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Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Return of the Space Jerks

I've probably talked about the Legion of Super-Heroes here on the ISB more than any person has a right to, but honestly: There are some stories that I just can't not talk about.

Case in point: "The Outcast Super-Heroes," from Advenure Comics #350, wherein the Legion engages in a display of what can only be called astounding dicketry. And when a group of teenagers who routinely reject other kids from their Super-Hero club and make them go live in a cave based on some arbitrary definition of what constitutes a lame power can actually top themselves, that's saying something.

Before we get into the story, though, one quick observation about the cover: Is it just me, or does the fact that Supergirl and Superboy are being ostracized while everyone else gets paired off romantically seem like the logical origin of scenes like this?

But anyway, on with the story. Superboy gets summoned to The Future one day, arriving via the rainbow-colored tube through time and experiencing a moment of weakness before Brainiac 5 hauls him into the clubhouse to give him The Bad News: The Earth has been surrounded by a cloud of Kryptonite dust that apparently exists solely to make Clark Kent miserable. See, you can tell the difference from regular kryptonite--which back in the Silver Age served as a minor annoyance more than an actual obstacle to be overcome--because this one has extra powers.

Jake from Ye Olde Comick Booke Blogge once explained Superman's foe Terra-Man as the kind of character you'd get if you took notes of two kids trying top each other while playing Super-Hero, and the premise behind the cloud of kryptonite dust reads like writer E. Nelson Bridwell desperately trying to make his idea work during a pitching session:

"So this cloud of kryptonite dust surrounds the Earth, right?"

"Why?"

"Uh... See... It went through a nebula! And that made it magnetic, so it gets attracted to the planet's Magnetic Field!"

"Well, if it's magnetic, couldn't Cosmic Boy just...?"

"No, because, uh... he's not strong enough."

"Well what about Element Lad? Couldn't he change it to helium or something?"

"Well, no, because... if he does... it'll... it'll explode! Because of the nebula!"

Science!

Oddly enough, they don't even mention letting Matter Eater Lad take a crack at it--because honestly, eating a few tons of kryptonite dust seems like the job that guy was born to do--and to make matters worse for the Super-Cousins, the cloud isn't going to dissipate for two years, which leads Invisible Kid to make the hard decision to kick them out of the Legion for their own good.

Which, you know, he wouldn't have to do if anyone in the story bothered to remember that THEY ARE ALL TIME TRAVELERS. I mean, for God's sake, Superboy just flew a thousand years into the future under his own power two pages ago, and I'm pretty sure he could make that extra two with no trouble. And not only that, but they bring them to the future where there's a cloud of kryptonite to tell them about it!

The only logical explanation for summoning Superboy and Supergirl to the future and kicking them out of the Legion? Invisible Kid is a massive tool.

And then it gets worse. First, they take their stuff:



Then, they hold a sort of "going-away" ceremony where the Super-Cousins are given trophies commemorating their service to the Legion, including--in a particularly morbid moment--Duo Damsel presenting Superboy with a scale model of Computo, the evil robot that killed one of her bodies a few issues before...



...AND THEN THEY TAKE THAT STUFF AWAY TOO!



See? At this point, even Superboy is pissed. Seriously, even if you write off the whole "dragging them to the future just to kick them out and then re-join two years later" thing, that is brutal.

And THEN, so that Superboy and Supergirl won't be tempted to come back to the future to help out--not frigg'n likely at this point--they rob them of their memories by implanting kryptonite--you remember kryptonite, right? The stuff so dangerous that they're kicking them out of the Future for two years?--DIRECTLY INTO THEIR BRAINS.



Instead of operating, Shrinking Violet shrinks down and goes to shove it in there manually, and THEN--because this thing just keeps getting worse--Invisible Kid helps her escape from inside Superboy's head by forcing him to think of his dead parents so that he cries.



Of course, by the time the next issue rolls around and they need Superboy's help, they go back in time, have Element Kid turn the Kryptonite into a small pocket of helium--again, this is inside Superboy's brain--and then, once they've gotten the information they need, they turn it back into Kryptonite and go back to the future.

And honestly, I'd love to go on about the appearance of replacement Legionnaires "Sir Prize" and "Miss Terious," who are described "surprising and mysterious" in a caption where you can almost hear Bridwell hammering that point home for the slower kids in the audience, but that's where I hit my breaking point of coldhearted emotional manipulation. Suffice to say that they seem exactly like Superboy and Supergirl in disguise, and, of course, they aren't. Yet another example of Legionnaires outright lying to their friends for a net accomplishment of absolutely nothing.

Those kids are jerks.




BONUS FEATURE: Once You Go Green...




Apparently, chicks actually do dig murderous atomic robots. Who knew?




More From the Space Jerks:

| 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 |
| Can Nothing Stop Computo?! |

11 Comments:

Blogger Brandon said...

"...forcing him to think of his dead parents so that he cries."

That, coupled with the giant tear-filled eye of Superboy, just caused me to laugh uncontrollably for a minute or so.

Does that mean I'm an asshole?

8/23/2006 7:31 AM

 
Anonymous Doug said...

they bring them into the future to tell them they then can't escape because of a kryptonite cloud and will be kicked out? this was the best plan they could come up with? no one could go BACK in time to tell them not to come during this time period? really?

fascinating...

8/23/2006 8:48 AM

 
Blogger Chris Sims said...

Not necessarily, Brandon. You might just be from the Future.

8/23/2006 9:08 AM

 
Blogger CalvinPitt said...

You know, I used to feel bad for the Legion. Always being rebooted and restarted and killed off, and so on.

Not anymore.

8/23/2006 11:13 AM

 
Blogger Nimbus said...

Actually, I think this just makes Superboy (or should that now be Young Superman?) and Supergirl look stupid.

I mean, just because they can't be in the Legion for two years, why would the legionnaires take away their stuff from Superboy's trophy room? Why erase their memories?

It doesn't make sense and yet the Superdudes never once question the decisions. Are they thick or really gullible or something?

And did all Silver-Age superbooks involve super-dickery? It seems reasonably common. Thank god things have changed!

8/23/2006 11:15 AM

 
Anonymous Jack Potts said...

"And did all Silver-Age superbooks involve super-dickery? It seems reasonably common. Thank god things have changed!"

Yeah! I'm glad we've gotten past all that childish super-dickery so we can focus on the things that really matter: Like mind-wipes, rape, and head-punching-off!

8/23/2006 12:31 PM

 
Blogger Son of Blog-El said...

Apparently, chicks actually do dig murderous atomic robots. Who knew?

I did...

8/23/2006 6:46 PM

 
Blogger Derek said...

I love Superboy's reaction when they announce that they'll be taking away the trophies he and Supergirl were just given.

"Wha-a-at?"

Classic. It makes is sound like the 31st century equivalent of Ashton Kutcher is going to pop out from behind a corner.

8/23/2006 8:59 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You see that panel of Suberboy crying out a little woman in his tear?

A little woman wearing a glass helmet so she can breath?

THAT panel is why I love comics.

8/24/2006 5:07 AM

 
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11/27/2011 12:24 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The silliest part of this story is that they're being brainwashed so that they don't "inadvertantly leave clues to our secret weapons, which their enemies could find and use against them." What only inactive Legionnaires leave clues around willy nilly? What stopped them from doing that when they were active members? But STILL I LOVE this story! Great art, the whole Legion is featured LOVE those statuettes, etc. etc.

8/06/2014 11:20 AM

 

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