RandoMonday: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #233

Here’s a comic chosen at random from my collection.

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #233. Cover by Mike Grell.

“The Infinite Man Who Conquered Time the Legion” by  Paul Levitz (writer), James Sherman and Bob Wiacek (artists), Ben Oda (letterer), and Liz Berube (colorist).

This is a one of those classic stories that introduce a villain of immense power, but who are ultimately defeated sort of easily. Rond Vidar has invented a hyper-time drive in order to test his theory that time is a circular flow. And how best to test such a theory than to jump to human test subjects? Enter Jaxon Rugarth, a volunteer from the Metropolis University Time Institute (why Vidar isn’t performing his experiment at the Time Institute isn’t made clear) who will enter the machine, travel into the past and circle around to the present, thus proving that time is circular (I’m not making this up, kids). Of course, the journey drives Rugarth mad and transforms him into the Infinite Man.

I don’t know who came up with the design, but it’s trippy. Regardless, the crazy Rugarth wants to kill Vidar for giving him such fantastic power, I guess, but the Legion step in to prevent that. Eventually, Brainiac 5 figures out a way to capture the Infinite Man and send him back into the circular time stream, with a warning that the Infinite Man may break free in the future.

This is not a bad Legion story, and Levitz brings a bit of prosaic weight to the narrative boxes (and a lot of unnecessary dialog, but that was common in the Bronze Age), plus how cool/dopey is a villain who shoots beams from his eyes (time vision!) to bring creatures (such as dinosaurs) and characters from the Earth’s past to fight the Legion (why Rugarth doesn’t bring something from the future instead escapes me). The art is a bit weird in places where perspective is used in small panels, but actually pretty good overall.

“The Final Illusion” by Paul Levitz (script, based on an idea by Mike Nasser), Mike Nasser and Bob Layton (art), Ben Oda (letters), and Liz Berube (colors).

This is a 10-page untold tale of the Legion where Princess Projectra has collapsed and fallen into a coma-like state after her boyfriend, Karate Kid, went to stay in the 20th century for a while (as detailed in his self-titled series). Some other Legionnaires try to figure out what is wrong with her and how to bring her out of this state. Saturn Girl discovers that Projectra is living in a fantasy world of her own creation and subconsciously doesn’t want to wake up. They try scaring her out of her illusory world, but that doesn’t work. So they try to nudge her along so that she gets what she wants (Karate Kid) and then take him away, thus proving that reality is better than fantasy, though, Karate Kid is still not with her. Hmm. Best leave the psychology to the experts, I say.

Wow, the blatant sexism in this story…. Not to mention that these teens are meddling with someone’s “fragile” mind and think they know better than the doctor. I enjoyed the art in this story more than the other, which probably has a lot to do with Bob Layton, perhaps, despite the fact that Chameleon Boy is drawn with really big ears and antennae, which I always disliked.

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