What is the DC comics Legion of Super Heroes "Reboot"?

I’m obviously late to the party. In reviewing some websites on the Legion of Super Heroes this “reboot” is assumed to be part of the landscape but is not really disciussed in depth. What is/was it?

Long story short? It’s all John Byrne’s fault.

Long story in mid-lenght? It’s the editors of the Superman Book’s fault AND John Byrnes.

Long story in detail? When the Crisis happened, Byrne got rid of Superboy saying that it was dumb to read about a character who you KNEW couldn’t be killed ( :rolleyes: To Byrne’s credit, he’s recanted that postition). Anyway, without Superboy, the Legion’s origin falls apart (the three original Legion-members were inspired by Superboy.)

The Legion books tried to fix this, first with the idea that Superboy was just a legend like King Arthur. Still inspiring but not real. The fans hated it. Then they tried to fix it with the Pocket Universe thing. Long story short: it worked.

However…that still allowed the Legion to refer to Superboy. That was a no-no from the Superman editors. MEANWHILE, over in Legion, Giffen decided to jump the storyline ahead 5 years. Somehow this prompted a war between the Superman editors and the Legion editors. “No mention of Superboy (or girl) ever again” was the result. So Giffen snuffed the Time Trapper and the Time Trapper, as a last great gesture of defiance undid the Pocket Universe. This caused history to unravel as a result of the pocket universe thing. Turns out that the Time Trapper had realized that unless there was a Legion, Mordru would take over the 30th century and beyond. So the Time Trapper created Superboy to inspire the Legion. But the TIme Trapper had been killed by the Legion and that caused the Pocket Universe thing to have never happened.

Confused yet? You will be.

Anyway, following this, one of the early 5-Years Later stories opened in the Mordru-verse: a 30th century ruled by Mordru. Glorith (a 2-bit Time-Trapper Henchman) was the only one who remember the “real” 30th century. She got a bunch of Legion members together and cast a spell that restored a teen-hero to the 20th century: Mon-El. This undid the Mordru-verse. Then the Superman editors got pissed at the use of Mon-EL (remember, his name came about because he landed on earth on a MONday and Superboy thought that Mon was his older brother). They had to try again, the very next issue and came up with Valor. Eventually things settled down, but a storyline by Giffen got out of hand.

He’d introduced a whole second Legion from circa Adventure #350 or so. They’d been trapped in test-tube-like deals until and explosion had awakened them. Much younger, much more naive, much more idealistic. The original idea was that they’d turn out to be the REAL Legion and the characters who’d been running around all the intervening years would’ve been clones. Then the Spider-Clone story pretty much destroyed Marvel and that quashed the Legion storyline. Their origin was now hopelessly muddled, but Giffen (and the Bierbaums, fans turned pro with all sorts of stupid fannish ideas*) decided to plow ahead. Now the kids were the duplicates and Giffen proposed a storyline nicknamed “the Hat Trick”. This was to be: have the kid-legion be mind controlled and have them attack the adult legion. Dump the names of ALL the Legion members in a hat and draw out the names of the ones who’d die. DC said “NO way!” and either fired Giffen or Giffen quit. At that point no-one had any idea of the Legion’s history: did Superboy exist? How 'bout Mon-El? Valor? Supergirl? If Superboy DIDN’T exist, a number of stories disintigrate (the first Mordru story where the Legion has to hide-out in Smallville, for one). There were 50 some legion members running around, many of whom were duplicated. The Green Lantern books undermined a huge on-going storyline when they said that there couldn’t be any other Green Lantern running around. So a character who was mysteriously developing Green Lantern related powers became a Darkstar out of the blue. Meanwhile the Bierbaums were tossing stupid-fan-ideas out left and right: Suddenly Element Lad was gay. Suddenly the best telepath in the universe didn’t know her husband was a brain-swapped alien. Etc. The only character with a more screwed up history was Hawkman.

Eventually Zero-Hour rolled around and they used Zero-Hour and the Time Trapper to erase ALL of Legion history. None of it had ever happened. The future was a clean slate. And then RJ Brande went on a fateful trip on the same rocket ship as Imra Ardeen, Garth Ranzz and Rok Krynn. And the Legion started over with a clean slate. Basically, following Zero Hour, the legion restarted from scratch.

Does that help? At least a little?


