I did not see any Legion content this week.

I'm pondering what to do in this space when there aren't any more Legion appearances. Week after week of "I did not see any Legion content this week" would be pretty sad.

Maybe a monthly "Fifty Years Ago" would be an interesting way to pass the time....

Well, there are still two more issues left, so for now I'll keep doing what I'm doing.

I did not see any Legion content in comics this week.

There's more news of Justice League 3000. Apparently there will be no Legion connection. And it's being written by Keith Giffen, who in my opinion is every bit as good a writer as he is an artist...which is to say, not at all to my taste. I can't see any compelling reason to pick up this book.

While I'm at it, I think I'll drop World's Finest...I've been waiting a long time now for something to happen, and it hasn't.

That will leave Smallville Season Eleven as the only DC comic I'm buying. I have over six thousand comics in my collection, and I'd guess at least five thousand of those are DC titles...but there's really nothing at DC any more to keep me even mildly interested -- except, of course, Smallville Season Eleven. (Which I imagine they will cancel soon.)

For the last, oh, forty years I've been buying each new Legion comic (except for the Giffbaum years when I quit in disgust, and a few short hiatuses between titles) -- it's going to feel odd to go to the comic store month after month and spend money with no Legion to show for it...no DC comics....

Unless...the Legion starts appearing as a backup feature in Smallville Season Eleven...then starts to push Clark out of the comic...until the name changes to Smallville: Legion of Super-Heroessmiley

One Legion comic this week: Legion of Super-Heroes 21 (2013/08).

The remaining Legionnaires gather on Earth for a showdown with the Fatal Five Three. Element Lad resists the temptation to turn the oxygen in the villains' bodies into chlorine; Shrinking Violet resists the temptation to shrink inside the Eye and shatter it like she did before; Harmonia doesn't release the power of the winds, water, and rock against them; Lightning Lass doesn't short out Tharok's circuitry; Cosmic Boy doesn't toss them around by the iron in their hemoglobin; and Dream Girl flat out refuses to use her power at all.

Instead, the Legionnaires bravely fall down continuously and scowl at the Fatal Five Three.

At the end of the issue, Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad show up...and somehow, it's a hopeful moment.

I have no doubt about Imra's ability to save the day. After all, she's the strongest telepath in the universe -- nothing with a mind can resist her. (As Universo once said to her, in fear, "The two most powerful beings in the universe -- you just looked at them, and they fell over.")

What really annoys me about this whole arc is how passive and whiny the Legionnaires have been. Yes, they've had bad things happen, and they're excused for being a bit demoralized...but honestly: Tinya fleeing to another dimension with the intention of never coming back? Dream Girl refusing to look into the future? Cosmic Boy doing nothing of consequence?

This isn't the Legion that defeated Mordru, Darkseid, the Legion of Super-Villains, and the Time Trapper.

There's one last loose end, one that might be a red herring or a clue to the last issue. On page two, the following exchange takes place between Cos and Brainy:

Cos: Don't overthink it, yell for help.

Brainy: Obviously. The question is from who...and where?

Cos: See if you can reach--

Brainy: As I said -- obviously...but maybe there's another possibility too -- before the quarks fade out again...

Who are they talking about? Garth and Imra, I suppose, are either "obviously" or "another possibility" -- but who's the other one?

When I read that, my first thought was that Cos was going to say "Superman." But flashpoint barrier, time travel doesn't work, yadda yadda yadda.

So who else is there? XS? The Legions of the other Two Worlds? The Subs? Computo? Mordru? The Infinite Man? Ronn Kar? 

I guess we'll see next issue.

One Legion comic this week: Smallville Season Eleven 14.

I've been late to this party: it turns out that Smallville Season Eleven started life as a digital comic published weekly at Comixology.com. Each issue of the print version collects three "issues" of the digital version.

Instead of trying to keep up with the digital comic, I 'll continue to list the print version only here (I'll cross-reference to the digital comic when possible). If DC cancels the print comic but continues the digital one, and if they continue to feature Legion content...well, I'll put on my flight ring and fly across that bridge when we come to it.

