But first let me remind you that I had left the Legion for ten years.
The Threeboot brought me back.
It was a daring book, trying to somehow bridge the gap between older Legion fans (like me, even older now) and new readers not immersed in the intricate and cherished history of the team.
How could that be possible?
How could you have new characters without history, Legionnaires in name only and keep the old guard happy?
How could you market a Legion book to new readers and tell them to dive right in to a new history?
And how could you do both at once?
Leave it to uber-writer Mark Waid and brilliant artist Barry Kitson to tilt at that windmill.
For someone like me, who loved the concept of the Legion but had walked away, this was the perfect format to find my faith again. And, for the most part, it worked. We had Lightning Lad and Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl. We had Ultra Boy and Brainiac 5 and Light Lass. There was a version of Projectra and Timber Wolf and Shrinking Violet. And they all seemed close enough to the classic form that I could roll with it.
But there was some new wrinkles too. There was an overbearing regime trying to stifle youthful progress. There was Atom Girl, worshiper of Brainy. There was Micro Lad, a giant who could shrink. There was the destruction of Orando. And a Brin Londo that was still a lone wolf.
It all seemed to jibe in a pleasing way, made more pleasing by Kitson immaculate art work.
After the inferno of the opening issue, setting the stage of the Legion as a youth movement, the fire slowly dwindled. The first arc, fighting Praetor Lemnos and his behind the scenes maneuvers to dismantle the UP just took too long. And while it was an interesting look at how similar ends can have very different means, even I was begging for it to end.
Perhaps Waid knew he had let things simmer too long and that the book needed a jump start. Or maybe the idea of '52' and the chance for a title to refresh itself made DC ask for a change. But regardless, halfway through their run, Waid and Kitson brought Supergirl into the fold.
And once again, magic seemed to happen. This was a classic Supergirl, different from the bad grrrrrl in her own title. There was a sense of Silver Age magic swirled into the angst of the aughts. There was a big plot involving the Dominators, the Wanderers, and even Rokyn. It was just what Legion fans should drool for.
But this too seemed to take on a life of its own. A year later we were still wrapping up this story. And I am not complaining! In rereading this, it is an epic tale which weaves through big and small little plots on its way to resolution. Alas, a simmering pot doesn't boil and just like that Waid and Kitson were off the book.
With Waid and Kitson gone, Tony Bedard stepped in and did an interesting arc focusing on three small away teams searching for Cosmic Boy. Bedard took old Legion concepts (heroes of Lallor, Wildfire, Validus) and updated them for the new universe. He had a nice subplot of Brainy as master manipulator.
But the art was pretty awful by Dennis Calero and the book felt small, looking at 6 Legionnaires when there were 30 available for stories.
The flame finally died and Jim Shooter was brought in as a Hail Mary, a last gasp effort to bring in the oldest of guards. I don't think his book was much better (as you will see in upcoming Fridays).
For me, this sort of ended the Threeboot experiment. The bloom was off the rose and a new team was coming in to carve its version of the team into this existing universe.
Let me put my thoughts about the Waid/Kitson Threeboot into one pithy sentence:
I don't think I realized just how good I had it until it was gone.
In doing these reviews, in reading these issues in chunks, it all rolls out nicely. I just wonder if the month-to-month appetite wasn't met with the longer arcs. And without any group of fans, old or new, feeling loyal to this new band of Legionnaires, I wonder if it simply withered on the vine unnoticed.
And so I turn the question to you ...
What are your big thoughts on the Waid/Kitson/Bedard/Calero run on the Legion?