Legion of Super Heroes is an American animated television series produced by Warner Bros. Animation that debuted on September 23, 2006, based on characters appearing in the DC Comics series. The series centers on the young Superman's adventures in the 31st century, fighting alongside a group of futuristic superheroes known as the "Legion of Super-Heroes". The show is produced by its main designer James Tucker (a co-producer of the Justice League Unlimited series) for the Kids' WB line on the The CW network.
According to the official press release, the premise of the first season is that a group of teenagers from the 31st century travel back in time to recruit Superman in their fight against evil in their time. Unfortunately, they go too far back and land in a time when Clark Kent was younger and was about to move to Metropolis, already aware of his powers but undecided about his destiny. Taking him back to their future, the young Superman helps the Legion in fighting evil and upholding the laws of the United Planets. It is described as a "fast-paced, character-driven action comedy".
The series draws on the rich history of the Legion of Super-Heroes, taking inspiration from stories set during all time periods of the comic's nearly 50-year history. Continuity is internally consistent, but is not shared with any previous incarnation of the Legion, either animated or in print.
The series was cancelled after its second season.
Early reports had suggested the title of the series would be Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes, but the official announcement on April 24, 2006 confirmed the title as Legion of Super Heroes. The same announcement indicated that the series would air on the Kids' WB block of the new The CW network at 10 a.m. Eastern.
At the 2006 Comic Con International
, the production staff would not officially say whether current legal issues
involving the ownership of Superboy had impacted this series, or whether changes were made to tie in with the Superman Returns
movie, but one significant change had been made since the original announcements. The original press release said that the Legion landed in the time of "the young Superboy", while the revised press release description (June 2006) said that the Legion retrieved "the young Superman, before he moved to Metropolis". At the conclusion of the pilot episode, Clark adopts the codename of Superman, and not Superboy.
In Season Two, which takes place two years after the end of Season One, the character is called Superman, without reference to his "young" status.
It was speculated that a "backdoor" pilot for a Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes
series was written and animated for the series in the form of the 2006 JLU
episode "Far From Home
" by Paul Dini
and Dwayne McDuffie
. However, the Legion series is unrelated to "Far From Home" or the 1998 episode of Superman: The Animated Series
titled "New Kids in Town
" (which did share continuity between series and episodes). James Tucker confirmed it to be untrue as the show was originally supposed to be Cartoon Network
's way of cashing in on Superman Returns. Cartoon Network later passed on having the series, thus its inclusion on Kids' WB. Beginning 2006, DC Comics did, however, have Supergirl join the Legion in its comic book.
Season Two mostly focuses on Brainiac 5 and his evil ancestor, Brainiac 1.0's relationship, and how Brainiac 5 had always been hiding all the information about his destiny and his ancestor all the years being a Legionnaire, but then eventually reveals all the information to Superman and the others in the same episode (aka "Message in a Bottle"). Chameleon Boy appears more often in Season Two than Season One. In Season Two, most of the Legionnaires have changed their appearances, e.g. Lightning Lad has longer hair. Their appeareance-changed is based on the 2-years without Superman (after Superman left in the episode "Sundown PT2", which is the finale of Season One). Triplicate Girl changes her codename into Duo Damsel because one of the bodies (the White Body) got killed during one of their 41st Century's battles, but eventually the White Body returned to the 31st Century, alive and unhurt, while Kell-El (or Superman X) was reciting the Legionnaire Oath.
According to a KidsWB press release, "the second season of Legion of Super Heroes finds the group fulfilling their collective destiny, each member elevating his/her skills to new levels... just in time to face even greater challenges. A incomprehensibly undefeatable nemesis — Imperiex, the destroyer of galaxies from the rich annals of DC Comics — puts the Legion into action alongside new team members. Superman returns from the 21st century with greater development of both his physical prowess and far better utilization of his powers to help the Legion toward victory in the 31st century and beyond. Moreover, the Legion finds a surprising, new ally from across the space-time continuum — a 41st century Superman, cloned using a combination of the original Superman's DNA and Kryptonite, making him as powerful as superman while being invulnerable to green kryptonite; to assist in its efforts to rid the universe of this powerful foe. Along the way, the LoSH — including new members like Chameleon Boy — provides the perfect complement of heroics and comedy to the efforts of the Supermen."
