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Silver Age September – The Super-Sacrifice of the Legionnaires!

After a month of spotlighting the strange (if endearingly strange) history of comic books (and especially the Silver Age), I think it is worthwhile to show the comic books of the Silver Age that are simply great stories period. Here is an archive of all the Silver Age comics features so far!

Today I’ll show an example of a great Silver Age story that DOES have some goofy aspects to it, but the story is still great despite the goofy stuff. The story in question is “The Super-Sacrifice of the Legionnaires!” from Adventure Comics #312, written by Edmond Hamilton and drawn by John Forte.

Enjoy!

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…

The PATHOS!!

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.

Also, I was willing to spoil the ending because the ending has become such a classic that it seems kind of silly to try to hide it.

John Forte does a great job on the artwork for this story – you can feel the pain in all of the Legionnaires’ faces.

A true Silver Age classic.

7 Comments

nice another story hoped would show up . since the story showed that even some character like protty is willing to make a sacrifice in the name of friendship plus kind of found it sad when protty wound up helping bring lighting lad back by tricking saturn girl who it seemed to be devoted too.

I love that earth is all one time zone.

I love Saturn Girl’s steely jawed determination to learn the truth, no matter what. Also, despite the ‘too dangerous for a girl’ moments at times in the LSH Silver Age, you tended to have women acting just as heroically as the men. And anyone want to correct me on this, the LSH was the first super hero group to elect a female leader?

Also, I know some hate the 5YL reveal off this story but it remains one of the biggest and best swerves I’ve ever been served in comics – and who doesn’t love a good swerve? Well, people who hate that swerve I guess…

I love that swerve (even though it’s creepy), but then I loved everything about the 5YL Legion.

So if one of the Legionnaires sacrificed his or her life to restore Lightning Lad, wouldn’t another Legionnaire then have to sacrifice themselves to save THAT person? This whole thing of sacrificing oneself to save someone else is a slippery slope, man.

It’s also funny that they’re even letting Superboy participate. I mean, obviously they all know he’s not going to die. And if he DID die, it would be a much bigger problem than what’s going on with Lightning Lad.

This story rules. I only really became familiar with it during the Lightning Saga, but when I read the synopsis I was blown away that this was a Silver Age story. Its very edgy, very cool. They’re essentially playing Russian Roulette to bring back their comrade.

Count me as someone who hates the 5YL swerve [although i like most of that section of Legion history]. It just took something sweet & ruined it. Same as the Element Lad hearts Erik or whatever his/her name was. They were just revision for revision’s sake.

Of course, the device was later re-used to revive Mon-El in Action Comics.
Or did it….There’s a piece in the Legion Companion speculating that first Lightning Lad was still dead. But, it was now Proty basically using Lightning Lad’s body – which raises all sorts of issues regarding the relationship with Saturn Girl. Since, it was Proty’s “life force” that migrated into Lightning Lad’s body – it’s Proty in the body. Creepy.

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