Or – “Sorta Gives New Meaning to the Phrase ‘1000 Years Later,’ Doesn’t It?”


This book is late.  There was, I believe, a four-month gap between issues two and three, and something like 10 weeks between three and four.  That said, since Final Crisis tie-in miniseries are going to be continuing indefinitely (in order to make the thing actually FINAL) this isn’t that much of a problem for me.  Of course, the Legion’s 50th anniversary has come and gone, and we’re still not sure where the future of the future lies, but that’s okay, too.  (But it also means that my lateness in the Hero Histories is also camouflaged, so I got that goin’ for me. Which is nice…)

Previously, on Legion Of 3 Worlds:  The Clark Kent of Earth-Prime (the villain of Infinite L3W1.jpgCrisis and the Sinestro Corps War, known to Major Spoilerites as Tom Welling-Prime) has been broken out of Takron-Galtos prison by the Time Trapper.  Using his full array of pre-Crisis Kryptonian powers, Prime has managed to hook up with an all-star Legion of Super-Villains, traveled to the future, and basically broken loose all hell.  The Legion of Super-Heroes has called in their reserves, including Clark Kent of New Earth (known to Major Spoilerites as Superman) and also spanned universes to gather the Reboot and Threeboot versions of their team to fight off the LSV, augmented with the likes of Universo, Mordru the Merciless, the Fatal Five, the Taurus Gang, and the League of Super-Assassins.  Using his power of “being the smartest man in this, or any, room” Brainiac 5 has finally tipped his hand as to what exactly was captured in his Lightning Rod a couple of years ago during the Lightning Saga, and freed none other than Bart Allen, Kid Flash, from the Speed Force.

We open in modern-day Metropolis as Danny Blaine, the JSAer known as Starman and the Legionnaire formerly known as Star Boy, goes to work at his night job digging graves.  Starman’s trip to the past has had an extra cost for him, as his mental problems (easily controlled with future medical treatments) have left him quite unstable.  “What’s my name again?” he asks.  “Brainy said I’d help save the future…  He said I’d get a gold star…  They’re VERY hard to come by,” he says to a headstone as he digs.  “Wouldn’t you agree, Mr. Kent?”  A quick cut back to the 31st Century, where we see Timber Wolf-3 and Element Lad-3 (for the purposes of this review, we’ll be identifying the Legionnaires by their iteration: 1 for pre-Crisis, 2 for Reboot, 3 for Threeboot) shocked at the sudden death of Sun Boy-3.  The Legionnaires return to the fight, while Kid Flash attacks Prime, who freaks out at the sight of the speedster that defeated him before.  Bart has a reunion with cousin Jenni (XS of Legion-3), while Brainiac 5-1 explains that they were able to reconstitute part of Bart out of the Speed Force.  Sodam Yat, Mon-El-1 and Shadow Lass-1 arrive and knock Prime off balance, while Brainiac sets off on another tangential plan.

Just as the tide seems turned, the fist of the Time Trapper snags Superman, Lightning Lad-1, Cosmic Boy-1, and Saturn Girl-1 out of the battle to his lair at the end of time.  With that distraction, Prime kills Kinetix of the rebooted Legion.  In his darkened Metropolis apartment, Sun Boy sits, watching the horrors as they occur, listing the death of Karate Kid II-1 (that’s confusing), Kinetix, and… Sun Boy-3.  He puts on his rign, and powers up.  Element Lad-3 and Mon-El-2 knock Prime down with Kryptonite, much to everyone’s surprise, but the panicked Kryptonian kills Element Lad-3, and puts the hurting on Mon-2 before the LSV regroups around him.  Cosmic King transforms the Kryptonite, while a team of all the Brainiacs, Light Lass-3, Gates, Wildfire-1, Dawnstar, and Polar Boy-1 make their way to the Fortress of Solitude, where their last weapon awaits.  Using the hair of Lex Luthor and a Kryptonian healing matrix (Uh oh…  this is starting to make sense) they start a repair process, just as Prime arrives and collapses the ice.  Polar Boy-1 engages the Kryptonian while Wildfire and Dawnstar try to figure out Brainiac’s device, but ice powers pretty much do nothing.  Prime prepares to kill Polar Boy-1, but is knocked out of the sky by a blast of red sun radiation.  “Sun Boy!”  Wildfire and Dawnstar come to terms with both their relationship and and the device, and just as Prime prepares to kill the fire and ice team, Wildfire gets his attention, indicating that the Legion just got another Superman…  “CALL ME SUPERBOY!” screams Kon-El, knocking the evil Prime out of the sky.  At the dawn of time, Superman rips off the purple sheet of the Time Trapper to reveals his real face…  the face of  Tom Welling-Prime!

