It’s time for some 31st Century frivolity, so let’s board our time bubble and head to the future for another adventure with the Legion of Super-Heroes in…
Legion of Super-Heroes #9: One Last Durlan Writer: Paul Levitz, Pencilers: Yildiray Cinar & Wayne Foucher DC Comics, March 2011
Brainiac 5 accompanies Chameleon Boy to his native planet Durla as they attempt to ascertain the identities of the Durlan assassins back on Earth, but the leaders of that world are unsurprisingly noncooperative. As the two Legionnaires depart, Brainy surmises that the answer to their query is back on Earth.
Meanwhile, Timber Wolf, Tyroc, and Gates stand watch over the United Planets Council proceedings. A familiar figure suddenly steps forward and presents himself to the assembly. Huh? R.J. Brande?!?!?! Back from the dead? Nope. It’s a Durlan shape-shifter assassin in disguise. The Legionnaires spring into action, but after a short tussle the villain shrinks to microscopic size and escapes.
In an increasingly familiar vignette, Colossal Boy, Tellus, and acting Science Police Chief, Gigi Cusimano, continue to keep vigil over Dawnstar, who remains in medically-induced stasis after being seriously injured during the Durlan attack on Weber’s World. Gigi is hoping the recuperated Dawnstar can lead them to the missing Chief Zendek.
I enjoyed this issue quite a bit as the Durlan conspiracy continues to unfold. Pencilers Cinar and Faucher did a very nice job with the art work. Next month, we’ll shift over to the Legion Academy saga that begins with Adventure Comics #523. We’ll be bouncing back and forth between the Legion book and Legion Academy plotline in Adventure Comics until issue #529 when DC pulled the plug on the venerable old Adventure book, which began in 1935.
It’s time once again to step away for a moment from serious theological discussions for some 31st-century frivolity. Our journey aboard the Legion star-cruiser last year wasn’t exactly smooth sailing, with detours including the “young Legion” plotline that was previously featured in the Adventure book and the six-issue side-excursion with the 2022 JL vs. LSH mini-series. However, we can now set the LSH star-cruiser engines to medium-throttle and engage the autopilot as we settle back with the 2010-2013 “older Legion” for an extended period of time…or can we?
“Consequences” Writer: Paul Levitz, Penciller: Geraldo Borges Adventure Comics #522, DC Comics, March 2011
A contingent of Science Police are transporting the vanquished Saturn Queen to Takron-Galtos, the planetary prison, when Kodama the Sun Killer unexpectedly breaches the cruiser in an attempt to free the criminal. Mon-El, the new Green Lantern, arrives in tandem with Dyogene, the powerful emissary of the Guardians of Oa, and they immediately confront Kodama. A fierce battle ensues and Mon-El is nearly defeated were it not for the intervention of Dyogene and the power of the Lantern. Meanwhile, back at the Legion headquarters’ medical facility in Metropolis, Tellus and Science Police acting-Chief, Gigi Cusimano, keep vigil over Dawnstar who was seriously injured during the Durlan attack on Weber’s World. In another vignette, Professor Harmonia Li of the Time Institute ponders her next move.
I had to kick start the ol’ memory neurons to recall the Saturn Queen sub-plotline left dangling from LSH #2, which we reviewed way, way back in August 2021 (see here). This was a fun issue almost entirely focused on the Mon-El vs. Sun Killer conflict and setting the stage for an epic LSH vs. Saturn Queen encounter. It’s very rare for such a small number of Legionnaires to be featured in an issue. The conflict with the Durlans took a back-seat in this installment, but there’s definitely more on that to come.
I had assumed we were going to settle into a twice-monthly, “older Legion” plotline shared by both the LSH book and the Adventure book, but looking ahead I see Adventure Comics will be switching to a “Legion Academy” plotline beginning with the very next issue, #523. Going forward, I will be bouncing back and forth between the Legion and Legion Academy plotlines according to publication chronology.
