Examing Bendis’ New Legion of Super-Heroes Group Picture

DC Comics Bendis Legion of Super-Heroes

Brian Bendis dropped another teaser image for his upcoming reboot of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Bendis appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers and showed off a group shot of the new Legion of Super-Heroes. There is a lot to digest with this group shot so let’s take a closer look it.

Up until now, we have seen a teaser panel of some Legionnaires standing in the background while Superboy gets offered a Legion flight ring. This shot gave us lots of Legionnaires, but most of them had their bodies obscured so it was difficult to be fully confident about which Legionnaires we were being shown. We also have gotten ten different character sketches from Ryan Sook showing some of the new character designs. Many of the Legionnaires in this new group shot were in the Superboy teaser image or already unveiled in the ten different character sketches we have already seen. However, there are a few new wrinkles being introduced in this group shot including one, particularly bizarre reveal.

Let’s start from left to right and try and identify as many of the Legionnaires as possible. This is not easy since so many have been radically redesigned. In the first row, we have Cosmic Boy, Element Lad, a female character in goggles who looks like no prior Legionnaire I have ever seen, Ultra Boy, Wildfire, Matter-Eater Lad, and Timber Wolf.

DC Comics Bendis Legion of Super-HeroesWhat immediately jumps out at me is that Ultra Boy has been racially retconned. Jo Nah has always been a white character in his nearly 60-year history. It appears that he is now possibly Hispanic.

This is also the first full body shot of Ultra Boy. Ultra Boy has always had a red, green, and black color scheme. Sook junks this and goes with a dark green, light green, and red color scheme. This new color scheme makes Ultra Boy’s costume looks far less dynamic and powerful.

I particularly dislike the top of Ultra Boy’s new costume. Ultra Boy has always had a red top with the green thunderbird logo on his chest. The thunderbird logo is actually a stylized version of the space whale that gave Jo his superpowers. The contrast between the red and the green allows the thunderbird logo to really pop. The result is a strong and striking look.

However, Sook places the light green logo on a dark green shirt. This gives a far more muted look. There is no striking contrast and the result is that this top looks dull and subdued. And Ultra Boy is anything but subdued. Ultra Boy needs a strong and striking costume to match his strong and large personality. To make things worse, Sook then carries the light green from the logo all the way to the bottom of Jo’s top and around his waist. This has the effect of making the logo look more like an abstract design rather than the strong and iconic logo that it is.

The overuse of the light green combined with the dark green makes the red pants seem out of place. The red no longer fits with the rest of the costume. The weird dark green panels on the sides of the red pants are unnecessary and make Jo’s costume look way too busy. Again, Sook also brings unnecessary lines to the party with the weird lines on Jo’s boots. Overall, Sook’s new Ultra Boy design gets a huge thumbs down.

DC Comics Bendis Legion of Super-Heroes

We finally get a full-body shot of my all-time favorite Legionnaire: Wildfire. I love WIldfire’s helmet design. I also appreciate that Sook employed WIldfire’s classic color scheme of red, orange, and yellow. I also like that Wildfire has his classic logo on his chest.

Unfortunately, Sook’s design completely falls apart when you get to the lower part of Wildfire’s costume. Wildfire appears to be wearing either Peter Pan booties or moccasins with flared collars. Either way, it is beyond stupid looking.

Also, like many of Sook’s other designs, Wildfire’s costume is loaded down with unnecessary lines all over the place. This just continues the busy and messy vibe of many of Sook’s designs. It really is an homage to Jim Lee’s awful New 52 costume designs.

Lastly, the addition to brown to Wildfire’s color scene is most unwelcome. The brown only serves to make Wildfire’s look a bit dull. Overall, Ryan Sook’s new design for Wildfire gets a thumb in the middle.

DC Comics Bendis Legion of Super-Heroes

We also finally get a full body shot of Timber Wolf. Sook retains Timber Wolf’s classic color scheme of brown and black. Sook does tweak Timber Wolf’s logo a bit. I prefer Timber Wolf’s classic logo. But, Sook’s redesigned logo is fine enough. It is kind of neat that Sook placed a “T” inside of Timber Wolf’s redesigned logo.

I dig that Sook made Brin thick and large. I think Timber Wolf should be physically stout. It also helps to give him a more unique look. The new costume design is quite pleasing. I dig that it appears that Sook has Timber Wolf showing off some of his hairy arms.

