Deck Log Entry # 159 The Silver-Age Challenge---the Legion of Super-Heroes Edition . . . Answers!

I have to say, I loved the response to this particular quiz!  The responses were everything I hope for when I gin up one of these brain-teasers:  a reasonable amount of participation, a bit of brilliance from everyone who posted, some correct answers which I hadn’t thought of, and one question which nobody got right. 

 

(O.K., that last one is my ego speaking up, but you guys are so formidable that I feel a wee bit of triumph when I actually manage to stump all of you.)

 

By process of elimination, if there was one question that everyone missed, that means the other nine were all answered correctly by somebody.  (I wasn’t blowing smoke when I said you fellows are a formidable bunch.) 

 

I was particularly impressed with Philip Portelli.  As I mentioned last time, circumstances made these exceptionally tough questions, and Philip nailed five of them right out of the chute.  But, as I stated in a comment, everyone who played provided a something for which he can grab a percentage of the bragging rights.

 

I’ll save the question which all of you whiffed for last.  Incidentally, I’d wager that is the one question which all of you who took part are sure you got right.  So let’s get started, shall we?  And feel free to pat yourselves on the back, where appropriate.  You folks deserve it.

 

 

 

1.  What is the only substance which blocks Ultra Boy’s penetra-vision?

 

Everyone got this right, but the Silver Age Fogey was the first one in with it. 

 

In “The Unkillables”, from Adventure Comics # 361 (Oct., 1967), the President of Earth, Kandro Boltax, sends the Legion on a mission governed by secret orders.

 

As the panel above shows, to avoid compromise, the orders are sealed in a substance impervious to even Ultra Boy’s heretofore irresistible penetra-vision . . . inertron!

 

 

2.  Outside of Superman, who is the only other Justice League member mentioned by name in the Legion stories appearing in Adventure Comics?

 

This was probably the easiest question of the lot.  It didn’t fool any of you.  But Philip was the first to get it in.  Yes, it’s the Batman, and Philip even provided the main reference---“Colossal Boy’s One-Man War”, the second half of the Computo the Conqueror saga from Adventure Comics # 341 (Feb., 1966).

 

I was curious to see if anyone would cite the other time a Legionnaire mentioned the Gotham Gangbuster.  Nobody did, but for the record, it came in “The Adult Legion”, from Adventure Comics # 354 (Mar., 1967), when Cosmic Man mentions the costume-switching trick that Superman and Batman pulled on Doctor Light in JLA # 12 (Jun., 1962).

 

 

3.  The leaders of which five worlds comprise the Inner Council of the United Planets?

 

This one gave everyone pause, except for Philip, and even he had to go back and regroup before getting it right.  As Philip said, you have to go to Adventure Comics # 349 (Oct., 1966) and the story “The Rogue Legionnaire” to see the only Silver-Age appearance of the Inner Council of the United Planets

 

The Chancellor of Cyranus, the Queen of Amazonia, the President of Earth, the Prime Minister of Torad, and the Representative of Orax.

 

 

  4.  By the time the Legionnaires reached adulthood, so many members left the Legion that the group merged with the Legion of Substitute Heroes.  Which Subs became members of the Adult Legion?

 

One of these was easy and the other was tough.  Everybody got the easy one---Polar Man, who we saw participate in the Adult Legion adventures from Adventure Comics # 354-5. 

 

Only Philip got the tough one---Color King---because he remembered a response to a letter appearing in the Legion Outpost of Adventure Comics # 358 (Jul., 1967).

 

 

5.  While there were others, who was the only Legionnaire shown to be on the regular staff of The Legion Bulletin, the club newspaper read by thousands of law-enforcement officers throughout the universe?

 

I was a little surprised that this one wasn’t harder, but Philip and the Fogey and my good buddy, Brian Bailie, all got it without any problem.  It was, indeed, Duo Damsel, as we saw in “The Lone Wolf Legionnaire Reporter”, from Jimmy Olsen # 106 (Oct., 1966).

