Monday, November 18, 2019

A Field Guide to Legion Cover Variants (2019)

Given all of the different covers (variant and otherwise) that have appeared for the newest Legion book, including the Superman and Supergirl issues that introduced them and the LSH: Millennium series, I thought it would be a good idea to put up a Field Guide to the Legion cover variants 2019. I'll update this through the end of this calendar year and then create a new one for 2020. Let me know if I've forgotten any!

SUPERMAN #14 - August 28, 2019
This issue and Supergirl #33 were originally to go on sale on 08/14/19, but less than a week prior to that date, DC asked retailers to destroy all copies of these issues and told them that replacement copies would be sent to go on sale later. This issue was delayed to 08/28/19, Supergirl #33 was delayed to 09/04/19. DC's stated reason was that the original issues had covers that featured a "Year of the Villain" logo, but these issues had no ties to that event so they would be re-issued with new covers. This reasoning was questioned, as there was another issue on sale the same week, Catwoman #14, that also had a "Year of the Villain" cover logo and a story that had no ties to the event, and that issue was not recalled. Subsequent speculation centered around the introduction of the new Legion of Super-Heroes in the Superman and Supergirl issues, and the depiction of Lightning Lad's ethnicity. In the published issue, Lightning Lad is portrayed as dark-skinned, in leaked images of the original printing, Lightning Lad was light-skinned. The second printing featured the standard cover by Reis and Prado with an orange background instead of blue, and went on sale 10/2/19.


Superman #14
Original standard cover (recalled)
Art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado
Superman #14
Replacement standard cover
Art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado
 

Superman #14
Variant cover (recalled)
Art by Adam Hughes

Superman #14
Replacement variant cover
(minus the Year of the Villain logo)

Superman #14
Second Printing (orange background)
Art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado



SUPERGIRL #33 - September 4, 2019

Supergirl #33
Original standard cover (recalled)
Art by Eduardo Panisca
Supergirl #33
Replacement standard cover
Art by Kevin Maguire

Supergirl #33
Variant cover (recalled)
Art by Derrick Chew

Supergirl #33
Replacement variant cover
(minus the Year of the Villain logo)



SUPERMAN #15 - September 18, 2019
The first cover below was solicited in Previews, but when the decision was made to change Lightning Lad's skin color, DC opted to have a new, different cover created (both by Ivan Reis) and the second one was the published cover. The original cover with the light-skinned mohawk version of Lightning Lad was never published.

Superman #15
Original standard cover (never published)
Art by Ivan Reis
Superman #15
Published standard cover
Art by Ivan Reis

Superman #15
Variant cover
Art by Adam Hughes



LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES: MILLENNIUM #1 - September 4, 2019
The variant cover by Bryan Hitch is part 1 of a 2-part connected cover featuring all of the characters seen over the two issues in the miniseries. The complete art (both halves) will be used later for variants of LSH: Millennium #2 and LSH v8 #1.

LSH: Millennium #1
Standard cover
Art by Ryan Sook
LSH: Millennium #1
Variant cover
Art by Bryan Hitch



LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES: MILLENNIUM #2 - October 2, 2019
LSH: Millennium #2 was also caught up in the effort to change Lightning Lad's ethnicity. In the original solicited version of the standard cover, featuring Saturn Girl holding up a flight ring through which we see Superboy, Bouncing Boy (to the left of Superboy) was dark-skinned and Lightning Lad (to the right of Superboy) was light-skinned. For the final version of the cover, the ethnicities were reversed. The original version was never printed. Here's a close-up comparison:
A version of the entire Hitch image - left half as seen on issue 1 and the right half on issue 2 - was sold at the 2019 New York Comic Con as a convention exclusive. This version is a wraparound cover printed on foil.

LSH: Millennium #2
Original standard cover (never printed)
Art by Ryan Sook
LSH: Millennium #2
Published standard cover
Art by Ryan Sook

LSH: Millennium #2
Variant cover
Art by Bryan Hitch

LSH: Millennium #2
New York Comic Con 2019 convention exclusive (foil)
Art by Bryan Hitch


LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES (volume 8) #1 - November 6, 2019
Issue 1 had four variants sold in the stores, three different covers plus a blank sketch cover (which was the standard Superboy cover inside). Another variant was sold at Local Comic Shop Day on 11/23/19, this is the whole Millennium artwork by Hitch all on one cover. Finally, the standard Sook cover was used as the cover to the September 2019 DC Previews magazine insert.

LSH volume 8 #1
Standard cover
Art by Ryan Sook
LSH volume 8 #1
Sook cardstock variant
Art by Ryan Sook

LSH volume 8 #1
Cheung cardstock variant
Art by Jim Cheung and Romulo Fajardo Jr

LSH volume 8 #1
Blank sketch variant
Art by N/A (Sook Superboy cover inside)

LSH volume 8 #1
Local Comic Shop Day variant
Art by Bryan Hitch

DC Previews #17
Based on the standard cover
Art by Ryan Sook



LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES (volume 8) #2 - December 6, 2019
Issue 2 will have two variants sold in the stores.

LSH volume 8 #2
Standard cover without trade dress
Art by Ryan Sook
LSH volume 8 #2
Cheung cardstock variant without trade dress
Art by Jim Cheung


LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES (volume 8) #3 - January 8, 2020
Issue 3 will have two variants sold in the stores.

LSH volume 8 #3
Standard cover without trade dress
Art by Ryan Sook
LSH volume 8 #3
Cheung cardstock variant without trade dress
Art by Jim Cheung
uncolored version (top), 
cropped colored version (bottom)



LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES (volume 8) #4 - February 5, 2020
Issue 4 will have two variants sold in the stores.

LSH volume 8 #4
Standard cover without trade dress
Art by Ryan Sook and Travis Moore
LSH volume 8 #4
Garner cardstock variant without trade dress
Art by Alex Garner

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Superman: Time and Time Again part 1

This 7-issue story arc wound between the three Superman books at the time - Adventures of Superman, Action Comics, and Superman (in that order) - for just over two months. To set the stage, Clark Kent has just revealed his secret ID to Lois Lane, and she's not sure what to make of their relationship following this revelation.

The Legion of Substitute Podcasters talk about it in episode 578.

This story arc was later reprinted in trade paperback as "Superman: Time and Time Again".


