Welcome back, all you comic book fans, to this week’s Retro Review! This week I’m writing about a comic that has a cover date of November 1989, its from D C Comics and that book is … Legion Of Super-Heroes # 1. As some know, I’m a long time fan of the complicated history of the Legion! So it was difficult to decide which one comic from the Legion’s long history to use in my Retro Review column. A couple of times I’ve even started to write about a Legion comic, but they have never seen the light of day. The only time I’ve even written about the Legion was in the April Fools’ I Will Tell You column I wrote in place of JJ, the week we all switched columns!
So needless to say, I’ve given it quite a bit of thought and finally decided on this new number one from 1989. The cover shows a dejected Rokk Krinn, or as you may know him better, Cosmic Boy walking through some ruins, with a abandoned legion flight ring in the foreground. It’s drawn by Keith Giffen with inks provided by Al Gordon.
The book opens with a splash page simply showing a star field, with the words superimposed .. Five Years Later … What? What’s going on here? That’s what I was thinking back in 1989, that’s for sure! The following twenty-one pages shows the reader various Legionnaires who apparently no longer belong to the Legion of Super-Heroes!
Sun Boy (Dirk Morgana) is now the Earthgov Liaison. Polar Boy (Brek Bannin) appears to be a criminal or terrorist. Chamleon Boy (Reep Daggle) is running some kind of company/business from off Earth. The earlier mentioned Cosmic Boy is back living on his home planet, Braal. Shrinking Violet (Salu Digby) is a commander in the Imsk armed forces. Wow, what the heck happened in that five years that the readers missed? And that’s exactly what writer/plotter Keith Giffen, with dialogue provided by fans, turned pro, Tom & Mary Bierbaum, do over the course of this re-imaged series! Interior art was provided by misters Giffen and Gordon.
It was this hook that grabbed my interest in the Legion once again and made me wait on edge for each month’s book to arrive at my comic book store! It turned the Legion’s world upside down, all in one book!
The foundation of the Legion’s world was always that the universe of the 30th Century is a utopia, that crime, disease, war, and even death have largely been resolved. In fact mankind had reached a new Golden Age, so to speak. and with those three words, five years later, so many things had changed.
Later readers were to discover that a war between science and magic caused a galactic upheavel that left the Legion without funding and without support, while chaos reigned! Some Legionnaires have become renegades. Some have been imprisoned. And some are dead! Somewhere along the line, innocent charm was replaced by brutal reality, camaraderie waned thin, and a naive dream spun by teenagers was slowly replaced by rules, regulations, and governmental red tape. The Legion was no more!
But one thing hadn’t vanished entirely, the original dream! And at least one member hadn’t forgotten. Operating in a universe where there is no more order, gathering together former comrades, he has a new Legion to build. The catch phrase DC coined for the series was; “The future isn’t what it used to be”!
Now this was a way to reboot a series! I give it four (4) out of five (5) Legion Flight Rings. The reason it doesn’t get the full five flight rings is that Keith Giffen’s art was not your typical super-hero art style and took a bit of getting used to.