Season Two takes place approximately two years after the Season One finale. The series logo was also slightly revised. As with Season One, a total of 13 episodes were created for Season Two, which premiered on September 22, 2007. Warner Bros. has confirmed that the second season will also be the last for the show.
A third season had been planned for production but was dropped because the Kids WB! slot was taken over by 4Kids. Season 3 was intended to take place three years after the end of Season 2 in which an older Superman would return. Sensor, Wildfire and Shadow Lass were to be introduced, while background characters Blok and Dawnstar would have active roles. Ferro Lad's twin brother was intended to appear and Kel-El was intended to be a regular character but with a reduced role. The main focus of the third season would have been Brainiac 5's return, while trying to redeem himself after Season 2's finale. The final episode of season 2 linked the two seasons together.
Airings outside of the US
Season One of the series began airing on Cartoon Network UK
on March 5
. The thirteen episodes were shown weekdays through March 21
, and the two-part season finale aired in the UK about five weeks before it was shown in the US.
In Canada, Season One began airing on YTV on September 8, 2007. It continued to air through the second season of the show uninterrupted, before being taken off the air.
In Brazil, Season One began airing on Cartoon Network Brazil on March 1, 2008.
In Italy, Season One began airing on Cartoon Network Italy on October 1, 2007.
In the Philippines, Season One began airing on Cartoon Network Philippines on May 31, 2008.
In Season One, the series revolved around a core group of eight Legionnaires but others appeared from time to time in recurring roles, similar in format to the Justice League Unlimited
The first season introduces a 14-year-old Clark Kent who is about to move from Smallville
to Metropolis. He knows of his abilities but doesn't know what to do with his future (similar in nature to the Clark Kent featured in the Smallville
television series). After travelling to the future, young Clark assumes the identity of Superman and gradually learns to control his abilities, becoming the hero he is destined to be. At the end of the first season, he returns to the present around the same time he left in the first episode.
In Season Two, Superman returns to the future after spending two years in the past and gaining more experience with his powers and starting his superhero career in the present. A second Superman also appears in Season Two called "Superman X". This Superman (later given the name Kell-El) is from the 41st century and was created from Superman's DNA & Kryptonite (Thus making him immune to the green rock) as a living weapon with different abilities (one of them is shooting green crystals from his hands). His main foe in the 41st century is Imperiex, who travels through time to the 31st century, forcing Superman X to follow him into the past and recruit the Legion to help him.
Series producer James Tucker offered descriptions of the core team in a July 2006 interview at Comic Con International
in San Diego. As with other DC team shows such as Justice League Unlimited
, not every core character appears in all episodes. The following descriptions apply to the characters as seen in Season 1.
- Lightning Lad is the eager and hot-headed unofficial leader of the team. Prone to fighting first and thinking later, he can come off as brash at first, but does seem mostly well intentioned. The lightning bolt scar on his right eye sometimes flashes brightly in times of battle. He is in love with Saturn Girl. In the episode "Chained Lightning" Imperiex destroys his right arm, and gained a new bionic one, model Cybernetic 4000. Founding member of the Legion. Has a twin sister, Ayla, and an older brother, Mekt.
- Saturn Girl is a level-headed character with mental powers. She is composed at all times, but also very physical (she is depicted as more of a hand-to-hand combatant than her comic book predecessors). Tucker said that fellow animation creator Glen Murakami thought of her character as someone who doesn't really understand personal boundaries; always touching people and knowing their deepest thoughts. Among her mental powers are abilities not traditionally associated with the character in the comics, such as telekinesis and the power to mentally create an explosive force field called a thought blast (which is so draining that she passes out afterwards) and the ability to go into a healing trance when unconscious (she can still mentally hear others in this state). In the Season Two premiere, she was put into a healing trance after a battle with Esper and awakens in episode 2.09. Founding member of the Legion.
