Saturday, September 10, 2016

A Modest Proposal: Long Live...The Titans?

Look, it's such an easy solution, I'm amazed that I never thought of it earlier.

DC's curse, all along, has been near-instant buyer's remorse each time they do some reboot/relaunch. And nowhere has that been more evident with the Legion Of Super-Heroes.

With the post-Crisis reboot, John Byrne had insisted that there had never been a Superboy. Well, that mucked up Legion history a bit, as the Legion was famously "inspired by Superboy" to become a team of teenage superheroes.

There were easy ways to deal with this, of course. Ignore it. Use the old "all records of this era were lost" trope along with the "Crisis left our memories fuzzy" excuse (which works well enough for the Rebirth nonsense). Find a convenient substitute to inspire the Legion and/or participate in their earlier adventures if you need to (Mon-El, Dev-Em, etc).


See? It's not that hard!!

But no, someone decided that they just had to have Superboy back in the Legion history, because that cover of Adventure #247 was just too damn iconic or something. So just 7 issues into Byrne's run, Superboy was back--only now he had been from a "pocket universe" all along (not an alternate universe, which had clearly been banned by Crisis!), and that young Kal-El been a pawn of the Time Trapper all along, so he could make the Legion strong enough to thwart Mordru, so he could take over time himself later.

Of course, this meant that, essentially, the Legion had been "inspired" and founded by a villain--but that's not important, as long as we have a Superboy back!! All our old Legion stories can be read exactly the same as they had been!! Yay, for immediate and reactionary retcons!!

Oh, and it ended up not mattering after all, because a few years later they rebooted the Legion so there was again no Superboy in their history...and then a few more years later they did it AGAIN!! Bless you, DC! (Seriously, when are we going to get one of those "Marvel The Untold Story" books for DC?!? I'd pay big money for just a chapter on "What the hell was going on behind the scenes with the constant jerking back and forth on Superboy/Legion...")

And now that there is a Superboy again in the Rebirth thingie, and DC continues to pretend that they're serious about bringing the Legion back, well, we can go right back to the way things used to be--young Jon and his (still untold) adventures will turn out to have inspired the creation of the Legion...which is why they start every meeting by burning a house pet to death...

But there was then, and still is now, a better option--why can't they just decide that the Legion Of Super-Heroes was inspired by the Teen Titans?

It almost makes more sense, doesn't it? At the time of crisis, they were both "Baxter" series, so they were in the same comics ecosystem, as it were. The Titans were a team of super-powered teenagers, not just one guy, so in many ways they could make a better inspiration for the multi-powered, multi-planetary Legion. And, of course, the Titans still existed in continuity, so no one would have to go through redonkulous continuity convolutions to make old stories "work."

As a special bonus, since many incarnations of the Teen Titans have them fighting or rebelling against their elder heroes, that would make them an especially keen inspiration for the Threeboot Legion.

That would also solve the difficulties of Superboy being so over-powered compared to the rest of the Legion. Because let's face it, like the Justice League animated series with Superman, Superboy was just in Legion fights to get knocked out early by kryptonite/magic/Darkseid so the reader would realize how tough the bad guy was while the rest of the team rallied to beat him.

There was a reason that Superboy was initially severed from the Legion, pre-Crisis: having young Kal-El and Mon-El and Ultra Boy (and sometimes Supergirl) around at the same time was just too top-heavy, power-wise. That is a problem you wouldn't have if you decided to have the Titans, singly or en masse, take the occasional jaunt to the 30th (31st...) century.

I just don't see the point of frequently rebooting, if all you're going to do is go straight back to the old way...especially when there's was a perfectly good way to take things in a slightly different direction with some of the marvelous toys in your near-infinite toy box. Like the Titans...

Still, I should probably consider myself lucky. Somewhere, in the back on Dan DiDio's mind, is a version of the Legion inspired by Superboy-Prime...


4 comments:

SF said...

My memory of it is the "Five Years After" Legion rebooted the LSH future in issues #4-5 (ugh) and then retconed the reboot about six months later. I think that may qualify for "worst editorial interference ever".

Linneman said...

Wait...the pocket universe Superboy wasn't Superboy-Prime? I need to make a chart or something.

I do like your premise, although there is something about the Superboy connection that's hard to let go. Maybe if they just make sure Kon-El is an essential part of it...? (Of course, who knows what his fate will end up being...)

snell said...

Linneman--Superboy-Prime was from pre-Crisis Earth-Prime, which was our Earth, the "real world". Alexander Luthor saved him at the end of Crisis. Geoff Johns brought him back during Infinite Crisis and turned into a huge dickweed. The "pocket universe" Superboy was the one who had all the adventures with the Legion. He was a creation of the Time Trapper, though no one knew it at the time.

Yes, we need a chart.

Kon-El had a few adventures with the Legion, but he was never designated as "the inspiration."

SallyP said...

You know... if those miserable super teens from the future were a little less snotty, they wouldn't have so many angry rejects gunning for them.