Thursday, September 22, 2022

Mark Waid on writing "Valor" and the Legion's "End of an Era"

Prior to covering this week's episode of the podcast, which looked at the finale of the 5YL Legion in LSH v4 #61, I asked Mark Waid if he could answer some questions and share some stories about writing the Legion during this period in 1993-94. He was gracious enough to answer, and even told me some things I had never heard before. Thanks, Mark!


Omnicom: The first of the Legion books you started on was Valor with #11, which according to the solicitations was the “Beginning an exciting new direction for VALOR that will ultimately lead to a major shake-up in the DC Universe.” That issue came out when the Bierbaums were still writing both LSH (then on #47) and Legionnaires (then on #7), and was on sale a year before Zero Hour. Your first issue as regular writer wrapped up the plots from the previous team. How much did you know at the time about what DC was planning for the future of the DCU in the form of Zero Hour? How much direction were you given on the title?


Waid: At first, in the Valor days, the outcomes of Zero Hour were held close to the vest, though it helped enormously that Legion editor KC Carlson was also the editor of ZH--so he could at least set up guard rails for me, and I'm sure the solicits were from his keyboard, not mine, so he could say with some authority what I didn't at the time know.

Once we got to End of an Era, we knew the outcome of ZH, so we knew where we were going.

Omnicom: The Bierbaums were off of the LSH book with issue 50 and Tom McCraw took over as writer. Do you recall at what point you started working together to plot out the future of the Legion books?

Waid: I want to say about four months before the first chapter of End of an Era came out? It's hard to remember after all this time, but that would make sense.

Omnicom: The Bierbaums stayed on the Legionnaires book up through #15, and by that time Valor had finished up DOA – the 20th century version of the character was dead, and the SW6 version was now starring – while Tom’s LSH book was wrapping up the Legion on the Run story. It’s clear (in retrospect) that things were moving towards something big, and Kurt Busiek joined the writing team. Can you talk about the writing process bringing together three books which up until that time had not been involved with each other?

Waid: Well, Tom, KC and I were friends as well as workmates, so the process was easy--and bringing Kurt in was to help me out because I couldn't juggle all my pieces of End of an Era and hit my other deadlines. I didn't have a whole lot of personal communication with Kurt in the process (though we, too, were friends)--mostly, he was just springing off the outline that Tom and I had crafted--but it was nonetheless a seamless process as I recall.


Omnicom: Somewhere in there is the infamous “it’s broken and we can’t fix it!” plotting session. Can you go through what you, Tom, Kurt, and KC Carlson & Mike McAvennie (and whoever else) went through in figuring out how to try to fix and then end the series? Were you given any story beats to hit or avoid other than to make sure that things matched up with the Zero Hour title? Was that decision yours (collectively) or was there a mandate from above to end with a Legion reboot?

Waid: Oh, there was far more than one "how do we fix this?" plotting session. KC, Tom and I spent countless hours across several weekends in Tom's studio throwing ideas around. And as I have said repeatedly, even though hardcore Legion fans don't want to believe me, the amount of energy we spent trying to figure out some way to salvage existing LSH continuity could move the Pyramid at Giza. Remember, all of us were die-hard Legion fans. Tom and I were both long-time members of Interlac, the Legion fan group. I knew more about the Legion at that point than probably anyone else in the world save maybe Paul Levitz--I was the one who created the famous Legion Index covering all of Legion history in excruciating detail. We loved the Legion. We didn't want to bury history. But at the same time, no matter how many plotting paths we went down in order to salvage it, they all became just too Byzantine, and I distinctly recall pointing out late in the game that it felt like we were trying to build a house on shifting sand. The Superman office had already dictated that there were to be none, zero, no ties between the LSH and the Superman mythos, and other DC editorial offices were following suit, stripping us of mention of the Green Lantern Corps and the Thanagarians, both of which had played a role in LSH history. And we had no idea what we'd be stripped of next. Every attempt to simply replace verboten characters with other characters took us to places that would be more confusing than edifying to non-hardcore LSH readers. No one was campaigning for a reboot. It wasn't a goal; it was a necessary evil that we all then tried to make the best of.

Omnicom: I became a member of online fandom on Compuserve during Zero Hour, right before LSH #61 (the finale) came out, and I recall a discussion of that two-page spread at the end where we see vignettes of various points in Legion history. Can you talk about that? If I remember correctly, you had asked fandom what to put there (without telling them what you were going to do).

Waid: I did reach out to my fellow Legion fans, but the obvious choices were obvious--Ferro Lad, the cover of Adventure 312, and so forth. The only image I can take personal credit for is the image of Luornu crawling through Superboy's secret tunnel in Smallville; it resonated (and still resonates) with me in a hugely emotional way, being the perfect condensation in one image of writer Jim Shooter's skill at characterization, the moment that we really got hit hard with the intensity of her crush on Superboy and the tragedy of knowing they'd never be together. I knew that image would resonate with the hardcore fans--a few years earlier, in 1992, I'd been at a Legion fan gathering where someone had put together a slide show commemorating the Legionnaires who'd died in battle, and when that image of Luornu came up, the entire room gasped a melancholy gasp. It was a beautiful and moving moment.


I was surprised to hear Mark say that "other DC editorial offices were following suit, stripping us of mention of the Green Lantern Corps and the Thanagarians", that's something I had never heard before. The Superman office, yes, but not Green Lantern or even the Thanagarians.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

LSH v4 #61 annotations: That's all, folks!

 Annotations for LSH v4 #61:



Notes:

  • Recap: At the End of Time, Rokk spends time in the Infinite Library and eventually meets Time Trapper, who reveals to Rokk that (a) he had been trying to help the Legion all along because the temporal duplicates (not clones) were messing up time too much, and (b) he is actually a version of Rokk himself. Meanwhile, in the 30th century, Mordru is defeated by members of the Legion on Talus, but projects himself into the heart of the Pocket Universe Earth, which is soon going to self-destruct. Elsewhere, Superman leads a team from the 20th century into the 30th to stop the wave of destruction. After they are successful, the Time Trapper arrives with Rokk and sends the 20th century heroes back home. But a little while later, someone appears and reopens the rift to restart the end of everything. (See LSH v4 #60, Legionnaires #18, Valor #23, Zero Hour #3, and Zero Hour #2).
  • Cover: “End of an Era: The Real Conclusion” because you’ll recall that on the cover of Legionnaires #17, which was EoE part 1, it read “End of an Era: Conclusion” instead. Even the logo is fading to white.
  • Page 3 panel 1: The remaining Legionnaires include two Brainys, two Chucks, two Tenzils, two Luornus, two Nuras, two Jans, two Aylas, two Thoms, two Violets, and one each of SW6 Inferno, SW6 Ultra Boy, SW6 Apparition, Night Girl, Wildfire, Imra, and Garth.
  • Page 4 panel 2: Now we have two Jos, two Imras, two Garths, and one new SW6 Cosmic Boy, arriving after helping out at New Earth in ZH #2
  • Page 6 panel 1: Everyone seems to remember the Time Trapper now, but for most of the series (and since the Mordruverse back in issue 5) he has been gone from continuity, replaced by Glorith
  • Page 9 panel 5: So basically, the only ones left are duplicates (with Night Girl gone, everyone has a double except for Apparition, Wildfire, and Inferno), and by merging they will be able to save the universe
  • Pages 10-11: Let’s check in with our other supporting cast and watch them vanish – Tellus; Mekt and Loomis; Ivy and Kent; Porcupine Pete and the Subs; and Garridan and Graym.
  • Page 13 panel 2: Wildfire’s secret that he’s been hiding for several issues is that his energy is inside Dirk’s body
  • Page 15: finally, the return of Tinya, who was actually dead for a while
  • Page 19: and after everyone has gone, it’s only the founders left with the Time Trapper
  • Pages 23-24: For this page, Mark Waid reached out to Legion fans online for some memories of the Legion. The ones on this page include the new guys who joined in LSH v3 #14; the resurrection of Lightning Lad from Adventure #312; the sacrifice of Ferro Lad from Adventure #355; Luornu crawling through the tunnel from Adventure #369; saving Brande in the origin story from Superboy #147; the death of Karate Kid in LSH v3 #4; and Cham coming to Rokk in LSH v4 #1.
  • Page 25: And that’s all she wrote, kids. The Legion fades to white. 
  • I've been carefully trying to keep an accurate record of what day things happened. I've had to make some assumptions along the way (like it takes a day to get from one planet to another, or how long is "several weeks later") and as best as I can tell, today is roughly October 2, 2995. Issue 1 took place on October 23, 2994. So not even a full year has passed since Cham came to Rokk and decided to get the band back together.
The Legion may be gone, but there are still two more issues of Zero Hour to wrap things up.



