Saturday, January 31, 2009

Annotated "Legion of Three Worlds" #3 preview

Looks like a new issue of L3W is coming out this week. At the rate we're going, we should see issue 5 cover-dated October. I'll do just the previewed pages on Newsarama here, then on Wednesday I'll copy this and finish up the rest of the issue.

Keeping my Annotations notations, the three Legions as L1 (Pre-Crisis + Lightning Saga), L2 (Post-Zero Hour), and L3 (Post-Infinite Crisis). The "Glorithverse" Legion I'll call L1.5 should we need it.

The solicitation:

Written by Geoff Johns; Art by George Pérez and Scott Koblish; Covers by George Pérez
The Legion of Super-Heroes call in the reinforcements against Superboy Prime and the Legion of Super-Villains as the Crisis of the 31st Century continues. While Superboy Prime comes face-to-face with the last of the Green Lanterns, Brainiac 5 and XS attempt to ignite an electrical storm using the lightning rod, which is destined to turn the tide of the war. And what are Polar Boy, Dawnstar and Wildfire up to in the 20th Century? DC Universe | 40pg. | Color | $3.99 US On Sale February 4, 2009

Cover A (full): L1 Cosmic Boy, with images of L2 in his right hand at top and L3 in his left hand at bottom
Cover B (sliver): looks like a closeup of Universo's eye, reflecting L1 Shadow Lass, L1 Mon-El, and a Green Lantern symbol

Page 1:
Panels 4-8: Looks like the body of Rond Vidar is dead. Beyond that observation I can't say anything else for certain. The guy with the mohawk is Sodam Yat, a Daxamite from the 21st century who was a major player in the Sinestro Corps Wars.
Panel 16: Obviously we've missed a lot between the Sinestro Corps Wars and now.

Page 2:
Panels 1-2: more references to the Sinestro Corps War. Brainy also cured Mon-El's lead poisoning, though it did wear off in a post-Crisis story that may or may not still be canonical (Legion v3 #23).
Panel 4: Mon-El was in the Phantom Zone for 1000 years... oh wait, he just said all that.

Page 3:
Panels 4-9: that's a new version of the Green Lantern Oath, reflecting the wars with the other colored Lanterns.
If only the first 3 pages had more Legion stuff and not as much GL stuff...

Page 4-5:
Ah, that's better. I'll try to take it left to right, top to bottom. All are L1 versions. None of the civilians are recognizable. (thanks to Shadow Kid for some updates)
* Beauty Blaze; Lightning Lord; Universo; Neutrax; Black Mace; Silver Slasher, Timber Wolf, and Terrus; Hunter II (legs only)
* Superboy-Prime; Storm Boy; Zymyr; Saturn Queen, Saturn Girl, and Esper Lass; Lazon; Marella Tao (on screen)
* Grimbor, Titania, and Night Girl; Spider Girl; Lightning Lad
* Chameleon Chief; Colossal Boy; Validus (wrapped up by Spider-Girl?); Earth-Man; Ultra Boy; Mordru; Echo; Shrinking Violet and Micro Lad
* Ol-Vir; Mist Master and Cosmic Boy; Magno Lad
* Dr. Regulus; Blok and Tusker; Sun Emperor; Radiation Roy; Golden Boy's leg; Lightning Lass; Cosmic King

* top right: "daily pl[anet]"
* between Shrinking Violet and Magno Lad: "bismol stock exchange dome 69"
* below Cosmic King: "prison breakou[t] takron galt[os] / galtos mi**ng fr- / wanderers"

Friday, January 30, 2009

Parting words from Francis Manapul

Francis Manapul stopped by the LegionWorld message board the other day to leave some parting thoughts:

hey guys and gals I just wanted to chime in here and hopefully clear up a couple of things. I'll try to choose my words very carefully so it can't be misconstrued into something else entirely. I wished I had been able to say something about the last issue sooner but it's not my place to do so. But I will tell you all that we were not pushed off the book. We chose to leave, both for entirely different reasons. I'm not going to claim to know why Jim left, I'm sure he had his reasons. As for why I left, plain and simple, new opportunities arose for me which demanded my immediate attention. It was not an easy decision for me and I spent hours talking to industry friends even longer days mulling over it. I knew that a lot of people would feel let down by my abrupt departure but sometimes you just gotta pull that band aid off quickly. I came to the decision I did for many reasons both artistically and professionally. I've never felt more happy about the work I'm doing than I am now and these opportunities would not have been possible without the full support of Dan and the rest of the DC editorial staff. I realize that the situation was less than ideal but I hope you guys follow me into my upcoming projects as I think you guys will be very pleasantly surprised. Again thank you all so much for the support you guys and gals have given and hopefully I can count on you guys to continue doing so.

Check out Newsarama from a few days ago for some killer-looking "Superman/Batman" pages, his next project.

Thanks for the good work, Francis!

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Well, at least it didn't fade out to white, like other Legions have done when they've been cancelled.

But even Jim Shooter was (apparently) so disappointed with how the ending turned out - his story arc truncated by four issues - that he pulled a Steve Apollo. Notice (as I didn't the first time) that the writer for this one is credited to "Justin Thyme". And yes, the storyline felt rushed, for good reason. Or maybe Shooter didn't write this at all.

Ironically, this was supposed to have been the month that "Legion of Three Worlds" ended, along with LSH v5. We were supposed to get a wrapup of v5 (or "L3") so that we could see how everyone gets called to the big meeting. Instead, we get a rush job (don't put the blame all on Shooter, he wasn't the one who decided to pull the plug) with some hugely dangling plot lines (Cosmic Boy, Projectra) and no expectations of seeing a satisfying conclusion.

