Legion #7: “The Shifting Shape of Revenge”

It’s the beginning of a new month, so it’s time once again for some 31st Century frivolity as we review…

Legion of Super-Heroes #7: The Shifting Shape of Revenge
Writer: Paul Levitz, Pencillers: Yildiray Cinar and Wayne Faucher
DC Comics, January 2011

5 Stars

Plot

A contingent of Legionnaires – Cosmic Boy, Timber Wolf, Tyroc, and Ultra Boy – is summoned to the United Planets Council Hall in Metropolis where a U.P. councilor has been assassinated. The heroes surmise the Durlans are behind the murder and their suspicions are confirmed when three shape-shifters suddenly attack.

Meanwhile, at Legion Headquarters, Dream Girl, Polar Boy, and Sun Boy discuss the upcoming election of the Legion’s new leader. Down the hallway, a jealous Earth-Man unwisely picks a fight with Shadow Lass‘ former boyfriend, Mon-El. A humbled Earth-man returns to Shady’s side, but the tranquility is shattered by the appearance of Dyogene, powerful minion of the Guardians of Oa.

Back at the U.P. Council Hall, the four Legionnaires defeat the Durlans and manage to take one shape-shifter prisoner. Science Police Chief, Kimball Zendak, feigns cooperation, but we know he’s a Durlan conspirator in disguise.

Brainiac 5 tests repaired Time Bubble #2 with disappointing results. Brainy and Chameleon Boy then take a trip to Naltor and confer briefly with Beren Kah, who has a prophetic vision of Chameleon Boy being attacked by his fellow Legionnaires. The two heroes seek out Professor Harmonia Li, who is overseeing the construction of the new Time Institute. The professor reveals she is an ancient being and asks Brainy for his help in a mysterious time project.

Comments

Levitz has some interesting plotlines brewing. In this issue we see the Durlan conspiracy begin to ramp up. What does Dyogene want with Earth-Man, who previously turned down the role of Green Lantern? Who is Professor Li and what time project does she have in mind? A blurb beneath the final panel promises the results of the election of the new Legion leader in issue #8. Good stuff! An entertaining issue.

News Bytes: LSH is back! But for how long? Justice League vs. the Legion of Super-Heroes, a six-issue limited series, begins January 11, 2022.

Also, HBO MAX announced a Legion of Super-Heroes, adult animated series, is being developed by Legion writer, Brian Michael Bendis, for 2023.

Postscript: Whoa! Time out! Recalibrate!

I began this monthly look-back series featuring the 2010-2013 Legion of Super-Heroes correctly thinking that the Legion of Super-Heroes title and the Legion tales in Adventure Comics were not interconnected. The Adventure plotlines featured a younger, Silver Age-era version of the Legion. I had planned to review the Adventure books after I finished reviewing the LSH books. However, I learned just in time that the young Legion idea was jettisoned by DC’s editors after Adventure #520 (January 2011). Adventure #521 picked up the plotline of LSH #7 (reviewed above) and set the table for LSH #8 and so forth. That meant that a decade ago, Legion fans got to read a continuous plotline every two weeks by buying LSH and Adventure Comics. What does that mean for us? Decipher! Okay, next month I’m going to recalibrate and begin reviewing the six Adventure books that were dedicated to the Silver Age-era young Legion. In August-September, I’ll be back on track with our current older Legion plotline, beginning with Adventure #521 and LSH #8. Sorry, readers. You won’t learn the results of the Legion election until September! Somehow in this reshuffle, I’m also going to fit in the new Justice League vs. the Legion of Super-Heroes series.

Legion #6: “Acceptance”

We’re nearing the end of the month, so it’s time once again for some 31st Century frivolity!

After defeating an assault against a refugee camp by Earth Firsters in LSH #5, the Legion takes a break in…

Legion of Super-Heroes #6: Acceptance
Writer: Paul Levitz, Penciler: Francis Portela
DC Comics, December 2010

Plot

The mostly non-action vignettes in LSH #6 begin with Colossal Boy, Phantom Girl, and Shadow Lass intercepting a wayward Titan refugee family (opening page graphic above). After returning to Legion Headquarters, Shadow Lass converses with Phantom Girl and defends her romantic interest in the unpredictable Earth Man.

Back at the Painted Desert refugee camp, Earth Man once again demonstrates his loyalty to the Legion by stymying an attack by a lone wolf, Earth Firster.

