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  1. #1
    AT EASE, LOO-SUH! Superlad93's Avatar
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    Default Why's the "5 Years Later" Legion run so good?

    Perspective Legion fan looking to get into them with the Bendis reboot. Superman fan, so, always LOVED them as a concept, but never been able to get past the daunting lore and roster. I imagine a few people are in this same boat.

    I've heard from a few smart comic fans (and creators) I respect that 5YL is one of the strongest runs for a comic there is, so I wanna ask anyone who has read it, why they think it's so good? What makes it so enduring even in its (from what I hear) controversy?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by Superlad93; 06-20-2019 at 12:40 PM.
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  2. #2
    Extraordinary Member Zero Hunter's Avatar
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    The best way to describe the 5 Years Latter.... Legion run is it was a Vertigo book before Vertigo existed. It was very ahead of it's time in how mature it was while not going overboard. If it had come out a few years latter it would have fit right in with books like Morrison's Doom Patrol or Shade the Changing Man. It was definitely a departure in tone from all the previous Legion runs which is why it is so divisive in that some love it and some hate it. I loved those first 38 issues that read like one long over arching story. After Keith Giffen leaves though the book do start to go downhill, and that last year before the Zero Hour reboot are some of the worst of any Legion series. Those first 38 issues an the Annuals are pure magic though.


  3. #3
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    It's brilliant if you don't have strong ties to the characters. It was a hard read for me. I had a subscription and each month when an issue would arrive in the mail, I would have knots in my stomach wondering what harsh fate was going to occur to a Legionnaire I loved.

    It's very dark and you have to have a strong stomach for some of it. But it's an excellent read for sure.

  4. #4
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    Very dense read that I enjoyed in and of itself I liked the read but it is not the Legion I know and love. High quality storytelling but completely didn't get the soul of the Legion or the characters.

  5. #5

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    Good Lord, if you find the Legion daunting just by its reputation, then the 5YL Legion is pretty much the WORST place to start because even those of us who had followed the Legion since our childhoods were lost when this series first started.

    Since 5 Years had elapsed AND there was a retcon to the series shortly after it began in order to remove any Superboy references AND the characters weren't in costume, so it wasn't always easy to tell who was who AND there were a bunch of new characters who NOBODY knew AND Keith Giffen's art was cluttered into 9-panel grids so it wasn't always easy to tell what was going on AND the characters would often speak of events that happened during the 5 year gap, but in oblique terms so that you didn't always know what the hell they were talking about AND some Legionnaires were altered so they were unrecognizable until the surprise reveal as to who they were AND there were other retcons to older continuity besides removing Superboy (dumb things like Lightning Lad was really Proty since the Silver Age, Shvaughn Erin was a guy, and Mon-El had a relative sharing his body) AND AND AND...


    There is a reason why lots of people didn't like the 5YL direction, myself included. It started out somewhat intriguing, but then it just became a chore to figure out what was what during the gap and what storylines prior to the gap had changed due to DC Editorial mandates or writer fiat. I think that there are those who were long fans of the Legion that enjoyed seeing everything get all twisted and trying to unravel it, but for someone who knows nothing about the Legion, I can't imagine there would be anything of interest here for you.

    However, I would suggest that before you try reading it, go to the Legion Appreciation thread and take a look at the first page. The history of the Legion is posted -- both the original continuity, and then the revised continuity created with the 5YL direction.

    https://community.cbr.com/showthread...ive-the-Legion!

    If the new history interests you, then maybe check out the comics, but I can warn you that A LOT of references and characters will be lost on you even after reading the history.

  6. #6
    FF purist/snob CaptCleghorn's Avatar
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    5YL was brilliant in actually bringing characters years into the future. In many cases, characters had changed considerably while others stayed pretty much as they were. I'd think that if we look at our lives now and five years in the future, we'd see similar changes. New characters were added and treated as if they had been around for a while. And we got the right amount of material to explain the character some without giving everything away. Imagine a work sitation where the company closes and we pick up on everyone years later. 5YL was easily the best example I'd ever seen of this in fiction.

    A controversial part of the series was the lack of explanatory dialogue and lack of calling characters by code names. Some say it was hard to read, others lauded the realistic dialogue. But the caveats that it's not an easy series to start with is deserved. Get ready to internet search a lot of names.

  7. #7
    Spectacular Member mikelmcknight72's Avatar
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    I am a huge LSH fan from Silver Age reprints through 5YL and the post-Zero Hour version, as well as the retroboot LSH. The angry rebel LSH didn't click for me. Anyway.....

    Reading it fresh as it was published, you thought that anything could happen with them. The mystery was compelling, with enough info revealed in panel and in the supplemental material in the back of the early issues to keep you from getting too frustrated with the mystery. If you are going to take all Silver Age Superman elements off of the table (wish they hadn't), Andromeda, Valor, and Kent Shakespeare are very good replacements. It gave us a reformed Mekt Ranzz, Validus undone, Rokk & Lydia married, etc. Kono, Devlin, Celeste, Danielle as a hero under the name Computo, etc. All great stuff.

    I'd have preferred the Jo/Tinya story ending with her return, and an eventual restoration of Rokk's powers. I'd have preferred the Earth not getting destroyed, and more positive victory over the Dominion. But what we got was compelling and entertaining.

    I think there's no denying the Watchmen influence on the style, the tone, the layouts, and the overall content, but they mostly kept from overdoing it. It was more hopeful than Watchmen. That being said, I'd prefer it as an Elseworld/Alt Earth Legion than my main universe Legion.

    Sadly, they squandered what they had with the retroboot Superman & the Legion/Legion of Three Worlds stories. Those were the best it had been in years before the Earth Man joins & this is really Earth 2's LSH stuff.