And the next big thing, apparently, is a spot in a possibly rotating anthology?

Here's what was promised:

Written by Jim Shooter
Art and cover by Francis Manapul & Livesay
It’s the final issue! The climactic conclusion of the Universal Annihilation War is here and every Legionnaire, every reservist and even the United Planets’ Young Heroes battle to save existence. Also featuring the return of Cosmic Boy, the death of a longtime Legionaire and a gorgeous wraparound cover!
FINAL ISSUE On sale January 28 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Here's what we got:
Not that. Presumably Projectra was supposed to die. But we did get the really cool wraparound cover.

Greg McElhatton at CBR gave it 0.5 out of 5 stars.
There's a right way and a wrong way to end a comic book series, and "Legion of Super-Heroes" #50 is definitely the wrong way...

With cancellation of the title, Shooter had said in interviews that his current storyline was supposed to end with #54, but that he would try and wrap up as much as possible with #50. But what we actually got with #50? Well, despite the solicitations promising Shooter and Manapul, instead we got the pseudonym of "Justin Thyme" for the writer, and Ramon Bachs pinch-hitting on pencils. And unsurprisingly, it's not very good. The big storyline, with Princess Projectra being the real enemy that the Legion had to worry about? It's completely gone. Instead the Legion fights an army of rogue planets in a virtual reality environment, which is just rather dull, and everything else from the previous issues are ignored.

Great cover, though. But the insides - what a mess.

Final Crisis #7

No annotations needed for Final Crisis #7 from the Legion perspective. We get a couple of panels of Starman and a page or two of the new Miracle Machine (which, honestly, looks steampunk of all things).

But FC#7 also showed the irrelevance of "Legion of Three Worlds" to the Final Crisis storyline. It's not even complete yet, while the main story is over. Was the whole purpose of L3W to get the Miracle Machine to Superman? Here's Grant Morrison at Newsarama with the intended reading order:

NRAMA: Speaking of Superman Beyond – how does the timeline work between Beyond, Final Crisis and Legion of 3 Worlds?

GM: The Monitrix Zillo Valla recruits Superman’s help in Final Crisis #3 which leads into Superman Beyond #1 and 2, both of which happen in the space between Lois’ final heartbeats. He returns to save her in Beyond #2, only to be contacted by the Legion of Super-Heroes to deal with an emergency in the 31st Century – as seen in Legion of 3 Worlds #1. Normally, the Legion is able to return him to his own time an instant after he left, so naturally he feels secure quitting Earth after saving Lois. After his encounter with Superboy Prime in LO3W, however, he returns late to Final Crisis #6, to find time has crashed, Darkseid rules the world and Batman is dead. Oops.

Fortunately, he brings with him the means to save us all.

Over at Tim Callahan's "When Worlds Collide" at CBR, he fits the Legion into the whole Final Crisis story thusly:
Everything written by Morrison matters, and everything written by everyone else does not (with the possible exception of "Legion of 3 Worlds," but while that series may turn out to be an excellent addition to your library of awesome comics, it seems that all you really need to know about Superman's adventures in the 31st century is that he was indeed sent there during the middle of "Final Crisis" -- which conveniently removes him from the action, a point I'll discuss below -- and that Brainiac 5 showed him the Miracle Machine before sending him back, but that scene is included in "Final Crisis" #6 anyway)...

...And Morrison emphasized the centrality of Superman not just by showing his multiversal doppelgangers, but by removing him from "Final Crisis" during the middle of the series. The world fell into darkness so quickly -- the anti-life spawned so many Justifiers -- because Superman was not around. Batman was captured, Wonder Woman tainted, and Superman absent. But it was Superman who mattered most. The first DC superhero. The symbol of hope. The sun god. The light in the darkness.

Thus, L3W is a Final Crisis crossover because it explains where Superman is and why he's there during Final Crisis, not because it has great relevance directly to the story other than the Miracle Machine. (Though how can you return late from the future, no matter how long the L3W battle takes?)

So it's nearly certain that we'll see Bart Allen come out of the lightning rod. And Johns has said that the events of this miniseries (whenever the last three issues come out - come on, we had one in August and one in October, with one more in February; what is this, a quarterly book?) will ripple through his other books, which I guess mean Flash and GL.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Smallville wrapup and other bits

Wrapping up last week's episode of "Smallville" (I was out of town on business and dind't have time to work on this), there was mostly praise for the story. Here are the other reviews and articles, in no particular order:

And more random bits of Legionnaire business:
  • Here's the iTunes link if you want to download the Smallville episode legally.

  • Artist Ovi Nedelcu reposted his Legionnaire character studies originally done for the Legion TV show, but of course they went with James Tucker's designs. (see the original report from 2006 here.)

  • Vinnie Bartilucci talks about Superboy and the Legend of Super-Heroes.

  • Amber's Fashion Tips looks at the Legionnaires' costumes on Smallville.

  • Geekshow Entertainment looks back at the Legion animated series.

  • Legion Abstract has a hero history of Saturn Girl.

  • Finally, White Party Palm Springs is having their 20th Anniversary Celebration: Legion of Superheroes Easter Weekend – April 10-13, 2009. It's certainly not the kind of party I had expected to read about.

Newsarama has an interview with Francis Manapul.
NRAMA: How did you end up on Superman/Batman?

FM: I've been talking to Dan Didio throughout the summer cons on what I could work on after Legion. I expressed to him my desire to draw anyof my 3 favourite characters at DC. I was lucky enough to get two of them! Well technically 3 of them. [laughs]

...NRAMA: Probably your most high profile work to date has been on DC's Legion of Super-Heroes with Jim Shooter. Although DC ultimately ended the series, it got your name out to more people than ever before. What did you think of the experience?

