Halloween was a while back

And with Halloween comes the traditional posting of the costumes! This year, Comarade Paul and I realized that our respective shapes were juust right to pull off one of our favourite duos in entertainment. Plus, our girlfriends were cool enough to do most of the heavy lifting with regards to, say, sewing and such.

21 and 24! This is why I've been drinking so much beer, I swear!

We went to a pretty good time at the Strange Adventures Halloween party, but the highlight of the night was as we were walking home, when a Fionna from Adventure Time leapt out of the darkness and ran me through. And then, while I stood dumbfounded, Paul's Dr Who-dressed ladyfriend grabbed the light sabre off of my belt and fended off the attacker. Hooray for crossovers!

Henchman Fashion File: The Rocketeer's Rocketeer-Racketeers

It's that time again: time to over-analyze the fashion choices that the super-villain on the go is making for his underlings. What fun we shall have!

The Villain: This is the guy, and I'm going to call him the Rocketeer (more on that later):

The Rocketeer (no relation) had a cunning plan to steal missiles in-flight for... some reason. The issue was actually less about whatever he was scheming as it was about the personal heartbreak of Batman's pal, who hadn't followed his family's tradition and gone into the armed forces and so had to be the best scientist ever in order to have some semblance of self-respect. And the fact that people were going to the trouble of stealing them mid-flight wasn't proof that they were good rockets, either, so don't bring that up in the comments.

The Rocketeer (no relation) was also notable for having a much worse costume than his underlings, but again, more on that later.

The Henchmen: These guys I'm calling the Rocketeer-Racketeers, because it's on the cover.

As far as henchmen go, the Rocketeer-Racketeers have it pretty sweet: they get to fly, they have great costumes... The only problem is that they just aren't all that good at their jobs. Or possibly that they were hired solely for their abilities in the stealing-a-rocket-in-flight field and were never actually tested for Batman-opposing skills. What I'm trying to say is that they are incompetent, to the extent that I don't know if I have any more pictures that feature them not being punched out.

Attractiveness of Costumes:

I'm going to come right out and say it: these things are totally awesome. Flared gloves? Goggles? Head and shoulder fins? Hell, even their pistols look like they were stolen from a moon-man. It's only the fact that the whole thing is bright orange that disqualifies this from my list of potential Halloween costumes, and the little rocket on the chest almost outweighs that.


Utility of Costume:

Also surprisingly high, actually. As opposed to some of our earlier examples of henchman couture, the Rocketeer-Racketeers  appear to actually be appropriately attired. There are no awkwardly-placed tail-fins just waiting to get stuck in an inconvenient hedge, no giant rocket-shaped helmets to make them top-heavy, and they reliably fly! Well, semi-reliably. Also, I'm concerned about the placement of the jets - I reckon that over the long term the Rocketeer (no relation) is going to be dealing with a lot of lower-back injury related workman's comp claims.

There's also the issue of speed. As far as I can tell, these particular rocket packs must fluctuate wildly. After all, they managed to catch at least three rockets in-flight, but later on:

It sure does look like they get overtaken by a couple of guys in parachutes. And even if that's not the case, they definitely get out-manouvered by them. Happily for the Rocketeer-Racketeers, though, they regain some of their lost points via this little innovation:

Given the amount of time that these fellows spend crashing into the ocean, an amphibious mode is basically the best option that they could have thought to build into their suits. Hell, they kind of out-thought Batman on that one. Good call!


Budget for Costumes:

Exactly where it should have been, in my opinion. If you're going to go into super-crime then you have to go all the way. If there's one place that they skimped, it was on the surplus Orange fabric that they used to make the things. At least they all have the same colour.

The high quality of his henchmen's uniforms, in fact, is likely to be the reason behind the Rocketeer's abysmal fashion choices. Desperate to distinguish himself from the common hench-rabble, he added element after element, little caring that each one took more and more away from the attractiveness of the whole. Especially the writstbands and rocket-fin helmet. Only the rakish moustache was a good idea.


Chance for Bonus Points: Does the Villain Have a Lieutenant with a Marginally Cooler Costume and Possibly a Name?

