Last fall, I had a couple of posts here in which we discussed some of the bad ideas in the last 50 years of the Legion. How about this time we talk about the good ideas?
What would you consider to have been a good decision, either at the time or in retrospect, with regard to the Legion? Here are some of mine, in rough chronological order:
- Having Jerry Siegel and Edmond Hamilton write stories in the early 60s. Hamilton brought a strong science-fiction background to the series, while Siegel brought the Superman/20th century aspects to the series. They brought the 30th century alive.
- Having Jim Shooter take over from them. Shooter Marvelized the Legion in the mid-60s, when much of the DC line was still stuck in the late 50s/early 60s. Shooter brought the characters alive.
- Having Dave Cockrum take over the art chores in the early 70s when the series was floundering as a backup strip. Along with writer Cary Bates (moreso than E. Nelson Bridwell), they updated the look of the 30th century and made the Legion popular enough to support its own book again. Then when Mike Grell followed on the art and Jim Shooter shared the writing, they brought Legion fandom alive.
- Having Paul Levitz on his first run. Despite the classic Earthwar story, he felt he wasn't as good enough a writer as he could be, and took some time off. In retrospect, this was a big deal in that it let him figure out what to do better the next time around. And boy, was it better the next time around.
- Having Keith Giffen as artist (the first time). He and Levitz were on fire for their run together (Omen and Prophet excepted), and their synergy gave the series new life. At their height, the book was the second-best selling title that DC had in the mid-80s (behind Teen Titans). They Claremont-ized the Legion, in the good sense of characterization and plotlines. Levitz kept it up for several years after Giffen left.
- In retrospect, although I didn't think so at the time, once we accepted the reality of the post-Zero Hour reboot, having the storylines diverge from what we had seen before that made the series somewhat fresh and exciting. New characters like XS and Gates, and new storylines that didn't synch up with anything we had seen before.
- Again in retrospect, the Abnett/Lanning/Coipiel "Legion of the Damned" turned sales around and for the first time in many, many years sales began to go up. People started liking the Legion.
- Having Mark Waid writing the new version of the Legion. Yes, it wasn't such a great idea in the first place, but if you're launching a new book, having some A-list names doesn't hurt.
What kind of things would you consider as good (and lucky counts as good here)?