Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Who's Who: Legion Academy

The Legion Academy
by Russell & Siskoid

The Legion Academy is the training and testing facility of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Originally shown to be part of the Legion headquarters, it eventually became a separate facility in a completely different location. 

Legion Log
The Legion Academy is the Training and Testing facility for the Legion of Super-Heroes. When originally introduced in continuity, it was part of the vast Legion headquarters in Metropolis. After the Legion headquarters was destroyed in a battle between Wildfire and Omega, the Academy re-located to Montauk Point (the furthest eastern point on Long Island, between NYC and Providence, Rhode Island).

However, there was several references in early Legion adventures of training for new Legionnaires, which implies that there had always been some type of vetting or training for new members. Ultra Boy, for example, had an initiation test that he had to pass in order to become a full-fledged member. He was chaperoned during this test by the Legion's "new senior advisor," an elderly man named Marla, who did not reappear for more than 15 years.

Even when the Legion Training program was introduced into continuity, Colossal Boy mentioned that there had always been training and testing requirements to become a Legionnaire, implying that it was not as easy to become a Legionnaire as some stories seemed to make it appear. Those specific procedures were controlled by the Selection Committee, not by the Legion as a body. How those procedures were then administered and by whom was never made clear. In the story that introduced the Legion Academy, all the instructors (as well as the cadets) appeared to be human men, the only difference being their ages. At this time the Legion Academy very much resembled something akin to a local police academy or the FBI training center (as seen in The Silence of the Lambs).

In later stories, Legionnaires such as Wildfire, Sun Boy, and Dawnstar were shown to be active instructors at the Academy. Wildfire, specifically, seemed to have an affinity with working with the Legion applicants and would volunteer there even when not specifically asked to do so. Whether this was a duty that all Legionnaires undertook or was something that only Wildfire took a liking to was never made clear.

After the Legion Academy made its move to Montauk Point, its organization became much more transparent. Former Legionnaires Duo Damsel and Bouncing Boy were the lead instructors, joint Principals, and governing officers. They asked various Legionnaires to assist from time to time, so likely had few if any tenured instructors.

Chemical King and Timber Wolf were the first two Legion Academy graduates to join the Legion. Dawnstar also spent some time there before joining, and Invisible Kid and White Witch spent some time at the Academy even after they joined the Legion in order to learn team-work and personal combat. Magnetic Kid and Tellus were the final graduates to join the Legion before the Magic Wars.

Nightwind, Lamprey, and Crystal Kid were individual heroes who attempted to join the Legion at two open calls. When they failed to join either time, they decided to attend the Legion Academy. (All three characters were fan suggestions, and first appeared in DC's fanzine, The Amazing World of DC Comics.)

The students marked "unknown" in the Who's Who entry above are mystery characters. The little alien-like creature appeared only once, in Legion of Super-Heroes #304, did not speak, and did not show any particular abilities. The "spaceship-box" type character appears similar to Quislet who never attended the Academy. In the aforementioned LSH #304 Nightwind and Lamprey discuss an unseen applicant who was not mobile due to his alien physiology; this turned out to be Tellus.

After the so-called Five-Year Gap, the Legion Academy was renamed the United Planets Military Academy. Many old students remained and many new students joined, such as Tiger Girl, Ringtoss, Rush, Jagged, Dragonfly, R3Z7 and Xera.

After the Reboot, the Academy was established not by the Legion, but by their governing authority: the United Planets. As such, any world could send candidates for training. Their ranks began with a trio of misfits, Tomb, Cannus and Brawler, who were escorted to the Academy's headquarters on Warnabros by Apparition and Andromeda. They never became Legionnaires, and when Legion membership was made voluntary instead of an appointment, it was closed. Much later, the Legion established the Legion Cadet Program with cadets like Polar Boy, Comet Queen, Babbage, Retro and Amp Girl. They were called in by Chuck Taine to help when the Legion was out of commission.

After the Threeboot, the Legion did not make use of an Academy.

After Infinite Crisis, the Legion Academy's history has more or less been restored. Bouncing Boy and Duplicate Damsel have returned to teaching after the so-called Final Crisis, and a new class was formed includes new students Chemical Kid, Dragonwing, Variable Lad, and Gravity Kid, in addition to several that had not yet graduated. To fill the Legion's ranks, several cadets got the chance to join, perhaps before they were truly ready, including Chemical Kid and Dragonwing.

