Comics Reviews: JLA 238, Legion of Super-Heroes 10, Tales of the Legion 323, Tales of the Teen Titans 53, New Teen Titans 8

JLA 238 coverJLA #238 – “Savage Symphony” – Gerry Conway/Chuck Patton/Mike Machlan

This one continues from last issue, with General Gorki ordering the Maestro to torture the helpless Wonder Woman using Anton Allegro’s Synthesizor. Gorki blathers on about his vision for Russia and how his superiors can’t see it until Superman reminds him he’ll soon have to face the Justice League as well as the Kremlin. Gorki ends the torture and goes off to plan a response to a JLA attack. The JLA are on their way, although most of them are nervous about violating Soviet territory, even on a rescue mission. Steel and Vixen have a conversation about how people think the new JLA is a joke, which could beVixen's meta-commentary read as some meta-commentary by Gerry on the fans bitching about the Detroit League. Back in New York, General Maksai still wants Vixen’s Tantu totem and kills a couple of his men (not to mention slapping around his masseuse) to motivate the rest to find it. In Detroit, Mother Windom notices someone in a fancy car snooping around the JLA’s headquarters. In Russia, the JLA’s plane is intercepted by MiG fighters, but Zatanna uses her magic to take care of them. At the prison, Allegro and one of the other prisoners (Dmitri) trick a guard and knock him out. They sneak Superman, Wonder Woman, and Flash (all still paralyzed) out in wheelchairs. When another guard tries Superman gives a guard a hot-footto stop them, Superman uses his heat vision to distract the guard long enough for Dmitri to take him out. Up in the sky, Zatanna and J’onn J’onzz finish grounding the Russian jets and Vixen is quite impressed with J’onn. Zatanna admits to Ralph that something about Vixen bugs the shit out of her. It kinda sounds like Vixen might be giving off some kind of vibe (or hormone) that’s affecting Zatanna, but she comes off sounding kinda catty. Gypsy has a good idea on how to approach the prison unseen and Aquaman is impressed. Outside the prison, Dmitri tells the trio of heroes about Allegro’s past and how he came to Russia to build some kind of utopia. General Gorki and Maestro catch them before they get far and Gorki tells them the JLA’s plane hasold Leaguers wondering who the new guys are disappeared from radar. Before Maestro can start killing the helpless heroes, the JLA burst out from under the frozen river, surprising Gorki and pounding his men. Naturally, the three captive JLAers don’t recognize the newcomers, but Aquaman says he’ll explain later. Before they can complete the rescue, Maestro uses the Synthesizor to summon monsters like he did last issue and the JLA are suddenly in trouble. Their old foe Allegro saves them by smashing the Synthesizor, causing the monsters to vanish. Gorki shoots Allegro, but before he can shoot Gypsy, she does something weird to him. When he JLA fight monsterslooks at her, it seems like the two of them are transported elsewhere and end up far above the ground. Gorki falls and freaks out, but apparently it was all in his mind, as he and Gypsy never really went anywhere. All the others could see was Gorki looking at Gypsy and then freaking out and Gypsy claims she has no idea what happened. I’m not sure if we’re meant to believe her or not (she looks kinda smug), but Aquaman says they’ll discuss it back home.

Legion of Super-Heroes 10 coverLegion of Super-Heroes #10 – “Election Day” – Paul Levitz/Steve Lightle/Larry Mahlstedt

This one starts in media res, with Sun Boy taking out a Khund who’s attacking a dude named Lopyt in Acapulco. Turns out Lopyt is a candidate for President of Earth and Science Police chief Zendak has intelligence saying that the Khunds will try to kill all the potential candidates. Sun Boy stops the Khund and Lopyt realizes he’s a candidate for President of Earth, so he’d better get ready to campaign. (On 30th Century Earth, Presidential candidates are analyzed for the proper leadership qualities and chosen by a computer, then given one day to campaign before the election. Blok says it’s a complicated way of doing things, but it sounds a hell of a lot more efficient than anything we’ve gotpolitical discussion now … especially the part about only campaigning for one day.) A contingent of Legionnaires is on a ship in Earth orbit, in case the assassination attempts are just cover for an invasion and we see that Dream Girl’s kinda pissed off that Element Lad is back and she’s been demoted to deputy leader again. In China, a young girl named Leung is another candidate for President and another Khund comes to try and kill her. Invisible Kid is there to help, but he’s still trying to get a handle on all his powers, so he has more trouble with the Khund than he should. In Tokyo, Timber Wolf meets Karate Kid’s old sensei, who volunteers to come along on Timber Wolf’s journey. This has something to Invisible kid ends up in orbitdo with Karate Kid’s will, which (thanks to his marriage to Projectra) includes billions of credits. But there’s apparently some kind of challenge Timber Wolf has to complete first … a potentially deadly one. In China, the Khund is ready to kill Invisible Kid, but Kid’s power kicks in and transports them both into orbit. Invisible Kid’s costume has a transparent force field around it, but the Khund is unprotected and explodes. The other Legionnaires rescue Invisible Kid, who feels guilty for the Khund’s death. On a vacation asteroid called Rojavis, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl are hanging out with their son, Graym, and contemplating whether they should return to the Legion or not. Back on Earth in India, another candidate (Desai) is being protected by Wildfire. Unlike the other candidates, Desai seems to think he deserves the nomination and figures he’s sure to win. Another Khund attacks and Wildfire saves Desai and his family, kicking the Khund’s ass. As the other Legionnaires discuss what the Khunds hope to accomplish with theseColossal Boy takes out the Khund assassin attacks, Cosmic Boy announces that he’s taking a leave of absence, hinting that he has something special in the works. On Earth, Colossal Boy and Yera are hanging out with his parents. His mother Marte (the current President) will be glad to get back to teaching after the election. A Khund shows up to kill Marte (saying he’s trying to throw Earth into chaos by killing its President), but Colossal Boy jumps him. Despite being wounded, Colossal Boy pounds the Khund assassin before passing out. In India, we find out that Desai has won the election and is celebrating with his friends and family, including a guy named Vidgupta, who seems to have a sinister gleam in his eye …

Noticeable Things:

    • On the vacation asteroid, Saturn Girl is wearing a bathing suitSaturn Girl's bathing suit that looks exactly like her old costume from the 70s; I’m not sure if that’s a sly comment on the impracticality of the so-called “pink bikini”, or just an homage. That look debuted in Action 392, drawn by Win Mortimer, but was apparently designed by a fan named Kim Metzger (who ended up working for CBG years later). Comics Make No Sense has an interview with Metzger about the costume (and other Legion-related stuff).

Tales of the Legion 323 coverTales of the Legion #323 – “Look Homeward, Legionnaires” – Mindy Newell/Dan Jurgens/Karl Kesel

This picks up right where we left off, with Brainiac 5 and Dawnstar being reunited on the Exile planet. When Jhodan sees Dawnstar and Brainy hugging, he freaks and jumps Brainy (which knocks the computer tape Brainy took last issue out of his pocket). Spliff tells Jhodan Brainy is his friend, so Jhodan stops his attack and is surprised to learn Brainy can speak their language, an evolved form of English. As Dawnstar tells Brainy how she feels a connection to the world, Spliff gets mad when he sees the computer tape that Brainy stole. (Spliff is kind of a split personality, so part of him isReverend Mother praying for guidance mad at Brainy, while the other part is cool with him.) In the Temple of Kol, Ina is sick and the Reverend Mother prays for guidance on what to do about Jhodan (who she thinks is bewitched by Dawnstar). The only response is a huge storm that blows up above the Temple. Elsewhere in space, Shvaughn Erin is stationed on a ship in an asteroid field to collect intel from Dev-Em, who has infiltrated the Dark Circle homeworld. Shvaughn is relieved by Gigi Cusimano, her fellow Science Police officer. On the Exile planet, Jhodan gives Brainy shit for taking the computer tape and Brainy goes off on him for putting his faith in Kol instead of science, saying there’s a scientific explanation for all the so-eternal debate of science and faithcalled miracles they’ve seen. A mob shows up to kill them and a cyclone appears outside their hut. As Brainy and Jhodan continue to argue science vs. religion, they flee the mob (and the tornado) and head for the Temple. On the way, they see a lot of funeral processions; apparently, people have been dying of a mysterious disease and everyone blames Brainy and Dawnstar for bringing a plague on them. Brainy thinks there might actually be some truth to that. The Reverend Mother sends out soldiers to find Jhodan and the others and a guy named Rand finds their camp. Ina is with him, but she’s too sick to fight and Rand falls for the old “rocks in the sleeping bag” trick. A fight starts, but it’s interrupted by an earthquake. Dawnstar is ready to kill Rand, but endsDawnstar saves Rand up saving him when he falls into a fissure. The Reverend Mother shows up with more soldiers and captures everyone, drugging them and taking them back to the Temple. Brainy, Dawnstar and Spliff are tied to an arch in front of a bunch of chanting acolytes. Brainy tells Dawnstar they probably brought some disease to the planet as carriers and figures he could cure it if he could get back to their ship. Brainy points out that some of the people’s artifacts look like parts of a 23rd Century transport ship, so they’re probably descendants of ancient colonists from Earth. On the Dark Circle homeworld, Dev-Em finds out his Dev-Em capturedcover has been blown and he’s captured and tortured. The Dark Circle implant something in his head while he’s unconscious. On the Exile planet, Jhodan and Rand argue for leniency for he outsiders, but the Reverend Mother has something else in mind. Jhodan appears before the crowd and renounces Dawnstar and Brainy, releasing them and exiling them from the planet, which hurts Dawnstar since she thought she and Jhodan had something going on. Jhodan drops the computer tape (I’m not sure if it’s accidental or not) and Brainy grabs it, but Jhodan refuses to let Brainy cure Ina and the other sick people. A month later back on Earth, Brainy asks the new President (Desai) to let him go backJhodan tells Brainy and Dawnstar to leave and cure the people on the Exile planet. Desai says a cure has already been seeded in the atmosphere and they’re considering an expedition to make formal contact. Brainy asks to go on the expedition, saying there’s some powerful force of nature on the planet and it’ll be expecting them. Meanwhile, Dawnstar is still pining for Jhodan and Wildfire realizes things have changed between them.

 

Tales of the Teen Titans 53 coverTales of the Teen Titans #53 – “Angel Devil on the Wing” – Marv Wolfman/Rich Buckler/Mike DeCarlo

This one starts with a tennis match featuring Dick (Nightwing) Grayson and Starfire against Donna (Wonder Girl) Long and her new husband Terry. Donna and Terry win handily, so Dick is happy when Victor (Cyborg) Stone interrupts to show them the new holo-projectors he’s set up, which allows them to change the environment around them, much like the Holodeck on ST: TNG. On her way to Titans’ Tower, Lillith is ambushed by someone dressed as Terminator. She tells the others, who know something weird is going on since the real Terminator (Slade Wilson) is currently on trial and they’d know if he’d escaped custody. Lillith alsoLillith fights the Titans to help Azrael mentions her precognitive flashes about the frozen guy recovered by STAR Labs last issue and they discuss Joe Wilson and his mother Adeline being held in Europe for questioning by Interpol. At Terminator’s trial (which is presided over by Adrian Chase, aka Vigilante), Gar (Changeling) Logan and his girlfriend Jillian are there because Gar wants to see Terminator get what’s coming to him. At STAR Labs, Lillith gets all worked up over the winged alien (Azrael, although none of them know his name yet) and heads into the chamber where some scientists are running tests on him. Lillith’s skin starts heating up (like last issue) and she busts Azrael loose. The Titans try Logan gets worked up at the trialto talk her down, suggesting Azrael is controlling her, but she’s adamant that helping him is the right thing for her to do. She fights the Titans, almost overloading Starfire with energy, until Cyborg takes her out with some white noise. Azrael (who doesn’t understand English) takes off and Starfire and Wonder Girl go looking for him … though they’re already wondering if maybe he wasn’t controlling Lillith after all. At the trial, Logan makes a scene and almost gets thrown out; he’s obviously got a lot invested in Terminator going to prison, but Terminator’s lawyer is already strategizing. Meanwhile, Starfire and Wonder Girl find Azrael and almostTitans almost capture Azrael capture him, even though they’re not sure he’s a bad guy. Azrael can’t remember anything about himself and doesn’t feel like the Titans are trying to hurt him, but he has an instinctive aversion to captivity, so he fights them off and flees again. While flying away, he knocks a couple window washers off a platform and while the Titans are saving them, Azrael gets away. Cyborg isn’t so sure about Azrael’s innocence after the window washer thing (plus Cyborg ended up almost falling to his death twice trying to catch Azrael). Later at Terminator’s trial, Wonder Girl testifies about Terminator’s kidnapping of Abrams testimony doesn't go wellstockbroker Samuel Abrams (in issue 34), but the lawyer mentions the attack on Lillith earlier, trying to make it look like Terminator is still at large. When Abrams testifies, the lawyer forces him to admit he never saw Slade Wilson’s face and Terminator’s voice was electronically filtered, so he can’t swear that the Terminator who kidnapped him was actually Slade Wilson. Naturally, that pisses Gar off to no end, but we’ll have to wait until next issue to see the fallout.

