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Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Jemm, Son of Saturn 12 - Jemm ends


Potter, Colan and McLeod bring Jemm, Son of Saturn to an end with issue 12 (Aug 85).


So of course this is a big fight finale. The Koolar holding Luther has the ability to enter and animate objects, which ups the scale for the battle, and gives Colan a chance to have fun with the art.


But the tale feels like a downer. Jemm more or less forcibly brings peace between the red and white Saturnians. The prophecy had him fight to protect them all, and it turned out that he needed to protect them from Tull, but Jemm's actions won him no friends on either side.


Still, Jemm does the right thing. He defeats the white Saturnian and frees Luther.


There is some very strange stuff with Bouncer and the homeless people. Bouncer and Luther's older brother have become friends since spending time on the streets, and working together against Tull. But the homeless people reject an offer to provide them with shelter, because they love living on the streets. Yeah, right. 


So Luther winds up back with his brother, who is no longer a gangster, and Bouncer, who also has changed his ways. Jemm flies off as the boy cries about how much he cares for Jemm. 

I am honestly not surprised that this didn't spawn any continuation. Jemm is too much like the Martian Manhunter, and the story could have been better told. Jemm does return occasionally over the years, and made an appearance shortly after this series ended, on the Monitor's satellite in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Jemm, Son of Saturn 11 - Jemm leaves New Bhok


Potter, Colan and McLeod move things towards a conclusion in Jemm, Son of Saturn 11 (July 1985).


Although the Saturnians of New Bhok are no longer actively trying to kill Jemm, he decides to leave the planet. He wants to get Luther back to Earth, so the Saturnians do not attack the boy again, and also feels that his presence has not made anything better on the Jovian moon.


Meanwhile, back on Earth, Bouncer breaks into Claudius Tull's place to kill him. Tull is hooked up to the machine draining the life force from the white Saturnian. It gives him far more powers than he let the Saturnians know, and his mental force is able to leave his body and go into space.


Tull uses this force to attack the Saturnian ship. He kills the sex slave of Synnar, who has just found out she is pregnant. The Saturnians do what they can to fight off Tull's power. Combined with Bouncer's attack on the machine back on Earth, Tull's home explodes.


As for Jemm, once again he gets attacked by one of the white Saturnians, who takes Luther hostage. This is getting a bit repetitive.

Jemm, Son of Saturn 10 - Luther begs for Jemm's life


Luther aids Jemm in the Potter, Colan and McLeod story from Jemm, Son of Saturn 10 (June 1985).


Luther hasn't done much in the last couple of issues, but now that Jemm is about to be executed as a traitor to New Bhok he shows up again. He pleads with the Saturnians to release Jemm, and for Jemm to use his powers to get free. But Jemm just sort of hangs there until the Saturnians get pissed off at Luther and go after the boy. Only then, with the help of a priest, does Jemm get free and rescue the boy.


Unfortunately, as they fight against the Saturnians, the priest winds up getting killed.


Back on Earth, Bouncer joins some homeless people and plans to get some sort of revenge on Claudius Tull. I have to admit I like this series less and less as it goes on. I am skipping over more subplot stuff, because it often feels like filler, but also doesn't balance well. The scenes on Earth have so little relevance to the events on New Bhok, and the subplot about Synnar and her sex slave drags on. She is clearly pregnant by him, but that is not actually revealed yet.

Jemm, Son of Saturn 9 - the people turn on Jemm


Things don't go so well for Jemm on New Bhok in the Potter, Colan and McLeod story from Jemm, Son of Saturn 9 (May 1985).


The inhabitants of New Bhok may not be as evil as the white Saturnians, but they are not pacifists, either. Expecting that one day their old enemies would show up, they have been building another super weapon, one that will kill the Koolar should they ever attack.


So guess what? Having learned from Claudius Tull that the red Saturnians are on a moon of Jupiter, the white Saturnians show up, guns blazing from their ships. Jemm goes into action to try to stop them.


But Jemm does not want to see any Saturnians killed, red or white. He uses his powers both to hold off the whites, and also to destroy the super weapon created by the reds.


