‘Legion Of Super-Heroes: The Beginning Of Tomorrow’ is the reprint of the 1994-1995 re-build of the LSH from Legion Of Super-Heroes 0, # 62-65, Legionnaires 0, 19-22. As such there are a large handful of writers, pencillers and inkers with probably the first issue being the sketchiest before the art standard jumps up. This is all before digital colouring took over.
As with the other LSH reprints I’ve been looking at this past month, its centring on their origins where all things start off with three colonists on their way to Earth preventing as assassination of multi-billionaire R.J. Brande and who then finances the Legion Of Super-Heroes with the United Planets backing based off some 21st century folklore. In this variation, though, it is seen as a means to provide unity between the colony worlds and Earth by having representatives from all of them. There’s about a dozen here so presumably they go back for seconds later. As such, this also allows some development of all the characters and they are definitely all of teen-age. Gareth Ranzz, ak Live Wire, more than most, although I would have thought his twin sister, Ayla Ranzz, aka Spark, would equally have been under-age.
If you’re familiar with Legion lore, you should be able to pick the bones out of who is who without too much introduction. Unlike the later variations, you aren’t forever given box asides identifying who each person and their powers. At most, they rely on a head roll-call at the start of each story.
With the exception of Mano, other villains are less identifiable with the 1960s-80s version. This version of Mano reveals that even without his space helmet, he looks the same way. Something that did occur to me was if the material in his glove can stop his deadly touch, why not just seal him up in the material to prevent his mass destruction? I did like the fact that it takes him some while to build up his energy again, so he wouldn’t be destroying planets too often.
What does make this version of the Legion interesting is the various prejudices. The telepaths from Titan, Saturn’s moon, are given a wide berth. So, too, are the Durlans because of their ability to shape-shift. An unusual twist this time is Reep Daggle, aka Chameleon, can’t speak Interlac and various team members are finding it tough teaching him. Fortunately, this isn’t done as a running joke, just the angle of their frustration. You would think Brainiac 5 would come up with a communication device but he tends to be…er…rather busy. I should point out that this version of Brainiac 5 is distracted by his work and less insane than his later counter-parts.
There are still a lot of things different to the original. One of Brande’s rivals, McCauley, has a small super-powered team himself called the Workforce, although it’s obvious that there are cracks in keeping them together and his hands-on by scanner leadership.
Something that did make me ponder was the odder scarlet-skinned alien. In old DC history, the only planet these might have come from is Korugar, home planet of Green Lanterns Sinestro and Katma Tui. It does raise an interesting question as to what happened to other planets that had members that belonged to the Green Lantern Corps or indeed the likes of Rann, Thanagar and Tamaran who don’t have mentions even in the original LSH run.
I came away from this large volume wanting to read what happens next. I have a suspicion and hope to get it later to see if I’m right. Things aren’t help that the other later variants use this version for the new names for some of the legionnaires, although they appear to be much older.
(pub: DC Comics, 1999. 238 page graphic novel softcover. Price: varies. I pulled my copy for £13.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-56389-515-9)
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