LEGENDS: THE COLLECTION

DC Comics

1993

 

Legends CollectionHere at Crimespree Magazine, we have an on-again, off-again feature called “The Bargain Bin.” The Bargain Bin lets us go on about fun stuff that you may find at your local used bookstore, or even the checkout line at Target. Or… or even a newly added cartoon on the Netflix machine. You get the idea: Fun stuff, cheap.

SO. This past Wednesday, I was wandering the shelves at the Local Comic Shop (LCS) and started to get that ITCH. No, not that itch. A topical took care of that. The itch I’m talking about happens when the new books just don’t do it for you that week, and you start prowling around for the PERFECT THING TO BUY. I had a stack of maybe five books that I was carrying around, just to carry books around. The John Byrne SHE-HULK volume 1, a few AVENGERS trades, an earlier PAINKILLER JANE, and some beautiful SHADOW books from Dynamite that were sadly a bit shelf-worn.

(I’ll be ordering fresh copies of those.)

But I still couldn’t find the RIGHT BOOK. Damn, impulse buys are hard, y’all.

Then, I got to the shelf marked “L.” My LCS had two copies of THE LEGENDS COLLECTION. Funky 1990’s era teal colored spine with that offset type? Yep. That’s the one. So I checked it out. I remembered this series, of course. But when it came out in 1987, I was just starting to read comics, and most of it was Marvel. It wasn’t until a few years later that I’d go back and realize all the amazing work the Distinguished Competition was putting out in the years following the original CRISIS mini-series. At that time, I only owned the last issue of Legends. Hell, I may have permanently borrowed it from the library. I don’t remember. It was a long time ago. Back off, ok?

So this collection. Printed on basic newsprint… flimsy cover… Wait a minute. The cover doesn’t even line up with the far right side of the book! There’s like, a quarter inch space between the end of the cover and the end of the page. Hm. Both of the editions are like that. Let’s look closer. There’s a six page Forward by DC veteran Mike Gold on the story-behind-the-story of Legends. Anyone who knows me, knows I love this stuff. It’s like the old VH1 “Behind the Music”, only for books and comics. I’ll be checking this out: we’ll see who slept with who and which scandal broke up the band. Wait. That may be Fleetwood Mac. Anyway.

Flip to the back… passing incredible John Byrne art along the way. Man, his Superman is still the greatest thing ever… Darkseid! I forgot he was the villain here! Blue Beetle? Oh, yeah… and Batman being Batman… This is some serious comic-bookery, here. Ok, at the back is a collection of the 22 LEGENDS tie-in covers. That’s a nice treat. And the final page shows the covers for the books that came out of LEGENDS: JUSTICE LEAGUE, SUICIDE SQUAD and the FLASH. Plus, the SHAZAM mini-series. These are nice bonus features.

So, I take the book to the counter to see if there’s anything they can do about the price due to the offset cover. That’s when my comic dealer shows me the price on the book: $9.95. Both of these collections were from the 1993 collection. If Indiana Jones spotted these on the shelf, he’d yell, “These belong in a museum!”

So, what’s it about? LEGENDS was the next “event book” after CRISIS reset the DC universe. Where CRISIS reset the history and timeline of our heroes, LEGENDS digs in and tells us what it means to be a hero in the DC universe. Darkseid, ruler of the planet Apokolips, sets a plan in motion to turn the people Earth against their heroes. Starting with the rather shocking (especially for 1986) accidental death of the villain Macro-Man at the hands of Captain Marvel, the public indeed starts to turn against the forces of Truth and Justice. Even to the point where President Reagan is forced to outlaw super-heroing.

Oh, hey. You may have heard news of a SUICIDE SQUAD movie making its way to the silver screen in the next few years? Well, team leader Amanda Waller first appeared in LEGENDS #1.

LEGENDS gives us a heaping helping of Superman, Batman, Flash, and Wonder Woman. But I get all geeked up because the spotlight is really held by Captain Marvel, Blue Beetle, Doctor Fate, and Green Lantern Guy Gardner. The Changeling really just serves to listen to the Flash complain. But that’s ok.

I’m so happy I came across this book. Written by John Ostrander and Len Wein, with incredible art from John Byrne and Karl Kessel, LEGENDS gives us a fast moving story that hits on some very heavy themes. Highly recommended. Go find your own copy.

And let me know if the cover lines up correctly on yours, ok?

 

Dan Malmon