[Legion Fan Club] Weekly Reader Week 27: The Ol’ Durlan Spy Trick in Reverse! 10/23/2019

[Legion Fan Club] Weekly Reader Week 27: 10/23/2019: The Ol’ Durlan Spy Trick in Reverse!

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For the Week 27 [Legion Fan Club] reading, we join Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen in their wild creative gold standard heyday, circa late 1983 - 1984 publishing dates.

[Legion Fan Club] presents, for your exclusive entertainment and reflection:

Legion of Super-Heroes (1980-) #302 – 306 The Ol’ Durlan Spy Trick Right Back Attcha, Legion, oh my!

Legion of Super-Heroes (1980-) #302: Lightning Lord attacks Legion HQ!!!
https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/book/the-legion-of-super-heroes-1980-302/407d7f75-390b-49cd-8704-da71c4278c5e

Legion of Super-Heroes (1980-) #303: Brainiac tells Supergirl that she is distracting him from his work!!!
https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/book/the-legion-of-super-heroes-1980-303/b28565c3-48bc-4a24-bb26-bb9659e050df

Legion of Super-Heroes (1980-) #304: Chameleon Boy and Brainiac 5 join with Element Lad and Shvaughn Erin to uncover the secret of the Legion impostor. DC Universe

Legion of Super-Heroes (1980-) #305 Durlan spy! DC Universe

Legion of Super-Heroes (1980-) #306 Star Boy recounts his history with the Legion to Wildfire as they wait for the Legion Leader election results.
https://www.dcuniverse.com/comics/book/the-legion-of-super-heroes-1980-306/56455ed2-c07e-4306-9239-4a387148bacf

Questions to ponder (spoiler alerts, we suggest reading the comics first before reviewing these questions):

In general, how would you rate this run compared to other Legion storylines, 1-5, 5 being the best? Why?

Issue #302: Which subplot did you find most intriguing, and why? Do you like the multiple storyline technique being used where few of the plots are concluded in the issue?

Issue #303: A big action issue! Which fight scene is your absolute favorite here, and why?

Issue #304: A visit at the Legion Academy! Which of the students is your favorite new character, and why?

Issue #305: For whatever reasons, this issue stands out art-wise. Do you think this is the best drawn / best colored of this week’s selection? If so, why: if not, which issue looks overall better to you? Which scene in this issue stands out the most to you (copy and paste below if you like).

Extra Credit: A three-part crossover between Superman and the Legion circa 1991:

The Adventures of Superman #476 3/91 DC Universe

The Adventures of Superman #477 4/91 DC Universe

The Adventures of Superman #478 5/91 DC Universe

Next week: We take the plunge into the stack of issues DC dares to call “Legionnaires” of the 1990s- early 2000s!!!

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From the extra credit reading this week:

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I’ve only read 302 and 303 so far. But what I liked in 302 was the multiple storyline technique. I think in books with a large cast it easy to forget who is doing what. No storyline was forgotten or felt short changed. I liked the Lightning Lord storyline the best, simple because the sibling vs sibling storyline goes so well. In 303, the escape fight, with Supergirl and Sunboy combining to escape was fantastic.

I’ll check back in after I read the next two issues. It is fun to read me some Legion.

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Agreed! Even in the darkest moments of this particular early run, the bright Utopian future of DC shines through.

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Hmmm…

It’s a classic run by two guys-- Levitz and Giffen-- truly learning the height of their powers, in what is arguably one of the best eras in comics ever. Particularly DC Comics. This is an age when standalone issues are almost always a part of a greater whole-- as are two parters, and three parters, etc. Everything that made comics, well, comics in the preceding decades is still here-- but now, these short stories are generally part of a longer game. These are great super-hero stories, yes… but you could hand them off to fans of science fiction and fantasy books, and Star Wars and Star Trek fans who wanted to sample comics and have your best chance of getting new readers. The sci-fi and fantasy elements are usually quite strong, and I don’t think anything like the two Violets story had ever been pulled off like this before-- and, breaking all comics traditions-- Yera stays part of the cast. The Legionnaires all have personalities, now, but overall without the forced feel Gerry Conway gave them in the previous run. Action is always well-mixed with actual story, not just the fight plots popularized by Marvel writers trying to live up to Stan Lee.

