Posts tagged ‘Ultra Boy’

Action 392 – the powerless Super-Son, and Legion of Super-Heroes ends

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The Super-Sons get equal play on the cover of Action 392 (Sept. 70), but inside it’s really Superman and his son that are the focus of this Kanigher/Andru/Esposito tale.

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Following up on last issue, Clark Jr no longer has powers, after his father exposed him to gold kryptonite. Despite this, he continues to wear his costume, even though it simply highlights his lack of super-ness.

But you have to wonder why he wears while out on a date, when he doesn’t have the powers to back it up.  Public humiliation is rarely a big turn on.

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Superman winds up getting attacked by thieves with kryptonite.  His son comes to his aid, and because his powers have been removed, his weakness has gone as well, and he succeeds at both rescuing his father, and capturing the villains.

As a reward, Superman brings his son to Kandor, and together they undergo his rite of passage to adulthood.  But the boy is unaware that his father has also rigged the ceremonial bracelets, transferring his powers to his son.

Though Superman is left powerless at the end of this story, when the Super-Sons return in a semi-regular series in World’s Finest Comics in a couple of years, Superman has his powers again.

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Bates, Mortimer and Abel bring the Legion’s series in Action Comics to a close with this story.

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Saturn Girl and Princess Projectra return from a mission, only to find that no one knows who they are.  Karate Kid insists that they have never been members of the Legion, and even introduce them to male counterparts of themselves.  Saturn Girl wears her new, 70s bikini outfit in this story, which looks much better on her than on Saturn Lad.

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The two women are imprisoned, but use their flight rings to burst free of their bubble-cell.

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Projectra figures out that the whole thing is a hoax, which Saturn Girl must be in on. And, indeed, it is.  All put together by Brainiac 5, to test Projectra’s mettle, after the computer declares that Projectra is likely to have a breakdown.  It seems rather insulting, but throughout the 70s Projectra would lapse into a few stress-induced comas, so the computer was not wrong.

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The story, and the run, end with Mon-El being sworn in to replace Karate Kid as leader.  The “adult advisor” is there, which must be Marla Latham, although the figure is so tiny it might be Ultra Boy, as their costumes are basically identical.

From here, the Legion of Super-Heroes move down to becoming a sporadic back-up in the pages of Superboy.  The team all but vanishes, and it was only the avid fan base that brought about their return.

Action 387 – Superman at the end of time, and the Legion vs tax laws

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Bates, Swan and Roussos conclude Superman’s travel through time in Action 387 (April 1970).

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He encounters some astronauts, frozen in suspended animation for centuries, and revives them in the year 801,970.

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Travelling even further into the future, he reaches a time when the entire planet is dead and devoid of life.  If those are different.  Anyway, he cuts the planet open and terraforms it, and brings life forms, including humans, from other worlds to populate it and start the cycle again.

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There is a very unexpected attack from Lex Luthor.  He had never believed Superman dead, and left behind a weapon, powered by his eternal hate, to kill him.  It fails.

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Superman travels even further ahead, but Time Trapper loops him, and sends him back to the start. He blacks out, waking to find himself a baby in his parents arms on Krypton.  A few more blackout time jumps, and Superman is back to where he was at the start of the saga.

Which is a bit of a let-down finish, if you ask me.

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Bridwell, Mortimer and Abel share one of the oddest Legion stories.  Every single member appears.  Even the Super-Pets appear.  And I’m tagging them ALL.

And the board is also worth noting, on the first page. The Legionnaires appear in the order they joined the team.  Supergirl is located between Star Boy and Brainiac 5, while Superboy is later, between Shrinking Violet and Sun Boy.

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An evil tax man shows up, and the Legion discover that they have to get rid of one member, or have to pay taxes.  As they do not actually make money by being the Legion, I’m not sure what they would be taxed on, but it’s enough of a threat that they all start vying to be the one to leave.  Timber Wolf and Chemical King are the first to offer, being the most recent to join.

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The team attempt to hold a random draw, but it gets rigged, and then everyone starts claiming responsibility for rigging it.

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Supergirl insists that she should be the one to leave, as she attends the fewest meeting.  Brainiac 5 is not happy, and the Super-Pets all but revolt, insisting that they will disband if she leaves.

Brainiac 5 is selected by the computer as the hero who performed the fewest feats, but everyone insists his mind is worth more than just feats.

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Finally, it is Superboy who chooses to leave.  His powers are duplicated by Mon-El, and he has no romance or clinging pets, as Supergirl does.  Notice that Krypto would resign if Supergirl left, but not Superboy.

Duo Damsel is the one most upset about his departure. Luornu’s unrequited love for Superboy would be touched on again in the future.

For many of the characters, this was the last appearance they have before the end of the Legion’s run in Action Comics.  Ironically, this is also the last appearance of the full line up of the Super-Pets, as Beppo does not appear again, aside from flashbacks in comprehensive Superman origin tales.

