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Author Topic: Cary Bates getting powers wrong  (Read 6649 times)
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JulianPerez
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« on: January 21, 2007, 08:44:58 AM »

Though I love the Cary Bates/Dave Cockrum Legion backups as one of the high points of the group's existence, there is a definite sense that he was not entirely on solid ground with who the characters are...and all the little trivia bits that makes reading the Legion a lot of fun.

The most archetypal example would be in the "One Shot Hero" story, which may be in the top five DC comics ever written, yet was marred by a serious mistake: ERG-1 points out that he can "change on element to another...like Chemical King!"

I'm willing to cut Cary some slack here for several reasons:

1) In all fairness, Chemical King's power is pretty complicated and definitely "unsexy." I suspect this is why Condo was killed off.

2) It was ERG-1 saying what Chemical King's powers are, so he may have made a mistake.

There are other occasions.

The next one that comes to mind was in Bates's "Curse of the Blood-Crystals" in SUPERBOY #188 (1972) which kicked off one of the most pernicious misconceptions in comics: the idea that Mordru the Merciless's weakness was being buried underground.

MORDRU: "Bah! Superboy remembered all my magical powers are neutralized if I'm buried underground!"

However, anyone that reads Mordru's first appearance back in 1968 will tell you that it is not being buried underground that is Mordru's weakness, but the condition of not being exposed to air. This is a rather understandable confusion, considering at the end of that story Mordru was defeated when his fireballs go crazy and he is buried under rubble.

The last Bates power error is really minor, and is in "One Legionnaire must Go!" in SUPERBOY #184 (1972).

In this story, Matter-Eater Lad is framed for murder by his evil cousin, who placed inside of his food (heh heh) a telepathy transmitter that had him project "evil thoughts" of "sabotage" at Saturn Girl. Here's the thing, though: it's a commonly accepted notion that the source of Matter-Eater Lad's matter-eating ability is stomach acid that is the most corrosive stuff the universe has ever known. If Matter Eater Lad swallowed something, it would be instantly dissolved by his stomach acid and would not remain in his body.
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DoctorZero
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« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2007, 07:33:38 PM »

True, Bates made some rather surprising mistakes during his run.  I suspect Cary just didn't do the research necessary at the time.  However, I do regard him as one of the best Legion writers, mainly because he was able to do short Legion tales without totally messing it up.  Most writers probably wouldn't want the assignment;  writing 8 to ten page yarns which were about a team with I think 25 active members.  Cary stepped up to the plate and did a great job, probably better than E. Nelson Bridwell, the other writer of the early Superboy/Legion shorts. 

Cary definitely helped keep the strip alive until it was ready to return to it's own full length series a few years later on.
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Super Monkey
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« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2007, 09:02:08 PM »

No worst than Justice League during the 1960's when everyone had powers that only existed in that one book and nowhere else, and other times only in one story and never again!

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Lee Semmens
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« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2007, 11:01:02 AM »

Yes, such as the Martian Manhunter in Gardner Fox's JLA.

Although having a multiplicity of unique and interesting powers in his own (back-up) strips, about the only powers Fox credited Martian Manhunter with were flight, super-strength, and super-breath (!?!), the latter of which Fox vastly over-used, while I can never recall him using his invisibility, or powers of transformation, for instance.

Martian Manhunter was little more than a boring (lesser) Superman clone in Fox's hands.

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Klar Ken T5477
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« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2007, 04:51:18 PM »

Chemical Kid was doomed before he even joined the Legion as was Shadow Lass.  Both were portrayed as falling in action when Superman visited the Adult Legion prior to the introduction of either character offically in a Swan/Shoooter 2-parter in Adventure.
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DoctorZero
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« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2007, 04:15:34 PM »

In one Fox JLA story the Martian Manhunter was depicted as stretching his arm like Elongated Man.  This was probably the only instance of him using his transformation powers in that book.
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« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2007, 04:36:57 PM »

In one Fox JLA story the Martian Manhunter was depicted as stretching his arm like Elongated Man.  This was probably the only instance of him using his transformation powers in that book.

Fox always came up with new powers for people that they only used once.

Martian Manhunter used his Plas powers in the JLA cartoon as well
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« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2007, 03:36:08 PM »

Very funny: A catalog of all the times JJ used superbreath in JLA:

http://craigboldman.com/jonzz/john01.html
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