Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Super Blog Team-Up Post that Wasn't, and Bar the Doors

Doug: The Dreaded Deadline Doom. Creator changes. Cancelled titles. New directions for your favorite teams, heroes, and books.

Doug: All of those things have conspired in the past to give us a "Wait, what?!?" feeling. Those stopping by today for the promised second BAB entry in this summer's Super Blog Team-Up extravaganza may be wondering where it is. In the big picture, the SBTU group decided to postpone the event to mid-August. Several bloggers who will participate found that today was not going to work for them, so in the interest of quality a later date has been agreed upon.

Doug: Truth from this corner, however, is the post didn't get written. And it won't be written. The conspiracies against us in the present include time, family, vacations, and other general pursuits... but the bottom line is that we don't have a post for you today, nor will we for the foreseeable future. And lest anyone read into these comments, there are no troubles in BAB-land; Karen and I correspond as we have for the past dozen or so years, if a bit more infrequently now.

Doug: What we'd hoped to bring you was a review of the Paul Dini/Alex Ross treasury JLA: Liberty and Justice. If you've been around these parts for some time, you'll recall that we've reviewed the Superman, Batman, and Captain Marvel books in that wonderful series. It was always our hope to finish the run by reviewing the Wonder Woman and JLA volumes. Sadly, we didn't get round to them.

Doug: While it was a lot of fun to be "back" in May, today's post is also our last, at least until some undetermined future notice. The Bronze Age Babies are going back into retirement. So while we'd love to say we'll see you tomorrow, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel, we can't. But... never say never.

You all take care!

Be sure to stay up-to-date with Karen and her collaborators Larry & Bob on the Planet 8 podcast
and check in daily with Martinex1 and Redartz over at Back in the Bronze Age.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Please Stand By...

 The Bronze Age Babies are back in hibernation. But fear not! We will return in the middle of July with new content and the second part of this summer's Super Blog Team-Up. Join us then!

In the meantime, the conversation continues on Twitter. Check us out @BronzeAgeBabies.

You can also listen to Karen and her partners on the Planet 8 Podcast, available on various platforms, including iTunes.

And, don't miss out on the daily happenings at Back in the Bronze Age, with Martinex1 and Redartz! 

Friday, May 25, 2018

What a year in the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

Image via
NOTE - If the spacing in this post seems a little wonky, we had tech issues. Obviously tech issues that are not easily corrected. Hey, cut us some slack... we're rusty!

Karen: Since Doug and I are popping back into the blog-o-sphere briefly, we want to take the opportunity to discuss a few of the Marvel films that have come out recently. Since these have been out a while now, this discussion will be SPOILER-FILLED, so stop reading now if you haven't seen them yet and still want to be surprised! OK? Ready? You can't blame us now if your little hearts are broken by anything you read!

Karen: I had the luck to see Avengers: Infinity War on a huge screen at the Alamo Drafthouse in Kansas City, MO while visiting friends, and what an experience. The film is a visual powerhouse, a true spectacle -this is essentially the culmination of all of the preceding films, well, certainly the Avengers films, and it moves at a good clip. It was ideal to see it with a packed house that was completely engaged. Lots of folks applauding, laughing, gasping -but when the movie ended, it was completely silent. This was not your typical Marvel film (I think they tipped their hand somewhat at the beginning, when the opening credits rolled and there was no Marvel fanfare music). "Gut-punched" is the best way I can describe it. I have seen it again, and the impact is lessened somewhat, but it's still pretty wrenching. Of course, the original Avengers are left alive, and I am sure that in Avengers 4, they will find a way to bring the missing half of the population back -and I'm betting they pay a price to do so.

Doug: I saw A:IW on the best Saturday ever! My oldest son was able to come home for the weekend and we saw Avengers at a noon showing at the Paramount Theater in Kankakee, IL. After a late lunch, we headed to the Venue at the Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, IN to take in Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles. I don't know if any two human being should be allowed to have that much fun in one day.

Karen: Wow, I don't know if you could get much further apart in tone - at least you ended your day with the more upbeat entertainment!

Doug: Rain was great. We've seen them twice. Each time, the showstopper is "George Harrison's" rendition of While My Guitar Gently Weeps. Standing ovation each time.

