Deck Log Entry # 158 The Silver-Age Challenge---the Legion of Super-Heroes Edition

I try to accommodate my readers.  Sometimes, it’s a snap, especially when the reader himself provides the inspiration, such as when Commando Cody raised the question of why Lightning Lad wasn’t held to task for killing Zaryan the Conqueror.


Other times, the sailing's not so smooth.  Figserello has been waiting for me to do a piece on Animal Man.  The hold-up on that one is lack of source material.  And I’m always rummaging through my brain for ideas I can plumb from Marvel Comics.  I know Marvel fans get the short shrift here.  But as I explained not too long ago, Silver-Age Marvel didn’t have nearly the sub-strata of topics that DC did.  But I’m working on it, so I don’t leave you Marvel mavens out in the cold.


And then Philip Portelli has hit me up a couple of times for a Silver-Age quiz on the Legion of Super-Heroes.  So he must be thrilled to see the title of this Entry. 


Philip’s request for a Silver-Age Legion quiz wasn’t as easy to accommodate as a lot of you might think.  There were a couple of major roadblocks.  First, as always, I try to gin up questions that can’t be answered with a quick Google-search.  This was especially difficult in this case because the Legion of Super-Heroes has always been a heavily fan-supported series.  Off-hand, I can’t think of any other series that has made use of reader input as much as the Legion.  And that meant the Internet is packed deep in Legion-related sites.  They vary, of course, in accuracy and in range---some cover only a specific era of the series; others try to cover them all---but the ultimate effect is a saturation of details.  Just about any question I could ask was likely to have the answer buried somewhere, in some Legion fan’s site, ready to be plucked by a search engine.


The other problem is most of the good stuff, the kind of questions with answers that make the reader spout “Hey, wow, I didn’t know that!”, I’ve already discussed here---either in one of my previous Deck Log Entries or on one of the threads of conversation on the forum.  I didn’t want to be reduced to “What was Cosmic Boy holding in his hand on page five, panel four, of Adventure Comics # 301?” sort of questions, which are too dreary for anyone to really care.


It seemed like an arduous task to tackle.  Fortunately for Philip, the other day I was researching the details of a Legion story for an unrelated purpose, and suddenly, a perfect question for a Legion quiz presented itself.  O.K., that was one.  But the challenge was shoved right in my face.  Could I come up with nine more?


Well, gang, I puzzled and puzzled till my puzzler was sore, but I finally did it.  Ten pretty decent quiz questions.


Before l launch them, there’s one slight change in the usual rules that I need to mention.  For this quiz, the parameters are slightly narrowed from the usual beginning-to-end of the Silver Age envelope.  This time, 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). 


And this is the important part:  any DC title was fair game for me in putting together this quiz, so it’s not limited to the Legion series proper.  But all of questions and the only acceptable answers come from DC comics published within the boundaries of those two issues of Adventure.


Got it?  Then here we go!



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


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


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


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?


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?


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.


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)?


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. 


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



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

Good luck!

Views: 1943

Comment by Brian H. Bailie on May 31, 2013 at 4:49pm

The tough part is always trying not to sneak a peak at the answers people come up with at the bottom, but since there's no fun in that, let's give it my own best shot…

1. Inertron

2. Batman

3. I know Earth is one, and I can't for the life of me remember the others. I don't think they're in our star system, though.

4. Polar Boy

5. Duo Damsel

6. Five?!?! Sheesh! Okay, Comet, Krypto, Streaky, and Beppo I think qualify for a start. I also think Mon-El qualifies, just for the sheer obviousness of it, so… there you go. Nyeah.

7. I may miss quite a few, but I'm going by the statues that actually got hit by lightning: Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Shrinking Violet, Matter-Eater Lad, Starboy, Light Lass, Triplicate Girl, Elastic Lad, Bouncing Boy, Invisible Kid, Phantom Girl (He used super-intelligence, so I'm crediting that to Brainy, and none of the other geniuses on the team.)

8. I defer to the others with this one.

9. The President of the United Planets

10. I know you said "outside of Superman", but does Superboy count? If so, I'm picking him, since you chose as the "team photo" the picture of the I5 from the cover of #6, where Superboy is right next to Superman.

Whew! Another brilliant test of what we don't know, Commander! Many thanks for the time you put into this! It's greatly appreciated!

Comment by Lee Semmens on June 1, 2013 at 5:42am

6) The story from Adventure Comics #314 wherein the villain, Alaktor brings Nero, John Dillinger, and Adolf Hitler to the 30th century, is amusing in the sense that they are referred to as three of the "most evil" villains of history.

Now, Hitler I can readily accept in such a grouping; Nero is really a bit of a stretch, but Dillinger?!?!

Comment by Commander Benson on June 1, 2013 at 7:16am

I appreciate the zeal which you fellows are bringing to this quiz.  I love it when one of my quizzes generates this kind of activity.


But . . . I think a few of you are overreaching for the answers.