Important Legion Academy Stories:

Adventure Comics #371-372
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 8 
and Showcase Presents the Legion Vol. 4)
The Legion Academy makes its official debut; 
Chemical King & Timber Wolf are students

Superboy/Legion of Super-Heroes #217
 (reprinted in Legion of Super-Heroes Archives Vol. 12
and Showcase Presents the Legion Vol. 5)
Wildfire is on duty at the Academy; Laurel Kent is a student

Superboy & The Legion of Super-Heroes #240
Flashback story of Dawnstar at the Legion Academy
with Shadow Kid, Power Boy, and Laurel Kent

Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) #304
Legion Academy is now at Montauk Point, 
Duo Damsel & Bouncing Boy are now in charge
(Debut of Comet Queen)

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #4
Legion Academy is called on-duty when all Legionnaires are off Earth

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #9
Legion Academy student Laurel Kent is the victim of a shooting
(Debut of Tellus)

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #12
Academy students seem to be good friends as they discuss who might be able to join the Legion

Legion of Super-Heroes Annual (v2) #1 (1985)
The Legion visits the Legion Academy to investigate Laurel Kent's shooting

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #24
Polar Boy's first visit to the Legion Academy; 
several unnamed students are featured along with Karate Kid (II)

Legion of Super-Heroes Annual (v2) #3 (1987)
Legion Academy students are drafted to help Cosmic Boy battle the Dominators

Legion of Super-Heroes (v3) #54
Last appearance of the Legion Academy before the Magic Wars;
Nightwind and Shadow Kid are still students

Legion of Super-Heroes (v4) #57
5 Years Later, the Academy becomes the United Planets Military Academy

Showcase '95 #6
After the Reboot, the United Planets recruits potential Legionnaires from member worlds

Legionnaires #43
Cannus, a cadet introduced in Showcase '95 #6 fails his Legion try-out

The Legion #25
Eventually, the Legion founds its own Academy

The Legion #36
Chuck Taine calls in the cadets when the Legion is caught in a prison break-out

Legion of Super-Heroes (v6) #6
After Infinite Crisis, the Legion Academy is reintroduced with both old and new members

Adventure Comics #523-529
The Legion cadets are featured in a long arc, which leads to some graduating
and becoming full Legionnaires


  1. Is it me, or is Duo Damsel wearing an orange and purple version of Saturn Girl's 70s bikini in that first panel from LSH (v3) #4? Never noticed that before.

    1. It does sort of look like that, doesn't it! Good eye!

  2. Always liked the concept but just couldn't stand the last group !

    Chemical Kid, Dragonwing and Gravity Kid were just horrible and they killed off the only decent member "Variable Lad " .

    As it was a reboot why not dust off "Quantum Queen", "Kid Psycho" and "Atmos" along with a 31st Century "Aqua Lad " ?

  3. It wasn't a reboot. The Retroboot restored Legion history aside from the obvious necessary differences having to do with the Kryptonians. The one I could have done without returning is Comet Queen, who I never liked.

    1. Reboot or not it doesn't change my opinion !

      This group was terrible !

    2. Yeah, they definitely were not all that interesting.

  4. Respect the 2 "unknowns" that appear in the Who's Who entry. The 1st one is officially identified as Urk (because of the sounds he does) in the characters guide to the Giffen Poster included in The Great Darkness Saga TPB (1st Edition). The 2nd one has been speculated as only being a communication device used by Tellus so he could "attend" the Academy class.

    Some of the unnamed students that appears in LSH v3 #24 and Annual #3 are named and have their own individual entry in Who's Who in the Legion: Mandalla, Visi-Lad and Westerner.

    Also Mentalla (former apliccant to the Legion in LSH v3 #14) was briefly in the Legion Academy before joining a new incarnation of the Fatal Five.

  5. This article needs a bit more research because it has missing info and some wrong data.
    "The students marked "unknown" in the Who's Who entry above are mystery characters. The little alien-like creature appeared only once, in Legion of Super-Heroes #304, did not speak, and did not show any particular abilities."
    Well he appears in the posted cover of Adventure Comics #524!
    Also he appears in Legion of Substitute-Heroes Special (1985), LSH v3 #47 and LSH Annual #3.