This week, on the Major Spoilers Podcast, Matthew, Rodrigo, and Stephen take a look at The Great Darkness Saga.

The Great Darkness Saga
Writer: Paul Levitz, Keith Giffen
Artist: Keith Giffen, Larry Mahlstedt

The godlike Darkseid emerges in the 30th century with an ingenious plot to finally conquer the universe in this Deluxe Edition hardcover of Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen’s timeless Legion of Super-Heroes epic! Not only is THE GREAT DARKNESS SAGA collected here for the first time in hardcover, this edition also includes several LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES issues written by Levitz that have never before been collected in any format!

Using his faithful minions to acquire all of the mystic artifacts of the time, Darkseid gains mental control over a race of three billion all-powerful beings. Now, as their universe teeters on the edge of Armageddon, the Legion of Super-Heroes amass their own army of every champion who ever held the status of Legionnaire to stand against the Dark Lord and his invincible soldiers. But as the Legion suffers defeat after defeat, they realize that salvation and victory rest in the hands of a mysterious baby that has aged into adulthood before their very eyes!

This is the perfect edition of the classic Levitz storyline that was decades ahead of its time and still stands as one of DC’s most enthralling superhero tales! Collects LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #284-296 and ANNUAL #1.

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  1. While I enjoy this story, I think that The Great Darkness Saga is very much a product of its time. I came into comics when Darkseid was in every other event & crossover, while this was written when no one else but Jack Kirby had apparently ever used him and seeing him in the “main” DCU was stunning & radical. It’s a solid action story with a good slow build, but time & editorial have weakened its main reveal, at least to me. It brought my favorite Legionnaire (White Witch) into the Legion, it’s a suitably epic battle, and it still has some great character moments (Garth coming out of his fever delirium to save his wife, the bickering over the election & Dream Girl’s solid leadership, Ayla’s burn-out, and the cute bit at the end with Supergirl & Brainiac 5). But the years have weakened its punch.

    I like that this new hardcover begins with the annual & the whole Computo story before it even reaches the title story. I’m sure it’ll confuse people who are used to the modern storytelling where everything has a definitive ending to make a nice, neat trade, and I understand; I just think it’s neat to see something from the era where each comic was expected to feed into the next issue without tidy story breaks to force readers into their next monthly fix. My only real complaints are (a) I liked the redrawn side-story Keith Giffen did in the old TPB (I like his blockier style more than his earlier style), (b) they should’ve included the annual that had the reveal of what Darkseid’s curse was, and (c) they really should’ve reprinted the awesome poster from the TPB.

    Honestly, I’d recommend it to either Legion nuts like me (who should know about it already) or people interested in comics history who are curious about its legendary status. A modern casual reader would probably be a bit baffled about why it’s such a big deal.

    • I was surprised to hear that this edition did not include the reveal of the curse so I did some “google-ing”. Apparently this is the first volume in a series. The next volume due out in 9/2011 is titled “Legion of Super-Heroes: The Curse Deluxe Edition (hardcover)” and should cover Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 2, #297-313, Annual #2-3…

      To me this was the time when the LSH was firing on all pistons and would HIGHLY recommend these volumes as “the best of” for the Legion. The angst you will feel after reading these will help current readers understand why we long for the Legion glory days…

      Can’t wait to hear this one!!

  2. I’m sort of disappointed with Darksied. All I ever wanted was the epic tale of him taking on the New Gods and finally making his play for Earth, going head to head with Superman. And instead I got Final Crisis. With a name so epic it was just sooo…. anticlimactic.

  3. I had just started to collect comics a few issues before the “Great Darkness Saga”.I had read comics before but I never collected them.All my friends were into X-Men or Teen Titans at the time but something caught my interest with this Legion.From the “Prelude to Darkness” up until the full reveal and the outcome I was totally hooked.Legion became my number 1 title for the rest of my collecting days(which lasted until the Zero Hour reboot of the Legion,haven’t been back since).And look what this story did!It brought Darkseid into the forefront of DC.He had only been in New Gods up until this point and it was because of this story that he was used as the biggest,baddest villain in the DCU.
    Even after the Crisis,this story still has relevance and impact.I wish I could say the same for the storylines afterwards.

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