 

Action 386 – Superman put out to pasture, and the impostor returns

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Superman continues travelling forward in time in the second part of the story, by Bates, Swan and Roussos, in Action 386 (March 1970).

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Superman time jumps forward, and winds up in an era where all super-powers have been outlawed, following a huge war of super-powered people.

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Superman winds up exiled to a planet where all the other super-people have been sent.  King of the retirement home.

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He does get everyone to work together, and show the world that old super-heroes have something to offer.  But then he just time jumps again, as the Time Trapper watches, enjoying it all.

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Uli Algor, the woman who impersonated Shadow Lass, returns in this story by Bridwell, Mortimer and Abel.  It begins on Takron-Galtos, the prison planet, which I believe is the first time that entire name and description are used.

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Despite the scary name, they are using feel good gem therapy, it seems, to rehabilitate criminals.  It does work on some, but Uli had conditioned herself to resist it.

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Returning to Earth,she sets out to avenge her defeat against the Legion.  She runs into two couples in the park, challenges, and defeats Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy and Night Girl, with a device that enables her to turn the heroes powers against them.

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That might have been enough for some, but not for Uli.  She presses her luck, and challenges another group of Legionnaires.  Karate Kid, Brainiac 5, Ultra Boy and Phantom Girl accept her challenge, and head out to Talus, an asteroid of junked space ships.  This is the only appearance of Talus until it becomes the headquarters of the Legion, in the early 90s.

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Uli uses her weapon successfully against three of the team, but she waits as Ultra Boy approaches her, to see which of his repertoire of one-at-a-time powers he will use.  And Ultra Boy just runs up and decks her, using nothing but his own strength.

Uli heads back to Takron-Galtos.  We never hear from her again.

Action 384 – Superman wears the Killer Costume, and Mon-El dies

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Bates, Swan and Roussos conclude the Killer Costume story in Action 384 (Jan. 70).

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Superman follows the costumes to the Fortress of Solitude.  He puts them on two of his robots, and watches them fight until they destroy each other.  Superman refuses to put either costume on.  The evil costume then follows him back to the Daily Planet, and wants to advertise itself.  It uses Perry White, and goads Clark into putting it on.He does, not realizing that he will not be able to remove it.

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The costume forces him to go on a destructive rampage.  He manages to put his own suit on over it, but that has no effect.

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Perry White proves the big hero.  He puts on the other costume, and comes to rescue Superman.  Suprrman dons both costumes, and while they struggle to control him, he flies to a planet with an orange sun.  Weakened, the costumes can be removed, and dropped into the sun to burn up.

Gotta admit it, the story is definitely better than the covers would imply.

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Shooter, Mortimer and Abel tell a very unusual story in this issue.

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Dream Girl sees a vision of Mon-El dying, out on a deserted asteroid.

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Taking her prophecy seriously, Mon-El takes extra doses of his anti-lead formula, so that he cannot run out.

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Mon-El demands to be sent on a mission to Daxam instead of Ultra Boy.  Karate Kid agrees, though Shadow Lass is furious that he sent her boyfriend away, with the prophecy hanging over him.

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The day the vision forecast arrives, and Mon-El shows up to help the rest of the team battle some alien raiders.  But it’s not Mon-El, it’s Eltro Gand, a relative.  The news of Mon-El’s forecast death had spread to Daxam, and he took the place of his relative, to keep him safe.

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In fact, his actions doomed Mon-El to the very death that Dream Girl saw.  Horrified at what he had done, Eltro grabs the body and brings it to the kind of death-transfer machine that was used on Lightning Lad.  He sacrifices his life, and brings Mon-El back.  Poor Mon-El has no idea what was going on.  When he sees Eltro Gand, he doesn’t even know who the guy was.

Eltro Gand is not mentioned again for a very long time.  But come the 70s and 80s, Mon-El would go from a stable and reliable character, to one noted for his outbursts and mood swings.  In the series from the 90s, it would be revealed that this was the Eltro Gand personality, lying dormant but troubled in Mon-El’s psyche.

Action 382 – Clark Kent, magician, and the Legion go undercover

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Dorfman, Swan and Roussos put together a fairly enjoyable Superman romp in Action 382 (Nov. 69).

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Clark Kent is writing a piece on a dead magician and friend, Presto.  He is caught by Lois Lane while flying around the room, gathering balloons, and pretends that it was one of Presto’s tricks.  Clark has fun using his powers to entertain Perry White and Jimmy Olsen, calling it magic tricks.

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They Clark him to perform at a charity function. As well as simply using his powers to pull off tricks, he also exposes a criminal in the audience, getting him to cone onstage and revealing his stolen coins.

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Other hoods grab him, thinking his powers are real, and force him to bring a Superman doll to life, to commit crimes for them.  Of course, he just becomes the doll himself.

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Shooter, Mortimer and Abel pit the Legion against super-powered androids in this story.