- Brainiac 5 He is the series' youngest (as of Season One) and smartest Legionnaire. He can transform his robot body in various ways. For the purposes of the show, his character has been altered by making him an outright robot (the comic book version is flesh-and-blood). His deep desire, though, is to be more human, like his teammates. Thus, in a way, he's somewhat like Pinocchio. This version of Brainiac 5 is closest to the "DnA" version in personality and includes the robotic aspects of the character Gear. James Tucker has always thought of him as kind of a "Little Man Tate"-type character; a kid who is so smart he's sent to college when he's only 12. Tucker has said he was inspired by Oliver Coipel's rendition of him when designing him. A holographic representation of his deepest fear in episode 1.04 ("Fear Factory") implies that his people the Coluans do not approve of his desire to emulate humanoids. He greatly desires Superman's friendship. Although there is much controversy over this subject, there is ample evidence to prove he has exceptional feelings for Shrinking Violet. In the second season, he turns into a human and leaves the legion until he adjusts to his new human emotions. The cancelled third season, was to focus mostly on his redeeming of his own evil actions which were ultimately controlled by Brainiac 1.0, in the season two finale. Brainiac 1.0, who was destroyed by Brainiac 5, was resurrected as Brainiac 6 at the very end of episode 2.13.
- Phantom Girl is, according to James Tucker, "a princess who is kind of spoiled, but ultimately very devoted to being in the Legion. She has a somewhat sarcastic attitude to cover the fact that she really gets a kick out of finally being with other kids like herself." In addition to her traditional powers, she has displayed the ability to turn other people and objects temporarily intangible, though this seems to strain her. Phantom Girl has also been shown to disrupt electrical systems by passing through them. Her mother is the president of the United Planets.
- Bouncing Boy is a friendly young man who appears in either an overweight humanoid form or in a giant ball shape. He enjoys eating and is sometimes played up as the comedic character. James Tucker considers him the everyman member of the Legion; very down to earth and pragmatic. "In a lot of ways he plays Bones to Brainiac 5's Spock. In episode 1.11 ("Chain of Command") Bouncing Boy was elected leader of the Legionnaires, much to his own surprise - although in Season Two he no longer seems to be in command.
- Triplicate Girl (was also known as Duo Damsel) is one girl who was born with the power to transform into three nearly identical selves. She has demonstrated martial arts skills (which, when combined with her natural teamwork, makes her a worthy adversary). On the team, she often operates communications, and appears to have an attraction to Bouncing Boy (a nod to their pre-Crisis marriage). One of her duplicates was killed in the paradox created by Imperiex in the 41st century, and she became known as Duo Damsel. The emotional dismay her two other selves showed at her death suggests that each of her "triplicates" has a semi-separate awareness and identity. At the end of Season Two, the white duplicate returned from the future alive and well.
- Timber Wolf, debuted in the self-titled second episode. Brin Londo, as a result of his father's experiments on him, was transformed into a werewolf-like creature with enhanced speed, strength, agility, and senses. However, he also lost control over himself, becoming a fierce beast who acted on instinct and impulse. Only with Saturn Girl's help was he able to re-establish some level of control, turning into a more humanoid form, though still possessing wolflike attributes. Soon afterward, he joined the Legion and took his codename in honor of past heroes. James Tucker described him as "a loner but longs to be closer to people. His appearance makes him look a bit feral, but his personality is anything but. He's the cool dude who's actually insecure inside." He seems to have feelings for Phantom Girl. In episode 1.13 ("Sundown, Part 2"), he admits to like baking.
- Chameleon Boy debuted in the Season Two opener of the series as one of the newest members of the Legion. He has the ability to shapeshift all or part of his body into something else, animate or inanimate, as well as utilize the strength and power of what he transforms into. His father funds the Legion, which allows them access to expensive material (such as battle cruisers). Chameleon Boy seems to be one of the few members of the team that has a fun-loving and sarcastic disposition, the reason of which being that the rest of the team has had to deal with so many issues the past couple of years, they've become more solemn. He is good friends with Karate Kid, and in the episode in which the two met, "Cam" revealed that he is double-jointed.
