ComicsAlliance vs. the Legion of Super-Heroes: Our 10 Favorite Legionnaires [Part 2]
Yesterday, Chris Sims and David Uzumeri ran through five of their favorite obscure characters from the Legion of Super-Heroes in preparation of today’s release of “Legion of Super-Heroes” (volume six!) #1! Today, they’re back to finish the job with five more entries from the often rebooted 31st Century!
David: Was Rainbow Girl pre-existing? I remember reading her little intro info blip thingie, and she basically sounded like the Geoff Johns Theory Character. Hey, guys, Emotional Spectrum!
Chris: Yes, actually! She’s a throwback to a character who appeared literally twice in the previous 45 years, originally as another Legion Reject. She could split into different colors, but her “Green” setting made Kryptonite, and instead of telling her just not to use it, the Legion flat-out rejected her. Because, again: Teenage Space Jerks.
Chris: Also, she used to look like Renaissance paintings of the Virgin Mary. Anyway, Johns brought her back and tied her into the big Blackest Night emotional spectrum, which gives her these crazy mood swings. I actually think it’s one of the best things he’s done. She’s a hoot.
David: I’m pretty much eagerly awaiting the Rainbow Raider revamp.
Chris: And man, I just want to say that I absolutely love the Legion of Substitute Heroes. I mean, no other team in comics has a version of itself that’s just a bunch of people who kind of suck at being super-heroes. Well, except Extreme Justice. And whichever X-Men team Gambit’s on.
David: I’ve never read much with the Subs except for the Johns stuff, but they’re a really fun idea; I know JMS is using them in an upcoming issue of “Brave and the Bold,” but he’ll probably end up having them accidentally cause the Kennedy assassination or something.
Chris: Oh, those wacky Subs!
David: “Someone just told me to tell this Joe Chill guy on the street corner that his wife would love a pearl necklace! What harm could that do?”
David: Her power is … oh man, I just have to quote Shooter verbatim here. “weirdly suited to weird sex (and not much else.)“
Chris: There’s really no getting around it. Although I will say, they sort of exacerbated things in the Reboot, where her different bodies also had different aspects of her personality, including one that was consistently referred to as “submissive.”
David: Oh God, are you serious? I assume this isn’t the Threeboot, since I remember her three personalities there were basically the same.
Chris: Yeah, they did away with that for the Waid/Kitson relaunch. But since that also had Batman tying her up in the Siamese Human knot…
David: Haha, man, I totally forgot about that! That was in that “Brave and the Bold” issue, right? The Waid/Perez LOSH/Batman one? It also led to that great issue where I think Ultra Boy went on a date with Triplicate Girl and tried to get her to split up for sex at the end of the night, and then the other two Triplicate Girls came home with different guys.
Chris: Triplicate Girl also knows “Tri-Jitsu,” which is basically the art of fighting three-on-one, which seems like it would be a pretty simple style to master.
David: I’d love to see her take on Siam from the Circus of Strange.
Chris: The fight only Frank Quitely could draw. Also of note, when one of her bodies was killed by Computo, Triplicate Girl got saddled with what is quite possibly the worst codename ever: Duo Damsel.
David: Who the hell is Computo? I remember Duo Damsel, and then when one of those died she was just Una and travelled with Karate Kid through the multiverse in Countdown.
Chris: Computo is the villain in the greatest Legion story ever written, which is the one where Brainiac 5 builds a computer that — of course — goes completely insane and starts killing everyone, and then they fight it by introducing The Weirdo Legionnaire…
Chris: …who is actually Chameleon Boy’s shape-shifting pet, Proty, and then zapping it with a Bizarro Ray to make Bizarro Computo.
David: Man, I miss the days when there was a Bizarro Ray. I honestly totally forgot that existed until right now.
Chris: It came back in the ’90s as C.O.M.P.U.T.O., and amazingly, Tom Peyer makes its origin even crazier, because it happens when Brainiac 5 tries to make a time machine out of one of the Metal Men’s responsometers and a Mother Box.
David: I honestly don’t know Quislet’s deal, other than that he looks like Skeets from the future.
Chris: Quislet is a little alien energy being that flies around in a little spaceship, and he can possess inanimate objects.
David: Oh wow, I had no idea that Quislet was an energy being. I honestly thought it was a robotic machine thing.
Chris: He also has the distinction of being the only Legionnaire up to and including Bouncing Boy that I didn’t find porn of when I was Googling up images for this post. Seriously, I was down the rabbit hole. Fans can argue about whether they prefer the Original Legion, the Five Years Later Legion, the Reboot, the Threeboot, or the Deboot, but the Internet has spoken. And its favorite is the Legion from the Crazy Fanart Porno Universe.
David: I hadn’t heard the new iteration called the Deboot, I like that.
Chris: Thanks! It’s my name for it, and I’m hoping it catches on. Anwyay, Quislet’s one of the first non-humanoid Legionnaires. The Reboot Legion expanded things a little — you had Gates, who was a communist insect and Sensor who was a giant snake with robot arm — which I thought was a pretty nice way of actually making them look like a team of aliens.
David: Yeah, they are awfully humanoidcentric, aren’t they? While there was like this big push to make the aliens in the Green Lantern Corps really interesting and weird and Other, the Legion is filled with blue humans, green humans, and humans with antennae.
Chris: Again, I think a lot of that comes from the characters being created in the ’50s and ’60s, and by the time you got to the point where you were getting Ch’p and Mogo in “Green Lantern,” the Legion already had a couple dozen cast members that everybody liked. And also Star Boy.
David: Well, at least Star Boy could console himself with his Shooter-mandated desperate love for an attention sponge. It really feels like Shooter hated that guy.
Chris: It’s the beard. Star Boy and his stupid, stupid beard. How are you going to call yourself “Boy” when you look like a 31st Century Zach Galifianakis?
David: To be fair, he doesn’t call himself “boy” anymore, but he is written as cartoonishly, One-Flew-Over-the-Cuckoo’s-Nest-Disney-Edition crazy.
Chris: He had that beard way back in the ’70s, though. And seriously, I think that’s why I don’t like him, as crazy as it sounds. Reboot version? Totally fine. Threeboot version? Awesome, one of the best costumes. But that stupid, stupid beard…
David: He looks like Nathaniel Richards, or my dad, or Len Wein from the 1970s.
Chris: He should fight the Beard Hunter, from Morrison’s “Doom Patrol.”
David: And lose.
Chris: I’d say that’s probably the most thorough description of Quislet anybody’s going to get.
David: I completely, utterly forgot that we were even talking about Quislet. Actually, you know who he should take on? MISTER MIND. It could be like a 52-issue weekly series where you tried to figure out which creature was hiding in which everyday object. Mr. Mind is in your oven causing a gas leak/fire, but Quislet possessed a scuba Roomba to put it out!
David: Yeah, I have absolutely zero idea who she is, but it’s an idea that always seemed kind of obvious. I mean, Arisia makes it pretty clear the Green Lanterns don’t care about recruiting jailbait.
Chris: She’s Jordana Gardner, far-future descendant of two of Earth’s greatest Green Lanterns. I’m gonna let that sink in for a bit.
David: I — I —– So … I mean, the first great part is the idea that the Gardner family line will carry down for 1000 years, with remembrance that Hal Jordan married in too.
Chris: I know, right?
David: So I guess Hal and someone and Guy and someone had kids and … those kids got married? Starting a Jordan/Gardner line? That’s… One awkward wedding, that’s what that is.
Chris: Like, it’s a thousand years in the future. Obviously, her parents are not Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner. But I cannot stop imagining her as the result of that one time in “Guy Gardner: Warrior” where Guy got turned into a sexy lady. Because you know Hal would try.
David: Both of those are scarring mental images I would like to avoid ever entering my mind again.
Chris: Agreed. Anyway, there’s going to be a new Green Lantern in the new Legion series, but I doubt it’s going to be Jordana, since the Legion doesn’t have teenagers anymore, instead preferring moody twenty-somethings with truly hilarious tribal Legion logo tattoos.
David: I think they said an existing Legionnaire was going to become a Green Lantern, actually.
Chris: Matter-Eater Lantern.
David: Judging by the lightning on the cover, I’d guess Garth.
Chris: Either way it’ll be interesting. I’m actually surprised that it’s taken this long for something like that to happen. I mean, there’s no reason for Green Lanterns to not still exist in the future if they’ve existed for a thousand years already.
