Future Zoo: Review of the Taroc Creature, By Johnathan

From the same issue that brought you the Strangest Clock in the Universe, the Taroc Creature!
A wee bit of setup: a few issues back Lightning Lad had sacrificed his life to prevent Saturn Girl from sacrificing her life to keep someone from dying. I know, I know, sorry. It's much more clear in the comic book. Prophecy is involved, which always muddies the plot-waters. What's important is that Lightning Lad dies and, like, two pages later they're wondering if there might be some way to bring him back. In Adventure Comics No. 312 they really get to work on that problem and scour the galaxy for possible ways to sin against nature and take the very powers of God into their sweaty teenage hands - something they never seemed to get around to doing for Ferro Lad. Or Invisible Kid. Or 1/3 of Triplicate Girl, Sun Boy, Karate Kid or 1/2 of Duo Damsel. Man, the Legion really blew its altruism wad (so to speak) on this resurrection.

As a part of the whole "tamper with forces heretofore reserved to the Almighty because we miss our electricity-spewing friend" plan the Legion look up any and all references to resurrection in their Mechanical Librarian and then go on a gigantic cosmic scavenger hunt to round up all possible ways that they could create a blasphemous, soulless parody of their friend. Among the leads that are followed up on is the mysterious Taroc creature. Let's watch:

The Taroc is known for dying and then somehow coming back to life again and so Saturn Girl and Mon-el take a trip to their very yellow planet, in hopes of... uh... I'm actually not sure what they're hoping for. I mean, unless the things come back to life by means of a magical sprite who roams their planet dispensing miracles of rebirth. Possibly they hope to use advanced future science to infuse his corpse with Taroc genes? That would work, right? Anyway, it would work on Star Trek - you'd just have to run him through the transporter a few times afterward.

As far as alien monsters go, the Taroc creature's fairly boss. The 'fat pteranodon' body and snake head are solid creature fare and I appreciate how the ones that are at rest have adopted the vulture pose as their own. What reall sells me on these things, though, is the purple hands that they have at the ends of their wings. Since they're obviously useless while the Taroc is in flight, my imagination tells me that the creatures use these hands to play cards. In fact, Taroc society's basic unit is the bridge group, and the outcomes of trials are decided by playing a form of poker known as 'Bgtzl Hold 'em'.

Not sure what happened to Mon-el's face but it sure is creepy. Also: haven't there been Taroc creatures on every bit of high land pictured so far? why did he leave Saturn Girl on that peak? Is it because he has no eyes?

"It seemed to die a natural death, of old age... but really I fried it's brain with heat vision. Clever, huh?"

You know, I'm kind of sad that they didn't try this method of reviving Lightning Lad. Seeing a tiny red-haired dynamo burst out of their dead friend's back would have been just the thing to help the Legionnaires shake off the blues.

Even if I wasn't incredibly fond of the Taroc creature's hands and love for Eucre, its disgusting method of reproduction (plus the fact that it seems to be made of papier mache) rate a solid



Space Serpents! I can't remember (nor do I care to check) why the Legionnaires needed to go to the Great Interplanetary Post Office on their search for a way to turn their dead friend into a mockery of human form and feeling, but when they do they see that it's being attacked by "Space Serpents, able to live in space and to eat metal and stone! They must be from another universe!"

Great Jumping Suns indeed, Lightning Lass. I do have to say, though, that that's a pretty good guess. I mean, you took a pretty bare set of facts and extrapolated the fact that these generic dragony things were from another universe? Phew. I gotta say, you're a better guesser than me. I think that you're almost as good as Superboy:

You superpeople and your Occam's Razor. I'll never know how you do it.

Anyway, Space Serpents, being from space, have never encountered anything like Sun Boy before. Because space is cold and dark - there is no sunlight. Sunlight is on planets, not space. Space is cold and the sun is warm.

The completely generic dragon-monsters get driven off in a pretty hokey way, but there's still one left and it's in a room with some guys. Since flinging bolts of lightning around willy-nilly might hurt the guys an alternate plan is thought up:

The Space Serpent is fooled by Proty. Oh, god. these things are so boring. I can't even be scathing. They're just dragons that eat post offices ("They must be from a universe of rabid letter-writers, Sun Boy!") and they're dumb. Yawn and yawn.


Review of the Super-Human Detritus of the Thirtieth Century, Part 11, By Johnathan

Bam! I'm back and only a day later than I said! Since nobody offered an opinion otherwise it's time for another trip into the far future - witness the 30th Century adventures of: Command Kid!


Command Kid, like Dynamo Boy, is actually a super-villain who cleverly wrangles his way into the Legion for his own sinister purposes. Command Kid, in fact, was the very first to do so, so sucks to Vorm's asthmar.

Command Kid's plan basically rests on the fact that no other villain has tried this kind of thing before and so the Legion are completely unprepared for it. Basically, he heads to Earth, captures some crooks and waits to be invited to join up. Sure enough, along comes Superboy:

I must say, pretending not to know what the Legion is is a good touch. Plus, it prompts Superboy and pals to finish building a theme park by way of a demonstration of their powers:

Aw, look at the happy children. And then Lightning Lad makes it rain so the children are cool, plus rollercoasters are twice as fun when you're wet! Sun Boy's little cry for attention there is one of my fave things ever, by the way. I'll bet he does that a lot at parties. "So you like the punch, huh? Well, call me if you'd like it boiling hot!" or "Psssh. If I went to India I wouldn't just look at the Taj Mahal - I'd burn it down!"

