Legion of Super-Heroes #306 (1983)

Legion of Super-Heroes #306 (December, 1983)
“Born Under a Lucky Star”
Writer/Co-Plotter – Paul Levitz
Co-Penciller/Co-Plotter – Keith Giffen
Guest Co-Penciller – Curt Swan
Inker – Larry Mahlstedt
Letterer – John Costanza
Colorist – Carl Gafford
Editor – Karen Berger
Cover Price: $0.75

Time for a little Legion-Learning… and today we’re going to meet Star Boy.  I gotta say, it’s weird referring to a fella in a full beard as Star Boy, but we’ll go with it.

We open with Star Boy and Wildfire discussing the ongoing election for the next leader for the Legion of Super-Heroes.  Star Boy recognizes that his relationship with Dream Girl kinda hit the skids since she was elected last time around, and so he’s hopeful that she won’t get a second term.  He plans to vote for Ultra Boy, and is displeased to hear that Wildfire intends to vote Dream Girl.  Even worse, Thom suggests that Dream Girl would only run again if her precognitive powers made it clear that she would win.

From here, Thom goes on a bit about another reason he’s sure Dream Girl will win… because of how unlucky he always has been.  This leads us into a flashback wherein Star Boy shares the story where he first displayed his density-affecting powers… an event which cost his family their observatory!

Thom’s mother noticed the odd gesture the lad made with his fingers before they began to plummet, and suggests he might have been the cause of the whole thing.  From here, Thom’s young life changed forever… he became something of a test subject, doctors poked, prodded, and studied him to see what made his powers “tick”.

Wildfire comments that the power of increasing mass doesn’t really lend itself to a career in superheroics… and so, Thom shifts his story ahead a few years to explain.  Ya see, when he hit a certain age, and reached his fill of “living” in doctor offices and science labs, he made a run for it!  He commandeered a spaceship, and as he fled… wound up in the tail of a comet.  He managed to steer the ship back homeward, crashing it in front of his parents house!  Due to the wonky effects of the comet, he would emerge from the smoldering wreckage without even a scratch.  From here it’s only natural that he’d apply for Legion membership.

Back in the present, some ballots have arrived.  It’s really cool how they do this… we can see the individual Legionnaire “logos” to signify who they cast their votes for.  As it stands at this point, Ultra Boy has three votes, Dream Girl has one… and, most surprisingly, Element Lad has three write-in votes!  Despite Nura’s lack of votes, Star Boy is still convinced she’ll win.

After the brief aside in the present, Thom continues his tale.  He mentions that when he first joined, he was the most powerful member the Legion had… which is really saying something considering Superboy was there.  He talks about a specific instance on the planet of Takron-Galtos where the Science Police were building their headquarters, and training facility… and also a prison.  Not that great a prison either, because the prisoners managed to break out and take over the entire place!  Star Boy was volunteered to serve as a one-man rescue squad… and he arrived with a(nother) crash!

In the present, more votes have been tabulated.  As it stands, Ultra Boy is at four, Dream Girl has rallied up to four, and Element Lad remains with his three write-ins..

Thom sees Dream Girl’s influx of votes as another example of his rotten luck, and returns to his story to share yet another.  While he was on Takron-Galtos, his comet-granted invulnerability powers vanish!  He is left with only his density/mass thang, and so in a last-ditch effort, he uses it to bring the roof down on the prisoners… and himself!  He wakes up in a full body cast, and is greeted by then-leader of the Legion, Saturn Girl, who informs him that he still has a place on the team.

More votes have been cast… bringing our totals to six for Ultra Boy, and five apiece for Dream Girl and Element Lad… keeping in mind that Element Lad’s votes are write-ins, he’s looking pretty good!

From here, Thom shares the story of his first meeting with Dream Girl.  She joined the Legion after having a dream of seven Legionnaires dying in an accident… which turned out to be seven android doubles instead.  Man, everyone had a robot in their likeness back in the day!  She also used “science” to alter Lightning Lass’ powers to make her less redundant with her brother.  She would become Light Lass, the Lass who can make things Light!  Dream Girl then resigns as she feels she only became a member due to a trick.

However, that (obviously) wouldn’t be the last time Star Boy and Dream Girl’s paths would cross.  On the planet of Karak, Star Boy would be attacked by Kenz Nuhor, Dream Girl’s ex-boyfriend who refused to marry him due to her love for Thom.  In an act of self defense, Thom winds up killing Kenz… an act which would get him kicked out of the Legion.

As he leaves the Super-Hero Clubhouse, he is approached by Dream Girl who suggests he join her in the Legion of Substitute Heroes… and so, he does!

He would remain a Sub until a crisis occurred wherein a planet was surrounded by the dust of Green Kryptonite.  Superboy and Supergirl had to name a couple of replacements for the mission… and they would choose, ya ready for this… Sir Prize and Miss Terious!  They would wind up being Star Boy and Dream Girl (duh) wearing lead suits.  They would eventually reveal themselves and be granted membership once more.

Back in the present, the final votes are counted… and Thom is shocked to see that… Dream Girl lost!  Element Lad would win with seven write-in votes!  Star Boy celebrates feeling that perhaps his luck is starting to change.

I think I might just be on the right track to Learning the Legion.  Most of the Legion issues I’ve covered here were spotlight-style stories which feel so much less overwhelming and intimidating than I feared.  These stories also “go down smoother”, they’re easier to follow and don’t really leave me scratching my head.

So, let’s talk Star Boy.  My familiarity with the character comes from the post-Infinite Crisis Justice Society of America volume where he was… a bit off.  He heard voices and whatnot… and from what I can recall, was used as a sort of tragic and humorous character.  That’s really not the fella we meet today.  Here we meet a sort of “woe is me”, self-loathing, kind of unpleasant fella.

My main takeaway from this issue is… why does Star Boy want so badly for his girlfriend to lose the election?  Granted, I just pulled this issue, and read it without context… but, his attitude here makes him come off like a grade-A selfish jerk.  I mean, Wildfire even says that she’s been doing a good job in the role… it just really paints Thom poorly in my view.  That very well could be the point, I can’t say for sure.  It’s not a bad thing or anything… it doesn’t make it a bad story, it just shows me that this fella might be a tad on the unlikable side.

It’s funny… it feels like every third issue of Legion I check out features an election… or the results of an election.  I’m not sure how often the elections occur, or if they’re on an actual “schedule”.  It’s just funny to me that I can’t seem to escape them.

The art here was really neat… I enjoyed the use of Curt Swan for the flashbacks.  I love when they do stuff like that… makes it feel like we’re actually experiencing a flashback, rather than simply being told a story.

Overall, despite thinking Thom comes across like kinduva jerk here, I really enjoyed this one.  These “spotlight” issues might just be the ticket to my finally Learning the Legion.  This one is available digitally.

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