There were no Legion appearances in comics cover-dated July 1974.

But there was something really big waiting in the wings for August....

Another Legion appearance this week, thanks to Tiny Titans

Tiny Titans: Return to the Treehouse #2

September 2014

Untitled

 

The Titans continue searching for their treehouse, which was shrunken by Brainiac 5 and Psimon...who got their Brainiac Club shrinking badges by shrinking the treehouse.

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


Adventure 322

July 1964

"The Super-Tests of the Super-Pets"

 

This was an unusual Legion story: the focus wasn't on the Legion of Super-Heroes, but on the Legion of Super Pets. Proty II applied for membership, and the other Super Pets gave him a series of tests -- which he passed with flying colors.

The Legionnaires appeared in the story, certainly, but they were mostly oblivious to what was going on. 

 


Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane 50

July 1964

"Lois Lane's Luckiest Day"

 

Phantom Girl, Shrinking Violet, and Triplicate Girl are dispatched into the past on a vital mission -- researching the Lois Lane Fan Club for a minor article in the Superman Encyclopedia. (Guess they ran out of lives to save and villains to defeat.)

They take on new identities (Phyllis Groves, Sharon Vaughn, and Tina Glenn) and apply for membership. They follow Lois around, and every time Lois clumsily gets herself in trouble, the Legionnaires save her. Finally, Lois guesses their identities; they fess up, but erase her memory before leaving.

If it was me, I wouldn't want anyone to remember, either.

 

You know, I've always considered Superman as something of a dick regarding poor Mon-El. He sent Mon to the Phantom Zone as a boy, pledging to find a cure for lead poisoning so he could release Mon.

Yet as an adult, Superman never managed to get around to the task of actually fulfilling his pledge. Oh, he lamented Mon-el's fate a lot...but in terms of actually, you know, doing anything, Superman was always too busy.

In fact, Mon-El stayed in the Phantom Zone for a thousand years before the Legion finally found a way to let him out.

Now, though, I'm reconsidering Superman's culpability. Consider: As Superboy, he served alongside Mon in the Legion. He knew that Mon was going to be released in a thousand years. So what prevented him from, say, taking Mon out of the Phantom Zone in the 20th century, dashign through the time barrier to the early 30th, and putting Mon back in -- thereby sparing Mon-El a thousand years of hell?

Well...Superboy was telepathically hypnotized into forgetting what he learned about the future from being with the Legion. This was done to prevent him from messing with the timestream by, say, trying to save the Kents, revealing Supergirl's existence at the wrong time, or springing Mon from the Zone early.

And who was it who telepathically hypnotized Superboy? Saturn Girl, of course.

So if anyone is a dick in this whole messy situation, I'd say it would have to be Imra. I knew she could be cold, but I didn't realize until now how cold....

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

 

The Legion #32

June 2004

"Notorious"

 

Some bad guys arrive from Shikari's galaxy, led by Singularity. Devoted to wiping out all trace of the Progenitor, they're now determined to destroy the Legion's galaxy. 

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.

 

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

 


 

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

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