The DC Comics April 2023 solicitations delivered quite a surprise for Legion of Super-Heroes fans. We got the cover for Batman Superman World’s Finest #14 which showed off the original three Legionnaires in full glory flying alongside Kal-El. It has been a while since we have seen any Legionnaires in a DC comic book. But, there was even bigger news than just the return of the Legionnaires to a DC comic.
The real news here is that we are getting the return of the real Legion of Super-Heroes! Yup. Gone is the abomination known as the Bendis Legion. We criticized this move by DC Comics when it was first announced. Brian Bendis was a spectacular failure for DC Comics as everything he did sold poorly. Bendis had the reverse Midas touch at DC Comics. The Legion of Super-Heroes was no different.
Bendis reimagined the Legion of Super-Heroes in a horrific way. It was obvious that Bendis had no knowledge of the Legion. Bendis clearly did not understand the mission statement of the Legion or the secret sauce that made the franchise so excellent. Bendis had a limited understanding of the various Legionnaires. Again, Bendis’s failure to do any research on a franchise was hardly surprising. Bendis delivering yet another full reboot of the Legion was also a massive mistake especially since Geoff Johns did a good job cleaning up the Legion’s messy continuity with his work on Action Comics and Legions of Three Worlds. You can check out our timeline of the Legion’s convoluted chronology. Delivering yet another full reboot was just idiotic and unnecessarily muddying the Legions’ continuity once again.
Bendis’ Legion came across as a lame reimagining by a person who had no knowledge or love for the Legion franchise. Well, you know who has a love for the Legion? Mark Waid. Look, I won’t lie. I had some big problems with Waid’s Threeboot Legion. But, at least it was obvious that Waid knew the Legion’s history and loved the franchise.
At any rate, it looks like DC Comics is wisely relegating the Bendis Legion to the trash bin and we can all happily forget it. Instead, DC Comics is delivering us the real Legion of Super-Heroes. Given the events of Dark Crisis and the return of the original Multiverse from the 1980s, this move is completely logical. The Bendis Legion can be written off as a weird Legion from a random multiverse that Jon Kent somehow traveled to and thought was his Earth’s future. The real Legion can easily be brought back because Geoff Johns already established the real Legion as the Legion of Earth-One with the Legion of Three Worlds. The re-establishing of the original Multiverse from the 1980s makes it even easier to fully integrate the Levitz Legion back as the main Legion in the DCU.
Let’s take a closer look at the three original Legionnaires on this cover. Cosmic Boy is wearing a costume that looks very similar to his tenth and eleventh costumes from the 1980s. The only missing details are the metal bands around the ends of his gloves and the tops of his boots. Other than that, this looks just like the 1980s Cosmic Boy. Rokk also has the same hairstyle from the 1980s.
Saturn Girl is wearing a costume that looks like her ninth and eleventh costumes from the 1980s. The only real difference is that Saturn Girl’s costume on the cover of World’s Finest looks more pink and less magenta than the 1980s costume. Other than that, the costume designs are the same. Saturn Girl even sports the same hairstyle that she had when she wore her ninth costume. So, Saturn Girl definitely looks like her 1980s version, too.
Lastly, we have Lightning Lad. Our favorite Ginger has always had a consistent design language so it is a bit harder to pick out the era that this costume is most similar to. Lightning Lad is wearing a costume that looks similar to his fifth costume from the 1970s and his sixth costume from the 1980s. However, upon closer inspection, we can see that Lighting Lad’s twin lightning bolts do not touch each other at the ends. There is a small space between the bottom tips of the lightning bolts.
These bolts actually touch each other at the ends in his fifth costume from the 1970s. While there is a small space between the ends of the bolts in the sixth costume from the 1980s. So, here we have Garth wearing his 1980s costume, too.
Now, Lighting Lad had short hair in the 1980s. Garth did not start rocking longer hair until the 2000s. However, when Johns had the Levitz Legion return to the DCU in Action Comics, Garth was sporting longer hair.
So, here we are looking at the return of the real Legion. The Pre-Crisis Levitz Legion that Geoff Johns did a good job weaving back into the DCU. I hope that this is a sign that DC Comics is looking to pick up where Johns left off and continue to focus on the Pre-Crisis Levitz Legion going forward. This certainly makes the most sense given the ending of Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths.
I hope that the new course for the DCU spinning out of Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths will see the return of the real Legion. DC Comics had made great efforts to clean up the Legion’s continuity with the return of the Pre-Crisis Levitz Legion. Bringing back the Pre-Crisis Levitz Legion would make logical sense given the current composition and direction of the DCU. We will certainly be rolling out an article that lays out the blueprint for DC Comics to bring the Pre-Crisis Levitz Legion back to the DCU with a cast of characters that will make the current editors happy. Until then, Long Live the Legion!