DC Comics Legion of Super-Heroes

Legion of Super-Heroes Chronology

Longtime followers of The Revolution know that the Legion of Super-Heroes is easily my favorite comic book franchise from any publisher. The only problem with being a Legion fan is that DC Comics has habitually mucked with the Legion’s continuity throughout the decades. DC Comics’ handling of the Legion of Super-Heroes franchise has been derelict at best and downright intentionally damaging at worst. As much as I love the Legion, the fact remains that the franchise has often been neglected by DC since it exists in its own time and space in the DCU. Therefore, DC has been asleep at the wheel twice while certain creative teams drove the franchise so far into the ground that a full reboot to the continuity was the only solution.

The result is that the Legion of Super-Heroes continuity is a complete and total mess that makes this franchise a tough sell to new readers. I may adore the Legion, but I have to admit that the Legion of Super-Heroes continuity is highly complicated and messy. In fact, the Legion’s continuity will be one of the biggest barriers to newer readers wanting to jump onto a new Legion of Super-Heroes title. And we definitely do not want that to happen.

The Legion of Super-Heroes is a fantastic franchise and I want any new title for this franchise to be a successful one. So, I thought a handy Legion of Super-Heroes chronology that could be used as a guide to help newer readers become more familiar with the Legion would be an excellent idea. Now, my chronology does not include every single issue published by DC comics where a single Legionnaire may have made a cameo. I have stuck to the main titles as well as any mini-series or important team cross-overs in another title.

What makes the Legion of Super-Heroes such a tough franchise to get into is that the Legion of Super-Heroes has been completely rebooted not once. Not twice. But three times. I cannot think of another franchise that had its entire continuity completely thrown away and restarted from the very beginning three times.

What makes DC Comics’ handling of the Legion franchise even more egregious is that the third complete and total reboot was utterly unnecessary. Geoff Johns had already done the hard work between the Lightning Saga and the Legion of Three Worlds to fully integrate the most popular and iconic version of the Legion of Super-Heroes (The Pre-Crisis Levitz Legion) back into the DCU. Further, Johns fully explained away the prior two reboots in the Legion’s continuity. By the end of Legion of Three Worlds, Johns had solved most of the Legion’s continuity and placed the most popular version of the Legion firmly into the main DCU.

Of course, the editors at DC Comics are always looking for a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Therefore, enter Brian Bendis and his ridiculous idea to fully reboot the Legion of Super-Heroes for an unprecedented third time. It is stunning that any editor at DC Comics thought that this was even remotely a good idea. This should have been shot down immediately as unintelligent and short-sighted.

Bendis’ handling of the Legion of Super-Heroes franchise was consistent with Bendis’ method of operation. Bendis has never cared about continuity or trying to study the history of a franchise. Bendis is only concerned with his own “brilliant” ideas and that is it. Sadly, the result was a completely new version of the Legion of Super-Heroes that was completely unrecognizable. Further, the existence of this new version of the Legion of Super-Heroes was never explained. The disappearance of the re-established Pre-Crisis Levitz Legion of Super-Heroes was also never explained. It was a nonsensical continuity mess befitting of Bendis.

The sales results of Bendis’ new Legion of Super-Heroes was like everything else that Bendis did during his ill-fated tenure at DC Comics: a failure. Bendis’ new Legion of Super-Heroes crashed and burned in the sales ratings and ended up getting canceled with issue #12.

All we can hope for is that DC Comics realizes their failure and reverts back to the Pre-Crisis Levitz Legion. There is an easy and obvious way to do this. However, that is the topic for a later column. The goal of this initial article is to introduce the Legion of Super-Heroes continuity timeline and then present a chronology of the franchise. In later articles, I plan on breaking up this chronology into smaller pieces and fully examining each time period of the Legion’s chronology. I will highlight the writers for each period and then discuss the overall positives and negatives of each period. I will then make suggestions for required reading for each period. That way newer readers can seek out the best stories from the Legion’s illustrious past to enjoy.