So this comic (Adventure No. 328, for those who care to know) has a couple of running themes and since I'm way too lazy to address them in a chronological examination of the issue here they are all lumped together.

The first one is the coolness of Command Kid's powers.

This is the stunt that got ol' CK into the Legion:

Okay, tricking crooks into thinking that their car is a monster surrounded by police isn't bad. Looking at that first panel, though, I kind of thought that his power might be 'cootie-hands'. Hell, I'd buy a comic featuring a guy whose very touch was feared by criminals everywhere, lest they succumb to the dreaded Girl Germs.

Anyway, so: monsters. What else you got, Kid?

Illusory fire... okay. I guess that that's kind of cool. Not very imaginative, though. Bah, what do I know - he's probably saving the really cool stuff for later.

Dammit, more monsters! Command Kid is incredibly lame! Plus, his power only seems to work on groups of three. Plus, he's got terrible hair. Seriously, though. The way I understand it, he can make people see anything he wants. Myself, I'd have sent a ten-foot tall silver Abraham Lincoln with a machine gun after them. And also he's smoking a cigar.

Okay so it's not the best idea ever, but it's better than fire or crappy dragons.

Theme number two? People pointing out his questionable tendencies:

This is basically just some heavy foreshadowing of the fact that he turns out to be a bad guy, not unlike his terrible hair, bad costume or the title "The Lad Who Wrecked The Legion".

An immodest teenage boy? Well, I never!

So... he has an ego and a temper? Guys, you just described Wildfire. And Wolverine. Hell, you just described half of the heroes created after 1975. Still, I guess there weren't as many super-heroic dicks running around back then.

Third theme? Clues:

Hell if I know what they mean, though. Let's check 'em out:

He doesn't like gold jewelry...

He's not fond of golden anniversary presents...

He avoids gold kryptonite...

Well, I'm stumped.

The final theme is that Command Kid is up to something.

Somehow, Command Kid's power of giving people the heebie-jeebies instills various Legionnaires with feelings of inadequacy. He captures nine guys and everyone's moping around like Proty died. Star Boy's so depressed that he takes some roofies when Command Kid says he can make him more powerful:

I don't know about you guys but to me, that sounded ominous. But fine, Star Boy feels a little underpowered. That's natural, right? He did used to be as powerful as Superboy and he sure can't make people think that they're surrounded by flames or monsters or whatever.

Sun Boy, on the other hand, has no excuse. Sun Boy! You generate heat! You can surround people with fire! That's half of what this jerk does! Don't take the pill!

Anyway, Sun Boy takes the pill. Then everyone else gets depressed:

Oh ho! Command Kid sees a chance to gather more unconscious Legionnaires to his fur-collared green bosom. First, though, he'll have to get rid of the really powerful guys that are hanging around, so he comes up with what is possibly the weakest lie ever:

Seriously: "Another dimension plans to invade, check them all."? In the pre-Crisis DC Universe, that's like distracting the police by calling them up and reporting that a murder has taken place in a house, so they'd better check all of the houses. Superboy and his posse fall for it, though, just like they always do.

... and then everyone else succumbs to the temptation of being unconscious on a concrete slab while waiting for an arrogant jerk to do unspecified things to them. Actually, put like that it doesn't seem so bad. Where do I sign up?

Things look grim (and red), destinies are being sealed...

... and then Saturn Girl and Element Lad show up and put a stop to things. Way to ex machina, guys.

Oh, I get it! He's allergic to gold!

The rest of the comic's pretty much devoted to Saturn Girl and Element Lad telling everyone how they figured out Command Kid's secrets. Turns out that, through the futuristic wonders that are security cameras, they saw all of the clues and figured out the whole 'Command Kid doesn't like gold' thing.

They call planet Preztor and get in touch with a man with just fantastically bad hair. I mean... wow. Maybe Preztor is an enlightened planet where nobody judges anybody else based upon hairstyle, but man. I just can't live up to those kind of standards.

So it seems that Command Kid was possessed by a demon.

Also, the demon was allergic to gold, which doesn't really exist on Preztor. Okay, so why does the demon come to Earth, then, Mr. Hair?

Gah, why do I hate him so much?

That's possibly the best line ever, Triplicate Girl. Indeed, I can hardly believe it either. Dude should have stayed on his own planet, away from all of the gold. I'm sure that he could have gotten some demons into a few regular folk, then lured the Legionnaires to his gold-free land. Friggin' amateurs. Why aren't I a super-villain?

Nice exposition, kids. That demon is actually pretty creepy looking, I must admit. Command Kid still had a lame plan, though.

And that's that. Command Kid's gone and Element Lad makes a terrible prediction. It would have been cool if he were right, though - Legionnaires fighting possessed muthas all across the galaxy, never knowing who the enemy is, getting all paranoid and bickering a lot. It could've been like a bright Sixties version of those grim storylines from the Eighties and Nineties like 'The Great Darkness Saga'. Plus there probably have been at least one more Legionnaire that would've been made up specifically to die by the hands of of Demono or whoever the head demon turned out to be.

Ah, well. Command Kid is NOT APPROVED.