At Legion Headquarters, Ultra Boy and Phantom Girl enjoy some conversation as Shrinking Violet and Lightning Lass depart for a vacation on the planet, Imsk.*

Elsewhere in Metropolis, Colossal Boy and girlfriend, Chameleon Girl, enjoy a meal and discuss Earth Man with CB’s mom, former President of Earth and current Earth Gov Politico.

Back at Legion HQ, Earth Man confronts Brainiac 5 and demands a standard issue flight ring without any mind-control capabilities.

Legion leader, Cosmic Boy, visits the Legion Academy at Old Montauk Point and watches as instructor Duplicate Girl puts candidates Chemical Kid, Comet Queen, Dragonwing, Gravity Kid, and Variable Lad through the paces.

Sensor Girl dreams of her slain beau and former-Legionnaire, Karate Kid, portending a future plot-line development.

After returning to Legion HQ, Cosmic Boy meets with Science Police chiefs, Gigi Cusimano and Kimball Zendek (who we know is actually a disguised Durlan conspirator), and pledges the Legion’s support in protecting the United Planets Council from an assassination plot.

In the final page, former-Legionnaire, Matter-Eater Lad, invites readers to cast their ballot for the new Legion leader via a designated web site.

Other Legionnaires sighted in this issue include Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, and Timber Wolf.

Comments

This is one of those “down-time” interlude issues with writer Levitz adroitly juggling multiple vignettes. Earth Man remains a big question mark and the Durlan conspiracy looms dangerously on the horizon. Sensor Girl’s dream introduces an upcoming storyline. Of course, we’re all on “pins and needles” as to which Legionnaire will be elected as Cosmic Boy’s successor. There’s also the dangling plotline, not mentioned in this issue, involving the possible new Green Lantern, Professor Harmonia Li.

Chameleon Girl’s appearance gives us 25 Legionnaires, one short of the 26 person roster total mentioned in LSH #4. I’m thinking Duplicate Girl is a reservist at this point as an instructor at the academy. Polar Boy is mentioned briefly and I’m guessing he is Legionnaire #26.

*Shrinking Violet and Lightning Lass are portrayed hand-around-hip in a large panel on page 11. Legion writers and artists began surreptitiously hinting at a same-sex relationship between the two characters as early as 1986. Of course, all such “tip-toeing around” is gone these days with DC unabashedly introducing the new Superman, Jon Kent, as bi-sexual.

Legion #5: “A Choice of Destinies”

It’s the start of a new month so time for some comics frivolity. Let’s board our time bubble for another adventure with that crime fighting team of the 31st Century, the Legion of Super-Heroes!

Legion of Super-Heroes #5: A Choice of Destinies
Writer: Paul Levitz, Pencillers: Yildiray Cinar and Francis Portela
DC Comics, November 2010

5 Stars

Plot

On Earth, a starliner transport crashes into a Titanfall refugee camp, but was it an accident? A Legion contingent of Colossal Boy, Sensor Girl, Sun Boy, and Timber Wolf responds to the crisis, but the situation quickly goes from bad to worse when an army of Earth Firsters attacks.

On Naltor, Dream Girl, Dawnstar, and Gates watch as Dyogene arrives and selects Professor Harmonia Li of the Time Institute as the next Green Lantern. She angrily declines, but…

Back on Earth, the small Legion squad valiantly battles the xeno army, but are close to defeat until Earth Man suddenly shows up with a squad of reinforcements – Chameleon Boy, Cosmic Boy, Phantom Girl, Quislet, Shadow Lass, Shrinking Violet, Tellus, and Ultra Boy – and the Earth Firsters are subdued.

Confident that the other Legionnaires can handle the xeno army, Brainiac 5 remains at Legion HQ and continues repairing the Time Bubble recently used hard by the Ranzzes, assisted by his former teacher, Chronarch.

The anticipated conspiratorial attack against Earth begins as a shape-shifting Durlan takes the form of Science Police Chief Zendek.

Earth Man leads the Science Police to the xeno leaders responsible for the assault on the refugee camp. Impressed by his demonstrated loyalty to the Legion, Shady throws caution to the wind and begins a romantic relationship with enigmatic Earth Man.

Comments

Levitz continues some interesting plot lines with this issue. Is the unpredictable Earth Man sincere in his loyalties to the Legion or is it all a deception meant to gain the trust of the heroes? Will Professor Li end up accepting the Green Lantern ring? Then what? How far will the Durlans get in their clandestine attack against Earth?

