Universo — “The Legion of Super-Heroes” Part 2

After his defeat at the hands of the Legion, Uni­ver­so was (appar­ent­ly) impris­oned but he (also appar­ent­ly escaped) and com­menced one of his cam­paigns to con­trol the Earth. Being the mas­ter plot­ter that he is, he wait­ed for or man­u­fac­tured rea­sons for the Legion to be away from the Earth before begin­ning his plan for world dom­i­na­tion. When the Legion­naires returned, they found that they were not only dis­band­ed, they were hunt­ed and outlawed!

Legion of Super Heroes #359 ‘The Outlawed Legionnaires!’ (August 1967)

When the Legion returns from var­i­ous mis­sions away from Earth, they arrive to dis­cov­er the Legion has been dis­band­ed and they are under sus­pi­cion from every­one on the plan­et, includ­ing their par­ents! To make mat­ters worse, sev­er­al, includ­ing their most pow­er­ful mem­bers, have been arrest­ed and impris­oned on the prison plan­et of Takron-Gal­tos, forced to toil for a ruth­less warden.

Upon return­ing to Earth, they are met by the Sci­ence Police, who con­fis­cate their space ships and arrest them all for cur­few vio­la­tions. They reunite the fol­low­ing day, a (very con­ve­nient­ly timed) acci­dent forces them to fol­low the Legion code and use their pow­ers, only to have their most pow­er­ful mem­bers arrest­ed by the Sci­ence Police and sen­tenced to years of labor on the Takron-Gal­tos prison plan­et. The rest are for­bid­den to use their pow­ers: when emerge from the tri­al they face a hos­tile crowd, who do lit­tle dam­age except that the only mem­ber of the Legion with any seri­ous polit­i­cal influ­ence, Princess Pro­jec­tra of the rul­ing fam­i­ly of Oran­do is hos­pi­tal­ized in a coma.

Mean­while on Takron-Gal­tos, Super­boy, Mon-El and Ultra Boy have been ren­dered pow­er­less to escape: Super­boy’s chains are Kryp­tonite, his only weak­ness, Mon-El’s lead serum has worn off and he is chained with lead, and Ultra Boy’s pow­ers are negat­ed using a spe­cial radioac­tive mate­r­i­al. The rest of the impris­oned Legion­naires are sim­i­lar­ly unable to effect a rescue.

The rest try to regroup, only to dis­cov­er even their par­ents are mon­i­tor­ing their com­mu­ni­ca­tions. When they final­ly do reunite, it is to approach R J Brande, the man who found­ed and fund­ed the Legion. Instead of get­ting his help, he called his guards, accus­ing the Legion of try­ing to rob him, which result­ed in sev­er­al more Legion­naires being cap­tured. The rest fled under­ground, where they dis­cov­er one of Luthor’s old lab­o­ra­to­ries (and its a cred­it to his engi­neer­ing genius that every­thing still worked after a thou­sand years.) There they vowed to con­tin­ue their effort to restore the Legion and dis­cov­er the cause of this situation.

Legion of Super Heroes #360 ‘The Legion Chain Gang’ (September, 1967)

With lim­it­ed resources, they have what seems like an impos­si­ble job. But what most peo­ple don’t real­ize about the Legion is that even the mem­bers with “sil­ly” pow­ers like Shrink­ing Vio­let and Trip­li­cate Girl can be very effec­tive, espe­cial­ly when used in intel­li­gence oper­a­tions. Plus, they have Braini­ac 5 and Chameleon Boy, the “brains” of the Legion and the head of the Legion Espi­onage Squad, respectively.

Lost in a maze of tun­nels under­neath Metrop­o­lis, the Legion­naires acci­den­tal­ly dis­cov­er one of Luthor’s Lairs, the hid­den lab­o­ra­to­ries of Lex Luthor. From there, they start their cam­paign of guer­ril­la war­fare by free­ing their fel­low Legion­naires held in the Sci­ence Police prison.

Mean­while, Pres­i­dent Boltax gets an update from Takron-Gal­tos, then enters a secret room where a mys­te­ri­ous­ly famil­iar fig­ure sits, unre­spon­sive to Boltax’s pleas for him, his son, to join his quest to con­quer all of the Unit­ed Plan­ets. Final­ly, Boltax leaves, angered and deject­ed: only after then does the fig­ure return to work­ing out his escape.

That night, the Legion­naires break their impris­oned team­mates from the Sci­ence Police prison, then begin an espi­onage mis­sion, infil­trat­ing Pres­i­dent Boltax’s office, which dis­cov­ers the secret room but no evi­dence of how Boltax was able to turn the pop­u­la­tion of Earth against them. A brain­storm­ing ses­sion and some research by Braini­ac 5 dis­cov­ered the water from the World­wide Water Plant was doc­tored with mind con­trol chem­i­cals, for which Braini­ac 5 cre­ates an antidote.

A diver­sion­ary raid on the plant allows Braini­ac 5 the oppor­tu­ni­ty to add the anti­dote to the water sup­ply, but a guard notices him and stops him. Mean­while, the oth­er Legion­naires are slow­ly being trapped by the Sci­ence Police: things look grim for the Legion until a stray shot floods the SP with the anti­dote, free­ing them from the mind con­trol, but Braini­ac 5 denies doing it. That’s when the mys­tery fig­ure emerges from the shad­ows, and Cos­mic Boy iden­ti­fies him as Rond Vidar, the son of Uni­ver­so. Boltax is revealed to be Uni­ver­so (with snarky com­ment blam­ing his defeat on that pesky son of his) and led away by the Sci­ence Police.

As for the Legion­naires on Takron-Gal­tos, the war­den thinks he has the sit­u­a­tion under con­trol, with the three most pow­er­ful Legion­naires with­out pow­er. But what the greedy war­den did­n’t real­ize is that all of the Legion­naires should be con­sid­ered escape risks, as Ele­ment Lad and Mat­ter-Eater Lad quick­ly demon­strate. They arrive just in time to watch Uni­ver­so being led away, and to per­form their first offi­cial act of the restored Legion: rec­og­niz­ing Rond Vidar as an hon­orary Legion­naire for sav­ing them not once but twice.

Com­men­tary: Uni­ver­so is a cun­ning and cal­cu­lat­ing foe of the Legion, and this two-issue sto­ry demon­strates exact­ly why he is one of the Legion’s most dan­ger­ous foes. If all he had was his super-hyp­no­sis or mind con­trol pow­ers, he would be a dan­ger but he also has the intel­lect and patience to cre­ate a plan that makes full use of his abil­i­ties. He also has shown the capac­i­ty to learn from his errors and the next install­ment will show just how well he learned in his next attempt to take over the Earth.

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