This makes the people who had virtually been worshipping him in the previous issue now turn on him. They consider Jemm a traitor, bind him and prepare to execute him.

Jemm, Son of Saturn 8 - Jemm comes to New Bhok


Jemm comes to the new home of the displaced Saturnians in the Potter, Colan and McLeod story in Jemm, Son of Saturn 8 (April 1985).


Jemm's cousin brings him to New Bhok, the new home of the red Saturnians, on a moon of Jupiter. The cousin is the democratically elected leader of New Bhok, but he fears that the people will turn to Jemm over him. Jemm is the only surviving member of the royal family, and his birthmark makes him also the fulfilment of a prophecy. A lot of this issue is devoted to discussions and fears about how Jemm's presence on New Bhok will affect things.


Back on Earth, Bouncer leads the white Saturnians to Claudius Tull. Synnar makes a deal with Tull, who has machines that can tell her where Jemm has gone. We learn that Tull has been draining life energy from captive Saturnians to extend his own. He had intended to do this to Jemm. Synnar turns over one of her own people to Tull in exchange for the information they need to find Jemm.


Jemm goes into action on New Bhok, saving the people from a giant lizard monster thing. There is no longer any point in trying to hide him away, and the cousin fears how things will change.

Jemm, Son of Saturn 7 - Jemm's cousin comes to his aid


Potter, Colan and Janson continue with the saga of Jemm, Son of Saturn in issue 7 (March 1985).


Although it sure seemed like Jemm had got away from the Saturnians pursuing him in the last issue, he gets captured right at the start of this one. One had been hiding out in the ship Jemm took, the sister of the white Saturnian that died towards the start of the miniseries. She is more than happy to kill Jemm in return.


But it turns out Superman's words had some effect, and his cousin comes to Earth just in time to save Jemm. Like the Martian Manhunter, fire is Jemm's weakness, both physically and psychologically. Jemm then gets re-united with Luther.


Bouncer gets some play in this one. He has been more or less discarded by Claudis Tull, who has the guy's mother killed. Bouncer then winds up falling into the hands of the white Saturnians.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Jemm, Son of Saturn 6 - pursuing Jemm back to Earth


Bob McLeod joins Potter and Colan on Jemm, Son of Saturn 6 (Feb 85).


This is my favourite of the issues I read yesterday. Various plot threads are advanced on the top two thirds of most of the pages in this issue, while the bottom third is devoted to the silent pursuit of Jemm by the white Saturnians. A politician who was working with Claudius Trull is planning to boost himself to notional prominence by revealing the existence of the Saturnians, while Superman talks to Jemm's cousin.


It's really hard to admire the cousin, even though he was the leader of the democratic forces on Saturn. The problem is that he is the son of Jemm's aunt, who was passed over in the line of succession. So the only reason he actually supports democracy is that he is upset that Jemm is the crown prince instead of him.


He worked in the mines, extracting the ore that would be used in the super weapon whose detonation ram rampant, and destroyed the surface of the planet. But he can't be blamed for that, he had no idea what was really going on. The guy also explains the true nature of the birthmark on Jemm's head. It gives him immense powers, but those drain his system, weakening and hurting him. He also admits that the birthmark is sacred, and that Jemm has no desire to harm any Saturnian. Unless, as is apparent, they are trying to kill him. Superman convinces the guy that he is blaming Jemm for actions other people took, and he has no real reason to hate his cousin.


Jemm makes it back to Earth and destroys the Saturnian ships following him. He mourns for the loss of his people.


As the story concludes, the politician gets murdered by what appear to be red Saturnians, but these are actually gangsters in masks, sent out by Trull to get rid of the man, and lay the blame on the Saturnians.

Jemm, Son of Saturn 5 - tortured by Synnar


Superman realizes the error he has made in the Potter, Colan, and Janson story from Jemm, Son of Saturn 5 (Jan 85).


We learn a bit more about the white Saturnians in this story. A handful survived the destruction of the planet's surface, warriors and scientists. The women are dominant among the survivors, and the men used as sex slaves. Synnar, the most vicious and violent of the remaining Koolar, became their leader. She spends the first part of the story enjoying her torture of Jemm.


