Showcase Presents Superman Family Vol. 4

Showcase Presents Superman Family Vol. 4

First Published: April 2013

Contents: Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #45 (June 1960) to #53 (June 1961); and Superman’s Girl Friend, Lois Lane #17 (May 1960) to #26 (July 1961)

Key Creator Credits: Curt Swan, Otto Binder, Jerry Siegel, Kurt Schaffenberger, and others

Key First Appearances: Miss Gzptlsnz

Story Continues From: Showcase Presents Superman Family Vol. 3

Overview: On the off-hand chance that you are a first-time reader of this blog, or that this is your first encounter with Showcase Presents Superman Family, then welcome to the ongoing adventures of Superman’s pal, Jimmy Olsen, and Superman’s girlfriend, Lois Lane.

Each comic contains three 8- to 10-page stories that followed predictable formulas from one story to the next. As with any of theses stories from DC’s Silver Age, there is no continuity between titles and stories. The Daily Planet remains the greatest place in the world to work, as they have a very generous vacation policy; they allow you to use the paper’s helicopter for personal travel; and they will throw a party to celebrate any and all events in a person’s career, be it birthday, anniversary, or 100th story scoop.

There is an ongoing series of stories in the Lois Lane issues that starts in this collection. We get to see a series of “imaginary adventures” that give us a look into the lives of Mr. and Mrs. Superman, as Lois and Clark Kent/Superman finally marry. (For the record, ALL COMICS ARE IMAGINARY ADVENTURES!) Most of these Mr. and Mrs. Superman stories involved Lois staying home to tending to their house or their children, while Clark Kent continues his successful journalism career, not to mention his extraordinary moments as Superman. Lois finds herself unhappy with her life because she always imagined that being married to Superman would be the greatest accomplishment ever. Thankfully, we are reminded that these stories are imaginary, and everything reverts back to normal with the next story.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: With this series, I find that the most current volume is the best one of the series. So Volume 4 is better than Volumes 1, 2, and 3, and Volume 3 is much better than Volumes 1 and 2; and of course Volume 2 is better than Volume 1. But these are still not great stories. So many of the stories repeat themselves, like Jimmy getting into trouble with one of the items from his Superman trophy collection, or Lois trying to figure out if Clark is secretly Superman. Your best bet is to jump around and read the stories that most interest you. (Actually, your best bet would probably be to find a different set of Superman comics to read.)  

Footnotes: The “Jimmy Olsen, Orphan” story from Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #46 and the “Girl with Green Hair!” story from Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #51 are also reprinted in Showcase Presents Supergirl Vol. 1.

If you like this volume, try: watching the 1990s Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman television series starring Teri Hatcher and Dean Cain. Running on ABC for four seasons, the series took a fresh look at the Superman mythos but using the story elements introduced by John Byrne in the post-Crisis DC Comics. While the show generally featured Superman fighting the generic villain of the week, we were treated to the slowly developing relationship between the two title characters, matching what was going on in the Superman comic book titles of that same era. In season three, Lois discovers Clark’s secret identity, opening up the door for the two characters to marry. This series is available on DVD.

Showcase Presents Supergirl Vol. 2

Showcase Presents Supergirl Vol. 2

First Published: November 2008

Contents: Supergirl stories from Action Comics #283 (December 1961) to #321 (February 1965)

Key Creator Credits: Jim Mooney, Jerry Siegel, Leo Dorfman, and others

Key First Appearances: Jax-Ur, Comet the Super-Horse

Story Continues From: Showcase Presents Supergirl Vol. 1

Overview: Forget her status as a secret weapon, Supergirl is introduced to Earth as it’s newest protector from Krypton. Working with Superman, she helps patrol the planet during all of the numerous times that Superman is called off into space; called into the future to assist the Legion of Super-Heroes; or called back into the past for whatever reason. 1960s Superman comics – nothing else like it!

The books in this collection fall into some story groups. First up is the introduction of Comet the Super-Horse. Unlike everyone else with the “Super” in their name, Comet does not hail from Krypton. Instead, he was a centaur from ancient Greece. He petitioned the witch Circe to make him into a man, but another sorcerer interferes and tricks the witch into making him into a full blown horse. Unable to change him back, Circe grants Comet superpowers, including immortality. (Because when you are forced to be a horse, everyone wants to live forever.) Arriving on Earth, he meets Supergirl and finds that he can communicate with her telepathically. (Seriously, don’t think too hard about this one….)