Doug: We also had a pretty interactive crowd during our screening of Infinity War. Of note was the entrance of Captain America, which brought about quite a commotion. Very well done. The Guardians of the Galaxy of course stole the show whenever they hit the screen, and I thought The Spinners' Rubberband Man was a great way to announce their arrival. I agree with you, though, that the film opened on a dark note - picking right up from the conclusion of Thor: Ragnarok, but without any of that film's humor. After years of glimpses here and there, we finally got to see Thanos in all his incredibleness. He didn't disappoint. And from there it was "buckle your seatbelts", because we indeed got a tour of the galaxy that was enough to make one's head spin. I have not seen the movie a second time, but would like to.

Karen: I think the second (or third...) viewing helps to dial in the details, and also bring the characters more into focus. I guess that's where I felt a bit let down. Beyond the spectacle of it all, which admittedly is amazing, I was a little disappointed that we didn't get more character development, or key moments with some characters. I will say Thor had a fantastic story within the film. He has been so utterly devastated, but returns in the final act so heroically... although  his ultimate attack on Thanos ends in failure. Tony Stark sees his fears realized, and Robert Downey Jr does a terrific job. I really enjoyed his exchanges with Benedict Cumberbatch as the equally-arrogant Dr. Strange. But I was completely surprised by Hulk losing his nerve -and a little disappointed too. For Avengers 4, I suspect we may see him emerge as some version of "Smart Hulk," with Banner more in control. I would have liked more Cap too, but I imagine he'll get more time in the next film. It was sweet seeing the Vision/Wanda romance on the big screen, although it is suddenly in full bloom - obviously a lot has happened since Civil War. And depending on what happens in the next film, this might be all we see of that relationship.


Doug: I also felt like a ball had been dropped with the Hulk/Banner character(s). The aforementioned Thor: Ragnarok had finally given us a Hulk that fans of the Bronze Age Defenders have been awaiting - funny, crude, and just plain incredible. But after his sudden appearance as the apparent savior of the Asgardians' ship, that was all.
So while seeing Banner in the Hulkbuster armor was kind of cool, that he never broke out of it and unleashed a berserker rage was disappointing.

Karen: Agreed, we had a full-on, talking, smashing Hulk, almost as if a Sal Buscema drawing had come to life! All we got was that fake trailer with him running with the rest of the Avengers in Wakanda. Bummer!

Doug: I loved that the Vision had somehow gotten his hands on Nightcrawler's "image inducer" (sheesh... second time that's come up this week) and we saw him as a sort of Victor Shade. However, although he and Wanda got quite a bit of screen time, their powers felt really off. She was suddenly the strongest Avenger (until Thor arrived), and whereas I'd hoped to see the Vision we'd seen in Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War, we instead got a character who spent most of the picture as a victim. So despite really, really liking the film, I'm starting to sound bitter with my Hulk comments ahead of this negativity. But I really did like it!

Karen: I hear you - I don't want to complain either, considering how much Marvel had done! It's just, well, I want more! There were so many deaths. I think the ones caused by Thanos' use of the stones will get reversed, but the earlier ones?

Hard to say. I wonder if Loki is truly dead. He essentially pulled a knife on Thanos, which didn't seem very clever of him. Given his capability with illusion, could he have fooled the Titan and removed himself so he could plot against him and  strike at the right time? Tom Hiddleston has done such a wonderful job with Loki that I'd hate to see him go out so pointlessly. Let him have a moment of sheer ruthless calculation and trickery.

Doug: Rumors are running hot and heavy in the past few weeks that Avengers 4 is going to look an awful lot like Avengers Forever. And if you recall, Captain Mar-Vell's son Genis-Vell had a large role there. Could our newly arriving Captain Marvel fit into that part? It's pretty obvious that time travel is going to have to be a component of Avengers 4, and I'm wondering if the assumed rescue of Janet van Dyne from the microverse in Ant-Man and the Wasp this summer will play into what's to come. And seriously - if somehow out of this we get to see Hawkeye in the Old West, my life will about be complete!

Karen: Funny -my husband and I were trying to figure out how they will right things, and getting the Gauntlet back and just reversing time would be too simple. We wondered if Ant-Man's "quantum realm" or whatever it is might be the key to traveling through time -or to an alternate reality -to somehow fix things. Now, I would think the odds are unlikely we'll get Hawkeye running around with the Two-Gun Kid, but I'd love to see Kang show up!

