Who's Blok?

Who's This? A talking rock.

The facts: Starting out as a member of the League of Super-Assassins in Superboy and the Legion #253-254, Blok was only being manipulated by the Dark Man and ultimately helped the Legion defeat him. He's rewarded with a spot in the Legion, joining as of LSH #272. The big rock with a heart of gold (maybe literally, who knows) is thereafter a fairly minor member of the team, but a good one. He was sort of the historian of the group, so he could bookend lost tales of the Legion on occasion, and there was of course a sweet platonic romance with White Witch. Then he was brutally killed in the Five Years Later era, and was not used in either the Reboot or the Threeboot, but the Retroboot, yes. All the while, his precursor Strata was alive and well in the L.E.G.I.O.N. books.
How you could have heard of him: In Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds, Blok molted into a smooth obsidian man and became consort and protector to the White Witch on Sorcerers' World. He only scored a cameo in the Legion animated series.
Example story: Legion of Super-Heroes #272 (February 1981) "The Secret Origin of Blok!" by Gerry Conway, Steve Ditko and Frank Chiaramonte
Blok didn't stay at Legion Academy long. His induction story (practically his only solo) occurs the issue right after he was recruited and Wildfire is putting him through his paces.
Yeah, he's tough. Doesn't look good for the other Academy students looking on. First appearances for Lamprey, Nightwind and Crystal Kid, who don't know it, but they're in for the laugh haul. Blok keeps acing the tests, making short work of the obstacle course even if he lacks finesse.
Taking a break (because Wildfire can't stand it anymore), Blok tells the other students his story. Not the one about the Super-Assassins, but before that. Back in the days where the first human colonists showed up on a wild world with no sentient life they christened DRYAD.
Stupid colonials. Aren't you gonna notice all the rocks look like sleeping people? They don't and they turn the planet into a grazing world for cattle. And still, the farming community did not notice there was sentient life all around. And then one of the Dryadans decided to make contact with a little girl and her family, an ambassadorship that led to collaboration between the super-strong natives and the farmers exploiting the land. They even had their own Thanksgiving.
Blok gets interrupted because, well, he's not in his own story yet. Are you really surprised a living stone would take the long view though? In any case, trouble is brewing in the present day - the Starburst Bandits apprehended in issue 252 are about to stage a jailbreak. Could become relevant. Back at Legion HQ, Wildfire is NOT recommending Blok for membership, but current Legion leader Lightning Lad thinks he's crazy to ignore his potential. Sure, he's got brute strength, but does he have skill and courage?

At the Academy, Blok finishes his tale, that as a youth, the Legion came to his world and evacuated everyone before a supernova took out Dryad. He and his human friends (who all developed super-powers later) thought the Legion CAUSED it and took their home away from them, and that explains how they became super-villains. Blok's sorry about it now. It was all a misunderstanding, and a failure of the educational system.

Alarms sound. Lightning Lad shows up with Legion flight rings and asks the students to help stop the Starburst Bandits from recovering their mounts from the Metropolis Space-Zoo. Unfortunately, Blok's super-density cancels out the ring so Sun Boy and Dawnstar have to fly him over (three flight rings do the job). But when Sun Boy gets it in the face, Dawny can't hold on to Blok and he falls into the action.
The other applicants think it's just a test and get themselves in trouble when the Bandits' weapons turn out to be real. Here I pause to bring you one of the worst Editor's Notes in the history of comics:
Not only is it trying to cover a minor art mistake (can't we all agree that artists don't need to draw it on long shots or, if you have time to add a box, just have someone draw a little circle over Dawnstar's finger?), but it doesn't know how to spell "invisible". Neither time. Oof. Ok. Back to our story already in progress.

Inside the building, Blok walks at the Starburst Bandits, taking starburst after starburst with no effect, and when he's cl0se enough...
And so, Blok at least proved his valor, and in the very next panel, is inducted into the Legion, his biggest booster Wildfire. Aww, they all learned a lesson.

If you were a "slow, awkward" kid reading Legion comics, let me know if you identified with Blok. I was certainly "awkward" and he was a favorite, but I don't know that I necessarily saw myself in him. History would show I was always more of a Brainiac 5. I've had my share of Computos anyway. But that's a story for another day...

Who's Next? Charlton's answer to Spider-Man.

2 comments:

tomg said...

Blok wasn't my favorite by any means but I liked his friendship with Timberwolf as well as his conversations with Mysa and was surprised how upset I was when he died in 5YL.

Siskoid said...

If ever a Legionnaire least deserved it.

 

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