Saturday, December 31, 2011

Week of 23 November 2011

In terms of the Legion, there was nothing to be thankful for this week: I saw no LSH content in any DC comic.

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Week of 16 November 2011

LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES 3 (2012/01)
"Shadow War"
ROLL CALL:

Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Chemical Kid, Comet Queen, Cosmic Boy, Dragonwing, Element Lad, Glorith, Invisible Kid (Jacques), Lightning Lass, Mon-El, Phantom Girl, Polar Boy, Shadow lass, Shrinking Violet, Sun Boy, Ultra Boy, Dominators, Res-Vir

CUTE BOYS:
Brainy, Brek, Dirk, Hadru, Jacques, Jan, Jo, Lar, Rokk

An action-packed issue that advances the storyline on several fronts.

On Panoptes, the Legion team is facing both Res-Vir the renegade Daxamite and an invasion fleet of Dominators. The older Legionnaires take it in stride, but Dragonwing and particularly Chemical Kid seem a little out of their depth.

Brainy experiments on Glorith, testing the young witch's force shield. He is unconcerned about the Panoptes situation.

A team consisting of Cosmic Boy, Invisible Kid, Lightning Lass, and Shrinking Violet goes to Daxam in search of info about Res-Vir.

Above Panoptes, the Legionnaires (with reinforcements) make mincemeat of the Dominators fleet. on the surface, Mon-El and Ultra Boy, with the help of Shadow Lass, keep Res-Vir busy while Element Lad tries to figure out how to neutralize Res-Vir's anti-lead serum. Cham disguises himself as a Dominator and slips aboard the command ship.

Element ad consults with Brainy, who is on the point of figuring out the best way to subdue Res-Vir, when Shady's darkness clears to reveal that Mon-El has already knocked Res-Vir unconscious. The issue ends with Mon saying "I'm a little more used to action in shadow" and Brainy replying, "A wise man knows when not to comment, my friend."

BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS:

Upon landing on Daxam the Legion cruiser is sealed off to prevent heavy metal contamination. Dialogue makes it clear that (a) Daxam's quarantine is there to protect the Daxamites, (b) Daxam is still a peaceful world with no interest in conquest, and (c) Res-Vir was somehow spirited offword without a trace.

Res-Vir's anti-lead serum doesn't use Kryptonite, like the one Brainy invented -- it uses "something else -- something unnatural."

Shadow Lass collapses when she lowers her darkfield, but seems to recover quickly. Some on the web have speculated that perhaps Shady is pregnant. I don't know...but certainly something's going on with her, perhaps going as far back as her breakup with Mon and her subsequent affair with Earth Man. That last exchange isn't just a clever double-entendre meant to reveal character...Levitz is undoubtedly reminding us that Mon and Shady had a romantic past. I'll bet there's more to come....

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Week of 9 November 2011

(This is the first of a series of catch-up posts from the past two months [gasp!]) Things have calmed down a little, so I should be more up-to-date soon. Thanks for being patient.)

LEGION LOST 3 (2011/ 01)
"Red Rage"
ROLL CALL:

Chameleon Girl, Dawnstar, Tellus, Timber Wolf, Tyroc, Wildfire

CUTE BOYS:
Brin, Jo, Kal-El, Troy, various police officers

Brin narrates this time. The hypertaxis plague continues to spread. While Dawnstar is off trying to track down Alastor, Brin suggests contacting some of the 21st century heroes they know, but Tyroc says they don't dare expose them to the plague. As they debate, they are interrupted by a Coincidentally Convenient News Broadcast (what a fresh plot device!) that sends Brin out to track an Okaaran rdrayyj attacking locals.

Brin finds the critter in a shopping mall (hey, I wonder if Inferno from the Earth-247 Legion is hanging around there?) and they fight for seven...long...pages -- including a bit where Brin fires his fingernails at the beast (you see, the hypertaxis has affected him as well, apparently mixing his DNA with that of a Fwangian Fingernail-Firer). Then the critter suddenly morphs into the presumed-dead Chameleon Girl. Bet nobody saw that coming!

BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS:

The absolute best moment in this comic comes at the bottom of page six, when a maid interruptes Brin, Telus, Tyroc, and Wildfire in their motel room. Tellus projects a telepathic image of normality. In that image, Drake looks like a slightly dorky redhead with green shorts and a red t-shirt bearing a large yellow star. And Tellus portrays himself as a fat guy, obviously somewhat older than the others (okay, what does the maid think is going on in that room?) -- and he's wearing a t-shirt with a cartoon image of his nonhuman body and the words "ironic t-shirt."

The second best moment is...uh...I'm working on it...oh, yeah -- when the hypertaxis plague lowers Tyroc's intelligence to that of a typical comic book writer, unable to conceive of contacting Superman in any way other than walking up to him (no telepathic contact, no phone call)...or of the possibility that Superman might be able to do something from safely outside the plague zone, like, oh, I don't know, setting up quarantine? Of course, this is the New 52 universe, so maybe all the 21st century DC heroes have become unbelievably stupid. That would actually explain a lot....

The third-best moment is when, about ten or twelve pages too late, the story ends. Unfortunately, there's a threat: there's going to be a next issue.

I shouldn't be so hard on this book. It's nowhere near as bad as the original Legion Lost, either in art or in writing. The writers are working under some strange constraints: they obviously can't interact much with the mainstream DC universe, they're trying to appeal to an audience that gets impatient if two pages pass without boobs, battles, or both. And they were stuck, for some reason, with a batch of Legionnaires selected by reverse alphabetical order (Wildfire, Tyroc, Timber Wolf, Tellus...how did XS, the White Witch, and Ultra Boy manage to escape?)

A long, long time ago, bringing Legionnaires back to the present worked pretty well. They got Superboy out of it, and Supergirl, and there was the first Mordru story which was superb. But in recent times, bringing the Legion back to the present day has been a recipe for disaster. Especially when it involves splitting the team into two. Let's hope sales take a nosedive and this comic soon gets put out of our misery.

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STAR TREK/LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES 2 (2011/11)
(untitled)
ROLL CALL:

Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Cosmic Boy, ightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Shadow Lass, Controllers, Khunds

CUTE BOYS:
Brainy, Garth, Rokk, Chekov (with his shirt off, no less!), Kirk, McCoy, Spock, Sulu, Security officer

Now this is a comic!

We learn more about this new universe, which seems to be a fusion of the Star Trek and Legion universes. The Controllers and the Organians are a war. as are the Klingons and the Khunds. Tyrazz, mobile homeworld of the Borg, is entering Imperial space. the Emperor, who looks like Vandal Savage from the nose down, pledges that he will protect the Imperial Planets from all threats.

The Legionnaires escape a hostile mob, and Brainy saves an essential part of the shattered time bubble. The Enterprise crew steals a shuttlecraft while Spock peruses the History Channel to find out that Earth's technology was accelerated in this universe, so that humans erupted into the galaxy before they were completely civilized.

Meanwhile, a really adorable security officer finds the wreckage of the time bubble and contacts his superior, Castellan Kajz, to inform him that a time machine has been found.

Brainy detects the chronal signature of two other temporal anomalies and the Legionnaires go after the closest one -- which turns out to be the Enterprise crew. The issue ends with the two groups facing off for the traditional battle before they become friends.

BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS:

Castellan Kajz, high in the Imperial government, is a mix between Coluan and Vulcan (or possibly Romulan). In original Legion continuity, Brainiac 5's father (Brainiac 4) was named Kajz Dox.

The flying platforms used by Imperial forces are very similar to ones used by the Legion in Adventure 346/347.

This issue shipped with multiple covers. On one of them, Timber Wolf is featured as if he's part of the story. He isn't. (Another cover shows the whole Legion; most of them aren't in this story either).

Making Tyrazz the homeworld of the Borg is just brilliant.

Cham mentions that "last time we got shipwrecked, our rings were frozen, inoperable." That would have been Legion of Super-Heroes 289 (1982/07), "A Cold and Lonely Corner of Hell."

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Update

Get-a-Life Boy has been crazed for the last two months.