It’s time for another frivolity break, so let’s board our time bubble and head over to the 31st Century for another adventure with the Legion of Super-Heroes in…
Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #1: Here I Am Writer: Paul Levitz, Penciler: Keith Giffen DC Comics, February 2011
On the planet Orando (homeworld of Sensor Girl/Princess Projectra), a desperate young woman, Falyce, flees her tormentors and stumbles into the abode of the Emerald Eye of Elkron, which transforms her into the Emerald Empress. With the aid of the powerful Eye, she quickly subjugates the entire planet.
Lightning Lass and Shrinking Violet are passing Orando in their spacecruiser, but the powerful Eye draws the ship down to the planet and the Empress takes them prisoner. Back at Legion headquarters in Metropolis, Gates, Sensor Girl, and Sun Boy receive data indicating their comrades’ ship has crashed. They set out for Orando, but the Empress is expecting them. A series of battles ensue as the Empress and Legionnaires both attempt to gain the upper hand. As part of a calculated plan, Violet shrinks to molecular size, enters the Eye, and proceeds to its core, and then rapidly enlarges, shattering the Eye. Falyce is freed from the domination of the Eye, but is seriously traumatized. As the rest of the Legionnaires return to Earth, Sensor Girl remains on Orando to nurse Falyce and the planet back to health. Meanwhile, the Eye restores itself and escapes Orando to a destination unknown.
DC published yearly “annuals” for its comic franchises including the Legion. This 45-page special issue features this “one-off” story that has only a slight connection to the 2010-2013 “older Legion” plotline. Long-time LSH fans know the first Emerald Empress, Sarya of Venegar, first appeared in Adventure Comics #352 way back in January 1967 as a member of the Fatal Five. Falyce was actually the third Emerald Empress in Legion lore.
Nope, this wasn’t a particularly good story and Giffen’s pencils are mediocre as usual (he was the Legion’s regular artist in the 1980s), however, it was fun to visit again with the Emerald Empress and the Eye. There are cameo appearances by Cosmic Boy, Dawnstar, and Dream Girl.
It’s time once again to take a frivolity break and board our time bubble and journey to the 31st century for the final installment of Legion of Super-Heroes’ six-part adventure with the Justice League as they tag-team the formidable Great Darkness.
Justice League vs. The Legion of Super-Heroes: The Gold Lantern Saga, #6 of 6 Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, Penciller: Scott Godlewski DC Comics, September 2022
Vandal Savage walks the streets of a small Western town in the 1870s as the tyrannical sheriff. He enters the town jail and gloats over the shackled Batman, boasting that he had reconfigured time via the Great Darkness and removed the ages of heroes. Suddenly, the combined Justice League and Legion of Super-Heroes appear and confront a startled Vandal Savage. The villain learns he is actually a prisoner inside the Gold Lantern ring, where he has been consigned by the heroes for “quite some time” after they discovered his presence, allowing them to contain the Great Darkness and repair the time stream. The Elders of Oa are observers of the proceedings and sentence Savage to “non-existence.” Mustering what remains of his powers, VS assaults the tandem JL and LSH, but is quickly subdued by Kala Lour, the Gold Lantern.
After the Elders of Oa commission Lour as leader of the new Gold Lantern Corps., the heroes return to Legion Headquarters in Metropolis to celebrate their combined victory over Vandal Savage prior to the JL being sent back to the 21st Century. In the final panel, we see a defeated and humbled Vandal Savage consigned to his Western town and befriended by a gloating Jonah Hex, who had been mistreated by VS earlier.
After enduring five issues of dizzying and sometimes monotonous Great Darkness-induced time ping-pong from Brian Michael Bendis, we get resolution in this satisfying denouement. Good stuff! Great to see the Gold Lantern finally play a prominent part in this lamely-titled, “Gold Lantern Saga.” I enjoyed the sometimes-tense interaction between the JL and LSH teams. Scott Godlewski’s artwork was a cut-above decent. I might even read this series again, something I rarely ever do.
