Friday, January 11, 2019

Final Crisis Legion of Three Worlds #1

Settle in True Believers as I try to make my way through one of the denser issues I have had to review on this site. And remember, I reviewed the early 5YL issues back in the day.

Final Crisis:Legion of Three Worlds #1 was written by Geoff Johns and drawn by George Perez. It was released in late 2008 in conjunction with Grant Morrison's main Final Crisis mini-series and was meant to stabilize and streamline the recent Legion history. Earlier in the year, Johns and Gary Frank brought the original Legion back into continuity, showcasing a very Levitz/Giffen feeling team working with a Superman who was a Legion member in his past.

Now as comic fans, we are used to multiple realities and many universes. But Johns was taking a bit of a risk because that storyline in Action Comics took place while the Threeboot Legion still had a book on the shelves.

Which Legion was 'real'? And more importantly, which Legion was DC going to promote moving forward. It was clear, at least to me, that the Threeboot book was in a decaying orbit, having lost its way a bit. I also felt that giving us back the original Legion felt like  'bringing the band back together' for one more tour. It was doubtful the magic would be there again.

So I had high hopes when The Legion of Three Worlds was announced as I thought it would be a surgical Crisis on Infinite Earths style event, melding the disparate Legion histories into something new, stronger, and hopefully energized. And what better team to do that than Johns, riding on a recent high at DC comics and clearly a lover of the Legion, and Perez who drew COIE and shined when a billion characters needed to be in one series.

Was it a success?

To be honest, I can't say because I don't remember that much of it. What I can say is that reviewing this first issue made me remember that two villains I was and still am a bit fatigued with, The Time Trapper and Superboy Prime, are the main baddies. And that this was as packed an issue as I have read in a while. Between many small inset panels and significant dialogue, this felt like two issues in one. I wonder why DC didn't just make this a 6 issue mini instead of a 5. As such, I felt like Johns put so much into this set-up that I was frazzled at the end.

Enough prologue. Be prepared! Onto the book!

 We start at the end of time where the Time Trapper is lamenting his existence on his tiny asteroid surrounded by cockroaches. The cockroaches always live; the Legionnaires always live.

There must be a way to eliminate them once and for all.

And what better tool than Superboy Prime, filled with hate and stuck between time and space dimensions.

Now I have had issues with the Time Trapper ever since we learned Rokk was the time Trapper around Zero Hour. I also think he had been tapped too often as a bad guy for the original Legion in the latter years. You can only see an omnipotent universal like Entropy defeated so many times before it starts to feel silly.

And Superboy Prime of the universe-punches and fanboy anger was someone I'd like to have scrubbed from my memory. But here we are.

I do have to tip my hat to Johns for the scene where he returns Superboy to the timeline.

We see a farm couple, very much like future versions of the Kents. But they are xenophobes, sad that EarthMan has been deposed and hoping that Earth gets given back to Earthlings.

In a scene much like Superman's origin, Superboy lands in a fireball in the cornfield of the farm. But instead of a nurturing couple finding a baby, a gun-toting 'Pa' fires at the being in the center. And Superboy Prime doesn't like that, vaporizing the elderly couple with his heat vision.

Get it, it is the Superman Origin through a mirror darkly. What would happen if the Kents were bad and Superman was bad? So nice twist.

 Superboy Prime sees a sign saying he is in Smallville but quickly realizes he is in the future. He stumbles into the Superman Museum (before it opens) and is sickened by the hero worship he sees.

This is whole place is a treasure trove that Perez fills to the brim with stuff for the astute reader to see. From pics of the Superman Family (the Kristin Wells Superwoman! Krypto! Kara!) to supporting characters and arcana, this place is chock full of fancy.

 Prime is led through the place by a AI holographic Jimmy Olsen who touts Olsen's own adventures as well as those of Superman's.

I loved this scene with a series of statues of Superman with famous artists listed below in interlac - Boring, Swan, Garcia-Lopez, and Perez!


 Unfortunately, Prime doesn't see a statue of himself in the hall of villains. Instead, the statue is gathering dust in the back. He just didn't rate being in the main hall.

Miffed at not being recognized, and hearing how he was defeated over and over, Prime does what he does best. He throws a tantrum. After learning that the worst villains in this time are on Takron Galtos, he razes the museum.

Hmmm, wasn't Takron Galtos destroyed in the Crisis?

 Meanwhile, we have to catch up with what is happening with the Legion. After all, this isn't a Superboy Prime book.

The three founders are in a political meeting with the United Planets hoping for the 'real' Legion (remember Earth Man's fake Legion was just ousted) to be reinstated and funded.

Alas, despite Superman's recent appearances and pleas, the whole xenophobia wave still is strong. Many planets are closing borders, don't think the Legion is needed, and want to toss Earth from the UP. And the founders can't reach through the hate.

But imagine several pages of dialogue like this! Whew!

 At the same time, Shadow Lass, Lightning Lass, and Phantom Girl head into the Phantom Zone and pull Mon-El back out.

What a second. I thought he died at the end of the Baxter run.

And Sun Boy, after having been used by Earth Man to keep the planet in a red sun spectrum, is too burned out to stand up and join the fight.

Honestly, I am starting to think that Johns himself needs a little continuity lesson. Are we in the main Legion timeline or not?

