Not Your Father’s Legion

6 years. It’s been over six years since we had a Legion series.

It’s been five years since they guest starred in Justice League United.

A long time for a book that has been more or less a constant since the 70s. There had been a couple of pieces of it coming back with appearances Justice League United and Saturn Girl showing up in Doomsday Clock. Truthfully I thought we were going to have to wait until the often delayed Doomsday Clock finished. Things change.

Brian Michael Bendis and Ryan Sook changed all that. On November sixth we saw the first of a new series of the Legion of Superheroes written by Bendis with art by Sook and colors by the fantastic Jordie Bellaire. As far as a creative team you could not ask for much more.

It is early but promising. The Legion is a tough nut to crack. So many characters, so much history. It is hard to know where to start. A chase through the remains of old Gotham is nice. Leading off with Ultra Boy is even better. Some things change, some stay the same.

We got to see some nice throwbacks to Legion history: A reimagined Mordru, a changed Earth(calling back to the destruction of Earth in the five years later era), a new Superboy and a new connection to modern day DC Comics with Aquaman’s trident.

There are several new threads to pull here. Possibilities abound.

Are there concerns as a long time Legion fan?

Of course. We have been burned so many times that we have grown cynical. But there is light in the darkness. Hope.

And at least for me that is what the Legion has always been about.

We are Legion.

Legion_of_Super_Heroes-dc-comics-4411668-500-313So this column came from a conversation I had with some friends over twitter. Actually it began after I read an interview with Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis.

Interview: Giffen and DeMatteis, another LEAGUE and LARFLEEZE

What prompted me to read the interview you ask? It was Giffen and DeMatteis…seriously you need more. They are bloody brilliant. Even if they did not give us an absolutely inspired take on Justice League and bring Blue and Gold together for the first time-Keith Giffen has long been connected to the Legion of SuperHeroes. That was more than enough for me.

The important part (for me at least) was this:

“This way when — because it is ‘when’ — DC will relaunch the Legion of Super Heroes eventually”

That was a direct quote from Keith Giffen and if I trust anyone talking about the Legion it is Mr. Giffen. Of course at the time they were talking about their new project Justice League 3000, but the Legion comment is what mattered to me.

Then came the conversation with @777DAMM and @JanArrah over in the twitterverse, follow them you will thank me. It ranged over elation over the prospect of the Legion returning and the skepticism over how it would be handled. More than any other comic book property the Legion seems to regularly suffer from changes that take place in the main universe. The Legion has been rebooted so many times it is difficult to know where a new book would start from, what pieces of the universe would be included and what parts and characters would pass into memory.

The biggest thing I took from the conversation was the realization that we all came at our fandom from different times, different points in the history of the Legion. Starting in different times gives us different perspectives, different things about the Legion that we love in our own ways. If I could see that from a conversation with two other people imagine trying to create a Legion for a hundred or thousands of people.

As fans we often believe these characters, these stories belong to us. We sometimes forget we don’t own them. Everyone does. We may not like the new version of the Legion but isn’t it better than not having them at all. It is not an easy task. There is so much history-but then if you have been around for sixty years and you don’t have history I have to ask? What have you been doing all this time…

The job of creating a new Legion that will appeal to new and old is a big job and an important one. The Legion has been around since April of 1957 beginning with Adventure Comics #247. Why is that important? The Legion predates the Avengers, the Justice Leagues, the Teen Titans and yes even the X-Men. Great creators have come from the Legion: Mike Grell, Jim Shooter, Dave Cockrum, Paul Levitz, Giffen, Oliver Coipel, Jim Starlin and even Francis Manapul. Someday soon another creator will step in with his vision for the future.

That vision is the important thing. It’s the future, not some horrifying dystopian future but one of hope. That what the Legion has always been about hope and family. The belief that when they come together good people can do great things and there will always be tomorrow.

The Legion is the bedrock for which that future will stand. Until that day…

Long Live the Legion.162035-34000-legion-of-super-hero