Legion HQ

Legion of Superheroes

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The Legion of Superheroes co-starred with a timetravelling Superboy for years in adventures set in the Thirtieth Century AD. Unlike the JLA and JSA which were always more boys clubs the Legion always had a strong female membership. The mid Seventies were a golden age for Legion fanboys. The Legionaires grew up (though since life-spans had been extended by the 30th century you could be in your twenties and still be known as {Insert powername here}-"Boy", "Girl", "Lad" or "Lass" with absolutely no irony) and the female Legionaries all decided if you've got it, flaunt it. The old costumes covering them from neck to toes or ending in knee length midi-skirts gave way to what the twentieth century would term beachwear. With Mike Grell doing the art the Thirtieth Century became a time when men were boys and girls dressed like swimsuit models. Sadly those costumes gave way to more discreet outfits in the Eighties. Ah well, it was nice while it lasted. With that said we turn to Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes #221 and a supervillain who, sadly, was never allowed to reach his full potential. Grimbor the Chainsman was unusual for a Legion foe in not starting out as a mad scientist, alien despot, violent warrior or lifelong criminal. Instead he was a legitimate businessman. A craftsman with a unique talent for his speciality who got a little careless about the company he kept. To backtrack a little Timber Wolf and Superboy were patrolling the Metropolis Central Power Complex when an incredibly strong human began beating the hell out of Timber Wolf (not an easy task). Superboy found himself powerless to intervene being entranced by a mysterious girl. The next day the mystery girl delivered two crates to R.J. Brande along with an offer that for $100,000,000 she'd guarantee the Legionaires safety. Unable to stop her leaving Brande discovered the crates held live cargo, the missing Superboy and Timber Wolf wrapped in bonds they couldn't break. The chains self-destructed after the Legionaires arrived leaving nothing to analyse or tell how non- magical, non-kryptonite chains could hold someone of Superboy's strength. Worried by this Brande offered to pay the (by his standards) minor extortion but the Legionaries insisted they could take care of themselves. At which point the scene shifted to the mystery villains; Grimbor the Chainsman and Charma.

So, quicker than you could say, "Lord, the woman tempted me and I fell", Grimbor had evaded Legion HQ's security system and got the two of them into the building. Almost immediately they encountered a pair of Legionaires, Colossal Boy and Shadow Girl. Grimbor made short work of the former while the latter fell victim to Charma's power and began punching her. Which Grimbor really didn't like.

While Charma wasn't much of a fighter her power overcame Cosmic Boy, Chameleon Boy and Superboy and let Grimbor bind them without too much trouble. Timber Wolf and his then girlfriend Light Lass had watched this on the monitors and tried to divide and conquer. Putting a barrier between Grimbor and Charma the two legionaires attacked the one they could handle. Unfortunately it seemed Charma's power wasn't line-of-sight and both Timber Wolf and Grimbor felt compelled to rescue her from Light Lass. What followed must have put a strain on the Legionaires' relationship.

Shortly afterwards R.J. Brande arrived at Legion HQ having received a call from Charma.

Charma thought everything was going perfectly and told Brande that the price had got up to a trillion dollars. A price Brande was prepared to pay. Unfortunately for Charma she had underestimated her partner's devotion to his craft.

Shrinking Violet began beating up Charma but it wasn't solely due to Charma's power, Violet had a plan. Knowing she couldn't handle Grimbor alone Violet figured the sight of Charma in pain would make the male Legionaries go berserk. Sure enough they became enraged enough to break free and charged forward to tear her apart. Violet shrank just before they reached her and the boys smashed through the vault wall and flattened Grimbor. Lucky R.J. Brande wasn't standing in front of that wall or the Legion would have been looking for a new backer.

Charma didn't reappear in the pages of Legion. Unfortunately for her the Science Police didn't leave her in Grimbor's bonds. Even more unfortunately for her it wasn't a co-ed prison so when the other inmates were enraged by her power and attacked her there was no-one to defend her. Despite knowing he had been manipulated by her power Grimbor loved her. With her death he dedicated himself to revenge and launched two grandious schemes for revenge. In the words of Waylon Smithers, "He crossed that line between everyday villany and cartoonish supervillany", though I have no idea how he stacks up against Doctor Colossus. His first attempt to frame the Legion for the death of Earth's President was foiled by an oversight. While he created chains that could hold Phantom Girl in her immaterial form he neglected to give them the ability to shift back to solid matter when she did so she simply turned off her powers and walked free. An incredible error on the part of this once meticulous craftsman and an excellent example of how a lust for vengeance interferes with one's judgement. Grimbor's next attempt was both grander in scope and more carefully planned. It was also argueable the greatest feat of bondage ever committed.

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