FM:This was my first work for DC. In fact it was my first work ever for either of the big two so it was a very big deal to me. I'm sad to see the series go but we did our best to try and revitalize the property. The people I worked with was fantastic I had the full support of my editor Mike Marts, and great collaborators with Livesay and J.D Smith, and of course it was a real honour to have worked with a legend like Jim Shooter. I learned a LOT from this experience and was glad to had been a part of it. Jim was very tough on me but in that hard ass coach kinda of way. He really pushed to try and make me better and pulled no punches. I learned quite a bit from him but I think in the end we had different styles in our approach to telling a story. But I wouldn't have traded the experience for any other.

Friday, January 23, 2009

L3W status

From this week's "20 Answers and 1 Question" at Newsarama with Dan DiDio:

17. What’s the status of Legion of 3 Worlds?

DD: We decided that, even though it’s connected to Final Crisis, the story’s events take place in the future, and therefore it didn’t have to run lock-step in conjunction with the main series. Legion of 3 Worlds is essential to the DC Universe and tied to Final Crisis, but because stories take place in a future timeline, it doesn’t need to come out in the same way that Revelations did.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bits of Legionnaire Business

Ten random links:

  • Suite 101 has a history of the Persuader on TV, in honor of his Smallville appearance.

  • Pendragon's Post has a Q&A with Mattel, in which they still claim to have a Legion figure set out sometime this year:
    5) Not sure if the Legion of Super-Heroes is on your list of figure to make, but if you are in a planning stage, which verison of the Legion are you looking at (1st Appearance, 70's, 80's, current, etc.)?

    We do have a LOSH JLU 4 pack coming up later in 2009. All the figures are in the costumes they wore on the show (hey there were a lot of LOSH members in those big fight scenes!). As for doing LOSH in the 6” line, when we get to the Legion we would likely find a way to do figures with variants to try an put out multiple versions since Legion of Super Heroes is one of those few teams that has had quite a few signifigant and different reboots and redesigns over the years.

  • Looks like New Zealand is getting season 1 of the Legion animated series, Saturdays at 8:45am. It's about time! Any Kiwis out there, holla!

  • Don found a familiar panel in Futurama Comics #35, from January 2008.

  • The Comic Treadmill closes out the Legion's run with a review of Adventure 379 and 380.

  • The Arisverse has a retro-review of LSH v4 #47-50, featuring the final battle with Mordru and Glorith.

  • Tony Bedard talks about R.E.B.E.L.S. with Ain't It Cool News (and thanks, Maurice, for the link!):
    TB: The original series began with Dox in control of his organization, and only changed titles to R.E.B.E.L.S. when Dox’s evil son took over L.E.G.I.O.N. This time around, we begin with Dox on the run, having to fight an insurgency against his own robo-troopers and the mysterious foe who stole them. So it’s R.E.B.E.L.S. for the foreseeable future, and if Dox wins back his command, who knows? Maybe then we’ll switch to L.E.G.I.O.N.

    But there’s another reason we’re going with R.E.B.E.L.S. We want to stress that this book is not yet another alternate version of the Legion of Super-Heroes. This book has a lot for Legion fans to love, but it is its own animal. It’s not as bright at LEGION, and it’s not as noble as GREEN LANTERN. It’s a darker, grittier kind of space opera, with a wicked sense of humor and a high bodycount.

    ... BUG: Will Vril and Supergirl’s relationship be a key part of this series or just this first issue? There seems to be an awful lot of things unsaid between the two of them.

    TB: They play off each other so well because they’re such polar opposites. He needs her because of her previous connection to the Legion of Super-Heroes, and she plays a big part as the adventure begins, but events will soon move beyond Earth.

    ... BUG: From original pitch to final product, can you tell us about any changes made to your story in R.E.B.E.L.S. to fit into the malleable continuity of the DCU at the moment?

    TB: Y’know, most series morph a bit here and there as they go through the development process, but this one might’ve set a record. I originally pitched this as “L.E.G.I.O.N.”, with Dox and Mon-El fighting Brainiac. Of course, I changed that once I found out more about Johns’s plans in ACTION COMICS (and I was glad to do so – ACTION was my favorite comic of 2008).

  • The third Legion Blogpost at Newsarama remembers LSH v2 #300.

  • The Cool Kidz Table would like to see Earthwar collected.

  • Newsarama had an interview with voice actor Yuri Lowenthal (who played Superman on the Legion cartoon) and his wife Tara Platt (who played Dream Girl).
    NRAMA: Also, considering your admitted geekdom, what was it like playing Superman?

    YL: Once again, don't even get me started. I couldn't even— I still can't even — wrap my head around it. As a comic book nerd who grew up running around the yard in tights and a cape — even, you know, last week [laughs] — you play a role like that and you might as well retire afterwards. The pressure I felt going into it was immense. Like it wasn't hard enough auditioning for a role like that, but actually getting it. I don't know. I wish I could have done it longer.

    Legion of Super Heroes was a really good show that fell victim to bad timing and studio mismanagement. I'm glad that team at least got to go on to Batman afterwards. Brave and the Bold is pretty damn cool. But in the end, I got to be freakin' Superman. What else is there to say?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Johns to write the new Adventure Comics?

When last we took a look, Geoff Johns was leaving the JSA and Action Comics to work on a Superman miniseries and the Flash miniseries.

