Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Legion Continuity Notes

This is a new thing I'm doing on here. The idea is, the Legion has a complicated history, and it's become convoluted because of all of DC's retcons and reboots and universe restarts and what have you. So this series of articles will be an attempt to sort all that out for the benefit of new readers or confused older readers.

In particular, I’m going to use this page as the home for links to all my other continuity-related posts (once they’re written), so if you landed on this page looking for that stuff, scroll down.

But here's the thing, and I invite you to pay particular attention to this point:

I need your help.

I don't know everything, and I'm probably going to get stuff wrong.

If I perpetuate a floater, please leave a comment setting me straight.

I mean, I'm going to do my best. I have a lot of Legion comics, and I know where wikipedia is. But I wasn't collecting comics at all when Zero Hour came out, for instance, and I haven't found all the back issues, so there are gaps in my knowledge. If you see something wrong here, let me know.

I think the real temptation is going to be to try to cover everything in one entry, to drag all the continuity skeletons out of the closet in the first article+comments. That's too big a job, though; there's too much to do all at once. So let's keep things broken down into smaller topics.

To lead off, here’s an overview of Legion continuity, just so we know what we're talking about. This is just a framework; there are probably a half-dozen articles that can be written to explore this stuff.

Legion Continuities:

1.0 (Original Legion, 1958-1985, appearing in Adventure Comics (various issues), Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes (complete run), Legion of Super-Heroes (2nd series) (complete run), Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes (complete run), Legion of Super-Heroes (3rd series) #1-17)

1.01 (Post-Crisis Legion, 1985-1990, appearing in Legion of Super-Heroes (3rd series) #18-63, Legion of Super-Heroes (4th series) #1-4)

1.x (Mordruverse, 1990, appearing in Legion of Super-Heroes (4th series) #5)

1.5 (Glorithverse, 1990-1994, appearing in Legion of Super-Heroes (4th series) #6-61, Legionnaires #1-18)

1.6 (2x+unboot Legion, 2007-?, appearing in JLA #8-10, JSA #5-6) (see link below for 'The Lightning Saga')

2.0 (Reboot Legion, 1994-2004, appearing in Legion of Super-Heroes (4th series) #62-125, Legionnaires #19-81, Legion Lost, Legion Worlds, The Legion #1-38)

3.0 (Threeboot Legion, 2004-current, appearing in Legion of Super-Heroes (5th series) #1-???)

If you're finding out about all this for the first time, take heart. It's not as complicated as it looks. There have been three main versions of the Legion: Original, Reboot and Threeboot, and the continuity of the Original was tweaked a few times.

Some terms, in case people are unfamiliar with the jargon:

Pre-Crisis Legion: The original Legion.

Silver Age Legion: The original Legion, from their creation up until, oh, the early ‘70s.

Disco Legion: The original Legion in the ‘70s.

Adult Legion: There were some original-Legion stories set in the future of the original Legion, when they had all grown up. In LSH (2nd series) #300, it was established that these were among many possible futures for that Legion.

Crisis on Infinite Earths, also known as ‘the first Crisis’, or sometimes just ‘Crisis’: a big DC crossover event of the mid-‘80s; resulted in the compressing of all DC’s parallel earths into one single one.

Pocket Universe: A device the Time Trapper used to keep Superboy in the continuity of the post-Crisis Legion.

Levitz Legion: refers to Paul Levitz’s second stint as writer of the (original and post-Crisis) Legion, from LSH (2nd series) #284 to LSH (3rd series) #63.

Five Year Gap: the five years of story time skipped over between the end of the third LSH series and the fourth LSH series.

Five Years Later: the Legion stories between the start of the fourth LSH series and Zero Hour.

TMK Legion: the Legion stories covering about the first forty issues of the fourth LSH series. TMK stands for Tom (Bierbaum), Mary (Bierbaum), Keith (Giffen), the creators of that run.

SW6 Legion: some youthful Legion duplicates who appeared in the middle of the TMK Legion run. They eventually got their own book, the Legionnaires title. (At least until Zero Hour, anyway.)

Zero Hour: a big DC crossover event of the mid-‘90s; among its effects were the removal from existence of the original and SW6 Legions.

Archie Legion: the reboot Legion, before Abnett and Lanning took over creatively.

DnA Legion: the reboot Legion, after Abnett and Lanning took over creatively. (DnA = Dan (Abnett) ‘n’ Andy (Lanning).)

WaK Legion: the threeboot Legion. (WaK = Waid and Kitson.)

WKRP Legion: the threeboot Legion. (WKRP = Waid/Kitson Reboot Period.)

Rebeat Legion: the threeboot Legion. (Not sure why.)

Continuity Notes:

The Lightning Saga: discussion of the version of the Legion appearing in JLA #8-10 and JSA #5-6.

Crisis on Infinite Earths and the Pocket Universe: how Superboy was first removed from Legion continuity.

Glorithverse and Five Years Later: how Superboy was double-removed from Legion continuity, and some more discussion about the version of the Legion appearing in JLA #8-10 and JSA #5-6.

Mon-El: the twisted history of Mon-El across several continuities.

Calamity King: we may not be completely done with the Five Year Gap after all. Okay, we probably are.

The Waid-Kitson Threeboot: how and why the Legion was rebooted again, and some implications.

Runup to Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds: Q-and-A about Action Comics #864, DC Universe #0, and other recent events.

Phantom Girl: Who was Phase?

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Blogger kenaustin said...

I hope this comment takes, as I have had problems posting here before.

First and foremost, let me commend you on your herculean task.

Second, I can't endorse this enough... "The LSH Help File" by Chaim Keller.

Everything you wanted to know about the Legion from Adventure #247 to Legion

Lost #12. It can be found here http://www.adamarnold.net/lshhlp/

I have pretty much every Legion issue from Superboy #195 to present easily

accesible, so if you need a reference, page number, or scan let me know.

3:05 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Thanks. Noted.

3:46 PM  
Blogger Michael said...

While Chaim's help file (which someone should HTMLize) is indeed a great reference, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind about it.

One that's really minor is that he purposely ignores the 4-issue reprint series in the early 70s, so that what everyone else calls v3 he calls v2. Our v4 is his v3.

A more major caveat is that unless it's been changed since I last used it, it retroactively replaces Superboy and Supergirl with Valor and Andromeda even for stories in which we never saw the retcons.

Regarding your choice of terminologies... not all of them are universally accepted:
* The Legion's Silver Age ended at the end of the Action Comics run, since that was the last Mort Weisinger issue.
* The "Disco Legion" is a relatively recent coinage. Google only shows 137 hits as of right now, and most of them are from people who are talking about the possible return of that era in today's comics.
* The "Archie Legion" was a perjorative term meant to mock the youthful-looking team and the art styles.
* "WnK" and "WKRP" are very recent and are from fans trying to come up with a cute nickname. I've seen very little usage of this outside of those who coined the terms. Usually it's just the "Waid/Kitson Legion".
* I've never heard "rebeat" until I read it here. Google shows only a dozen citings, nearly all from the CBR message boards.

Good luck. You also have the Legion Wiki as a reference too, unless you want to join up and post there.

2:17 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Thanks. I did notice that about the help file; it's taking a different approach than I want to take here. But I'll definitely have occasion to consult it.

And I have joined the Legion Wiki, although I have yet to actually contribute anything. I don't really know how to do it yet; just haven't taken the time to read the how-to stuff.

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heh. Rebeat was in use only a little while at CBR. The term that's really taken off for the WaK Legion was "Threeboot". :)

9:18 AM  
Blogger Greybird said...

Keller's Legion.hlp also includes editorializing, some of which he freely admits to doing in order to make it, as he sees it, more coherent as a reference work.

Other changes are more substantive, but rarely admitted to openly. He distingishes "Old Version" (pre-Zero-Hour) from "New Version" (post-Zero-Hour), and often makes some unwarranted or highly disputed bridges between them.

I've noticed — no surprise here — Keller's making DnA's Shikari into the "New Version" of Dawnstar, which Abnett and Lanning have repeatedly and vehemently denied was their intention or artistic result.

(That equation also diminishes their own originality. They weren't my own favorites, by any means, but they deserve more respect than this.)

Other such bridges exist, and, to me, they seriously compromise Keller's file as a coordinated reference ... though the "Old" and "New" compilations stand quite strongly by themselves.

A more functional issue — to elaborate on what I'd say is more than "minor," demurring with Michael — is Keller's use of different terminology from that of the Overstreet guide, and nearly all Legion net.fans, for the "volumes" of LSH titles.

The four-issue set from the early '70s is there, called the "reprint series." "2nd" becomes "1st," and so on. This makes using Legion.hlp for lookups or citations of specific issues difficult and problematic.

Keller puts more Legion information in one place than anybody else, for which he deserves praise, but new(er)comers ought to know about these weak points.

9:09 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Well, I intend to editorialize like stink, so I hope it isn't perceived as a weakness here...

7:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm already terrified.

For you, Matthew...!

Should be interesting.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Reboot said...

> And I have joined the Legion Wiki, although I have yet to actually contribute anything. I don't really know how to do it yet; just haven't taken the time to read the how-to stuff.

Matthew - just start writing @ http://www.legionclubhouse.com/wiki/ . Just keep fairly "neutral" and if if the formatting needs cleaned up, I'll help you with that :)

[That's an open invitation, BTW, not solely to Matthew.]

4:13 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Thanks. One of the many things I sincerely intend to do...

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd be interested in seeing your updated continuity notes on the Retroboot Legion.

8:24 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Thanks; I'll consider it. I'm a little worried that it's kind of a moving target at the moment, though.

9:13 AM  

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