March 26, 2007
The Legion of Super-Heroes #268 
"Life after Life after Life" is a 25-page story written by J.M. DeMatteis and inked by Bob Wiacek, and it features a team of Legionnaires going up against Doctor Mayavale.
I will say this for Mayavale, he sure does have a lot of hands, which gives ample opportunity for Ditko to do some of that crazy hand-jive. That ends the entertaining part of the character. Other than that, he's a cosmic inventor who has decided, since his past lives were all good and noble, that he has to be evil in order to balance the cosmic scales. Sure, that makes sense, but how about the fact that three of the LSH members were acquaintances who had betrayed him in past lives, so he sets up robotic recreations of those betrayals (all in Earth's past) to reverse them. Search the interweb if you need a more detailed explanation.
All I can say is that I'm glad at age 10 I picked up the issue after this, or I might never have read an LSH story again. It's hard to believe from this that DeMatteis would turn out to be (a) a good writer (I highly recommend BROOKLYN DREAMS and MOONSHADOW and (b) able to explore themes of reincarnation and karmic balance in a thoughtful way. At this point his prose is just way too florid (which it often is in his later books, but he makes it work, unlike "a voice that resounds with stentorian sanity, and yet quivers in maundering madness") and the plot is just all over the place. Wiacek is also a much better inker than you'd guess from this.
Except for the hands, this is all sorts of bad. I'd say the hands are worth about the 39 cents I paid, if you paid the full 50 cent cover price you might want your money back.