Adventures of Superman 476: Time & Time Again, part 1 of 7 (on sale 1/29/91)
  • A time traveler called the Linear Man appears, and sets off an alarm that brings Booster Gold to Metropolis. The Linear Man is looking for Booster because he has violated the natural laws of time for his own selfish means, and it’s his duty to bring him back. In trying to stop him, Superman accidentally grabs his time controls, which opens up a hole in the time/space continuum. Superman and the Linear Man get sucked into the portal, leaving Booster behind. Superman wakes up surrounded by a fire (where his cape gets burned away). He arrives in the 30th century on page 17, and we see the rest of his meeting with the Legion from his perspective.  
    • Page 22: Superman mentions that he’s met Brainiac 5, Blok, Sun Boy, and Invisible Kid, referring to Superman #8 & Action #591, which is his past but the Legion’s future. Saturn Girl says she recognizes some of those names, meaning all but Blok since the other 3 joined very early in the Legion’s time (all before Adventure 300).
    • When this was published in 1991, the Legion’s appearance here was supposed to be the Silver Age version of the 5YL Legion, because that’s what was being published at the time. But after the Reboot, in Legionnaires 61 (1998), we see this exact scene from the perspective of the Legion (instead of Superman), and it’s presented as the Reboot Legion instead of the 5YL Legion with some shenanigans caused by the Time Trapper. Roger Stern was a writer on the Superman titles of 1991 and also the Reboot Legion, so he repurposed the scene to keep the rebooted continuity intact.
Action Comics 663: Time & Time Again, part 2 of 7 (on sale 2/5/91)
  • Flashback to part 1 for those who don’t read Adventures of Superman. Superman asks the Legionnaires to tell them about his future, to make sure he did return after this. Saturn Girl says their records are spotty, but before she can continue, the fire (from earlier) blows up again and Superman is transported back in time to WWII. He wakes up and is taken by a bystander to the nearby circus, because his costume looks like that’s where he belongs. He’s having trouble seeing, but he finds out that he’s in 1943 and decides to stay with the circus until he gets better. His act is Samson, the strong man, where he breaks chains and lifts elephants. He spends 2 months there. Meanwhile, back in Metropolis, Booster says he knows some people who might be able to help find Superman. Superman leaves the circus and goes to Metropolis where he saves FDR, who tells him that he should join the Justice Battalion. Superman goes off to Washington to find the JSA, but the Spectre stops him, saying it’s too early for him to meet the JSA. Spectre sends him to a train station in Nazi-occupied Warsaw where he says Superman is needed.
Superman 54: Time & Time Again, part 3 of 7 (on sale 2/19/91)
  • June 1943, Superman is spotted by the Nazis but leaves. Nazi General Zeiten captures the soul of a Jewish prisoner in a magical crystal. Superman flies to the Warsaw Ghetto, where he overhears the Nazis talking about using the Jews as test subjects for their atomic experiments. Superman recognizes the general as someone he’s met before, “Mister Z” (Superman #51), and wrecks the experiment lab and stops a train carrying the Jews. The Nazis drop their bomb anyway, but Superman catches it and takes it out of the atmosphere. The explosion causes him to disappear.
Adventures of Superman 477: Time & Time Again, part 4 of 7 (on sale 2/26/91)
  • Page 7: Wildfire is a new member who hasn’t had a chance to read up on Legion history, which suggests that this takes place circa Superboy 201 when he joined. Per the Sourcebook timeline, this was in June 2981; the Linear Man says that Superman came out of the time stream about 7 years too soon, and the closest thing in Legion history (5YL version) to that would be Glorith’s destruction of Daxam in January 2988 (as seen in LSH v4 Annual #1); in pre-5YL history, that would probably be the revival of the Infinite Man and the battle with the Time Trapper (as seen in LSH v3 #50) in February 2988.
  • Page 14: Superman says he just met Garth “a couple of days ago” but recall he spent 2 months in the circus in 1943 right after that.
  • Page 20 panel 1: this is clearly the Cockrum-era Legion, since the cruiser has a small bubble up front and not the big bubble over the whole saucer section like it was under Grell; also, notice that Wildfire’s faceplate goes down underneath his chin, which was how Cockrum drew it, as opposed to how Grell drew it ending above the chin.
Coming soon: why are we interrupting the LSH v4 Five Years Later with a Superman story arc that only guest-stars the Silver Age and Bronze Age Legion in only some of the chapters? Long story short: events in T&TA have a direct and major impact on the Legion v4 series going forward. You'll have to wait to see how.

Friday, November 08, 2019

LSH v4 #18 annotations: The Dark Circle

Annotations for Legion of Super-Heroes v4 #18


Here's the original art from this cover, from the collection of Miki Annamanthadoo:
LSH 18 Cover by Giffen Comic Art
Inker Al Gordon said about this piece: "This cover took me a day and a half to Ink... sigh. [...] I was just looking at the cover... and I don't think there's much Pen on it at all... Some of those last detailed guys in the far BG seem to be outlined with Brush and just a little Pen used inside the figures. Looks like I Inked the danged thing with Brush mostly. No wonder I was dizzy for a week afterwards."

Notes:
  • Page 3 panel 4 – is that Marte Allon?
  • Page 5 panel 3 – Dr Gym’ll used to be the Legion’s doctor, he was last seen briefly in the Magic Wars (LSH v3 #62) before making a quick appearance in Furball’s flashback in issue 6.
  • Page 6 panel 1 – that’s a Lightning Ring Plantation ship, named after Andrew “Ferro Lad” Nolan
  • Page 8 panel 6 – Note that Cargg is now spelled Carggg with 3 g’s, because triplicates each need a “g”.
  • Page 10 – we have never been to Cargg (or Carggg) before, though we did get an intro page of it in “Who’s Who in the Legion” #4
  • Page 10 panel 4 – note that Shadow Lass is wearing a protective suit (and not a transuit). The high exposure to solar radiation makes the planet dangerous to visitors, as they are required to wear protective gear at all times.
  • Page 15 – Valor is almost worshipped as the seeder of Carggg (among other places)
  • Page 19 – the action on this page suggests that not a lot of time has passed since the battle on 3/22, and we saw the deaths of the Tornado Twins on 3/27 (next issue takes place 4/11), so this is likely the last few days in March to the first week in April
  • Page 20 panel 6 – set up for a future showdown with the Dark Circle
  • Page 22 panel 1 – Celeste, Bounty, Jan, and Devlin returned to Earth a while back (issue 15, about 2 months ago story-wise). Celeste was healed by the green glow back in issue 12
  • Page 22 panel 4 – Last we were told, the trio was with Jan, but Circe doesn’t know that (if that’s who this is here), and also doesn’t know that Bounty is spying on her
  • Page 23 – the Underground, aka Khundish sympathizers, bombed the holo-studio where Marella Tao was reporting. We last saw her in issue 10 
  • Page 24 – Jo has finally made it to Earth, but 5000 years in the past (circa 2000 BCE). Recall that he’s been there since issue 10 (on 12/3/94, which was 4 months ago story-wise).
  • Page 25 – Dark Circle propaganda. Notice the repeated use of “intellectuals and elitists”. This is a common class-based charge by right-wing groups, because anyone who is intellectual or elite is not “one of us, the common people”. 
    • Via Wikipedia on Elitism: “Some synonyms for "elite" might be "upper-class" or "aristocratic", indicating that the individual in question has a relatively large degree of control over a society's means of production… As a term, "elite" usually describes a person or group of people who are members of the uppermost class of society, and wealth can contribute to that class determination… In politics, the terms elitism and elitist are often used to disparage a politician's views as out of touch with the interests of the "average Joe". The implication is that the alleged elitist person or group thinks they are better than everyone else, and put themselves before others as a result. The definition of elitist is similar to that of the word "snob".”
    • Here’s a 2016 Salon article explaining how the terms are used in modern America. “The juxtaposition of the “real America” with “elitist America” exposes the actual meaning of all the endless denunciations of the elite. It is not anti-elitism. It is anti-intellectualism. … Many Americans reflexively distrust anyone who demonstrates expertise or excellence in analytical intelligence. It is not that Americans are not smart, but that they often view the intellect as functional, namely in its capacity for commercial success.” In other words, they don’t trust the experts because the experts are intellectual elites, and not part of “real America”.
Following this issue, we have to digress into a Superman story arc called “Time and Time Again”. Big picture: Superman bounces around through the time stream and meets the Legion during three separate time periods (Silver Age, Bronze Age, and 5YL Age), with some dramatic consequences that directly impact this series - which is why we're doing them now. I think we can do that storyline in two episodes, plus we’ll also have LSH v8 #1 to review, so we won’t be returning to issue 19 for a few weeks.



