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Adventure Comics 379
"Burial in Space!"

COVER IMAGE NOT FOUND April 1969; DC Comics; Mort Weisinger, editor, E. Nelson Bridwell, assistant editor; featuring the Legion of Super-Heroes in "Burial in Space!" Script by Jim Shooter, art by Win Mortimer and Jack Abel. On the cover by Neal Adams, a certain Corpse of Steel is fired out the side of a spaceship in a transparent coffin, as Invisible Kid intones, "We, the Legionnaires, commit Superboy's body to the depths of space! May he rest in peace!"; a tearful Shrinking Violet wipes her eyes; and a bald, robed, futuristic clergyman of some sort holds a Bible.

On the splash page the same two Legionnaires, Invisible Kid and Shrinking Violet, find Superboy, Princess Projectra, Karate Kid, Duo Damsel and Brainiac 5 sprawled inert on the floor of Legion Headquarters, and Invisible Kid declares, "We're TOO LATE! Superboy and the others are DEAD!" As the story proper begins, six shadowy figures-- one standing, the others fallen-- are frozen totally motionless in Legion HQ. The only sign of life comes from a seventh figure, a slightly built, blue-skinned alien-- looking somewhat like the traditional UFO alien-- who declares that he has succeeded in stopping time for the Legionnaires. But though he had hoped only to give himself a chance to study the heroes before making a proposition to them, he perceives that they are dying of poisoning and will perish the moment he releases his time stop. "Now they cannot help me! This could mark the END of the Seerons!" But then a shipload of additional Legionnaires returns to HQ, and the alien creates a gap in his time-stop field to allow them-- Ultra Boy, Star Boy, Phantom Girl, Timber Wolf, Chameleon Boy, Lightning Lad and Chemical King-- to enter. Halting the Legionnaires from touching their fallen comrades, the Seeron explains their plight and warns that only he can maintain the "no-time" field that keeps them alive, or cure them once the field is released-- provided that the Legionnaires "successfully perform a SMALL TASK for us!" Though he is angry and suspicious, Legion leader Ultra Boy has little choice but to agree that the Legion will travel to the Seeron's home dimension.... a slightly Ditkoesque continuum with cities, mountains and forests on a platform hanging in space. As they enter the Seeron city, Phantom Girl is impressed by its beauty but puzzled by the absence of life and activity. The explanation comes as the Seeron emissary brings the Legionnaires to the blue-skinned aliens' ruling council. It seems that the Seerons have developed their intellectual abilities totally to the exclusion of physical activity. They live in chambers that they almost never leave, fed and tended by machines (a concept reminiscent of the early science fiction story "The Machine Stops" by E. M. Forster), exchanging ideas and developing their brains, to the point that they have amazing mental powers-- but almost no physical strength. Now their dimension has been invaded by an army of their polar opposites... brutish, caveman-like creatures who are all but mindless but are immune to the Seerons' mental powers. The Legionnaires' job is to stop these invaders, who are slowly marching through wilderness to the Seeron city. But will the brutes prove as resistant to the Legionnaires' super-powers as they are to the Seerons' mental abilities?

Given a few hours' grace before the enemy gets into range, the Legionnaires make plans and then try to get some rest in "Seeron chairs" that transform themselves into beds by mental command. Ultra Boy is restless and fearful of making a wrong decision in his role as leader, but gets some comfort and reassurance from his significant other Phantom Girl-- leading Chameleon Boy to complain, "Hey, if you two want to NECK, do it QUIETLY, huh...it's tough enough trying to sleep with Timber Wolf's snoring, let alone that foghorn voice of yours, U Boy!" "I read you, killjoy!" U Boy falls into a hypnotic sleep under the influence of the Seeron chair, only to be rudely awakened by Lightning Lad and subjected to "cleansing radiations" that are the Seeron equivalent of a cold shower. The Legionnaires take flight in a sky-car given them by "Egghead" (as they have irreverently dubbed the head Seeron, who doesn't have a real name) and do a reconnaissance of the alien army, noting to their surprise that the brutes speak good Interlac (the 30th century Earth language).

