Legion of Super-Heroes: An Introduction

The Legion of Super-Heroes is a large group of teen heroes whose adventures take place one thousand years in the future!

The Legion's first appearance was like any other Silver Age Superboy (of Superman) story: freewheeling. In Adventure Comics #247 (April 1958), three super-teens invited the teenage Superboy to join their "club." Something about these heroes resonated strongly with fans and they sparked continued interest.

In Adventure Comics #364 (Jan. 1968) DC editors even encouraged fans to vote for the next Legion leader (the results appeared in Adventure #368). The team's popularity eventually led to their independence from the Boy of Steel.

The Legion's membership numbers in the dozens, and its supporting cast is enormous. The diversity of the Legion universe gives creators a broad canvas to explore the characters' personalities and relationships. Unlike many other DC teen heroes (like the Teen Titans), the Legionnaires are not sidekicks but have always operated more-or-less autonomously, despite their ages.

The Legion resides a thousand years in the future, so events that happen in the current-day DC Universe frequently have ripple affects on the Legion's reality. There have been several distinctly different Legions, each borne from a DC Comics "crisis event."

These Legion versions do not map precisely to certain parallel Earths in the DC multiverse. It might be more accurate to describe them as alternate timelines in the DC Universe.

Eras in Legion Continuity

Cosmic Teams organizes the Legions of the DC universe in the following way:

The Original Legion (1958–94)

Created by Otto Binder and Al Plastino

» FIRST APPEARANCE: Adventure Comics #247 (Apr. 1958)

The original Legion. From History of the DC Universe #2 (1986); art by George Pérez.

The Original Legionnaires debuted in a Superboy story from Adventure Comics #247 (April 1958). Superboy (Superman as a boy) became a member of the team, as well as his cousin Supergirl.

The Original Legion was published through 1994, thought its continuity did undergo some major continuity in 1986 and 1994. These were not so-called "hard reboots," but instead aimed to redefine (or minimize) the Legion’s connections to Superboy/Superman.

» SEE: The Original Legion: Introduction

Key Comic Book Series

  • Adventure Comics #300–380 (1962–69)
  • Action Comics, #378–392 (1969–70)
  • Legion of Super-Heroes v.1, 4 issues (1973)
  • Superboy (and the Legion) #197–258 (1974–79); becomes ...
    • Legion of Super-Heroes v.2, #259–313 (1980–84); becomes …
    • Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes, #314–354 (1984–87)
  • Legion of Super-Heroes v.3, 63 issues (1984–94)
  • Legionnaires Three, 4-issue limited series (1986)
  • Cosmic Boy, 4-issue limited series (1986)
  • Who’s Who in the Legion of Super-Heroes, 7-issue limited series (1988)
  • Legion of Super-Heroes v.4, #1–61 (1989–94)
  • Valor, 23 issues (1992–94)
  • Timber Wolf, 4-issue limited series (1992)

The SW6 Legion (1991–94)

Created by Keith Giffen, Mary Bierbaum and Tom Bierbaum

» FIRST APPEARANCE: Legion of Super-Heroes v.4 #20 (July 1991)

The interconnecting covers of Legionnaires #2-6 (1994); art by Chris Sprouse and Karl Story.

The Legionnaires from "Batch SW6" were actually a part of Original Legion continuity. In Legion v.4 #53 (Jan. 1994), it was learned that long ago the Legion had been 'copied' by the Time Trapper ("Batch SW6" was the label on the chamber in which they were kept). These youthful duplicates were kept in storage and literally unearthed during the planet's fight for freedom against the Dominators.

» SEE: The SW6 Legion

Key Comic Book Series

  • Legionnaires #1–18 (1993–94)

The Reboot Legion (1994–2004)

Created by Tom McCraw, Mark Waid and Stuart Immonen

» FIRST APPEARANCE: Legion of Super-Heroes #0 (Oct. 1994)

The Zero Hour Legion. From a pinup in Legionnaires #50 (1997); art by Alan Davis and Mark Farmer.

The Reboot Legion was created during Zero Hour: Crisis in Time, when the Original Legion ceased to exist. The future was totally "rebooted." Later, this reality was designated as Earth-247.

» SEE: The Reboot Legion: Introduction

Key Comic Book Series

  • Legion of Super-Heroes v.4, #0, 62–125 (1994–2000)
  • Legionnaires, #0, 19–81 (1994–2000)
  • Legends of the Legion, 4-issue limited series (1998)
  • Legion: Lost, 12-issue maxi-series (2000–01)
  • Teen Titans/Legion: Universe Ablaze, 4-issue limited series (2000)
  • Legion Worlds, 6-issue limited series (2001)
  • The Legion, 38 issues (2001–2004)
  • Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds, 5-issue limited series (2008-09)

The Threeboot Legion (2004–2009)

Created by Mark Waid and Barry Kitson

» FIRST APPEARANCE: Titans/Legion Special (Nov. 2004)

From The Brave and the Bold #4 (2007); art by George Pérez and Scott Koblish.