The next set of stories deals with Lena Thorul, a resident of Midvale and the younger sister of super-criminal Lex Luthor. Lena has developed ESP, so it’s a challenge for Supergirl to keep her identity a secret from her friend. Lena wants to become an FBI agent but is afraid that her brother’s history will keep her out. When her family connection is revealed, she buys a one-way ticket to Africa and becomes a Tarzan-like jungle girl. (I cannot make this stuff up, people!)

Another set of stories deals with Supergirl’s parents, Zor-El and Alura. We all thought they had perished in Argo when the kryptonite radiation killed off the residents of the floating city in space. Turns out, they managed to exile themselves into the Survival Zone, which is very similar to the Phantom Zone, just without the criminals. Supergirl finds a way to rescue her parents, but now faces a dilemma of having two sets of parents. What is a girl to do? The first thought is to have her birth parents move to the bottled city of Kandor, and live with their fellow Kryptonians. However, Alura’s health starts to fail, as she is suffering from heartbreak over her missing daughter. So, to heal her birth mom, Supergirl convinces her step-parents, Fred and Edna Danvers, to trade places with her real parents, and the three Kryptonians become a super-team family. But then Edna is exposed to an evil spore and attacks Supergirl. Realizing that Kandor is not the best home for them, once again the Danvers exchange places with Supergirl’s parents. 

The volume concludes with Supergirl graduating high school and enrolling in Stanhope College. Unfortunately, some of Supergirl’s sorority sisters are a little catty, and Linda must find ways to outwit them to protect her identity.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: Oh boy, where to start…. I gave Volume 1 a lot of praise for telling positive female stories, especially with it being a DC Silver Age collection. This volume falls short on all marks. The various story arcs might have worked better in a romance comic, but these stories are all from Action Comics, the home of Superman and his family. We finally see Supergirl revealed to the world, and then her storylines dive down into mediocrity. Ugh! I know this book is a product of its time, but it has a hard time holding up 50 years later.

Footnotes: Action Comics #285 is also reprinted in Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 3.

The “Superman’s Super-Courtship!” story from Action Comics #289 is also reprinted in Showcase Presents Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 1.

The “Monster From Krypton!” story from Action Comics #303 is also reprinted in Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 4.

If you like this volume, try: the 2009 Power Girl series, initially done by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Amanda Conner. 2009. Power Girl was introduced in All-Star Comics #58 as the Earth-2 version of Supergirl – see Showcase Presents All-Star Comics Vol. 1 for Power Girl’s debut. Over the years, she served as a member of the Justice Society, Infinity, Inc, and even Justice League Europe. It was probably easier to use her in a story rather than Supergirl, as the big red S shield on Supergirl’s costume carries a lot of baggage with it. The one downside to Power Girl is her longevity; her origin has been changed multiple times due to one crisis or another. She became a hard character to work with, given all of the changes to her back story. Flash forward to 2009, and Power Girl earned her own monthly comic. This is one of the best runs using the Power Girl character, focusing more on the present rather than reliving the past. Most of this series has been collected in trade paperbacks, so give this a look.

Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 4

Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 4

First Published: September 2008

Contents: Superman stories from Action Comics #293 (October 1962) to #309 (February 1964); and Superman #157 (November 1962) to #166 (January 1964)

Key Creator Credits: Edmond Hamilton, Al Pastino, Curt Swan, George Klein, Jerry Siegel, Leo Dorfman, and others

Key First Appearances: Nightwing, Flamebird

Story Continues from: Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 3

Overview: Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman! Welcome back to the fourth Showcase Presents volume of Superman tales from Superman and Action Comics. The story formulas remain basically the same from previous volumes, but the quality of the stories continues to improve with each collection. 

