Monday, June 24, 2013

WHEN STARGRAVE STRIKES....Out.




Hi, Dave-El here! And this is my blog, I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You! And today, we are going to take a peek at some suffering, of a young boy's bitter disappointment, the first time that a young and innocent Dave-El would learn the cold and terrible truth....

Comic books aren't always as good as we think they're going to be.



Last time when we looked at the beginning of what was destined to be the most awesome epic of all time as the Legion of Super Heroes had met and being thoroughly defeated by the wielder of the power cosmic, Pulsar Stargrave!

He was just one man. But one man who possessed the power to  single handedly punch Superboy into outer space and defeat the Legion of Super Heroes. But for all his power, Stargrave sought to defeat someone even more powerful and he wanted the Legion
to be his army.

The Legion did not take too kindly to this request but one member had a secret....



So what was going to happen next?

Li'l Dave-El could barely imagine...

 A battle royal between the Mordru and the Legion lead by Pulsar Stargrave?!

Mordru defeated, Stargrave destroys the Legion?!

Braniac 5 must make a terrible choice?!

The Legion's only hope...is to restore Mordru?!

What amazing things would unfold next in this epic saga of power, treachery and the fate of the universe in the balance?
                         
This.






This is what happened next.





It was the story of the next election for Legion leader. Seems Superboy won but he can't be leader since he's only part time (being from the past and all) so Wildfire has the gig which seems like a bad idea or at least Superboy thinks so as he's acting like a total ass and...

WHERE THE HELL IS MY STARGRAVE STORY?!?!

Where's Jim Shooter? Paul Levitz is listed as the writer! What the...?

And even more egregious? Somebody named Jim Sherman is the penciller and I don't like it! I don't like it all! Since my very first issue of Superboy, the only artist was Mike Grell!!

Boys and girls, this was all well before the Internet. In fact, things were so primitive that we still got our comic book news from town criers!*

*"Hear ye! Hear ye! Green Lantern teams up with the Flash next month! Superman foils attack by Lex Luthor! Hear ye!"

Anyway, this is what I was able to piece together:

Jim Shooter was over a Marvel, beginning the quest for power that would lead him to be their Editor in Chief for a period of time when nothing controversial ever happened.**

**Sarcasm. Deal with it.

Mike Grell decided he wanted to draw Batman which would have been cooler if David V. Reed wasn't still writing it.***

***Grell's first story: The Penguin engages in a complex strategy to lure Batman into a trap to be attacked by giant robotic birds. That Batman easily defeats in, like, 2 pages.

Paul Levitz, the fanboy-made-good writer of the Justice Society in All Star Comics, was a lifelong Legion fan so he was really psyched to be writing this book!

Now I don't know if Jim Shooter 1) didn't realize when he wrote "When Stargrave Strikes" that the opportunity to go to Marvel was just around the corner or 2) did know he was leaving and "When Stargrave Strikes" was a big "screw you" to DC on his way out the door, thinking "Let's see them fuck THAT up."

Which ever one it was, DC did, indeed, fuck that up.

Paul Levitz may have been a lifelong fan of the Legion but he either didn't know about Shooter's last story set up for Stargrave or he did know but just did not have a plan for it. Either way, Levitz did not address the Stargrave plot until his 2nd issue and in a 6 page back up where Braniac 5 learns the truth:

Pulsar Stargrave is really...the original Brainiac, the evil android foe of Superman from the 20th century.

Okay.

Now I guess there's nothing wrong with that twist....if it had come up later in what should've been an epic saga.  It may have been the crucial key for the Legion to finally figure out to defeat this son of a bitch once and for all.****

****Two words: "battery compartment"

But coming this early, the revelation of Stargrave's true identity seems to be a rush job cop out to get this over story over with so Levitz can do what he really wants with the Legion.

And nothing underscores that more than when this issue comes along:



First of all, it's written by Gerry Conway. So the epic began by Jim Shooter is not written by the life long Legion fan who was now the official writer of Superboy and the Legion of Super Heroes, Paul Levitz, but by DC's hired gun of choice, Gerry "I'll write anything for a check" Conway.+

+There's a lot of stuff that Conway has written that is quite good. But at this point in his career, Conway was writing almost every thing at DC, not all of which really played to Conway's strengths or even interests as a writer. 

And not only was this issue written by DC's hired gun writer of choice, it was penciled by DC's go to guy for penciling anything quick, Joe Staton.++

++Like Gerry Conway, Joe Staton was at a point with his work at DC where DC have him draw anything and not always with the best inkers for his type of art. Frank Chiramonte who did great work over Curt Swan, was totally all wrong for Staton. So guess how many times they would be paired up?

And the issue itself. OK, I've got to be fair here. I don't remember the details. Unlike "When Stargrave Strikes" which I can read at will from my memory, "The War at World's End" has no impression upon my recollection save one: it was a complete and utter disappointment. The Pulsar Stargrave that Shooter and Grell set up was nowhere to be found; instead, Conway & Staton delivered a standard tale of a meglomaniacal madman that is ultimately defeated by the same Legion that could not stand up to his power before.  The story accomplished it's goal: wrap this thing up!

Later after Paul Levitz left his first run as Legion writer, Gerry Conway was brought on as the new regular writer (and Joe Staton as regular artist). Later, artist Jimmy Janes came on board as the new artist+++ and there was an attempt to restore some of the power to Pulsar Stargrave.


+++Whatever happened to him?
 


Then later THIS happened:



And NOW I have lost all the will to go on any longer. You want to know more about Pulsar Stargrave? Go to the Wiki page here. 

At least Superboy and the Legion of Super Heroes never set me up and then disappointed me like that ever again.
__________________________

In a few weeks: The story of how Superboy and the Legion of Super Heroes sets me up and then disappoints me like that again.














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