Can you guess the secret of the newest Legionnaires?  (No cheating if you’re one of the Future People!)  Your Major Spoilers (Retro) Review of Adventure Comics #355 awaits!

Writer: Jim Shooter/Otto Binder
Penciler: Curt Swan
Inker: George Klein
Letterer: Milton Snapinn
Editor: Mort Weisinger
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: 12 Cents
Current Near-Mint Pricing: $100.00

Previously in Adventure Comics: When three teenagers arrived in Smallville, seemingly with knowledge of his secret identity, Clark Kent had no idea his life was about to change forever.  Even having grown into an adult Superman, Clark still occasionally finds time to hang with his very first super-pals, though there’s usually some sort of massive crisis (or Crisis) involved.  Last time, Superman traveled into the even further future to meet his Legion pals, only to have them get attacked by Ferro Lad who had just died in the regular Legion’s present.  It was discovered that “Ferro Lad” was actually Ferro Lad’s twin brother who was sent by the adult Legion Of Super-Villains…

Wait, let’s let them tell it.

Having failed twice to defeat their heroic counterparts, the LSV has brought on new members and crafted a cunning plan to draw out the Super-Heroes.  Part one, kidnap Legionnaire Brainiac 5!

Part two: Telegrams!

Legion leader Combover Kid Cosmic Man knows that his team is likely being led into a trap, but the life of their Coluan colleague hangs in the balance, so they follow the instruction of the villains.  Cos arrives at his assigned location to discover what mighty powers the new super-villain possesses…

Echo’s quick defeat makes it seem that the LSV’s foolproof plan has more than a few cracks in it, as Saturn Woman uses her knowledge of martial arts to overcome the mental powers of her counterpart, Saturn Queen, but Lightning Man finds his elder brother more of a threat than ever…

Fortunately, the overhead wires allow him to use science (or at least the kind of pseudo-science that a Silver Age Jim Shooter story revels in) to defeat his brother.  As for grown-up former Substitute Hero Polar Man, the other LSV tyro has been chosen specifically to combat his cryonic abilities.  Fortunately, he’s learned a lot since the Super-Heroes rejected him in his youth…

Beauty Blaze and Echo are interesting, albeit minor, side-characters in Legion fandom, neither of whom made much of a splash, but who kept reappearing and/or being referenced for years afterward, usually as part of a feint towards making the Adult Legion future real.  Element Man also makes short work of Cosmic King, whose powers are more like his than Cosmic Man’s for reasons known only to creator Jerry Siegel, and all the good-style Legionnaires make their way to where Brainiac is being held…

…and right into the Super-Villains’ trap!

The armored newcomers wipe the floor with the LSV, and save the grown-up heroes from almost certain death.  Well, not death.  But at least a few panels trapped in a force field.

But who are these stalwart heroes of the future’s future?

Why, the identical future descendants of Luthor and Mxyzptlk, two of Superman’s most terrible foes!  Then again, the same Brainiac 5 whose abduction kicked off the whole issue are as well, and the issue ends with the implication that they’re going to make the future Legion grade.  It’s unclear how far in the future these stories take place, but I’m always amazed that Curt Swan’s future Legionnaires look to be in their mid-to-late forties, with thinning hair and widow’s peaks and crow’s-feet galore.  Of course, now that I’m in my forties, it’s not as amusing as it used to be.  The second story of this issue takes place in the normal future of the teenage Legion, not the future of the future like the first story which…  I…

Skip it.  Superboy has a Legion meeting to get to, and brings along his girlfriend Lana so that she can sightsee the world of the future!  But Lana has other plans…

Using her bio-ring, given to her by a friendly alien (other than the one she’s chastely dating, mind you) the Insect Queen appears at Legion tryouts, only to get cut my the team’s bylaws, which state that a Legionnaire must have an inherent natural super-power, no gimmicks or gadgets allowed.  The team is suddenly called into action against a villain known as Oggar Kon, but not before Dream Girl gives her a grave warning: The next time she turns into a moth-girl, tragedy will follow.  Lana goes into action with the team, saving Shrinking Violet, but Oggar gets the drop on Superboy, leaving her with a terrible choice…

Sadly, even though she has saved the day, Insect Queen discovers why the Legion bylaws exist, as she loses her bio-ring in saving Superboy, and though the villain is defeated, she is forever trapped moth form!  TRAGEDY!

*cue Barry Gibb falsetto*

Fortunately, Lana’s feelings are gone and she can’t go on for a very short time, as Superboy finds the ring, and Lana is rewarded for her heroic actions with Legion Reserve membership, making her only the third honorary Legionnaire ever, after Pete Ross and Kid Psycho.  It’s a cute ending, leaving Adventure Comics #355 with an excellent rating, even discounting my nostalgia goggles for the Legion, earning a well-deserved 4.5 out of 5 stars overall.

Now, I just need to figure out how to get Geoff Johns to bring back future Luthor and Mxy as the newest Legionnaires…



Shooter crafts a whole new branch of Legion history (and a whole new flood of anachronisms and paradoxes) while Swan knocks the art out of the park. Excellent stuff...

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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