I enjoyed this issue a lot. There’s actually some decent character development interspersed amongst the action. It was comical watching Brainy react jealously to Chronarch’s praise of Professor Li. Last issue, I pondered when Levitz would introduce the three remaining unnamed Legionnaires and we saw Violet in this story, leaving two others yet to be revealed.

Legion #4: “That Which Is Purest Among You”

Last month, at the conclusion of Legion #3, we witnessed what I thought were the Ranzzes landing on the planet Avalon and spotting Darkseid. Silly me. It was only a statue of Darkseid.

Legion of Super-Heroes #4: That Which Is Purest Among You
Writer: Paul Levitz, Pencillers: Yildiray Cinar and Francis Portela
DC Comics, October 2010

3 Stars

Plot

Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, and Lightning Lass arrive on the planet, Avalon, in desperate search of the Ranzz’s twin sons. They encounter a religious cult dedicated to Darkseid. But what do the fanatics want with the twins?

Meanwhile in Metropolis, Earthman attends a clandestine meeting of Earth-firsters, but rejects their invitation to lead them. At Legion headquarters, current-leader, Cosmic Boy, announces the upcoming election of a new leader to assembled members, including Brainiac 5, Colossal Boy, Quislet, Sensor Girl, Shadow Lass, Sun Boy, and Timber Wolf.*

On Naltor, Dream Girl, accompanied by Dawnstar and Gates, convinces Beren Kah to allow thousands of Titan refugees to settle on the planet.

Back on Avalon, the three Legionnaires are in a life and death struggle with the Servant of Darkness and his right-hand-creature, Zeemith.

On Oa, Dyogene admits to failure because Earth Man rejected the Green Lantern ring, but Sodam Yat prods him to find a new candidate.

Returning back to Avalon, Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, and Lightning Lass defeat the Servant of Darkness and recover the twins.

At Legion headquarters, the team conjectures about the unpredictable Earth Man and his possible connection to the “xenos.”

Comments

With all of the jumping back and forth between planets, as well as the kidnapping of the Ranzz twins storyline ending with a resounding thud, this issue rates only three stars. I had fully expected an epic battle with Darkseid. Some dangling plotlines include the destiny of Earth Man in relation to the Earth-firsters, the Durlan conspiracy (referred to in #3), the election of the Legion’s next leader, and Dyogene’s search for the next Green Lantern candidate.

*At the meeting, Cosmic Boy mentions the Legion roster is comprised of 26 members. From the first four issues, I’ve culled the list of 23 heroes below. Who are the 3 Legionnaires who have yet to make an appearance?

  1. Brainiac 5
  2. Chameleon Boy
  3. Colossal Boy
  4. Cosmic Boy
  5. Dawnstar
  6. Earth Man
  7. Element Lad
  8. Gates
  9. Invisible Kid
  10. Lightning Lad
  11. Lightning Lass
  12. Mon-El
  13. Phantom Girl
  14. Quislet
  15. Saturn Girl
  16. Sensor Girl
  17. Shadow Lass
  18. Sun Boy
  19. Tellus
  20. Timber Wolf
  21. Tyroc
  22. Ultra Boy
  23. Wildfire

Postscript: Hmm. There’s semi-credible rumors floating around out there that DC may be bringing back the LSH. See here.

Legion of Super-Heroes #3: Earth Man’s Choice

It’s the end of the month, so let’s board our time sphere and travel to the 31st Century for another adventure with the Legion of Super-Heroes! Last month, the Legion was contending with the diabolical Saturn Queen while the unpredictable Earth Man contemplated his new dual-role as a Green Lantern-Legionnaire, and Saturn Girl desperately searched for her twin sons. Let’s pick up the action in…

Legion of Super-Heroes #3: Earth Man’s Choice
Writer: Paul Levitz, Penciller: Yildiray Cinar
DC Comics, September 2010

5 Stars

Plot

As Earth Man begins to exit Legion headquarters, Colossal Boy and Cosmic Boy assume he’s reneging on his agreement and attempt to restrain him, but EM persuades them he’s just following instructions from his Green Lantern ring to journey to the planet Ozifer because sentient lives are at stake.

