Deck Log Entry # 226 The Silver-Age Challenge---the Legion of Super-Heroes Edition II

At the conclusion of last year's Silver-Age challenge, I told you guys that I already had the questions for this year's quiz prepared.  Well, I did, as in past tense.  Last week, when I gave them a final scrubbing, I discovered that I had forgotten that I had already asked one of them in my first Legion quiz seven years ago.  Another one was so similar to a question from that 2013 LSH quiz that it would have been too easy to find the answer. 

 

And when I checked a third poser to see how Google-proof it was, one of the hits took me back to a comment I posted three years ago on one of the General Comics Discussions threads, a comment which gave away the answer.

 

So I had to generate three new questions to throw at you.  Fortunately, one of them turned out to be better than any of those I tossed out.  By "better", I mean that it's strong in that "Hey, I didn't know that!" quality which makes the answers fun for folks to learn.  The other two, alas, are clearly from "the Legion of Substitute Questions", but they'll serve in a pinch.

You old vets of my Silver-Age challenges are already flexing your typing fingers.  But, as always, for any test-takers who're here because they landed on this page while looking for something else and decided, "What the hey, I 'll give it a go!", here are the rules---with one special change that even the veterans should note:

 

1.  All of the questions, and answers, are drawn from Silver-Age material.  Ordinarily, that means anything produced by DC from the publication of Showcase # 4 (Sep.-Oct., 1956) to December, 1968, which I demark as the end of the Silver Age.  However, just as with the last Legion quiz, I draw a special demarcation for this one; the parameters are slightly narrowed from the usual beginning-to-end of the Silver Age envelope.  Here, all the questions and all the answers will fall between the time frame marked from the Legion’s first appearance, in Adventure Comics # 247 (Apr., 1958), to the last Silver-Age Legion story penciled by Curt Swan, in Adventure Comics # 372 (Sep., 1968).

 

Note, though, that the questions and answers can come from any publication; it's just that the time frame is bound by those two issues of Adventure Comics

 

2.  I’m definitely not infallible.  I might have missed something, somewhere, in twelve years of DC publication.  If you come up with an answer that meets the criteria of the question and can cite the Silver-Age reference, then I will gladly award you credit.  “But I always thought . . . “ explanations won’t cut it, though.

 

3.  I’ve got no problem with anybody using a search engine to look for answers.  I try to make my questions as immune to Googling as possible.  The right answers are difficult to find with a search engine, though I cannot say impossible.  At least once, I tripped myself up when an article I had written for another site contained the answer to a question from that year’s quiz, and one of the players found it.

 

4.  There are no prizes.  You’re playing for bragging rights.

Any time I post a Deck Log entry involving the Legion of Super-Heroes, I get a considerable amount of activity.  And, sometimes, controversy, too---but the sort that is well-mannered and respectful when men of good will disagree, and that sort is always welcome.  So, we'll probably see the same thing this time.  At least, I hope so, if I done my job as quizmaster well enough.

 

O.K., then, here we go!  As usual, I'll start off with a lob . . .

 

1.  Who was the first non-charter member of the Legion of Substitute Heroes?

 

2.  Who is the leader of the Legion Espionage Squad and which Legionnaires are permanently assigned to the squad?

 

3.  On what 20th-century television programme did the Legion make a guest appearance?

 

4.  On what world is Element Lad's super-power viewed as criminal and results in planetary banishment?

 

5.  Besides their super-son, which Legionnaires have Ma and Pa Kent knowingly met?

 

6.  Excluding the Adult Legion stories, name all of the Legionnaires who, at some point after joining the Legion, permanently replaced their super-hero names with new ones.

 

7.  Thanks to the machinations of Dream Girl, Lightning Lass was expelled from the Super-Hero Club for violating what provision of the Legion Constitution?

 

8.  Other than Luthor, what recurring 20th-century super-villain from Earth was mentioned by name in a Legion story appearing in Adventure Comics?

 

9.  According to the Legion Constitution, what is the maximum number of successive space missions a Legionnaire may undertake without a rest period?

 

10.  We all know that Cosmic Boy was the Legion's first leader, right?  But how do we know this?  Where---comic and issue number---was that first definitively established?

 

 

Good luck, gang!

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6) Excellent catch by those who thought of Sunboy: in Adventure #302, Cosmic Boy, putative leader, addresses Sun Boy as "Dirk Morgna" one panel before CB tells him that he must be expelled; it happens on page 5 of the story in 302, and on page 212 of the first Showcase Presents Legion of Super-Heroes volume, for those not blessed to have the Archive Editions or the original issue. Of course I could be missing another one.