Here's what we know of the timeline to date. 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 (blue). Bold text is something new added this issue.
  • 2/17/89 – Mekt admitted to Labyrinth Penal Institute (LSH v4 #10)
  • 6/23/89 – Magic Wars end (LSH v3 #63 – date as given in the 2995 Sourcebook)
  • October 2989 – the Great Collapse
  • 4/13/90 – Communique from Earthgov President Wellington, trying to legally disband the Legion, with Imra, Rokk, and Cham “currently out of the picture” (LSH v4 #1) 
  • April 2990 – Validus Plague ravages Winath; former Legionnaire Brainiac 5 helps (LSH v4 #3)
  • 6/7/90 – Legion Academy closes (LSH v4 #16)
  • 7/6/90 – Former Legion Academy heads Chuck and Luornu Durgo Taine open the United Planets Militia Academy (LSH v4 #16)
  • TBD 2990 – Earthgov secedes from the United Planets, and the Science Police Earth splits from the Science Police Proper. (LSH v4 #2). Since then, “resistance forces have opposed Earthgov since the introduction of repressive measures… but with little success to date.” (LSH v4 #13)
  • 4/12/91 – Tinya goes missing (LSH v4 #2)
  • 5/8/91 – Search for Tinya called off; Sun Boy is leader (LSH v4 #2)
  • 5/27/91 – Mekt released from Labyrinth, rehabilitated (LSH v4 #10)
  • 6/9/91 – Planned date of wedding of Tinya and Jo (LSH v4 #2)
  • TBD 2991 – Garth and Imra, having left the Legion, start the Lightning Ring Plantation (LSH v4 #3)
  • 1/21/92 – Rebirth Summit (LSH v4 #1) 
  • 7/6/92 – LSH leader Polar Boy disbands the Legion, mentions Black Dawn which “cost” the Legion (LSH v4 #1); Mordru coronated as the Supreme Teacher of Sorceror’s World (LSH v4 #6)
  • TBD 2992 – Brek Bannin arrested for insurrection (LSH v4 #11)
  • 4/11/93 – Announcement of upcoming wedding of Grev Mallor (of the City People) to Kahnya Nahtahnie (Lady Memory of the Hill People) on Talok VIII
  • 8/14/93 – wedding of Grev Mallor and Kahnya Nahtahnie 
  • 1/17/94 – Marzal reappears over Africa and the corrupt Earthgov destroys it, but not before Tyroc escapes (LSH v4 #16)
  • 10/22/94 – Raid on anti-government terrorists, but ringleader Vidar (aka Universo) is not captured; Cham tells Marla he’s leaving (LSH v4 #1) 
  • 10/23/94 – Cham begins to recruit members for the new Legion, first approaching Rokk; Vi leaves the Imsk army for Winath; Dominator agents help Roxxas escape from Labyrinth (LSH v4 #1)
  • 10/25/94 – Attack on Jo and Kono on Rimbor; Loomis and Lydda en route to Kathoon (LSH v4 #2)
  • Fri 11/21/94 – Blok is killed by Roxxas the Butcher [Sourcebook] (LSH v4 #3)
  • Thu 11/27/94 – Mordru crushes Rond Vidar’s ring; Rokk and Cham finally meet up with Jo and decide to go to Tharn to rescue Mysa; Dominators and Shvaughn Erin watch the tape of Roxxas and Blok, whose body is delivered to Winath; Mon-El resurrected (LSH v4 #3)
  • Fri 11/28/94 – Mon-El goes to Talok VIII, then Shadow Lass and Mon-El visit Brainiac 5, then Mon-El destroys the Time Trapper (LSH v4 #4)
  • Sat 11/29/94 – Mordruverse (LSH v4 #5)
  • Sat 11/29/94 – Cham, Rokk, Jo, Kono, and Furball arrive on Tharn and are captured by Mordru; after being hired by Earthgov to find Blok’s killer, Celeste, Devlin, and Bounty leave for Trom (LSH v4 #6)
  • Sun 11/30/94 – Celeste, Devlin, and Bounty meet Jan on Trom (LSH v4 #6); with the help of Laurel Gand, Rokk’s crew rescues Mysa and Rond from Mordru but are teleported to Grocz; Celeste, Devlin, Bounty, and Jan leave Trom for Winath (LSH v4 #7)
  • Mon 12/1/94 – Rokk, Cham, Jo, Kono, Furball, Rond, Laurel, and Mysa travel from Grocz to Zirr (LSH v4 #8)
  • Tues 12/2/94 – Rokk, Laurel, and Rond take some R&R time on Zirr with baby Lauren, while the others go to Winath; Marla reminisces (LSH v4 #8); on Cygnus IV, Roxxas watches a holo of Laurel Gand; Celeste, Devlin, Bounty, and Jan arrive on Winath (LSH v4 #9)
  • Wed 12/3/94 – Rokk and Rond arrive in the morning, having left Laurel behind on Zirr; everyone (Rokk, Rond; Cham, Jo, Kono, Furball, Mysa; Celeste, Devlin, Bounty, Jan; Brainy, Garth, Ayla, Vi, Imra) is on Winath when Roxxas attacks; Bounty, Mekt, Cham, and Celeste are seriously injured, while Jo disappears and is presumed dead; Earthgov linked to Roxxas; Tenzil arrives on Earth (LSH v4 #10)
  • Thu 12/4/94 – On Winath, Roxxas is on the loose, and kills a doctor and nurse in the Bloomfield Free Clinic. On Earth, Tenzil participates in the Batcave dig, meets with Shvaughn and Brek (who is released for the first time since incarceration 2 years prior), has dinner with Prosecutor Jakobi, then falls asleep. (LSH v4 #11)
  • Fri 12/5/94 – Tenzil and Brek in court; Holo Scene news article on the trial (LSH v4 #11); Celeste is healed by a green glow; the former Legionnaires team up to capture Roxxas, who reveals Dominion control of Earthgov (LSH v4 #12)
  • Wed 12/10/94 – All-points bulletin on Persuader, who meets Kent Shakespeare in on Quarantine trying to attack Char Burrane Jr. (LSH v4 #12) Persuader is defeated by Kent and SP Captain Gim Allon, who then takes Kent to Toonar. (LSH v4 #13)
  • Thu 12/11/94 – Kent leaves Toonar for Winath; Laurel fights Khunds in deep space; Tenzil and Brek on Gnogg. (LSH v4 #13)
  • Sun 12/14/94 – The Legion is formally reinstated
  • Mon 12/16/94 – Tenzil, Brek, and Calorie Queen are taken to Tartarus by Prince Evillo; Tenzil banished to the Realm of Darkness (LSH v4 #14)
  • Thu 12/25/94 – Garth, Cham, and Rokk remotely survey Talus (LSH v4 #14)
  • Fri 12/26/94 – Tenzil and Sugyn return from the Realm of Darkness, only to hear that Tenzil has been declared dead and his Senate seat vacated. (LSH v4 #14)
  • Sat 12/27/94 – Loomis writes his report on Talus’ suitability for being the new HQ; Tenzil leaves Brek behind on Tartarus and heads for Winath (LSH v4 #14)
  • Sun 12/28/94 – The reformed Legion establishes headquarters on the asteroid world of Talus
  • Sat 1/3/95 – Tenzil Kem rejoins the Legion
  • Sun 1/11/95 – Orando falls to the Khunds  (LSH v4 #15)
  • Mon 1/12/95 – The Legion agrees to team with the United Planets Militia to beat back a Khundish invasion that threatens the heart of the United Planets.  (LSH v4 #15)
  • Exact date unknown – Cham meets with a Khundish double agent; Venegar falls to the Khunds, who then make a deal with the Hill People of Talok VIII; the UP Militia tries to decide if Xolnar or Talok VIII will be attacked next; Valor and Shadow Lass appear on Talok VIII; Khunds attack Xolnar; Circe wants Dirk to give a pro-Dominator speech (LSH v4 #15)
  • Exact date unknown  Last stand on Xolnar; introduction of the Resistance on Earth (LSH v4 #16). 
  • Sun 3/22/95 – Khund decoy fleet arrives at Talok VIII, while the main fleet attacks Xolnar, leading to the death of Jed “Power Boy” Rikane; after destroying the Talok fleet, the Legion and the UP Militia arrive at Xolnar to finish the Khundish fleet; Glorith sent to the end of time; the Khunds are driven back to pre-2995 borders, and the Legion concludes its participation in the war against Khundish encroachment (LSH v4 #17)
  • Wed 3/25/95 – Don and Dawn Allen are arrested by Earthgov (LSH v4 #17)
  • Thurs 3/26/95 – Don and Dawn Allen are put on trial (LSH v4 #17)
  • Fri 3/27/95 – Tensions increase on Earth with the execution of Legion friends Don and Dawn Allen. (Note that 3/27/95 is a Friday, while the comic says it happened on a Monday) (LSH v4 #17)
  • Sat 3/28/95 – Daily Planet article on the Allen executions (LSH v4 #17)
  • Exact date unknown – Valor and Shadow Lass help counter a Dark Circle attempt on Queen Projectra’s life on Orando, then remove the Dark Circle cultists from Carggg; Universo and Jacques meet; holo studio bombing allegedly by one of the Resistance groups (LSH v4 #18)
  • April 2995 – Imra & Garth’s twins due (LSH v4 #3)
Unknown dates:
  • Black Dawn: something big and bad happened. Polar Boy says “you know what that cost us”. Sun Boy was a previous leader. By the time it happened, Chameleon Boy had left the Legion and “watched everything fall to pieces” (LSH v4 #1). Timber Wolf was irradiated during Black Dawn, eventually turning him into Furball. Char Burrane (Starfinger II) was somehow involved. (LSH v4 #12)
  • Rokk and Loomis are injured at Venado Bay on the Braal side, and Rokk lost his powers. Salu was somehow involved on the Imsk side. Imsk won, as the army is occupying Braal. (LSH v4 #1) She says that Braal attacked Imsk, and they were just defending themselves. She was head of security on the damper project and knew what it would do, but fought against it (not hard enough, in her admission). (LSH v4 #10)
  • Kent Shakespeare and Gim Allon are both ex-Legionnaires, but it’s unknown when or under what circumstances they left. (LSH v4 #12)

