Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 2 #264
"Dagon's Cavern of Doom!"
Writer: Gerry Conway
Penciller: Jimmy Janes
Inker: Dave Hunt
Letterer: Milt Snapinn
Colourist: Gene D'Angelo
Cover: Dick Giordano (signed)
Editor: Jack C. Harris
Mission Monitor Board:
Wildfire, Dawnstar, Light Lass, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Shadow Lass, Tyroc
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) (cameos all)
Dagon the Avenger
The story continues from the previous issue. On Earth in Metropolis, a pair of lovers enjoying an evening's aircar flight through the city are almost killed when Wildfire, upset about his parents being kidnapped, nearly collides with the aircar. Light Lass is able to lift a tower out of the way using her powers, thus saving the two passengers, and then Wildfire uses his energy blasts to fix the tower supports. Light Lass tells him that she understands he's upset about his parents' kidnapping, but tells Wildfire that he's no use to the team if he can't focus on the job at hand. As she and Wildfire catch up with the other Legionnaires, Light Lass remembers the events leading up to this moment and also the fact that Tyroc seemingly deserted them to return to his home city-state of Marzal.
Dawnstar leads the others to an abandoned tidal energy power plant, saying that's as far as she can take them, but feels very ill at the moment. Lightning Lad and Wildfire take the lead and head down towards the abandoned plant, and are attacked by a turbo laser that shoots at them. Shadow Lass's darkness powers conceal the Legionnaires, and allow them to get below the turbo laser's line of fire. Lightning Lad blasts the weapon, but is then attacked by a mutant bat swarm. Wildfire blasts some of the bats off Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl snatches him and gets him out of their path. Wildfire surrounds the bats with an energy sphere, but they vanish like soap bubbles popping in mid-air. Lightning Lad worries that all the distractions have allowed Dagon to carry out his threat and kill the Legionnaires' parents, but when the Legionnaires enter the deserted power plant, Saturn Girl tells them that she has searched telepathically and that the factory is empty. Wildfire erupts in anger and frustration once more, blasting some of the rubble.
Elsewhere, Dagon is watching the Legionnaires not handling the situation well, and gloats to the captive parents. He says he warned them not to underestimate him, as he was even prepared to deal with Dawnstar's mutant tracking ability. Dagon comments that they're looking in the wrong place and that they'll never locate his hideout because they're hidden in the very first place the Legionnaires should have looked. Mytra Nah says the Legion will never pay the ransom, because they can't. Dagon says he knows that, and that he wants them to understand the agony of financial ruination, the knowledge of complete helplessness. He wants to be avenged by destroying their hearts and souls.
Back at the Legion Headquarters near dawn, Wildfire questions Dawnstar about why her powers failed her at the abandoned plant, but she is unable to explain what happened. Shadow Lass says that when Dawnstar felt ill, it was her subconscious telling her she'd followed a false lead. Obviously Dagon has something that is capable of short-circuiting her tracking abilities. Wildfire says they're back at square one with no leads, but Light Lass reminds them that they have three suspects from her and Tyroc's investigation earlier. They do so, but Saturn Girl says they have another issue to deal with - Tyroc. And he might be the only one to help them find Dagon, as he once tracked a hidden bomb in Metropolis using his sonic abilities. Dawnstar volunteers to go to Marzal and get him, as her tracking powers seem to be useless at the moment, and Shadow Lass agrees to go with her, as her friendship with Tyroc may stand them in good stead. The two Legionnaires depart their headquarters.
The other Legionnaires go back to R.J. Brande's factory where the Legion HQ's security system and weapons were built. Light Lass and the others use the factory's computers to narrow down the suspects from the three fired scientists and technicians. They learn that tech master Wezil Yondor had the most recent access to the security storage chamber, so they figure he's their man. They try to open the storage chamber to check to see what weapons might be missing, but cannot get in because the security codes have been changed. Lighting Lad breaks in using his powers, and rocket weapons strike as Wildfire opens the doors, destroying his containment suit (yet again). Garth says it's a good thing that Wildfire's learned to vibrate the air molecules in his dispersed form so he can talk to them. Lightning Lad destroys the rocket launcher, and checking the supplies earmarked for the Legion HQ discovers they've been fighting their own defenses. He also sees something that tells him where Dagon is hiding and the Legionnaires head out.
At Dagon's secret base right under the noses of the Legionnaires, he decides he has to kill the Legionnaires' parents and flee, as the monitor at the factory has been destroyed by one of Lightning Lad's bolts and he now has no idea where the Legionnaires are. As he prepares to strike them with cyanide bullets, Wildfire is the first to arrive and destroys the cyanide weapons, but Dagon stops him with a net composed of negative ions. The other Legionnaires arrive, led by Lightning Lad, who blasts his way into the secret base inside Legion HQ, and blasts tech wizard Yondor, aka Dagon the Avenger, ending the threat.
