Monday, August 26, 2019

Legion Homages: "Hit Squad of Super-Teens"

Next on our round tour of Legion homages, parodies, and knock offs we'll be taking an in-depth look at the only time the old Wildstorm Comics imprint sought to feature their own Legion, way back in The Authority #27 by Mark Millar and Art Adams.


Don't hold your breath, because they appear for about all of three pages before they're totally decimated and killed off. In fact, their appearance was so brief that they aren't even mentioned in the online summaries, which makes sense since they aren't the main plot or subplot of the issue. They're just the opening act to showcase what the main villains are capable of.

Still, one has to admire is how the artist, Art Adams, went out of his way to give the majority of these guys interesting and unique character designs instead of mainly rehashing the Legionnaires' looks.


For those who don't remember, Wildstorm Productions began as an imprint for Image Comics before it was transferred over to DC. Many of Wildstorm's signature titles were created by Jim Lee, Brandon Choi, and J. Scott Campbell. This included WildC.A.T.S., Stormwatch, and the Gen13. They were essentially the early '90s personified in comic book format. Who here hasn't flipped through a dollar section in their local comic shop to find dozens of copies of WildC.A.T.S. #1 with their foil covers?


One of the most prominent aspects of the later Wildstorm titles was the creation of The Authority. A spin-off from Warren Ellis's work on Stormwatch, the Authority was basically the Wildstorm Universe's answer to the Justice League.


The most famous members of the Authority were Midnighter and Apollo, homages to Batman and Superman who were much more brutal as well as openly homosexual and committed to one another. The final issue of the first series featured their wedding!

Led by Jenny Sparks, the personification of the 20th Century, the Authority (as Ellis put it) were actually villains who just happened to go up against even worse villains as they tried to protect the world. It was after Jenny's death (and when Mark Millar took over as writer) that the members of the Authority became much more bloodthirsty and violent as they tried to save the world from itself.


The world governments grew tired of the Authority telling them what to do, so they employed a monster named Seth to dispose of most of its members. This led to the creation of the G7 Authority, bastardized knockoffs who served the status quo no matter how much damage they caused.

Thankfully the first Authority series ended with the G7 group destroyed and Seth taken down.

So where does the "Hit Squad of Super-Teens" come into the picture?


By issue #27 of Millar's run on the title, the G7 Authority encounter a group of super-powered teenagers hailing from the 27th Century. Apparently, the screw-ups of the 21st Century's world governments escalated to the point of ecological apocalypse by the 2600s. The Super-Teens went back in time to stop it from happening, but failed miserably. The G7 Authority slaughtered all of them, and that's the last we ever saw of these guys.


Although this is pretty brutal stuff, the carnage was supposed to be a lot worse. Most of the issue had to be redrawn because it was too explicitly violent. Here are the supposedly original pencils for the panels shown above. 




Since they didn't have much role in this story, the point of this article is to try and identify each individual Legionnaire parody. Because frankly, Art Adams' designs are really hilarious and ingenious for a number of them. It was the only reason I bought this issue on account of Mark Millar's some unholy amalgamation of Grant Morrison and Garth Ennis's worst traits as comic writers. On to it! 

Superboy: Following up on the Apollo/Superman connection, the HSST has got a teenage version of Apollo...


Supergirl: As well as an Apollo-based version of Supergirl. What connection they might have to Apollo isn't explained, but considering Apollo didn't blink out of existence, Kid Apollo probably isn't a younger version of the real deal.


Cosmic Boy: Rokk's counterpart plays up the magnetism aspect to a blatant degree.


Saturn Girl: Imra's counterpart also plays up the Saturn aspect to a ridiculous degree as well.

 

Lightning Lad: Unfortunately, these are the best and only shots of Garth's counterpart.


Lightning Lass: Ayla's counterpart more than makes up for it with this original Bride of Frankenstein inspired costume and hairdo.


