Rebirth Legion: Introduction

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

An early glimpse of the Rebirth team was presented by Brian Michael Bendis on Late Night with Seth Meyers on 25 July 2019; art by Ryan Sook.
Superboy meets the Legion founders for the first time, on "Unity Day," the day the United Plantes is founded. From Superman vol. 5 #14 (2019); art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado.
Cover of Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #2 (2019); art by Ryan Sook.
The Rebirth Legion comes to Superman's aid. From Doomsday Clock #12 (Feb. 2020); art by Gary Frank.

During the "New 52" era of DC publishing, Legion continuity changed in various ways. That reboot enthusiastically launched two Legion books: Legion of Super-Heroes vol. 7 and Legion: Lost vol. 2. Both of these titles were unsuccessful and ended by 2013. Read New 52 events: 21st century 31st century

By 2016, DC had rather 'thrown in the towel' on the New 52, and dreamed up the "Rebirth" initiative. It launched with the one-shot, DC Universe: Rebirth (July 2016). Its characters were steered back toward more 'classic' or popular incarnations from the past. Some characters, like Superman, were fully restored to their previous states of the character (pre-Flashpoint).

Rebirth, however, did not affect the Legion until 2019. Between 2013 and 2019, the Retroboot Legion continued to make scattered appearances. The events of Doomsday Clock would eventually provide the explanation for the Rebirth Legion.

Doctor Manhattan, a hero from the Watchmen universe, left his reality and was drawn toward Superman. Manhattan arrived just before Superman's original arrival on Earth, in 1938. He became stuck in this "mainstream universe" and because of his unique quantum abilities, Manhattan was untouched when various crises caused the timeline to branch into parallel realities. He concluded that he was observing a "Metaverse," the center of reality from which other universes were spawned.

By 2010, after several such splits, his curiosity led him to try an experiment. Dr. Manhattan prevented the formation of the Justice Society — Superman's inspiration — to see how it affected Superman's existence. (Doomsday Clock #10, July 2019)

Manhattan's actions spurred the universe to produce various "antibodies" to fight against him. One of these was the Legion's Saturn Girl, who returned to the 21st century to unite heroes against him. But when Dr. Manhattan recognized his folly, he restored the JSA. This cascaded across

The Retroboot Saturn Girl and her Legion faded from memory like others before them. Their reality split off from this central "Metaverse" to become a parallel branch in the multiverse. (Doomsday Clock #11–12, Nov. 2019–Feb. 2020)

The Rebirth Legion arose from the events of Doomsday Clock, but it debuted before that. It happened during DC's onboarding of superstar writer, Brian Michael Bendis, who took over the Superman comic book titles.

Bendis elevated Superboy's (Jonathan Kent) role. This Superboy became the inspiration for the United Planets, and the Legion, instead of his father. According to Bendis, the Rebirth Superman had never met the Legion of Super-Heroes. Instead, his son Jon was invited by time-travelling teenagers to join their group in the 31st century. (Superman vol. 5 #14)


Left: Unfinished artwork for variant wraparound cover for Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium #2 (2019). Right: Finished artwork. Art by Ryan Sook.
The Superman family meets the Legion for the first time. Left: From Superman #15 (2019); art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado. Right: From Supergirl vol. 6 #33 (2019); art by Kevin Maguire.
The racial identity of Lightning Lad was changed between the original cover preview for Superman vol. 5 #15 (2019). Right: Revised art. Art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado.



This chronology is edited assuming:

  1. The Legion's first meeting with Superman and Superboy was Superman vol. 5 #14 (Oct. 2019). Superman did not have a youthful history with this Legion.

Chronology Conventions

  1. Color codes:
    A new member joins the Legion.
    A Legionnaire dies.
    Major storyline.
  2. Characters' first appearance IN PRINT is bolded. This often differs from …
  3. Characters first CHRONOLOGICAL appearance is italicized.
  4. When the placement of a tale within continuity is in question, the event is usually placed in the most recent possible time.
  5. Only the inheritors to a title display the level of succession. Example: "Invisible Kid II," but just "Invisible Kid" for the original hero.
  6. Consideration for inclusion is based on an event's relevancy to the Legion, its members and their legacy. This includes major Legion series and key issues from other DCU series.