The future. It’s one of the easiest settings to write about because generally there are no rules. When setting things in the present or the past, people can actually look up information, pointing out which parts are possible and which parts don’t make any sense given how things actually work in real life.
With the future, Creators are free to make things up as they go along because none of us really know what is coming next. Thanks to the talented people that have worked on the Legion of Super-Heroes up until now though, no one’s taken too much advantage of that. However, that doesn’t mean everything that happens in the 31st century is completely logical. For this list, we’re looking at all the frakking things that don’t make any sprokking sense about the Legion of Super-Heroes.
10 THEIR RULES
Despite their name, when the Legion of Super-Heroes were introduced they were more like a clubhouse than a team of superheroes. That’s why early on the group had a rule that no one was allowed to join unless they could show they had an ability that no one else on the team had.
For a kids' clubhouse that’s cute, but as a super-team, it’s so absurd the team deserves to lose every fight they have until they throw it out. Can anyone actually picture the Justice League or the Avengers turning away prospective members because “we already have someone with super strength”?
9 GOING TO THE PAST AT ALL
If the future’s so great, why is this team obsessed with the past? Going back and grabbing Superboy, one of the most influential people of your timeline is bad enough. But to compound this, there have been more than a few times where members of the team have gone back in time as well.
Sometimes this leads to disastrous consequences for them, such as when Karate Kid winds up dying in Countdown, but it never seems to mean much for their future. This is a bit optimistic, considering the major changes they enact could cause massive ripple effects.
8 BOUNCING BOY
Chuck Taine was a powerless young man who decided to join the Legion after drinking something he thought was a soda but turned out to be a special plastic formula. This formula allowed Taine to transform into a giant ball, which is apparently nigh-invulnerable when bouncing around.
This really should have been classified as one of the most useless powers ever, but since the Rules don’t specify someone’s powers have to be useful, he decides to join the Legion and becomes their morale officer. Taine is a fine enough character though, which is why the reboot in the '90s ditched the powers and made him a mechanic.
7 UNITED PLANETS HUMANOIDS
This is one of those things that got an explanation later on. But in the beginning, it was more than a little weird that the United Planets consisted almost entirely of humanoid beings.
This was massaged in later comics and reboots. We would see that much of the United Planets is made up of humans whose genetic structures had been altered by the alien race known as the Dominators. Plus several species are introduced who are just not human, which makes more sense overall.
6 MATTER-EATER LAD
Tenzil Kem is the Legion’s representative from the planet Bismoll (as in, Pepto). His people are from a planet where a microbe turned food supplies inedible, but over time they evolved to eat the food that had turned poisonous. Years later, this allowed them to eat not just poisonous food, but any matter.
That is absolutely not how evolution works, even if we presuppose that they used technology to advance themselves. Learning to eat poisonous food shouldn’t then allow them to eat say, a brick, but they can. This is why most writers from Tenzil Kem’s era never used the character outside of turning him into a diplomat.
5 BRAINIAC 5's INVENTIONS
The distant descendant of one of Superman’s most famous villains, Brainiac 5 serves as the team scientist, coming up with inventions such as a nearly impenetrable force field and the patented Legion Flight Ring which not only grants every Legionnaire the ability to fly but also allows them to communicate with other members of the team.
Despite having a Level 12 intellect, he’s always been a bit inconsistent with his technology. Wildfire continues to look like a '90s action figure instead of an actual human, for instance. His great-great-grandfather was able to invent technology which could shrink entire cities, so Brainy could be a tad more ambitious.
4 LEGION OF SUBSTITUTE HEROES
The Legion of Substitute Heroes is possibly the first group of fanboys in fiction. The “subs” are characters who have all been rejected the opportunity to join the Legion, generally because their powers either couldn’t be controlled effectively or they were simply viewed as not useful.
This includes characters like Stone Boy, who could turn himself into stone...but couldn’t move once he did it. Refusing to accept failure, this group formed their own team of heroes in the hopes of being acknowledged by the real Legion, who really should work to shut this group of kids down before they get themselves seriously hurt.
3 NO LEGACY
It’s an admirable goal to want to tell a story in the DC Universe that involves only the tiniest amount of DC continuity. Aside from Superboy and Supergirl, Legion of Super-Heroes mostly tells stories about the worlds, heroes, and villains of the future. In the past, it made the book an easy read because people didn’t have to know about all the other heroes.
That said, it’s weird that so many aspects of the DC Universe which had been around for thousands of years suddenly couldn’t survive the next thousand. The Green Lantern Corps? The helmet of Fate? There’s no need to reference specific characters from old eras, but to cut out those legacies entirely feels wasteful.
It’s one thing to go into the past, but bringing Superboy into the future? This is literally the worst idea ever. If he’s such a big part of why the world is what it is, why would you take him into the future where anything could happen to him?
They’re constantly fighting villains who, if they really believed everything they read in the history books, should be shouting at the Legion to send this kid back before he dies and completely resets their timeline. Suddenly half of them would disappear while the others would exist in a world with cybernetic dinosaurs or something.
Tyroc has the notoriety of being the Legion’s first black character, and one of the first black superheroes in DC Comics, predating even Black Lightning. His power is a sonic scream that has a wide variety of powers, including generating force fields and controlling the weather.
We’re not going to get into how goofy a power that is; no, this is more about his background.
Instead of DC simply letting him be the team’s first black character, they decided to try to “explain” why there hadn’t been a black character until then. Turns out, all the black people in the future just “went away” to their own island. At best this makes no sense, at worst this makes DC’s shiny future look significantly less utopian in nature. Fortunately, the upcoming reboot of the team has the 30th century looking far less monochromatic.