Hey there, friends - it's time for another review-as-voted-on! Looking way back to Adventure Comics No. 321, we're going to have a look at the fearsome Concentrator, mua-ha. I think, though, that this is one of those times that it's better to look at the whole issue, rather than extracting bits of it for humourous out-of-context ridicule. I estimate... three entries, maybe? And this is a three-day weekend! Keep tuning in to see if I can manage to meet my own very easy deadline! (Ha ha ha! It's Monday already: I fail!)
We join the Legion on page two:
Man, I sure do wish that Phantom Girl had remained all ghostly and pigment-free - just imagine how much weirder her string of peek-a-boo uniforms would have been if the cloth and her exposed bits were all the same colour. Also, think of the savings on ink! Im sure that by now we'd have seen a Phantom Girl and the Phantom Squad, Featuring Phantom Ape miniseries or something, if only because of the rising cost of little pink dots.
"Who is this stranger with Bouncing Boy's haircut, clothes and voice? Dammit, I told you not to let just anyone wander in here! Now, where's my chair? No, that's not it. No, my chair was facing the other way, so that can't be it! Also, this isn't the cactus that was here before - that cactus was shorter!"
See, what I'm trying to hint at here is that Star Boy has poor recognition skills.
And I'll tell you exactly what Mon-El - and possibly Sun Boy - is thinking in this panel: I wonder if anyone's noticed the new way I combed my hair?
Bouncing Boy goes on to tell the story of his slimmening, which involves a shrink ray and is patently something that the writer threw together just to get rid of the guy. Not that anyone was listening to him anyway:
They were far too busy voting on whether to toss him out on his ear or not, with maybe a quick roughing up by Ultra Boy to make sure he keeps his mouth shut if any reporters think to ask about the Big Computer Sex Parties or anything like that.
So presumably they send the Reservist out for Astro-coffee or something, and then it's back to the meeting!
Now, this is back from when the Time Trapper was a super-scientist hiding behind the Iron Curtain of Time, thirty days into the future or so. Long, long before he became the Irritating Emo Plot Device From the End of Time that we all know and I loathe, he was actually mildly interesting. He sat behind that curtain and made fun of the Legion and every once in a while he tried some ridiculous scheme involving Glorith or the Molecular Master or someone like that.
Ah, there's the first mention of the Concentrator. Time to find out what it is: speak on, Star Boy!
Superboy: Hey, Mon-El's hair looks great. I wonder if I should change my 'do?
Chameleon Boy and Triplicate Girl then show up and completely coincidentally tell everyone about some really lame attempts to wrangle info about the Concentrator out of them. This elicits some fairly elaborate eyebrow-raising and not a little nose-wrinkling, and then, in a completely coincidental occurrence:
Now, this comes up later, so I'd like to point it out specifically: the chain of events here is that a) This guy hears a vague rumour about the Legion having a super-weapon of some sort. b) He asks them about it and they say that it could potentially threaten the entire Universe. c) He believes them, just like all good people should when a group of teenagers make grandiose claims.
Planet Althar, uninhabited except for strange life-forms! (Space Directive X21v states that planets may be considered inhabited only if the life-forms in question are regular, small or boring. Technically, Althar is considered to be in-friggin'-habited, but the term was coined in the 2530s, and scientists of the Legion era don't talk like that any more.)
A better site for testing astronauts' suitability for space travel, you say? Could it be, just as an example, somewhere that you don't need a rocket ship to get to? I only ask out of curiosity, you understand.
See, it came up again (sooner than I'd thought, but still): based solely on their word, this man is prepared to imprison these people for life if they reveal a secret that they themselves decided to keep. That's like... ag! I can't even think up a good example! Legion logic hurts my head!
Good issue, though.
NEXT TIME: the Legionnaires get psychologically tortured!
I know I'm pretty casual about the ol' spoilers when the stories that I'm writing about were printed 20+ years ago, but in this case I'm going to make an exception. The mystery of who Sensor Girl actually is is kind of a neat one and I wish that I hadn't known going in. So fair warning: if you don't already know and you think that you might be reading through the relevant Legion comics some day, skip this review.
ONE LAST SPOILER ALERT
Okay, on with the review. Sensor Girl joined the Legion at the same time as Polar Boy and so forth, without any testing or auditions. Saturn Girl merely read her mind and vouched for her suitability. This occasioned no small amount of comment, but Sensor Girl made it in. Her powers and abilities weren't spelled out right away but rather revealed piece-by-piece over the course of a fair number of issues. As I recall (I'm not at my own computer as I write this) she showed a wide range of enhanced senses, plus the ability to remove the senses of another, plus the occasional anomalous occurrence of super strength and suchlike.
Eventually, everyone was going nuts trying to figure out who she was - half the team thought that she had mind-controlled Saturn Girl or was Saturn Girl herself and the other half thought that she was somehow the recently-Anti-Monitored-to
Who was she, you ask? Turns out, she was Princess Projectra, filled with sadness over Karate Kid's death and unable to just hang out on Orando but not quite square with the Legion after, you know, murdering Nemesis Kid. The super-senses were new - she got them from ancestor spirits or something - but everything else was skillfully-applied illusion power. And the Legion must have enjoyed the mystery enough to overlook one little murder. Actually, the same thing happened with Star Boy, didn't it? He killed someone, waited a little while, put in an appearance in a new costume and ka-pow! all is forgiven and forgotten, murder-wise. Maybe it's just the novelty of seeing a new costume around the place?
