Scribblenauts Unmasked: A Crisis of Imagination

August 2014

"Would You Care to Step Outside?"

 

I knew that all these months spent leafing through Scribblenauts would eventually bear fruit. This issue includes cameos by five...count 'em five...Legionnaires, all drawn in super-deformed chibi style.

 

 

 

 

Tiny Titans: Return to the Treehouse #1

August 2014

 

Yes, the best possible news (other than a real return of the Legion): Tiny Titans are back!

The bad news is, they're only back for six issues.

Anyway, Brainy is in this issue, working on getting a merit badge from the Brainiacs Club by shrinking the Tiny Titans' treehouse and putting it in a bottle.

To top off the fun,m there's a crossword puzzle/house ad based on the JLA Adventures/Legion crossover DVD, and it has a nice scary picture of the Time Trapper as well as Dawnstar and Karate Kid from the DVD jacket.

Monday was my birthday, but I didn't realize I'd be getting my present at the comic store! What a great day for a Legion fan.

There were two comics cover-dated June 1989 with Legion content.

 

Legion of Super-Heroes #61

June 1989

 

"Will Magic or Science Prevail?"

Part two of the Magic Wars, about which the less said, the better.

 

 

 

 


L.E.G.I.O.N.'89 #5

June 1989

 

"The Secret Diary of Garryn Bek"

The thing that amazes me about this initial run of L.E.G.I.O.N. was how good the stories were. Yet they were written and drawn by Keith Giffen, whose work generally doesn't thrill me.

Ah, but the co-writer on L.E.G.I.O.N. was Alan Grant, a certified genius. And the co-artist was Barry Kitson, who does beautiful work. I think that explains all that was good about L.E.G.I.O.N. (although to be fair, a little later there was a definite and repellent misogyny about the series -- I don't know who to blame for that.)

There was one comic cover-dated June 1974 with Legion content -- but it was a doozy.

 

Superboy #202

June 1974

 

This was a giant-sized issue filled with Legion goodness, including three original features plus reprints of two classic Legion stories: The Legionnaire Who Killed from Adventure #342 and both parts of the Super-Stalag of Space story from Adventure #344 and #345.

"Lost a Million Miles From Home" was a clever little story with Colossal Boy and Shrinking Violet on a mission together.

"The Wrath of the Devil-Fish" was a much more substantial story of eco-terrorism, alien invaders, and misunderstanding. ERG-1 took the name Wildfire and joined the Legion at last, showing once again that death isn't the handicap it used to be in the olden days.

"The Lore of the Legion" was a reference feature, one of several that appeared in Legion comics of the period to help new readers get up to speed.

All in all, it was a good month to be a Legion reader.

There were three comics with cover dates of June 1964 with Legion content:

Adventure #321

June 1964

"The Code of the Legion"

 

This was a pivotal story in Legion history. Bouncing Boy lost his powers, and we met Science Police Commissioner Wilson, as well as Mon-El's friends Englen and Garl.

The big news was the Concentrator, a weapon of such devastating power that the United Planets ordered it destroyed, with the secret of its nature and construction known only to the Legion. Commissioner Wilson decides to put the Legionnaires through a series of trials aimed at getting them to reveal the secret (ostensibly to prove that they're qualified guardians).

Lightning Lad, though, has suspicions that Wilson is not what he seems, so gives up a phony "secret." It turns out, in fact, that the Time Trapper has kidnapped Wilson and taken his place in order to worm the secret out of the Legion.

Using the real Concentrator, the Legion defeats the Trapper and sets Wilson free.

At this point in Legion history, the Time Trapper isn't as omnipotent as he would later become, and lacks the native ability to travel through time without machines -- which helps to explain why he couldn't just go back and learn the Concentrator's secret directly.

