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The Earthwar Saga is a Legion of Super-Heroes storyline published in Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #241-245 (July-November, 1978). Paul Levitz wrote the story and Jim Sherman and Joe Staton shared art duties.

The Legion of Super-Heroes are outmanned and divided as their members try to deal with several crisis simultaneously. Wildfire and his comrades are guarding a conference between the United Planets and the Dominators on Weber's World. Meanwhile, Element Lad leads his remainder teammates against the Resource Raiders, an organization of space pirates which had been previously defeated and has suddenly resurfaced. At the same time, Light Lass and Timber Wolf travel to Winath to find and capture Lightning Lord before he gathers another Legion of Super-Villains.

As Wildfire's team search the perpetrator of several botched sabotage attempts, Element Lad's group find out a disturbing fact. The Raiders are nothing but the forefront of another alien invasion. A vast army of Khunds is heading towards Earth, and not even the Legionnaires can stop it.

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In a desperate move, the Legionnaires storm the Khund citadel to face their leader and discover the Khunds are also someone else's puppets. And whoever is pulling the strings is connected with the events on the Weber's World.


Tropes:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: Lightning Lad, Satun Girl, Duo Damsel and Bouncing Boy, who had left the Legion after their respective weddings and were vacationing on the planet R-K528, get into a cruiser ship and head towards Earth quickly when they hear the news from a Khund invasion.
  • Actually a Doombot: When Chameleon Boy faces the leader of the Resource Raiders, he notes it is a living brain-like creature, like the former leader whom they defeated, who turned out to be a robot. The leader reveals that robot was a duplicate construct whose defeat efficiently fooled the Legionnaires into believing the Raiders had been crushed.
    Chameleon Boy: "You're a living brain— like the one who led the first group of Raiders! B-but that one turned out to be a robot!"
    Leader: "Rest assured that I am not a robot, Chameleon Boy... That construct was merely my agent on Earth."
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  • Badass Boast: Brainiac 5 as taking two Raiders out:
    Brainiac 5: "There may not be as many of us as there once were—- But one Legionnaire is still better than a shipload of slime like you!"
  • Bar Brawl: Timber Wolf and Light Lass go to a Winathian bar, seeking information about Lightning Lord's whereabouts. Unfortunately, the bartender is one Lightning Lord's henchmen, and one fight breaks out…together with several bottles, tables and chairs.
  • Being Watched: As Wildfire's group are reinforcing the Weber World's security during the UP-Dominion's peace talks, Dawnstar feels someone is watching them.
  • Big Bad: Mordru manipulates everyone in order to destroy the Legion and conquer Earth.
  • Big Damn Heroes: When Superboy and Chameleon Boy are being overwhelmed by an endless swarm of Raiders, Sun Boy, Phantom Girl, Element Lad, Shrinking Violet and Brainiac 5 show up to help them.
  • Brain Monster: The leader of the Raiders is a huge floating brain with a pair of bulging eyes and four prehensile tentacles.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Chameleon Boy sneaks into a Raider ship, but he is caught and shot. Fortunately, he isn't killed, though, because the leader of the Raiders wants to search him, lest he is wearing a tracking device.
  • Catch a Falling Star: When Element Lad and Brainiac 5 are shot out of the sky by a blast bounced off a Raider ship, Sun Boy grabs both of them before they can crash into the ground.
  • Collateral Damage: When engaging one ship of the Resource Raiders, Sun Boy shoots a solar blast. Unfortunately, the ship's shields deflect his shot, which hits Brainiac 5 and Element Lad.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Played with. Any Legionnaire is an One-Man Army, but the Khunds' numerical superiority is so overwhelming that the Legion cannot stop them from landing on Earth.
  • Continuity Nod: When Dawnstar tells Ultra Boy he should not question their leader -Wildfire-, Ultra Boy angrily reminds her that Wildfire tried to get him arrested when he was framed two weeks before. It happened in issue #239.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: Weber's World is an artificial planetoid made of steel and silicon. One single city spread over its surface, described as "a thousand towers holding twelve million beings— linked by gleaming vandium steel viaducts".
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: When the Legionnaires intend to enter the conference room, security chief Ontiir sends security robots to stop them. Superboy, Mon-El, Wildfire, Sun Boy and Colossal Boy not even break up a sweat.
