Zero Hour Strikes! Legion – End of an Era

Legion - End of an Era is a big chunk of what makes Zero Hour important, as the future holds some of the most important impacts of the event. Join Bass and Siskoid as they cover Legionnaires #17-18, Valor #22-23, and Legion of Super-Heroes #60-61. It's the end of the Five Years Later era, but really, it's the end of something that started way back in 1958!

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Relevant images and further credits at: Zero Hour Strikes ep.9 Supplemental

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27 responses to “Zero Hour Strikes! Legion – End of an Era

  1. Hoo boy…yeah, this makes Hawkman’s continuity look positively quaint!

    I will say I agree on what I’m seeing of the art you critiqued. Surprisingly amateurish for DC to publish, even on a set of titles headed toward cancellation/reboot. It reminds me of why I thought I could get a job in the comic industry on a DC or Marvel title. No offense meant to those folks who I’m sure improved later, but I could totally hang with those guys, quality-wise.

    I remember being pretty shocked to see Rokk Krinn revealed as the Time Trapper. I wasn’t invested enough in the Legion to feel offended about it. Considering the other big villain reveal in Zero Hour proper, it seemed a bit repetitive in a lot of ways, but that’s a whole other issue you guys will get to shortly!


  2. I had to go back and find these as all the ZH tie-ins (especially the ones that were ordered in super low numbers) were unavailable at my LCS at the time.

    But boy, are these a mess. Just a mess. Cosmic Boy becomes the Time Trapper? WTF?

    Also, that Phase is/isn’t/but really/but maybe not/but really truly is Phantom Girl thing drove me batty. I think these are the books that made me wish for LESS continuity. It’s an anchor in cases like these.

    As to your feedback on the feedback — I get why the JSA would be made to disappear. I like legacy characters – love ’em – but they have a time and place. And I think people forget the ‘time’ part. I agree, Siskoid, if you don’t like a character, set it aside for someone else. But I also understand DC’s want to streamline everything. One Green Lantern. One Superman. One Flash. THere’s a perception of elegance in simplicity. It just isn’t always exploited to its fullest potential. I think the easiest way to get around the “JSA problem” (not one to me, but to DC editorial) is just to ignore the characters. Personally, I like keeping the ww2 characters in their era. When you have people locked into an era co-existing with other characters that are supposed to exist on a sliding time scale…well, that just stretches things a bit too far for me.

    1. Which I think lends credibility to what so many thought would happen: Recreate the Multiverse, and shunt the JSA back to Earth-2. I wonder if this wasn’t done out of stubborn pride? We can’t admit Crisis was a failure!!!

      As for Phase, in 4 episodes or so, I promise we WILL tackle the whole Phantom Girl debacle when we cover L.E.G.I.O.N.

      1. Enough with the multiverse. Just leave the WW2 people in WW2. It’s okay to NOT have Superman start it all. It’s fine.

        1. I wanted to see a proper Earth Two again… I forget which, but one crossover had a teaser page which seemed to indicated a modern Earth 2 was back, then that went nowhere. The New 52 Earth 2 series was generally a bit pants until Dan Abnett’s Earth 2 Society, which was a cracking read.

          How the heck did DC think the fans wouldn’t moan the JSA back into continuity. And thank goodness we did.

          Anyway, great show boys. I do agree with the old theory that the identity of the Time Trapper changes with each continuity – Glorith, Cos, the ruddy Time Commander. And I do not need a big reveal, let it just be some unknown bod in purple!

  3. I reviewed the 5YL book over on the Legion of Super-Bloggers up until this point. I loved that book, especially the first 3 years or so. But this era with new code names and weird costumes seemed a far cry from the dense and mature book which started out.

    So this truly was an end of an era.

    I had been a lifelong Legion fan. I consider a Legion comic to be my first comic ever. I loved these characters.

    But making Rokk the Time Trapper? It broke me.

    I left the Legion and didn’t pick up the book until the Threeboot happened. I missed the entire Archie Legion. The Abnett/Lanning stuff. I missed it all.

    Thanks for covering as I wasn’t getting Valor at the time and hearing the buildup in that book fleshed things out.

    Rokk as the Time Trapper! Yeesh.

    1. That element never phased me. And of course I did go on to read the Reboot Legion, which my writing partner Shotgun and I have covered almost entirely on the Legion of Super-Bloggers now. We’re (checks) 10 weeks from finishing (!).

      1. Oh Anj, I totally agree with the later 5YL continuity issues, and the rubbish way this story ended… but the Archie Legion was brilliant, and the DNA stuff superb.

    2. I *was* buying Valor, but not the grim’n’gritty 5YL Legion – that continuity seemed too dense & complex for me to get into. I had been picking up Legionnaires as a more ‘new-reader-friendly’ way into the Legion storyline, but – until this very podcast – I had never really understood exactly how the SW6 Legionnaires came to be; as the mystery that was posed at the very beginning of the Legionnaires book, the answer was too oblique for me to pick up on. Thank you Siskoid & Bass for resolving a 25 year old mystery!

