The Perfection of Superman and The Legion of Super-Heroes

Nope. I’m not talking about the Super Friends; that’s the 70’s TV show. And I’m not talking about the Justice League of America; that’s the group with Batman, the Flash, Aqua-man and Wonder Woman-well pretty much everybody from the Super Friends. And I’m not talking about the Justice Society of America. That’s a group from a parallel earth with similar heroes (although they’ve now been brought into our earth). I’m talking about the Legion of Super-Heroes, and they’re from the future. The 31st century in fact. Sometimes they fight with Superman as a boy aka Superboy, and sometimes they fight with Supergirl. And I’m late the party, having just discovered them this year, but I love ‘em! One of DC Comics oldest and best comic books.

But the story of Superboy and the legion is actually very inventive. Here’s the situation. Superman just arrives on the scene one day and he knows how to be a superhero. NOBODY has ever seen or heard of him. So, how did he learn to use his powers as a hero? I mean if you’re super strong, the first time you try to catch a person jumping off a building wouldn’t you just pull their arm out of the socket? And tons of other “powers management” issues. So along comes the premise of Superman getting his training as Superboy -and here’s the kicker-they’re from the future. See? Taking him to a different time makes sense, but taking him to the past is impossible or he’d be in the history books. So the future is perfect. Just a solid premise and most people don’t even think about that great logic they employed for that storyline.

Fascinating. Ok there’s more. Really. In the middle of this is this strange, almost Shakespearian, subplot. Keep in mind this all started in 1958 , but they had this weird idea of having a member of the Legion, Brainiac 5, go bad. Its part of the mythology that Brainiac 5 goes bad and/or insane. So you know it’s coming, like in Hamlet, and you know he’s going to have this dead girl named Dreamgirl that haunts his mind-and only he can see her. It’s pretty weird. Sadly, the TV show they had going, ended last week. But I’m kind of OK with that. It ran for 2 seasons and that was it. It was almost like a British show where they don’t try to milk every single dollar out of a series, but just run it long enough to tell the story.

Woops, sorry that image was from the DC Comics, comic book version of the TV show. Yeah, that’s right. They had a Legion of Super-Heroes comic book, turned it into a TV show, then turned the TV show back into a comic book! Here’s a screen cap from TV show version of Brainiac 5.

So it’s sad but strangely they’re doing something similar with ANOTHER carton I like; Ben 10. That show is coming back and he’s going to be older. And that’s what they did in the second season of Legion. But back in the comic books they recently decided to send Supergirl to the future to join the Legion. Fun as hell! And they had Tony Bedard write a few issues too. But for the most part the current series was written by Mark Waid . And I really don’t know if I can put into words how good this comic book series is. It just has heart. It just feels like real stuff . True, emotional, heavy, meaningful, gritty stuff. And he’s so good, and all the writers like Bedard and Jim Shooter (who started working on this series at 14 years old in the 60’s!) keep that tone and vibe going. And they can do it in 2 pages. That’s how good they are.