Cutting down the timeline to just the last few days of story as we get close to Zero Hour. I'm color coding them based on whether the date appeared in the 2995 Sourcebook (yellow), it's a confirmed date that was given in the comic (green), or an estimated date based on keeping track of events and days (cyan). Bold text is something new added this issue. Italics are unknown dates.

Due to the timelines in the stories bouncing between 2995 and 1994 and things happening "simultaneously" 1001 years apart, I'm keeping the events in the order that they happen to the people involved, not strictly chronological by day and year. To make it easier to follow, the 1994 dates will be in red text and anything outside of time (like at the beginning or end of time) will be in blue text.
  • Fri 9/29/95: Arriving at Weber’s World, the team tries to stop the Khunds’ bombs from destroying the planet; Dawnstar arrives and meets Wildfire; Firefist kills Veilmist; and after studying at the Infinite Library, Glorith travels to Tharn where she restores Mordru’s powers to help her conquer the universe (LSHv4 #58). Meanwhile, SW6 Brainy & Triad find that Valor has been retconned from history (Valor #13, Legionnaires #16 pages 9-10), so a team of Legionnaires goes back in time to find out what happened (Valor #14, Legionnaires #16 page 10).
    • Outside of time: the Legionnaires enter the time stream and crash their Time Bubble (Valor #15); the Legionnaires fight Valor and find out that Lori is Glorith (Valor #16), and then fight Glorith, but Valor succumbs to the effects of his lead poisoning and dies; SW6 Valor appears (Valor #17); Brainiac 5 tells SW6 Valor that he will have to spend another 1000 years in the Phantom Zone in order to save time, and Valor does not take it well (Valor #18), but the presence of Waverider and seeing his fellow Legionnaires vanish changes his mind. Once he accepts his fate, the Legionnaires appear back in their own time and the legend of Valor is restored (Valor #19, Legionnaires #16 page 11. From Vanishing Point, the Linear Men see a timequake affect the 30th century (Valor #20), which causes Dream Girl and Star Boy to appear (Legionnaires #16).
    • The Legionnaires instantly return to their present, unaware of their meeting with Glorith and the Valors (Valor #15-19, Legionnaires #16 page 11); Star Boy, Dream Girl, and Bouncing Boy appear with the Legionnaires and Ferro Lad is long dead, leading Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, and Lightning Lad – who seem to be the only ones aware that something funny is going on – to take a Time Bubble to figure it out (even though Invisible Kid and Rond Vidar are secretly aware that something’s happening); Polestar appears at New Earth (Legionnaires #16, LSHv4 #59); Rond, SW6 Brainiac 5, and SW6 Invisible Kid arrive on Weber’s World in a time bubble at the same time as with Mon-El, Shadow Lass, and Dev-Em, but they're all too late to prevent the death of Laurel Gand from the Khund bomb; Jo leaves for 1994 to find Tinya (LSHv4 #59). The SW6 Legionnaires confront Polestar at New Earth (Legionnaires #17).
  • Sat 8/6/1994: Valor tries to re-create the feats he did before he went into the Phantom Zone, but fails; the Linear Men watch Valor from Vanishing Point (Valor #20). As a result of the timeline issues, Valor splits into multiple copies of himself and manages to do all the things that legend said he did over the years, in just a few hours, then resigns himself to having Glorith send him back to the Bgztl Twilight dimension. But the Linear Men realize it’s too late, the future is doomed (Valor #21).
  • Sun 8/7/1994: Jo Nah arrives from the future in the time bubble (L.E.G.I.O.N. #68). He meets who he thinks is Tinya, but it turns out to have been her cousin Enya all along. He wants to bring her back to the 30th century (L.E.G.I.O.N. #69).
  • Sat 9/30/95: Laurel Gand is laid to rest on Shanghalla in a ceremony attended by a number of adult and SW6 Legionnaires, after which Glorith and Mordru attack the group with replicas of some of their old foes and kidnap Rokk, and then Dawnstar fades out (Legionnaires #17). Valor and others go to New Earth to help RJ Brande bring Pocket Earth into this universe, but while the Subs and several Legionnaires blink out of existence, Pocket Earth turns out to be unstable and will explode in 72 hours (Valor #22). Rokk tries but can’t escape Mordru and Glorith (LSHv4 #60).
  • Sun 10/1/95: Rokk escapes Mordru and Glorith by going into the Infinite Library; the surviving members of the adult and SW6 Legions meet on Winath to help look for Rokk, but when Glorith and Mordru show up on Talus seeking the Time Beacon, the Legions go there. The magicians call forth the Infinite Man, and then they take his powers. Gim Allon disappears when his SW6 counterpart Leviathan is killed (LSH v4 #60). Mordru and Glorith begin to remake the universe, and the Legion teams fight them and their evil dopplegangers. But one by one, more Legionnaires fade out. Mysa manages to break Mordru and Glorith apart which causes their spell to fail, at least temporarily, before she fades out (Legionnaires #18). Valor and Shadow Lass meet Pre-Crisis Superboy, who helps the Legions fight Glorith and Mordru. The team beats Glorith, and her Infinite Man powers flow to Valor. He then dumps it all on Mordru, who is unprepared to have his mind merge with the universe. Mordru teleports away into the core of Pocket Earth, which is ready to explode in a couple of days. Valor and Shady vanish, and after Superboy makes a rousing speech, he too vanishes (Valor #23).
  • End of Time: Time Trapper is blasted by someone unknown, who starts to destroy time from the end going backwards and from the dawn of time going forwards (Zero Hour #4).
  • 8/8/1994: Jo tries to go back to the future with Enya/Phase, but at the last second she leaves him and returns to her L.E.G.I.O.N. team (L.E.G.I.O.N. #70). His time bubble is blocked from going to the future moments later. SW6 Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, and Livewire fall out of the timestream in 1994, where they are met by Jo (Legionnaires #18). Meanwhile, the pre-Crisis Earth-1 Kal-El Superboy appears after helping the Legion and meets Kon-El Superboy in Smallville. Kal-El quickly realizes that this is a mix of his town and the post-Crisis Byrne version, and after a fight with Kon-El he realizes that he is the time anomaly here. Kon-El tells Kal-El that he will carry on the job as Superboy, and Kal-El vanishes (Superboy v3 #8). Batman, Superman, Metron, and GL Kyle Rayner contact heroes, including Emerald Dragon and the SW6 founders (Legionnaires #18) and Kon-El (Superboy v3 #8), to join up in New York City (Zero Hour #4). Metron notices that Impulse is from the 30th century (Zero Hour #3).
  • End of Time: Rokk spends an infinite amount of time in the Infinite Library and meets the Time Trapper when he finally escapes (Legionnaires #18). The Time Trapper explains his history and reveals that the SW6 Legionnaires were taken from time by him, not cloned by the Dominators. But their continued existence warped time and caused the Trapper to go insane trying to “fix” things to actually protect the Legion from the Zero Hour energy wave (Valor #23). He then reveals himself to Rokk that the two of them are really temporal duplicates (Valor #23, also shown in Zero Hour #3).
  • 8/8/1994: In the middle of the night, SW6 Saturn Girl, Livewire, and Cosmic Boy and Emerald Dragon join the gathering of heroes, including Superboy and Impulse (Zero Hour #3). Vril Dox launches a probe into the time stream to try to figure out what’s going on; it will reappear in ZH #1 (L.E.G.I.O.N. #70, Zero Hour #3). While trying to save NYC, Emerald Dragon reminds Booster Gold that they’ve met before. Afterwards, Waverider tells the heroes that they must try to stop time from eating itself in the past and in the future; the Legionnaires choose to go on the future mission, as this is their only way home. (Zero Hour #2)
  • Beginning of Time: Waverider leads a team to the distant past. They are attacked by Extant, and Waverider sends the heroes back to their own time (Zero Hour #2).
  • 10/2/2995: Meanwhile, Superman leads a team to New Earth in the 30th century where they see “the end of time and space”. Metron devises a plan to stop the future from collapsing; Captain Atom blasts Metron’s Mobius Chair inside a boom tube which apparently saves the day in the future. Polestar arrives with Time Trapper, who sends the 20th century heroes back to their home while the Legionnaires remain in the 30th century (Zero Hour #2).
  • 8/8/1994: Extant says that he was not supposed to lose in the 30th century (Zero Hour #2).
  • 10/2/2995: A little while later later, someone appears in the 30th century and reopens the rift in time to make sure things happen correctly (Zero Hour #2). The remaining Legionnaires (adult and SW6) arrive on Pocket Earth from Talus, only to find that they can’t stop the imminent destruction of the planet. The Time Trapper brings Rokk and the Legionnaires who just helped out at New Earth to Talus, and tells them that they are temporal duplicates and the only way to save the universe is by combining all of the counterparts (LSH v4 #61). The Time Trapper leaves the Legionnaires on Pocket Earth, saying the future is in their hands. It’s now a group of both adult and SW6 Garth, Imra, and Rokk, and the Trapper’s Iron Curtain of Time is the only thing protecting them. The Legionnaires and the universe fade to white (LSH v4 #61, Zero Hour #1).