David: I dunno if you caught “Legion of Three Worlds,” but Geoff Johns set it up pretty explicitly that Sodam Yat was the only remaining Green Lantern in the future. Oa was, like, a graveyard of batteries.
Chris: You don’t know if I caught “Legion of Three Worlds”? David, I read the tie-in book to the cartoon. Why would you think there’s a book with “Legion” in the title that I wouldn’t get?
David: Okay, touche, point made. I dunno, because it was a … I don’t even know how to describe that comic. “Mess” is in there somewhere.
Chris: Oh really? I loved it. But it’s basically porn for Legion fans. Well, I guess “porn for Legion fans” would be the actual porn I found while I was Googling for a good picture of Triplicate Girl, but you know what I mean.
Chris: The Fatal Five are the the Legion’s arch-enemies, which says a lot about the enemies the Legion fights. There’s Tharrok, who is half robot — and in the ’60s, they literally meant HALF, split right down the middle — Mano, who can touch a planet and blow it up which is slightly overpowered, Persuader, who has an “Atomic Axe” and a terrible name, Emerald Empress, who is pretty cool, and VALIDUS, who is FREAKING AWESOME.
Chris: Yep! Like everything else in the Legion, It’s had a couple of different origins over the years, but it generally acts like a giant, creepy floating Green Lantern ring.
David: That’s pretty cool. What’s the overall deal with Validus, other than looking awesome?
Chris: He’s like the Hulk, except he shoots lightning out of his brain.
David: Welp. That explains the weird brain window.
Chris: There’s also an origin for him where he’s the mutant deformed son of Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl from the future, but I’m pretty sure that got wiped out of continuity in 1994.
David: You never know when things wiped out get wiped back in, though, especially not with the current regime. Although I guess Levitz probably won’t bring that up.
Chris: There’s also a Legion of Super-Villains, but for whatever reason, creators keep coming back to the Fatal Five, probably because it’s got a better name. I’d like to see them switch the lineup a little bit, though. Maybe throw in Nemesis Kid, whose power is that he gets the power to deal with YOUR power.
David: That’s a pretty awesome power. How does that not get more love?
Chris: Well, he was a huge part of one of the biggest Legion storylines ever, where the Super-Villains were pretty much like “Okay guys, we have to get serious about killing the Legion.” He killed Karate Kid!
David: Karate Kid came back, right? Or was that a later boot? Cos Karate Kid seemed fine in Lightning Saga, or was that a Johns initiative?
Chris: Forget it, David. It’s the Deboot Legion.
David: Man, we’re all about referencing Jack Nicholson flicks this time.
Chris: So there you go, I mean, I could talk about these guys all day (we haven’t even mentioned Karate Kid or Brainiac 5, who is basically the DC Universe equivalent of calling yourself “Hitler 3″), but that’s pretty much everything you need — and in the case of those Jim Shooter writeups, way more than you need — to jump on the Legion of Super-Heroes! Any final thoughts?
David: It’s been an interesting ride, and I’ve learned a lot more about the pre-Threeboot/Deboot stuff than I did before. It legitimately seems like a really fascinating corner of superhero comics lore, and I wish there was a more readily accessible/cheap way to catch up on the history than buying the rather pricey DC Archives.
Chris: Like I said, there are showcases for the early stuff, but for a comic that’s been around for 52 years, there’s a surprisingly small amount of it that’s been reprinted in paperback. There are more Archives for it than anything except “Justice League,” but the critically acclaimed “Legion of the Damned,” “Legion Lost,” and “Legion Worlds” — the start of Abnett and Lanning’s run — have never been reprinted, nor has most of their ongoing series. And none of the Peyer/McCraw/Stern stuff. And nothing from the ’70s. And worst of all, “The Great Darkness Saga” is still out of print.
Chris: Hopefully the new series’ll spark some interest, and we’ll finally get some reprints. Although every time it gets rebooted, the chance of getting stuff from an older version gets a little smaller: I doubt they want to confuse people, even though there was a time a couple years ago where three distinct Legions were running around at the same time.
David: Well, the thing is, this Levitz run is likely going to actively build on all of that stuff, because – it’s Paul Levitz, the guy who wrote the first stuff. And he’s going to be referential with his run anyways, since he’s writing two different Legion books that come out simultaneously but take place at opposite points on the spectrum of the team’s history.
Chris: Here’s hoping!