Friday, November 01, 2019

LSH v4 #17 annotations: The Last Battle

Annotations for Legion of Super-Heroes v4 #17



There's someone named "Lareina" in here, anyone know if that's a reference to someone in Legion fandom?
  • Cover is part 3 of a triptych with issues 15 & 16

  • Page 2: Brainy’s eye is getting better, in the last issue it was completely covered with a bandage. Some time has passed since the last issue.
  • Page 5 panel 9: RIP Jed “Power Boy” Rikane
  • Page 6 panel 5: Looks like Glorith has been taking fashion tips from Emma Frost
  • Page 7 panel 5: the villain monologing their master plan – Glorith plucks some weapons from the past as a ruse to allow her to gain access to magical artifacts (though we don’t find out what the plan is, what the artifacts are, or what happens to the artifacts)
  • Page 11: RIP Kiritan, sent on a suicide decoy mission Page 12 panel 7: that’s a miscolored Brainiac 5, note the patches near his right eye. The colorist darkened the hair (supposed to be blond) and the beard (supposed to be just scruff).
  • Page 18 panel 5: Galt escapes, maybe to fight another day. I don’t think we ever see Galt again, so add this to the list of dropped plot threads, along with “all the probes are spies of Mordru’s” and “Is Devlin O’Ryan a member of the Dark Circle?”
  • Page 20 panel 2: the “chronal howitzer” was last seen being thrown by Roxxas at Jo Nah back in issue 10, which caused him to go back in time.
  • Page 22: Don and Dawn Allen are arrested on Saturday, put on trial Sunday, and executed on Monday. Article is from Tuesday. The twins were age 29, putting their births in 2965 (revised timeline).
    • The Sourcebook has this at 3/27/95 (which is a Friday, not a Monday)
    • Also born in 2965: Atmos, Chemical King, Porcupine Pete, and Tyroc
  • Page 23 panel 2: the Allen twins were executed in retaliation for Iris Allen exposing the Dominators’ links to Earthgov and Roxxas.
  • Page 24 panel 6: Don Allen’s rescue of his sister was just a hallucination, he was executed while in custody next to her
  • Page 24 panel 8: this is one of the three biggest character assassinations that the writers performed in this series (the others being Proty/Garth and Sean Erin), essentially turning Dirk into a traitor. This isn’t the sort of thing he’d do after leaving the Legion, he’d never turn his back on his friends, former teammates, and his home planet. So NOW he’s having second thoughts about joining up with Earthgov?
  • Page 25 panel 4: Lareina mentioned (named after ???)
  • Page 25 panel 6: last we saw Devlin, he was traveling with Bounty, Jan, and Celeste back to Earth (back in issue 15, which was about 2 months ago). Apparently he’s been busy since then, since he’s now working as part of the Resistance with Shvaughn and Jacques.
  • Page 25 panel 9: credits are missing for the first part of the issue (pencils by Brandon Peterson, inks by Carlos Garzon, pages 1-21)
The timeline is fuzzy as to when the events of these three issues happen. The only dates we know come from the Sourcebook and bookend this 3-parter, so we can't know the specifics of what happened when except for these two events:
  • Mon 1/12/95 – The Legion agrees to team with the United Planets Militia to beat back a Khundish invasion that threatens the heart of the United Planets. (LSH v4 #15)
  • Sun 3/22/95 – the Khunds are driven back to pre-2995 borders, and the Legion concludes its participation in the war against Khundish encroachment (LSH v4 #17)
And now, a long digression on the history of Iris Allen, the Tornado Twins, Impulse, and XS. They are all retconned multiple times over the next decades, spinning in and out of events of this issue.
  • Pre-Crisis
    • Iris Allen was originally born in the 30th century, but was sent back in time (see Flash 203) to live in the 20th century. There, she met and married Barry Allen, and right before Crisis on Infinite Earths they left the 20th century for the 30th (see Flash 350). They lived happily ever after, for a while, until Barry died in the Crisis, but not before knocking up Iris.
    • In the Silver Age, Don and Dawn were descendants of Barry Allen, and that was pretty much all we ever saw of them. They had one story (ADV 373), and then made a couple of non-speaking cameos later in the Bronze Age.
  • Post-Crisis, Pre-Zero Hour
    • In the 5YL continuity, Dawn Allen was unmarried and Don Allen was married to Carmen Johnson and had a son Barry II (as seen in this issue). This was not followed up in the Legion book, but was in Flash's book (by this time, Wally West). The article in this issue says the Tornado Twins’ brief career was 14 years ago, or 2980-81; their first appearance was in late 2978 or early 2979 (revised timeline), 16 years ago, so they must have been active for about 2 years, putting their retirement around the time they appeared on Mars for the wedding of Bouncing Boy and Duo Damsel (SBOY 200).
    • Just a few months before the Zero Hour reboot, Iris came back to the 20th century to ask Wally West to help her with Bart (Flash #92). She told Wally the story of Don and Dawn, how they sacrificed their lives to help protect the Earth from the Dominators, who took Bart (Don’s son) and experimented on him. Iris rescued him and brought him back to Wally. Bart soon became Impulse in the 20th century. Iris stayed in the 20th century. Impulse is pre-Zero Hour, so they had to retcon him for the post-Zero Hour reboot.
  • Reboot/Post-Zero Hour
    • In the Reboot continuity, Dawn was married to Jeven Ognats and they had a daughter Jenni (later known as XS). Don was married to Carmen Johnson, who we found out later had changed her name from Meloni Thawne, and their son Bartholomew (aka Barry II) later became Impulse. Post-Zero Hour, the Dominator invasion occurred about 15 years before the Legion's existence (which is why Jenni was the right age to be a Legionnaire), so Impulse and XS were contemporaries of the Legion in this timeline as opposed to their parents being the Legionnaires' contemporaries in the pre-Zero Hour timeline. President Thawne, a corrupt descendant of the supervillain Professor Zoom, arranged for the Twins' murder several months after their children's birth.
  • Retroboot
    • In Legion of 3 Worlds #3, it was revealed that Iris, Don, and Dawn had traveled from the New Earth (home of the Retroboot Legion) to Earth-247 (the parallel Earth where the Reboot Legion lived). After Barry's death in the original Crisis, the Twins and their families (Bart and Jenni having already been born) became the target of Professor Zoom, who was attempting to sabotage Don and Meloni's marriage. Both families escaped to Earth-247, and the Twins died soon after in unknown circumstances. Both cousins were reunited with their grandmother Iris, and both also rapidly aged to teenagers within days. After Wally’s apparent death in Infinite Crisis, Bart grew up and became Flash IV. He too was apparently killed but he was revived as a teenager in Legion of 3 Worlds, and spent time with the Titans.
    • After Legion of 3 Worlds, XS leaves her Earth-247 teammates to stay with the Retroboot Legion, but doesn’t really do anything (as far as I remember). Hasn’t been seen in New 52 or Rebirth yet.
  • New 52 & Rebirth
    • In the New 52 universe, Bar Torr from the future came back to the 21st century, and the Legion Lost team recognized him (Legion Lost #9).
    • Wikipedia doesn’t help me understand what’s going on with Bart in Rebirth continuity.
    • Iris was rejuvenated and youthened due to close contact with the resurrected Barry, and since Rebirth she’s remembering her pre-Flashpoint life (it’s all complicated and I’m not reading it so I only know what Wikipedia says).