During the show's development, concept sketches of XS
were seen online along with sketches of other Legionnaires by various artists. She appears in the final two episodes "Dark Victory" parts 1 and 2 as a background character. Dawnstar
and Invisible Kid
also appeared in these final two episodes along with many other rarely seen Legion members, however none of the new members shown in these episodes did anything to the plot of the story itself.
In Season One, some Legionnaires were mentioned or shown as images before making an actual appearance. Fourteen members were shown during the season as already active (Blok, Bouncing Boy, Brainiac 5, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Dream Girl, Element Lad, Lightning Lad, Phantom Girl, Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, Sun Boy, Triplicate Girl, and Tyroc), with five more being added during that time (Superman, Timber Wolf, Matter-Eater Lad, Star Boy, and Ferro Lad).
The Season One opening credits sequences included a glimpse of the Mission Monitor Board signs for many Legionnaires as well as shots of flying Legionnaires who would be seen in later episodes (though not all of those with Mission Monitor Board symbols appeared). At least four members of the Legion as seen in the comics appeared in some way on the show but had not joined by the end of the first season (Ultra Boy, Lightning Lass, Wildfire, and Polar Boy).
In Season Two, Karate Kid appeared in the opening credits with the other Legionnaires, though he did not appear until the fifth episode (in which Nemesis Kid also became a new member). Similar to Karate Kid, Sun Boy appeared in the Season Two opening titles and made semi-regular appearances, but did not have a speaking line or have someone else refer to him by name. Ayla Ranzz, sister of Lightning Lad, finally made an appearance, but as currently a child without apparent super powers and not as the Light Lass of the comic books.
List of episodes
This list is ordered by production number, which in some cases is different from the air date order. Production number 1.04 ("Fear Factory") and 1.06 ("Phantoms") were aired out of order, as were episodes 1.07 ("Child's Play"), 1.09 ("Brain Drain"), and 1.10 ("The Substitutes").
| Episode number
|| Episode Title
|| Original Air Date (US) |
| Season One |
|| Man of Tomorrow
|| September 23, 2006 |
|| Timber Wolf
|| September 30, 2006 |
|| October 7, 2006 |
|| Fear Factory
|| November 18, 2006 |
|| November 11, 2006 |
|| November 4, 2006 |
|| Child's Play
|| February 24, 2007 |
|| Lightning Storm
|| February 10, 2007 |
|| Brain Drain
|| February 3, 2007 |
|| The Substitutes
|| February 17, 2007 |
|| Chain of Command
|| March 3, 2007 |
|| Sundown, Pt. 1
|| April 28, 2007 |
|| Sundown, Pt. 2
|| May 5, 2007 |
| Season Two |
|| The Man from the Edge of Tomorrow, Pt. 1
|| September 22, 2007 |
|| The Man from the Edge of Tomorrow, Pt. 2
|| September 29, 2007 |
|| Cry Wolf
|| October 6, 2007 |
|| Chained Lightning
|| October 13, 2007 |
|| The Karate Kid
|| October 27, 2007 |
|| Who Am I?
