Hiya! A Review of Nothing in Particular, By Johnathan

Hokay, I'm back, but I'm not writing anything about the Human Flame. Not tonight, anyway. It's just too darned hot in here to concentrate sufficiently. This might just be ironic.

Two items:

- Thanks to everyone who offered up words of support and comfort when I said that I was too bummed out to write for a while. It was nothing more serious than a fairly amicable dumping (uh, I was the dumpee) followed by an increase in workload, but this doesn't change the fact that y'all are a grand bunch of folks. JOHN APPROVED

- As you may have noticed, I have adopted (and installed in the sidebar) one of Blockade Boy's many spare kittens. Chunkstyle-H - as he was labelled by the duplicator that spawned him, in compliance with the Anti-Forgery and Kitten-Related Confusion Duplicator Regulation laws of 2718 - is rumored to have many astonishing powers, but so far has spent most of his time asleep on a stack of Showcase Presents collections. I feel that perhaps something horrible is brewing. More as it develops. JOHN... TREPEDACIOUS

In any case, here's hoping that it's nicer in here tomorrow night. See you soon, folks!

SARLSH, Part 4, By Johnathan


I've discussed Polar Boy as a member of the Legion of Substitute Heroes in a prior review, so this time I'm just going to talk about his time in the Legion proper, so as to avoid repeating myself. After years and years of trying, Brek Bannin finally became a Legionnaire at the same time as Magnetic Kid et al, whether due to the fact that he'd been doing a really good job in the Legion farm team for years and years or because they needed a few more folk around the clubhouse for tax purposes, I'm not sure. I was pretty fond of Legion Polar Boy, both because I had always liked him and because he had attained this huge goal that had coloured his whole life and it completely showed in whatever he did. When he was hanging out with the other new recruits he was full of good advice from his days in the Subs, while around the old-school Legionnaires he just tried so damn hard, to the point that he campaigned for and won leadership of the Legion. He made a good leader, too, as far as his being readable is concerned - instead of instantly becoming a giant dick (see Wildfire, Lightning Lad) or constantly doubting himself (see Lightning Lad). I mean, he did doubt himself, but for good reasons, as he was constantly struggling with the fact that he was now the leader of a big, complicated organization like the Legion instead of something small and simple like the Substitute Legion.

What I didn't like about this iteration of PB was the costume. I mean, he always had a lousy costume, what with the lavender and the fur trim and all. Frankly, I wouldn't be surprised if some of the more fashion-conscious Legionnaires (Uh... I'm sure that there have been some. Saturn Girl? No no, the pink thing. Well, maybe Brainiac 5 was testing a fashionist-o-matic or Blockade Boy was visiting or something) voted against him because of that thing. This new costume is... close. If only it were, say, light blue instead of lavender. Also, I hate the weird shoulder hoops. I understand that Polar Boy is a small guy and he needs to compensate to some extent, but sheesh. take those things off, though, maybe slap the old costume's logo on the back and this could be an okay costume. The skullcap alone, as a replacement for the toque-cowl, was a giant step in the right direction.

As for the 'demonstration of powers' portion of this picture... well, it's somewhat lacking. Blasting out a snowman is a very 1960s Iceman stunt, really. Polar Boy was usually more about volume of ice produced rather than being concerned with what form it took, but as I recall, his sculptures were always a bit nicer than this. I don't know - seeing as how he's adopting essentially the same pose as Element Lad did, wouldn't it make more sense for him to have produced a snowflake-ized version of that stupid big atom?

Ayup, Polar Boy is:


(EDIT: Note the shift in spacing toward the end. You may have noticed this in earlier posts - this is a symptom of me having written a review on another computer and taken it home one way or another to cut and paste. Blogger does not like this - perhaps it views the writing of posts in another program as some sort of cyber-infidelity. In any case, until I find a quick and efficient way to fix this sort of thing and/or I stop writing reviews in inappropriate settings, we all get to suffer through inconsistent formatting)

(PS: These Legion reviews are kind of serious compared to my regular stuff, huh? I don't know if anybody cares, but if you do, rest assured that there'll be all kinds of Superhuman Detritus, Future Zoo-ing, High-Tech Tomorrows and Detective Comics Firsts, soon soon soon. Heck, I might even finally get the Henchman Fashion File off the ground. In the meantime, scroll down - Paul posted!)