I promise, I will catch up Real Soon Now. But for the interim, here's a list of what's come out lately in new Legion of Super-Heroes comics:


Week of Nov 9
            Legion Lost 3 (2012/01)
                Star Trek/LSH 2 (2011/11)
Week of Nov 16
            LSH 3 (2012/01)

Week of Nov 23
            No LSH content

Week of Nov 30
            Legion: Secret Origin 2 (2012/01)

Week of Dec 7
            No LSH content

Week of Dec 14
            Legion Lost 4 (2012/02)
Star Trek/LSH 3 (2011/12)

More soon....

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Monday, November 07, 2011

Week of 2 Noivember 2011

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

That's okay, though...I'm still admiring my new action figures.

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Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Week of 26 October 2011

(SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers. Don't read it before you've read the comics.)

LEGION: SECRET ORIGIN #1 (2011/12)
"From the Wreckage"


ROLL CALL:

Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, Phantom Girl, Saturn Girl, Triplicate Girl, Admiral Wynn Allon, Anisa, Lieutenant Boffin (died), R.J. Brande, Captain Dajone, M'Tobo, Mycroft, Unnamed U.P. Captain, Zarl, S.P. Chief Zoltorus (?)

CUTE BOYS: Brainy, Garth, M'Tobo, Rokk, Admiral Wynn, Assorted U.P. troops and S.P. officers (special award for Brainy Garth, and Rokk lookin' so innocent and young, especially Garth and Rokk on page 8 -- woof!)

Once again into the breach, dear friends....

You think you know the Legion's origin? Of course you do. Everyone does. So that's why Paul Levitz chose to tell a different story, where the foundation of the Leigon is just one of many threads woven together into a beautiful tapestry whose pattern will become clear over the next five issues.

It's the 31st century, and for three peaceful centuries the United Planets has bound together a collection of worlds ranging from former Earth colonies to long-established worlds like Colu. Now there's trouble: a U.P. starcruiser happens upon the world Anotrom, which has been left a ruin by an attack from foes unknown. The only remnant of the attackers is broken pieces of their alien technology scattered about Anotrom.

When a bit of that energy-absorbing tech explodes and kills a U.P. mechanic, the U.P. appeals to the geniuses of Colu. Unexpectedly, the Coluans offer their smartest child to solve the mystery: Querl Dox, aka Brainiac 5.

Meanwhile, we meet the real protagonists of this story: The U.P.'s Security Directorate, a secretive, officially non-existent agency that seems to have eyes and ears all over the Galaxy. The Directors are three: Anisa, a Naltorian with the power to see the future; Zarl, a Coluan; and our narrator, Mycroft, an aged Human. The Directorate is worried about the strange tech and some other minor matters, but Anisa receives a powerful presentiment concerning an event unfolding at that moment at Earthport.

Yes, it's the moemnt when Imra Ardeen, Rokk Krinn, and Garth Ranzz foil the attempted assassination of R.J. Brande. Anisa opines that this event will "determine the fate of many worlds."

Over the next little while (days, weeks, maybe months?) events begin to spin out of the Directorate's control. Brande, whose money has bought him many politicians on the U.P. Council,  tells Mycroft to keep hands off the Legion, to just observe. Near Anotrom, a space wormhole opens, while Brainiac 5 begins his investigation. There's also mention of the U.P. launching an experimental cruiser from Nullport.

Briny meets Tinya Wazzo (soon to be Phantom Girl), who tells him that she's come through the wormhole from Bgtzl to warn of a terrible danger that will soon confront the U.P.

On Earth, Luornu Durgo responds to the Legion's growing fame, and is accepted as a member. Zarl ponders that he thought it would take longer for the "handful of survivors" on Cargg to restore contact with Earth. We are left with the feeling that the Legion is a wild card in the Directorate's carefully planned universe.

Story, art, narration, background -- wow, this was a superior Legion comic. There's so much going on here, but just stand back and admire how skillfully Levitz packed so much information, seemingly effortlessly, into these 20 pages.

This is going to be a fun ride.

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BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS:

Anotrom. Some folks seem to think that Anatrom is the planet Trom, home of Element Lad. Uh, yeah. By that reasoning, Neptune is a bit of music, Hungary is a suburb of Chicago, and England is a gland.

Admiral Allon is, of course, Wynn Allon, the father of Gim Allon, soon-to-be Legionnaire Colossal Boy.

Poor Lieutenant Boffin. In British slang, "boffin" is a term for scientist. Wikipedia has more information here.

The Coluans seem awfully eager to get Querl Dox off Colu and into a dangerous situation. From what we know of Brainy's past, his relations with his own people, and his propensity for exploding valuable laboratories, this isn't a surprise.

The Security Directorate raises echoes of the French Revolution & the Reign of Terror, Soviet Russia, and the Foundation Trilogy. Quite a trick for a three-word phrase, eh?

Mycroft. (No, it's not "Myecroft.") Of course, Mycroft was the name of Sherlock Holmes' brother, whom some say was smarter than Holmes. It was also the name of the all-powerful, planet-controlling computer intelligence in Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. What the two Mycrofts have in common is that they both preferred to work behind the scenes.

Anisa is an Arabic name that means "pleasant companion." The name also recalls the herb anise, which Pliny the Elder recommended as a cure for insomnia. Not a bad name for someone from Naltor, the planet on which everyone sees the future in their dreams.

Zarl. I can only find two Zarls with any relation to the Legion. Zarl Hendricks was Dirk Morgna's co-worker and cute boyfriend, who died in a radiation accident that was the fault of Dr. Regulus. Zarl Vorne was an Atlantean baby who was rocketed to the asteroid Juno when Atlantis was destroyed; he gained super-powers and had a heroic career as Power Boy. Zarl Vorne and Superboy had a brief but passionate affair in Superboy #52 (1956/10), but Kal had to leave Juno because his physical presence weakened Zarl.

The Science Police Chief that Mycroft speaks to is not named. An S.P. Chief who appeared in many early Legion stories seems to be the same one who was later identified as Zoltorus. I'm tentatively calling this guy Zoltorus, but I'm willing to be argued out of that.

We see Luornu meeting each of the Founders separately, then merging into one body when they get together. This comes directly from the first Legion Origin story in Superboy #147 (1968/06).

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So here's the big unanswered question. Is this a distinct alternate Legion?


There are several reasons we might consider the Legion depicted here to be a distinct version:

1. Costumes. The Legion's costumes are definitely not the classic ones. However, that could easily be artistic license.

2. Brainy. In the classic Legion, we first became aware of Brainy through his work with the Time Institute. But nothing says Brainy couldn't have been on Anotrom first.

3. Tinya. It was never stated that Tinya came through a wormhole from Bgtzl to warn the U.P. of danger. Then again, it was never stated that she didn't. (Yes, there was a Secret Origins story in which Tinya first traveled from Bgtzl to Earth aboard a trans-dimensional ship, using her own powers to make the shift...but that was written by Tom & Mary Bierbaum and I consider it part of the Glorithverse Legion.)

In short, there's nothing (yet) that's totally inconsistent with the Classic Legion. Any differences (so far) can be ascribed to artistic license or Chronicler's Error.

We shall see....

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Week of 19 October 2011

Wow, what a week to be a Legion fan! Two original comics, one reprint, a reprint hardcover, and action figures. I don't know about you, but I'm broke.

(SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers. Don't read it before you've read the comics.)

LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #2 (2011/12)
"Hostile World"
ROLL CALL:

Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Chemical Kid, Comet Queen, Cosmic Boy, Dragonwing, Dream Girl, Element Lad, Glorith, Harmonia, Mon-El, Phantom Girl, Polar Boy, Shadow Lass, Star Boy, Sun Boy, Ultra Boy, Res-Vir, tombs of Earth-Man, Ferro Lad

CUTE BOYS: Brainy, Brek, Dirk, Hadru, Jan, Jo, Mon, Rokk, Thom (but I still don't like the beard)

On Panoptes, the mysterious Daxamite reveals himself as Res-Vir. He has a bug up his butt about Daxam being isolated from the rest of the United Planets. With the aid of powerful unnamed allies, he has access to anti-lead serum, and he's decided that Daxam will be free.

He imprisons Chameleon Boy, Chemical Kid, Dragonwing, and Ultra Boy. Phantom Girl, hiding within the ground, signals for Legion help. Then she tries to free the prisoners, and Res-Vir gets to her. But then  Mon-El swoops in, battling Res-Vir until a space fleet appears over the planet: Res-Vir's allies.


