Can Nothing Stop Computo?!
Earlier this week, I mentioned a scene from "Colossal Boy's One-Man War" in Adventure Comics #341, wherein everyone was under the mistaken impression that Triplicate Girl had been annihilated by Computo, despite the fact that she was standing literally two feet away from them.
And surprisingly, that's not the craziest thing that happens in this story. Not by a long shot.
Written by Edmond Hamilton--whose nigh-unparalleled genius brought us the Legion of Substitute Heroes--and Jerry Siegel, and with art, of course, by Curt Swan, this thing is a non-stop three-part parade of awesome. Here's how it all goes down:
In our last installment, Brainiac 5 created a towering robot called Computo, programming it with an insatiable thirst for knowledge. So how's that workin' out for you, Brainy?
Not that well, apparently.
But wait a second, that can't be right. Querl Dox is a twelfth-level intelligence, and accidentally programming genocidal urges into an indestructable monolithic robot is a pretty careless mistake. Let's take a look at the blueprints and see if we can't figure out where this whole thing went wrong.
Why exactly Brainiac built a computer with disintegrator rays--or even tank treads, for that matter--we may never know, but before long, Computo's built an army of robot duplicates, decided--as you might expect--that human emotions are inefficient and therefore must be destroyed, and blasted one of Triplicate Girl's bodies to atoms. And that's probably not what he had in mind.
Regardless, Computo's on a rampage, and he's given the Legionnaires that he hasn't imprisoned in various robot head-bubbles 24 hours to get off the planet or be destroyed, leaving them to reconvene and plan their counterattack in what might not be the smartest move he ever made. Fortunately, they're a little bit preoccupied with planning a funeral for Triplicate Girl, which is pretty hard to do since she's been reduced to her component particles.
Fortunately, Brainiac's around to solve this problem, getting Superboy, Mon-El, and Ultra Boy to construct a rocket-powered casket--which, oddly enough given that it's Brainy's plans they're working from, does not have drills for hands and an irrational hatred of humans--which collects Luornu's remains and sends them to Shanghalla, The Heroic Graveyard of Outer Spaaaaace!
Personally, I like the fact that the Legionnaires didn't even bother to write her a proper epitaph, opting instead to sign their own names, which is the postmortem equivalent of "Have a nice summer," and the super-heroine who slipped on a banana peel and died--but even that pales in comparison to what was undoubtedly the Sensational Character Find of 2966.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...
The fact that we don't have at least a twelve-issue miniseries detailing that guy's life and times is a frigg'n tragedy.
Anyway, this is where it starts to get totally awesome, as the rest of Triplicate Girl finally shows up and announces she's going to be called Duo Damsel from now on, but otherwise seems pretty unconcerned about her partial disintegration. Which is good, because there's no more time for tears as the Legion unveils its secret weapon:
As it turns out, it's just Proty II creating a diversion while Colossal Boy pretends to go crazy and frees a few of Computo's captives in the "One Man War" alluded to on the cover that lasts a grand total of three panels, but sweet Christmas! A three-headed, four-armed, tentacle-waving bare-chested fin-legged buck-toothed monstrosity that still has to use a nuclear-powered handgun might just be the best diversionary tactic in the history of comics.
Once they've got the whole team back together, the Legionnaires retreat to a place where they assume even Computo won't be able to find them, instructing Superboy to tunnel underneath a futuristic Gotham City, where the Legion of Super-Heroes hides out in the Batcave, and that is awesome.
But not as awesome as Brainiac's next plan of action:
Holy frigg'n crap! Seriously, the sheer radness of Bizarro-Computo can't be calculated by the hands of mere mortals, but there is no way in Hell that plan could've possibly worked. I guarantee that if Hamilton and Siegel hadn't already crammed thirty two words into Superboy's balloon, the next seven would've been "What the hell is wrong with you?!"
Computo shares my feelings on the matter:
Shortly thereafter, Brainiac finally comes to his senses and blows up Computo and his army of robots by unleashing an antimatter reaction that has a chance of destroying the entire universe, but not before Bouncing Boy returns and gets his powers back, taking on Computo in an attempt that redefines the term "utter failure."
Because in the mad world of the three-oh-cee, being the smartest one around means accidentally building a genocidal robot, getting one of your friends killed, and then fixing everything by almost destroying the universe.
The keyword, I believe, being "almost."
More Mind-Shattering Excitement With the Legion:
| Revolt of the Girl Legionnaires |
| Just So You Know... |
| The Crank File: Adventure #303 |
| Just So We're Clear On This... |
| Jimmy Olsen: Chick Magnet... of the Future! |
| The Superboy Sound Effect Showdown |
| Superboy Prime is Entering a World of Pain |
| Badass Week Finale: The Toughest Woman in Comics |