Besides Gold Lantern, other Legionnaires spotted in this issue include Blok, Bouncing Boy, Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Dawn Star, Dr. Fate, Dream Girl, Rose Forrest, Karate Kid, Lightning Lad, Lightning Lass, Mon-El, Monster Boy, Phantom Girl, Saturn Girl, Shadow Lass, Timber Wolf, Triplicate Girl, Ultra Boy, Wildfire, and White Witch. Although Element Lad, Matter-Eater Lad, Princess Projectra, Shrinking Violet, Star Boy, Sun Boy, and X-Ray Girl appear on the cover (I had to do some googling to glimpse the complete cover illustration sans lettering), I wasn’t able to spot them in the story for the life of me. That leaves only Invisible Kid and Ferro Lad as M.I.A. Ferro Lad did not make one single appearance in this six-part series.
I enjoyed this JL vs. LSH limited series, but what are DC’s plans for the Legion going forward? It’s difficult to imagine that struggling DC would give the LSH their own book again after the 2019-2021 Bendis-Sook Legion failed to connect with the publisher’s readership. However, we are keeping close tabs on the news that DC is developing both an animated HBO MAX series AND an animated movie featuring the LSH. That’s not speculation. Both projects are continuing to move forward. Several weeks ago, Warner Bros. announced that actors have been cast for the voice-overs for its LSH animated film and then released a trailer with a Blu-ray release date of February 7, 2023 (see below). Perhaps DC would revive a Legion book if the film and cable series generate enough interest? In the meantime, we’ll continue our reviews of the 2010-2013 Legion.
Let’s board our time bubble once again and head to the 31st Century for another adventure with the Legion of Super-Heroes in…
Legion of Super-Heroes #8: The Shape of Death Writer: Paul Levitz, Pencilers: Yildiray Cinar & Daniel HDR DC Comics, February 2011
At the sprawling Brande Estate on Earth, Colossal Boy and Dream Girl console Pheebs, private secretary of R.J. Brande, who blames himself for the assassination of the philanthropist and Legion benefactor and the circumstances leading to the Durlan attack, when the trio is suddenly confronted by shapeshifters. The Durlans are determined to murder Pheebs who they view as a traitor. Earth-Man and Shadow Lass join the fray and an epic battle ensues. The heroes escape harm, but Pheebs is killed. Concurrently, Tellus and Wildfire assist an injured Dawnstar after a Durlan attack on Weber’s World. At Legion Headquarters, Legion leader, Cosmic Boy monitors the multi-site Durlan chaos as well as the…huh?…incoming votes for the new Legion leader. Cos meets with Zendek to discuss the Durlan attacks, but the Science Police Chief reveals he is a Durlan shapeshifter in disguise and is convinced CB was complicit in Brande’s death. A fight ensues, but Element Lad arrives and subdues the would-be assassin. During a short pause in the Durlan attack upon the United Planets, it’s revealed that the Legionnaires elected Mon-El as the next leader. Other Legionnaires playing small roles in this issue include Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Invisible Kid, and Phantom Girl. Brainy had advised Cosmic Boy to get his hands on a supply of “Cancelite” stored in the Legion’s lab prior to his encounter with the ersatz Zendeck, but Cos was prevented from doing so. Cancelite is a gas created by Supergirl and perfected by Brainy which can negate a Durlan’s ability to transform.
This was an excellent issue with lots of whiz-bang action as Levitz gets deeper into the Durlan assault. The panels at the end of the book illustrating the election results override my previous speculations and solidify the official 26-member Legion roster below:
It’s been just a little disconcerting juggling the 2010-2013 Legion roster with the Legion roster of the 2022 JL vs. LSH mini-series.
It did seem a bit silly for the Legion election to take place simultaneously with the deadly Durlan onslaught. How is Mon-El’s election as the Legion’s next leader going to work with his selection as the next Green Lantern?
It’s time once again to board our time bubble and journey to the 31st century for another adventure with the Legion of Super-Heroes as they tag-team the formidable Great Darkness in tandem with the Justice League.
