|Legion of Super-Heroes|
Cover art for Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 5) #37.
Art by Francis Manapul and John Livesay.
|First appearance||Teen Titans/Legion Special (November 2004)|
|Created by||Mark Waid
|See:List of Legion of Super-Heroes members|
The 2004 version of the Legion of Super-Heroes (often referred to as the "Threeboot" Legion) is a fictional superhero team in the 31st century of the DC Comics Universe. The team is the third major incarnation of the Legion of Super-Heroes after the 1958 and 1994 versions. It first appears in Teen Titans/Legion Special (November 2004) and was created by Mark Waid and Barry Kitson.
Following a crossover with the Teen Titans in Teen Titans #16 and the Teen Titans/Legion Special, a new series was launched; written by Mark Waid, who previously rebooted the title following the events of Zero Hour, and penciled by Barry Kitson. This new series — the fifth series entitled Legion of Super-Heroes — recreated the team from the ground up and uses the Boy/Lad/Girl/Lass/Kid names from which the end of the "Preboot" era and the prior reboot had moved away from using. Waid has stated that this is the first view of the DC Universe after the events of Infinite Crisis, as shown in a line referring to Infinite Crisis in the Teen Titans/Legion Special. The current continuity is sometimes referred to as the "Threeboot" continuity by fans as it is the third incarnation of the Legion that has been published since 1958.
Issues following #16 featured a modified One Year Later logo, shown as 1,001 Years Later, referring to the current Legion's adventures taking place 1,000 years after the One Year Later storyline. Beginning with issue #16, The Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 5) was retitled Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes.
Initial issues of the current title reintroduced the characters and provided new and divergent origins for them. Most characters resemble their previous counterparts in costume and powers, with the most notable exceptions including Chameleon Boy, now called simply Chameleon and depicted as an androgynous creature, Star Boy, who in this version of the Legion is black, Colossal Boy, who is now a giant who shrinks to human size, and Phantom Girl, who exists in two universes at once and has conversations with people in her own dimension while talking to Legionnaires at the same time.
The future universe of this Legion is an emotionally and mentally repressive society which involves human sexuality and contact being kept at arms' length as well as Orwellian surveillance of minors. The Legion's main goal is social reform as well as protecting people and inspiring them with the legends of superheroes of old, even though the team isn't appreciated by various government authorities.
The Legion is worshiped by thousands of "Legionnaires"; young people on various different worlds who worship the group in a cult-like manner. Some of the Legionnaires keep a constant vigil outside Legion headquarters.
When confronted by the Legion, Supergirl insists she is the real Supergirl, Kara Zor-El. She then informs the Legion that they are in fact not real, and exist only because she is dreaming them. Cosmic Boy theorizes that Kara has gone through so many traumatic experiences during her brief career as Supergirl that ending up in the 31st century has caused her to assume that everything she's experienced since Krypton's destruction has all been an extended dream. Supergirl is then mentally probed by Saturn Girl, who learns that Kara's last memory before arriving in the 31st century was of the war between Rann and Thanagar during the events of Infinite Crisis.
Meanwhile a group known as the Wanderers wreaks havoc in the galaxy, first letting loose on Earth a group of giants, then striking the team on Kandor itself where they had gone with Supergirl. As a side-effect of a psi-attack, Saturn Girl becomes able to sense and communicate with Mon-El, who is trapped in the Phantom Zone and is able to exist as an invisible and intangible wraith on Kandor. While some Legionnaires are trying to free Mon-El, the Wanderers attack Legion HQ, trapping everyone inside. Several Legionnaires as well as Mon-El are recruited by the Wanderers to help combat an imminent Dominator threat.
The Dominators' attack on Earth was started after Booster Gold jumped through time and stole an advanced weapon which he needed to stop Mister Mind in the final battle of the 52 weekly series. They mistook Booster's speech while taking the weapon ("for saving 52 worlds") as a warning that Earth had teamed up with 52 unnamed worlds to declare war on the Dominion and had broken the non-aggression treaty signed after the Invasion a thousand years before. To further complicate matters, the combined forces of the Legionnaires and the Wanderers that were attacking the Dominion in a preemptive strike was perceived as proof of Earth's new alliance with 52 unnamed worlds.
The Waid/Kitson run ended with issue #30 after Barry Kitson's move to Marvel Comics with Tony Bedard becoming the new writer for a six-issue run from #31 to #36, culminating with Supergirl's return to the 21st century during the events of World War III.
Beginning with issue 37, former writer Jim Shooter (who wrote several Legion stories in the late 1960s and early 1970s) started an open-ended run with Francis Manapul as the artist. The title of the book reverted to Legion of Super-Heroes.
After Supergirl's return to the 21st century, Lightning Lad becomes Legion leader due to being the runner-up in the leadership elections. His first day on the job does not go well as he faces the Legion losing the support of the United Planets.
DC Comics announced on September 29, 2008 that the current Legion series would end with issue 50. Shooter had planned out a sixteen story arc but had to create two fill-in issues, cutting his planned story arc down to fourteen issues. Shooter suggests the ending of the series was not connected with sales, stating "I think canceling the book is a graceful way of getting rid of me. I complain too much and too loudly". Shooter was not credited with scripting the final issue of the series, #50, which left several of Shooter's plot threads unresolved, and credit instead went to a pseudonym, "Justin Thyme", which was previously used by uncredited comic book artists.
The Threeboot Legion also appeared in the 2008-2009 Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds limited series, written by Geoff Johns and drawn by George Perez. The mini-series features the "Threeboot" Legion teaming up with the "Reboot" and post-Infinite Crisis incarnations of the Legion and Superman to fight the Time Trapper and a new incarnation of the Legion of Super-Villains (led by Superboy-Prime). It is revealed at the end of the mini-series that this version of the team inhabits Earth-Prime, the home of Superboy-Prime.