Legion Lore

Mike Sterling asks

I’ve been a die-hard Legion fan for nearly 30 years now. I’ve stuck through the reboots and continuity brouhahas all this time because I happen to like the concept of the team, and the interactions among this particular group of characters, and all the goofiness that comes with it. How many of you have been reading Legion for an extended period of time? How many of you were Legion fans, but had enough of the various tinkerings with the formula and dropped the book? How many of you came on with one of the various reboots, attracted by the fresh starts they offered?

There are a whole variety of responses in his comment thread. It’s a good question. The fanbase has been irretrievably shattered over the past decades, and so you can’t assume any more when someone started, what attracted them, or what drove them away.

I haven’t seriously read the Legion since issue #100, KC’s last as editor. I really hated the grim’n’gritty Star Trek approach of Abnett and Lanning in Legion Lost, and everything after that’s just seemed to me to be thrashing about seeking direction.

I had started with #38, the destruction of the earth, and I went forwards and backwards at the same time, buying up bundles and bundles of back issues to figure out who the V4 characters were and how they related. I loved it. And I loved meeting the fans and learning from them. But after Zero Hour, some got so poisonous that that pleasure wasn’t what it used to be. And I started learning more about the sausage factory, which changed me.

I was very excited to hear Mark Waid’s comments when he came back on with the latest reboot, three or so years ago now, but what attracted me when he talked didn’t seem to make it to the page. And I simply have no interest in following Shooter’s current run.

I’d like to read the Legion again, but it would take some things that I don’t think would be approved in today’s crossover continuity-heavy DC Universe: stand-alone stories, good characters, very little death and despair, a true fresh start (which isn’t the same as a reboot), writers committed to doing good work instead of nostalgia. I’m not the audience they want, because I won’t stick with it regardless of art quality or faux big event.

So I’d say goodbye to the Legion, but I think at this point I’ve been uninterested longer than I was a fan.


5 Responses to “Legion Lore”

  1. James Schee Says:

    It was the VALOR series that made me aware of the Legion. The first issue I picked up was the same as you, where the Earth blew up.

    I loved the anything can happen, real ADULT character that were found in that run when I went back to pick it up.

    The early reboot issues were pretty fun too, but it began to drag about midway through the stuck in the 20th century story and never regained momentum and lost me during DnA’s Warhammer approach.

    Waid’s first 6 issues in the newest run were great, I thought I’d gotten hooked again, but it lost steam quickly after that.

    I looked at the recent version in Superman, and it was vaguely familiar, but not quite there. Of course art that made it look like their skin didn’t fit on the characters bones didn’t help.

    I think because all the starts and stops it just made it hard to care about the characters. It became a series about the series with ether nostalgia or which Legion universe was real driving the stories and I lost interest.

    Which is kind of sad in a small way. As I found the Legion at a time where comics were losing their luster for me.

  2. shanejayell Says:

    I followed V2 Legion through the “death” of the time trapper and the reboot that followed up till shortly after Zero hour. I really loved the “adult” Legion, and reverting the series to kids seemed a step back.

    I am looking forward to Legion of Three Worlds, tho. *lol*

  3. Ray Says:

    I’ve been a fan of the Legion since the 1970’s, but I hated it when zero hour and beyond happened….I didn’t like h ow all of a sudden all that rich history meant nothing….like it never happened. I’m hoping Johns somehow, brings back the original Levitz/Grell Legion and puts the continuity that existed back in reality.

  4. James Schee Says:

    I find it sort of odd that they are folding the LSH series back into Adventure Comics.

    I’ve thought for a long time that DC was trying to recapture some sort of feel of their past. To the point that they were living in the past, hence how awful they are doing these days.

    Yet bringing back a series from that long ago? Wow.

  5. Johanna Says:

    It’s weird magical thinking — “we were popular and successful back then, so maybe if we make everything like the old days again, we’ll be popular and successful.” Doesn’t seem to be working for them the way they hoped, though.

    Ray, I hate to tell you: you will never get it back the way you want it. Someone will remember it different than you do, or they’ll want to work in something since then. It just can’t be done.

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