 

Incidentally, when I reviewed this story before adding the question to my list, I discovered that one of my own “But I Always Thought . . . “ beliefs was incorrect.  Many fan sources insist that Mon-El was the editor of The Legion Bulletin, and I had always thought that, too.  In fact, that was going to be the original question from this issue. 

 

However, going over the tale closely, at no time is Mon established as being the sheet’s editor.  In fact, the dialogue makes it clear that he isn’t even on its staff.  So I had to change my trivia question.

 

 

6.  Besides Superboy, Supergirl, Pete Ross, Jimmy Olsen, and Lana Lang, name five individuals from the twentieth century who travelled to the future to interact with the Legion in the thirtieth century.

 

Obviously the most debated question of the quiz.  You guys were looking for trickery when there wasn’t any.  “Individuals” referred to people, and not animals---not even animals who used to be human---and I had identified at least six persons who fit the bill.

 

There was a tiny bit of sneakiness in this question, though.  Not in how I worded it, but in my expectation of how you guys would think.  Something along the lines of “The Purloined Letter”.

 

No single responder got all six, although Philip got the requisite five.  He was the only one to do so.  But another of you got that sneaky “in plain sight” number six.

 

The ones that Philip got:

 

Lori Lemaris, who showed up in the thirtieth century for Lightning Lad’s funeral, in Adventure Comics # 304 (Jan., 1963) . . . .

 

 

Adolf Hitler and John Dillinger, who were brought to the thirtieth century by the villain Alaktor, in Adventure Comics # 314 (Nov., 1963).  The Fogey also correctly identified Hitler.

Dev-Em, the former juvenile delinquent from Krypton, who we saw reformed in Adventure Comics # 320 (May, 1964) . . . .

 

 

 

Lex Luthor, who travelled to the thirtieth century to take on the entire Legion in Adventure Comics # 325 (Oct., 1964).  The Fogey also remembered this.

 

 

Only Brian scored with the elusive number six in his answer---and the rest of you fellows are going to be slapping your heads over this.

 

Mon-El.

 

Right there in front of your faces, wasn’t he?  Good thinking, BB!

 

Now, let me take a minute to address some of the answers I ruled incorrect on this question.  The Fogey mentioned the Batman.  But the Masked Manhunter never took part in an adventure with the Legion in the thirtieth century.  He was shown to have joined the Adult Legion in World’s Finest Comics # 172 (Dec., 1967), but that was an Imaginary Story, and didn’t “really happen”.

 

And I couldn’t count Nero, the third villain hijacked to the future by Alaktor in Adventure Comics # 314, because Nero wasn’t from the twentieth century.  He lived during the first century.  A.D. 37-68, to be exact.

 

The Fogey also put down Mxyzptlk as one of the five.  There were three Mxyzptlks to appear in Silver-Age stories, but none of them fit the criteria of the question.  The Mxyzptlk who battled the Legion as Mask Man, in Adventure Comics # 310 (Jul., 1963), was a thirtieth-century descendant of the original Mr. Mxyzptlk and not from the twentieth century.

 

The same goes for the Mxyzptlk who appeared in Adventure Comics # 355 (Apr., 1967).  He was the brother of the evil Mask Man Mxy.

 

Now, the original Mxy did show up in Adventure Comics # 351 (Dec., 1966), but he never travelled to the thirtieth century.  Superboy and Mon-El interacted with the imp during the time of 1930’s Smallville.

 

And Fraser Sherman put Kid Psycho on his list.  But Kid Psycho was from the Legion’s own time.  He travelled back to the twentieth century to prove his worth to Superboy, hoping that would earn him a place in the Legion, as we saw in Superboy #  125 (Dec., 1965).

 

 

7.  Which Legionnaires’ super-powers did the Composite Superman not use in either of his two Silver-Age appearances (based on the Legion statuettes which gave him his powers)?