What I am not thrilled with are the unnecessary silver lines all over the costume. These silver lines feel tacked on and make a strong and sleek costume design look busy and messy. These silver lines are like when you see a nice car with a cheap body kit from Pep Boys tacked onto the car. Having said that, overall, Sook’s new design for Timber Wolf gets a thumbs up.

Last, we have the female in the goggles. I do not recognize this character at all. I am not ruling out the possibility that Bendis is going to deliver some brand new Legionnaires.

Having said that, this character appears to have a feather logo on her chest. This would indicate that this is Light Lass. Ayla has always been a white character for her nearly 60 year history. So, it appears that if this is Ayla then Bendis has racially retconned her. I am not sure why Bendis would purposely avoid pre-existing black Legionnaires in favor of racially retconning old characters. At any rate, Sook’s costume design for this female character looks good.

I like this character’s color scheme of white/silver, light purple and dark purple/blue. I dig the ombré effect on the bathing suit part of her costume. Her thigh-high boots look cool with her bathing suit style costume. Goggles are tough to pull off, but they actually work with this costume design. Overall, I would give Sook’s costume design a thumbs up.

In the second row, we have from left to right Cosmic Boy, Element Lad, Star Boy, a female that I am guessing is Infectious Lass, Superboy, Brainiac 5, a black male character wearing Lightning Lad’s costume, Triplicate Girl, and Dawnstar.

I have already discussed Sook’s design for Superboy and Dawnstar in a prior column. And I have also already discussed Sook’s design for Cosmic Boy and Brainiac 5 in a different column.

Now, I am guessing that the female Legionnaire with the pink mohawk is Infectious Lass. Both characters have the same color skin and hair. However, some people on the internet think this is Shrinking Violet. Vi has always been a white female with black hair. It is possible that Bendis wanted to give Vi a more alien looking.

I think Sook’s character design is a good fit for Infectious Lass. However, it think this character design would be a hideous choice for Shrinking Violet. I am keeping my fingers crossed that this is not Vi.

DC Comics Bendis Legion of Super-Heroes

This is the first look we have gotten of Sook’s new design for Element Lad. Jan has had several different color schemes over the decades. He originally had a pink and white color scheme. Then he got a dark blue and green color scheme. Then he had a pink and black color scheme.

DC Comics Bendis Legion of Super-Heroes

Personally, I have always preferred Jan’s dark blue and green color scheme. So, I am thrilled that Sook chose that color scheme for his new Element Lad design. I actually like the swirling design to the green parts of the costume. It works given Jan’s elemental theme of his character. I also like that it appears that Jan’s costume is free of the Jim Lee N52 lines.

What I am not thrilled with about Sook’s new design is Element Lad’s new logo. It is just an “E.” This is a nod to Jan’s original logo in the Silver Age. I much preferred Jan’s second logo of the Interlac character for the letter “E.” It was far more creative and unique to the Legion of Super-Heroes universe.

DC Comics Bendis Legion of Super-Heroes

I have already noted that Jan also was racially retconned. Well, maybe it is more appropriate to say species retconned? At any rate, Jan has always been an alien from the planet Trom. So, I have zero problems with making him green. Overall, I give Sook’s new design for Element Lad a thumbs up.

Next is the black male character in a Lighting Lad costume. This is where things get weird. We already got Sook’s character design for Lightning Lad and we saw Lightning Lad in some teaser panels. All of them have Garth as he has always been: a white dude. However, now we get this teaser shot and we see a black Lightning Lad.

I have absolutely no clue what is going on here. Is it possible that Bendis is going to kill off Garth and replace him with a black Lightning Lad? That would be a truly horrible idea. Or did editorial demand that Garth gets racially retconned at the very last minute? Either way, I am not particularly thrilled. For more about the mystery surrounding Lightning Lad go here!

The Legion of Super-Heroes has plenty of great black Legionnaires that Bendis could have placed on this roster but clearly chose not to do so. I have no idea why Bendis would decide to do that. We have the Invisible Kid II, Tyroc, X-S, Computo II, Kid Quantum, and Catspaw. I would have preferred that Bendis add all of these members to the roster rather than racially retcon Garth.

DC Comics Bendis Legion of Super-Heroes

We finally get a full-body look at Sook’s character design for Triplicate Girl. Luornu originally had a purple and orange color scheme. This morphed into a purple, orange, and yellow color scheme. Her color scheme then turned into a purple, orange, and white color scheme.

Sook completely junks Triplicate GIrl’s long-time color scheme and goes with red, yellow, and blue. This makes no sense. Purple, orange, and white are far more original than using basic primary colors of red, yellow, and blue. Having said that, at least Sook still gives Luorno a tri-color scheme.