 


Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #77

June 1964

"The Colossus of Metropolis"

 

Jimmy temporarily duplicates the power of three Legionnaires -- Colossal Boy, Star Boy, and Sun Boy -- by wearing their specially-treated costumes. In addition, a plaque signed by all the Legionnaires is on display early in the story. No actual Legionnaires (besides Jimmy and Superman) appear in the story.

 

This story is notable mainly for a scene that's not shown (but strongly implied): when Gim, Thom, and Dirk took off their clothes and gave them to Jimmy. Just the thought makes my heart all a-flutter.

 


World's Finest #142

June 1964

"The Composite Superman"

 

Another story involving someone gaining the powers of Legionnaires -- in this case, the whole Legion. It also features Legion statuettes, which are a particular interest of mine.

Here's what happened. When the Legion made statuettes for Superman, they used a duplicating machine that somehow duplicated their powers as well. The statuettes were on display at the Superman Museum in metropolis. One evening, while the janitor was cleaning near the statuettes, a bolt of lightning hit them and transferred their energy to the janitor. Suddenly he had all the powers of all the Legionnaires.

Unfortunately, the experience left him mentally messed up. He took on the identity of a supervillain, half Superman and half Batman, with green skin -- and decided to destroy the pair.

He was on the verge of succeeding when the lightning wore off and he lost his powers -- along with the memory of how he got them. Thus the identity of the villain who almost defeated Batman and Superman remained a mystery.

There was one comic with Legion content cover-dated May 2004:


The Legion #31

May 2004

"Chuck Taine and Gear in...Housekeeping"

 

A happy-go-lucky adventure in which Chuck and Gear steal some of Brainy's nanites in order to clean up Legion World. Of course, the nanites get out of control (they are Brainy's, after all), and a reluctant Superboy has to pitch in to save the day.

There were two Legion-related titles with cover dates of May 1989.

Legion of Super-Heroes #60

May 1989

"When Shall Magic Return?"

 

The end was in sight for the Legion. In this issue they began their last storyline, the four-part Magic Wars. A clumsy, disjointed narrative with ugly art, filled with gratuitous disaster and death, the Magic Wars were a portent of things to come.

 

 

 

L.E.G.I.O.N.'89 #4

May 1989

"The Godfather Pulls the Strings"

 

Events in L.E.G.I.O.N. continued their breakneck pace as the newly-formed team struggled to find its place in the universe while its members struggled to overcome their mutual antagonisms.

There were no comics cover-dated May 1974 with Legion content. The main Legion comic, Superboy, was bimonthly at this point.

However, 1974 in general was an exciting time to be a Legion reader. The team's takeover of Superboy was essentially complete by mid-year, and it was clear that the Legion was on the rise again.

There was one comic cover-dated May 1964 with Legion content, and it was a good one.

Adventure #320

May 1964

"Revenge of the Knave From Krypton"

 

A followup to Adventure #287/288 back in 1961, this story featured Dev-Em, who was young Kal-El's babysitter on Krypton. There, Dev and his buddies introduced Kal to rough sex and bedeviled Jor-El (there was probably some kinky stuff going on there, too).

Dev and his parents survived the explosion of Krypton in suspended animation in a bomb shelter, and crashed on Earth when Kal was growed up into Superboy. Once again, shenanigans ensued, including lots of homoerotic wrestling...really, it was the standard Superboy story of Superboy meets another super-powered teenage guy, they fall in love and have hot super-powered sex, then Superboy does something to drive the other guy away.

Well, now we find out where Dev went: into the 30th century, where he became an operative for the Insterstellar Counterintelligence Corps. After some steamy sessions with Kal and the other Legion boys, Superboy put on Dev-Em's clothes and went off to finish Dev's mission for him (At this point in the narrative I must stress that Dev-Em was presumably naked...sadly, this was not pictured.)

Well, Superboy wound up in danger, but Dev and Proty working together managed to save him. (One moment to ponder the possibilities of Dev-Em and Proty in bed together.)

