The Legion Of Super Heroes: Classic Or Dud?

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Who else has a sordid secret past in the steamy world of LEGION FANDOM?

(NB I don't really. Honest.)

They're an odd bunch, the LSH. I don't think I like any of the characters, the concept is good but it's so rarely used well...and yet I'm still intrigued by how they're doing.

Also search and destroy.

Tom (Groke), Wednesday, 6 October 2004 13:32 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

S: the first 12 or so issues of the 89/90 dystopia relaunch. Grimy Giffen pencils, two or three universal reboots in the course of 4 issues! Classic!

Huk-L, Wednesday, 6 October 2004 13:37 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah the dystopia relaunch issues are my favourites too I think.

Tom (Groke), Wednesday, 6 October 2004 13:39 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I didn't notice until a few weeks ago when I picked up a quarter-bin copy of the JLI/Suicide Squad crossover penciled by Giffen, but he doesn't really like to draw faces, does he? Everybody's always standing in the shadows.

Huk-L, Wednesday, 6 October 2004 13:44 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Also S: The Abnett & Lanning / Coipel & numerous guest artists run (from Legion Lost into Legion Worlds into the short-lived, Levitz-loathed Legion series) - fun fun stuff! Involving Vandal Savage!

Also also S: The Giffen / Grant / Kitson L.E.G.I.O.N. series - post-Legends, taking place during the modern day; the only time Lobo's been palatable (outside of Justice League); Brainiac's a bastard!; the rock being's a she!; the nebbish gets the Emerald Eye! (I also liked the bits that were all Barry Kitson, too, circa #50, but I hesitate to recommend those.)

Of course, Legion is being cancelled to make room for The Legion of Super Heroes by Mark Waid & Barry Kitson. Gosh, if only other Jim Shooter creations had the type of tenacious longevity the Legion possessed.

David R. (popshots75`), Wednesday, 6 October 2004 13:46 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

L.E.G.I.O.N. was actually post-Invasion!, but technically, yes, it came after Legends as well. I enjoyed that for a while. Yeah, Brainiac, what a jerk!
I enjoyed the Superman crossover in the annuals where Supes was basically, "Uh, you are too Brainiac, I'm looking at your DNA, beeyotch. Now I'm gonna hit you."
Or something like that.

Huk-L, Wednesday, 6 October 2004 13:48 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

S: The Magic Wars (I think that's what it was called), the last 4 issues of the Levitz run, where basically Magic takes over and all the science shuts down. Death of Cosmic Lad, or whatever he was called, Cosmic Boy's brother. Who was never really a player, but still, it was a pretty good death. I think we even got to see his skull.
Also, Mon-El's great lead poisoning ordeal.

Huk-L, Wednesday, 6 October 2004 13:52 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

From the LudicKid blog:

BRAINIAC 5. Brainy was a total tool. He had a shot at Supergirl, and he fucked it up because he was always too busy dicking around with spores in the multi-lab. Not all that fuckin' brainy, now, was he?

Huk-L, Wednesday, 6 October 2004 13:56 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Why did Levitz loathe the recent run?

Tom (Groke), Wednesday, 6 October 2004 13:58 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Because it erased his entire run, perhaps?

Holy crappity crap!

Huk-L, Wednesday, 6 October 2004 14:02 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Did it really erase his entire run? I'm actually not up on my Legion (the Abnett / Lanning stuff is the only Legion stuff I've read), so I was just under the assumption that Levitz thought A&L were disrespecting characters he luv'd sooo much.

David R. (popshots75`), Wednesday, 6 October 2004 14:04 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

After Zero Hour, the Legion started all over again as teenagers. Sort of Ultimatized.

never mind my "holy crappity crap" that link is pretty rub.

Huk-L, Wednesday, 6 October 2004 14:06 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I bought LSH for a while in the mid-90s because people kept telling me it was great. There were individual characters whom I thought were interesting but the series itself was uninvolving.

Dan Perry '08 (Dan Perry), Wednesday, 6 October 2004 14:12 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

D: The Great Darkness Saga, legendary 'great Legion story' which is totally reliant on the reveal of who the villain is, much gosh-wow reaction in 1982 (or whenever), but I read it as a trade that shoves Darkseid (for it is he) on the cover.

Tom (Groke), Wednesday, 6 October 2004 14:35 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The current series (or formerly current series) hinted that Brainy might be g-a-y.

Huk-L, Wednesday, 6 October 2004 15:10 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Brainiac 5 towards the end of the reboot run had one of the grebtest ever costumes, a huge puffy jumpsuit and mentally enormous shades which made him look like early-80s Miles Davis! (but green)

Tom (Groke), Wednesday, 6 October 2004 15:12 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I always liked Ultra-Boy, because he was basically Superman, only he could only use one power at a time!

