We have come to the end of the Gerry Conway-Joe Staton-Steve Ditko-Jimmy Janes-Roy Thomas run on The Legion of Super-Heroes (v2) and before we set this series aside, we thought we would do one last look back....
The first and most important thing that must be said about this series is that it was the first time that the Legion ever had their own on-going series. Before this they were a feature in Adventure Comics, then in Superboy, then in Superboy and the Legion, and then....suddenly, as of Legion of Super-Heroes #259 they were "in a comic all their own at last."
Relatedly, they got their own logo for the very first time. The aslant title made its debut on the cover of LSH #259. It lasted as long as Gerry Conway did; he plotted the final stories in this run, but was not the writer of credit. The logo, similarly, disappeared from #280, replaced by the more dramatic version that stayed on the title until its last issue, #354 (Dec 1987). This aslant logo is the most visual representative of this era.
This "era" lasted two years exactly, 25 issues from #259 (Jan 1980) thru #283 (Jan 1982).
During this run the Legion had only one leader, Lightning Lad, who had been elected in Superboy/Legion #247. He eventually stepped down in LSH #287. This means Lightning Lad served a span of 41 issues, one of the team's longest in "real" time. As a comparison, his successor, Dream Girl, was elected in LSH #291 but was replaced by Element Lad in LSH #306, a span of only 15 issues.
During these 25 issues the Legion fought some of their greatest foes: the Fatal Five, Pulsar Stargrave, Mordru, Grimbor, and the Time Trapper. Unfortunately, most of these incredibly evil and dangerous individuals were taken care of in the most outlandish ways. And when the Legion wasn't facing these legitimate threats, they were fighting off a Darth Vader wannabe, an angry genie, space pirates, and race relations. It was not a good time for the bad guys.
The answer to why this happened seems obvious. Over a span of 25 issues, there were two editors, six writers, and no less than ten artists! The series started with Jack C. Harris as editor, then changed to Mike W. Barr after #277. Gerry Conway started the run, then was supported by guest writers JM DeMatteis (#264 and #268) and Paul Kupperberg (#267). Roy Thomas came in and worked from Gerry's plot from #277, then once Gerry was off the book Paul Levitz came back and worked with Roy. Then Paul took over completely with #284. We all know how that worked out.
The aforementioned Secrets of the Legion min-series might have had something to do with this, as it was also drawn by Janes & Chiaramonte and ran concurrently with the monthly title. But if that is the case, it's like we sacrificed the main series for the mini-series. Not the right priority, is it? Besides Jimmy Janes the other pencillers at this time were Joe Staton (who started the run), Jim Sherman, John Calnan, Ric Estrada, Steve Ditko, and Howard Bender.
Beautiful covers were provided by Dick Giordano, Rich Buckler, George Perez, Jim Sherman, Dave Cockrum, and in some of his only Legion work, the great Jim Aparo.
|The Fatal Five give up without a fight. HUH!?!?!|
|The house falls on Mordru. The End.|
(They say that his distant cousin is the Wicked Witch of the East)
|A plot device so bad even the characters themselves don't believe it.|
Anybody else out there agree, or disagree, with me about this run? Let us hear from you in the comments section!