|| November 3, 2007 |
|| Unnatural Alliances
|| November 17, 2007 |
|| Message in a Bottle
|| December 1, 2007 |
|| In The Beginning
|| March 8, 2008 |
|| March 15, 2008 |
|| In Your Dreams
|| March 22, 2008 |
|| Dark Victory, Pt. 1
|| March 29, 2008 |
|| Dark Victory, Pt. 2
|| April 5, 2008 |
Staff and Crew
Based on reports from the official press release and other places, here are the known production staff on the series. This is not a complete list. Many of the staffers came from either the Justice League Unlimited
or Teen Titans
| Job title/description
|| staffer(s) |
| Executive Producer
|| Sander Schwartz (season 1 only) |
|| James Tucker, Linda Steiner (season 1 only) |
| Associate Producer
|| A. J. Vargas (season 1), Amy McKenna (season 2) |
| Series Story Editor
|| Rob Hoegee (season 1), Michael Jelenic (season 2) |
| Series Director
|| Ben Jones, Tim Maltby, Lauren Montgomery (all season 1 only), Brandon Vietti, Scott Jeralds (two of three directors for season 2) |
| Main Title Theme
|| Kristopher Carter |
|| Kristopher Carter, Michael McCustion, Lolita Ritmanis |
| Casting and Voice Director
|| Kelly Ward (season 1), Susan Blu (season 2) |
|| Stan Berkowitz, John Esposito, Rob Hoegee, Rob Hummel, Marty Isenberg, David Slack, Scott Sonneborn, Matt Wayne, Amy Wolfram (all season 1 only); Michael Jelenic, Joseph Kuhr, Greg Weisman, J. M. DeMatteis (known writers for season 2) |
| Art Director
|| Dave Johnson |
| Character Designer
|| Derrick J. Wyatt, Glenn Wong |
|| Irineo Maramba, Jay Baker |
|| Norm Ryang, Eric Canete, Chad Townsend |
| Voice editing/ADR, post-production
|| Mark Keefer |
Awards and Nominations
The series was nominated Daytime Entertainment Emmy Awards - Childrens Nominations
for three Creative Arts Emmy Awards
, a subset of the Daytime Emmy Awards
. None of the nominations won their category.
- Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition
- Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing - Live Action and Animation
- Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing - Live Action and Animation
DC Comics cameos and homages
The series has numerous cameos and characters that are evocative of and pay homage to other DC Comics characters.
- Episode 1.01: A janitor is briefly seen at the Superman Museum wearing a costume that resembles that of Booster Gold, and is preceded by the appearance of a robot that looks just like Booster's sidekick, Skeets. This is a reference to his job in the Metropolis Space Museum previous to becoming a hero in the 20th century. In addition, the inhabitants of New Metropolis resemble some of the alien species that make up the Green Lantern Corps, including the natives of Xudar and Barrio III.
- Episode 1.03: In this episode, Alexis steals a bike belonging to a New Metropolis citizen who resembles Lobo. In addition, a satellite/space station resembling the Justice League Watchtower is seen and struck during a ball game. Alexis's story and character also seem a Legion-era analogue of Lex Luthor and most likely his descendant, respectively. In fact, her prison uniform clearly has her last name written on it in Interlac: "Luthor".
- Episode 1.05: In the center of the main arena, there's a banner which reads, in Interlac: "Batman Lives".
- Episode 1.06: Prisoners in the Phantom Zone resemble Superman's foes, Doomsday and the Pre-Crisis versions of General Zod and Faora. What's more, Drax's characterization is reminiscent of Zod himself, and numerous elements of his costume such as the big Z on his logo and origin hint that his origin is somehow connected to Zod. His two pets also heavily resemble an alien monster adopted by Bizarro in the Superman: The Animated Series episode, "Little Big Head Man." The Phantom Zone projector is also identical to the one used in Superman: The Animated series and Justice league Unlimited.
- Episode 1.07: Zyx is patterned after Superman villain Mr. Mxyzptlk, in both powers and demeanor (playful at first, but soon becomes malevolent). In addition, Zyx's first costume is based on Mxyzptlk's Silver Age costume. Zyx's helmet also resembles the Justice League of America villain Brain Storm. In another scene, when Zyx is creating various objects, he briefly conjures the Emerald Eye, a Green Lantern power battery, and Doctor Fate's helmet.
- Episodes 1.08 and 1.10: Prospective applicants for the Legion who did not eventually form the series' version of the Legion of Substitute Heroes in episode 1.10 included not only some who did join the comics version (Antennae Lad, Double Header, Polar Boy, Fire Lad, and Night Girl), but also other rejects (such as Quake Kid, Polecat and The Mess), and even a Legionnaire (Invisible Kid).
- Episode 1.09: The Mining robots which Superman and Timber Wolf battled toward the end have a very similar design to the space exploration robots built by the Waynetech/Luthorcorp partnership in the episode of Superman: The Animated Series episode World's Finest. Brainiac 5 also rattles off the names of the colors Blue, Red, Gold, and Green, all of which were variations of Kryptonite.
