Monday, November 19, 2018

Legion Homage: The Quantum League

Black Hammer - "The Quantum Age"
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Art: Wilfredo Torres and Dean Ormston
Colors: Dave Stewart
Lettering: Todd Klein
Reviewer: Jude "Sarcasm Kid" Deluca

Let’s rewind back to the first Saturday of May, 2018. On a whim, I picked up Dark Horse Comics’ Overwatch issue. Flipping through it I skimmed and found the “Black Hammer” back-up feature created and written by Jeff Lemire.

I’d only briefly heard of “Black Hammer,” and still have barely an idea of what “Black Hammer” is about. Yet imagine my surprise when I realized the story I was reading was about the Legion of Super-Heroes!

Or rather, the Black Hammer version of the Legion!

For those who remember, Lemire used the Legion in the New 52’s Justice League Canada/United. It featured a Legion that seemed to be based off the Retroboot/New 52 iteration, but jammed with Legionnaires from the FYL and Reboot eras. The story was, to me at least, a disappointment. I already had zero interest in JLU because Green Arrow was a member and I HATE HIM!! I’m sick of being expected to support books with characters I loathe just to get the Legion back. 

But I digress.

Giving the FCBD issue a careful read, it became obvious Lemire intended to invoke the Legionnaires. It’s a short tale and most of it hypes the main “Black Hammer” universe with the Quantum League as a framing device.

However, the end promised more of the Quantum League in their own ongoing! I got excited wondering what would happen next. Why is it I’m having more fun enjoying Lemire doing a Legion homage than when he wrote about the actual Legion? Read on and find out.

You can read the whole story here on Multiversity Comics:


ANSWER: It's about a bunch of heroes who disappeared while battling a cosmic entity called Anti-God. But it turns out they became trapped in a small American town.


ANSWER: It takes place in Spiral City in the 31st Century, narrated from the point of view of  Archive V. Our brainy Leaguer is returning from helping his teammates deal with a jelly flood on a moon colony.
As Archive V enters the HQ, he runs into more of his teammates and is reminded they have try outs in the afternoon. Heading into his lab, Archive V worries that the other Leaguers don’t take their duties seriously. He returns to his analysis of the 20th Century heroes.

The story then cuts to the 20th Century heroes, the art shifting from Wilfredo Torres to Dean Ormston. It doesn’t have much bearing on the upcoming “Quantum Age” series, except a couple of the characters have connections to the past heroes.

The story then jumps back to Archive V’s hypothesizing about the past heroes, when he is approached by Binary Lass. She informs him that try outs have started. Since Archive V is leader for the month, the try outs can’t begin without his presence. There are two League hopefuls, Cosmo Girl and Erb, when a new applicant suddenly arrives without an invitation!

She calls herself Hammer Lass, and Archive V is shocked: she’s dressed like Black Hammer and has his legendary hammer! Hammer Lass tells Archive V it’s a family heirloom, and hints that those missing heroes went through a lot of things after they “Disappeared.”


ANSWER: Right now, the only members who are identified by name are…

Archive V – Super smart, a clear stand-in for Brainiac 5

Storm Girl - Weather powers, most likely. Name references Storm Boy.

Laser Lad - Laser abilities probably. The "L.L." reminds me of the Ranzz siblings.

Techno Boy – Seems to have engineering powers

Furnace Boy – Fire powers, evokes Fire Lad more than Sun Boy due to his flame-like hair and costume

Glue Girl – Seems to have adhesive like abilities, no real Legion counterpart but I wouldn’t be surprised if someone had proposed “Glue Girl” in the Bits o’ Legionnaire Business column once. 

Gravity Lad – Implied gravity manipulation abilities, calls back to both Star Boy, Light Lass, and Gravity Kid

Judo Girl – Clear Karate Kid analogue

Binary Lad/Lass – Switches from “Lad” to “Lass” depending on how they feel, it seems. Powers unknown for now

Sand Boy – Large, more alien-esque than the other Leaguers. Appearance reminiscent of Blok

Cosmo Girl – Felinda Trak of Vwentilla, can create portals and teleport. Appearance reminiscent of Star Boy’s costume, but powers similar to both Gates and Shikari

Erb – Name and codename are the same. Comes from Phages and is telepathic. Gives off Tellus vibes both in appearance, power, and speech

Hammer Lass – Comes from Earth, a descendant of Black Hammer and, while it doesn’t seem like it, she’s the Supergirl stand-in.

There also appears to be a kid with ice powers, some sort of insect girl, a girl with a triangle symbol on her chest, and we’ll learn about other Leaguers in “The Quantum Age.”


ANSWER: “The Quantum Age” is a Legion and FYL homage. Taking place 25 years in the future from this story, while also showing off tidbits when the Quantum League first got together. That’s all I can say for now without spoiling anything.


ANSWER: I love this whole thing. It's a bit tricky when the story hinges on the reader having knowledge of the "Black Hammer" verse, but as a Legion fan the nods and references are quite enjoyable.

I love the character designs and appreciate that while some characters, such as Archive V, are blatant homages to specific Legionnaires, the other characters are merely done in the style of the  Legionnaires. My favorites right now are Glue Girl and Binary Lad/Lass. Binary was a real treat due to Lemire including a character that seems to be either nonbinary or gender fluid. It reminds me of how many queer fans find something to resonate with in the Legion.

I think the reason I’m more eager to support this than I would if Lemire were writing an actual Legion series is because

A: I’m still terrified of someone creating another new Legion continuity and I would rather drop dead than let that happen.


B: It wouldn’t matter if Lemire created a new Legion or brought the old continuity back, the editors would fart all over it LIKE ALWAYS. By doing something within his creator owned universe (at least I think he owns or at least co-owns it) Lemire’s free to do as he pleases and isn’t likely to have editors ruin the story like DC’s editors would.

I put off doing this for so long because I wasn’t sure how to begin. I didn’t want to combine the FCBD issue with the first Quantum Age issue, and I didn’t want to only list the Quantum Leaguers. If there is interest in this series I will try to get on a monthly schedule with the Quantum Age recaps as I try to finish the Action Comics "Adult Legion" reviews. 

Oh, and here are some Quantum League sketches I got at Flame Con 2018.

Hammer Lass by Holly Foltz: One of the previous sketches Holly did for me was of Amber Waves from "The American Way" miniseries by John Ridley and George Jeanty. She had fun with the image of Amber chopping wood with Freya's ax, so I figured she'd be a good fit for Hammer Lass.

Glue Girl by Vanessa Satone: I said Glue Girl was one of my favorites so I snagged this as the last sketch of the show, just before everyone started closing up.

Archive V by Greg Fox: Greg is the writer/artist for the queer web comic "Kyle's Bed and Breakfast," and has even done fan comics of the 70s era Legionnaires. I had fun revealing to him what Dark Horse was doing with the Quantum League and asked him to draw Archive V.

You can read the whole story here on Multiversity Comics:

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