The Sad, Sorry, End: Review of Adventure Comics no. 337

When I started this review I was very excited by the prospect of writing about a Legion story that (I thought) epitomized many of the proper elements of Thirtieth Century tale-telling. Anyone who has been following along might have noticed that I launched into this project with great gusto and generated some epic and (according to Paul) irritatingly huge reviews. At this point, however, a curious phenomenon came to light: unlike most Legion stories - heck, unlike most Silver Age stories - the more I scrutinized and picked-apart this one the sicker I got of it. I’m not sure what it is, though possibly the gross orange jumpsuits on the Eddie Munster Brigade aggravated some latent Seasonal Affective Disorder. Possibly, too, it’s just kind of a lousy story. I’ve already covered most of the good parts (the wedding, the “new recruits”, the creepy house pet), so here are the other two:

FUTURE ZOO: Review of the Animal Books from Zinnat

I kind of love these guys. They seem to be of two different species, so I’m kind of baffled about how they might manage to convey information. Not that I can’t imagine more than one way that an animal might do so - far from it (for the record, my guesses include parrot-like speech mimicry, interpretive dance, Braille-like bumps on the back of the thing, tattoos, crazy TV eyes, Morse Code-like heartbeat, semaphore ears and sentient fleas that spell out words. Oh, and information-dense dung deposits). I’m just surprised that the Zinnatese managed to find and domesticate two such beasts before discovering, say, paper. Or the chisel. I don’t know - maybe the Animal Book is just a fancy version of a regular book, like when you get a copy of Dracula with a puffy leather cover instead of in the standard beat-up paperback format. Hell, maybe the bars on those little alcoves are decorative and the ‘Animal Books’ are just regular books that have been made out of animals, sliced up thin.

All I know is this: those Animal Books never showed up again, possibly because someone found out that they were being kept in cages roughly the size of a pack of chewing gum. Oh, wait. I also know that every time that Sun Boy came into the library he asked someone to “pass me a disc book from Uranus.” And he found it just as funny every time.


The only other interesting thing in this issue were these headers that ran along the top of the page, apparently featuring the mug shots taken after Matter-Eater Lads 19th birthday celebration on Ventura. What a night!

Anyway, Adventure Comics No. 337 ended like this: the aliens found Plan R and went home and then it turned out that Plan R was a fake, as were the Legion weddings. It had all been a ruse to get the location of Munster Planet. The Legion shows up and shuts down the machine that the aliens used to make their super-power pills. The end.

So tired of it…


My belated New Years’ resolution? Not to do crap like this again. Next up: old familiar territory redux!

The latest in High-Tech Communication: Continuing Review of Adventure Comics No. 337

I don't know how I feel about the ol' super-shout. On the one hand, it'd be nice to know what Superboy was up to at any one time but on the other: burst eardrums. I don't know. I kind of figured that after Brainiac 5 got finished with creating those y'know, rings, the ones that let you fly, he might have devoted a half hour or so to banging together one or two walkie-talkies. I mean, I know that Silver Age Superboy had to use all of his powers as frequently as possible while talking about what he was doing or he'd lose them, but couldn't he think of the children, and also the old people and the pets and everyone else?

I like that Superboy can't just say "Great guns!" or something. He's too large for that - he needs to swear by something really, really big. It's all "Great galaxies!" or "By the rings of Saturn!" or even "Great Krypton!", which always gives me a chuckle. I hope swearing by places you were born or used to live comes into vogue soon, so I can shout "Great Windsor!" or "Holy Halifax!" or even "By the temperate climate and great dining opportunities of Victoria!" when I get surprised by seeing some of my pals taking a nap.

Adventure Comics No. 337, REVIEW DEFERRED, still.

Action Comics No. 860 is out this (wait.. last) week. There's not much new to say about the Legion of Super-Rejects (though I was surprised to see that it wasn't just a trick of perspective - Golden Boy's pants really are that high-waisted) but I'm pleased to report that my dream of a comic in which Shadow Lass and Night Girl are working as the most obvious team ever has finally come to pass, and it only took thirty or forty years!


