Secret Origins #40 and 42

secret_origins_vol_2_42I’d been inserting issues of Secret Origins into my reading when I wanted to take a break from getting through runs of other books, such as Suicide Squad, although I’m going to have to find an alternative because I have all of seven or eight issues left before I have read through what I own. I’m also going to have to come to a decision on whether or not I keep the entire run and finish collecting it or if I decide to just let it all go when I’m done reading what I have.

There’s also the fact that when it comes to Suicide Squad, I’m almost at The Janus Directive and I only own two chapters of that crossover. That’s a whole other entry, though.

Anyway, onto the issues. I’m not going to really get into #40 because it technically wasn’t an “unread” book. I had bought it, read it, and reviewed it for the “Goin’ Ape” episode of my 80 Years of DC Comics podcast miniseries five years ago; however, I decided to reread it because it’s a fun all-gorilla issue and you can’t do something tied to the history of DC Comics without gorillas.

Issue #42 features Phantom Girl from the Legion of Super-Heroes and is written by Tom & Mary Bierbaum with art by Dave Cockrum, Jim Sanders, and Larry Mahlstedt. I am going to assume that the framing device of Ultra Boy being kicked out of the Legion and then going undercover as a double agent was something that actually happened in a past Legion story, and it’s enough of a catalyst for Phantom Girl to remember her own origin. I’m giving it a bit of a short shrift here because it’s not particularly memorable. Cockrum’s art is servicable at best, which is a shame because I’ve read a number of his Uncanny X-Men books and I know he is one of the classic LOSH artists. The Bierbaums do an okay job with the story as well.

I guess what’s most interesting to me about this is how quickly parts of this would be retconned after its publication. This issue is cover dated July 1989 and on the stands is issue #62 of the Baxter series, which is the second-to-last issue of that book. The Bierbaums would then become the writers of the Legion when the “Five Years Later” book starts up and would retcon the presence of Superboy in the Legion. Which, by the way, was a retcon/tweak done in the early Byrne Superman books. Oh, and I should also mention that Phantom Girl herself would completely disappear (pun intended) from the LOSH book and would get shunted in time to L.E.G.I.O.N., but then it would be revealed that she actually wasn’t her and …

Forget it, Jake. It’s the Legion of Super-Heroes.

The other story in #42 is The Grim Ghost, which is a return of the Golden Age origins courtesy of Roy Thomas, which I thought were finished but I guess not. Michael Bair is on art and just like their other team-ups, this feels like a story of the era it’s covering. But since it is of a character whom I think doesn’t have many appearances after this, I didn’t have to think much about continuity, and really enjoyed it for what it was.

Keep, Sell, Donate, or Trash?

Keep.

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