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Author Topic: The Nine Worst Legion Retcons  (Read 11520 times)
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JulianPerez
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« on: May 08, 2006, 10:38:06 AM »

For this I wanted to have a good laugh and make fun at dumb and clueless ideas, instead of being in a frame of mind where I want the whole human race to spontaneously combust and die - so stop me if I start to sound ticked off.

Retcons have always been the worst to the Legion. The reason I suspect this is the case is because the Legion is a testing ground for new writers, historically. The second is that Legion writers tend to emerge from the crop of fandom and have been Legion fans for some time. No comic, except possibly X-Men, has such a fanbase. The combination of inexperience and hardcore fandom participation means that what essentially happens is, LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES becomes a way for writers to get their Legion fanfic published. No wonder there are so many bad Legion ideas floating around.

9. Valor

Of all the half-assed attempts to keep the Legion, a Superboy spin-off, making sense without Superboy (a Sissyphean task if I ever heard one), Valor was the most half-assed of all. The idea that the Legion would be inspired by the legacy of some guy nobody ever heard of is a hard proposition to swallow, to say nothing of the fact that he's got to replace SUPERBOY. Valor didn't have the gravitas to fill the role in Legion history that Superboy had. That's like replacing Abe Lincoln on the penny with Chester A. Arthur.


8. The Dominators

Some may not consider the introduction of the Dominators by Jimmy Shooter in "The Unkillables" to be a retcon, but if you think about it, it is. Look, if there's this alien race that the U.P. is perpetually in armed struggle with, why the heck weren't they mentioned earlier? It's not possible to throw out something this important to the Legion future as an "...oh, and by the way..."


7. Phantom Girl is half-Carggite and has two "extra" triplicate bodies.

I wanted to limit this list to Pre-Reboot ideas, but this one was way too good to just pass up. Okay, so it turns out that Tinya Wazzo had a mysterious birth as a Carrggite and so she had two long-lost "triplet sisters" from when she triplicated?

"Secret Triplets?"

Is Legion using the writers from Steve Urkel's show? What next? Asmodear, a tiny alien only Cosmic Boy can see?

I always thought it was ridiculous that after you died in Super Mario, you were replaced by another Super Mario. I mean, how does that work? Finally, an explanation: Mario was a Carggite, so there were spares!


6. The Pocket Universe

'Nuff said.


5. The Emerald Empress is controlled by the Eye, instead of vice-versa.

Now, granted, there wasn't any evidence to show that the Emerald Empress WASN'T controlled by her Eye, either. Just like it has never TECHNICALLY been denied that Superman is really a giant lizard in disguise. Yet, for some reason, I'm pretty sure Superman isn't a giant lizard.

This retcon was a bad idea because it means that it gets the Emerald Empress from being evil to a capital E, a great and terrible Crime Queen in the tradition of Terry and the Pirates, to being a pitiable puppet that when the Eye wants her to jump, she says, "off which building?"

This is why that scene in RETURN OF THE JEDI where they unmask Darth Vader was a disappointment: here was a great and terrible villain who with his mask off, is revealed to be a very unattractive bald man with a tiny voice.


4. Shivaughn Erin was originally a man.

Wha - ?

Oh, God, where to even begin.


3. Proty I's mind was in Lightning Lad's body - and always has been since the life force transfer.

I can't find it in me to really hate the Biernbaums. They have such enthusiasm and energy and love that I feel like a horrible person for thinking they had a lousy idea.

But still.

Proty I's mind in Lightning Lad's body - and always has been? For one thing, Proty was a blob whose sentience is debatable. Even if we are as generous as we possibly can be with Proty's intelligence level, I think the other Legionnaires ought to have noticed something "odd" about Lightning Lad after. Even allowing for the fact that everybody gave LL some leeway, HIS GIRLFRIEND CAN READ MINDS. And was around him FOR YEARS. And eventually married him.


2. "Records from your era are sketchy at best."

Technically, this shouldn't count as a retcon, as no single person is responsible for it; it is more like a gradual change in a way of thinking about the Legion, that was really to the Legion's detriment.

Now, think back. What was the single most interesting thing about the Legion of Super-Heroes?

The fact they're from the future.

The Legionnaires know what is eventually going to happen to Superboy - including for instance, when he is going to die. They removed a metal plate from Supergirl's bust that had on it when she revealed herself to the world, even before she did. They know Superman, Supergirl and Bronco Bill Starr's secret identities because this is common knowledge in their time.

We even knew what was going to happen to the Legionnaires themselves: who they were going to marry, who was going to die, who was going to lose their powers. Matter-Eater Lad was one day, going to be president of his home planet. It was incredible thrill to get a sneak peek at the adult lives of characters.

But characters that know the future can eliminate suspense and make certain types of stories not possible. Thus, over time, whenever the Legionnaires went to the 20th Century, they said more and more that "records from this era are sketchy at best." The single most interesting thing about the Legion - that they have knowledge that lets them "cheat" a little, is removed. The fact they are time-travellers no longer is important to thier stories; they could come from the center of the earth or other planets and be the same characters. And eventually, even the Adult Legion story was written out.


1. Cosmic Boy was the Time Trapper

Kudos to Zero Hour for providing an answer to a question that nobody asked!