So when I was poking around the internets looking for stuff on Final Crisis #6 (for my previous post), I looked into the ComicBloc forums. There, they've got forums for each of several writers' books, plus forums for everything else (like the Legion message board). I don't know how long it's been there, but in the Geoff Johns forum, there's a message board for "Legion of 3 Worlds / Adventure Comics" with a tag line saying "Adventure Comics coming in 2009..." (In the Adventure Comics #0 thread, they discuss that the name changed a couple weeks ago, but it's new to me.)

Now, let me put on my Batman detective cowl and look at the evidence:
1. Geoff Johns has an opening in his schedule
2. The Legion will be returning to Adventure Comics
3. On his official web site, Adventure Comics will be a Geoff Johns book in 2009

Clearly, the evidence points to Colonel Mustard in the Library with the Lead Pipe.

Final Crisis #6 Legion annotations

In something that will probably make more sense in retrospect, after the rest of "Legion of 3 Worlds" comes out, there's a scene at the beginning of "Final Crisis" #6 that's pretty surprising.

Keeping my Annotations notations, the three Legions as L1 (Pre-Crisis + Lightning Saga), L2 (Post-Zero Hour), and L3 (Post-Infinite Crisis). The "Glorithverse" Legion I'll call L1.5. I'm only covering the Legion-related stuff in the issue.

Page 1
I like how the way to the Legion Arsenal goes through tesseracts. Superman's comments to L1.5 Brainiac 5 tell us that this story takes place after "Superman Beyond" (in which he visits alternate worlds, in 3-D) and after the conclusion of "Legion of Three Worlds". Brainy's story of the history of the Miracle Machine doesn't jibe with what we knew before; here he says it was invented in 2960 (49 years ago in Legion-time), while the first chronological appearance of the Miracle Machine was in the 20th century (DC Comics Presents #50).

Page 2
In the Arsenal are several Time Bubbles up against the back wall. The two towers with the circular things on them comprise the Concentrator, the Legion's ultimate weapon (from Adventure 321; see Paul & John Reviews, all thoroughly approved, parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 of this story. Pictures of the original Concentrator are at the end of part 4). The Concentrator concentrates all the power in the universe of every kind.

I don't recognize the zeppelin-looking things with the ladders, the thermos bottle, or the ray gun. That looks like a Green Lantern power battery all the way on the left, and I think those might be the helmets of the Dark Circle stormtroopers back from when the Miracle Machine was first used.

Now, the Miracle Machine itself is a lot bigger than we have seen before - it used to be about TV-sized, now it's room-sized. Brainy calls it "the God-Weapon... in Controller language its name is Geh-Jedollah-The-Absolute." He tells Superman to look at it, before Superman disappears back to the present.

Page 31:
Hey look, there's Starman facing away from us in the top right panel.

Back to the Miracle Machine, since it's obviously important to the story: I hope that someone realized that Matter-Eater Lad ate the Miracle Machine in its last appearance (Superboy & the LSH #251).

Here's what Chris Miller wrote in Smart Remarks:

First, there’s Superman talking with Brainiac Five, a thousand years away from the main action, in a scene that apparently follows on the Legion of Thee Worlds tie-in, which according to the dialogue apparently follows on the Superman Beyond tie-in... although the conclusions of neither of those have yet seen print, which is typical of the scheduling SNAFUs that have characterized this entire project. The point of this highly expository sequence appears to be to (re)introduce the Miracle Machine, exactly the sort of deus-ex-machina device that’s like catnip to Morrison... apparently enough so that he’s chosen to shoehorn it into this story despite the fact (already pointed out by two out of the three commentators I’ve found who have so far blogged about this issue) that the Machine was decisively (and wisely) destroyed—in fact, eaten by Matter-Eater Lad—in a classic Legion tale nearly thirty years ago.

Doug Wolk at Final Crisis Annotations notes the other appearances of the Miracle Machine before this.
The Miracle Machine first appeared in ADVENTURE COMICS #367, as a deus ex machina device presented by the grateful Controllers to the Legion some time earlier; it later popped up in SUPERBOY #213, and--David U. pointed this out--was never shown from the front in either issue. (And what does it look like from the front? ...Why, Metron's circuit, of course!)

Now, here's an interesting side note: the Miracle Machine has made a few other appearances. It turned up in ALL-NEW COLLECTOR'S EDITION #C-55--the 1978 tabloid in which Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl were married, and in which the Time Trapper was revealed to be a Controller (!). Then it reappeared a year later, in a story that was originally going to be a 64-page special but was re-edited into SUPERBOY & THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #250 and #251, in which Brainiac 5 used it to create an unstoppable menace called, wait for it, Omega; the crisis was resolved when Matter-Eater Lad ate the Miracle Machine, and thereby went insane. (A story, I should note, that was written by Paul Levitz and Jim Starlin, the latter credited as "Steve Apollo." ETA: TIm notes in the comments that we never actually see the machine in the story as published) A 20th century prototype (with a much plainer, grille-type front) also appeared in DC COMICS PRESENTS #50; maybe that one was Crisis'ed away.

Up until this point, though, it's appeared that the Johnsverse Legion diverged from the L(I) Legion sometime during the five-year gap before LSHv4. But if the Miracle Machine remains un-nommed, then we may be dealing with yet another variation of the Legion. Or--you know, it's a device that can remake reality; continuity is as nothing to it, most likely.

David Uzmeri at Funnybook Babylon notes this:
I guess Superman had some kind of selective mindwipe, since he was standing over the Inertron cube when the Miracle Machine was locked away back in Adventure Comics #367, but hey, whatever.

