blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes (1977) #253


With the not insignificant caveat of art by Joe Staton and Frank Chiaramonte, which never fails to disappoint–even for that duet–it’s a fairly good issue of Superboy and the Legion. Gerry Conway scripts, and it’s a full enough, compelling enough issue.

Even if it does start with the Legion being a bunch of little pricks.

They’ve gone to the President of the Federation or Earth or whatever and pleaded for funds to rebuild their clubhouse. When the President tells them Earth has just survived an invasion and needs to focus on rebuilding infrastructure for the common people, the Legion tells him off. Why would they risk their lives if it weren’t for perks?

Superboy tries to talk his teammates down—got to stay loyal to the state, no matter what, and all—but they’re pissed off. The Legion’s going to split up; some are going to ask RJ Brande for money, forgetting they were supposed to save him from a shit monster a few issues ago and never located him. Had they found him, of course, he would’ve told them he was bankrupt and couldn’t help them. It’s not much of a C plot, but it’s something.

The Legionnaires staying on Earth are going to go out clubbing. There are six of them, including Superboy. He and Colossal Boy are the odd men out; the other four are romantic couples. Conway does a strangely good job with the mopey superheroes. They seem immature and impertinent, which probably isn’t intentional, but it’s inevitable, given the content.

Of course, the Legionnaires don’t know it, but a group of intergalactic assassins is out to get them. The six who just happened to stay on Earth and go clubbing. Those six destroyed these assassins’ planet, and these six “cousins” got lethal Fantastic Four powers. They’ve been on their way to Earth the whole issue to take out their targets.

Their thorough, vengeful attacks are pretty good when they get there, considering the art. Some of Staton’s compositions are fine, though Chiaramonte doesn’t improve the detail.

Every time I think I’m ready to give up on the book, there’s a story capable of overcoming Staton and Chiaramonte, so I cannot. Not when the story keeps such horrors at bay.

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