web stats

CSBG Archive

Five Goofiest Moments in the Legion Feature in Adventure Comics #305-309

Every day this month will have the five goofiest moment from a five-issue stretch of a particular comic book run. Once a week it will be the ten goofiest moments of a ten-issue stretch. Here is a list of the moments featured so far.

Today we’re looking at the next five Legion of Super-Heroes features in Adventure Comics #305-309. These five tales were written by Jerry Siegel (#305) and Edmond Hamilton (#306-309) and drawn by John Forte (pencils and inks).

As always, this is all in good fun. I don’t mean any of this as a serious criticism of the comics in question. Not only were these writers certainly never imagining people still reading these comics decades after they were written, great comics often have goofy moments (Kirby/Lee’s Fantastic Four is one of the best comic book runs of all-time and there were TONS of goofy stuff in those 100 plus issues!).

HONORABLE MENTIONS

In #305, we see that the Legion might want to do a better job separating their statues..

In memoriam…in honor of…Sun Boy.

Later in #305, Cosmic Boy is obsessed with finding fault in the newest applicant for the Legion…

“He’s super strong? He must be a robot!”

In #307, Invisible Kid doesn’t come off as the brightest Legionnaire in the world…

Hey, on the bright side, at least he’s not Bouncing Boy!

In #306, you have to love the ultra-realistic sounding dialogue from these criminals…

In #308, I chuckled at this bad guy’s dialogue, as well….

“How did you get a ray gun? It’s fantastic!”

What do you think he meant by that? The ray gun was good?

In #305, I just enjoyed that they feel the need to label their space monitor as such…

In #308, Sun Boy is covering for Lightning Lad, who appears to have lost his powers upon his seeming return to life (we’ll get to that later on). I’ll admit, it is childish….

but “that shaft of brilliance looks odd to me” made me laugh.

By the way, note Sun Boy’s thought balloon. It will be “important” later on…

In #309, the Legion fight a rejected applicant who can control any sort of creature. You have to love how his father thought to make his son a better animal trainer….

We all know Bouncing Boy is incompentent, but in #309, he takes that incompetence to a whole other level. All he has to do – repeat, his ONLY DUTY – is to stay by the Legion ship and not be seen, as the Legion is following the animal trainer guy (who now has created a Legion of Monsters that follow his commands) and is trying to do without him knowing it. So what does he do?

Unbelievable!!!

5. Sticks and stones, Mon-El, sticks and stones…

In #305, Mon-El is finally cured of his lead poisoning, so he can finally be free of the Phantom Zone forever. However, to the surprise of his Legion teammates, he wants to go back into the Zone….for quite a strange reason…

It is not so much that I BLAME him as much as it is just hilarious. “Let me go back so I can talk some trash to those jerks.”

4. Some effed up irony…

In #309, the Legion prepare for a final battle with the Monster Master, who is recruiting new monsters for his Legion of Monters…

The Legion ultimately decides that the best strategy (for some reason) is for one of them to go at it alone with the Monster Master. After a controversial drawing (see #3), the “winner” is Bouncing Boy, looking to atone his earlier stupidity…

This leads to a hilariously screwed up piece of irony in an abrupt ending to the tale…

YIKES! Hardcore, Edmond Hamilton, hardcore!!

3. The Legion of Super-Sexists…

In that above strategy session from #309, Brainiac Five points out…

You have to love that she is apparently totally cool with that (which is weird, since in #304, she went out of her way to try to sacrifice herself for the rest of the team).

2. The useless mystery…

In #307, we meet a new Legionnaire…

The thing is, his powers being a mystery to his fellow Legionnaires NEVER BECOMES A PLOT POINT!

It is true that he wants to hide from Roxxas (until he can surrender himself)…

but there was no benefit to be gained from him not telling his fellow Legionnaires. The plot went NOWHERE. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was a fun bit making the readers guess what his powers were, but there was no reason for it in the story.

Reader Ben points out that they also claim at the end of the story that his powers will REMAIN a mystery, even though he’s named Element Lad!

This makes a little more sense, as Jan was worried about people knowing about his powers (because other evil people might want to use his powers for evil), but as Ben notes, the plot point was basically dropped right away.

1. Nowhere would be a step up…

However cheesy that was, the plot in #308 makes Jan’s mystery plan seem downright logical.

Okay, so Lightning Lad appears to come back to life…

Cosmic Boy wonders if perhaps his powers did not come back with him…

Sun Boy, though, goes out of his way to cover for Lightning Lad.

That’s one example, but note the one I showed you above (the one about the shaft of brilliance). Note how Sun Boy keeps thinking “him,” how he is helping “him.”