Karen: Thanos was very well done -I never felt taken out of the movie by the CGI. Very convincing. Even though they changed his motivation, it worked. It's probably easier for a general audience to accept a genocidal desire to balance the population than a love for the physical manifestation of Death. I mentioned to my husband that he came off like a dark Jor-El -he saw a threat to his planet, and the universe, and when no one listened, rather than trying to save people or at least save his loved ones, he decides to kill half the population. He's also sort of the opposite of Cap. When Cap was on Sokovia and they were talking about blowing it up, he refused until everyone was off. Cap is unwilling to trade in lives. Thanos sees it as essential to saving other lives. I suppose you can justify anything if you try hard enough.

Doug: Thanos was pretty convincing in his logic. His logic. Isn't Cap great? I do have another minor disappointment in A:IW, and that's when Cap and Thanos went mano a mano we didn't get to hear Cap say, "I could do this all day." You mentioned above some of the great interactions between the various characters. The directors did a wonderful job of balancing all of these actors and egos and really moving the story forward in a concise manner.
And also as you said, some of the characters really played wonderfully off each other. Also worth mentioning is the chemistry between Thor and Quill, and of course between Stark and young Parker. And how about that scene where our two resident psychos - Winter Soldier and Rocket Raccoon - teamed up to blast any and all alien baddies? Loved it! 

Karen: There were so many great team-ups. Didn't you think that Stark was really missing his old, reliable, professional Avengers team-mates when he was stuck with the idiotic Guardians on Titan? The exasperation was just pouring out of him! And I still crack up thinking about this exchange: "I am Groot!" "I am Steve Rogers!"

Doug: There's probably one other major thing from Infinity War that bears discussion, and that would be the appearance of the Red Skull. What did you think of that? I know for my son and I it was literally jaw-dropping. For me, it fit perfectly and was a nicely wrapped surprise. I will also say that I was able to see Infinity War spoiler-free. Even the trailers and pre-release publicity kept everything to the guessing/anticipation stage.

Karen: At first when I saw that hooded figure I thought, "Wow, are they going to bring in Mistress Death?" But honestly, the Red Skull was just as good -maybe better, because it was so cool to discover what had become of him. And I agree about seeing it spoiler-free: I have to commend my fellow fans, because it seemed like no one was letting anything out this time. It was wonderful to experience this film cold, basically.


Doug: We're going to interrupt today's post for an intermission. For those among us of a certain age - and if you are, you know what I mean - there was one aspect of Avengers: Infinity War that was especially affecting. Longtime commenter and resident cartoonist PF Gavigan contacted us ahead of our return and offered to do a strip specifically for today's post. We are thrilled to display it below, and then we'll be back to our MCU thoughts.

Karen: I'm really excited about the upcoming Ant-Man and the Wasp movie -it will be like a refreshing, light breeze after this heavy affair. And it was such a thrill to see Laurence Fishburne as Bill Foster in the trailer, directly referencing being Goliath! I'm assuming the film takes place before Infinity War. But I wonder if the end credits scenes may lead us into Avengers 4.

Doug: Which makes me wonder... if there's a time travel element to Avengers 4, are we going to find out that the Avengers Initiative was not a project invented upon Thor's arrival, as Nick Fury has suggested? Sure seems like there were heroes running around before Iron Man - three size-changers that we now know of, and that Easter egg with the Original Human Torch has been on my back burner since first seeing Captain America: The First Avenger.

Karen: Well, I've kind of wondered if it was something Nick Fury, Peggy Carter, and Howard Stark cooked up, since he told Tony about it at the end of Iron Man. But who knows -was there a proto-Avengers team? Did Hank Pym know Carol Danvers?

Doug: If this Ant-Man film is anything like its predecessor, we're in for a light-hearted, popcorn movie treat. And I think I really appreciate that about Marvel, as compared to their Distinguished Competition. Marvel gets it - they know that there were comics before and after the Dark Ages of the late 1980s-early 2000s. DC seems to have forgotten that they were the light-hearted company through the 1940s-mid-1980s. It's a shame; hopefully they find their identity a bit with the upcoming Shazam! film.

