Thursday, July 7, 2011

How Am I Doing on Your Worth-o-Meter?

Doug: Even though we really haven't shown it much (there's just too much to do and not enough time to do it!) around here, Karen and I are big Legion fans. We've done a few comic reviews, and there's certainly been a comment here and there in the midst of our Side-by-Side series when the Legion becomes a topic within a certain year. The multi-part "Great Darkness Saga" was a fun series to review, and sooner or later we're going to tackle some more Dave Cockrum and Mike Grell 1970's goodness. But today we'd like to ask you to rank some Legionnaires in regard to their usefulness. You can choose from the entire roster (reboots included) if you want, and tell us who in your mind are your MVP's, and then toss a little dirt on those you just scratch your head and mutter, "Say what?" Who are your favorite characters (usefulness aside), and who can you simply not stand?

Doug: If this seems somewhat familiar, Karen led a great discussion earlier in the year, with Triplicate Girl as a focus; but I figured the Legion is so large in its own right that we could toss the question out again, but keep it to just this team. After all, if you read our recent reviews of the JLA/JSA/Legion team-up, you saw us complain again and again about the strange combination of Legionnaires, and how certain characters when forced to fight solo weren't all that scary. So, using the wonderful George Perez image below as your guide, do some rank-ordering of our 30th Century teen heroes!

Have fun!

14 comments:

dbutler16 said...

This is more work than I’m used to doing, but I love the Legion, so…
I’m just covering the Legionnaires pictured above. This is based more on how useful I perceive them and their powers to be. How much I like them doesn’t figure into this. Of course, this list is subject to change, hourly, if not more.

Indispensible
Element Lad – potentially the most powerful Legionnaire of all

Mon-El – duh

Saturn Girl – Obviously, a powerful telepath is worth her weight in gold, though not necessarily in combat

Tellus – He’s both a telepath and telekinetic, so how can I not list him here? Still he’s not as powerful a telepath as Imra, I think, and he obviously didn’t get as much “air time” as most of these other Legionnaires

Braniac 5 – In theory, at least, you’d really want this guy on your team.

Very useful
Cosmic Boy

Lightning Lad

Wildfire

Chemical King – very underutilized, probably because writers didn’t know how to use him, but potentially powerful

Sensor Girl/Princess Projectra

Chameleon Boy – Good in battle and for espionage

White Witch – Potentially very powerful, but the writers wisely put some limitations on her.

Quislet

Ultra Boy – I have to rank him below Mno-El since he can only use one power at a time

Useful
Star Boy – Manipulating gravity impressed the threeboot Brainiac 5, anyway. Too bad he can only manipulate it one way.
Light Lass – See above. I’ve called her Light Lass here, because otherwise she’s just another Lightning Lad

Magnetic Kid – I have to rank him below his brother due to his lack of experience, plus I didn’t see enough of him to really gauge him.

Shadow Lass

Sun Boy

Phantom Girl – A totally defensive power, but still very useful

Polar Boy

Tyroc – Another one the writers didn’t know how to use

Invisible Kid – Partly this high because he’s the Legion’s #2 genius behind Brainy. His power is somewhat useful for combat and very useful for espionage.

Blok – Like Ultra Boy without the other powers. I love Blok, though.

Timber Wolf – One of my faves, but he’s a Mon-El light.

Moderately useful
Dream Girl – Occasionally useful, though not so much in combat. Unfortunately, sometimes her premonitions were misinterpreted.

Ferro Lad – A less powerful version of Blok, who is a less powerful version of Ultra Boy, who is…

Dawnstar – Occasionally useful for her tracking ability but otherwise she can just fly, as can all of the other Legionnaires with their flight rings. Yes, not nearly as fast as her, but still..

Colossal Boy – Less strong than Blok, I would imagine. Still, his great size can sometimes give him a leverage advantage.

Karate Kid – Another one of my all time faves, but he’s basically got no superpower

Invisible Kid 2 – I rank him below IK1 because he’s not a super-genius like Lyle. Still, Jacques is perhaps the most human of the Legionnaires.

Totally useless

Bouncing Boy

Triplicate Girl/Duo Damsel

Matter-Eater Lad

J.A. Morris said...

I don't know much about the Legion,only read a few stories over the years, so I can't fairly comment about them.
But I will say I always considered Fang the least essential member of the Imperial Guard. Does that count?

Anonymous said...

Simultaneously lame and genius:

Arm Fall Off Boy.

William said...

I don't know that much about the Legion, I was never very interested in them because as a team they are way too powerful. I mean there are at least five members in Superman's weight class, and then the writers went and added Superboy to mix. It must have been really "fun" trying to come up with threats that could actually offer this group any kind of a challenge.

That being said, I loved the episode of Justice League Unlimited where Supergirl, Green Lantern and Green Arrow end up in the future helping the Legion battle the Fatal Five. I gotta tell ya, as a casual observer I always figured Bouncing Boy would be pretty useless, but in that episode he really showed how effective he can be in fight. Great stuff.

So I'd have to say that Bouncing Boy is pretty much indispensable.

William said...

