Comics Reviews: JLA 236, Tales of the Teen Titans 51, New Teen Titans 6, Tales of the Legion 321, Legion of Super-Heroes 8

JLA 236 coverJLA #236 – “ Gypsy Genius” – Gerry Conway/Chuck Patton/Rick Magyar

Last issue, the JLA were shanghaied out of the sky (they were in their plane headed back to Detroit) to an unknown location, where they were confronted by Overmaster and his brand new team of super-villains, the Cadre. Overmaster is styling himself as a god (even claiming he’s the one who wiped out the dinosaurs ages ago) and wants to test his new flunkies against the JLA. He also speaks in a weird way, using first and third-person at the same time, which gets annoying really fast. The JLA attack Overmaster, but the Cadre intervene and the fight is on. The Cadre consists of Black Mass (who can affect gravity), Shrike (who flies andDale finds Gypsy in the Bunker has a sonic attack), Fastball (who throws steel balls), Shatterfist (a martial arts master whose punches can smash stuff), Crowbar (enhanced strength and an enchanted crowbar), and Nightfall (who manipulates darkness). Meanwhile, Dale Gunn (the JLA’s tech support guy) is returning to Detroit after meeting with the team’s benefactor, General Heywood. Dale is worried about Heywood going nuts, since he had his grandson (Steel) turned into a cyborg and built a secret headquarters in Detroit before turning it over to the League for no reason. When Dale gets back, he finds the Bunker empty except for Gypsy, Shatterfist smashes the floorwho snuck in again. She tells him the team is in trouble. Back in Overmaster’s hideout, the JLA is in trouble, getting knocked around by Shatterfist until they decide to retreat and regroup, diving down a chasm to get away. Aquaman feels bad that the team has to retreat, thinking it’s his fault they weren’t adequately prepared. Dale and Gypsy track the missing plane’s transponder to the North Pole, which leads them to a gigantic mountain. Dale is impressed by Gypsy’s knowledge, since street kids aren’t usually so well-educated. Inside the mountain, the JLA wander through corridors full of machinery and computers, making J’onn wonder why a so-called god would need sofinding the giant alien much tech. They find a huge chamber with a giant purple alien who looks dead, but J’onn and Aquaman both sense a telepathic presence in the chamber. As J’onn tries to make contact through a pyramidal jewel floating over the alien’s head, the Cadre show up and attack. Overmaster tries to stop J’onn from approaching the jewel, but gets a surprise when an invisible Gypsy shows up and blasts Overmaster in the leg with a laser. She blasts him again, which pretty much depletes the laser’s power, and J’onn tells her to touch the floating jewel. As soon as she makes contact, the jewel emits a blinding Gypsy saves the teamburst of light ad the Overmaster disappears, taking the Cadre with him. As the team heads home, J’onn points out that someone with godlike power wouldn’t have to act through proxies like the Cadre, or have a hideout filled with machinery. J’onn and Aquaman surmise that the true power lay with the big purple alien and Overmaster was stealing that power through the jewel. When Gypsy made contact, it set the alien free and he got rid of Overmaster and his minions. To lend credence to their theory, the JLA are startled to see the “mountain” suddenly take off into the sky, revealed as a gigantic spaceship.

Tales of the Teen Titans 51 coverTales of the Teen Titans #51 – “The Jericho Imbroglio” – Marv Wolfman/Rich Buckler/Bob Smith

This one starts with the Titans (except Wonder Girl, who’s still on her honeymoon, and Raven, who’s sequestered herself to fight Trigon’s influence) invading a warehouse full of smuggled weapons and pounding the gunrunners. We see Lillith is still with them (wearing leg-warmers to remind us it was the 80s) and Nightwing is worried about who’s behind the weapons shipment, the implication being that it’s someone Jericho knows. Not long after in the Middle East, a dictator named Marlo hires someone to bring back Adeline Wilson (who just happens to be Jericho’s mother) because she has some info Marlo wants. It seems AdelineCheshire makes plans worked for Marlo in her mercenary days and betrayed him. Eventually, she ended up in Washington, where she memorized key information about the (fictional) country of Kyran before erasing it. Marlo wants that information for his planned invasion of Kyran and tells the mysterious woman he’s hiring that Adeline’s son is now with the Teen Titans, who just captured weapons meant for his invasion, so it’s cool with him if she wastes the Titans while kidnapping Jericho for leverage against his mother. We find out the mysterious mercenary is Cheshire, who already holds a grudge against the Titans (from issue), but more importantly we find out that Cheshire has a baby and one Cheshire pounds Adelineof the Titans is the father. Of course, we won’t find out who the baby-daddy is for a while. At Titans’ Tower, everyone is taking some leisure time, with Lillith moving in with Starfire and Changeling attending jury selection for Terminator’s upcoming trial. Nightwing is still worried about Jericho possibly being a traitor like Terra, since the Feds have told him something incriminating about Joseph (Jericho) Wilson. At Adeline Wilson’s house, Cheshire shows up and kicks the shit out of Adeline (killing her assistant Gertie), and taking Joseph down too when he arrives. Nightwing meets in Washington with some government guys (probably CIA), who tell him about Marlo’s grudge against Adeline, hinting that Joseph could be involved too. Nightwing doesn’t want to believe it, so he figures he’ll send someone toJericho takes Changeling down ask Joseph to come in and explain things. Unfortunately, the only person available is Changeling, who’s still pissed off about Terra’s betrayal, so he gets really worked up when he thinks Joseph might be a traitor too. Changeling shows up at the Wilson house just as Joseph is recovering from Cheshire’s beating, but Changeling can’t read sign language, so Joseph’s attempts to tell him what happened are futile. When Joseph tries to leave to look for his mother instead of accompanying Changeling to Washington, Changeling assumes the worst and attacks. Joseph takes over his body, knocking him out and taking off, heading downtown to hide out with an old Titans argue over Jericho's loyaltygirlfriend (at least I assume that’s who she is … she’s quite a babe). Back at Titans’ Tower, Changeling tells the others what happened—more or less—and argues that Joseph is just as bad as his father, the Terminator. The others aren’t inclined to believe Joseph is a bad guy, but Nightwing says they can’t ignore the possibility. Elsewhere, Cheshire interrogates Adeline about the Titans before turning her over to Marlo. And there’s a running sub-plot of some explorers finding a crashed spaceship frozen in ice in the Arctic and on the last page, they realize there’s a person inside. This will turn out to be Azrael, who I really can’t stand. He’s even more annoying than Jericho, if that’s possible.