Well…  That was… kind of stupid, actually.  I’m really bothered by that revelation, presuming it’s actually true and all.  Either way, this issue is jam-packed with all sorts of revelations, and reminds me more than anything of the first Crisis, where characters we recognized got one panel or word balloon to describe themselves before they were annihilated.  I’m not sure what the overall effect of this series is meant to be yet, but right now, it feels like “Teen Titans Resurrection Theatre,” and the lack of focus is hurting this book.  Sun Boy-1 is back, but there’s not explanation of why he felt the death of Sun Boy-3, and there’s just far too much going unexplained (Mordru absorbing Kinetix essence, how and why Kryptonite suddenly works on Prime, Dawnstar’s sudden change of heart) and a few too many characters that aren’t Legion related for my taste.  If this has input on Final Crisis (which I doubt) I could see it, but having Sodam and Kid Flash and Kon-El just feels as though we’re cycling through Geoff Johns’ greatest hits.  Which is too bad, actually, since the art is pretty awesome, and the seeming point of this series (to streamline Legion continuity) is theoretically workable.  Legion of 3 Worlds #4 only ranks 2 out of 5 stars from me, for general impenetrability.  The last chapter could bring this whole thing to a rocking close, or it could end up like the series it shares it’s name with: a big event, full of sound and fury, signifying only increase profits for DC.


The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. Kirby
    May 3, 2009 at 9:00 pm — Reply

    This one didn’t seem to have as much cool character moments or “Find your favoriate Legionaire from your era” thing to it.

  2. Bean525
    May 3, 2009 at 9:14 pm — Reply

    That reveal kind of killed my theory that TW-Prime is from Threeboot Earth-Prime. That’s still possible, but I expected him to actually get rehabilitated and find his own place finally, like they alluded to in issue 1. I still hope that’s the case, I suppose it depends on how mutable time is.

  3. shamon
    May 3, 2009 at 9:43 pm — Reply

    So you guys can now say superboy or superboy prime instead of tom welling prime now.

  4. shamon
    May 3, 2009 at 9:51 pm — Reply

    he wikipedia entry refered (from their superboy prime page) :
    Furious, Superboy-Prime pounds on the barrier of reality. This assault causes ripples that alter reality, which is used as an explanation for character changes and retcons in DC continuity.[4]

    These changes include:

    * Jason Todd’s return.
    * Superman’s multiple origins, including The Man of Steel and Superman: Birthright, combining.
    * The Doom Patrol’s rebooting as new characters, including Elasti-Girl.
    * Donna Troy’s multiple origins after the first Crisis.
    * Various incarnations of Hawkman.
    * The different incarnations of the Legion of Super-Heroes since the first Crisis.

    As a result of these actions, “punching time”, and “retcon punch” have come to be internet and comic-book fan slang for retcons and changes to canon that do not make popular sense.

    The Time Trapper in every story since he was created has tried to tinker with the reality of the Legion of superheroes to his own view (with the goal to destroy their inspiration from Superman).
    And what has actually really affected the legion reality (rebooting them and modifying the whole story each time) was actually Prime.

    So in regards to this point, Prime being the current Time Trapper is really making sense.

    But now while we know his current identity, let’s think a bit on the real nature of the Time Trapper.
    The Time Trapper has been several other characters :

    -A Controller


    -Rokk Krinn




    Lori Morning


    Wikipedia says that the Time Trapper has been characterised too as “the living embodiment of Entropy in the Universe.”

    And i begin to wonder if this last part is not in fact really what the Time Trapper is : not an individual but an entity, and to explain the various identities it has been living through up to currently Prime, maybe it is a part of the “life cycle” of this entity.

    While an human may just grow in size and shape with getting older, a reptilian use the moulting process to grow when getting older, etc… maybe that entity is in fact can only develop by being one with an individual, anchoring itself inside.
    Or it could be a symbiotic form of existence, a bit like Ion/Parralax.

    That may explain why Prime Trapper may feature powers that do not seem to have anything usually kryptonian. He could just be tapping into the entity that is within him.

  5. shamon
    May 3, 2009 at 9:51 pm — Reply

    The Time Trapper has always had powers that are very Earth-Prime-like. The only bounds on an Earth-Prime individual are those imposed by the writers actually on Earth-Prime.

    Morrison refers to the Time Tailors and a rogue one, which could very well be the Time Trapper. Anyone with these sorts of powers certainly could change their appearance and/or who they are in this or these worlds. Superboy Prime I believe has always been characterized by Johns as a fanboy and he reminds me of Cary Bates back in that old JLA #123-124. The main person who could stop him was Elliot S Maggin. Both of them were from Earth-Prime and gained amazing powers here. This stuff also reminds me of Kang the Conqueror and his relation to Immortus over at some rival comic company.

    in the end though this whole Lo3W series reminds me very very much of COIE except it seems that 12 issues of stuff is getting packed into five here. It still feels very similar and I love it in the same way, but sometimes it seems that things like deaths and certain battles need to have more attention paid to them. COIE at times had the same problem. I can see though why there has been a delay while sorting out the balance of this stuff because it’s all so packed.

