Friday, March 27, 2020

Justice League Europe Annual #2 annotations: Armageddon Out of Here!

Annotations for Justice League Europe Annual #2

  • On sale 8/27/91, this was published in between LSH v4 #23 (8/20/91) and 24 (9/17/91)
  • Legion of Substitute Podcasters episode 597 (March 23, 2020)
During the Quiet Darkness storyline which we have just covered, DC had another event going on, but unlike Millennium which impacted the Legion by making Laurel Kent a Manhunter, this one didn't include the contemporary 5YL Legion at all (fortunately). Armageddon: 2001 was a 2-issue series which bookended 12 of that year's Annuals. To make a long story short, Waverider came back from the future because one of the heroes from 1991 would become, ten years later, a tyrant named Monarch, and Waverider wanted to prevent that from happening. By touching each person, Waverider could see into that person's future, or possible future, and determine if that one was going to be Monarch. So that's what each annual was about, a look at the title hero's possible future. (You can read about the whole story on Wikipedia, including the revelation of who Monarch really was.)

JLE Annual #2 was the last Annual before Armageddon #2. In this issue, rather than seeing what will have been going to have taken place ten years from now, the hero visited a time decades or centuries earlier or later than the present. Thus, the cast of characters from other times on the cover. Hey, isn't that a young-looking Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, and Lightning Lad in the back row?


I'm not going to go through each of the various Leaguers' adventures in this story, just Blue Jay. You remember him, right? No? OK, he was one of the Champions of Angor (later revealed to have also been called the Assemblers) back in JLA #87 in 1971, created as a pastiche of the Avengers. Blue Jay was the analog of Ant Man and Wasp, able to shrink down to tiny size and grow wings, but that was pretty much it. After being defeated by the Extremists (a pastiche of the Masters of Evil), only Wandjina (Thor), Silver Sorceress (Scarlet Witch), and Blue Jay were left alive, and they came to Earth and hung out with and later joined the JLE.

And now we get to Waverider, who touches Blue Jay to find out if Jay will become Monarch. But instead of going 10 years into the future, we go about 1000 years. This issue was written by Keith Giffen and Gerard Jones, and each chapter was pencilled by a different artist and inked by Randy Elliott.
  • Page 37: pencils by Steve Carr. In panel 1, he's wondering why all of the other heroes he touched had their potential futures in the past. Don't worry about that, or those people in panels 4 and 5, they're not relevant to the Legion part of the story. Waverider touches Blue Jay to see if he'll be Monarch.
  • Page 38: Art by Curt Swan! Holy moly! He only did 3 more Legion stories after this: LSH v4 #31 coming up soon in 1992, and LSH Annual 5 (the Legion plays Wizard of Oz) and L.E.G.I.O.N. Annual 5 (the L.E.G.I.O.N. in a parody of the Silver Age LSH), both Elseworlds.
    • Failed Legion applicants: Beetle Boy, Insulation Lad, and Faucet Girl (who all, actually, sound like they would have been suggested in the old "Bits of Legionnaire Business" column in the Adventure days)
  • Page 39 panel 2: Garth has his robot arm, so this takes place sometime after ADV 332.
  • Page 39 panel 4: More Silver Agey names - Tele-Kid, Transport Teen, Popping Pete. 
  • Page 40 panel 3: "Shrinking Violet with wings". Blue Jay was often seen in the JLE as the weakest member. Not lame, just weak. 
  • Page 40 panel 6: At least he gets his consolation flight belt!
  • Page 41: Blue Jay gets to join the Subs, who are portrayed here as plucky and spunky but not very useful. 
  • Page 41 panel 6: Blue Jay's story ends here. He didn't actually join the Subs, it was a potential future for him.
  • Page 42: Waverider has taken his hand off of Blue Jay, ending his tale, though he's surprised that Blue Jay's future was in the 30th century and not the 21st.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