Last issue it appeared that Dream Girl, Glorith, Harmonia, and Star Boy were at the Time Institute -- instead, they were at Brainy's Time Lab in HQ. Brainy's attempt to reach the 21st century fails spectacularly; he explains that "The vibratory changes in the time stream immediately after Flashpoint have blocked our ability to reach the period of history that we synchronized best with -- the so-called 'Era of Heroes' in the early 21st century." Does this imply that the Legion can still reach other time periods?

Brainy is also intrigued by Glorith's magical shield, and speculates that her ability to defy the law of conservation of momentum might be key to effective time travel. Okay, show of hands here -- how many of you are surprised to see Glorith linked with time travel?

Meanwhile, a team of Legionnaires -- Comet Queen, Cosmic Boy, Element Lad, Polar Boy, Shadow Lass, and Sun Boy -- has laid Earth-Man to rest on Shangalla. Shady is still weeping and wailing. The team is then diverted to Panoptes to assist.

This story went by fairly quickly, defining the larger conflict and giving some nice character moments. We don't know Res-Vir's backstory, nor the identity of his unknown allies. We don't know the exact details of the U.P. restrictions that Res-Vir is pissed about. But those things will come. All in all, it was a good story and a fun issue.



BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS:

When Darkseid set the super-powered Daxamites on the rest of the galaxy during the Great Darkness, we met an insane Daxamite teenager named Ol-Vir. He's reappeared several times since as a member of the Legion of Super-Villains, most recently in Legion of 3 Worlds. Presumably, Res-Vir is some kind of relation.

Res-Vir says that the U.P. has made Daxam into a prison. Harmonia explains that "The last time Daxamites left their world in anger, they devastated much of the galaxy." Mon-El opines that Daxam i in isolation to protect its people from lead poisoning. Each expresses part of the story.

Yes, Daxamites devastated much of the galaxy -- but they were under the control of Darkseid at the time. And yes, Daxamites are vulnerable to lead, and only the rare anti-lead serum can protect them. (A key ingredient of the serum is kryptonite, but there also seem to be other ultra-rare components...at one point in Legion history, it took 24 hours to synthesize a single dose.)

So what's the truth? To my mind, the key question is the nature of the U.P.'s restrictions on Daxam. Preventing others from traveling to Daxam makes good sense; preventing Daxamites from leaving the world seems more dictatorial. Perhaps Daxam itself has rules against emigrating, rules that the U.P. doesn't mind enforcing.

I'm sure we'll find out more in the near future.

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STAR TREK/LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #1 (2011/10)
(untitled)
ROLL CALL:

Legion Universe: Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Shadow Lass plus Cameos by: Blok, Bouncing Boy, Colossal Boy, Dawnstar, Dream Girl, Duo Damsel, Element Lad, Invisible Kid (Jacques), Karate Kid (Val), Light Lass, Mon-El, Phantom Girl, Princess Projectra, Shrinking Violet, Star Boy, Sun Boy Superboy, Supergirl, Timber Wolf, Tyroc, Ultra Boy, White Witch, Wildfire, Krypto
"Wrong" Universe: Durlans, Sergeant Mallor


CUTE BOYS: Brainy, Chekov, Garth, Kirk, McCoy, Rokk, Scotty, Spock, Sulu


Three universes come together in this book: the Legion and the Kirk-era Enterprise crew both find themselves in the 23rd century of a third universe that's a mixture of the Legion and Star Trek unvierses.


In this third universe the "Imperial Planets" rules with an iron fist. As we meet them, an invasion of Durla is underway. A Human Starfleet Captain has a female Coluan Lieutenant. Among the invaders is Captain Starr of the Space Ranger Battalion (DC's Space Ranger) and the Shadow Troops under the command of Sergeant Mallor (a dead ringer for Shadow Lass, obviously a 23rd century ancestor).


This alternate universe came about at the dawn of history, when a mysterious figure appeared on Earth to observe, and had some bad effect on the developing Humans.


Meanwhile, a team of Legionnaires (Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, and Shadow Lass) is in a time bubble, returning after a mission. They're caught in a vortex in the time stream and Brainy crash-lnds them on the hostile Earth of the Imperial Planets.


Over in the Enterprise, Kirk et al are sent to Earth so Kirk can give a speech. A landing party composed of Chekov, Kirk, McCoy, Spock, Sulu, and Uhura beams down, but they also find themselves in the Imperial Planets universe.


The issue ends with the simultaneous realization by both teams that they are on a different Earth.


A teaser page for the next issue shows the entire Legion fling above the Enterprise crew. 


Bottom line: Somebody spent a lot of time planning this, bringing together complementary elements of the Star Trek and Legion universes. The attention to detail is amazing.


As a story, this issue is mostly set-up. They fit an awful lot into 23 pages, while still leaving plenty of loose ends. This is the nature of crossover stories: the first issue has to cover a lot of set-up. The next one should get more into the actual story.


A note for obsessive collectors: this comic comes with six variant covers by various authors: Phil Jimenez, Keith Giffen/Scott Koblish, and Gabriel Rodriguez. If that sort of thing is important to you, you'll want to spend untold amounts of money tracking them all down.




BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS:


Based on costumes and dialog, this story takes place after Legion of Super-Heroes #302 (1983/08) and before #304 (1983/10). Cham donned his purple-and-gold outfit and regained his powers in #302. Shadow Lass says "If Pol does go to the Legion Academy..." and in #304 Pol was already enrolled.


(Shady finishes "...he could share a room with my brother. Grev could use a good influence." Okay, technically, Grev is Shady's cousin, not brother, but we can write that off as Chronicler's Error. I'm more interested in Pol and Grev sharing a room. Oh, baby!)


The Science Police are in evidence on Earth of the Imperial Planets.


The Starfleet of the Imperial Planets includes ships based on the Enterprise design, but also the Legion Cruiser Mark X (which itself was influenced by Star Trek, and looks somewhat like the classic Klingon ship).


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DC COMICS PRESENTS: SUPERBOY'S LEGION 1 (2011/12)


This is a reprint of the two-volume Superboy's Legion comic from 2011. It's a pretty neat alternate version of the Legion in which Kal-El's rocket wasn't discovered until 2987, when it was found by R.J. Brande. Definitely a fun story, and nice to have in one volume.


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LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES THE CURSE Deluxe Edition


This is really like a Legion Archives volume. It's hardcover, printed in bright colors on the same slick paper used in the Archives, and the cover price is $49.99. For that money you get 544 pages of Legion stories, following directly after the Great Darkness Deluxe Edition that came out a while ago.


The issues reprinted here are Legion of Super-Heroes #297 - 313 and Annuals #2 and #3 from 1983-1984. It includes the extra-size #300 with all the alternate Legions.


The number of Legion back issues that are available in graphic novel format is pretty amazing, what with the Archives, these hardcovers, the recent paperbacks of the later Levitz/Giffen era, and various other stuff. If DC keeps up at this rate, eventually all Legion stories should be available in graphic novel format.


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LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES ACTION FIGURES 12-PACK


My Legion 12-pack arrived yesterday, and I have plenty more pictures, but I'll just share a few right now. Maybe later I'll put up another post with more details. But for now -- yeah, these are kewl.



ABOVE: This is the box they came in.



ABOVE: This is the package. Stands about 2 feet high.


ABOVE: It unrolls to show the figures inside.


ABOVE: And here they are. Twelve Legionnaires, Proty, a flight ring, and an empty compartment labeled "Invisible Kid."

This post is way long enough, but one more observation before I go: Out of 12 Legionnaires, Saturn Girl is the only female. What a disappointment! Where are Phantom Girl, Triplicate Girl, Shadow Lass, Dream Girl? Where's Sensor Girl? For Friv's sake, couldn't they have included a microscopic dust mote and labeled it "Shrinking Violet"?

Pshaw!




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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Week of 12 October 2011

(SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers. Don't read it before you've read the comic.)

LEGION LOST #2 (2011/12)
"The Dawn of the Hypersapiens"


ROLL CALL:

Chameleon Girl, Dawnstar, Gates, Tellus, Timber Wolf, Tyroc, Wildfire, Jeffrey Scanlon, Alastor

CUTE BOYS: Brin, Troy

The whole town turns out for a memorial ceremony for those who died. Timber Wolf is in the crowd, tracking a man (Jeffrey Scanlon) who has become a hybrid of human and energy being. Scanlon flees, but the Legionnaires track him to his home.

