Comics fans, on the whole, are an opinionated lot, and as a long-time fan of the Legion of Super-Heroes, I’m counted among the most passionate (and dichotomous) fan bases of all.  When DC announced the cancellation of LSH in favor of a fifth book in their JLA franchise, though, I was honestly a little bit relieved (mostly because Levitz Legion 2.0 was a moribund and frankly depressing piece of the team’s storied history.)  Still, the replacement of the world’s largest and most diverse super-team with more Batman and more Superman exemplified the accelerating trend in comics and comic-based media over the last fifteen years: A narrowing of concepts and characters to fit the ever-shrinking audience.  Batman ’89 was an incredibly successful movie, and so, nearly all the super-hero movies since, right up through ‘Man Of Steel’, have aped its tone.  In comics, even the most light-hearted heroes (*coughElongatedMancough*) have been saddled with tragedy, leaving us with a landslide dead wives, dead mommies and daddies, while Superman himself has been transformed into a vengeful, neck-snapping anti-hero in the Dark Knight vein.

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) doesn’t want to hate Justice League 3000 for what it represents, but isn’t sure that bias will be easily overcome, asking: Is there any place for the Legion of Super-Heroes, or ANY off-the-Batman-track concept in comics any more?

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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12 Comments

  1. October 10, 2013 at 12:44 pm — Reply

    There’s always a place for them as long as there are readers willing to shell out money to buy the books.

  2. Kirby
    October 10, 2013 at 12:49 pm — Reply

    There should/needs to be because, I’m sick and tired of everyone trying to be Batman. As a result sick of the character himself. I want fun back in DCU. Bring back the Dibnys as fun & loving as they should be.

  3. October 10, 2013 at 1:43 pm — Reply

    You strike at the heart of things nicely with this QOTD. There MUST be a place for the LSH as was. I, too, grow weary of dark, gritty, tragic stories without respite. There are other reasons to be a hero.
    While I didn’t dislike the latest LSH as much as you did, I agree that it was flawed, and the deepest flaw was buying into the darkness. (That was the biggest problem with the DnA version, too, although the stories at least had motion and complexity.) The Legion works because of its optimism. I’m beginning to fear that comics have left that behind. Two years into the New 52, I’m dropping titles faster than they’re cancelling. Pretty sad.

  4. October 10, 2013 at 2:10 pm — Reply

    LOSH and the many variations of the team seem to be the undoing of DC in terms of keeping continuity straight (yeah, have fun with that). The time travel aspect appears to screw up almost everything it touches, imo.

  5. Ian
    October 10, 2013 at 4:49 pm — Reply

    Of course there is room for more than Batman. THere is also Wolverine and Deadpool.

  6. October 10, 2013 at 9:38 pm — Reply

    as Kirby stated, there needs to be more than just Batman “themed” or Superman “themed” books. just because it works does not mean that that’s what everyone should do. I mean, yes I have a few books that fall into this category, street level, non super, hero that defeats crime. and a few that are super powered heros, but I read books that are not based around those like Locke and Key, Saga, Walking Dead (until I got bored), Chew, and Grimm Fairy Tales/Wonderland. There is definitely more offered by companies. the only issue is you need to look outside Marvel and DC for anything outside of Superhero styled books.

    • October 10, 2013 at 9:42 pm — Reply

      added to this is that, since I misread the question, is that we need other heroes, not just batman and superman, it leads to interesting stories and characters, I mean bouncing boy, iron lad, firestorm, granted Batman and Superman are the original superheroes, the two of them can only do so much.

  7. slimeknight
    October 10, 2013 at 10:49 pm — Reply

    I’ll make the case that wonder woman isn’t a brooding batman style of book but is definitely a superman style book. To the point though there are plenty of books outside of DC that aren’t all dark and brooding but within DC proper probably not since batman and superman are their most recognized and the batman movies did so well.

  8. bob
    October 11, 2013 at 9:13 am — Reply

    I think there is still a place for the Legion.It was my favourite team growing up. It needs a writer who can utilize every element of the team,not just the dark part. Levitz did his best writing with the Great Darkness saga. Story lines after that weren’t as good. Giffen did a good job with the 5 year gap but left it dark on purpose. So we need a writer that can balance the 2. Geoff Johns,Grant Morrison come to mind.
    Long Live the Legion!

  9. October 12, 2013 at 11:52 am — Reply

    There is absolutely a place for the Legion. I am a huge longtime fan of the group and have read through multiple incarnations of them.
    While I am not a huge fan of the Archie Legion, one thing that they did get right was that the LSH was about teenagers. The WKRP or most recent reboots forgot that other than the occasional “Eat it Grandpa” comment or brief reflection on age. More often even the 14 year olds appear to be acting like they belong on the Young and the Restless or Desperate Houswives and about to suffer a midlife crisis.
    My favourite incarnation was that which Levitz attempted to return to, unfortunately is was too heavily laden with plotlines and threads and continuity for even a longtime fan to enjoy. In the 70’s they could have a Main story, and easy subplot that gets resolved within a few issues and a second story featuring one or two characters. Pull away some of the complexity, and de-Batmanize some of the characters and you may have something.
    In this day and age to still give every everyone an edge has taken away some of the hope in the previous incarnation. The future used to look bright even with the rough edges. Turning the future into something evil and twisted tears into the fabric of them being a CLUB of KIDS who want to help. Even with their training, they are not real soldiers and the more they are treated that way the more I am turned off.

  10. October 13, 2013 at 1:07 am — Reply

    I think that not allowing the Legion to interact with 21st Century DC Universe via time travel is a buzz kill for the Legion. I think they also need a 21st Century Universe that’s worth time traveling to & clearly the New52 DCU isn’t. I also think that Dan Didio & other higher ups @ DC don’t like the Legion.

    • October 13, 2013 at 11:51 am — Reply

      There’s evidence for all your points, as sad as that is. :)

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