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CSBG Archive

9/23 – Random Mouse Says…

I hope that the Legion of Superheroes “revamp” of early 1994 was done knowing that Zero Hour was coming up soon, because otherwise, wow, was that “mix up their ages and give them new costumes and codenames” idea a bad one.

Picture 001_001.jpg


How does that go again? Oh yeah. /signed

Well it was done as a part of Zero Hour, wasn’t it?

But a better question is: NOW WHAT? Not only have they rebooted the series again recently, but now characters from the original continuity are running around in the main titles!

Are we supposed to see the obvious inconsistencies as a great mystery?

It’s hard to tell. The last couple years of the original Legion continuity were filled with bad ideas and poor direction choices. It’s really tough to tell if this was something the writers did just because they knew the book was ending or if it was just the latest in a series of bad choices.

I’m a bit amazed that so many people want the original Legion back, considering what it was like at the end (obviously most of them don’t want this back. They want the book to restart where volume 3 left off and pretend that the five years later stuff never happened).

You know, some people actually enjoyed the
5 years gap storyline, it was another direction for old characters. You could see how the characters had matured and how they dealt with the loss of idealism which comes with the passing of time. Some ideas were really bad ones, but some of them were really good.

But after the Earth exploded, that was when it became awful.

Me, I still miss the post-Zero Hour Legion. They was a lot of fun and a greater mix of drama, mystery and re-introduction of characters than the Waid/Kitson era has been.

Is that sacreligious?

As far as I’ve heard, by the time Tom McCraw became the writer, Zero Hour was on the way. He was a stopgap writer, and that was part of why they let him mess around a little with the ages/costumes/codenames of the Legion. (Of course, he stayed on after the reboot, as a co-writer, so they didn’t necessarily consider him a stopgap writer at all.)

Yeah, the last year or so of LSH, after McCraw took over, was when even I stopped defending the book…and since I was maintaining the Usenet FAQ for the series, it’s fair to say I was a big booster of that version of the series previously. (It started going downhill around the time Giffen left and a new editor tried to make it more accessible by removing the narrative density that made it appealing in the first place, but there was still some material of interest for a while.)

Me, I still miss the post-Zero Hour Legion. They was a lot of fun and a greater mix of drama, mystery and re-introduction of characters than the Waid/Kitson era has been.

Is that sacreligious?

If it is, call me a heretic, because I liked those days too.

The post-Zero Hour LSH looked good for about 5 minutes.
Then they killed Kid Quantom, and it was all downhill.
(Sobering death doesn’t belong in a book which should be about idealistic teenagers. The Legion are NOT Spider-Man.)
Too much after that… Monstress, Gates, Sneckie, was just pointless and unlikable change.

Bah I say. I loved Gates. And Xs. Not Monstress so much. Loved Andromeda.

I hope we see this Legion again, if we’re gonna just be out and about with every permutation that’s been.

I loved all of it, personally. I thought the Five Year Gap through Zero Hour was one of the best I’ve ever read. The writers and artists did a fantastic job between LoSH, Legionnaires, Valor and Timber Wolf with some really nice complements in LEGION and REBELS.

Also please note that I haven’t drank any Haterade today, so that may color my enjoyment of a comic series.

I, for one, loved the Legion in the Early 80s… and then was appalled when the earth was destroyed….

What do you do then??? If the whole point of the Legion was to protect the earth, well, it made them look like a failure…

Still, I didn’t like the Post Zero Hour Legion. That is, until Legion Lost. Then I loved the Legion again. I loved that bug girl they brought in as an update for Dawnstar. I lost interest again, shortly after the lost Legionnaires returned home. But still, I didn’t hate them any more.

And now they reboot the Legion, AGAIN!

That’s TWO reboots of both the Legion and Supergirl since the Crisis.

Somehow I don’t think DC continuity was as confusing before they tried to fix it!

Question: The only Legion of Superheroes title I ever picked up was the Legionnaires series (due to the Chris Sprouse Art). I had no previous knowledge of the title, but quite enjoyed it for about a year. However, in all the talks of reboots and such I never quite understood what that title was. I know the premise had something to do with them all being clones, but didn’t really follow it beyond that. Can someone tell me what that was that I read and how it fits in with Legion continuity?

