Nitpicking 101 – The Legion That Never Was

In Action Comics #858 (December 2007), during Brainiac 5’s attempt to use technological means to restore Superman’s memories of his days in the Legion of Super-Heroes, readers were treated to the following splash page illustration of the classic incarnation of the team:

So much for racial diversity in the 30th century.

When it comes to Gary Frank’s artistic prowess, Jon Sibal’s inking skills, and the use of a period appropriate wardrobe, this piece is beyond reproach. As far as historical accuracy goes…not so much, as a version of the team with this particular lineup never existed in the first place.

Central to the problem is the appearance of Ferro Lad in this group shot, whose tenure as a Legionnaire was brief: he first appeared in Adventure Comics #346 (July 1966) and died in Adventure Comics #353 (February 1967). If you take this fact into account, several anachronisms should quickly become apparent to veteran fans:

  • Shadow Lass first appeared in Adventure Comics #365 (February 1968), one year after his death.
  • One of Triplicate Girl‘s bodies was killed by Computo the Conqueror in Adventure Comics #340 (January 1966). She’d started going by the codename of Duo Damsel in Adventure Comics #341 (February 1966), one year before he even joined the Legion.
  • While Timber Wolf first appeared in Adventure Comics #327 (December 1964) as Lone Wolf, he was officially a Legion Trainee at the time of Ferro Lad’s demise and didn’t officially join the team until Adventure Comics #372 (September 1968).

Special thanks to Chip Nanco of the Facebook group Interlac: The Legion Online for pointing out that there were more problems with this illustration than I initially thought.

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