As Brian Michael Bendis relaunches the Legion of Super-Heroes for DC Comics, the futuristic teen team looks to be recruiting the latest incarnation of the original teen superhero: Damian Wayne, a.k.a. Robin.
Superboy Jonathan Kent is following in his father’s footsteps as a core member of the team, but a preview cover of next January’s Legion of Super-Heroes #3 suggests we’ll be seeing another 21st-century hero joining the 31st-century team. In the newly released artwork by Ryan Sook, the Legion watches as a familiar green-gloved hand holds up a batarang stamped with an “R” for Robin--with a Legion ring on its finger. Their reactions run the gamut from an overjoyed Superboy, to Lightning Lad’s confusion... to Cosmic Boy’s aggravation.
Whatever the rest of DC's Legionnaires might think, Damian makes a natural addition to the team. He and Superboy are natural partners: they’re both the sons of DC’s greatest heroes (in Damian’s case, conceived from Batman’s genetic material without his knowledge or consent by his nemesis Talia al Ghul — but that’s comics!). They’ve been appearing together in the Super-Sons series for the past two years, until it ended in July.
That team-up enjoyed a brief revival this month and Brian Michael Bendis and David Lafuente’s latest issue of Superman.Thanks to Superboy’s adventures getting lost in space and time with his grandfather Jor-El, he and Robin are no longer the same age. While they beat up various goons around Gotham City (and enjoy a “gargoyle dog” on one of Batman’s favorite perches), Jonathan catches Damian up on his time away. Jonathan describes his invite to join the Legion. Superboy’s still reluctant to make the jump a thousand years into the future, but Robin seems intrigued. “If you won’t go, I’ll go,” he says. Inspired by his friend’s enthusiasm, Superboy decides to take the offer, and even promises to “put in a word for you.” Come January, it looks like he’ll keep his promise.
While this is the first time we’ve seen Robin in the 31st century, Superboy has a long history with the Legion. Back in the sixties, when Superboy was a younger version of Superman rather than his present-day son, the Legion made their first appearance rejecting his application because his “powers are too ordinary!” He eventually won them over, and the Legion became a fixture of the Superboy series in Adventure Comics before they took the magazine’s lead spot for themselves. After DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths changed Superman’s history so that he’d never been Superboy, the Legion continued without him until the latest incarnation was cancelled shortly after DC’s recent New 52 relaunch.
Now, thanks to the introduction of Jonathan Kent and the Legion’s return in Bendis’ Millennium miniseries, Superboy (or at least a version of him) and the Legion are finally together again. And with Robin added to the mix, could they be the 31st-century world’s finest team? Apparently fans will know when The Legion of Super-Heroes #3 arrives in January 2020.