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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comic Book Moments – Day 357

Here is the latest cool comic book moment in our year-long look at one cool comic book moment a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the moments posted so far!

I’m beginning my Christmas/Winter Present to you folks this week, by featuring one reader requested cool moment this Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. There were so many e-mails (and most of them quite heartfelt requests) that I felt that randomly choosing three was the best way to go, so I used a random number generator to get the three choices.

Today, we get a moment requested by Matthew involving the last storyline of the first Paul Levitz/Keith Giffen Legion of Superheroes run…

Okay, in 1984, along with another popular title, New Teen Titans, DC Comics launched a new Legion of Super-Heroes title by the popular creative team of Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen. This initial story was the last one that Levitz and Giffen worked on in their initial run together on the title (Giffen would return to the book for a short run with Levitz later on that would lead into Giffen’s own run on the book), and it involved the Legion of Super-Villains invading Orando, the homeworld of Princess Projectra (who was married to her fellow Legionnaire, Karate Kid).

The villains were led by Nemesis Kid, a former Legionnaire who had joined the Legion to spy for the Khunds. He joined the Legion along with Karate Kid and Projectra, so they had a distinct connection to him.

Nemesis Kid’s power was that he would automatically develop whatever he needed to be the perfect nemesis for any one person. If he fought Superboy, he would develop super-strength as well, to match Superboy. If he fought Karate Kid, he would develop equal martial arts skill.

This was bad news for Karate Kid, who had a bad altercation with Nemesis Kid in Legion of Super-Heroes #4 (by this time, Steve Lightle was penciling the book after extremely rough Giffen breakdowns – practically more like “suggestions” than even breakdowns). Dying, Karate Kid figured he would help stop the invasion of Orando before he died.

So in the next issue, Princess Projectra is, well, not pleased with Nemesis Kid…

Striking work by Levitz, Giffen and Lightle.


Great Moment, but it’s “Orando”, with no “L”. Orlando’s ruled buy the Mouse that just bought the other company. ;)

Thanks for the typo catch, Dave! It’s fixed now!

Or, alternatively, Orlando is the gender-swapping literary character, portrayed in film by Tilda Swinton, and more recently seen in the latest LOEG series…

Anyway, back to the comic… the moment that makes it for me (never having read this before) is that last panel. Just perfect.

One for the swipe file, eh Greg Rucka? Just kidding, but it was a good moment. Let’s see if Levitz has still got it in him when he returns to Adventure!

Wow, that scene was just brutal. Not just in terms of violence, but overall execution, it reeks of pre-90s “extreme” combat, without any subtlety or craft. Maybe it’s just because it’s been removed from context, but it’s pretty much humourless punch-kick-splode.

Sorry. But it’s categorically impossible for me to take anything seriously once you bring something silly like “Nemesis Kid” into it. Nemesis Kid….might as well call him “The Bad Guy Kid”.

@Matt B – Then you miss one out on appreciating one of the great legacies of the Legion.

I was around in the 80’s and I don’t recall any “pre-90’s ‘extreme’ combat”. There was however tons of early-90’s extreme combat. The violence in the 80’s was pretty much unchanged from the 70’s except that we got better color separation.

Putting this title into perspective is important. Heroes didn’t die and they did not kill back in 1984,certainly not a squeaky clean Legion member like Princess Projectra.

@Stealthwise – you are correct. For 4 issues the Legion had been systematically dismantled and thwarted by the smug LSV. These scenes represent the release of 5 months of built up tension.

@Stealthwise, The violence on display in the sequence is not typical of what was in Legion-fare at the time, which is what made it even more horrifying (that and KK was a favourite of many). What made “Eye for an Eye” so effective is that the Legion of Super-Villains, mostly a pretty ineffective group historically, suddenly started playing for keeps and really took it to the heroes in a brutal and ruthless fashion. It was certainly a product of it’s time when the “Dark Ages” were dawning in DC: Swamp Thing had gone more “adult” and the ground was being softened for things like “Dark Knight” and “Watchmen”. Certainly, those titles for better or worse blew the door open on “grim n’ Gritty” but things like this and Judas Contract certainly were harbingers of what was to come.

that moment showed that when some one has nothing left to lose like projecta they will do anything even what she did to nemisis kid . proving that there is no hell like a woman messed with and keith and paul knew how the Legion should be done.

I originally read that on the original ISB. And yeah, that moment was pretty badass.

I remember this story from way back. I consider this the number one Legion moment ever.

Thanks, Brian! Since this was my pick I was going to defend it, but it seems like other people have beaten me to it. The only thing I would add to what they’ve said is to respond to Matt B — “Nemesis” doesn’t mean “villain,” it means a person’s specific doom (or more loosely, a particularly personal enemy.) Since NK’s power — which is magic, by the way; he’s an alchemist who created the potion that gave him his power — is to gain whatever powers he needs to defeat any particular enemy, it’s about as appropriate as any superhero name.

Emotion, selflessness, and viciousness…..The Legion often gets overlooked by most comic book fans for having this….Thx for the spotlight from this Legionnaire…

Gonzalo Garcia Callegari

December 24, 2009 at 11:47 am

Never understood why they had to kill such a good character as Karate Kid….

I only read a handfull of Legion stories back in the old days. My first issue had the death of Invisible Boy, which really shocked me as I’d never heard of a super-hero dying before. So I always thought of the Legion as the one book (back then) in which a character might be killed without warning. (Except for Superboy, since we already knew he’d be growing up.)
I wonder if it was easier to kill someone in the Legion because there were so many of them and the series could always continue without the team dynamic being changed. Also, aside from Superboy, none of them ever appeared in any other books that I’m aware of, so they didn’t have to keep anyone alive because of that.

I never knew about this story. I had no idea Karate Kid was dead.

I remember reading the letter columns regarding this issue and fans were shocked- SHOCKED- that a superhero would kill their opponent. Oh how naive and innocent we were back then…

This was a powerful storyline overall and Nemesis Kid’s “off camera” death made it all the more visceral and striking. Steve Lightle did a great job of portraying Projectra’s absolute rage. One of the many Legion highlights in the 80’s…

Val got a much better send-off here than the one he received in Countdown.

Jeckie’s execution of Nemesis Kid was jarring because even though we don’t see it, we are still given a clear view of Val’s charred corpse as his killer’s neck is snapped off-panel.

The Devil (p.14) looks really friendly, doesn’t he? Makes me want to visit Hell, if they’re all as welcoming as the big boss.
I think all those people screaming on him are screaming because riding Satan is like riding a great big rollercoaster. Maybe all those other demons she’s summoning are just going to help him get on the ride.

Also, one thing that’s weird about comics is that people don’t die more often. If you have strength and powers that can reduce a mountain to rubble (or whatever) you would tend to destroy the frail human form more often than not. Especially, you know, supervillains who are TRYING to do that.

This isn’t like swords-and-sorcery or space opera heroes and villains…this is orders of magnitude beyond that (okay, except for the Death Star). Accidents happen.

Part of what made this scene more impressive was that all three characters had joined together back in Adventure 346 along with Ferro Lad who had his own moments after the story. There was a history there with all three of them.

And the reason the corpse was pictured while Projectra was killing Nemesis Kid? Why was a lot more important than how.

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