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Author Topic: The Legion and SuperMAN  (Read 10690 times)
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DoctorZero
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« Reply #8 on: March 11, 2007, 12:18:31 AM »

The Legion was always important to the Superboy/Superman mythology.  Both suffered when the ties were cut.
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JulianPerez
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« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2007, 01:51:54 AM »

Quote from: TELLE
For me, The Legion is more of a big brother than a son to Superboy in its earliest incarnation.  When Superboy encounters the Legion initially, the adventure is characterized as the first time he has encountered other, more experienced young heroes.  They lead him to understand that he is creating a legacy by his actions in the 20th Century and therefore has a responsibility to future generations.  They even outsmart him for awhile and seem superior until he "proves" himself. 

This is true, now that I think about it.  But my point still stands: that in the early days, Legion was an extension of the Superman Mythos: That first story, we had Superman visit a future version of Smallville and Metropolis, for instance.

Though Superboy ought to be important to Legion history as an individual, I am not 100% against the idea of the Legion being inspired by superheroism in general instead of by a single person, at least at this point where the Legion is well-established. At first, it baffled me why it is, for his very first story arc, Geoff Johns used Mordru as a JSA enemy. Then the reason came in a brilliant flash later on, during the rockin' magic duel between Dr. Fate and Mordru.

Doctor Fate and Mordru battled so hard that they were whooshed through various eras, and one was the Legion's future.

"Look, Mordru!" Doctor Fate said. "The JSA has started something that can never be undone. Inspired by their predecessors, they will stop you, time and again."

Quote from: TELLE
Later, they give Superboy a sense of family where he functions as one among equals --people he can relate to who are different from most of the people he has encountered in the 20th Century.  He is even sometimes superfluous --Mon-El and Ultraboy have essentially the same abilities.  I sometimes feel that he uses his time-travel adventures as a form of escapism (like reading a comic book) --leaping into an adventure that in some ways, because it doesn't take place in the "real world", has less consequences.  Heck, he can even take a backseat if he wants to!

Interesting observation. That because the future is such a never-never land, there's an element of escapism for Superboy when visiting the Legion.

Incidentally, this is a pretty good explanation for just why, except for one stint as Deputy Leader, Superboy never really was a terribly active Legionnaire.

Quote from: TELLE
The idea of Superman leaving the Legion behind as an adult, like they were a youthful indulgence or fantasy, is kind of sad but a great analogy.  I just saw Pan's Labyrinth and this theme of "childish things" is really weighing on me.  Alan Moore used the trope in the Miracleman stories when he retconned the 1950s Miracleman adventures into a scientifically-induced dream state imagined by the sleeping heroes: the only way to explain how the heroes could fly to Neptune to get some flowers or use magic was to say it was the fever dream of a young boy.  I can almost imagine I read a story about when the Legion visit an adult Superman and he laughs at them, thinking they are trying to hoax him with a story about a club of teenage superheroes from the far-future who live in an upside-down rocketship and have names like Brainiac 5 and Lightning Boy.  Sort of like a grown-up Peter Pan who has left Neverland behind and forgotten it.

I agree with this but only to a certain extent: that there is a very tragic element to the relationship of Superboy to the Legion, one not specifically stated because it doesn't have to be: eventually, he has to leave them at some point for good. In the Adult Legion story, Superman hadn't returned to the future for some time.

But I don't think Superman would ever laugh at the Legion, because of the Legion's inherent dignity and prestige. He'd sooner laugh at the Justice League. Sure, Matter Eater Lad is a pretty weird character that might be a villain in an issue of the Arnold Drake DOOM PATROL, but otherwise, Legion battles are high-stakes affairs where people die. It's hard to imagine anything with beings as malevolent and cosmically high-powered as Mordru or the Sun-Eater as being happy-go-lucky.