In the comments there, I added:
Superboy not only saw the Miracle Machine sealed up, but he was there to help open the box (which at the time was much smaller) in Superboy 213, and saw it again when it was eaten by Matter-Eater Lad in Superboy & the LSH 251. But hey, it’s been a while, maybe he forgot.

Friday, January 16, 2009

More Smallville feedback

Some more reactions from around the blogosphere as well as TV-land...

E! Entertainment Online has the ratings info:

The introduction of Cosmic Boy and other Legion of Superheroes members helped lead CW's Smallville (4.3 million) to its biggest audience since early November, the network said. The show also did its anti-Gossip Girl thing, and won the 8 p.m. hour in men 18-34.

The LA Times blog Hero Complex had an interview with Geoff Johns the day that the show aired.
JP: And about the "Legion" episode tonight?

GJ: Well, we introduce Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl. Three founding members of the Legion.

JP: Any other characters that you may have wanted to add?

GJ: Well, we kind of introduce another one, but you'll have to watch and see. Legion fans will definitely get it.

TV Squad has a list full of in-jokes and references, most of which I got.

Screenrant calls it a "huge letdown".
Let’s cut to the chase - they were awful.

Now I get it - maybe in the comic books this is how “Lightning Lad” (Calum Worthy) acts, but to have someone as a member of something called the “Legion of Superheroes” who acts like a 12 year old twit was frankly, beyond annoying and just plain stupid. You’d think that 1,000 years in the future teenagers with such responsibility would be more mature.

On the other hand, Geekshow calls it "The single best episode of Smallville ever constructed".
The Legion of Superheroes took a visit to Smallville tonight in an episode written by comic scribe Geoff Johns. It was, without a doubt, the BEST episode of the entire series to date. Geoff Johns succeeded where every writer to ever work on the show has failed… he wrote the perfect episode of Smallville.

iFMagazine gave it a "B".
I liked the allusions to Clark’s future in this episode. Listening to Lightning Lad’s (Calum Worthy) criticisms of Clark lacking his cape or not being able to fly was just plain funny. Hearing Clark being called the Man of Steel or Davis being acknowledged as Doomsday for the first time was entertaining as well. As has been the theme for most of this season, SMALLVILLE is slowly catching up with Superman.

A recap from Beesite:
The trio that went back in time were perfect for taking down Braniac. They were kind of goofy though with Rokk reminding me of Mack from Always Sunny and Garth being a straight up dork. I am curious about what Lana is planning on doing and hope that her character stays on the show for a while.

Newsarama has the post-game wrap-up:
Was I the only one who viewed the trio of Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad as a sort of superhero version of Harry Potter, Ron and Hermoine? Certainly reminded me of them.

...My take on the Legionnaires? The telepathic Imra, Saturn Girl, was nice to look at, but seemed off at times, a tad distant and removed when communicating telepathically. Rokk, Cosmic Boy, displayed intelligence and good leadership skills at times on top of his power over magnetism. I just thought at least with the hair that he looked like a 1991 throwback, like someone you'd see at a Gin Blossoms show, or the movie Singles. Garth, Lightning Lad, definitely brought energy to the trio, not surprising considering his electrical powers. Way more geeky than I'd even envisioned LL, but still fun to follow. His fascination in Superman mementos, like Clark's letterman jacket (found at the "Levitz Museum," natch), was endearing.

io9 says that the future looks familiar:
...How did the Legion of Super-Heroes (and writer Geoff Johns) hold up in their series debut?

The honest answer would be an uncertain "Pretty well, maybe?" While Johns' script was perfectly fine, it was also more of a regular Smallville effort than what comic fans have come to expect from Johns. Yes, there were the geek-friendly shout outs (A Legion of Substitute Heroes reference? Really?). But the scale was smaller and the formula much more generic than fans of his Green Lantern or even his Action Comics runs would've expected.

Here are the Television Without Pity recap and forum discussion of the episode, the Zap2It recap, and the CW Source recap.


You can also watch the episode online (for as long as this lasts) at MegaVideo and TV Dome.

Legion torrents and flight rings

Not surprisingly, my normal daily hit count tripled yesterday after the Legion episode of "Smallville" aired.

What was surprising, though, was the number of queries for flight rings. Sadly, there are none on ebay at the moment, though the first wave of Legion action figures from DC Direct in 2001 each came with a plastic flight ring. Chris at Atlas Comics might have some, but the official ones are hard to come by. Here's a closer look at my ring.

A number of people are also looking for torrents (keywords S08E11 or 8x11) to download the show: you can find a standard def version (350 MB) and a high-def version (720p, 1.09 GB) at these and other places.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Legion on Smallville: so what did you think?

SPOILERS for the Smallville episode "Legion":

If only they hadn't said that the only way to stop Chloe was to kill her, it would have been a great episode. I loved the little touches - the sulfur pits of Tharr, the Levitz museum, the flight rings, the bio-electro-magnetic blast, even the "costumes".

She looked the part, but Alexz Johnson's portrayal of Saturn Girl was just totally flat.

I was really surprised that the Persuader was out so fast. And in a nod to the Post-52 Post-Crisis Lightning Saga Legion, he was a member of the xenophobic group (at least in spirit) that Earth Man and the rest of his group were. Another Johns callback - giving Clark the time-travel Legion flight ring, also last seen in L3W.

But for all the squee-age of the episode, the only part that didn't ring true was that the Legionnaires said that they only way to stop Brainiac was to kill it's host, Chloe. I know that that was purely for dramatic tension in the story, and I would have accepted it from anyone else, but it didn't work for me. And given that Brainiac was taken to the future at the end, and not seen in the intervening 1000 years, how did they know that they had to kill the host?

