Friday, August 19

Superboy #9, Adventure Comics #528, and Booster Gold #46 (Sep 2011)

“Rise of the Hollow Men, Part Two: In the Underworld”

Far beneath the Luthor farm outside Smallville, The Phantom Stranger leads Superboy, Krypto, Simon, and Psionic Lad to a huge cavern in which dwell the “zombie undermen with a collective hive-mind.” Is it just me that gets a definite vibe of Klarion the Witch-boy's Limbo Town in Grant Morrison's reimagining for Seven Soldiers? Probably. Anyway. In this issue Simon and Psionic Lad (whom Simon thinks ought to be called simply “Psion” – Being from the future, Psionic Lad “tried to choose a name that reflected the heroes of the past.” “Well, that's just it,” Simon responds. “You went too far into the past. It sounds … old. Corny.” Watch it, boy!) manage to find Lori, but she's just disappointed that it wasn't Superboy who found her – which pisses Simon off a bit. As they're having a bit of a tiff, Psionic Lad takes a mental call from the future and we finally find out that the “Prime Hunter” he'd been sent back to kill is Simon Valentine! (I thought Connor, with the “Prime” bit being a misunderstanding/red herring.) Even as The Stranger leads Connor into a vault where there are hundreds of clones of himself (clones of clones, how 'bout that?) Connor finds his vagueness and obfuscations increasingly annoying. Meanwhile, Simon, Psionic Lad (who's refusing orders – “He's my friend. … There is good in him!”), and Lori find themselves attacked by The Parasite. The Phantom Stranger tells Connor, “These clones are still simply vessels. Not yet alive. They're waiting … Waiting for the life essence … the very souls of Smallville to be transferred into them.” (That's how his speech is written, white font in purple word-balloons.) But Connor's got even bigger problems – because it turns out The Stranger is actually “the one responsible, of course” – or rather whatever has imprisoned The Phantom Stranger and taken his place! Overall a good, solid issue. “Next: Our Wierdest Issue Yet!”

Graduation Day”

Some of our characters from the past few Legion Academy issues – Power Boy, Lamprey, Crystal Kid, and Nightwind – graduate, but “only” to the Science Police, which is not terribly thrilling to them. Nor is that prospect appealing to the cadets remaining for another term – especially Dragonwing and Chemical Kid. Variable Lad and Gravity Kid are a bit more sanguine about it, although Grav is a bit upset anyway that his friend Power Boy is leaving. Meanwhile, a shadowy figure breaks into Legion Headquarters – Cosmic King of the Legion of Super-Villains. The headquarters alarm sounds at the academy – reservists/instructors Duplicate Girl, Bouncing Boy, and Night Girl respond – as do Comet Queen, Chemical Kid, and Dragonwing. The reservists go up against Cosmic King, who trounces them in short order, just as the cadets arrive. “Ulp,” exclaims Chem; “Burn out!” is Comet Queen's outburst as they face the villain, who snarls: “What a shame the Legion didn't have a more powerful group of reserves. Maybe Superman would have been challenging ...” “Next: The End of the Academy?”

Turbulence, Part Three”

Booster Gold is facing the creature who, in his native time-line, beat the hell out of him before going on to kill Superman. He knows Doomsday's been dug up and turned into a weapon … but “[t]hey have no idea what they've unleashed. Death on wheels, with no Superman to stop him. That means it's up to me.” Who says Booster Gold is not a hero – well, almost everyone, but that's just because they don't really know him, which is of course part of the magic of this title in any time-line – “The Greatest Hero You've Never Heard Of.” Booster gives it his all against the creature that is no longer under General Adam's control. Of course the general doesn't suspect that his losing contact created a berserker – he thinks without his control the creature will just “stand there until it's torn apart.” Thrown through a Wayne Casinos sign and across Gotham, Booster is out cold for a time – awakening to the not-unpleasant visage of his new best friend Alexandra. “How – ? How did you get all the way to the Gotham suburbs from California?” Turns out (as we already knew) she has powers – “When I touch someone, I sort of gain whatever … talents they have. … I touched you at the cabin. You can fly, so I could too, for a bit. Same with those death rays you shoot.” Hmpf. Except that Booster Gold's “powers” are not his own, but rather technological in nature. Maybe Alexandra doesn't understand the nature of her own power. I speculate it must depend on what she believes the person whom she touch's powers are rather than what they really are. Anyway, they observe the monster leaving a path of destruction along the road to Metropolis. “History repeating itself,” Booster grimaces. “Doomsday on the march. Willing to kill anything and everything in sight,” as he launches off in chase yet again. As he flies, carrying the cyber-helmet that had previously controlled, he ends up in contact with Adam – who believes he has taken control and sent Doomsday off on its rampage. Booster plows into Doomsday, employing his force field in a new way, to enclose the creature in a bubble. It holds for only a moment then Booster's being pummelled when Alexandra shows up – Doomsday turns on her and Booster desperately slams the helmet back on its head – “A controlled Doomsday is way better than this!” Well, maybe – but the thanks Booster gets is that Adam, now back in control – and now feeling the monster's own rage and thirst for blood – lets it loose “to tear him apart”! “Continued Next Issue – we hope!”

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