In the first skirmish against the brutish enemy, the Legionnaires don't come off too well. Lightning Lad finds that his power at "full amperage" is barely sufficient to disable a single foe. Star Boy finds his own opponent keeps coming even when his weight has been increased a hundred times. Ultra Boy holds off some of the brutes with his ultra-strength, but finds himself tiring while the enemy is tireless. Than Phantom Girl is injured in battle before she can dematerialize, and the Legion team is forced to flee using their flight rings.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, Invisible Kid and Shrinking Violet arrive back from a mission and find their five poisoned comrades, along with their assailant, inert and still. The Kid concludes that the attacker killed the Legionnaires and was somehow slain as well by his own backfiring weapon. In what seems to be inordinate haste, the five "dead" Legionnaires are given a "hero's funeral", sealed in crystal coffins and "shot into the void, on the brink of intergalactic space".

Back on the Seeron world, Phantom Girl is badly injured but is saved by a Seeron chair which transforms itself into a "healing cylinder". Badly shaken by his beloved's peril, Ultra Boy rules out another frontal assault on the alien brutes. Instead, he urges the Legionnaires to use their powers to turn a box canyon in the brutes' path into a "perfect natural fortress". As they wait for the horde to arrive, Phantom Girl starts to question U Boy's judgment in going on the defensive because of his concern for her. But their heart-to-heart talk is interrupted as the enemy arrives, hurling giant rocks at the fortress and breaching the walls. While wondering if the Legion leader has been "distracted", Chameleon Boy takes the form of a Jovian Helgramaxis to frighten the foe, but he finds that they "don't scare"...and that he doesn't have the power of the giant beast he is imitating. Seeing Cham in trouble, Chemical King uses his chemical reaction power on the only object handy-- himself! "By speeding up my METABOLISM, I can make myself 100 TIMES STRONGER!...but this can't LAST! Unlike Superboy and Mon-El, I'm not PERMANENTLY charged with super-energy! At this rate, I'll burn up my body's ENERGY RESERVES in SECONDS...then PHFFFT!" Observing the fight, Ultra Boy is momentarily reluctant to leave Phantom Girl's side to join the battle, but he realizes his duty to the other Legionnaires and turns the tide with his Superboy-level powers. But the Legionnaires discover that they have faced only a "small advance guard" of the enemy-- and their fortress is wrecked, with the main enemy army still bound for the Seeron city.

Back in the city, Ultra Boy calls for a circuit that will enable him to talk to the entire Seeron population. "Attention, Seerons! The enemy is approaching! There are only seven of us Legionnaires! WE CANNOT STOP THAT ARMY... but YOU CAN! You outnumber them 10,000 to one! Forget your mental powers and use your HANDS! Gang up on those brutes! Half a dozen of you could clobber the strongest of them!" As the club-wielding brutes enter the city, they find that the Seerons have heeded Ultra Boy's call. Each brute is overrun by Seerons fighting for their lives. "They swarm over us like ANTS....we are DOOMED!" Victorious, the Seerons thank the Legionnaires for their inspiration, promise not to neglect their "physical development" in the future, and send the Legionnaires back to Legion HQ on Earth along with a "thought force" designed to end the no-time spell and "cure every infirmity" of everyone in the headquarters. But the returning Legionnaires are shocked to find that their poisoned comrades are no longer in the HQ and so will not benefit from the Seeron spell...they have been committed to burial in space. "We need a MIRACLE now!" Chameleon Boy moans. "So we'll get one!" Ultra Boy declares. With his ultra-strength, he does what Brainiac 5 was unable to do in the previous issue; he breaks the Miracle Machine out of its inertron box, and uses its power of transforming any thought into reality, to bring the "buried" Legionnaires back to Earth and cure them. "But even this machine has limits!" U Boy notes. "It couldn't save them if they really WERE dead! Now let's seal it up again...it's too dangerous to leave unprotected!"

One question remains; who was the enemy that poisoned the Legionnaires? "Some great enemy? Mordru? The Time Trapper? Universo?" Duo Damsel asks. No, it was "Alex Korlo, a small-time crook we arrested once!" Invisible Kid reveals. "Imagine...this penny-ante thief nearly succeeded where the greatest criminal geniuses FAILED!" But not quite...for upon being released from the Seeron time-stop field, Korlo is caught by police and "slapped into a cell".