Huk-L, Wednesday, 6 October 2004 15:19 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I liked The Great Darkness Saga, even though it got Darkseid wrong, I remember thinking. I liked the '60s Legion stories a lot, all the stupid ones where they got turned into babies and so on, and some really good teen-Shooter stories - he didn't create the Legion, though. I can't say I care much about any of the characters, really.

Martin Skidmore (Martin Skidmore), Wednesday, 6 October 2004 15:58 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I like Triad, because, well, three chicks.

Dan Perry '08 (Dan Perry), Wednesday, 6 October 2004 16:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink


Dan Perry '08 (Dan Perry), Wednesday, 6 October 2004 16:00 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Triad had an enlightened plot whereby one of the three was a nun, one was a tart and one was in the middle.

(incidentally when is Chuck Austen going to have Superman fight two super-sisters called Virgin and Whore?)

Tom (Groke), Wednesday, 6 October 2004 16:02 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

And Triplicate Girl (as she was once known) aka Duo Damsel (ditto) at one point hooked up with Chuck Taine (why do I know his real name?) aka Bouncing Boy.

Which meant she had low standards.

Huk-L, Wednesday, 6 October 2004 16:35 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

That was tragic because she had the BIG EYE on Superboy but it could never be!!!! So she immediately swung from most studly boy in universe to the inflatable lard man who couldn't get into the Legion. It was like some wierd self-destruction kick, esp. considering she had threesome powers.

(On that unseemly note, the 30th Century was the most chaste place in all time, but it gradually got filthier and filthier until Growing Boy was accusing Sun Boy of porking his wife over a 'friendly' game of Hyper Dungeons And Dragons.)

Vic Fluro, Wednesday, 6 October 2004 18:34 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

You must respect the Disco Legion.

Phantom Girl's ponytails, my god...

Stephen X (Stephen X), Wednesday, 6 October 2004 19:29 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

And the holes in her bellbottomed jumpsuit, keener than the 70s Wondergirl togs!

Huk-L, Wednesday, 6 October 2004 19:53 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

LSH fashions -

H (Heruy), Thursday, 7 October 2004 05:43 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I loved the LSH but something that always struck me as a bit silly was that almost all of them came from planets where EVERYONE had the same powers (Shrinking Violet, Chameleon Boy, etc) which kind of makes the "wow, Legion, superpowers thing" a little weak.

H (Heruy), Thursday, 7 October 2004 07:39 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

S: pretty much anything written by Jerry Siegel or the underage Jim Shooter from the sixties. pretty much anything written by Giffen, whether co-plotting with Levitz, making fun in Secret Origins, or steering with the Bierbaums on dialogue.

D: pretty much anything else. skim the Giffenless ones written by Levitz if you like, they're not awful as such. just about anything from the '70s is nigh-unreadable (including the over-age Jim Shooter).

The dystopian relaunch would have been supermegaultraclassic if the Superman office hadn't forced them to reboot the universe at the end of the third issue. They handled it pretty well, but really lost momentum on the overall story what with having to spend every other issue introducing new stand-in characters and rewriting history. Still, the first twenty or so non-fill-ins are great and I kept reading up until the editor fired the writers and got the colourist to start writing from the editor's plots (true story!).

kit brash (kit brash), Thursday, 7 October 2004 13:08 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Very very fond of all the '60s stuff, and especially of (yes indeed) the first year of the Giffen "five years later" relaunch. Also loved the story in the late '80s or early '90s where we find out the secret that Garth has been carrying around for 20 years or so--one of those huge shocks that's still totally consistent with everything we've seen before it. Also the fact that they had the first not-a-big-deal gay superhero couple in mainstream comics: Ayla and Salu! (Even though I think somebody later tried to retcon them as just good friends.) The half-assed attempt to out Element Lad was also sorta welcome (he's gay! but he's got a girlfriend! but wait, his girlfriend is actually a boy who took gender-changing drugs to try to impress him because he thought E.L. liked girls! but wait, he's actually the last survivor of his planet so maybe he has no sexuality at all!).

Douglas (Douglas), Thursday, 7 October 2004 20:13 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

oooh, what was the big secret? i seem to have missed that.