What stands out in this volume is the innocent story points that are introduced in these issues, but then have ripple effects over the next 50 years of Superman story-telling. For example, in Superman #158, our hero and Jimmy Olsen travel to the bottled city of Kandor. The two adopt new costumed identities inside the city, Nightwing and Flamebird. They would adopt those identities, before handing the roles off to two of Superman’s cousins in the pages of Superman Family in the 1970s. (And in the 1980s, as Dick Grayson was growing out of the Robin identity, he would adopt the new costumed identity of Nightwing as a tribute to the role that Superman had in his life growing up. Grayson would use Nightwing as his code name for nearly 30 years.) Likewise, the adventures of Superman Red and Superman Blue, from Superman #162, was revised in the 1990s by Karl Kessel and friends when Superman was split into two separate electrical beings.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: One of my biggest gripes about the Silver Age Superman stories is that there is no order or continuity to the stories. Most of these stories can be read in any order. Sure, you may have characters introduced from time to time, such as Supergirl, but it’s not a distraction if a story does not include the ENTIRE supporting cast. But we finally get a moment in this volume, Superman #161, where things change forever. We experience the death of Ma and Pa Kent, as Clark Kent is once again orphaned. (Yes, although not reprinted here, but the Kents remained quite alive and active in the pages of Superboy, which recounted his teenage adventures.) The death of his adoptive parents forced the creative teams to start changing the stories. Suddenly, Clark no longer had the excuse of going back to Smallville to see his parents. The orphan angle gets played up on two different levels. Removing these two characters (which lasted until the John Byrne reboot of the Superman franchise following Crisis on Multiple Earths) changed the dynamics for the creators, forcing them to tell NEW stories rather than just rehashing previous stories.

Footnotes: The “Monster From Krypton!” story from Action Comics #303 is also reprinted in Showcase Presents Supergirl Vol. 2.

If you like this volume, try: Superman: Secret Identity, which has been collected in multiple formats. Written by Kurt Busiek with art by Stuart Immonen, this four-issue series follows the life of a young man from Kansas, Clark Kent, growing up in a world where the only super-heroes exist in comic books. And yes, he happens to share the name of everyone’s favorite comic book character; his parents thought it would be funny. So all of his life, Clark has to endure every Superman joke ever told. Each year on his birthday, he receives numerous gifts all emblazoned with the Superman logo. Clark just wants to lead a normal, quiet life. Until one day when Clark actually starts developing powers. He finds that he can fly and that he is now super-strong. Realizing that this may be destiny calling, Clark dons a Superman uniform and becomes the hero that everyone always expected he would be. This is hands-down one of my all-time favorite Superman stories, and it should be part of every collection. Kurt Busiek has proven multiple times that he is a master storyteller, whether it be his own characters in Astro City, or managing the corporate characters from Marvels to Avengers to Superman: Secret Identity. Please pick up this book – you’ll thank me later!

Showcase Presents Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 2

Showcase Presents Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 2

First Published: April 2008

Contents: Legion of Super-Heroes stories from Adventure Comics #322 (July 1964) to #348 (September 1966); Superboy #117 (December 1964), #124 (October 1965), and #125 (December 1965); and “The Origin and Powers of the Legion of Super-Heroes” pages from Superman Annual #4 (1962), Adventure Comics #316 (January 1964) and Adventure Comics #365 (February 1968)

Key Creator Credits: Otto Binder, Curt Swan, Jerry Siegel, Sheldon Moldoff, George Klein, Jim Mooney, John Forte, Edmond Hamilton, Jim Shooter, and others

Key First Appearances: Spider-Girl, Heroes of Lallor (Beast Boy, Duplicate Boy, Evolvo Lad, Gas Girl, Life Lass), Timber Wolf, Magnetic Kid, Glorith, Computo, Duo Damsel, Color Kid, Ferro Lad, Karate Kid, Nemesis Kid, Princess Projectra, Doctor Regulus, Kid Psycho

Story Continues From: Showcase Presents Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 1

Story Continues In: Showcase Presents Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 3

Overview: From across the vast reaches of the known galaxy, the most powerful teenagers gather together to protect the universe. With unique abilities across the members, these teenagers are united to peace and prosperity to all beings. This is the Legion of Super-Heroes. Sit back and enjoy the ride, as we have a fun set of stories in this second Showcase Presents volume.

Part of the charm of the Legion is the ever growing line-up, as new heroes are introduced to join the clubhouse – from Timber Wolf to Ferro Lad to Karate Kid to Princess Projectra. Not everyone is truly Legion material, but not to worry as the Legion of Substitute Heroes always has a spot open for them. And sometimes you let the wrong person in, as the Legion found out with the introduction of Nemesis Kid.

One of the Legion’s greatest threats to come is introduced in a rather humble beginning. The murderous living computer Computo (accidentally created by Brainiac 5) shows up, intent on killing off all life. During the course of the battle, Triplicate Girl makes the ultimate sacrifice to protect her teammates.