*Fans have many stupid ideas that are FUN to talk about but shouldn’t be put into practice. “Hal Jordan should be the New Spectre” was bandied about on rec.arts.comics.dc.universe for years before DC did it. Garth is really a brain-swapped Proty is another. Element Lad MUST be gay since he wears a pink costume and doesn’t have a girlfriend is another (which is the reason for that stupid Bierbaum Shavughn/Sean Erin story) etc.


Fenris, I also think that a great deal of blame has to be laid at the feet of the “fanboys” who are so godamned anal about continuity that it’s actually physically repeulsive at times.

They are just comic books for fuck’s sake.

Don’t treat them like they have any basis in reality.

On a similar topic, how exactly do you have such a vast and semi-scary knowledge of all things comic book wise?

Not trying to be funny or mean, I’m truly curious.

You are to comic books what I seem to be with the fucking Super Bowl, info-wise at least.

The same fans, along with a contingent of hyper-continutiy freakos are, IMHO, responsible for truly and royally fucking over the Zero Hour reboot right out of the gate.

Despite considering myself a Legion fan, I don’t think I’ve really enjoyed the book since '94-95.

WSLer, it’s just that sort of attitude that allows crap to be published. Comic books aren’t “just” anything; they’re as valid a form of storytelling as movies, novels, or anything else. Go hang out in Tokyo at rush hour; you’re almost as likely to find a sarariman reading manga as you are to find him reading a newspaper.

As with any story where previous events have an effect on current action, continuity is extremely important. If you watched Seinfeld for years, then all of a sudden Jerry and Newman were best friends, you’d be confused, wouldn’t you? Maybe even annoyed that some hack writer had messed around with the characters you’d come to love? Same with comics.

A well-written comic can make you laugh, make you cry, and definitely make you think. A bad comic can make you wonder why Rob Leifeld’s parents didn’t smother him in his crib.

From the time I was about 12 to about 20 I worked in a comic shop on weekends, (after school too after about 16). I got paid, in part, in comics, and I never had to get rid of 'em, so I’ve got a huge collection. I’ve been reading comics for nearly 30 years and I have a weird memory that can retains details like the fact that Mopee was a “Heavenly Helpmate” without looking it up (but can’t remember my girlfriend’s birthday. :rolleyes: :smiley: ).

Re: the Contiuity debate. I take a middle ground. Everyone agrees SOME contiuity is good. There should be SOME flow from issue to issue. There should be SOME history and there’s nothing wrong with having fun with a character’s history. The fact that Peter Parker isn’t a black female wrestler is continuity. Hell, the fact that Superman was wearing his costume while flying last panel, but somehow is now Mary Marvel in this panel is continuity.

Look at the recent AVENGERS’ FOREVER series by Busiek. Continuity Lover’s dream, but also a great story.

BUT there’s a contingent of anal continity freaks who take it too far (IMO). It’s ok just to ditch a detail here and there. Really. Even though Peter Parker liked Wheat-Cakes in Amazing Fantasy 15, if there’s a potentially brilliant story that hinges on the fact that Peter’s allergic to wheat, go with it.

Oh the other hand Saying “Superboy never existed” undermined 2/3ds of Legion stories. That HAD to be dealt with.

It’s finding the middle ground between having a sense of history and growth for the characters and letting the characters drown in minutae that’s the target to be aimed at.


What killed me about Zero Hour is that I was rooting for Hal.

Hal: I’m gonna bring back the pre-Crisis multiverse, saving the lives of an infinite number of people *WITHOUT IN ANY WAY{/i] endagering this reality.

Everyone else: You MONSTER!

Me: Wha?

Actually, I’m really enjoying the current stuff. Abnet(?) and Lanning are doing something that we haven’t seen in the post-Boot Legion since…umm…The “Chu-Sting” storyline. They’re giving us something NEW!. They’re not rehashing old storylines and vomiting up old plots. I don’t like Copiel’s are (although it’s improving to the point where it’s tolerable), but I can live with that if the writers aren’t giving me their interpretation of the first Computo story AGAIN.


I suppose. I’m just still rubbed the wrong way by the Ra’s Al-Ghul thing.

First, I think, despite his push that he’s a second string villain. At least give them Vandal Savage or something if you have to go that way.

Second, and more importantly, I think this thread really demonstrates that what would be best for the Legion would be to sever as many ties to the 20th Century as possible and try to stand on their own.