H (Heruy), Friday, 8 October 2004 06:19 (fourteen years ago) Permalink


he was still dead from fighting the Space Moby Dick thirty years before. when Proty had sacrificed his life energy to reanimate Garth, it was all done with mirrors and the little blob of protoplasm actually just shapeshifted into a Lightning Lad shape and proceeded to enjoy all the benefits of upgrading from "Legion mascot" to "Legion founder". to wit, boning Saturn Girl 'til the Space Cows came home.

waitasec, how did he manage to impregnate her then? I suspect someone's playing fast and loose with the laws of biology here.

kit brash (kit brash), Monday, 11 October 2004 02:58 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Was it not mind transference? Garth with the mind of Proty, having to pretend all these years? And Ayla overhears him telling the proty people how he can never be with them again. It's a really emotional momen..... no, no it's not.

Vic Fluro, Tuesday, 12 October 2004 16:01 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

there you go, I should have had faith that the scientific milieu which spawned Matter-Eater Lad wouldn't have let me down on the spermy front.

kit brash (kit brash), Wednesday, 13 October 2004 00:52 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The magic of bittorrent meant that as I slumbered the entirety of the dystopian Bierbaums/Colorist Wars era found its way onto my hard drive. Also - somewhat less welcome - the whole of VALOR (who remembered he even HAD a series?) and the TIMBER WOLF mini.

It will all fit on a couple of CD-Rs if anyone's desperate. Frankly I'm probably going to delete the bulk of it.

Tom (Groke), Sunday, 17 October 2004 08:39 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Ah, that Timber Wolf miniseries was so bad that Giffen used a fake name for the intro sequence that he pencilled. I'm pretty sure I stopped buying it well before the fourth issue.

kit brash (kit brash), Sunday, 17 October 2004 23:29 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...
Guh! This looks wicked cool!

Huk-L, Monday, 8 November 2004 17:39 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

He killed the Iron Giant!!

Tep (ktepi), Monday, 8 November 2004 17:53 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Or is it Bender?

Huk-L, Monday, 8 November 2004 17:55 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

three years pass...


Having never read anything vaguely Legion-ish (discounting Brendan McCarthy’s issue of SOLO), would it be wise for me to pick up the much-ballyhooed-round-these-here-parts Johns ACTION COMICS Legion epic? I fear I’d comprehend only the conjunctions (as with earlier dalliances with Mr. Johns’ work) and be left with a whole bunch of pretty pictures by Mr. Frank… (And, gosh, they are pretty – the sole reason for this query comes from the compulsion to shout “Yowza!” as I glanced through the art of one issue at the Borders floppy rack yesterday.)

R Baez, Monday, 12 May 2008 18:19 (ten years ago) Permalink

Good question. I read them as exceedingly well-executed continuity porn, but I can sort of imagine somebody who'd never heard of the Legion coming to them and pretending this was the first time we'd seen any of these characters. But I don't know, because I'm so used to all the stuff he's playing with. (Every character's first appearance does have a little breakout box explaining their name, powers, etc.)

In other words: I can't answer that.

Douglas, Monday, 12 May 2008 18:41 (ten years ago) Permalink

Three yays for justifying confusion aesthetically! (I.E. I THINK I WILL HAVE A GO, DONCHA KNOW?)

R Baez, Monday, 12 May 2008 19:13 (ten years ago) Permalink

It's fun. I'm not a Legion nerd at all -- I've read a couple of the 5YL issues, and the first year or so of the Waid/Kitson Legion -- but it's pretty easy to follow. The continuity-wank aspects seem largely incidental, and it's a nice, done-in-six story without too many loose ends. As usual, all the non-Braniac characters are largely indistinguishable, but it doesn't really matter as far as the story goes.

Also, in what might be a rare moment of sentimentality for Geoff Johns, no one gets their arms ripped off. Or any other appendages, if I remember right.

Chuck_Tatum, Monday, 12 May 2008 20:25 (ten years ago) Permalink

I think you could read that Action comics storyline with no prior knowledge to the older Legion stories. I think the way Johns wrote that story is partially to try to introduce people to the Legion. The book does a pretty good job dropping a box to tell you who is who in the beginning of the book and puts some back ground into the actual storyline.

To me, I think the fact that the Legion takes place 1000 years in the future should give whoever is doing the book free reign to go where you want. I kind of like the idea that there have been many different versions of the Legion, some with evolved beginnings and even ends.

Some of the fans of the older series don't seem to like the Waid newer Legion, but from my reading (through issue #14), I think it is pretty good.