    Now the Time Trapper/Prime connection was cool, but the main mystery to me was where did the kryptonite that could affect Prime come from? Cosmic King just happened to arrive on the scene to take care of that huh? Another thing I like to know is how Conner compares to Prime now after spending so long regenerating and hibernating. I also noticed the Bart appears to be speed force powered up. He is so fast that even a Superboy Prime with superspeed can’t seem to hit him or XS for that matter. Bart can even stop for a minute and discuss a thing or two with XS and still avoid Prime’s blasts. It’s nice to see Ion/Sodam Yat get involved too and I agree there should have been more space devoted to that.

    I had thought that the big bad evil of Final Crisis was to turn out to be a living embodiment of entropy, but entropy would want to collapse the whole infinite multiverse down to a packed single point where it encompasses everything and is everything to where there is no life, no movement, no heat just black nothingness. Pieces of that idea are here and also in the ALE and this coming Blackest Night and other places. It’s sort of like the ultimate black hole.

  6. Ricco
    May 3, 2009 at 9:58 pm — Reply

    @Bean: the fact that Elemtal Lad 3’s kryptonite hurted him may mean that you are right. We don’t know what happened, if anything, to Earth-Prime after 52. It could have merged or become Earth, whatever the threebooted Legion’s Earth is from, kind of like how Earth-2 has it’s own Power Girl now, it changed itself to fill in the void. The Multiverse may have created a continuity for Tom Welling-Prime, one were he’s from the the threebooted Legion’s Earth…

  7. Bean525
    May 3, 2009 at 9:59 pm — Reply

    Of course this is speculation, but I figured since it was Element Lad-3 making the kryptonite, and it affects S-Boy Prime, that therefore Element Lad and the threeboot are in fact, from Earth-Prime. Even since Waid introduced them in the Titans/Legion Special it’s been pretty obvious, seeing as they have ‘our’ word’s comics and stuff.

  8. Ricco
    May 3, 2009 at 10:08 pm — Reply

    @Shamon: Time Trapper is a plot device to allow the authors to freely mess with continuity, that’s all. In that regard, yes he’s very Tom Welling punch like.
    He’s the Legion’s Q (Trek, not Bond) a way for authors to create stories impossible for the current paradigm of the Legion.

  9. steviecool
    May 3, 2009 at 10:12 pm — Reply

    Wasn’t Time Trapper also a Batgirl from an unknown universe in Zero Hour that faded away?

  10. ykw
    May 4, 2009 at 12:35 am — Reply

    “and a few too many characters that aren’t Legion related for my taste”

    Beyond Sodam (and, arguably, Prime — although his use here vis-a-vis the LSV is a mirror of Superman’s presence within/around the LSH, so it’s at least thematically related), who isn’t Legion-related?

    Bart was -born- within the general Legion era (the E-247 stuff kinda makes it tough to pinpoint whether that was just before or actually during the time the reboot team was operating), and Kon was a full-fledged =member= of the reboot team.

    It’s not like Geoff threw in Stargirl or Hawkman (unless we’re getting the revelation in #5 that Dawny and Wildfire are the 31st Century incarnations of Carter and Shiera; it fits, y’know), just for gits-n-shiggles.

  11. Red Star
    May 4, 2009 at 2:01 am — Reply

    It was a good read for me, but I do understand why some people might find it hard to read. By chance, I follow much of Geoff Johns work so I understand all the references and plot lines in this series, but if I didn’t follow Geoff’s stories and core group of characters, I don’t think I would take as much enjoyment from it. Just like in the actual Final Crisis series of which I didn’t get the full impact. I don’t follow Grant Morrison’s work or even other things that where supposed to have built towards the event.
    I like to think of this series as a means to clear up plot holes, so future-better stories can be told, and it’s supposed to be fun because of that.

    ps It’s 2am, so I’m sorry if this doesn’t make sense.

  12. brainypirate
    May 4, 2009 at 2:03 pm — Reply

    I dropped out of the comic book market long before Bart and Conner had been created, so I was much more excited to see Dawny and Wildfire hold hands than to see either of the dead Titans return.

    Plus, Dawny’s on the cover of issue #5!!! Huzzah!!!!

    And thanks to YOUR Hero Histories, I understood enough about Polar Boy to really appreciate his big scene in this issue — he really is a great character!

  13. ~wyntermute~
    May 4, 2009 at 8:35 pm — Reply

    I _REALLLLLLLLLLLLY_ liked Starman’s doodle on the Kryptonian Healing Matrix. I also kick myself for not being able to figure out which “Kent” that was the grave of. I have nothing more to say that is either relevant or true. :) Oh, except for “I think shamon’s two posts were very well researched and written. Gold Star for him.”

  14. Dave
    May 5, 2009 at 12:21 pm — Reply

    Any known reason why the publishing schedule for this has gone to shit? Johns? Perez? DC? His fault; their fault; what?

  15. Adam
    May 5, 2009 at 4:07 pm — Reply

    I’m just glad Kon-El is back!

  16. August 23, 2009 at 2:45 am — Reply

    I am betting Perez myself.
    I hope they bring Mon-el back to his former self. He was always a stalwart of the legion. His connection with Superboy/man was what alot of the character was based on. In the old Legion when Superboy died in his arms after the fight in the pocket universe that was really powerful writing.

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