Writer Gerry Conway finds his tone for Legion of Super-Heroes and it’s Silver Age homage. The issue has Joe Staton and John Calnan on the art; it’s not great, but it doesn’t have to be for a Silver Age homage. Obviously, the costumes are different, and it’s hard to imagine Wildfire having his temper tantrum in an older book, but the story’s silly Silver Age.
So, in the future, the only thing no one in the galaxy thought about doing except humanity is circuses. The circuses take up giant space stations, but their content is the same as always, which will be important when the Legion goes undercover. But first, there’s this very deliberate Legion action sequence where Conway showcases how the individual heroes’ powers come together to Voltron out and defeat the bad guy.
Or, in this case, save the intergalactic circus barker from a crashing spaceship. It’s implied the spaceship is trying to kill him, but they never actually confirm it. It could’ve been a coincidence.
The main action involves the Legionnaires pretending to be circus attractions to ferret out the assassin. Some of it is just regular circus stuff, only with the occasional alien around. For some reason, Conway draws attention to how circus “oddities” don’t make much sense in the future when people aren’t shitty to each other but then leverages them anyway.
There’s also Staton’s best page in terms of composition, with annoying bro Timber Wolf—pretending to be an acrobat—recovering from a fall. Glorious splash page. It’s still weird looking because it’s a strange mix of Silver and Bronze Ages, but it’s the first time Staton has come through with movement.
The story ends with a cliffhanger—the Legion (thanks to now fully reformed Brainiac 5’s intellect) has their prime suspects, but is there someone even more nefarious behind the circus-hating villainy? Sadly, yes, we’re going to have another circus issue.
But it’s better than I was expecting. Maybe Conway really did just hate having Superboy around.