Lemaris Lang is a Professor of Future History at the Shooter/Swan Institute of Graphic Literature. He is currently working on his doctoral thesis: "The Nine Panel Grid, What Were They Thinking?".
Photo courtesy of Monarch Comics, Toledo, Ohio
IndexNumber – 1008 – 1.0 Issue – Superman 147 CoverDate – August 1961 Title – The Legion of Super-Villains! Characters – Cosmic Man, Lightning Man, Saturn Woman, Superman Villains – Cosmic King, Lightning Lord, Lex Luthor, Saturn Queen Synopsis – Lex Luthor summons the Legion of Super-Villains to help him defeat Superman. The Legionnaires arrive to save the day. Writer – Jerry Seigel Artist – Curt Swn / Sheldon Moldoff Cover – Curt Swan, Stan Kaye Editor - Mort Weisinger Reprinted – Legion of Super-Heroes Archive 1 – 1991
Showcase Presents the Legion of Super-Heroes 1 - 2007 Comments – Having met Lightning Lad in his youth, Luthor speculates about the existence of a Legion of Super-Villains in the far future.
Our most recent entry dealt with Mon-El, who led a long (over 1000 years) and tragic life. As we all know, Mon-El was a space traveler from the planet Daxam. He visited Krypton where he was befriended by Jor-El and Lara. His space craft drifted for a time before drifting to Earth, where he met Superboy. Since Daxam was a red-sun planet, Mon-El found he had abilities like Superboy, but exposure to lead put him near death. Superboy placed him into the Phantom Zone with a promise to find a cure.
In comic books written in these early days, there was one general rule regarding time travel; “You can’t change the past.” One of many time travel stories depicted Superboy, after a history lesson at Smallville High, tried to prevent the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Everything he changed was counteracted by some new event.
Later in the 60s, a new principle of time travel emerged; “You can change the past, but always in an unintentionally bad way.” Remember, Star Trek” “The City on the Edge of Forever?” Bones is sent back to Earth’s Depression Era and prevents the accidental death of Edith Keeler, a peach activist, which allows the Nazi’s to win World War Two, and prevents the creation of the United Federation of Planets. Kirk and Spock, ignoring the possibility that they might also change history, go back to fix everything. This has happened frequently in the Legion lore. Just this year, Legionnaires have travelled to the 20th century to stop Brianiac from killing Superman (Last Stand of New Krypton) and to enlist the Doom Patrol in destroying an errant black hole (Brave and Bold volume 2 34). Once again, without regard for the possibility that things were supposed to end up this way.
In the early years of Legion storytelling, we find Legionnaires frequently visiting our century for rather frivolous reasons, most notably helping Superboy or Superman protect his secret identity. Why didn’t any of these trips make the 30 Century rivers run backward, or make squirrels develop speech?
Back to Mon-El. It certainly was a wonderful day when the Legion developed a temporary (later permanent) cure for his lead poisoning. They couldn’t wait to use Superboy’s old Phantom Zone projector to release him from that ghostly realm. Why didn’t Mon punch each and everyone of them in the nose for not using their marvelous time bubble to go back about 999 years and release him then? To protect the timeline? This is a fine time to develop chorological morals.
Even if they told him, “If we cure you, you have to come with us to the future, so that you don’t inadvertently do something to make our squirrels don’tdevelop nuclear weapons,” it would have been better than 1000 hetrs of watching Superboy/man and his heirs not work on a cure for Daxamite lead poisoning.
They did it in the current storyline. They sent him a cure, with a bow on it. Of course, they also manipulated him into stopping Brainiac, freeing the bottle cities, and repatriating the inhabitants to habitual worlds. And how did they reward him? After making sure that their personal histories would be intact, they said, “Sorry, you’re going back into the Phantom Zone,” Why? Because history has no mention of Mon-El surviving this battle. So, why not take him with you, and then put him in the zone, while you spend a few months on a permanent cure?
Over in Booster Gold, they have a different philosophy; “You can’t change the past, except for the things you were destined to change.” It is a small, but apparently, important distinction.
