Friday, January 23, 2009

A Brief Note On "Legion"

So I have spent most of the evening catching up on my watching of the television, knocking out episodes of Chuck, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and Smallville while doing some LONG overdue maintenance on my inline skates. (ABEC-9s BITCHES!) I wanted to jot down a quick note on a moment from the 11th episode of the season, "Legion" which I believe may be a contender for F*@% YEAH status. (For more on what may constitute a F*@% YEAH moment, please consult this link and this link.) The moment starts at about the 4:15 minute mark of this clip:

Now I have to admit that I am enough of a fanboy to think that there have been a lot of cool moments in the Smallville series. I think my two favorites are the line in 5th episode of season 4, "Run," where Bart Allen says, "See if there is anyone else out there like us, maybe start, like, a club or a league or something," and the moment in the 17th episode of the 2nd season, "Rosetta," when they introduced Christopher Reeve as Dr. Virgil Swann.

For those of you who are not familiar with DC comics, Bart Allen is a kid from the 30th century who was sent back in time to Wally West who, at the time, was The Flash. Bart eventually became The Flash after Wally West disappeared with his family during the events of Infinite Crisis and is then killed by the Rogues in the final issue of The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive miniseries. Now that I have over explained that, the reason Bart, or in this case the person who we can assume one day becomes the Flash, saying something about forming a club or a league to Clark is because both Superman and The Flash are founding members of the Justice League of America. (The other original members were Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and the Martian Manhunter.)

Now if I really have to explain why the introduction of Christopher Reeve was a F*@% YEAH moment, then you are clearly an idiot. I feel it is safe to say that for my generation Christopher Reeve IS Superman. In addition to Christopher Reeve's mere presence, the music in the scene starts to incorporate the theme penned by John Williams for the Superman movie. Through the scene the theme appears in the background, mostly on woodwinds if I am not mistaken, and then, just before the commercial break, it builds to a trumpet fanfare of that theme. Again I feel safe in saying that John Williams' theme for the movie helped define Superman for my generation.

Now I have a much harder time explaining, even to myself, why I think the reveal of the members of the Legion of Superheroes in "Legion" was so cool. I have never read a lot of the Legion books, although I am trying to complete my run of the Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning run which began with the Legion Lost miniseries in 2000. The Legion is something I have always thought was an EXCELLENT concept however the execution often lacked the cool factor one would want from a legion of superheroes. Originally introduced in 1958's Adventure Comics #247 when Legion memebers Saturn Girl, Lightning Boy, and Cosmic Boy travelled back in time to recruit Superboy, who was the initial inspiration for the Legion. The Legion proved to be so popular that rather than just being a one-off encounter, they started to appear in more and more stories. They became a regular feature in Adventure Comics #300 sharing space with solo Superboy stories until they displaced him entirely some years later. Of course in time the Legion was replaced, relegated to the D-list for some time until 1973 when they started receiving front cover billing once again when Superboy became Superboy starring the Legion of Super-Heroes and then, in 1980, Superboy was dropped from the title and the Legion finally had their own, self-titled book.

As I said, I really can not point to one reason why I like the reveal so much. Part of it is because I am a HUGE geek and I appreciate that the first three Legionnaires we get to meet are the original three from Adventure Comics #247. Another part of it is that as much as I will complain about how interconnected comics have become, something which can make it challenging for new readers to jump in to the mix, I do like that these things take place in a larger universe. One final reason is that for some inexplicable reason I really like the Legion's flight ring and totally want one of my own.

You can currently watch the entire "Legion" episode here on the CW's website, however since this is the only full episode they have up for Smallville, I expect that it may not be up for long.

And one final note, which is apropos of nothing, Kristen Kreuk as Lana Lang is H-O-T in this episode. As much as I love Allison Mack, I might have cheated on her a little in my mind during this episode. Sorry Allison!

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