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CSBG Archive

A Year of Cool Comics – Day 249

Here is the latest in our year-long look at one cool comic (whether it be a self-contained work, an ongoing comic or a run on a long-running title that featured multiple creative teams on it over the years) a day (in no particular order whatsoever)! Here‘s the archive of the comics posted so far!

Today we look at a classic Legion of Super-Heroes tale from Adventure Comics #312 by Edmond Hamilton and John Forte showing how the Legion brought Lightning Lad back to life (Warning! This contains major spoilers for the story!)


Lightning Lad, one of the founding members of the Legion, died in Adventure Comics #304, and that was a major moment in Legion history, and they would refer to it every once in awhile over the next year. They also had a recurring sub-plot where the Legion would search for ways to bring him back to life.

Ultimately, in Adventure Comics #312, a way might have been found, but is the cost too great?

The issue opens with the Legion waiting to hear back from Mon-El, who suggested a number of issues earlier that he might know of a way…

The rest of the issue shows the other team members looking for other ways while Saturn Girl schemes to get to the bottom of why Mon-El is lying…


Wow, Edmond Hamilton sure knew how to set up some dramatic scenarios. You can say the ending is a cop-out, and yeah, it is, but hey, it’s the set-up that is memorable and that’s the important part. It’s why I was willing to spoil the story, as it has become such a classic tale that it’s really not worth hiding the ending (that and I used it in the DC Memorable Moments thing so it would be silly to now try to hide it).

John Forte does a great job on the artwork for this story.

A true Silver Age classic.


Great choice Brian. This era of Legion stories is often overlooked. The stories are somewhat simple, but the ongoing plot-threads from issue-to-issue and somewhat primitive character development are the basis of much of the comic storytelling that came later. Sure everything is pretty much fed to the audience, and the dialog is interchangeable, but the evolution is apparent.

Plus, John Forte’s quirky art is just awesome!

Totally agree.

And of course it was great to get Curt Swan later on, but overall Forte was better at showing Legionnaires flying.

This story was ret-conned by the Bierbaum’s [sp?] and became that Lightning Lad became Proty & had fooled everyone. i forget what issue that was, but it was the last time i read anything by them.

Anyone else remember that issue?


These issues were reprinted in an 88pg Giant in 1969 or so. Reading the several installments in the one go was a powerful experience then when I was in grade three or whatever. It really set the bar for comic book drama.

The end did not feel like a cop-out to this young reader.
“I.. I’ll never forget you, Proty! Your sacrifice brought a hero back to life!” sob choke
I have never since felt so emotionally connected to a walking blob of protoplasm.
It was as good as DC superhero soap opera got back then.

I remember that Bierbaum issue very well. I think it was the then-current LSH #50. Lighting Lad had been my favourite character and had been quite underused for a long time, so I remember he had a big role in that story and I was quite excited about it…until I read the ending. I’m a big Legion fan so I can put up with a lot of nonsense about them and still enjoy it, but that one left me very unhappy.

The clock is the strangest one in the universe because it has hands rather than LEDs, presumably.

A slight clarification of Danjack’s note:


“In a Post-Crisis on Infinite Earths retcon, it was revealed that the original Proty did not die saving Lightning Lad’s life. In reality, Proty’s life force was transferred into the body of Garth Ranzz, and Proty lived his life as Garth from that point forward. The true Garth was never revived.” –Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) Annual #3 (1992).

I personally loved this retcon. I thought it gave a creepy-cool sci-fi twist to an otherwise straightforward story.

I’m with Rob. the LL is actually Proty in LL’s body was a great reveal. It wasn’t a ret-con, just a reveal that in this story LL when he awakes is Proty pretending to be LL (not difficult since he’s a mind-reader). Also makes sense here – I mean look how cool LL is with Proty being dead. It’s because he’s still alive!!!!!

So who undressed Saturn Girl on Daxam…? Mon-El, you got some explaining to do!

You might be able to argue that the Proty reveal wasn’t a retcon of the original Adventure Comic story (as opposed to a reveal) but I think there are many many Legion stories that came out after that which strongly contradict the Proty revelation. There might never have been a story where Garth thinks, “I’m really Garth Ranzz and not a resurrected Proty,” but lots of times where Garth’s life was looked at in quite a lot of detail, along with his relationships with Ayla and Mekt, where the clear intention was that Garth was really Garth. So I’d say that qualifies as a Ret-con.

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