Friday, July 31, 2020

The Reboot: Final Thoughts

Siskoid: The Reboot era of the Legion lasted some 10 years and including multiple series, plenty of crossover action with other DC titles, and remains in fact the second-longest running Legion continuity. In May 2016, Shotgun and I took over the Legion Reboot reviews for the Legion of Super-Bloggers, in the wake of its original reviewer, Dave Sopko who only had time to do the first two issues before being taken from us much too soon. Our take was to look at the Reboot's twin missions. This new Legion had to appeal to veteran readers (that's me) who needed the book to show respect for what had gone before, but were still interested in seeing how the furniture was rearranged (much as Superman readers had after the Crisis). And it had to work for new readers (that's Shotgun) who, perhaps intimidated by the Legion's rich history, were happy to find a new starting point. Can you believe we've been at this, as the weekly article flies, for more than four years, SG?

Shotgun: I refuse to believe that we started this project in 2016. I knew it's been going on for a while but... Four years... Nah. Impossible!
Siskoid: And yet, that's the way it happened. At least in THIS continuity. Before we get to any further, I did promise you a coda, an epilogue, to The Legion. The way it ended, the team was not wiped from history, but rather lost in the time vortex, separated by the one person who could find their way back - Shikari. Well, I'm now showing you the panel in Infinite Crisis #6 (above), in which the two are reunited on what the comic calls Earth-247, tribute to the Legion's first appearance in Adventure Comics #247 way back in 1958. It was a Crisis, so the walls of reality had broken down enough for Shikari to find her way back from Threeboot Earth to Reboot Earth. What do you think?

Shotgun: Oh wow! How long has it been since the split? Have they been fighting for days? Months? Years? It saddens me that while they're lost, they're still stuck with the Fatal Five. I would've preferred if they were freed from trouble. But that would've made for a pretty lame reveal. The team trying to plan yet another escape. I don't know, there could've been a way.

Siskoid: Well, it's a mash-up of times, isn't it? Because not only does Live Wire have the robot arm, but Vi has the Emerald Eye, and they're punch Validus AND the Blight! Like I said, Crisis.

Aaawww see, I thought it was a Blight in the middle, but thought it couldn't be. I appreciate the explanation.

The Reboot Legion would be seen later in Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds, where three continuities' worth of Legionnaires fought a new Time Trapper. That ended with the Reboot Legionnaires going out into the multiverse to have untold adventures. XS stayed a part of the DCU because of the Flash connection and even appeared on the Flash TV show. And then when the Legion returned to its original continuity, more or less, they showed junior members that were taken from the Reboot, heroes like Gates (who had crossed over universes with XS), Kinetix and Magno. But let's talk about the books we DID read. Are there storylines you remember with a certain fondness?

There are two storylines that stuck with me for completely different reasons.
1st - The Blight storyline that took such an unexpected turn and entirely changed the feeling of safety the readers were feeling for their favorite Legionnaires. The fact we jumped right into the middle of it also helped in making the readers feel disoriented. I honestly loved it. It got me out of my comfort zone and surprised me. Yes it was very dark, but I still liked the change of pace.
2nd - The Mordru storyline. Not all of it though, because one could argue it started with Mysa and Kinetix meeting for the first time and all the Emerald Eye shenanigans, but the epilogue, the big fight that felt dangerous. Mordru still feels - to me anyway - like the biggest threat the team has faced, but they bested him by working as a unit. Plus, when the fight was done, we got rid of the Eye which was also a definite positive in my book!

Once the team was assembled, the first big one was the Triangle storyline, with Daxamite xenophobes attacking all the aliens they could find. Triad was beaten up pretty bad, and Element Lad's planet was destroyed. That of course still resonates today, but when people ask me to recommend a big storyline from the era, for me, yeah, it's the Mordru stuff, which got pretty epic and had the best art of the era. There were a lot of epic stories by the time the Legionnaires were basically adults, in Legion Lost and The Legion, but I feel like the Mordru story, hitting hard around Legionnaires #50, was the series at the height of its popularity and didn't need to go grimdark to get an emotional reaction. What about characters? What were your favorites? Were there surprises given what you knew about the Legion from the Hot or Not feature? Who do we give the most improved prize to?