Addendum to the Review of the Legion of Super-Heroes, Part Four, By Johnathan


This is an interesting picture. The power-demonstration aspect of it is both highly effective and highly accurate. One look and we know exactly how small Violet's ass is. Well, kind of. On my ruler, it's 1/16 of an inch, but I hail from a land of metric measurement, so it beats me if that's standard. Basically, this is one small heiny. Her outfit isn't bad, I guess. It's not as pleasing to mine eyes as the little (haw!) number she was wearing when she clocked Phantom Lad, but it's okay. The gloves are nice. Green is nice.

What really puzzles me about this little scene, though, is her head and face region. Why is she all dolled up? Why is she shooting a sultry look to stage left? Why does she look kind of like Elizabeth Taylor? Ever since I noticed this stuff it's been tormenting me. I mean, who is she trying to seduce? Not Micro Lad, I hope, but it can't be anyone at regular size, can it? Take a look at your ruler - even if her rear is 1/8 of an inch wide, Ms. Digby is just to tiny for a smoldering look to register. Unless she's flirting with a microscope-wielding scientist (and why wouldn't she?) whoever it is is just going to think she has some sort of facial tic.

Eh. Green is my favourite colour and the Growing Uppercut is my favourite special move, so:



See, now this is the outfit that I was talking about in the original review of the Legion - the plunging neckline is history, hooray, and there is a pleasant shaggery to the facial features. As one of the very few super-heroes to sport the full beard (let's see... Star Boy, Hercules, latter-day Blockade Boy, uh, one of the Thors and... and the good Lex Luthor that died in the first Crisis, I think) he's a pretty good representative for any union or benevolent society that they might form. It's just so much better than his old no-beard-and-crew-cut look. And he's so affable, if occasionally insane.

This image, by the way, was taken from a poster that the Legion had made up in an attempt to get Rann Antar to stop coming around for the tryouts. The text, which has been omitted here, read WE ALREADY HAVE A GUY WHO CAN MAKE FEATHERS HEAVY. It didn't work, though.


Review of the (Best Ever)s, By Johnathan

Time to get back to my roots: making fun of out-of context comic book panels. Because I obsessively seek structure, today's theme is gonna be "Best (something) Ever." Here goes:

Best Alien Race Ever:

These guys:
They're from Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes No. 202 and I think that they were trying to make the Earth all polluted to that it'd be fit for them to take over or something. Whatever. Their lame plots do not interest me. What makes them great is that they look like crazy blue-haired space-hippies. They've got pink-and-white jumpsuits and little fangs! Plus, they have that mustache thing (which Blockade Boy assures me is called "friendly muttonchops") and Mega Man boots! They're absurdly muscular, so it kind of looks like they'd be good in a fight - but how can anyone that looks like that be good in a fight? They look like Hanna-Barbara characters, man.

That these guys could struggle past their sheer ridiculousness and advance their culture to the point that they could attempt genocide is nothing short of miraculous. Kudos to you, you cosmic dipwads.


Best Advice Ever:

Advice for a villain, that is. This here's another Legion panel, from Adventure Comics No. 325. The Legion visited Khann, the criminal's planet, looking to arrest this brain:

Good old Atro - always dispensing helpful advice. Of course, though there might be no witnesses left after you blow up the planet, there is going to be one clue: the recently-blown-up planet! I mean come on, Atro! You think that nobody's going to be interested in finding out who blew up a planet? Hmm?


Yeah, whatever, Atro. Nuts to you. NOT APPROVED.

That other guy though, the one laughing, "Billions will die! So what, eh? Ha, ha!" definitely wins a JOHN APPROVED for Best Sociopath in a Cameo Role Ever.

Best Hand Signals Ever:

Way back in the day, Shade, The Changing Man No. 6 featured this panel:
Now I know that these two were coordinating an escape attempt via sign language and facial expression, but I can't help but interpret their conversation thusly:

He: "Hey, baby - you wanna rock out?"

She: "Word."

Steve Ditko, man. Guy was ahead of his time. JOHN APPROVED.

Best Use of a Super-Computer Ever:

Adventure Comics No. 342 gave us this look at how the Legion of Super-Heroes spends their free time:

Dancing, games, hedonism! "We're having the big computer decide who'd have the most fun kissing whom."? Man, that's kind of messed up. I mean fine, you're all teenagers, but you hang out together all the time - this kind of thing can only escalate. The next time Star Boy walks by they're going to be all, "We're having the big computer assign us random sexual partners for the night."
"Come join in the fun! The big computer's teaching us about daisy chains!"
"We're all going to make love to the big computer!"