In addition to delving into the Legion’s chronology in detail, I will also be rolling out single-issue reviews for past Legion stories starting with their original run on Adventure Comics. It is time to celebrate all of the amazing stories that the Legion of Super-Heroes has given us.

Look, I just miss talking about the Legion of Super-Heroes! This is the franchise that got me reading comic books when I was a little kid. This is a franchise that inspired me to start the Comic Book Revolution back in 2006. I am excited that DC may finally be returning the Legion of Super-Heroes to the DCU. And I want to try and get as many other readers as excited, too!

Legion of Super-Heroes Timeline

I. Original Legion of Super-Heroes (1958-1994)

A. Pre-Crisis Legion (1958-1986) (April 2007 – August 2013)

1. Silver Age (1958-1970)

Main Titles

Adventure Comics (1958-1970)

Issues 247, 267, 282, 290, 293, 300-380, 398

Action Comics (1960-1970)

 Issues 267, 276, 285, 287, 289, 290, 298, 309, 319, 331, 360, 365, 373, 377-392

Secondary Titles

Superman (1961-1969)

Issues: 147, 149, 152, 155-157, 162, 172, 221

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olson (1963-1969)

Issues 72, 76, 85, 100, 106, 117

Superboy Volume 1 (1961-1968)

Issues 98, 117, 125, 147 

2. Bronze Age (1970-1986)

Main Titles

Adventure Comics (1971)

Issues 403, 409-11

Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olson (1971)

Issue 140

Legion of Super-Heroes Volume 1 (1972-1973)

Issues 1-4

Superboy Volume 1 (Legion of Super-Heroes Back-up Stories) (1971-1973)

Issues 172, 173, 176-178, 180, 181, 183, 184, 185, 188, 190, 191, 193, 195

Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes (1973-1979)

Issues 197-258

Legion of Super-Heroes Volume 2 (1980-1984)

Issues 259-313

Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes (1984-1986)

Issues 314-334

Legion of Super-Heroes Volume 3 (1984-1986)

Issues 1-21

Secondary Titles

Karate Kid (1976-1978)

Issues 1-13

Justice League (1977)

Issues 147, 148

Secrets of the Legion of Super-Heroes (1980-1981)

Issues 1-3

Best of Blue Ribbon Digest (1982)

Issue 20

Legion of Substitute Heroes Special #1


B. Post Crisis Legion (1986-1989)

1. Paul Levitz Post-Crisis Legion (1986-1989)

Main Titles

Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes (1986-1987)

Issues 335-352

Legion of Super-Heroes Volume (1986-1989)

Issues 22-63

Secondary Titles

Legionnaires Three (1986)

Issues 1-4

Cosmic Boy (1986-1987)

Issues 1-4

Superman (1987)

Issue 8

Action Comics (1987)

Issue 591

2. 5 Years Later Legion (1989-1994)

a. TMK Legion  (1989-1992)

Main Title

Legion of Super-Heroes Volume 4 

Issues 1-38

 Secondary Title

Justice League Europe (1991)

Annual #2

b. Transition Legion (1992-1993)

Main Title

Legion of Super-Heroes Volume 4 

Issues 39-50

Secondary Titles

Timber Wolf (1992-1993)

Issues 1-5

Valor (1992-1994)

Issues 1-23

c. Dead Legion (1993-1994)

Main Title

Legion of Super-Heroes Volume 4 

Issues 51-61

Secondary Title

L.E.G.I.O.N. (1994)

Issue 69


II. Legion of Super-Heroes Version 2.0 (Reboot Legion or Zero Hour Legion)

A. Archie Legion (1994-2000) 

Main Titles

Legion of Super-Heroes Volume 4 (1994-2000)

Issues 0, 62-125

Legionnaires (1994-2000)

Issues 0, 19-81

Secondary Titles

Showcase ’95 (1995)

Issue 6

Superboy Volume 3 (1995-1997)

Issues 21 and 45

Superman (1996)

Issue 119

The Adventures of Superman (1996)

Issue 540

Final Night (1996)

Issues 1-4

Showcase ’96 (1996)

Issues 6, 8, 10-12

Genesis (1997)

Issues 1-4

Inferno (1997-1998)

