Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Legion of Super-Heroes Favorites

My pal Bubblegum Tate gave me the following suggestion for a list:  "Let's chat about your favorite Legionnaires in say a top three manner with extra points for exactly why."

For those of you who don't know, I'm a huge fan of Legion of Super-Heroes, and while we were working together at OSU I introduced Tate to the wonders of the 31st century as well.  Being a Legion fan can be an exhausting experience at times, as the books has gone through a number of reboots and retcons that can scare away the casual fan, but can also reward the faithful follower.  Trying to narrow it down to just three favorite Legionnaires would be next to impossible for me -- however, I do think it's possible for me to narrow it down to three from each major iteration, with a few "honorable mentions" here and there. so, here's the first in a series.


The group that started it all, this version of the Legion was first introduced in 1958, and lasted until 1989.  The basic concept is this:  in the 30th (later, 31st) Century, a group of super-powered teenagers are so inspired by the stories of young Superboy's heroic deeds that they decide to follow in his footsteps and form their own super-hero club.  Originally introduced in a Superboy story where the three Legion founders travel back in time to offer Superboy membership, the Legion soon became popular enough to carry first their own recurring feature in Adventure Comics, and eventually their own self-titled series.

Honorable Mention


Let's face it:  in our current PC times, it's doubtful Dawnstar would be created as a character unless she was meant ironically -- a mutant of Native American descent whose primary ability outside of her flight is, of all things, super-tracking. And I have to admit that a lot of my love of Dawny is tied up in her striking visual design, which really spoke to a young boy growing up in NE Oklahoma.


Star Boy 

The very first issue of The Legion of Super-Heroes I ever read featured Star Boy pretty heavily, and I think I was originally drawn to the character by his cool visual design, which I must admit is a common theme among a lot of the beloved characters of my youth.  But the reason Star Boy manages to break the top 3 while other the other visually stunning characters of that early issue such as Phantom Girl, Timber Wolf, and Wildfire don't, can be directly attributed to Legion of Super-Heroes #306, an origin issue devoted solely to summing up Star Boy's history as the unluckiest Legionnaire. That issue humanized him in a way that set him apart from the rest of the group for me. 

Sensor Girl

When she was first introduced, she was a mystery Legionnaire, her background, identity, and exact powers kept a secret from everyone, both in story and out; and while the mystery was cool, the eventual reveal and explanation were better than my young mind could have imagined. Even though I doubt a single person reading this blog who doesn't already know the deal with Sensor Girl will ever go back and read the stories, I find myself loathe to spoil the secret.

Plus, , y'know, I love her original costume design.

Polar Boy

Ok, this one is definitely not a case of young Todd being entranced by the costume. Originally rejected from Legion membership due to an inability to properly control his cold-generating power, Brek Bannin decided not to wallow in self-pity, but instead became the epitome of the NGUNS spirit, gathering together fellow rejects and forming them into the Legion of Substitute Heroes, a group of well-intentioned misfits who would spring into action whenever the main Legion was unavailable.  Eventually, he gained enough control of his powers that he was able to join the Legion proper.  Brek's spirit of perseverance and move from object of ridicule to respected Legionnaire earns him his spot in the Top 3.


  1. Even though it was made so long ago that this is practically a time capsule, I'm glad my suggestion finally became a post.

    "Striking visual design" is officially my new favorite euphemism. I'm sure you aren't the only guy who was enamored with Dawnstar's striking visual design. I know I was, and I was in college.

    Star Boy's costume is a personal fave as well but I hate his pimp beard. Perhaps because it reminds me so much of Terry Long...

    Polar Boy, much like Cosmic Boy, never got a good costume. The 90s were particularly unkind if I recall correctly.

  2. Always happy to contribute to someone's euphemism bank . . . I think . . .

    I agree about Star Boy's beard -- much preferred it when he was clean shaven with a near crew cut, instead of looking like a refugee from a 70s flick.

    I think the Polar Boy costume above is probably the best he had -- definitely better than his Subs outfit. Which, granted, isn't saying much.