New Teen Titans 6 coverNew Teen Titans #6 – “Titansmania” – Marv Wolfman/Dan Jurgens/Romeo Tanghal

This is basically a downtime issue with the Titans recovering after their big fight with Trigon. Everyone is lauding them as heroes, throwing a parade in New York and doing countless interviews. Some Titans take the attention in stride, some (like Gar Logan) lap it right up, and some (Wonder Girl, Lillith) aren’t thrilled about the loss of privacy. Raven is still missing after disappearing last issue, and Wally has returned to Blue Valley but hasn’t told his parents he was involved in the big fight … nor has he told them about his recent health problems. Frances Kane is still with Wally, but sounds like she’s ready to bail until hediscussing their wrecked HQ implores her to stay, saying they really need each other. Jericho is recovering in the hospital, with his mother Adeline at his side and we see Azrael flying around pining over Lillith. (Azrael will be formally introduced in an upcoming issue of Tales of the Teen Titans, but all you really need to know is that he’s an alien dude with wings and he’s really annoying.) The Titans headquarters was destroyed by Trigon last issue and the city says they won’t help fund the reconstruction, so the team wonders what to do until they can rebuild. Aqualad and Aquagirl salvage some stuff from the river that used to be in Titans’ Tower, including Wally’s Flash ring. Wonder Girl’s in a shitty mood and won’t tell Arella gets mad at the Titansanyone why, but it’s because of the vision Trigon gave her of killing her new husband Terry Long. (Something many fans devoutly wish for, I’m sure.) Meanwhile, Gar tells off his agent, Cyborg tells off some reporters, and Arella tells off the Titans for not searching for Raven. Since Raven’s teleporting power means she could literally be anywhere, Arella leaves to look for her daughter alone. When he sees how worked up Donna is, Terry suggests they all go camping in the Grand Canyon and talk about their feelings. The rest of the issue is just that, the Titans camping out and trying to deal with the PTSD they all have from Trigon screwing with their minds (and souls). They’ve all been having nightmares since the fight with Trigon and they all open up to each other. Donna’s worried about Terry getting killed because of her, Gar’s worriedGar and Victor open up about losing more people close to him, Victor (who admits he’s been seeing a therapist to help with his identity issues) is worried about losing his humanity, Starfire’s tired of people judging her on looks alone, and Lillith feels like a second-hand replacement for Raven. Dick tells them he considers them like family and wants them all to be more open with each other, unlike the way Batman taught him to keep everything hidden. Terry gets the last word (I feel like he’s Wolfman’s mouthpiece sometimes) and says the Titans are stronger as a group than a bunch of individuals, but they have to open up and trust each other as much as possible. After all the gabbing they do seem to feel better, although I’m not sure if that would immediately stop the nightmares or not.

Tales of the Legion 321 coverTales of the Legion #321 – “Into Exile” – Mindy Newell/Dan Jurgens/Karl Kesel

