LEGION’s esteemed writer Paul Levitz revives the traditional fan poll to elect the Legion’s leader—just as the Legionnaires themselves vote within the series. But it is the fan’s vote that counts, and not, say, Dawnstar’s (sorry, Dawny). Legion elections energize and empower readers in that they can directly participate in the direction of the series, and who knows, it might pique the interest of folks not yet reading the series. Where else can readers have direct interaction like this?
And the results can have some very interesting consequences. A reader poll throws us a potential creative curveball. I recall during the 1980s, the readership elected longtime Substitute Legionnaire Polar Boy—an unlikely turn of events, given the illusion that the Legionnaires themselves were voting. But Paul, who wrote the series at the time, just rolled with it and crafted some very clever and entertaining stories around it.
Voting ends November 10, and the victor stands revealed in LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #8, hitting stores December 22 (a holiday treat for certain!).
Sadly my favourite Legionnaire, Matter Eater Lad, is not currently a member and so is not eligible (BOOOOO!), but there's still twenty five cool Legionnaires to choose from. I had a bit of a hard time choosing who to vote for. After much consideration I narrowed it down to a final four. But which one should ultimately get my vote?
Brainiac 5 is the descendant of the original Brainiac, a major Superman baddie. His only power is his massive intelligence. Brainy is probably my favourite Legionnaire, next to Matter Eater Lad, and my reasons for liking him are down to the same factors that would make him a very interesting leader. Brainy's a hero, but he's also a complete arsehole. While he's undoubtedly a super-genius and a valuable asset to the team, he's also extremely arrogant, incapable of admitting he's wrong and prone to occasional bouts of insanity. For example, during a period when he was feeling particularly unappreciated by the rest of the Legion, Brainy created Omega, the gigantic physical embodiment of universal hate, in order to destroy the Universe. I only wish I could do something similar every time I was feeling under appreciated at work. Having an emotionally unstable super-genius as Legion leader could make for some interesting stories.
Mon-El is an alias of Lar Gand of the Planet Daxam. He has all of Superman's powers but also a fatal weakness to lead. I never used to see the point of him. Superboy could do everything that he could so why did the Legion even need him? My opinion was completely changed by Mon-El's stint as the lead character in Superman in 2008/2009 during the period that Superman was on New Krypton. I thought that some aspects of the New Krypton arc were very enjoyable while others were not so great (Nightwing and Flamebird, I'm looking at you). Mon-El's adventures definitely fell into the former category. Reading about Mon-El living in Metropolis, making friends, losing his virginity and trying to fill Superman's shoes really made me warm to the guy. But the biggest reason I think Mon-El might deserve a shot at being Legion Leader is that he's just so damn unlucky! Mon-El endured a thousand years of isolation in the Phantom Zone waiting for a cure for his fatal lead poisoning to be found. That's pretty bad for a start, but that's still not the worst thing that's ever happened to him. While Mon-El was filling in for Superman during the New Krypton arc he got kidnapped by the baddies and got experimented on by an evil super-intelligent gorilla scientist who seemed particularly keen on taking a scalpel to his balls! Not only that, but currently in the Legion of Superheroes comic Mon-El's girlfriend has given him the elbow and appears to be shagging Earth Man, a fascist, xenophobic nutbar who's just joined the Legion. After going through all that maybe Mon-El deserves a lucky break.
Tyroc possess reality warping screams and is the only superhero of the dimension hopping island of Marzal. For a futuristic team full of aliens, the Legion fared pretty badly on the whole ethnic diversity front during the first few years of their existence. Amazingly, Jim Shooter had intended Ferro Lad to be the Legion's first black member in 1966, but the idea was vetoed by editor Mort Weisinger who feared that such a move would alienate readers in the Southern States! And so it came to pass that Ferro Lad was killed off without ever having removed his mask and Tyroc eventually became the first black man to join the Legion. Sadly he was was a white guy from the '70s idea of a black man and as such he bore little resemblance to anyone who has ever existed ever. For one thing his home, Marzal, was an island inhabited completely by black people who had decided to separate themselves from the rest of the world. When you consider Marzal along with Vathlo Island, the place where all the black Kryptonians lived, you have to wonder what the deal was with DC Comics and racially segregated Utopian societies? The concept was so offensive that Mike Grell, the artist on the issue in which Tyroc first appeared, deliberately designed the most ridiculous costume he could for the character. Hence the disco collar and silver medallions. As a result of all this Tyroc hasn't been used much since the '70s. That is until now. Writer Paul Levitz has given Tyroc a much more prominent role than he's ever had before in the current Legion series. It makes me wonder what Levitz has planned for the character and it would be intriguing if this seldom used character was suddenly thrust front and centre as Legion Leader. Don't worry, he's been given a better costume.
Gates is a large, hoodie wearing insect with teleporting abilities. He is also a socialist who views the Legion as inherently fascistic. You can see where I'm going with this right? I don't think the Legion's had a non-humanoid boss before and his socialist views and objections to the Legion's militaristic nature could mean some unusual methods of leadership. Also, Gates was originally a member of a Legion from another dimension and has only recently joined "our" Legion. As a result he is only familiar with alternate versions of his fellow Legionnaires and may not know the team as well as he thinks he does.
In the end I voted for Brainiac 5, since he is my second favourite Legionnaire, but I believe any of the above characters as leader would make for stupendously interesting reading. But what do you think? Who would you vote for? Don't just think about it, go on over to legionelection.com and VOTE! Let me know in the comments below who you voted for.