Shooter coming back to the Legion? Ask me in a few more issues.

Shameful: Review of Adventure Comics No. 337, By Johnathan

Ugh. I suck. I kept all the children on tenterhooks for two, maybe three weeks. Sorry, children. I am filled with deep shame. Worry not, however - I hereby vow that I will finish writing about this gol-danged story before the year 2967 actually comes to pass. There: my conscience is once again clear.

Okay, so since the former Giant Giant Post format that I was using has been discredited like Soviet-era Communism (and because it was driving Paul Review crazy) I'll be delivering up the remainder of this story in easily-digested chunks. So... chew on this:

I've become even more taken with the fact that the alien spies believed that they had disguised themselves as beings from three different planets. What does this say about the future? Exactly how far can I run with the idea? Huh?

Pretty far, as it turns out. Blackout Boy, the green-clad gentleman in the centre, for example, proudly wears the planetary uniform of the Violently Clashing People of the Hot Pink Planet Eeugh. Settled by rogue fashion designers in the mid-25th Century, Eeugh's people deliberately choose a new universal style of clothing every five years, each created expressly to offend the eye when viewed against the already hard-to-look-at landscapes of their adoptive planet. The blackout power showcased in this story was evolved in order to give the Eeughians' eyes a much-needed rest.


Size Lad, here, is posing as an inhabitant of Scherer VXI, the Obsessive Rock Hudson Fan's Planet, inhabitants of which are recognizable for their hair, which is universally coloured and styled to resemble that of their idol. Further cosmetic alterations are earned by Scherernites by participating in grueling physical and mental challenges. As each citizen comes to resemble Hudson more and more they are entitled to wear a series of colour-coded uniforms that reflect their social status, starting at white for those with Hudson-hair and nothing else and progressing through the spectrum to an awe-inspiring luminescent black worn by the planet's leader, Rock Hudson.


Magnetic Kid - far right, first panel - isn't actually wearing a horrid purple jumpsuit. Rather, he is one of the Purple Torso People of the jungle planet Smee. The Torso people evolved in the jungles of Smee as relentless predators, drawing prey to them with their magnetic powers and then devouring them with their fearsome abdomouths. Eventually, the Torso People formed an advanced society and joined the United Planets, but found that the humans that they so resembled had difficulty in communicating comfortably with what to them resembled headless bodies, even if they knew that the white spots on the shoulders were eyes. Faced with the possibility of being cosmic outcasts, the Smeevians engaged the services of the renowned Coluan cyberneticist Sqak Vaq, who swiftly designed a robotic head capable of interfacing with the nerves and muscles of the Smeevian shoulder area and translating torso-based facial expressions into something that a human could appreciate. Of course, since Coluans and Torso People both consider all humans to look alike, the entire Smeevian race wears identical blonde cyberheads.


So you see: those three forms did look like they came from different planets after all! I was a fool to doubt, a fool!

And I just approved of three planets that I made up!

Adventure Comics No. 337: REVIEW DEFERRED

Aliens and Their Schemes: Review of Adventure Comics No. 337, Part 2

*I accidentally published this before it was even started and I'm far too lazy to upload all of these pictures to another post, so enjoy what I've written so far. I'll be hitting 'Publish Post' periodically as I write.

Update: busy week! Christmas parties and other such social engagements, oh my! Plus I seem to have managed to start dating a girl. Never fear, though: it'll be done before Christmas.

Other update: One last push! damn tiredness! Damn crankyness! Do it, Johnathan! Do it for all those kids out there that won't have a proper Christmas unless they know how the middle part of this comic ends and what your thoughts on that are! Get in there and review!

Fourth update: I am a broken man with a full social calender. Looks like this might have to wait another day or so to be finished. Sorry, forks.

