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  1. #1
    AT EASE, LOO-SUH! Superlad93's Avatar
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    Default Legion of Super-Heroes: Legacy of the Great Darkness saga

    So, it's come to my attention that The Great Darkness Saga is easily one of he most beloved runs for writers currently working. Then Brian Bendis tipped me off to the fact that quite a few of those creators (himself included) sort of 'chase that high' in their work in order to give new fans a similar feeling. He cited House of M as him chasing that high in a sense, but I also saw it in Siege. I also noticed it pretty clearly in Hickman's Legion of--I mean Avengers (Infinity specifically).

    For those who have read it, can we talk about what made that story line and its lead up so influential and memorable for you as a reader?
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  2. #2
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    I read it when it was coming out. And I still re-read it about once a year. I love it.

    1) It was a mystery. Who is this Master of Darkness? Most readers had no idea. Darkseid wasn't a major DC villain yet and very few were expecting him to show up in the 30th century.

    2) Levitz was just coming into his own. The dialogue got snappier. The build of the story and the mystery was amazing. You couldn't wait for the next issue.

    3) The entire Legion was involved. Former members, reserves, the Substitutes, the heroes of Lallor, even Supergirl. You knew this was BIG!

    4) Giffen's art!!!!! Again, he was coming into his own. You started seeing his vision for the 30th century. Windowless buildings, high-tech graphics, those symbols appearing at the top of the pages, and the Legionnaires looked better than ever.

    5). Who expected Dream Girl to be voted as leader? She had hardly been around for ages. But Levitz was giving her and a few other wallflowers some nice scenes and more personality.

    6) The reveal - enough said.

    I could go on, but I'll let others continue this.

  3. #3
    FF purist/snob CaptCleghorn's Avatar
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    'Nuff said.


  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by caj View Post
    I read it when it was coming out. And I still re-read it about once a year. I love it.

    1) It was a mystery. Who is this Master of Darkness? Most readers had no idea. Darkseid wasn't a major DC villain yet and very few were expecting him to show up in the 30th century.

    2) Levitz was just coming into his own. The dialogue got snappier. The build of the story and the mystery was amazing. You couldn't wait for the next issue.

    3) The entire Legion was involved. Former members, reserves, the Substitutes, the heroes of Lallor, even Supergirl. You knew this was BIG!

    4) Giffen's art!!!!! Again, he was coming into his own. You started seeing his vision for the 30th century. Windowless buildings, high-tech graphics, those symbols appearing at the top of the pages, and the Legionnaires looked better than ever.

    5). Who expected Dream Girl to be voted as leader? She had hardly been around for ages. But Levitz was giving her and a few other wallflowers some nice scenes and more personality.

    6) The reveal - enough said.

    I could go on, but I'll let others continue this.
    All this. Plus (accept for Mon-el who had to be taken off the board to equalize the game), every Legionnaire got to shine during one of The Legions most desperate moments.

  5. #5
    Astonishing Member j9ac9k's Avatar
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    caj pretty much nailed it. Not sure what else to add...

  6. #6
    FF purist/snob CaptCleghorn's Avatar
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    The real feel that this was so freaking big that all reserves were needed.

    The conclusion being extra-sized (an extreme non anniversary rarity then).

    Daxamites getting their powers and forming their entire planet into a head of Darkseid. In a universe where we see the impossible and extraordinary regularly, this exploitation of such immense power for such an egotistical result was a huge sign that Darkseid was way the f*** up there and he knew it.

    Giffen and Levitz connected like few writer artist teams do and the plots and characterizations set up in the previous few issues continued even into the biggest adventure of their lives.

    Invisible Kid's (Jacques) white streak in his hair. Something so simple, yet so permanent was as powerful a happening as Darkseid's flipping of the planet Daxam. Even in small events we saw the importance without throwing characters under the bus and creating corpses to build villain street rep.

  7. #7
    Ultimate Member Lee Stone's Avatar
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    Levitz's Legion is like a musician that rarely gets their own awards or recognition, but almost every musician that does gives them credit for showing them how it's done.

    The run gets mentioned a lot because of Levitz's masterful handling of a large soap-opera ensemble in a comic and his unique plotting technique (the 'Levitz Paradigm') that's since been added to books on 'How to Write Comics'.
    The Great Darkness Saga was what propelled the Legion into being one of DC's top comics in the '80s.
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  8. #8
    Fantastic Member mikelmcknight72's Avatar
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    It truly was were the run started to click, and the quality stayed high through the entire Baxter run. The quality even stayed high through a lot of the 5YL run, even if the tone shift wasn't everyone's cup of tea. I enjoyed it in spite of my introduction to the Legion being comic digests containing reprints of old Silver Age LSH stories like the first appearance of Glorith or Garth brainwashed into being Starfinger! I'm hoping those old stories will go digital soon!

  9. #9
    AT EASE, LOO-SUH! Superlad93's Avatar
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    Fascinating.

    I have to wonder if it was lightning in a bottle, or if there was an obviously build up to the high of that story. I confess I didn't read the issues before it, but I'm told that there was apparently some sort of build up?

    Was that something added to it, or was the story itself such a force at the time that it was going to be the big one no matter what?

    Side note: It's so interesting hearing about the Legion like this. It honestly feels like there was a whole other DCU that was going on I had no real sense of. I'd thought the Legion to be just another book like Wonder Woman or Teen Titans that I figured I got the gist of through osmosis, but in reality, it's maybe better to call it a universe all its own, yeah? That's why I'm so fascinated by the prospect of the upcoming book and what it can eventually turn into, but this time with me following along.
    Last edited by Superlad93; 07-02-2019 at 11:21 PM.
    #MakeAlexGreatAgain

    "Your videos give us hope. They give us strength in these times of slow normals, Chun-Li costumes and rampant New York fires.
    We shall overcome. The day will come when we are all warmed up."


