Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Legion Alternities

Not to discount the imminent finale of the Waid/Kitson run on Supergirl and the Legion, but there are an awful lot of Legionnaires and Legion-related stuff running around the DCU these days. Over at Legion World, they came up with this list (complete with page scans):

  • Starman in the JSA, who appears to be the pre-Crisis Star Boy by way of the Kingdom Come universe
  • Dawnstar, Dream Girl, and Karate Kid, all in JLA and/or JSA, all apparently pre-Crisis
  • the pre-Glorithverse Fatal Five, in Brave and Bold #3
  • Statues of the pre-Glorithverse Legion in Superman's Fortress, from Action Comics Annual #10
  • Superman's Legion flight ring, as mentioned in JLA #0 and #8
  • In Action Comics, Superman tells his dad about the last time he faced a Sun-Eater, how he had help. Could he be referring to Final Night, or is this a reference to some as-yet-unknown Legion career?

(I'm not prepared yet to fit Mon-El into this scenario. This one from the Action Comics Annual isn't the same guy as pre-Glorithverse, since he interacted with Clark Kent before he became Superman and he was rescued by a different Legion in the 31st century than his pre-Crisis counterpart. I'm also discounting Infectious Lass in Tales of the Unexpected, that doesn't seem like a story in any kind of continuity.)

(And then there's the tangentially related items, like Sun-Eaters in 52; a Durlan agent in Green Lantern Corps #7; Ventura, the Gambler's Planet in Brave and Bold; a blue-skinned woman from Talok IV in Green Lantern #18; the apparent origin of the Emerald Eye, even though we'd seen two of them previously in the L.E.G.I.O.N. series; Sun Girl, in the Teen Titans, who claims to be from the 31st century and could be linked in an as-yet-unknown manner to Sun Boy; Dominators in Green Lantern Corps #8, Green Lantern #16, Outsiders #44; etc. I'd put these on a lower tier of Legion-ness, though Sun Girl still bears watching.)

Based on Dream Girl's Darkseid dream-image and Karate Kid being alive, if we assume that this is somehow the pre-Crisis Legion, that puts lower and upper bounds on what time period they're from (LSH v2 #295 to LSH v3 #5), and then we have to figure out how. Darkseid here could be a vision of her future, which would then back it up a little to just before the Great Darkness Saga.

Matthew from the Legion Abstract wrote something on the Legion World thread a couple weeks ago that didn't strike me as profoundly relevant (or at least possibly so) until today.
Maybe LSH #300 is the key to sorting all this out.

In writing that story, Levitz and Giffen showed how the writers didn't have to be slaves to the Adult Legion stories of the past, by showing us alternate futures. Here's what might have happened if Computo won, or if Blok had followed the Dark Man, or if Mordru had won Earthwar. Brainiac 5 finally found a place for Douglas Nolan in one of those alternate timelines, one in which he took his brother's place as a Legionnaire.

This fits into the time frame I just mentioned very neatly.

A couple months ago, when the Action Comics Annual with Mon-El came out, we noticed a set of life-size Pre-Crisis Legion statues in Superman's Fortress. Leaving aside the obvious question of why Superman had a set of life-size Pre-Crisis Legion statues in his Fortress, the costumes of the Legionnaires gave an exact time point. Here's what I wrote:
The costumes of Cham, Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, and Shadow Lass date the statues to immediately prior to the Great Darkness Saga (I checked the covers to be sure - Saturn Girl's non-bikini appeared on the cover to LSH v2 289, while on 288 Shadow Lass is in her non-cloaked costume; Cos was already in his post-Grell costume and Cham hadn't yet changed to purple and yellow).

That's two things that point to the Legion right when the Levitz/Giffen team took over.

Hypertime vs Alternate Futures vs the Multiverse. Didn't things used to be easier when we all knew what the difference between Earth-1 and Earth-2 was? We've already seen the Pre-Zero Hour and Post-Zero Hour Legions meeting via the magic of Hypertime, in LSH v4 #105 and Legionnaires #61.

But supposedly Hypertime is no longer a viable concept in the post Infinite Crisis continuum, so we can't use that any more. And the Multiverse is coming back in some form, and I certainly wouldn't be surprised to see 52 Earths out there, one "grown" from each of the so-called "missing seconds".

There's something, though, about the Legion at this point in time. Maybe this is one of the alternate realities that Brainiac 5 didn't record? What could be the divergence point for this timeline - when did Star Boy go missing for a little while around that time frame?

Matthew asked Brad Meltzer directly:
Did you and Geoff Johns just generally draw a set of Legionnaires from a nonspecific point in Levitz-and-Giffen-era continuity, or was there care taken to insert this crossover at juuust the right point in the Legion's history, to make sure that, for instance, the Legion roster had everyone on it that you needed?

Meltzer's answer: "Fair question. Can't answer it. :-)"

Sounds to me like Matthew's on to something.

Coming up in Action Comics #850 next month:
In this extra-sized special issue, writer Kurt Busiek reunites with artist Renato Guedes to visit the 31st Century and the Girl of Steel! Supergirl's looking for a way to back from the future and to realize why Superman doesn't want her to wear the "S" shield, but both Superman and Supergirl in for a big surprise when they see what the past has in store! With time-viewing sneak peaks at the upcoming year's events!


Matthew E said...

That seems to sum things up pretty well.

One more bit of data, for whatever it's worth: spoilers indicate that Wildfire is one of the seven Legionnaires appearing in JLA/JSA. If this turns out to be so, then that suggests nonconclusively that this Legion isn't from the period of time right around and before LSH #300, because at that time Wildfire was a blob of energy that wouldn't return to his containment suit because he was ticked off at Invisible Kid.

Greg said...

It is worth pointing out that it's wholly humanocentric to slice time into seconds.

That is, if there's 52 missing seconds, you can produce 52 universes or 100 or 3 or whatever number you care for.

Matthew E said...

Oh, and:

Matthew from the Legion Abstract wrote something on the Legion World thread a couple weeks ago that didn't strike me as profoundly relevant (or at least possibly so) until today.

A common mistake. As a general rule, you can assume that everything I write is at least potentially profoundly relevant. You won't go too far wrong if you just remember that.


Matthew E said...

I just read JSA #5, and we get some details about the history of Superman and the Legion (and Star Boy in particular) in it, and I have come to the conclusion that this is not the original Legion. It's a Legion a lot like the original Legion, but it's not the original Legion.

Jonathan Miller said...

Wow, JSA #5 was an informative issue. We found out how Superman knows about the Legion (yay!), got more info on the Star Boy situation, had a surprise (which, I guess, was less of a surprise for some people) appearance and, most importantly, got a close-up look at the statues. The issue is new enough that I don't know how much to discuss about them and what they may mean, but they certainly got me thinking. I agree with Matthew; this isn't the Levitz Legion, it's the Earth-IC Levitz Legion. There are a few hints as to how they differ in the statues, I think.

Michael, let me know how spoilery for the issue I can get. ;-)