Monday, September 12, 2022

Zero Hour #2 annotations: 60% of the Way Towards the End

 Annotations for Zero Hour #2:


Notes (boldface is directly LSH-related):

  • Cover: Team Titans (remember them?) vs the other heroes we saw in New York last issue
  • L.E.G.I.O.N. #70 (that’s when Jo tried to go back to the future with Enya but she bailed and his Time Bubble was blocked) came out the same week as this issue of ZH #2, but the events happened concurrently with ZH #3.
  • Page 3: Extant says he knows Waverider is going to try to stop the entropy rifts at the beginning and end of time, so he has to prepare his defenses with his “agents of destruction”
  • Page 4 panel 3: Emerald Dragon reminds Booster Gold that they met back in BG #8-9 when the Legion found out about when Booster took the flight ring (Ultra Boy, Brainiac 5, and Chameleon Boy)
  • Page 8 panel 4: Alan Scott gives his depowered GL ring to Kyle
  • Page 9 panel 4: they have to fight the entropy in both the past and the future, so this is how the stranded Legionnaires (Emerald Dragon and SW6 Livewire, Saturn Girl, and Cosmic Boy) can get back home.
  • Page 10: back in the 30th century, 10:06 ago (relative to the start of ZH #0) the future team sees the entropy wave over New Earth. We won’t see this in LSH v4 #61, which takes place entirely on Pocket Earth.
  • Page 11 panel 3: Throwing the Team Titans under the bus, everyone on the team has been secretly and unknowingly working for Extant the whole time, including Mirage and Terra
  • Page 14: Meanwhile, in the past (also 10:06 ago), it’s more Team Titans against the heroes
  • Page 16 panel 4: Kyle drops Alan’s ring
  • Page 17 panel 2: I’m not going to bother trying to figure out Extant’s timeline, but this version is before he took Waverider’s power (and in panel 3, the future version of Extant is watching his past self)
  • Page 17 panel 5: Waverider conveniently sends the heroes back to the 20th century as he’s attacked by Extant and has his power stolen, just like we saw Extant looking like Waverider at the end of last issue
  • Page 18 panel 6: someone who we don’t know yet (Parallax) picks up Alan’s ring before the time period vanishes
  • Page 20: the heroes have saved the 30th century, hooray!
  • Page 21 panel 4: Time Trapper appears and sends the 20th century heroes back to their home time
  • Page 22 panel 3: Extant realizes that the 30th century wave must have been stopped but it wasn’t supposed to have gone that way
  • Page 23 panel 4: the stranger (Parallax) returns and reopens the rift in the 30th century (and crushes Alan’s ring), meaning the 30th century is in trouble
  • The Legion’s story concludes in the next issue of LSH #61, End of an Era part 6 (of 6), which came out the same week as ZH #1, but there’s still a bit more to be told about what happens after that. Plus, Zero Hour continues.
  • Somewhere in this issue, I can’t exactly fit where, the team of Booster Gold and Blue Beetles I, II, and III plus the Blue Beetle of the 27th century encounter Parallax and Extant in the time stream in Booster Gold vol 2 #0 (which was marketed as a Zero Hour tie-in in 2008). We haven’t really seen Parallax yet and don’t know who he is, but Extant seems to be working for Parallax and mentions that the “old men” of the JSA won’t get in their way, and Extant left Alan Scott alone because Hal wanted Alan to see him remaking the universe in his image to show Alan how much Hal had surpassed him. As Booster and the Beetles escape, Parallax says “I don’t want them talking, Extant, I don’t want anyone knowing you’re working with me, not yet.” Extrant tries to blast the time sphere, saying “our rift of draining entropy has already destroyed the 64th century, it will annihilate the 25th soon enough” as Extant pushes Rip Hunter’s time machine back to the 25th century. We saw Wally (as Flash) fall while fighting Abra Kadabra in the 64th century back in ZH #4, and the 25th century will fade out with Booster in ZH #1.
  • Thanks to Gary at Crisis on Earth Prime for some help with the annotations



Cutting down the timeline to just the last few days of story as we get close to Zero Hour. I'm color coding them based on whether the date appeared in the 2995 Sourcebook (yellow), it's a confirmed date that was given in the comic (green), or an estimated date based on keeping track of events and days (cyan). Bold text is something new added this issue. Italics are unknown dates.