    -Coffee That

    PM me if you tryina mix it up in SFV (and Dragon Ball FighterZ). Just know: the hypa bomb takes no prisoners.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superlad93 View Post
    Fascinating.

    I have to wonder if it was lightning in a bottle, or if there was an obviously build up to the high of that story. I confess I didn't read the issues before it, but I'm told that there was apparently some sort of build up?

    Was that something added to it, or was the story itself such a force at the time that it was going to be the big one no matter what?
    The thing about reading the earlier issues is that you really get to see when everything started to gel with Levitz and Giffen. It happens about the time of the first Annual, which is where we meet Jacques Foccart (Invisible Kid II) and his sister Danielle. The writing and the art improve dramatically over the earlier issues. This is right before TGDS begins.

    When you read those earlier issues, you see that Levitz's dialogue is somewhat juvenile and sloppy. Too many 'my loves' and other annoying lingo. Larry Mahlstedt wasn't inking Giffen yet, so the art wasn't as sharp. But you begin to see the great influence that each had on the other. Then it all comes together in such an amazing way that the excitement level goes off the chart - at least for me it did.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Superlad93 View Post
    Fascinating.

    I have to wonder if it was lightning in a bottle, or if there was an obviously build up to the high of that story. I confess I didn't read the issues before it, but I'm told that there was apparently some sort of build up?

    Was that something added to it, or was the story itself such a force at the time that it was going to be the big one no matter what?

    Side note: It's so interesting hearing about the Legion like this. It honestly feels like there was a whole other DCU that was going on I had no real sense of. I'd thought the Legion to be just another book like Wonder Woman or Teen Titans that I figured I got the gist of through osmosis, but in reality, it's maybe better to call it a universe all its own, yeah? That's why I'm so fascinated by the prospect of the upcoming book and what it can eventually turn into, but this time with me following along.
    Another thing you have to keep in mind is that Great Darkness released in a time where DC was awakening to the idea that comics readers were not just 5-9 year old boys anymore, if only in some of their off-brand titles (and both LoSH and TNTT were very much second-banana properties in the early 1980s). Marvel had been writing more sophisticated comics for over a decade by that point, and except for a few titles here and there, DC hadn't.

    So, aside from all its well-deserved artistic and story-telling merits, Great Darkness also hit the fan-base like a Wonder-Bomb going off. It was hard to believe how good it was in the environment of the time, and some of that halo endures to this day.

  12. #12
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    Man good to have Legion of Superheroes back Kinda missed them.

  13. #13
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    Not to be a downer, but while I liked the Great Darkness Saga, I never could take it so seriously, because it was set a thousand years in the future. And Kirby's Fourth World story was in the present. And Jack Kirby was very much alive and well at the time it was published--so it was like some other person tacking a story onto the work of someone who hadn't even finished his magnum opus yet. I don't remember if it was ever explained how the one story could exist and not spoil the other story.

    It did get me hyped for the Omen story that followed--which I thought would be even better since it was building on the success that Levitz and Giffen had had--yet that story just came and went without any big consequences.

    But the Darkness saga along with arcs in NEW TEEN TITANS and GREEN LANTERN did set a high bar for epic story telling.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kelly View Post
    Not to be a downer, but while I liked the Great Darkness Saga, I never could take it so seriously, because it was set a thousand years in the future. And Kirby's Fourth World story was in the present. And Jack Kirby was very much alive and well at the time it was published--so it was like some other person tacking a story onto the work of someone who hadn't even finished his magnum opus yet. I don't remember if it was ever explained how the one story could exist and not spoil the other story.

    It did get me hyped for the Omen story that followed--which I thought would be even better since it was building on the success that Levitz and Giffen had had--yet that story just came and went without any big consequences.

    But the Darkness saga along with arcs in NEW TEEN TITANS and GREEN LANTERN did set a high bar for epic story telling.

    I was definitely able to take it seriously, and I think most readers did at the time because GDS came out in 1982, which was 10 years after Kirby's New Gods series was canceled, and there was no indication that Kirby would ever touch the characters again -- especially after Mr. Miracle was canceled in late 1973. All appearances of New Gods characters after 1973 were written by others and were considered canon at the time.

    Once Darkseid was killed off in Adventure Comics 460 in 1978, THAT seemed to be the end of the New Gods saga. Darkseid was then briefly resurrected in 1980's Justice League 184 before seemingly being destroyed again in 185. So, his resurrection in 1982's GDS made perfect sense at the time.

    When DC announced that Kirby would write and draw his own conclusion to the Fourth World story in 1984's New Gods 6 (followed by 1985's Hunger Dogs Graphic Novel), THAT was a complete surprise.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrNewGod View Post
    Another thing you have to keep in mind is that Great Darkness released in a time where DC was awakening to the idea that comics readers were not just 5-9 year old boys anymore, if only in some of their off-brand titles (and both LoSH and TNTT were very much second-banana properties in the early 1980s). Marvel had been writing more sophisticated comics for over a decade by that point, and except for a few titles here and there, DC hadn't.

    So, aside from all its well-deserved artistic and story-telling merits, Great Darkness also hit the fan-base like a Wonder-Bomb going off. It was hard to believe how good it was in the environment of the time, and some of that halo endures to this day.
    Great point.

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