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Adventure Comics 332
"The Super-Moby Dick of Space! (Part 1)"


(Originally Reviewed On 08/20/01)

Story: Unknown Art: Curt Swan

On the cover, Lightning Lad clenches an iron fist, while using his other arm to fire bolts at The Super-Moby Dick of Space, which resembles a giant pickle with teeth and pink wings, and is doing its best to finish chomping down a rocket ship, while Saturn Girl watches Superboy strive in vain to stop Garth from destroying the beast that maimed him! (Holy Vlasic Lad, Batman! What a pickle The Legion is in this issue!)

The splash page is a replay of the cover, with The Super-Moby Dick of Space chasing after The Boy of Steel, while Saturn Girl seeks to calm down Lightning Lad and keep the crippled Legionnaire from facing a beast which has even Superboy on the run, but Garth is determined to destroy the beast who crippled him! (Holy Red Badge of Courage, Batman! Anybody else would be running off in the other direction!)

The Super-Moby Dick of Outer Space has a small freighter between its choppers, but the life boats are able to elude it, and the cargo of iron ore is consumed, instead! Returning from outer space, Lightning Lad hears the distress call, and is doubtful about the size of the creature! (Holy Pym, Batman! He'll be singing a different tune...) Seeing to their safety, Lightning Lad heads after its trail...

On a planet, The Super-Moby Dick of Space is chomping on girders of metal, when Lightning Lad lands nearby, and uses his super-lightning at a lower setting, as to not kill the beast and maintain The Legion Code, but upon striking the beast, the lightning bolts are reflected and head back towards The Legionnaire, tipped with green poison, which strike Garth's right arm and hand, causing him great pain! (Holy Isabella, Batman!) Once the space creature has left, Lightning Lad makes his way to the ship, where he sets the control on automatic for the Legion Clubhouse before losing consciousness, and his arm turns green from the poison...

At The Legion Clubhouse, Saturn Girl has overheard the tape record of Lightning Lad's battle with The Super-Moby Dick of Space, and Brainiac 5 knows that they must act quickly to save his life by contacting Dr. Lanphier, who is the authority on space-dwelling creatures. (Holy Wild Kingdom, Batman! Does this guy look at one such beast, then says, "Yup!") In the Clubhouse Hospital, Dr. Lanphier tells The Legionnaires that the reflected lightning has caused his arm to become poisonous, and so, his arm must be amputated to save his life! When Lightning Lad revives, he finds that he has a metal arm, then as Saturn Girl tells him that it was necessary to save his life, Garth decides to hunt down the creature and kill it! (Holy Tharok, Batman! L.L. sounds like he'd be an ideal member for The Fatal Five!) Saturn Girl reminds him of their Legion code against killing, and that Superboy has gone out to find The Super-Moby Dick of Space, to remove it from inhabited worlds. Saturn Girl tells Brainiac 5 that Lightning Lad has become more grim, and The Coluan theorizes that it's some sort of brain shock, and that when Superboy stops the creature, Lightning Lad will forget about it. In space, The Boy of Steel discovers to his horror that The Super-Moby Dick of Space has consumed Green Kryptonite on its travels, causing Superboy to keep his distance from the creature. (I've heard of rock in his heads, but this...?)

Returning to The Clubhouse, Superboy tells the doctor that Mon-El could handle the threat, but he's away on a mission, then asks what the origin of the beast could be, to which the doctor compares to Moby Dick and his exploits with sailing ships in a book by Herman Melville! With it running rampant in the galaxy, the government has offered $50,000 to anyone who can catch the beast. (Hmm, in the 30th Century, that's about five cents, isn't it?) Soldiers of Fortune see a chance to make easy money in capturing the beast, and set bait with metal bars, while concealing their ships behind large meteors, then using their net! (Holy G.I. Joe, Batman! Where's the atomic bazooka!)

When the creature arrives, the net is thrown, but The Super-Moby Dick of Space has broken free, just as the ships barely escape with their lives! The doctor asks to come with The Legion on their expedition, figuring that it's his responsibility, a comment which sounds odd to Brainiac 5, who figures that he must be referring to his occupation. Sun Boy arrives and tells them that Lightning Lad is gone, having left a note that he is searching for The Super-Moby Dick of Space on his own! In space, Ultra Boy is wearing a space suit, while using his ultra-energy for super-speed, knowing that since Superboy can't get near it, Mon-El away on a mission, it's up to him to find the creature and knock it out of commission with his ultra-strength!

Although using his ultra-strength, The Super-Moby Dick of Space is still beating him with its wings, then with him dazed, the creature opens its jaws and prepares to chew on this, with Ultra Boy using his invulnerability so that he is unharmed, but swallowed alive! He remembers the time that a galactic patrol saw his danger and cut him free from the space dragon which gave him his ultra-energy, but with no cruiser on the horizon, Ultra Boy smashes his flashlight into the cavity of one of The Super-Moby Dick's teeth in hopes of hitting a nerve! (Holy Ultra-Brite, Batman! Is that how the toothpaste company got its name?) The Super-Toothache causes the creature to open its mouth and Jo uses his super-speed to get out in a hurry, to tell The Legion the gravity of their situation!

After hearing his report, Saturn Girl tells Ultra-Boy that Dr. Lanphier will be joining them on their trip, with Brainiac 5 in command, but there is a dissenting voice... from Lightning Lad himself! He tells them that he's recovered and invokes The Legion Constitution clause 14, sub-clause 8, which states that in an emergency, whomever best understands the threat will lead, and since he knows The Super-Moby Dick best, he should lead! Superboy reluctantly agrees, despite the fact that Garth doesn't seem like his normal self! Lightning Lad tells the others to come aboard, and Saturn Girls tells The Boy of Steel that this may be a voyage of doom, but Superboy is confident that everything will turn out okay! (Holy Voyage To The Bottom of The Sea, Batman! Easy for him to say, he's from the past, and I hope that The Legion appreciate the seaview in outer space!) Within the cabin, Lightning Lad is at the controls, with Brainiac 5 reminding him that he should be the one who should be computing their course in space, but Lightning Lad is confident that they will find the beast who took his right arm, and in his mind, Garth vows to slay the creature in a duel to the death!

End Part 1.

The title of this story would seem to evoke images of Superman suffering from a peculiar bout with Red Kryptonite or Richard Nixon going into outer space.

Lightning Lad joins the ranks of Klaw, Master of Sound, Tharok of The Fatal Five, Post Crisis Aquaman, and Curt Conners, as one of those who have lost an arm in battle, but he is one of the few to recover his human arm again!

Saturn Girl strives to be the voice of reason, while Superboy, Ultra Boy, and Brainac 5 seek to defeat The Super-Moby Dick of Space, with dreadful results.

I'm assuming that since Lightning Lad had first contact with the creature, he figures that he knows more about the creature than Ultra-Boy, who had more contact with the creature in his fight.

Rather convenient that Mon-El is on a mission, while The Super-Moby Dick of Space has consumed Green Kryptonite, enabling it to last more than a few pages against The Boy of Steel.

Part 2 will be coming up this week, never fear.

This review is for Rob Staeger

Steve Chung (Review Lad) The Super-Moby Review of Space (Part 1)