Monday, June 17, 2013

WHEN STARGRAVE (finally) STRIKES!


 
 
 
Hi, I’m Dave-El and welcome back to I’m So Glad My Suffering Amuses, the blog that goes back in time to visit the future.

Last week, I took a look at the Legion of Super Heroes series from the mid-1970s by writer Jim Shooter and artist Mike Grell. The initial stories done by the pair struck young Dave-El  sitting in his L’il Fortress of Comicbookitude as being a bit more sophisticated  than other super hero comics published by DC Comics at the time. These Legion stories were short; in those days, even a full length story was only 17 pages and most issues actually divided those meager pages between lead and back up stories. There was virtually no issue to issue continuity. Still, these short, self-contained stories touched on heady thought provoking themes such as sacrifice, revenge and what it means to be a hero.
But then there came the issue that changed the dynamic of the Legion under Shooter and Grell. That issue was Superboy#223 which pitted the Legion against their most mysterious and powerful antagonist, The Time Trapper. And yet even as the LSH finds itself severely challenged as it struggles for  victory over their time manipulating foe, there is another enemy waiting, even more powerful, even more of a mystery. If the Legion could barely escape with their lives after  their encounter with the Time Trapper, what chance did they have….When Stargrave Strikes?!
 
 
And this bring us to Superboy#224.
 
Superboy and the Legion have arrived at a point in space where a fissure in the very fabric of space has appeared and threatens complete and total annihilation of everything.  This mission was their objective in the previous issue when they were waylaid by the Time Trapper. Even with the combined might of the their considerable powers and abilities, success is not assured but there is chance, however slim, for the Legion to save the universe.
But then they are attacked by a pair of alien marauders, disrupting the Legion’s efforts and shattering their plans to chaos and ruin. This is a problem as the clock is ticking and every second lost to fighting these aliens is one second the universe doesn’t have. 
 
But then, HE appears.
 
 
Pulsar Stargrave!
 
 
He stands on a craggy outcropping of rock, boldly facing the cracking energies of a universe threatening to tear itself apart. 
 
 
Stargrave raises his hands to the screaming heavens as  energy leaps from his fingertips and the wound in the skin of the universe is caulterized, healed. With a wave of his hands, Pulsar Stargrave has saved the universe.
The Legionnaires are grateful the threat of universal calamity has been resolved but they are uneasy with this Stargrave. It is an unease that is not abetted in the least when, in the blink of an eye, the assembled Legion, Stargrave’s minions and Stargrave himself are transported across light years to his world.

Stargrave favors us with an origin (isn't that nice of him?): science dude gets zapped by a super-nova and instead of being fried extra-extra crispy, he comes out of it with the powers of a star. (Comics, everyone!)
 
 
 
All-powerful is Pulsar Stargrave but yet there is one even more powerful and Stargrave will vanquish this ultimate foe with an army. The Legion of Super Heroes will be his army!


The Legion don't trust this guy and besides, they're not anyone's army. So the answer is "no".
 
Stargrave checks his cosmic dictionary and, sure enough, "no" is NOT in there.*
 
*Neither is the word gullible.
+"No! Really?
*For real; go look.
 
But the Legion is rather insistent that Stargrave's dictionary is in error and the answer is still "no". And to put an exclamation point on that answer, Superboy step up to deliver the message personally.
 


Then he who is Pulsar Stargrave delivers Superboy.....
with ONE punch....
 
 
into OUTER SPACE!!!
space
space
space
space
space
 
 
 
Somebody just punched Superboy off a planet so hard, he nearly flies off the page. Well, it. Is. ON! The Legion takes on the guy who just decked the Boy of Steel into orbit so you can imagine this doesn't go well.
 
 
 
 
 
But then, Superboy flies back, piledrives his way through a wall and boy, he is major league pissed at Pulsar Stargrave now!
 
Not that ol' Green Dome is any happier with our Boy of Steel!
 
 
 
When it is all over, the Superboy and the Legion are completely defeated…save one. Brainiac 5 alone faces the Pulsar Stargrave.
 
Then we are back at the Legion Citadel where the Legionnaires have found themselves after being cast across the gulfs of space by Stargrave.  Batter, bruised and more than a little humiliated, they find themselves faced with Stargrave’s ultimatum for their service.  They don’t trust him even though mission he seeks for them is to help him defeat another of their most powerful foes.
As the Legion continues to cantankerously argue about Stargrave and his mission, Brainiac 5 leaves the meeting hall and enters into a shadowy corridor where he meets Pulsar Stargrave. Brainiac 5 says he will join Stargrave in his war against Mordru. Mordru, the ultimate and most powerful master of mystic energies in all the cosmos.
And Brainiac 5 says he will stand against Mordu at the side of Stargrave. His father!
 
 
Whoa!
 
Little Dave-El’s mind was blown.  
 

A foe so incredibly powerful that he can take on the entire Legion of Super Heroes single handed including punching Superboy into SPACE! Then he wants the Legion to be his army as he goes to war with someone even more powerful. And this foe has a secret and powerful connection to one of the Legionnaires!
 
 
What an awesome story from the talents of Jim Shooter and Mike Grell and L'il Dave-El was seriously stoked to see what they would do next! Surely the follow up would be stupendous!
 
 
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In the next installment: No, it isn't.  
                                                              
__________
 
 
 
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Allegedly grown up Dave-El can also be found on Twitter @ https://twitter.com/DayWayLo

 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 

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