Karen: Of course, Black Panther was also a huge hit for Marvel, and is already out on blu-ray/DVD. I still can't get over how fast these movies are available to stream/buy after they hit the theaters. This was also a spectacular-looking film - I have to say the movie version of Wakanda was far grander than any version I recall from the comics. It was so perfectly envisioned -and it was cool to see it in Infinity War again. Panther had one of the best casts of any Marvel movie, and a very strong story. Chadwick Boseman has completely won me over as T'Challa.

Doug: I made the trek to Indiana the Thursday before Veterans' Day to see Thor: Ragnarok with my sons and we were also able to see BP together. We had a great time at both films. Yes - the spectacle of Black Panther was incredible. I was pleasantly surprised that M'Baka the Man-Ape was in the film and how well he was portrayed. Erik Killmonger raised some important philosophical issues, giving us that Dr. King/Malcolm X dichotomy. I have read numerous comments online and have had some meaningful conversations with some of my students of color after this film came out. In addition to being a grand superhero film, Marvel has opened some dialogue that (unfortunately) still needs to take place.

Karen: The impact of Black Panther has been amazing to see. I have to admit I was not prepared for just how big it would be. How many young people will see this and it will be their Star Wars - that movie that forever changed everything for them? Who knows what crop of film-makers or writers or artists or even scientists and engineers may spring up after being inspired by this movie? It might sound like hyperbole, but films and TV shows can really affect people.

Doug: You know, we could go on and on here - we haven't really touched Guardians of the Galaxy, volume 2. And shoot - even though not an MCU film, I was going to bring up War for the Planet of the Apes! But maybe we'll just see what direction this takes in the comments - that's right, now it's reader's write time!

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Super Blog Team-Up: Time, Clock of the Heart

All-New Collector's Edition C-55, Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes (1978)
"The Millennium Massacre"
Paul Levitz-Mike Grell/Vince Colletta

Doug: I'm penning my part to today's post in mid-April. The last time I did something like this was right around a year ago when I contributed a guest review for our buds over at Back in the Bronze Age. So I'd lie if I said I wasn't just a wee bit a) rusty and b) nervous about getting this right. Not only am I back on tour with my longtime (like, for 11 years if you're new in these parts) partner Karen, but we are part of a much larger event today. Super Blog Team-Up is an occasional get-together of blogs from across the Geekosphere, and we've always maintained a sense of honor for being asked to participate. I suppose at the worst, we can make everyone else look great. Hopefully we compete a little better than that today! You'll find links to our three partners at the conclusion of today's post. We'll also be tweeting links to our past SBTU posts throughout the day.

Karen: 11 years? That just took me by surprise. It has been something of a journey, one I am truly glad to have gone on with Doug. Little did we know back when we met on the old Avengers Assemble message board that we'd find out we were so simpatico, and enjoy writing and working together. And despite the BAB morphing into more of a Twitter presence, we stay in touch. So when he told me we had the chance to participate in another Super-Blog Team-Up, it just seemed right. So yeah, we'll give it our best!

Doug: You can find the official title of today's comic of choice in our nuts and bolts section, just above. To me, this was always "the 2nd Legion treasury". Yeah, I know that's heresy to our hardcore DC readers, but it's how I rolled when I was 12 years old. According to Mike's Amazing World of Comics, this lovely would have been on sale just ahead of Christmas, 1977. I don't recall receiving it as a gift, but rather plucking it off a magazine rack at the Belscot discount store in Kankakee, Illinois. Funny how after all this time we can often picture the when/where of key comics purchases! And this one is a key, as it features not only all of the Legionnaires of the latter Bronze Age, but also the wedding of two of the founding members - Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl!

**For those wanting to read this on their own but not in possession of the original oversized comic, this book was recently reprinted in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes, volume one. And an additional programming note - all images in today's post are photographs from Doug's copy of this super-tabloid. Apologies up front if some of the images aren't square.**

Karen: I have to admit, your memory is better than mine, but I recall that these treasury size books could be particularly hard to track down at times. I don't recall exactly where I got my copy of this Legion one (which I no longer have) but it's entirely possible I might have had to go to three or four stores before I located it. For our review today I am using the  hardcover book you mentioned. 