In terms of creators, a (then) true teenager took over the writing duties of the Legion in this volume. Legendary comic creator Jim Shooter begins his long run with the kids of the future in Adventures Comics #346. Shooter’s Legion run is often cited as one of the more influential runs with the characters. We will get more of the Shooter stories in the next Showcase volume.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: For the most part, the Silver Age stories from DC Comics do not hold up. However, with the Legion of Super-Heroes, this volume surprisingly does stand the test of time. The stories are fun adventures that can go anywhere and everywhere in the course of 15 pages. We’ve gotten past the need to re-introduce characters and their powers each month, and just get into the telling of the story. There are several key Legionnaires introduced in this volume, which makes for interesting reading to see how they began compared against how they came to be used later.

Footnotes: The Legion Flight Ring makes its debut in Adventures Comics #329 (February 1965).

If you like this volume, try: the 2005 reboot of The Legion of Super-Heroes by Mark Waid and Barry Kitson. Over the years, the Legion has had their story rebooted numerous times. Sometimes it’s a soft continuation of where things left off, and other times it takes the Legion in a completely different direction. With this relaunch, if felt like a modern refresh of the original LSH, in terms of number of Legionnaires as well as a general positive approach to the story. From issues #16 to #36, the title was renamed as Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes. With issue #37, it went back to just Legion of Super-Heroes, as Jim Shooter returned to the teenage heroes where he got his start. Personally, I would stick to the first 36 issues, which have all been collected across six trade paperbacks. That said, I see these issues in back issue bins, so it may be a fun hunt to track them down at conventions.

Showcase Presents Supergirl Vol. 1

Showcase Presents Supergirl Vol. 1

First Published: November 2007

Contents: Superman #123 (August 1958), #139 (August 1960), #140 (October 1960), and #144 (April 1961); Supergirl stories from Action Comics #252 (May 1959) to #282 (November 1961); Supergirl stories from Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #40 (October 1959), #46 (July 1960), and #51 (March 1961); Supergirl story from Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #14 (January 1960); Supergirl story from Superboy #80 (April 1960); and Supergirl story from Adventure Comics #278 (November 1960)

Key Creator Credits: Otto Binder, Jim Mooney, Al Pastino, Curt Swan, Jerry Siegel, and others

Key First Appearances: Supergirl/Kara/Linda Lee Danvers, Zor-El, Alura, Dick Wilson Malverne, Miss Hart, Streaky, Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, Invisible Kid, Jerro, Bouncing Boy, Brainiac-5, Phantom Girl, Shrinking Violet, Sun Boy, Triplicate Girl, Fred Danvers, Edna Danvers

Story Continues In: Showcase Presents Supergirl Vol. 2

Overview: Introducing the Maid of Might, Supergirl! When Krypton exploded, one of its cities, Argo, shot off into space on a solid asteroid chunk. Years later, the asteroid was slowly transforming into Kryptonite, which would kill the Kryptonians. Following instructions shared by his late brother, Zor-El launches his daughter Kara in a rocket aimed at Earth. Arriving on Earth as a teenager sporting a costume matching her cousin’s uniform, Kara quickly starts to acquire the same powers that all Kryptonians receive under a yellow sun. Dubbed Supergirl, Superman hides Supergirl in the Midvale orphanage as his secret weapon, giving her time to learn about Earth and her new abilities.

Many of these stories feel like Superboy stories that were rewritten for Supergirl, such as dealing with Kryptonite meteors, uncovering dishonest circus carnies. stopping floods, or disabling runaway robots. Likewise, she also gets counterparts to match Superman’s friends – Dick Wilson is a boy in the orphanage that thinks Linda is Supergirl, Jerro becomes Supergirl’s beau in Atlantis, and Bizarro Supergirl shows up trying to help out, but does everything wrong.

Where Supergirl differs, making the biggest jump in her character story, is her encounters with the Legion of Super-Heroes. It takes a couple of visits before she can finally join the team, in Action Comics #276. At the end of this volume, Linda Lee is adopted by Fred and Edna Danvers, moving her out of the orphanage and creating a new set of stories to be told in Showcase Presents Supergirl Vol. 2.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: Well, my opinion of the majority of the DC Silver Age should be pretty clear by now. That said, I like these stories. These read better than the various Superman, Jimmy Olsen, and Lois Lane stories of the same era. I also find these more interesting than the Wonder Woman stories of the time. This is a good introduction to a female character, albeit one created as a female duplicate of a popular male character. It will take some time before Supergirl can move out of the large shadow cast by her cousin. This is one volume I look forward to sharing with my daughter soon!

