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Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 2 #263

Here's today's re-read of another of the classic Legion of Super-Heroes stories from back in the day. This time out, Dagon the Avenger strikes! Enjoy! :)






Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 2 #263
May, 1980
"Day of Judgment"
Writer: Gerry Conway
Penciller: Jimmy Janes
Inker: Dave Hunt
Letterer: Ben Oda
Colourist: Gene D'Angelo
Cover: Dick Giordano (initialled)
Editor: Jack C. Harris


Mission Monitor Board:
Light Lass, Wildfire, Shadow Lass, Tyroc, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Dawnstar; Superboy, Mon-El (flashback only)

Guest Stars:
Crav and Mytra Nah (the parents of Ultra Boy), Tarnia Tolarn (Shadow Lass's mother), Ji Daggle (Chameleon Boy's mother), Arn Digby (Shrinking Violet's father)

Opposition:
Dagon the Avenger


Synopsis:
On Earth, a group of five people approach the newly rebuilt Legion Headquarters. With the regular tours for the day now over, one of them says that it's now their turn. The five are impressed with the rebuilt structure, and a Durlan female asks who or what destroyed the old HQ. The father of Jo Nah/Ultra Boy, Crav Nah, explains to the woman, Ji Daggle, Chameleon Boy's mother, about Omega and how it destroyed the old Legion HQ. It turns out these five are Crav and Mytra Nah, the parents of Jo Nah/Ultra Boy; Ji Daggle, the mother of Reep Daggle/Chameleon Boy; Tarna Tolarn, the mother of Tasmia Mallor/Shadow Lass; and Arn Digby, the father of Salu Digby/Shrinking Violet. They enter the building without facing any security checks, and make their way to the Hall of Heroes, where they are supposed to be met by someone. They are, but not by any Legionnaires, but by a garishly costumed figure who calls himself Dagon the Avenger. Crav thinks the man must be joking, but he strikes him and Mytra with anaesthetic darts, taking both of them out. Ji Daggle changes form into a tigorr and attempts to attack him, but Dagon came prepared for her too, and Ji goes down as well. Arn Digby shrinks down to evade the villain, but is struck by light beams of energy that force him to grow once more, and Dagon takes him down with anaesthetic darts. Shadow Lass's mother, Tarnia Tolarn, puts up a good fight, and then attempts to escape, but not before leaving her belt at her daughter's statue, but is no match for Dagon and is rendered unconscious and captured as well. The villain seemigly teleports away, taking the Legionnaires' parents with him.

Some time later, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Light Lass, Shadow Lass, Wildfire, and Tyroc return from a wild goose chase at St. Croix Medical Center, having been summoned to a non-existent emergency. Tyroc is annoyed that he got called away from his home island of Marzal, where they need him, but Wildfire has no sympathy for his teammate. When they arrive at Legion HQ, they find the alarm and locking systems not functioning, but Saturn Girl senses no intruders. In the Hall of Heroes, Tyroc finds that Shadow Lass's statue has been damaged, and looking behind the statue she finds the belt that her mother left there. The Legionnaires begin to worry. They are quickly able to verify that Shadow Lass's mother left Talok VIII to come to Earth, On a hunch, Light Lass checks the status of other Legionnaire parents, and learns that Crav and Mytra Nah, Ji Daggle, and Arn Digby are also somewhere on Earth...but where? The computer also informs the Legionnaires that Drake Burroughs/Wildfire's parents, as well as Colossal Boy's parents, Ida and Wynn Allon and Sun Boy's father, Derek Morgna, are also missing as well. Wildfire says that means they need someone to track them down, and Light Lass tells him that she's called for Dawnstar to return and help them search.

Out in the Sol system asteroid belt, Dawnstar weaves in and out of the asteroids avoiding several impacts as she ventures deeper on a rescue mission of a pair of astronauts. When Dawnstar receives a Legion Priority Emergency Triple A signal and must report back to Earth immediately, she increases the speed of her travel as she has no time to dawdle, much to the chagrin ofthe astronauts.

Back on Earth at a Brande Enterprises factory, Light Lass and Tyroc arrive to investigate the work done on the Legion HQ security devices and the self-defense weapons and protective fields the Legionnaires had given to their parents. After talking to one of the scientists, Light Lass and Tyroc realize that the scientists and technicians who did the work are now out of jobs, and blame the Legion for R.J. Brande's bankruptcy. They come to think that perhaps one of them may have sabotaged the security systems and the devices.

As Tyroc and Light Lass return to Legion HQ, Dawnstar is just arriving and is confronted by Wildfire. Drake ignores her attempts at friendliness, and she berates him for it, but he's not interested, worried as he his for his folks. As Light Lass and Tyroc report on what they've found, Tyroc receives an urgent summons from his home city-state of Marzal. He tells the Legionnaires that he must leave, that it's a crucial time for the people of Marzal, tied in to the root causes of the Marzalian society. He leaves abruptly, and Wildfire is livid at his exit, though Shadow Lass says he must have had a good reason for leaving. Light Lass says that they can look into Tyroc's situation later, as she has to share her investigations with the others into the parents' kidnappings. She believes that one of three specific scientists is responsible for the kidnappings. They all worked on the designs of the HQ security systems and parents protection systems, all were laid off three months previously, and each blamed the Legion for Brande's bankruptcy and hence losing their jobs.

Wildfire wants to know which one of the three it is, but before the Legionnaires can discuss matters further, Dagon appears before them as a hologram. He warns them that their HQ security is totally compromised, he knows all their secrets, weapons and powers, and is prepared to repulse any attempts they make to free the parents. He informs the Legionnaires that he wants 1 billion solar credits delivered to a destination of his choosing in 24 hours, or he will kill the Legionnaire parents! The story continues in the next issue.


