What, The Legion of Super Heroes are jerks? Kitty Pryde why are you saying that? I love the Legion of Super Heroes. The Jim Shooter era to the Paul Levitz/Keith Giffen era and even loved parts of almost every other incarnation of the group. They were leaders, heroes and willing to sacrifice life and limb to protect the Universe. But jerks?
Wait I think I know what happened she must have started reading the Silver Age Omnibus Volume 1 of The Legion of Super Heroes. Now that I think about it she is right, not only are they jerks, they are misogynist pigs and pretty darn mean spirited at times.
A little background before I validate my point. I have loved the Legion forever but it has been a long time since I have re-read their adventures. In fact, I have passed on my Legion archives to my daughter. One day I expect her son to maybe read some of those stories. On a whim, I picked up the Omnibus edition. It’s not my favorite format for collected editions. They are too damn thick and the binding and spine take a beating as you read them. I’m not planning on selling it later, so I guess it doesn’t matter.
I still read plenty of current stuff from Black Hammer, Grass Kings to Tom King’s Batman and more. The current stuff can be awesome. Still, I fell in love with comics as a child and still love rereading the old books. Often it is stuff I barely remember (if at all) which leads me to the Legion being jerks - and worse.
The Legion is so mean to Superboy in this issue that he starts to cry. Damn, these guys are just harsh.
Adventure Comics #306, published in 1963, introduced The Legion of Substitute Super Heroes. Theabsurdity of this group is only outdone by the Legion of Super Pets. At this point the Legion has notreally racked up any sort of impressive list of accomplishments, so the need for a group of rejects secretly backing them up was pathetic. This scene shows poor Polar Boy being rejected because asshat Sun Boy thinks he may accidently freeze someone at a critical moment. Like Sun Boy can’t burn someone at a critical moment? Plus Bouncing Boy, Matter Eating Lad, and Triplicate Girl made the cut and ability to broadcast super cold is a loser?
Last but not least, this panel shows the Legion was pretty fatalistic and willing to write off members quickly. In Adventure Comics #313 (again from 1963), the guys were taking it pretty calmly that the girls were dying. Since they are doomed they might us well send them off world and let’s hope for a cure.
There is plenty more where that came from in these early stories, but I love the Legion and I am just having fun with stuff that hasn’t aged very well. The Shooter Era changed all of that, but he built on the foundation that was created by the writers who came before him. The Legion would struggle as a series over the course of many years and right now we have been without a series for way too long. I hope DC finds a way to do the Legion again with the right creative team. Long Live the Legion.