Monday, August 24, 2020

The League of Infinity Debuts

“The Hoaxers from Beyond History”
Supreme 42  (September 1997)
Writer: Alan Moore 
Art: Joe Bennett and Rick Veitch
Review: Emsley "Ultra Fan" Wyatt and "Sarcasm Kid"

The League of Infinity was a group that appeared in Supreme.  Before getting to them, however, we need to take a look at the greater universe that spawned them.  Supreme existed as a comic for a while, basically as one of many Superman knock-offs out there in comic-land.  But then, with issue 41, Alan Moore took over.  He took that knock-off status and embraced it, ramping it up to eleven.  
Supreme acquired a Supreme dog, Radar; a female counterpart, Suprema; and a raft of deja vu inducing supporting characters. Moore walked, no make that gleefully danced, on the line between tribute and satire, between parody and plagiarism, between the pit of man's fears and the summit of his knowle......whoops, wrong intro.  Retcons were acknowledged, even by characters themselves, as “reality revisions.” Many comic tropes were stood on their heads, turned inside out, and put through a meat grinder.  One interesting technique was that many tales were told with “framing stories,” done with modern-style comic art but in the flashbacks the art would revert to classic silver-age style, often with internal covers referencing past issues that were never published.  

The League of Infinity, in case you were wondering when I'd get around to them, played prominent roles in at least five stories, and did cameos in a few more.  They were introduced in Supreme # 42. Note the styling: at once reminiscent of the classic DC Annuals but with a hint of Adventure #300.  

Once inside the issue you have your typical Sixties “splash panel” showing evil teen genius Darius Dax tooling around Littlehaven in a giant robotic machine threatening Judy Jordan.
The story proper opens with Ethan (Kid Supreme) encountering Professor Wells, who exclaims that he's just been robbed.  (Professor Wells is undoubtedly an homage to SF great H.G. Wells.) 
A towns-person yells: “That crazy Dax kid has unleashed another giant robot on Littlehaven.”  As if this happens every other Tuesday and, who knows, perhaps it does. Dax speaks from the inside of the robot: “Hear me, you pitiful provincial ignoramuses. This is Darius Dax speaking. Unless Kid Supreme dares to face my Tremendroid here and now, I'll drop the high school beauty queen.”  But just as Ethan is ready to spring into action, even at the risk of exposing his secret identity......
Dax guesses that this might be one of Kid Supreme's robots (he has robots because, of course he does) and puts “Kid Supreme” to the tests. This Kid Supreme demonstrates invulnerability, “supreme vision,” and “supreme strength.” All the while, Ethan looks on in bewilderment. Satisfied that he is dealing with the genuine article, Dax prepares to spring his trap, discarding his hostage. As Ethan prepares to rescue Judy, he is held back by a mysterious stranger. DUNH DUNH.
The stranger doffs her long coat and reveals herself to be Zayla Zarn of the 25th Century (but most people call her Futuregirl).  She explains that Judy is in no immediate danger because she, Futuregirl, has “frozen time.”
She also seems to shop at the same place as Saturn Girl.  She tells Ethan that the League of Infinity are, well, I'll let her explain it herself.
While the League members don't, as such, have super powers, some do seem to be analogous to certain Legionnaires.  “Giganthro” would seem to be their version of Colossal Boy, “Witch Wench” would be like the “White Witch,” and Bill Hickok might be, with his mastery of firearms, sort of like Karate Kid.  Witch Wench opens a doorway to their headquarters.                               
Basically it's a spiral ramp down the “central bore of time itself.” Which makes me wonder three things.  First, did they mean “central core” and, if so, who is the central bore of time?  Second, are there any elevators in the darned thing because that sure seems to be a long way to have to walk.  And third, I couldn't help wondering if Moore took his inspiration for this from Legion scribe Edmond Hamilton's classic SF tale “The Inn Outside the World”.  I highly recommend seeking that one out.  Then Kid Supreme gets a surprise.
 They show him their trophy room with souvenirs of their exploits, past and future, and extend him an invitation to join their group.  He replies that since his future self is wandering around upstairs that he figures that he already has but wants to know why the League picked this day to make themselves known to him.  Futuregirl explains that Dax had stolen a “Supremium meteorite” from Professor Wells, which possibly could harm Kid Supreme so they had one of their members stand in for him. 
They return to Littlehaven, Ethan positions himself to catch Judy once the flow of time resumes, while Achilles, in his “Kid Supreme” guise, attacks Dax's Tremendroid.
As Ethan catches Judy, the League vanquishes the robot, mostly with Witch Wench's magic, but making it look like it's because of what the ersatz “Kid Supreme” is doing.  The meteor, of course, has no effect on Achilles.  

Later, Kid Supreme catches up with the League on the outskirts of town.
He gladly accepts their invitation and they leave to return to the Time Tower, leaving Kid Supreme to wonder if he'll ever see them again...... 
....evidently forgetting having seen his grown self earlier on the balcony in their headquarters.

And that, readers, is the introduction of the League of Infinity.  I thought this story was a real hoot.   both as a send-up of the Legion and on its own merits.  I loved the little touches like the double initials of many of the characters and the way it recaptured the innocence of the Superboy era.  Moore really touched all the bases here in terms of what made the Silver Age comics so awesome.  There are, as I said earlier, more stories of the League of Infinity and I recommend them, as well as the “Supreme” universe in which they appeared.

Sarcasm Kid: Hey guys, Sarky here. I at one point planned to eventually discuss the League of Infinity myself among my Legion Homage posts, but I couldn't decide if I should do a single post about their entire history or review their individual appearances. Ultra Fan has made the decision for us, with his enthusiastic embrace of the League of Infinity debut. 

I've had an interest in Moore's work on Supreme, as well as Glory, Youngblood, and Liefeld's other knock-offs-I MEAN-homages from Image that were brought over to the Awesome Studios imprint for a number of years, even beyond the League of Infinity. While some members such as Kid Supreme, Suprema, and Future Girl clearly give off direct vibes to Superboy, Supergirl, and Saturn Girl, I never really got the sense that the rest of the League were meant to be direct counterparts to specific Legionnaires. (Although I guess you could make an argument for Witch Wench and one other spoiler character who'll appear later.)

While it is true that Moore goes big on doing a meta story around the Superman mythos and the nature of comic book continuity, in later years I began to feel his attempt at an homage to Superman's history sort of fell flat. Moore brings out a lot of references to classic Superman stories through the ages, but rather than explore the heart of those stories it's like Moore just strutted out the images and plots for the sake of it. Oh but I gotta say Rick Veitch's artwork on the "classic" Supreme stories is absolutely amazing and some of the parody characters were great. I've been hoping to get my hands on some of the character design pieces for years.

However, the League of Infinity's tales don't fall under that same criticism and are pretty great on their own. Moore would even get classic Supergirl artist Jim Mooney to provide the pencils for a later story.


  1. Thanks for chiming in, Sarcasm Kid. I was a little worried about stepping on your toes with this. I've written up a review of "The Supreme Has-Been". I'll send it along to Russell and will await your (and his) feedback.

  2. I remember reading this issue. It was very fun and a nostalgic inspired trip.
    For another take on the Legion too, I recommend the Hypernaturals.

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