It’s a lot of fun having Supergirl around for these issues.

Does Comet Queen ever make it into the Legion? She spends 30 years at the Academy… a couple of these kids make it in eventually. Clearly, Magnetic Kid and Laurel Kent were the ones at the back of Levitz’s mind for future stories.

Kurt Shaffenberger was one of the unsung inkers in comics, making the work of the best and worst pencillers alike look cleaner, more focused and solid-- without ever being as over-powering as Jack Abel. And he was also possibly the best Marvel Family-- you know, Shazam!-- artist ever-- his work appearing over decades. We still wish Shazam! hadn’t been cancelled by Jenette Khan just when Don Newton took over the book-- but Shaffenberger had been rockin’ the previous issues far better than Beck or Oskner.

Stll, the team of Keith Giffen and Larry Mahlstead should not be belittled.

Curt Swan on 306. The return of Sir Prize and Miss Terous. And Element Lad is finally LSH leader after being deputy like, a 1000 times…

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Thanks @MisfitH! I’m pretty sure that is Comet Queen still in the Academy in Levitz’s 2009-2012 runs of Legion (and in the Adventure Legion Academy stories of the same time). Poor thing, that’s a long long time to stay in the Academy!

On another topic, thanks to @tuxnut (formerly Dogwelder9 I believe) pointing me to Volume 5 of the black and white Showcase Presents: Legion of Superheroes, which I didn’t realize had been published. This contains stories from 1973-1976, SUPERBOY AND THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #193, 195, 197-220 and KARATE KID #1. So now, the dilemma is: where is SUPERBOY AND THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #221 out there? The DC digital library starts at 222. Here’s the cover for issue #221:

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I have read every Legion comic.(I think)
I remember buying this one off the stands.
This was during that great Grell run of about 3 years.
Loved his new costumes except, of course, Cosmic Boy.

Love the name of the villainous “Charma.”

This is scheduled arrived early November, secrets to be revealed!!!

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I have one of those

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Sad they’re not colorized but in the case of poor Cosmic Boy it’s a blessing, lol.

I guess I could start coloring in the Showcases using those fine colored pencils I use for my comic strip here!

Love those Showcase books.

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Sorry to be late and all.

In general, how would you rate this run compared to other Legion storylines, 1-5, 5 being the best? Why?

I have only the previous storyline to go by but I would rate it at 4. I can tell that Levitz seems to have hit a stride and that the story flows a lot smoother than the previous one I read.

Issue #302: Which subplot did you find most intriguing, and why? Do you like the multiple storyline technique being used where few of the plots are concluded in the issue?

I found the Emerald Empress plotline to be the most intriguing to me. I felt that the set up was done very well, giving the reader just enough of a taste that it kept me continually interested in seeing where it would go. It also didn’t hurt that Emerald Empress is becoming a favorite character of mine.

The multiple storyline technique is very useful in situations where a writer has a large cast of characters or has multiple plotlines that he or she is trying to handle. I thought its use here was merely okay. I’m more used to an “A” plot/”B” plot structure or seeing this technique used in a longer format, say a series of novels. Here I sort of felt there was almost too much going on and wished there were less plot threads going on at once. (That’s probably on me more so than Levitz though.)

Issue #303: A big action issue! Which fight scene is your absolute favorite here, and why?

The final fight was my favorite. I particularly liked when Colossal Boy flicked Ontiir and Violet’s takedown of Emerald Empress.

Issue #304: A visit at the Legion Academy! Which of the students is your favorite new character, and why?

First of all I really like issues like this one that present a reader with a look at the potential future of a group of heroes. I liked all the new characters here and each one of them did or said something that grabbed my attention. I think my favorite though was White Witch. I’m partial to the magic characters or fantasy type characters in general but there was just something about her that made her stand out from the rest.