Footnotes: Superman #123 and the Supergirl story from Action Comics #252 are also reprinted in Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 1.

The “Mighty Maid” story from Action Comics #260; the “Old Man of Metropolis” story from Action Comics #270; the “Untold Story of Red Kryptonite” story from Superman #139; Superman #140; and the “Orphans of Space!” story from Superman #144 are also reprinted in Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 2.

The “War Between Supergirl and the Superman Emergency Squad!” story from Action Comics #276 is also reprinted in Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 3.

The “Three Super-Heroes” story from Action Comics #267 and the “Supergirl’s Three Super Girl-Friends!” story from Action Comics #276 are also reprinted in Showcase Presents Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 1.

The “Lois Lane’s Secret Romance!” story from Superman’s Girl Friend Lois Lane #14 and the “Jimmy Olsen, Supergirl’s Pal!” story from Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #40 are also reprinted in Showcase Presents Superman Family Vol. 3.

The “Jimmy Olsen, Orphan” story from Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #46 and the “Girl with Green Hair!” story from Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen #51 are also reprinted in Showcase Presents Superman Family Vol. 4.

If you like this volume, try: tracking down Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade miniseries from 2009. This has been collected as a trade paperback, but it might be easier to find these six comics in a back issue bin. Written by Landry Walker with art by Eric Jones, this is a fun look at the origins of Supergirl, told for the Johnny DC audience. Once again, Kara travels to Earth, where she discovers that her cousin is Superman, protector of the planet. Kara is enrolled in middle school, so she can learn about her new home. She becomes best friends with Lena Thorul, who is secretly the sister of Lex Luthor. Of course, if you wear a big red S on your chest, you should also expect visits from Bizarro and Mr. Mxyzptlk, only in Kara’s case, she still has to contend with homework and middle school drama. This is a fun read for all ages and genders!

Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 3

Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 3

First Published: April 2007

Contents: Superman stories from Action Comics #276 (May 1961) to #292 (September 1962); Superman #146 (July 1961) to #156 (October 1962); original content from Superman Annual #3 (August 1961), #4 (January 1962), and #5 (July 1962)

Key Creator Credits: Otto Binder, Jerry Coleman, Al Pastino, Wayne Boring, Curt Swan, Jerry Siegel, Robert Bernstein, Bill Finger, and others

Key First Appearances: Legion of Super-Villains (Cosmic King, Lightning Lord, Saturn Queen)

Story Continues from: Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 2

Story Continues In: Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 4

Overview: Welcome back to the world of Superman! Rocketed to Earth as a baby as his home planet died, Kal-El grew to adulthood under the yellow sun, gaining powers and abilities beyond mortal man. Disguised as mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent, Superman fights for truth, justice, and the American way.

The scope of Superman starts to spread, across the world and across the years. Superman introduces the world to his cousin Kara, who will become Supergirl, a new protector for Earth. From the far future, we get visits from the Legion of Super-Heroes, teenagers with powers who have been inspired to greatness by Superman. The challenges get harder and harder, as Lex Luthor devises more elaborate plots, and Mr. Mxyzptlk builds more mischievous schemes.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: Generally, my opinion of Silver Age Superman stories is negative – the tales don’t hold up, the stories are filled with plot holes, and there is no progression with the characters. But this volume goes against the norm. This is a fun Superman volume with a lot of classic stories, such as “The Last Days of Superman!” and “The World’s Greatest Heroine!”. We get a mix of everything in this volume – Superman, the Daily Planet staff, Supergirl, Lori Lemaris, the Legion of Super-Heroes, and more. This is the first time I feel that these Superman stories should be showcased like this, so get it in your library!

Footnotes: Action Comics #285 is also reprinted in Showcase Presents Supergirl Vol. 2.

The Legion story in Superman #147 is also reprinted in Showcase Presents Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 1.