In the asteroid belt that was formerly Titan, Saturn Queen holds Brainiac 5, Tyroc, and Wildfire hostage and awaits Ultra Boy’s return in order to destroy the Legion contingent in one fell swoop.

Meanwhile, Lightning Lad tracks down his wife, Saturn Girl, with the help of his sister, Lightning Lass. Together, the trio vow to find and rescue the Ranzz’s kidnapped twins.

Earth Man arrives on Ozifer, but is overcome by a powerful swamp creature. Cosmic Boy had sent Sun Boy to keep tabs on EM and the fiery one reluctantly rescues his former tormentor in the nick of time.

Back in the Titan asteroid belt, Phantom Girl shows up to confront Saturn Queen, but she’s not alone. She’s brought Sensor Girl (known as Princess Projectra back in the Silver Age), Tellus, and Ultra Boy and the contingent makes short work of Saturn Queen.

In the middle of all of this action, we learn via a one-page blip that the Durlans are conspiring against the Legionnaires.

Back on Ozifer, Element Lad, Invisible Kid, and Shadow Lass reinforce Earth Man and Sun Boy, but a puzzled Earth Man still does not know the identity of the sentient life form he was sent to protect. The Guardians reveal a species of oversized insects will soon perish in the planet’s over-carbonized atmosphere. Element Lad and EM make the necessary correction, but EM then discards his Green Lantern ring in disgust, stating he’s just not into risking his life to save insects. As the Legionnaires’ cruiser climbs into deep space, Dyogene, powerful minion of the Guardians, ascends ominously from the glowing-green swamp.

Lightning Boy, Saturn Girl, and Lightning Lass follow the twins’ trail to the planet Avalon. As their cruiser makes its final approach, the trio spots…gasp, can it be?…uh, oh…it definitely is…DARKSEID!!!

Commentary

This issue tied up one loose end, Saturn Queen, but introduced another one: the conspiring Durlans. Earth Man seems to have quit the Green Lantern Corps just as quickly as he was inducted. But what’s Dyogen up to? What a surprise (not!) that Darkseid, the Legion’s most powerful foe, is behind the kidnapping of the Ranzz’s twin sons. In one of the Legion’s previous incarnations, Darkseid kidnapped one of the twins, Garridan Ranzz, immediately following his birth and transformed him into the mindless monster, Validus, an eventual member of the dreaded Fatal Five. What evil plan does Darkseid have for the Ranzz twins this time?

Levitz does an excellent job interweaving all of the subplots. After three issues, I’m really impressed with his storytelling skills while juggling the imposingly large Legion roster. Cinar’s pencils are excellent in some frames, but border on amateurish in others. Overall, very good stuff! Levitz has me looking forward to #4 and the confrontation with Darkseid.

Throwback Thursday: Hot Stuff the Little Devil and Me

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on May 3, 2016 and has been revised.

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Way, way, way back when I was just a young tyke in the early 1960s, my Dad would periodically bring home comic books for me. Boy, I loved those comic books! My favorite titles were “Sad Sack” and “Hot Stuff the Little Devil,” both published by Harvey Comics (which also published the much more popular but corny “Casper the Friendly Ghost” and “Richie Rich” comic books).

Hot Stuff was a mischievous, diaper-clad, pitchfork-bearing, child-demon who enjoyed playing tricks on humans. He especially enjoyed riling the adult demons by occasionally doing good deeds.

So why would a parent buy a comic book about a playful demon for his very young child? I’m sure my Dad never even thought twice about it. My parents were members of the Roman Catholic church, and like most members of that church, they compartmentalized religion and everyday life. Religion was something you did one day a week: go to mass on Sunday and receive holy communion and then go home and somewhat try to live a “good” life until next Sunday. Absolutely no time was spent in God’s Word during the week. If my parents owned a Bible I never saw it. I don’t remember my parents ever praying, out-loud or privately. No one had a “personal, saving relationship with Jesus Christ.” That kind of talk was only for backwoods Bible Belt-ers who took their religion WAY too seriously. Buying a comic book about a naughty, young demon for a young child was perfectly fine in that milieu of religious unbelief. Even back then, the culture was inundated with movies and television shows about witches, vampires, ghosts, etc. Jesus was not real to many people back then, just like He’s not real to many today. People flock in droves to entertainment that focuses on spiritual darkness for the adrenaline rush, but they don’t want to give one second of their time to the Light.