The Legion offered Dev-Em membership, figuring that he was noble, adorable, and probably a better match for Mon-El than Superboy (more than a moment to ponder Mon and Dev in bed). But Dev's heart was with his ICC master, Commander Kolar (obviously a Bear), so he declined the offer. Nevertheless, Dev continued to drop by Legion Headquarters every once in a while for a wild night of group passion with the other Legion boys and Proty (...or so I assume).

There were an incredible five comics with Legion content cover-dated April 2009.

Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #3

April 2009

"Legion of Three Worlds Book Three"

 

At this remove, it's hard to convey exactly what this series meant to Legion fans. At the time there were two entirely inconsistent reboots of the Legion in simultaneous publication. One was what we now call the Earth-Prime Legion, its run just concluded with issue #50. The other seemed to be a version of the original Legion that first appeared in the Justice League/Justice Society crossover Lightning Saga, then featured in Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes. Batman was on record as remembering meeting three different versions of the Legion.

It was a mess. Then came Legion of Three Worlds, which hit with all the intensity of the legendary "Flash of Two Worlds" classic (the similarity of titles was quite intentional). There was no more need to argue about which Legion was the "real" Legion -- the multiverse was back, and there were more Legions out there than anyone could shake a stick at.

The fact that L3W was an epic story worthy of Paul Levitz (it was written by geoff Johns), coupled with the incredible art of George Perez, was icing on the cake.

From now on, nothing that happened to the Legion(s) could faze true fans. Reboots, cancelations, five year gaps, temporal dopplegangers, even attacks by demented comics fans...nothing mattered any more, and we were all united in a cry of "Long Live the Legions!"

 

Action Comics #874

March 2009

"Suspicion"

 

Mon-El, Valor, M'Onel -- Lar Gand's history is inextricably tied up with both the Superman story and the Legion. He's too vital a figure to erase from the Legion, and once he exists, he has to have some part in Superman's life. No matter how the Superman creative teams tried to get rid of him, Mon always returned. This time around he'd been re(re)introduced in an Action Comics annual, where a young Clark Kent beamed him into the Phantom Zone: in this comic, Superman releases him from a rapidly-collapsing Phantom Zone and hijinks ensue.

(Incidentally, this is one of the major ways that the Retro Legion differs from the original, making them a legitimate alternate version.)

 

R.E.B.E.L.S #1

March 2009

"The Future is Now"

 

If three Legions weren't enough, Vril Dox was back with a new team which included some familiar faces.

 

 

 

Superman #685

March 2009

"The Long Goodbye"

 

Mon-El continued his adventures in the Superman mythos.

 

 

 

 

Tiny Titans #13

March 2009

"The Brainiac Club"

 

Tiny Titans was a brilliant comic, ostensibly aimed at kids, but filled with delights for adult fans of DC Comics. (Lunch Lady Darkseid alone was worth the price of admission.)

In this story, both Brainiac 5 and Vril Dox made appearances, along with just about everyone else in DC who's ever borne the title "Brainiac."

You've probably seen this by now, but in case you haven't: September 2014 will be "Future's End" month at DC -- the next in a series of sad ploys to do anything (except tell good stories) to sell comics. 

What most concerns us is this:

 


JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED: FUTURES END #1
Advance solicit • On sale SEPTEMBER 17
32 pg, FC • RATED T
3-D Motion Edition: $3.99 US
2-D Standard Edition: $2.99 US

In the concluding chapter of the epic story that began in this month’s JUSTICE LEAGUE: FUTURES END #1, the armies of Mars rise against the unsuspecting population of Earth – and only the combined might of the Justice League and the Legion of Super-Heroes can stand against them!

 


Everyone's all excited, ooo, is the Legion coming back? Which Legion will it be?

Don't get too excited, kids. This has nothing to do with Legion fans, and everything to do with DC's trademarks.

