Friday, December 7, 2018

Fridays With Anj ... Rankings

Okay all.

This will be a quick post as I am formulating a longer one that will require YOUR input.

I have been manning this spot on the blog for four years and I have been reviewing all sorts of runs and titles of various quality and quantity.

Maybe with the end of the year and 'best of' lists in my mind, I have been sort of ranking them in my mind. I wanted to put that list here.

But then I thought wouldn't it be even better to ask you all what you thought was the best and what was the worst of the particular runs I have reviewed here.


Look at the runs below (with a quick blurb from me) and then just put in a comment. Which of these runs did you think was the BEST.

And which did you think was the WORST.

And if you have the gumption, rank them all.

We'll start with the most recent run, the Retroboot. Brought in after Geoff Johns' wildly popular Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes arc in Action Comics, this run swept the Threeboot under the rug. Paul Levitz had some good ideas (a Durlan infiltration, a new LSV) but in my mind, never quite pulled it off.

The 5YL early years:

What do you do when the comics world gets grim and gritty? You show a grim and gritty future and you have the Legion stand out as a beacon of light against it. Also, you get experimental and tell super-dense, complex stories while peppering in humor issues.

I covered the first 50 years, leaving when Rokk became the Time Trapper (a move as idiotic as Hawk being Monarch in my mind).

The first run from 300-313, leading into the Baxter series.

Levitz and Giffen were firing on all cylinders in the years after Great Darkness. This run included Supergirl returning to the team and the reveal that Vi was Yera.

It also included the Omen and Prophet story, the changing of Giffen's art, and was a lead into the super successful Baxter run.

The Threeboot Legion.

The idea of Mark Waid writing a Legion book seemed perfect. Add in Barry Kitson on art and it has to be a winner, right? Heck, throw in Supergirl to make it even better for me.

But the youth movement Legion was completely new, perhaps irking old timers. The first arc was too long. And let's not forget, this run ended abruptly with Jim Shooter's dazzling failure.

Legion Secret Origin.

What if DC commissioned a Legion Secret Origin mini-series that didn't star the Legion?

This series was a behind the scenes look at the formation of the Legion from the viewpoint of bureaucrats and therefore, for me, was a failure. If you want new readers then tell them a true Secret Origin or History of the team.

This might have worked for seasoned fans. But my guess is it didn't work for someone wanting to learn about the team.

The New 52 Legion.

What do you do when the whole DC Universe reboots with the New 52 and you write the Legion?

You ignore the Universe wide reboot!

This book was simply a continuation of the Reboot Legion book. But this one had even more problems for me. Stories didn't gel. And it ended with a thud. Remember Phantom Girl running away from our dimension scared??

The New 52 Legion Lost.

One day I'll talk about how the New 52 was a near complete failure for me. But this Legion Lost book highlights much of what bothered me about it. Fabian Nicieza and Pete Woods area good creative team. But the concept of the team being in the past fighting a plague never got off the ground. The overall plot was shelved early on and Nicieza was shown the door, a problem with many of the New 52 books. And then it ended with the nonsense of the Harvesting with Superboy and the Titans.

Okay, so those are the books I have covered here.

Please please please, let me know what you think of these runs. And if possible, tell me a BEST and a WORST!


  1. So, it's a close tie for BEST between 5YL and 300-313. The fact that creators were at their best inspired commentary at its best. I go with 5YL cause we share the love.
    Likewise, tired or uninspired creators bring dissapointed reviewing, so I have to go with the two nu52 series as WORST.

  2. Would you accept the 5YL run as BOTH?

    I have fond memories of the early run, but as you say, by the time we get to Emerald Dragon and the Rokk Krin Time Trapper, it dovetails for me.

  3. The 300-313 run is tops,hands down.Levitz,Giffen,and everyone involved were at the top of their game.Glory days.
    I will always maintain that the central idea behind the Threeboot Legion was a great one.If some fans were irked,perhaps they needed to be irked.But there's no denying the resulting comics left a lot to be desired.
    There's no middle ground among fans as to the 5YL run--either it's the Legion's apotheosis,or it's half-baked fan fiction.I hold the latter position.
    Legion Secret Origin---eh. The art was pretty,though.
    New 52 Legion--Levitz's third time at the Legion was not a charm. No going home again.
    New 52 Legion Lost---just a dull idea.

  4. 5YL early years as the best for me. I think Derek was correct above. 5YL started amazing and stayed strong for years! Towards the end though it was really rough going.

  5. My vote is for "The first run from 300-313". This is just 'old school' Legion enough for my taste with enough innovation and creativity to be interesting.

  6. I mentioned this before on twitter but I will pretty much vote in favor of ANY run before the New 52 wrecked everything. And I'm not looking forward to what Rebirth will bring if it involves Johns, Didio, Bendis, Hickman, and/or King.

  7. Of those runs, I now think 5YL was the best but didn't care as much for it at the time. My own personal preference is for the mid-seventies Legion when Mike Grell was drawing it, but that's a long time ago now.

    I actually did like the New 52 Legion because despite its flaws it had enough continuity elements that it still felt to me like the "real" Legion as opposed to any of the Reboots. Besides, it's the one that had the Ayla/Salu Annual-- which is my favorite Legion issue of the last two decades.

  8. Thanks so much for great comments!

    Love hearing people's thoughts!

  9. I’m putting the best as the first run from 300-313— fantastic stories, pacing, so many characters carefully balanced... I think this was the first era that really drew me in and made me realize the breadth of the Legion. The 5YL Early Years come in second for me.

    After that the Retroboot Legion was solid, and I’d put the Threeboot Legion just behind that. The Legion Secret Origin was meh.

    I think the New 52 Legion was the worst here because it didn’t do anything to draw me in. It just felt like uninteresting modern storytelling, nothing uniquely Legion about it. The New 52 Legion Lost is a close second because, as you mentioned, they scrapped the overall plot. But at first it drew me in and it had some interesting potential to keep the Legion vital within the DCU.

  10. My WORST is definitely the New 52, which started strong sorta but ended with the cowardice (?) of Phantom Girl, the death of Sun Boy, and all sorts of other crazy, random crap from the minds of Keith Giffen and Paul Levitz. I've never been more disappointed in a series in my life.
    My BEST would be either the pre-Baxter 300-313 which was just so good, or, shockingly, The 5YL stuff. While it was not my cup of tea (at all!) I do appreciate the creativity and thought that went into it.
    Although I must say, I didn't hate Legion Lost. I was just mad that it fizzled away to nothing.

  11. Sorry I haven't been here for all your review. Legion Secret Origin was definitely the bottom. I just came across it while organizing comics and realized I don't think I read it the whole way through. I didn't need ANOTHER origin. After recently read it about a month a go and realized that Levitz had the opportunity to set up something for volume 7 using the Secret Origin as a jumping off point. The Naltorian could have made an appearance. The alien race being used by the Time Trapper could have been used. Something could have been done to tie it more to the story he was going to tell.

    300-313 would probably be the high point for me, followed by 5YL. 3,4, and 5 would hinge on a reread of the Threeboot. I recently had Waid sign an issue I just picked up at a Con (#17) and decided to read it. There was some interesting characterization that I didn't remember so for me, it bares a second reading. I'm not sure I would take the Threeboot as a whole either.