Speaking of costumes, I like this one. As a Canadian, a red-and-white colour scheme evokes feelings of a patriotic nature within me (this is why I always vote for Santa Claus). As well, I am inordinately fond of double-breasted uniforms like Captain Marvel's and though this isn't quite that, it mimics the style enough for mine eyes. The only thing that I don't like about this costume is the super-wide shoulders, but it wouldn't really be a mid-Eighties costume design without some hint of that decade's awful, awful fashion sense.
Shoulders and all, she's:
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.
Due to file corruption, you will never get to read the totally neato review that I wrote yesterday. Instead, a totally neato review that I'm writing today!
So: Absorbancy Boy, the villain of the hour over in Action Comics right now. Who'd have thought? Definitely not me or I'd have reviewed him by now, instead of spelling his name wrong while writing about Infectious Lass.
Here's our first look at the future Earth Man, fresh from a character-building dose of soul-crushing disappointment:
I have to say: I kind of like that costume, even if it looks a bit like something an evil version of Animal Man would wear (alternate versions of that comment: like something that Earth-3 Animal Man would wear; even though it makes him look like Anne Rice's Animal Man).
I kind of like him looking grumpy over top of that explanatory caption - it's as if he got a job as a continuity editor, like Affable Al and friends back in the day, but he wasn't really very happy about it. Curmudgeonly Kirt?
Putting aside the fact that I know that the guy turned out to be a complete ass and later a super-villain, at this point in the tale my sympathies are with A-Boy. As I understand it, having his power (absorbing and utilizing residual superhuman energies) on hand would allow the Legion to basically double up on any power that they need, as well as having someone on hand who could use a super-powered enemy's abilities agin 'em. Too limited, Legion? Sounds like a pretty good deal to me, actually.
My personal theory is that Absorbancy Boy was pre-rejected based on his name. After years of crazy applicants the Legionnaires were probably terrified that some guy in a bright yellow costume was going to come trundling in towing a big tub of water, which he would then proceed to empty using the super-porous tissues of his ass cheeks. If he'd only named himself after his most impressive features, then Muttonchop Lad or perhaps Sideburn Squire would be running around with the Legion to this day.
Meanwhile (and this is relevant to the review) Tyroc is being inducted into the Legion, but before he can even begin to enjoy the state-of-the-art Dungeons and Dragons arcade, the building is attacked by Zoraz, an "old foe" of the superteens who lurks in the ductwork and craves revenge for something or other. Supposedly, he has managed to steal the Legionnaires' genetic information from their central storage area (though I wouldn't think that it would be hard to collect genetic material in a building full of teenagers. From all of the laundry that they'd leave everywhere, I mean). From this he has worked out exactly how to counter each Legionnaire's powers, information that he seems a bit too eager to use, honestly. Causing Star Boy to make himself heavy enough to sink into the floor is one thing, but taking out Dream Girl by beaming nightmares into her skull? That seems like overkill, really. Don't get me wrong, Dream Girl's a great Legionnaire, just not one renowned for her incredible combat skills. A good sock to the jaw would probably be as effective as any three green faces that you could cause her to think about.
Anyway, Zoraz is eventually revealed to be a fake villain designed as a final test for incoming recruits. Tyroc actually seems pretty ticked off when he learns this, which is understandable given the number of hoops that he had to jump through in order to get in, while schmucks like Matter-Eater Lad and Dynamo-Boy just walked in off of the street.
Here's Zoraz's poorly-clad backside:
But wait! That's not Sun Boy at all, it's Kid Cheek-Pelt! Our old friend from the first three panels has come back to prove himself worthy of the Legion. Heck, it worked for Wildfire - maybe it'll do all right by Absorbancy Boy.
Although a good first step in proving your worth, Absorbancy Boy, would have been keeping mum about how you've been hiding in the very first place that someone searching for Zoraz would have looked. I mean, jeez.
Oops. I was with you up to this point man, but really: beating up the guy who got into the Legion instead of you is not the way to get into the group. Just ask Phantom Lad - the last I heard he was working as an "Uncle Ghosty the Clown" mascot at one of a galaxy-wide chain of Bgtzl Fried Kangobronc restaurants.
Someone really should take that second panel out of context someday.
Not bad, A-Boy. You've definitely got some serious chops. If only you'd gone about this in a more reasonable and thought-out manner instead of stomping in and being a total dick. Talk about things instead of hitting Superboy and maybe people will listen to you.
Two-panel takedown! BONK! indeed, mister Tyroc. You truly have demonstrated that you are worthy to wear those extreme collars. You know, Tyroc himself has fairly impressive facial hair - had this little scrap lasted longer it could've been classed as a Heavyweight Muttonchop Rumble. Tickets could've been sold! I'm sorry. That was terrible but, hey, it's past my bedtime. Things are only going to go downhill from here.
Absorbancy Boy, though your muttonchops are JOHN APPROVED, you yourself are a total oaf. The best thing that can be said about you is that you are an efficient way for the muttonchops to get from place to place and spread the joy that is their gift to the world. For your thoughtless violence and for eventually becoming a full-fledged xenophobic semi-tyrannical super-villain you are