Friday, November 11, 2022

Who is The Legionnaire?

Well, now that the Golden Age issue has come out we know more details about "the Thirteen" who have been retconned into Golden Age history ("reinserted" as they put it, in-universe), so I'm going to do a brief follow up to my earlier post on the subject.

First and foremost, I want to correct the headlines (because I'm Comic Book Guy) that say these are "thirteen new characters". They are not.   It's, at most, ten and a half.

The Golden Age Mister Miracle and the Golden Age Aquaman are pre-existing characters. And despite the change in names, "Quiz Kid" is, as I suspected, quite clearly modeled on pre-existing Golden Age character Genius Jones.  So, that's a half.

As for the mysterious "Legionnaire"...well, we don't know who that is, yet, do we? However, there is a Time Bubble in the image, from which we can deduce that this boy (the silhouette is a male figure) originates from 31st Century.  There's little point in having a representative from the future if it's somewhere we don't already know so... I suggest that it's almost certainly a pre-existing Legionnaire, meaning it's only NINE and half new characters.  

Who is that pre-existing Legionnaire?  The way I see, there are only four possibilities.

SO gay.

Ultra-boy, because he first appeared on a visit to the past.  His power set makes him an ideal Superboy/man stand-in.  The exact same rationale applies to Mon-El, or, of course, Superboy himself.  

No comment.

Frankly, I wouldn't put it past Geoff Johns to make a younger Jon Kent into the Golden Age Superboy, growing up in the age he is now first under the tutelage of the JSA and then once puberty hits with the LSH in the future. It's just the kind of grand madness he likes to pull off. BUT:

There's no cape.

No cape,  no Mon-El or Superboy.  Also that figure is clearly an adolescent. So it could be:

Karate Kid. For several reasons. One, Karate Kid, canonically, comes to live in the past for a while (see below).  Two, he doesn't have any super-powers so he won't be an overwhelming figure in the Golden Age. Three, "Karate Kid" is probably not a codename you'd be using in the U.S. at that time (for several reasons) which explains why he might just go by 'the Legionnaire'. Four, absolutely nobody in the 31st Century will miss Karate Kid. Five, the hair and the action pose.

I will admit the silhouette is NOT AT ALL consistently with KK's classically stupid costume, but they could take the opportunity to change it, since that would be a dead giveaway.

But that's all a bit too tidy. My real guess is based on two things: the silhouette and How GJ Thinks.  

The silhouette says it's a male (human-looking) with a much simpler costume, with hair that can do that (or it's Cham, of course, but that's cheating).  And Geoff Johns does things for REASONS. 

Let me rephrase that.  Geoff Johns MAY write a story that is fun. Or shocking. Or... whatever. But that is incidental. That's a side-effect.  Intentional, yes; but not the primary goal. The primary goal, visible or not is always: world-building. Stone by stone. Tree by tree.  

For those of you who watched the show Westworld: Geoff Johns is not Head of Narrative Lee Sizemore, writing stories for guests; he is Westworld Founder Dr. Robert Ford, building a world and hosts that can outlive those stories and guests.

Everything he does, in anything he writes, is done with an eye toward building the larger DCU.  That's why his stories sometimes don't seem to have a clear ending. His real "story" is The DCU itself.

With that in mind: there is no REASON to bring KK to the Golden Age. It accomplishes nothing; it doesn't connect any dots; it doesn't close any loops, establish any legacies, further any dynasty building. AND THAT'S WHAT GEOFF JOHNS DOES.   Just look at all the rest of the Thirteen for a moment first as proof...

Betsy Ross & Molly Pitcher. A matched set of female sidekicks for Miss America (one of DC's yardsale heroes), who plenty of modern readers have never even heard of, but who's probably going to be reintroduced as a Golden Age Wonder Woman analog.  Even though Wonder Woman is STRONGLY name-dropped as being a long-term member of the JSA in Golden Age, so... go figure.

Salem, the Witch Girl. Borrowing a Kirby concept to make a kid sidekick for Dr. Fate, something no sane person would ever contemplate. 

Nabu? Not really good with kids.

John Henry, Jr. A legacy for a non-existent "John Henry" line of heroes that modern day Steel can be the inheritor of, tying John & Natasha Irons to a Golden Age history even if that undercuts the whole 'inspired by Superman' origin. Oh, well.

The Boom. If the Wests and Allens have legacy, then sure as shootin' GJ is going to make sure the Garricks do. It's okay; the name sells it.

Cherry Bomb. As mentioned in my previous post, the idea of giving THE HUMAN BOMB a kid sidekick would be hilarious absurd...if it weren't for the previous existence of TNT and Dan The Dyna-Mite.