“And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” – John 3:19-21

If I had young children, I definitely would not buy them comic books extolling demons, but maybe that playful little comic character was one of the many influences the Holy Spirit used in my life to eventually draw me to my Savior, Jesus Christ. If there are demons and a Hell, then there is a God and a Heaven. When people think of demons, they generally think of the stereotypical horned ogres, but the Bible says Satan appears as an angel of light. His servants appear as righteous ministers (e.g., Roman Catholic priests), but they peddle a spiritually deadly false gospel of works-righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:12-15).

Note: Hot Stuff was created by Illustrator, Warren Kremer, and first appeared in Hot Stuff #1 published by Harvey Comics in October 1957.

Legion of Super-Heroes #2: The Day After Titanfall

It’s the first week of the month so it’s time once again for some 31st Century frivolity! Last month, in our inaugural review of the 2010-2013 Legion of Super-Heroes, we witnessed the…gulp…destruction of Titan and the annihilation of its inhabitants. Let’s pick up the pieces in…

Legion of Super-Heroes #2: The Day After Titanfall
Writer: Paul Levitz, Pencillers: Yildiray Cinar and Francis Portela
DC Comics, August 2010

5 Stars

Plot

Brainiac 5 directs a contingent of powerful Legionnaires – Mon-El, Tyroc, Ultra Boy, and Wildfire – as they break up the dangerously large asteroid belt around Saturn, the sad remains of the destroyed moon, Titan. The evil Saturn Queen stealthily enters the scene of her former homeworld and easily subdues Brainy.

Back on Earth, Earth Man secretly contemplates his new Green Lantern ring while Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, and Cosmic Boy, make preparations to assist the thousands of refugees from Titan who face the wrath of the xenophobic Earthers.

Returning to the orbit of Saturn, Saturn Queen switches her attention from the vanquished Brainiac 5 and subdues Ultra Boy with her telepathic powers. Jo quickly turns on his fellow Legionnaires.

As the pages turn, we see Saturn Girl hot on the trail of her two kidnapped twins, while on planet Winith, hubby, Lightning Lad, hears of his family’s predicament for the first time from his sister, Lightning Lass. What was Garth doing all this time? He was trying to track down his brother, Mekt, the evil Lightning Lord. Hmm. Saturn Queen? Lightning Lord? Does anyone else smell a reunion of the Legion of Super-Villains in the near future?

Meanwhile, back on Earth, Invisible Kid, Phantom Girl, and Sun Boy join Colossal Boy as he attempts to defend the Titan refugees from the xenophobe mob at the disembarkation site. Earth Man surprisingly closes ranks with the Legionnaires. Phantom Girl and Shadow Lass are injured in the fracas and as they later commiserate about the day’s events in the Legion infirmary, the renegade Ultra Boy crashes the scene. But girlfriend, Phantom Girl, is able to break Saturn Queen’s telepathic control over Jo. As the book closes, Earth Man sits alone in his Legion dormitory room and ruminates on his next move as the new Green Lantern. Oops, I almost forgot to mention the one-page subplot involving Dream Girl, Dawnstar, and Gates as part of a Legion emissarial team sent by Earthgov to reassure the Outer Worlds after the near-war.

Comments

There was an incredible amount of action at the various planetary settings packed into this issue. Writer Levitz does a nice job of interweaving the various sub-plots: 1) the attack of Saturn Queen, 2) Saturn Girl’s search, and 3) Earth Man’s transition to a Green Lantern, all against a backdrop of continuing hostility from the Earther xenophobes. There’s also a nice bit of interpersonal drama (Mon-El moping over his break-up with Shady), without excessive soap opera suds. Good issue! Ranks right up there with any of the 2019-2020 Brian Michael Bendis issues. Maybe better. Looking forward to #3 next month!

Waaaay back to the future

With apologies to my über-serious brethren and sistren, today we engage in some very un-serious frivolity as we kick off our monthly series reviewing DC Comics’ 2010-2013 era of the Legion of Super-Heroes, that 30+ member team of teenage crime-fighters of the distant future, each with unique super-powers. So, without any further ado, let’s climb into our time sphere and journey way back to 2010 and then waaaaaaay forward to the 31st-Century with the Legion of Super-Heroes as they battle crime across the Universe.

