Superboy #207

Superboy #207, March 1975

There’s nothing particularly spectacular about this cover (though the hand of Colossal Boy reaching down is pretty effective), but it’s special to me as it was the first Legion of Super-Heroes comic I ever had.

I first heard of the Legion in a quiz printed in a Superman/Batman Annual one year.

(For non-British readers, I should explain that every year in the UK a handful of publishers publish hardcover books filled with comic strips, text stories, quizzes and puzzles. Aimed very much at the children’s market, they remain extremely popular and there can’t be many kids who haven’t found at least a few of them in their Christmas stockings at some point.)

Anyway, in this Annual there was a quiz where the question asked how many members there were in the Legion of Super-Heroes. I’d never heard of them, so I had no idea. The answer turned out to be 25. Wow, I thought, 25 members! Imagine what a team that must be. I filed it way in my head as one of those things I longed to see.

Some time passed, and I found myself standing at a market stall one day. There was a small pile of battered comics on one corner of the table, so I had a rummage. I was amazed to see this Superboy comic “featuring the Legion of Super-Heroes,” and knew I had to have it.

Boy, I wasn’t disappointed. I loved that comic. It had super-heroes, space adventure, sci-fi action… could it get any better than that?!

Of course, looked at today, you quickly realise that this was actually in one of the weaker periods of Legion history. Legion saviour Dave Cockrum had just departed to co-create the New X-Men, and his replacement was the newcomer Mike Grell, who, while not untalented, was perhaps overworked and forced to cut a few corners.

It’s also something of an oddity in that it has a back-up story the features Lightning Lad and his brother Lightning Lord. Nothing too odd about that…  — except that this is the only place where the pair are shown to be twins, completely flying in the face of established continuity. Lightning Lad’s twin is actually Light Lass. Lightning Lord was a singleton, very much an oddity on their home planet of Winath, and it was that as much as anything that turned Lightning Lad evil.

Cover art by Mike Grell.

©2011 DC Comics