|Legion of Super Heroes|
|Developed by||Amy Wolfram|
|Theme music composer||Kristopher Carter|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||26|
|Running time||21–22 minutes|
|Original network||The CW (Kids' WB)|
|Original release||September 23, 2006 –|
April 5, 2008
Legion of Super Heroes is an American animated television series produced by Warner Bros. Animation, adapted from the DC Comics series of the same name. It debuted on September 23, 2006, and centers on a young Superman's adventures in the 31st century, fighting alongside the eponymous group of superheroes. The show was produced by one of its main character designers James Tucker, a co-producer of the Justice League Unlimited series, for the Kids' WB line on The CW network.
The series drew on the rich history of the Legion of Super-Heroes, taking inspiration from stories set during all time periods of the team's nearly 50-year history in comics. Continuity is internally consistent but is not shared with any previous incarnation of the Legion, either animated or in print. It also had a tie-in spin-off comic book series, Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century, that lasted 20 issues.
The series was cancelled after its second season.
A few months before Legion of Super Heroes premiered, the Legion appeared in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Far From Home". The episode featured Supergirl traveling to the future and joining the Legion, leading audiences to think that it was intended to serve as a back-door pilot establishing a premise for the Legion show, and that it would be a DCAU spin-off. However, series producer James Tucker clarified that Legion's show was deliberately created from scratch:
Early reports had suggested the title of the series would be Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes, but the official announcement in April 2006 confirmed the title as Legion of Super Heroes. The same announcement indicated that the series would air on the Kids' WB block of the new The CW network at 10 a.m.
At the 2006 Comic Con International, the production staff did not officially say whether legal issues at the time involving the ownership of Superboy had affected this series or whether changes were made to tie the series in with the Superman Returns film, but one significant change had been made since the announcement of the series. The original press release referred to "the young Superboy", while the revised press release, published in June, described the character as a young Superman. At the conclusion of the pilot episode, Clark adopts the superhero name of Superman, and not Superboy. In the second season, which takes place two years after the end of the first season, the character is called Superman, without reference to his "young" status.
The second season has a darker and more mature tone than the first season and mostly focuses on Brainiac 5 and his relationship with his evil ancestor, the original Brainiac. In the second season, most of the Legionnaires have changed their appearances, e.g., Lightning Lad has longer hair and gains a robotic arm after Imperiex blasted off his right arm during a battle. Additionally, Triplicate Girl changes her codename to Duo Damsel because her white self was lost in a temporal anomaly during a battle in the 41st century. The series logo was also slightly revised. As with the first season, a total of 13 episodes were created for the second season, which premiered on September 22, 2007. The show was not renewed for a third season.
A third season had been planned for production but was dropped because 4Kids Entertainment over the Kids' WB! slot. It would have taken place three years after the end of the second season in which an older Superman would return. Sensor, Wildfire, Magnetic Kid, Supergirl, Tellus, Princess Projectra and Shadow Lass were to be introduced, while background characters Blok and Dawnstar would have active roles. Kell-El was intended to be a regular character but with a reduced role (with Wildfire planned to be his replacement). The main focus of the third season would have been Brainiac 5's return, while trying to redeem himself after the second season's finale and the evil Brainiac 6 trying to destroy the Legion. Also, producer James Tucker planned to make an episode adaptation of the story "The Ghost of Ferro Lad" to introduce Ferro Lad's long-lost twin brother. The final episode of season two linked the two seasons together.
The first season of the series began airing on Cartoon Network UK on March 5, 2007. The 13 episodes were shown weekdays through March 21, and the two-part season finale aired in the UK about five weeks before it was shown in the US. It also used to air on CITV 'Action Stations' and re-aired on Cartoon Network Too.
In the first season, the series revolved around a core group of eight Legionnaires but others appeared from time to time in recurring roles, similar in format to the Justice League Unlimited animated series.
