Why I Love…The Legion

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Grab your flight rings! Here comes the Legion!

There are tons of superhero teams but some hold special places for me.  In the DC Universe, two teams are really the reason I got into DC Comics.  One is the New Teen Titans…the other is the Legion of Super-Heroes.

The Legion of Super-Heroes first appeared in Adventure Comics #247 (April 1958) and were simply fun characters that appeared as a bit off a one-off.  The Legion revealed that in the future Clark Kent is known as Superman and that he is hero.  With their appearance, Clark learns a bit of his destiny, and the Legion have a little game with him.  Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl were very one dimensional characters…but the Legion made their mark from them.  Since their first appearance, they’ve had a storied history that has included cartoons and even a few appearances on Smallville.

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The Legion stops by Smallville

Following the initial core characters of the Legion, the Legion continued to add characters.  You have brothers, sisters, and other families join all with Superboy at the helm.  A series that can have characters like Bouncing Boy, Karate Kid, Ferro Lad, and one of the greatest Legionnaires (at least by name) Matter-Eater Lad, and be taken seriously is pretty amazing.

As the characters developed, Superboy almost became a hindrance to the Legion (he always had to find a reason to come to the future), so the title that had been Superboy (Volume 1), which became Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes, finally became just the Legion of Super-Heroes.

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Well…I guess a Legion cartoon is a good thing…

Now free of Superboy, the Legion had a much larger free reign.  Legion stories are often denser and bulkier than other superhero stories with multiple plotlines and twists.  It takes me about twice as long to read a Legion title than a regular title.

The next amazing thing about the Legion is how it morphs.  One of the first changes that occurred was a “5 Years Later” storyline that made the Legionnaires adult (but they still had kid names).  Next, a series of younger Legionnaires appeared who were clones of the first Legionnaires.  The Legion was once again rocked by Crisis which reconned much of the DC Universe and wreaked havoc with the Legion by eliminating Superboy from the past.

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My favorite Legion…the Zero Hour Legion

My favorite Legion probably evolved from Zero Hour which relaunched the Legion with younger characters and a more concise story alternating between Legion of Super-Heroes and Legionnaires.  I loved how this Legion was more kid friendly and relationships were being rediscovered and forged.

The Legion once again was uprooted with Legion Lost (a fun stand-alone series) but eventually led to another reboot.  When the series reached Infinite Crisis, the original Legion (pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths) returned and another somewhat fun series called Final Crisis:  The Legion of Three Worlds brought almost all the versions of the Legion together.

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The Legion will endure!!!

DC relaunched all its titles with the New 52 in 2011 but Legion of Super-Heroes was surprisingly not one of the titles affected…really.  The Legionnaires were split between Legion of Super-Heroes (who were separated from the past by Flashpoint) and Legion Lost which had Legionnaires trapped in the post-New 52 DC Universe.  Both series were met with tepid reviews and sales however and ended up on the chopping block…putting the Legion out of work once again.

Unfortunately, Legion has always been a fringe title.  With rabid followers (and even a couple of TV incarnations), the Legion’s goofiness never has really caught on with a big crowd.  I love the Legion, and I know that the Legion will endure in some form or another…I just look forward to seeing what it might be.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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