LSH v4 Annual 2 annotations

Annotations for Legion of Super-Heroes v4 Annual #2


Notes:
  • Cover: first appearance of the Valor logo, which will later be used on Valor’s own series in a few months
  • Page 2: there's a guy in a bubble here who looks like he's probably important, but don't worry about that since he won't reappear or be identified.
  • Page 4 panel 1:
    • Elia was invented for the 5YL run
    • Ardemo was a world on which Triplicate Girl was studying stone reliefs of a forgotten alien people when a voice from one called her and covered her in a metallic spray, in an attempt by the Time Trapper to trap her and force her to reveal the location of Legion super-weapon, the Concentrator. (ADV 321)
    • Apokalips is home of Darkseid; interesting to see a reference to converts to the Dark Circle on Darkseid’s homeworld
  • Page 4 panel 4: Dolminuss is also a newly named world for the 5YL
  • Page 5 panel 7: the Dark Circle has lost Carggg, which makes this part of the story contemporary. Recall that Carggg was freed back in issue 18, which was late March or early April 2995 (we’re in late April in the main book).
  • Page 8 panel 6-7: in the post-Mordruverse continuity, Lar Gand and his family came to Earth during the Invasion! crossover. He later became an associate of the L.E.G.I.O.N.
  • Page 9 panel 2: After leaving Dox and the L.E.G.I.O.N., he had adventures and settled for a time on an adopted world (i.e., Earth). Note that Valor’s own book didn’t start until after LSH #34, but he guest-starred in a lot of Superman books during that time.
  • Page 10: Crossover with the story of Ultra Boy from Annual 1. This is where the legend started.
  • Page 14: The Dominators were harvesting humans and experimenting on them to activate their meta-genes.
  • Page 18: Shamarra looks like a progenitor of Tharr
  • Page 43 panel 4: Impromptu Stump the Subs! What are the powers of the people who live on these planets?
    • Bismoll – able to eat and digest anything
    • Carggg – able to triplicate
    • Geequo – powers unknown; home planet of Apollo of the Devil's Dozen (ADV 350)
    • Janus – home planet of Double Header (ADV 323)
    • Lallor – no native powers (or they died out)
    • Mlain – powers unknown. A war-wrecked world to which Shrinking Violet fled when Heroes of Lallor tried to capture the team, having been tricked by Dr. Marden King into thinking they were super-villains. (ADV 324)
    • Myrnah – powers unknown. World on which no crime of misdeed has occurred since Braino, one of the noblest beings of all time, used his mind-power to funnel into himself all evil that existed on the world, killing himself in the process (ADV 320)
    • Somahtur – Inhabitants are carriers of a wide variety of diseases that do not affect them, and are able to direct individual diseases to others (SBOY 201)
    • Thanar – Asteroid orbiting a blue star, inhabited by a race of mineral-fleshed people. Superboy and Colossal Boy confronted the Super-Moby Dick of Space there (ADV 332)
    • Tharr – inhabitants learned to use their mental force to neutralize heat vibrations and create cold (ADV 306)
    • Winath – no native powers (or they died out)
    • Zwen – inhabitants evolved the power to turn to stone as a form of suspended animation (ADV 306)
  • Page 45 panel 4: the armies of the renegade Grykk emperor Gennesaret.
    • Grykk is a planet where Colossal Boy was seen on a monitor screen fighting a giant who had terrorized a town of normal-size beings. (ADV 301)
    • Gennesaret is the Greek version of the Hebrew name of an important Bronze and Iron Age city situated on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, mentioned in the Old Testament and New Testament, and in the Aqhat Epic of Ugarit.
  • Page 48: in this continuity, it’s Glorith that puts him in the Bgztl Buffer Zone (not Superboy who put him in the Phantom Zone).
  • Page 50: the new retelling of ADV 300 when he temporarily makes it out of the Buffer Zone (which took place on 12/11/2974 per the Sourcebook)
  • Page 51: the murderous android from the past keeps the same color scheme as the robot Urthlo, but probably does not have HATE tapes inside of him
  • Page 52: new retelling of ADV 305 when he is permanently freed from the Buffer Zone (which took place on 1/23/75 per the Sourcebook)


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Legion sales data: February 2020

Sales are still leveling off, with an 11% drop from issue 3 to issue 4. That may sound like a lot, but it's only about 4000 copies. We're starting to get into the region where retailers were able to see what the books were actually selling before ordering new issues, so I'd expect steadier sales in the next few months as retailers get a handle on how much to order. Still, it's DC's 18th highest selling book, 10 of which were Batman, Joker, and/or Harley Quinn; and it's ahead of Flash, Wonder Woman, Catwoman, Shazam, Justice League Dark, Suicide Squad, Young Justice, Aquaman, Nightwing, and all the rest.

Sales data via Comichron.