Legion of Super-Heroes #1: The Scream Heard ‘Cross the Universe
Writer: Paul Levitz, Penciller: Yildiray Cinar
DC Comics, July 2010

5 Stars

Plot

31st-Century Earth had been overrun by a xenophobic culture* led by Earth Man and his Justice League. Earth Man is eventually defeated by Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes, but as a concession to the remaining, large, anti-alien faction on the planet, the Legion agrees to allow Earth Man to become a member, albeit under the strict supervision of Brainiac 5. As events unfold, Saturn Girl visits her home moon of Titan and witnesses the relocation of the Time Institute there from the politically and socially unstable environment on Earth. Despite warnings, the foolhardy scientists at the institute decide to explore the origin of the Universe** and thereby unwittingly unleash a chain reaction that will ultimately destroy the moon. In the panic that ensues, Saturn Girl desperately searches for her twin sons.

Meanwhile, on the planet Oa, Sodam Yat, the last of the Green Lanterns, mourns as he perceives the coming destruction of Titan, but is visited by Dyogene, a being sent by the Guardians, who forcibly removes Yat’s Green Lantern ring.

Back on Titan, Saturn Girl locates her two boys, but they are kidnapped via a time-transport beam just before she can reach them. Saturn Girl absconds with a time sphere in desperate pursuit of her two children as the rest of the Legionnaires hurriedly direct a limited evacuation of Titan. The destruction of the moon along with the annihilation of most of its inhabitants reverberates throughout the galaxy.

Unperturbed by the destruction of Titan, Dyogene travels to Earth and presents the Green Lantern ring to the surprised Earth Man.

Commentary

This was a very entertaining inaugural for the 2010-2013 Legion and from here Levitz has the opportunity to develop many storylines. Saturn Girl plays a prominent role as she will a decade later in Brian Michael Bendis’ 2019-2021 Legion. Other Legionnaires appearing in this issue include Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Dawnstar, Phantom Girl, Sun Boy, and Ultra Boy, along with very brief cameos by Blok, Bouncing Boy, Duo Damsel, and Polar Boy. Cinar’s pencils are decent, but not at the caliber we saw from Ryan Sook in the 2019-2021 Legion.

As with previous Legion incarnations, readers are asked to suspend their senses of sight and logic by characters who are supposed to be teenagers and are still referred to as “boy” and “girl,” but appear as PED-abusers in their late-20s. And the “girls” have more artificial enhancement than the Real Housewives of New Jersey (not to mention Saturn “Girl,” a mom with two pre-schoolers).

Criticisms aside, I enjoyed this introduction to the 2010-2013 Legion era and I hope you enjoyed my review. I’m looking forward to our monthly visit to the 31st-Century.

*Is the xenophobic culture on 31st-century Earth that’s presented by Levitz a thinly-veiled swipe at the populist Tea Party movement, which gained national prominence in 2009?

**In a scene at the Time Institute, the scientists ponder what time period they should investigate. One of them suggests that they examine “the Great Mystery in A.D. 33 and end the endless debate” (p. 12), but the beginning of the Universe is chosen instead. God gets His digs in, even in the most surprising places.

The Legion of Super-Heroes is back! Well, kinda, sorta…not really.

After a long, six-year hiatus, DC Comics relaunched its venerable Legion of Super-Heroes franchise in 2019 with a flurry of prelude tie-ins, followed by its inaugural monthly book in November. The creative team of Brian Michael Bendis (writer) and Ryan Sook (pencils) did a very good job, however, the much-anticipated reboot didn’t draw enough readers and lasted only twelve issues.

What’s a Legion fan to do? Well, back in 2010-2013, DC had resuscitated the Legion and was indulging Legion fans with multiple titles. I collected all of the 80 books that were published in that time span with the intention of reading them “someday.” Given the reality that the Legion is not a part of DC’s current or future plans, that day has come. My plan is to read and review an LSH book from the 2010-2013 period each month. At that rate I’ll get through all 80 books in 6.5 years.

As I mentioned, multiple LSH titles were published concurrently in that 2010-2013 span. I initially thought about reviewing them chronologically according to their publication date, but concluded that bouncing back and forth between titles would be disconcerting for myself and the reader. Instead, I’ll complete each title before moving to the next one. Here’s the four series we’ll be looking at:

The Legion of Super-Heroes (July 2010-October 2013) – After an absence of two years, DC reintroduced the Legion with their own monthly book in July 2010 with Paul Levitz as scripter and Yildiray Cinar as penciller. After 16 issues, the numbering reverted back to #1 (November 2011) as a part of DC’s “The New 52” relaunch and would continue to #23 (October 2013). Total issues: 42.

