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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 11 July 2019 at 9:59am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

I'm thinking about teams - not even super heroes necessarily.

The X-Men were obviously all mutants.

The Teen Titans were sidekicks (okay, partners.)

The Challengers of the Unknown were in a common catastrophe together. Ditto that for the Fantastic Four.

The Metal Men were obviously a team of... well, metallic robots.

And I doubt I need to describe the rationale for the Green Lantern Corps.

Then, we have some groups that seemed to be just kinda flung together. The Justice League of America had (just about?) everyone who had their own book.

The Avengers were just Marvel's biggest characters who weren't Spider-Man or the Fantastic Four.

The Legion of Super-Heroes were a group of teens with super powers, but not a lot in common. Not all aliens, and not all Terrans.

The Defenders were the most powerful heroes not in a team current to their creation.

The Doom Patrol were the "freaks" who teamed up... but Niles Caulder was only a superior intellect in a wheelchair, and anyone who thought Rita Farr was a "freak" needed serious therapy.k

So let's give YOU a crack at it. Give me a team that has a theme to it. Similar powers, a family, a common event that teamed them up... even the same color clothing. For example, Marvel assembled something of a robot squad at one point in an Avengers story. So... Machine Man, the Vision, Jocasta, etc. could be their own group.

Similarly, were there members of team who were just too out of place? Or heroes that should have been in another team? A lot of people think that Metamorpho and Aquaman might have been beest suited to join the Doom Patrol.

What do you think?
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Phillip L Lightfoot
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Posted: 11 July 2019 at 2:57pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Metamorpho and The Creeper for Doom Patrol!

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Doug Centers
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Posted: 11 July 2019 at 4:05pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Remember this team-up. I snatched it off the spinner rack quick.
Image result for monster team up marvel

While Ghost Rider is somewhat at home here, he was out of place on the Champions.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 11 July 2019 at 5:19pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

The unifying element of the Avengers and JLA, I believe, was that they were the varsity team, the principal representatives of their respective companies. If Spidey's personality and appeal didn't depend, early on, upon his being a misfit and unable to get along with anyone for long, he'd have been an Avenger. It was simply more fun for him to never make the University team; to never be a star player. 

When Marvel decided he'd "grown up enough" to be a front-line superstar, a lot of what made Spidey so enjoyable went out the window. Cap was a winner. Thor, clearly. Tony, obviously. Hank and Jan were the starry-eyed romantics, the homecoming king and queen, so in love they made everyone a little sick, and Jan still played the flirt despite that. The Hulk was the biggest and the strongest one there is. These guys deserved to be at the top. Spidey may have, too, but he didn't get along with winners. Soon, the Hulk's irascibility had him walking out. Not everyone can play at Varsity level. 

That was one of the things I loved about Tigra's original run on the team. Tigra's great. She's a million-and-one cool things all stuffed into an attractive, tiger-striped carrying case, but not everyone gets to be a star. Being an Avenger is a tough gig. You can be the best musician on Earth and still not be able to play arena shows. That's a separate, albeit closely related ability. When the lights come up and the crowd roars, the Avengers can deliver, day in and day out. Not everyone can, and it kind of cheapens the thrill of the book when every Tom, Dick, and Harry is shown a someone who can "make the team." *

This is the central flaw of the Legion, I believe. They're shown as the varsity of their era, but we never saw them as stars before they joined the team. None of them qualify the way that Superman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern have proven themselves to make the grade prior to the establishment of the League. Kids get a bunch of money from a rich guy, build a clubhouse, hang out together, and suddenly, they are the creme-de-la-creme, ne plus of everything a super-hero can be in the 30th Century. 

One or the other, guys, please. Either they're a loose-knit group of kidlets held together by a common belief that doing good is a good thing to do or they're all Aces, the Best of the Best, Maverick, Iceman, and Goose with flight rings that make them the fighter jets. Having them be both rings hollow. 

Worse, it makes them really hard to like when they kick applicants to the curb. It's not just that those rejected broke a rule or didn't try out well; they failed to make the grade among the kick-ass and super-elite. You're kind of left wanting a "Revenge of the Nerds"-style smackdown laid down on these Legion prigs, and as JB pointed out, they didn't make all that great an impression in the first place, hazing Superboy in their first appearance and making the guy cry with their cruel shenanigans. 