 

This is the question in which the Fogey redeemed himself.  To be sure, Philip got the answer that I had in mind.  (How he got it so fast is impressive as all get out.)  The only Legionnaires eligible for consideration were the ones included in the statuettes on display in the Superman Museum, as shown in World’s Finest Comics # 142 (Jun., 1964).  It is from these that Joe Meach received all of his super-powers.

 

It was the same collexion of statuettes that gave Meach his powers again, when the Composite Superman returned in World’s Finest Comics # 168 (Aug., 1967).  Over both of those appearances, there were only two of the Legionnaires represented whose powers were not shown used by the Composite villain . . . .

 

Those of Matter-Eater Lad and Light Lass . . . .

 

As I said, that was one of the answers Philip nailed right out of the box.  But leave it to the redoubtable Mr. Sofer to come up with something I had missed.  As he pointed out, at the climax of WFC # 168, the Composite Superman has used his computer mind (satisfying the Brainiac 5 power-usage, for those who were wondering) to come up with a “truly inspired means” of killing the World’s Finest Team.  By combining all of his super-powers, he transforms the heroes into half anti-matter.

 

I’m not sure how the science behind this would hold up (but then I don’t have a twelve-level effector mind).  But I have to rule that the Fogey’s answer---that none of the Legionnaires’ powers were omitted---does hold up.  My question did not require that a Legionnaire’s super-power had to be demonstrated individually to count, nor that it was used in its self-evident form.  His answer fits both the letter and spirit of the question.

 

So, good thinking, my friend!  In the interests of fairness, I gave both the Fogey and Philip credit for correct answers.

 

 

8.  Besides Clark (Superboy) Kent, Bob (Mon-El) Cobb, and Linda (Supergirl) Danvers, name five civilian identities used by full-fledged Legionnaires while in the twentieth century. 

 

This is another one which gave everybody fits.  And not just because the concept of “civilian identity” seemed a little difficult to grasp.  When I say this question gave everybody fits, I’m included in that, because I had to go back and re-think one answer.  So much so that I had to make a judgement call against myself!

 

First, here are the answers which are indisputable:

 

Marie Elkins and Betsy Norcross, civilian identities adopted by Duo Damsel and Shadow Lass while hiding out from Mordru the Merciless in twentieth-century Smallville, as seen in Adventure Comics # 369-70 (May and Jun., 1968).  Philip was first, but all of you got them, and I know you knew them without having to look at Mr. Portelli’s response.

 

The next three nobody got, but Philip was oh so close.  He was on the right track; he had the right story; but he couldn’t come up with the names of Phyllis Groves, Sharon Vaughn, and Tina Glenn---the civilian identities used by Phantom Girl and Shrinking Violet and Triplicate Girl while bailing Lois Lane out of trouble in “Lois Lane’s Luckiest Day”, from Lois Lane # 50 (Jul., 1964).

 

 

And that brings us to what was, for me, a sticking point.

 

I’m talking about Gary Crane, the identity used by Ultra Boy while undergoing Legion membership trial in Smallville, as seen in “The Boy with Ultra-Powers”, from Superboy # 98 (Jul., 1962).  All of you put him down as an answer, too.

 

Here was my problem.  When I wrote the question, I added the part specifying “full-fleged Legionnaires” simply to keep Jimmy Olsen and Lana Lang out of the picture.  But as I studied “The Boy with Ultra-Powers”, to make sure I had my facts right, something dawned on me.  When Ultra Boy and the Legion adult advisor, Marla, first appear in Smallville and take the identities of Gary and Ben Crane, Ultra Boy isn’t yet a Legionnaire.

 

The story is clear on this.  If Ultra Boy fails in his initiation test---to uncover Superboy’s secret identity---the penalty will be that he fails to become a Legionnaire.

 

So then I had to address this issue:  at what point did Ultra Boy stop posing as Gary Crane?  Before or after he became a Legionnaire?

