Monday, April 07, 2008

General Randomness - (Geeking Out Warning)

So we'll see if this ends up going anywhere.

When we last left our hero, he was working in Sacramento installing groundwater monitoring wells. I finished all of the work associated with that site (for now), and am now back in the office. I'll be going to Redwood City next week to install some vapor monitoring wells, and then (hopefully), I'll be back in the office for a while.

Sunday, Jennifer and I toured Martinez, Pleasant Hill, and Concord looking at houses that will be going up for auction due to foreclosure. We saw about 15 and will go back to (I think) 7 when they are open next weekend.

Saturday, I got this week's batch of comic books. I'm now two weeks behind in my reading, but I'm looking forward to reading the latest Action Comics with the conclusion of a Superman/Legion of Super-Heroes crossover story. Now, just about anyone who knows me can tell you that Superman is my favorite superhero, but there aren't many who could tell you that the Legion runs a close second.

The Legion of Super-Heroes is from 1,000 years in the future, and is made young people from around the galaxy with special powers. The Legion Constitution states that a new member must have a genuine (or unique among the Legion) superpower. It has to be inherent and cannot be based on a device, and the candidate must have complete control of it. This has brought forth some great new powers, and interesting characters to go with them. The Legion has had several members and many incarnations. My favorite version was the one from the 80s and 90s, and my favorite members are Mon-El, Wildfire, and Elemental Lad/Alchemist.

The 80s and 90s Legion was the same Legion from the 60s, but the characters had grown up, some getting married, and one couple having a child (actually twins, but that comes out later). The characters were well established, and before 1985, the first Crisis had not yet taken place, so you still had the occasional Superboy and/or Supergirl visit from the 20th century. Even after the crisis, the writers worked in the death of Supergirl and (thanks to wanker John Byrne) the non-existence of Superboy. The death of Superboy story arc was incredibly touching, and is right up there with the Great Darkness Saga for powerful storytelling. Now this isn't to say that I haven't liked all of the Legion stories, but those are my definite favorites.

Element Lad (whose real name is Jan Arrah, and was known as Alchemist for a while) has the power to change an object's chemical composition. His typical attack was to bind a villain in or change their clothing into "inertron" the densest and strongest material known to the 30th century. Jan Arrah is the sole survivor from the planet Trom, a world whose population was killed by the mercenary Roxxas who was holding them hostage so that they would make him the richest man in the galaxy. When Jan is not on monitor duty in the Legion Headquarters or on a mission, he returns to Trom to create crystal memorials for every member of his race who was killed. For a while, his romantic interest was Shvaugn Erin who was the Legion liaison from the Science Police, and always caught hell when the Legion would fall out of favor.

Wildfire, real name Drake Burroughs, appeared first as ERG-1. He lived in a red containment suit because an accident had turned his body into pure energy. Various incarnations of his suit let him do different things, but he was mostly known for his energy blasts. His greatest weakness was that if anyone managed to breach his suit, his energies would slowly leak away leaving him disembodied until a new suit could be found for him. Wildfire had a crush on Dawnstar who was an American-Indian (this was before Native American was used), was from another planet, had wings, was immune to the vacuum of space, and could track anyone or anything across the void of space. Wildfire's love went unrequited because he could not leave his suit.

And then there's Mon-El. He started as a one shot character in the old Superboy comic. His ship crash landed on earth while Sueprboy was still living in Smallville, but he had amnesia from the crash. He looked similar to Superboy, had Kryptonian-like clothing, and possessed superpowers under the Yellow sun, so Superboy named him Mon-El. That's El because they thought he must be Superboy's older brother, and Mon because he crashed on Monday. The bad news was that Mon-El was actually from Daxam, not Krypton. Daxam is still believed to be a lost colony of Krypton, but the race had changed slightly. They were immune to Kryptonite, but vulnerable to lead. Mon-El and Superboy learned this when Mon-El was shot. The shock of the lead brought Mon-El's memory back, and he recalled his history, and his real name Lar Gand. Because lead was a permanent poison to Daxamites, Superboy put Mon-El into the Phantom Zone swearing to come up with a serum to return Mon-El to health. Unfortunately Sueprboy/Superman never came up with a cure, but Brainiac 5, the twelfth level intelligence from Colu, used a kryptonite irradiated serum made from Superboy's blood in the 30th century to cure Mon-El. Then he was essentially invulnerable to all things except magic and a red sun. Mon-El's romance was with the blue skinned Shadow Lass/Umbra who could cast rays and areas of darkness.

As you can guess, the comic is like a big soap opera with the turmoils and hormones of youth and the arguments, rivalries, and romances. It has been a fan favorite since its inception, and we are all frustrated by the cancellation of the animated series after only to seasons. It has been running off and on since its introduction in 1958.

And yes, everything I wrote was from memory.

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