This story continues the arc from last issue. For the first time we get to see more Legionnaires from this alternate universe, including some old familiar faces -- I've tried to identify them all, but with some of them we only see the backs of their heads. Anyway, I made my best guesses.

The existence of this digital comic raises an interesting question -- when if the next incarnation of the Legion crashes and burns, is it possible that DC would consider doing a digital-only Legion comic? What do y'all think?

I did not see any Legion content in comics this week. I also did not see any Legion content in books, video, or other media. I did have a dream that featured Brainiac 5, my old high school, and a speech contest. Brainy lost the contest because he gave his speech in Coluan; I think the winner was a purple camel but things are a little fuzzy...probably lingering effects of too much time travel.

I did not see any Legion content this week.

There's a Smallville Season 11 special that has an interesting take on the Martian Manhunter's origin, plus a throwaway sight gag for Lost fans. That's about all I found interesting.

I did not see any Legion content in DC Comics this week.

There was a new issue of Young Avengers, with lots of cute boys and some tender moments. Hulkling and Wiccan continue to be the cutest couple in all comicdom (although rumors are that Kevin Keller is going to have his first kiss in an upcoming issue.)

Lots of news today.

First, a new Legion comic: Legion of Super-Heroes 20 (2013/07).

Glorith, Cham, and Jo arrive on the Sorcerer's World to find the place falling apart. then rendezvous with Mysa and Blok. They find that Validus (under the direction of Tharok) is tearing the planet apart. They fight, but even the linked magic of Mysa and Glorith isn't enough to defeat Validus -- so Mysa moves the Sorcerer's World out of the universe...leaving Validus flaoting alone in space.

Tinya, meanwhile, decides the only way out for her is to "get out of here, even if it means never coming back." With a whispered "Goodbye, Jo," she fades away as the Promethian Giant's finger moves through her.

Jacques and Brek are in another dimension, the one that Jacques discovered he could teleport to. They see the ghosts of Lyle, Ferro Lad, and Earthman.

On a Legion cruiser in the ruins of Weber's World, Mon-El is in stasis and Brainy waxes depressing to Jan, Nura, Ayla, Vi, Rokk, Shady, and Chemical Kid.

Jo and Cham, previously on the Sorcerer's World, materialize in the ruins of Legion Headquarters just in time to face the Persuader, standing over a prostrate Luornu.

And that's the comic.

Humph.

So the following are off in other dimensions: Tinya, Jacques, Brek, Glorith, Mysa, and Blok. Mon-El is injured, Dirk is dead. I'm not going to count Luornu out yet -- it's not certain she's dead, and even if she is, she has extra bodies to spare.

I am not liking this storyline.

 


Second, there are two graphic novel collections of interest: Legion of Super-Heroes vol 2: The Dominators, and The Culling: Rise of the Ravagers (in case you missed The Culling, guest-starring Legion Lost...and believe me, if you didn't read it, you won't miss it at all.)

 


Third, there's ominous news in Legion land. By now you've probably heard that Legion of Super-Heroes is being canceled as of issue 23 (the October 2013 issue, due out in August).

So Giffen's killed the Legion again. Typical.

Word is that this doesn't mean the end of the Legion franchise; apparently there is some "new direction for the future of the DC universe" coming. People are bandying about the term "Justice Legion," speculating on a new concept for the Legion -- perhaps that they get their inspiration not from Superboy/Superman but from the Justice League.

The all-knowing blowhards of comics fandom have already decided that the new thing is awful (of course, these are the same blowhards that decided the Legion is awful).

I dunno. I want to keep an open mind.

Let's suppose the next phase is some kind of "Justice Legion," with the Legion inspired by the Justice League. (For the sake of accuracy, I must point out that the the Legion is the senior franchise; the Legion predates the Justice League.) (And all things being equal, wouldn't the Legion be inspired by the Justice Society instead, as the original super-hero team? Or has that changed in the New-52 45 continuity?)

