A Tribute to the Silver Age of DC Comics

Welcome to the latest edition of the Silver Age Sage: #347. If you're looking for a previous interview, please scroll down to the bottom of this page to the Special Features header. There you will find a list of links to all the creators who have been interviewed in the past.

Journey with us back to December of 1962 (or at least the publication date; we all know they were out on the stands before those printed dates,with this issue it was October 30, 1962) when, in Adventure Comics #303, a 12-page backup story of the Legion of Super-Heroes rolled out one of its most unusual new members. “The Fantastic Spy!” was written by Jerry Siegel, edited by Mort Weisinger, drawn by John Forte and lettered by Joe Letterese. Cover art, which was strictly for the lead tale, was by Curt Swan and George Klein.

Things start in a 30th Century hospital, where two legionnaires are awaiting treatment. Sun Boy and Lightning Lad suffered injuries in a rocket crash. They have ankle and knee injuries, respectively and the attending surgeon, Dr. Landro, is offering his services free of charge as he’s a fan. Using futuristic technology, he inserts curative capsules in each extremity with a technique that is both painless and bloodless.

Next up, we meet the new candidate, a young man from the planet Bismoll (Pepto Bismol has just one “L,” but I can’t help but wonder…) who goes by the mouthful moniker of Matter-Eater Lad. His ability to eat anything is pitched as the ideal resource for eating his way out of any trap the Legion may find itself in. He is accepted and the first assignment of the day is announced when Cosmic Boy recruits volunteers to guard a shipment of Energite for the Science Police Commission.

As Lightning Lad and Bouncing Boy go out into space to find the craft they’re to guard that contains the Energite, a pirate ship, disguised as an organic space creature, takes off with it, earning the Legion the wrath of the Science Police. They suspect a spy in their midst and since the Energite was taken toward Bismoll, the question of their new member being a plant is raised.

Some elaborate techniques are employed to thwart any surveillance, but they are also ineffective. Even Chameleon Boy, shape shifting into a disguised Cosmic Boy’s “bride” can’t seem to fulfill their mission to guard a doomsday bomb without the device being spirited away under their noses.

Furthermore, the use of Lurium helmets, which block mind-reading are eliminated by Z-rays cast by a passing spaceship. Now the members are convinced they have to uncover the traitor among them and the handy Guilt Detector wielded by Brainiac 5 reveals it is Matter-Eater Lad, who promptly eats his way through a barrier and flies off, vowing never to return, despite the unjust accusation.

The members vow to bring him to justice and Brainy muses that they’ve lost all credibility with the Science Police just as they were to guard valuable treasure on the planet Umrax. He then goes to capture Matter-Eater Lad.

When he returns with the new Legionnaire in tow, things begin to be brought forth, first and foremost with the revelation that neither Matter-Eater Lad nor any Legion member is a traitor. As it turns out, Brainiac 5 used a probe-viewer on each member in the clubhouse and discovered a mole in the ankle of Sun Boy. A man has been miniaturized and placed in place of the curative capsule and equipped with a radio. It seems Doctor Landro is in cahoots with interplanetary hoods and implanted the capsule to find out how to enrich themselves at the Legion’s expense, at least as far as their reputation is concerned. Each mission was picked up by the stowaway and radioed to the gang.

The statements made about Umrax were a plant and sure enough, Landro and company went there and were quickly apprehended. Finally, a legitimate surgeon is brought in to remove the capsule with the miniature man and a genuine curative capsule is put in.

In the final panel, Brainy thinks on the irony that the technology used to place the monitor was introduced by his wicked ancestor, the original Brainiac and now he got a chance to do some atoning.

You’d have to search pretty far to find a bigger Legion fan than myself, but I must confess, this story didn’t do it for me. Jerry Siegel’s script seemed a bit predictable and John Forte’s art was wooden. Maybe I’m just spoiled rotten by Curt Swan’s masterful handling of one of my all-time favorite super teams, but between the two, I have to give this one a dismal 4 on the rating scale. Even bringing in a new member couldn’t save this turkey.

Along about the 15th of the month, we’ll take a peek at something new and it is my and the webmaster’s hope that you’ll find your way back. Meanwhile, drop a line any time at professor_the@hotmail.com. We’ll leave the lights on.