Updated update: bah. time to try something new. See the end of the post.

Here I am, back again to discuss the middle portion of Adventure Comics No. 337. As you may recall, when we left the Legion they were agitated over the threat of a possible invasion of the Earth by sickly-looking aliens. Meanwhile, romance was in bloom at Legion HQ and Brainiac 5 wasn't too happy about it. Awright, let's get back to the action! Er, I mean, the adventure!

So, the aliens are all worked up about a secret 'Plan-R' that the Legion claims is a foolproof fail-safe in the event of a war of the worlds or what have you. Since they have all superpowers, the three orange-clad chaps figure that the simplest way to find out what Plan-R is is to grab a Legionnaire and extract the info.

I've got to say: without the yellow skin these guys look a lot like older versions of Eddie Munster. Maybe their planet is like one of those worlds on Star Trek where the whole society is based around a spy novel or gangster films - maybe these guy come from the Munster Planet and the Eddies are the military branch of their society. They should totally be wearing his short-pants getup instead of orange jumpsuits, though.

And that's why Saturn Girl is the Legionnaire not to ambush. She's always able to call for backup - come on, Eddies, do a little research before you set out to kidnap a lady. Didn't Grandpa teach you anything?

I've said it before and I'll say it again: if I'm ever knocked out I sincerely hope that I'll have to presence of mind to mutter something about how I'm losing consciousness before I go under. Especially if it's something unlikely, as the more information that you manage to squeeze out before going down for the count, the more points that you get. Xaxan there managed an Analysis of What Hit Me followed by a Double Status Report, which is pretty good if this is his first time.

This panel isn't terribly funny but it's kind of important to the plot, so here it is. Yup. Everyone's looking pretty sharp here - classic costumes, real big forehead on Superboy...

Moving on:

One thing about that old rocket-shaped headquarters: it wasn't very big. You were practically guaranteed a crowd for any important announcements you wanted to make, even if it was mostly male Legionnaires with nothing better to do. Take note: it's not explicit here but that old Legion bylaw about married members getting chucked out on their ears is cropping up. Because there's no room for partnerships in a team, right?

That's actually a really lovely drawing of Phantom Girl. Just sayin' is all.

Legion wedding preparations:

Girls' side first: I think that what Saturn Girl is saying that her crazy, mixed-up planet/moon Titan has the way-out, super-alien tradition of... an official of some sort conducting the ceremony. Uh, wow... that's super crazy and futuristic, Titan. Way to try. I mean, you could have went the same way as the Bismollians and had some sort of talking dog do the deed, but you stuck to your guns. Your incredibly boring, individually-numbered, matte gray guns.

Looking forward to seeing Phantom Girl's dress, though. I hear that it's beautiful.

Boy's side: Jewel Painting, meh. Giant pearls (or possibly giant pears), meh. Wait a second...




So all kinds of planets sent wedding presents to Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad, eh? Jewel paintings and giant pearls/pears and, uh, golf trophies, possibly. And then Mon-El shows up on planet Kavoom with his arms full of the jeweléd treasures of the galaxy and - and I'm just guessing here - they collectively go "Oh crap, we knew there was something that we had to do today. Uh, hold on." And then they collectively grab the first thing that they can get their collective hands on, toss it in a sack and send Mon-El packing as quickly as possible.

I don't like the looks of this thing, frankly. It's got creepy ears. It's got to be the Kavoomian equivalent of a sewer rat or something, that or Kavoomites are freaky-ass people. Look at the way it's sizing Lightning Lad up. It's getting ready to either eat him or rob him. No, the House Pet From Planet Kavoom (incidentally, the title of a long-running series of holo-horror films on Kavoom's nearest planetary neighbour) is completely



Now, the first time that I read this I missed the comment that Saturn Girl made about wedding wands earlier and I thought that the little action-figures-on-sticks thing was some sort of doofy Legion tradition. Not that that didn't make sense, though, what with the Legion's habit of making new statues of themselves at the drop of a hat. In fact, speaking of hats, I am more than a little surprised that there's not a Silver Age tale in which Superboy shows up in the future only to find all of his pals walking around wearing hats that look like themselves for some Holiday of Tomorrow.

