Wednesday, July 10, 2013


From the same series that brought you the WORLD'S FINEST book reviewed last week comes this entry, a selection of stories featuring none other'n the kid o' steel Superboy with or without his 30th Century partners the Legion of Super-Heroes. Gotta admit that I loved the dickens outta both the Superboy and Legion comics back when I was at my height of adolescent slobdom, and as you would guess reading this volume of choice sixties sagas really brought back a whole lotta memories for me. Unfortunately a lotta 'em were memories I woulda preferred had been kept buried in the dark reaches of my cavernous cranium, but at least I was able to edge a few fun summer vacation goof off warm 'n toasty old tyme thrills with the thing and you can do it to!

The first saga's from '69 and goes by the title "Superboy's Darkest Secret!" Naw, it ain't what you think, but it is another one of those intertwined historical revisions/additions that I mentioned in last week's WORLD'S FINEST review where the original story we've all known and loved for ages turns out to be not quite what we all thought it was, with so many more "coincidental" equations tossed into the saga to the point where it is really hard keeping track of just what the real story is! (The whole thing kinda reminds me of that GILLIGAN'S ISLAND episode where all of the castaways 'cept Gilligan and the Skipper are suspects in a murder, all having known the victim and hating him for one reason or another.) In this one it's discovered that Superboy's parents have somehow survived the destruction of Krypton, having been shot off in a rocket similar to the one that they placed Superbaby in a good fifteen years earlier! However, their rocketship is covered with a a coat of kryptonite radiation that'll kill the kid if he even goes near it, which does add up to a whole lotta problems as to what he should do in order to bring the pair back. Of course after a whole load of  twists and turns including teaming up with the fellow who put 'em in the capsule in the first place as well as yet coming across yet even  another survivor of Krypton, it turns out that Jor-El and Lana (Superboy's real-life folk) do not want to be resuscitated because (according to the pre-recorded message beamed from their vessel) they would suffer for years from an extremely painful case of "K-Radiation Poisoning" if they were!  Superboy is naturally sad over having to abandon hope of ever seeing his real parents again, but if I were he frankly I'd be pissed off because I hadda go through all that adventure to retrieve their capsule and now it was all for naught!

"The Six-Legged Legionnaire" is one of those mid-sixties screwities that I'm sure had the gnarlier comic book fans of the day gagging on their glue, but I must admit that I really like these Legion stories for the very fact that they are so out-of-ken unbelievable while oozing forth that bizarroid ridiculousness that seemed so childish in comparison with say, Marvel product. This 'un starts off well enough as a Superboy story where onetime pest Lana Lang is on the verge of finding out Superboy's real identity then chickens out at the last moment (" wouldn't be right to expose it"!!!) As a reward (just like Clark Kent told her shortly afterwards as if that wasn't enough of a tipoff he really was Superboy!) Superboy takes Lana to a Legion of Super-Heroes meeting a good ten centuries into the future where she tries out for the group as "Insect Queen"...y'see it turns out that Lana herself has the super ability to change into any insect she'd like to be thanks to a ring she was given after saving the life of an alien being. (Tho if you ask me "tapeworm" would best suit Lana given her irritable personality!) Of course she was rejected since legionnaires must have natural instead of artificially-produced powers, but if you think that's gonna stop the bitch you've been reading way too many LITTLE LOTTAs!

Unlike the other sagas, "Curse of the Blood Crystals" is from 1972 which was a time when comic books were going through a big change for better or worse, and although I usually find these Bronze Age comics not as boffo as I find those of even a few years prior I must admit that I went for this obviously back-page feature with a whole lotta twelve-year-old guts 'n boogers. In the then-present (which I guess for 1972 woulda been the late-fifties), Superboy, after burying an evil wizard alive because his magic only works on the surface (!), hurls a buncha crystals which cause the gazer to have an incredible hatred of Superboy into space, where they wander about for a good ten centuries until who else but legionnaire Chameleon Boy gazes upon 'em while doing some spacework causing him to go back in time to off his comrade for good!

Closing out the book is "The Legionnaires Who Never Were." a '69 entry done at a time when DC was trying to make the group look more psychedelically uppa date with sexier costumes and beautiful Breck hair. As for the women they looked pretty good too, but this one is a strangie where Saturn Girl (no longer in that hideous red Comics Code-approved outfit) and Princess Projectra get zapped by some bald alien named Pozr,  and when they wake up and head back to Legion HQ they are thought of as bizarre imposters whom none of the other members have ever heard of! Turns out it was all a "test" for the Princess moderated by Brainiac 5, who sensed that she was on the verge of stressout and needed to monitor her reactions under duress! Yeah, that ol' gag, but since I haven't been exposed to it that much in the past few years it sure came off fine to me even if the ending is one straight outta an episode of ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS with a few CANDID CAMERAs tossed in as well. All I gotta say is that if I were Princess Projectra I would have been using my super powers to wreak havoc upon not only the Legion clubhouse, but quite a few members as well!

So there I have it, a nice quickie trip back to pre-highschool jollies back when I was a maladjusted pimple-infested adolescent loner. Now that I'm a maladjusted pimple-infested aged loner I can go back to being my normal self, I guess.

1 comment:

Bill S. said...

If only we could have locked up the makers of the most recent SUPERMAN film with a copy of this BEFORE they made their film...