Ah, welcome to my world.
Not that I’d ever discourage posting on the Straight Dope, but if you’re a Legion fan (past or present), you can’t do much better for Legion news than Legion World.
That said, here are answers to your questions:
- In Legion # 122-125 and Legionnaires # 79-81, there were two stories called, successively, “Legion of the Damned” and “Widening Rifts.” In the former, an alien race called the Blight, which perpetuates itself by infecting others and taking over their minds and eventually sapping all of a given planet’s energy, took over the entire United Planets after finding an entry point into the Stargate Network. The aftermath of that story was that Stargates were infected with residual Blight and holes in the fabric of reality began appearing…minor ones initially, but one turned major when a member of McCauley’s Workforce tried burning the Blight virus out of it and instead pumped energy into this hole, widening the rift. The conclusion of that story had ten Legionnaires lost through that rift, but managing to seal it on the way through, thus saving the universe.
The passage through the rift placed the Legion outside the universe. Only Element Lad managed to remain conscious, by turning himself into a crystal called Tromium, which apparently has time-stasis sort of properties. He encased the others in that substance and then calculated how to return them all to the universe…but in that transition, he got separated from them. They returned to the universe (albeit a galaxy far, far away) in the present day, Element Lad re-entered the universe billions of years earlier in time. He eventually came to dabble in creation of life, and hence became known by his creations as the Progenitor. He eventually created the Progeny, a race best described as sentient pillbugs, and he deemed them to be his most perfect creation, and he commanded them to wipe out everything else. Eventually, the other nine Legionnaires (plus a newcomer named Shikari) found him and Live Wire sacrificed his life to stop him. (This took place in a 12-issue series called Legion Lost) All that remained of either Live Wire or Element Lad was some of those Tromium crystals. Live Wire’s consciousness seems to have survived as an electrical impulse stored in the crystals, which have since coalesced into an Element Lad-like body. (The Legion # 5 and 25)
Vi gained the power to grow as a “parting gift” from the Emerald Eye. Under the Eye’s influence, she had wished for Leviathan to be hers, so the Eye did the next best thing (it’s not capable of resurrecting the dead)…it put a little bit of him (his power) into her. (Leginnaires # 52)
Superboy was kidnapped from the past by some thirty-first-century Darkseid-worshippers, who were kidnapping beings of power from the past (gee whiz, who just happen to all be from the twentieth/twenty-first century, and all were known on Earth! Small universe, small millennium…) and putting them under Darkseid’s thrall to carry out a plan that would make Darkseid ruler of everything. They were trying to get a young Superman (why not the adult Superman was never quite explained…maybe too strong-willed), but grabbed the clone Superboy by mistake. When they realized their mistake, they discarded him (apparently Darseid wouldn’t like having two Superboys working for him) and a Science Police cruiser found him, whereupon he stayed with the Legion until they can find the right point in time to return him to. (The Legion # 25-30)
Bald guy is named Gear, a guy who’s part machine. He grows machine parts from his body and can interface with/communicate with/control machinery. Introduced in Legion of Super-Heroes # 117, joined Legion approximately The Legion # 3, depending on your definition of official joining.
Silver-clad is Dreamer, the reboot version of Dream Girl. Introduced (post-Zero Hour) in Legionnaires # 43, joined Legion The Legion # 10.
The naked woman is Kinetix, who was turned into a weird creature called a “terrorform” during the initial storyline of the new “The Legion” title (issues 1-8). I assume the other woman you’re referring to is the black one in the purple costume. That’s Kid Quantum II, sister of the original KQ, who died in the Legion’s first adventure. She first appeared in Legion of Super-Heroes # 82 and joined the team in Legionnaires # 60, and is currently the team leader.
The blonde above Brainiac 5 is Andromeda, who doesn’t appear in the book you’re reading. I guess she’s just included on the cover for pin-up’s sake.
The woman at the bottom is Sensor, the reboot version of Princess Projectra/Sensor Girl. Introduced and joined Legion in Legionnaires # 43. She was originally a genuine snake-like creature, but a mishap with one of the aforementioned “terrorforms” turned her into a half-humanoid-woman/half-snake being.
Sorry you asked?