Future Zoo - Sloth-Apes and More!

Today we have a number of fascinating new future animals to show you, all brought to you by the Hunter, dastardly villain of Adventure Comics No 358. Why, here he is now, merrily chasing down a striped critter:

The hunter's basic thesis is the same as Kraven "I appeared three years before this guy" the Hunter's: once you've hunted enough animals it gets boring, so why not switch to super-heroes? Meanwhile, that tigerram isn't doing much to disprove his point. Talk about uninspired, kitty - you sure ain't no Parakat. Heck, of the half-dozen or so tiger-like creatures that have appeared in the Legion's history I think that the tigerram is about the least impressive. It's got all of the standard tiger stuff, sure, but are those horns even functional? Did the Hunter have them glued on to make things seem more exotic?

Man, it doesn't even try to butt him. NOT APPROVED, tigerram.

Anyway, the Hunter (real name Otto Orion, billionaire financier) is so bored with hunting that he doesn't even bother taking the tigerram's improbable corpse back home with him. He just sits around at his post-hunt party, moping about the lack of challenge involved in lasering something to death at point-blank ranges. If only he'd thought to try spears instead, the rest of the issue wouldn't be so stressful for the Legion.

The Hunter's aide, Jakra, is pretty great. He's everything that  a fanatically loyal henchman should be, plus he's won his letterman's tank-top, so you know he's good at it. I get the feeling that I've brought this up at some point in the past but I don't mind repeating myself: I kind of want to live life like people do in these comics, with my initials on my shirt and my name written on my jacket and a statue of me on my lawn (and all of my friends' lawns, because I give them as gifts) and a little card in front of my seat at any table saying my name and power (super chicken wing-consumption). It seems so.... satisfying, like you'd look in the mirror every morning and see the tattoo of yourself and go "Hiya, best friend!" and then put on a shirt and read it and say "That's me!" Life would be nothing but certainties.

Back to that second panel: note the back of the hunter's vest. Mounting a whole animal head back there, tusks and all, is a bold fashion move. Plus it looks better than Kraven the Hunter's lion vest.

Orion's evil plan involves landing a fleet of ships (billionaire financier, remember?) on Earth, letting them out and then somehow capturing the Legion. If he planned it out any further he didn't say.

Note the guy in the foreground, on the left. This place either has a much more lax dress code than where I work or a much stricter one. Either way, that's well beyond business casual.

The Hunter demands the Legion's surrender without giving them a way to respond, then unleashes his animals. Flying patrol, the Legionnaires hear the following: "CLUMP! BRAAT! ARRRT! KRUMPH! CRASH! RAWRR! CRUNCH! HELP! YARR!" and of course rush to investigate. They find not a fat angry pirate but:

A lot of animals! Let's see... that  grey guy at the top is terrific, but then again I love any monster that has its own laser-stalk. In the the absence of any proper name I'm going to call it a Belligerent Raynocerous and it's JOHN APPROVED.

The giant snake... well, it's just a giant snake, but it's randomly smashing up a car. I like Robert E. Howard stories enough that giant snakes have a special place in my heart, so I dub it the Rigellian Vandalconda and JOHN APPROVED, in that order.

Leading the pack is the Sloth-Ape, which Jakra mentioned earlier. I want to say that it's about as imaginative as the Tigerram, but the fact that the "sloth" part of its name comes from giant, slashing talons rather than the kind of lethargic motion that I showcase on Sunday mornings is a big relief. Plus, the slothy haircut. JOHN APPROVED. The thing behind it, however, which I might describe as "kind of a doggish leopard, with giraffe spots" gets zero points. NOT APPROVED.

On the other hand, the thing in the foreground, the one that looks like a bull with a doggy head and tusks and horns and more horns? That's a proper alien monster - vaguely ridiculous but not something that you'd like to see coming at you across a stretch of Old Man McGillicuddy's field. Also, not completely implausible. It's called the Ravenous Puncture Cow and it's JOHN APPROVED.

The rest, the dinosaur-looking ones, Lumpy, Fasty and Grey? Far too generic for me to care.

Arg! Boooooooooooooooo! The Jovian Mastodon has two trunks, boo boo boo. It should at least have have insect eyes and nineteen legs or something. NOT APPROVED.

The Oraxian Cyclops, on the other hand, is great. It's got: chicken legs, no neck, no elbows, lumps and a completly mouth-bisected head. It's like... it's like one of my childhood dream-toys come to life! I can just picture it devouring a G.I. Joe and the turning on poor Lion-O. Mmmm. JOHN APPROVED.

This guy on the left, by the way, is what Chameleon Boy was turning into up there. The Toradian Karkon, eh? A rough-and-tumble, tentacle-slinging, fire-spewing pink lump of a monster, one that even other monsters fear. I reckon that it'd be wearing a fedora and chomping on a stogie if it had the choice and a mouth. JOHN APPROVED.

Another look at the Sloth-Ape - turns out that their only weakness is a fire hydrant to the skull. Same as me!

Meanwhile, the Venusian Tricorn Beast is pretty damned disappointing. With a name like that, the very least that I expect is for its head to resemble Paul Revere's hat. Having three horns just doesn't cut it, beastie, especially when two of them are spaced widely enough that they couldn't hit the broad side of an Air-Car at the same time. NOT APPROVED.

Giant toads are almost as good as giant snakes. Giant toads with radar eyes are roughly twice as good as giant snakes with regular eyes. The Giant Ankarian Toad clocks in at 4.5 times as good, due to its nonchalant expression. JOHN APPROVED.

Invisible Kid is way too calm about being caught by a toad-tongue. If I am ever in a similar situation I guarantee you that my thought balloon will read "Giant toad! Giant TOAD! GIANT TOOOOOOOOOOOO-OOOOOOOOOOOOOAADD!"

Meanwhile, Shrinking Violet is living up to her name and shrinking, giving the Hunter a chance to prove that he is a pretty dam good planner, as he included tiny monsters, just in case someone got small. That's a detail that most would overlook, my friends.

The Gleeful Batbee is JOHN APPROVED. It's sting is almost as deadly as its sense of humour.

The Tufted Murderpillar is also JOHN APPROVED, both for being able to keep up with the rest of the monsters and for being a deadly alien caterpillar.

And that yellow thing? That yellow thing that I'm gonna call MC Slapsalot (from Mixmaster IX, in the Nebula Funkadelic)? That thing has the best attack of any monster ever. Just squash 'em, Slapsalot! JOHN APPROVED.

The Legionnaires absolutely fail to get rid of the beasts, by the way, and retreat to a crumbled building to consider a strategy that involves not getting their asses kicked by creatures that wouldn't have made it into a Greek myth. This is when the Hunter makes his move, showing up with a Radioactive Monster that apparantly can sap Ultra Boy's strength (and is JOHN APPROVED for being proactive about adapting to potential futuristic nuclear wastelands and kind of looking like it has a flashlight strapped to its head) and a Kryptonite Beast (NOT APPROVED because it's stupid. A magic beast would be far more plausible [he said, not listening to himself make very little sense]). He offers to get rid of all of the monster in exchange for permission to hunt the Legionnaires. They, of course, say yes.

Okay, the Kryptonite Beast does have a sense of showmanship, I'll give it that. But not  one jot more. 

Anyway, the Hunter pulls this off:

and then hunts the Legion and almost wins and then dies in a weirdly honourable way. His son later comes back for revenge wielding a terrible haircut and a bad attitude.

So today's lesson is... don't hunt superheroes. Kill them with an overwhelming flood of monsters and then claim that you hunted them. It's safer.

And now I go out for supper. Good night.