The first season introduces a teenaged Clark Kent who is about to move from Smallville to Metropolis. He knows of his abilities but does not know what to do with his future (similar in nature to the Clark Kent featured in the Smallville television series). After traveling to the future, young Clark assumes the identity of Superman and gradually learns to control his abilities, becoming the hero he is destined to be. At the end of the first season, he returns to the present around the same time he left in the first episode.
In the second season, Superman returns to the future after spending two years in the past and gaining more experience with his powers. Also, Superman X, a clone of Superman from the 41st century created to battle Imperiex, is introduced. When Imperiex travels back to the 31st century, Superman X is forced to follow him into the past and recruit the Legion to help him.
Series producer James Tucker offered descriptions of the core team in a July 2006 interview at Comic Con International in San Diego. As with other DC team shows such as Justice League Unlimited, not every core character appears in all episodes. The following descriptions apply to the characters as seen in the first season.
XS appears in the finale "Dark Victory" as a background character. Dawnstar and Invisible Kid also make cameo appearances in the finale, along with many other rarely seen Legion members.
In the first season, some Legionnaires were mentioned or shown as images before making an actual appearance. Fourteen members were shown during the season as already active: Blok, Bouncing Boy, Brainiac 5, Colossal Boy, Cosmic Boy, Dream Girl, Element Lad, Lightning Lad, Phantom Girl, Saturn Girl, Shrinking Violet, Sun Boy, Triplicate Girl, and Tyroc. Five more joined the Legion through the course of the series: Superman, Timber Wolf, Matter-Eater Lad, Star Boy, and Ferro Lad.
The opening credits sequences used for first-season episodes included a glimpse of the Mission Monitor Board signs for many Legionnaires as well as shots of flying Legionnaires who would be seen in later episodes (though not all of those with Mission Monitor Board symbols appeared). At least four members of the Legion as seen in the comics appeared in some way on the show but had not joined by the end of the first season (Ultra Boy, Lightning Lass, Wildfire, and Polar Boy).
In the second season, Karate Kid appeared in the opening credits with the other Legionnaires, though he did not appear until the fifth episode (in which Nemesis Kid also became a new member). Similar to Karate Kid, Sun Boy appeared in the second season opening titles and made semi-regular appearances but did not have a speaking line or have someone else refer to him by name. Ayla Ranzz, sister of Lightning Lad, finally made an appearance, but without apparent super powers and not as the Light Lass of the comic books.
|Bouncing Boy||Michael Cornacchia|
|Brainiac 5||Adam Wylie|
|Chameleon Boy||Alexander Polinsky|
|Colossal Boy||Adam Wylie|
|Cosmic Boy||Wil Wheaton|
|Dream Girl||Tara Platt|
|Ferro Lad||Dave Wittenberg|
|Karate Kid||Keith Ferguson|
|Lightning Lad||Andy Milder|
|Matter-Eater Lad||Alexander Polinsky|
|Nemesis Kid||Keith Ferguson|
|Phantom Girl||Heather Hogan|
|Saturn Girl||Kari Wahlgren|
|Shrinking Violet||Kari Wahlgren|
|Star Boy||Bumper Robinson|
|Superman (21st century)||Yuri Lowenthal|
|Superman X (Kell-El, 41st century Superman clone)||Yuri Lowenthal|
|Timber Wolf||Shawn Harrison|
|Triplicate Girl/Duo Damsel||Kari Wahlgren|
|Ultra Boy||James Arnold Taylor|
|The Fatal Five|
|Emerald Empress||Jennifer Hale (Season 1)|
Tara Strong (Season 2)
|Dr. Mar Londo||Harry Lennix (Season 1)|
Dorian Harewood (Season 2)
|Alexis Luthor||Tara Strong|
|The Legion of Super-Villains|
|Lightning Lord (leader)||James Arnold Taylor|
|Mordru||Richard McGonagle (Season 1)|
Jim Ward (Season 2)
|The Controller||David Lodge|
|Grimbor the Chainsman||Lex Lang|
|Roderick Doyle||Wil Wheaton|
|The Dark Circle|
|Winema Wazzo, President of the United Planets, mother of Phantom Girl||April Winchell|
|The Legion of Substitute Heroes|
|Chlorophyll Kid||Alexander Polinsky|
|Color Kid||James Arnold Taylor|
|Infectious Lass||Kari Wahlgren|
|Porcupine Pete||James Arnold Taylor|
