R.E.B.E.L.S #2: A Very Short Review

Remember the Legion of Super-Heroes, the comic as undying as Dracula?   Their popularity of course did not escape the notice of the  powers at DC.  The goal : to clone it in some way, and thus sell more issues and make more money.  rebels This has been tried several ways, never with great success.

The simplest is to just start a second Legion title set in the 30th or 31st  century, with either some members of the original Legion or heroes as similar as possible.  All this served to do was divide the readership.  Another concept, to get around tedious continuity issues and to allow for many more guest stars, is to transplant some part of the team to our time.  This has been tried with several of the more popular individual Legionnaires.  Karate Kid got his own title for a while, and now I see that Mon-El is going to take over Superman’s title for a bit.  This is usually achieved with fast footwork in a time machine, but Mon-El is peculiarly suited for this kind of spin-off because he is actually a 20th century hero, trapped in the Twilight Zone until the Legion sprung him in the far future. 

The boldest and most successful way to xerox the Legion is with a more or less complete new start, tying it to the old (future) LSH with a couple of similar characters.  The last go-round with this idea was L.E.G.I.O.N, a title featuring a team of the same name (the details of the name I cannot recall but it was uninteresting).  The driving force of that team was Brainiac’s son Vril Dox, a.k.a. Brainiac 2.  Since there is a Brainiac 5 in the Legion in the far future, it all ties together reasonably well for a comic book.

Mainly due to the machinations of Vril Dox, L.E.G.I.O.N. hung on for a good few issues before it sank, I believe in the ’90s.  Now he and it are back, with a new title (which I still cannot explicate for you even though I have the issues right here, but that shows you how unmemorable the expanded acronym is).   I am pleased to report that the most attractive salient features of L.E.G.I.O.N. survive intact.  Vril is still a conniving, duplicitous weasel with a heart of gold and stupendous trust issues, and the plots still involve high-speed action, space opera, world conquest, and the occasional megalomanic space villain.  To watch Vril manipulate friends and associates, sell out enemies, and condescend to every other life form in the galaxy from the heights of his superior intellect is a pleasure undimmed by the passage of the years — gosh, I’ve missed him.

And this shows you the buttons I like to have pushed.  An intelligent hero is absolutely essential; they can have major issues  (yes, Batman, I’m looking at you) but they cannot be dummies.  I cannot think of a superhero who is really a dolt.  Surely the Incredible Hulk is not a bundle of pure id, but has moments of rational thought.

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About Brenda Clough

Brenda W. Clough spent much of her childhood overseas, courtesy of the U.S. government. Her first fantasy novel, The Crystal Crown, was published by DAW in 1984. She has also written The Dragon of Mishbil (1985), The Realm Beneath (1986), and The Name of the Sun (1988). Her children’s novel, An Impossumble Summer (1992), is set in her own house in Virginia, where she lives in a cottage at the edge of a forest. Her novel How Like a God, available from BVC, was published by Tor Books in 1997, and a sequel, Doors of Death and Life, was published in May 2000. Her latest novels from Book View Cafe include Revise the World (2009) and Speak to Our Desires. Her novel A Most Dangerous Woman is being serialized by Serial Box. Her novel The River Twice is newly available from BVC.

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