- Episode 1.10: One of the colorizations Color Kid gives Superman matches the DC animated universe animated version of Bizarro. Other colors include red (resembling pre-Crisis Superman Red), blue (resembling pre-Crisis Superman Blue), and green (giving a sense of Kryptonite poisoning). The beginning of the episode shows a plant monster that attacks the Legionnaires, similar to one that appears with Poison Ivy in Batman: The Animated Series.
- Episode 1.12: Brainiac 5 mentions a "Great Crisis", a reference to Crisis on Infinite Earths and/or Final Crisis. The Sun-Eater also appears in this episode, this is the third time the Sun-Eater has been included in a Legion story line.
- Episode 1.13: Ferro Lad's sacrifice echoes his comic book counter part's own fate against the Sun-Eater.
- Episode 2.02: The now adult and seasoned Superman tells his clone that he reminds him of a friend of his that was a grim loner that ended up becoming a valuable member of a team. Such a description fits Superman's Justice League teammate, Batman.
- Episode 2.08: A Superman android appears in the Fortress of Solitude, visually resembling the Superman villain Cyborg Superman. A dog and cat resembling super-pets Krypto and Streaky are also seen in Kandor. Brainiac's skull ship also appears in this episode.
- Episode 2.12: Some characteritics of Brainiac 5's evil form where previously linked to Brainiac 13 (such as having tenticles coming out of his back). Brainiac 5 also remakes Imperiax's ship into his own version of the Brainiac skull ship. Many Legionannires from across the various version of the comic book Legion are also seen as background characters in this episode, but play no role beyond this.
- Episode 2.13: The scene where Brainiac 5 holds Superman is the same as the introduction scene for this season of Superman holding Brainiac 5. Also, the scene inside Brainiac 5's hea where several other Brainiac 5's appeared also mimics a scene in Reboot Legion where several Brainiac 5's tackle a telepath who invaded Brainiac 5's mind. In the show, the clones tell Brainiac 1.0 to get out of his head; in the books they told the telepath her choices were to leave the information she found in his head behind or not leave at all.
- Man of Tomorrow
- Timber Wolf
- Fear Factory
- Brain Drain
- Lightning Storm
- The Substitutes
- Child's Play
- Chain of Command
- Sundown: Part One
- Sundown: Part Two
Legion Of Super Heroes In The 31st Century
A comic book
based on the show's continuity is currently being published under the title Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century
. According to the comic's writer, J. Torres
, the name was chosen to distinguish itself from more specifically youth-oriented titles such as Justice League Adventures
and Superman Adventures
.. The first issue was distributed during Free Comic Book Day
of 2007 in addition to being sold.
An interview concerning the Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century comic confirmed that the comic was to continue publication despite the series ending. The comic will also be telling stories that take place after the Season 2 finale. As of issue 20, the comic will be over.
While the comic incorporates the cast of show, other characters from DC Comics have made an appearance.
- Arm Fall Off Boy
- Legion Of Super Heroes In The 31st Century #16
- Booster Gold
- Legion Of Super Heroes In The 31st Century #19
- Legion Of Super Heroes In The 31st Century #7
- Bart Allen/Impulse
- Legion Of Super Heroes In The 31st Century #15
- Lex Luthor
- Legion Of Super Heroes In The 31st Century #13
- Lois Lane
- Legion Of Super Heroes In The 31st Century #13
- Perry White
- Legion Of Super Heroes In The 31st Century #13
|| Material collected |
| Trade Paperback
| Volume 1: Tomorrow's Heroes
Appearances in other media
A tie-in promotion with McDonald's Happy Meal
took place in August 2007. The Legion show was represented by eight figures (Superman, Timber Wolf, Lightning Lad, Mano, Tharok, Brainiac 5, Bouncing Boy, and Validus). As Happy Meal toys often have a "girl toy" and "boy toy", this set was aimed at the boys.
Action figures by Mattel are currently on hold, as no retailers have purchased the line. Mattel holds the master license for toys based on any DC series in any medium.