In the US, if a trademark isn't used for three consecutive years, it's considered inactive. That's why DC is never going to go three years without releasing something using the Legion of Super-Heroes trademark. Now, it could be argued that DC is exercising the LSH trademark by reissuing trade collections of previously-published material -- but I'm willing to bet that DC doesn't want to have to argue that point, especially in front of a judge. I Am Not A Lawyer, but I think we can reasonably expect to see the Legion name used in current publications at least every couple of years.

Okay, which Legion?

Isn't it obvious? The New52 Earth-1 Legion...the one that's already appeared in several issues of Action Comics. This one is something of a blend between the original Legion and the Earth-247 Legion (i.e. Gim Allon is called Colossal Boy, but Jeckie's a snake and Tasmia is called Umbra). There's no reason to suppose they would use any other version.

As to how this version of the Legion fits in with Justice League 3000...honestly, at this stage I Just Don't Care.

 

One comic cover-dated April 2004 had Legion content:

The Legion #30

April 2004

"Foundations, the Final Chapter"

 

The Foundations storyline came to an end with the Earth-247 Legion's defeat of Darkseid.

There were three comics cover-dated April 1989 with a Legion connection:

 

Legion of Super-Heroes #59

April 1989

"Ghosts"

 

A flashback story to an adventure involving Invisible Kid (Lyle) and Chemical King. This was the last authentic classic Legion story before the Magic Wars arc began.

 

 

 

L.E.G.I.O.N'89 #3

April 1989

"How to Win Friends and Influence People"

 

The new team is still getting tis bearings, and Vril Dox is being obnoxious to everyone.

 

 

 

 

Wanderers #13

April 1989

"nUFOrmities"

 

This last issue of the title has everything: UFOs, conspiracy theories, metaphysical mumbo-jumbo, and the apotheosis of the team. And if this comic didn't Go Off the Deep End, you can easily see the Deep End from where it did go off.

 

There was one comic cover-dated April 1974 with Legion content. Fortunately, it contained two stories.

Superboy #201

April 1974

"The Betrayer From Beyond"

 

The first appearances of Infections Lass and Porcupine Pete, the triumphant return of ERG-1 from the dead, Superboy's return as an active member, and the debut of the Molecule Master. What more could a Legion fan want?

 

"The Silent Death"

One of those short, character-driven backup stories, this was also a "Dream Girl predicts something that doesn't happen, except it does, just not in the way you thought it would" stories. Once you accept the premise that Dreamy's visions always come true, the door is open for a whole lot of shenanigans.

There were two comics with Legion content cover-dated April 1964:

Adventure #319

April 1964

"The Legion's Suicide Squad"

 

An all-star story featuring all the Legionnaires plus the Subs in an all-out attack on the warrior planet Throon. This is one of those stories in which it isn't the biggest and best who succeed -- in fact, the Legion is defeated, and it's only the Subs (in particular, Night Girl) who defeat the bad guys. Those bad guys, incidentally, turn out to be two old guys, the last survivors of the Throon race.

 

Jimmy Olsen #76

April 1964

"Elastic Lad Jimmy and His Legion Romances"

 

Light Lass, Saturn Girl, and Triplicate Girl stage an elaborate hoax in which they pretend to be in love with Jimmy for the benefit of Lucy Lane, supposedly watching on Jimmy's time-viewer. The plan is that Lucy will see how heroic Jimmy is, and become jealous of the Legion girls, which will make her treat him better.

Unfortunately, Lucy sleeps through the whole thing, so the girls' attempt to alter history is all for for naught. 

There was only one comic with a cover date of March 2004 that had Legion content:

 

The Legion #29

March 2004

"Foundations Part 5"

 

The Earth-247 Legion continues its epic battle against Darkseid and...Darkseid.

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Get-a-Life Boy writes and reviews science fiction. Check it out here.

 


 

Credits

Legion statuette images and some costume variation images created by Jim Gallagher, based on Curt Swan's sketches.

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