The hazing scenario works for either version of the team I'm talking about. Clubs haze so that's kind of a kid-club thing to do. Who else hazes? Entitled assholes and militaristic hardliners; the guaranteed success stories of the next generation and razor-edged Seal Teams who need to cut the wheat from the chaff and bully the weak into either surviving or failing entirely. Making the Legion both a kid's club and the elite, frontline protection for the Earth really makes them a hard sell, especially when they're already segregated off in their own easily-ignored corner of the DC story-telling universe. Seriously, who needs them if they're going to behave this way? **

Okay... so, the Invaders were the WWII era Varsity. The Liberty Legion was everyone else trying to do their best in a difficult era.  The Justice Society were DC's WWII Varsity team. The All-Star Squadron was them and everybody else, an exercise in unbridled fannish list making. FDR called on every mystery man and woman in America to band together at the old World's Fair building and make a difference, and times being what they were, everyone showed up. It's... interesting, but I don't know that I ever bought it. I don't think everyone would see themselves in that same light, but hey, that was the premise so you go with it or God go with you. 

What does any of this have to do with the decisions I would make in forming my own teams or adding and subtracting members from existing ones? Absolutely nothing at this point. 

I'm looking forward to trying to do that soon, but I just felt like riffing on the idea of "team themes" for a moment... You know, pointless digressions like this one are only one reason I never make the A-Team myself. :-)

* Cap's Kooky Quartet was a brilliant innovation on the concept, showing Cap taking the Jr. Varsity and moving them up to A-Player status. Unfortunately, once that was established, everyone wanted to bring up this other player. And this other one. And this one, too. And so on and so on...

** I actually really like the Legion, by the way. They just really need to fix this tone problem they have. Are they the JLA or the Goonies? Using one premise to get to the other simply doesn't play well.


Edited by Brian Hague on 11 July 2019 at 5:52pm
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 11 July 2019 at 5:46pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Eric Sofer wrote: "...and anyone who thought Rita Farr was a "freak" needed serious therapy."

In Mark Waid's reinvention of the team, Rita was the one who felt she was a freak, and yes, she did need therapy. I prefer the original notion that she was originally regarded as somewhat freakish in her personal life and profession and so sought comfort with the others, but as time went by, and her ability to "pass" as normal became more of an issue, it was revealed that the gases that gave her her powers had poisoned her and she was slowly dying, requiring her to stay with the Chief since his medical knowledge was her only hope of survival.

Yes, that unfortunately plays into the pathetically cynical modern take on the Chief, that he is a heartless, manipulative bastard, autocratically playing with the team's lives for his own perverse purposes, but back in the day, it read as a sincere reason for Rita to remain on board when the promise of wealth, happiness, marriage, and a renewed career onscreen became very real things. It also made sense that she would not publicize this to her friends and created something of a bond between her and the Chief. I found it all touching.

Any time there is a sense of trust, there is a concurrent possibility for betrayal. That so many play only that note with the Doom Patrol is unimaginative and very, very sad. 


Edited by Brian Hague on 11 July 2019 at 6:05pm
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Eric Jansen
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Posted: 11 July 2019 at 6:19pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

There are a couple of "almost-teams" I'd like to see somebody make work, with the right name and raison d'etre..

"HEROES FOR HIRE"--Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Misty Knight, Colleen Wing, El Aguila (remember him?), maybe White Tiger and some version of Sons of the Tiger (Daughters of the Dragon and Sons of the Tiger!)--all are connected in some way, all are "street level" heroes, all the big ones wear regular clothes (except Iron Fist, but I could live with him going plain clothes), etc.  But the "heroes for hire" premise wouldn't work for most of these, so they'd need an actual team name.  With Jessica Jones (love the show but never cared for her in the comics) and Daredevil, Luke and Danny were recently relaunched as THE DEFENDERS, but that didn't last.

"THE DEFENDERS"--I might prefer a new "Defenders" made up of "weirdos" Spider-Woman and Moon Knight and their connected allies the Shroud and Werewolf by Night, but that would also require a good writer figuring out how to make that work and who else to include.