  • Decapitated Army: Subverted. The Legion think they can stop the war by storming the Khunds' homeworld and defeating their leader Garlak, but the Khunds swear to fighting until the end.
  • Earth Is a Battlefield: The Khunds invade Earth, forcing all Legionnaires out of retirement to fight them in every front.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Lightning Lord's obsessiveness towards Light Lass has creepy undertones; regardless, he goes ballistic when someone suggests him to get rid of his little sister.
  • Evil Overlooker: The cover for issue #245 features a massive Mordru looking menacingly and triumphantly down on Superboy, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl and Karate Kid.
  • Flashback: As searching for Lightning Lord, Light Lass flashes back to the day she and her brothers gained lightning powers.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Variant. When the Legion engages a squad of the Resource Raiders, Superboy picks one of their starships and smashes it into one second ship.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: The Legion fights the Resource Raiders, only to learn they are secretly the advance guard for an invasion by the alien Khunds. Who are being manipulated by the evil Dark Circle. Whose leader had been replaced by the even more evil sorcerer, Mordru.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Lightning Lord fries one minion who suggested to kill his sister, unaware that Timber Wolf and the Winathian police were using a weather watch machine to detect and pinpoint any instance of unnatural lightning.
  • Hold the Line: When the Khunds land on Earth, the Legion of Substitute Heroes are the last heroes left, and they bravely try to stop the invaders for as long as possible.
  • Humanoid Aliens: The Slimehounds manning the Raiders' ships are vaguely humanoid, but they are green-skinned, have four legs, elongated craniums, snail-like eyestalks and hog-like noses.
  • Inconsistent Coloring: Light Lass is blonde instead of a redhead.
  • Kill and Replace: Non-lethal variant. After sneaking into a Raider ship, Chameleon Boy knocks one Raider out and turns into him to spy around.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The Legion defeats the Resource Raiders and then discover they are a Khund invasion's frontside. The Legionnaires capture their leader Garlak and find out he is a mindless puppet controlled by someone else.
  • Milking the Giant Cow: Lightning Lord crosses his arms over his head, clenches his fists and delivers a loud, bombastic speech because his little sister dares to call him stupid.
  • Never My Fault: When one team of Legionnaires take off for the Weber's World, Wildfire gets in the path of a Science Police aircar, almost causing it to crash into the ground. When Mon-El calls him out on it, Wildfire replies it was their fault for failing to keep their aircrafts in top condition.
  • Put Their Heads Together: Superboy gets rid of two Raiders by smashing their heads together.
  • Reverse Polarity: Since Chameleon Boy has been frozen into his real form by one Raider's ray gun, Superboy grabs the weapon, reverses the controls and shoots his partner, successfully breaking his Shapeshifter Mode Lock.
  • Soft Water: Element Lad turns the atoms of one Raider ship into air, causing the crew inside to fall down, and then he transforms the land below into water. Despite falling hundreds of meters down, the Raiders merely get wet upon landing into the pool.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: When Lightning Lord kidnaps Light Lass, one of his minions points out that she is too dangerous to be allowed to live and they should just get rid of her quickly. Lightning Lord kills him immediately.
  • Storming the Castle: When Brainiac 5 predicts they cannot possibly prevent the Khunds from invading Earth, an angry Element Lad decides that Brainy, Superboy, Sun Boy, Colossal Boy and himself will take the fight back to the Khunds' homeworld.
  • Straight for the Commander: Superboy, Element Lad, Sun Boy and Colossal Boy storm the Khund's citadel and crush Garlak, but it is all for nothing since the Khunds will not surrender.
  • Surveillance as the Plot Demands: The Legion's computers can simultaneously monitor the Khund's invasion, Wildfire's mission on Weber's World, and Superboy and his friends streaking through the space.
  • There Was a Door: Superboy crashes through the hull of the Raider's flagship to rescue Chameleon Boy.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The situation is so dire, and the Legion is so short of manpower which they call the Legion of Substitutes and even retired Legionnaires...except Supergirl, who could have greatly helped but is not even mentioned.
  • Zerg Rush: Right like the Resource Raiders try to overwhelm the Legion with huge numbers of soldiers, the Khunds try and overwhelm the Earth's defense force thanks to their vast army.


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