The Legion of Super-Heroes
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.
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.