      This moment in the Legionnaires book was also a milestone moment in my personal comic book collecting career; post-Zero Hour, it was the first book that I actively stopped buying (as opposed to a book I was buying being cancelled.) I think the confusing plot & drop in quality in the art that had been so good at the start of the series were big factors in that decision.
      That’s the problem with crossovers, I guess; publishers hope they’re a jumping on point, but they can be a good jumping off point too.

  4. I’ve been slowly, sloooowwly chipping away at some Legion collections I’ve gotten from ComiXology. After stalling out on “The Curse”, I’ve started the first SUPERBOY AND THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES collection with the Mike Grell issues. However, the more I hear about it, the more curious I am to check out the “Archie Legion” era. I don’t know much about this time period other than the Legion’s appearances in FINAL NIGHT, but I dig the Stuart Immonen style and the lighter vibe.

  5. 1980: House ads featuring the horned Darth Vaderesque Dagon The Avenger in Legion of Super-Heroes #263 and Tharok in Legion of Super-Heroes #270 look promising. Everyone is still in the great Dave Cockrum costumes, and look like the Shi’ar Imperial Guard; cool and sexy.

    1982: House ad for The Best of DC #24 with cartoonish Ernie Colon cover looks way better when shrunk down mightily on muddy newsprint. I never find these comics at 7-11 or even at flea markets.

    1983: Tantalizing out-of-context and mostly silent panels by Keith Giffen run in a two-page spread in DC Sampler #1. Where are these Legion comics?

    1984: Two-page house ad for the Baxter series Legion relaunch, confirming a book that I never saw on the newsstands in Texas would be entirely unattainable as a direct market only series. Even Tales of the Teen Titans disappeared rapidly once it switched to reprints, and that was still a top seller.

    1985: Bought Booster Gold #1 at an atypical convenience store because a house ad promised I’d get a free button for doing so. Circle K was not a participating store, and I didn’t buy any more issues to discover his Legion connection.

    1987: Aside from a three-pack of Man of Steel that I saw at a toy store but didn’t buy, I miss the Byrne Superman relaunch until #12, and therefore the Hawkmanification of Superboy in #8.

    1988: Thanks to house ads, “Legionnaires 3” sticks with me forever, as if that was ever a true term used for the trio of founding members. Cosmic Boy featured in the Legends mini-series, and I think I maybe read an issue of his solo series that made no impression on me.

    1988-1989: Exposed to Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes #314 (White Witch) and #331 (Lightning Lass spotlight.) Don’t know what’s going on and not into it. Bummed that comics with early Munoz-influence not funny like Giffen’s Ambush Bug. Desire for unattainable Legion curdles when expectations not remotely met.

    1989: Pulled the 1983 Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #2 out of a quarter bin that one year I bought and saved comics to read on summer vacation that were largely stolen by “friends” during the school year before I ever got to read them. At the same shop, saw an issue of Karate Kid in the back issue boxes that was completely unrelated to the more familiar movie series. I either don’t notice or don’t care about the 5YL relaunch in the few months it’s coming out before my local comic shop unexpectedly closes.

    1991: My half-brother, the Lobo fan with comic shop access, buys LOS #23 but does not continue with “The (too) Quiet Darkness.” I may have also read a friend’s copy of #25. Begin routinely seeing preview covers of series in DC Currents free advertising circulars or in Advance Comics/Previews, but turned off by Gaijin Studios house style. Curious about destruction of Earth narrative, though.

    1993: Pulled an issue of Timber Wolf out of the cheapie bin at a trophy shop in my brother’s neighborhood that had started stocking comics. Total shrug. Pulled an early issue of Valor from same box because of Eclipso tie-in. Another waste of spare change. Got an issue or two of Legionnaires, probably for the free trading card, but feel unwelcome by “kiddie” art and impenetrable clone story. Purchased Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #4 as part of broader support of Bloodlines event, of which this was the single worst story with the most awful New Blood character introduced.

    1994: Buy a few late run Valor issues and Legion of Super-Heroes #61 as part of Zero Hour purchases. “End of an Era” seems to live up to the name, but none of these multiple variants of characters mean anything to me. Honestly couldn’t even maintain concentration during the podcast recap of this story, since I know it won’t “matter” going forward. After more than a decade of failed attempts to acquire or enjoy Legion comics, looking forward to reboot as a potential jumping on point.

    Late ’90s: After beginning to collect Legion, used one customer at shop who “donated” old comics to us for space and some store credit to pull together a chunk of the Legion run from about #286 (Sun Boy vs. Dr. Regulus) to #313, including most of The Great Darkness Saga. Not overly impressed, given its reputation, and much prefer the Baxter format relaunch issues with art by Steve Lightle or Greg Laroque. Put together most/all of run. “The Universo Project” marks end of interesting arcs, but still good issues here and there afterward. Also read most of 5YL, which requires you to read dense quasi-historical passages that I resent and do not ad to experience. Sours me on “series” Keith Giffen work. Even while caught in the grip of grim n’ gritty, seemed stupid to force Legion into a dystopic narrative, and all the unshaven dudes in Rick Deckard drag already tired when I passed on these the first time.

