Friday, October 29, 2010

Vote for the Legion Leader!

There is an election underway right now that the outcome of which will change the future. I’m not talking about the one all the news stations are covering. That’s for someone else (and probably someone still living in the US) to talk about. I’m talking about the vote for the new leader of the Legion of Superheroes.

In an exciting move DC is having the readers chose who the new leader will be. This is an old tradition that they are bringing back and I’m excited to see the outcome. Readers and fans can go online here and cast their vote for one of the 25 active legion members. The election will last three weeks and end November 10th.

I’ve never read Legion before this new series, but I’m really excited by this whole thing. Letting the readers chose is risky as they could really throw the writer a curve ball. Paul Levitz probably doesn’t have 25 separate results figured out for this event. I’m sure he has a few things in mind for certain characters, but he has no idea who it will be so he can’t devote a lot of time to it. It’s a ballsy move, saying “tell me what you want, my readers, and I will oblige, even if it’s a character I hate (and there is at least one character on the list that Levitz has voiced dislike of in the past…)!” If we do get one of the more out-of-left-field choices it will be really fun to see how he creatively accepts our challenge. I feel more invested in the story now, especially if the character I vote for ends up winning.

If you follow the title I urge you to go and vote based on your own personal preferences. But, if you don’t have a strong preference, or you don’t read the book but would like to vote anyway so that you play a part in shaping the fate of a comic book (it’s cool, I’d be voting even if I wasn’t reading the title) allow me to try to sway your vote in a few of my favorite directions. Here are my top five potential candidates, and I’d be happy with any of them leading the team.

5. The “safe” pick: Cosmic Boy
Character in a nutshell: One of the founding members of the Legion and the first leader. Has magnetic powers.

I see Cos as sort of the Legion’s Scott Summers in that he’s very easily associated with the role of leader. I honestly didn’t know before this election happened that there had been many leaders of the Legion. I thought Cosmic Boy was always the leader. That shows how much I know, but also shows how naturally the character falls into that role. He certainly has experience and would probably serve the team adequately.

This pick isn’t very fun of course, because the whole point of having elections is to create change. And the members have been kind of dumping on Cos’s leadership abilities in the recent issues in order to drum up tension for the election. Also, he recently revealed that one of the reasons he’s always been the “leader” type was so that his best friends Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl could be happy together as they pursued their relationship. And so Cos hasn’t really had that much in the way of romance. The point of rotating leadership is so that all of the miserable responsibility isn’t left to oppress one person for too long. So maybe it’s time for Cos to take a step back and try to do something for himself for a change. I’d be fine with him continuing as the leader, but I wonder if the character would be better served by passing the torch for a while.

4. The gut pick: Mon-El
Character in a nutshell: spent years in the phantom zone to emerge and become a hero of the 21st century, then sent back into the phantom zone for 1000 years until the Legion could cure his lead poisoning. Has all the powers of Superman but is weakened by lead and not Kryptonite.

I realize that I don’t so much have strong reasons to want Mon-El as leader; I just have this gut feeling that he would be a good person to have in the role. Mon-El has been through a lot. Pretty much everyone this guy has ever known or loved is dead (since he’s from our time), except for his Legion family. Not only has he done his share of heroic things, but he’s also had to endure three periods of entrapment in the Phantom Zone, the longest of which lasted for 1000 years of being intangible and lonely. The Legion always seems to need a Superman representative, and Mon-El can fill those big shoes. His role so far in the ongoing has been to exposit about the break up with his long time girlfriend (for which no reason was given), break apart some rocks, and then to go on a fetch quest to retrieve Polar Boy. I’d like to see him more, and being the leader would make that possible.

3. The popular pick: Phantom Girl
Character in a nutshell: longtime member with powers of intangibility.

Several other blogs are throwing their support behind Phantom Girl, and for some very good reasons. She has never been leader, despite her long membership on the team, so many feel that it is her turn. She’s a strong character, and has recently been sort of a confidant/advisor to a number of characters who have been seeking her out for help with their problems. This is a good leadership trait. Also, it would be nice to have a female leader (and surprisingly she's the only one on my list).

She is one of the most deserving members of the chance to be leader. She’s got a lot of support behind her, and I’ll be pleased if she ends up winning (even though she’s only my #3 pick).

2. The symbolic pick: Chameleon Boy
Character in a nutshell: Shape shifter who is the son of the Legion financier RJ Brande

There are a number of good reasons for Cham to be the leader. He’s the son of the man who is pretty much solely responsible for the Legion existing. His father died not too long ago, so it would be a great time for him to step up and take a leadership role to carry on his father’s vision for the future. He just got back from a secret mission to the past to save the bottled cities from Brainiac’s ship and essentially reseed the galaxy with them. This is not just a big deal because it saved many lives, but because many of the worlds they essentially restarted are the home worlds of Legion members a thousand years down the line. Cham even got to release the bottled city from his own planet, essentially restarting his own world. This is no small accomplishment and the Legion owes him a great deal of thanks for this. What better way to reward his efforts than making him their leader?

He’s also a giant middle finger to the xenophobic governments that plague the Legion right now. It would sort of be like saying, yes, here’s our leader. He’s not human. He has orange skin and everything. Deal with it. Cham’s race (the Durlans) are pretty much un-trusted everywhere because honestly, how are you going to trust people who can literally be anyone? But the Legion members do trust Cham and this would be a really nice way to show it. Plus we already know that there is going to be a Durlan assassin group working against the Legion, so I think it could create some interesting story drama.

1. The most interesting pick: Gates
Character in a nutshell: An insectoid alien from the Legion of Earth-247 (the reboot legion) who decided to stay with the Legion of New Earth as they have a shortage of non-humanoid members. Creates teleportation gates.

Gates would be a really fun pick for a lot of reasons. First, he’s a non-humanoid alien and, like Cham, having him as leader would send quite the message in the book’s current climate of xenophobia. It would also probably lead to a very different outlook on things. Gates didn’t want to be in the Legion in the first place. He thought they were a fascist military group but his planet had elected him as their representative and he was forced to join. He grew to tolerate his humanoid teammates and even formed some close friendships…however; he’s left that all behind. You see, Gates isn’t from the same universe as the current Legion. He stayed behind after the Legion of Three Worlds event during Final Crisis.

I’ll admit that his being chosen doesn’t really make a ton of sense in story. The characters have known him for maybe a few months tops (and in story they are the ones voting, not us). They seem to already be making quick use of his abilities, but does that really mean that they trust him? He’s only been in about 2 issues of the new run and his contribution to those has been giving snarky remarks about how he has to do all the work. But I, for one, love his snarky remarks and would love to see how the writer handles the challenge of having him as a leader. I want to see more of him and I think voting for him here is the best way to send that message. And who knows, maybe being from a different universe entirely would give him a unique unbiased outlook on some things.

Plus, just look at him. He’s the coolest looking Legionnaire on the ballot!

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