High-Tech Tomorrow: Review of the Planetary Chance Machine, By Johnathan

A quick one:

This is from Adventure Comics No. 319, in which the Legion has a very dangerous mission against what turns out to be a couple of very old men. Before they can get the ageism train a-chuggin' off to Beat-the-Elderly Town, they have to be divided into teams for some reason - possibly because of drama.

This being the Thirtieth Century, those crazy kids don't just go 'eeny-meeny, etc' to choose folk, nor do they (god forbid) make logical team choices based on the skills, powers and personalities of various Legionnaires. No, they turn to the Planetary Chance Machine, because if the Legion has an unofficial motto, it's "Over-complicating everything through technology."

I'd just like to note that the Legion is attacking a planet. An eighth person on your team isn't going to make you much more noticeable, Sun Boy.

And that's the Planetary Chance Machine: better than, say, pulling names out of a hat because there's no way that the hat is going to pick a team consisting of Brainiac 5, Sun Boy, Proty II, Bouncing Boy's chair, two walls of the Legion Clubhouse and Brainiac 5 again.

The really sad part is that this was the simplest thing that they could come up with. I happen to know that by the Thirtieth Century Paper, Rock, Scissors has become a months-long strategy game involving thousands of tiny robots that are made out of the game's three elements, while the 'straws' involved in drawing straws are carbon nanotubes, each a light-second long, that must be drawn with a small space-tug and subjected to microscopic analysis to determine which is the shortest. Hot Potato is still pretty fast but humans aren't allowed to play it any more due to a poorly-worded treaty with the Dominion.

The Planetary Chance Machine made one more appearance in the Legion of Substitute Heroes special:

Did anyone else think that Fire Lad looked creepy in this one?

Poor Subbies. The don't get no breaks.

Planetary Chance Machine, for disrespectin' the Substitute Heroes you are:


Not actually from the future, but still high-tech and from Dev-Em's appearance in Adventure Comics No. 320. Presenting Krypton's favourite game, Interplanetary Scramble!

I seriously wish that Earth had cannon-based party games - maybe then alien races would give us props like they do the Kryptonians, who didn't even know the difference between Interplanetary and Intraplanetary, for Rao's sake (and, uh, who didn't listen to their top scientist when he said the planet was going to blow up and then got blown up)! I bet it would bring families together like no-one's business, plus every once in a while someone's brother would get mad at them and they'd have to come to school with a bunch of Cyrillic characters printed across their forehead.

Intraplanetary Scramble is completely JOHN APPROVED.

Future Zoo: Review of the Kangobronc, By Johnathan

Adventure Comics No. 323! An issue in which Proty II, of the Legion of Super-Pets, issues a challenge/riddle to The Legion of Super-Heroes. Whoever came up with the correct answer to this riddle would get to be the new leader of the Legion, because solving obtuse puzzles posed by protoplasmic entities is the real test of one's leadership abilities. A part of this whole Proty-question thing was him sending various Legionnaires on weird little missions all over the galaxy and claiming that they would find clues to the puzzle while doing so. Personally, I think that the whole thing was just a big power trip on Proty's behalf - I can practically (er... telepathically) hear him screaming "Dance for me, my doltish superteens! DANCE!"

As a part of this bizarre little exercise, Proty sends Saturn Girl to the Space Rodeo (or something like that) with orders that she win the toughest event. Turns out, that event is fairly awesome:

Racing winged kangaroos that are so mean that you need to put mind-control helmets on them to keep them from doing battle? That's pretty cool, in a ridiculous kind of way. As is the concept of launching a model rocket to start a race. Plus, the alien announcer's tiny bullhorn and target-shaped yarmulke. Good lord! I ironically appreciate this panel so much that I believe I may be getting the vapours. Mercy.

Phew. Well, now that I've recovered from that particular fainting spell (durned corset), back to the comic-blogging! Saturn Girl figures that she can just mentally order the kangobronc (for that is its name) to do her bidding but the no-fight helmet interferes. Cripes - that thing has a really short wingspan doesn't it? Maybe it's full of helium or something, to compensate.

Saturn Girl comes out on top, though, using the awesome power of sex! Which is actually kind of clever, though she is going to have a tricky time getting off of he trusty kangobronc. I mean, it's still wearing the mind-control helmet, right? So there's no way that it can be dissuaded from doing the nasty with Mrs. Kangobronc as soon as they stop. I guess they are at a rodeo, though. Maybe Saturn Girl can get a few extra points if she can stay in the saddle during the hot kangobronc-on-kangobronc action that is shortly to ensue.

