blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes (1977) #258

Superboy  the Legion of Super Heroes  258

Is Legion supposed to be camp? I’m not sure what else makes sense, given writer Gerry Conway’s actually quite good plot and his reliably insipid exposition. Quite good plotting after tricking me in the opening—I thought the splash page said the issue was jumping away from R.J. Brande’s bankruptcy plot, but I just hadn’t reread the exposition enough to understand what Conway was saying.

The Legion has finally met up with Brande, and finally discovered who took his fortune. Then these rogue science police officers attack them, and we get a reasonably good “Legionnaire’s powers are perfect for this situation” action sequence before cutting away to Brainiac 5’s prison island.

Brainiac 5 is not in this issue. Not unless he turns out to have stayed evil and just gotten worse because now the comic’s about a mystery villain. The cover says his name is “The Psycho-Warrior,” but one of the Legionnaires refers to him that way. It’s not his villain name. I mean, it’ll be his villain name, but it doesn’t make any sense. I’m not sure there’s anyone worse at naming villains than late seventies, early eighties Gerry Conway. It’s like he saved all the okay ones for Firestorm and everything else is like… “Psycho-Warrior.”

Conway toggles between the stories, the Legion and the missing fortune, and Psycho-Warrior breaking out of his and Brainy’s prison. Is he Brainy? Probably not; it’s too obviously logical and can’t be drug out.

Because there’s barely a confrontation between the heroes and this new villain (who already hates the Legion, making him just like all their other villains, who hate them for being shitty white kids). He does his escape thing; they go to the Federation Council to have a showdown.

The showdown’s bad but a good idea. If Conway had built to it over a few issues instead of just having a reason for the twist… might’ve been good.

There’s a good narrative device setting up the cliffhanger and then some otherwise lousy writing.

Maybe slightly better than usual art from Joe Staton and Dave Hunt.

This issue’s the last Superboy and the Legion. I wonder if dropping the Boy of Steel’s going to help Conway at all.

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