Did anybody wonder about the identity of the Trapper? No! Because we already KNEW who the Trapper was: a malignant alien entity from the end of time. He ddn't HAVE a secret identity. As if the PRISONER-esque "twist" wasn't telegraphed in advance that Mr. Magoo could see it coming, it managed to write Cosmic Boy entirely out of character even more than he had been in the atrocious Giffen years - a feat of bad writing so incredible it borders on the mythological.
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Great Rao
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« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2006, 11:14:44 PM »

Great list Julian, thanks!

Quote
Now, granted, there wasn't any evidence to show that the Emerald Empress WASN'T controlled by her Eye, either. Just like it has never TECHNICALLY been denied that Superman is really a giant lizard in disguise. Yet, for some reason, I'm pretty sure Superman isn't a giant lizard.

Julian, Superman has in fact been a giant lizard in disguise.  Have you read the three-part story where he completely physically and mentally transforms himself into a giant lizard in order to infiltrate the Superman Revenge Squad?  He does such a thorough job on the transformation that he actually forgets he is Superman and believes himself to be a giant lizard that hates Superman.

Behold: Superman, the giant lizard.

S!
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« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2006, 11:33:44 PM »

Well, for me the list is a mix of BAD ideas, ideas that were bad but more the result of the ill-considered aftermath of Crisis...and point number 2, which is really inherent in time travel stories where time travel occurs all the time...for point 2, I would have hoped that stories avoided too much tricky time stuff (I always wondered how Dynamo Boy could be stranded in the end times of the universe when the Iron Curtain of Time was in effect)...but the upside was you got to read cool science fiction stories from the 30th century... Cool
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Klar Ken T5477
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« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2006, 11:48:49 PM »

Huh?  Im sure glad I stopped reading the LSH after they left Adventure.
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« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2006, 01:43:47 AM »

isn't Valor suppose to be Mon-El or does he just look like him?

Anyway, poor Legion Sad

That said, do a list for Green Latern or Captain Marvel and your head will explode before you click on submit  :shock:
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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2006, 04:58:36 PM »

Quote from: "Super Monkey"
isn't Valor suppose to be Mon-El or does he just look like him?

The original post-Crisis Valor was indeed Lar Gand of Daxam.  But since there was no longer a Clark Kent Superboy to have sent him to the Phantom Zone, he was never named "Mon-El."  Remember, Mon had received the name Mon-El from Kal-El - who named him "Mon" after "Monday" (the day he found him) and "El" because he thought he was his brother.  So now Lar  was instead named "Valor" (possibly a nod to the pre-Crisis Valor) and he always had been.

Lar Gand/Valor was supposed to have been legendary for having seeded the United Planets worlds - the hero of the galaxy, bigger even than Superman - so much so that he served as the inspiration for the LSH, who could no longer have been inspired by the now non-existent Superboy.

But we, the readers, never saw Valor actually do any of that until much much later.  DC seemed to have incredible difficulty trying to explain his backstory - we knew he was legendary, but we didn't know why for the longest time;  There had never been a Phantom Zone, so where had Valor been for the last 1,000 years?  I think they eventually came up with a "Twilight Dimension" or something as a work-around - but who sent him to the "Twilight Dimension" if there had never been a Superboy?  etc.., etc...

He eventually changed his name from "Valor" to "M'onel" - after his non-existent Martian heritage.

Basically, it was all a completely hopeless mess.  His backstory was being concocted in bits and pieces and little drops were being revealed at a snail's pace, but at the same time there were LSH reboots going on every few months so the revelations always applied to a new and slightly different backstory.

I think he's back to being called "Mon-El" now.  I don't know his current origin, though.

S!
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2006, 09:37:52 PM »

Quote from: "Great Rao"
Julian, Superman has in fact been a giant lizard in disguise.  Have you read the three-part story where he completely physically and mentally transforms himself into a giant lizard in order to infiltrate the Superman Revenge Squad?  He does such a thorough job on the transformation that he actually forgets he is Superman and believes himself to be a giant lizard that hates Superman.

Behold: Superman, the giant lizard.

S!


My head just exploded from the awesomeness of this.

There were some ideas that were introduced in the Weisenger years that because they were space opera in nature, got a lot of use in the science fiction-heavy Schwartz years. One example of which is Amalak, who received many appearances in the Weisenger years, but whose best stories came with Schwartz, including his team-up with Nam-Ek, and his participation in Xviar's Nine Ultimate Enemies of Superman. Another such example is the flying saucer armed Superman Revenge Squad.

Quote from: "Great Rao"
Basically, it was all a completely hopeless mess. His backstory was being concocted in bits and pieces and little drops were being revealed at a snail's pace, but at the same time there were LSH reboots going on every few months so the revelations always applied to a new and slightly different backstory.


VALOR is to my hero Kurt Busiek what his brief run on the troubled POWER MAN was to my other hero, Steve Englehart: proof they don't bat a thousand.

That said, the work that many consider to be Busiek's worst, the MAXIMUM SECURITY crossover, is one that I personally think is really great, fun and underrated. I love seeing all those great old space guys in action again - the concept was sharp, and Professor X leading the team against the Skrulls was fantastic. To say nothing of the best use of the Silver Surfer in years! And Triathlon is a great and underrated character. I've always thought that US Agent would make a very great "heavy," and this series proved it.
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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2006, 10:03:37 PM »

I doubt Mr Busiek's was reposnible for editorial conundrums that were/are imploding all over DC.  You work with what you're given by the editor.

Editorial whizes Uncle Morty and BO Schwartz (Be Original!) made sense out of what is now senselessness.  sigh
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