In a genuinely startling event, it turns out when it comes to Joe Staton, sometimes you have to fight fire with fire—this issue features Staton’s most successful work. His inker? Vince Colletta. It’s not good art by any stretch, but it’s far more competent and consistent than Staton’s been on the book. Will Colletta be back to save the world from Staton’s pencils? Who knows, the issue feels like a fill-in.
The end of the last issue promised a Brainiac 5 resolution. This issue also promises a Brainiac 5 resolution… for the next issue. Instead, it’s a very Superboy story for Superboy and the Legion. He’s back home in Smallville, trying to be a regular kid in the fifties or sixties or teens, except he’s just too darn super. Lana Lang is on to him, so he’s got to do hijinks while helping out at Pa Kent’s store.
The Smallville sojourn doesn’t last long, with the Legionnaires coming back in time on a mission. Someone robbed the Superman Museum in the future, and they need Superboy’s glasses, except the future villain already came back in time and stole the glasses while he was distracted at work. They go back to the future, fight, fail, then go back to Krypton before it explodes to swipe some more Kryptonian glass, which is renowned around the galaxy.
Why couldn’t the bad guy go back in time to Krypton himself, maybe even head to a glass factory? Don’t ask.
There’s a funny moment when the Legionnaires ask Superboy to suit up–they wouldn’t want anyone seeing Clark Kent with some scantily clad exhibitionist time travelers. It’s unfortunately not self-aware; writer Gerry Conway keeps the plot moving, but there’s nothing to it. Clark’s bored in Smallville because it’s dull, and he’s not wrong; Conway writes a dull Superboy solo story.
It’s a mediocre narrative, but the not-horrendous art gets it through. Staton and Collettta. I’d never have guessed it.