I don't understand DC's reprint strategy, but it seems to me if they had the Levitz/Giffen stuff in a big phone book reprint they would sell very well. Take mind, there is a bunch of stuff I think that should be in print like that. I can see wanting to print stuff 'in order' or in fancy nice trades, but there are lots of stuff that still ties into current books that people can only read if they want to dive into the back issue bins.

earlnash, Tuesday, 13 May 2008 02:53 (ten years ago) Permalink

The showcases are pretty much gold.

forksclovetofu, Tuesday, 13 May 2008 04:47 (ten years ago) Permalink

What Earl said re: Action/Legion. Especially for a Johns comic, it's not that mired in any Legion continuity...if anything, it seems to be a whole new thing (inasmuch as any LOSH story can be whole and new). The 1-issue epilogue, despite VERY SHITTY art, is really good too.

Dr. Superman, Tuesday, 13 May 2008 22:41 (ten years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

Worth getting Waid's fifth (last?) volume?

Leee, Sunday, 5 July 2009 17:52 (nine years ago) Permalink

Not at all anticipating Lee-Johns of Superheroes.

If Snotboogie always stole the money, why'd you let him play? (Dr. Superman), Monday, 6 July 2009 01:36 (nine years ago) Permalink

nine years pass...

As we're talking about this on the other thread...

a) Tell me why I should keep reading the Great Darkness Saga when it's so goddamn confusing and slow

b) GM's Green Lantern comic was the most SPACE FUN thing I've seen from DC in a while

Chuck_Tatum, Monday, 26 November 2018 15:35 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Incidentally, I ordered a copy of Great Darkness Saga based on discussion in the other thread, having not read any of the Giffen-era stuff that everyone raves about.

I bought the five b&w Showcase books as they were released, thinking I might finally have the opportunity to collect and read this stuff from the beginning, but then DC in typical DC fashion decided to start a new line of HCs that leapfrogged over like 30 issues (which, tbf, were previously Archive editions that are now long out of print and selling for hundreds of dollars). But the discussion here made me decide to get over my ire and push on with whatever I'm able to get my hands on.

Fantasy Eyelid (Old Lunch), Monday, 26 November 2018 15:45 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I have a definite soft spot for the LSH's sprawling unmanageable mess of a cast and its inherently goofy Silver Age roots and yet oddly I have never read the Great Darkness saga.

Οὖτις, Monday, 26 November 2018 16:34 (two weeks ago) Permalink

the legion is one of the few glaring blind-spots in my dc knowledge - their continuity has been fucked with so much i literally have no idea where to begin

sign up for my waterless urinals webinar (bizarro gazzara), Monday, 26 November 2018 16:53 (two weeks ago) Permalink

the fact that their continuity is such a mess makes it more enjoyable in my experience, cuz you can pretty much start anywhere! I've read chunks of both the Silver and Bronze Age runs, plus a fair chunk of the Giffen/Levitz run in the 80s (my first exposure) up through the death of Lightning Lass. Haven't read anything after that though.

Οὖτις, Monday, 26 November 2018 17:02 (two weeks ago) Permalink

ie, you can p much ignore continuity and still enjoy it. The relative non-descript characterizations make this easier as well - so many of the characters are interchangable or barely fleshed out. The ones with distinct personalities do tend to come to the fore (Bouncing Boy, Brainiac 5, Wildfire) as a matter of course, the rest are often window-dressing

Οὖτις, Monday, 26 November 2018 17:04 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Waid's mid-00s reboot was good, I think

Chuck_Tatum, Monday, 26 November 2018 17:11 (two weeks ago) Permalink

a) Tell me why I should keep reading the Great Darkness Saga when it's so goddamn confusing and slow

If you're not feeling it at the beginning/middle, I can't say it'll all necessarily "come together" for you by the end -- it just gets even more complex, IIRC (the drawn-out climax involves things happening simultaneously in like 12 different settings).

my guitar friend wants his money (morrisp), Monday, 26 November 2018 18:16 (two weeks ago) Permalink

a) Tell me why I should keep reading the Great Darkness Saga when it's so goddamn confusing and slow

it's only five issues long, and four of those issues are 23 pages! the confusion is deliberate, with mysterious buildup things happening all over the galaxy-or-whatever leading to a big blowout.

b) GM's Green Lantern comic was the most SPACE FUN thing I've seen from DC in a while


Incidentally, I ordered a copy of Great Darkness Saga based on discussion in the other thread, having not read any of the Giffen-era stuff that everyone raves about.

...the above said, the story works approx 18x better if you start reading another five or ten issues earlier than the Great Darkness Saga-labelled issues themselves, as the buildup is actually laced throughout them. Also, the collection spoils the ending on the front cover.

Bing The Mighty Seat (sic), Monday, 26 November 2018 18:52 (two weeks ago) Permalink

plus what Morris said

Bing The Mighty Seat (sic), Monday, 26 November 2018 18:52 (two weeks ago) Permalink

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