 

The last time we see U-Boy as “Gary” is when he examines Clark Kent with his penetra-vision and discovers his Superboy costume beneath his ever-present red sweater.

 

However, it’s not until later, after Ultra Boy helps rescue Pete Ross from the bank vault that Marla tells him he is “now a full-fledged Legion member!”  And we know that U-Boy wasn’t posing as Gary anymore, because he tells Superboy that he and Marla were about to leave Smallville when they spotted Pete’s plight.

 

I went back and forth on this.  That word “now” in Marla’s speech bubble wrapped around my axle.  It sure seemed to say that Ultra Boy was not a full-fledged Legionnaire until after he abandoned his Gary Crane identity.  It was a pretty slim thing on which to base a determination.  On the other hand, no matter which way I went with, I was shaving it thin.

 

Finally, I came to a ruling.  The task set before Ultra Boy, in order to become a full-fledged Legionnaire, was to uncover Superboy’s secret identity.  Once he did that, he was in the club.  Not figure out that Superboy is Clark Kent and we’ll talk about it some more once you get back to the thirtieth century.

 

So, in my opinion, the instant Ultra Boy correctly determined that Clark was Superboy, he passed his test and he was a full-fledged Legionnaire.  And he was still Gary Crane when he did that.  Marla’s later use of the word “now” was just a random choice of words.

 

So, yes, “Gary Crane” counts as one of the correct answers to the question.

 

 

10.   Who is the only Legionnaire, outside of Superman, to appear in an Inferior Five story?

 

Technically, the Fogey was the first one to answer this correctly.  But he was only guessing.  It was Fraser Sherman who knew it definitively.  And he even provided the correct citation.  In Inferior Five # 2 (May-Jun., 1967), we see (or rather “don’t see”) Invisible Kid dropkicking hack composer George M. Coldham out of the Legion Clubhouse.

 

 

And that leaves the question with which everyone---Philip and the Fogey and BB and Mr. Sherman---came up “Maggie’s drawers”.

 

9.  Per the Legion Constitution, the Legion leader is answerable to only one person.  Who?

 

No, it’s not the President of the United Planets.

 

I got a chuckle out of seeing that “rubber stamp” response pop up over and over.  I figure it was because of one of two things.   Either, “President of the U.P.” is one of those “But I Always Thought . . . “ notions, or you Googled “the Legion Constitution” and after selecting one of the dozen hits that came up, that’s what it said---the President of the U.P.

 

Remember, guys, I said up front that all questions and answers would come from the time frame set down by Adventure Comics # 247 (Apr., 1958) to # 372 (Sep., 1968).  Now, if you went the Google route, all of those hits for “the Legion Constitution” are from sites that took their information, most likely, from one of two sources.

 

Legion of Super-Heroes # 308-10 (Feb. though Apr., 1984) published a version of the Legion Constitution.  And this was reprinted in Who’s Who in the Legion of Super-Heroes # 2-6 (Jun. through Oct., 1988).  Either one is well past the cut-off point of my quiz.  They don’t count.

 

In the time-frame I outlined, the Legion Constitution was published only once.  In two parts, appearing in Adventure Comics # 325-6 (Oct. and Nov., 1964).  It was the latter issue that contained the part about to whom the Legion leader is answerable to.

 

And here it is . . . .

 

I would have accepted simply “the Commissioner of the Science Police”.  But I would have awarded extra credit (and I know how much Mr. Portelli loves extra credit) for knowing that, for most of the Legion’s run in Adventure, the commissioner of the S.P. was Commissioner Wilson . . . .

 

 

 

 

But don’t kick yourselves too hard, fellows.  Each one of you demonstrated a rarefied level of Silver-Age Legion knowledge.  I know my old friend Brian enjoyed this kind of Silver-Age mental workout, and I have a hunch that I’ll be seeing some of these questions again on another forum.  Heh.