Best Background Character (Lederhosen-Clad) Ever:

From What If No.22, which was about Dr. Doom not being evil or something:

Those are the characters in the background at Dr. Doom's wedding, where everyone's happy because their country's not ruled by an evil megalomaniac. These are some pretty great Latverians, but that little kid in front is the best. Let's take a closer look:

You sure won't, kid. You sure won't.


Review of A Good Pal, By Johnathan

I can't quite bring myself to include this next character (and I do mean 'character') in the 'Superhuman Detritus of the 30th Century' series. See, way back in the day I loved me some comic books, even though I lived way out in the country and had no real way to get a regular fix. I had to content myself with reading the comics available through my local library as well as the few leftover scraps of my uncle's mid-seventies collection (Spider-Man and Nova vs. Some Guy! I loved it!). The real things that got me through until I had a job and a local comic bookshop were Jeff Rovin's Encyclopedia of Superheroes and Encyclopedia of Supervillains. And the Encyclopedia of Monsters, to a lesser extent. They were chock-full of entries on hundreds of super-folk, with exhaustive info on their costumes and equipment and great catty comments afterward.

Even as a youngster, the Legion of Super-Heroes brought out the super-nerd in me, so it was a pretty damn happy day in the McJohnathan household when I learned that Jeff Rovin apparently loved them too - basically every hero that had ever appeared in a legion tale made it into the Encyclopedia, if only as a three-line blurb in Appendix C. I grew up knowing, for example, that a lot of guys with interesting names showed up in "The Super-Stalag of Space" but had no idea of the circumstances behind their appearance, what they looked like or - at the time - what a Stalag was.

Then I grew up, got some cash flow goin' and started reading all of the comics that I'd previously only read *about*. And that, in an extraordinarily roundabout way, brings me to the subject of today's post:

Blockade Boy. Blockade Boy was the friggin' king of the three-liners. He had a great alliterative name, he had a great weird Silver Age power, and he appeared in the oh-so enigmatic "Super-Stalag of Space". Plus, Proty II felt the need to adopt the identity of Blockade Boy 2 in a later story, so that's saying... something. I was totally curious about Blockade Boy for upwards of fifteen years before I actually saw him, and I was not let down.

Blockade Boy was one of many Legionnaires and Weird Future Silver Age Heroes that were rounded up and imprisoned by the evil, red, three-eyed Nardo, presumably to keep them out of his (terrible) hair while he was being nefarious. A big chunk of the two-issue story arc was taken up with various super-heroic escape attempts and the horrible consequences thereof.

Par example:
Matter-Eater Lad chews his way to freedom! Presumably with many bathroom breaks along the way, as that is a damn roomy tunnel. I'd move away from that rear end if I were you, Blockade Boy.

Sadly, the writers weren't about to have Matter-Eater Lad and Blockade Boy succeed where Braniac 5 and Superboy had failed, so the two of them get caught basically as soon as they emerge from the tunnel. However, in ignoble defeat Blockade Boy attained his greatest success.

In two panels we have:

a) The first full-length shot of Blockade Boy, showcasing his awesome belt and wristbands, questionable boots and adequate shirt/pants combo. Bonus points for the flattop!

b) Blockade Boy's crazy Silver Age power - he can totally turn into a steel wall! I really, really wish that he had gotten a chance to tell his origin story. I bet it involved falling in a vat of some sort of liquid wall sealant, or possibly being exposed to radiations from an experimental space wall.

c) Heroism! Blockade Boy sacrifices himself to save All Good Persons' Fave Legionnaire, Matter-Eater Lad. If I didn't love him before...
Here's Nardo, acting like a tool. Note the man-breasts and barely-contained gut. Don't worry, Nardo gets his eventually.

So Blockade Boy is JOHN APPROVED.

PS: If you were wondering about Blockade Boy II:

He came about as part of a fight that the Legion of Super-Pets were having with their parent Legion. Proty II and Comet the Super-Horse joined the Legion of Super-Heroes under the names Blockade Boy and Biron the Bowman. Comet pulls a Karate Kid and manages to get in without having any actual powers, while Proty:
Pulls an amazing save! His costume, by the way? I find it creepy - it's more thematic, with it's riveted steel and such, but does it really have to include a giant metal diaper? The answer is no.

The best thing is that after all of this effort, Comet and Proty stayed in the Legion for about two pages.

Blockade Boy II is NOT APPROVED.