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Action Comics 392
"The Legionnaires Who Never Were!"


Story: Cary Bates Art: Win Mortimer and Jack Abel

(Originally Reviewed On 05/31/02)

Saturn Girl and Princess Projectra find themselves in the clutches of two members of The Legion known as Saturn Lad and Prince Projectur, who are told by Karate Kid to take these imposters away! In the 30th Century, Saturn Girl and Princess Projectra are making a landing on Planetoid Zirk, where Legion Leader Karate Kid has told them that Pozr-Du, a space renegade has taken refuge! The Princess wonders why her boyfriend picked them to bring in Pozr, but Saturn Girl figures that Val Armorr must have had a good reason, and she enjoys the chance to do the mission in her new costume (design submitted by K. Haven Metzger, Columbia City, Ind, and the editor tells the reader to check out Supergirl's new fashions in the September issue of Adventure).

They watch on the 3-D projector and learn about Pozr-Du, who has an arsenal of long-range weaponry, which makes him very dangerous. Saturn Girl and Princess Projectra use their flight-rings to search the asteroid terrain until they see his ship! She suggests that Saturn Girl use her telepathy to scan Pozr's mind to see if he's aware that they're on the asteroid, but a shot from a long-range weapon soon answers their question! They fall to the ground, and Pozr-Du stands nearby. They soon revive and Saturn Girl knows that they've been out for hours.

Pozr has left the asteroid, and Princess Projectra hopes that Karate Kid won't be too upset about their failure, but at least they weren't harmed by the weapon. Returning to Earth, Saturn Girl tells Projectra that she's receiving some bad vibrations from Legion Headquarters, and then, their ship is caught in an energy-grappler net! Cosmic Boy contacts the ship, and tells them to identify themselves! Projectra is in disbelief, but Saturn Girl tells her to play along. They identify themselves and request permission to land, but Cosmic boy has the energy-grappler bring them in!

Once the ship has been docked, Saturn Girl and Princess Projectra see Karate Kid, Cosmic Boy, Shadow Lass, and another Legionnaire have come to see them... armed with weapons from the emergency arsenal. Karate Kid tells them that there's never been Legionnaires known as Saturn Girl and Princess Projectra, then asks how they got ahold of a Legion cruiser. Saturn Girl and Princess Projectra are seized, to be sent to the detention-spheres for interrogation, but Projectra asks for the chance to prove themselves.

They check out the archive computer, where all members are accounted for... except for Saturn Girl and Princess Projectra, who notice that two of the cube-slots are blank! Karate Kid tells them that it just means that the computer hasn't been programmed for the two members they've just admitted, and Cosmic Boy tells them that neither member is a girl! Projectra takes them to The Legion Hall of Trophies, and is stunned to see that in the place of her trophy is a meteor arrowhead found by Colossal Boy, and Saturn Girl's trophy is also gone, with a Headfish from Paro, which Ultra Boy captured!

When they attempt to use their powers, they find that they've lost their abilities. Cosmic Boy introduces them to the two newest Legionnaires... Prince Projectur and Saturn Lad! The sight of them is too much for Projectra, while Saturn Girl is aghast at seeing male versions of themselves! Each Legionnaire demonstrates their powers, which makes things look grim for Projectra and Saturn Girl!

They soon find themselves imprisoned in a detention sphere, which is suspended within a large chamber by magnetronic rays, which Brainiac 5 designed to be escape-proof! Projectra figures that maybe Pozr-Du's weapon has them trapped in a life-like dream, while Saturn Girl wonders if the weapon sent the two of them into a parallel earth with another version of The Legion! Projectra sees that they weren't stripped of their flight-rings and sees a way to escape their prison...

She figures that Val thought the flight-rings to be copies, but soon, they use their rings to propel themselves in opposite directions to weaken the sphere-wall, then reversing direction so that they won't be slamming against the walls of the chamber! Saturn Girl knows that the clubhouse is a prison for them, but Projectra heads for the sleeping quarters of a Legion member!

Karate Kid sees Projectra in his room, but she only wants him to confess that this is a trick, and to admit that they are a couple, who shared a romantic moment from the top of the Meteor-Pyramid of Planet Frod! She kisses him, and Karate Kid soon blacks out, for Projectra made a stop by the equipment-lab and coated her lips with knockout-serum, which only works on non-Orandoans!

She places a small device on the back of Val's neck to learn what she needs to solve this mystery. Flying through the corridor, she sees that Saturn Girl is gone, possibly captured or... Projectra meets her male counterpart, then knows that with Saturn Girl not in the area, she can use her illusion-power to make Projectur see her being devoured by an alien gas creature! Projectur races forward to save her, and calls her "Jeckie."

She disperses the illusion and unmasks "Prince Projectur" as Brainiac 5, who used a device to simulate her illusion-powers! He tells her that the archive computer showed some data that a Legionnaire was close to a nervous breakdown, which would threaten the lives of the others, as well, in a dangerous situation. Since the archive computer is still new, it was obviously mistaken, and the only way to confirm this was by testing her, and having Saturn Girl be her proctor, as well as making her believe that she lost her power! Sun Boy was Saturn Lad, while Chameleon Boy was Pozr.

Projectra uses one of Brainiac 5's devices to see if Karate Kid was telling the truth when he said he didn't know her, and the device showed Val was lying! When "Projectur" called her out by "Jeckie", she knew that her friends were behind the hoax! When they're alone, she asks Karate Kid if she passed, and he tells her that the computer will be dismantled for repair, but it will be Mon-El, who is deputy leader, and since it's after midnight, he is the new leader, with Element Lad as his deputy! The following morning has Mon-El sworn in, while Projectra asks if Val regrets no longer being leader, but his only regret is not leaving office a week ago, so that he wouldn't have to put her through such a test!

I'm guessing that the art is by Win Mortimer and Jack Abel.

Karate Kid is wearing his original costume, but I prefer the one he wore when he had his own '70s title.

Saturn Girl's costume in this story is a favorite, as well.

The Legion Cruiser is caught in the energy-grappler like a red snapper in a fishing net!

Prince Projectur and Saturn Lad's costumes leave much to be desired.

Since this story, Karate Kid died in the '80s Baxter Format series, and Projectra became Sensor Girl, as well as now being a serpent in disguise.

In the letterspage, Richard H. Morrissey writes: "Sun Boy's Lost Power was almost a travesty... the Legion has progressed so much since it was first published. Jim Shooter's scripts are vastly superior to Edmond Hamilton's - although I don't doubt Ed could do better. His scripts were bad, really, at least not by '62 standards, and he improved when the Legion grew to 2/3 of the book, but today's stories are a lot better. I admit John Forte's art is more realistic than Win Mortimer's, yet I somehow like the latter's work better. The villain's name, too - compare Kranyak with such later villains as Kravik, Krallik, Krellik, and Karnak. Would it be too much of an innovation to have a hero whose name begins and ends with K?" The editor replies: "No - in fact, you'll find Superman's other identity listed in the Metropolis phone directory as Kent, Clark. By the way, Jim Shooter has left the fold - his last story being "Lament for a Legionnaire," in issue 384. Since then, E. Nelson Bridwell (the Big E) has written most of the Legion tales, although Cary Bates gets the credit for "The Mystery Legionnaire" and this issue's tale."

Steve Chung
"The Legionnaires Who Never Were Reviewed!"