I'm going to regret this...

Unlike the other major superhero teams (the Justice Society, the Justice League, the Avengers, etc.), the Legion of Super-Heroes developed gradually, appearing as guest stars throughout all the Superman titles until they go their own series in Adventure Comics #300. As a result their early adventures were uneven and sometimes contradictive. I'll be rereading them in order to put things in perspective and point out the highlights (hopefully).

I have a great love for the Legion as it was the first book that I bought regularly without noticing that I was doing so. I will be using the Legion Archives for this so there will be minor appearances being skipped over. I welcome additions.

I will also try not to comment on events yet to happen, publishing wise and chronologically and focus on each story individually.

Beyond FIRST APPEARANCES, REJECTED APPLICANTS and COSTUME CHANGES I will be pointing out

  • FUTURE FORGOTTEN--concepts introduced yet dropped just as quickly
  • "AS IF"--the Legion's rudeness factor which usually seques into...
  • SOBS OF STEEL ---how many times the Legion makes Superboy and Supergirl cry!
  • SUPER-ITIS--how often elements of the Superman mythos are seen in the series
  • PERSONAL THEORY--my own theories about the whys and hows of the Legion chronicles

First, let me say that I do not plan to visit any Legion sites while I do this. I may remember some facts about the stories but I am hoping not to regurgitate the same stuff over and over again. If it gets too repetitive, please let me know.

Second, I will add when I can and hope that you will all bear with me.

Third, this is a thread for all Legion fans but please don't get ahead of me! I'm not as fast as some of you. However any input is more than welcome!

Long Live the Legion!

Next: Greetings From the Future or "In Smallville One Day, Clark Kent Receives a Sudden Shock!"

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SUPERBOY #100 (O'62) The Day Pete Ross Became a Robot! by Jerry Siegel and George Papp.

Pete Ross, Clark Kent's best friend and the only person (besides the Kents) who knows he's Superboy (though the Boy of Steel does not know that he knows), is showing his new hobby to Chief Parker: collecting sounds via his portable tape recorder. (Pete really needs to start dating!) This allows him to overhear Superboy's radio message to the Chief that he is leaving for the future to attend a Legion meeting and that he's taking all his Superboy Robots with him because the Legion wants to study them. But he will be leaving one behind to handle any emergency.

Pete decides to rush to the site of Superboy's secret tunnel so he can record the sound of Superboy flying off at great speed. But after the Teen of Tomorrow and his metal minions depart, Pete notices that a TWIG has blocked the trapdoor from closing properly so he helpfully removes it. But then he's tempted to go down the tunnel and look around Superboy's secret lab. As he tours the Basement of Semi-Solitude, Pete comes across new Legion statuettes which now include his new friend Ultra-Boy. He also decides to try on an anti-gravity belt from another world and fly around until he smashes into the sole Superboy Robot and damages it!

The Blonde Buddy cannot repair the Robot and an emergency comes up! Someone is trapped in a jeweler's vault and the repairman is stuck in traffic! Pete uses the belt to fly to his house where he has a complete Superboy costume, including a life-like facemask! Pete invented cosplay!

Pete has no clue how to open the vault so pretends to "malfunction" until the repairman arrives and opens the vault with a small explosive charge. Pete uses the explosion to "reactivate" and receives a crate of high explosives for his trouble! Suddenly an ICEBERG enters Smallville Harbor, threatening shipping so the Pseudo-Robot flies to it and tricks everyone into thinking that he used a "super-shout" to shatter the iceberg by using the crate of explosives and a recording of a lion's roar! Then he uses the anti-gravity belt to clear away a tree from the highway so a bus full of orphans can see the circus! Awwwwwwwwwww!

Back at the Kent house, Pete has spent hours trying to repair the Robot and is now fearful that Superboy will return and learn what he has done! Suddenly a fire breaks out in the kitchen, endangering Ma and Pa Kent. At that moment a Legion Time Bubble materializes with Ultra-Boy at its controls! The Valiant Visionary uses his penetra-vision to locate and repair the Robot and sends it to save the Kents! Ultra-Boy explains to Pete that the Legion has been monitoring his situation the entire time, debating on whether or not to tell Superboy. He convinces them not to and the Legion was impressed by Pete's ingenuity. Realizing that Pete could not repair the Robot, Ultra-Boy came to help. He also erased the Robot's memory of Pete and the two friends from two centuries return to their respective homes.

The next day, Clark sees the paper of all the deeds his Superboy Robot did, never knowing that it was Pete the whole time!