Being that the Time Institute has been destroyed in Legion of Super-Heroes volume 6 #1, maybe it will be more difficult to stroll through time. If not, I will travel back to when I wrote this, throw in some profanity, and return to watch the fun. Keep and eye on the squirrels.
IndexNumber – 1007 – 1.0 Issue – Superboy 89 CoverDate – June 1961 Title – Superboy’s Big Brother! Characters – Mon-El, Superboy Synopsis – Superboy meets a young, super-powered, amnesiac space traveler who he assumes to be his older brother. When he collapses from exposure to lead, the truth comes out, and Superboy sends him to the Phantom Zone while he works on a cure. Introductions – Mon-El (Lar Gand) Writer – Rogert Bernstein Artist – George Papp Cover – Curt Swan, Stan Kaye Editor - Mort Weisinger Reprinted – Legion of Super-Heroes Archive 1 – 1991
Showcase Presents the Legion of Super-Heroes 1 - 2007 Comments – This is a retelling of a Superman story from 1939, It was probably not meant as a Legion feature, but it features the introduction of an important future member, therefore it gets an issue number.
IndexNumber – 1006 - 1.0 Issue – Action Comics 276 CoverDate – May 1961 Title – Supergirl’s Three Super Girl-Friends! Characters – Bouncing Boy, Brainiac 5, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, Phantom Girl, Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, Sun Boy, Supergirl. Triplicate Girl Synopsis – Supergirl is again invited to the future, where she and Brainiac 5 earn Legion membership. Introductions – Bouncing Boy (Chuck Taine), Brainiac 5 (Querl Dox), Phantom Girl ( (Tinya Wazzo), Shrinking Violet (Salu Digby), Sun Boy (Dirk Morgna), Triplicate Girl (Luornu Durgo) Writer – Jerry Seigel Artist – Jim Mooney Editor - Mort Weisinger Reprinted – Legion of Super-Heroes Archive 1 – 1991 Showcase Present the Legion of Super-Heroes 1 - 2007 Comments – It appears that the editorial forces had decided that this feature has some legs and begin to expand the rolls. At this time, the contemporary villain, Brainiac, was still an organic being capable of producing progeny. RevisedNarratives - For many years, creatory and fans have felt that the Legion invited Supergirl to join the Legion before Superboy, because Brainiac 5 joined with her, but he was seen as a member when Superboy was inducted. In Supergirl v5 Annual 2 (December 2010, Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes, this story is no longer a part of Legion history. Briefly, Supergirl (circa 2010) accidently finds her way to the 30th century and meets the early Legion (continuity 1.0 by my reconning) members, who have already inducted Superboy. She recalls meeting older Legionnaires (series 1.0a) during the New Krypton adventures. She stays for about a month, get inducted, has a bit of a romance with Briany, and they goes home, sucumbing to the psychic memory blocks from Saturn Girl. Therefore, the Superboy of Superman's past and the Supergirl of Superman's present are members in good standing in the early incarnation of the Legion of Super Heroes.
IndexNumber – 1005 - 1.0 Issue – Adventure Cmics 282 CoverDate – March 1961 Title – Lana Lang and the Legion of Super-Heroes! Characters – Chameleon Boy, Cosmic Boy, Lightning Boy, Saturn Girl, Star Boy, Superboy Synopsis – When Star Boy travels to the 20th century to apprehend some fugitives, Lana Lang forces him to help her make Superboy jealous. Introductions – Star Boy (Thom Kallor) Writer – Otto Binder Artist – George Papp Cover – Curt Swan / Stan Kaye Editor - Mort Weisinger Reprinted – Legion of Super-Heroes Archive 1 – 1991 Showcase Present the Legion of Super-Heroes 1 - 2007 Comments – This would be listed as a “cameo” issue, if not for the first appearance of Star Boy.
