blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes (1977) #245


Maybe I need to be more invested in the big villain reveal—it’s Mordru, who’s some kind of space wizard who the Legion always foils. He talks a lot and has no weaknesses other than being buried underground. Only four Legionnaires are left to take him on—Superboy, Karate Kid, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl. Last issue, I thought Saturn Girl was the science police officer who’d been trying to warn everyone; nope. That officer never comes back in the issue, so no one has to learn to listen to lady science cops.

The four heroes have to figure out how to beat Mordru, who’s commanding an invading army of a million Khurds on Earth. Mordru’s mind control powers seem limitless, with a couple of pages dedicated to recapping how he was controlling x, y, and z in the last five or six issues of Superboy and the Legion. He’s just an infinitely powerful villain. There’s nothing else to him. His goal is just to destroy Earth for revenge against the Legion. It’s not particularly interesting.

After their initial escape, Superboy gets temporarily brainwashed—that magic weakness—and there’s a fight scene with Karate Kid. It’s pretty silly. I don’t know if it’s because of Karate Kid’s giant lapels or the tropical island setting, but it’s not particularly exciting. Then the superheroes’ plan for taking on Mordru is also visually wanting. They’ve got to free the entire captive Legion… it might just be the mix of Staton and Anderson. Maybe the visuals would be better with different inking, but also maybe not.

There’s not a lot of dramatic weight to the story. Of course, in the background, there’s still the intergalactic peace process or whatever, but it’s not part of the main story. It’s like writer Paul Levitz ran out of creative angles for the story and instead did a superhero team versus villain story.

The epilogue’s got a significant potential development for the Legion going forward, but it’s mostly just an excuse for Staton and Anderson to draw the whole team together, which isn’t visually impressive. That exceptionally minor charm Staton’s art had in the previous issue must’ve been because of the Joe Giella inks. Does Anderson sap the energy, or is there just no energy to such a lackluster conclusion?

It’s hard to go from future sci-fi superhero war comic to just a wizard.

Though, again, maybe it’s different if you’re invested in Mordru. But Levitz doesn’t do anything to suggest one ought to be either.


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