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Legion of Problems

Legion of ProblemsSo it would seem DC is having a tricky patch. The Marvel juggernaut is running circles around DC and DC’s share in the comic market is being squashed which in turn, Warner Bros and DC are struggling to get project Justice League of the ground. Take The Green Lantern for example.

At least DC have accepted one fact. They can sell Batman. So cue every DC project beginning with Batman, which isn’t as bad as it sounds, I think.

Going back to the comics the company sounds likes it’s in turmoil. Writers are walking out and books (when I say books, I mean comic book series) getting cancelled for no real reason.

However one thing I’m not surprised about is the cancellation of the Legion of Superheroes comics.

So cue the typical comic book explanation.

The comic is set during the 31st century and follows the adventures of group of teen superheroes from various different worlds inspired for fight for justice and truth thanks to the legend of Superman. Every character can fly because each characters possess a legionnaires flight ring.

You can also only join if you have super powers.

Over the years there have been many different versions of the super team varying in tone based on what was the popular futuristic setting at the time. Why do you think this has happened? Well I have a few thoughts on that:

The problem is with setting a comic in the future is that our perception of the future is always changing. As technology and society progresses certain ideas about the future changes. So any perceived future quickly becomes outdated.

Something that holds back the comic, is just the fact it’s one comic. Think it about it. Even if you haven’t read an X-men comic and you’ve seen the films you just know there are ton of mutants out there, so many, that not everything gets a chance in the spotlight.

The Legion is just like that, there’s to many characters each with a back story all clawing for the lime light. It could be spread out over a couple of books. DC have taken their properties from separate publishing companies and made them part of the DC universe.

Perhaps if the did the reverse with the Legion, the comics could prosper and we wont have to read about yet another reboot of the series in a couple of years time. Are you listening DC?

  • Matthew Elmslie

    Hi. I run a Legion-of-Super-Heroes-related blog (legionabstract.blogspot.com) and was pointed at this article by Google Alerts, and I found it quite interesting. You say a couple of things here which run strongly counter to the conventional wisdom when it comes to the Legion, so much so that I don’t even know if I’ve ever encountered them before.

    First, the various reboots and versions of the Legion are usually ascribed to the need to keep fitting into changing editorial restrictions on what DC would allow to be true in the Legion’s continuity, and not, as you suggest, to changing ideas of the future.

    Second, your suggestion of more 31st-century comics as a way of helping the characters and setting of the Legion take root and thus make the central LSH title stronger is counter to the usual view that one strength of the Legion is that it’s relatively self-contained and separate from the rest of DC, and therefore easier to follow. (Also easier to ignore, but that’s a whole ‘nother problem.)

    And yet I’m not at all sure that you’re wrong.

    Clearly our vision of the future has changed since 1958, and what the Legion’s setting seems like has also changed with it. It’s possible that that has been a driver behind the reboots, if for no other reason than that the writers keep trying to come up with a way of reproducing the spirit of the late ’50s and early ’60s when there’s actually no good way to do that, and no reason to try beyond an appeal to nostalgia.

    As for the multiple-titles idea, to pay more attention to the individual characters, well… The first problem is that there isn’t a chance in hell that DC would ever do it. They would never commit that much effort to making the Legion work again. There isn’t room for it on their schedule, with all the other stuff they want to do. The second problem is that these characters were never meant to carry a title on their own. I’m not saying they couldn’t, because any character could if handled properly, but you’re almost starting from scratch with most of them. If you get past those things? Yeah. It could work. If done well.

    So you gave me some things to think about.

  • Josh

    Hi Matthew, thanks for dropping a comment. I’m glad I gave you something to think about. I try to counter the usual view in the world of comics and try and break certain confines. I’m glad you got in touch, your comment has informed me to.

  • Mark

    The article could have mentioned that the Legion was hugely popular as recently as their ’07/’08 5-part story in Action Comics. The Legion’s Adventure Comics run in 2010 was also well-received.

    I admire Paul Levitz, but the recent stories (and art) were too dark and dank in tone for a future that we view as light and bright, even if ever-shifting…

    • Thanks Mark, that’s a series I might check out. I couldn’t mention ultra specifics like the Lighting Saga either.