Review: Showcase Presents Legion of Super-Heroes Vol.2

I never really understood the appeal of the Legion of Super-Heroes.  That might be because I grew up as a Marvel junkie, so by the time I got around to catching up on what DC had to offer the backstory was a little too daunting.  The 30th centry teenage super-heroes with the inane code-names number in the dozens and they always seemed to be a bit interchanageable.  Furthermore the three continuity reboots don’t exactly make them easier to follow.

But I am enjoying Geoff Johns Legion of 3 Worlds series (when an issue actually comes out) so I figured it was time to try picking up some of the older comics again, and I think I’m starting to get it now.  For a silver age comic an awful lot happens during the course of this volume.  There is no reset button present in these stories.  Legionnaires actually have to pay the consequences for their actions routinely, and that alone gives the stories much more weight than most of DC’s other output at the time.

The stories are often pretty clever too, which they have to be to take advantage of characters like Matter-Eater Lad and the Legion of Substitute Heroes (the less said about the Legion of Super-Pets the better).  The last three issues collected here are particularly good, featuring the first work by writer Jim Shooter (who was 14 at the time), and which introduce Karate Kid, Ferro Lad, and Princess Projectra (clearly maintaining the standard for stupid names).

I think I’m actually becoming a fan now, or the Pre-Crisis Legion at least.

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