Doug: I cannot recall that I ever knew of a Treasury Edition (or Limited Collectors' Edition) before it hit the newsstands. These things had a somewhat magical quality of just showing up - and then the begging of my mom for $2.00 commenced... 

Doug: We open with a great two-page splash of Superboy streaking into the timestream while imagining how cool it's going to be to witness the nuptials of his longtime friends. As a point of information for newer readers, the Teen of Steel reminds us that, like Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel before them, our young heroes will have to resign from the Legion once hitched. As Superboy exits the timestream in 2978 he is shocked to see Metropolis transformed into a city rife with military presence. He's almost immediately accosted by some Science Police who don't exactly have "polite" on their day's agenda. Superboy's chastised for not knowing a password they think he should know, and the police brutality commences. Wrong guy to try to rough up... Soon after, a team of Legionnaires comes by. Sun Boy, Cosmic Boy, and Ultra Boy are all equally brusque and it's pretty obvious that something's not as it should be.

Karen: One of the conceits of the Legion was that Superboy was able to travel through time unaided, and he did it simply by flying really fast, I suppose, and the effect was that  of a multi-colored tube (a rainbow tunnel?) with the years, the actual numerals, flashing by. The whole thing is completely silly when you say it out loud, but as a kid, I just accepted it and loved the idea. The switch to the altered future is not exactly subtle, with the Science Police having skull insignias on their helmets!

Doug: For some reason, I've always felt that Dr. Doom got it right with his time platform. Why, I don't know, but that looked cool. The rainbow tunnel (love it!) was effective as a visual, but I agree with you - for all of the science DC writers at times took the pains to explain, Superboy's journeys were left completely to our imaginations.

Doug: The team finally makes it to their headquarters after fighting off a warship of the Lunarites. Apparently this has become commonplace, these attacks, and it's Princess Projectra who is charged with bringing Superboy up to speed while the rest of our friends scuttle away to ready for the wedding. I found it interesting that the ceremony is near the beginning of the story rather than climactic near the end. The narrative Projectra tells is depressing, but oh-so-awesome in the oversized format. (I also have a copy of the aforementioned Superboy/Legion hardcover and it's not nearly as spectacular in the standard 7"x10" size.) Superboy doesn't like what he's hearing and is convinced that there are nefarious forces at work. He defers to the wedding, yet his uneasiness will need to be rectified at some  point - and soon. The wedding is a bit ho-hum, as we get just a 2-page splash with the bridal party and guests. Notably absent is Supergirl, but the rest of the gang to this point is here. Oh, and Paul Levitz and Mike Grell were also invited, apparently, in a bit of an artistic conceit.

Karen: I would agree with you that the wedding is ho-hum; but I'd go further and say that the overall look of the issue seems uninspired, which is disappointing since it's Mike Grell drawing it. There just seems to be lost opportunities. We're in an alternate future -but everyone's costume is exactly the same as always (except for the occasional weapon holster). And the wedding is notably under-attended. Think of all the guests Dave Cockrum crammed into the wedding of Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel. Of course, who knows who might have been there that Colletta could have erased.

Doug: As long as we're on the subject of the creators, it would be worth mentioning a couple of nuggets. First off, Paul Levitz was very new to the book at this time. I know many'a Bronze Age Baby thinks of Levitz first when they recall the team's scribes. But when All-New Collectors' Edition C-55 saw the light of day Levitz had only been on the monthly for a few issues, supplanting Jim Shooter. Grell, on the other hand, had been the Legion's regular artist for a few years before switching to covers-only duty in the months leading up to this book. I wanted to bring up the fact that Grell's tenure on the Legion to this point was basically split between two inkers - himself, and Bob Wiacek (almost equally). Only once in the monthly were his pencils subject to the will of one Vincent Colletta; I would say overall that the quality of the art in today's book is uneven at best. At times we get vintage Grell, but at others we definitely feel the influence of Colletta's feathery inks. Perhaps Wiacek would have brought a boldness to the story that is sorely lacking at times.

Karen: I've really come to feel that with the exception of those early Kirby Thors, Colletta really does no one any favors.

Doug: Yeah, and regarding our complaints about Grell's job on this book, maybe he was just so fully invested in his Warlord mag by this time that the Legion had become second banana?