Shotgun: I've grown very fond of the team as a whole. The more I read, the more it became difficult to pick favorites. But I think Chameleon and Apparition are the ones that really started on a high for me and remained pretty much at the same place all along. Cham struggling with xenophobia towards his race made me sympathize with him right away, and the moment we learned he could actually speak Interlac still makes me giggle! Apparition has gone through a lot and her abusive relationship with her mom was hard to read at times, but she stayed true to herself and did her very best with Cub. Brainiac 5 has a honorific mentions because I loved seeing him becoming more sociable, but they pushed the condescending tone too far a couple of times which put him on a roller coaster of ever-changing spot in my top Legionnaires.

Most improved from the Hot or Not feature has to go to Cosmic Boy. First he's not wearing the horrendous pink corset in this continuity, but he's also improved his ranking by starting off as a good leader and, later on, as a great support player for his team mates. It's quite unfortunate that he was such a dick to Superboy in the last couple of issues though.

Siskoid: It's impressive from my point of view that the Legionnaires I loved before - Lightning Lass, Dream Girl, Brainiac 5, and so on - I still did in the Reboot, and in some cases loved even more. Triad, for example, has a much more interesting thing going with the three personalities than Triplicate Girl/Dup Damsel ever did. Violet eventually came into her own. It was great that some of the previously dead Legionnaires got another chance at life - Ferro, Invisible Kid, Karate Kid - while some I didn't care about got big refreshes. Sensor (at least in her original form) was definitely one of my favorites. In fact I have a lot of affection for the more alien members like her and Gates. It's true that some Legionnaires were harder to take, like Andromeda, Umbra and Leviathan, but they were obviously looking for more conflict within the team.

Shotgun: It was hard enough picking four... Don't make me pick more LOL!!!

Siskoid: There are people I miss though. Wildfire and Timber Wolf were very late additions given their popularity in the previous continuity, but I felt like the Subs should gave gotten more play, and the Reboot never got to Blok. And Gear was an inferior character to SW6-era Computo, who barely got a chance to shine. I don't know if there were ever plans for it, but because there were a couple of changes of the guard, there were storylines that were just abandoned mid-stream. Any loose ends you regret were never tied up?

Shotgun: The obvious one is Cub Na and the uncertainty of Tynia and Jo's marriage following their separation. I may be remembering wrong, but I don't think we've even seen her confronting him about her findings of the almost-romance between Jo and Imra. Apart from that, the fact we've seen Andromeda twice in the last issues made me realize she was completely abandoned after time anomaly story. Not that I loved the character, but I feel she could've gotten a better redemption ark than becoming a nun and vanishing forever. I am probably forgetting something obvious, but I can't remember most of what happened to me last week, let alone what I read 3-4 years ago!

Siskoid: The two that stand out for me is 1) Lori Morning on her way to becoming the Time Trapper - I love a crazy time travel story and they hinted so strongly at this, I was sad to see it unresolved. And 2) Invisible Kid potentially dating Condo Arlik and cementing Lyle and the once(-and-future?) Chemical King as a gay couple. At that point (which was very "Archie" Legion), we could have had a sweet teen romance between the boys. There are others, of course. COMPUTO never returned. Star Boy's wonky powers. Sensor's body dysmorphia (and I was still 'shipping her and Chameleon). And I loved the Cadets and wanted to see at least one graduate to Legion membership.

Lori Morning!!! Wow! I had completely forgotten her!

Siskoid: Well so did the writers!

Almost to the end of the page here, any moments you want to highlight before our closing comments?

