Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes (1977) #248

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So while this issue has Mon-El going around declaring Shadow Lass is “his woman” and people better recognize, cultural mores of the late seventies didn’t allow writer Gerry Conway to point out the Legion is fighting a shit monster.

The Legion is helping with post-Earthwar rebuilding, and something strange is going on down in the sewers. So they investigate and, immediately after making fun of regular people for getting scared of nothing, a giant Lovecraftian shit monster emerges and attacks.

Joe Staton and Dave Hunt do the art this issue. There’s bad, and there’s worse. Mon-El yelling at everyone to save Shadow Lass is the worse; the action is the bad. But the initial action sequence itself isn’t too bad. Conway knows how to juggle the multiple perspectives, and he still gets to use thought balloons, and the tentacles of a shit monster are terrifying, no matter who’s drawing them.

Once the first fight’s over, and Shadow Lass needs medical attention, the comic downshifts. There’s building tension with the shit monster working its way through the city’s plumbing as the Legionnaires go about their days. Superboy’s working out to take his mind off things, Brainiac 5’s being a weirder asshole than usual, and Lightning Lad is making Saturn Girl dinner for the first time. Who knows how those scenes would play with better art. It’s not impossible for Staton pencils to have some charm, but not with Hunt inks. Not here, anyway.

There’s a two-pronged cliffhanger. The shit monster can attack multiple places at once, so it’s after the Legion and their financial benefactor, R.J. Brande. Brande’s just discovered he’s bankrupt, which no doubt will kick off a new plot line.

Despite being a bad-looking comic, it’s fine? The lousy art’s limiting the book’s exposure (and potential), but there are definitely worse badly drawn comics. Conway seems less interested in Legionnaires’ bickering than other scenes, which is a problem since Superboy and the Legion is usually about churlish genetically engineered white men bickering.

Also, shit monsters are terrifying. Especially with tentacles. Drip drip.

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