IndexNumber – 1004 - 1.0 Issue – Superboy 86 CoverDate – January 1961 Title – The Army of Living Kryptonite Men Characters – Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Superboy Villain – LexLuthor Synopsis – Lightning Lad travels to the 20th century to save Superboy from a LexLuthor trap. Writer – Jerry Siegel Artist – George Papp Cover – Curt Swan / Stan Kaye Editor - Mort Weisinger Reprinted – Legion of Super-Heroes Archive 1 – 1991 Showcase Present the Legion of Super-Heroes 1 - 2007 Comments – This is the first of many times that a Legionnaire travels to the past to help Superboy, Supergirl or Superman out of a jam. Apparently they have nothing better to do than monitor their time viewers. Revision: I had originally listed this story as a "cameo", but since this incident led to Lex Luthor attempting to contact the LSV, this story has been given an index number.
IndexNumber – 1003 - 1.0 Issue – Action 267 CoverDate – August 1960 Title – The Three Super Heroes Characters – Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Invisible Kid, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Supergirl Synopsis – The Legionnaires travel to the 20th century to invite Gupergirl to visit the future and join their organization. But red kryptonite turns her temporarily into an adult, making her too old to join. Rules are rules. Introductions – Chameleon Boy (Reep Daggle), Colossal Boy (Gim Allon), Invisible Kid (Nyle Norg) Writer – Jerry Siegel Artist – Jim Mooney Editor - Mort Weisinger Reprinted – Legion of Super-Heroes Archive 1 – 1991 Showcase Present the Legion of Super-Heroes 1 - 2007 Comments – No idea is too good that it can’t be repeated. Note that Invisible Kid has the ability to become “super-invisible”. RevisedNarratives - According to Supergirl v5 Annual 2 (December 2010), Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes, this story did not happen.
IndexNumber – 1002 - 1.0 Issue - Adventure 267 CoverDate – December 1959 Title – Prisoner of the Super Heroes Characters – Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Superboy Synopsis – The Legionnaires travel to the 20th century to imprison Superboy for crimes he will commit in his future (their past). They are mistaken. Writer – Jerry Siegel Artist – George Papp Cover – Curt Swan / Stan Kaye Editor - Mort Weisinger Reprinted – Legion of Super-Heroes Archive 1 – 1991
Showcase Presents the Legion of Super-Heroes 1 - 2007 Comments – One of many instances where the Legionnaires act boorishly and/or stupidly.
Index Number – 1001 - 1.0 Issue - Adventure 247 Cover Date – April 1958 Title – The Legion of Super Heroes Characters – Cosmic Boy, Lightning Boy, Saturn Girl, Superboy Synopsis – Legionnaires invite Superboy to the future to join the Legion of Super-Heroes Introductions – Cosmic Boy (Rokk Krinn), Lightning Boy (Garth Ranzz), Saturn Girl (Imra Ardeen) Writer – Otto Binder Artist – George Papp Cover – Curt Swan / Stan Kaye Editor - Mort Weisinger Reprinted – Legion of Super-Heroes Archive 1 – 1991 Showcase Presents the Legion of Super-Heroes 1 - 2007 Legion of Super-Heroes: 1,050 Years in the Future - 2008 Comments – Yes, there are other Legionnaires pictured, but for our purposes, only identified characters will be indexed. (Hence the term “arbitrary”) Revised Narrative - Superman - Secret Origin 2 - November 2009 - Superboy and the Legion of Super Heroes. In this story, it is revealed that Brainiac 5, Phantom Girl, and Triplicate Girl are members of the Legion. In Adventure Comics 519 (Dewcember 2010), Playing Hooky II, Brainiac 5 reveales that he planned the Legion's first trip to visit Superboy, instead of Superman (claiming it was a mistake), so that they could come back to Smallville at a later time to destroy one of the robot probes that his ancestor, Brainiac, used to seek out technology.
What's up with the "Index Number"? We will catalog every story that features members of the Legion of Super-Heroes in a chronological index.
What does the second part of the "Index Number" mean? That indicates the Legion continuity in place. For example, "1.0" stands for the original series that we all know and love.
Why have you left out some stories that are on other lists? Because I can. I am ignoring cameo appearances that do not advance the legacy of the Legion.
Why aren't all reprinted stories listed? Anyone looking to assemble a collection of Legion stories from the early days is advised to start with the Archives series (about $45 - $50) or the Showcase series (about $15 - $20), Other recent, easily available collections will be noted.