Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Legion of Super-Heroes Favorites -- The "Reboot" Legion


In 1994, a major company-wide crossover called Zero Hour led to a massive reboot of the franchise, starting from the ground-up, adding in some radical changes to character histories and characterizations. In this new version, Legion membership is politically based, as each member of the United Planets strives to have a representative, with some members being more "drafted" than anything else, which lead to some interesting character interactions. It took me a little while to warm up to this version, and there are some changes that still rankle, but over time I came to love this version almost as much as the originals.

Kid Quantum 

The second hero to use the name, Jazmin Cullun adopted the role of Kid Quantum after her brother died on his first mission with the Legion.  Partially blaming them for her brother's death, Jazmin originally joined her home planet of Xanthu's home-grown super-team The Amazers.   For her first several appearances, Kid Q was disdainful of the Legion, and even maintained that attitude for a time after eventually joining the team.  But over time, she began to shed the chip on her shoulder and proved herself to be an incredibly competent member of the team, eventually being elected leader.  Much like with previous Top 3 listers Polar Boy, Sussa, and Salu, I think my appreciation for Kid Quantum stems largely from getting to see her character grow and change over time.


An example of one of the drafted Legionnaires, the politically active Gates initially did all he could not to become a part of what he believed to be a "teenage death squad" run by fascists intent on keeping the working class cowed.  Yes, that's right; Gates is a futuristic, teleporting, alien bug with communist leanings.   Need I say more?  The news that he has been returned to continuity in the new Legion series is music to my ears.


One of the issues I often had with the Reboot Legion was accepting the radical changes made to characters I loved -- Sensor Girl becoming Sensor, the illusion casting snake, for example, is one change that I never fully accepted.  So, when I saw some preview pages for the Legion Lost mini-series which introduced a new winged character with super-human tracking power who wasn't named Dawnstar, I was immediately on the defensive.  But, if Legion Lost taught me anything, it's that I should trust in the skills of creators Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (or DnA as they're often billed) who not only manged to turn the perpetually annoying She-Hulk knockoff Monstress into a character that was actually this close to making it into my Top 3, but also created a unique and endearing character in Shikari, the lone warrior of her race who helps the Legion find their way home and then becomes an integral part of the team.  Although sometimes naive, in a stranger-in-a-strange-land sort of way, Shikari's naivete was sometimes a source of humor, but never a source of weakness.   

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