Legion of Super-Heroes (volume 8) #4 - April 2020
Issue 4 had two variants on 2/19/20 (originally scheduled for 2/4 but delayed by two weeks).

LSH volume 8 #4
Standard cover
Art by Ryan Sook and Travis Moore
LSH volume 8 #4
Cardstock variant
Art by Alex Garner

TL;DR version: LSH #3 sold 30,675 copies (down from 34,732 the previous month) and was the #51 book for the month and the #18 DC book. 

Context:
  • Combining both covers, LSH #4 was the #51 book for the month, with total sales of 30,675 (down from 34,732 the previous month). It was the #18 book for DC (behind 10 Batman, Joker, or Harley Quinn books, 3 Superman books, 2 JLAs, and 1 Green Lantern, plus DC's #1 book DCeased). The #1 book of the month was Wolverine #1 with sales of 190,568 (no other book broke 100k sales).
  • The $3.99 regular cover was the #77 book for January 2020, with sales of 23,075 (down from 26,933 the previous month). It was the #27 DC book.
  • The $4.99 cardstock cover variant was the #86 DC book and the #220 overall book for January, with sales of 7,600 (down from 7,799 the previous month). 
  • Still too early to say the point where sales will level off, where the book has found its base, but after the trelatively small drop from #2 to #4 (about 14%) I'm going to guesstimate it'll level off around 27,000 or so.
  • Digital sales of issues are generally not known to the public, but anecdotally the digital market as a whole is about 10% of the traditional market. This does not necessarily apply to any particular comic from any particular company. Diamond does not report digital sales, and it's the Diamond data going to Comichron.
Color key for tables below:
  • Brown = 5 Years Later
  • Orange = Reboot
  • Green = Threeboot
  • Yellow = Retroboot/New 52
  • White = Rebirth
  • Blue = none of the above

LSH v8 sales and rank 
Issue
Total sales
(all covers)
overall #
DC #
#1 book
1
75,611
10
3
138,434
2
35,653
50
17
117,926
3
34,732
44
15
167,377
4
30,675
51
18
190,568


Sales drop historical comparison: ongoing series *
Date
Title
#1 to #2
#2 to #3
#3 to #4
Dec 1989
LSH v4 (5 Years Later)
-33.5%
-10.2%
+2.5%
Dec 2001
The Legion
-14.0%
+0.0%
+0.2%
March 2005
LSH Vol 5 (Threeboot)
-19.0%
-7.7%
-7.0%
Nov 2009
Adventure Comics v3
-16.6%
-6.1%
** +91.6%
Aug 2010
LSH v6 (Retroboot)
-22.0%
-7.0%
-5.8%
Dec 2011
LSH v7 (New 52)
-20.2%
-25.9%
-20.4%
Dec 2011
Legion Lost v2
-23.2%
-26.8%
-23.1%
Oct 2019
LSH: Millennium
-18.4%
n/a
n/a
Dec 2019
LSH v8
-52.8%
-2.6%
-11.7%
* Note: sales data from April 1993 to October 1994 is not publicly available, which coincidentally covers the entirety of the "Legionnaires" title in the Reboot era, so that title is not included in this chart. Also not counting "Valor" or any miniseries except for "Millennium".
** Adventure Comics #4 included a Blackest Night ring promotion


What is the bottom of the sales curve?
Year
Series
Sales at
series end
Notes
2000
LSH v4 (Reboot)
17,500
Series cancelled for new Abnett/Lanning Legion Lost v1
2000
Legionnaires (Reboot)
17,200
Series cancelled for new Abnett/Lanning Legion Lost v1
2004
The Legion (Reboot)
23,300
Series cancelled for Threeboot
2009
LSH v5 (Threeboot)
22,300
Series cancelled for Retroboot
2011
LSH v6 (Retroboot)
21,400
Series cancelled for New 52
2011
Adventure Comics (Retroboot)
19,200
Series cancelled for New 52
2013
LSH v7 (New 52)
15,500
Series cancelled due to sales
2013
Legion Lost v2 (New 52)
13,500
Series cancelled due to sales
Not counting miniseries, which are known to have a finite end.


