I did not see any Legion content in comics this week.
I have been pondering the Legion's popularity. In this post over on Legion Abstract, Matthew worries that the Legion is going to be cancelled, and wonders if "...the audience for the Legion of Super-Heroes may have permanently shrunk to the point where these characters just can't support their own title anymore."
I've also been cataloging the Legion's appearances from their first cancellations, the run in Action Comics and Superboy, which has got me thinking about Superboy.
They kept trying to ditch Superboy. He resigned, then came back. He resigned again, then came back again. He finally left permanently...and came back again. Eventually, he died.
The Earth-247 Legion eventually gained Superboy (Connor this time) as a member. There was Superboy's Legion. With the Earth-Prime Legion, Supergirl took the place of Superboy. The renaissance of the current Legion started with adventures involving Superman.
Why? What is it about Superboy?
I'd like to suggest that casual readers need to have some familiar element as a point of entry to the Legion. Liam and LaDonna Legion-fan, who've read the Legion for years, are happy to buy anything that says Legion on it -- but when Cameron and Cecy Comic-reader pick up a Legion comic, they see nothing that looks familiar to them. So they put it down, thinking "I'll never be able to follow this."
If Matthew is right and there aren't enough Liams and LaDonnas out there to support the title, we need to give the Camerons and Cecys something.
So despite my reluctance to see the Legion tied too strongly to the DC present day, I will state the following as a Law of the Legion: The Legion needs a Superboy.
It doesn't have to be "Superboy" as such. It can be Supergirl, Superman, someone with the S-shield and the cape. A familiar symbol.
And now I have an ingenious way to give the Legion a "Superboy" while still retaining some distance from the current DC universe and allowing the writers maximum creative space. Picture this:
A "Superboy" joins the Legion. He's clearly not Kal-El/Clark Kent. Might as well make a whole "Who is Sensor Girl?" storyline out of "Who is Superboy?"
Turns out, he is...(wait for it)...the son of Superman.
"But wait," I hear you cry, "Superman doesn't have a son, except maybe Chris Kent who might not even exist any more. There's no way DC is going to introduce Superman's son into current continuity just to make Legion fans happy."
You're right. Superman doesn't have a son now. But he will, at some indeterminate point in the future. (We know Superman will have descendants.) We never need to see that part of it. We never need to establish a timeline, or a continuity, or even tell who his mother is. We don't even need to know if the kid is an only child or one of many. All we need is for "Superman's Son" to be involved with the Legion in the 31st century.
Why would Superman's son hang out with the Legion? Picture Superman raising this super-powered teenager. "Son, you need to learn how us use your powers, you need experience, you need a firm grounding in morality. I learned a lot of these things from my time with the Legion -- now I'm sending you to them for a training period."
A brand-new character who can legitimately be called Superboy (although if they want to make it Superlad or Superkid or even Superboi I won't complain.) A character who wears the S-shield and cape, and has a firm connection to the present-day Superman. A character from our near-future, hanging around in a time that's new to him -- a nice character for Cameron and Cecy Comic-reader to identify with.
Just as "Superboy's time" was a permanent 15 years before "Superman's time," the "new Superboy's time" could be a permanent 15 years after Superman's time. That provides a nice buffer against any craziness that DC imposes on the "present." We can further use the whole "this is only one possible future" dodge to make the Powers That Be feel better.
Who knows, "future Superboy" may even get his own title. Which the Legion could then invade, and finally turn it into Future Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes.
What about it, Mr. Levitz?
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