Kind of? Actually, the Rocketeer 9no relation) himself fills that role, as he's kind of a first among equals. In the context of the story, it's the group that's referred to as the Rocketeers, or the Racketeers, or maybe the Rocketeer-Racketeers. So even though he's clearly the leader, the Rocketeer is also kind of the one henchman with a nicer more elaborate uniform. But no name. 

I just kind of confused myself, so I arbitrarily decide that he gets no bonus points. Still, the final total is a very respectable 11/15. Good job, you orange-clad crash-monkeys.

Enjoy your victory, Rocketeers!


Henchmen Fashion File: Kobra v. Solaris

It's a special double-shot of henchmen antics, thanks to the fact that that wacky cult-leader Kobra had his own series way back in the day and spent issues 2 and 3 attacking another super-villain  - not exactly a rare situation, but not one that happens every day. 

The Villains: 

Kobra: Just to keep things simple, I'm only going to refer to Kobra as he appears in the seven issues of his series, and not the 30-plus years of history that followed.


As you can see, Kobra is kind of a dick. This probably comes of having been raised as the leader/messiah of an Indian snake cult, who stole him from the hospital at birth. Thanks to their fanatical devotion, he made a few pretty good runs at taking over the world, and his early enemies included his own brother Aaron, PI Johnny Double and the Demon's pal Randu Singh. He also called people "witling" a lot.

Solaris, AKA Clifton Lacey, was a NASA scientist who specialized in solar radiation and really enjoyed his job, to the extent that when he was fired he, well, became a super-villain. 

Looking at the technology that Lacey came up with as he sought revenge, I have to think that maybe NASA wasn't thinking so clearly when they fired the guy. If only they'd kept him happy, he might have tricked out the space shuttle for them, and I know that I would have been a little more interested in becoming an astronaut if there was the possibility of getting to fire a death ray. Sure, the guy acts a bit crazy, but that's just passion!

Oh no wait. He's completely crazy.

The context of the Kobra/Solaris scrap, by the way, is that Kobra wants to steal Solaris' Heliotron, seen above, cradled tenderly in his arms. As with many of Kobra's plans, the sole purpose of this is to help him kill his own brother, because Kobra is also crazy.

The Henchmen:

Hey look, it's both sets of henchmen in a single image:

Though outwardly they might look similar - groups of identically-dressed men with below-average self-esteem and a gift for following orders - but they actually represent two distinct types of henchman. Solaris' guys (let's call them the Sunnys) are basically the same goons that DC villains have always hired, only wearing form-fitting leotards instead of suits and ties. witness a typical interaction between a typical Sunny and his boss:

Note the fact that this is a normal human conversation - Solaris doesn't call the guy "witling" or "imbecile" even once. It's just a guy and his boss, fleeing their secret HQ in a super-sweet rocket.

By contrast, the Kobra Cultists are evil religious fanatics - they probably don't even get paid for what they do, which frequently involves their grisly deaths anyway. They die in enormous quantities, and often by Kobra's own hand, which suggests that they either have a fantastic recruitment campaign or that their ranks are composed of roughly the stupidest people on the planet. I mean, would you join an organization in which this was the penalty for failing to find a small bracelet on a ruined bridge?

Attractiveness of Costume:

This is actually kind of tough, since both groups are essentially just wearing a palette-swapped version of their boss' costume - in the case of the Sunnys, the first of their boss' two costumes, seen above. Neither of them have the most terrific colour scheme at that, though red and yellow is astonishingly better than green and orange.

It all comes down to flair, really, and the Sunnys have very little. They do have those awesome holsters with the button-down flap that I love so well, but that just can't compete with the visual appeal of seeing snake men in togas running around with swords.


Utility of Costumes:

It's clear from a glance that the Sunnys' costumes offer little-to-no protection. Why, just look at what happens when Kobra hits some of them with one of his patented venom-blasts:

Of course, the same could be said for the Cultists' duds:

That Kobra. An equal-opportunity venom-blaster to the core.

In the absence of protective benefits, I'm going to have to judge this based on the gadgets that the rank-and-file of each organization are given to slaughter each other with. You've already seen the Cultists' flying sabres, but since those didn't actually kill anyone I'm going to discount them - a non-flying sabre is ultimately going to be more useful than a flying one that doesn't work. So what else do they have?