Due to the timelines in the stories bouncing between 2995 and 1994 and things happening "simultaneously" 1001 years apart, I'm keeping the events in the order that they happen to the people involved, not strictly chronological by day and year. To make it easier to follow, the 1994 dates will be in red text and anything outside of time (like at the beginning or end of time) will be in blue text.
  • Fri 9/29/95: Arriving at Weber’s World, the team tries to stop the Khunds’ bombs from destroying the planet; Dawnstar arrives and meets Wildfire; Firefist kills Veilmist; and after studying at the Infinite Library, Glorith travels to Tharn where she restores Mordru’s powers to help her conquer the universe (LSHv4 #58). Meanwhile, SW6 Brainy & Triad find that Valor has been retconned from history (Valor #13, Legionnaires #16 pages 9-10), so a team of Legionnaires goes back in time to find out what happened (Valor #14, Legionnaires #16 page 10).
    • Outside of time: the Legionnaires enter the time stream and crash their Time Bubble (Valor #15); the Legionnaires fight Valor and find out that Lori is Glorith (Valor #16), and then fight Glorith, but Valor succumbs to the effects of his lead poisoning and dies; SW6 Valor appears (Valor #17); Brainiac 5 tells SW6 Valor that he will have to spend another 1000 years in the Phantom Zone in order to save time, and Valor does not take it well (Valor #18), but the presence of Waverider and seeing his fellow Legionnaires vanish changes his mind. Once he accepts his fate, the Legionnaires appear back in their own time and the legend of Valor is restored (Valor #19, Legionnaires #16 page 11. From Vanishing Point, the Linear Men see a timequake affect the 30th century (Valor #20), which causes Dream Girl and Star Boy to appear (Legionnaires #16).
    • The Legionnaires instantly return to their present, unaware of their meeting with Glorith and the Valors (Valor #15-19, Legionnaires #16 page 11); Star Boy, Dream Girl, and Bouncing Boy appear with the Legionnaires and Ferro Lad is long dead, leading Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, and Lightning Lad – who seem to be the only ones aware that something funny is going on – to take a Time Bubble to figure it out (even though Invisible Kid and Rond Vidar are secretly aware that something’s happening); Polestar appears at New Earth (Legionnaires #16, LSHv4 #59); Rond, SW6 Brainiac 5, and SW6 Invisible Kid arrive on Weber’s World in a time bubble at the same time as with Mon-El, Shadow Lass, and Dev-Em, but they're all too late to prevent the death of Laurel Gand from the Khund bomb; Jo leaves for 1994 to find Tinya (LSHv4 #59). The SW6 Legionnaires confront Polestar at New Earth (Legionnaires #17).
  • Sat 8/6/1994: Valor tries to re-create the feats he did before he went into the Phantom Zone, but fails; the Linear Men watch Valor from Vanishing Point (Valor #20). As a result of the timeline issues, Valor splits into multiple copies of himself and manages to do all the things that legend said he did over the years, in just a few hours, then resigns himself to having Glorith send him back to the Bgztl Twilight dimension. But the Linear Men realize it’s too late, the future is doomed (Valor #21).
  • Sun 8/7/1994: Jo Nah arrives from the future in the time bubble (L.E.G.I.O.N. #68). He meets who he thinks is Tinya, but it turns out to have been her cousin Enya all along. He wants to bring her back to the 30th century (L.E.G.I.O.N. #69).
  • Sat 9/30/95: Laurel Gand is laid to rest on Shanghalla in a ceremony attended by a number of adult and SW6 Legionnaires, after which Glorith and Mordru attack the group with replicas of some of their old foes and kidnap Rokk, and then Dawnstar fades out (Legionnaires #17). Valor and others go to New Earth to help RJ Brande bring Pocket Earth into this universe, but while the Subs and several Legionnaires blink out of existence, Pocket Earth turns out to be unstable and will explode in 72 hours (Valor #22). Rokk tries but can’t escape Mordru and Glorith (LSHv4 #60).
  • Sun 10/1/95: Rokk escapes Mordru and Glorith by going into the Infinite Library; the surviving members of the adult and SW6 Legions meet on Winath to help look for Rokk, but when Glorith and Mordru show up on Talus seeking the Time Beacon, the Legions go there. The magicians call forth the Infinite Man, and then they take his powers. Gim Allon disappears when his SW6 counterpart Leviathan is killed (LSH v4 #60). Mordru and Glorith begin to remake the universe, and the Legion teams fight them and their evil dopplegangers. But one by one, more Legionnaires fade out. Mysa manages to break Mordru and Glorith apart which causes their spell to fail, at least temporarily, before she fades out (Legionnaires #18). Valor and Shadow Lass meet Pre-Crisis Superboy, who helps the Legions fight Glorith and Mordru. The team beats Glorith, and her Infinite Man powers flow to Valor. He then dumps it all on Mordru, who is unprepared to have his mind merge with the universe. Mordru teleports away into the core of Pocket Earth, which is ready to explode in a couple of days. Valor and Shady vanish, and after Superboy makes a rousing speech, he too vanishes (Valor #23).
  • End of Time: Time Trapper is blasted by someone unknown, who starts to destroy time from the end going backwards and from the dawn of time going forwards (Zero Hour #4).
  • 8/8/1994: Jo tries to go back to the future with Enya/Phase, but at the last second she leaves him and returns to her L.E.G.I.O.N. team (L.E.G.I.O.N. #70). His time bubble is blocked from going to the future moments later. SW6 Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, and Livewire fall out of the timestream in 1994, where they are met by Jo (Legionnaires #18). Meanwhile, the pre-Crisis Earth-1 Kal-El Superboy appears after helping the Legion and meets Kon-El Superboy in Smallville. Kal-El quickly realizes that this is a mix of his town and the post-Crisis Byrne version, and after a fight with Kon-El he realizes that he is the time anomaly here. Kon-El tells Kal-El that he will carry on the job as Superboy, and Kal-El vanishes (Superboy v3 #8). Batman, Superman, Metron, and GL Kyle Rayner contact heroes, including Emerald Dragon and the SW6 founders (Legionnaires #18) and Kon-El (Superboy v3 #8), to join up in New York City (Zero Hour #4). Metron notices that Impulse is from the 30th century (Zero Hour #3).
  • End of Time: Rokk spends an infinite amount of time in the Infinite Library and meets the Time Trapper when he finally escapes (Legionnaires #18). The Time Trapper explains his history and reveals that the SW6 Legionnaires were taken from time by him, not cloned by the Dominators. But their continued existence warped time and caused the Trapper to go insane trying to “fix” things to actually protect the Legion from the Zero Hour energy wave (Valor #23). He then reveals himself to Rokk that the two of them are really temporal duplicates (Valor #23, also shown in Zero Hour #3).
  • 8/8/1994: In the middle of the night, SW6 Saturn Girl, Livewire, and Cosmic Boy and Emerald Dragon join the gathering of heroes, including Superboy and Impulse (Zero Hour #3). Vril Dox launches a probe into the time stream to try to figure out what’s going on; it will reappear in ZH #1 (L.E.G.I.O.N. #70, Zero Hour #3). While trying to save NYC, Emerald Dragon reminds Booster Gold that they’ve met before. Afterwards, Waverider tells the heroes that they must try to stop time from eating itself in the past and in the future; the Legionnaires choose to go on the future mission, as this is their only way home. (Zero Hour #2)
  • Beginning of Time: Waverider leads a team to the distant past. They are attacked by Extant, and Waverider sends the heroes back to their own time (Zero Hour #2).
  • 10/2/2995: Meanwhile, Superman leads a team to New Earth in the 30th century where they see “the end of time and space”. Metron devises a plan to stop the future from collapsing; Captain Atom blasts Metron’s Mobius Chair inside a boom tube which apparently saves the day in the future. Polestar arrives with Time Trapper, who sends the 20th century heroes back to their home while the Legionnaires remain in the 30th century (Zero Hour #2).
  • 8/8/1994: Extant says that he was not supposed to lose in the 30th century (Zero Hour #2).
  • 10/2/2995: A little while later later, someone appears in the 30th century and reopens the rift in time to make sure things happen correctly (Zero Hour #2). 

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Zero Hour #3 annotations: 40% of the Way Towards the End

 Annotations for Zero Hour #3:


Notes:

  • Cover:
    • Alan Scott got young recently in Green Lantern Corps Quarterly #5
    • Impulse had just appeared in Flash #92 a couple months prior, the same month that we saw LSH v4 #59 and Legionnaires #16. We find out that he is Iris Allen’s grandson by way of his son Don, formerly one of the Tornado Twins (who, in a retcon, were not merely descendants of the Flash as they had originally claimed, but his children).
  • Page 1: another Crisis, another Flash dead
  • Pages 2-3: The JSA thinks they can handle Extant. Narrator: They could not. When did Alan Scott get young again?
  • Page 4 panel 2: Superman’s story happens over in Superman #93
  • Page 5 panel 7: Metron notes that Impulse is from the 30th century; this will come into play later.
  • Page 6: Time Trapper reveals himself to Rokk, that the two of them are really temporal duplicates (as previously seen in Valor #23)
  • Page 7 panel 3: Booster notes that this is the middle of the night. This is helpful for my chronology. Best as I can tell, this is late on August 8, 1994, and the day started with Jo trying to leave with Enya in LEGION #70, and continued with him meeting the SW6 founders, and Superman gathering the troops via Metron and GL.
  • Page 7 panel 4: Power Girl is magically pregnant for some reason.
    • See this article for all the details you never wanted to know
  • Pages 8-9: the traditional "super-heroes gather for a crisis" 2-page spread
  • Page 11 panel 3: the current Hawkman battles the Hawk avatar, which is the root source for all of the various Hawkmen
  • Page 12: See Hawkman #13 for more of this transformation stuff
  • Page 13 panel 1: Vril Dox launches a probe into the time stream to try to figure out what’s going on, as seen back in LEGION #70 (LOSP 718); the probe appears next in ZH #1
  • Page 14 panel 1: Kyle is still new to being a GL
  • Page 14 panel 2: Superman ran into several Batmen in Superman: Man of Steel #37 and Batman #511; Metamorpho's new look debuted in Justice League International #61
  • Page 14 panel 3: both Batgirl and Alpha Centurion are time anomalies
  • Page 14 panel 5: Maxima has lost her shoulder pads
  • Page 16 panel 1: Dick, Donna, and Roy hear about Wally – all of them have graduated to other heroic identities by this point when they started as the Teen Titans. For some reason Arsenal was not in that earlier 2-page spread.
  • Page 16 panel 4: Guy and Atom think they might be able to restore Hal Jordan and keep him from going Emerald Twilight
  • Page 17: do we take a drink for dead JSAers? Here we lose Atom and Dr Fate
  • Page 20: and down go Dr Midnite and Hourman
    • Hourman's last ditch attack against Extant would be revisited several years later in the pages of the JSA series. Though it appears he dies here, the android Hourman from the future actually takes his place, stepping between seconds and allowing Rex to continue living a full life.
  • Page 21 panel 1: Anima is here but didn’t appear in that 2-page spread earlier
  • Not much for the Legion in this issue, but it was nice of Superman to invite Emerald Dragon and the SW6 founders to the party.
  • Thanks to Gary at Crisis on Earth Prime for some help with the annotations
Finally, it turns out that this was the week I first got online, as recounted in part here in this old blog post. I got my first computer in spring of 1994 and after some experimenting in local BBSs, I joined Compuserve and found the Comics and Animation Forum right as Zero Hour was wiping out the Legion: I got to experience one issue of Zero Hour (issue #2) before the Legion issue (#61) which was the end of End of an Era. I had finally found some kindred spirits, people who I could talk to about my hobby who knew exactly what I was talking about and didn't look at me funny. Lots of fun people and big-name pros (Mark Waid, Kurt Busiek, Jeff Moy, Neil Gaiman, Tony Isabella, Bob Rozakis, etc.). I made some friends online there who are still close today.



Cutting down the timeline to just the last few days of story as we get close to Zero Hour. I'm color coding them based on whether the date appeared in the 2995 Sourcebook (yellow), it's a confirmed date that was given in the comic (green), or an estimated date based on keeping track of events and days (cyan). Bold text is something new added this issue. Italics are unknown dates.

Due to the timelines in the stories bouncing between 2995 and 1994 and things happening "simultaneously" 1001 years apart, I'm keeping the events in the order that they happen to the people involved, not strictly chronological by day and year. To make it easier to follow, the 1994 dates will be in red text and anything outside of time (like at the beginning or end of time) will be in blue text.
  • Fri 9/29/95: Arriving at Weber’s World, the team tries to stop the Khunds’ bombs from destroying the planet; Dawnstar arrives and meets Wildfire; Firefist kills Veilmist; and after studying at the Infinite Library, Glorith travels to Tharn where she restores Mordru’s powers to help her conquer the universe (LSHv4 #58). Meanwhile, SW6 Brainy & Triad find that Valor has been retconned from history (Valor #13, Legionnaires #16 pages 9-10), so a team of Legionnaires goes back in time to find out what happened (Valor #14, Legionnaires #16 page 10).
    • Outside of time: the Legionnaires enter the time stream and crash their Time Bubble (Valor #15); the Legionnaires fight Valor and find out that Lori is Glorith (Valor #16), and then fight Glorith, but Valor succumbs to the effects of his lead poisoning and dies; SW6 Valor appears (Valor #17); Brainiac 5 tells SW6 Valor that he will have to spend another 1000 years in the Phantom Zone in order to save time, and Valor does not take it well (Valor #18), but the presence of Waverider and seeing his fellow Legionnaires vanish changes his mind. Once he accepts his fate, the Legionnaires appear back in their own time and the legend of Valor is restored (Valor #19, Legionnaires #16 page 11. From Vanishing Point, the Linear Men see a timequake affect the 30th century (Valor #20), which causes Dream Girl and Star Boy to appear (Legionnaires #16).
    • The Legionnaires instantly return to their present, unaware of their meeting with Glorith and the Valors (Valor #15-19, Legionnaires #16 page 11); Star Boy, Dream Girl, and Bouncing Boy appear with the Legionnaires and Ferro Lad is long dead, leading Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, and Lightning Lad – who seem to be the only ones aware that something funny is going on – to take a Time Bubble to figure it out (even though Invisible Kid and Rond Vidar are secretly aware that something’s happening); Polestar appears at New Earth (Legionnaires #16, LSHv4 #59); Rond, SW6 Brainiac 5, and SW6 Invisible Kid arrive on Weber’s World in a time bubble at the same time as with Mon-El, Shadow Lass, and Dev-Em, but they're all too late to prevent the death of Laurel Gand from the Khund bomb; Jo leaves for 1994 to find Tinya (LSHv4 #59). The SW6 Legionnaires confront Polestar at New Earth (Legionnaires #17).
  • Sat 8/6/1994: Valor tries to re-create the feats he did before he went into the Phantom Zone, but fails; the Linear Men watch Valor from Vanishing Point (Valor #20). As a result of the timeline issues, Valor splits into multiple copies of himself and manages to do all the things that legend said he did over the years, in just a few hours, then resigns himself to having Glorith send him back to the Bgztl Twilight dimension. But the Linear Men realize it’s too late, the future is doomed (Valor #21).
  • Sun 8/7/1994: Jo Nah arrives from the future in the time bubble (L.E.G.I.O.N. #68). He meets who he thinks is Tinya, but it turns out to have been her cousin Enya all along. He wants to bring her back to the 30th century (L.E.G.I.O.N. #69).
  • Sat 9/30/95: Laurel Gand is laid to rest on Shanghalla in a ceremony attended by a number of adult and SW6 Legionnaires, after which Glorith and Mordru attack the group with replicas of some of their old foes and kidnap Rokk, and then Dawnstar fades out (Legionnaires #17). Valor and others go to New Earth to help RJ Brande bring Pocket Earth into this universe, but while the Subs and several Legionnaires blink out of existence, Pocket Earth turns out to be unstable and will explode in 72 hours (Valor #22). Rokk tries but can’t escape Mordru and Glorith (LSHv4 #60).
  • Sun 10/1/95: Rokk escapes Mordru and Glorith by going into the Infinite Library; the surviving members of the adult and SW6 Legions meet on Winath to help look for Rokk, but when Glorith and Mordru show up on Talus seeking the Time Beacon, the Legions go there. The magicians call forth the Infinite Man, and then they take his powers. Gim Allon disappears when his SW6 counterpart Leviathan is killed (LSH v4 #60). Mordru and Glorith begin to remake the universe, and the Legion teams fight them and their evil dopplegangers. But one by one, more Legionnaires fade out. Mysa manages to break Mordru and Glorith apart which causes their spell to fail, at least temporarily, before she fades out (Legionnaires #18). Valor and Shadow Lass meet Pre-Crisis Superboy, who helps the Legions fight Glorith and Mordru. The team beats Glorith, and her Infinite Man powers flow to Valor. He then dumps it all on Mordru, who is unprepared to have his mind merge with the universe. Mordru teleports away into the core of Pocket Earth, which is ready to explode in a couple of days. Valor and Shady vanish, and after Superboy makes a rousing speech, he too vanishes (Valor #23).
  • End of Time: Time Trapper is blasted by someone unknown, who starts to destroy time from the end going backwards and from the dawn of time going forwards (Zero Hour #4).
  • 8/8/1994: Jo tries to go back to the future with Enya/Phase, but at the last second she leaves him and returns to her L.E.G.I.O.N. team (L.E.G.I.O.N. #70). His time bubble is blocked from going to the future moments later. SW6 Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, and Livewire fall out of the timestream in 1994, where they are met by Jo (Legionnaires #18). Meanwhile, the pre-Crisis Earth-1 Kal-El Superboy appears after helping the Legion and meets Kon-El Superboy in Smallville. Kal-El quickly realizes that this is a mix of his town and the post-Crisis Byrne version, and after a fight with Kon-El he realizes that he is the time anomaly here. Kon-El tells Kal-El that he will carry on the job as Superboy, and Kal-El vanishes (Superboy v3 #8). Batman, Superman, Metron, and GL Kyle Rayner contact heroes, including Emerald Dragon and the SW6 founders (Legionnaires #18) and Kon-El (Superboy v3 #8), to join up in New York City (Zero Hour #4). Metron notices that Impulse is from the 30th century (Zero Hour #3).
  • End of Time: Rokk spends an infinite amount of time in the Infinite Library and meets the Time Trapper when he finally escapes (Legionnaires #18). The Time Trapper explains his history and reveals that the SW6 Legionnaires were taken from time by him, not cloned by the Dominators. But their continued existence warped time and caused the Trapper to go insane trying to “fix” things to actually protect the Legion from the Zero Hour energy wave (Valor #23). He then reveals himself to Rokk that the two of them are really temporal duplicates (Valor #23, also shown in Zero Hour #3).
  • 8/8/1994: In the middle of the night, SW6 Saturn Girl, Livewire, and Cosmic Boy and Emerald Dragon join the gathering of heroes, including Superboy and Impulse (Zero Hour #3). Vril Dox launches a probe into the time stream to try to figure out what’s going on; it will reappear in ZH #1 (L.E.G.I.O.N. #70, Zero Hour #3). 