(EXCEPTION: I’m going to wave off CeCe Beck and Jenni Ognats)

Uhhhh…whuhhuh whuhhhh??? I need some drugs…

Once you get some, you should also check out the story of Hawkman. Another severe victim of the Crisis/Zero-Hour history reversal flu.

I stopped reading Marvel right about when they started killing off the non-mutant superheroes. How did that work out?

Um…that was the “Justice is Served” thing…I don’t remember how it turned out but it ended up in Captain America. It was awful.

Then there was a second round that was worse.

Following that, the X-Books became incomprehensible (really. I have NO idea what happened from about 87-95 in the X-Titles)

And the Spider-books had the…< hushed whisper > "Clone ‘Saga’ "

The late '80s-mid '90s were not a good time for Marvel OR DC, overall, despite some good books here and there.

Although both Marvel and DC are currently more-or-less on track, IMO.

Weird Al: JD is right. As confusing as the Legion stuff was (with reboot after reboot after reboot), it STILL made more sense than Hawkman.


Does that mean that the Fantastic Four have rebooted? Did they get a new origin?

When’t “Cold Turkey” on my comic book habit in 1996.

What would be the best way to sell them?

Would you mind going into a bit of detail about the Spidey “clone saga” thing, if it’s not too mindnumbing/ From what I could tell, the upshot of the whole thing was that Mysterio was behind it all and that Peter Parker was the clone and some other guy was the original.

Also, why the hell did Marvel do this? Didn’t they have a sense that they would piss off/confuse a majority of their fan base?

Did Stan “The Man” have any input on this or was he just doing his monthly cloumn and raking in $1,000,000 making appearences by this time?

Well, just as I was contemplating starting a thread on that very subject…

Do tell, Fenris. I stopped collecting 4-color books shortly before this whole thing went down (the Spider Clone whatsit) and never did find out what it was all about. Now I’m all curious (not to mention I’m literally surrounded by my collection, as the Mrs. and I have just started fully cataloguing the whole thing for insurance/sellability purposes.) And she is not amused at me stopping every so often to ‘refresh my memory’ on a particular storyline.

Would proposing an “Ask the Comic Book Guy” thread by Fenris be really geeky, or just too confusing re Simpsons’ fans? :slight_smile:

I can’t go into too much detail 'cause I quit the book about 1/3d of the way in.

To understand the Spider-Clone thing, you have to go back to 1972ish. In Amazing Spidey 121-122, Gerry Conway snuffed Gwen Stacy for very good and valid reasons: #1) She was dull. I know that she’s remembered as a wonderful character, but at the time she knew 2 moods: Bitchy and whiney. #2) There was nowhere to go with the relationship: they either had to get married or break up…or…she got snuffed.

Anyway, everyone knows that story, but behind the scenes, apparently Gerry Conway was getting some serious hate-mail. (Marvel had a weird crowd of readers at the time. Check out the letter cols in the early Howard the Ducks: Following Adventure into Fear #19 where Howard was ‘killed’ people were sending Marvel dead ducklings saying “bring back Howard”. )

A rumor I’ve heard (I’ve never seen Conway confirm this, tho’ he did admit to getting the hate-mail) was that in addition to the regular hate-mail, someone sent him a picture of one of his kids on the school playground with a note about how Conway wasn’t the only one who could kill “characters”. I dunno if that particular bit is true, but the hate-mail kept pouring in. Anyway, Conway decided “Th’ hell with this, it ain’t high art and it ain’t worth my (or my kid’s) safety” and over the next 15 issues introduced Miles Warren (the Jackal), a clone of Gwen Stacy and a clone of Peter Parker. In that story, there was a scuffle, one of the Spideys was killed and the other Spidey threw the body down a smokestack to an iron foundry(?). Petey had gone to Doc Connors earlier and had him run some tests to see if he was the clone or the real Spidey. Doc C. handed him the report and Spidey threw it away, unread, saying he knew who he was. Big mistake. The Gwen-Clone left and everyone said “Now let us never speak of this again.”

