Monday, February 21, 2011

The Legionnaires: Superman X

Superman-X aka Kell-El of Earth. Created by, uh, the writers of the Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon. I could look up the names, but I wouldn't know which ones were specifically responsible for this guy.

In the second season of the Legion cartoon, some important focus-group testing showed that the collection of yard apes and crumbcrushers that KidsWB wanted to sell shoddily made toys and nutrition-free food simulations to wanted fewer girls, more fights, more costumes, and more cool superpowers than the show had had before. So the cartoon's creators immediately made plans to revise some characters' looks, to remove Saturn Girl and one-third of Triplicate Girl from the scene, and to beef up characters like Brainiac 5, Timber Wolf, and Lightning Lad and make them more !xtreme and fighty. This worked in the sense that they did it and weren't struck down by a bolt from the heavens, but it didn't work in the sense that the show wasn't as good and was cancelled at the end of the season for unrelated reasons anyway.

The other thing they did was to introduce Kell-El, an aggressive, impatient Superman clone from the far future. I guess the idea was that he'd be just like Superman, but a better fit for the show since he had a new costume, some crystal-generating and energy-blast powers as well as the regular Superman powers, and wasn't interested in anything but fighting evil as hard as he could. Part of the arc of Season 2 was to give this dork some sense of humanity and empathy and heroism, making him more than just a warrior. I have to tell you that I could have done without him, but, hey, he was a Legionnaire.

Here's a look at him from his signature moment (about a minute and a half into this): an episode that addresses just what happened to Lightning Lad's twin sister Ayla. Turns out that when the Lightning Beasts of Korbal attacked the three Ranzz siblings, Garth and Mekt got lightning powers but Ayla was actually turned into some kind of electric cloud that's been wandering the galaxy ever since. The Legionnaires encounter this cloud but have no idea what it is... except they can detect a signal coming from it, that of a little girl's voice singing a children's song. This notion blows Kell-El's tiny little mind.

"The cloud is singing?!"

The big goof.

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Come Look at My New Website

I started a new website. It's at, and you're all invited over there to check it out.

Mostly what it'll be about is this novel I'm writing and will publish, but I expect to touch on other stuff as well. Particularly of interest to this crowd is the Superhero of the Day feature I'm planning.

I'm not abandoning Legion Abstract; I'm planning on giving it about the same level of attention I have been all along. Anything I write that's Legion-specific will still go here; anything that's about superheroes in general may go here or there.

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