Commentary:
This story is the first of a two-parter, and features a premise that is pretty solid: the parents of several Legionnaires, though interestingly not those of any of the Legionnaires present other than Shadow Lass, are kidnapped in revenge for the loss of the job of the villain due to the bankruptcy of R.J. Brande's fortune, which the villain blames the Legion for. It makes for a decent plot hook, and gives the Legionnaires some personal stakes in the story. This issue is noteworthy for several reasons. First of all, it marks the debut of the newest Legion artist, Jimmy Janes; I'll come back to his work below. Secondly, this is the beginning of the story which culminates with Tyroc leaving the Legion after four years of membership (but with only four meaningful appearances).

Two things about the Legionnaires stand out this issue. First off, Light Lass plays a very strong role in the story. She takes the lead to investigate the disappearance of the missing Legion parents, she takes it upon herself to call in Dawnstar, and she is one of the two Legionnaires to actually go off-site to investigate the security breach. She's been portrayed as a somewhat light-weight character (no pun intended!), but she sure doesn't come across that way in this story. Second, the appearance of Tyroc in the story is a notable thing, using his sonic powers to teleport himself and Light Lass, and playing a modicum of a role in the story. However, his return to Marzal on such short notice has an ominous ring to it, and of course does not bode well for him. Third, the sequence between Dawnstar and Wildfire when she returns from her space rescue mission is a nicely volatile event that is overshadowed by events going on in the story, but also has a hint of some emotional relationship between the two that will be strengthened and highlighted as Legion tales continue to unfold. A nice touch in the story.

Something else that I really liked in the story was that rather than have the Legionnaires fight Dagon in an extended series, writer Gerry Conway gave the action scene to the parents of the Legionnaires. This was quite neat, and showed where exactly the Legionnaire offspring of these parents came from and where they got their basic personalities and frame of mind. Shadow Lass's mother was seriously impressive in her efforts against Dagon, and I thought that the extended scene was excellent.

As noted above, the issue marks the debut of new "permanent" Legion artist Jimmy Janes. He will remain with the title for the next 18 months or so, and I have to say that I liked Janes's artwork this issue. His pencils are clean with solid lines, and he has a good grasp on adding background to the panels that is so appreciated after seeing Joe Staton's work on the title. The sheer background details in the Hall of Heroes scene in the top panel on page 3 are just wonderful, the teleportation effect used for Tyroc is quite nicely rendered, and the space scene with Dawnstar rescuing the two astronauts is simply beautiful work and Dawny hasn't looked this good since James Sherman's interpretation of her. One of the most consistent criticisms I've seen/heard of Jimmy Janes's art is his lack of creativity in futuristic design. Perhaps that's true, but Light Lass is lovingly rendered in this story and the shock and consternation on the faces of the Legionnaires in the last panel is really quite good. Dave Hunt's inks may be overshadowing Jimmy Janes's pencils this issue, but I suspect the two of them will make a good team on the Legion book's artwork.

Two other things I'll note. I will say that Dagon is one of the worst designed villains the Legion has ever faced. It's not for nothing that Ultra Boy's father, Crav Nah, laughs at him when he first sees him. The popularity of Star Wars was incredibly high at this time, and clearly Gerry Conway and/or Jimmy Janes based Dagon's look on Darth Vader. Let's be honest, he's little more than an extortionist with powerful weapons, so I'm not really sure why he felt the need to deck himself out in full green armour.

The new Legion Headquarters is shown off a little bit in this story, and I like what we see of it in the tale. That said, given that it seems that the Legionnaires' parents thought they had been invited to a ceremony does make me wonder why there wasn't more pomp and circumstance for the "grand re-opening" or whatever one wants to call it of the new base of operations.


Final Notes:
The story continues in the next issue...

The cover of this issue is mis-representative, since the Legionnaires do not actually fight Dagon in this issue...

On the cover of the issue, Shadow Lass is drawn without her cape once more...

Chameleon Boy appears on the cover of this issue, but he does not appear in the story at all...

This issue features the debut of the third headquarters of the Legion of Super-Heroes...

On the splash page, the Roll Call scroll features the Legionnaires dealing with the "Space Circus of Death" from Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 2 #260-261, none of whom appear in this story, and not the featured Legionnaires in this story...

Ultra Boy's parents are named as Crav and Mytra Nah. Shadow Lass's mother is named Tarna Tolarn. Shrinking Violet's father is named Arn Digby. Chameleon Boy's mother is named Ji Daggle...

Ultra Boy's parents last appeared in Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 1 #208. They appeared somewhat older and less fit in that story appearance...

On page 3, the mother of Ultra Boy is drawn in the sequence but the dialogue is actually meant for the mother of Shadow Lass...

The St. Croix Medical Center is where Brainiac 5 was incarcerated and treated after his mental breakdown and fall into insanity in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 1 #251 and subsequent issues through his being cured in issue #256, and where Tenzil Kem/Matter-Eater Lad is presumably still being treated...

The parents of Colossal Boy, Sun Boy, and Wildfire are also reported missing. The assumption is that Dagon has already kidnapped them, as each lives on Earth...

This issue features the debut of penciller Jimmy Janes, who will remain on the series through Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 2 #282...

In the Legion Outpost letter column, Jack C. Harris makes note of the fact that a three-issue mini-series called "Secrets of the Legion of Super-Heroes" is in the works...





Next Issue: Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 2 #264
Tags: comics hut, legion of super-heroes, legion reread, lll, long live the legion!, lsh, review
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