Jump forward about 20 years. There’s a uber-book crossover called “The Evolutionary Wars”. In one issue (written by Conway), the High Evolutionary (who would know) says that Miles Warren never cloned nobody. In essence “Who’d be dumb enough to believe that a high school (college?) biology teacher could invent human cloning? It is to laugh!”. Instead, Miles Warren invented a virus that passes on DNA/RNA information ('cause that’s much easier than cloning :rolleyes: ) so if I infect you with one strain, you come down with a bad case of being Gwen Stacy. Anyway, the “Gwen-Clone” was cured and a confused looking frizzy-haired woman toddled off. The End, right?


I dunno why Marvel did this. I know that sales were sinking A) because Jim Galton, the president of Marvel at the time, was a moron (he paid obscene…I don’t know the figures…amounts of money to buy the rights to do a Dark Knight format book called “Street Poet Ray” (no…really. “Street Poet Ray”. Remind me to tell you about it sometime. It’s the worst book ever published. Except Dark Knight II #3 :wink: :smiley: ) that sold…oh…3 copies per issue. Maybe), B) there were like 8 Spidey books and the talent for maybe 2, (the X-books had a similar problem) C) the last original thing that had happened to Spidey was the introduction of Venom. (and that was screwed up by introducing copies like Carnage and the other one): Villians thrive on being unique.
The Spidey folks thought that doing something that would “shake things up” would help regain sales.

So…what happened is that in one big arc A) Aunt May died (in a wonderful story by J. M. DeMatthis that Stan Lee approved of). B) The Spider-Clone reappeared C) A character called Kaine appeared D) Mary Jane was pregnant. E) It turned out (this was the big shocker) that the Spidey who’s body was tossed into the iron foundry was actually the REAL Spider-Man. :rolleyes: (how the body came back to life and survived being thrown into an iron foundry were an excercize left to the reader) Also, during this period, there was a fundimental change in MJ’s personality: before she always approved of and admired Petey’s web-slinging? Somewhere in here, she became a stereotypical whiney “You’ll get hurrrrrrt” type.

Apparently old-time fans left in droves (I was one), but there was a minor upswing on the book as rubberneckers came in to see the traffic wreck. (For clarity’s sake (too late!) I’m gonna call the one who was tossed down the smokestack the Clone, regardless of what his status was)

Anyway, this drove Petey nuts. Not because A) the dead body that he destroyed was back with no explaination, or B) this contracdicted the entire point of the whole High Evoltionary thing, but because he had a ‘phobia’ about ‘just being a copy’. IIRC he hit MJ a couple of times during that period. Meanwhile, the Clone was running around as The Scarlet Spider in one of the world’s worst costumes. Eventually, Petey and MJ left the book and the clone took up the name of Spider-Man

At this point I stopped even reading it on the stands, other than the occasional back issue I picked up or single issue I read here and there so this is just a list of the stuff I knew happened. (Apparently they were changing things every few weeks 'cause sales were plummeting and they couldn’t figure out how to save the flagship title)

  1. Turns out there were hordes of Spider-clones running around, including one called Kaine. I don’t know why. Someone had a spider-clone factory. There were big dumb clones, multi-armed clones, etc.

  2. Many clones disintigrate. Something was weird about the original Spider-Clone

  3. In a particularly psychotic issue I actually read, a clone of Miles Warren was living happily ever after with THE clone of Gwen Stacy (despite the High Evolutionary thing)

  4. The Jackal was behind it all for reasons I don’t understand.

Finally, Howard Mackie (one of the “brains” behind the clone thing was hooked up with (gad!) John Byrne and told “You have X issues to fix this f*cked-up mess”. Byrne responded by restoring the status quo on the book to the way things were when he was 15 (as he does on EVERY book). (Notice how his name keeps cropping up whenever there’s a comic book train-wreck?)

  1. He brought the Green Goblin back to life (he never died in the first place, apparently :rolleyes: )

  2. The Goblin was behind everything, including funding Miles Warren way back after the death of Gwen Stacey

  3. The whole point of the Clone thing was to drive Spidey mad. The Clone really WAS the clone and Petey was the original (this was kinda cute actually as it gave the incoherent Clone-mess a framework that DID make sense)

  4. Oh, and by the way, the Aunt May who’d died? She was an actress. The real Aunt May was alive. :rolleyes:

  5. The Spidey-Clone died, and Marvel said (and I believe it’s official policy) that they’ll NEVER mention it again (except in Spider-Girl, which is set in a “What-If” universe where things turned out differently).

