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.)

"Hostile World"

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.


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 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.



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.


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).



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.



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.



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"?



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"


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.


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'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.)


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.)

"Renegade World"


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'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.



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.



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.