Too Many Long Boxes!

If It Ain't Broke,
Don't Fix It

by Brad Parnell

First let me say that there is nothing wrong with the Post-Boot Legion. As comics go these days it's as good as anything around. The characters are well written and well drawn and a lot of the original spirit and flavor of the original series is thriving. I just can't get into it. I tried. It just isn't working for me. Call me old, or whatever, but I just don't get it.

I followed the Legion for a very long time. I began reading the series regularly in the early 70s. It wasn't long until comic shows and shops started popping up that I was able to get back issues and followed the Legion's history. I eventually built up a collection that had almost everything from about 1964 (a year before I was born) to the present. With the Archives that came out later I had just about read everything there was on the Legion. I write that as background, not as boasting. I kept up with the Legion during a lot of changes. No group book boasts fan loyalty like the Legion with the possible exception of the X-Men. And both those books went through an enormous amount of changes over the decades (though the Legion didn't have to recycle plots).

I remember terrible artwork. Colorists who had no clue as to what was going on and writers who didn't understand the characters at all. As if that wasn't enough, when after years of consistency in the writing under Paul Levitz and excellent artwork, everything was dumped because Keith Giffen wanted to start over 5 years in the future. This angered a lot of fans. Many dropped the book and many more wanted to start back at the 5-year gap and move forward again. I stayed on and eventually got to like the unusual writing and art very much. Even after Giffen left, the new writers and artists carried on wonderfully and had much to offer in the way of creative storylines and eye-catching graphics. But then they ended the continuity.

That was the straw that broke this camel's back. I tried to read the new stuff. I even gave it a year. Like I said the art was good. The stories were good. They even had the flavor of the original series. But something was wrong. It was the Legion, but it wasn't the Legion. It was as if they were starting Star Trek all over again instead of making Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Imagine a new show, called Star Trek. It doesn't have any of the old actors in it, but it does have some of the old characters. There's Kirk, Spock, Bones and Sulu. But look again there's no Scotty or Chekov and they have new characters too, like Data, and Worf. Some of the original characters are different too. Spock actually has some feelings, Bones isn't quite so grumpy and Kirk is gay. The music, acting, special effects and directing are all as good as it gets. The show may be enjoyable and of good quality, but it's just not 'Star Trek'. At least that's how I felt about the Legion Reboot.

I guess maybe it's because I grew up with those characters. I mean when I was a little kid in the 70s they were teenagers and I looked up to them. Thanks to comic time being different, they were mostly still teenagers by the time I had become one. Then they actually started to age them a bit and they kept a few years ahead of me until they did the 5-year gap thingie. Now they were older again. They were married with kids. I had finally caught up to them in my early 30s, when they vanished. So I guess this will always be my "Legion", the team I grew up with.

This new group is unrecognizable to me as the Legion, despite the names, costumes and powers being similar. I don't mind a new group for the new kids coming up now. I understand it as a business decision for DC to try to go for its market and I'm okay with that. I just wish they'd created something new instead. I remember how I felt about the fans that dumped the book after the 5-year gap. I thought they were being a bit too picky and if they were real fans they'd hang on a bit longer. I can understand new fans thinking that about me too (Even though I believe that a reboot is radically different from a major plot change). I guess it's all just a part of growing older.

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