Ahem. 

My first quesiton would be, is this going to be an entirely new alternate Legion, or are they going to try to pick up the New-52 Legion from where it is at the end of issue 23?

Of the two, I'd rather see an entirely new version. New versions of the Legion can be fun. Another reinterpretation, another roll of the dice, another set of assumptions thrown out the window. Mon-El, Chameleon Boy, and Andromeda as the Superman/Batman/Wonder Woman analogs of a new Legion? XS in place of the Flash, Rond Vidar as Green Lantern, Vi as the Atom? That could be fun, in an Elseworlds sense. 

On the other hand, doing "Legion picks itself up and, re-inspired by the tale of the original Justice League, tries to carry on" would be a lot harder. (Or, at least, doing it well would be harder.)

Oh, what am I saying? DC doesn't care about telling a good story, or making things fun -- DC cares about revamping, reinventing, just for the sake of novelty and getting mention in the comics press. Whatever they do to the Legion this time around won't last more than a year or two.

Hell of a way to celebrate the Legion's 55th anniversary year.

Anyway, I'll continue to read the Legion, I've been doing it for more than 45 years and it's become a habit. When discussing Doctor Who, my husband says the greatest thing about the show is that if you don't like anything about it, all you have to do is wait...it'll change. The same is true of the Legion.

So what if they screw up the Legion? So what if it gets canceled and goes into comic book limbo? We've been through all this before. Sooner or later, the Legion will surface again as a backup feature in whatever comic has Superboy on the cover, and then they'll push him out.

All together now:

Long Live the Legion!

 

 One Legion comic today, and an unusual one: Smallville Season 11 #13.

If you haven't been following Smallville Season 11, it's a continuation of the TV show in comic format. As such, it's outside standard DC continuity (whatever that is).

I'm calling this as a distinct alternate Legion, albeit one that's an offshoot of the one in the Smallville TV show.

This is the first part of a three-parter, and it's got some interesting twists. Earth is in conflict with New Krypton, formerly the Kryptonian colony Argo. Earthgov, represented by Minister Kirt Niedrigh, views the Legion as collaborators with the Kryptonians. There are plenty of hints of the xenophobic "human supremicist" theme in this version.

Booster Gold is there, too, and has a Legion ring just like he's supposed to. Brainiac 5 is caucasian and looks like the actor who played him in the series. Clark and Garth are just plain cute. When the two of them meet once again, there's a definite sexual charge in the air. (Plus there's the fact that for much of the story, Garth is holding onto one of Clark's balls, and no, I'm not making that up.)

All told, it's a refreshing take on the Legion, and a fun little comic. I'm definitely looking forward to the next issue.

I did not see any Legion content this week.

The new issue of World's Finest has Power Girl and the Huntress fighting Desaad, who at times bears a striking resemblence to the Time Trapper...but I'm sure that's just the tattered purple robe and hood plus general menacing posture.

In other words: No Legion stuff to see here. Move along. Move along.

I did not see any Legion content this week. There was, however, a new issue of Young Avengers, and damn Hukling and Wiccan are the sweetest couple anywhere in comics!

 

New Legion comic today, hooray!

This one mainly concentrates on the new Emerald Empress, who is a finalist for the Otto Award for Worst-Hairstyle-on-a-Villain-of-Villainess.

(The Otto Award is a 31st century award that I just made up, named in honor of Otto Binder, the Legion's creator.)

We're still in the Fatal-Five-Stomps-on-the-Legion, things-are-getting-worse portion of the narrative. Mon-El is banged up so bad that everyone fears he might be dead (gee, that's never happened before in a Levitz/Giffen collaboration). Next issue we're promised that things are going to get even worse as Validus steps into the fray.

I hope this doesn't turn into one issue of pounding on the Legion for each of the Fatal Five, followed by Brainy's hidden plan delivering everyone from danger in the last issue.