Edited by Eric Jansen on 12 July 2019 at 2:10am
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 12 July 2019 at 8:53am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Well, Brian H., let's chat.

You're right about the Legion's inability to discern between, "Hey! We can use my dad's barn as a clubhouse!" and "We have no hope if the Legion can't stop Mordru!" 

And I kinda thought it was a dickish move heckling Superboy. Unless their historical records indicated that Superboy would join the Legion (which was cheating), they couldn't know that he might just take offense, and never return.

As for the membership... it did seem uneven to allow Triplicate Girl in as practically a charter member. "Look that Carggian! NOBODY splits into three as well as she does!"

Incidentally, I'll point out Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #212, "Last Fight for a Legionnaire", where a team of Legion rejects DID band up and battle the Legion. As a result of the Legion's mystifying membership policy, the Legion never admitted (or even considered, as far as I can tell) Calorie Queen to replace Matter-Eater Lad, even though she converted what she ate into limited super strength. How is this in any way not superior to long time member Matter-Eater Lad?

Oh, and I loved the Legion too! Still do, and I wish they were back. I might even consider buying a new comic on that behalf...

The Doom Patrol - I loved the Doom Patrol. I've made the case before that this was a Marvel title published by DC. As for Rita... well, I was kinda referring to the DP in the 60s, so her issues that were created after the fact just don't feel right to me. I remembered that she was dying from that poison gas... but I don't think that put her in any worse condition than a cancer victim, save that she had one of the world's greatest intellects working on her problem.
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 12 July 2019 at 11:34am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I think I simply love any kind of variety team because it's more super characters than other comics. Do they get along? Where do they hang out on their free time? Are the secret headquarters interesting? Do they have cool shared equipment with logos? The Legion scored pretty high on all those, then The Avengers. JLA had a satellite, hard to compete with that although The FF's Baxter building would be at least a nine and a half out of ten.

The Legion Of Super-Pets; they were all pets... except Proty II wasn't.

The X-Men were mutations, feared by others, and even wore black and yellow like the 'danger radioactive substances' label! It kind of blew it for me a bit where The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver were accepted by The Avengers... like maybe there could've been an instinctual level thing where humans (like Jarvis at least) are very nervous and distrusting around 'those' creatures.

A shared origin/experience team is too easy to get wrong and be boring with near identical appearances or getting along well.

Weird War Tales had The Creature Commandos who were Frankenstein, Dracula, The Werewolf and Medusa (with the green snakes hair) in uniform, and I seem to remember a gorilla squad of gorillas somewhere along those same lines.


Edited by Rebecca Jansen on 12 July 2019 at 11:39am
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 12 July 2019 at 4:45pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Weird War Tales' Creature Commandoes were actually Vincent  Velcro, a soldier experimented upon to crave blood and turn into a bat, Lucky Taylor, who was ripped apart by a land mine and sewn back together, mute, and Warren Griffiths, a kind-hearted country farmboy stricken with murderous lycanthropy. They were assigned to the same unit as a form of psychological warfare against the enemy, since, as the theory went, we are all essentially frightened of the same things regardless of culture. Dr. Medusa, who joined later, was exposed to strange gases (those again!) that mutated her hair into a nest of serpents. As far as I know, they never met the "real" Dracula, Frankenstein, or Werewolf. And yes, there was a team of Nazi gorillas called the Primate Platoon! Weird War Tales was some sort of bizarre launching site for the best and weirdest things that could be done. :-)

The upping of Proty II to full sentience was a later Paul Levitz innovation that strongly works against the idea of the Super-Pets as pets. Like the frogs, rats, et al in Walt Simonson's Central Park story in Thor, I don't think we were ever supposed to believe that the animals were truly thinking in complete sentences and using language. Their thoughts were meant to denote awareness of new situations, intent, loyalty, etc. but not to be taken literally. Levitz, who laughed up his sleeve at Legion history quite often, took that idea out for a fannish spin and, as he often did, crashed the concept and left the pieces for others to pick up. As long as some yoks could be had, it was all good by him and Giffen. 

Rita's illness is from the original Drake/Premiani run in the 60's. That wasn't tacked on by other writers. 