Tellus telepathically gives him the backstory of this comic. Alastor's sister was killed by xenophobes; in revenge, Alastor decided to go back through time and release a virus that would turn individual humans into various new species. The Legion tried to stop him, but arrived too late -- Scanlon is the first victim of the virus.

Athough Wildfire tries to teach Scanlon how to control his energy and remain somewhat human, Scanlon decides he likes being an energy being and attacks; in the end, his energy is dispersed and he dies/evaporates/merges with the speed force (the narrative is unclear).

Meanwhile, in a neighboring town, a weird four-fingered hand emerges from a swamp.

A fairly competent story. Wildfire is narrator, which is an interesting touch. There are many parallels drawn between Drake and Scanlon, both energy beings who were once human. Lots of typical Wildfire bemoaning of his terrible state. But really, nothing much gets accomplished. At the end of last issue, we knew that the Legion arrived too late and Alastor had dispersed a nasty virus, and now the Legion had to find a way to stop it. At the end of this issue, we know pretty much the same thing.

Maybe things will pick up next issue.

BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS:

When Brin sees the supposedly-dead Scanlon at the memorial service, he asks "Not from Winath by any chance?" Winath, of course, is the homeworld of the Ranzz family, a planet where most people are twins.

In his narration, Wildfire at one point says, "I whine the loudest, so I win." This points out a change in Drake's personality that's been clear for a while: Used to be that Wildfire won by shouting and shooting off energy; now he wins by whining. I'm not sure which one I prefer.

The virus that Alastor released was designed by the Psions. I believe this is the first time we've heard of the Psions in Legion times. In one way, it makes sense...the Psions are genetic and biological engineers, constantly creating things like this virus. It's another link between the current DC Universe and the Lgion's time. But on the other hand, it's odd that we haven't run into the Psions before. In the Legion's time, you'd expect the Dominators to be behind something like this. And since the storyline in LSH has to do with the Dominators, it would be a nice link to the parent book.

Hypertaxis -- defined as "an evolutionary cataclysm" -- if you're thinking the term sounds familiar, you're right. The Earth-247 Legion faced a whole hypertaxis thing...it's what altered Sensor and turned Kinetix into a "Terrorform." It makes just as much sense this time around.

Wildfire tells Scanlon that the virus has turned him into a Teallian. Quislet is from Teall, which isn't so much a world as another dimension. Quislet also stays inside his ship because he can't survive in our dimension long outside it. Scanlon didn't seem to have that problem. (Interestingly, Quislet once taught Drake to maintain his energy form in a semblance of a human body; here Drake is apparently trying to do the same for Scanlon.)

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Sunday, October 09, 2011

Week of 5 October 2011

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

I've been looking around at reactions to Legion of Super-Heroes #1 on the web. They fall into two categories.

First are the Legion readers, who seem to be relieved and delighted that the reboot has left the Legion reasonably unscathed -- and, especially, that there hasn't been a Fourth Reboot.

Then there are the non-Legion-readers. I will summarize their reactions below:

I never used to like the Legion, even though I haven't read it since the 1980s. Although I think X-Men and the Avengers are the greatest things in the world, with their cast of thousands, their convoluted histories, their endless reboots, and their soap-opera plotlines -- I still criticize the Legion for exactly the same qualities.

I picked up LSH #1 because I feel it's DC's obligation to make every one of their comics easily accessible to new readers...and even though I'll stop buying everything around issue #3 and go back to complaining about how much I dislike DC, I somehow thought that this new direction would turn them into Marvel.

So I opened Legion of Super-Heroes #1 expecting it to read like an introductory issue of Spiderman. It didn't, and I blame DC and Paul Levitz personally.

Boo hoo, I can't count high enough to keep track of more than 10 characters. Wah, I'm too stupid to follow more than one plot thread at a time. There were too many words and the drawings were too complex for either my primitive brain or my minuscule attention span. Whole pages went by without anything blowing up, anybody shooting a gun, or anybody killing someone else in a particularly gruesome way. It wasn't like watching TV or movies.

I do appreciate the little ID tags that they put on characters, and I wish the Legion had started doing that years ago.

I don't like my comics literate and challenging. I like simple stories where the good guys (only a few of them) beat the bad guys into bloody pulp. Above all, I don't want my comics to make me think.

The Legion is a failure and always has been. It's big, it's complicated, and it asks me to pay attention and fill in some of the blanks on my own. It scares me. I secretly suspect that I'm way too stupid to read the Legion, so I'll react with hostility and ridicule.

You know what? These people are right. They are too stupid to be Legion readers. The only way they would continue reading the Legion is if the Legion stopped being everything that makes it the Legion. So why does DC keep courting these people, trying to get them into the Legion.

Just this week I've received emails from two different people who recently discovered the Legion (before the whole "new 52" hoopla), became enchanted, and want to know more. That's the kind of new reader we want -- someone who appreciates the Legion for what it is. Someone who isn't just a passive consumer, but who is willing to put in some effort to get the rewards that the Legion gives.

You can't just sit down cold turkey, pick up a comic, and get the most out of the Legion. Being a Legion reader means being confused for a while, making lists of characters and powers and relationships, reading back issues to catch up, prowling websites to learn the backgorund. It means puzzling over obscure clues, trying (and failing) to see where the story's going.

Being a Legion reader means taking ownership, one way or another, of the universe and the characters. It might be as simple as voting in a Leadership election. It might be suggesting new Legionnaires, blogging about the Legion, dressing up as favorite Legionnaires, drawing your own pictures or writing your own fan fiction, collecting Legion crap. For some, it eventually means becoming part of a Legion creative team and actually shaping the myth.

If you just want to be entertained passively, if you want it all to be simple and straightforward and easy, if you don't want to be a participatory reader...then the Legion isn't for you. And, fate willing, it never will be.

And that's all I have to say about it. (For now.)

----------

Week of 29 September 2011

I did not see any LSH content in DC comics this week.

----------

Week of 21 September 2011

(SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers. Don't read it before you've read the comic.)

LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #1 (2011/11)
"Renegade World"


ROLL CALL:

Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Chemical Kid, Colossal Boy, Comet Queen, Cosmic Boy, Dragonwing, Dream Girl, Element Lad, Glorith, Harmonia, Invisible Kid (Jacques), Lightning Lass, Mon-El, Phantom Girl, Polar Boy, Shadow Lass, Shrinking Violet, Star Boy, Sun Boy, Ultra Boy, Daxamite
Memorial Statues: Dawnstar, Earth-Man, Ferro Lad, Invisible Kid (Lyle), Karate Kid (Val), Tellus, Triplicate Girl, Wildfire

CUTE BOYS: Brainy, Brek, Cham (as a soldier), Dirk, Gim, Hadru, Jacques, Jan, Jo, Mon, Rokk, Thom, Assorted SPs, Hunky Daxamite


Well, fears of a complete LSH reboot were, as advertised, wrong. But neither does the Legion pick up immediately after the last issue. Instead, there's been some kind of disastrous mission, apparently involving the Time Institute. The seven Legionnaires who are now ("now"?) in Legion Lost are presumed dead, and there have been some behind-the-scenes roster changes.

The story picks up with an Espionage Squad mission to Pantoptes, a military watchworld on the Dominion border. Panotpes has gone silent, and the Legion team is sent to investiagte. The team consists of Chameleon Boy, Chemical Kid, Dragonwing, Phantom Girl, and Ultra Boy. They're dropped off by a  U.P. military vessel; one of the solider serving aboard is Gim Allon, aka Colossal Boy. With the apparent death of Yera, Gim has left the Legion to follow in his father's footsteps.

The team separates. Cham, Jo, and Tinya infiltrate the base, while Hadru and Marva get themselves captured and bungle things, causing a big fight with the military guys. Meanwhile, Cham and friends have learned that Panoptes is now preparing to send signals into the Dominion. Jo gets ready to destroy the transmitter, but he is stopped by a super-powered Daxamite with weird face tattoos.

Meanwhile, back on Earth, Mon-El (in a stunning new outfit) helps install some new memorial statues, argues with Brainy, and checks on the rest of the Legion.