After wrapping up Dagon and freeing Wildfire, the Legionnaires escort the parents to the surface. Lightning Lad explains to the parents that Dagon gave himself away when they noticed that he had also stolen the equipment for a project they had cancelled an "emergency security bunker" that would burrow underground and build itself at the desired location - directly underneath Legion Headquarters!
Meanwhile, on the isolated island of Marzal, Dawnstar and Shadow Lass have arrived and tracked down Tyroc. Tyroc is not happy to see them, and tells them they must leave the island immediately, but Dawnstar is adamant that they'll only do so if he comes with them. He tells them that he's needed on Marzal, because of something that will happen that goes back to the very roots of their existence and their history. Even as Tyroc speaks, the process begins and Marzal starts to fade away and then vanishes. Tyroc tells them that they are trapped on the island - for at least 200 years! The story of Marzal and the history of its people continues in the next issue.
This story is a very nice, competent conclusion to the tale begun last issue, in which a vengeful Brande Enterprises employee kidnapped the parents of several Legionnaires for ransom. A ransom, incidentally, that he had no intention of collecting because he knew the Legionnaires could not pay it. Gerry Conway's script this issue is pretty solid, holds a few surprises (mutant bats in the abandoned facility? Neat!), and gives us some good characterizations of the various Legionnaires involved in the story.
Light Lass is portrayed as a calm, cool and collected Legionnaire in this story, especially when compared to Wildfire, who comes across as a hot-head. Granted, Ayla's parents are not among those kidnapped as they had perished in a spaceship accident back in Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 1 #207, a fact that she admits. It's interesting to see Light Lass portrayed not just as competent but as knowledgeable and savvy, something I would have liked to have seen more of in later stories. As mentioned, Wildfire comes across as the impulsive hot-head, but what's interesting in the story is his relationship with Dawnstar and his reaction at how she led the Legionnaires astray with her tracking. There seems to be a friendship developing between Shadow Lass and Dawnstar, which I find quite intriguing. It'll be interesting to see how the writers on the series continue this relationship and what it's leading up to.
As I said, the story is a competent conclusion, but one thing nagged at me throughout the story. For one thing, as mentioned last issue, no other Legionnaires are mentioned or shown in the story. The last we heard, there were only two groups of Legionnaires out on missions, so where the heck are characters like Element Lad? While I understand the fact that it makes sense to focus on smaller groups of Legionnaires, it's difficult with a group so large. It seems odd for half a dozen or so members to be "off duty" so much, and one would have thought that other Legionnaires would have been concerned about the missing parents.
The artwork this issue is pretty good. Jimmy Janes continues to get used to drawing the characters and the setting here, and does a good job with backgrounds though there's nothing spectacular or innovative about his futuristic technology and surroundings. Dave Hunt's inks are very good, adding something of an almost "stoic" feel to the pencils of Janes, and it's very effective work. Needless to say, with the costume design and all, they can't make Dagon look formidable, but otherwise the work is competent. However, they need to check out their style guide references to the Legion, as Shadow Lass is drawn with gloves throughout the story. And Jack C. Harris realy should be paying more editorial attention, as Legionnaires seem to come and go for no rhyme or reason. See the Final Notes, below, for some examples of this.
Tyroc doesn't get a lot of time this issue, which is disappointing given the time devoted to him last issue, and the mystery of what is going on with Marzal and why he had to drop the Legion mission in favour of returning home. Needless to say, as this issue's ending indicates, the story of what's going on with Marzal and the fates of Shadow Lass and Dawnstar will be seen next issue. Unfortunately, it is also the end of Tyroc's time in the Legion.
The story continues next issue, with the secret origin of Tyroc revealed...
On the cover of the issue, Shadow Lass is drawn once again without a cape. Obviously Dick Giordano doesn't like Shady's cape...
Tyroc's yell on the cover, "Eeoooooo" is not his previous teleportation scream. That is either "Oyuuuuu!" or "Eyuuuu!" or "Aayaaa!" (the latter being what he actually used last issue to return to Marzal)...
While Sun Boy and Shrinking Violet appear on the cover, they do not appear in the story at all...
The Roll Call with the scroll-like appearance on the splash page lists the correct Legionnaires for this story...
Shadow Lass is drawn with black gloves throughout this adventure...
On page 12, the Brande factory is called "B.D. Brande" for some reason...
On page 13, Shadow Lass is drawn at the Brande factory, even though she just moments ago headed to Marzal with Dawnstar...
On page 14, Light Lass is not shown flying away from the Brande factory with the others...
On page 16, Shadow Lass is shown escorting the Legionnaires' parents to the surface next to Lightning Lad, even though she's gone with Dawnstar to Marzal...
The reference to Tyroc tracking a hidden bomb in Metropolis using his sonic powers is from the tale that occurred in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 1 #222.
Next Issue: Legion of Super-Heroes Vol 2 #265