Wednesday Comments – Legion of Super-Heroes R.I.P.

Spoiler alert: I will be discussing the finale of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Granted it came out last week, but still, there’s your fair warning.

I can’t really say why I’m so surprised by the subtle reveal at the end of LSH #23. I mean, DC has a history of retcons. Crisis on Infinite Earths hit the resent button for the entire DC Universe and Superman’s origin has been retconned more in the past two decades than in the five decades prior to that.

Hell, even “Batman: Year One”, the much revered tale that served as the basis of two films is currently being retconned out of existence.

So the idea that DC’s 55 year old franchise, the Legion of Super-Heroes, would be immune to retconning is a foolish one. The Legion was been on the receiving end of retcons at least four times before (two major and two minor.) But the extent of the current retcon is what’s so jarring.

The big reveal in the final issue of LSH is that their adventures had been taking place in Earth 2’s future, which is essentially like saying it’s occurring in an alternate future or timeline. And “alternate” is comic code for “never happened.” Or in the Legion’s case “never going to happen.”

Yes Earth-2 is currently the setting or plays a role in two separate DC monthly comics; World’s Finest and Earth 2. So those two books means that the Legion series hasn’t totally been written off. At least not yet. With James Robinson leaving, Earth 2’s future doesn’t look terribly stable.

But setting the Legion on Earth 2, after the fact, does sort of undermine the entire series. And it really does seem to be an afterthought meant to set up whatever the Justice League inspired book set in the DC’s 30th Century is coming out before the year is out. When you factor in the Legion Lost involved Legionnaires traveling to the 21st Century and ending up in the New 52 Universe, it certainly looks like an afterthought.

As if that weren’t enough, you’ve got Earthman and Mon-El, two characters whose origins are tied to Superman and the Green Lantern Corps being major players in those early issues. The Earth 2 surprise obviously isn’t so much a reveal as it is a retcon.

It’s really sad that DC has chosen to abandon one of its most enduring concepts. The Legion of Superheroes is easily one of its most optimistic concepts. It’s set in a future that’s pretty bright and happy. The Legion is an organization with a membership that’s about merit and all alien races are invited to try out. Plus they had actual elections for Legion leader, with the readership actually voting. How awesome is that; a book that actually listened to their readers.

And even while the 5YL Legion was set in a dark world, the underlying theme was hope and reuniting the Legion to be a spark of hope. I’m really going to miss the Legion.

I can’t fault DC for trying to milk the “Justice League” franchise for all it’s worth. It’s worked well with Marvel and Avengers, so why shouldn’t DC give it a try? Justice League Dark is tenuous, but it appears to working. And if DC can work that magic in the 30th Century, more power to them.

Plus, we can always hope that the Legion will return. After all, we did see them turn up in Grant Morrison’s most recent revamp of Superman’s early years. So, somewhere out there, the Legion still exists.

Love live the Legion.

Well, it’s Wednesday, you should go out and pick up some fresh new comic books. See you next week.

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