I think the LSH went wrong specifically under Levitz' hand during the Earthwar saga when they became, for all practical purposes, Earth's Last Line of Defense against alien invaders. The kid gang who wanted to help out in emergencies became the Avengers and were forever after seen as the Best There Is At What They Do and what they did was... hang out at the clubhouse and play three-dimensional D&D. It was an odd dichotomy to make them the razor's edge for Earth's survival and try to retain their charming application process and clubhouse mentality. 

Triplicate Girl definitely spoke to their purest "clubhouse" days. She wasn't the BEST OF THE BEST Carggians who ever put on three pair of boots in the morning. She was a kid who could do something cool the other kids in the club couldn't. Same with Bouncing Boy. Same with Matter-Eater Lad. "Hey, guys! Here's something I can do! Can I join?" And it was fine back then. Yes, if you could do something nifty you could be in the club.

The problem comes when the Legion becomes Earthgov's Premiere Line of Defense, populated entirely with badass badasses who could out badass the most badass alien, wizard, or invasion fleet. Up the stakes that far, and suddenly it isn't so cute to get this young woman who can split into three young women killed. Why didn't we have someone qualified on this team? Why are we trusting the fate of civilization to a team of kids? Is there NO ONE else who can rise up to fight Mordru or the Dominators? How did things get to the point where THESE KIDS are all that we have? 

On one hand, it is cool that they are kids and are entrusted with fully adult responsibilities. On the other, it makes them a Navy Seal Team who still play cute little membership games. One or the other, guys. 

Oh, but they're NOT kids in the Levitz view of the world. Like Wolfman would do with the Titans after him, he aged the team up to become fighting-fit young adults in their early twenties, with sex lives and marriages (yes, marriage played a role before he came in, I know) and kids and murderous vendettas to carry out.

But it's still the Legion, so we still have to have Membership Day and call their headquarters the Clubhouse. At one point, in a blissfully long-forgotten story, "The Legion's Darkest Secret" was revealed which was that people live longer in the future so these "kids" whose adventures we've been following are all actually in their mid-thirties or older and always have been. Talk about having your cake and eating it, too. See, they're kids AND they're a Navy Seal Team!! 

It's a tone problem. Overall, it works right up to the point that it doesn't and then you have to answer questions about why Matter-Eater Lad, an average Bismollian, is on the team and Calorie Queen, a super-powered one, is not. The answer in-story is that M-E Lad is a better person than Calorie Queen, as proven when he leaves and recommends her to replace him. The Legion didn't follow up on that recommendation because, well, she organized a team of entitled, bitter rejected applicants to attack them, and that's not cool. Cosmic Boy is a good Braalian magno-ball player, but he's on the team when world champion Magno-Lad is not because he is a team player and Magno-Lad is a grandstanding showboat. 

Cool. Fine. That works so long as the Legion is a club. But as the first and last line of Earthgov defense, y'know, let's hire everyone. Let's hire the best and train them. Not at some rinky-dink diploma mill out on Montauk Point, but, y'know, military style. So they can be that defensive line and not a bunch of long-haired hippie types playing grab-ass with one another, lolling about the clubhouse, and not ever calling their parents. 

DC is bringing the Legion back, by the way. The initial forays into their re-introduction have already been made in Doomsday Clock and other such titles. Brian Michael Bendis is shepherding the relaunch, bringing a modern-day character forward in time (probably Jon Kent, but they're trying to keep it on the down low) through the centuries to join the Legion, now relocated to the 32nd Century. 

An introductory mini-series will take our viewpoint character through DC's future timeline to visit Booster Gold, Rip Hunter, Tommy Tomorrow, Kamandi, Omac, the Atomic Knights, and those types on his way to "walk us up to the front door" of the Legion, hopefully bringing a new passel of readers along for the ride. 

It looks like a cold restart (the fourth officially for the Legion) with Ryan Sook redesigning the characters from scratch with an Asian Cosmic Boy and a goofy-alien-looking Chameleon Boy. I'm hoping for the best with it, but Bendis has already told us that he's a Legion fan from way back when and I am convinced at this point, after the Bierbaums and Waid, that a long-time fan is the last thing the book needs. We will see.


