Tuesday, March 06, 2018

There's been a bit of Legion of Super-Heroes talk lately, mostly to the effect there might not be any Legion of Super-Heroes lately, or rather soon. Rumor has it DC wants to do a relaunch, but it may be on hold until after Doomsday Clock wraps up or Geoff Johns' workload lets him take the book. In the meantime, let's check out an old favorite: from 1985, Legion of Super-Heroes #13, "If You Think Khunds are Cuddly, You'll Love the Lythyls!" Written by Paul Levitz, pencils by Steve Lightle, inks by Larry Mahlstedt. I probably read the reprint first, 1986's Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #338.

The issue opens with a couple of Legion traditions: try-outs, and a ton of kids we see in line but never see again! Actually, a couple might appear the next month, when the try-out gets going, but here Blok is asking the hopefuls to be patient, when he receives a message. (Amusingly, the alien lawyer guy can't pick Blok out from other aliens, they all look alike to him...) His pal Timber Wolf has gone to the quarantined planet Lythyl, and will soon be either rich...or dead.

Lythyl appears to have a healthy BDSM community, and while rumors of paradise and riches have spread throughout the galaxy, immigrants to the planet have to sign waivers, since they'll start as slaves and have to fight their way up. Timber Wolf isn't real sold on the idea, but his travelling companion the Sensei points out the planet valued "physical prowess" above all, and T-Wolf was one of the strongest Legionnaires! The Sensei was getting on years, but no slouch himself: he had trained the recently deceased Karate Kid, and his father. The Kid's father had gone bad on Lythyl, and the Sensei had been forced to kill him, leaving the Kid hating Lythyl. They were there for his last request: as T-Wolf explains in his message to Blok, Karate Kid's estate included billions of credits in holdings since he had married Princess Projectra, who's entire world had recently seemingly up and left the universe. Blok takes the message to team leader Element Lad, who sends a quick-response team to get them out...

Meanwhile, T-Wolf and Sensei establish themselves as "wolves amongst sheep" pretty quickly, and are taken to the planet's judges, who include an incongruously young boy, Myg. After a test, Myg takes them on a tour, which briefly points out the "multiverse nexus upon which Lythyl spins," but he cuts that short to challenge the Sensei. His skill even impresses T-Wolf, but after they sucker-punch Myg, the Sensei is the one who elects to take him with them. T-Wolf has to finish Karate Kid's errand, while the Sensei fights most of Lythyl, then arrives in time to save the Sensei as the Legion rescues them, thanks to Invisible Kid. And on the unyielding stones of Lythyl, sacred for their toughness, Timber Wolf planted a seed for his friend.

Myg would return eventually: I thought he would try-out at some point, but he may have gone to the Legion Academy instead. I know he would turn up again, much, much later; as a brainwashed Dominion agent in the "Five Years Later" Legion. Which I nearly stopped reading at one point, because of what they did to Timber Wolf! But that's another comic, for some other time.

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