Phantom Girl's dress, by the way? Stunning. It's amazing the effect a veil can have on the outfit that you wear every day. Sheesh. Was she afraid that Ultra Boy wouldn't recognize her without a big 'P' on her chest? Actually... it is Ultra Boy we're talking about here. And the official? Didn't disappoint. Dull as powdered fruit punch.

When I get married/if I ever get married I'm going to try my damnedest to have all of my groomsmen carry a little action figure of themselves on a stick and then present them to me at the end of the reception. This will have two effects: firstly, having a wedding tradition that can be traced to a single issue of a 1960s comic book will firmly cement my position as King of All the Nerds. Secondly, the question of what exactly to do with five or six action figures on sticks with no practical use but high sentimental value will be a recurring theme in my marriage, coming up at least as often as we move or rearrange the furniture. Heck, it might come up in the divorce proceedings.

Here's where we get into the original reason for this interminable review. Switching to Super-Human Detritus mode... now!

So, following the double wedding (and double honeymoon? Scandal!) and subsequent resignation of Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Phantom Girl and Ultra Boy, the Legion finds itself short-handed and sets up a try-out (hooray!)!

This is my favourite thing in the whole comic: that the idea of whole planets dressing in exactly the same clothing had become so accepted in Legion of Super-Heroes comics that the Eddie Munster Squad figured that by turning into three white guys with different hair and clothes no one would ever think to connect them with each other. I bet that there were all kinds of crazy ceremonies and ritual punishments associated with wearing the costume of another world, like how Canadians give a formal spanking to anyone from another country that they catch wearing a toque.

The failing applicants at this try-out are all members of the Legion of Substitute Heroes. My thoughts on this stalwart bunch are detailed elsewhere, so I've omitted most of 'em. As an example, however, I present the panel featuring the love of my life (were I 2-dimensional and nine hundred and some-odd years into the Silver Age DC Universe's future and not in competition with a human magnet and not dating a lovely Nordic lass), Night Girl!

You're a fool, Brainiac 5! A fool!


Moving on yet again:

The aliens-in-disguise show up to show off. First up is Size Lad, who can change the size of things. Hmmm. Um... well, it's a super-power, I guess. Really, though, this guy should be the proud new owner of a Legion Consolation Flight Belt. If my dear Night Girl can't get in, there's no reason that this schmuck should. In what situation (and keep in mind that I will disregard all reasonable suggestions) will this power prove useful to the Legion? Perhaps they will go to the beach and wish to show a little more skin and so ask Size Lad to shrink their bathing suits down for them? Perhaps they'll get an unusually small sandwich at the Food-o-mart? Bah.

Even though he's got an impressive profile, Size Lad is


Well, I can't very well object to Blackout Boy's powers, seeing as how I like Shadow Lass so much. I can, however get all snotty about the fact that after admitting this guy no one from the Legion thought to run out and grab Night Girl. Someone who's super-powers only work in the dark plus someone who makes darkness? Those are what's known as complimentary powers, kids. Grr grr grr. A very spiteful


From what I understand of Magnetic Kid's powers, he's got a pretty limited palatte of solutions to choose from in the event of a problem. Is it time to break up a bar fight? Well, they can't keep fighting if they're in a big pile on top of Magnetic Kid! Fatal Five attacking? Not from on top of Magnetic Kid, they're aren't! Got to stop a giant robot? Don't look at Magnetic Kid, sorry. "Pulling people toward me" really doesn't seem like a Legion-worthy super-power, unless of course they expect to be having a lot of tugs-of-war in the near future.

