the point, but the rest of the team decides to give their lives to finish Trigon, even if the rest of the world is already dead. Arella has also given up hope, until Lilith (and Azar) convince her that Titans distract Trigonstopping Trigon is the right thing to do, no matter the consequences. As Trigon uses his power to open a portal to his dimension in preparation for absorbing all of Earth, the Titans approach, unsure of their next step. Trigon doesn’t even deign to notice them, but he does notice when Lilith and Arella put the rings on Raven’s lifeless body. Lilith explains that Raven isn’t really dead, she’s just been “emptied” because no one with a soul could survive taking on Trigon. The Titans use their powers to distract Trigon to give Lilith and Arella time to revive Raven. Lilith (or Azar) explains that Raven was always meant to stand against Trigon, which is why she was taken from Arella and raised by the priests of Azar, to teach her how to separate body and soul. As Raven’s body rises and her soul-self manifests as a being of pure good,Raven destroys Trigon Trigon realizes he’s in trouble. Azar explains that all the dead souls of Azarath were placed in Raven’s rings and are now using her body as a conduit to attack Trigon. The Light of Azarath purges Trigon’s Darkness, destroying him and changing the world back to the way it was. Raven rises into the sky as a being of pure light and vanishes, leaving only her rings behind, and Azar departs from Lilith’s body as well. The Titans try to recover and wonder if Raven is alive or dead, but that’s a question we’ll have to wait to find out the answer to.

Tales of the Legion 320 coverTales of the Legion #320 – “Magpie Complex” – Paul Levitz (plot), Mindy Newell/Dan Jurgens/Karl Kesel

This one starts with some people on one of those celebrity tours, checking out Legion Headquarters in Metropolis. One of the tourists is actually a thief named Magpie, who’s casing the headquarters before breaking in. He notes Dawnstar and Brainiac 5 leaving (to try and track the five missing Legionnaires) and hopes the headquarters will be almost empty. Inside, Sun Boy and Colossal Boy talk about their plans and Colossal Boy wonders if Sun Boy’s seeing Gigi Cusimano tonight, which makes Sun Boy wonder ifTimber Wolf mopes to a statue of Light Lass he’s jealous (even though Colossal Boy is married to Yera now). Later that night, Magpie passes through the wall with a dematerializer and uses Chief Zendak’s ID chip to fool the security computers. He slips into the Trophy Room, looking for a specific item (which isn’t there) and we learn he’s working for the Monitor. Magpie has to hide when Timber Wolf comes in to mope over the statue of Light Lass. Magpie sneaks away and consults his plan of HQ, which leads him to the science lab. He finally finds what he was looking for (a computer chip), but Dream Girl and Star Boy show up in response to a silent Dream Girl and Star Boy fight Magpiealarm. They kick Magpie around, but he uses a fail-safe teleporter to escape. Magpie returns all his tech to Monitor and says he won’t be available for any more jobs. Monitor contacts his client (who turns out to be Universo) and tells him they couldn’t get the chip. Universo’s not too bothered, saying he already has an alternative strategy in mind. The next morning, Timber Wolf finds one of COMPUTO’s drones coming out of a lab, but when he tries to go in afterward, he can’t open the door. Combined with COMPUTO’s failure to detect Magpie’s intrusion the night before, Timber Wolf wonders how reliable COMPUTO really is … or how trustworthy.

Sun Boy tries to impress a Venusian“Triangle” – Paul Levitz (plot), Mindy Newell/Dan Jurgens/Karl Kesel

This back-up story shows what happened with Sun Boy and Colossal Boy on their night out while the above story was taking place. Sun Boy was at a club scamming on some babe as usual, but this girl is something special … a Venusian, which makes Sun Boy figure he’s in for the night of his life. He gets distracted when he spots Colossal Boy and Gigi having a drink together and getting very cozy. The next day, Sun Boy asks Colossal Boy about it and he says he and Gigi are old friends from the Science Police and not to worry about it. Sun Boy confronts Gigi, telling her to back off from Colossal Boy since he’s married now. GigiGigi and friends wonders if Sun Boy is jealous and reminds him that it’s been a long time since their last date and he hasn’t returned any of her calls. Sun Boy asks her out for tonight, but she tells him she already has plans with some Science Police loser. Later, we see Colossal Boy, Gigi, and Yera hanging out and find out the whole thing was a set-up to teach Sun Boy a lesson for taking Gigi for granted. And it turns out the hot Venusian Sun Boy was trying to pick up was actually Yera using her Durlan shape-changing ability.