Justice League vs. The Legion of Super-Heroes: The Gold Lantern Saga, #5 of 6 Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, Penciller: Scott Godlewski DC Comics, August 2022
The story opens with Ultra Boy, leader of the Legion, advising all inhabitants of New Earth to evacuate the planet because of the encroaching Great Darkness. The Legionnaires and Justice Leaguers huddle together in 21st Century Metropolis trying to figure out a solution to the Great Darkness crisis that’s happening in both time eras. The JL-ers repeat that they had been forewarned of a time-space continuum disaster linked to a Gold Lantern ring and Batman and the rest of the JL-ers demand Gold Lantern hand over his ring for examination. After much cajoling, GL reluctantly concedes. The Caped Crusader begins an investigation, gathering multiple clues. The tag-team collectively determines “someone” is attempting to manipulate the time-space continuum in order to “destroy the age of heroes,” past and future. In the final panels, that “someone” is revealed to be none other than…gulp, take a seat…mega-villain, Vandal Savage!
Ah, after four tediously mundane installments, we’re finally getting to some resolution regarding the mysterious Great Darkness. My last experience with Vandal Savage was in the LSH-Star Trek crossover series (see my 2019 review here). Although Gold Lantern is featured prominently in this issue for his reluctance to surrender his ring, there’s still very little basis for sub-titling this series as “The Gold Lantern Saga.” Perhaps Bendis is saving that for the final issue?
Additional Legionnaires featured in this issue include Blok, Bouncing Boy, Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Dawnstar, Doctor Fate, Dream Girl, Element Lad, Invisible Kid, Karate Kid, Lightning Lass, Lightning Lad, Matter-Eater Lad, Mon-El, Monster Boy, Princess Projectra, Rose Forrest, Saturn Girl, Shadow Lass, Shrinking Violet, Sun Boy, Timber Wolf, Triplicate Girl, White Witch, Wildfire, and X-Ray Girl. I didn’t spot Phantom Girl, Star Boy, or Ferro Lad, who has yet to make an appearance in this limited series.
Hmm. How can I explain this “reset” without writing a tome? Bullets always do it for me.
In 2010, DC Comics had two comic books with non-corresponding plots devoted to the Legion of Super-Heroes: “Adventure Comics” featuring the “young Legion” (based upon the Silver Age era) and the “Legion of Super-Heroes” featuring the “older Legion.”
We began our reviews of the Legion of Super-Heroes “older Legion” series in July 2021 and progressed to LSH #7 (January 2011) when I discovered that DC switched Adventure Comics from the “young Legion” storyline to the “older Legion” storyline beginning with issue #521 (February 2011).
I then backtracked and reviewed the six “young Legion” stories over the last six months.
With Adventure #521 below, we return to the “adult Legion” plotline where we left off last January with LSH #7 (see here if you need a refresher).
Phew! That was a mouthful. With all of that rigmarole out of the way, let’s now board our time bubble and travel to the 31st Century for another adventure with…
The Legion of Super-Heroes in “The Summons of the Ring” Writer: Paul Levitz, Penciller: Geraldo Borges & Mario Alquiza Adventure Comics #521, DC Comics, February 2011
A contingent of Legionnaires – Element Lad, Invisible Kid, Sun Boy, and Tellus – arrive in Kamapala, Uganda to help stabilize the city after a severe earthquake. Dawnstar and Wildfire are nearby and discover the cause of the quake, a strange force, which quickly departs into space. Dawny and Drake pursue, but the force sends out a bolt that stops them in their tracks.
Dyogene, an emissary of the Guardians of Oa (see cover), continues his search for the next Green Lantern after being rejected by Earth-Man and Professor Li. He enters Legion Headquarters and assembles the heroes – Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Dream Girl, Earth-Man, Element Lad, Invisible Kid, Lightning Lad, Mon-El, Phantom Girl, Polar Boy, Quislet, Shadow Lass, Sun Boy, and Tellus – and ultimately chooses the powerful Mon-El, who accepts the role as the next Green Lantern. Shadow Lass visits her former boyfriend and tries to change his mind, but Mon-El is resolute and departs with Dyogene.
While I enjoyed the “young Legion” books, it was good to return to the “older Legion” storyline after an eight-month hiatus. What is that force that caused the devastating quake and nearly killed Dawnstar? In the final panel we’re told the Durlan assassins will strike in LSH #8 and Mon-El will embark on his first adventure as a Green Lantern in Adventure #522. Legionnaires missing in action in this installment include Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Gates, Lightning Lass, Saturn Girl, Sensor Girl, Shrinking Violet, Timber Wolf, Tyroc, and Ultra Boy.
