LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #9 (2011/03)
"One Last Durlan"
With six pages taken up by something I care less about than Brightest Day, and two pages devoted to a letter page announcement that contains a total of zero actual Legionnaires (I'm not counting Superman and Conner), there's not a whole lot left for Legion content in this issue. Maybe they should change the title to Advertisements: featuring the Legion of Super-Heroes?
Ahem. The main plot of this issue involves Brainy and Cham on Durla as they try to reason with the Durlan leaders. Unsurprisingly, it doesn't work. There are some nice echoes of the last time Cham was on Durla, in Legion of Super-Heroes #301 (1983/07). In the end, Brainy figures out that they need to talk to Ji Daggle, Cham's aunt.
Meanwhile, in the U.P. chambers, Timber Wolf and Tyroc continue to defend the Council. Gates arrives (very dramatically, courtesy of a great rendering by Yildiray Cinar). One of the Durlan assassins shows up in the form of R.J. Brande -- but the Legionnaires are onto him in an instant, and a tremendous fight ensues. The Durlan escapes at the end.
On Medicus One, Gigi convinces Tellus to enter Dawnstar's mind and use her power to find Zendak. He does (in another visually-impressive sequence), and reports that Zendak is dead.
BITS OF LEGIONNAIRE BUSINESS:
When Brande's hologram recited his life story a few months ago (Adventure 516), there was much weeping and wailing in the online Legion community. "Brande doesn't talk like that," they said. "Brande doesn't have that much of an accent." "Paul Levitz doesn't know what he's doing." "Worst...comic...ever."
Well, guess what? Levitz did know what he was doing, Brande did talk like that, and this is the BEST...comic...ever. Listen to Tyroc talking about the phony Brande: "Sounds like he used to...before Brande got so wrapped up in that put-on theatrical voice he fell in love with a couple of years ago."
We last saw Ji Daggle in the same issue, by the way, as a flashback in Brande's story. Prior to that, she was last seen in a cameo in Who's Who in the LSH #7 (1988/11); the last time we saw her in action was as a captive of Dagon the Avenger in Legion of Super-Heroes #263/264 (1980/05-6).
Tyroc continues to develop his powers, which is nice to see. He's fast becoming a stalwart of the Legion, both strong and wise -- the years seem to have tempered his anger but left his passion alive. He's definitely someone I would want in my corner during a fight.
Timber Wolf expresses the soul of a true hero when the Durlan is batting him around while attacking the Council: "Hit me all you like, ugly -- but no Councillors for you!"
SUPERMAN/BATMAN #80 (2011/03)
"World's Finest Part Two"
CUTE BOYS: Kid Flash, Robin (present-day), Robin (31st Century)
I never know what to make of this title. Is it in continuity, or not? Isn't Batman dead right now? And which Robin is this? (It would probably help if he took off his mask and costume.) Nevertheless, every commentary I've found seems to indicate that we're somewhere in the current DC Universe (whatever that means).
If so, then we just saw the Retro Legion version of Kent Shakespeare.
Here's the relevant panel. The bad guy, Epoch, is careening out-of-control through time, and he passes through the 31st century. (click to embiggen)
The narrative, provided by Superman One Million, says:
"It appears he next appeared a thousand years later, in the midst of the Miracle Monday celebrations. He managed to incapacitate that era's Superman, Kent Shakespeare, but was defeated by Brane Taylor and Elna Kent -- the 31st Century Batman and Superwoman."
There's an awful lot to unpack here. For the story of Miracle Monday I'm going to refer you to Wikipedia. The "thousand years later" starts with "decades into the future, where the original Batman's son and the second Superman easily defeated him."
Get ready for a headache. If the Legion's time is exactly a thousand years after Superman's (the present), then we're talking about a thousand years from a generation in our future. If the Legion takes place in 3010, then this panel is set in, say, 3040 or 3050. Yes, it's the 31st century...but it's a generation after the Legion's time.
In that future, Kent Shakespeare is Superman, Brane Taylor is Batman, Elna Kent is Superwoman, and a cute blond boy wearing altogether too many clothes is Robin. (I have to pull out my issues of Generations to see if these names are in there...Superwoman looks a little familiar.) (Note that this is not the Kristen Wells Superwoman usually associated with Miracle Monday.)
Kent Shakespeare, I suppose I don't need to tell you, was a late member of the Legion in the Glorithverse version. Now it seems that Kent turns up a generation later, going under the name Superman.
Now, Kent Shakespeare was one of the characters I actually liked from the Glorithverse Legion. (I liked Kono as well.) Now I want to see more of this late-31st-Century world. Did Kent Shakespeare get his early training from the Legion? How about Superwoman? Batman seems to be shooting a ray from his hand...does he have super-powers, and might he have been in the Legion too? And above all, what's the story with that cute Robin, why does he have his hand comfortingly on Kent's shoulder, and what does he look like with his clothes off?
Ahem. Incidentally, there's another minor Legion reference in the next panel: "...at the dawning of the 46th Century[,] the Unknown Superman and Batsman were busy contending with the Greater Darkness..."
Maddening yet evocative, these glimpses of fascinating futures are fun.
Other folks have caught what I totally missed, that Laurel Kent used the name "Elna" when she first appeared. Check out Legion Lad's comment, suggesting that Superwoman might be Laurel or her daughter. I particularly like the "daughter" theory...dare we imagine that young Kal-El and Laurel had more than a platonic relationship? That Kal might have a little girl in the 31st century that he's not aware of?
[Yes, yes, yes, I know Laurel turned out to be a Manhunter android. But that was in the Original Legion timeline, in which Mon-El never had a 21st-century career. In this Retro Legion timeline, maybe Laurel wasn't a Manhunter. Maybe Fortress Lad didn't turn into the Legion Clubhouse, the Legionnaires never tormented Superboy to make him forget that they lived forever, and (dare we hope) Dr. Mayavale died in infancy.]
On the DCU message boards, reader littlekonel identifies these characters a little better:
The Unnamed Robin is from the book Robin 3000 and his name is Timothy Wayne. He's the last of the Wayne family and he's an alien hunter. Brane is also an alien-hunter who takes on the role of Batman because he's rebelling against aliens who had taken over Earth.
Laurel Kent (or Elna as she is known here) is wearing an outfit that seems to be across between her "Poncho" look and the Superwoman look. I liked the idea that they used the name "Elna" is both an anagram to Lane and the name she once used when she interacted with Kal-el/Superman. This Superwoman looks like a much older Laurel Kent with Super-strength (she's shown punching Epoch...if she just had invulnerability, it wouldn't make a difference. It also mentions that, at least in the 31st century, they celebrated Miracle Monday: the Superman holiday which Kristen Wells witnesses and ends up donning on the Superwoman outfit. It makes sense that Laurel would be at such festivities.
Next to Elna is Brane Taylor, the 31st century Batman. Unlike the Robin mentioned above, Brane is not a direct descendant but instead dons on the Bat-costume to stop an alien threat. We can probably assume that the alien threat that Robin 3000 battles is the same alien threat that leads Brane to become the Batman.
littlekonel goes on to wish for these characters to appear in Legion comics, suggesting that they could be part of the Legion Academy series. What a great idea!
The bottom line is, we've (possibly) had a tiny glimpse of the time a generation after the Legion. And like many other Legion fans, I want more.