Monday, August 15, 2022

Superboy v3 #8 annotations: Big Trouble in Smallville

 Annotations for Superboy v3 #8:


Notes:

  • This technically isn't a Legion book - the Legionnaires only share a couple of panels with Kon-El in New York in Zero Hour #3 - but this issue marks the last appearance (for a while) of the pre-Crisis Superboy (that is, the adventures of Superman when he was a boy). This appearance of the Silver Age Boy of Steel takes place immediately after he disappears from the 30th century while helping the Legion fight Mordru and Glorith in Valor #23, so it's more of a follow-up to that story. The Zero Hour tie-ins tended to be one or more older versions of one of the main characters interacting with the current version.
  • Page 3 panel 3: Pre-Crisis Kal-El Superboy pops into the sky over Smallville immediately after disappearing from the 30th century 
  • Page 4 panel 1: in Valor #23, Superboy says "Now let’s get to – " before he is cut off. Here, he finishes his sentence with "work!"
  • Page 4 panel 2: the editor’s note should have read "...what will have been going to have happened there"
  • Page 6 panel 1: this is the first item that appears out of place, the Superboy sign in Smallville – on this Earth, there was no Superboy.
  • Page 8 panel 3: Kal-El wills the tunnel to the Kent house into existence
  • Page 11 panel 5: Clark is upset that Lana has married Pete, who apparently doesn’t recognize the 15-year old Clark
  • Page 13 panel 4: Clark wills Schwartz’s Soda Shoppe into existence (after Julius Schwartz)
  • Page 14 panel 4: on this Earth, Lana was never Insect Queen
  • Page 19 panel 1: "I faced worse from Chandu, the gorilla with super-vision!" 
    • Chandu appeared in Adventure Comics 219 (December 1955), reprinted in Superboy 174 (June 1971). Synopsis: A giant gorilla gains super-vision powers by drinking powdered Green Kryptonite, and gangster Doc Baird puts his power to work for crime, with his Kryptonite radiations even proof against Superboy.
  • Page 20 panel 5: Clark realizes he’s the time anomaly here, causing things to happen
  • Page 22 panel 2: "I could die happy now, but I’m just going someplace else"
  • Page 23: Kon-El gets the same contact from Superman (via Green Lantern Kyle Rayner) as the four Legionnaires did in Legionnaires #18, as also seen in Zero Hour #4.
  • Kon-El will meet the Reboot Legion in their own series within the first year of the Reboot series, but I don't think he says anything about having met the SW6 Saturn Girl, Livewire, and Cosmic Boy (plus Emerald Dragon) during Zero Hour, even though they have the same costumes. Blame it on the Zero Hour time shenanigans.
  • I've been keeping track of the dates that everything is happening on, and this is the afternoon of August 8, 1994. The day started with Jo Nah trying and failing to get back to the 30th century (L.E.G.I.O.N. #70), followed by Jo meeting up with the three SW6 Legionnaires (Legionnaires #18).



Cutting down the timeline to just the last few days of story as we get close to Zero Hour. I'm color coding them based on whether the date appeared in the 2995 Sourcebook (yellow), it's a confirmed date that was given in the comic (green), or an estimated date based on keeping track of events and days (cyan). Bold text is something new added this issue. Italics are unknown dates.

Due to the timelines in the stories bouncing between 2995 and 1994 and things happening "simultaneously" 1001 years apart, I'm keeping the events in the order that they happen to the people involved, not strictly chronological by day and year. To make it easier to follow, the 1994 dates will be in red text and anything outside of time (like at the beginning or end of time) will be in blue text.
  • Fri 9/29/95: Arriving at Weber’s World, the team tries to stop the Khunds’ bombs from destroying the planet; Dawnstar arrives and meets Wildfire; Firefist kills Veilmist; and after studying at the Infinite Library, Glorith travels to Tharn where she restores Mordru’s powers to help her conquer the universe (LSHv4 #58). Meanwhile, SW6 Brainy & Triad find that Valor has been retconned from history (Valor #13, Legionnaires #16 pages 9-10), so a team of Legionnaires goes back in time to find out what happened (Valor #14, Legionnaires #16 page 10).
    • Outside of time: the Legionnaires enter the time stream and crash their Time Bubble (Valor #15); the Legionnaires fight Valor and find out that Lori is Glorith (Valor #16), and then fight Glorith, but Valor succumbs to the effects of his lead poisoning and dies; SW6 Valor appears (Valor #17); Brainiac 5 tells SW6 Valor that he will have to spend another 1000 years in the Phantom Zone in order to save time, and Valor does not take it well (Valor #18), but the presence of Waverider and seeing his fellow Legionnaires vanish changes his mind. Once he accepts his fate, the Legionnaires appear back in their own time and the legend of Valor is restored (Valor #19, Legionnaires #16 page 11. From Vanishing Point, the Linear Men see a timequake affect the 30th century (Valor #20), which causes Dream Girl and Star Boy to appear (Legionnaires #16).
    • The Legionnaires instantly return to their present, unaware of their meeting with Glorith and the Valors (Valor #15-19, Legionnaires #16 page 11); Star Boy, Dream Girl, and Bouncing Boy appear with the Legionnaires and Ferro Lad is long dead, leading Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, and Lightning Lad – who seem to be the only ones aware that something funny is going on – to take a Time Bubble to figure it out (even though Invisible Kid and Rond Vidar are secretly aware that something’s happening); Polestar appears at New Earth (Legionnaires #16, LSHv4 #59); Rond, SW6 Brainiac 5, and SW6 Invisible Kid arrive on Weber’s World in a time bubble at the same time as with Mon-El, Shadow Lass, and Dev-Em, but they're all too late to prevent the death of Laurel Gand from the Khund bomb; Jo leaves for 1994 to find Tinya (LSHv4 #59). The SW6 Legionnaires confront Polestar at New Earth (Legionnaires #17).
  • Sat 8/6/1994: Valor tries to re-create the feats he did before he went into the Phantom Zone, but fails; the Linear Men watch Valor from Vanishing Point (Valor #20). As a result of the timeline issues, Valor splits into multiple copies of himself and manages to do all the things that legend said he did over the years, in just a few hours, then resigns himself to having Glorith send him back to the Bgztl Twilight dimension. But the Linear Men realize it’s too late, the future is doomed (Valor #21).
  • Sun 8/7/1994: Jo Nah arrives from the future in the time bubble (L.E.G.I.O.N. #68). He meets who he thinks is Tinya, but it turns out to have been her cousin Enya all along. He wants to bring her back to the 30th century (L.E.G.I.O.N. #69).
  • Sat 9/30/95: Laurel Gand is laid to rest on Shanghalla in a ceremony attended by a number of adult and SW6 Legionnaires, after which Glorith and Mordru attack the group with replicas of some of their old foes and kidnap Rokk, and then Dawnstar fades out (Legionnaires #17). Valor and others go to New Earth to help RJ Brande bring Pocket Earth into this universe, but while the Subs and several Legionnaires blink out of existence, Pocket Earth turns out to be unstable and will explode in 72 hours (Valor #22). Rokk tries but can’t escape Mordru and Glorith (LSHv4 #60).
  • Sun 10/1/95: Rokk escapes Mordru and Glorith by going into the Infinite Library; the surviving members of the adult and SW6 Legions meet on Winath to help look for Rokk, but when Glorith and Mordru show up on Talus seeking the Time Beacon, the Legions go there. The magicians call forth the Infinite Man, and then they take his powers. Gim Allon disappears when his SW6 counterpart Leviathan is killed (LSH v4 #60). Mordru and Glorith begin to remake the universe, and the Legion teams fight them and their evil dopplegangers. But one by one, more Legionnaires fade out. Mysa manages to break Mordru and Glorith apart which causes their spell to fail, at least temporarily, before she fades out (Legionnaires #18). Valor and Shadow Lass meet Pre-Crisis Superboy, who helps the Legions fight Glorith and Mordru. The team beats Glorith, and her Infinite Man powers flow to Valor. He then dumps it all on Mordru, who is unprepared to have his mind merge with the universe. Mordru teleports away into the core of Pocket Earth, which is ready to explode in a couple of days. Valor and Shady vanish, and after Superboy makes a rousing speech, he too vanishes (Valor #23).
  • End of Time: Time Trapper is blasted by someone unknown, who starts to destroy time from the end going backwards and from the dawn of time going forwards (Zero Hour #4).
  • 8/8/1994: Jo tries to go back to the future with Enya/Phase, but at the last second she leaves him and returns to her L.E.G.I.O.N. team (L.E.G.I.O.N. #70). His time bubble is blocked from going to the future moments later. SW6 Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, and Livewire fall out of the timestream in 1994, where they are met by Jo (Legionnaires #18). Meanwhile, the pre-Crisis Earth-1 Kal-El Superboy appears after helping the Legion and meets Kon-El Superboy in Smallville. Kal-El quickly realizes that this is a mix of his town and the post-Crisis Byrne version, and after a fight with Kon-El he realizes that he is the time anomaly here. Kon-El tells Kal-El that he will carry on the job as Superboy, and Kal-El vanishes (Superboy v3 #8). Batman, Superman, Metron, and GL Kyle Rayner contact heroes, including Emerald Dragon and the SW6 founders (Legionnaires #18) and Kon-El (Superboy v3 #8), to join up in New York City (Zero Hour #4).
  • End of Time: Rokk spends an infinite amount of time in the Infinite Library and meets the Time Trapper when he finally escapes (Legionnaires #18). The Time Trapper explains his history and reveals that the SW6 Legionnaires were taken from time by him, not cloned by the Dominators. But their continued existence warped time and caused the Trapper to go insane trying to “fix” things to actually protect the Legion from the Zero Hour energy wave (Valor #23). He then reveals himself to Rokk that the two of them are really temporal duplicates (Valor #23, also shown in Zero Hour #3).
  • 8/8/94: Vril Dox launches a probe into the time stream to try to figure out what’s going on; it will reappear in ZH #1 (L.E.G.I.O.N. #70).

