That dream has been put at risk more than once. Thus, secession from the United Planets becomes a major threat in “After Dark” (published in The Legion # 24, November 2003). Talok VIII, Umbra’s planet, has secluded itself from the rest of the solar system. Constantly enshrouded by shadows, the darkfield, the same force that gives Umbra her extraordinary powers, has literally taken the entire planet as a hostage. Against all odds, Umbra fights for the freedom of her world and reclaims her title as the champion of Talok VIII. Steve Lightle is the guest artist of this wonderful standalone adventure. Lightle is perhaps one of the most revered Legion artists, famous for his run in the title during the 80s. With a dynamic and very appealing cover and absolutely amazing interior art, Lightle proves why, even decades later, he’s still an outstanding artist; his creative designs and the otherworldly architecture of Talok VIII are only the preamble of a game of shadows and hand-to-hand combat, effortlessly portrayed by this talented veteran.
It’s interesting to observe how the original concept of The Legion of Super-Heroes has evolved through the decades. 1958 marked the debut of the young heroes from the future and, in 2003, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning celebrated the Legion’s 45th anniversary with a memorable giant-size issue, which would modernize some of the core concepts of the book while remaining faithful to the essence of the characters. “Foundations” (published in The Legion # 25, December 2003) is the beginning of one of the most ambitious sagas written by the British creative duo, and this first chapter is an evocative tour through the history of the heroes of the 31st century. The opening sequence recreates the legionnaires’ first appearance (as seen on Adventure Comics #247). In Smallville, a young Clark Kent is visited by 3 peculiar teens who take him to the future. This splendid “retro” scene is illustrated by Eric Wight, an artist capable of combining the innocence of simpler times with the expressiveness of classic comics.
Of course, in the 50s, there was only one possible future, but as sci-fi became more complex in subsequent years, it made perfect sense to talk about multiple timelines and alternative futures, and that will be the initial premise of “Foundations”. As the story progresses, we get to see the legionnaires welcoming the first recruits of the Legion Cadet Program. Once again, Abnett and Lanning are boldly going where no Legion writer has gone before; indeed, they’re turning Legion World into something far more useful than a simple headquarter, they are turning it into the only place in the solar system in which all alien species are encouraged to coexist peacefully and learn from each other. Regular penciler Chris Batista put a lot of effort designing the cadets as well as the habitats contained in Legion World, and all that extra work sure pays off; it’s always gratifying to see such a good selection of images.
Simultaneously, Brainiac 5, Kid Quantum, Cosmic Boy, Shikari and Apparition must rescue the spaceship of Earth’s president while preventing a dimensional rift that could affect the world of Braal. This time, the artist is the multiple times Eisner award nominee Tony Harris, who also happens to be the cover artist. Harris’ striking drawings rely on sleek lines and a very unique aesthetic.
Another interesting moment takes place between Ayla Ranzz (Spark) and his brother, Mekt Ranzz, a rehabilitated villain formerly known as Lightning Lord. Mekt is a lonely man trying to come to terms with his dark past, as we saw in the Legion Worlds miniseries. The penciler here is legendary artist Dave Cockrum (famous for redefining the X-Men, back in the mid-70s), another well-known figure for Legion fans, who contributed with mind-blowing costume redesigns for the legionnaires, in the early 70s. Cockrum passed away in 2006, so these 5 pages were the last work he ever did for DC.
|Talok VIII (Steve Lightle)|
|Umbra (Steve Lightle)|
Ha pasado más de una década desde la última vez leí “The Legion”, y no obstante, me encuentro inmediatamente transportado a galaxias distantes y mundos alienígenas y, sobre todo, a una idea de cómo debería ser el futuro. Al igual que la Federación Unida de Planetas, la propuesta de Gene Roddenberry para “Star Trek”, los creadores de la “Legión de Súper-Héroes” compartían una noción similar, el noble ideal de innumerables civilizaciones extraterrestres forjando una alianza y defendiendo una coexistencia pacífica intergaláctica.
|Clark Kent, Pete Ross & Lana Lang (Eric Wight)|
|Kid Quantum, Cosmic Boy & Saturn Girl (Chris Batista)|
|Shikari, Kid Quantum, Cosmic Boy, Apparition & Brainiac 5 (Tony Harris)|
|Lightning Lord (Dave Cockrum)|
Simultáneamente, Brainiac 5, Kid Quantum, Cosmic Boy, Shikari y Apparition deben rescatar la nave espacial de la presidenta de la Tierra, y a la vez deben prevenir una grieta dimensional que podría afectar al mundo de Braal. En esta ocasión, el artista es Tony Harris, nominado al premio Eisner en varias ocasiones, quien además es el portadista. Los impactantes dibujos de Harris se apoyan en líneas pulidas y una estética muy singular.
Otro momento interesante ocurre entre Ayla Ranzz (Spark) y su hermano, Mekt Ranzz, un villano rehabilitado antes conocido como Lightning Lord. Mekt es un hombre solitario tratando de lidiar con su oscuro pasado, como vimos en la miniserie de Legion Worlds. Aquí el dibujante es el legendario artista Dave Cockrum (famoso por redefinir a los X-Men, a mediados de los 70s), otra figura bien conocida para los fans de la Legión, que contribuyó con los alucinantes rediseños de los uniformes de los legionarios, a principios de los 70s. Cockrum falleció en 2006, así que estas 5 páginas fueron el último trabajo que hizo para DC.
|Legion Lost (Paul Rivoche)|
|Element Lad (Paul Rivoche)|