Issues 1-4

Legends of the Legion (1997-1998)

Issues 1-4

Green Lantern Volume 3 (1998)

Issues 98-99

Action Comics (1998)

Issue 741

Adventure Comics 80-Page Giant #1 (1998)

Legion of Super-Heroes Secret Files (1998-1999)

Issues 1-2

Titans-Legion of Super-Heroes – Universe Ablaze (1999-2000)

Issues 1-4


B. DnA Legion (2000-2004)

Main Titles

Legion Lost (2000-2001)

Issues 1-12

Legion World (2001)

Issues 1-6

The Legion (2001-2004)

Issues 1-33

Secondary Titles

Young Justice – Our Worlds at War (2001)

The Legion Secret Files 3003 (2003)

Teen Titans (2004)

Issues 15-16

Teen Titans – Legion Special #1 (2004)

C. Dead Legion Version 2.0 (2004)

The Legion 

Issues 34-38


III. Legion of Super-Heroes Version 3.0 (Threeboot Legion) (December 2004 – March 2009)

A. Mark Waid Legion (December 2004 – May 2007) 

Main Titles

Legion of Super-Heroes Volume 5 (December 2004 – February 2006)

Issues 0, 1-15

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes (March 2006 – May 2007)

Issues 16-30

Secondary Titles

Superman Batman (2005)

Issues 14-18

Infinite Crisis (2006)

Issue 6

B. Transition Legion (June 2007 – November 2007)

Main Title

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes 

Issues 31-36

Secondary Titles

Supergirl (2007)

Issues 21-22

The Brave and the Bold (2007)

Issues 4-6

C. Jim Shooter Legion Version 2.0 (December 2007 – March 2009)

The Legion of Super-Heroes Volume 5 

Issues 37-50


IV. Pre-Crisis Legion (April 2007 – August 2013

A. Countdown to Final Crisis (March 2007 – February 2008) 

Issues 51-0


B. The Lightning Saga (April 2007 – July 2007) 

Justice Society of America (2007)

Issues 1-6

Justice League of America (2007)

Issues 8-10

C. Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes (October 2007 –  April 2008)

Action Comics (2007-2008)

Issues 850, 858-964 


D. Official Return of the Pre-Crisis Legion (August 2008 – June 2010)

Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds (August 2008 – August 2009)

Issues 1-5

Superman – Secret Origin (2009)

Issue 2

Adventure Comics Special One-Shot (January 2009)

Adventure Comics Volume 2 (August 2009 – June 2010)

Issues 1-4, 8-12

Supergirl (June 2010)

Issue #52


E. Paul Levitz Pre-Crisis Legion Part 2 (July 2010 – August 2017)

Adventure Comics Volume 2 (July 2010 – August 2011)

Issues 516-529

Legion of Super-Heroes Volume 6 (May 2010 – August 2011)

Issues 1-16

Legion – Secret Origin (October 2011 – March 2012)

Issues 1-6

Legion Lost Volume 2 (September 2011 – January 2013)

Issues 1-16

Legion of Super-Heroes Volume 7 (September 2011 – August 2013)

Issues 0, 1-23

Justice League United (December 2014 – May 2015)

Annual #1, Issues 6-10

Legion of Super-Heroes – Convergence (June 2015 – July 2015)

Issues 1-2

Legion of Super-Heroes And Bugs Bunny (August 2017)

Issue 1


F. Fourboot Legion (November 2019 – June 2022)

Legion of Super-Heroes – Millenium (November 2019 – December 2019)

Issues 1-2

Legion of Super-Heroes Volume 8 (January 2020 – March 2021)

Issues 1-12

Future State – Legion of Super-Heroes (March 2021 – April 2021)

Issues 1-2

Justice League vs. The Legion of Super-Heroes (January 2022 – June 2022)

Issues 1-6

All right, now you are better armed to tackle my upcoming articles where we break down each time period in the Legion of Super-Heroes chronology and dive deeper into the overall vibe of each time period, the writers who dominated each time period, and which issues you need to go out and read. Long Live the Legion!

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