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Kurt Busiek on "Valor" and "End of an Era"

We just wrapped up the Valor series with issue 23, which was part 5 (of 6) of End of an Era. I asked Kurt about his time on writing Valor.

I was invited to write the last four issues of VALOR when Mark Waid moved over to writing whichever Legion book he took over, and I’m a big Legion fan, so of course I said yes. And I’m a fan of Colleen Doran’s work, too, so that made it a very easy book to say yes to.

The first two parts, pre-End of an Era, needed to wrap up Valor’s present-day mission (I think; it’s been a long time). My main memory of those two issues was that ever since I was in high school, I thought it would be cool to have some present-day DC hero have to deal with an army of Braalians — essentially a mass invasion of Magnetos. So when I needed someone to build this story around, I suggested we see Braalians, but somewhat more primitive Braalians than were in the 30th century. More of a warrior culture, like Space Conan or something. Colleen fastened on that to decide they’d be bare chested with great hair, and for the duration of that story we called them the Super-Fabios of Space. And they looked great.

As far as End of An Era goes, the story had been conceived before I got there, but I got to be part of the plotting sessions with Mark and Tom (and KC and/or Mike McAvennie was on the calls, too, I think, but mainly I remember Mark and Tom).

My big contributions were (a) how to defeat Mordru, by bringing in the Infinite Man (one of my favorite Legion foes from when I was reading the book) and having Mordru take his power, so Mordru’s claustrophobia was triggered by the Infinite Man’s infinite consciousness — if his consciousness is infinite, then there’s nothing beyond it, so it’s psychologically the same as being buried, (b) the explanation for where the SW6ers had come from, and (c) the idea that the adult Legion and the kid Legionnaires should shake hands and merge at the end, to answer the question “Which ones were ‘real’?” by saying, “They both were.”

I also really wanted to make it clear that as the time/crisis/whatever-wave washed over them, that they had a sense of continuation, that it wasn’t that these characters were being destroyed and other characters would replace them, but that these characters’ spirits would live on, embodied in revised versions of the continuity — so the post-Zero Hour Legion could be seen as the originals in a new form, rather than replacements for the originals.

I don’t think a lot of readers saw it that way, but hey, I wanted to try for that, at least.

It’s the one chance I’ve really had (so far, at least) to write the Legion, and I had a good time doing it, particularly writing Valor and Shady, writing a version of Superboy, and getting to write a lot of other favorites along the way.

It didn’t get the Legion out of my system or anything — I'd still like to write them someday — but it was a thrill to do those couple of issues, and to be involved in a big story, even if it was a farewell.

Hope that helps!


Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Valor #23 annotations: End of an Era part 5

 Annotations for Valor #23:


Notes:

  • Cover: shows Valor fading to white. In the late 1990s I met Kurt at a convention and had him sign my Valor “End of an Era” issues. Kurt wrote a word balloon for Valor on the cover, saying “No! Wait! Sales are going upppppp….. (Damn! There go the royalties!)” Just like last week’s Legionnaires #18 (End of an Era part 4), this one also had a second printing. It came out about 4 weeks after the original printing, and can be distinguished primarily by the different color Zero Hour logos (red with white letters on the first, yellow with red letters on the second). Additionally, there's a small Roman numeral "II" in the price box in the upper left corner of the reprint, and the color palette is slightly different between the two - the blacks are darker on the reprint and the reds are more muted, same as with the Legionnaires reprint.
  • Page 1: this takes place 2 hours after Legionnaires #18.
  • Page 3: glimpses of Valor’s previous life in this book, including him meeting the Justice League, fighting the future Braalians, with Glorith, and being dead, and also things that didn’t happen (that we saw) like pulling the sword from the stone, one-eyed pirate, and taking on the mantle of Superman.
  • Page 4: meanwhile, at the end of time, Rokk has just come out of the Infinite Library and met the Time Trapper (who was dead, but he got better), as seen in Legionnaires #18
  • Page 4 panel 1: this Time Trapper got his powers from the Infinite Library, an eternity ago
  • Page 4 panel 3: the Iron Curtain of Time was built to protect the 30th century from the coming of the Zero Hour wave in this retcon
  • Page 7 panel 1: the original pre-Crisis Superboy saved Valor and brought him and Shady to Talus to help fight Glorith and Mordru
  • Page 8: no, it wasn’t the Dominators who created a set of clones in the Weisinger Chambers, it was the Time Trapper who split time and stored one set of Legionnaires while the other set lived their lives. It's just that the Dominators found them and took advantage of that.
  • Page 12: The Trapper says he created the Pocket Universe as a safe haven so the Legion could ride out the storm, but shit happened and it was destroyed before he could use it.
  • Page 13 panel 1: Other times the Time Trapper fought the Legion happened differently in his reality: 
    • “Turning you away from the power of the Concentrator” – in his first appearance, he built the Iron Curtain of Time to prevent the Legion from traveling to his era, in order to steal a super-weapon that would draw upon every energy source in the universe (ADV 317-318)
    • “Sending the Matter Master to aid you” – the Molecular (or Molecule, but never Matter) Master was a robot sent by the Time Trapper to steal the Miracle Machine, defeated by new member Wildfire (SBOY 201)
    • “Shielding Garth and Imra’s wedding from the Controllers” – in another attempt to steal the Miracle Machine, he created an alternate timeline (All-New Collector's Edition C-55, aka the Wedding Tabloid)
  • Page 14 panel 1: He messed things up so badly that he had to keep trying anything to re-create his original timeline
    • “Teaching you the dangers of time manipulation” – the Cosmic Boy and Legionnaires 3 miniseries
    • “Devolving the Legion to childhood” – with Glorith, in ADV 318
    • “encouraging you to cast me out of existence” – LSHv3 50, which was later retconned to be Glorith destroying Daxam
  • Page 14 panels 3-4: he recounts being attacked, as seen in ZH #4 
  • Page 22: Adios, Shady and Valor. Too bad you spent an extra 1000 years in the Phantom Zone for this.
  • Page 24: Farewell, Superboy. Great speech at the end, too bad nobody will remember it. (Superboy appears next in Superboy v3 #8)
  • Final issue of the series
I asked writer Kurt Busiek for some words on his writing tenure on Valor, I'll have those in the next post.



