The Legion of Super-Heroes: a future of justice

The Legion of Super-Heroes: a future of justice

The Legion of Super-Heroes

The Legion of Super-Heroes is one of the historical groups of DC Comics, created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino on the pages of Adventure Comics # 247 of 1958, quickly becoming both one of the most fascinating properties of the publishing house but also one of the more complex ones. But let's go in order: what is a Legion of Super-Heroes? Well, it all begins in the 30th (then 31st) century when three young aliens Rokk Krinn, endowed with the power to manipulate magnetism with his eyes (later on he will have "normal" control over magnetism), Garth Ranzz, gifted with the 'ability to control electricity, and Imra Arden, a powerful telepath, find themselves foiling an attack on RJ Brande, the richest man in the universe.

R.J. he feels that there is potential in these guys, not only because of their skills, but also because he sees in their courage the spirit of the legendary Superboy (aka Superman as a teenager) and thinks that a group of young heroes can not only be a great force of good, defeating criminals, but also the fact that they all come from different planets, and work together in harmony, can be a very important message to spread throughout the universe through their example.

Thus using his almost infinite funds, Mr. Brande recruits our three bold young men, gives them costumes, jetpacks and code names, thus creating Cosmic Boy, Lighting Lad and Saturn Girl, the founders of what will be the Legion of Super-Heroes, and the rest as they say is history.

The Legion of Super-Heroes: meeting your heroes

History in the true sense of the word, because in one of their first missions, the three founders will decide to take a nice trip to the past to recruit their inspiration, Superboy, as an honorary member in the group, and in pure youthful spirit, the legionaries will make a good joke on the Boy of Steel, pretending not to want to invite him to their club, but then being joked by the young man hero, giving birth to a splendid friendship, which will last for many years to come.

The Legion will in fact become a frequent co-star of the adventures of the young son of Krypton , and will get more and more space within the Adventure Comics magazine, quickly becoming the flagship series of the magazine, thanks not only to its interesting sci-fi atmospheres, but also to the teenage soap-opera element that became more and more prevalent. br>
For to honor its name, in fact, the Legion of Super-Heroes will begin to recruit more and more members, based however on some important rules: each member had to have congenital superpowers, the members could not be more than 18 years old, it was necessary to have at least one superpower not shared by another member and above all no member of the Legion could kill another living being.

Although the rules were many (and in some cases they changed from story to story), the ranks of the group will grow more and more, recruiting as many as 25 new members over the years, such as the brilliant Brainiac 5 that will modify the Jetpacks of the group transforming them first into a belt and then into an anti-gravity ring that will become a bit the official symbol of the Legion, or even more bizarre characters like Matter-Eater-Lad able to eat any substance existing in the cosmos. br>
Furthermore, if you did not pass the selections for the Legion of Super-Heroes, or because you had little useful powers in combat, or because you had little control over them, it was possible to enter the semi-humorous supergroup known as The Legion of the Super-Substitutes, a handful of boys and girls whose courage was not always on a par with their firepower.

In the meantime, the Universe of the Legion grew, and it grew more and more: the cast grew even more by adding 10 more members, and the stories became always had more gravitas: Lighting Lad lost an arm and later his life, Star Boy killed a criminal by mistake and was thrown out of the group, loves and couples were born within the Legion, Ferro Lad died to save the universe, and in short, the nice group that made fun of Superboy, had now become something very, very different, and also very complex.

If already managing such a large cast was not exactly easy to digest for new readers (and also for the screenwriters), soon the group, and those who told their deeds, would have found themselves having to face a shock given to the very foundations of the Legion concept: in 1986 the DC in fact, decided to give a renewal to its entire range of publications , launching the event known as the Crisis on the Terr and Infinite, an adventure of gargantuan proportions, the consequences of which were many and varied, so much so as to rewrite the very history of the DC universe, also erasing some crucial past events in the history of the publishing house, including the period in which Superman had been Superboy. And without the boy of steel, a crucial part of his origin, how could the Legion of Super-Heroes survive? Through a whole series of more or less weird changes.

The Legion of Super-Heroes: Losing your heroes

It will be revealed to us that the Superboy that the Legion knew was none other than a creation of the supervillain Time-Trapper, a sentient timeline that had fought the Legion numerous times, leaving all our heroes in awe of a revelation of this magnitude.

The “death "Superboy will thus protect the Legion to enclose itself more and more in a world of its own, detached from the great DC cosmos, and increasingly complex, telling us a whole series of stories where the Legionaries became adults, and had to fight as a small but powerful force rebel against an evil alien race that had taken over half the galaxy, and even planet Earth, even creating a cloned (and rejuvenated) version of the original Legion.

Meanwhile, in our present day, the alien Vril Dox, son of Superman's enemy called Brainiac, created a private police group called the Licensed Extra-Governmental Interstellar Operatives Network, or L.E.G.I.O.N. , in a comic series that presented itself as a sort of spiritual prequel to the classic Legion of Super-Heroes, with a plot full of references, and answers to mysteries launched in the main series, but this is another story. The fact is, that the adventures of the Legionaries now traveled on three tracks: the past one of the L.E.G.I.O.N. , and two futures, one that saw the "old Legion", and one that followed the adventures of the clones.