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes in Adventure Comics (August 2010-October 2011). Paul Levitz (writer) and Kevin Sharpe (penciller). This series was more of an upbeat, Silver Age Era-inspired alternative to the “sad astronaut” pessimism of the main Levitz-Sinar series. The mission of the complementary Adventure series was to “(fill) in some gaps in the (Legion’s) backstory” in order to “help new readers understand the history and relationships.” Total issues: 15

Legion Lost (November 2011-March 2013). With the demise of the Adventure Comics series in October 2011, Fabien Nicieza (writer) and Pete Woods (penciller) followed a contingent of Legionnaires stranded on 21st-century Earth. Total issues: 17

Legion: Secret Origin (December 2011-May 2012). Paul Levitz (writer) and Chris Batista (penciller) presented this six-part series which explored the “real beginnings of the Legion.” Total issues: 6

We’ll kick off this LSH 80-issue project with a review of the Legion of Super-Heroes #1 (July 2010) next Friday.

“Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #2″

Last month, the re-formed, future-state Legion tracked down former-member, Element Lad, who was apparently responsible for raining-down destruction and chaos upon the entire galaxy. Let’s pick up the action in…

Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #2 [of 2]
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, Pencils and Inks: Riley Rossmo, Colors: Ivan Plascencia
DC Comics, February 23, 2021

3 Stars

Plot

A large contingent of Legionnaires, including Blok, Bouncing Boy, Brainiac 7, Chameleon Lad, Colossal Boy, Duo Damsel, Ferro Lad, Lightning Lass, Monster Boy, Saturn Girl, Shadow Lass, Shrinking Violet, Superboy, and Ultra Boy, arrives on Trom and captures Jan Arrah/Element Lad. Saturn Girl examines Arrah with her telepathic powers (as Brainiac 7, Gold Lantern, and Ultra Boy look on) and discovers that he was not responsible for the galactic onslaught after all. She sends Chameleon Boy to Daxam to persuade a bitter Cosmic Boy to return to New Earth to learn the truth and to lead the Legion in “avenging the entire galaxy.” With Cosmic Boy present, Imra reveals what she had discovered. The elders of Titan, Imra’s home planet (actually a moon of Saturn), used her to infiltrate the Legion and to eventually manipulate Element Lad and his fellow Tromites into attacking the entire United Planets. Their motive? The Titians viewed the galaxy’s other inhabitants as “impure of thought” and radically inferior.

Saturn Girl returns to Titan to inform her mother that the moon has been removed from its position in the galaxy and “encased in a prison sphere for the rest of time” as punishment. After returning to New Earth, Saturn Girl and the other Legionnaires resolve to continue the Legion and “make a new normal where all feel protected and safe.”

Comments

This Legion Future State two-issue series was a semi-entertaining ride, with Element Lad starting out as the bad guy, but ending up being merely a puppet of the malevolent Titians. A decent twist, but overall, this series was not compelling reading with far too much plot awkwardly squeezed into forty-four pages. Writer Bendis had previously hinted at a surprising development involving Jon Kent that never materialized. To go along with the ungainly storyline, Riley Rossmo’s pencils are nowhere near the caliber of those of regular LSH artist, Ryan Sook.

Many have conjectured that this Future State series would be the Legion’s last gasp, although Bendis promises more (see here). The reality is there’s no sign of the Legion in DC’s March, April, or, just checked, May solicitations. In DC’s frazzled state, it’s difficult to imagine the LSH franchise being resurrected after such a lengthy hiatus.

Postscript A: The Legion of Super-Heroes is supposed to be a team of 31st Century, crime-fighting TEENAGERS with unusual powers, however, following the Silver Age era, writers and artists tended to portray the characters as being much older. In this issue, Rossmo presents Cosmic “Boy” as bigger and thicker than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Jon “Superboy” Kent has a Zorro-like, manicured mustache. Ridiculous.

Postscript B: Uh-oh. The day after I wrote the above, I stumbled upon a review of “Future State: Immortal Wonder Woman #2,” which describes how the entire Future State Legion was wiped out by something called, “the Undoing.” Of course, the end of the Future State Legion doesn’t mean Bendis & Co. couldn’t continue with tales from the pre-Future State Legion.