Here we go with the first installment of that other series of reviews that I was talking about, featuring the astounding gadgetry of the far-off days of the Thirtieth Century! Thrill to the high-tech world of tomorrow, as envisioned by the people of yesterday! This is going to be such fun!
As with Future Zoo, I'm going to start off this series at the very beginning: Adventure Comics No. 247, the very first appearance of the Legion. Surprisingly, there's not too much in terms of really noteworthy technojunk in this issue. Oh sure, there are rocket cars and spherical zoos and ice cream shops featuring 'Nine Delicious Flavors From Nine Planets', but the only thing that really stood out in my mind was on the cover:
I don't know about you, but I love the Yes/No Desk. It's so decisive. I mean, talk about an efficient way to deliver bad news to someone, plus it's very much in tune with the Legion's policy of rejecting applicants in the most direct and spirit-crushing way possible. Look at poor Superboy - he's flabbergasted! I just hope that the "NO" button makes some sort of sprightly dinging noise when pressed, so that the moment is tied to as many senses in the memory as possible.
I'm very fond of visions of the future that basically predict extreme laziness, where labour-saving devices have become efficient enough that people are, say, pushing a button instead of raising their hand or saying "aye." By 1950s sci-fi logic, Earth of 2958 is about two generations away from becoming brains in jars.
Saturn Girl, by the way, is wearing possibly her best-ever costume in this picture. Too bad she never, ever wore it again.
The Yes/No Desk was such a good idea that the Legion of Super-Villains ripped it off as the Life/Death Desk in Superman No. 147:
It's still pretty lazy, but the Life/Death Desk just doesn't sing to me like the Yes/No model. I think it's because Life and Death are a lot harder to convey that Yes and No. I mean, the Legionnaires could have shaken their heads or given Superboy a thumbs-down - there are dozens of really easy ways to say no to someone. As in most things, the Super-Heroes trump the Super-Villains when it comes to commitment to inaction.