Well, later in the issue, “Lightning Lad” DOES have powers…but “he” isn’t Lightning Lad!!

So here’s all of the things that’s wrong with this plot…

1. How insane is it to take the place of your brother’s corpse to pretend to be him returned to life? The Legion should be throwing her into an institution, not giving her membership in their team!

2. Sun Boy claims that he knew all along, but he was clearly thinking “him” all issue long, not “her.”

3. It is bizarre for her to look EXACTLY like Lightning Lad, especially since they then draw her face looking different in the last two panels (as Lightning Lad and as herself). Her nose, in particular, is totally different.

4. They never explain why she couldn’t/wouldn’t use her powers until the very end of the story.

It just a hilarious mixture of inanity!

28 Comments

You are absolutely right, but these stories…! What high adventure and simple camaraderie. Still so very enjoyable.

Hey, I actually have all of these comics! In reprints, but I have read them!

I was going to comment on the goofiness, but really, is there any point? These stories were obviously written for kids, the goofiness is intentional. Mon-El’s pranking the Legion was probably intended as a revenge from when they pranked Superboy before asking him to join! (I’ll admit the Lightning Lass one would make even little kids go “Huh?” though.)

Which doesn’t mean you can’t make comments on OTHER elements of the stories. Like their inventiveness- things like Monster Master’s legion of super beasts, his actual DEATH in this kind of comics (of course he might have come back later, but still) or the fact there was implied GENOCIDE in Element Lad’s story! The ideas were there, just not the writing. Oh, and while that may have been a really awkward way to introduce a new member, the Legion has always had a larger female-to-male ratio than most superhero teams, so you gotta point that out, too (even if they treated them in really sexist ways, but hey, the 50s.)

… wait, but what was Mystery Lad’s power?

… and was Marvel Lad really Mon-El?

(apologies, haven’t read much Legion and now I’m curious!)

Yes, Marvel Lad was Mon-El.

Mystery Lad changed his name to Element Lad at the end of the issue (he basically had the power of alchemy).

Ah… yeah, Element Lad I do know from more recent Legion comics, but I didn’t know he was Mystery Lad in his first appearance. Thanks Brian :)

I know this was par for the course for this period of DC books, but it always struck me as groan-worthy that as Marvel Lad, Mon-el was also known as the Legionnaire Lemon, where LEMON is a deliberate anagram of MON-EL.
(Ummm… Spoilers?)

David Serchay

May 19, 2011 at 12:17 pm

They tried the “too dangerous for a girl” line a couple of more times (often when she was the team’s leader) but she finally stood up for herself. Of course the “drawing lots” technqiue of picking someone is still better then the Planetary Chance Machine which spun around and whoever was hit by a flying model planet first won.

I suppose by fantastic he meant the feat of being able to get the gun and not the gun itself.

It comes off even funnier if you read it as Ron Burgundy.

I love how Legionnaires routinely kept things secret for no reason whatsoever.

And Jan totally should have kept that original costume. And the hairstyle.

They tried the “too dangerous for a girl” line a couple of more times (often when she was the team’s leader) but she finally stood up for herself.

“Watch out for Nemesis Kid, Projectra! He’s too dangerous for a gi… oh holy grife, what did you DO?!”

I suppose by fantastic he meant the feat of being able to get the gun and not the gun itself.

It comes off even funnier if you read it as Ron Burgundy.

That’s actually exactly how I read it. Well, you know, maybe not Burgundy precisely, but in that type of voice. “How did you DO that? I’m not even mad, I’m just impressed.”

I think at the end of that Mystery Lad story, the Legion decides that Element Lad’s powers will still be a secret to everyone except for the Legion. I always thought that was strange. And never referred to again, as far as I know.

The old Legion stories, and a lot of 1950s-early 60s DC, really reads like fairy tale storytelling. The sometimes bizarre logic and motvation, the juxtaposition of corny innocence with some truly horrible fates for antagonists and heroes alike, all strike me as sort of fairy-tale in tone.

Heck, Lightning Lad in his glass coffin is basically a really weird take on Sleeping Beauty, isn’t it?

Billy Bissette

May 19, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Is it standard practice for people of the Legion time period to not recognize useful abilities? The Legion has rejected some useful characters, and here Monster Master sees absolutely no use for a monster that he can control that can turn into vapor?

The silliest part of Mon-El going back into the Phantom Zone isn’t that he’s effectively mocking the other people trapped there, it is that he is mocking them with the message that good always triumphs over evil. Because making fun of the hardships of others is supposed to be the behavior of a good guy?