Well, both groups have flying skateboards and laser guns, so it's still tied up. No, wait...

Laser blowgun for the win!


Budget for Costumes:

I'm tempted to give this to Solaris, since he obviously takes his guys to the same tailor that he goes to, but even though that might technically cost more money I am more impressed with what I have to assume is Kobra's method of clothing his followers. Based on what I know and can guess about the guy, Kobra has to have a whole branch of his organization devoted solely to making uniforms out of real cobras.


Chance for a Bonus Point - Does the Villain have a Lieutenant With a Marginally Cooler Costume and Maybe a Name?

Not really, but they do both have robots:

Kobra's is named Servitor, and he found it in a meteor, but I just can't help liking Solaris' Robot Defender a bit better:

There's just something about the way that it looks like Solaris put it together out of spare parts on the weekend that endears it t me. It would totally win the bonus point,


... except that Kobra defeats it with a robot snake that flies out of his toga, and that is manifestly more cool.


Sorry Solaris, but you lose. Better luck next time.

May I present the winner of the first-ever Henchman Fashion Files Fashion-off:


 Kobra, the man without irony!

Henchman Fashion File: The Monarch of Menace's Serfs

Happy Saturday, all youse folks. It's rainy here in John-Land, but I'm snug and warm in my new Orange Lantern shirt, thanks to a birthday sale-abration at Strange Adventures, the bestest comic store ever. Larfleeze would be proud, i think. No, wait. Larfleeze would kill me and take the shirt for his own.

Today we're going to be looking at the Monarch of Menace, a jaunty fellow who bedeviled Batman way back in Detective Comics No. 350.

 The Villain:

The Monarch was a Batman villain in the classic "costumed thief" mode, except where, say, the Riddler spent his time working on death traps and ways to stick rebuses to downtown billboards, he put all of his energy into the fine art of getting away from the scene of the crime. This is actually a pretty good strategy, I reckon. Why risk Arkham for the fleeting joy of seeing Batman almost get squashed by a giant rubber duck when you can escape to the jungles of South America with millions of dollars and have trained monkeys act it out for you every night before you go to your extremely occupied bed?

And sure enough, just having escaped from Batman was enough to make the Monarch's name. Batman just stared sadly at his portrait every night, saying "Sigh... sigh..."

But just how did the Monarch achieve these goals? How did he evade the Dark Knight Detective where so many others had failed? Well, first off he had glue-dispensing shoes, to trip up pursuers, then a gas-dispensing cloak to sap their strength, a shock-dispensing scepter to stun them and finally a hypnotic lights-dispensing crown to keep them down. Here's an illustrated cheat sheet for you:

 The Henchmen:

I'm calling these guys the Serfs, due to their lack of an actual name. Unlike poor deluded Birdmaster, the Monarch seems to have skipped the fanatical cultists and gone straight for the standard DC Comics Thug, of the kind that, throughout the Forties, Fifties and Sixties, infested every remotely urban area from Smallville to Star City - note, for instance, the accent. This makes sense: even though there is no actual evidence that a DC Thug ever got away with committing a crime more serious than jaywalking from the advent of Superman onward, they at least know how costumed law-enforcement operates due to having been socked inna labonza by it so many times. Of course, the Monarch of Menace is a theme-driven man, so he outfits them all in lime-green tunics, laced sandals and flowing wigs. I'm guessing that it's only his successful track record that keeps him from being force-fed his own crown by his loyal goons.

Attractiveness of Costume:

This is not a very nice-looking costume. The Medieval serf, hard worker though he might have been, has never been looked upon as history's fashion plate. These guys are probably dressed in material a hundred times better than any serf ever even saw, let alone wore, but there's no helping some outfits. Plus, taken out of context like this, it kind of looks like Batman is being attacked by a gang of poorly-dressed transvestites - I'm sure that there was a lot of confusion on the streets of Gotham.

Why the Monarch chose to go with a serf theme over, say, a gang of dukes or courtiers or something is a mystery to me - a sadistic streak, perhaps? He does gain some credit for letting his guys wear sweatpants and ditch the wigs while hanging around the jungle headquarters, but  that doesn't absolve him of his design sins.


 Utility of Costume:

While it's not really adding anything to these guys' job performance, this costume is certainly not holding them back: no long sleeves to get in the way when they go to pick something up, no binding at the crotch when they run, no splitting at the seams when they bend over... it's not losing any points here.

It's not really gaining any, either. About the only really useful descision that the Monarch made about this whole getup was to assign his guys pistols instead of training them all in the use of the polearm or something. Admittedly, they have to carry their guns in-hand all the time, unless there's some sort of highly-disturbing inner-thigh holster that I don't know about, but just think of the time he saved! While the Baron of Burglary is holding a two-week intensive course in how to deflect a Batarang with a glaive-guisarme, the Monarch of Menace has probably robbed five or six banks, slight thematic anachronism be damned.


Budget for Costumes:

I want to say that the Monarch of Menace just made a quick stop at a factory outlet for half a dozen surplus XXL green t-shirts, then robbed a discount wig store, but when I look at these outfits I actually think that they might be a cut above that. Oh, they're ugly, but they're so... uniform! I can't believe that the Monarch didn't have them tailored. Likewise, the wigs are meticulously if questionably styled, and where the hell are you going to get sandals like that nowadays? I'll bet that he had them custom-made.

Technically, I should give him some points here for budgeting his costumes so well, but I just can't get past how bad they are. One point off for not using the wig fund to hire some sort of fashion consultant.


Chance for Bonus Points: Does the Villain Have a Lieutenant With a Marginally Cooler Costume and Possibly a Name?

Well, kind of.

See, the Monarch has a son, a disappointing son. A son who he dresses up like a court jester and makes fun of with the help of his hired goons (quote: "You're th' greatest! And your son's the worst! HO - HO - HO!"). I'm not too sure what the kid did to draw such mockery - from the context of the story it might just be that he's a clumsy guy.

So no bonus points for you, Monarch of Menace. You could have made your kid the Pilfering Prince of the Dauphin of Distress but you just had to act like a jerk instead. That's no way to parent.

Don't worry, though, it all comes back to bite him in the ass. The son is so desperate to impress/show up the father that he heads to Gotham in a spare Monarch of Menace suit to prove that he's got the chops. He gets captured by Robin in about fiive minutes of course, but that's still showing some cojones. Seeing how Batman and Robin get along and don't constantly make fun of one another and Batman only sometimes forces Robin to dress in humiliating outfits, Monarch of Menace, fils throws in with the Dynamic Duo to help lure his father back to Gotham for capture.

Well, the Monarch rated slightly higher than the Birdmaster with a 7/15. Let's look at his final fate:

Well, I guess it beats getting torn apart by giant eagles. Any last thoughts, Batman and Robin?

There are reasons that people make jokes about you, guys.

Good day!

Breaking the Glass Ceiling...With Nunchucks!

Temping agencies have discovered a way to market themselves as something other than a last resort for broke artists and musicians.


Sure a guy can dream of being a cowboy or an astronaut or heck, Superman, but us ladies don't have such high hopes.

Iris is your average executive assistant: hot, demure, loves serving tea.

But when a business deal goes awry...

BAM! Iris fucks shit up!

Trading one racist, creepy fantasy for another? Sure! Completely trite? Of course!

But then, this comic breaks new ground.

WHAT? I've been lead to believe that's impossible! I hope Batman never meets this dude, the most perceptive random thug ever!

Anyway, don't expect a comic full of Excel spreadsheets and dry cleaning that needs to be picked up.

But do expect to be told "I'm an executive assistant" over and over again.

Let's talk Legion: Adventure Comics No. 315

I have returned, ladies and gentlemen and all who are neither, and how surprised are you that I have a Legion of Super-Heroes tale from the 60s to discuss with you? Not very? Full points!

Now, originally I had planned to take a look at some far out Sixties future-tech or maybe an unusual alien creature or two but once I started reading this particular issue again I got all delighted and felt compelled to talk about the whole damn story. It's like trying to eat only one item at a buffet, I swear.