|Stone Boy||Yuri Lowenthal|
|Ayla Ranzz, sister of Garth and Mekt Ranzz||Kari Wahlgren|
|Calamity King||Alexander Polinsky|
|R. J. Brande||Lex Lang|
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||13||September 23, 2006||May 5, 2007|
|2||13||September 22, 2007||April 5, 2008|
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|1||1||"Man of Tomorrow"||Ben Jones||Amy Wolfram||September 23, 2006|
|When fearsome villains the Fatal Five set their sights on the newly formed Legion of Super Heroes, three of the Legion's members go back in time to get help from the greatest hero of all time: Superman. Instead they find Clark Kent, aware of his powers but not yet of his grand destiny.|
|2||2||"Timber Wolf"||Lauren Montgomery||Matt Wayne||September 30, 2006|
|A mysterious scientist asks the Legion to help capture a dangerous creature. They succeed, only to discover the creature is nowhere near as dangerous as the scientist himself.|
|3||3||"Legacy"||Tim Maltby||Scott Sonneborn||October 7, 2006|
|Superman unknowingly saves the life of Alexis, one of the wealthiest people in the galaxy. Alexis and Superman become fast friends, but when Superman's Legion responsibilities get in the way of their friendship, Alexis decides to do something about it.|
|4||4||"Phantoms"||Tim Maltby||Rob Hoegee||November 4, 2006|
|When Superman accidentally opens a gateway to the Phantom Zone, Drax, a young man with powers identical to his, is freed in the process. Now Superman must not only stop this destructive visitor, but also rescue the Legionaires when Drax traps them in the Zone.|
|5||5||"Champions"||Lauren Montgomery||Matt Wayne||November 11, 2006|
|While supporting Lightning Lad as he competes in the challenging Galactic Games, Superman and Phantom Girl uncover a sinister plot by the Fatal Five! Lightning Lad has troubles of his own when he finds competition from someone close to him.|
|6||6||"Fear Factory"||Ben Jones||John Esposito||November 18, 2006|
|During a cosmic storm, the team takes refuge in a creepy, derelict space station. On board, one-by-one, each Legionnaire faces their her deepest fear – and then disappears.|
|7||7||"Brain Drain"||Tim Maltby||Rob Hummell||February 3, 2007|
|A major malfunction sends Brainiac 5's genius IQ plummeting. To obtain the rare element needed to save him, Superman and Timber Wolf must travel to the most inhospitable planet in the galaxy – and thanks to a transporter accident, they have only Brainy's head to guide them.|
|8||8||"Lightning Storm"||Lauren Montgomery||Stan Berkowitz||February 10, 2007|
|Much to the Legion's disappointment, Lightning Lad accepts an invitation to join an older, "cooler" team. Once there, however, Lightning Lad realizes these new heroes aren't exactly what they seem. Now, caught between the Legion and his new friends, Lightning Lad must decide where his loyalties lie.|
|9||9||"The Substitutes"||Ben Jones||Scott Sonneborn||February 17, 2007|
|It's that time of year again – Legion Auditions. This year's crop is hardly promising, with most hopefuls turning out to be comic duds. But when the Legion is overwhelmed fighting a mysterious foe in Earth's atmosphere, a group of rejects takes it upon themselves to save the world below...with outrageous results.|
|10||10||"Child's Play"||Ben Jones||Marty Isenberg||February 24, 2007|
|Young sorcerer Zyx arrives on Earth and causes a heap of trouble. In an effort to send him home, Superman learns of his vulnerability to magic, while Phantom Girl puts her diplomatic skills to the test as she travels to the sorcerer's secretive world to ask for help.|
|11||11||"Chain of Command"||Lauren Montgomery||Amy Wolfram||March 3, 2007|
|When disaster strikes Lightning Lad's home planet of Winath, the Legion is called to help. Lightning Lad's efforts to take charge are thwarted however when long-absent Legion leader Cosmic Boy arrives with an enigmatic new hero in tow.|
|12||12||"Sundown"||Tim Maltby||David Slack||April 28, 2007|
|13||13||Ben Jones||Rob Hoegee||May 5, 2007|
Part 1: The Legion is put to the ultimate test when an ancient weapon known as a Sun Eater comes to life. The Legion mounts a heroic defense, but the Sun Eater proves too powerful and sets its sights on Earth.
