Archive | August, 2013

Long Live the L.E.G.I.O.N.

18 Aug

Years ago, I had a sizeable collections of DC comics.  As a teen, I had spent all of my money on them.  But during a moment of poverty as a young father, I was forced to sell my collection.  Over the last few years, I have spent a lot of time and effort trying to replace and rebuild that collection.  Recently, at a comic book convention, I managed to rediscover a classic series from yesteryear, L.E.G.I.O.N. 

Now, for as long as I have read comics, I have always loved the Legion of Superheroes.  It is a classic “space opera” series set in the distant future.  Teenaged superheroes from across the galaxy united to protect all of space AND time.  It is a wonderful concept.  But in the late 1980s, Keith Giffen, my favorite creator in comic books, decided to create a prequel (before the concept became popular) spin-off set a thousand years earlier (i.e. OUR time period). 

The new book was very different.  For one thing, instead of featuring teenagers, it focused on adults.  When I first read it, this didn’t excite me as much, but now as an adult rediscovering the book, I have enjoyed this shift in focus.  But even better is the way the characters get along.  In true Giffen fashion, a major focus of the book is the human characters.  Now, the book is a “space opera,” much like the classic Legion series and no homo sapian joins the team until the second year, but I mean “human character” in the sense that each of the characters got an interesting developed personality.  My favorite character was team leader, Vril Dox, who was far from DC’s typical lead character.  Instead of being noble and honest, Dox reveled in Machiavellian style scheming, all for the greater good (according to Dox) of the galaxy.  Another early favorite was Garryn Bek, perpetual loser and whiner.  The character was a rare honest cop from a world of 90% drug addicted gangsters.  He married his wife for the sole purpose of collecting information on her drug lord father, a quest he failed at.  Over time, though, he slowly developed into a genuine hero, with a bit of a spine.  But it took a WHILE!  And one possession by an ancient, powerful artifact from DC lore.  And who can forget early Lobo, before he became DC’s answer to Wolverine?

I plan on saying more about this wonderful series later, but I want to wrap up by pointing out just how daring the book was.  For one thing, it took 12 issues to tell what the title L.E.G.I.O.N. acronym even meant.  For another, one team member killed a main character within the first year (yes, he promptly got better in true comic book fashion, but it was still shocking).  And finally, another main character left during that time period, only to be replaced by a classic DC character, who promptly developed amnesia for over five years.  And because it is not a “classic” by most fans’ standards, the series can be found cheap, without much look.  I got almost all of the run for about 15 dollars.  Give it a shot.