Anyway, the kangobronc looks completely ridiculous, but I love its name, so:


There's one more Future Zoo-centric event at the Intergalactic Rodeo: The Dinosaur-Throwing Contest! Manly men from across time and space come together with one goal: to stun a dinosaur with their paralysis gloves and then heave it through a hoop.

Man... I don't remember there being dinosaurs like that. I'm pretty sure that if Earth had a creature with a naturally-evolved buzz saw attached to its head there would have been a cheesy horror movie made about it by now.

Dinosaur basketball is a pretty good sport. Plus, these guys are tough. They brave whirling buzzsaw disfigurement and then throw something the size of a medium-large dog (and the buzz-saw's still going). I bet that they get all the hot alien honies.

I'm pretty sure that this is the most manly thing that you'll see today:

The dinosaurs themselves? A bit silly, I must admit. Silly or not, though, they've got buzz-saws on their heads. They'll mess you up, meng.


Review of Juvenile Humour, By Johnathan

My own juvenile humour, that is. I'm unloading all of the comic book panels that I set aside specifically because they made me snicker like a 13-year-old in Health class. They've always seemed a bit out of place when put in a review with more innocent panels, so I figured that I'd get them all over with at once. So ignore the cultured, mature portions of your brain, settle back and enjoy these bits of puerile wonderment.

Okay, so first up is some bathroom humour:

"Thanks for saving us from being ridiculed because our fire station burned down, Superboy! Now all we have to live down is the fact that you peed all over us!" I know it only works if you don't look at the picture too hard, but I like this one. I am entirely certain that a superpowered teenage boy would take any opportunity to pee out fires. It's just a given.


Lord knows I love Matter-Eater Lad, but this is an instance of him believing the anti-Bismollian propaganda that his powers aren't good enough to qualify him for Legion membership. Even as he makes a pretty good case for his inclusion in the group he's convinced that the only way he'll be able to keep his membership is to pander to Sun Boy's sick sense of humour. Don't do it, Matter-Eater Lad! With every iron bar you pretend to fellate you'll lose more and more of your self-respect! Take the moral high ground! Take smaller bites!


You're gonna have to click on this one. Go ahead, I'll wait.

You heard the man, he can take it from both sides. In fact, Silver Age Superman was so invulnerable that a threesome involving a helicopter and a gorilla was the minimum that he required to achieve satisfaction - why else do you think that he avoided shacking up with Lois or Lana for so long?


Booster Gold gets flashed by an android. This was from the start of the 'wacky' Justice League days, so I'm not too sure whether it was intentional or not. Whether it was or it wasn't is immaterial. What matters is that Booster's got a great look on his face. More villains should run around naked, if only for the added element of surprise. Plus, Superman would look super-uncomfortable if he had to fly a naked Lex Luthor to the police station.


Uh, Supergirl? You should look just a bit less pleased with yourself while you explain that sort of thing.

I've got a theory that Saturn Girl's telepathic powers let her know exactly what Supergirl was about to tell her and that she interrupted so that she wouldn't have to hear it spoken aloud. And then she put Proty II in a safehouse until the Legion could work out some way to get through to Supergirl about the concept of 'dating within your species.'


These guys are from an Atom backup story in Action Comics from the early eighties:

The Atom interferes with Plan A, so the muscle-bound bad guys charge off to the bedroom for Plan B. "Okay," you say, "this is kind of amusing when taken out of context. But why have you included it here, among so many scintillating examples of humour at its highest?" As usual when I put words in your mouth, I'm glad you asked. This panel belongs here because when they come charging back out of the bedroom they're dressed like pirates.

See? Now that's funny.


Last one, this time from an issue of The Brave and the Bold featuring Karate Kid, who's come back in time to clear up all of the dangling plotlines from his canceled series, and Batman, who's just doing his thing.

I'd just like to draw your attention to the fact that the cover page for this issue, seen here:

could and should be the poster for a softcore porno movie.

Batman! Karate Kid! Their forbidden love threatened to destroy society as we know it! But they refused to be stopped, refused to dampen the white hot passion of their hearts, choosing instead to dampen the white silk sheets of their beds!

Together, they are Terrorists of the Heart!


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.