And even the upside-down rocketship was eventually replaced - as early as the Jim Shooter/Curt Swan years - by a facility that covers an entire city block, with a hangarful of Legion cruisers and state of the art weapons. A facility that we later learn is a major tourist attraction.
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MatterEaterLad
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« Reply #10 on: March 11, 2007, 03:30:52 AM »

I just can't agree based on the following:

1. Superboy was not a rare guest in 10 years of Legion adventures in the 1960s.

2. The adult Super Villains seemd to have a a thing for Superman and involved him frequently.

3. A seminal story, the tale of Luma Lunai involves Supergirl wanting Superman to have happiness with Saturn Woman.

4. Where is the "break" between Superboy's and Superman's involvement in the Legion aside from one that is implied because stories didn't fill it in?  I'm not buying it, certainly not based on the revisionist "Superman: The Secret Years" tales.

BTW, I still maintain that although originally (1958), the Legion showed Superboy Smallville in the 30th century, they made no connections to Metropolis as far as geography or relationship.

IMO, the Legion may be a "spin off', but it ended up defining the Man of Steel more than he ever defined them.
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TELLE
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« Reply #11 on: March 11, 2007, 11:07:14 AM »

But I don't think Superman would ever laugh at the Legion, because of the Legion's inherent dignity and prestige.

I would agree --he would never laugh at them if he remembered them.  I was imaging a story in which his memory has been altered for some reason (a theme of later Superboy and Legion adventures involving the Psycho Warrior, etc).

Superboy does make a real break with the Legion when he enters college and later becomes Superman --there are no pre-Crisis stories wherein Superman is a member.  He is actual seen resigning in Superboy and the Legion (retitled Legion) #259 (late-70s, early80s?)

Although the scene I have in my head is this one, from Legion 300:


« Last Edit: March 11, 2007, 11:12:30 AM by TELLE » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2007, 03:10:35 PM »

I wasn't referring to Superman continuing to be a member, but that he often continued to interact with them.  He had to, Jimmy Olsen (Elastic Lad) was an honorary member, his cousin served in the Legion (setting up the odd paradox that Superman could know of Kara's Legion exploits at the same time Superboy would have to have these memories removed).  And again, when the Super Villains came to the past, they would would be a probelm with Superman, along with other adventures.

I still believe that this relationship is why Moore chose the Legion to be stars in "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow" over the Justice League of America.
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TELLE
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« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2007, 04:49:49 AM »

I think saying they were stars is a bit much --their brief cameo was a key plot point and very touching and nostalgic.  The JLA was there as well, but it's not like Batman gave Superman a memento of their battle against the Phantom Zone Villains or something.  As a matter of fact, the inability of the JLA to penetrate Mxy's dome stands as something of a metaphor for their lack of centrality to Superman's life.  The Legion can cut to the heart of Superman's last hours but the JLA (including Batman and Robin) must stand on the sidelines while those who truly matter to Superman stand shoulder to shoulder with him.

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JulianPerez
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« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2007, 09:22:57 AM »

Quote from: Matter-Eater Lad
4. Where is the "break" between Superboy's and Superman's involvement in the Legion aside from one that is implied because stories didn't fill it in? 

That's the thing, though...even in the Adult Legion tale itself, they even SAY Superman hadn't been an active member for such a considerable length of time. Such a length of time, that he's able to be astounded by developments like, say, Matter-Eater Lad becoming president of his home planet. Note the surprise that Ayla Ranzz has on seeing Superman - not normal if he was a regular or even intermittent visitor. Even Douglas Nolan himself talks about Superman being in the future as if it was an unusual event: "So, they think bringing SUPERMAN in will stop me, eh? They're DEAD WRONG!"

True, the Adult Legion appeared to battle the Legion of Super-Villains among other occasions. I don't think Superman ever totally broke off contact with the Legion after a certain point. But there will come a point where Superman's visits are less regular.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2007, 09:28:09 AM by JulianPerez » Logged

"Wait, folks...in a startling new development, Black Goliath has ripped Stilt-Man's leg off, and appears to be beating him with it!"
       - Reporter, Champions #15 (1978)
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