Here's what we know of the timeline to date. 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 (blue). Bold text is something new added this issue.
  • 2/17/89 – Mekt admitted to Labyrinth Penal Institute (LSH v4 #10)
  • 6/23/89 – Magic Wars end (LSH v3 #63 – date as given in the 2995 Sourcebook)
  • October 2989 – the Great Collapse
  • 4/13/90 – Communique from Earthgov President Wellington, trying to legally disband the Legion, with Imra, Rokk, and Cham “currently out of the picture” (LSH v4 #1) 
  • April 2990 – Validus Plague ravages Winath; former Legionnaire Brainiac 5 helps (LSH v4 #3)
  • 6/7/90 – Legion Academy closes (LSH v4 #16)
  • 7/6/90 – Former Legion Academy heads Chuck and Luornu Durgo Taine open the United Planets Militia Academy (LSH v4 #16)
  • TBD 2990 – Earthgov secedes from the United Planets, and the Science Police Earth splits from the Science Police Proper. (LSH v4 #2). Since then, “resistance forces have opposed Earthgov since the introduction of repressive measures… but with little success to date.” (LSH v4 #13)
  • 4/12/91 – Tinya goes missing (LSH v4 #2)
  • 5/8/91 – Search for Tinya called off; Sun Boy is leader (LSH v4 #2)
  • 5/27/91 – Mekt released from Labyrinth, rehabilitated (LSH v4 #10)
  • 6/9/91 – Planned date of wedding of Tinya and Jo (LSH v4 #2)
  • TBD 2991 – Garth and Imra, having left the Legion, start the Lightning Ring Plantation (LSH v4 #3)
  • 1/21/92 – Rebirth Summit (LSH v4 #1) 
  • 7/6/92 – LSH leader Polar Boy disbands the Legion, mentions Black Dawn which “cost” the Legion (LSH v4 #1); Mordru coronated as the Supreme Teacher of Sorceror’s World (LSH v4 #6)
  • TBD 2992 – Brek Bannin arrested for insurrection (LSH v4 #11)
  • 4/11/93 – Announcement of upcoming wedding of Grev Mallor (of the City People) to Kahnya Nahtahnie (Lady Memory of the Hill People) on Talok VIII
  • 8/14/93 – wedding of Grev Mallor and Kahnya Nahtahnie 
  • 1/17/94 – Marzal reappears over Africa and the corrupt Earthgov destroys it, but not before Tyroc escapes (LSH v4 #16)
  • 10/22/94 – Raid on anti-government terrorists, but ringleader Vidar (aka Universo) is not captured; Cham tells Marla he’s leaving (LSH v4 #1) 
  • 10/23/94 – Cham begins to recruit members for the new Legion, first approaching Rokk; Vi leaves the Imsk army for Winath; Dominator agents help Roxxas escape from Labyrinth (LSH v4 #1)
  • 10/25/94 – Attack on Jo and Kono on Rimbor; Loomis and Lydda en route to Kathoon (LSH v4 #2)
  • Fri 11/21/94 – Blok is killed by Roxxas the Butcher [Sourcebook] (LSH v4 #3)
  • Thu 11/27/94 – Mordru crushes Rond Vidar’s ring; Rokk and Cham finally meet up with Jo and decide to go to Tharn to rescue Mysa; Dominators and Shvaughn Erin watch the tape of Roxxas and Blok, whose body is delivered to Winath; Mon-El resurrected (LSH v4 #3)
  • Fri 11/28/94 – Mon-El goes to Talok VIII, then Shadow Lass and Mon-El visit Brainiac 5, then Mon-El destroys the Time Trapper (LSH v4 #4)
  • Sat 11/29/94 – Mordruverse (LSH v4 #5)
  • Sat 11/29/94 – Cham, Rokk, Jo, Kono, and Furball arrive on Tharn and are captured by Mordru; after being hired by Earthgov to find Blok’s killer, Celeste, Devlin, and Bounty leave for Trom (LSH v4 #6)
  • Sun 11/30/94 – Celeste, Devlin, and Bounty meet Jan on Trom (LSH v4 #6); with the help of Laurel Gand, Rokk’s crew rescues Mysa and Rond from Mordru but are teleported to Grocz; Celeste, Devlin, Bounty, and Jan leave Trom for Winath (LSH v4 #7)
  • Mon 12/1/94 – Rokk, Cham, Jo, Kono, Furball, Rond, Laurel, and Mysa travel from Grocz to Zirr (LSH v4 #8)
  • Tues 12/2/94 – Rokk, Laurel, and Rond take some R&R time on Zirr with baby Lauren, while the others go to Winath; Marla reminisces (LSH v4 #8); on Cygnus IV, Roxxas watches a holo of Laurel Gand; Celeste, Devlin, Bounty, and Jan arrive on Winath (LSH v4 #9)
  • Wed 12/3/94 – Rokk and Rond arrive in the morning, having left Laurel behind on Zirr; everyone (Rokk, Rond; Cham, Jo, Kono, Furball, Mysa; Celeste, Devlin, Bounty, Jan; Brainy, Garth, Ayla, Vi, Imra) is on Winath when Roxxas attacks; Bounty, Mekt, Cham, and Celeste are seriously injured, while Jo disappears and is presumed dead; Earthgov linked to Roxxas; Tenzil arrives on Earth (LSH v4 #10)
  • Thu 12/4/94 – On Winath, Roxxas is on the loose, and kills a doctor and nurse in the Bloomfield Free Clinic. On Earth, Tenzil participates in the Batcave dig, meets with Shvaughn and Brek (who is released for the first time since incarceration 2 years prior), has dinner with Prosecutor Jakobi, then falls asleep. (LSH v4 #11)
  • Fri 12/5/94 – Tenzil and Brek in court; Holo Scene news article on the trial (LSH v4 #11); Celeste is healed by a green glow; the former Legionnaires team up to capture Roxxas, who reveals Dominion control of Earthgov (LSH v4 #12)
  • Wed 12/10/94 – All-points bulletin on Persuader, who meets Kent Shakespeare in on Quarantine trying to attack Char Burrane Jr. (LSH v4 #12) Persuader is defeated by Kent and SP Captain Gim Allon, who then takes Kent to Toonar. (LSH v4 #13)
  • Thu 12/11/94 – Kent leaves Toonar for Winath; Laurel fights Khunds in deep space; Tenzil and Brek on Gnogg. (LSH v4 #13)
  • Sun 12/14/94 – The Legion is formally reinstated
  • Mon 12/16/94 – Tenzil, Brek, and Calorie Queen are taken to Tartarus by Prince Evillo; Tenzil banished to the Realm of Darkness (LSH v4 #14)
  • Thu 12/25/94 – Garth, Cham, and Rokk remotely survey Talus (LSH v4 #14)
  • Fri 12/26/94 – Tenzil and Sugyn return from the Realm of Darkness, only to hear that Tenzil has been declared dead and his Senate seat vacated. (LSH v4 #14)
  • Sat 12/27/94 – Loomis writes his report on Talus’ suitability for being the new HQ; Tenzil leaves Brek behind on Tartarus and heads for Winath (LSH v4 #14)
  • Sun 12/28/94 – The reformed Legion establishes headquarters on the asteroid world of Talus
  • Sat 1/3/95 – Tenzil Kem rejoins the Legion
  • Sun 1/11/95 – Orando falls to the Khunds  (LSH v4 #15)
  • Mon 1/12/95 – The Legion agrees to team with the United Planets Militia to beat back a Khundish invasion that threatens the heart of the United Planets.  (LSH v4 #15)
  • Date unknown – Cham meets with a Khundish double agent; Venegar falls to the Khunds, who then make a deal with the Hill People of Talok VIII; the UP Militia tries to decide if Xolnar or Talok VIII will be attacked next; Valor and Shadow Lass appear on Talok VIII; Khunds attack Xolnar; Circe wants Dirk to give a pro-Dominator speech (LSH v4 #15)
  • Date unknown  Last stand on Xolnar; introduction of the Resistance on Earth (LSH v4 #16). 
  • Sun 3/22/95 – Khund decoy fleet arrives at Talok VIII, while the main fleet attacks Xolnar, leading to the death of Jed “Power Boy” Rikane; after destroying the Talok fleet, the Legion and the UP Militia arrive at Xolnar to finish the Khundish fleet; Glorith sent to the end of time; the Khunds are driven back to pre-2995 borders, and the Legion concludes its participation in the war against Khundish encroachment (LSH v4 #17)
  • Wed 3/25/95 – Don and Dawn Allen are arrested by Earthgov (LSH v4 #17)
  • Thurs 3/26/95 – Don and Dawn Allen are put on trial (LSH v4 #17)
  • Fri 3/27/95 – Tensions increase on Earth with the execution of Legion friends Don and Dawn Allen. (Note that 3/27/95 is a Friday, while the comic says it happened on a Monday) (LSH v4 #17)
  • Sat 3/28/95 – Daily Planet article on the Allen executions (LSH v4 #17)
  • April 2995 – Imra & Garth’s twins due (LSH v4 #3)
Unknown dates:
  • Black Dawn: something big and bad happened. Polar Boy says “you know what that cost us”. Sun Boy was a previous leader. By the time it happened, Chameleon Boy had left the Legion and “watched everything fall to pieces” (LSH v4 #1). Timber Wolf was irradiated during Black Dawn, eventually turning him into Furball. Char Burrane (Starfinger II) was somehow involved. (LSH v4 #12)
  • Rokk and Loomis are injured at Venado Bay on the Braal side, and Rokk lost his powers. Salu was somehow involved on the Imsk side. Imsk won, as the army is occupying Braal. (LSH v4 #1) She says that Braal attacked Imsk, and they were just defending themselves. She was head of security on the damper project and knew what it would do, but fought against it (not hard enough, in her admission). (LSH v4 #10)
  • Kent Shakespeare and Gim Allon are both ex-Legionnaires, but it’s unknown when or under what circumstances they left. (LSH v4 #12)

