Thursday, March 6, 2014

Revisiting Legion of Super Heroes

  Since day one of reading comics I have been a Marvel Zombie. Not the nicest way to describe those of us who found their love of comics and passion for characters in the 616…but probably an apt one. There were only a couple DC titles I read as a kid and Legion of Super Heroes (LOSH) was my favorite. Back in the day, it was hard to find every issue of a book at your local convenience or grocery store so I missed a lot. As I got older and had more money, I completed some but not all of the LOSH. But it was not till yesterday that I had the opportunity to read a complete run from #283 all the way to the end of the 80’s.
     My good buddy Douglas Briel has spent the last couple years putting together this great run and last night he let me borrow the first box. I opened it to find a reprint of Adventure Comics #247, the first appearance of the LOSH from 1958.  In typical Silver Age fashion, Superboy is introduced to the Legion through a series of humiliating encounters that end in a big laugh as they take him to the 30th century aboard their Time Bubble. Awesome!
     From there Superboy is tested in an unwinnable trial by each of the founding members as part of his initiation. They just aren’t very nice to their idols in the 30th century. But when he humbly accepts defeat they surprise him with membership. From this classic start by writer Otto Binder and artist Al Plastino came a series that still holds a place in my heart.
     The next issue in line was LOSH #283. I don’t think Doug could have started me at a better place than an origin issue for Wildfire. Right off the bat I am reminded why I love these characters so much in a tragic and personal episode where Wildfire tells 3 failed Legionnaire applicants his history. From the loss of his parents, a corporeal body and both of the women he loves to his failure to gain entry to the LOSH his first go around and a year adrift in space. I was 8 the first time I read this issue and I was hooked allover again.
     Roy Thomas was this issue’s scribe, but the last page promised the return of Paul Levitz next issue and he is to the Legion what Chris Claremont is to the X-Men. I have a lot of comics to go through, but I’m going to read one each morning with my coffee so I can make them last. I like dark, and the LOSH can get very dark, but there is something inspiring about the idea that what you do today matters.  These teens in the future are led to do what is right by the legend of a man that did right today. I can’t wait to relive where that takes them.
LONG LIVE THE LEGION!
Ben Schwartz