 Meanwhile Superboy Prime dons his famous armor and heads to Takron Galtos to free the original Legion of Super-Villains and start his assault on the main Legion and the memory of Superman.

In another nice wrinkle, we learn that Superboy Prime was the inspiration for the LSV. Again, this is a warped view of the main origin. Superboy/man was the inspiration for heroes. So Prime is the inspiration for villains.

Okay, another hat tip. That's not bad.

It looks like the UP is going to pull the rug out from the Legion when who shows up at that conference but RJ Brande, missing for years.

Brande calls for action and says how crucial the Legion is in this time, now more than ever.

It seems like his words are swaying the crowd. Imra can sense that support is rallying.

But then an insane Leland MacCauley, Brande's old rival, also shows up and shoot Brande, killing him. Raving like a madman (we know he is), MacCauley suddenly ages and crumbles to dust. The promise of immortality, given to him by the Time Trapper, was all a lie.

When Brande is revealed as a Durlan, the whole thing goes pear-shaped. The Legion is out. More ill will is sent their way. Fear of aliens and interlopers surges. Things look bad.

With nowhere left to turn to muster up support, the Legion calls Superman back to the future.

But political posturing will have to wait. Superboy Prime freeing a veritable army of super-villains from Takron Galtos is discovered. Smallville being burned to the ground is also noted.

With Prime and a new LSV out there, Superman and Brainiac 5 realize they have to fight fire with fire. If another universe's Superman is on the dark side, than this Legion will need other Legions to fight them.

Thus we see the Legions of three worlds - the main team, the Threeboot team, and the 'Archie' team as they have been called on the web. (Please note, I have no knowledge of this team. None. Zero. Zilch.)

It seems like a bit of a stretch to think Brainy would go there as his first idea. But why not.

Okay, the playing field has been set. The political landscape is trench warfare. A "Superman" led LSV is on the move. And there are about 60 Legionnaires in play. (Sigh .... Laurel Gand ...)

Let's see where this heads!


  1. "Prime does what he does best. He throws a tantrum."

    A succint but accurate summary of anything involving Superboy-Prime.

    Well, anything Post-Crisis. Let's be fair here.

    "Honestly, I am starting to think that Johns himself needs a little continuity lesson. Are we in the main Legion timeline or not?"

    My guess is Johns wanted to bring the Pre-Crisis Legion back but he didn't want to get himself mired into details. He needed/wanted some stuff restored, so he used it, and out-of-continuity details can be written off as anomalies caused by the Crisis. Sort of like Sterling Gates coming up with a way to retcon Post-Crisis Kara's brattiness out which didn't quite cover everything but worked.

    "Sigh .... Laurel Gand ..."

    Maybe I'm imagining things, but are Supergirl and Andromeda's positions mirroring each other? Kara arms akimbo next to Nura in the top right, Laurel arms akimbo next to Nura in the bottom left...

    Anyway, I like this story, even if I'm not a Legion expert. And I find funny that appealing Brainy's ego is everything you need to do to get results.

    1. "Honestly, I am starting to think that Johns himself needs a little continuity lesson. Are we in the main Legion timeline or not?"

      Right. I seem to remember that John's deliberate intention was to go back to, not Pre-Crisis, but somewhere around the Magic Wars . Definitely right before the 5 year gap. But then add a bit of Pre-Crisis (Superboy/man, Takron-Galtos, etc) + a bit of Johns' spin on stuff. The result is kind of like 90% of the Levitz-era.

  2. Back when the story first came out, I spent a while annotating the story. With the help of my commenters, let's journey in the Time Bubble back to August 2008 if you want to know who's who, what's what, and where it all came from.

  3. I didn't exactly dislike Lo3W, but part of me wishes it could've remained an unrecorded adventure from the past, as it was first referred to in Justice Society of America #6. It's such an amazingly good IDEA for a story that any execution was bound to fall short.

  4. Since some of these comments are about Johns and continuity I guess I'll give my 2 center. Johns, in his first 10 years at DC, became their fixer. When came on a co-writer of JLA, he brought back Hawkman who was so saddle bagged by continuity, even after Zero Hour and shoved off to Limbo. In the JSA, he continued and righted one of the greatest wrongs in comics (IMO), the death of Dove by revealing she was not killed by Monarch. This is a continuity change. He was also trying to restore something similar to the Ditko Hawk & Dove. Eventually, he was able to correct the other half of that wrong (Hawk as Monarch).

    But then he fixed another comic wrong (in some people's eyes) of Hal Jordan killing the GLC. In doing so, he obviously had to change that the Green Lanterns were not dead but why readers hadn't seen them for 10 years. When he took over GL, he introduced a whole new part of the DCU with the emotional spectrum, Black Hand, Nekron. He always acknowledged continuity and never crapped on it.

    And with the Superman & LSH story in Action comics, he sought out to right the wrong that the real Kal-El was never a member of the Legion because of COIE.

    In retrospect, Lo3W was not solely about the Legion as we later find out. But it's hard to ignore how much of Legion history is influenced by the modern day stories (Rond Vidar as GL, Tornado Twins). Johns sought to sort all that out, make all the Legions valid (which was actually suggested in a Reboot story that there were multiple Legion timelines)

    So yeah, maybe he didn't follow continuity to a tee. What writer can these days?! But at least Johns tried to do it for some good reasons.

    I mean, when Levitz took over the Retroboot, we never once heard more from Brainiac 6...