The Crank File, Part 2
Ever since I put together the FUTUREBOX, this year's 31st century answer to the Box of Punishment, I've been on a pretty serious Legion of Super-Heroes kick, even going so far as to borrow Ben's copy of the Legion Archives, volume 1.
And that's where I saw the craziest thing I've ever seen.
It's one of those things where you read it, read it again, and then have to go tell someone else about it before your head explodes, which is the sort of thing you're going to have to expect when you're reading a series predicated on a bunch of teenagers going back in time for the sole purpose of screwing with Superboy because they like him so much. And I feel it's only fair to warn you: it may very well blow your mind.
Let's get to it!
The story in question is called "The Fantastic Spy," and it comes from Adventure Comics #303, notable for being the first story to feature everyone's favorite Legionnaire, Matter-Eater Lad, who joins up and immediately heads off the collective "What the fuck?" of youngsters everywhere by explaining how he could actually be useful:
I love how that panel's obviously directed straight at the reader, who's three seconds away from dropping this thing and picking up the nearest issue of Fantastic Four immediately upon reading a name as ridiculous as "Matter-Eater Lad." But it's not the craziest thing that happens in this issue by a long shot, and thus we press on.
It's been a rough couple of days for the Legion, what with Lightning Lad and Sun Boy getting injured in a Space Future Rocket Crash. Oh, and it's Thursday, and that means there's a traitor in the Legion! Matter Eater Lad, despite having a steady supply of ray-guns to snack on, is pretty bummed out, because he's the new kid and everyone suspects him, but they're all too polite to come right out and say it. And yet the problem remains: Someone's leaking information that only Legionnaires have access to, and that means it's time to take... drastic measures.
Yes, all of the fantastic technology of The Future at his disposal, and Cosmic Boy's big plan is to turn out the lights and sit in the dark.
To be fair, he also orders Chamelon Boy to turn into a girl for extra secrecy.
You know, I'm not sure that a purse is really the safest way to transport a Doomsday Bomb, no matter how many ersatz wives you bring along, but hey: We are as cavemen to the children of the future.
Anyway, the plan fizzles despite the double-secret super-precautions of sitting in the dark and cross-dressing, and the helmets they put on to block telepathic eavesdropping pretty much just make them look like Schultz from Hogan's Heroes, so they lose custody of a purse-sized Doomsday Bomb and Meglaro, The Giant Yellow Space-Fetus That Lives In a Bubble.
Nope, still not the crazy part. But it's coming, brother. It's coming.
Thanks to some quick deduction and a Clever Ruse™, Brainiac 5's able to determine that Matter-Eater Lad isn't the traitor--and in fact, there's not really a traitor at all! No, the security leak in the Legion is actually...
A LITTLE MAN WITH A RADIO THAT LIVES INSIDE SUN BOY'S ANKLE.
Holy crap! That's... That's...
It is beautiful and terrible.
I love it... and despair.