Back Issue #120 June 2020 (magazine review).

June 12, 2020 | By | 2 Replies More

As you can tell from the cover of the latest issue of ‘Back Issue’, it is dominated by the Legion Of Super-Heroes. The initial article focuses on Lar Gand aka Mon-el aka Valor and the problems caused for the Daxamite when John Byrne rebooted Superman’s past and had no Superboy and he was part of that past. The fact that he Mon-el/Valor was still popular kept the character alive. In many respects, when he was first introduced in Superboy # 89, he was the second alien claiming older brother kinship with the Boy Of Steel. About the only thing John Wells missed out on was Mon-el’s second story where Superboy recalling the first deliberately points out that he intended killing his ‘older brother’ with lead. However, comicbook writer Mark Waid points out that when Superboy tried radiating Mon-el with kryptonite from a lead box, it should have been obvious that the green substance would finally be part of the antidote in the 30th century as the lead didn’t kill him. Seeing the number of reboots here, I’m surprised the only one that wasn’t tried was making him a reformed bad guy. I can’t help feel there was a missing story in the original run as to Superman’s major failure in not getting Mon-el out of the Phantom Zone unless, unconsciously or subconsciously as his memories of the future were curtailed by Saturn Girl, to stop him messing with future events when Brainiac 5 found the cure for him. That would really have messed with Legion history.

‘The Bits Of Legionnaire Business’ focuses on LSH merchandise up to the ends of the 1980s and how Legion fans pick up anything related to their favourite team. I wonder how much of that is true when I note I haven’t got The Amazing World Of DC Comics # 2 and some of the LSH RPG modules, even if I don’t RPG. Oddly, the writer ‘Legion Lad’, forgot The Amazing World Of DC Comics # 12’s cover. Like all things collected, the appeal of the LSH is pretty much the same as the X-Men. As young comicbook geeks, we recognised our own oddities from normal humans and having even a fictional team that we could belong to, assuming we had super-powers, gives some kinship we could relate to.

I thought I was losing count of how many Manhunters DC Comics had and writer Steven Thompson points to ‘Manhunter 2070’ and his three issue run in ‘Showcase’ created by Mike Sekowsky and subsequent guest-appearances.

Then it’s over to Marvel’s b&w magazines with the two appearances of Paradox as written by Bill Mantlo and in the two issues drawn by Val Mayerik and Mike Vosburg, both of whom are interviewed. Of particular point is the poor quality of printing that messed up the greys and tone but, then again, that was pretty common for all b&w magazines back then.

The look at Charlton’s comicbook interpretation of ‘Space: 1999’ by John K. Kirk shows a spread of comments and why John Byrne doesn’t care for doing exact likenesses of people.

From there to Mike Grell’s ‘Starslayer’, rather the reverse of ‘Warlord’ of having a Celtic warrior propelled into the future and having to deal with problems there. It’s also one of the now more common instances of creator-owned properties moving from company to company, although that was mostly because the companies closed.

With ‘The Sonic Disruptors’, Thomas Powers discusses with creator Mike Baron this short run comicbook and what would have happened had he completed its run.

‘Rockin’ The Paradise’ by Jim Ford interviewing the creators of the ‘Five Years Later’ version of the LSH illustrates the problems and changes when Superboy is removed from 30th century reality for the second time. In many respects, although they didn’t realise it, also contributed to the present time when the DC Universe has 52 different realities that can now contain them all and you can choose which you prefer. Certainly this version is probably the most radical.

We also have a Mike Eury interview with Steve Lightle about his time on the LSH and what would eventually become the ‘Legionnaires’ comicbook. Certainly, he contributed the more alien-like legionnaires like Quislet, made endearing by his vehicle than whatever he really looked like. I liked his comments on the problems of someone being continually accelerated at super-speed like Allegra. About the only thing he didn’t address is whether Allegra had an accelerated life-span.

Finally, Mark Voger looks at his ‘Defective Comics’ and the card set he created. He also notes that only 2 of the 500 sketch cards he drew to be included in the packs have been found. That’ll make those of you who own the packs as to whether it worth opening them to see if you have them.

As always, ‘Back Issue’ covers a lot of subjects and I suspect being an LSH edition will ensure a lot of Legion fans will buy, so grab while available.

GF Willmetts

June 2020

(pub: TwoMorrows Publishing. 82 page illustrated magazine. Price: $ 9.95 (US). ISSN: 1932-6904. Direct from them, you can get it for $ 9.95 + 40% discount where applicable(US))

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Category: Magazines, Superheroes

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About UncleGeoff

Geoff Willmetts has been editor at SFCrowsnest for some 21 plus years now, showing a versatility and knowledge in not only Science Fiction, but also the sciences and arts, all of which has been displayed here through editorials, reviews, articles and stories. With the latter, he has been running a short story series under the title of ‘Psi-Kicks’
If you want to contribute to SFCrowsnest, read the guidelines and show him what you can do. If it isn’t usable, he spends as much time telling you what the problems is as he would with material he accepts. This is largely how he got called an Uncle, as in Dutch Uncle. He’s not actually Dutch but hails from the west country in the UK.

Comments (2)

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  1. Richard Arndt says:

    Dear GF

    Poor printing on B&W comics/magazines in the 1970s-1980s was NOT common to most of the printers. Warren routinely printed stories that were only pencilled and they turned out fine–as did their pen, ink and wash pages. Both MAD and Cracked had excellent printing as well. It was only Marvel who had poor printing on both their color and B&W titles, as well as DC on their color books. This was because both they and DC were using a printer who had switched from metal printing plates to plastic and “flex-o-graph’ plates. These plates wore out fairly quickly during the printing process and the result, especially from books printed as the plates deteriorated, looked very shoddy. On B&W magazines the washes simply turned into a fuzzy gray. This result was from a purely financial decision on the part of both the printer and Marvel which greatly dropped the quality of the printing of mainstream comics in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was only when fans saw the much better printing appearing on better paper from the early 1980s independent publishers such as Pacific, Eclipse and (eventually) others and when said fans complained mightily about both Marvel and DC’s shoddy printing that both companies moved to improve their own printing and switched to better paper.

    • UncleGeoff says:

      Hello Richard
      I think I should have qualified my comments more at Marvel. Even so, those b&w mags that came to the UK did tend to come from towards the end of the print run. If anything, without the demonstration of the poor quality difference in the plastic plates wouldn’t have influenced the independents to choose the better plates and paper. Mind you, they also had relatively smaller print runs as well.

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