This is the start of the mini-arc with Dawnstar and Jhodan, which I remember being rather tedious. Dawnstar and Brainiac 5 are out looking for the missing Legionnaires, not knowing they’re stuck in limbo. Brainy enhanced Dawnstar’s tracking ability and something draws her to a planet that turns out to be inhabited, though technologically backwards. Dawnstar is shot with several arrows as she swoops down to check out a settlement and Brainy (who’s trying to follow her in a ship) ends up crash landing when the ship loses all power. The wounded Dawnstar is found by the guys who shot her down, but she can’t understand their language. Their leader (Dase) wants to kill her,Dawnstar shot down but another guy says she may be a messenger from Kol, which I assume is their god. Back on earth, Dream girl is worried that the Legion seems to be falling apart under her leadership, which was necessitated by Element lad’s disappearance. Back on the primitive planet, a priest named Jhodan completes a ritual and speaks to a novitiate (Ina) who has the hots for him, although he doesn’t know that. Brainy realizes all his tech is down, not just the ship and sets out on foot to look for Dawnstar. He discovers fields of wheat growing and almost gets killed by spear-tossing hunters before retreating into a swamp with a wounded arm. Dawnstar’s captors throw her in a cage in a village and taunt Jhodan instructs Ina on faithher, promising Kol will soon pass judgment. Not far away, Jhodan and Ina journey across the land and we see Jhodan is very stern about sin, telling Ina that they can’t pick and choose who to forgive, only Kol can do that. As priests, they are only vessels for Kol’s will and if they sin themselves, they would face the same punishment as anyone else … death or excommunication. Brainy passes out in the swamp and is rescued by a guy with the unlikely (and hilarious) name of Spliff. Brainy is surprised to find Spliff speaks an archaic dialect called English, and he’s dismayed when he realizes Spliff is schizophrenic (or what we’d now call bi-polar), going from one emotional extreme to another. In the village, Jhodan and Ina show up to check out the prisoner.Jhodan releases Dawnstar Jhodan and Dawnstar have some weird connection where they’re instantly hot for each other, although neither of them knows why. Jhodan releases Dawnstar so he can take her to Kol’s temple for judgment, but he thinks to himself that he could never kill her, no matter what Kol decides. Ina can see the attraction between Dawnstar and Jhodan and thinks Dawnstar must have mesmerized him somehow. Ina is also burning with jealousy and vows to kill Dawnstar rather than let her have Jhodan.

Legion of Super-Heroes 8 coverLegion of Super-Heroes #8 – “To Destroy a World” – Paul Levitz/Steve Lightle/Larry Mahlstedt

Last issue, the five Legionnaires lost in Limbo (Element Lad, Chameleon Boy, Shrinking Violet, Phantom Girl, and Ultra Boy) discovered that the uninhabited planet they were on was being used by a Controller and his alien minion as a gigantic factory to build a Sun-Eater. Since Sun-Eaters can destroy entire systems, the Legionnaires knew they’d have to destroy not only the factory complex, but the whole planet, to insure no more Sun-Eaters could be constructed. They also found some Stargates that might take them home, but they agree that stopping the Sun-Eater is top priority,catching last few Villains even if it means staying stranded in Limbo. While scouting for a way to destroy the place, Ultra Boy attracts some security robots and the Legionnaires have to smash them. Back on Earth, Cosmic Boy surprises Night Girl by hinting he might be ready to quit the Legion, although he’s apparently got something else in mind for his next career move. On S’cardas IV, a contingent of Legionnaires (Shadow Lass, Invisible Kid, Wildfire, Blok, Lightning Lass, Mon-El, and White Witch) and Science Police (including Shvaughn Erin and Gigi Cusimano) are rounding up the last few hold-outs from the Legion of Super-Villains. After capturing Sun Emperor, Cosmic King, Spider Girl, Neutrax, fighting giant robotChameleon Chief, and Micro Lad, they ship the villains off to Takron-Galtos. In Limbo, the Legionnaires have found a way to use the planet’s power conduits to destroy the machinery making the Sun-Eater, but the alien returns and detects their presence. It sends a huge security robot after them, which captures the three male Legionnaires,leaving Phantom Girl and Shrinking Violet to plan a rescue. They slip into the control room and Violet shrinks down to sabotage the machinery, but Phantom Girl tells her to wait, because she has a better idea. At the Legion Academy on Earth, Laurel Kent, Magnetic Kid, and Comet Queen are relaxing on the beach (with Laurel wearing next-to-nothing, as usual). Laurel is shot by a sniper and keels over bleeding fromLaurel gets shot the wound … which should be impossible, since she’s a descendant of Superman and pretty much invulnerable. In Limbo, the alien armorer mind-probes Ultra Boy and learns that the Legion once defeated a renegade Controller, which blows him away since he seems to think the Controllers are basically gods. The Legionnaires wake up and attack, but the armorer is tougher than he looks and does pretty well, until Chameleon Boy distracts him by changing his form to look like a Controller. That gives Ultra Boy the chance to knock the armor out and Phantom Girl reveals her plan to the others. The plan involves changing the atomic structures of a rock and the entire control taking down the alien armorercomplex, which is easy for Element Lad. They shove the unconscious armorer through the Stargate leading to the Controllers’ world, then head through the Stargate that (hopefully) leads to Earth. Ultra Boy is the last one through the Stargate, pausing to throw the rock into the control room, which has been changed to a fissionable material. The rock adds enough for critical mass and sets off a chain reaction, destroying the entire planet and its Sun-Eater factory. But did the Legionnaires make it back to Earth? We’ll find out the answer in DC Comics Presents #80. (Ha, you thought I was going to say next issue, didn’t you?)

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