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

LSH: Millennium #2 annotations: The Future Ain't What It Used to Be (part 2)

This is not a Legion book, it’s a book that walks Rose & Thorn through the various time points in DC future history such that she ends up in the 31st century with the Legion. It’s the 1000 years leading up to the Legion from now.

Issue 2 regular cover by Sook, looking through the flight ring; the variant cover is the second half of the large Cheung group shot. There was also a New York Comic Con 2019 (NYCC19) cover variant has both halves in a foil wraparound cover.


Another version of the cover that was NOT released had Bouncing Boy and Lightning Lad's races reversed. Changing them caused the delay in releasing Superman #14 and Supergirl #33.


Listen to us talk about it at the Legion of Substitute Podcasters: http://paulfrench.ca/losp/?p=1930

Issue solicitation:
Get on board for a journey through the future like no other! A gallery of all-star artists join our mysterious guide as they continue their 1000-year journey toward the 31st century, inspiring Booster Gold to time travel, debating fighting techniques with OMAC, and making their way to the front door of the Legion of Super-Heroes. The DC event of the future starts now!
You'll recall from my issue 1 annotations this table of all of DC's future settings between "now" and the Legion, I've copied some of that here just showing what we see in these two issues (go back to see the much bigger table).

Earth-AD:  OMAC and the Global Police Agency, then a nuclear war in 1986, then the Atomic Knights & Hercules Unbound, then Kamandi (who was revealed to be OMAC’s grandson). 
late 20th century
Batman Beyond (revealed to be Earth-12, later introduced as the future of mainstream DCU as Prime Earth)
circa 2040
Tommy Tomorrow (retconned to be Earth-54)
circa 2050
Booster Gold, who stole a Legion flight ring, Brainiac 5's force field belt, Rip Hunter's time sphere, and a flying robot named Skeets from the Space Museum and traveled back to the 20th century
2462
The Legion of Super-Heroes (Rebirth version)
31st (?) century

Each chapter in the two issues here is presented in (presumably) chronological order.