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He took ALL of the robots? That's really convenient for the plot of this story.

Given the number of disasters that hit Smallville (and the rest of the world) on seemingly an hourly basis, I'm amazed he'd leave the world so poorly defended.

Tell me about how convenient it was! Or rather let me tell you!

Randy Jackson said:

He took ALL of the robots? That's really convenient for the plot of this story.

Given the number of disasters that hit Smallville (and the rest of the world) on seemingly an hourly basis, I'm amazed he'd leave the world so poorly defended.

The amount of contrivances, coincidences and outright contradictions needed to make this story work are numerous and a bit numbing!

  • Pete's tape recorder always seems out of place as a bit too techy for the time period.
  • The Legion wanting to study Superboy's robots is a bit odd too but robots have always been portrayed inconsistently throughout the Legion's early period. Remember the 30th century had a Superboy Robot in a classroom!
  • Superboy not noticing Pete outside his tunnel is just sloppy! Surely he would have scan the area before flying out!
  • The hatch to the tunnel is far too easy to open if Pete can do it. Superboy should have made it necessary to use super-strength or something!
  • And Pete goes down the tunnel and enters the basement. And nothing. No sirens. No alarms. And the Robot is inert!
  • And the Superboy Robot which is supposed to be semi-invulnerable gets damaged to the point of uselessness when a teenager crashes into it!
  • And Pete is now a master of disguise!
  • Ironic that Pete must save someone trapped in a vault when two issues prior, he was trapped in a vault!
  • Actually Pete doesn't save the guy. At all. He just succeeds in making everyone think that he's a robot!
  • Thank Rao that guy gave Robo-Pete some dynamite!
  • An iceberg in Smallville? I guess we aren't in Kansas!
  • The Legion was observing Pete the entire time? Where was Superboy during all this? How were they keeping him from finding all this out?

Still this was a good story with some neat, almost sitcom-like twists!

I liked the budding friendship of Pete and Ultra Boy, making his second appearance with his name still hyphenated. It's mentioned a time or two then is sadly dropped.

Pete knew that he made a terrible mistake and tried his best to rectify it. His handling of what must have been a frightening and stressful situation led the Legion to make Pete an official Honorary Legionnaire, though they could never tell Superboy exactly why!

Rating: LLL out of LLLLL for the true power of friendship!

Next: Sundown, You Better Take Care! Or Well, Nice Knowing You!

Time travel. Or they did it while Superboy was getting ice cream--from Alpha-Centauri.

Philip Portelli said:


  • The Legion was observing Pete the entire time? Where was Superboy during all this? How were they keeping him from finding all this out?

Philip Portelli said:

I liked the budding friendship of Pete and Ultra Boy, making his second appearance with his name still hyphenated. It's mentioned a time or two then is sadly dropped.

Pete knew that he made a terrible mistake and tried his best to rectify it. His handling of what must have been a frightening and stressful situation led the Legion to make Pete an official Honorary Legionnaire, though they could never tell Superboy exactly why!

As you know, I also postulated in one of my older Deck Log entries (http://captaincomics.ning.com/profiles/blogs/deck-log-entry-100-but-i) that the events in "The Day Pete Ross Became a Robot" formed the reason that the Legion made Pete an honorary member.  It's the only thing that makes sense.  Clearly, he is not made an honorary member at the end of "The Boy with Ultra Powers", from Superboy # 98 (Jul., 1962).  Then, four issues later, Mort Weisinger states in the Smallville Mailsack letter column that Pete is an honorary Legionnaire---with no explanation given.

The only involvement that Pete has with the Legion between those two issues is in Superboy # 100 (Oct., 1962), and Pete's actions in the tale impress the observing Legionnaires enough that it follows that they would reward the youngster with an honorary membership.  That's a bit more than a mere assumption: we know that Pete was, indeed, an honorary Legionnaire; we're just identifying the most likely reason.

As to Pete's particular friendship with Ultra Boy, the story to which you alluded, I believe, includes a scene which iterates that notion.

I don't often comment on your reviews of these old Legion tales, but I'm enjoying them thoroughly.  Keep 'em coming, Philip.

Thank you for the kind words and encouragement, Commander. It means a great deal!

I've always loved this story since I first read it in Superman Family #167 (N'74). Pete even got his own logo!

btw, I always thought that this scene from the Post Crisis Legion of Super-Heroes #37 (Au'87) was a fitting testimony to Pete's deserving his honorary membership!

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