As this week's Doomsday Clock #5 is expected to continue the story of the Legion of Super-Heroes' Saturn Girl, fans are hoping to get more information about the future of the DC team.
There's no doubt the Legion exists in some form (somewhere), at least according to stories in the current-day DCU, which combines the history of DC's 2011 "New 52" reboot with several significant tweaks made since the 2016 "Rebirth" era began.
Although there's some question about whether the Legion of Super-Heroes that appeared in the "New 52" era was from an alternate Earth, DC's current books have been featuring planets associated with the Legion and actual ancestors of member characters.
And although Saturn Girl appears to be a central part of the Doomsday Clock story, DC executives have indicated that the Legion founder's appearance doesn't mean the publisher is going to immediately dedicate a new title to the iconic DC team from the future.
But loyal Legion fans find hope for the team's return from the fact that "Rebirth" architect Geoff Johns is a self-described Legion fan too. Not only has Johns brought the team back from obscurity once before, but his Legion revival occurred when he was working with his current Doomsay Clock collaborator Gary Frank.
So was the Legion of Super-Heroes featured during the "New 52" the same Legion of Super-Heroes that Saturn Girl in Doomsday Clock represents? Does Saturn Girl's appearance mean the Legion is back in the continuity of DC's Prime Earth? Will DC clarify what characters and stories are part of Saturn Girl's team and the DCU? Newsarama takes a look at the hints we've seen about current continuity's Legion so far.
New 52 Legion(s)
When DC rebooted its universe in 2011, the Legion of Super-Heroes were featured in two books: Legion of Super-Heroes and Legion Lost. Both of those series ended with a clear indication of the Legion's role in the DCU, however. In fact, the final issue of that Legion series, Legion of Super-Heroes #23 by Paul Levitz and Kevin Maguire, left the door open for that team to be from another Earth.
A comic book called Justice League 3000 was launched soon after the Legion series ended, and although it was expected to revamp DC's future, it established that it was from an alternate continuity as well.
Finally, in 2015's Justice League United by writer Jeff Lemire, the Legion of Super-Heroes was featured in a way that appeared to establish the team in the "New 52" once and for all. In a storyline titled "Infinitus Saga," a team was introduced that featured Brainiac 5 as leader and included characters from Legion Lost that weren't included in the previous "New 52" Legion series.
The storyline seemed to establish a "New 52" future Legion that even included Legionnaires from other continuities.
So if the "New 52" Legion is still in existence in the future, it looks like the one from "Infinitus Sage."
However, the "New 52" continuity is in question now that "Rebirth" has caused changes to the current timeline, from the elimination of the histories surrounding "New 52" Superman to the return of Wally West and other concepts and relationships from before the "New 52." Plus, Doctor Manhattan is apparently screwing with the timeline of the DCU, so the future is probably open wide.
That said, there have been a few hints since "Rebirth" began about the existence of the Legion in the reformed future of the DCU...
DC's recently-launched title The Terrifics introduced a new character named Linnya Wazzo from the planet Bgztl, establishing her as a current day Phantom Girl who has the natural power to become intangible and phase through objects.
Readers have assumed this new character is the ancestor of the Phantom Girl from the 31st Century's Legion of Super-Heroes, Tinnya Wazzo, who is also from Bgtzl and has the natural power of intangibility.
In similar fashion, Bryan Hitch's 2017 issues of Justice League included a tease of Brainiac 5, a key character in the Legion of Super-Heroes. Although Brainiac 5 was never actually named, his existence was implied as he appeared as a "brainy kid" from the future.
The character's existence got a further boost in the current mini-series Justice League: No Justice, which brought into continuity the character Brainiac 2, who's a clone of the original Brainiac.
In previous continuity, Brainiac 2 ended up being a force for good, fighting with a team called L.E.G.I.O.N., a private galactic police force that was sort of a present day version of the Legion of Super-Heroes. (And by the way, the aforementioned Tinnya Wazzo was briefly part of that L.E.G.I.O.N. too.)
Of course, Brainiac 2's introduction in No Justice paves the way for the existence of the later Brainiac 5.
As we've already mentioned, Legion founding member Saturn Girl is currently being featured in Doomsday Clock, apparently stuck in the present day for some reason.
This story thread about Saturn Girl began in DC Universe: Rebirth #1, when she appeared to be lost in Gotham City. Later DC storylines revealed that she was imprisoned in Arkham Asylum and rambling about how "the Legion will die."
Although the DC Universe: Rebirth #1 issue didn't include the Legion of Super-Heroes team (not even in the huge splash page that included several other missing-from-the-"New-52" characters), Saturn Girl's appearance revived interest in a return of the Legion of Super-Heroes.
Now, in the pages of Doomsday Clock, Saturn Girl has made contact with Rorschach, helping him escape from Arkham. And this connection appears to be the reason she's in the present-day DCU.
The "Right Time"
So when will the Legion of Super-Heroes of the "Rebirth" era be introduced?
According to an interview with DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio, DC is waiting for story developments of Doomsday Clock before they bring back the Legion and some other concepts and characters teased for "Rebirth."
"We want to make sure it has the right platform, and more importantly, the right creators. In order to do that, it’s going to take time," DiDio said in the August 2017 interview. "It’s not that we’re ignoring them, it’s not that we’re avoiding them, it’s not that we’re never going to do them - we’re just waiting for the right time."