A Tribute to the of





Welcome to the latest edition of the Silver Age Sage: #394. 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.

As I type this edition of the Silver Age Sage, the great Mike Grell is celebrating his 69th birthday, so it seems like an inspired notion to spotlight some of his work from the ol’ collection. After all, as I’ve mentioned in the past, Mike was the first artist the webmaster and I began to identify back when we were cruising the spinner racks for the latest issue of Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes.

With that in mind, let’s take a peek at an old favorite from that series, specifically issue #210 with an August 1975 publication date. Cover art is by Iron Mike Grell as is the interiors with a script by Jim Shooter titled, “Soljer’s Private WarMurray Boltinoff is our editor with lettering by Ben Oda.

The splash page is a bit like the cover, with Legionnaires Lightning Lad, Phantom Girl and what is soon to be revealed as Superboy in attendance. LL has just unleashed a death bolt at the flying figure. He is practicing his combat skills and Superboy is the willing, living target.

Soon, however, the weather, even though programmed, is taking a turn for the worse, so they cut the maneuvers short right after another bolt is unleashed, this one missing the Boy of Steel and striking the ground. As they leave for HQ and Phantom Girl dematerializes to avoid getting wet, something is happening at the strike zone. A figure fights its way to the surface and is described as less than alive. This isn’t a classic zombie, though, but a soldier with an invading force who had been in action during World War VI in the year 2783.

The war was fought with super weapons and computers and the objective was to take Metropolis but even then they had the ground-pounders, the infantry, and just as the unit is advancing, a gamma grenade is lobbed into their midst. Mike Essad throws himself onto the deadly weapon and in a freak circumstance is simultaneously struck by lightning from the storm. His fellow soldiers bury him in the crater that was created from the blast and his sergeant remarks that he was a good soldier.

Now, 200 years later, this same figure is standing in another stormy day with only the foggiest of memories, but he remembers the “good soldier” comment and wonders if that is his name: Soljer. He soon spots a mileage sign to Metropolis and recalls his orders, which are to take Metropolis. Like any good soldier, he has his orders and he will do his best to fulfill them.

Back at Legion HQ, Brainiac 5 gets word that there is trouble in their base of Metropolis and he dispatches the available Legionnaires to deal with it. They quickly find that a lone figure s wreaking havoc with what appear to be imaginary weaponry. As Superboy is the first to engage he also ends up the first casualty as a blast from an unseen rifle clobbers him with an anti-matter fusion blast, something to which even the Kryptonian is susceptible.

Next up is Lightning Lad, but his bolts have no effect. It seems, according to Brainy’s readings, that the attacker is already super-charged with energy, so what’s a little more?

Phantom Girl takes a shot, but an invisible knife is pulled from a scabbard and is plunged into her phantom form in the abdomen. Essad marches on, but the Legion members decide to break off the engagement as Superboy and Phantom Girl are injured. She has returned to her corporeal form, but back at the clinic, under the care of Brainiac 5, the source of her pain is not apparent.

Just then Chameleon Boy enters to report that Soljer is still blasting away with his invisible arsenal. That gives Brainy the inspiration to instruct Cham to turn phantom and see if he can find what is harming Phantom Girl. Quickly, the shape shifter finds that he can feel the handle of a knife and he removes it, allowing the sophisticated 30th Century healing machines to do their work.

Chameleon Boy notes that the weapon seems to hail from World War VI and Brainiac 5 states that everything points to that skirmish, including Soljer himself. When Cham protests that it was 200 years ago, Brainy tells him to solidify. The knife then disappears. Brainiac 5 floats his hypothesis that the body of Soljer has been super-charged with energy, allowing him to create any weapon he imagines with that energy. They cannot be seen or touched, but the damage they do is very real.

Time for some research as Brainy retrieves history tapes of the 2783 Invasion of Metropolis. Meanwhile, Cham gets the others so they can get prepared for another encounter with the plus 200-year old warrior.

Soljer, meanwhile, is in full attack mode when abruptly he is surprised to see Metropolis reduced to burning rubble. While he’s processing what his senses are reporting, he is addressed by a similarly garbed man. “Private Essad! Ten-Hut! I am Sergeant Richter..look at me, Private! Do you remember me?” The Private acknowledges that he does and the Sergeant explains that the mission is complete. Essad snaps to attention and then collapses into the ground. Brainiac 5 then reports that the soldier is dead, never knowing that the destruction of Metropolis was a patented Princess Projectra illusion or that Chameleon Boy was impersonating Sergeant Richter.

In the final panel it is revealed that a monument will be erected to the memory of Private Mike Essad to honor his selfless sacrifice for his fellow soldiers. A small scroll at the bottom displays a familiar passage from John 15:13 in the New Testament: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

That wraps up this 11-pager right before the backup tale of the untold origin of Karate Kid. Perhaps we’ll look at that one another time.

I loved this story as a kid and still appreciate it all these decades later. I never put two and two together back in the day that it has trace elements of the Frankenstein Monster what with all the electricity flying around and reanimation of a body. Not to suggest that was an inspiration for this story, but it’s an interesting element.

Actually, being a bit of a science fiction buff, I’ve long found it to remind me of Harlan Ellison’s “Soldier,” the first episode from the second season of The Outer Limits. If you’ve not seen it, check it out. It’s an excellent little program and ultimately, at least in a court of law, was acknowledged as a basis for the Terminator movie.

No rating for a Bronze Age representative, but this is some great Grell goodness. Here’s to Iron Mike! Long may he pencil!

Do join us again on the 1st when we take another trip to the glorious heyday of DC Comics. Of course you are always welcome to drop a line to me anytime at: professor_the@hotmail.com.

See you next time and…

Long live the Silver Age!



© 2000-2016 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

Angelo Torres Interview

Alex Ross Interview

Howard Chaykin Interview


shopify visitor statistics

Also check out the Sage's contributions.



The Silver Lantern Site Menu + Map & Updates

HomeThe SageSage Archives1934-19551956
19571958195919601961
19621963196419651966
1967196819691970GL Data





All characters mentioned, artwork, logos and other visual depictions displayed, unless otherwise noted, are © by DC Comics. No infringement upon those rights is intended or should be inferred. Cover, interior and other artwork scans and vid-caps are used for identification purposes only. The mission of this non-profit site is to entertain and inform. It is in no way authorized or endorsed by DC Comics and/or its parent company. The Webmaster assumes no responsibility for the content or maintenance of external links.