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Legion of Super-Heroes: The Great Darkness Saga Paperback – September 1, 1991

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It's pretty hard to argue with comic books in trade paperback form. The price is good, and the convenience of having a bunch of stories or a whole story arc in one volume is unbeatable. Still, there's something to be said for having read the Legion of Super-Heroes' Great Darkness Saga back in the '80s, when the mystery gradually unfolded of a super-villain who seemed to be able to take the best of what the 30th-century megagroup had to offer and give it back with spades. Back then, you could devour each issue then agonize for a month while waiting for the next clue of the identity of the mysterious and powerful master. In trade paperback, however, there's no waiting, and you can spoil the mystery just by taking a look at the cover. Regardless, this epic by Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen was the best of the modern Legion stories, and one of their best ever. It encompasses issues 287 and 290-294, plus the later Annual 3 that serves as an epilogue to the main story. If you're just picking it the Legion for the first time, not all the details of the characters will make sense (e.g., the problems of Chameleon Boy, the triangle of Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, and Timber Wolf), but the power of the main story is strong enough to carry the reader through. --David Horiuchi

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics (September 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0930289439
  • ISBN-13: 978-0930289430
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.3 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,320,169 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Paul Levitz was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1956, and entered the comics industry in 1971 as editor/publisher of The Comic Reader, the first mass-circulation fanzine devoted to comics news. He continued to publish TCR for three years, winning two consecutive annual Comic Art Fan Awards for Best Fanzine. His other fan activities included editing the program books for several of Phil Seuling's legendary New York Comic Art Conventions,. He received Comic-con International's Inkpot Award in 2002, the prestigious Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award in 2008, and the Comics industry Appreciation Award from ComicsPro (the trade association of comic shop retailers) in 2010. Levitz also serves on the board of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.

Levitz is primarily known for his work for DC Comics, where he has written most of their classic characters including the Justice Society, Superman in both comics and the newspaper strip, and an acclaimed run on The Legion of Super-Heroes, a series he's recently returned to write. Readers of The Buyers' Guide voted his Legion: The Great Darkness Saga one of the 20 best comic stories of the last century, and visitors to the site comicbookresources.com selected the same story as #11 of the Top 100 Comic Book Stories of All Time. DC Comics has just issued a new hardcover edition of Legion: The Great Darkness Saga, which made the New York Times' Graphic Books Bestseller List.

Cumulatively, Levitz has written over 300 stories with sales of over 25 million copies, and translations into over 20 languages. As a DC staffer from 1973, Levitz was an assistant editor, the company's youngest editor ever, and in a series of business capacities, became Executive Vice President & Publisher in 1989 and then served as President & Publisher from 2002-2009. He continues as a Contributing Editor, but is now concentrating on his writing.

His current writing projects include Taschen's 75 YEARS OF DC COMICS: THE ART OF MODERN MYTHMAKING, which the LA Times praised for "its colossal ambitions, insights and collected rarities" and the NY Times called "richly conceived history."

Customer Reviews

In the words of a comic cover blurb from decades back, "DON'T ASK! JUST BUY!"
Claude L. Parish
Between the Levitz/Giffen Legion and Wolfman/Perez New Teen Titans, I became a huge DC superhero fan.
He gives plenty of information for you to tap into the characters, the stories, and the places.
A. Spieldenner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By HJ Louw on November 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Much like what the Dark Phoenix saga over at Marvel did for the X-Men, so did The Great Darkness Saga elevate The Legion of Superheroes to a level of excellence in the early eighties that rival comics would find hard to match. Of course, much of the story-line's success should be attributed to writer Paul Levitz, who went on to become possibly the greatest scribe to ever pen the Legion. This mammoth hardcover includes at least 400 pages of action, intrigue, horror and suspense, along with stunning art from a variety of pencillers that bring the Legion's 30th century setting to vivid life. As a bonus extra comics were included from before and after the main story that gives new readers a pleasant introduction to a wide variety of interesting superheroes. In total it collects 13 Legion issues, from #284 to 296 of the first series, including a massive annual filled with pulse-pounding superhero battles.

Even with all the awesome extra material, the main story is the real diamond that, in my humble opinion, should be read by every comic book fan on the planet. Not only does it feature one of the most dangerous villains in the DC Universe (trust me, even newcomers to the Legion would know him), but it also contains in-depth character development of all the individual Legionnaires, no small feat when a writer has to juggle dozens of characters. Superboy, Supergirl, Karate Kid, Mon-El, Ultra Boy, Invisible Kid, Blok, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy, Wildfire, Dawnstar...all of them and many more become characters you care about once the stakes are raised and the universe threatens to go BOOM.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By H. Bala TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Legion of Super-Heroes had been pushed to the brink before, but things were never so dire as when Darkseid, the fearsome God of Apokolips, opened his eyes in the 30th Century and set out to invade the United Planets. This is the Great Darkness Saga, one of the most defining story arcs of the 1980s and in Legion history and, for most people's money, it's what established Paul Levitz as a truly relevant Legion writer.

In the far-flung future, in the 30th century, the United Planets have seen a time of great enlightenment and prosperity. But, even in this wondrous era, there are monsters. And so the Earth-based Legion of Super-Heroes, a group of youths endowed with incredible abilities, patrols the spaceways and planets, troubleshooting and working with the Science Police to keep the peace and safeguard the many alien inhabitants of the known universe.

LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES: THE GREAT DARKNESS SAGA Deluxe Edition collects issues #284-296 and LoSH Annual #1 (featuring Computo). Note that issue #284 coincides with Levitz's return as series writer. The Great Darkness Saga itself takes place in issues #290-294, which means we get about 200 pages of lead-in stories. Bonus material consists of a new intro by Paul Levitz, a reprinting of Levitz's plot directions for Giffen for issues #290 (Chapter One of the Great Darkness Saga) and #294 (final chapter of the Great Darkness Saga), Keith Giffen & Larry Mahlstedt's cover to the original trade collection, Lee Bermejo's variant cover to ADVENTURE COMICS #12, Giffen's rough sketches of eight Legionnaires, and bonus art which served as a full-paged ad for the double-sized issue #294.

If you have the original trade collection (from 1989?
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By J. Houzet on April 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
This was the storyline that made me start collecting The Legion of Super-Heroes comics back in 1982. I actually came on board in the middle of the Great Darkness Saga, but quickly scrounged back issues to get the whole story. Everything Levitz and Giffen did afterward was shadowed by this story. Heck, this was where Darkseid made his comeback after being virtually relegated to comic book oblivion in the '70s.
Even when Kirby was writing the Fourth World comics, Darkseid was not the major player in the DC Universe that he is now. But Levitz showed the potential for the character, making him a cosmic villain of universal proportions. Like one of the other reviewers here, Darkseid was new to me simply because I was too young to know about the New Gods. But Levitz used him as a mythic character whose legend would have been known to those who read their Encyclopedia Galactica.
In this story, Darkseid takes a while to reveal himself, working through his "servants of darkness" to procure vessels of power, including living beings he sucks dry of their power. When he does this to Mordru, the Legion know they've got a problem bigger than any they've faced. In one mind-blowing subplot, Darkseid transposes Apokolips with Daxam, giving a yellow sun and the power of Superman to three billion Daxamites he mind-controls.
It's difficult to know whether this remains an official part of Legion continuity because the group has endured so many revamps and rewrites. But it remains an outstanding story. As for Darkseid, this is just one of many possible futures for DC's #1 villain. John Ostrander also did a superb job writing a climactic battle between the Martian Manhunter and Darkseid thousands of years from now.
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