Part 2: With the Sun Eater on a direct course for Earth's sun, the Legion is forced to ally with the Fatal Five to stop it. Meanwhile, Superman has his toughest battle yet when he fights the alien Controller who unleashed the Sun Eater. In the end, the Legion triumphs, but at a terrible cost.
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original air date|
|14||1||"The Man from the Edge of Tomorrow"||Brandon Vietti||Michael Jelenic||September 22, 2007|
|15||2||Scott Jeralds||Greg Weisman||September 29, 2007|
Part 1: Kell-El, a clone of Superman from the 41st century, approaches the Legion to enlist them in fighting the warlord Imperiex. With help from the past Superman, the Legion follow Kell-El to the future.
Part 2: Imperiex begins his conquest by freeing the Legion's greatest enemies from prison. The team ask Superman in the 21st century for help, who comes to the future only to meet his clone.
|16||3||"Cry Wolf"||James Tucker||J. M. DeMatteis||October 6, 2007|
|When it appears that Timber Wolf viciously attacked his own father, the Legion try to catch him, while Chameleon Boy and Phantom Girl work to clear his name.|
|17||4||"Chained Lightning"||Brandon Vietti||Matt Wayne||October 13, 2007|
|Imperiex plans to harness the powers of a stormy nebula with the help of Lightning Lord. As Lightning Lad and Lightning Lord duel, Imperiex interferes and attacks, costing Lightning Lad his right arm, which is replaced with a bionic arm. There is also a flashback detailing how Lightning Lad and Lightning Lord got their powers and what happened to their sister Ayla.|
|18||5||"Karate Kid"||Brandon Vietti and Scott Jeralds||Eddie Guzelian||October 27, 2007|
|Grimbor the Chainsman has been committing heists across the galaxy. As the Legion are spread out throughout the galaxy fighting Imperiex's forces, Cosmic Boy holds auditions for new members and gets Nemesis Kid as the latest recruit. Superman takes Chameleon Boy to find another new recruit that doesn't have powers in the form of Karate Kid.|
|19||6||"Who Am I?"||James Tucker||J. M. DeMatteis||November 3, 2007|
|Chameleon Boy infiltrates Imperiex's ranks disguised as Persuader, and having had his mind reprogrammed to believe that he actually is him. However, trouble arises when the Legion is unable to restore him to normal.|
|20||7||"Unnatural Alliances"||Brandon Vietti||Keith Damron||November 17, 2007|
|The robotic cowboy Terra-Man is after a boy named Abel who is said to be behind the technology that would create Imperiex in the future. As the Legion work to keep Abel from being killed, Imperiex is also after Abel, wanting to protect him to ensure his existence. This leads to Kell-El and Imperiex working together to keep Abel alive and fight Terra-Man.|
|21||8||"Message in a Bottle"||Scott Jeralds and Brandon Vietti||Joseph Kuhr||December 1, 2007|
|Superman and the Legion are on a mission to the bottled city of Kandor to stop Imperiex, who seeks advanced technology inside it. To help the Legion, Brainiac 5 must access information from the original Brainiac.|
|22||9||"In the Beginning"||James Tucker||Steven Melching||March 8, 2008|
|A flashback shows how Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad, and Saturn Girl formed the Legion after saving R.J. Brande from an assassination attempt orchestrated by his treacherous partner Roderick Doyle. In the present, Brande is kidnapped by Grimbor the Chainsman, and the Legion must save him.|
|23||10||"Trials"||James Tucker||Steven Melching||March 15, 2008|
|The Legion's nemesis Zyx comes to them for help when the evil sorcerer Mordru takes over his homeworld.|
|24||11||"In Your Dreams"||Brandon Vietti||Stan Berkowitz||March 22, 2008|
|The Legion battle the Dark Circle with the help of Dream Girl, who can predict the enemy's every move before they make it. But when the Dark Circle realize how the Legion is defeating them, they kidnap Dream Girl and put her abilities to use themselves.|
|25||12||"Dark Victory"||Brandon Vietti||J. M. DeMatteis and Michael Jelenic||March 29, 2008|
|26||13||April 5, 2008|
Part 1: Brainiac 5 is taken over by the original Brainiac, who exists in his programming and is being used by Imperiex in his latest plot on the universe.