Noticeable Things:

  • There’s a double page spread of Legion Headquarters that accompanies the first story, the same one later printed in Who’s Who.Legion HQ plan
  • In the bar where Sun Boy is chatting up the Venusian, a girl in the background introduces herself to a guy as Kitty Storm … that has to be an X-Men reference.

Legion of Super-Heroes 7 coverLegion of Super-Heroes #7 – “A Choice of Dooms” – Paul Levitz/Steve Lightle/Mike DeCarlo

This one starts with the five Legionnaires lost in Limbo (Ultra Boy, Shrinking Violet, Phantom Girl, Chameleon Boy, and Element Lad) coming across a planet and landing on it in hopes of finding a way home. The planet seems to be one gigantic factory manned by robots, with junk everywhere. The Legionnaires almost get scrapped themselves when they land on a conveyor belt that pulls them toward a slag reclamation centre. After escaping the conveyor, they decide to scout around a bit. Back at Legion Headquarters on Earth, Lightning Lass tells Dream Girl she’s rejoining the Legion and doesn’t give a damn about the rule on duplicate powers. DreamLightning Lass rejoins Girl informs her Lightning Lad is no longer a member, since he and Saturn Girl went on parental leave … which is news to Lightning Lass. Yeah, she’s been out of touch for a while. After dealing with one of COMPUTO’s drones (which seems to be malfunctioning slightly), Blok heads to the gym to see Timber Wolf, who’s in a shitty mood. The detective he hired to track Ayla (aka Lightning Lass) has just informed him she was living on Winath, but obviously that’s old news since Ayla has just rejoined the Legion. Timber Wolf is worked up because Ayla hasn’t come to see him since her return. I don’t think he Phantom Girl finds the Sun-Eaterknows what being broken up means. On the Limbo planet, the Legionnaires discover a control centre for the manufacturing plant and note that the entire planet is being consumed and turned into raw energy. Phantom Girl, Shrinking Violet, and Chameleon Boy go inside to snoop around. Phantom Girl gets a shock when she finds out what’s being built by the ginormous factory … a Sun-Eater. On Earth, Colossal Boy talks to his mom about her decision to step down as President of Earth, but he takes off when Chief Zendak calls about the last six members of the Legion of Super-Villains. In Limbo, Chameleon Boy and Shrinking Violet slip into the manufacturing complex, which is very sophisticated. They almost get killed by security robots and Violet figuresCham and Violet fight a security robot there’s something fishy about the place. Cham agrees, but since the facility has tech that can help them get home, he’s willing to take what they need and get out. On Earth, a contingent of Legionnaires prepares to head out on a mission and Timber Wolf stops Lightning Lass to ask why she hasn’t been in touch for so long. She reminds him she asked him to go with her when she left and he refused. She had to go get her emotions sorted out and wanted him with her while she did that, but since he refused, she says her feelings for him changed and they can’t be anything more than teammates now … obviously not the answer Timber Wolf wanted. On Winath, two Science Police officers find the detective who tracked down Lightning Lass and he’s been murdered. What’s really spying on the Controllerinteresting is that he just happens to be a descendant of Batman. In Limbo, Cham, Ultra Boy, Violet, and Element Lad find the command center, where a weird-looking alien is busy at a console. Before they can approach him, a Controller appears through a portal and talks to the alien, although the Legionnaires can’t hear what’s being said. The Controller blasts the alien with a mental beam and the two of them vanish into the portal, which turns out to be a stargate keyed to various locations … including Earth. The Legionnaires figure they’ve struck gold, since all they have to do to get home is walk through the stargate. But Phantom Girl shows up to tell them about the Sun-Eater that’s being built and Element Lad says they have to destroy the Sun-eater for the good of the entire galaxy …even if it means destroying their only way home.

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