Luther snuck onto the ship, and he winds up finding Synnar's room, with her sex slave chained to the bed. This guy is nicer than the other Koolar, and even aids Luther in hiding from them.


Jemm eventually gets free, but knows that Luther is on the ship. He finds the boy, and even offers to free Synnar's man. We have seen her abuse the guy, but he opts to stay with her anyway, their intimacy having formed a bond between them. Jemm manages to steal a ship and flee the Saturnian craft, though they prepare to pursue him.


Meanwhile, back on Earth, Superman has figured out that he was being used. He uses Hawkman's Absorbacon (misspelled Abscorbacon) to find one of the red Saturnians. He is Jemm's cousin, but has nothing but loathing for the guy, and no intention of helping Superman rescue him.

Jemm, Son of Saturn 4 - Superman vs Jemm


Despite being featured on the cover, Superman actually spends very little time fighting the titular hero from the Potter, Colan, and Janson story in Jemm, Son of Saturn 4 (Dec 84).


Jemm is enjoying his time with Luther, who is teaching the alien how to play jacks, when Superman shows up and goes after him. The pair are about evenly matched in strength, but Superman notes how Jemm seems protective of the humans he is with. Even before the fight is over, Superman is not sure he is fighting on the right side.


That becomes abundantly clear when the CIA guy starts ranting against aliens, then use the "krypt-killer" gun he has to take down Superman. Jemm winds up carted off by Synnar, of the white Saturnians. 


The CIA guy doesn't wind up faring so well. He gets killed by Synnar's robots while Superman is still unconscious.

Jemm, Son of Saturn 3 - the origin of Jemm


Potter, Colan, and Janson explore Jemm's life on Saturn in Jemm, Son of Saturn 3 (Nov 84).


As Jemm and Luther hide out in the sewers during the night, Jemm has lots of flashbacks to his past. We learn that the white and red Saturnians developed independently, and it took a long time for them to come into contact with each other. Then came war, then came peace, then more tension. Jemm is the prince of the royal family, born with the gemstone birthmark. This was long prophesied, that he would be the one to bring peace once again.


So Jemm was tutored by a white Saturnian, and though he lived his life among the reds, was taught that he would one day unite all the Saturnians.


But that never happened. We don't find out exactly what happened to Saturn yet, but an attack by the whites slaughtered Jemm's family, and a massive fire left the planet devastated and uninhabitable.


The story closes as Claudius Tull, acting as a government operative, enlists the aid of Superman in hunting down Jemm. Superman insists that he has been to Saturn, and found no life there, but is willing to help out.

Jemm, Son of Saturn 2 - Jemm battles the Koolar


Potter, Colan and Janson continue with Jemm, Son of Saturn in issue 2 (Oct 84).


Picking up from last issue, Jemm and Luther are trapped out on the New York streets during the night. Jemm displays some of his shape altering powers as he fights off goons who try to mug them. He does not fully adopt a new body, it's a bit more like the way Elongated Man stretches.


The CIA guy reports about the spaceship and the robots to Claudius Tull, a man with openly high connections to government. However, by the end of the story, we discover that Tull is also the leader of the mob that attacked Luther's family, and Bouncer is one of his men. From what he learns from the two men, Tull is determined to find and capture Jemm.


Jemm has his first flashback to life on Saturn. Later issues will reveal much more about the history of his planet, but here we see him being taught by a white Saturnian. Just as there are green and white Martians in the Martian Manhunter series, this one has red and white Saturnians. I also have to admit I am puzzled by the way Colan, a highly skilled artist, left so much empty space at the bottom of this page.


The robots then come after Jemm, who fights off both them, and the white Saturnian (Koolar) commanding them.


While at this point we don't know why the white Saturnian are after Jemm, we do find out that Jemm had believed himself the last survivor of Saturn (just as Martian Manhunter is the last survivor of Mars), and though he is pleased to find out this is not true, that is muted by the fact that the Koolar dies, and he fears that he killed off the last other survivor. He didn't.