Bouncing Boy: Now this one really surprised me, and knowing all of you, you're gonna make cracks about my heavyset kink once I talk about it. Not only did Adams make Chuck's counterpart a woman, but he also chose to keep her FAT and gave her a sexy, revealing costume.


Colossal Boy: I originally assumed this character was a composite of Colossal Boy and Shrinking Violet, referring to Reboot Vi gaining Gim's powers after his death, but it turns out there is indeed a Shrinking Violet counterpart separate from this girl.


Brainiac 5: Show of hands who also thinks it's hilarious that the stand-in for the smartest guy in the future is modeled after an ancient (by everyone's standards at this point) type of computer?


Chameleon Boy: Cham's been given a more buggy appearance with those bulging eyes.


Bizarros: Surprisingly, Adams sneaked in what appear to be Bizarro versions of the two Apollo counterparts.


Dawnstar: The only version of Dawnstar to exist in canon until she was finally brought back in The Lightning Saga.


Triplicate Girl: Lu's counterpart is given a rather daring design by making her more alien. The wings especially are a nice touch.


Shadow Lass: You would be forgiven for assuming this is some version of Blue Devil, but remembering Tasmia's skin color makes this more obvious.


Phantom Girl: The presence of the hood and long cloak leads me to assume this is supposed to be Tinya's stand-in.


Ferro Lad: Andrew is made into a rather blatant Iron Man parody, and he's not the first to appear in this run on the Authority. Millar's opening arc featured a character called "Tank Man" who had his spirit and resolve destroyed by Midnighter. If only this kid got off so easily.


Sun Boy: Seems this version of Dirk got off easy compared to what happened to FYL's Dirk Morgna.


Matter-Eater Lad: Mark Millar and Art Adams seem to understand just how terrifying Tenzil Kem really is, while also working in an unintentional shout out to minor Ranma 1/2 character Picolet Chardin.


But I digress.


Elastic Lad: Nice afro, Jimmy. I guess this is where Napoleon Dynamite got the idea for his.


Karate Kid: LEAVE VAL ARMORR ALONE! JUST LEAVE HIM ALONE!!!!!


Timber Wolf: Adams brazenly gives Brin a look that's a blatant rip off of Wolverine, obviously acknowledging how Marvel stole Brin's design for Logan, while also making Brin an actual wolf without going full Furball.


Wildfire: Hard to tell at first but the helmet and visor were dead giveaways that this is Drake's counterpart.



Star Boy: This is another of my favorite designs, since Adams basically settled on giving him a giant star for a head yet it WORKS.


Polar Boy: Poor Brek just can't seem to get any respect. Nice hat, though.


Ultra Boy: Jo's counterpart is given a clever design harking to the Japanese Ultraman.


Shrinking Violet: This one slipped right past me until I started working on this post. You can actually see her in the same photo above with the Ultra Boy stand-in, and I wonder if the golden glow was supposed to be a Tinker Bell reference.


Porcupine Pete: Even the Subs are getting in on the action, with this rare shot of forgotten Pre-Crisis Sub Porcupine Pete included among the Super-Teens.



Element Lad and/or Chemical King: I can't tell which Super-Teen is supposed to be which. I possibly considered the metal one is supposed to be Legion Reject Golden Boy, but that doesn't seem likely because he's TOO obscure. My best guess is the one melting the group of men is Condo's counterpart while the metal kid is Jan's, referring to his crystalline body phase.



Mystery Legionnaire: And who the Hell is THIS? This mysterious Dino Super-Teen appears in a couple of shots, and he doesn't appear to be a clear counterpart to any pre-established Legionnaire. Since he seems to be a blunt bruiser type, maybe he's supposed to be Blok? The reptilian aspect brings Tellus to mind, but Tellus' powers were mental, not physical.

2 comments:

  1. Funny stuff. Actually that "Dino-teen" kind of reminds me of Marvel's Abomination.

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  2. If you look at the Dino-teen's back fins, it's clearly a Godzilla knock-off, one of Art Adams' favorite characters to draw.

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