The idea, Ben, was that the Legion was cloned back in the “good ol’ days,” and the clones were released years later.

This was an attempt to give the readers BOTH aspects of the Legion.

1. The old fashioned Legion


2. The grown-up Legion.

Originally, it was actually going to be the grown-ups who were the clones, but they switched it to the other way around.

Actually it was always supposed to be the adults as the clone, but in the end it was written that the Legion and the Legionaires were actually chronal duplicates created by the time trapper

Okay, thank you for the answer.

I can definitely see where that was coming from editorially. Two more questions if I may:

1) Where were the adult versions (I don’t remember there being two of anybody)?

2) What happened to the clones?

Whoops, missed Myke’s response. So, if I was to assume that the Time Trapper uncreated the clones later that would answer question number 2.

I, too, miss the post-ZH Legion. It was the first DC comic I read to any extent (my uncle had the first year or so of the run and I read it one summer) and I always think of it as “my” Legion. It was a really bright, colorful, and fun book, and I’m still pretty sad that they ended that continuity (even if there are some aspects of the current run that I really enjoy). I really hope we see those characters again.


Legion clones????????

I must have been in a cave at the time!

There have been precious few times when I didn’t like the Legion, and I hope DC can rig us up a way so that we can see all the different versions again.

I’ll try to make sense of everything, but be warned that DC made A LOT of mistakes with the Legion over the years, mistakes that turned what was one of the most popular franchises in comics during the ’80s into the low-selling book it is now.

Until the late ’80s the Legion (originally a team of teenagers) had slowly aged until most of its older characters were on its mid-20s. Some of them were even married and had kids! It had also been somewhat independent from the main DC continuity (thanks to being 1000 years in the future…), with only one major retcon: The one that shown that the Superboy that was a member of the team came from a “compact universe”, since post-Crisis Superman was never Superboy. It worked quite well at the time.

When the third Legion series ended and the fourth one started, the main creator involved on the series (Keith Giffen) decided to take it to its logical conclusion and start the series “five years later”, with the team disbanded and most earlier members now jaded adults. What was a standard all-ages super-hero book became one of the most complex adult comics in the market!

There is STILL a debate today over if it worked or not (I loved it, but I’ll admit that it removed a lot of the franchise’s appeal), but it had A LOT of consequences. First and more important, the former “compact universe” retcon had to be retconned away – and Giffen did it in the most confuse and obscure fashion he could!

There was a (comprehensive) backlash from the older readers and Giffen (and his writing partners, the Bierbaums) decided upon a real unexpected solution.

(More later)

Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

The solution was to creat a new team cloned from the legionnaires at a time when they were still young and idealistic (about the time of the first Jim Shooter run). So there would be TWO legion teams running around at the same time: The “jaded adult” one and the “idealistic young” one.

Of course, it made things even more confuse having two sets of the SAME characters running around at the same time – and the series already had a large cast to begin with!

Giffen left to work in other stuff and the Bierbaums found an ellegant solution: Create a SECOND Legion series (the Legionnaires book) starred by the “young” team, while the “old” team was still on the main book.

I thought it worked (and initial Legionnaires sales apparently were quite good), but certainly DC thought otherwise, since they decided to fire the Bierbaums and reboot the whole thing in Zero Hour, under the writing team of Tom McCraw (also the series colorist), Mark Waid and Tom Peyer.

But DC made a HUGE mistake on this reboot: They did not renumber the series and announced that they would be starting again! I can’t imagine why, after FOUR series, they did’t start the darn thing again, but it certainly kept a lot of people “in the dark”. I only found out more than an year later myself (wasn’t buying the series at the time).

More later.

Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

I really liked the new series, particularly after Waid left and was replaced by veteran Roger Stern (which was what attracted me to the series again), but it had a lot of problems. It had been rebooted but kept the two old series, effectively being a biweekly series with two different creative teams! THIS NEVER WORKS! In time, I got tired of the Peyer-written series and couldn’t keep buying the Stern-written series just to read half of the stories and just stopped buying everything. No doubt a lot of people did the same.

