blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes (1977) #237


This issue is weird. The story’s weird, and the issue’s weird. The story’s weird because it’s about the Legion committing numerous intergalactic crimes because their financial benefactor is in danger. The issue’s weird because, well, the art is… lacking.

And the art’s from Walt Simonson and Jack Abel. I’m not the most well-read on Simonson, but I know he’s not supposed to remind you of Rob Liefeld, so maybe it’s Abel’s inks. Because the faces are all bad, but then about half the figures are bad too. Like, giant muscles and hands and little heads with too small faces on them. The only decent panels are the superhero team long shots. Otherwise, it’s a high-grade eyesore.

Also, the spaceship design—the stuff new to the issue because there’s a callback to Mon-El’s story last issue—looks like “Star Trek.” Like Klingon ships from “Star Trek,” just without thoughtful nacelles.

Now on to the story.

The Legion is gathered to have a retirement party for Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl, who have to quit because they’re married. They’re barely in the story—just in the first of the six chapters—and they get so little to do or say, it’s like writer Paul Levitz is avoiding them.

They fly off on their own, and the Legion financier, intergalactic businessman R.J. Brande, has a moment before little drones attack him. Brande looks a little like Harry Mudd from “Star Trek: The Animated Series.” The silly mustache.

Anyway. Some guy’s out to kill Brande for bankrupting his family, and he’s holding him hostage unless the Legion goes and steals three artifacts. He says it’s to rebuild his family fortune, but it’s really to destroy the galaxy or something.

It doesn’t occur to the Legion they should be suspicious of the villain’s story until the last chapter, which is part of the weirdness. The story’s weird in its thoughtlessness like Levitz was phoning in the plotting.

The first quest is a relatively simple follow-up to Mon-El’s adventure last issue. This team of Legionnaires has to fight space pirates. It’s also where there’s some really figure drawing on Superboy; just really bad. It’s a strange sequel to the story last issue because that one was all Mon-El reflecting on the adventure as he did his thing. This time he’s got pals, and there’s just a lot of talking. It’s easily the most successful, story-wise, of the quests.

Because the second quest has three female Legionnaires breaking into the Legion base, where team leader Wildfire and Princess Projectra have to stand guard. Princess Projectra is giving Wildfire shit for not being human anymore and, therefore, a big buzzkill. Kind of mean. Then Shadow Lass comes in and whines about how she only joined the Legion to meet a husband, but it’s a ruse for her compatriots to steal something.

From their team.

Instead of… telling them what’s going on. Though given how shitty they are to each other, I mean, would you want to talk to them if you didn’t have to?

The third quest has that Legion team assaulting a less advanced but still spacefaring species. Making fun of their appearances as they do.

All this shitty intergalactic behavior from the Legion—as far as they know—is to save their wealthy benefactor. So the people they assault, the things they break, the things they steal, all that damage is okay because their patron is in danger.

Sure, the whole galaxy or solar system or whatever is in actual danger, but they don’t know that detail. Apparently, the Legion’s motto is “the richer you are, the more people we’re willing to hurt for you.”

The jerk store behavior and the bad art do not make for a good read.

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