Comics Reviews: JLA 239, Legion of Super-Heroes 11, Tales of the Legion 324, Tales of the Teen Titans 54, New Teen Titans 9

JLA 239 coverJLA #239 – “In the Shadow of the Ox” – Gerry Conway/Chuck Patton/Mike Machlan

This one starts with a very stylized parable about Anansi the Spider learning to share his wisdom with the world instead of hoarding it. We quickly jump to JLA Headquarters in Detroit, where Superman, Wonder Woman, and Flash are grilling Aquaman on why he dissolved the old JLA and started a brand-new team. After some haranguing back and forth, the founders realize that these new recruits have the commitment to the League that the older heroes no longer do, so they give the new team their blessing. There’s also some time paradox stuff about how Superman and company spent hours on Earth-2 but were gone for three weeks in Earth-1 time; theold JLAers pass the torch end result is that Flash has to take Superman and Wonder Woman back three weeks to avoid creating a paradox, so I guess that explains all the stuff that’s been happening in their own comics for the last few months. Later, Zatanna finds Vixen making out with Dale Gunn, which pisses her off (since she had her eye on Dale), but before she can do something stupid, the alarm goes off. It’s Vibe’s sister Rosa, there to tell them that Maksai (the African warlord who wants Vixen’s Tantu totem) has kidnapped Mother Windom and will kill her if Vixen doesn’t show up at an abandoned theatre. Maksai is also Vixen’s uncle and Aquaman uses his telepathy on Vixenkilled her father because he believes the Tantu totem is his by right of blood. Vixen’s ready to go, but Aquaman doesn’t want her confronting Maksai on her own so he uses his telepathy to force her to stop. That pisses off J’onn and while he and Aquaman are arguing, Vixen leaves. At the theatre, Maksai tells Mother Windom a story about how Anansi gave the totem to Tantu so he would have the power of animals at his command. Vixen sneaks into the theatre, but Maksai’s men have Mother Windom at gunpoint, so she walks in and hands the totem over to Maksai. He puts it on, but can’t control the power itVixen defeats Maksai contains, just as Vixen predicted. She gets Mother Windom away as Maksai turns into a man-bull (his nickname was the Gored Ox). Maksai loses all reason and pounds his own men before going after Vixen. She uses her natural agility to vault over him, grabbing the totem from around his neck. She uses the totem’s power to pound Maksai, hoping that her father can now rest easier.

 

Tales of the Legion 324 coverTales of the Legion #324 – “The Secret of the Dark Circle” – Paul Levitz (plot), Mindy Newell/ Dan Jurgens/Karl Kesel

This one starts on Amadus, a planet near Dark Circle space that’s been devastated in an attack. But according to Gigi Cusimano, who was monitoring things from a nearby spaceship, the destruction was caused by only one attacker who obviously had super-powers. Gigi is feeling guilty she didn’t do more to help the people on Amadus, but Mon-El, Ultra Boy, and White Witch assure her there was nothing she could do. Gigi knows Dev-Em has been infiltrating the Dark Circle and figures it was him who attacked Amadus,even though she never saw his face. The Legionnaires don’t wantconfronting the attacker to consider that their old friend might have turned traitor and Mon-El has another theory … the attacker could be a rogue Daxamite. They get an alert that an orbital station is under attack and the Legionnaires head up to check it out. Back on Earth, Dawnstar is moping over her boyfriend troubles (she still loves Wildfire but can’t be with him because he’s not human, but now she’s also hot for Jhodan from the Exile planet). Laurel Kent tries to cheer her up. Back at Amadus, the three Legionnaires confront the masked attacker in orbit and realize he definitely does have super-powers, but they still can’t tell if it’s Dev-Em or not. (The mask he wears is made of lead, which Mon-El can’t Laurel talks to Dawnstar about her man troublessee through, and Ultra Boy has to use his power for invulnerability instead of penetra-vision.) The mystery man gives Mon-El and Ultra Boy quite a fight (while White Witch concentrates on rescuing victims) and ends up getting away after overloading a spaceship’s reactor, which forces Mon-El to save the crew instead of pursuing the attacker. On the prison planet (Takron-Galtos), Persuader is remanded to custody again, but this time the warden warns him things have changed and he won’t have such an easy time of it. Back in space, the Legionnaires chase the mysterious attacker into Dark Circle territory and end up fighting five identical attackers, all of whom sound like Dev-Em.fighting the Dev-Em clones After defeating them (with White Witch taking three down by herself), they unmask the attackers and find out they’re all Dev-Em … or at least they all look like him. The mystery is soon solved when a Dark Circle ship shows up with the real Dev-Em held captive using kryptonite. The Legionnaires realize they’ve been fighting clones, but the Dark Circle threaten to kill the real Dev-Em if the Legionnaires don’t surrender immediately.