Issue 2, chapter 1 – Space Museum and Booster Gold (art by Nicola Stott)
  • The Space Museum is an institution on 25th century Earth that primarily holds exhibits dealing with the history of space exploration and colonization by Earth people since its beginning in the 20th century. The Space Museum also contains displays dealing with Earth's superheroes of the 20th century.
  • Appeared in issues of Strange Adventures from 1959-1964
  • Retconned into being where Michael Jon Carter was employed as a janitor before he stole Rip Hunter’s time sphere, Brainiac 5’s force belt, and a Legion flight ring and went back to 1986 to become Booster Gold (as recounted in Booster Gold #8-9)
  • The heroes are legends, and legends always have some exaggeration built in (like the panel showing everyone flying)
  • Carter: “the 20th century’s completely responsible for everything that happened. Those idiots had scientists screaming at the top of their lungs, they had a thing called the world wide web… they knew the world was gonna die, and they still let it happen. .. can you imagine how far we’d be as a culture if we didn’t have to start over twice?” 
  • The idea that they had to start over again twice is new, they had to start over after the Great Disaster, but what else? Note that the timeline doesn’t fit here, Booster was from the year 2462, and the Electric Warriors series is in 2735, in the aftermath of the recovery from the time of the Great Disaster. From what we see in the rest of the issue, there’s a long way to go between Booster, OMAC, and the Legion, and not a long time to get there. 
  • Carter gets the idea to go back in time to be a superhero
  • His janitor uniform of purple and blue with the hat is straight out of Booster’s origin story in “Booster Gold” #6, this takes place shortly after (although in his original origin, he was just looking for fame and fortune)
Issue 2, chapter 2 – OMAC (art by Jim Cheung)
  • If this is all in sequential order, they’ve moved OMAC around , he used to be Kamandi’s grandfather (as seen in Kamandi #50). 
  • All this meshes pretty well with the Kirby version from the early 70s that was set on Earth-AD – a field enforcement agent for the Global Peace Agency. Originally the GPA was just a worldwide police force, but they were retconned in the OMAC backup story by Starlin in “Warlord” #37 to be aliens who could scientifically predict the future with 98% accuracy. One of these aliens, called Visionaries, foretold the rise of seven giant global corporations  whose battles would lead to the downfall of mankind in a Great Disaster, to be replaced with advanced animals. So the GPA became their law enforcement cartel and helped create Brother Eye. (Spoiler alert: it happened just like they said it would, despite their trying to make it not so.)
  • Note the scene with the woman in the box, with her head, arms, and legs sticking out - that's from the cover to OMAC #1.
  • Thorn: “it’s frustrating to see the world get its stuff together again only to let the greedy rich squeeze all the joy and life out of it. Again. And again. And every time we had to fight back like animals just to regain our basic human dignity. And to have to sit and watch it happen all around you. It’s insanity. … I looked around and there ain’t no Superman coming around this time. The heroes are so long gone no one even talks about them anymore. It’s just us.”
Issue 2 chapter 3 – deep space (art by Jeff Dekal)
  • Vignettes of wandering space and struggling between Rose and Thorn
  • Wakes up in the Vega system, which had been at one time or another the home of the Citadel, the Omega Men, the Psions, a base for the Spider Guild, Lady Styx and her army of Darkstars, and Tamaran
  • “But the purpose thing is still kicking my ass. All this way and why? Why me? How much farther do I have to go before someone tells me why? … I made a promise to myself I wouldn’t come back home to earth until I figured out my purpose. But then, literally just like that, it completely revealed itself. And the universe just sort of locked into place around me. My path was suddenly obvious, and kind of perfect.”
  • Aside from the mention of Vega, is this time period one we’ve seen before?
Issue 2 chapter 4 – the Legion (art by Ryan Sook)
  • New Earth – looks like the domes of the 5YL run, explains the bit about nobody having seen the oceans in a long time (which is a plot point from the upcoming LSH #1)
  • Group shot, which was the promo first seen on Seth Meyers back in July 2019
  • Cosmic Boy is pushing Element Lad, not pulling him back to avoid Invisible Kid (who’s on the far right) like some people thought
  • By this time, Superboy has left the 21st century and joined the Legion, but it’s more like at the creation of the team: the official founding of the Legion already has all these characters
  • Bottom right corner is not the photographer, it’s Rose
And a couple of long quotes from a recent CBR interview:

CBR: With this, you're reimagining a lot of characters while still keeping them true to form.

Some people want to know about our choices, why we didn't go full retro or just rehash all the old costumes; Legion can't be about retro. It's got to be about future-forward sci-fi. When people read those original stories, they were as future-forward as those authors could come up with and they blew everyone's minds. So our job is not just to do what they did but to do the spiritual version of what they did. Let's roll up our sleeves and come up with sci-fi that blows our minds, right?

And our job is much harder than the original one because sci-fi has become so much more than it was when Legion first debuted but that's the part of the equation that I got the most excited about. What can we do with science fiction and what can we put back into it that is unique to DC, that is unique to this book, that is unique to these characters? Maybe we'll come up with a whole pile of sci-fi ideas that we haven't seen before like our heroes did.

One of the things in Millennium #2 that pre-Booster Gold Michael Carter mentions is that civilization had to pick itself back up from the ashes twice. I assume one of those times is from Kamandi. Is Booster's future beyond the Legion's?

No, we have a whole document but there are things between the chapters as well. There's Kamandi, but someone blew up that world, like, what happened to Kamandi's world? There's more to say about that and that little chapter itself [with Booster Gold] was a great little exciting thing. 

Yes, as far as this Superman and this entire story, the Legion has never existed before. This is the first time we're ever meeting them. There is no other version, there is no other timeline. This is the Legion of Super-Heroes' first appearance in the DC Universe as far as all these characters are concerned. How it tees up with Doomsday Clock and all the other stuff, I promise it will all land but I don't want to spoil anything but it will all land.

You've got some post-apocalyptic, some cyber-punk, some cyber-noir. How are these seeming disparate threads going to tie into the bright, hopeful future of the Legion?

I think that when you turn the page and see the group of them, you can kind of see hints and pieces of everything that ever came before. Like, you can see all the influence and how it's going to be moving forward; that was what the premise of turning the page was. There it all is, there's everything [Rose] witnessed, both in the hopeful version of the package she could get and just that these kids have taken away from what she perceives as experience and a huge, epic event and all that experience is to keep these kids on track. It all happens so that these kids can stay feeling the way they do right now even though she knows the universe is much more complicated.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

LSH: Millennium #1 annotations: The Future Ain't What It Used to Be

Our first look at the new Rebirth-era Legion actually starts in the immediate future, not 1000 years from now, in "Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium" #1.

The Legion of Substitute Podcasters recap: http://paulfrench.ca/losp/?p=1923

Despite the title, this is not a Legion book, it’s a book that walks Rose & Thorn through the various time points in DC future history such that she ends up in the 31st century with the Legion. It’s the 1000 years leading up to the Legion from now. So this isn't a normal annotation like I've been doing the LSH v4 stories.

The issue solicitation:

  • Brought to you by some of comics’ greatest talents, this epic story spans the course of 1000 years and, for the very first time, connects all of DC’s future timelines! Starring the unlikeliest of DC heroes she learns to cope with newfound immortality and roams through the disparate societies of Batman Beyond, Kamandi, and Tommy Tomorrow, wrestling with her own inner demons and desperately trying to find her purpose in an ever-changing world. Do not miss this truly unique take on tomorrow’s DC Universe, all leading up to a special launch on the millennium!
There were two covers available: the regular one, by Ryan Sook, showing Rose (though we don't know it's her yet) inside some rubble which mimics the Legion's "L with a comet" symbol; and the variant, which is half of a group shot of all characters from both issues, by Jim Cheung.

 

There were some people who were upset that this series doesn't include the Legion, despite the Legion being a part of the very title. I can see their point, though the solicitation clearly doesn't say the Legion is in it.