The Golden Age Red Lantern and The Harlequin's Son are obviously are about fluffing out Alan Scott's dynasty so that's as overgrown as the modern Green Lantern's.

Ladybug. She's the key to my guess.  Ladybug is a kid sidekick for ... The Red Bee.  Now... I love the Red Bee.  I've spent time imagining treatments for updating the Red Bee. How can you not love a concept as comic booky as the Red Bee?  But he hasn't been on the radar for decades and no one's been clamoring for his return; The Red Bee is usually just a punchline or a trivium.  So why give Red Bee, of all people, a retconned kid sidekick?

Because Ladybug can shrink.  Just like Bumblebee.  The existence of Ladybug can be used to link Bumblebee, the Red Bee, the Golden Age Atom and the Modern Atoms (oh, and that idiot, Atom Smasher).  Finally, GJ will have that Ant-Man/Wasp Dynasty DC fumbled on creating with all its shrinking/growing characters.  

What does any of this have to do with The Legionnaire? Maybe nothing.

Unless the Legionnaire is Gim "Colossal Boy" Allon.


Anonymous said...

Colossal Boy is a possibility. Thinking of the other classic Legionnaires:

Brainiac 5 - probably not. He’s green & that was unlikely to fly with the public in the ‘40s (although he could disguise himself). They already have a genius character, making him redundant.

Element Lad - somewhat likely, as his powers are unique and he hasn’t already been to the past solo. Unlike…

Star Boy- but Johns did that already, so why bother?

Sun Boy - sucks. I hope it’s not him. I would take the lack of collar on the costume to be a hint, but they can give him any costume they want so it’s not a viable clue.

Cosmic Boy - another unique power, and another stronger possibility.

Lightning Lad - same.

Invisible Kid 1 - I guess it could be him, but I can’t see it.

(Even I groaned at that)

As with the costume, the hair style could be just be how the artist chose to draw it and not a hint. If the hair is any clue (it looks vaguely wild and fiery), I’m leaning toward Lightning Lad of friggin’ Sun Boy.

- Mike Loughlin

Scipio said...

"but I can’t see it. "

I see what you did there.

The last thing Cos or Garth needs is more prominence. Cos is the Leader of the Founder and the Founder of all Leaders; Garth is the center of one of, if not the, most iconic legends of the Legion. Vain showy pop-star Sun Boy would be a crashingly bad fit in the Golden Age.

But again... what would those guest-stars accomplish? No, GJ doesn't do stunt-casting. There's no way he's going to resist putting the Legion's only Jewish member with the JSA's only Jewish member.

Anonymous said...

Two giants who are Jewish teaming up? I could see Johns doing that, especially if the story is set during WWII. I haven’t read the comic or know the premise of the upcoming Stargirl series, so I don’t know if a modern JSA/ original JSA time-travel team-up in in the cards.

What would Cosmic Boy or Lightning Lad add? I don’t have an answer, unless Johns wants Garth to say something like “Let me show you Ratzis a real bitzkrieg!”

- Mike Loughlin

Anonymous said...

You make a really good point that Johns wouldn't pop a Legionnaire into the Golden Age unless it served a purpose. The biggest purpose I can think of is plugging the holes left by the lack of a Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. I know that they clumsily tried with Iron Munro and other characters to fill the void, but I don't know that they ever quite succeeded.

I feel like the most important of the three to introduce from the future, would be a Superman analog. A fairly literal Man of Tomorrow. A Batman replacement is a possibility, but why send a guy from the future to do that? It doesn't quite add up.

Let me toss out this crazy possibility. You know how there are occasional Silver Age tales about distant descendants of Superman and/or Batman? What if it's one of them?

Super outside chance: it's Halk Kar.

Bryan L said...

I'm hoping for Ultra Boy. He's long been a favorite of mine. I like the fact that his powers have limitations and take some thought to use effectively. And, as Anonymous notes, he'd be an effective Superman stand-in without overshadowing the rest of the team.

Timber Wolf has been depicted with Wolverine hair for a while now, so that seems unlikely. Chemical King? That could be interesting based on his powers, but his powers, while interesting, are obscure.

DanielT said...

It's been established that Wonder Woman was active in the Golden Age. See WW #750.

Anonymous said...

Possibly in favor of Colossal Boy, Gim is one of the few Legionaires actually hailing from our solar system–Mars, as I recall–and has actual ancestors on Earth. (Ignoring all that "Valor colonizes the galaxy with meta-Earthlings" stuff.) That gives him a stronger connection to the Golden Age than the alien-but-human-looking Legionnaires like Ultra Boy and Cosmic Boy.

-- Jack of Spades

Scipio said...

You raise an angle that hadn't occurred to me, Jack: which one of the male Legionnaires would know English in additional to Interlac?