By Brian Cunningham on dcu.blog.dccomics.com
And I get to edit it! Whee!! You have to understand what this monumental development means to me personally.
Y’see, Paul and Keith transformed the Legion from an enduring DC franchise into one of the most popular and dynamic comic book series of the 1980s. With an entire 30th century future world at their command, they crafted the most innovative, break-the-mold superhero world anyone had ever read up to that point. Their names were spoken in the same breath as Frank Miller, Chris Claremont and Wolfman/Pérez.
For me and the many other fanboys of Generation X, Paul and Keith did the seemingly impossible: They made me a Legion fan. For life.
I admit, back in 1985, my 14-year-old self felt names like “Lightning Lad” and “Cosmic Boy” sounded really silly. No way I was going to invest in characters with those names, right?
Then I somehow stumbled upon TALES OF THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #326, which affordably reprinted Paul and Keith’s all-new LEGION series a year after their original release. This one reprinted issue #1. It must have been a slow week for me to even crack open the cover. It began with a collection of psychopaths called the Legion of Super-Villains who each took a blood oath to kill a Legionnaire. One of them tortured his own sister by jolting her with massive amounts of electricity. Another literally melted a lowly waitress alive with a molten kiss, just for the fun of it! Sick stuff. And yet, these Legionnaires refused to back off. I was really impressed. I wanted to know more about these guys, even if their names were “Saturn Girl” and “Ultra Boy.” They stopped being silly and became as serious as a heart attack.
Then Keith left the series shortly thereafter, and Paul flew solo for a long while. Then Keith came back to do the last year on that series with Paul—and I defy anyone to tell me issue #53’s “The Trial of Brainiac 5” isn’t awesome—and then Paul left the series for Keith to do solo.
That was 1989. The two never collaborated on the Legion again. That is, until this December, when they come together again on the oversized LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES ANNUAL #1. It introduces an all-new, all-psycho Emerald Empress—and just hearing the twisted stuff they have in store fills this Legion fan with utter glee.
In fact, Keith just sent me his first pages, and they look gorgeous. He’s mixing Kirby with his ’90s Legion style and a modern sensibility. I look at the Xeroxes on my desk, and I know it’s REAL. It’s happening.
It reminded me why I’m a Legion fan in the first place.
P.S. You know what’s REALLY weird? This is Paul and Keith’s third “LEGION ANNUAL #1.” They did one in 1982, 1985 and now in 2010. Third time’s the charm, they say!
Legion is available at all good comic stores in the metro Atlanta Area. I get mine at Galactic Quest in Lawrenceville, Stop in and tell Kyle “Bruce said hi!”