Cosmic Boy, Invisible Kid, Lightning Lass, and Shrinking Violet are finishing up with Saturn Queen's crowd, presumably on Takron-Galtos. Comet Queen, Element Lad, Polar Boy, Shadow Lass, and Sun Boy are in an undisclosed location where everything is secure. Dream Girl, Glorith, and Star Boy are at the Time Institute (on Naltor, presumably), where Dreamy observes that "Flashpoint effect has definitely 
closed off time travel into the past." With Dreamy's team is Harmonia Li, who is now a Legionnaire with the codename Harmonia and powers listed as "Natural elemental."

At the Time Institue, Glorith is mourning Oaa (aka Variable Lad) who died fighting Chemical King in the last issue of Adventure.

And that, fellow Legion lovers, is where it stands.

All in all, it could be worse. The Legion hasn't been rebooted, but it's been disrupted. I, for one, would like to know more about this catastrophic battle/event/whatever at the Time Institute.

I'd also like to know why the Legion is wailing about being underpowered when they still have numerous experienced members on the sidelines. For my money, Bouncing Boy is worth ten of Chemical Kid, and all Dragonwing does is bitch and spit (okay, she spits fire, but still).

Here's what I think: The bigwigs at DC insisted that Paul Levitz arrange some catastrophic event in order to shoehorn the Legion into this stupid "new 52" publicity stunt. Levitz had to disrupt carefully-laid plans, wrap up some plotlines in a hurry, and jettison some other stuff that he had planned.

And why? Whyd id the Legion have to be part of this nonsense? They didn't reboot Tiny Titans. They didn't reboot DC Universe: Online Legends. They didn't reboot I, Zombie, Looney Tunes, Scooby-Doo, The All-New Batman, American Vampire, Young Justice,  or Gears of War.

I know, I know -- these titles "aren't in continuity." That's just my point...The Legion shouldn't be in continuity either. The Legion should be allowed to exist outside DC continuity...it's a thousand years in the future, after all, and time travel causes weird things to happen (which could explain away any continuity-related quesitons).

Come on, DC. Keep your dirty paws off the Legion.

----------

STATUS REPORT:

Back in the 21st Century in Legion Lost, and presumed dead in LSH are Chameleon Girl, Dawnstar, Gates, Gates, Tellus, Timber Wolf, Tyroc, and Wildifre.

Confirmed Active Legionnaires depicted in this issue are Brainiac 5, Chameleon Boy, Chemical Kid, Comet Queen, Cosmic Boy, Dragonwing, Dream Girl, Element Lad, Glorith, Harmonia, Invisible Kid (Jacques), Lightning Lass, Mon-El, Phantom Girl, Polar Boy, Shadow Lass, Shrinking Violet, Star Boy, Sun Boy, and Ultra Boy.

Resigned and with the U.P. forces is Colossal Boy.

On Detached Duty are Blok, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Sensor Girl, and XS.

Previously Active Legionnaires not seen in this issue are Quislet.

Previously Faculty at the Academy, current status unknown are Bouncing Boy, Night Girl, and Duplciate Girl.

----------

BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS:

Panoptes: In Greek mythology, Argus Panoptes was a giant with a hundred eyes. Since only a few of his eyes slept at any time, he was an excellent watchman. Hermes put him to sleep with boring sotries (perhaps reading DC's new universe?) and then killed him.

Gim trained for the Science Police before getting his powers and joining the Legion. His father is an Admiral in the U.P. fleet, and his brother Wynn also serves in the military.

Ayla's monitor board symbol is the feather she used as Light Lass, rather than the lightning bolts she's used as Lightning Lass. Chronicler's Error, or have her powers changed?

Glorith and Harmonia have no monitor board symbols yet.

Brainy is working on a way around the limitation on time travel. My guess is that when sales of Legion Lost begin to falter, he'll succeed long enough to bring back the timelost Legionnaires.



----------

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Week of 14 September 2011

(SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers. Don't read it before you've read the comics.)

LEGION LOST 1 (2011/11)
"Run From Tomorrow Part One: Present Tense"


ROLL CALL:

Chameleon Girl, Dawnstar, Gates, Tellus, Tyroc, Wildfire

CUTE BOYS: Brin, Troy (lookin' hotter than ever with his new hair and sexy uniform)

The Legionnaires arrive in the present day in Red Lake Falls, Minnesota in pursuit of a bad guy named Alastor, who has brought some kind of unspecified plague into the past. Alastor, apparently some variant of shape-shifter, turns into a monster and threatens the town, until he is stopped by a little girl who reminds him of his dead sister.

With flight rings disabled and transuits malfunctioning, the Legionnaires struggle to repair their damaged time bubble. Tyroc retrieves Alastor and they take him onto the bubble, intending to return to the 31st century. But alas, the time bubble is destroyed. When the smoke clears, Alastor is gone. Gates and Yera are also both missing,m with no trace except "organic residue" falling with the rain. And the Legion is stranded in the past.

This story starts in the middle of things, a technique that litcrit types call in medias res. It can be done well -- witness the Universo Project storyline in LSH 32-35 (1987/03-06) -- but it can also be done sloppily. Only the future will tell, but at this point...it feels sloppy. We'll see.

BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS:

Alastor. There is no previous Legion villain with that name,. However, way back in Adventure 314 (1963/11) they fought a guy named Alaktor, a scientific genius who transferred into Superboy, Mon-El, and Ultra Boy the minds of Nero, Dillinger, and Hitler. That Alaktor bears a bit of resemblance to the new guy, Alastor -- except for the turning-into-a-monster thing. Could it be that the creators meant him to be the same guy, but messed up the name? (Considering that "Akka" turned into "Atta" recently, and the general level of DC copyediting nowadays, it doesn't seem impossible.)

The mix of Legionnaires is interesting. Tellus, of course, has recently been in the 21st century...the pre-Flashpoint 21st century. Will he remember the earlier time? Will they choose to make a big deal out of it?

Three boys, two girls, and two BEMs (Bug-Eyed Monsters, for those of you who aren't longtime science fiction fans). But Brin and Troy are the only "normal-looking" ones -- to one degree or another, Dawny, Gates, Tellus, and Yera are all obvious nonhumans. If this is going to become a "space" book, as scuttlebutt suggests, then alien-looking characters could be an asset.

A character from the Legion's time brings a devastating plague to the present. Haven't we been through this before? When Karate Kid and Single Sis were traipsing around Earth during Countdown, maybe? And that certainly ended well....

Gates and Yera. I don't believe they're dead, not for an instant.

----------

Week of 7 September 2011

No actual LSH appearances this week, but...

ACTION 1 (2011/11)
"Superman Vesus the City of Tomorrow"

I bought this issue because scuttlebutt said the Legion would appear. Scuttlebutt was wrong, although there was a Legion reference.

This story seems to be set in the "past," when Superman is new in Metropolis...although it's hard to tell, since the creators didn't see fit to inform readers of that fact.

Clark Kent's landlady says, "Your friends stopped by earlier...two men and a woman -- a blonde, very good-looking. I thought they were actors." Pretty obvious that this is Garth, Imra, and Rokk, but we won't know for sure until next issue. (And if not, and I've been conned into buying another comic that I don't really want, I will be Sorely Pissed.)

 ----------

Week of 31 August 2011

No Legion comics, no Legion appearances.

Flashpoint is over. The universe rebooted because...well...uh...it did, okay? There's a new, more boring Justice League. Everything is bright, and new, and...tedious.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Week of 24 August 2011

I did not see any Legion content in DC comics this week. I'm ready for Flashpoint to be over.

I lied. There was this:

KID FLASH LOST 3 (2011/10)
"Kid Flash Lost Part Three"


ROLL CALL (Earth-247 Legion):

Cosmic Boy, Live Wire, Saturn Girl, XS, Bart Allen, Iris Allen

CUTE BOYS: Bart, Conner, Garth, Rokk, Wally

As Bart is running through the timestream, he sees visions of his past -- including one panel with the Earth-247 Legion. Then he Flssshs into the Speed Force, fading out a la Barry Allen in Crisis on Infinite Earths.

I suppose Bart is gone now; possibly he never existed in the new timeline. This is an excellent case study for what I've been talking about. Technically, this messes up Jenni's story -- if Bart never existed, then did Jenni?