  6. Petey and MJ’s baby was kidnapped and apparently murdered by the Goblin, but they don’t know it.

  7. MJ apparently died, then she got better when fans exploded, but then she and Petey seperated.

  8. Petey went back to school and moved in with Aunt May.

Thus the status quo after Byrne got thrown off (fans STILL weren’t coming back) was Peter was a single guy, unattached, living with his Aunt and going to college. Exactly like it was when Byrne was 15. :rolleyes: (Byrne, during this period, decided to ‘update’ the origin, so that instead of it simply being a radioactive spider-bite, it was that, plus a thermonuclear explosion (that also created Doc Ock, who was running the experiment) in the middle of Manhattan. :rolleyes: It’s kind of funny, 'cause other writers were ignoring/contradicting what Byrne was doing before the mini-series even finished)

Anyway, all hope is not lost. J. Michael Strwaw…something (the guy who created Babylon 5) is doing some damned good stuff with Spider-Man right now. He’s moving the character forward, he’s made Aunt May interesting, he’s dealing with the reprecussions of the MJ/Peter thing, etc.


Marvel had (or has. Hopefully had) the idiotic idea that fans don’t want change, they want the “illusion of change”.

The thing that made Spidey unique amongst ALL super-heroes is that he DID grow up. If he’d been created at DC, he’d still be in high school with nosey Liz Allen trying to trick him into revealing his secret identity.

But…in addtion to the fact that there were too many spidey-books and not enough talent to go around, the powers that be were freaked by the irrevocable changes that had been made: Peter was now married ( ‘cause of the comic strip: Stan wanted to marry Peter and MJ in the strip and the book HAD to follow), his wife was about to have a baby and his aunt died. They thought that this would alienate the majority of their audience who could only identify with "swingin’ single Peter Parker". Plus if I’ve got my chronology right, it was the era of Big Dumb Gimmicks (The Breaking of Batman, The Death of Superman, the F*cking Up of Hal Jordan) and Marvel wanted a piece of the action.

Anyway, I know I was fuzzy on what actually happened during the Clone Saga, but that’s cause A) it was gibberish (you had like 12 writers who apparently didn’t talk to each other) and B) I didn’t read most of 'em. Hopefully it’s enough to give you a feel for what went on. Frankly, “Street Poet Ray” was a better read.


Yeesh. Thanks for the update… sort of. :wink:

Somewhere around that time, the X-books all took a header into alternate universe land, too, yeah? And were subsequently ‘rebooted’ to something like the status quo. I never really followed that, either. To be truthful, the 1st issue of X-Men (the first X-title launched, besides Uncanny etc.) with, like 5 or 6 different covers started to sour me to the whole thing. Well, that and ‘Patch’ in Madripoor. Of course, there was also the problem Fenris mentioned of X number of talented people working on X*5 books for Spiderman/X-Men, and the books started getting confusing to follow.

And of course, Magneto ripping the adamantium out of Wolverine, only to discover his claws are really part of his skeletal structure anyway, ummm… Don’t tell me, that was Byrne, too right? :wink:

When reading comic books stops being fun, you’ve pretty much defeated the whole damn purpose of 'em. Hence I started spending my mad money on software, and developed a new addiction.

[sub]I do havta admit I really dug Maximum Carnage, and the Sega cartridge based on it, however.[/sub]

Yeah. Professor X’s son went back in time to snuff Magneto but snuffed Professor X instead. This lead to Apocolypse taking over the world for 4 months in the revised history (I dunno why.) Eventually the status quo was restored mostly: but X-Man and The Bad Beast (the evil counterpart of The Beast) came back too, along with a few other characters who’ve now all been mercifully forgotten.


I don’t think so. Byrne was gone again by Unadjectived X-Men #25, I believe. But Byrne was the one who said in Unadjectived X-Men #1 (in essence) “Let’s get rid of that namby-pamby good-guy at heart Magneto and return him to the uber-villian he was when I was 15” (A position I find I have some sympathy with). And since it was Uber-villian Magneto who did the ripping, I suppose we can trace it all back to Byrne! :smiley: :wink:

On the other hand, Byrne is NOT the one who wimped out and said “Um…no. Magneto is a gypsy, not a Jew, despite his history” I think that was Fabian Nicizea(sp) maybe.

And Byrne is NOT responsible for Street-Poet Ray, so he’s not Satan or anything.