Matthew at Legion Abstract got me thinking about Earth-2 again. A while back I proposed some theories about placing all of the different Legions into a coherent continuity such that nobody is upset about "their" Legion being left out. Well, of course I was mostly wrong, but that won't stop me from looking at it again with fresh eyes and the benefit of having read Infinite Crisis and 52.
So, to recap:
- Superboy of Earth-1 joined the Legion, which was from the future of Earth-1. We'll call this the Earth-1 Legion.
- Post-Crisis, Superboy was from the Pocket Universe and there was only a single Earth (let's call it Earth-Sigma, from the engineering notation where the Greek letter sigma means "summation"). The Legion was from the future of Earth-Sigma. Superboy later died.
- Post Mordruverse, the Legion was created never knowing about Superboy, who did not exist because Superman never had a career as Superboy (just like Earth-2). This Legion was very similar to the Earth-1 Legion, with some heroes the same and some changed (analogous to the Justice Society of Earth-2 and the Justice League of Earth-1). Let's call this one the Earth-2 Legion for now.
- Post Zero Hour, there was a new Legion with some characters the same as the previous version, but with a completely different history for them and for the Legion. Let's call this one the Earth-5 Legion for now.
- As a result of the Infinite Crisis, the multiverse returned, and a new Legion came into being. In this future, the stories of Earth-1 appeared in comic books that survived 1000 years (just as Barry Allen on Earth-1 read the comics adventures of Jay Garrick on Earth-2). Let's call this one the Earth-4 Legion.
In putting this together, I realized that in order to make it all work, I had to posit a Law, which I'll call the Legion Law, that went into effect at the time of the original Crisis. And that is: since the Crisis, you can't visit your own planet's past or future if you try to go too far.
First, we also have the Lightning Saga Legion to worry about. As far as we know, Superboy was a member, and he lost contact with the team after the Crisis. With the exception of the Pocket Universe/Death of Superboy story in v3, pretty much all of the post-Crisis stories can still stay if we assume that Superboy just wasn't there (OK, the Conspiracy story needs work too). Everything up to the Mordruverse reboot should be able to stay in this timeline (which unfortunately means Black Dawn too). There's nothing (yet) that says that the Lightning Saga Legion couldn't be the same Legion that we stopped reading about at that point. So for purposes of this essay (as of today), the Lightning Saga Legion follows sometime after LSH v4 #4. That keeps the Earth-1 timeline more or less intact. Superman (as the younger Superboy) was a member of this team.
During the Crisis, the Monitor and Anti-Monitor thought that there was but one Earth (Earth-Sigma), but due to reasons unknown, they couldn't see the others behind the dimensional walls. Early in v4, rather than rebooting the universe, Mon-el and the Time Trapper merely sent us looking at a totally different timeline, that of Earth-2. When the v4 Legion crossed over with the then-current (pre-Zero Hour) timeline, it was really the Earth-2 Legion travelling to Earth-Sigma, though nobody realized the dimensional barriers were still there, and each thought their Earth was the only one. The new multiverse was revealed, not created. Now, in the new multiverse, we have an Earth-2 which (at least according to "52" #52) resembles the Earth-2 of old, with an older Superman, a Power Girl, a Helena Wayne Huntress, and a JSA. This Earth's future was never revealed, so who's to say that the v4-era Legion was not the Legion of Earth-2? We just don't know what happened to them after Zero Hour.
The Zero Hour event merely shifted the dimensional walls, so that the future of Earth-Sigma now appeared to be that of the post-Zero Hour Legion, when in actuality it was just the future of Earth-5. (I use Earth-5 here because that Legion had Thunder as a member, and the "Shazam Family", who used to be from Earth-S, in the multiverse is now from Earth-5. Notice the S/5 similarity?). The barriers of time prevented time travel within the same Earth's timeline, so that you could only go from Earth-Sigma's present to Earth 5's future, and vice versa. The next version of Superboy, Kon-el, was a member of this team.
Post Infinite Crisis, we have another Earth, one in which the heroes of today were only comic book characters. There was no Superman or Batman, just fiction. The dimensional barriers that fell during the Infinite Crisis revealed this Earth, and the Supergirl of Earth-Sigma (now called New Earth) travelled to the future of a different Earth. We can call it the Earth-4 Legion, which is where the Charlton heroes live in their pre-Crisis versions.
So now we have a multiverse. We've got Earths 1, 2, 4, and 5 (reserving Earth-3 for the evil Legion who encountered Superboy in "Smallvile"), each with their own Legion.
- Earth-1's Legion was last seen in LSH v4 #4, right before the Mordruverse reboot. Their history between then and the Lightning Saga is as yet unrevealed (but which includes the resurrection of Karate Kid).
- Earth-2's Legion was last seen at Zero Hour.
- Earth-4's Legion is currently being seen in LSH v5.
- Earth-5's Legion was last seen prior to Infinite Crisis, with a quick stop on Earth-247 which no longer exists.
And the current New Earth (formerly known as Earth-Sigma)? We don't know what their Legion is like, since you can't travel too far into your own future. But we do have a "Legion of Three Worlds" coming up soon.
We need Rip Hunter (and Booster Gold) to sort this out. Three characters who co-existed (Superman, Kon-el, and Supergirl) were members of three different versions of the Legion, and several people (such as Batman) have met members of more than one Legion.
Of course, this is total speculation and only time will tell if any of it is worth the paper it's printed on.