Superboy And The Legion Of Super-Heroes by Paul Levitz, Mike Grell and Vince Colletta (Tabloid Edition) (graphic novel review).

‘Superboy And The Legion Of Super-Heroes’ is a reprint of All-New Collectors Edition # C-55 from 1978. There are some additions with its writer Paul Levitz explaining that that original edition is hard to come by although I had no problem when it first came out back then. He also explains that artists Mike Grell was running late with the art so Vince Colletta was asked to ink it to make the deadline.

Those familiar with Colletta’s later inkwork are familiar with the shortcuts he takes and, unfortunately, the art isn’t as detailed as it could have been and little backgrounds survive his work. It does make me wonder if the original pencils still exists and a chance to see Grell’s art closer to what it would have been.

The plot of the story is Superboy arrives in the 30th century for the marriage of Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl only to discover the reality there is more militaristic. The Legion still exists and so does the marriage, except the married couple are kidnapped by a lunar colony. Wildfire is their current leader and orders the Legion on an immediate strike back but Superboy hesitates insisting the threat isn’t there.

An angry Wildfire is disappointed but a small team trusts the Boy of Steel and they travel back in time to when the UN breaks up in 1978. Since Superman also exists in that time, Superboy has to remain in the LSH time bubble while the team investigate, disguised by Princess Projectra, and confirm his belief. For the rest, you’ll have to read for yourself.

It’s not the greatest LSH story, although there is some revelations as to who the Time Trapper is, although this was made a little murkier as there was more than one of these purple cowled people out there later. The costume designs are still in the Dave Cockrum pattern for those figuring out their continuity and Tyroc still gets short rift. Writer Paul Levitz hits on several points of the LSH’s history along the way. At a smaller size, Mike Grell not being able to do tight pencils for the whole story would have been tolerated. At tabloid size and Vince Colletta’s adequate inking to meet a release deadline does look rushed. These days, there would have been a fair bet that multiple inkers would have been found.

Also from the original tabloid, there’s a feature illustrated by James Sherman showing the Legionnaires and their equipment. New to the volume, Paul Levitz has two pages outlining the plot he wrote originally and telling us all about the problems this tabloid had.

For newer LSH fans who just want to own a copy of the story, this will no doubt be the way to get it, although there’s a fair bet that others will just get it to add to their collection. As Paul Levitz also comments, this book cost 10 times as much as the original tabloid but then so does the latter tabloids, so nothing new there. The fact that the original only had a 75,000 print run which surely must have less than the number of LSH fans means some missed out. Don’t attempt to fly without a working flight ring.

GF Willmetts

March 2022

(pub: DC Comics, 2022. 80 page tabloid graphic novel hardback. Price: I pulled my copy for about £22.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-77951-335-9)

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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.

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