I should have asked this before, but is it considered dirty pool to look up the stories? I would have tried to answer the all the questions off the top of my head, but I didn't do so well.

I should perhaps expand on this answer of mine.  I'm aware (and was when I wrote it) that Mon El was not a member of the Legion in Superboy #89.  That issue was just the first time that he met the Kents.  Since the question only asks for names, not issue numbers, I'm hoping I won't get marked down for this answer.

As various people have said, he was a member when he met the Kents again in Adventure #359, accompanied by Duo Damsel and Shadow Lass.

Peter Wrexham said on June 7, 2020 at 9:00pm:

5. Ma and Pa Kent have certainly met Mon El (Superboy #89), Duo Damsel and Shadow Lass (Adventure #369).  I can't immediately identify any others.

Some thoughts:

1) While the Kents knew Mon-El, of course, they should have been shocked when they saw him again in Adventure #369. They could not know that he was a Legionnaire as Superboy could not have told them as he forgets about Mon-El's 30th century life every time he returns to Smallville! True, Mon was in Smallville in #351 but the Kents never saw him. And if they did, they still wouldn't know that he was a Legionnaire!

Mon's whole history is filled with such problems!

2) While Timber Wolf did not join the Legion proper until Adventure #372 after debuting as Lone Wolf (and not including the Adult Legion story where we first learned of that name), he did accept entrance into the Legion Academy where presumably he changed his name. So while not a member, he was part of the Legion organization in another branch.

3) Sun Boy doesn't count in any name change question as "Dirk Morgna" is his real name and not another codename.

Well I certainly do and I've never hidden the fact.

Fraser

Misery in Spades said:

I should have asked this before, but is it considered dirty pool to look up the stories? I would have tried to answer the all the questions off the top of my head, but I didn't do so well.

Yes, dealing with time travel and knowledge of facts regarding Mon-El was always a bit tricky.

In this case, what you say made me think that once the Kents saw Mon-El in Smallville alongside Shadow Lass and Duo Damsel, you pretty much have to assume that they at some point not too long later asked if Mon-El was a legionnaire.  Unless they were hypnotized themselves to forget about seeing Mon-El, but that just sounds too much trouble for not much in the way of a clear benefit.

So it is reasonable to expect that from that point on Superboy no longer forgot about Mon-El being a legionnaire when he was at the present time.  Of course, that means that he has to take care not to mention that ot Mon-El himself.

Peter Wrexham said:

I should perhaps expand on this answer of mine.  I'm aware (and was when I wrote it) that Mon El was not a member of the Legion in Superboy #89.  That issue was just the first time that he met the Kents.  Since the question only asks for names, not issue numbers, I'm hoping I won't get marked down for this answer.

As various people have said, he was a member when he met the Kents again in Adventure #359, accompanied by Duo Damsel and Shadow Lass.

Peter Wrexham said on June 7, 2020 at 9:00pm:

5. Ma and Pa Kent have certainly met Mon El (Superboy #89), Duo Damsel and Shadow Lass (Adventure #369).  I can't immediately identify any others.

Misery in Spades said:

I should have asked this before, but is it considered dirty pool to look up the stories? I would have tried to answer the all the questions off the top of my head, but I didn't do so well.

Nope, not dirty pool, at all.  I expect you folks to use any resource available and plan my questions around that.

The trick isn't looking up the story; it's knowing which story to look up.

For example I found an answer in one of his earlier quizzes by remembering "I think that's in JLA 55" and perusing the issue. Oddly I was right but I had the context of the information completely wrong. Memory is weird.

Commander Benson said:

Misery in Spades said:

I should have asked this before, but is it considered dirty pool to look up the stories? I would have tried to answer the all the questions off the top of my head, but I didn't do so well.

Nope, not dirty pool, at all.  I expect you folks to use any resource available and plan my questions around that.

The trick isn't looking up the story; it's knowing which story to look up.

So, if Superboy no longer forgets that Mon-El will become a Legionnaire, does he remember all the ancillary details?  If he knows that a cure for Mon's lead poisoning won't be found until the 30th century, it means that there's no point in continuing to search for a cure himself.  Which in turn could lead (no pun intended) to a few tense conversations, whenever Supes uses a Phantom Zone viewer..

"Hi, Kal!  So, how are you getting on with finding a cure for me?"

"Oh, er, yes.  It's going fine.  I've, er, got some promising lines of enquiry..."

