Ah yes, the Greatest Earrings in Comics History. And a mystery – where are the other rejects hanging out? We never find out … but thinking on, is it a stretch to suggest that Lydda and the other lads had already had the Subs idea, so she sought out Brek, then was good enough to let him think he’d come up with the notion, to cheer him up?
Just adorable. Forte has put Chlorophyll Kid, who fell into a pot of Baby Bio, into a babygro. And I just love the more illustrative chest symbols of the boys, and the colouring, and that cute owl! Just seeing these guys, with their hearts on their sleeves and their abilities on their chests, makes me grin.
Bouncing Boy can bounce off the surface of water – I guess he really does become as light as a beach ball. I suppose that’s nicer for the people he lands on.
Forte’s art has a reputation for lack of animation, stiffness, but this sequence puts the lie to that – he doesn’t fall back on stock poses, like many a more popular artist. No, he gives his characters appropriate body language, you can gauge the emotion of Chlorophyll Kid without having to look at his face – brave, but sheepish. And the creepiness of the just-born plant man in panel two is immediately defused by the humour of his comeuppance under Night Girl. It’s wonderful work, sorely under-appreciated.
‘I’ll last longer that way…’ Stone Boy doesn’t assume for a minute that he’ll survive this, but does he care? Nope, he stands proudly, waiting to be smashed to rubble, happy that he’s going out saving the world.
Has any other super-team ever stopped the invasion of Earth with a population explosion? These kids have something, and National Periodical Publications should’ve spun them off into their own series immediately. Already there was a wackiness attached to them. Perhaps Robert Loren Fleming and Keith Giffen thought so too, and that’s how we got to the still-divisive Subs Special of the Eighties. The important thing is, they weren’t the butt of a joke here.
And so ends the debut story of the humblest heroes in comics, leaving just one question. Who the heck got into the team this auditions go round?
Many years, since I first read this story, I still love it. The invention, the heart, the uniqueness of the concept, the sweetness of the characters … it’s not just one of the finest Legion stories ever, it’s one of DC’s best, full stop.