Eventually the two books were cancelled and replaced by a single one (the famous “Legion Lost” LS), which was fairly sucessful and was followed by a regular series, but the team had by then just a fraction of its former popularity, so DC decided to reboot everything again.

THIS time they did the right thing and started with a new series (and new numbering). I don’t know wy they went with Mark Waid, though, since he had already done an unsucessful reboot a few years before, but there you go. This is the current Legion series. Creative choices aside, it has been a reboot done in the right fashion, starting fom the beginning and with a constant stream of TPBs to keep new readers up to date. To me, that’s the reason why it’s more sucessful than the Zero Hour reboot.

Hunter (Pedro Bouça)

Speaking of which, any word on whether they’re going to be tpbing Legion Lost anytime soon? And wasn’t there a followup series to that or am I thinking of something else?

There was. It was called Legion Worlds, and the two miniseries led into The Legion. Both series deserve to be collected but I can’t imagine it’s very high up on DC’s list of priorities.

Really, while we love to bitch, the periods when the Legion franchise has been *bad* have been few and far between for 20+ years now.

Levitz-Giffen– late v. 2 and the Baxter series– greatest the Legion has ever been.

5YL/ v.4/ TMB– some awful missteps (coughProtycoughShvaughncough) but really a lot of excellent stories and storytelling– original, creative, sophisticated plotting and characterization, and some real emotional punch.

Things started to go downhill with the debut of the SW6 batch, they went downhill with the foot on the accelerator after the destruction of earth, and the final year before End of an Era was just not even trying.

The reboot was terrific through the close of the White Triangle, a *lot* of fun up until sometime in the interminable 20th-century storyline, and then intermittently pretty good up through Legion Lost, though it never really recovered after . However bad Monstress and Sneckie were, the second Kid Quantum, XS, Gates, and Kinetix were great characters, and I hope we haven’t seen the last of them.

DnA was a mixed bag, and I didn’t like it much– for me both 5YL and the reboot depended on a careful balance of nods to nostalgia and breaking new ground, and this era lost too much of the nostalgia for me (even if they were good stories, I don’t *want* to see Element Lad turned into a genocidal monster, thanks). I even stopped buying Legion, for the first time in a very long time. But I still recognize there was good storytelling here.

And the threeboot is fun stuff– not an era of Legion greatness, but genuinely fun stuff.

The whole “the SW6 Legion were chronal duplicates and not clones” things never worked for me (see FAQ maintainter comment above), although I understand that the change helped tie it into Zero Hour. The clone thing was set up in advance, however (Lar Gand found notes indicating a Dominator/Dark Circle plot, the characters came out of a Dominion storage unit, and characters had non-metagene related changes undone, such as Garth’s arm and Tenzil’s weight), while making them chronal duplicates undid that without much explanation or justification.

The first three years or so of the ‘5 Years Later’ relaunch is probably my favourite super-hero comic of all time. Complex, exciting, unpredictable and rewarding, it was an adult story about lost ideals and trying to find them again in a universe that doesn’t want them anymore.

As great as it was, however, it also is a giant flashing signpost pointing towards why comic book companies shouldn’t actually do great giant sweeping reboots; the amount of story telling possabilities that were lost was enormous. Once the drive of Giffen and his (many) collaborators began to wane, what was lost became more and more clear, and the Legion universe began to look rather broken, and the status quo that had lasted for decades was impossible to recapture. There hadn’t been anything wrong with it when the 5 Years Later story started, it was change for the sake of change, and while some fantastic stories came out of it, stories I love, it prevented so many more stories from even being possible to happen.

Which brought the first reboot. It had me out of loyalty until Legion Lost, but it wasn’t the same as the original. The characters lacked the depth they once had and the stories seemed like do overs but not as good. The Thirtieth Century had been broken and the hasty patch up job was not fixing it.

Supergirl and the Legion hasn’t fixed it either, but at least I don’t feel like I’m reading shoddy rewrites of better stories – it is telling its own sort of story with its own Legion.

And The Lightning Saga made me a very happy man. Maybe there is hope for fixing the “real” Thirtieth Century yet.

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