“The Missing Planet Puzzle” – Paul Levitz (plot), Mindy Newell/Ernie Colon/Gary Martin

mapping computer blows upThis is a story about Jacques (Invisible Kid) Foccart on a solo mission. He got a call from an old friend (Emil) in the Ivory Coast who runs a company that makes 3-D holo-maps of planets. Emil’s business is going great, except he can’t seem to map one particular planet called Orsde; every time he tries, his equipment blows up, which makes him think poltergeists are involved. Jacques is more practical and sets out to learn everything he can about Orsde. Later, he goes to Legion Headquarters to talk to Shrinking Violet and returns to Emil company with some information .. and some special equipment. They run the Orsde program again, but this time when the computer starts overloading, Jacques turnsJacques finds the Imskians invisible and opens up the computer, exposing the cause of the problems … two Imskians (who have the power to shrink) hiding inside the computer and sabotaging it. Jacques sucks them up with a vacuum into a special polymer bag that they can’t shrink out of or expand and burst. Jacques tells Emil he found out Orsde is Imsk’s sister planet and figured the Imskian terrorist movement had reached there and the terrorists didn’t want the planet mapped for fear their secret base would be discovered.

Legion of Super-Heroes 11 coverLegion of Super-Heroes #11 – “Taking Care of Business: Old Business” – Paul Levitz/Ernie Colon/Larry Mahlstedt

This one starts with a full meeting of Legionnaires just ending. Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, and Cosmic Boy (the three original founders of the Legion) reflect on whether they need to remain active members now that there are so many others on duty (and they’ve just launched a membership drive to recruit more). Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl think they could probably step back (especially since they have a kid now), but Cosmic Boy thinks the three of them of kind of the Legion’s heart, or maybe its conscience, and owe it to the younger Legionnaires to stay involved. Atfighting off drones Science Police headquarters, Sun Boy shows up to talk to Chief Zendak about Gigi Cusimano. Meanwhile, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, and Cosmic Boy have gone to Glacier Point, a mining facility in Antarctica and the only prison (medium security) left on Earth. After running into some overeager security drones and lackadaisical security officers, the trio land to look for some prisoners. Back in Metropolis, President Desai is inaugurated as the new President of Earth and promises to make changes of all kinds … including with the “institutions of law and order themselves”; that might not be good for the Legion. In Antarctica, the three Legionnaires find the guys they’re looking for—he two men who tried to kill R.J. Brande all those years ago; when meeting some old foesLightning Lad, Saturn Girl, and Cosmic Boy saved Brande, he suggested they team up to fight crime and the Legion was born. Now the would-be kilers (who are so broken down from their years of hard labour they don’t even recognize the three Legionnaires who put them away) have finished their sentences and are being released. Brain scans confirm that any criminal tendencies have been worked off, so they’re no longer a danger to society. The whole makes the three Legionnaires feel a little old. Back at Headquarters, Bouncing Boy talks to Superboy, who’s there for a visit but is contemplating rejoining the Legion. Bouncing Boy points out that historical records on Superboy prove that he didn’t rejoin the Legion and tells Superboy they’ve got plenty of potential Legionnaires waiting in the wings. Which brings us to the second story of the issue …

“New Business” – Paul Levitz/Keith Giffen/Karl Kesel

This is basically just Bouncing Boy telling Superboy how Comet Queen ended up being a student at the Legion Academy. Bouncing Boy met her onComet Queen puts the moves on Bouncing Boy Quall-III while on a goodwill tour … or rather, she met him by throwing herself at him. After Bouncing Boy explained he was married, Comet Queen backed off (a little) but still bugged him to let her join the Legion. He told her about his own troubles joining and how he had to prove himself, so Comet Queen (who talks in weird teenager slang like some kind of 30th Century Valley Girl) took off into the lava fields to prove herself worthy of being a Legionnaire. Bouncing Boy went after them and they both ended up injured and unable to get out of the lava fields. She told him her origin: trying to emulate the way Star Boy gained his escaping the lava fieldspowers, she’d jumped naked into the tail of a comet and ended up transformed into Comet Queen. Before they got fried, they managed to disable the circuitry in the lava vent control systems and Bouncing Boy decided Comet Queen might be a good candidate for the Academy … as long as she stopped hitting on him )which Bouncing Boy’s wife Duo Damsel apparently put a stop to pretty fast).

 

Tales of the Teen Titans 54 coverTales of the Teen Titans #54 – “Blind Justice” – Marv Wolfman/Rich Buckler/Dick Giordano, Mike DeCarlo

This one continues directly from last issue, with Gar (Changeling) Logan freaking out because Slade (Terminator) Wilson’s lawyer has just dropped a bombshell at Wilson’s hearing, saying that there’s more than one Terminator and the one who kidnapped the stockbroker and fought the Titans wasn’t actually Slade Wilson. Gar is pissed off and attacks Wilson until his teammates subdue him. They bring up numerous other crimes Terminator committed, but the judge (Adrian Chase aka theGar attacks Wilson in court Vigilante) rules that none of those crimes are admissible. Because of his own vigilante past, Chase can’t condemn the Titans for not operating strictly by the book, but he does throw Gar out of the courtroom. Outside, Gar is actually quite happy, as this is all part of his plan to get back at Terminator for making Terra betray them. The Titans go back to their headquarters, worrying about what Gar might do next. Nightwing says they need to concentrate on catching the fake Terminator and prove he’s working with Wilson to make him look innocent. Cyborg has something to take care of, but the rest of the Titans meet with Terminator’s pal Wintergreen, who denies having fake Terminator attacks the Titansanything to do with the fake Terminator, pointing out that he’s much to old to be playing the part. The fake Terminator shows up and attacks the Titans, and since we’re privy to his thoughts, we learn that he’s very familiar with the Titans … and that he’s using some kind of mental power to throw their timing off a bit so they can’t catch him. In spite of all his precautions, the Titans do almost capture the fake Terminator, but he escapes by taking off on a boat, which is rigged to explode when Starfire blasts it. Starfire mentions that the boat belonged to Steve Dayton and was moored at his dock, which should be a pretty big clue to the fake Terminator’s identity … but none of them put it together, not even Nightwing. At STAR Labs,cyborg argues with his grandparents Victor (Cyborg) Stone is preparing to undergo an extensive parts swap, changing out his metal body parts for more human-looking plastics. His grandparents show up and his grandma tries to talk him out of it, but Victor’s mind is made up. The next day at Terminator’s hearing, Wilson’s lawyer scores some more points when he gets Lillith to testify that she was attacked by Terminator while Wilson was in custody. The prosecutor has Nightwing testify to Wilson’s enhanced physical abilities, suggesting that he’s one-of-a-kind and that no one else could be the Terminator. But Wilson’s lawyer forces Nightwing to admit he heard about Wilson’s abilities from his Nightwing outmaneuvered in courtex-wife Adeline, who’s currently in Europe and can’t be cross-examined. Since Nightwing’s testimony is hearsay, it’s discounted. Wilson’s lawyer also points out that anyone could be wearing Nightwing’s costume and nobody would know if he was the genuine article or not, so the same could be true of Terminator and Slade Wilson. Outside the courtroom, Lillith gives the Titans shit for driving Azrael away when she asked them not to. She says she’s been having weird dreams lately and her skin feels hot when she’s under stress, but none of that was caused by Azrael. The Titans apologize, but Lillith leaves anyway, hoping to find Azrael as well as some answers to her past. We see Azrael watching them, still mooning over Lilllith, but since he can’t understand what they’re saying, he decides to take off and try to forget her. At the hearing the next day, Chase rules that there isn’t enoughWilson gloats over his triumph evidence to send Wilson to trial for kidnapping, but does say he’ll be held on weapons charges that could get him a year in prison. Wilson isn’t too worried and is pretty snotty with the Titans, gloating over his victory and telling them if they ever figure out who was impersonating him to let him know, since he doesn’t like people using his name in vain. At Steve Dayton’s mansion, we find out that it was Gar impersonating the Terminator (using Dayton’s Mento helmet to project images in everyone’s mind and throw off their timing) because he wants Terminator out of prison so he can kill him and avenge Terra. Terminator has been sentenced to a year in prison, but Gar vows he’ll kill him one way or another.

