Adam Graham's Blog: Christians and Superheroes - Posts Tagged "legion-of-superheroes"

Book Review: Showcase Presents Legion of Superheroes, Volume 1

Showcase Presents: Legion of Super-Heroes, Vol. 1 Showcase Presents: Legion of Super-Heroes, Vol. 1 by Jerry Siegel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Ah, the Silver Age Legion of Superheroes, those zany kids from the thirtieth (or occasionally twenty-first century). They are the team who had an unbelievably huge roster long before Marvel and DC added so many Avengers and Justice Leaguers that they need three or four teams for them. The Legion of Superheroes is a team that treats the Space-time continuum like it's an a toy as they freely yank Superboy and Supergirl in for adventures never worrying what might happen if one of their adventures goes awry in the 31st Century and one of them is unable to return altering time forever.

That's not their concern. The book is more pure escapist fun than will be allowed in modern comics.

This book collects their earliest adventures beginning with guest appearances in the stories of Superboy and Supergirl from 1958-62. These stories are fairly good. The Superboy stories are particularly welcomed given the dearth of silver age Superboy reprints out there. On the other hand, the Legion can come off as jerks with some really mean behavior, and cruel pranks, though some of its explained by the end of the story.

Also, the editors made the somewhat dubious decision to reprint some stories that were only tangentially tied to the Legion such as a Supergirl story, "Superman's Super Courtship" that has Supergirl trying to play Cupid for Superman and a couple pages are dedicated to her attempt to get Superman hitched with a grown Saturn Woman, little knowing she was already married to Lightning Man. A more important story is Superboy's meeting with Mon-El who would become a powerful legionnaire.

The beginning of the true legion adventures isn't until Page 181 which is Adventure Comics #300. The next 360+ pages collects Adventure Comics #300-#321 with a couple of guest spots in Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen. At this point, the Legion had no contact with anyone outside of the Superboy/Superman sphere of influence in the mainstream DC Universe.

And what follows are a series of truly enjoyable stories. Having read the early Justice League stories, these are far better. They're definitely plot based stories but they're very well-done imaginative plots. This is aided by the fact that the Legion includes heroes with so many unique powers such as Triplicate Girl who can split herself into thirds, Bouncing Boy who can bounce, Matter-eater Boy who can well eat matter of various types. There are more conventional powers like Lightning Lad's.

The story had interesting concepts and dealt with the death of a hero early on with the passing of Lightning Lad who died to save Saturn Girl. Of course, he'd be back, the book was pretty honest about that too. And it's creepy how the heroes resolved to do that and left him on display like he was Lenin, but still it was interesting.

Another great concept here was the Legion of Subsitute Heroes which come about through a recurring them of the Legion considering new member. The front cover portrays Superboy before an American Idol style panel deciding whether he should be allowed in or not. The Legion rejected many. Some of them formed the Legion of Subsitute Heroes led by Night Girl and a couple days they get into action and save the Legion's bacon, most notably in the Legion's Suicide Squad in which Night Girl saves the day despite her powers only working at night.

The book dealt with Sunboy snapping after too many missions leading to a mutiny and Sunboy having his colleagues put into a ship without food, water, or a significant out of fuel, and the stranded heroes having to figure out how to go from one hostile planet to another to finally get home.

"The Super-Villains of All Ages" is another classic that has the Legion having to fight Hitler, Nero, and John Dillinger who have taken over the bodies of Superboy, Mon-el, and Ultraboy, three of the group's strongest members.


There was only one story that didn't really make any sense within its context and it was the one in which Lightning Lad was believed to have returned as the Legion came upon him returning to life in his Lenin display case. But it turned out to be his sister Lightning Lass who disguised herself as him. This raised a multitude of questions. "Why did she need to disguise herself as her dead twin brother? Why didn't she join the legion normally? How long had she been lying there?"

Another favorite was, "The Legion of Super Monsters" which featured a rejected legionnaire candidate turning his powers to control animals to vengeance and evil as he takes control of deadly beasts throughout the galaxy.

The Legion does have a few bad moments, though most bad or jerky behavior is explained as an attempt to prevent some greater evil such as when Saturn Girl steals everyone's powers so that she'll be the one to fulfill a prophecy about a Legionnaire dying. The Legion's Constitution can be annoying. If a hero loses their power, they're kicked out of the legion immediately no matter how often superheroes lose their powers. This was relaxed in the last story as Bouncing Lad was able to stay a reserve even though he could no longer bounce.

Overall, this was just a great book, despite some of the stories at the front, I have to say that this book is right up there with World's Finest and the Flash, as the best of the Silver Age Showcase books I've read so far.



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Published on February 16, 2014 18:31 Tags: legion-of-superheroes

Book Review: Legion of Superheroes, Volume 1

Legion of Super-Heroes, Vol. 1: Teenage Revolution Legion of Super-Heroes, Vol. 1: Teenage Revolution by Mark Waid

My rating: 2 of 5 stars


Mark Waid's taken on the Legion of Superheroes is hard to get through. They are the the picture of "rebels without a cause." They are rebelling against authority, but because the book lacks a central thrust its a bit vague as to what actually is their concern. As with many legion books, there are too many characters and no focal point which does hurt the book. I'll see if it gets better when they go to Supergirl and the Legion Superheroes, but this one is ultimately forgettable.



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Published on February 02, 2020 00:00 Tags: legion-of-superheroes, mark-waid

Christians and Superheroes

Adam Graham
I'm a Christian who writes superhero fiction (some parody and some serious.)

On this blog, we'll take a look at:

1) Superhero stories
2) Issues of faith in relation to Superhero stories
3) Writing
...more
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