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!

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Comment by Philip Portelli on June 6, 2013 at 12:56pm

Did she really? That's hard to believe, given that she rides him sidesaddle! She built a stable in space for him. To her, he's a horse!

Comment by Luke Blanchard on June 6, 2013 at 12:46pm

Supergirl did know his origin, but not, I think, that he was Bill Starr.

Comment by Philip Portelli on June 6, 2013 at 12:40pm

He can't think of himself as a horse, Luke because he remembers himself as Biron the Centaur/ Bronco Bill Starr.

Comment by Philip Portelli on June 6, 2013 at 12:38pm

I've spoken about the Legion's callousness towards Comet before, Luke. They KNOW exactly what he is and isn't yet treat him like a (Super)-pet anyway. They never tried to cure him. Perhaps Brainiac 5 saw him as a romantic rival for Supergirl's heart.

Yet, playing Devil's Advocate, Comet does nothing to help himself. He accepts his "Super-pet" designation. He doesn't thought-scream out "I am NOT an animal! I'm a mythological being with feelings! But thanks for the carrots! Oh and the grooming. I love the grooming!" He is the only one who can rebel against his position in the Legion structure. It's ironic because, if his powers are proportional to Kryptonians, he should be far stronger and faster than Superboy/man, Supergirl, Mon-El and the like.

I know Supergirl never knew Comet's true origin but did Superman?


Comment by Luke Blanchard on June 6, 2013 at 12:37pm

Or rather, I suppose he was supposed to be mentally a centaur. I guess one could argue that he may have been mentally transformed by the potion from a centaur into a super-intelligent horse, which would perhaps explain why he was willing to hang out with horses in his "secret identity".

Comment by Luke Blanchard on June 6, 2013 at 12:17pm

I'd like to put in a word of support for Comet being properly an individual. The other Super-Pets were also often portrayed in ways which made them seem fairly intelligent. But Comet was supposed to be mentally a centaur (except, I take it, on his first appearance in Adventure Comics #293, as his origin wasn't explained until he returned in a "Supergirl" two-parter), and they were supposed to be mentally animals (although the Proty II of "The Eight Impossible Missions!" is too intelligent to be plausibly so regarded). 


Thanks for getting the dates of the 20th century right. I have a bee in my bonnet about that.

Comment by Philip Portelli on June 6, 2013 at 9:22am

Luckily, Congorilla never visited the Legion in the 30th century! ;-)

I do have one question though. Did the Legion ever appear in a non-Weisinger book in the Silver Age or even referenced? Besides Inferior Five #2, I mean.

It's a bit shocking that Weisinger didn't have some mention of either Aquaman or Green Arrow in any Legion story. They appeared in all his other titles!

Comment by Commander Benson on June 6, 2013 at 9:21am

Actually, that was just the kind of thing I was scared of---some aside or parenthetical reference to a 20th-century Justice Leaguer that I had missed.  There was no way I could go over some seventy-odd issues and be certain I had caught everything.  I didn't find mention of any other JLAer other than the Batman, but I knew if I had missed it, one of you sharp folks would nail me in a heartbeat.

Comment by Fraser Sherman on June 6, 2013 at 9:15am

I was confident (even though I can't quite place the reference) but given your expertise it wouldn't have surprised me if you'd pulled something really obscure out of your hat "Look, our new applicant Biron the Bowman is as good as the legendary Green Arrow!" (I know that particular example didn't happen, but something of the sort wouldn't surprise me).

Comment by Commander Benson on June 6, 2013 at 9:09am

I don't think I'm giving away much when I say that you're pretty solid with your answer of "Batman" on question number two.


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