Actually, if Levitz is true to form -- and if he can resist the Giffen influence -- I'd look for the Legion's salvation to come from either one or more inactive members (think Luornu & Chuck and Garth & Imra showing up in Earthwar), or one of the "weaker" members (think Dream Girl from the Great Darkness). If I had to guess, I'd look toward Mysa and the Sorcerer's World.

 

I didn't see any LSH content in comics this week.

I did not see any new Legion content this week. 

I did not see any Legion content in comics this week.

I have been pondering the Legion's popularity. In this post over on Legion Abstract, Matthew worries that the Legion is going to be cancelled, and wonders if "...the audience for the Legion of Super-Heroes may have permanently shrunk to the point where these characters just can't support their own title anymore."

I've also been cataloging the Legion's appearances from their first cancellations, the run in Action Comics and Superboy, which has got me thinking about Superboy.

They kept trying to ditch Superboy. He resigned, then came back. He resigned again, then came back again. He finally left permanently...and came back again. Eventually, he died.

The Earth-247 Legion eventually gained Superboy (Connor this time) as a member. There was Superboy's Legion. With the Earth-Prime Legion, Supergirl took the place of Superboy. The renaissance of the current Legion started with adventures involving Superman.

Why? What is it about Superboy?

I'd like to suggest that casual readers need to have some familiar element as a point of entry to the Legion. Liam and LaDonna Legion-fan, who've read the Legion for years, are happy to buy anything that says Legion on it -- but when Cameron and Cecy Comic-reader pick up a Legion comic, they see nothing that looks familiar to them. So they put it down, thinking "I'll never be able to follow this."

If Matthew is right and there aren't enough Liams and LaDonnas out there to support the title, we need to give the Camerons and Cecys something.

So despite my reluctance to see the Legion tied too strongly to the DC present day, I will state the following as a Law of the Legion: The Legion needs a Superboy.

It doesn't have to be "Superboy" as such. It can be Supergirl, Superman, someone with the S-shield and the cape. A familiar symbol.

And now I have an ingenious way to give the Legion a "Superboy" while still retaining some distance from the current DC universe and allowing the writers maximum creative space. Picture this:

A "Superboy" joins the Legion. He's clearly not Kal-El/Clark Kent. Might as well make a whole "Who is Sensor Girl?" storyline out of "Who is Superboy?"

Turns out, he is...(wait for it)...the son of Superman.

"But wait," I hear you cry, "Superman doesn't have a son, except maybe Chris Kent who might not even exist any more. There's no way DC is going to introduce Superman's son into current continuity just to make Legion fans happy."

You're right. Superman doesn't have a son now. But he will, at some indeterminate point in the future. (We know Superman will have descendants.) We never need to see that part of it. We never need to establish a timeline, or a continuity, or even tell who his mother is. We don't even need to know if the kid is an only child or one of many. All we need is for "Superman's Son" to be involved with the Legion in the 31st century.

Why would Superman's son hang out with the Legion? Picture Superman raising this super-powered teenager. "Son, you need to learn how us use your powers, you need experience, you need a firm grounding in morality. I learned a lot of these things from my time with the Legion -- now I'm sending you to them for a training period."

A brand-new character who can legitimately be called Superboy (although if they want to make it Superlad or Superkid or even Superboi I won't complain.) A character who wears the S-shield and cape, and has a firm connection to the present-day Superman. A character from our near-future, hanging around in a time that's new to him -- a nice character for Cameron and Cecy Comic-reader to identify with.

Just as "Superboy's time" was a permanent 15 years before "Superman's time," the "new Superboy's time" could be a permanent 15 years after Superman's time. That provides a nice buffer against any craziness that DC imposes on the "present." We can further use the whole "this is only one possible future" dodge to make the Powers That Be feel better.

Who knows, "future Superboy" may even get his own title. Which the Legion could then invade, and finally turn it into Future Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes.

What about it, Mr. Levitz?

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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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