The situation was more abstruse than ever, the cast was unmanageable, the continuity between the stories was very tight, it was almost impossible to understand what would happen if the title had not been followed for years, and at the same time the fans of the Legion there were still many, and there were also many fans who bought only Legion titles, and no other DC books.

The Legion of Super-Heroes: starting from (Now) Zero!

In 1994, taking advantage of the Zero Hour event (another great crisis, similar to that of 1986), it will therefore be thought of relaunching the Legion of Super-Heroes, through the reboot process which for those who do not know, is a restart of an intellectual property, which maintains some characteristics of the original product, but changes others, for example, in the Legion of '94 all the members of the group returned to being adolescents, some characters changed their nom de guerre (the founder Lighting Lad was now Livewire) and others inv and they had completely different roles or personalities.

The group will therefore receive a breath of fresh air, with a new cycle of stories that took up the more playful atmospheres of the early days of the Adventure Comics period, but which they were not afraid to tackle as well the more adult elements such as the political management of a problem such as racism and many other issues that are not too light. The characters were similar enough to their first version not to alienate fans too far, and different enough to be interesting even for new readers.

Also, the group will benefit greatly from having two dedicated titles, so to be able to divide the Legion into two distinct groups, avoiding that the mass of characters lead to the paradox of supergroups, where there are one hundred people in a room, but those who speak are three, having two distinct narratives it was easier for the authors to embody to all the protagonists.

In addition, this new version of the group will again be much more connected to the events of the great DC universe, both with some classic references, and thanks to a whole series of time travel that will allow the Legionaries to return to being less excluded from the rest of the publishing house.

This version of the group will last ten years, until 2004, years in which we will see intergalactic revolts, cults dedicated to the destruction of the world, we will see a group of Legionaries getting lost in a dimension parallel, the universe being invaded by a race of parasitic aliens, and also the return of some old enemies very familiar to those who know the world of Batman, but after ten years, the problem had returned: The Legion, continued to be so much , too difficult to follow.

With more than 30 cast members, with ten years of stories made of novelties and references to a past that does not exist was more, the Legion of Super-Heroes needed to fars i another facelift, a second reboot that will be called "Threeboot" in jargon, which would have shuffled the cards again, to change everything, but this time for real.

The Legion of Super -Eroi: Eat it Granpa or "Collect Grandpa"

The 2004 version of the Legion will be the most different: the 31st century is an era of infinite peace, of aseptic relationships where two people in the same room they speak from through a computer rather than face to face, where every teenager has a chip implanted under the skin that allows the government to know where he is at all times. There are no fights, there are no challenges, everyone follows the rules. And the boys want to scream.

The first cycle of this Legion will be based on the adolescent / adult struggle, and adolescent / adolescent, the group was fighting against the system (so much so that the first motto of the team, instead of the canonical "Long live the Legion" in this universe was "Collect grandfather"), but also against himself, with two factions one led by Cosmic Boy and one by Brainiac 5 fighting to prevail one on the other. The premises, all in all amusing, will thus join a Legion again rather gloomy, but with some flickers of creativity and humor here and there, which will make the reading more fluent and enjoyable.

In 2007, however, something will change: in the Justice League of America comics, some legionnaires will start to appear, but represented as the adult versions of the first Legion. Just to confuse the waters even more, these adult Legionaries will also fight a long adventure in the future together with Superman, thus proving to be the canonical version of the group.

Everything will be solved in the miniseries of 2008 called The Legion of the Three Worlds, where the three main versions of the Legion of Super-Heroes will unite for the first time on the pages of a comic, to fight again the threat of the Time-Trapper, and revealing to us that the 1994 version is the 2004 version of the Legion were actually set on universes parallel to ours, and that from now on in the comics we would follow the adventures of the "real" legion, namely that of 1958, in the period that is called "retroboot", because instead of having a normal reboot, we will have a return to the origins.

This version of the Legion will face old and new threats, and will work a lot on the concept of group, friendship and redemption ne, in addition to pulling the strings of a whole series of old subplots left in abeyance, also thanks to the return to the scripts of some great authors who had written the history of the legionaries.

The Legion of Super-Heroes: back to the future

Like the Legion of '94, the Retroboot Legion will also be able to count on having two parallel warheads, which will allow it to divide the cast in order to better manage it, even coming to re-propose in 2011 the plot of the Legion divided between past and future, which will last until 2013, when the comic titles of our heroes will be canceled, obtaining a small epilogue in a saga of the Justice League, released in 2015, thus projecting the legendary team into the closet of forgotten concepts.

The latest (to date) version of the Legion of Super-Heroes was created in 2019, and still starring Superboy, this time around not only a real Superboy, but also a son of art: Jon Kent, the son of the original Superman, and will present us with a whole series of old acquaintances with new designs, and some new faces, in an odyssey that will last only 12 numbers.

La Leg ion of the Super-Heroes is a great oxymoron in the panorama of DC comics: if on the one hand we have a franchise that is really how the stereotype of the American comics is painted, complex, impenetrable to newbies and unnecessarily cumbersome, on the other hand it is one of the properties richer and more fascinating than the publishing house, one of the stories that is most worth reading, and knowing precisely because of the depth of its arguments, and the power and potential of its narrative.

It takes very few pages to find the your favorite legionnaire, and sew it on your chest for life, a few volumes are enough to take a crush on the future, and a few sagas are enough to fall madly in love with this meaningless future, and without reasoning. But maybe, love doesn't work just like that?

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