In the past, DC would insist that Jenni go away, or that she be given some origin story that doesn't involve Barry Allen. And the Legion creators would scramble to obey, making Jenni a survivor of ancient Atlantis, or a clone of Max Mercury, or an inhabitant of a pocket universe.

This is a great time to simply ignore the whole matter. Jenni is a 31st century speedster with some connection to the Allen line. Let's just leave it at that, okay? Then when DC eventually gets tired of this New 52 crap, and reboots the universe again (as they surely will), Jenni will still be there.

And fans -- please don't start complaining about Jenni's inconsistent origin, and demanding that DC Do Something. It's like The Lord of the Rings: you don't want to draw the Eye of Sauron in your direction. Likewise, we don't want to draw the attention of DC to the Legion. Just let them leave our corner of the DC Universe alone, and we'll be fine.

Sigh.
----------

Week of 17 August 2011

(SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers. Don't read it before you've read the comic.)

LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #16 (2011/10)
"Endings"


ROLL CALL:

 Brainiac 5, Colossal Boy, Dawnstar, Dream Girl, Earth-Man (died), Element Lad, Gates, Invisible Kid (Jacques), Lightning Lass, Mon-El, Phantom Girl, Polar Boy, Quislet, Shadow Lass, Star Boy, Sun oy, Tellus, Timber Wolf, Tyroc, Wildfire, Dyogene, Harmonia Li, Sodam Yat, Blue Entity, Saturn Queen, Zymyr

CUTE BOYS: Brainy, Brek, Brin, Dirk, Gim, Jacques, Jan, Jo, Mon, Troy (note to Thom: ditch the beard and take off the mask, and we'll talk)

Well, this is it. LSH v.6 didn't last very long, did it? (Longer than v.1, anyway...)

The cataclysmic final battle takes place on the planet of wisdom. Saturn Queen attempts to take over Earth-Man's mind and use him to defeat the others. But he's assisted by Sodm Yat, Dyogene, armonia Li, and the other Legionnaires -- incuding Mon-El and his power ring. Together, they all give Earth-Man enough power to resist Saturn Queen's control and defeat the Blue Entity. However, Earth-Man dies in the effort, a hero in the end.

Shadow Lass takes his body and flies away, flinging back a snarky comment at Mon-El and whispering to the corpse, "Now they know who you really were.

Mon-El resigns from the Green Lantern Corps and gives Dyogene the ring back. Dyogene settles into the dirt, remarking that he will help heal the world of wisdom, and perhaps a new Mogo will in time arise. He salutes the Legion as "Proud successors to the Corps."

Harmonia Li tells Brainy that she is going to come back with them, and apply for Legion membership -- she hints that she has suitable super-powers.

ANNOUNCING A WINNER: In this issue the Blue Entity announces its identity: "I am the curse of the Oans, before they even dared call themselves Guardians...evil loosed on the universe by Krona's crime. Long ago, and reborn when Titan fell and mortals dared to look upon the unknowable. I am the serpent of Eden, the worm who devours Yggdrasil, and the end of all things..."

Reader pblfsda caught the Krona connection before anyone else, and so is the winner of Legion Archives #1. Email me your mailing address at don at meerkatmeade dot com, and I'll mail it out to you. Good work!


BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS:


Dyogene is "Little more than a clump of Oan soil, held together by tears and dreams"; it is hinted that he may also be the embryonic form of an intelligent planet like Mogo. Whether or not the people of the wisdom planet will have any vote, is unclear.


The Legion stands together. It's one of the most common threads in Legion stories, and the trick of tying all the Legionnaires together in one gestalt is one Levitz has pulled again and again, from Earthwar to the Great Darkness and beyond. Other creators have done the same. 


Mon-El, Shadow Lass, and Earth-Man: Wel, apparently I was wrong about Shady just feigning her romantic interest in Earth-Man. I still don't understand it. I'm beginning to wrap my head around the Cosmic Boy/Night Girl split, but I think there's more to be told about why Shady and Mon broke up. I hope this "new beginning" won't prevent that story from being told.


Harmonia Li: She hints that she has powers that might qualify her to be a Legionnaire. Huh? The power to summon ultimate evil to destroy the universe? The power to make mysterious, oracular pronouncements? What will her code name be, Enigmatic Lady? Hubris Lass? Arrogant Girl?


CHRONICLER'S ERROR?:


Dream Girl saw a vision of herself saying that Thom's power saved the day. Uh-huh. Sure. Things don't seem to be going very well for Nura. I'm still convinced that something's going on with her. I thought she was a Durlan spy, but I guess I was wrong on that -- but the defining feature of Nura's power is that all her predictions come true. This one sure didn't. What are you up to, Mr. Levitz?


The Bue Entity said that it was reborn when "Titan fell and mortals dared gaze upon the unknowable." Except...Harmonia Li isn't exactly a mortal, is she? In fact, she is an immortal. Do you suppose that she could have told the Blue Entity that she wasn't a mortal, and the Entity would have said, "Oh...never mind" and gone away?


(Okay, there were other scientists with her on Titan, and they probably gazed too.)


NEXT UP: A few Legionless weeks, and then we'll see just what damage this new reboot of the DC Universe does to the Legion. I don't have a good feeling about this. Prove me wrong, DC....


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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Week of 10 August 2011

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

 ----------

Week of 3 August 2011

(SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers. Don't read it before you've read the comic.)

ADVENTURE #529 (2011/10)
"The End"


ROLL CALL:

Bouncing Boy, Duplicate Girl, Night Girl, Chemical Kid, Comet Queen, Dragonwing, Glorith, Gravity Kid, Variable Lad (died), Cosmic King

CUTE BOYS: Chuck, Hadru, Tel

It's taken me a while to post on this issue, because I've been sorting through my feelings on two different levels. More on that in a moment, but first a synopsis:

Chemical Kid, Comet Queen, and Dragonwing confront Cosmic King, who has already defeated Bouncing Boy, Duplicate Girl, and Night Girl. They are basically getting their butts kicked (and not in the good way) when Glorith, Gravity Kid, and Variable Lad show up. The newly-arrived kids make a good showing, until Cosmic King threatens to melt their bodies (and not in the good way). Variable Lad, whose powers have turned him into a giant silver cobra, attacks Cosmic King and when the smoke clears, Variable Lad is dead and Cosmic King is nowhere to be seen (although wherever he is, he's missing part of his shirt and most of a glove).

Later, during the mopping-up process, everyone is grieving for Variable Lad. Chuck tells the cadets that their chances of making the team have just gone way up. Gravity Kid announces that he's resigning from the Academy and going to Takron-Galtos as a "trailing spouse" of Jed Rikane aka Power Boy. As he elaves, he voices his hope that none of the rest of them wind up like Variable Lad.

Okay, now my two things.

Tel and Jed: Hooray for the very public admission that they're a couple (spouses, actually). I know there have been gay relationships in the Legion before -- in the Glorithverse Legion, Ayla and Salu were an item, and there was the whole regrettable Jan-Shvaughn/Sean thing; and in the Earth-247 Legion there were strong hints that Lyle and Condo had something going on, and of course Lyle kissed Brainy, and there were other gay couples among the supporting characters. And admitted, Tel and Jed aren't technically in the Legion. But still, this is (more or less) the Legion I grew up with, and to me at least, there's something momentous about this.

And yet....

They aren't Legionnaires. They're supporting characters, and it looks like they're being shuffled off to the sidelines, to appear only as cameos in the next "all hands on deck" Earthwar/Great Darkness/L3W storyline. Even worse, is Tel's final line foreshadowing? Is he going to Takron-Galtos only to die during the next prisoner escape, or when bad guys use his life as a weapon against Officer Jed?

I hope I'm wrong. I can envision a great subplot going on, about how someone (I'm looking at you, Rokk Krinn) kept Jed from joining the Legion out of homophobia -- a subplot leading to revelations about what Garth and Rokk did together in the early days of the Legion, and how Rokk has always felt weird (or maybe it was Rokk and Pol, brothers who shared a small single bed while the family was living in squalor on Bismoll Brral, the innocent games of childhood, the struggle for dominance, and Rokk's subsequent self-imposed guilt over Pol's death...) -- and the joyful reconciliation as Rokk comes to term with his homophobia and Tel & Jed welcome him into a celebratory three-way....

Yeah, like that's going to happen.