I do like how he messed with Brainiac 5 there, though. So:


Well, this isn't working. Much as I hate to bite Blockade Boy's style, the only way that I'm going to finish is by working on a panel or two at a time. Fun!

My behavior: NOT APPROVED

Adventure Comics No. 337: REVIEW DEFERRED

Review of Adventure Comics No. 337, part 1, By Johnathan

This was merely going to be a plain old ‘Super-Human Detritus’ review of three nutty Legion applicants, but upon rereading the issue of Adventure Comics that they made their shameful appearance in I discovered that it was an almost quintessential Legion story, jam-packed with far-future hijinks! And so I present to you a review of the whole damn comic, including all manner of interesting asides.

(Later) It was also going to be one long review, with maybe thirty images and so forth, but it turns out that I'm still recovering from the weekend. Prepare for installments!

The tale opens with an exciting, action-packed board meeting! Today’s topic: the weekly invasion of the Earth. First, though, we need to decide who’s bringing what to the Klordny Day potluck. Sun Boy, are you still bringing the condiments and napkins? Terrific.

Man, I wish that this wasn’t just a colouring error and that Brainiac 5 really did turn grayish-purple when he got angry. It would lend a whole new dimension to his super-logical behavior of later years. “Brainiac, are you sure that you’re not mad about how we ate all of the jelly doughnuts while you were in the bathroom? Because you’re starting to look like a week-old eggplant again.”

But seriously, Brainiac, do you honestly expect to have a long strategy-oriented meeting involving twenty or so teenagers of various genders and maintain the room’s full attention the whole time? My friends are all in their mid- to late twenties and I have a hard time getting them organized to do something that they want to do, let alone listen to me give a long speech about threats to our security (not that that stops me from giving such speeches). You’re just lucky that Ultra Boy and Phantom Girl aren’t furtively groping each other under the table whilst Sun Boy and Superboy ignore you in favour of a detailed conversation about how their moustaches are coming in.

I’m assuming that these two panels are just here for exposition purposes and not to show that Brainiac 5 went around after the meeting delivering his speech to every Legionnaire individually. Plus that’s an awkward sentence being spewed forth by Superboy in the second one. Although, come to think of it, it might be fun to do, say at work (“I, the editor, will use my Bachelor of English to search for extraneous punctuation.”) or at the comic bookshop (I, the giant nerd, will use my Blogger account to bitch about Countdown.”). It could clear up a lot of ambiguity about people’s upcoming goals and the means by which they will achieve them!

I love the old standby of making something alien by making it super big, like that wedding ring. But honestly: who sets up an exhibit on marriage customs in a museum for use by a group of people who aren’t allowed to get married? If I could think up any super-villains who were also museum curators I would certainly be suspicious (Composite Superman? Dammit, no. He was a museum janitor). Well, it was someone with a mean streak, anyway.

Also, Lightning Lad is an idiot. Robot arms make you way more loveable, man. It’s like, a million times more extreme than that lip ring/soul patch combo you were thinking about.

Oh, how I love the Phantom Girl/ Ultra Boy duo. Look at him: that’s possibly the goofiest, most lovestruck expression I’ve ever seen in a comic book. That big dumb ox is just so darned endearing.

You know, I’d think that Brainiac 5 might be more interested in harnessing the crazy energy that everyone was giving off in that first panel, instead of being all snarky. I mean, necking teenagers as a power source? The implications are mind-blowing!

I like these aliens because they mostly just look like someone kept messing with a drawing of a regular guy until he looked slightly inhuman. “Let’s see… give ‘em big ears, an overbite, a widow’s peak, heavy brows… aaaaand… jaundice. Yeah, that’s pretty otherworldly.”

Huh. Turns out that the first third of this story's mostly setup. Well, I assure you that there will be action aplenty in our next installment, along with even more nitpicking and taking things out of context!

Adventure Comics No. 337, you'll get your judgement when I get some more plot.