Title: "The Legion of Super-Heroes"
Release Date: April, 1958
Writer: Otto Binder
Penciller: Al Plastino
Inker: Uh, I don't think they gave credits for these people back then.
LSH Members: Lightning Boy (only time referred to by this sobriquet, from here on out he's Lightning Lad), Cosmic Boy, and Saturn Girl. The big three of Legion lore. While these are the only members named or fully shown, we do see other Legionnaires in shadow (and Brainiac 5 cheering Superboy's admission to the Legion) meaning while this is the first appearance of the Legion from Superboy's perspective, it's not their initial appearance chronologically. I think.
Guest Stars: None
Bad Guys: None
Cameos: Pa Kent

So what happens?
(remember, most of these stories take place pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths)

Superboy, the young Kal-El and future Superman is living in his hometown of Smallville as a nerdy teen. One day, he is approached by another teenager who calls him Superboy while he's dressed as Clark Kent. A couple other teens seem to know his dual identity, so finally he confronts them to discover that these three teens are: Lightning Boy, Saturn Girl, and Cosmic Boy, the founding members of the Legion of Super-Heroes, a "super-heroing" club from 1,000 years in the future.

At their invitation, Superboy travels to the 30th century in the Legionnaire's time bubble, there to undertake a series of entrance exams to see if he qualifies for honorary membership in the Legion.

He's pitted against each of the three founding members in tests of strength, intelligence, and heroism, but during each test, Superboy is distracted by menaces to various "normal" people, and takes care of each one of them instead of participating in each test, thus causing each Legionnaire to win their particular test.

A crushed Superboy prepares to go back home, feeling he's failed the entrance exam. However, the Legionnaires reveal that each "crisis" he faced during the tests was manufactured by the Legionnaires to see how he would react: would he do the noble thing, and save innocent lives, or ignore the threats to win entry into the Legion? Of course, our hero, by saving the day, did the right thing. He is thus granted entry into the Legion, and awarded a "Super-Hero Number One" medal, which he takes with him back to the 20th century to show to a beaming Pa Kent.

Cool Moments!
Besides being the introductory appearance of one of the most well-loved and enduring super-hero teams of all time? I dunno.

Comic Books Were Definitely a Boyzone Back in the Day Department:
"You lost out on your first test ... and to a girl! Is this the great Superboy we learned about in school? What's your excuse?"
--Cosmic Boy to Superboy after he loses his first test to Saturn Girl.

30th Century Technology Department:
Despite having a time bubble with no apparent means of propulsion or guidance, the Legionnaires still fly around 30th century Metropolis using jet packs on their backs.

The Future Hasn't Been Written Yet Department:
For some strange reason, Cosmic Boy's magnetic powers emanate from his magnetic eyes (later, it's shown that his hands are from whence the power flows}, and Lightning Boy/Lad's costume is red, green, and yellow rather than blue and white. Likewise, Saturn Girl's costume is green, black, and yellow instead of the sultry pink and white we'll next see. Cosmic Boy's costume stays pink until the 70s. While they're apparently not necessary in the 20th century, each Legionnaire wears some form of space suit helmet on their head when in the 30th. Also, each LSH member has their name stencilled on their respective costume, a practice to be dropped fairly quickly ... say like by the next time they make their appearance.

Many thanks to Jet-Poop for the template from which to devise this and future LSH writeups and to his fantastic JLA Issue Guide for inspiration and motivation. The Legion appears to this day in monthly comics published by DC Comics.

Legion Issue Guide: Back | Index | Forward

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