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A super-powered robot publicly attacks Ultra Boy.  He is referred to as the “former leader,” and Karate Kid has become the new leader, at some point during the last few stories.  Cosvarr is an industrialist selling new super-powered androids, as a defense against the dangerous robots.  Karate Kid is pretty certain Cosvarr is behind the attack on Ultra Boy, and puts together an espionage team.

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Light Lass pretends to be a buyer, while Shrinking Violet sneaks in, and Timber Wolf takes an undercover role as a factory worker.  Timber Wolf messes up, exposing the Legion’s presence, and winds up having to fight Karate Kid.  Light Lass discovers that the androids are drawing their power from a captive Superboy and Mon-El.

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But it’s really Cosvarr’s jilted girlfriend who brings down his scheme.  And his building.  Nukes them both.  That’s one angry girlfriend.

 

Action 381 – Superman on trial at the U.N., and Matter-Eater Lad on a date with Shrinking Violet

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Dorfman, Swan and Roussos conclude their Superman Revenge Squad story in Action 381 (Oct. 69).

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Superman’s belief in his criminal activity appears to have driven him insane. He now begins doing the destructive acts himself, defacing a Persian sculpture, adding his head to Mt. Rushmore, and cutting down all the flags at the U.N., making his own super-flag out of them.

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Superman allows himself to be put on trial, and offers little in the way of defense.  But the flag pole is the giveaway.  Superman has figured out the Revenge Squad’s activities, and is preparing his own attack.

Foiled again!

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A fair amount of members of the Legion of Super-Heroes appear in this story by Shooter, Mortimer and Abel, but it still manages to be small and centred on their everyday lives.  It opens after a meeting.  Brainiac 5 is left on monitor duty, and Chemical King wants to show off his new sky car, giving lifts to Matter-Eater Lad, Ultra Boy and Phantom Girl.  Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl have their own romantic plans.  Karate Kid heads off by himself, so likely to work out.

Ultra Boy and Phantom Girl do not get off at the same place, and Jo mentions that he is staying with his parents.  They are usually shown, and referred to, as living on Rimbor, so we can assume they are in for a visit, and that it why Tinya did not go with him.

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Then we get to see Matter-Eater Lad at home, with his rarely-seen parents.  His father is an abusive drunk and gambler, and the mother does not seem much better.  Their primary interest is in his paycheque, and he walks out on them.

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Coming back to headquarters, he finds Shrinking Violet moping about her long-distance relationship with Duplicate Boy.  They had a date scheduled for that night, which he broke.  Tenzil decides to invite Violet out for a night on the town, and Princess Projectra helps her prepare.

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The date goes well, and there is a genuine bond of friendship that grows between the two in their conversation.  The Duplicate Boy barges in and gets all violent and threatening.  Tenzil just talks him down, that he has no interest in “stealing” Violet, and that he should spend more time with her.

The conclusion also sees Tenzil get a letter from his parents, insisting that his father will stop gambling.  I have my doubts.

Action 379 – Superman vs a phantom killer, and an impostor Legionnaire

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Another story that verges on the occult, Superman faces a murderous spirit in Action 379 (Aug. 69), by Dorfman, Swan and Abel.

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Clark Kent is among a group of reporters who go to the funeral of a prominent occultist, Dr. Phantas.  As Superman, he defies a curse and opens the coffin, which seems to release his vengeful spirit.

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The other reporters begin dying unusual deaths, while Superman finds his dreams haunted by the ghost.  Clark does not believe this is all a curse, and discovers that the dead reporters had all travelled together a while earlier, along with one who had not yet been killed.

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Clark takes that reporters place, so when the “ghost” comes to kill him, he confronts him.  It isn’t a ghost at all.  Rather, he is an alien policeman, hunting down fugitives who had taken the place of the reporters.  He used the whole curse thing so prevent the public from being afraid of killer aliens on the loose.  Killer ghosts on the loose are fine.

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Superman kind of gives his ok to all of this, though he points out that the Eliminator (as the alien cop is called) could have captured the men without killing them.  But the Eliminator just takes off, and Superman stands around justifying his lack of action.

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E. Nelson Bridwell scripts a decent little Legion mystery, with art by Win Mortimer that is taken up a notch by Murphy Anderson’s inks.  Ultra Boy is referred to as being the leader again, though he is off on a mission.  Mon-El, as deputy leader, is in charge as the Legion’s computer announces that one of the gathered members is an impostor.  Lightning Lad, Element Lad, Dream Girl and Shadow Lass have no time to solve this before they have to run off and deal with a villain, Sunburst.

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During the fight, each of them either has their powers not work, or something unusual happen, like Lightning Lad’s hair going straight, as if from an electric charge.

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Shadow Lass takes down Sunburst, but the group immediately turn on each other, firing off accusations about who is the fake.

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Explanations are given for the various power failures, and Shadow Lass is exposed as the phony, not weakened at all by Sunburst’s blasts of light.  Mon-El finds the real Shadow Lass, the fake was working with Sunburst, presumably to wreak havoc within the Legion.  For some reason.

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