We find the Legionnaires checking yet another collection of monitor screens...

I maybe have a problem with the universality of this Universal Monitor, hinging on whether those labels are permanent or not. I mean, i can see some borders on this thing, so it's not fantastically huge... is the implication that the 30th Century DCU contains six or seven inhabited planets? I think that I might have seen more than that in the last issue of Green Lantern, so maybe there's a chance that the Legion hasn't been doing as good a job as they've been leading us to believe. Also, Tree World?

"Legionnaires, our planet is named Arboriax. My people are proud and call for war at the slightest insult... please stop calling us Tree World."

At first I thought that maybe Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl were bored or late for a date or something, but it turns out that those watches connect them to the kinda-Universal Monitor so that they can all sneak off to a conference, probably on Planet Ventura (Dice World). I figure that most of 'em will be knee-deep in human depravity by lunch time. What happens on Ventura, after all.

Of course, as soon as the Legionnaires turn their backs, some asshole aliens show up - these ones seem to have evolved from replilian beavers. Maybe they're from Tree World!

An aside about the reason for this invasion: the "aliens coming to Earth to steal something - often gold or twinkies - that does not exist on their planet" plot is basically as old as superheroes themselves, or at least would be if the Forties weren't all about the Nazis. Once the Fifties rolled around, though, this kind of thing was happening about once a week. Batman and the Flash probably have weekly get-togethers where the one who dealt with the fewest armoured-car-robbing extraterrestrials has to buy the beer. HOWEVER: glass? These guys come from a planet that doesn't have glass? Maybe... maybe they think that something else is called glass, like einsteinium or something. After all, glass must be hard to make poison out of, and I reckon that any race bright enough to figure out space travel must have the capacity to put together the old "sand + heat" equation. Right?

Well, at least they had the forethought necessary to keep the Legion from swooping in as soon as they cleared the ionosphere and... HEY! That is clearly a piece of glass on the side of that thing! And (scroll, scroll) they have glass cockpits on their space ships! I am so damn confused by these guys.

Well, maybe that's a good sign. Maybe they do have their words mixed up and they're going to start stealing poodles or Hostess Fruit Pies in a minute.

No, no. No, they're stealing glass. They're  putting a lot of effort into stealing glass.

They built special ships with special weapons to steal glass with. Those special ships have glass in them. Argh!

It's just as well that we're done with them, because another few minutes of thinking about this might have a detrimental effect on my well-being. In a few panels that I'm not putting up for space reasons the Legion of Substitute Heroes trounces these orange-clad bozos and that's the last that's ever been seen of them, as far as I know and barring a surprise appearance of three of them in a cloak as the real identity of the Time Trapper at the end of Legion of Three Worlds.

Superboy shows up just after the Subs finish mopping up, and the two Legions finally meet! The Substitute Heroes, despite having just stopped a fleet of technologically-advanced-if dumb aliens with the super-powers equivalent of a bag of firecrackers, are riddled with low self-esteem and all worried that the Legion will make them stop hanging around in a cave and picking up after them. Instead, the Legionnaires are so impressed that they offer to make one member of the Substitute Legion a super-duper official Legion member.

A contest is organized! Each Sub gets a Legion sponsor and has to complete aan assignment all by themselves! Scores will be awarded!

But of course, the sponsors have to be selected. How do you figure they do that, folks? Pick a number? Names from a hat, Planetary Chance Machine? Nah.

It's time for a brand-new selector machine! There have been variants on this sort of device throughout the Legion's history that making new ones has to be someone's hobby. My theory about this particular device is that is was designed as a backup in case the big computer ever broke down and nobody could think up another way to randomly assign kissing partners. I was going to put in the next panel, featuring the results, but it doesn't really matter for the purpose of this. Just note that poor Night Girl didn't get teamed up with Cosmic Boy, who she loves, in a way that probably would be treated as dismayingly stalkerish today but was reasonably endearing in the 60s.

Polar Boy gets the first assignment and it's a bit of a doozy. The Legion sure isn't slacking on the "challenging" aspect of these tests.