    Bullet Points:

    Ⓛ Archie Legion is the best Legion for the uninitiated. It summarizes everything that came before in a manner similar to Man of Steel but in a more natural and prolonged manner. Also gets mileage out of swerving on older fans, such as when Ferro Lad survives the Sun Eater and becomes a prominent Legionnnaire.

    Ⓛ The Apparition resolution was perhaps the greatest misstep of the Archie Legion.

    Ⓛ Overall, the Post-Crisis model of the DC Universe was my favorite, and my lips are still dyed from how much of that Kool-Aid I drank. However, there were major casualties in that model, so I now advocate for the Multiverse in favor of greater property autonomy. DC should be run like Marvel’s title families in the ’90s; little fiefdoms zealously protected from one another’s editorships; but with even less intra-company contact. It should be an event when Shazam meets Superman. But there are other models.

    Ⓛ For instance, I don’t think we need World War II era super-heroes. It just dates the entire line, and arrests any development of the JSA heroes beyond being a sanitized representation of the “Greatest Generation.” It’s improbable that Captain America is so progressive, but a couple dozen more of the same? Spreads even comic book credibility thin.

  6. I don’t mean to give repetitive comments, basically that this was a pretty dense messy read, like the Hawkman series. But maybe it’s not my fault. Maybe that’s a sign that DC itself was being repetitive, and so invested in “fixing” things, they couldn’t see it.

    Anyway, these issues still give me the feels. Like Bass, this truly feels like an ending, and it did its job.

    I think the very first LSH stories I read came from a box set of digest-sized paperbacks. There’s 6 books featuring a different DC series, 4 stories each. Amazingly, I still have them. Their publication date is 1977, which is probably when my parents bought them. I’ll have to post it on Twitter, cuz I’m curious if anyone else has them.

    Thanks for another Hour of Zero!

    1. Shoot! I forgot a question I had! Does the “SW6” actually mean anything? I know it’s the experiment designation for the young Legion, but does it have any meaning beyond that, either in the comics or by the creators? OR! Has anyone reading this made up their own meaning for “SW6”?

      1. SW6 was the London postcode in which my old APA pal, the late Peter Hayward-Brewer, lived… the Bierbaums, who were in Interlac or Klordny with Peter, used it as a nod to him. It’s Hammersmith & Fulham.

  7. On a long list of loved the idea behind it but, “Meh” I remember. I was in the rare position of liking the Legion on both side of this. reboot. I think I remember “tip_toeing” around other fans more than ANY of the stories.

  8. Impressive Podcast. Most impressive. An interesting way to see Valor go out. Cas as the Time Trapper… again…. sigh. Sorry I think he was the Trapper at the start of 4 years latter. Er the Griffin run. So seeing it again makes me go uggh. I’m a big Cos fan so I’m a bit oy on it. The Name Pole Star isn’t helping. Just no. It fits his 70s costume from the Grail Run. But, no not Cos. I get the magnetic Poles connection, but it’s not the first thought that comes to mind. Just no. That’s not Cos… maybe when he and Night Girl are alone at night… but, not in public.

    Still the rest works. Seeing the LSH in different areas and what not. And Valor’s and Shade’s love keeping them from being wiped is bit romantic. It’s all Danielle Steel and stuff. I like the hand shake bit at the end ware they do the Cocrom 1 point perspective pose. Ware there faced off with the other team. Yet looking at each other and instead of a fight their shaking hand. It;’s cool.

  9. Hey guys,

    Fun episode as usual. Yeah, the Hawkman history became a muddled mess.

    If you superpower is to pull things out of your ass, run with the them. The first thing you pull out of your ass is a better superpower. 😉

  10. Back around 1997 I went through the entire 5YL run but stalled out shortly before this storyline. Siskoid is right about that run stalling out towards the end. It’s like they didn’t know where to go after the destruction of the Earth. When I finally got to these books as part of FCTC’s coverage of Zero Hour I was shocked at how much I enjoyed it. Not the best way to end things but it was an interesting read and I was SHOCKED that they brought back the Earth from the Pocket Universe. I figured everyone would have wanted that to forget about that.

    I can’t help but feel bad for the Legion. It’s not their fault that the continuity kept changing and that editors kept arguing over the use of the Superman characters. I’ve tried reading the early Post ZH Legion books but the artwork has been a turn off. The stories are fine and they made a go of trying to make a Legion that the then current readership could embrace. I jumped on when Abnett and Lanning started the LEGION title and enjoyed that and gave the Three Boot a try but that didn’t stick.

    This was a very fair evaluation of these issues. The mess up of the trade dress was weird but it’s not the first time DC has dropped the ball during a crossover. I’m looking at you War of the Gods.

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