"I haven't seen you working on it lately."

"Well, I, er - Wait!  What's that?  Sorry, Mon, I've just spotted an emergency on Mars with my telescopic vision.  Gotta go now.  We'll catch up later.  Bye!"

And this could keep on for the rest of Superman's life!

Luis Olavo de Moura Dantas said:

Yes, dealing with time travel and knowledge of facts regarding Mon-El was always a bit tricky.

In this case, what you say made me think that once the Kents saw Mon-El in Smallville alongside Shadow Lass and Duo Damsel, you pretty much have to assume that they at some point not too long later asked if Mon-El was a legionnaire.  Unless they were hypnotized themselves to forget about seeing Mon-El, but that just sounds too much trouble for not much in the way of a clear benefit.

So it is reasonable to expect that from that point on Superboy no longer forgot about Mon-El being a legionnaire when he was at the present time.  Of course, that means that he has to take care not to mention that ot Mon-El himself.

Technically Superman shouldn't know about Mon-El's 30th century cure and Legion membership as Mon is still in the Phantom Zone throughout Superman's lifespan.

Despite, y'know, having a Mon-El statuette among the Legion ones (that he got when he was Superboy) that are displayed in the Superman Museum for all to see!

Perhaps he only remembers all that when he is directly in Mon's corporeal presence! That would explain why Mon being in the 20th century for Jimmy Olsen's initiation/hazing didn't get much of a reaction from the Man of Steel.

I addressed the whole Mon-El/Superboy's post-hypnotic command problem in a comment I posted here nine years ago

_________________________________________________________

Mon-El has always been the Gordian Knot when it came to time-travel in the Superman mythos.

 

At first, the idea of Superboy regularly zooming 1,030 or so years into the future to have adventures with his Legion buddies was a peachy idea.

 

Then, after the Boy of Steel grew up to be Superman, his cousin Supergirl was made a member of the Legion---a Legion contemporaneous to the one that Superboy palled around with.  A tricky situation, but dodgable, as long as the super-cousins remained separated by stories.

 

Then Uncle Mort overturned the apple cart by having Superboy and Supergirl show up at the same time in the same story.  "The Stolen Super-Powers", from Adventure Comics # 304 (Jan., 1963), to be precise.  Now you have a problem.  Superman was shocked as all get out to see Supergirl arrive on Earth.  But, how could that be when, as Superboy, he had already met the Girl of Steel during Legion business? 

 

When reader Jerry Weissman, of Providence, Rhode Island, asked that very question, in the Legion Outpost lettercol in Adventure Comics # 333 (Jun., 1965), Weisinger had an explantion ready to go---thus, begat the existence of the post-hypnotic command implanted into Superboy's brain by Supergirl.  Whenever the Boy of Steel learnt anything specific to his future life while on Legion missions in the thirtieth century, the post-hypnotic command caused him to forget those details whenever he returned to his own time.

 

It seemed like a simple, pat solution.

 

Except Mort forgot a little detail himself---Mon-El.

 

Mon-El arrived on Earth in Superboy's time, and after being inadvertently exposed to lead, Mon was cast into the Phantom Zone by the Boy of Steel to save his life.  At the end of that story, we saw Superboy swear to find a cure for the deadly lead poisoning afflicting Mon and then release him from the Zone.

 

Periodically, Mon-El would pop up in various Superman family titles, rendering whatever assistance he could from the Zone to the now-grown-up Superman or Jimmy Olsen or Lois Lane or Supergirl.  Often, these scenes would bring about the reassertion of Superman's promise to cure Mon and get him out of the Zone.  ("Yeah, I'll get right on that---right after I take care of that 'enlarge Kandor' thing.") 

 

The spanner wrench in the reduction gear, though, was the Legion story in Adventure Comics # 305 (Feb., 1963).  This is the tale in which Mon-El is permanently released from the Phantom Zone, over a millennium after he went in, when Brainiac 5 develops a permanent cure for Mon's lead poisoning.

 

This is where the whole post-hypnotic-command-in-Superboy's-brain thing gets ricketty.

 

If one assumes that Mon-El's past history with Superboy is just enough of a personal detail that the Boy of Steel forgets that Mon gets cured and freed in A.D. 2963 whenever he returns to twentieth-century Smallville, that allows for his frequent reflexions, as boy and man, that "someday I just gotta find that cure for Mon-El and get him out of that intangible hell I put him in."