Matter-Eater Lad is not the most useless member of the Legion. That honor goes to his little brother Booger-Eater Lad. However, he was tragically killed on his very first mission when (ironically) the Legion went into battle against the ruthless villain "Booger-Eater Lad-Eater".

Triplicate Lass is also pretty much indispensable as well, as she can "entertain" three male Legion members at the same time. A great ability for those long missions to other side of galaxy.

Edo Bosnar said...

I was about to make some lame comment about Triplicate Girl/Duo Damsel's use in three/foursomes, but William beat me to it, with a much better take.
By the way, I thought Booger-eater Lad wasted away when Kleenix Girl eliminated his means of sustenance...

Seriously though, a problem with the Legion, which is a legacy of most of the characters being created in 1960s, is that the female legionnaires tend to have rather "passive" powers (hell, one of them even has/had the descriptive name Shrinking Violet). One could make the argument that besides maybe Saturn Girl, all of that first wave of legionnaire girls was pretty worthless, at least in straight-up superpower combat situations.

starfoxxx said...

My favorites have always been Colossal Boy, Dawnstar, Timber Wolf, Wildfire,and Ultra Boy. I'm not too sure about how useful they are, but I love the costumes/colors, probably why I prefer these members. Plus, dawnstar is a straight-up hottie.

Thanks for the Perez image---now I have to get some printer ink ASAP.
The symbols at the bottom are a nice touch, i love stuff like that.

And I hope, if any one STILL reads new comics (I pick up a couple a month, still) CHECK OUT Levitz' new Legion stuff. Great art and stories, IMO.

dbutler16 said...

Where is that Perez image from, anyway? And I agree with Starfoxx that the new Levitz Legion is very good.

Whalehead King said...

There are no useless Legionnaires. To even consider the idea is heresy. They have all contributed to the team to good effect at one time or another. Which is your most useless friend? The one that comes through in a pinch? I don't think so.

Doug said...

dbutler -- I have no idea where that image was originally published. I just found it image-surfing one day...

Whalehead King -- OK, then with your posit, when we do this for the Avengers you can have D-Man.

Doug

Dougie said...

The image is from History of the DC Universe issue 2; the prestige format series that saw print in the mid-80s.
For my money, after the Kryptonians and the Daxamite,
Brainiac 5 is perhaps one of the most versatile members. But
Wildfire, when he made his debut as ERG-1, could duplicate the powers of all the Legionnaires; Tyroc's voice enables him to do more or less anything; and White Witch, while requiring certain tokens and rituals and time to prepare, was extremely powerful.
I'm of the school of thought that there are no unworthy Legionnaires and my favourites include Chemical King, Karate Kid and Sensor/Sneckie. There are Legionnaires I find less appealing than others, of course:I've never been interested in Sun Boy and I'm not keen on Element Lad or XS.
I've been enjoying the recent Legion Academy series in Adventure and hope that the new kids continue to appear in the new LSH.

dbutler16 said...

Thanks for the info, Dougie. By the way, I had considered ERG-1 when he first appeared, but didn't take that into account since he lost those powers so quickly Let's also not forget that when Star Boy first appeared, he had the same powers as Superboy. I'm glad they changed him and gave him a different, and more interesting, power. Tyroc and the White Witch were both potential dues ex machinas. Dangerous.

To be honest, in a way, I do agree that there are no worthless Legionnaires. I did enjoy one or two stories where Bouncing Boy really shined, but realistically, that is a stretch by the writer.

By the way, let's not mention XS. She's not Bronze Age. :-) Speaking of non-Bonze Age Legionnaires, though, I did like Monstress and Gates.

Doug said...

dbutler --

Gates, yes. I tend to like the abrasive little pains-in-the-butt type of characters.

Monstress, no. I could not stand her speech patterns, let alone the fact that she was the Hulk with breasts... I just found her really annoying. Yeah, Gates was annoying, but for me it never worked with Monstress.

Doug

starfoxxx said...

Hey now! I finally got some ink, printed out that fantastic Legion image, and went about figuring out whose symbol is whose. Some come from the costume, some make sense, some are just weird. Also, shortly into it I figured out its in alphabetical order, with all 16 symbols on the left, followed by 15 on the right, and finally the Legion "L".

Bloc
bouncing Boy
Brainiac5
Chameleon Boy
Colossal Boy (why not the bird symbol on his chest???)
Cosmic Boy
Dawnstar
Dream Girl (?)
Duo Damsel
Element lad
Invisible Kid
Lightning Lad
Lighntning Lass
?Magnetic Kid? same symbol as Cosmic Boy, not sure who he is...
Mon-El (is that a tooth?)
Nemesis Kid ? don't know for sure.
Phantom Girl
Polar Boy
Quislet
Saturn Girl
Sensor Girl
Shadow Lass
Shrinking Violet
Star Boy
Sun Boy
Tellus (not sure)
Timber Wolf
Tyroc
Ultra Boy
White Witch
Wildfire

I'm not too sure about some: is it Dream Girl?, i vaguely remember her.
Is it Magnetic Kid?
Nemesis something?
Which symbol would be Mon-El's?
The rest I'm pretty sure of.
Any insight would be great!
And the deceased members get NO symbol, just a headshot at the bottom.

I wish I had this poster.

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