Newsarama explained the "Brainiac 5" comment at the end of the episode - Chloe was the 4th person to have been possessed by Brainiac on the show.

I did get goosebumps at the "Long Live the Legion" scene at the end.

Unfortunately I didn't find this Newsarama article until too late:

NRAMA: Counting the people who have been possessed by Brainiac on the show, wouldn’t that make Chloe the fourth one? Is she Brainiac 4? And what does that mean for the future?

GJ: That's an interesting question. I guess we'll find out.

...NRAMA: The episode also has the Persuader in it. Was that your idea, and why pick him as the Legion villain in this episode?

GJ: There was a villain from the future coming back, and I thought, more than almost anyone, he would look great on film. I love the Persuader, and I wanted to see him swinging around that Atomic Axe. I did a list of villains that could come back, but at the end of the day, Persuader was the best one.

...NRAMA: What's it like for Clark to hear about what's coming in his future?

GJ: They do tell him about the future, but they temper it because of their Legion Code and the rules of time travel. But Clark probably hears a little more than Cosmic Boy would want him to know. And that's a lot of fun. There's a couple things that the Legion mention specifically that will resonate with comics readers and fanboys -- because Legion members are essentially fanboys and fangirls themselves, coming back in time to meet their greatest idol. So they know a lot about him, but there are certain things they see now that don't necessarily match what they've come to know in the future. What they believe is probably more in line with what we know about Superman. So, on one hand, they’re fanboys looking at Smallville and going...”Uh, why aren’t you flying yet?”

NRAMA: While Smallville is clearly a different universe from the comic book DCU, we've seen in previews for this episode that there are a lot of nods toward the comic Legion just in the way they're dressed, with their rings, obviously, but even a few little touches on their costumes. Was that important for these characters?

GJ: That's something everybody on the show was really into, making sure that, while they weren't going to wear spandex, they still needed to be Legionnaires. So I said, well they've got to have the colors and they've got to have their symbols. You know, Cosmic Boy has to be black and purple, and the only symbol of sorts he has are the metal discs. But they work.

Here's what they're saying:


Smallville tonight, at regular time

So did you hear the Legion will be on Smallville tonight? It sounds like it'll be at the regular time, and will not be delayed by the President addressing the nation. As Mania put it:

Publicists for the CW have let us know that the network plans to air tonight's episode of 'Smallville' at its regular time of 8pm. [Eastern]

The reason that's interesting is because President George W. Bush will be delivering his farewell address at that time. The speech is expected to be carried by most networks, who will either preempt or delay their 8pm shows.

But the Legion of Super Heroes are using their time manipulating abilities to keep 'Smallville' from getting delayed.

Comics scholar Alan Kistler, writing on MTV's Splash Page:
Tonight, the LSH will finally make their live-action debut on the CW’s long-running Superboy-themed television series “Smallville,” in an episode written by veteran comics scribe Geoff Johns and titled “Legion.”

So, for you folks looking for a little background on DC’s young heroes from the future, MTV has compiled a list of some of Clark’s more exciting team-ups with these teen superheroes from the 30th century.

He lists some obvious choices (Ferro Lad and the Fatal Five, the recent Superman & The Legion trade) and some questionable ones (the Reflecto storyline and not the Great Darkness Saga).

And for those who can't wait, here's a final clip showing the Brainiac-possessed Chloe and the human form of Doomsday:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Smallville "Legion" to be delayed

For those of you who will be recording the Legion episode of "Smallville" Thursday, be aware that the show could be delayed by about 15 minutes while the President addresses the nation. He's asked the networks for the time but I don't know if The CW is one of those that does, so pad your VCR/DVR recording times accordingly.

Elsewhere in the news:

From the Torontoist:

This week's episode of Smallville is written by Geoff Johns, who currently writes approximately 147 comic books per day for DC Comics, including all of the Superman books, and what he doesn't write he tells other people to write. The guest stars this week are the Legion of Super Heroes, the thirty-first century superhero team inspired by Superman to fight evil in the future. I have been a Legion fan since I was about six, so I am hoping that this show will not suck like just about every episode of Smallville has for the last season and a half. But I'm not optimistic. (SunTV, 8 p.m.)

From the New York Times:
“I never thought I’d see a live-action Legion,” Mr. Johns said in a telephone interview last week. He was referring to the size and scope of the team, which tends to have more than 20 members, each with a different superpower. The group was pared down for the show to the team’s three founders. Besides, Mr. Johns said, “it’s ‘Smallville’ and Clark is the star.”

...The Legion episode is filled with details that comic book fans will easily recognize: references to the characters’ home planets, flight rings and citations like “the Levitz Museum,” a nod to Paul Levitz, the president of DC Comics, who wrote the Legion comic for many years.

The episode also includes allusions to the Johns and Franks work on Action Comics, which recently featured the Legion of Super-Heroes, as well as the current Legion of 3 Worlds mini-series.

“We do, periodically, a lot of shout-outs to the comics,” Mr. Swimmer said. “This episode, in some ways, is our gift back to the comic-book fans out there who have supported the show for so long.”

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Trivia Answers #31

Answers to last week's trivia. I think this might be my longest trivia answer post.

1. Other than Superboy or Supergirl, which Legionnaire(s) has/have traveled to an alternate timeline or parallel Earth from their own "mainstream" universe? And who was the first Legionnaire shown to meet his/her alternate-universe double?

The first was Chameleon Boy, shown (with Proty) meeting his alternate-world double.

