Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Classics - The Legion of Substitute Heroes Special #1

   For reasons I'm hard pressed to explain, I've always liked the lovable losers known as the Legion of Substitute Heroes.

   They're the rejects who tried to join the Legion of Super-Heroes, but were too lame to make the cut.

   It's hard to figure why they would be excluded - their powers weren't much more useless than, say, Matter-Eater Lad (who co-stars in this issue) or Light Lass.

   But rather than accept defeat, they decided to team up and serve as a last-ditch, desperation version of the Legion.

   They're used to maximum effect in this special from 1985, as writer Paul Levitz and artist Keith Giffin (with Karl Kesel inks) team up to craft an especially, zany, off-beat, and yes, funny special issue. (It's something of a precursor to Giffin's work later on Justice League International.)

   The story features a terrible foe threatening to destroy the planet Bismoll (home to Matter-Eater Lad), and only the Subs are available to save the day. So Polar Boy, Fire Lad, Chlorophyll Kid, Color Kid, Infectious Lass, Porcupine Pete and Stone Boy race to the scene.  (The idea of which doesn't exactly inspire confidence.)

   What follows is a comedy of errors - it's silly, it's goofy - but for any long-time fan of the Legion, it's mighty entertaining.

   With a comics industry entirely too focused on the grim and gritty angle, it was great to get a break with a truly comic adventure. I loved it!

Grade: A-




Anonymous said...

Chuck, do you know if the Planet Bismoll was an "inside joke" between the creators? Matter-Eater Lad, heartburn, Pepto-Bismol.

If not, it's a funny coincidence.


Chuck said...

Bret, I don't know it for a fact, but that's what I always assumed - that it was just a joke. Or should I say a gag? (I'm here all week, folks!)