Paul Levitz: Writer
Jose Luis Garcia Lopez & Dick Giordano: Artists
Ben Oda: Letterer
Adrienne Roy: Colorist
Len Wein: Editor
Superboy has once again broken the time barrier and arrives in the city of Metropolis circa 2979 A.D. He sees that Legion Headquarters is being rebuilt again, but not in time for Christmas! The teen of steel figures that even this would be too big a gift to receive from Santa!
Superboy is greeted by Mon-El, who has another three hours left on guard duty. Inside, he sees that the Legionnaires haven't gotten around to redecorating the underground passages, and figures that it is a true shame that anyone would have to look at bricks during Christmas. As Superboy spots the hanging mistletoe, he is greeted with a kiss from Phantom Girl, who has passed through a nearby wall. When she apologizes for startling him, the teen of steel tells her that if Ultra Boy makes her apologize for kissing him... she can tell Jo Nah that he's crazy!
Saturn Girl is on monitor duty and greets them, while Tinya can't believe that Imra Ardeen has volunteered for extra duty on Christmas Eve! She tells them that when you're married to a Legionnaire, it's a bit different, for Imra and Garth regard the group as their home! On the enormous viewscreen, they see that Karate Kid has invited Princess Projectra and Sun Boy to his home in Japan to celebrate the holidays. Val's Christmas includes the ancient tea ritual -- which is to be shared by his closest friends, Jeckie and Dirk.
They monitor all forms of celebrations -- from the fireworks trees celebration on Snerl -- to Durla, where Christmas is not a holiday, and Chameleon Boy is on space patrol -- to Earth, where Colossal Boy and his family are celebrating Chanukkah! Wildfire arrives and tells them that there may be a hundred different ways to say it, but the underlying message remains peace on Earth! The teen of steel would rather have a simple, old-fashioned Christmas -- with a real tree and all the trimmings! He would gladly exchange all their futuristic technology for some tinsel right about now! As Wildfire prepares to argue the point, Superboy has an idea for all their technology! He asks his fellow Legionnaires if they have ever gone in search of the star which shined over Bethlehem on that first Christmas -- ?? Imra sighs -- and has a feeling that they're about to!
They are soon in outer space... on what Wildfire considers to be a cosmic wild goose chase! With Mon-El on guard duty, the headquarters is safe, and the rest can afford to take the evening off! Lightning Lad is plotting the ship's course based on projected star patterns from known history. What they don't have is the star! The ship is at the coordinates, but there is no star... nor any sign of one ever being there, either! All that shows on the scope is a small planet... not a star! All present agree to have a look around...
Exploring the sea, Wildfire knows from the shipboard readings that the planet could use their aid! On one hand, it's a strange way for a fellow to spend Christmas Eve, but the aquatic inhabitants who live on plankton-like weed have had their food source frozen from the increased cold, and are forced to dig it out with their own flippers! WHOOSH Wildfire lifts one such iceberg into the air, applies a careful burst of his energy-power and -- the food rains down to the grateful natives! He knows that the unfrozen food will only last for a few days... and the approaching ice age for the planet will last for centuries!
Lightning Lad and Phantom Girl see the land-dwelling race of inhabitants trying to keep warm, but in order to do that, they are forced to burn their own crops! They may survive the cold night, but will surely starve in the morning! One of the land-dwellers has wandered into the fire! Tinya Wazzo uses her phantom form to pass through the fire, but the flames are too close for them to fly out!
Garth uses his lightning bolts on the crops and carves an area of bare rock, where the flames won't reach them! They fly out and return the woman to her friends! Miles from the shore, Superboy is in the high forests, and is saving a bird-lady's nest from an ice storm! Even though the bird-people can't understand what he is saying, the teen of steel feels better just by talking.
He burrows into the ground and digs out some metallic ore to spin cables! The cables are then used to lash the nests to the trees, and Superboy feels better being a bridge-builder than a birdwatcher! As the moon begins to rise, the four Legionnaires are together once more... Wildfire is quite taken by the view, while the teen of steel looks at the landscape, and Phantom Girl wonders what else they can do for the aliens. Superboy wants to try something...
He asks Tinya for the telepathic earplugs that they use to communicate while in outer space. A few minor adjustments are made and the plugs can be used as translators for the three alien races to communicate with one another! Along the coast, Garth and Drake use their powers to carve a cave, built to Superboy's specifications!
The teen of steel has returned with the clan chiefs of the three alien races, and the cavern will serve as their home! Since it has been sheltered and given access to warm underground springs, the aquatic race can grow their crops in peace... which will be shared with the land-dwellers, in exchange for them setting fires about the pool for warmth! The bird-race can find wood from the trees and use it for their fires, in exchange for shelter for their children during the ice storms! Alone, they couldn't survive on their own... but together, the three alien races should be able to thrive until they receive aid from the United Planets for a safe evacuation! Tinya realizes that they have made all of this possible just by being there!
They find their hearts warmed by the experience, and Superboy knows that this is what Christmas is supposed to do. It's about caring for others -- helping those in need -- and perhaps a shining star in the heavens which science says is impossible. Wildfire wonders why the teen of steel is still going on about the star, and Superboy knows that something brought them here on Christmas Eve... didn't it...? At Legion Headquarters, the teen of steel is placing the star on a real Christmas tree, while Drake admits that while it could have been just Garth and a faulty navigation computer... he's not saying that it wasn't, either! Saturn Girl and Phantom Girl turn from the holiday tree, smile, and wish the reader happy holidays... from all of them in the Legion, to all of us... everyone!
The year was 1979 A.D., the flying figure was Superboy from Smallville, passing through the time barrier to see a most special group of teens in the universe... The Legion of Super-Heroes.
The story by Paul Levitz showed that there are many ways to celebrate the holidays and sometimes, all the more reason to appreciate them by lending a helping hand where needed.
Jose Luis Garcia Lopez and Dick Giordano are quite the artists, especially in their depiction of the Legionnaires.
I love those '70s Legionnaire fashions, particularly Phantom Girl, with her pigtails and bell-bottoms. Karate Kid has that nifty yellow peripheral-vision-killing collar, and Saturn Girl is in her pink bikini plus boots phase. It's been said that the clothes make the man, and if anyone should fit that saying, it's Wildfire!
Ben Oda was the legendary letterer on Legion and other D.C. books in the '70s.
Adrienne Roy deserves membership in the Legion from being able to keep track of each member's costume colors.
Len Wein was a very prolific writer/editor for D.C. and Marvel in the '70s.
Poor Mon-El is stuck on guard duty and has only a one-panel appearance in this story. Sun Boy, Princess Projectra, Colossal Boy, and Chameleon Boy are also charter members of the one-panel club.
Steve Chung "Star Light, Star Bright... First Review I Write Tonight!"