The "Threeboot" was the second hard reboot of the Legion franchise. They were later designated the Legion of Earth-Prime. This timeline was created by events surrounding the Infinite Crisis.

» SEE: The Threeboot Legion: Introduction

Key Comic Book Series

  • Legion of Super-Heroes v.5, #1-14, #37-50 (2005–09)
  • …retitled Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #15–36
  • Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds, 5-issue limited series (2008-09)

Retroboot (2006–present)

Created by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank

» FIRST APPEARANCE: Justice League of America v.2 #8 (June 2007)

The original Legion is refreshed for the new millennium. From Action Comics #863 (2008); art by Gary Frank and John Sibal.

The Legion Retroboot is a version of the team that is very similar to the Original Legion. It was more-or-less restored by the Infinite Crisis. The Retroboot's continuity includes Original continuity — minus the events of Legion volume 4 (1989–94; called the "Glorith Reality" here).

The origin of the Retroboot Legion was retooled a little in Legion: Secret Origin and Adventure Comics v.3. They starred in new adventures in Legion of Super-Heroes v.6 (2010).

This version of the team also includes the "New 52" era (2011–2019). However, Legion continuity became fraught with new continuity problems after the launch of that endeavor. It is uncertain how events from the Retroboot period (including Legion of Super-Heroes v.7) sit in context with any other DC universe continuity.

» SEE: The Retroboot Legion: Introduction

Key Comic Book Series

Retroboot continuity includes the Original Legion series above, plus:

  • Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds, 5-issue limited series (2008-09)
  • Adventure Comics #511–529 (2010–11)
  • Legion of Super-Heroes v.6, 16 issues (2010–11)
  • Legion: Secret Origin, 6-issue limited series (2011–12)
  • Legion: Lost v.2, 17 issues (2011–13)
  • Legion of Super-Heroes v.7, 23 issues (2011–13)

Legion 4 (2019–present)

Created by Brian Michael Bendis and Ryan Sook

» FIRST APPEARANCE: Superman v.5 #14 (Oct. 2019)

Legion 4 comes for Superboy. From Superman v.5 #14 (2019); art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado.

The fourth major version of the Legion was the brainchild of Brian Michael Bendis. It was created some time after DC's "Rebirth" initiative. Superman's son — Jon Kent — joined this Legion as Superboy.

» SEE: Legion 4

Key Comic Book Series

  • Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium, 2-issue limited series (2019)
  • Legion of Super-Heroes v.8, current (2019–)

The Animated Legion

Saturn Girl shows young Clark Kent a vision of the Legion. From Superman: The Animated Series, season 3, episode 3 (1998).

The Legion guest-starred in several animated series before landing their own self-titled series for two seasons. This Legion could possibly reside in the "DC animated" universe, Earth-12. There was a cartoon comic book published at the same time.

» SEE: The Animated Legion

Key Series

  • Legion of Super-Heroes animated series, 2 seasons (2006–08)
  • Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century, 20 issues (2007–09)

The L.E.G.I.O.N.

Created by Keith Giffen, Todd McFarlane, Alan Grant and Barry Kitson

» FIRST APPEARANCE: Invasion! #1 (1988)

This L.E.G.I.O.N. triptych was part of the 1993 Cosmic Teams trading card set (cards #16-18). Art by Barry Kitson.

The L.E.G.I.O.N. current-day group that operates at large in the galaxy. Some of their members are the ancestors of the 31st century Legionnaires (such as Brainiac 5 and Blok). Their group escaped from Dominator captivity and organized themselves into galactic peacekeepers.

» SEE: The L.E.G.I.O.N

Key Comic Book Series

  • L.E.G.I.O.N., 70 issues (1989–94)
  • R.E.B.E.L.S. v.1, 17 issues (1994–96)
  • R.E.B.E.L.S. v.2, 28 issue (2009–11)

Other versions

There are lots of crazy alternate versions of the Legion. Read Legion "Elseworlds" to learn more. Most of these tales were purposely noncanonical. In the Silver Age of comics, these kinds of variant stories were sometimes called "Imaginary Stories."

Visual Guides

Cosmic BoySaturn Girl Lightning Lad
Depicted here are the Legion's three founders, who are consistent across all incarnations of the group.

Aside from diving right into one of the Legions above, you might like to absorb some images that can help you differentiate between the Legions:

Publication History

How to start reading? DC Universe has almost all of the Legion's history available to subscribers. Certain eras are well-collected in trade paperbacks. See the Publications section for a list of trade paperbacks and others.

» SEE ALSO: Legion in Print

Cosmic Collaborators

The following is the most complete Legion of Super-Heroes Chronology ever compiled. It was originally written by myself, but major additions and edits were made by John Censullo. More edits were performed by Aaron Severson, and the Reboot material by Brian Mendus. It has been great fun to work with these guys and their material is superior my own work here.