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John Kahane
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Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 1 #200





Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 1 #200
January-February (February), 1974
“The Legionnaire Bride of Starfinger!”
Writer: Cary Bates
Penciller: Dave Cockrum
Inker: Dave Cockrum
Letterer: Ben Oda
Colourist: Uncredited
Cover: Nick Cardy
Editor: Murray Boltinoff

Mission Monitor Board:
Bouncing Boy/Chuck Taine, Duo Damsel/Luornu Durgo (both leave the Legion), Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Superboy, Mon-El, Shadow Lass; Lightning Lad, Phantom Girl, Chameleon Boy (cameo), Invisible Kid (cameo), Sun Boy (cameo), Element Lad (cameo), Dream Girl (cameo), Star Boy (cameo), Colossal Boy (cameo), Ultra Boy (cameo), Timber Wolf (cameo), Light Lass (cameo), Shrinking Violet (cameo), Supergirl (cameo), Chemical King (cameo), Princess Projectra (cameo), Karate Kid (cameo), Matter-Eater Lad (cameo), Chameleon Boy (cameo).

Guests:
The Legion of Substitute Heroes, The Heroes of Lallor and The Wanderers (all appear as wedding guests).

In the self-titled Part 1, in the Legion medical wing, Bouncing Boy/Chuck Taine is told by Brainiac 5 that the diagnosis is clear and unmistakable - Chuck has permanently lost his bouncing powers. To cheer himself up, he goes to the library and watches a certain holovid on visitape of himself and Duo Damsel during happier times. He comes to a decision, and goes after Duo Damsel, who’s returned from a month-long mission in deep space. He learns from Chameleon Boy that she’s gone to the Metro-Center and goes after her there. Chuck tells Duo Damsel his bad news and then asks her the Question - to which she replies “Yes!” Before they can seal it with a kiss, she takes off to save two escaped Eaglox birds. She attempts to split in two to save the birds but finds that she can’t. She is able to save one of the two birds, and fortunately the second bird is saved by Superboy who has arrived for the monthly Legion meeting. Duo Damsel is concerned over her lack of being able to split in two and Superboy learns that Chuck has permanently lost his powers. Luornu and Chuck tell Superboy that it’s all right, because both of them are quitting the Legion - and are getting married! In Part 2, “This Wife is Condemned”, while Bouncing Boy is congratulated by several Legionnaire on his impending nuptials, Brainiac 5 runs another diagnostic and discovers that the reason Duo Damsel can’t split into two is because she already has. He uses a memory probe on her, and see through the probe that a huge, roc-like bird kidnapped her other self during her latest mission. Because of the connection between the two Damsels, the shock of her loss caused her to block out the separation and what happened from her conscious memory. The next morning, three Legion cruisers warm up and prepare to depart for Nix Olympica on Mars, the site for the wedding, with all the Legionnaires on-board except for Mon-El and Shadow Lass, who remain behind to keep the home fires burning. As Shadow Lass and Mon-El walk on the Legion grounds, a nameless energy being follows them, saying that it can confront the Legion a second time soon, and take’s what is its. Chuck Taine and Luornu Durgo/Duo Damsel get married (with Saturn Girl and Phantom Girl as bridesmaids and Lighting Lad as best man), but once more they don’t get to kiss. Duo Damsel collapses after she starts to glow, and Brainiac 5 informs the stunned Legionnaires and guests present that she’s dying. An uninvited guest, Starfinger, calls from above confirming this, as he holds the other glowing Duo Damsel. He says the only way they can recover is to hand him the bride so that they can be merged and cured. In Part 3, “Secret of the Starfinger Split!”, Superboy picks up the bride and prepares to take her to Starfinger, but Chuck (Taine) resists the idea. Brainiac 5 knocks him out with a nerve press, saying that “Bouncing Boy’s forgotten he’s a civilian now.” Superboy takes their half of Duo Damsel to Starfinger, but tells him that if either Duo Damsel dies, he’ll have to answer to 23 Legionnaires. Starfinger reminds the Boy of Steel that he once fought the Legion single-handed, and then blast Superboy with a crimson bolt (a red sun ray). Superboy plummets downward, and Starfinger catches the second Duo Damsel and takes off with the pair of them. As he flies, Starfinger gloats to himself about how long he’s planned for this. He hit both Duo Damsels with a poisonous mist during their mission, thus ensuring that the Legion would have to hand over the second Damsel to him or both would die. Meeting up with his monstrous bird, called Warxi, the villain has it hold the two Damsels while he rides it back to his space-craft. Meanwhile, Saturn Girl is able to track down Duo Damsel from the brain waves stored on wafers that Brainiac 5 and she recorded earlier. Saturn Girl, Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy and Superboy go after the Duo Damsels. Starfinger informs the reader that his plan is to learn Duo Damsel’s secret to splitting into multiple bodies, thus allowing him to create an army of Starfingers to conquer the galaxy. The Legionnaires find Starfinger’s space-craft, designed to be a giant replica of himself, and Saturn Girl picks up the villain’s thought and tells them what he plans to do. Superboy takes off at super-speed, without telling the others where he’s going. When Starfinger believes he has just created the first twin body for himself, he’s surprised when his other self attacks and takes him out. As Starfinger flies out of the spaceship with the two Duo Damsels, he is blasted by Cosmic Boy and is revealed to be Superboy. Superboy tells them he went back to Earth and Legion HQ to get the life-size replica of Starfinger’s costume that they keep in the Trophy Room and then return to surprise Starfinger. The four Legionnaires are taken by surprise when Starfinger’s giant bird arrives, and much to their surprise, teleports away with the spaceship and Starfinger. Back on the ground, Superboy and the others discover that Brainiac 5 has helped the two Damsels merge, and she’s fine now. Looks like it will be a happy wedding day. Back on Earth, Legion leader Mon-El decides to ask Superboy to rejoin the Legion full-time now that both Duo Damsel and Bouncing Boy have left the team. However, unknown to both Mon-El and Shadow Lass, the invisible floating energy form wants to take back what he feels they owe him.

Commentary:
Effective this issue, Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes went from being published monthly to being published bi-monthly. From this point forward, I list the two months covered in the copyright listing of the issue as well as the cover date. The reasons for the bi-monthly switch were apparently a shortage of paper at the time as well as doubt as to whether the Legion could hold a comic for a monthly schedule at this time. Now, on to the issue itself...

*sigh* While I was thrilled that Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel were getting married in this tale, the story was really annoying for several reasons. First off, this is the swan song of two Legion characters (Chuck and Luornu) but neither of them are the stars of the issue. The two characters are both reactive, rather than pro-active, in the story, though I have to wonder whether writer Bates was trying to show how superfluous the two characters are. There’s no justice to how the two Legionnaires leave the team. The second thing that annoyed me was the first six pages of the issue. Bates is trying to create artificial drama, for lack of a better term, here (what’s wrong with Bouncing Boy, is he dying? What question did he ask Duo Damsel? What’s happening with her powers?) but this is all marred and spoiled by the title of the story, you know. I also find it hard to believe that Duo Damsel wold have suffered the hysterical breakdown she did here with the “death” of the other Luornu, given she’s already experienced the death of one of her selves when she was Triplicate Girl. Another thing that bothered me about the story is that with some 20 Legionnaires present for the wedding, only *five* Legionnaires react? And why doesn't Lightning Lad take an interest in the business, given the relationship he has with Dr. Lars Hanscomb aka Starfinger??? Sheesh! But if nothing else, you have to admire a villain who goes to a wedding where at least 20 super-heroes are... that takes guts - and sheer author stupidity! *sigh* Bouncing Boy loses his super-powers and leaves the Legion in this story. Duo Damsel then leaves as well to marry him, as the Legion Constitution at this time forbid married members. All that said, the story was an enjoyable read, despite the plot issues I had with it. Dave Cockrum’s artwork is stunning once more and the faces of Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel run the gamut of emotions in this one. According to this story, Duo Damsel and Bouncing Boy's wedding will be on October 28, 2973. So set your calendars for that one. I was really sad that Chuck and Luornu never got to kiss in this tale. Lack of a pay-off, for lack of a better term, really didn’t help reinforce the idea that they’re getting married.
Tags: comics hut, legion of super-heroes, legion reread, lll, lsh
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