New Teen Titans 9 coverNew Teen Titans #9 – “Crystal Nightmare” – Marv Wolfman/Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez/Romeo Tanghal

This one continues directly from last issue, with Destiny warning the New Teen Titans and the Titans of Greek myth that if they interfere with Thia’s schemes, Earth will be doomed. Mnemosyne tries to get answers, but since Destiny exists outside of time and space, she can’t confirm if his prophecy is true or not. The Greek Titans don’t care, they want revenge on Thia for taking over Olympus and defeating the Gods while leaving them to rot in Tartarus. Wonder Girl agrees, since she thinks Thia devastated Paradise Island and imprisoned all the Amazons. In Olympus, Thia tellsthia and Lillith in Olympus Lillith (who has just found out Thia is her mother) that the Greek Gods grew weak and let humanity stop worshipping them and gain in power. Now Thia wants to take over Earth with her multitude of offspring she’s birthed over the years who a re now in various positions of power around the globe. Lillith wants nothing to do with her mother’s cruel schemes, but before they can finish the debate, Thia realizes the crystal fortress she forced Kole to create to hold the Gods and Amazons is under attack. The crystal fortress exists in between dimensions and is guarded by demons and giants, but the two sets of Titans attack without hesitation. Wonder Girl and Starfire head for the fortress to free the Starfire attacks KoleAmazons, but Kole comes out to fight them. Kole says she has to obey Thia or she’ll be punished and weaves a crystal sheath around Wonder Girl. Starfire freaks out and attacks Kole, almost strangling her. Kole weaves a sheath around Starfire, but she uses her starbolt powers to bust free and Cyborg shatters the crystal around Wonder Girl with a sonic blast. Wonder Girl is pissed off now and flies at the crystal fortress, smashing it to pieces and freeing the Amazons and the Greek Gods. Hippolyta thanks Wonder Girl for freeing them and tells her it was Eros who destroyed Paradise Island not Thia, as we saw in Wonder Woman 322. The Greek Gods are ready to go after Thia, who is pissed off that everyone keeps defying her and won’t just let her rule them. Lillith tells her the Gods (and Titans) aren’t really Gods, they’re justTyphon attacks immensely powerful beings who ancient people mistook for gods. But now humanity has evolved and can make their own way. Thia agrees that the time for god-worship might be over, but she still wants to rule everything, so she summons her greatest creation, the many-headed monster Typhon. The Greek Gods, the Amazons, and the Teen titans all combine to fight Typhon, while Hyperion (Thia’s ex, who until now believed she was incapable of being so titans and their allies defeat Typhoncruel and ambitious) grabs Thia and immolates both of them in a burst of fire. Lillith loses it, having found her mother and now lost her, and Azrael vows to help her deal with her pain. Typhon is defeated by the forces arrayed against it and Kole encases the monster in crystal. There are a few epilogue moments after the big fight; we learn Kole was human but received her crystal powers from her father and hid them until Thia showed up and shanghaied her to Olympus; Wonder Girl is broke up over Hyperion’s death, even though the romantic feelings she had for him were put in her mind by his magic; and the Titan and Gods make peace and decide to live in Olympus together, leaving humans to make their own choices. Unfortunately, for Azrael, theAzrael crying over Lillith Gods want Lillith to stay with them, since she’s one of them. Lillith agrees and Azrael gets all angsty and emo, crying on the steps of Olympus. Destiny’s prophecy seems not to have come true, but maybe it depended on Thia winning the fight. In Washington, we see a Presidential adviser (who is one of Thia’s highly-placed children) contacting some of his siblings (who call themselves the Children of the Sun) about their mother’s death … and discussing their imminent takeover of the world.

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