Sook’s costume design for Triplicate Girl looks fantastic. I love her cape. It is such an excellent design. Her cape is also a great nod to her Silver Age and Bronze Age costumes. I like the tri-colored circular logo that Sook places on her costume. It is a great logo. I dig that the costumes for each triplicate is primarily white with either a yellow, red, or blue accent color. It emphasizes that each Triplicate is a part of a whole Luorno. I also like that each triplicate has different color hair. This will all help to give each triplicate their own unique vibe and personality.

My only criticism of Sook’s new design for Triplicate Girl is the ridiculous looking glasses. They are cheesy and give Luorno an unintended goofy look. Having said that, overall, I give Sook’s design for Triplicate Girl a thumbs up.

In the third row, we have from left to right Dream Girl, Mon-El, Saturn Girl, the pink girl who I am guessing is Phantom Girl,

I have already discussed Sook’s new designs for Saturn Girl and Dream Girl.

We get the first full look at Sook’s design for Mon-El. I appreciate that Sook sticks close to Mon-El’s classic look. Mon-El’s costume is an iconic design that does not need much tinkering with at all. Sook keeps Mon-El’s color scheme of red and blue with yellow accents.

All Sook does is take Mon-El’s classic costume and slap a ton of ridiculous Jim Lee New 52 lines all over it. The result is that a clean and classic costume design ends up looking like a busy mess. If Sook would just lay off the necessary lines all over the costume then he would have an absolute hit on his hands. Overall, I give Sook’s design for Mon-El a thumb in the middle.

DC Comics Bendis Legion of Super-Heroes

We also finally get a better look at Sook’s design for the character that I think is Star Boy. It appears that Star Boy has been racially retconned. Thom has always been a white character during his nearly 60-year history. Thom is now gold-skinned. Again, since Thom is an alien I have zero problems with him being gold. It helps to accentuate that almost all of the Legionnaires are aliens who are not from Earth.

Sook retains Star Boy’s classic costume look of a dark star-filled night. Thom’s original Silver Age costume design was dull. However, Thom got an absolutely brilliant costume design with the Bronze Age. That costume design became Thom’s iconic look. Later versions of Thom’s costume sported more of a white and black color scheme with a yellow star logo like his Silver Age costume.

Sook chooses to stick close to Thom’s classic starry night costume. Sook has the starry night design comprise the majority of the costume. Tom then gets white gloves and boots. Sook then adds in the gold star logo from Thom’s Silver Age costume and from his later Modern Age black and white costumes. It is quite a nice combination of Star Boy’s prior costume designs. Overall, I give Sook’s new design for Star Boy a thumbs up.

Lastly, we have the pink female character with blue, white, and red hair. I am still guessing that this is a racially retconned Phantom Girl. We still do not get to see much of the costume design at all. If it is Phantom Girl, then I definitely am not a fan of her tri-colored hair. The tri-color look should be reserved only for Triplicate Girl.

In the fourth row we have from left to right, a green skeleton character wearing armor, Shadow Lass, a character I do not recognize wearing a black and gold costume, Bouncing Boy, a character I am guessing is Karate Kid, and the third body of Triplicate Girl.

I have already critiqued the new design for Shadow Lass.

I got nothing for you with the green skeleton character in armor. This is not even remotely similar to any Legionnaire from the past. This may also be a brand new Legionnaire. This could also be a drastic reimagining of a non-human Legionnaire like Quislet or Gates.

At any rate, I am not a real fan of this character. This design is more fitting for a character in a horror comic or for a villain. It is not what I envision when I think of a Legionnaire. Having said that, it is a cool looking character design.

Bouncing Boy looks great. We do not get a full costume view of Chuck, but what we get looks good to me. Sook does not mess around with Bouncing Boy’s look. Chuck retains his classic blue and white color scheme. I give Sook’s new design for Bouncing Boy a thumbs up.

We get a better look at the character that I think is the racially retconned Karate Kid. The color scene is brown, white and black. That is Karate Kid’s classic color scheme. Karate Kid normally wears a costume with some variation of those colors. I actually dig the texture that Sook gives the top of Karate Kid’s costume. I also like the sleeveless top and the wide metal wrist bands. This is a really good looking design. Overall, I give Sook’s new Karate Kid design a thumbs up.

Lastly, we have a character in a black and gold outfit. This is a rather poor resolution picture. And we do not see much of this character. Therefore, I cannot figure out who this Legionnaire is supposed to be. This costume design is not immediately jumping out to me as reminiscent of a prior Legionnaire.