Cutting down the timeline to just the last few days of story as we get close to Zero Hour. I'm color coding them based on whether the date appeared in the 2995 Sourcebook (yellow), it's a confirmed date that was given in the comic (green), or an estimated date based on keeping track of events and days (cyan). Bold text is something new added this issue. Italics are unknown dates.

Due to the timelines in the stories bouncing between 2995 and 1994 and things happening "simultaneously" 1001 years apart, I'm keeping the events in the order that they happen to the people involved, not strictly chronological by day and year. To make it easier to follow, the 1994 dates will be in red text and anything outside of time (like at the beginning or end of time) will be in blue text.
  • Fri 9/29/95: Arriving at Weber’s World, the team tries to stop the Khunds’ bombs from destroying the planet; Dawnstar arrives and meets Wildfire; Firefist kills Veilmist; and after studying at the Infinite Library, Glorith travels to Tharn where she restores Mordru’s powers to help her conquer the universe (LSHv4 #58). Meanwhile, SW6 Brainy & Triad find that Valor has been retconned from history (Valor #13, Legionnaires #16 pages 9-10), so a team of Legionnaires goes back in time to find out what happened (Valor #14, Legionnaires #16 page 10).
    • Outside of time: the Legionnaires enter the time stream and crash their Time Bubble (Valor #15); the Legionnaires fight Valor and find out that Lori is Glorith (Valor #16), and then fight Glorith, but Valor succumbs to the effects of his lead poisoning and dies; SW6 Valor appears (Valor #17); Brainiac 5 tells SW6 Valor that he will have to spend another 1000 years in the Phantom Zone in order to save time, and Valor does not take it well (Valor #18), but the presence of Waverider and seeing his fellow Legionnaires vanish changes his mind. Once he accepts his fate, the Legionnaires appear back in their own time and the legend of Valor is restored (Valor #19, Legionnaires #16 page 11. From Vanishing Point, the Linear Men see a timequake affect the 30th century (Valor #20), which causes Dream Girl and Star Boy to appear (Legionnaires #16).
    • The Legionnaires instantly return to their present, unaware of their meeting with Glorith and the Valors (Valor #15-19, Legionnaires #16 page 11); Star Boy, Dream Girl, and Bouncing Boy appear with the Legionnaires and Ferro Lad is long dead, leading Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, and Lightning Lad – who seem to be the only ones aware that something funny is going on – to take a Time Bubble to figure it out (even though Invisible Kid and Rond Vidar are secretly aware that something’s happening); Polestar appears at New Earth (Legionnaires #16, LSHv4 #59); Rond, SW6 Brainiac 5, and SW6 Invisible Kid arrive on Weber’s World in a time bubble at the same time as with Mon-El, Shadow Lass, and Dev-Em, but they're all too late to prevent the death of Laurel Gand from the Khund bomb; Jo leaves for 1994 to find Tinya (LSHv4 #59). The SW6 Legionnaires confront Polestar at New Earth (Legionnaires #17).
  • Sat 8/6/1994: Valor tries to re-create the feats he did before he went into the Phantom Zone, but fails; the Linear Men watch Valor from Vanishing Point (Valor #20). As a result of the timeline issues, Valor splits into multiple copies of himself and manages to do all the things that legend said he did over the years, in just a few hours, then resigns himself to having Glorith send him back to the Bgztl Twilight dimension. But the Linear Men realize it’s too late, the future is doomed (Valor #21).
  • Sun 8/7/1994: Jo Nah arrives from the future in the time bubble (L.E.G.I.O.N. #68). He meets who he thinks is Tinya, but it turns out to have been her cousin Enya all along. He wants to bring her back to the 30th century (L.E.G.I.O.N. #69).
  • Sat 9/30/95: Laurel Gand is laid to rest on Shanghalla in a ceremony attended by a number of adult and SW6 Legionnaires, after which Glorith and Mordru attack the group with replicas of some of their old foes and kidnap Rokk, and then Dawnstar fades out (Legionnaires #17). Valor and others go to New Earth to help RJ Brande bring Pocket Earth into this universe, but while the Subs and several Legionnaires blink out of existence, Pocket Earth turns out to be unstable and will explode in 72 hours (Valor #22). Rokk tries but can’t escape Mordru and Glorith (LSHv4 #60).
  • Sun 10/1/95: Rokk escapes Mordru and Glorith by going into the Infinite Library; the surviving members of the adult and SW6 Legions meet on Winath to help look for Rokk, but when Glorith and Mordru show up on Talus seeking the Time Beacon, the Legions go there. The magicians call forth the Infinite Man, and then they take his powers. Gim Allon disappears when his SW6 counterpart Leviathan is killed (LSH v4 #60). Mordru and Glorith begin to remake the universe, and the Legion teams fight them and their evil dopplegangers. But one by one, more Legionnaires fade out. Mysa manages to break Mordru and Glorith apart which causes their spell to fail, at least temporarily, before she fades out (Legionnaires #18). Valor and Shadow Lass meet Pre-Crisis Superboy, who helps the Legions fight Glorith and Mordru. The team beats Glorith, and her Infinite Man powers flow to Valor. He then dumps it all on Mordru, who is unprepared to have his mind merge with the universe. Mordru teleports away into the core of Pocket Earth, which is ready to explode in a couple of days. Valor and Shady vanish, and after Superboy makes a rousing speech, he too vanishes (Valor #23).
  • End of Time: Time Trapper is blasted by someone unknown, who starts to destroy time from the end going backwards and from the dawn of time going forwards (Zero Hour #4).
  • 8/8/1994: Jo tries to go back to the future with Enya/Phase, but at the last second she leaves him and returns to her L.E.G.I.O.N. team (L.E.G.I.O.N. #70). His time bubble is blocked from going to the future moments later. SW6 Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, and Livewire fall out of the timestream in 1994, where they are met by Jo (Legionnaires #18). Metron, Superman, and Batman gather some heroes, including the Legionnaires (Zero Hour #4, Legionnaires #18).
  • End of Time: Rokk spends an infinite amount of time in the Infinite Library and meets the Time Trapper when he finally escapes (Legionnaires #18). The Time Trapper explains his history and reveals that the SW6 Legionnaires were taken from time by him, not cloned by the Dominators. But their continued existence warped time and caused the Trapper to go insane trying to “fix” things to actually protect the Legion from the Zero Hour energy wave (Valor #23). He then reveals himself to Rokk that the two of them are really temporal duplicates (Valor #23, also shown in Zero Hour #3).
  • 8/8/94: Vril Dox launches a probe into the time stream to try to figure out what’s going on; it will reappear in ZH #1 (L.E.G.I.O.N. #70).