I think the Mystery Lad story might have been more entertaining if he didn’t actually have a power, and instead pretended to have one only so that the Legion would let him join and get him to the raiders. Secretly revealing his power to one person would actually consist of using logic and reason to explain why he’d be able to help in that specific situation even without a real power, and the secrecy clause would mean that the Legionnaire he convinced could just say “Yeah, its an awesome power. We really need him for this next super-important job.”

Billy Bissette

May 19, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Oh, I’d guess that the reason Lightning Lass didn’t show her own abilities until the end of the story (beyond the story then only being half its length) is that Sun Boy kept jumping in before she could act.

I think at the end of that Mystery Lad story, the Legion decides that Element Lad’s powers will still be a secret to everyone except for the Legion. I always thought that was strange. And never referred to again, as far as I know

Good point, Ben, I’ll edit that in!

Taylor Porter

May 19, 2011 at 4:25 pm

So, what’s goofy about that first honorable mention?

Taylor – it’s the random placement of statues – dead, trapped in zone, Sun Boy.

Love how Ayla effectively saves the team from a beach ball at the end of the story – oooooh, scary, a beach ball almost hit them!

Billy Bissette

May 19, 2011 at 5:23 pm

What’s goofy about the first honorable mention?

It is the pattern set by the text of the first two statues, only for the third to not match. The first two make it seem like a memorial section (in memory of a fallen member, trapped in the Phantom Zone), and then you just get “Sun Boy — Super-Radiance”.

If there were more statues of living members, it wouldn’t be funny. If the statue on the left hadn’t been Lightning Lad, it might not be noticeable, as the “In memory of” colors how people will read Mon-El’s “must remain in the Phantom Zone”.

It is similar to the Justice League of America panel where the guy tells the heroes that everyone they’ve touched is doomed, and Atom is worried about Jean, Flash is worried about Iris, Green Lantern is worried about Carrol, and Batman is worried about Robin.

“Heck, Lightning Lad in his glass coffin is basically a really weird take on Sleeping Beauty, isn’t it?”

More Snow White.

The way Lightning Lad came back is way creepier, though.

“His super power is terrific indeed”… Hmm, what did go on in that locked room between Saturn Girl and Mystery Man. Mystery revealed indeed.

Weird that bouncing on a rubbery bush would make Bouncing Boy jump twice as high.

It doesn’t happen that way in real life. On the contrary, boucing on elastic materials negates the bouncing, because the kinetic energy is mostly spent by the deformation of that material.

I had forgotten that “Nyaah, nyaah,” moment by Mon-El. So apparently did Jerry Siegel, as in Adventure #323, he had Phantom Girl go into the Zone, where she noted that all the criminals except one had been released many years earlier by Superman.

As benday-dot points out – the bit with Mystery Lad and Saturn Girl going into a locked room alone, and her emerging with a big grin after he ‘demonstrated his power’ to her, and saying he was ‘terrific’ but that she wouldn’t elaborate – I think THAT’s the best part of those panels, even better than Starman’s glowing cosmic rod bit from the Brave and the Bold Team-Up goofiness. You just don’t get entendres like that anymore.

Phantom Scott

May 23, 2011 at 6:04 am

“So apparently did Jerry Siegel, as in Adventure #323, he had Phantom Girl go into the Zone, where she noted that all the criminals except one had been released many years earlier by Superman”.

So the 1,000 years in the Phantom Zone had driven Mon-el so insane that he’d created imaginary enemies to speak to?

“Super Radiance”

Well, Sun Boy always was popular with the ladies…

“They tried the “too dangerous for a girl” line a couple of more times (often when she was the team’s leader) but she finally stood up for herself. Of course the “drawing lots” technqiue of picking someone is still better then the Planetary Chance Machine which spun around and whoever was hit by a flying model planet first won.”

I remember that one! Goofy as well, since as you said instead of drawing straws or picking a card, the mission leader would get bopped in the head. But hey, it was at least nice to see her stand up for herself. And iirc, wasn’t it also Braniac who again mentioned it was too dangerous for a girl?

And…wasn’t it revealed that Lighting Lad pre-Zero Hour had never come back to life, it was really Proty posing as him since the “rebirth”, and Saturn Girl was being porked by a blob this whole time?

“Hm, we’ve got us a villain with a telepathic power. If only we had a telepath in the Legion. A telepath without boobs!”

Roxxas seems like a right jolly old elf on page 11. And Jan looks like Linus. That’s kind of bizarre to me, since the first time I saw either of them was in issue 211. GIS the name Roxxas and see what I mean. Keywords: harrowing, hirsute, twink, bulge, Grell.

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives