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Monday, 19 June 2017

All New Collectors' Edition C-55 - the wedding of Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl

Paul Levitz, Mike Grell and Vince Colletta produce All New Collectors' Edition C-55 (1978), a Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes story that sees the wedding of Lightning Lad to Saturn Girl, an event foretold in the comics fifteen years earlier.

The story begins as Superboy flies through time to the 30th century to attend the big wedding. When he arrives, he is surprised to find a world far more hostile and militaristic than the peaceful future he has always come to before. Superboy asks Princesss Projectra about the changes,, but as far as she is concerned this is the way it always has been. She explains how political divisions in 1978 lead to a nuclear war, and then rival space exploration. So the galaxy has been at war ever since.

Superboy knows this is not the way things always have been, but it's time for the wedding, so he keeps his mouth shut. There are not nearly as many guests for Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl as there were for Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel, although the writer and artist make appearances. The Substitute Legion also get to view things from a high balcony.

As the two heroes fly off for their honeymoon the Khunds attack. They capture Garth and Imra, and then retreat. Wildfire, the current head of the Legion, intends to lead the team to rescue them. Superboy argues with this, insisting that the alteration in reality is the bigger issue, and needs to be dealt with. 

Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl manage to escape from the Khunds, but the ship they steal crashes on the Moon. They have no way of contacting the Legion, and are running out of air. Lightning Lad is preparing to kill them to save them from a lingering, painful death, but Wildfire, Phantom Girl, Timber Wolf, Dawnstar and Colossal Boy show up. Cosmic Boy was able to track them by "reading" Light Lass's electromagnetic signature. Since she and Garth are twins, he was able to find the match. 

Meanwhile, Superboy leads Karate Kid, Projectra, Brainiac 5, Sun Boy, Mon-El and Shadow Lass back to 1978. He is forced to stay in the time bubble, so as to not have two versions of himself in the same period. Brainiac 5 leads the rest of the group in observing and following the various delegations that are working to shut down the UN, and they trace it all back to one mystery man.

Going on the attack, they find that the person is really their old foe, the Time Trapper, last seen the previous year working for Pulsar Stargrave. Changing the events in 1978 was meant to weaken the Legion in their own period, so that he can triumph over them. He takes down the team and heads back to the future.

The heroes also return, and share their information. Now that everyone is on the same page, so to speak, they head to the end of time to confront the Trapper. Rond Vidar cameos, operating the Time Cube. Tyroc is chosen to stay behind. The story does use every member of the team, to a greater or lesser degree, but Tyroc really gets shafted. The only thing he does is get excluded. In the final battle with the Trapper the villain is revealed to be a renegade Controller. He has stolen the Miracle Machine while the Legion were busy with his diversions, and uses it to encase them. But the Legionnaires all focus together on taking mental control of the Miracle Machine, using it to take down the Time Trapper instead.

My summary really did not do this justice. It's a beautifully rendered saga. I just loved it when I was a kid. The Time Trapper returns the following year in Super Friends.

The issue also contains a centre spread of the Legion, with insets of the original trio and the classic 60s version.

And there are pages at the end which list the entire team, their powers and backgrounds, as well as the Substitute Legion and Honourary members.

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