Mark Waid’s Legion of Super-Heroes

The Legion of Super-Heroes

By Mark Waid and Barry Kitson

The Legion of Super-Heroes is legendary in the realm of comic book fans. It separates the men from the boys and no I am not going to clarify that statement. But the fan following of the Legion is so strong that it has been bookmarked as the beginning of the fan movement in comics. The super-powered teenagers from the future took over Superboy’s Action Comics shortly after being introduced and became a cult favorite in no time. However, and this is the ‘brick wall’ that prevents anyone from randomly picking up a Legion book, the characters are numerous and the back-stories complicated. When you add to this the many reboots and revisions that the DC Editorial has made over the years, you’d think that the series would be all but impenetrable. In some cases, that’s true. The new series, for instance, is superb yet it is entangled in continuity and an ever-growing cast of characters that practically dares the casual reader to pick it up.

The genius of the Mark Waid/Barry Kitson reboot is that it took what worked from the initial idea and built around it a new framework that was both contemporary and timeless. It was a truly new take on an old idea from the ground up using concepts and characters decades old.

The world of the future is shut off from open social interaction. The elder generation refrains from conversation even when they are in the same room (as evidenced in an opening scene where two characters stand back-to-back talking over video-phones). The younger generation is chomping at the bit for something new and it comes in the form of a teenage revolution, the Legion of Super-Heroes.

There are references to comic book tropes throughout the series, but all in a way that establishes the love of the culture
that prevailed in the DC Universe of old. Comic books litter shared spaces, trophy rooms contain bat signals and the like. Superheroism is a pop culture ideal.

Click to enlarge

I never thought that Waid and Kitson’s run on the series got the attention it deserved… and I still don’t think it has found its recognition. It was like a love letter from the creative team to a medium that can do truly anything. A superb and fun-loving comic produced with intelligence and skill, you are truly missing out if you don’t investigate this series.


Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 1: Teenage Revolution

Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 2: Death of a Dream

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 3: Strange Visitor from Another Century

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 4: Adult Education

2 thoughts on “Mark Waid’s Legion of Super-Heroes

  1. I’m a fan of the Legion, but I haven’t read these books you’ve recommended – I’ll try the first one. What usually happens is I get all involved in a story line and characters and then the Universe is reset again (like you’ve mentioned) and I give up for a good long while. When I pick up an issue by chance I have no idea what’s going on and don’t grab the issue after.

    On one particular reset, that I can’t recall the name of, the Legion had all grown up and I loved that story line… then younger versions of them were discovered and it felt like the Spider-Man clone thing and I dropped it, never did figure out which were the real ones.


  2. Hi Jamez, the Legion storyline you mentioned – the one in which they are adults – is known as Five Years Later and, though controversial, was a really inventive take on LSH. Keith Giffen and Tom and Mary Bierbaum were behind it; later shenanigans saw the apparent return of the early Legion and it was at around this point as you say that it got futzed up. Really, stuff like Zero Hour did LSH no favours.
    Apart from the Waid/Kitson era that Dailypop so correctly praised you might like to dip into the real golden era of the Legion. Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen (and other artists) really came to define the series in the ’80s. You could check out the pre- Crisis On Infinite Earths stories particularly The Great Darkness Saga (available as a trade paperback) to get a a taste for the series, although you have to be prepared for a different style. Also. I’d recommend looking online to familiarize yourself with the characters. Apart from the Waid/Kitson period the past 15-plus years of LSH is a huge mess so it’s debateable whether it’s worth your while looking outside Dailypop’s recommendations. However, the original Legion Lost has its fans (I don’t know much about that series tho’). Happy Hunting!


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