It’s time once again to board our time bubble and journey to the 31st century for another adventure with the Legion of Super-Heroes as they tag-team the formidable Great Darkness in tandem with the Justice League.
Justice League vs. The Legion of Super-Heroes: The Gold Lantern Saga, #4 of 6 Writer: Brian Michael Bendis, Penciller: Scott Godlewski DC Comics, July 2022
We pick up the action with various groups of JL-ers and Legionnaires strewn about the time-space continuum by the last Great Darkness tremor:
Brainiac 5, Mon-El, and Naomiin the apocalyptic future with Kamandi.
Gold Lantern in 1930s Metropolis where he meets up with the original Green Lantern.
Colossal Boy, Dawnstar, and Wonder Woman in 1960s Metropolis.
Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl in Neo-Gotham with future Batman, Terry McGinnis.
Dream Girl, Wildfire, Black Adam, and Hawkgirl in an undisclosed time-space location .
Ultra Boy and Aquaman in the era of dinosaurs.
Another group of JL-ers and Legionnaires, not impacted by the tremor and remaining in 31st-century Metropolis, includes Bouncing Boy, Chameleon Boy, Karate Kid, Shadow Lass, Triplicate Girl, White Witch, Batman, and Black Canary. Rose Forrest emerges for the first time in this series, and as “special United Planets liaison for the LSH,” leads this combined group to the U.P. Council where they futilely petition Madam President R.J. Brande for assistance.
As Brainiac 5 attempts to jerry-rig an escape solution using Mon-El’s flight ring and Naomi’s smart phone, the Legion’s AI member, Computo, devises a “temporal group reversal using the flight rings as a tether.” All of the heroes are then successfully transported en masse to 21st-century Metropolis.
Over the course of the first four issues of this series, we’ve seen JL-ers and Legionnaires getting strewn about the time-space continuum by Great Darkness tremors and very little else. There wasn’t much in this issue that developed the “Gold Lantern Saga” thread in the storyline as was expected. It was interesting to see some of the “versus” rivalry advertised in the title of this series begin to emerge as the JL-ers angrily suspect the Great Darkness is linked to the Legion’s “abusing the time stream for selfish pursuits.” Bendis has two more installments to put some oomph into this series. I, of course, welcome any new Legion story, but I can imagine other readers are starting to become über frustrated. Our local comic shop stocked many copies of this series’ initial installments, including alternate covers, but that’s declined to just a few copies with this issue.
Blok, Monster Boy, and Green Arrow show up at the conclusion and I’m guessing they were teamed-up in some unspecified time-space zone. Legionnaires missing in action include Dr. Fate, Element Lad, Invisible Kid, Lightning Lass, Matter-Eater Lad, Phantom Girl, Princess Projectra, Shrinking Violet, Star Boy, Sun Boy, Timber Wolf, and X-Ray Girl. It was good to see Rose Forrest finally make an appearance, which leaves Ferro Lad as the only Bendis-era Legionnaire who has yet to be featured in this series. JL-ers MIA were Flash and Superman.
It’s time once again to board our time bubble and travel to the future for another adventure with those crime-fighting heroes of the 31st Century…
The Legion of Super-Heroes in “Tragedy: The Death of Lightning Lad” Writer: Paul Levitz, Penciller: Kevin Sharpe & Mario Alquiza Adventure Comics #520, DC Comics, January 2011
The story opens with the Legion of Super-Heroes accompanying the body of Lightning Lad to a burial crypt beneath Legion headquarters. Huh? How did that happen? Saturn Girl relates how she had intercepted the message from Dream Girl of Naltor warning of a premonition of the death of a Legionnaire as a result of powerful space pirate Zaryan’s invasion of Earth. Saturn Girl decides to sacrifice herself and through her power of telepathy constrains the Legion to elect her as the new leader so that she is able to consummate her plan. It turns out that Mon-El was the “ghost” referred to in Adventure Comics #518. However, Mon-El isn’t a “ghost,” he resides in the Phantom Zone waiting for Brainiac 5 to create a permanent cure for lead poisoning. But Mon-El’s phantom existence enables him to secretly learn of Saturn Girl’s suicide mission and he subsequently warns her boyfriend, Lightning Lad. With this knowledge, Garth sacrifices himself by attacking Zaryan and is killed by the villain’s “freeze ray.”