Meanwhile, "the Human Guinea Pigs" is a great name both for a scientific group and for a band. It doesn''t really come up later on in the comic but I bet that they're young mavericks, flouting the established conventions of Thirtieth Century scientific research and testing strange formulas on each other because they can't get the funding to purchase convicts and wearing their hair in unconventional

ways. Accidently freezing themselves is probably just a normal Saturday afternoon thing for the Human Guinea Pigs - they probably freeze themselves instead of sleeping.

Polar Boy's game to try, though, which is one reason that I like him so much. If you put me in a room with cold powers and orders to thaw some frozen guys the best I'd come up with would probably be something along the lines of "Well, they're frozen all right. I wonder what will happen if I cool them down even more? Maybe they'll loop around to being warm

again!" Granted, I've probably played more video games than Polar Boy and so have no concept of real-world logic, but still: hauling them off to the Earth's core is quite a bit more productive no matter how you look at it. I'm not so sure about those harnesses though - I have to believe that dropping one of these guys into a pool of molten cesium (or whatever - I was an English major. As far as I know the Earth's interior was accurately described by Milton) would result in some pretty serious negative scoring. Maybe one or two knots, or even a four-point harness?

Safety considerations aside, he does it and does it in style, using his power to protect himself from the blazing heat while baking the scientists to a crisp golden brown, if my youthful experiments with the noble frozen meat pie are applicable here.

A good first showing for  the Substitute Heroes, even if it set back cryogenic research by decades ("the freezing works okay, but we just can't get the thawing oven hot enough" "Try the self-cleaning setting!") and made that one scientist quite a bit tubbier somehow.

The question now is whether the Legion are panicking or not. Did they actually expect Polar Boy to finish this challenge? If they let him in, what are they going to talk about? Will he want to let more of his loser friends into the club? Or am I being cynical? Let's see what they whip up for the next challenger, Night Girl:

Consider this panel the intermission to this very long post. Isn't it pretty?

Hmm. Still no real indication of how the Legion feels about this process. Sure it's going to be rough on Night Girl to operate on a planet swathed in perpetual sunshine but she's proven herself to be a pretty canny customer on a number of occasions. Also, the selection committee looks to be composed entirely of male Legionnaires, not that I want to imply anything about their commitment to fairness being compromised by the presence of a hot babe in a bouffant hairdo. Okay, I kind of do.

 Sun Woman is basically the perfect enemy for Night Girl - she has the same super strength, only hers is solar powered, so that one of them will always be able to grind the other into powder depending on ambient lighting conditions. She also shares Night Girl's excellent costume sense - look at that thing! Shoulder antennae, sunburst on the stomach, good colour scheme and a sun-ray halo. Good heavens, that's a great costume element - why the heck it hasn't that been lifted for some other fire-themed villain in the decades since I'll never know. Some negative points for the stiletto heels, but big bonus for knowing how to dress a henchman properly (see intermission picture). I'm going to throw out a JOHN APPROVED for her.

HOWEVER, for someone who has such super-costume design savvy, Sun Woman fails to apply her skills properly here. When confronting an unknown champion of justice you have to look for telltale thematic signs, SW, and the black costume, star-shaped cape-pin and owl insignia simply scream "night-themed super-hero, try to keep in a brightly-lit area." Night Girl gets thrown into the decidedly non-brightly-lit dungeons and proceeds to use her restored super-strength to tunnel around the city and set up a resistance.

Night Girl's plan is to have the Vannar citizenry burn huge piles of coal around the city in order to block out the sun and thus deprive Sun Woman of the source of her powers.

Now, I'm going to ignore any question of environmental impact. I'm not going to question the fact that these people have seemingly never thought of burning coal, even though it apparantly lies around in giant heaps, free for the gathering (although I guess it's reasonable to assume that this is a largely solar-powered planet). No, I'd just like to point out that Vannar is one of the few 30th Century planets that I've ever seen get future-clothing right.

Not that those jumpsuits are exactly high fashion, mind, but look! They're all different colours! Take note, Lizard-Beavers! Look, Coluans! Not everyone looks good in mauve - remember that.