Part 2: After eliminating Imperiex, Brainiac takes over his army and plans to take over the universe. With Superman thought to be dead, the other Legionnaires must stop him before it is too late.
The series was nominated for three Creative Arts Emmy Awards, a subset of the Daytime Emmy Awards. None of the nominations won their category.
Season 1 was released to home video in three separate DVD volumes, with four episodes on the first two releases and five on the third. The complete Season 1 collection was released in a 3-DVD box set, which merely collected each of the three individual volumes. All were released through Warner Home Video.
The complete Season 2 DVD collection was released in July 2020, at the same time as the entire series on Blu-Ray, through the Warner Archive Collection. Season 1 volume 1 has a bonus featurette called "We Are Legion", and the Season 2 two-part series finale has an audio commentary with producer James Tucker, director Brandon Vietti, and the voice of Saturn Girl, Kari Wahlgren. These bonus features are also included in the Complete Series Blu-Ray.
The series is also available for purchase or streaming on various platforms, including iTunes, Amazon Prime Video, and formerly DC Universe.
Individual episodes have been released on various other DC home video releases; for example, the two-part episode "Dark Victory" was released an extra on the 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray release of The Death of Superman.
|Title||Release date||# of episodes||Episodes|
|Legion of Super Heroes Volume One||August 28, 2007||4||"Man of Tomorrow", "Timber Wolf", "Legacy", "Phantoms"|
|Legion of Super Heroes Volume Two||February 5, 2008||4||"Champions", "Fear Factory", "Brain Drain", "Lightning Storm"|
|Legion of Super Heroes Volume Three||September 9, 2008||5||"The Substitutes", "Child's Play", "Chain of Command", "Sundown: Part One", "Sundown: Part Two"|
|Legion of Super Heroes Season 1 DVD 3-Pack||September 15, 2009||13||Complete Season 1|
|Legion of Super Heroes: The Complete Second Season||July 14, 2020||13||Complete Season 2|
|Legion of Super Heroes: The Complete Series||July 14, 2020||26||Complete series (Seasons 1 and 2)|
A comic book based on the show's continuity was published under the title Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century. According to the comic's writer, J. Torres, the name was chosen to distinguish itself from more specifically youth-oriented titles such as Justice League Adventures and Superman Adventures. The first issue was distributed during Free Comic Book Day 2007 in addition to being sold.
An interview concerning the Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century comic confirmed that the comic was to continue publication despite the series ending, and that the comic would also be telling stories that were to have taken place after the second-season finale. As of issue #20, the comic ceased publication.
While the comic incorporates the cast of the show, other characters from DC Comics have made an appearance.
Issues #1–7 were collected in the trade paperback Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century, Vol. 1: Tomorrow's Heroes (March 2008, ISBN 978-1-4012-1668-9).
A tie-in promotion with McDonald's Happy Meal took place in August 2007, containing eight figurines: Superman, Timber Wolf, Lightning Lad, Brainiac 5, Bouncing Boy, Mano, Tharok, and Validus.
Action figures by Mattel were not produced because of a lack of retailer interest.
The collectible miniatures game HeroClix produced a special starter set of the Legion, including a figure of "Young Superman" during the first season.