Issue #305: For whatever reasons, this issue stands out art-wise. Do you think this is the best drawn / best colored of this week’s selection? If so, why: if not, which issue looks overall better to you? Which scene in this issue stands out the most to you (copy and paste below if you like ).

I agree that this was the best drawn and colored issue of the group. The linework was very detailed and top notch and I loved the colors used. I particularly liked the backgrounds in this issue.

My favorite scene (or rather collection of scenes) are the ones at Starhaven.

As a side note Dawnstar is becoming a favorite character of mine.

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Thanks for reading with us @JasonTodd428 ! For sure this set of comics from the Levitz-Giffen run shows them off going full-throttle!

Right in the nick of time! :smiley:

In general, how would you rate this run compared to other Legion storylines, 1-5, 5 being the best? Why?

Considering other Legion stories I’ve read in the past, I’d give it a solid 3-3 1/2. It’s not in the same echelon as, say, Great Darkness Saga, but it’s very solid, well made superhero comics.

Issue #302: Which subplot did you find most intriguing, and why? Do you like the multiple storyline technique being used where few of the plots are concluded in the issue?

I think the multiple storylines definitely help in making sure each of the characters have something to do and their own moments to shine. As for most intriguing, I’d agree with @JasonTodd428 and say the Emerald Empress stuff. I think of all the Fatal Five, she’s been the character that has been the most interesting, so it was cool to see her strike out on her own.

Issue #303: A big action issue! Which fight scene is your absolute favorite here, and why?

Honestly, in terms of big action sequences, none really come to mind right now. I remember liking certain beats, like Supergirl using her super-breath to get Brainiac 5’s locks to break. I also liked Ultra Boy’s unique way of telling Dream Girl off while on Daxam.

Issue #304: A visit at the Legion Academy! Which of the students is your favorite new character, and why?

Of the new characters shown in here, I think the one that piqued my interest the most was Laurel Kent. I was really curious to see what her backstory was and how she relates to Superman.

Issue #305: For whatever reasons, this issue stands out art-wise. Do you think this is the best drawn / best colored of this week’s selection? If so, why: if not, which issue looks overall better to you? Which scene in this issue stands out the most to you (copy and paste below if you like).

The Curt Swan pages were great, but I don’t know if I’d necessarily say it’s the best art of the issues, but rather it fit best for the story they were telling.

That reminds me – when did all that stuff with Star Boy and Dream Girl happened? Did we read those stories and I just forgot, or did they add that to the lore to explain where they had been?

The romance of StarBoy and Dream Girl started in the early '60s with her debut. Let me go dig it up, it’s possible it’s not digitized.

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Yep not digitized that’s why we didn’t read it. Row 41 on our Master chronology, Adventure Comics 317 the Menace of Dream Girl

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Okay, cool, that was one of those things where it felt familiar, but I couldn’t remember if I had actually read it, especially since I never remembered seeing Star Boy or Dream Girl in the Subs.

Since we’re explaining things to me, there was another thing – have we seen in the club how the sort of doomed romance of Dawnstar and Wildfire (aka the original Rogue and Gambit) started? The whole thing of her leaving for her Starhaven ritual for finding a mate confused me because I don’t remember seeing any hints that they were in a relationship previously.

The embers of all that are in the first issue she appears in that we read a while back from the '70s. Wildfire was attracted to her, but her not him so much. It isn’t really a romance as more of a platonic friendship like when Wildstar helps her during the Great Darkness. In issues to come, Wildstar falls for some other guy, and Wildstar feelsl blindsided by it, although again they were never engaged or “together”… of course, how could they be, he’s a being of pure energy (that was a rhetorical question all, lol).

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I did want to note for the whole Dream Girl / Star Boy thing
, the other three issues from earlier times where the relationship develops are missing as well from the DCU Library, Adventure 342 and I believe it’s 350 to 351.

Very very odd that those are the gaps