Until then...

Long live the Silver Age!

© 2000-2014 by Bryan D. Stroud

This feature was created on 05/01/00 and is maintained by

Bryan D. Stroud


Special Features

Gaspar Saladino Interview

Arnold Drake Tribute

Joe Kubert Interview

Joe Giella Interview

Carmine Infantino Interview

Sheldon Moldoff Interview

Neal Adams Interview (Pt. 1)

Neal Adams Interview (Pt. 2)

Ramona Fradon Interview

Bob Rozakis Interview

Dick Giordano Interview

Denny O'Neil Interview (Pt. 1)

Denny O'Neil Interview (Pt. 2)

Irwin Hasen Interview

Lew Sayre Schwartz Interview

Al Plastino Interview (Pt. 1)

Al Plastino Interview (Pt. 2)

Jim Mooney Interview

Russ Heath Interview (Pt. 1)

Russ Heath Interview (Pt. 2)

Frank Springer Interview (Pt. 1)

Frank Springer Interview (Pt. 2)

Jerry Robinson Interview (Pt. 1)

Jerry Robinson Interview (Pt. 2)

Jerry Robinson Interview (Pt. 3)

Joe Simon & Creig Flessel Interviews

Jim Shooter Interview (Pt. 1)

Jim Shooter Interview (Pt. 2)

Len Wein Interview

Tony DeZuniga Interview

Jerry Grandenetti Interview

Murphy Anderson Interview

Mike Esposito Interview (Pt. 1)

Mike Esposito Interview (Pt. 2)

Stan Goldberg Interview

Marv Wolfman Interview

Bernie Wrightson Interview

Clem Robins Interview (Pt. 1)

Clem Robins Interview (Pt. 2)

Joe Rubinstein Interview (Pt. 1)

Joe Rubinstein Interview (Pt. 2)

Jack Adler Interview (Pt. 1)

Jack Adler Interview (Pt. 2)

Elliot S! Maggin Interview

Mike Grell Interview

Joe Kubert School Interviews

Anthony Tollin Interview

Sam Glanzman Interview

Ernie Chan Interview

Steve Skeates Interview (Pt. 1)

Steve Skeates Interview (Pt. 2)

Mike Friedrich Interview

Tom Orzechowski Interview (Pt. 1)

Tom Orzechowski Interview (Pt. 2)

Walt Simonson Interview

Gene Colan Interview

Gerry Conway Interview

Guy H. Lillian III Interview

Frank McLaughlin Interview

Al Milgrom Interview (Pt. 1)

Al Milgrom Interview (Pt. 2)

Irene Vartanoff Interview

Don Perlin Interview

John Workman Interview (Pt. 1)

John Workman Interview (Pt. 2)

Tom Palmer Interview

Paul Levitz Interview

Jay Scott Pike Interview

Jack C. Harris Interview (Pt. 1)

Jack C. Harris Interview (Pt. 2)

Carl Potts Interview

Larry Hama Interview

Joe Kubert School Interviews 2

Greg Theakston Interview (Pt. 1)

Greg Theakston Interview (Pt. 2)

Michael Netzer Interview (Pt. 1)

Michael Netzer Interview (Pt. 2)

Alan Kupperberg Interview

Joe D'esposito Interview

Steve Mitchell Interview (Pt. 1)

Steve Mitchell Interview (Pt. 2)

Ralph Reese Interview

Bob McLeod Interview

Bob Smith Interview

Jose Delbo Interview

Joe Staton Interview (Pt. 1)

Joe Staton Interview (Pt. 2)

Frank Thorne Interview

Bob Wiacek Interview

Nick Cardy Interview (Pt. 1)

Nick Cardy Interview (Pt. 2)

John Calnan Interview

Sy Barry Interview

Cary Bates Interview

John Severin Interview

Liz Berube Interview

Thom Zahler Interview

Paul Kirchner Interview

Sheldon Moldoff Interview #2

Mike Royer Interview (Pt. 1)

Mike Royer Interview (Pt. 2)

Joe Barney Interview (Pt. 1)

Joe Barney Interview (Pt. 2)

Ken Bald Interview

Sal Buscema Interview

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