Anyway, that's that for Sun Woman, except for one more panel where she's looking super pissed-off as Night Girl flies  her off to jail. Note that Night Girl, in addition to being well-dressed, knows how to make an entrance. The only thing that would have made this whole thing better is if she had done it a few feet to the left and turned it into a double uppercut. Violence solves everything, kids!

Okay, so Night Girl is in the running! Who's up next? Why, it's the Chlorophyll Kid! Let's see what crazy task they think up for this little scamp!


This is where I start to get suspicious, kids. Splitting a mountain is Superboy-level stuff - poor Chlorophyll Kid, I think, has just gotten a very unsubtle message to the effect that his leafy presence is not required in the Clubhouse. Still, the little guy is game and flies up the mountain to check things out.

HA HA HA! He does it! The Legionnaires are all doing that thing where they tug at their collars and go "Ai yi yi!" Plant power!

The Legion is getting desperate! They don't know what to do! Chlorophyll Kid split a damn mountain! They start to reach, and send Fire Lad to a world where it rains all the time, tasking him to give the tribes that live there a permenant source of fire. A fairly unremarkable event - he does it, of course, making use of a convenient oil well. There are only really two things to take note of: Fire Lad's sponsor is Bouncing Boy, who I normally don't mind but who is completely insufferable throughout this issue. Also, the tribesmen are really quite remarkable. I encourage you to enlarge yonder picture and take a good look at them.

Huge blond afros!

I think that this is the point tthat the Legion Task Selection Squad gives up. Despite all of their efforts, those damn Subbies just keep finishing their tasks. Besides, the next challenger is Stone Boy - no carefully tailored task for him, no sir, just some big generic monster with a huge ass.

Stone Boy, of course, doesn't give up. That's the defining feature of the Legion of Substitute heroes, after all, through all of their various incarnations. They may be a bit weak on the power front, and they might be somewhat incompetent but they persevere and ultimately triumph. Stone Boy's plan is actually fairly elegant: dig a pit and then lure the monster into it with his own damn body, turning to stone as necessary to avoid chomping.

A while back (I'd link to it but I can't find the damn post), Rachelle pointed out that various Green Lanterns occasionally use their rings to facilitate extreme laziness, to do something like picking up a piece of paper off of the floor. Saturn Girl seems to have fallen into that same habit here. Did she really need to read Stone Boy's mind to figure out what he was doing, or is there something else going on here? Did she lose sight of him and want to avoid using her neck and/or eye muscles to look around (overly-developed eyes are a real turn-off, ladies)? Or is it that she has only ever seen a hole being dug by a swarm of tiny DTCH-DGGR class robots and that the concept of manual labour was so alien to her that she had to violate someone's consciousness before she could reconcile what her eyes were telling her with reality? maybe there's a reason that the time-mirror showed her as so hippy.

As I said, Stone Boy has a pretty good plan. Sadly, some curious villagers spoil it all - I think that maybe there's a reason that the Rantak is so fat, if this is the average intelligence level on this planet. So according to the rules, Stone Boy is the only Substitute Legionnaire to fail the test. Now: back to the Clubhouse to tabulate the scores!

Stone Boy is the winner! He was all selfless and so forth! Yay! Somehow this is more impressive than flying to the core of the planet!

By the way, check out how surprised he is. Now look at the same scene, five seconds earlier:

That's right, the scores were plainly visible. Evidently, nobody was paying attention to the giant display in the centre of the room.

So Stone Boy wins, and everyone else is too polite to point out that they kind of completely refuted the Legion's original reasons for rejecting them (Polar Boy, for example, was rejected for his lack of control). I don't know if they let him in because he legitimately did the best job or because they figured that he would be the most unobtrusive. In any case, he chose to go off with the Substitute Legion, claiming that they were his Legion and making me go "Awwww..." but likely earning him a few smacks upside the head once everyone got back to the cave.

It's probably for the best, really. I will bet a hundred dollars that if you can dig up a comic from an alternate universe in which Stone Boy joined the Legion Ferro Lad will be alive and well and there will be a monument out front of Legion HQ depicting what appears to be a statue in an orange jumpsuit being fired into a Sun-Eater with a bomb strapped to it and a terrified expression.

Very long post.... done!