  8. #8
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    I have been a LSH fan since the early Adventure days...and was blown away by the depth and complexity of the 5y Gap.
    Brilliant storytelling; wonderful new characters blended with the insightful updating of old favorites.
    Giffen was brilliant, and the Birnbaums’ dialogue was refreshing and natural sounding.
    Some old favorites met grim fates, like Blok and Dirk...but the character moments were wonderful.
    Yes, one of my favorite comic runs of all time.

  9. #9
    Savior of the Universe Flash Gordon's Avatar
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    Personally I really like it. It's vast and rich with character and "place" in a way that lots of superhero joints aren't.

    Totally worth reading and enjoying.
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  10. #10
    Mighty Member Adekis's Avatar
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    I never would have had the confidence to read 5YL if I hadn't read the entire previous volume of Legion comics first. It's good stuff, but it's not really recognizable as the Classic Legion, and it's a good idea to have a good idea of who everyone is and what their powers are and such beforehand.

    I also think, good as it is, it makes a lot of sense that the 5YL crew gave themselves a kind of a backdoor with the SW6 Kid Legion, operating simultaneously to the adult Legion. The adult Legionnaires were all treated with great respect and love as far as I've seen (except poor Dirk Morgna, holy crap, what a character assassination, it's honestly kind of disgusting to me) but the heart and soul of the Legion, the optimistic kids in the brightly colored costumes with the code-names doing space opera stuff, that's all basically gone from the title during 5YL. The SW6 kids allowed for a parallel series where both could co-exist, but they're also, I'm convinced, kind of the first nail in the coffin for the 5YL Legion. Once you've got SW6, the idea of jettisonning the adult Legion from continuity has to have come up pretty fast.

    Or maybe the "first nail" in the adult Legion's coffin was just... getting rid of Superboy and doing all that confusing stuff with Valor. Poor Superboy. Poor Superman. Poor Lar Gand.

    Anyway, I don't know, sorry to ramble. Give 5YL a read if you can! Just, er, maybe keep your notes handy so you can remember that "Rokk" is Cosmic Boy without powers and how the heck Garridan's name changed from Val, and how he stopped being a super-villain. I'm still iffy on that one.
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  11. #11
    Astonishing Member j9ac9k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Comic-Reader Lad View Post
    Good Lord, if you find the Legion daunting just by its reputation, then the 5YL Legion is pretty much the WORST place to start because even those of us who had followed the Legion since our childhoods were lost when this series first started.
    Speaking as someone who first started reading the Legion with the 5YL series, I loved it! I had read a couple of random issues before, but all I knew was that they were a big super-hero team in the future. I knew that these were characters who had been around a long time and seeing them all thrown to the four winds after the dissolution of the team and seeing how they all dealt with it was very grounded and realistic and it's what drew me in to wanting to learn more. I knew it was dense and I knew I was missing some references, but it was such a rich world that I didn't need to know who Ultra Boy was, because by the end of issue #2, the look in his eyes when he went back for the "LLL" shaving kit told me what I needed to know about him and it was awesome. Sure, it was dark, but the real thing that stands out to me is the pathos.

  12. #12
    Spectacular Member DavidRA's Avatar
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    I hated this series.
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  13. #13

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    What everything says above about 5YL is true, but nobody has said the most important thing in my view. Keith Giffen is just not the right artist for the Legion. (He might have been the right artist for that kind of story, but it just wasn't the Legion.) . Just my opinion.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandy Hausler View Post
    What everything says above about 5YL is true, but nobody has said the most important thing in my view. Keith Giffen is just not the right artist for the Legion. (He might have been the right artist for that kind of story, but it just wasn't the Legion.) . Just my opinion.
    I definitely preferred Giffen's art over Jason Pearson (the artist who followed Giffen on the book). His art was too cartoony for me.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Comic-Reader Lad View Post
    Good Lord, if you find the Legion daunting just by its reputation, then the 5YL Legion is pretty much the WORST place to start because even those of us who had followed the Legion since our childhoods were lost when this series first started.

    Since 5 Years had elapsed AND there was a retcon to the series shortly after it began in order to remove any Superboy references AND the characters weren't in costume, so it wasn't always easy to tell who was who AND there were a bunch of new characters who NOBODY knew AND Keith Giffen's art was cluttered into 9-panel grids so it wasn't always easy to tell what was going on AND the characters would often speak of events that happened during the 5 year gap, but in oblique terms so that you didn't always know what the hell they were talking about AND some Legionnaires were altered so they were unrecognizable until the surprise reveal as to who they were AND there were other retcons to older continuity besides removing Superboy (dumb things like Lightning Lad was really Proty since the Silver Age, Shvaughn Erin was a guy, and Mon-El had a relative sharing his body) AND AND AND...


    There is a reason why lots of people didn't like the 5YL direction, myself included. It started out somewhat intriguing, but then it just became a chore to figure out what was what during the gap and what storylines prior to the gap had changed due to DC Editorial mandates or writer fiat. I think that there are those who were long fans of the Legion that enjoyed seeing everything get all twisted and trying to unravel it, but for someone who knows nothing about the Legion, I can't imagine there would be anything of interest here for you.
    You've pretty much expressed everything that I feel about it. I was on board initially, but then all the changes started to happen and it got so confusing. You had a book that was deeply rooted in all the continuity from the previous thirty years--with Tom and Mary Bierbaum being two significant Legion fans who could follow all that lore--and yet because of the changes to continuity, they couldn't really use all that deep history for the book. So on the one hand, you had to know and understand the Legion's past to fully appreciate the new series, and on the other hand, you had to forget all of that to accept whatever was happening after the gap.

    While the book did have Giffen to help with the plotting, I don't think the Bierbaums were that good at scripting comics. And it was a pretty big bite into a DC franchise for their first regular gig at the company.

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