As in my previous post, I looked into DC Comics more in the weeks and months after Zero Hour: Crisis in Time and one of the things that series did was give us a fresh start on the Legion of Super-Heroes.
The original iteration of the LOSH appeared in Adventure Comics 247 from February 1958. Originally used as side characters for the book’s lead Superboy (Superman when he was a boy) they were teems who were inspired by the legend of Superman nearly 1000 years in the future and travelled back in time to meet their idol. They became friends and came back time after time even getting joint billing on Superboy’s own eponymous title, eventually they supplanted him there.
From 1958-1985 the LOSH were heroes from dozens of worlds many with powers specific to those worlds and others with unique abilities. They were almost exclusively human looking (and white, it was the 50s after all) but were aliens from worlds 🌎 like Braal, Winath, Colu and the Saturnian moon of Titan.
Things have a habit or changing and in 1985 there came a crisis.
In the aftermath of Crisis on Infinite Earths, several titles got a bit of a reboot, including Superman, who now had never been Superboy. Without Superboy, do you get a legion he worked with, or could have inspired??
The initial solution to that problem was a ‘pocket universe’ which did have a Superboy and so when they travelled to meet that Superboy, that’s where they travelled back to. Even this was removed in a gentle re-boot which removed Superboy and Supergirl by adding new characters Kent Shakespeare and Laurel Gand and fitting them in retroactively. This didn’t really help, especially when the adult Legion was met by a teenaged version of the Legion, these Legionnaires were a modernised ‘back to basics’ approach with old characters young again and fresh new designs for the characters. It was all getting a bit convoluted and hard to get in to. For whatever reason, once Zero Hour came along a new start was possible and a full reboot was done.
This reboot era started on 16 August 1994 with Legion of Super Heroes #0 then carried on 2 weeks later on 30 August 1994 with Legionnaires #0.
This told the origin for the new team without the emphasis on Superboy’s example and with updated costumes, names and overall design aesthetic. The story opens with Braalian Rok Krin, citizen of Titan Irma Ardeen and Winathian Garth Rannz meeting enroute to Earth, on the same interstellar transport as wealthy philanthropist R.J. Brande. On Earth, Brande is the subject of a kidnap attempt, foiled by the native powers magnetic powers of Rok, the native telepathic power of Irma and the accidentally gained lightning powers of Garth. These three strangers using their powers to save another stranger becomes a symbol of co-operation in the new United Planets. These three become Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl and Live Wire and each take up Brande’s offer to join this new team he wants to set up. They are soon joined by Tinya Wazzo, the daughter of the ambassador from Bgztl and Brande’s PA the Carggite Luornu Durgo. Tinya is able to pass through solid objects and Luornu is able to split into three physically identical people, much like the rest of their people.
These two issues start the series off, Legionnaires #0 ends with several other young people being drafted from their home-worlds for membership.
This is where I came in, it was a new story with older stuff in there, neither undoing the previous tale, nor being so pale in comparison. This is the essence of a well done re-boot. I can’t say it was better than the pre-crisis version, nor can I say it was worse, these are personal preferences, not right and wrong thinking. All I can say is that I liked it. There was a hopeful sci-fi future that felt recognisable and also hopeful. There was super-hero action and more than a little soap-opera melodrama. That was my sweet-spot in the 90s. I enjoyed it, reading both of the series which moved from one series to the other similar to what the Superman titles had been doing.
From the ups and downs of the Legion’s fortune, the battle with the Daxamites and betrayals and divided loyalties, this was fun and dramatic and a period that I enjoyed so much.
It came to an end in the mid 00’s with another restart (the threeboot) and then the pre-crisis team ended up coming back and there’s another group now and so this post Zero Hour era is for the most part forgotten and I think that’s a shame. So I just wanted to look at this era, when we still believed in the future and there was some good comics available.
What about you? Did you read this era? Like it, dislike it?
Anyway I have rambled enough, TTFN internet people.