 

And it was a genuine pleasure to see my old discussion pal and a statesman emeritus on this site, the Silver-Age Fogey, chime in.  I’ve missed the perspective he brings to this kind of stuff.  And the more of Mr. Sherman’s comments I read, the more I’m certain he deserves a seat at the head table, too.

 

So, Philip, did you get your money’s worth?

Views: 1930

Comment by Richard Willis on June 20, 2013 at 5:57pm

In the panel posted, Superman says that the statuettes were given to Superboy by the LSH. They include Supergirl and Elastic Lad. Did you address this in a previous Decklog?

Comment by Philip Portelli on June 20, 2013 at 11:59pm

No specifics on when Superman received the Supergirl statuette but presumably the Legion sent it to the Man of Steel's time period, not the Boy of Steel's.

However on Panel 3 on the same page, Superman states that Jimmy Olsen asked the Legion to make an Elastic Lad statuette after he became an honorary member.

Comment by Luke Blanchard on June 21, 2013 at 2:18am

Richard Willis said: "For that matter, how does anyone stay sane spending all those years in the Phantom Zone? Did a later story address this?"

 

I can't recall seeing a bit that addressed it specifically, but someone else might have. From memory Superboy & the Legion of Super-Heroes #248 has a caption which say that although he's being much older than Superboy he seems younger, and far closer to his emotions (because in the story Shadow Lass had been badly injured, and the creators wanted to show him going wild over it). The digest The Best of DC #24 has pages depicting and describing each of the Legionnaires. The Mon-El one says he "watched a thousand years go by in the Phantom Zone, and that tempers his power with patience".

Comment by Philip Portelli on June 21, 2013 at 9:38am

In the Post-Crisis Legion of Super-Heroes #23 (D'86), Mon-El has to be put back into the Phantom Zone when the anti-lead serum no longer has any effect on him. He quickly falls into utter despair. Ironically it's Superboy who saves the day, giving him a transfusion of his super-blood!

Now, mind you, this was when DC was claiming that the Post-Crisis Superman was never Superboy which paved the way for the convoluted and confusing "Pocket Universe" reboot which was later erased when an alternate Mon-El AKA Valor replaced the Boy of Steel in the Legion's history.

This was to legitimize the then current Superman as the only Superman. But it's funny because I can count FIVE separate Superman continuities that the DCnU is putting out NOW! (The DCnu Supes, the new Earth 2 version, The Adventures of Superman retro, Smallville and Injustice)

Comment by Fraser Sherman on June 21, 2013 at 9:55am

Yes, they've gotten over the "multiple Earths are too confusing for new readers" thing. Too late for me to really care though.

Comment by Eric L. Sofer on June 21, 2013 at 11:14am
Richard Willis, I don't recall any Deck Logs explaining the presence of Kara or Jimmy. But Superboy was under a hypnotic compulsion from Supergirl to forget about any 30th century memories in detail... and that's when Superboy would have met Jimmy (we know they met during Proty's test for the next Legion leader.) It may well be that Superboy just followed the suggestion and ignored those two statuettes.
Comment by Philip Portelli on June 21, 2013 at 12:24pm

Again it was stated that it was Superman who received the Jimmy Olsen statuette.

Comment by Eric L. Sofer on June 28, 2013 at 12:10pm
Philip Portelli, I can't argue it with you; I don't have any references about Superman receiving that statuette. But it's pretty clear from the above panel that Superboy received the statuettes, and there is no doubt that Superboy and Jimmy Olsen appeared together in at least one Legion story. Nothing in that panel suggests that Superboy got one of the statuettes after he grew up. That's all I'm saying here...
Comment by Eric L. Sofer on June 28, 2013 at 12:12pm
Dammit, can't edit. Yes, you did cite a source - and I have no way to look it up. So... I'm just pretending nothing ever happened, la la la, super-intelligent animals MIGHT count as individuals, la la la... :) :) :)

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