I'm not quite sure how to reconcile certain Legions with any particular Earths, but here's my best shot:

* Pre-Crisis Earth-1 / Pre-Crisis Legion
* Original Post-Crisis Earth / Post-Crisis Legion
* Unknown / v4/TMK Legion
* Post-Zero Hour Earth / Post-Zero Hour Reboot Legion
* Unknown / v5 Legion
* Post-52 New Earth / New Post-Crisis Legion

Others shown on alternate or parallel Earths (thanks to Erik for remembering some I had forgotten):
  • Pre-Crisis Earth-1 Karate Kid, visiting Kamandi
  • Various Legionnaires visited Earth-2 during the Crisis (and probably other worlds too)
  • Original Post-Crisis Legion Blok, Sun Boy, Brainiac 5, and Invisible Kid, visiting the post-Crisis Superman's Earth
  • New Post-Crisis Legion Star Boy, visiting Earth-22 (Kingdom Come) in the early 21st century
  • Post-Zero Hour Reboot Legion Shikari, visiting the v5 Legion's Earth
  • Whoever visited the Pocket Universe Earth
  • v4/TMK-era Phantom Girl swapped places with an Original Post-Crisis 20th century Durlan
  • v4/TMK-era Valor and Timber Wolf in the Original Post-Crisis 20th century
  • v4/TMK-era Ultra Boy getting zapped to ancient Egypt in the Original Post-Crisis timeline

    Jim mentioned Ultra Boy and the Earth-3 Legion coming to the pre-Crisis Earth, actually it was Superboy who travelled to their Earth (remember, he went to the 20th century "Smallvile"). The Booster Gold crossover was from the Post-Crisis Legion to Post-Crisis Earth, so that was the same Earth (at the time). In retrospect I don't know if the Cosmic Boy/Night Girl trip works, since it was the Post-Crisis Legionnaires visiting the Post-Crisis 20th century, even though the Post-Crisis Rokk had memories of the Pre-Crisis 20th century (or something like that). The "Team 20" group came from the Post-Zero Hour 30th century to the Post-Zero Hour 20th century so I don't count that. And the Legion/Titans Univers Ablaze never happened.

  • 2. Name three Legion-related characters who could use their senses to discern alternate realities (not other dimensions)?
    Andrew Nolan and the Time Trapper were two easy ones. I don't remember Dream Girl, Sensor Girl, or the Infinite Man reaching into alternate universes, but I could be wrong, though Dreamer (of the Post-ZH Legion) could, as seen in L3W. And I specifically excluded other dimensions so that nobody would say Phantom Girl being able to see into the Phantom Zone and Bgztl, but Tom said it anyway. The one that nobody got was Antennae Lad – remember, in his first appearance, he heard a radio broadcast of JFK's re-election.

    3. During the Crisis on Infinite Earths, who said (in effect) "But there is no Earth-2 Legion!"
    It was Supergirl, as seen in issue 5 page 18. (Click to enlarge)

    4. The Earth-22 Legion was was based (at least visually) on the post-Zero Hour version. But who was a member of the Earth-22 Legion and not the post-ZH Legion?
    The official list of Kingdom Come (now known as Earth-22) Legionnaires was given in the Kingdom Come slipcover edition, and are listed in the Legion Wiki (though it's missing the clearly-visible Catspaw). Last week's JSA #22 has a new half-page shot of the Earth-22 Legion.

    The Legionnaires in the Earth-22 Legion and not the Post-Zero Hour Legion are: Bouncing Boy, Catspaw, Chemical King, Dragonmage, Inferno (Dirk Morgna), Matter-Eater Lad, Princess Projectra, and Supergirl (Matrix). Note that most of these did exist in the Post-ZH timeline but were not Legionnaires.

    Duke, you may want to check out the panel from Kingdom Come, your memory is faulty with regards to some of the characters you think you remember.

    5. What other DC character had a regular strip set in an alternate 30th century that did not have a Legion?
    That would be Superman 2965, who had several adventures in the pages of Superman, Action, and World's Finest. This Superman's secret identity was Klar Ken T5477. Not coincidentally, Waid and Kitson wrote him into LSH v5 #16, as recounted here a few years ago, though never shown with powers.

    Kamandi wasn't set in the 30th century, and Green Lantern as Pol Manning took place in the 58th century. Flash (Barry Allen) went to the 30th century but never had any kind of strip from his time there.

    6. What do Star Boy and Mon-El have in common that no other Legionnaires have?
    The answer I was looking for was that they were both based off of "twice told tales", Superboy or Superman stories rewritten with some details changed. The precursor stories for each were published in 1953. Lana tried to make Superboy jealous with Mars Boy (Adventure #195), while Superman met his big brother Halk Kar (Superman #180).

    7. Which of the Legion villains that Superboy-Prime gathered in "Legion of Three Worlds" had never met the Legion prior to that story?
    The adult Saturn Queen traveled back in time with Cosmic King and Lightning Lord, but the teenage version never appeared. (Note that in the v4-era, Eve Aries married Tenzil Kem, though I don't think there was any evidence one way or the other whether this was before she went back or afterwards. having reformed). The Legionnaire-age Cosmic King first appeared in the v3 LSV War story.

    Also, Echo and Beauty Blaze appeared only in the Adult Legion alternate timeline story, though Echo was later shown to have joined during the Five Year Gap.

    Saturday, January 10, 2009

    New Smallville footage

    For those of you who may be watching "Smallville" for the first time when the Legion episode airs next week, here's a quick catch-up of where we are.