Top selling Legion books, 2004-present (since the start of the Threeboot)
Rank
Cover date
Sales
Series
Issue
1
Jan 2010
85,145
Adventure Comics v3
4
2
Nov 2019
75,611
LSH v8
1
3
Oct 2008
73,914
Legion of Three Worlds
1
4
Dec 2008
64,412
Legion of Three Worlds
2
5
Apr 2009
61,358
Legion of Three Worlds
3
6
Oct 2004
61,047
Teen Titans/The Legion Special
1
7
Feb 2005
59,944
LSH v5
1
8
Feb 2010
59,876
Adventure Comics v3
5
9
Jun 2009
56,888
Legion of Three Worlds
4
10
Oct 2009
56,706
Adventure Comics v3
1
11
Sep 2009
55,970
Legion of Three Worlds
5
12
May 2006
54,826
Supergirl & the LSH
16
13
Mar 2010
53,721
Adventure Comics v3
7
14
Nov 2011
53,285
LSH v7
1
15
Jul 2010
50,106
LSH v6
1
16
Nov 2011
49,952
Legion Lost v2
1
17
Mar 2005
48,584
LSH v5
2
18
Sep 2019
48,389
LSH: Millennium
1
19
Sep 2019
47,857
Superman
15
20
Aug 2019
47,777
Superman
14
21
Jun 2006
47,697
Supergirl & the LSH
17
22
Nov 2009
47,296
Adventure Comics v3
2
23
Feb 2008
45,803
Supergirl & the LSH
37
24
Jul 2006
45,520
Supergirl & the LSH
18
25
Apr 2005
44,824
LSH v5
3
26
Dec 2009
44,431
Adventure Comics v3
3
27
Aug 2006
43,918
Supergirl & the LSH
19
28
May 2005
43,408
LSH v5
4
29
Mar 2010
42,514
Adventure Comics v3
6
30
Dec 2011
42,504
LSH v7
2
31
Sep 2006
41,679
Supergirl & the LSH
20
32
Jun 2005
41,664
LSH v5
5
33
Dec 2006
41,554
Supergirl & the LSH
23
34
Jul 2005
40,970
LSH v5
6
35
Oct 2006
39,852
Supergirl & the LSH
21
36
Oct 2019
39,489
LSH: Millennium
2
37
Apr 2010
39,351
Adventure Comics v3
8
38
Aug 2005
39,155
LSH v5
7
39
Aug 2010
39,102
LSH v6
2
40
Dec 2011
38,385
Legion Lost v2
2
41
Dec 2011
38,248
Legion Secret Origin
1
42
Dec 2011
38,248
Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes
1
43
Jun 2010
37,573
Adventure Comics v3
10
44
May 2010
37,515
Adventure Comics v3
9
45
Sep 2005
37,272
LSH v5
8
46
Nov 2006
36,735
Supergirl & the LSH
22
47
Sep 2010
36,360
LSH v6
3
48
Oct 2005
35,834
LSH v5
9
49
Nov 2005
35,800
LSH v5
10
50
Dec 2019
35,653
LSH v8
2
51
Jul 2010
34,794
Adventure Comics v3
11
52
Jan 2020
34,732
LSH v8
3
53
Aug 2010
34,663
Adventure Comics v3
12
54
Oct 2010
34,239
LSH v6
4
55
Dec 2005
34,100
LSH v5
11
56
Jan 2007
33,985
Supergirl & the LSH
24
57
Jan 2006
33,500
LSH v5
12
58
Feb 2007
33,288
Supergirl & the LSH
25
59
Mar 2008
33,045
LSH v5
38
60
Apr 2009
32,851
Adventure Comics v3
0
61
Feb 2006
32,730
LSH v5
13
62
Mar 2006
32,513
LSH v5
14
63
Nov 2010
32,417
LSH v6
5
64
Mar 2007
32,342
Supergirl & the LSH
26
65
Apr 2006
31,649
LSH v5
15
66
May 2007
31,525
Supergirl & the LSH
28
67
Jan 2012
31,481
LSH v7
3
68
Apr 2007
31,381
Supergirl & the LSH
27
69
Apr 2008
31,123
LSH v5
39
70
Jun 2007
30,906
Supergirl & the LSH
29
71
Sep 2010
30,897
Adventure Comics v3
516
72
Jul 2007
30,767
Supergirl & the LSH
30
73
Jan 2020
34,732
LSH v8
4
74
Aug 2007
30,385
Supergirl & the LSH
31
75
May 2008
30,377
LSH v5
40