Remember the Legion of Super-Heroes? DC All Access Does

Legion of Super-Heroes logo

I used to be a huge fan of the Legion of Super-Heroes, the future teen team that was first published in 1958. When I got back into comics in the 90s, I collected all the issues… which was a lot of fun, since they ran in different titles over the decades. Heck, eventually, I even collected the editor. (After meeting at a comic convention, reader, I married him 17 years ago.)

When KC Carlson left the book after issue #100 in 1998, so did I. I liked the optimism and hope of the concept, originally (that’s why I thought the Zero Hour reboot worked so well), and the new writing team, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, put out a dark storyline that spun into Legion Lost. Another reboot followed — that’s the problem with doing it once, it seems like an easy solution too often thereafter — then a new 52 relaunch, which ended in 2013. I couldn’t get into any of it, although I was vaguely disappointed that the concept’s run stopped after 55 years in print.

The LSH have also had their own cartoon series and an original animated movie and appeared on Smallville. This is all leading into my being surprised that the DC All Access YouTube show put out a feature, “Top 10 Legion of Super-Heroes Moments”.

In case you’re curious, the tally breaks down as follows:

1950s — 1 mention, the first appearance
1960s — 2, both sacrificial deaths, one to bring back a favorite character, the other to stop a universal threat
1970s — 2
1980s — 2, one a death, the other the best-known Legion storyline, The Great Darkness Saga
1990s — none
2000s — 3, one of which was stupidly connected to Final Crisis and Superboy Prime

The video clips are a great reminder of how epic and sprawling the series was and the wide cast of characters, which I miss. It used to be the most dedicated fandom in comics. What happened? Kurt Busiek, who wrote some Legion-related comics, had some thoughts on Twitter, attributing people drifting away to “changes in spirit”.

They drove away the long-time fans without attracting new ones, because the concept felt like a degraded copy of the original. (Something for the new 52 and the rebirth titles to keep in mind and learn from.) What does it need?

Energy to attract new readers, a compelling read, and a faithful feel to the concept. Sounds like a great plan! I’d like to read about the team again.



6 comments

  • Joel R

    I too was really surprised to see DC All Access do a Legion countdown, though I don’t necessary agree with their assessment, as I have with several of their otherncountdowns. Legion was one of my first comic books when I first started reading in the 80’s. I was not very excited with the latest New 52 reboot, nor the proceeding ones and was sad but also hopeful when it ended. I thought it needed some rest.

    What was really curious for me was why DC All Access did something now? Saturn Girl does make an appearance in Rebirth, but little has developed on that as of yet. I also heard that Legion Lost is going to be published as a trade. That tells me that Legion is likely”on deck” for Rebirth. I’m also encouraged by the recent CW “Aliens vs Heroes” crossover. A show willing to bring in the Dominators as a real and still looming threat is very exciting. Why and how did the Dominators know about Flashpoint? Attack the past to prevent Legion from rising? We’ve seen a Legion flight ring on Supergirl already and Mon-El has appeared and still fairly mysterious in origin. I think Supergirl is a great entry point for the Legion tone wise. The CW always struck me as the perfect network for Legion stories to be told so I’m very hopeful that a Rebirth and media convergence is on the horizon for Legion.

  • I share your hope — a team full of diverse teenagers seems like a great fit for the CW, doesn’t it?

  • James Schee

    Someone, Jeff Moy perhaps?, said he had heard rumors of a possible LSH show coming. Which is why Mon-El is getting such play on Supergirl, but I’ll believe it when I see it. There was a time recently I thought the Legion was returning in comics, with that superman story Geoff Johns did that had Superman going to their time to battl Earthman. It led to a lot of hype but he couldn’t continue on the series and Levitz follow ups just didn’t keep momentum going.

    Tom King seems to have an interest, he’s brought Saturn Girl Into his Batman run recently which seems an odd choice. Though a part of me hopes maybe the Super Sons series will have a Legion connection.

    Until the I’ll get the new Legion Omnibus that seems to be picking up right where Archives left off. Plus next year the reboot series starts getting collected again in a collection called Legionnaires.

  • Oh, I hadn’t heard that they’re doing Legionnaires collections. I still have a fondness for that series and would love an easy way to read it again.

  • James Schee

    Now if we old just gets V4 collection…..

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