 

But it doesn't make sense with regard to other events, such as the ones you pointed out, Philip.  If the post-hypnotic command applied to Superboy's memory of Mon-El and the Legion, then, why wasn't he confused by a Mon-El figure being among the Legion statuettes kept in the Kent basement, seen in Adventure Comics # 350 (Nov., 1966)? Or by Mon's presence among the (different) statuettes of the Legion on display in the Superman Museum, in both Composite Superman tales?

 

Now, one could rationalise those things away.  Superboy knows that the post-hypnotic command makes him forget details specific to him whenever he gets home and he has learnt to accept those gaps in his memory, trusting that the Legion knows what its doing.  (That was the Weisinger universe, all right.)  So when he saw the Mon-El statuettes, he might have figured, "Beats the hell out of me why a figurine of Mon-El is there, but it probably makes sense when I'm in the future."

 

But that rationalisation doesn't hold up under the events of Adventure Comics # 369-70.  When Superboy and Mon-El and Duo Damsel and Shadow Lass travelled back to 1930's Smallville, why wasn't the Boy of Steel's first reaction:  "Mon, how the blazes did you get out of the Zone?  And why aren't you . . . er . . . dead?"

 

O.K., sure, the other Legionnaires might have explained it to him, between panels of that story.  That would mean that Superboy would then have twentieth-century-gained knowledge that Mon wouldn't be released from the Zone until the thirtieth century.  The post-hypnotic command wouldn't apply.

 

And even if it did, for most of the events of Adventure Comics # 369-70, Mon-El resided in the Kent household, under his old identity of Bob Cobb.  Ma and Pa Kent never got any post-hypnotic commands.  So, let's say, a week after the Legionnaires defeated Mordru, Clark finishes Sunday dinner and tells his parents, "See you later, mom and dad.  I'll be down in my basement lab working on a cure for Mon-El's lead poisoning."

 

"Er---why, son?"

 

And if the post-hypnotic command didn't apply to Superboy's memories of Mon-El in the future---he knew darn well that Mon wouldn't get out until the thirtieth century---then why was he, as an adult, so frequently thinking "I need to find a cure for Mon-El's lead poisoning"?

 

Sure, the real reason is certain stories were written before other, contradictory ones were.  But the whole point in an explanation like "Supergirl's post-hypnotic suggestion" was it was designed to reconcile those inadvertent discrepancies.

 

And then there's Mon-El himself.  Sure, maybe one could say that, when future Mon appeared on twentieth-century Earth in Adventure Comics # 369-70, the present-day Mon, the one in the Phantom Zone, just happened to be watching something else.  But that doesn't explain another thing.  Occasionally, a Legion story would show Mon-El moaning and groaning over all of his friends and family from the twentieth century being dead and gone.  Adventure Comics # 356 (May, 1967), as one case in point.

 

Again, why?

 

As we saw in Adventure Comics # 369-70,  the twentieth-century Mon-El being in the Phantom Zone gets him around that pesky DC time-travel rule that states that one becomes an invisible, intangible phantom whenever he travels within his own lifetime.  Mon-El could zoom back to the twentieth century any time he wanted and hang out with his family and his old buds.

 

No, Mon-El was one of those situations that Mort hoped we wouldn't look too closely at.

It took me a few minutes to remember that by this point in time the Superman books had that rule about time travel to one's own time.  Weirdly reminescent of the Phantom Zone itself.

An additional fact: the second Composite Superman story was in World's Finest #168 (August 1967, the same cover date of Adventure #359) and had the villain use Triplicate Girl's power to fight Superman, Batman and Robin all at the same time.  In so doing, the specifically mentions having the strength of Supergirl, Mon-El and Ultra Lad - all of which, of course, were represented among the statuettes that gave him his powers. 

Superman would have to be very absent-minded indeed not to realize that Mon-El was a legionnaire at that point.  Of course, if the Superboy of the stories of the time learned the same fact a few months later in #369-#370, that becomes a moot point since we may assume that Superman remembers nearly everything of his past as Superboy.

As for the statuettes that Superboy had in Adventure #350, they may have been explainable as an indication that Mon-El would simply visit the future and participate in Legion adventures himself, as he was certainly capable of doing.  If anything, that might motivate Superboy that much more to keep looking for a cure to Mon's lead poisoning.

I wonder why neither Supergirl's set of statuettes nor Superman's seem to include a replica of Superboy himself.  Superman's set even includes Elastic Lad (Jimmy Olsen), and there no way Superboy would ever be perceived as less deserving of such a spot.  Maybe the thought of the time was to deemphasize the Kryptonian's membership in the Legion, as hinted by #350.

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