Edited by Brian Hague on 12 July 2019 at 4:54pm
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 12 July 2019 at 5:30pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Okay... theme teams! Two of my favorite short-lived teams appeared almost consecutively in the Super-Friends. While the book's connection with DC's mainline continuity was always tenuous at best, it was not set aside on some alternate Earth somewhere. (Earth-SF? Earth-ABC?) If you wanted to believe that it took place in among the other titles DC was putting out at that time, you were welcome to do so! Yes, no one in any of the other books ever mentioned the Hall of Justice or Zan and Jayna, but then again, they kind of did every now and then. 

In a Superman Family story, the Golden-Age crime-fighting duo TNT and Dan, the Dyna-Mite, show up right where the SF story that re-introduced them left them. The Global Guardians first appeared in SF stories before being re-introduced in DC Comics Presents and later showing up, Post-Crisis, in the Justice League titles. Fire and Ice debuted with the GG. The SF book was also someplace where a great many dropped or seldom-discussed elements of DC history wound up, such as time-travel-via-hypnosis expert Professor Carter Nichols or Superman's one-time fiance, Lyra Lerrol. You could dismiss it if you wanted, but SF had great respect for DC's past and did a good job of telling stories that respected its present as well. 

In SF #10, we met a beautiful blonde on her run from a menacing team of monster-types. There was a Frankenstein monster and a male and female team of Vampires. There was a werewolf, a sea creature, and a mummy with eerily moving bandages. Of course, the team tries to protect her from these fiends... only to find out that she is, in fact, a well-known super-villain in her part of the galaxy and that the "monsters" she's been running from are roughly synonymous with the League. The cloaked ghoul leading the team is really a Green Lantern. The Frankenstein creature is called Superior Man. The vampires are known on their world as Bat-Man and Bat-Woman. There is Fangclaw, Subsea Man, and Stretch Man as well. Man, did I love those characters. One issue only. There is no justice.*

Shortly after we met them, we saw Bruce Wayne hang out with a group of fellow socialites and up-and-comers, some of whom had appeared before in DC titles. We find that they are being backed by a mysterious figure called "the Overlord," and have been given costumes and powers by him to overcome the supposedly crooked JLA. Imbued with the spirits of Paracelsus' elemental forces, Salamander had the power of Fire, with the usual abilities and one other; She could "shoot up" the way a fire does and grow to giant size. Sylph had the powers of the air. Gnome had the powers of the Earth, and Undine, the sea. Three women and one male. DC: Getting Woke and Going Broke since 1978. I expect them to run out of cash any day now. :-)

The two teams battle and the new team, called the Elementals, long before Bill Willingham's book came out, find that the Overlord's costumes don't work in concert with their powers, hampering them in battle and leading ultimately to their defeat. Of course they also discover that the Overlord has been lying to them and the JLA help them re-engineer their costumes so they work with their powers and not against them. Two issues only. Only two appearances by DC's Elementals. And Ramona Fradon's costumes for the team looked purdy charp, too. Definitely a missed bet there.**

* In Superman #276, the story with Captain Thunder, we find out the his foes, The Monster League of Evil, are the ones who trapped him in Superman's continuum. The name is a reference to Captain Marvel's enemies from his Fawcett Comics days, but Curt Swan draws them here as if they're a collection of Universal Monsters straight from central casting. I've long wanted to do a story that ties that Monster League to the team the Super Friends met in issue #10. Which is a really deep, deep dive considering they showed up in, what? Three panels of one story in Pre-Crisis Continuity? Yeah, it's comic book archaeology, but it's still fun to conjure with. Maybe both teams could find themselves in WWII facing the Creature Commandos... :-) 

** On the other hand, considering what happened to so many of the Global Guardians once they were imported into the DCU proper, maybe the Elementals are a whole lot better off being forgotten... 


Edited by Brian Hague on 13 July 2019 at 1:30am
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 12 July 2019 at 6:18pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Hey, Eric! I'm not sure I addressed the points you wanted to chat about so I'm going to give that a try here.