The internet is full of people buzzing that this character is Rond Vidar. Rond is the Legion’s resident Green Lantern. This character in black and gold certainly is not a Green Lantern. Nor is this character a member of any Lantern Corps that we have seen before. It is possible that this is Rond with a new gimmick. Or it is just a brand new Legionnaire.

In the fifth row we have from left to right, a character that I do not recognize who is wearing a gold helmet, Sun Boy, White Witch, a character I am guessing is Princess Projectra, and Chameleon Boy.

I have already given my breakdown of Sook’s new design for Chameleon Boy.

All right, now let’s talk about the mysterious Legionnaire in the gold helmet. Again, this is a low-resolution picture and we do not get to see much at all of the Legionnaire with the gold helmet. Perhaps this is Ferro Lad? Nolan is the only Legionnaire outside of Wildfire that I can remember ever wearing a helmet.

Honestly, the helmet looks like Dr. Fate’s helmet. This could always be a brand new Legionnaire wearing the helmet of Nabu. I would be fine with that.

We get a better look at Sun Boy in this picture than we did in the prior teaser pic with Superboy accepting his Legion flight ring. Sun Boy does look pretty badass. I dig how the material of the costume is only visible at his neck and midriff when he is in fire form. It helps to give his fire form more shape and style. It is definitely a cool look. Sook also gave Dirk his trademark logo properly placed across his abdomen.

Sook’s design for Sun Boy is fantastic. Hopefully, Dirk also has a human form, too. Only Wildfire should be the Legionnaire with no actual body. Overall, I give Sook’s new design for Sun Boy a thumbs up.

We also get a better look at the character that I think is the White Witch. Sook’s design is properly themed to make her look like she belongs in a Tolkien story. I like the crown and headdress design. It is ornate and regal. Thankfully, White Witch still had her classic red eyes. From what I can see in this picture, I am giving Sook’s new White Witch design a thumbs up.

DC Comics Bendis Legion of Super-Heroes Last, we get the character that I am going to guess is Princess Projectra. This version looks nothing at all like Jeckie. But, given that this character is wearing a tiara and looks regal I am going to have to go with this being Princess Projectra. If this is Jeckie then I hate this design. The skeletal horror show of a face is the worst. Making Jeckie a pink zombie with pink hair is almost as bad as when DC retconned Jeckie into being a giant snake with mechanical arms.

Lord, I hope this is not Jeckie. She deserves better than this. If this is Princess Projectra then I give Sook’s new design a thumbs down. If this is a brand new Legionnaire then I give Sook’s new design a thumb in the middle.

In the sixth row, we have from left to right, Blok, Colossal Boy, and a character I do not recognize who is furry and has a long tail.

I have already reviewed Sook’s new design for Blok.

We get a better look at Sook’s new design for Colossal Boy. Gim looks pretty damn good. Sook sticks with Colossal Boy’s classic blue and red color scheme. We do not see much of Gim’s new costume, but the little that we do see looks very nice. This is an example of Sook creating a new design that is clearly in line with the classic look of the character. I give Sook’s new design for Colossal Boy a thumbs up.

Lastly, we have a furry Legionnaire sitting on Gim’s shoulder. This one is a tough one. The only “cat” themed Legionnaire that I can remember is Catspaw. But, she did not look like this. Plus, this new Legionnaire looks to be a male and Catspaw was a female. There is zero chance that DC is retconning an established female character into a male character. The only other time we have had a furry Legionnaire is when Timber Wolf was transformed into the “Furball” character who looked like a werewolf.

Now, I am almost 100% positive that the character in the first row is, in fact, Timber Wolf. So, who in the world would this furry Legionnaire be? This Legionnaire has a costume with a dark brown and tan color scheme. That is also Timber Wolf’s color scheme. This character has a logo of a red circle with what looks to be either a wolf or a fox in the middle. The Legionnaire also has a long tail. Maybe this is also a brand new Legionnaire. If this is a brand new Legionnaire then I give Sook’s design a thumbs up. It is definitely a unique looking design. No doubt.

For a detailed look at Ryan Sook’s character designs that were released earlier you can go here for Part One and here for Part Two!

UPDATE: It has been confirmed which of these characters are Shrinking Violet and Princess Projectra. For more information on that and our take on those designs, you can go here. It has also been confirmed that there are three brand new members of the Legion of Super-Heroes. You can go here for or our take on which characters in this teaser group shot are those three characters


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