    Basically the show is telling the story of Clark Kent from when he was in high school and just developing his powers through the time he moves to Metropolis and begins his heroic career. This is season 8. The first few seasons dealt with Clark and his family and friends in Smallville and at Smallville High. Various super-powers were introduced as being induced by a meteor shower years in the past, and Kryptonite gave some people powers while it hurt Clark. Among Clark's friends were Pete Ross (since written out), Lana Lang (his first, and unrequited, love interest), and Chloe Sullivan, computer expert and editor of the school paper. Pete first learned Clark's secret, then Chloe, who has been his confidant. Chloe's cousin Lois Lane showed up later. Lex Luthor started out as Clark's friend, and in later seasons turned into an enemy as he tried to find out Clark's secret. As time went on, we met other heroes who are familiar to us, such as Impulse, Aquaman, Green Arrow, Cyborg, Black Canary, Martian Manhunter, and his cousin Kara. Clark keeps in touch with a computer representation of his father Jor-El, who created the Fortress of Solitude in the Arctic. Among his enemies are Brainiac, a sentient computer from Krypton. Last season, Brainiac possessed Chloe (among others) and gave her computer powers, and although they thought they had defeated him, they were wrong. Meanwhile, as the kids grew up, they all work in Metropolis now, Clark, Lois, and Jimmy Olsen at the Daily Planet, while Chloe works at Lana's secret company helping those with powers. Lex Luthor, having finally discovered Clark's secret, went missing, and he appointed Tess Mercer to take over running LuthorCorp in his absence (she also has a history with Oliver "Green Arrow" Queen). In recent episodes, they have become friends with Davis Bloom, who (unknown to him) is the son of Faora and General Zod of Krypton, from the Phantom Zone, and was sent to Earth as a destroyer named Doomsday. Doomsday invaded the wedding of Chloe and Jimmy in the last episode, and she is missing.

    (Jimmy, Lois, Tess, and Green Arrow - all regulars - do not appear in this episode. Lana appears as a guest star, as she left the show at the end of last season.)

    For further info on the show, visit Kryptonsite or the Smallville Wiki.

    Now, here is a clip of Chloe - possessed once again by Brainiac - and Clark in the Fortress.

    Here's another clip, which they call a "Director's Cut", showing the three Legionnaires facing off against Brainiac at the Daily Planet:

    An interesting use of powers - Geoff Johns found something that I don't ever recall being used before, Cosmic Boy and Lightning Lad combining their electromagnetic powers.

    Thursday, January 08, 2009

    Adventure Comics update

    Dan DiDio has said a few things about the new Adventure Comics series in the last couple of weeks over at Newsarama.

    From the 12/24 edition of "20 Answers, 1 Question":

    Oh – and one last thing that I wanted to mention before we go – the content for Adventure Comics #1 has changed – I think it might be out there that Mon-el is in issue #1. The reality is, that the storyline that we were going to put in as the launch of Adventure Comics has actually moved into Superman comics. While the Legionaries will be appearing in Adventure, it won’t be until the second arc of the series.

    And from this week's edition:
    9. As a person asked – the solicitation for Legion of 3 Worlds #5 confirm that the Legion will be spinning off into Adventure Comics. What can you say about the Legion of Super-Heroes in Adventure Comics?

    DD: What I can say right now is that Legionnaires will be featured in Adventure Comics and in Superman. Those storylines, featuring those characters tie into their other appearances that we saw in the Superman mix earlier. It’s all made clear in Adventure Comics #0.

    Thanks Murray!

    So Adventure will be an anthology with rotating leads? How many times has DC tried that and failed?

    Monday, January 05, 2009

    Trivia Quiz #31

    In honor of this week's the eventual release of "Legion of Three Worlds", in which we're supposed to see the Legion of three worlds, this month's theme is "alternaties".

    1. Other than Superboy or Supergirl, which Legionnaire(s) has/have traveled to an alternate timeline or parallel Earth from their own "mainstream" universe? And who was the first Legionnaire shown to meet his/her alternate-universe double?

    2. Name three Legion-related characters who could use their senses to discern alternate realities (not other dimensions)?

    3. During the Crisis on Infinite Earths, who said (in effect) "But there is no Earth-2 Legion!"

    4. The Earth-22 Legion was was based (at least visually) on the post-Zero Hour version. But who was a member of the Earth-22 Legion and not the post-ZH Legion?

    5. What other DC character had a regular strip set in an alternate 30th century that did not have a Legion?

    6. What do Star Boy and Mon-El have in common that no other Legionnaires have?

    7. Which of the Legion villains that Superboy-Prime gathered in "Legion of Three Worlds" had never met the Legion prior to that story?

    Sunday, January 04, 2009

    "I never thought I'd see a live-action Legion. This is awesome."

    Kryptonsite has the article appearing in this month's Wizard (#208), which has some info and some quotes from Geoff Johns about the Legion episode of Smallville coming up. There are no plot spoilers in the article.

    There will be many things for a Legion comics fan to enjoy. "If you're a real, real Legion nut, you'll probably see far more than anybody else will," he says. "There's a lot of stuff in there. They mention Polar Boy's planet Tharr. There's probably more fanboy stuff in this episode than a whole season of Smallville."

    ..."The first scene with the first scene of Act I, which was Clark, Rokk, Garth, and Imra inside the farm house," Johns recalls. "It was surreal because I had watched Smallville for so long. It was like, 'Hey, check out the Legion's uniforms. How do they look? Check out Persuader. What do you think?' It was really rewarding because everybody was working so hard and kicking so much a--. I remember the first time a Legionnaire said something I was like, 'This is bizarre. I never thought I'd see a live-action Legion. This is awesome."

    Bits of Legionnaire Business

    By the way, my Festivus 2008 article is still up, for those of you who have grievances to air, miracles to report, and trivia feats of strength to try.

    Random links to start the new year: