The Future Begins Again

Legion: Secret Origin: written by Paul Levitz; illustrated by Chris Batista and Marc Deering (2011-2012): This expanded origin story for the ‘New 52’ Legion of Super-heroes features the scripting of long-time (as in, on and off again since the early 1980’s) LSH writer Paul Levitz and the appropriately clean, crisp artwork of Chris Batista and Marc Deering. The Legion, super-powered humans and aliens from worlds throughout the Milky Way galaxy in the 31st century, are back once again. There may be problems in the 31st century, but the Legion has always worked best against the backdrop of an at-least-partially utopian future Earth beset by problems from without and within, and not, as in the dismal late 1980’s ‘5 Years Later’ LSH universe, a ruined world being fixed by an almost equally broken Legion.

Levitz sticks with the decades-old framework of the Legion’s origin (the three teenaged founding members save multi-zillionaire R.J. Brande from an assassination attempt; their efforts cause him to suggest they form a superhero team with his financial backing). Additional complexities, political intrigues, and schemes are added. The heroes learn to work together and show their worth to the United Federation of Planets. Both Brande and the young heroes plan to recruit Superboy from the past, though this doesn’t happen in the origin. An ancient (in more ways than one) Legion enemy makes its first appearance (again).

I’m not sure how this introduction would play with someone who’s never read a Legion adventure before. I thought it was a solid version of the origin, comprehensive without being overburdened with continuity. The Legion has almost always seemed to suffer most after a DC reboot or partial reboot (1985’s Crisis on Infinite Earths and 1994’s Zero Hour were especially destructive to Legion continuity and, ultimately, popularity), so it’s nice to see that they’ve emerged from September 2011’s Flashpoint reboot as perhaps the least affected DC book. And they get to keep Superboy as a member. Recommended.

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