The word is out that the Legion of Super-Heroes has been cancelled. I wasn’t really surprised when I heard the news; I’d been expecting the axe to fall for quite some time. It lasted much longer than I expected it do, especially considering I’d never heard a good word about it.
And I’ll admit that I’m conflicted about it’s cancellation. As a relatively long-time Legion fan (I discovered the team toward the end of their “Baxter” book run) I’m going to miss the characters and the setting. But as someone who’s purchased the book for the past few years, I’m relieved that I no longer have to pretend I’m enjoying it.
Of course this isn’t the first time I’ve written about the Legion. It’s pretty much been an annual occurrence. Three years ago I offered up some solutions on how to fix the Legion. Two years ago I lamented how Paul Levitz had been handling the franchise. And last year I gave my best shot to try to diversify the property.
The problems with the post-Flashpoint Legion aren’t entirely Paul Levitz’s fault. As with any huge continuity altering event (COIE, Zero Hour, Final Crisis) Flashpoint hit the Legion pretty hard. But that’s to be expected when your book is set 1,000 years in the future.
Like the Batman and Green Lantern books, the Legion reboot was a soft one, in that the majority of continuity was carried over. But the problem of having ties to the present DCU is that the present DCU is still unfolding, so there’s really not all that much to build upon. There really hasn’t been a threat in the current DCU that a) is large enough to affect the entire DCU and b) would still be around to threaten the Legion.
So the Legion is stuck with battling foes they’ve bested over the years and new characters who pose threats to small groups of Legionnaires, but wouldn’t be able to face off against them all. And as everyone knows, if you don’t have credible threats no one cares about your heroes.
But the Legion’s been cancelled, so let’s not dwell on the past; let’s focus on the future. We know the Legion is coming back. It’s one of the DC’s most storied teams and it’s honestly a great concept. So where should DC go from here?
My pitch; A More Firm Reboot.
The past two Legion #1’s have not been particularly “new reader” friendly. It’s looking like Levitz is building to the fall of the Legion (possibly.) So what if the inevitable Legion #1 focuses on a team of youthful heroes who aspire to fill the void left by the Legion?
You can still have the old school Legionnaires pop up from time to time or even serve in an advisory role. It’d be like a mix of the 5YG Legion, Legionnaires and the post-Zero Hour Legion all mixed together in one book.
Because it’s new characters it’d be new reader friendly. Because they’re inspired by the Legion, you can downplay the links to the 21st Century DCU. And because they’re new characters any threats you throw at them will be new to them.
Personally I think this is the best tact for DC to take with the team.
I’m a guy who lived and breathed Who’s Who in the Legion and loved the 5YG Legion and I could barely get invested in the current Legion title. I’m pretty much what you’d call a diehard Legion fan, but the Legion did nothing for me. Clearly it’s time to abandon old fans and aim the franchise at some fresh eyes.
It’s weird, but with the cancellation of the Legion, I’m oddly optimist about the concept for the first time in a long time. It seems counterintuitive, but it’s genuinely how I feel.
Anyway, it’s Wednesday, go out, support your local comic book store and get some fresh new comics.
Tags: Crisis on Infinite Earths, FINAL CRISIS, Flashpoint (DC Comics), Legion, Legion of Super-Heroes, Paul Levitz, Wednesday Comments, Zero Hour