Two Reasons I don’t much like the Legion of Superheroes

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So recently I read two books about the Legion of Superheroes, from two separate continuities, from Mark Waid and Paul Levitz. (They got a book each.) The Legion themselves is a large superhero team from the year 3000, and I don’t like them for these two reasons.

 

Superheroes aren’t very impressive in futuristic settings

Back when cameras were first invented, the ability to create a realistic image of almost anything must’ve seemed like something from another world. Even in the nineties, I considered photography to be an art form taken seriously. Nowadays, when practically everyone has an iPhone in their pockets, no photo, no matter how good, can impress me. It’s become far too easy. That’s the main reason I have big reservations about photographers, especially wedding photographers, who think they have a right to tell me how and where to stand just because they have a fancy camera and a tacky bowtie. I swear they can smell my loathing.

Same thing happens with superpowers in the far future. Who cares if you can shoot lasers from your eyes, if the cop down the street can do the same with his gun? Unaided flight, superhuman strength and invisibility are made less remarkable by the sheer fact that science fiction technology can do anything the author wants. Superhero stories are better set in a more familiar environments, so there’s a clash between the absurdity of the characters and the mundane places they operate.

There’s too many characters

Far, far too many. We never spent enough time with any Legionnaire to get to know them well, which is a great pity, as characters like Saturn Girl or Lightening Lad would have great potential in a spin-off comic. That’s the direction I’d advise DC to take with this property, split the Legion up into smaller, more focused groups and give the more interesting characters their own stories. X-Men would be the obvious model for this approach, but I doubt there’s enough interested readers to sustain a burgeoning Legion universe.

That all said, apparently there’s a classic Legion of Superheroes story where they fight Darkseid. I love that villain, so I’m going to be keeping out an eye for that book.

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