If you like this volume, try: All-Star Superman, which has been collected in multiple formats. Written by Grant Morrison with art by Frank Quitely, this 12-issue series is a wonderful homage to the Silver Age adventures of Superman, such as those collected in this volume. In this timeless story, Superman finds that his body is killing him after an over-exposure to the sun. Given a small window left to live, Superman vows to make the most of his remaining time. He grants Lois her greatest wish, he has one last adventure with his pal Jimmy Olsen, and he works with Lex to save the world. This is probably the best Superman story told in the last decade.

Showcase Presents Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 1

Showcase Presents Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 1

First Published: April 2007

Contents: Legion of Super-Heroes stories from Adventure Comics #247 (April 1958), #267 (December 1959), #282 (March 1961), #290 (November 1961), #293 (February 1962), and #300 (September 1962) to #321 (June 1964); Action Comics #267 (August 1960), #276 (May 1961), #287 (April 1962), and #289 (June 1962); Superboy #86 (January 1961), #89 (June 1961), and #98 (July 1962); Superman #147 (August 1961); Superman Annual #4 (1962); and Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen #72 (October 1963) and #76 (June 1964)

Key Creator Credits: Otto Binder, Al Pastino, Curt Swan, Jerry Siegel, George Papp, Jim Mooney, John Forte, Edmond Hamilton

Key First Appearances: Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl, Chameleon Boy, Colossal Boy, Invisible Kid, Brainiac-5, Star Boy, Bouncing Boy, Phantom Girl, Shrinking Violet, Triplicate Girl, Mon-El, Legion of Super-Villains (Cosmic King, Lightning Lord, Saturn Queen), Sun Boy, Legion of Super-Pets, Ultra Boy, Science Police, Matter-Eater Lad, Legion of Substitute-Heroes (Chlorophyll Kid, Fire Lad, Night Girl, Polar Boy, Stone Boy), Element Lad, Lightning Lass/Light Lass, Proty, Dream Girl, Time Trapper

Story Continues In: Showcase Presents Legion of Super-Heroes Vol. 2

Overview: On an average day in Smallville, USA, Clark Kent is accosted by three strange teenagers who claim to know his secret identity. The teenagers reveal themselves to be Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl. They are from 1,000 years in the future, and have been inspired by Superboy/Superman to use their unique super-powers to help Earth and other planets. Thus, the Legion of Super-Heroes is born. Long live the Legion!

Meeting in a converted rocket ship-turned-clubhouse, the Legion of Super-Heroes is made up of teenagers, each with a unique set of powers and abilities. No duplication of powers is allowed, although they tend to wiggle the rules on that from time to time. Over the six-year time frame of the stories collected in this volume, we meet 20 Legionnaires, plus all of the would-be Legion members and their spinoffs, such as the Legion of Super-Pets and the Legion of Substitute-Heroes.

Some prominent foes are introduced, including the Legion of Super-Villains. Their initial line-up was older family members of the Legion founders, all with the same power set. The mysterious Time Trapper comes into play at the end of this volume, and will revisit many times over, only to be thwarted by the Legion.

Why should these stories be Showcased?: I’ve been pretty honest on my opinions of the DC Silver Age stories. Most stories are hard to read against today’s standards. But even so, these Legion stories are a real treat. The stories can be absurd, yes, very much so. But they still retain a youthful innocence that compels the reader to want to keep reading. Who wouldn’t want to hang out in a super-hero clubhouse with other teenagers with wonderful powers and abilities. Sign me up!

Footnotes: The Legion stories in Action Comics #267 and #276 are also reprinted in Showcase Presents Supergirl Vol. 1.

The Legion stories in Action Comics #287 and #289 are also reprinted in Showcase Presents Supergirl Vol. 2.

The Legion story in Superman #147 is also reprinted in Showcase Presents Superman Vol. 3.

If you like this volume, try: Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank from 2008. This story originally ran in Action Comics. Geoff Johns combines story elements from the 50 year history of the Legion to tell a great story of Superman traveling into the future to visit his friends from his teenage years. But in the year 3008, Earth’s sun has become red, and Superman’s name is synonymous with treachery. The Legion has moved underground, considered to be outlaws by the local authorities. Superman gathers together all of the Legionnaires that he can find to lead an attack against the Justice League of Earth and restore the proper order on the planet. The art is by Gary Frank, creating a realistic look to his figures and in particular his faces. This is worth tracking down, as it gives you a good overview of the entire Legion lore.