Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Classics - Adventure Comics #340 and #341

    Of all the early adventures of the Legion of Super-Heroes, one of the stories that most affected me was the two-part battle between the Legion and Computo.

    The big bad in the story was a creation of Legionnaire Brainiac-5, and it started as a typical "computer develops sentience and becomes a homicidal maniac" tale - but it was a menace with a surprising edge to it.

   In 1966 the battles between the forces of good and evil were generally civilized affairs (at least at DC Comics), with no real sense of danger - but this story was different.

   Computo (basically a giant ambulatory computer with smake-like arms) quickly built an army of giant robots, kidnapped top scientists and Legionnaires (after taking away the powers of most of the heroes), and threatened death if the rest of the Legion opposed its plans. And more than a threat, it carried out its promise, killing one of the hostage scientists.

   That kind of thing simply didn't happen - and then another even more shocking death was added in on the final page!

   The second half of the story in issue 341 keeps the pressure on, with a dizzying series of plots, stunts and creative schemes involving a mad attack by Colossal Boy, a bizarre new member of the team (sorta), and unleashing what may be an even greater menace to save the day.

   All tied together with the terrific art of Hall of Famer Curt Swan, it was a story that stood head and shoulders above most of DC's fare - a surprisingly mature and intense story with high stakes and lots of surprising twists - and it had repercussions into the future of the team.

    The scans of the covers that accompany this article were grabbed off the Internet - my own copies of these comics are amazingly ratty, having been "read" within an inch of their lives - just another sign of how much i loved this story!

   The Legion has always had a strong fan base, but it was stories like this that transformed the team from supporting characters for Superboy into a series that could carry on without the broad shoulders of the Superman family.

Grade: A



Anonymous said...

Hmmm, Good guy hero creates super intelligent robot/computer who goes crazy/mad and creates more like it. Resulting danger/destruction forces band of heroes (and allies of good guy hero) to fight evil robot/computer to the end.
Sound like the plot of Avengers 2, doesn't it?

Sam Kujava

Chuck said...

Sam, I had the same thought (but forgot to mention it). But I doubt Proty will show up in the Avengers movie.