We were teased early on that the star of this series is a female with red hair who is currently being written by Brian Michael Bendis, and who would not be missed if taken out of present continuity. Early speculation centered on Lana Lang (but she's got the wrong color hair, and BMB isn't writing her, and she's kind of a top tier character) and then to Jinny Hex of his "Young Justice" series or Melody Moore, a firefighter in his "Superman" series. But then a tease of a woman wearing a space helmet with a rose on it pretty much sealed that it's Rose and Thorn, a semi-obscure character who is really Rose Forrest who has an alternate personality named Thorn. She had her own strip in the Lois Lane comics in the 1970s, and was an occasional guest star here and there.

(Side note: the original Rose & Thorn was a Golden Age Green Lantern villain, who was retconned into being the mother of Jade and Obsidian. This is a new version of the Silver Age Rose & Thorn, who first appeared in Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #105 in 1970. There was also a post-Crisis version, a New 52 version, and now a Rebirth version. There's a lot to take in, as Wikipedia shows, but all you need to know is that (a) she's now apparently immortal, (b) she's got a split personality with Thorn as the alter, and (c) Thorn is violent where Rose isn't.)

This two-issue series finds Rose interacting with a number of characters who have been set in the future of the DC Universe, some of whom from before there was even such a thing as the DC Universe (or even DC Comics, for that matter!). We had been told in the past that some future events were now alternate timelines or parallel universes - in one case, the Time Trapper tried to manipulate events such that Kamandi's timeline would occur instead of the Legion's (SMAN 295), and we even saw in an issue of Kamandi (by way of Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #2) that showed they were indeed parallel. That was even enshrined in the recent Multiversity (as Earth-51). But nobody had really sat down and tried to fit ALL (or at least many) of those future characters into one cohesive timeline, until now. We recently saw in Electric Warriors, set in 2735, how the Earth was growing out of the Great Disaster setting of Kamandi, so that's canon (until it's not). But what about the other characters, many of whom we haven't seen in a long time (not counting the Elseworlds "Twilight" miniseries)? Here's a partial list of future characters who we COULD have seen (and who might yet appear in some capacity, somewhere); the ones in cyan are the ones from this and the next issue. But note that these were their original timelines, some have been adjusted for this new series.

Earth-ADOMAC and the Global Police Agency, then a nuclear war in 1986, then the Atomic Knights & Hercules Unbound, then Kamandi (who was revealed to be OMAC’s grandson). 
late 20th century
Batman Beyond (revealed to be Earth-12, later introduced as the future of mainstream DCU as Prime Earth)
circa 2040
Tommy Tomorrow (retconned to be Earth-54)
circa 2050
Hex, in a post-apocalyptic alternate future where 1870s gunfighter Jonah Hex was transported to
mid 21st century
Manhunter, a bounty hunter, no relation to the Manhunters
2070
Star Hawkins, intergalactic detective
2079
Chris KL-99, explorer
Space Cabbie, driver for hire
Space Ranger, adventurer
Star Rovers, trio of adventurers
22nd century
Gary Concord Sr (Ultra Man I)
Gary Concord Jr (Ultra Man II), High Moderator of the United States of North America
2174
2239
Knodar, Golden Age Green Lantern villain
2447
Eobard Thawne, aka Reverse-Flash aka Professor Zoom
2460s
Booster Gold, who stole a Legion flight ring, Brainiac 5's force field belt, Rip Hunter's time sphere, and a flying robot named Skeets from the Space Museum and traveled back to the 20th century
2462
John Fox, historian and future Flash
2645
Electric Warriors, series set in between the Great Disaster and the Legion
2735
Blaine and Jace Allen, father and son future Flashes
2764
World War VI, a war on Earth from which the Legion once faced a revived soldier (SBOY 210) and later faced some weapons used by Glorith (LSH vol 4 #16)
2783
Kristin Wells, Superwoman
2862
Knights of the Galaxy, security force
3000
Robin (Elseworlds)
3000
3051

Each chapter in the two issues here is presented in (presumably) chronological order, but since Kamandi is here and OMAC isn't, that's a big change to the timeline. Each chapter beings "And then...." indicating the passage of time, and each is written by Bendis.

Issue 1, chapter 1 – President Supergirl (art by Jim Lee & Scott Williams)
  • There was speculation as to how far in the future this really is, given how futuristic things look, but in an Instagram comment Bendis said this takes place 80 years in the future, so approximately the year 2100
  • Flashback to Suicide Squad? With Boomerang, Harley, Killer Shark, Deadshot, Killer Croc, and Naomi, the radioactive stuff maybe made her life longer
  • The medicine she took to suppress Thorn was running out
Issue 1, chapter 2 – Batman Beyond (art by Dustin Nguyen)
  • Batman Beyond was originally part of the DC Animated Universe (DCAU), later incorporated into the mainstream DCU with several series and miniseries; instead of being in the 2040s, he's now slid about 100 years in the future
  • Wonders why people still dress up in costumes and fight crime. “There’s a cycle here… Good. Bad. Gods. Monsters. Heroes. Mobsters. Criminals. Crisis. Apocalypse. Reset. Reboot. Rebirth. And over and over and over….” This becomes a recurring theme for Rose/Thorn throughout the series, her life has ups and downs and reboots just like the Earth. What's her purpose, why is she immortal?
Issue 1, chapter 3 – Kamandi (art by Andrea Sorrentino)
  • Recall that the Great Disaster that ruined Earth made the animals all humanoid. The Crisis Omnibus has determined there was an Earth-86, in which the Great Disaster occurred due to the nuclear war, and an Earth-295, in which the Great Disaster occurred due to natural causes. 
  • This takes place immediately following the end of Kamandi #29, in which the suit of the Mighty One (Superman) was being held for safe keeping. Something happened to Superman in the Great Disaster, it's implied that he died, leaving his suit behind. Thorn takes it in hopes that it'll give her his powers, but of course it's not the suit that holds the power, it's the person in the suit. Again, what does it take to be a hero?
  • Compare the final page of the original Kirby story (click here) with what's in this issue, there are poses and dialog showing that this immediately follows issue 29.
  • When Thorn takes the super-suit to the big building with a glowing blue light. It’s something Event Leviathan related, apparently.
  • Again, the running theme in this series about Earth being ruined and rebuilt
  • See this article written in 1976 for Amazing World of DC Comics #12 by Paul Levitz, by the way, that ties together the events of Earth-AD, from OMAC, Atomic Knights, Hercules, and Kamandi to the New Gods and even Wonder Woman. (Page 1page 2page 3page 4page 5page 6)
Issue 1, chapter 4 – Tommy Tomorrow (art by Andre Lima Araujo)
  • Tommy Tomorrow strip originally ran 1947-1963 in Real Fact Comics, Action, World’s Finest, then Showcase, so he's really a Golden Age character that saw new life in the Silver Age. It was set in the year 1990 and then later 2050, later relegated to Earth-54 because the future he was in doesn't match the "real" world (like life on Mars and Venus, for example).
  • Planeteers were a future space police force
  • Just to confuse things, in the immediate aftermath of the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, it was revealed (in History of the DC Universe #2) that the boy known as Kamandi was rescued from his bunker and the Great Disaster never happened. The boy was adopted and became Tommy Tomorrow.
  • Notice that this is far enough in the future that the Earth has recovered, or that Rose is not on Earth when she meets Tommy (because the Earth is too far recovered for the events of Electric Warriors to have taken place along with all the stuff in the next issue).
So Rose is halfway through her journey through time, the long way. Next issue we see Rose and/or Thorn meeting Booster Gold, OMAC, and the Legion (finally!).

Did I miss anything relevant, or did I miss listing someone in the millennium table above? Let me know!