I sense that there might be some thinking that I got "cutesy clever" with some of them.  Philip, with all of the previous quizzes of mine that you've tackled, you should know better than that.


For instance, I can almost hear the thoughts palpitating in this one . . . .


"Let's see, Krypto and Streaky and Beppo and Comet are super-intelligent and virtually sentient, and the commander said 'individuals' in his question, not 'people' or 'persons', so I'll bet he was trying to slip the Super-Pets into the question.  Boy, that's sneaky."




I choose my words for precision, for connotation, sometimes even for euphonia, but not for esotericism.  "Individuals" connote people.


If Dad and Mom, their son, their daughter, and the family dog and family cat are out for a summer drive in their 1972 Ford Pinto and they get rear-ended, the news report the next day will read:  "Fiery crash claims the lives of a family of four and their pets," or " . . . four individuals and their animals," or something like that.  The news report will not read "Fiery crash claims the lives of six individuals."


Individuals are people.


The connotation is equally clear with regards to the phrase "civilian identities".  "Civilian ID" does not mean "any disguise worn by the super-hero."  "Civilian identity" means an ordinary, everyday guise assumed by the hero when he wants to fit in with everybody else.


So, unfortunately, Philip, not only do you not get extra credit for the Collector, Circe, Hercules, and Samson, your headcount is still a little shy.


As for the Inferior Five question, I can hear the thinking on that one, too.  "The commander said 'outside of Superman', but he didn't say anything about 'Superboy" and there he is, right there on the cover of Inferior Five # 6.  That's sneaky, too."


Fellows, on that sort of question, when I say "outside of Superman", that means "Kal-El of Krypton", and it doesn't matter if it's Superman, Superboy, or Superbaby.  I wouldn't pull anything as lame as Superboy counts but Superman doesn't.


Moreover, Superman appears in an Inferior Five story, but Superboy doesn't, and my question asked for which Legionnaire, other than Superman, appears in an I5 story.  So it doesn't matter who is on the cover of Inferior Five # 6---a cover is not a story.


You guys are all over these three questions, but your thinking is taking the wrong emphasis.  That's what's keeping you from nailing them.  (That is, if you haven't already; two have them have been nailed---each by a different responder.)  I've seen some pretty impressive headwork from all of you on the others, so I know you can dope these out.

Comment by Richard Willis on June 1, 2013 at 2:52pm

Lee Semmens said:

....the villain, Alaktor brings Nero, John Dillinger, and Adolf Hitler to the 30th century, is amusing in the sense that they are referred to as three of the "most evil" villains of history.

Now, Hitler I can readily accept in such a grouping; Nero is really a bit of a stretch, but Dillinger?!?!

I agree with you on Dillinger. Bonnie and Clyde killed with abandon. Dillinger tried to minimize the gunplay.

Nero, OTOH, was a truly evil guy. He spent a lot of time killing and persecuting Jews and early Christians, and apparently had his own mother murdered. The Biblical reference to the number of the Beast, 666, is generally thought to be a numerological reference to Nero's name.

Comment by Philip Portelli on June 1, 2013 at 5:33pm

I've read a few books about John Dillinger and seen a few documentaries. Most can only confirm that he killed one person only and that was in a police shootout. By most accounts, he really was a gentleman bandit and had a natural charisma.

Better that they used Al Capone (again)!

Comment by Misery in Spades on June 1, 2013 at 8:42pm

6. A young Mxyzptlk appeared in Adventure #310.

Comment by Misery in Spades on June 1, 2013 at 8:44pm

6. And Lex Luthor appeared in Adventure #325.

Comment by Misery in Spades on June 1, 2013 at 8:50pm

6. Actually, that was a descendant of Mxyzptlk who appeared in Adventure #310, which makes me wonder what his relationship was to the Mxy who appeared in Adventure #354. But Luthor is right.

Comment by Philip Portelli on June 1, 2013 at 10:10pm

The Mister Mxyzptlk of the Adult Legion (Adventure #354) called the Mister Mxyzptlk/Mask Man (Adventure #310) his brother. Zrffians don't believe in first names. I call them "Frank" and "Joe". ;-)

BTW, the real young Mxy AKA Master Mxyzptlk appeared in Adventure #351 but he stayed in the 20th century.

IIRC, there was an imaginary story where Batman does join the Adult Legion despite having no super-powers. It's more evidence of the Legion's brown-nosing of Superman! :-)


Comment by Commander Benson on June 2, 2013 at 5:54am

With regard to Dillinger's appearance in Adventure Comics # 314 (and, yes, I'll go ahead and tip the hat slightly on this one and state that, yes, he is one of the correct answers to question 6), he always seemed curiously out of place to me, too, when compared to Nero and Hitler.


There were certainly other historical villains of equal name-recognition (to the age-range of the presumed readership) that would have better fit the definition of "vilest":  Jesse James, Ivan the Terrible, Josef Stalin, Attila the Hun, or, as Philip mentioned, Al Capone.




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