The Science Police track down Zaryan’s mother ship, but are ordered to stand-down at the arrival of a contingent of Legionnaires – Colossal Boy, Phantom Girl, Star Boy, and Sun Boy – and the heroes vanquish the villains. As the remainder of Zaryan’s fleet attempts a retreat, the Legion’s most powerful members – Superboy, Supergirl, and Ultra Boy – arrive and subdue the criminals.
A sorrowful Saturn Girl decides to quit the Legion, but Cosmic Boy persuades her to stay.
This story is nearly identical to “The Stolen Super-Powers” featured 48 years earlier in Adventure Comics #304 (January, 1963). Legionnaires spotted in this story in addition to those already mentioned include Bouncing Boy, Chameleon Boy, Invisible Kid, Matter-Eater Lad, Shrinking Violet and Triplicate Girl, almost the exact roster used in Adventure #304, with the inclusion of Star Boy.
I appreciated this 6-issue tribute to the “young Legion” based upon the franchise’s Silver Age era with its simple Zaryan story. After this issue, the editors at DC jettisoned the “young Legion” storyline. Adventure Comics #521 will pick up the “older Legion” plotline at the point we left off with Legion of Super-Heroes #7 back in January.
It’s time once again to climb aboard our time bubble and travel to the future for another adventure with those crime-fighting heroes of the 31st Century.
The Legion of Super-Heroes in “Playing Hooky II” Writer: Paul Levitz, Penciller: Eduardo Pansica Adventure Comics #519, DC Comics, December 2010
Chameleon Boy, Invisible Kid, and Shrinking Violet, the Legion’s “espionage squad,” sneak aboard Zaryan’s space cruiser as it orbits the planet Rimbor, hoping to apprehend the smuggler-villain. Invisible Kid inadvertently sets off an alarm and the team must fight off sentry robots. After overcoming the opposition, the team makes its way to the bridge and a battle ensues with Zaryan and his minions. Zaryan escapes once again and vows to defeat the Legion on Earth.
In the meantime, Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl travel in a time bubble back to Smallville in the 20th century. Brainy won’t divulge the purpose of the mission, although he does have a checklist. Superboy joins the quartet and they set off to a) experience some old fashioned weather in a rainstorm and tornado, and b) while in disguise, participate in a barn-raising for Pa Kent with some of the young Smallville locals, culminating in some delicious apple pie baked by Ma Kent. That night, the quintet does some star-gazing, but the serenity is interrupted by a “Brainiac probe,” that had honed in on Superboy’s Kryptonian ship. From historical archives, Brainiac 5 had ascertained that the probe would be arriving at that precise time and he subsequently neutralizes the invader with his superior 31st-century technology. By destroying the probe, Brainiac 5 delays his arch-villain ancestor, Brainiac, from coming to Earth until Kal-El matures from Superboy to Superman and is suitably able to vanquish him.
It was refreshing to have just a small number Legionnaires to follow in this issue. The Zaryan storyline continues to be pretty simple, but I sense a tragedy coming up next issue with the story ominously titled, “Tragedy.” It was fun seeing the future kids dealing with 20th century bad weather and a rural barn-raising. Levitz did a nice job with that. The “Playing Hooky II” in the title refers to the similarly simple activities of Superboy and the Legion in Adventure Comics #12’s “Playing Hooky” that we reviewed in February. The ending of this issue involving the Brainiac probe was head-scratchingly convoluted for a non-DC regular. Where was Sheldon Cooper when I needed him? Instead, I had to google “Brainiac probe” and find out what that was all about. Pansica’s artwork is excellent in some panels and amateurish in others.
I’m enjoying these “young Legion” issues with their simpler plotlines. The next issue, Adventure #520, is the last in the young Legion series, and then we pick up the “older Legion” plotline where we left off back in January with LSH #7.