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Legion of Super-Heroes Publication History

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History

The Legion of Super-Heroes is a team of teenage vigilantes in the 30th Century. They were inspired by the legend of Superboy, and their membership consists of many aliens with different powers. Their history and continuity has gone through many changes, making them confusing to follow.

Comics

Silver Age

The Legion first appeared in 1958 as part of Earth-One, in the pages of Adventure Comics. The original members shown are Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl. They travel back in time to recruit Superboy as a member. This story was written by Otto Binder with illustrations by Al Plastino.[1] The Legion was popular enough to merit a second appearance by Jerry Siegel and George Papp, in the pages of Action Comics.[2] Siegel and Jim Mooney added new members Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, and Invisible Kid in their next appearance.[3] Their fourth appearance is with Supergirl and adds the new members Brainiac 5, Bouncing Boy, Phantom Girl, Shrinking Violet, Sun Boy, and Triplicate Girl.[4]

The first volume titled Legion of Super-Heroes was a collection of reprinted stories in 1973. The same year, they were promoted to cover billing when Superboy started using the title Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes.[5] This became official in 1977 when the series was renamed to Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes.[6] Superboy was dropped from the book in 1980, and it was renamed as the second volume titled Legion of Super-Heroes.[7] This series was relaunched in 1984, beginning the third Legion of Super-Heroes volume.[8] The existing series continued its numbering as Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes.[9]

Post-Crisis

The Legion's origins were drastically changed during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. John Byrne erased Superboy from continuity in his series The Man of Steel.[10] It was retconned that the Legion's Superboy had always been from a Pocket Universe, thanks to the manipulation of Time Trapper.[11] This volume ended in 1989.[12]

Keith Giffen wrote and illustrated the fourth volume of Legion of Super-Heroes. This series leaped forward several years in time, beginning a new era titled Five Years Later. In this future, the Legion had been disbanded and the United Planets was in ruins.[13] DC lost the rights to use Superboy, and he was replaced in continuity by Valor. This was accomplished by having Time Trapper's successor Glorith rewrite history as the Glorithverse.[14] There was a second volume published during this time titled Legionnaires, which featured the Legion's younger Batch SW6 counterparts.[15] This continuity ended in Zero Hour when history was rewritten and the Legion was erased.[16]

Reboot

Following Zero Hour in 1994, Mark Waid rebooted continuity and established an entirely new Legion of Super-Heroes. Their stories started from the beginning, making them younger and more inexperienced.[17] Legion of Super-Heroes was canceled alongside Legionnaires in 2000, shortly after the ten-year anniversary.[18][19] They were replaced by two limited series titled Legion Lost and Legion Worlds, exploring where the individual members went.[20][21] Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning began a new series titled The Legion in 2001.[22] The series was canceled in 2004.[23] This continuity ended in a crossover by Geoff Johns, when reality was distorted by Infinite Crisis.[24]

Threeboot

Mark Waid and Barry Kitson rebooted the Legion of Super-Heroes again into a third version.[24] They published a fifth volume of Legion of Super-Heroes beginning in 2005.[25] This series added Supergirl to the roster in 2006, renaming itself Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes in 2006.[26] Jim Shooter began writing the series in 2008, returning to the name Legion of Super-Heroes.[27] The series was canceled in 2009.[28]

Post-Infinite Crisis

The original Legion of Super-Heroes was brought back into continuity following Infinite Crisis. They reappeared in the Lightning Saga storyline as younger versions than previously seen.[29] It's shown that this version did not experience the events of Five Years Later. They last saw Superman during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, making them part of a divergent timeline. This erases all of the events between 1986 and 1994.[30]

Final Crisis

The discrepancies in Legion continuity are explained by Geoff Johns in his 2009 mini-series Legion of 3 Worlds, which ties in to Final Crisis.[31] It's revealed that the Time Trapper manipulated the different Legions for his own purposes. The Original Legion belong to the future of New Earth, the Reboot Legion exist on a world known as Earth-247, and the Threeboot Legion exist on Earth-Prime.[32]

The Original Legion received a back-up feature by Paul Levitz in the second Adventure Comics volume.[33] This was spun-off into the sixth volume of Legion of Super-Heroes.[34]

The New 52

The entire DC Universe was rebooted by Flashpoint in 2010. This reboot was published as The New 52.[35] The Legion received two new series, the seventh volume of Legion of Super-Heroes and the second volume of Legion Lost. They were one of very few properties that were not drastically changed by the reboot.[36][37] These series were both canceled in 2013. The final issue hinted that the original Legion's stories now took place on Earth 2.[38][39]


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