So there's where I am: mixed feelings. Happy to see a gay couple in the Legion; dismayed that they're probably going to be sidelined and ignored or worse.

The last issue and the New 52 reboot: Yeah, I know, the Legion is supposed to be changed the least of all DC's titles. And even though Adventure Comics is going away, there will still be two Legion titles, at least at first. However, I feel a real sense of loss here. There's a break, and however much Paul Levitz tries to minimize the disruption, I still feel like some plot threads are going to be lost in the transition.

The future will tell, of course. But for now, it seems like the story of the Academy group is over before it really got started.

BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS:

Deaths: I've seen speculation that Variable Lad isn't really dead. Some people are saying that we don't see any bodies, so the jury is still out. That could be true...but among the debris I see bits of silver dragon, and what's clearly part of the dragon's head. In addition, that's clearly a coffin the cadets are bearing (although they seem to be putting it into a garbage truck). Besides, the emotional point of the whole story demands that Oaa is dead. All I can say is, Dr. Gym'll isn't going to be happy.

Cosmic King, on the other hand...was on the planet of wisdom in the last issue of LSH. There's no body, and it's hard to imagine that Levitz would kill him off permanently. I'm going to guess that he was spirited away by the Blue Entity (remember, he was on a mission for Saturn Queen). This is one of those details that I fear may be lost in the rush to wrap up the LSH storyline.

----------



 ----------

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Week of 27 July 2011

(SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers. Don't read it before you've read the comics.)

I did not see any LSH content in DC Comics this week. However, I do have this:

DC COMICS: THE ULTIMATE CHARACTER GUIDE (2011/07)
Amazon Listing here


ROLL CALL:

Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Dawnstar, Dream Girl, Karate Kid (Val), Lightning Lad, Mon-El, Saturn Girl, Sensor Girl, Starman/Star Boy, R.J. Brande, Sodam Yat

Just in time for the reboot of the entire DC Universe, here's a beautiful hardcover guide to the major heroes and and villains of the DC Universe. This book seems aimed at kids and casual comics fans, not the sort of well-informed readers who hang around here. OTOH, it does have Legionnaires: one listing for the Legion of Super-Heroes, along with individual listings for Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Karate Kid, Lighting Lad, Mon-El, Saturn Girl, and Starman.

I don't know the source of all this informaton; it seems drawn from various different versions of the DC Universe, and there are some odd things out of left field here and there. Karate Kid, for example, is described this way: "Though fast on his feet, he's not always the quickest of his team to leap into action -- he always looks for a peaceful way to victory first. Karate Kid uses his fighting skills only when he must!" (It also notes that recently "...he was exposed to a rare version of the OMAC virus which left him incredibly sick" - which seems to be another way of saying "dead.")

My guess is that the book was edited with an eye toward impressionable kids, and they didn't want to encourage children to go out and emulate Val by dashing off after the Fatal Five alone, or leaping up to smash power spheres to save Orando....

Saturn Girl's write-up notes that she "...sometimes flies using her flight belt, rather than her Legion flight ring." Uh...yeah, sure.

Most interesting, however, is a note in Starman's entry: "Dream Girl (a.k.a. Nura Nal) is Starman's 31st century girlfriend and Legion teammate. Nura's power to see the future recently drew the attention of the evil Doctor Destiny, who kidnapped her and transported her to the 21st century. But Starman and the rest of the Legion of Super-Heroes were quick to travel back in time to save her."

Say what?!

I have a theory. Remember that Dreamy was one of the missing Legionnaires in L3W? Remember that panel in Adventure that showed the Legion rescuing Dreamy from 21st-century imprisonment? Remember how that whole thing was never addressed? At the time, I guessed that Dreamy was supposed to have been captured by Brainiac, but the writer just forgot and left her out.

Perhaps not. Perhaps there was a storyline somewhere involving Doctor Destiny. Anyone know anything about this?

Bottom Line: I wouldn't treat this book as canon in any way, and you've seen all the art before, but it's an attractive volume at a pretty attractive price ($16.99 undiscounted). To this Legion completist, it was definitely worth the price.

----------



 ----------

Week of 20 July 2011

(SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers. Don't read it before you've read the comics.)

DC COMICS: THE NEW 52 #1 (2011/09)
"Legion Lost/Legion of Super-Heroes"

ROLL CALL:

Chameleon Boy, Chamelon Girl, Dawnstar, Dragonwing, Gates, Tellus, Timber Wolf, Tyroc, Ultra Boy, Wildfire

CUTE BOYS: Brin, Jo, Tyroc (with hair!)

This is a free promo for the "New 52" (wonder what they'll call it in five years? "The same old 52"?).

We all have a lot of questions about this new restart at DC, and few answers about how it will affect the Legion. We've been told that the Legion will be among the books least affected; that ought to be a comfort.

Yet we've seen this happen again and again: DC changes Superman's background, and those changes alter the Legion's history. The Legion's creative teams go through all sorts of contortions to bring the LSH into conformity: pocket universes, Valor, reboots, Crisis after Crisis -- only to have DC, sooner or later, restore the status quo.

Here's what I'd like Paul Levitz to say to the DC powers-that-be: "Do what you like with the DC Universe, rearrange Superman's life however you want, eliminate Superboy or keep him, give Supergirl whatever origin you want. But don't expect me to change the Legion's history to match your fashions. I've got the Time Trapper and the Infinite Man on my side, along with as many alternate timelines as I want and the time-travel magic to move between them at will. If there are discrepancies, just don't worry about them."

And here's what I'd like him to say to the fans: "I will take care of the Legion, but don't push too hard. If you start complaining to DC about discrepancies between the Legion's history and the present-day DC universe, you're going to upset the applecart. Do you remember Glorith? Do you remember Valor? Do you really want them to dig out some fan writers to ruin the Legion again? Do you want another reboot? Or would you rather find out what happens next with these characters we all care about? Then just be cool, okay?"

Of course, none of this is going to happen. Sigh.

----------

LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #15 (2011/09)
"False Victory"


ROLL CALL:

Brianiac 5, Colossal Boy, Dawnstar, Dream Girl, Earth-Man, Element Lad, Gates, Invisible Kid (Jacques), Lightning Lass, Mon-El, Phantom Girl, Polar Boy, Shadow Lass, Star Boy, Sun Boy, Tellus, Timber Wolf, Tyroc, Ultra Boy, Dyogene, Harmonia Li, Black Mace, Blue Entity, Chameleon Chief, Cosmic King, Hunter (Adam Orion), Lightning Lord, Questor, Radiation Roy, Saturn Queen, Spider Girl, Sun Killer, Terrus, Tusker

CUTE BOYS: Brainy, Brek, Brin, Dirk, Gim, Jacques, Jan, Jo, Mon, Tyroc

Harmonia Li and Thom work together to take the Legion to the planet of the Wise, where they join in combat against the Legion of Suepr-Villains. The Legion appears to gain the upper hand, but Saturn Queen appeals to the Blue Entity, who tells her that Earth-Man is the key to her victory.

A surprisingly-straightforward story with lots of action. Dyogene gives the best explanation we've gotten so far of who the blue entity is: "...the nemesis of Oa, the doom from our original sin, reborn through mortal arrogance. He would topple the balance of the worlds, and sees this timeless sanctuary as a fulcrum...he will come here."

Last month I offered a pristine, shrinkwrapped copy of Legion Archives #1 to the commenter who guessed the actual identity of the blue critter. pblfsda suggested "a devolved form of Krona" -- a guess that instantly impressed everyone else. It looks as if pblfsda is on the right track, but let's hold off until next issue when All Should Be Explained...although my guess is that pblfsda will soon have a copy of Legion Archives #1.


On a more solemn note, this is the last Legion issue pencilled by Yildiray Cinar. I am very sorry to see him go; to my eyes, he captured the Legionnaires and their world in a unique and beautiful way. I wish he could have stayed through next issue, to bring the LSV storyline to its conclusion. I wish Mr. Cinar all the best in his work on Firestorm.


BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS:


Notice that Lightning Lord mentions that Saturn Queen sent Zymyr back for "more pillagers," which explains the presence of hordes of villains in that magnificent two-page spread.