New Teen Titans 8 coverNew Teen Titans #8 – “There Might Be … Giants” – Marv Wolfman/Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez/Romeo Tanghal

This one starts with Thia and Lillith (who was revealed to be her daughter last issue) beating the shit out of the Gods of Olympus and tossing them away like garbage. Thia claims the throne of Zeus and reveals her story to Lillith. After escaping Tartarus, where she and the other Titans were banished by Zeus, Thia found herself on Earth in the early 20th Century. Over the years she banged a lot of dudes and bore a lot of children, all of whom are now in positions of power around the world, waiting to do Thia’s bidding. (This sounds like what Circe would later do in Wonder Woman.)Thia recounts her sexual history Lillith’s father was quite the stud apparently, but Thia wasted him like all the rest and gave Lillith to a nanny to raise. The nanny stole Lillith and Thia’s been looking for her ever since, hoping her powers can help Thia’s ambitions. On what’s left of Paradise Island, Wonder Girl vows to find out what happened to the Amazons. She figures Thia devastated the Island and either killed the Amazons or sent them to Tartarus. Wonder Girl and Starfire explore the deserted island and Wonder Girl communes with the statue of Athena, opening a warp that pulls her and Starfire to a netherverse … the Oraculum. There, Wonder Girl uses the Oraculum’s power to observe Tartarus, where the Teen Titans fight giantsTitans are being attacked by giants. Wonder Girl still has feelings for Hyperion, even though their “love” was someone he caused with his magic. The scene shifts and Wonder Girl sees Thia and Lillith in Olympus, but Thia realizes she’s being spied upon and sends a blast right through the Oraculum, almost killing Wonder Girl and Starfire. They return to Paradise Island and Starfire goes to tell the Teen Titans (including Azrael and Jericho … remember this series is happening about a year after Tales of the Teen Titans) what happened and bring them through the Oraculum to help. Nightwing is dubious about their ability to fight gods, but they have to help Lillith. Once inside the Oraculum, they’re sent to Tartarus and help the Titans fight the giants. They have their hands full, but Starfire gets right into the fight, even killing a couple ofGreek Titans freed from Tartarus giants. Jericho uses his power to take over Hyperion’s unconscious body and lead the fight. The other Titans end up being freed and join the fight, making short work of the giants, although some of the Titans (Tethys, Eurybia, and Iapetus) are killed. When the Titans find out Thia has taken over Olympus, Hyperion doesn’t want to believe it (since Thia is his wife), but has no choice. The Titans vow to bring Thia down, but before they can figure out how, Destiny shows up to tell them that if they interfere with Thia, Earth is doomed.

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