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Showcase Presents: Legion of Super-Heroes, Vol. 1 Paperback – April 4, 2007

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Editorial Reviews Review

The bargain-priced, black-and-white Showcase Presents Legion of Super-Heroes, Vol. 1 is a slice of 1960s comics innocence, 550 pages of the beginnings of the 30th-century supergroup. It begins in April 1958 (Adventure Comics #247), when three teens--Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl--travel through time to meet Superboy and invite him to join their "super-hero club" 1000 years in the future. This volume collects that story as well as the various other appearances the Legion made with both Superboy and Supergirl, introducing new characters (Brainiac 5, Mon-El, Ultra Boy, Triplicate Girl, Phantom Girl) and new concepts along the way (the Legion of Super-Villains, the Legion of Super Pets) (Some of the ideas would be tossed out later, such as the idea that Supergirl meets the children of the original Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl, and there are a couple of mis-references to the Legion being in the 21st century.) Then in September 1962, Adventure Comics officially became "Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes" in its 300th issue and the Legion became a monthly feature. The series was able to indulge in the decade's love of sci-fi, traveling to strange planets and fighting mad scientists and strange monsters (they still used reel-to-reel tape recorders, though, and women's rights still weren't quite developed in the 30th century).

This period introduced the Legion of Substitute Heroes and the Time Trapper, saw the first Legionnaire die in action, and brought in Bouncing Boy, Matter-Eater Lad, Dream Girl, and others. This volume runs through June 1964 (Adventure Comics #321), and most of the writing is by Jerry Siegel or Edmond Hamilton, and art is handled by John Forte or Superman legend Curt Swan. Like all Showcase Presents volumes, it's in black-and-white, which helps keep the super-low price but the loss of color lessens the impact of the funky worlds and aliens, and makes it harder to tell the Legionnaires apart. Rabid Legion fans who want the stories in color and on high-quality paper should try the hardback DC Archives series, but it's substantially more expensive. --David Horiuchi


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 552 pages
  • Publisher: DC Comics (April 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401213820
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401213824
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.3 x 10.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #680,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Thomas E. O'Sullivan on July 4, 2007
You should know right up front that these DC SHOWCASE reprints are in black and white. For long time fans this is seen as something of a sin, while new fans might find these collected issues incomplete - and they're both right - but, to keep the price down and the volumes bulging with material, a middle ground had to be reached and DC has gone out of their way to present these issues in the best possible light. The artwork is clear, clean and still fresh even without the color, but, I can't lie, the color really MADE some of these issues work.

Superpowers are always on display with the LEGION and in black and white it loses some of its punch - so it's lucky that the stories make up for it. This is the launch of the LEGION, first as a one off issue with SUPERBOY being inducted into the club as a honorary member for all his heroic (and historical) deeds, and then as a full member on call (via a flashing lamp in his bedroom) when they need him. As the series rolls on, and as the Superboy/Superman mythology expanded new heroes and villians would be added to the roll call. Supergirl would become a member of the LEGION (after failing her first try due to some unexpected side effects brought on by red kryptonite and some close minded attitudes from the perfect people of the future, seriously, Supergirl is robbed by the LEGION in their first encounter), and every collected Superpet from Kypton and beyond would get their own LEGION as well as a LEGION of outcasts and casts off from the LEGION (proper) itself.

Truly the LEGION of the 30th century (or the 21st, depending on the writer, year or need for the story - Supergirl would mostly see the LEGION in the 21st century, unless she was a guest star in the SUPERMAN series, then it would be the 30th...
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael Noga on May 9, 2008
I've always liked the Legion whatever their incarnation. I like the earliest version because they were stories written in the 50's about teenagers @ the year 3000, by guys born in the 1910's and 20's. Wow. Just hearing that you know something entertaining is going to happen. How on Earth could they possibly create an accurate representation of teenage life in the future....with super powers? But it works, in a comic book. Many people are big fans of these heroes and enjoy the stories as fun simple yarns. Others enjoy them in a post-modern ironic sort of way. I like to do both. Sure it's simplistic and cheesy especially by today's standards, but that doesn't have to be a bad thing. This could even be a good vehicle to get younger kids interested in comics, provided you can explain away some of the surprisingly cruel mind games the Legionnaires sometimes play on each other, motivated usually by petty teen drama or some kind of comic misunderstanding. See what I mean? It's teenage life in the 50's,set in the 30th century, filtered through the sensibilities of guys born when Babe Ruth was a hot young rookie. At least til Jim Shooter showed up.Here's a typical quote ......" Star-Boy is treating me like a queen, yet Superboy isn't jealous one bit. That girl from the future has made him forget me completely."......There are also neat little throwaway bits like when Clark Kent lights his Dad's cigar with his heat vision or the crazy powers of rejected Legion candidates such as Antennae Boy, whose huge antennae could pick up radio broadcasts from anywhere in space/time but who couldn't figure out a way to turn those broadcasts off. Excellent entertainment. There are almost 40 stories in this compilation, here's a sample of what you get:

Adventure Comics #247-Legion of Super-Heroes!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Timothy J. Cronin on August 12, 2007
If you were a baby boomer who read DC comics as a kid, you'll love this collection of Legion of Super-Hero stories. These early years established much of the Legion lore and besides that you get an entire 500+ pages at a bargain price. I especially enjoyed the art of John Forte who's pen defined the Legion for so long.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Kevin M. Derby VINE VOICE on May 22, 2011
This book collects the first appearances of the Legion of Superheroes during the late 50s and early 60s. In many of these stories, the Legion takes a backseat to Superman or Supergirl. Despite this, the Legion is one of the best teams in the DC pantheon. Be warned--the comics here are very different than modern ones. Continuity is constantly broken on even the most simple of things (is it the 30th century? The 21st?). But it would be wrong to see these comics as simple tales. The Legion has a Tolstoyian number of characters in both lead and supporting roles. There are also some very powerful stories--including the death of one of the members. While there are some stories that are weaker than others here, this is a very solid and entertaining collection of comics. One other thing. With a low price and hundreds of pages of fun, this is an excellent book to give children who are interested in reading comics.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Glenn Cook on November 20, 2009
This is a cracking book. The Legion of Super Heroes was always a big favorite of mine in the past with the same thought pattern as getting the Justice League of America in that you got a whole lot of heros for the price of one. You will either love this or be indifferent.
Well the series does not fail to entertain. You can see how the origin of the Legion started and gradually refined over a few guest appearances in Superboy and Superman. Finally the Legion gets into it's stride and we start to see a little of life in the far distant future whioch is a major draw along with the super powers. The stories start out a little tame but are not as naive nor as childish as say Green Lantern. They have aged very well. Now to the quality. You get a lot for your money well over 538 pages for under a few dolars. All in black and white and on cheap paper BUT hey this is disposable nostalgia for the over 50s. So cheap as the chips which would be right at home in this quality of paper.@
NOW bring on the LEX Luthor showcase!!!
*(French fries) in American @ In Enland in post war they would be wrapped in yesterdays newspapers to conserve rare resources.
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