...That doesn't, however, explain what Cosmic King is doing here, while he's simultaneously infiltrating Legion Headquarters over in  Adventure


Hunter has gained the power to control wildlife (due to the blue entity's magic, which has been boosting the powers of all the villains.) This power is reminiscent of an old Legion villain, Jungle King/Monster Master.


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CHRONICLER'S ERROR?:


On page 4, there's a puzzling figure right in front of the leftmost Legion crusier, to Dream Girl's right -- the one who says "It's clearly where the villains who ravaged Colu went..." By the logic of the situation, it almost has to be Brainiac 5...but he's colored completely wrong.

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Week of 13 July 2011

There were no Legion appearances in DC Comics this week.

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Week of 6 July 2011

(SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers. Don't read it before you've read the comic.)

First, apologies for being so late. It's been awfully hectic around here lately. Now on to the comic:

ADVENTURE #528 (2011/09)
"Graduation Day"


ROLL CALL:

Bouncing Boy, Chemical King (memorial statue), Duplicate Girl, Ferro Lad (memorial statue), Invisible Kid (Lyle) (memorial statue), Karate Kid (Val) (memorial statue), Kid Psycho (memorial statue), Night Girl, Chemical Kid, Comet Queen, Crystal Kid, Dragonwing, Glorith, Gravity Kid, Lamprey, Nightwind, Power Boy, Proty I (memorial statue), Variable Lad, Cosmic King

CUTE BOYS: Bob, Chuck, Hadru, Special Mention for Jed & Tel


It's Graduation Day, and Lamprey is off to the S.P. outpost on Houp, while Power Boy, Nightwind, and Crystal Kid are off to the new S.P. special squad Takron-Galtos. Gravity Kid is upset; he and Jed have a tender farewell scene that confirms the two of them as a couple.

Meanwhile, a shadowy figure sneaks into Legion Headquarters, in service of Saturn Queen and armed with codes to deactivated all the alarms. It turns out to be Cosmic King.

Back at the Academy, Bouncing Boy, Duplicate Damsel, and Night Girl detect an ambiguous Headquarters alarm, and head off to investigate. They are followed by Comiet Queen, Chemical Kid, and Dragonwing.

In a nightmarish sequence in the Hall of Dead Heroes, the three Legionnaires are attacked by the HQ defenses, and then face Cosmic King himself. He gets the better of them, then turns to face the newly-arrived trio from the Academy.

All in all, a fun issue with plenty of action. The scene between Jed and Tel is sweet, although it would have been nicer to see them kiss. Oh, well, progress is progress, I suppose.


BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS:

Houp, Lamprey's next post may be a misspelling of "Huop," an energy world inhabited by energy beings. The world was first mentioned in Adventure #377 (Feb 1969). It makes sense for Lamprey, with her electrical powers, to be assigned to an energy world.

Cosmic King has not really appeared much in action against this Legion. He was always more an Adult Legion villain. (Of course, the Retro Legion is pretty much an adult Legion, aren't they?) Unless I'm mistaken, this may be the first time he's been written by Paul Levitz. Anyone know for sure?

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Monday, July 04, 2011

Week of 29 June 2011

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

I did get my copy of the hardcover collection of Legion Lost. I re-read the series, and while I can see many reasons that people liked it, it really wasn't my cup of tea. I guess I just prefer my Legion a bit less dark and miserable.

Ah, well. It's still good to see the Legion popular enough for DC to feel they can make money off a hardcover like this.

Makes me think of some other series I'd like to see in hardcover or trade paperback. Just off the top of my head:


  • The death of Superboy
  • The Universo Project (maybe combined with "The Condemned Legion" from Adventure)
  • The Conspiracy storyline
  • The Emerald Empress series from late in the Levitz/Giffen run
  • Secrets of the LSH and Who's Who in the LSH in one volume
  • Earthwar
  • A Legion Weddings collection, including "The Weddings that Wrecked the Legion," Chuck & Luornu's wedding, Garth & Imra's wedding, Ultra Boy & Apparition getting hitched in the Earth-247 Legion, and probably one or two others I've forgotten
  • End of an Era
  • The whole 20th Century Exile storyline from Earth-247
  • A collection of Brainiac 5 Goes Crazy stories
  • Legionnaires 3 and Cosmic Boy
  • A collection of Legion of Substitute Heroes stories
  • Wanderers
  • Valor
  • Legion Worlds

Okay, DC, that should keep you busy for a while. Release these over the next couple of years, and you can charge me $20-$30 apiece. I'm stupid, I'll pay.

What about the rest of you? What Legion series would you like to see released in bound form?

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Week of 22 June 2011

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

Kid Flash Lost #1, a Flashpoint spinoff, takes Bart to the year 3011 in the Flashpoint universe. There, Earth is part of Brainiac's empire and there's no hint of a Legion. (I knew I didn't like the Flashpoint universe.) Two more issues are scheduled; I suppose it's possible that some Legionnaires may turn up (Jenni, maybe?), so it's worth watching this title.

Proceed with extreme care, however, and take every precaution, or you might accidentally read some of it. If you do, apply an antidote as soon as possible: re-read some old Legion stories as quickly as you can.

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Week of 15 June 2011

(SPOILER ALERT: This post contains spoilers. Don't read it before you've read the comic.)

LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES 14 (2011/08)
"False Dreams"


ROLL CALL:

Brainiac 5, Dawnstar, Dream Girl, Element Lad, Mon-El, Shadow Lass, Star Boy, Ultra Boy, Wildfire, Aven, Dyogene, Master Kong, Harmonia Li, Akka (died), Blue Entity, Hunter (Adam Orion), Immortus, Lightning Lord, Questor, Saturn Queen, Sun Killer, Zymyr


CUTE BOYS: Brainy, Jan, Jo, Lar, Titanian boy in grey jccket & greenish pants


Harmonia Li uses the multiversal energies in Thom's suit to open the way to her "adopted world," the world of wisdom. She prepares to leave with Thom and Nura, but first the ring construct Mon-El demands an explanation. Which, apparently, Li gives offscreen -- for next thing we know, they're hurtling toward Colu to gather the other Legionnaires and head for Wisdom World. Nura has a vision of herself standing on Shanghalla, with Brainy telling her that Thom's power won the battle.


Meanwhile, on Colu, Ultra Boy slaps Immortus down, at which point Aven and the Titanians take over to neutralize him and "guide him back to the way."


Saturn Queen and LSV have another meeting with the blue entity. In order to boost Hunter's tracking abilities, SQ kills Akka (whose name is back to "Akka" this issue).  The LV (minus Akka) appear on Wisdom World and are met by Master Kong, who supposedly died 3500 years ago. They immediately begin wrecking the place.


On Colu, everyone is wrapping up when Harmonia Li arrives with Thom, Nura, and green Mon-El. Li announces that her foolishness at the Time Institute has placed Wisdom World in danger.


Cut to a weird space, where Dyogene and the real Mon-El meet Dawnstar, who is still on the trail of the blue critter. Mon-El seems surprised to see her. She says that the trail ends at a dimensional barrier she can't pierce, although maybe the power ring can.


Dyogene says that maybe they shouldn't go after the blue critter, since "his strength has gestated for centuries, awaiting the day when hubris would free him to complete the evil his creator wrought." Dyogene counsels letting Wisdom World fall, saving their strength to protect Oa. He says the rings can't take them through the barrier.


Then who should arrive but Harmonia Li and the rest of the Legion! And Mon-E says, "I told you not to underestimate the Legion."


Obviously, we're getting to the end of this arc -- all the threads are coming together. And darned if I can figure out where they're going.


The blue critter was created by someone centuries past, in order to bring chaos to the universe. It's been dormant underground on Earth all this time. When Li tried to look at the beginning of time (which, might I say, was pretty stupid for someone who's been keeping company with Confucius), she somehow loosed the blue critter.


So who is the blue critter? Who was its creator? When Levitz does this kind of thing, it usually ties into existing DC continuity somehow. Anyone?


Tell you what: I have here  a pristine, shrinkwrapped copy of Legion Archives #1 that I recently saved from the "50% off" rack at Twilite Zone and have been saving for a prize. If anyone leaves a comment guessing the actual identity of the blue critter, I'll send that person this prize. So comment away!


BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS: 


Nura's exclamation "Thank Delphi!" refers to the ancient Greek oracle. Nice.


"Master Kong" is a translation of Kung-fu-tzu, aka Confucius.

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