Shotgun: By the end, I kinda missed the silliness of some issues when the team had a day off. Of course, by the end, they were more adult than teens, but I enjoyed their outings at the beach or going shopping. I have a very vivid memory of that panel where Chameleon, Spark, Triad and Sensor get into a party all glammed up. It was just so much fun! Oh and I need to highlight the almost nonexistence of Sun Boy in this continuity! ;-)

Siskoid: Obviously, the big storylines are full of thrills and chills, but for me the Legion is always about those little moments. I love solo spotlights like we got in Legion Worlds, as well as those "let's go to the beach" R&R issues, just like you. Monstress shopping for clothes. Lori dealing with the H-Dial. Dreamer passing out during her Legion try-out. Kid Quantum coming into her own as leader. Brainy and his monkey. Triad squeeing over Superboy or Chuck Taine. In fact, anything with Chuck and Tenzil gets high marks from me. The kids dealing with their fallen. I probably remember more of those moments than I do action sequences, even if the series was good at that too (Triad kicking Ra's al Ghul's ass is a recent highlight).

Well, I guess the final question is the one we originally asked. Did the Reboot do its job? You the rookie - well, FORMER rookie at this point - was it easy to get into? Was it a good "jumping-on point"?

Shotgun: Even though I knew this wasn't completely new, it felt like it was. For a comic that had so many characters to feature, it still managed to do it in an organized way that help the readers, old and new, to follow the story without any headaches.

I was hooked pretty much after reading the second or third issue of the run. Get me a red Legion jacket and a flight ring already! And did the "veteran" find something there to like?

Siskoid: I know some readers had either left by then, not to return until at least the Threeboot (the Five Years Later era was a bit of a shock to the system), or loved the original continuity too much to want to start over. That's too bad. These were solid super-hero comics, with ups and downs like any 10-year run of stories, that managed to remix past continuity without hitting all the same beats. The characters were recognizable but refreshed, and some of the twists kept things alive. In fact, I feel like after the Abnett and Lanning run, the Legion was about to get its second wind. Imagine that Gail Simone 4-parter instead extending two or three years, I think people would have loved it. At least, *I* would have.

The 4-parter was amazing and I would've loved for it to keep on going!

Siskoid: Okay, what are we gonna do with all that free time now?


  1. Thanks for reminding me how much I loved the reboot years. They were so fun and optimistic at the start. The Legionaries really felt youthful for the first time and it all felt so unpredictable and exciting.
    I was also hoping for the Invisible Kid/Chemical King romance to happen. It seems like a real missed opportunity. But I loved those years and I felt like the Legion was living up to it’s full potential.
    Thanks for the great post!

  2. After all of the death & destruction of Five Years Later (which I mostly enjoyed), and the lack of a way to erase it, the Reboot was a mostly enjoyable (if a bit too cutesy at times) way to restart the team for a new era. It's definitely my second-favorite iteration of the team after the originals.

    Lowlights: The Blight; Andromeda's fate; Sensor being transmuted closer to humanoid; Kinetix's unfortunate name & lost potential; and the lackluster versions of Wildfire & Timberwolf. Plus, a missed opportunity for (one of my top 5 favorites) Polar Boy (and perhaps Plant Lad, too) to be part of the team much earlier than the original version. And sadly, no Tellus.

    Highlights: Kid Quantum, Gates, Gear & Shikari (though I greatly missed Dawnstar) - all worthy new additions. The light & fun feel for the first few years. The interactions with that era's Superboy, who I mostly had no use for, but who I found to be an enjoyable fit with this team.

  3. I was in my 30's living with a 19 year old girl that was home sick from both work and college after a wisdom tooth extraction. She had NEVER read a comic book before I handed her the almost full run of what I considered the first biweekly comic. She was hooked right away and looked forward to comic book day as much as I did. Her favorite character Triad, she was very upset when I told her about her alternative fate and becoming DD and showed confusion when I would call Livewire, Lightning Lad. Her favorite issue the valentine issue. This was a great case of a veteran and a newbie both loving the Archie legion. (She didn't really know who Archie was beyond the love triangle thing.)