Doug: Right after the wedding, the cake frosting barely wiped off our teens' faces, Garth's and Imra's honeymoon cruiser is attacked by Lunarite fighters. Mon-el (man, I love that dude - my favorite Legionnaire!) orders the team into battle, but it's quickly determined that the Lunarites were ready for the counter-attack. While the Legion begins to regroup, Superboy breaks rank and says he refuses to join any rescue mission for Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl. Team leader Wildfire loses his cool (as usual), but Superboy insists that his uneasy feeling about the overall state of affairs is the true problem. Shadow Lass agrees, and the team splits into factions - one group taking off to save their teammates, the other heading back into the timestream. And it should not go unnoticed that a trio was left home to guard the HQ: Dream Girl, Star Boy, and Tyroc. Paul Levitz is on record as stating a strong dislike for Tyroc. And the character gets virtually no screen time in this entire tale!

Karen: Wildfire has always been a favorite of mine (along with Brainiac 5) but he should never have been a Legion leader. It was only because they let readers vote for leaders that they got stuck with an erratic, emotional hot-head as their boss for a while. Must have been fun for the writer! Sure it was. In any case, this plot development follows the typical DC-split the team into groups pattern. Heck, I guess Marvel does it too. I want to note too that great panel of the Legion flying up into the heavens which you first spotted and posted on the BAB twitter feed, which sure seems like inspiration for the famous Alex Ross illustration of the entire Legion flying up as a one into space. 

Doug: Chapter 2 of our tale takes us to the Lunarite capital, on the moon. We're told that the Chinese colonized the moon in 1985, and the Lunarites have a yellow hue to their skin. C'mon... I'd have thought stereotypes like that went out with the comics-as-propaganda of the World War II era. Guess not. Anyway, Garth and Imra are having none of this captivity thing and fight their way out until they're forced to crash land their getaway ship. But have no fear - Wildfire's cavalry shows up in the nick of time... in the capital. It's looking grim, as Garth and Imra are about to run out of oxygen in their damaged vehicle. But have no fear - in a wonderfully almost-plausible deus ex machina, Phantom Girl arrives just as Lightning Lad is about to commit a murder/suicide and stops him. Turns out Cosmic Boy could track Garth's lightning, as it is electromagnetic in property. Whatever. While the team celebrates being reunited, Wildfire exclaims that he's going to make Superboy pay for his insubordination.

Karen: You know, I just assumed the Lunarites were aliens, until it was explained they were Chinese. I try to look at things like this from the time period in which it was produced, but even then, surely this must have seemed racist. Well, it either didn't occur to any of the people at DC putting these comics together that bright yellow-skinned Chinese villains named "Khan" might possibly be seen as offensive, or they just didn't care  about the people it would offend. I have to say, it was difficult reading this stuff. I was just hoping to get past it.

Karen: Another thing I found weird was that Lightning Lad was so ready to just blast him and Imra to atoms to spare them a slow death - hey, let's not look for a way out til the last, let's just kill ourselves!

Doug: Our next installment follows Superboy, Mon-el and Shadow Lass, Karate Kid and Princess Projectra, Sun Boy, and Brainiac-5 to 1978. According to Brainy, it's the year the United Nations broke up and he's seeing some readings about the timestream that seem askew. Brainiac benches Superboy due to the "same person in the same place twice" rule. If you've been around, you get it - it's an old comic book trope (see Avengers 56). The team seemingly employs Nightcrawler's image inducer and goes incognito through the streets of New York (I will never understand why the DCU has Gotham City, Metropolis, and New York City. Dumb). After some investigation, the super-teens determine that there are three factions wanting to dissolve the UN, all united by a certain shady character. The Legionnaires track the do-badder to an abandoned building once used at a World's Fair, and engage.They face more traps than the Home Alone kid could rig, but eventually fight their way to... the Time Trapper! He defeats the Legion, and then cackles that super-villain laugh as he declares that he's making tracks - to the end of time!

Karen: The time bubble was another piece of Legion tech that I adored. Why would a time machine be a huge glass bubble? How did it work? It seemed to have a propulsion system too... these questions were never answered but I didn't care, it was fantastic. The team's investigation is pretty mundane. It's not a lot of fun seeing the Legionnaires outside of their uniforms. But the Time Trappers' lair is a kick. There must be some huge warehouse where all the bad guys buy their traps: giant mechanical arms, check; laser guns, check; spiked walls, check.