The Legion's dick move in harassing poor Superboy back in 1957 was, in context, less dick-ish than it seems now. Hazing used to be a common practice and standard fare for universities and other organizations. The Boy Scout troop in my neighborhood had a light hazing ritual they wanted you to go through. So did the Thespian Society I wanted to join in High School. I didn't do either one, because, I don't work and play well with others, and it only kept me out of one of them. 

And really, all the Legion did was challenge Superboy to a series of contests and mock him a bit when he didn't do well at them. Whether they knew the outcome of his joining (time travel can be so awkward, socially) is up for grabs. One would think not. We don't want them to seem too Machiavellian, do we? How much does 20th Century history reflect the establishment of the Legion in the 30th? 

In any case, Superboy did return the joke and show the Legion kids up using variations of their own super-powers. He gave as good as he got, and everyone got along fine afterwards. As an exercise in kid-mentality, I think the story works fine. If they're an elite taskforce, sent to bring the umpitty-ultimate-utmost of this century forward to save Earthgov from all challenges, well, it works less well. 

As for the Marvel-esque aspects of the DP, they were deliberate, but not on DC's part. Writers Arnold Drake and Bob Haney cooked up the team in order to capitalize on this new level of literary complexity Marvel was introducing into the marketplace. It was exciting to treat super-herodom as something those participating in it might not want to be a part of. They might want to be cured of their "powers." DC Editorial in general was still opposed to doing anything the Marvel way. Drake and Haney saw it as a fun experiment, and one that they could possibly use to wake up Editorial into keeping pace. Metamorpho and Deadman were similarly concocted with an eye towards what Marvel was bringing to the game. Freaks and embittered souls in torment. Ditko brought stuff over that further altered the landscape. Kirby followed close after, with a mindset that wasn't just Marvel. It was what he thought should come next. 

While there are parallels that one could draw, none of these books were exactly like something Marvel was producing. There is still an enormous level of craft and invention being employed in the creation of all of these titles, and overall, I think they're better for not happening at Marvel. I don't want Deadman taking place in the MU. 

And hey, if you're looking for new Legion, as I said, DC wants to give it to you. Bendis's new Legion debuts in a couple of upcoming Superman issues and then their story moves to the mini-series MILLENNIUM where we track a 21st Century character's trek towards the 32nd winding up with the Legion in a new book of their own.

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Dave Phelps
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Posted: 12 July 2019 at 7:35pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

 Eric Sofer wrote:
As for the membership... it did seem uneven to allow Triplicate Girl in as practically a charter member. "Look that Carggian! NOBODY splits into three as well as she does!"


The early days definitely had a bit of "first come, first served" to them...

Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, Triplicate Girl, Phantom Girl, Chameleon Boy, Skrinking Violet, Mon-El, Matter-Eater Lad and Dream Girl were all basically typical representatives of their particular species so it seems like one of their primary qualifications was showing up for tryouts first. (Element Lad, too, but, well...)   

Of course, in the early days, the qualifications for membership seemed to vary. Mon-El had to defeat a Sun-Eater and create a new element whereas Dynamo Boy just had to jump start Star Boy's car. 'Taint right.


 QUOTE:
Incidentally, I'll point out Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #212, "Last Fight for a Legionnaire", where a team of Legion rejects DID band up and battle the Legion. As a result of the Legion's mystifying membership policy, the Legion never admitted (or even considered, as far as I can tell) Calorie Queen to replace Matter-Eater Lad, even though she converted what she ate into limited super strength. How is this in any way not superior to long time member Matter-Eater Lad?


Teamwork! Don't you remember? :-)

 Brian Hague wrote:
Cool. Fine. That works so long as the Legion is a club. But as the first and last line of Earthgov defense, y'know, let's hire everyone.


But what about the taxes? :-)


 QUOTE:
On one hand, it is cool that they are kids and are entrusted with fully adult responsibilities. On the other, it makes them a Navy Seal Team who still play cute little membership games. One or the other, guys.


Well, they kind of got past the "cute little membership games" shortly after Shooter showed up, especially after he introduced the Legion Academy. Wildfire's first appearance got a little weird (you would think someone who could almost everything the rest of the group could do would be unique enough without his (not really) single use trick), but the spate of cruel rejections generally went away back in the Adventure days. Paul Levitz had a membership drive or two, but they were better organized.      


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