Doug: Yeah, regarding the team in civvies, it wasn't nearly as compelling a scene as when they were in Smallville hiding out from Mordru. Now that story had some tension!

Karen: I remember it fondly... how could I forget Bob Cobb??

Doug: Scene shift to 2978 at the Legion HQ as both teams of Legionnaires return. Wildfire can't wait to light into Superboy, who pushes back hard. Saturn Girl intervenes, saying both of them fully believe what they're saying, so convene a meeting of the whole team and sort it out. Rond Vidar is able to adapt his hypertime drive based on information received from Dream Girl. Tyroc draws the short straw (guess they didn't think they'd need any yelling in the far flung future?) and gets monitor duty for the second time in the story. As the team arrives at the end of time, I have to comment again that the art is pretty uneven. At times in this book I've felt like Grell did layouts only; most of the time I thought he did full pencils. For having so much time off the monthly book ahead of this, I guess I'd have expected a bangup job. The Time Trapper finishes the Legion pretty easily, but feels the need to narrate his origin story. We find out that he's a Controller - and those guys go all the way back to the early Adventure Comics days! And worse? He is in possession of the Miracle Machine (basically, it's the DC version of the Cosmic Cube, Marvelites!).

Karen: I love how Wildfire is threatening to throw Superboy out of the Legion.  Sure, that's going to happen. To pick up on your comments about the art, one thing that I became very aware of was the lack of backgrounds, which may be partly due to a rush job, but you have to wonder how much of it was due to that frequently-used eraser of Mr. Colletta's.

Karen: I know I must have read the Sun-Eater story that introduced the Controllers but re-reading this story, I couldn't remember a thing about them. So the recap in the story was helpful. I did recall the Miracle Machine -and I suppose it's just my Marvel Zombie prejudice showing that I think the Cosmic Cube looks a lot sleeker and neater than this contraption!

Doug: I totally agree on those old Adventure Comics tales and trying to remember them. I know I've read that but also could not come up with any plot points.

Doug: A meeting of the minds, or I should say a battle of the minds begins as the Time Trapper starts his final play. Superboy orders his teammates to combine their thoughts, focusing on the Miracle Machine in an effort to "turn that damn thing back!" Yes, that's right -- Superboy swears. It's about as bad to me as watching him snap Zod's neck -- totally out of character. And in a story that was long but seemed to end all-too-quickly, the Time Trapper is defeated by good thinking, the timestream is restored, and all those not involved in the adventure forget what was going on in the first place. It's almost anti-climactic.

Karen: Good thinking, but not clean thinking, is that what you're getting at? Again, I have to agree, Superboy's cussing seems incongruous (and unnecessary). It's certainly not the most exciting ending: you have the whole Legion of Super-Heroes facing a villain, and do we get to see them exhibiting their amazing powers? Nope. Instead, we get treated to a staring match. Perhaps not the best use of these characters. It does wrap up way too quickly.

Doug: My reservations about the art and ending aside, this book still holds a special place in my heart and in my memory. Few things hearken back to my peak buying years like the treasury-sized books. Megos, too, but for comics the treasuries are such a part of the 1970s. I cannot dislike this book; the story, maybe. But the wraparound cover, the sheer size of the tome, and the extras included after the main tale make this a special keepsake. And although I have a shiny new reprint in the Superboy hardcover, I'm glad I've held on to the original edition. It feels right.

Karen: All of my treasury editions were tossed in the trash (!) when I was a teen as they had become infested by some sort of critters. No lie. They had been on a shelf in the garage and the little buggers had eaten chunks out of the books, so away they went, with a tear or two shed. So it was a pleasure to be able to get this story in this hardcover edition, even if it was in a smaller size. The story may not live up to the memory, but it's got a lot of nostalgia value. And to be honest, I think I enjoyed the 8-page extras feature illustrated by James Sherman, covering all of the Legion members, the Subs, and their HQ and equipment, more than the story! If I could get a poster with those features, I'd jump for joy!

Doug: As a public service to our readers, you can check out those very bios right below this text. Thanks to all for stopping by today, and as was our hope in the past, please leave us a comment about this issue or our review.

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