Saturday, October 3, 2020

That 31st Century : DCUO

I'd call myself a Legion fan. I certainly have a lot of the comics. I bought them as they came out, in the 1960s, the 1970s, the 1980s, the 1990s... And last year I bought a dodgy dvd from the Phillipines with every Legion series digitized so now I pretty much have them all - at least until someone makes some more, which someone probably already has.

Of course, there are fans and fans. I knew a few Legion "fans" in the eighties and nineties. I'm not saying my devotion's on that scale but still, I do really like the Legion.

Possibly the main thing I like about the Legion is there's so many of them. That's the point, isn't it? The Legion is called "the Legion" for a reason. It's because there are a lot of them. 

Look at it. The Legion of Super-Heroes. It's right there in the name, isn't it? I mean, when you think of a legion of... well, of anything... there pretty much has to be a lot of them, doesn't there? Definitely more than, oh I don't know, three.

Seriously, who calls three of anything a "legion"? Goldilocks and the legion of bears. The legion of blind mice. The legion of stooges. Doesn't work, does it?

And yet somehow, these days, whenever the Legion turns up anywhere there always seem to be just the three of them. Usually it's the original three, the founders: Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad

There's at least some kind of excuse for having those three feature in Smallville. It's a nod to the team's legendary first appearance in Adventure Comics #247, the April 1958 issue of what was then the home of Superboy's own strip. 


It was the Legion's appearance in the Supergirl t.v. show that kickstarted my own superhero renaissance a few years back. I can't remember how I happened upon the trailer on YouTube that featured their upcoming guest slot but I do remember it was enough to get me to buy the dvd. 

Yeah... no it wasn't. That actually doesn't make sense. I'm misremembering my own timeline because the Legion didn't make it into Supergirl/Arrowverse continuity until Season Three and I'm pretty sure I was watching long before then.

Faulty memories aside, the point stands. When the Legion appears in Supergirl, guess how many of them show up? Everyone who said three, give yourselves a cookie.

The writers at least get a bonus point for picking a different three. Saturn Girl's there, again, but this time she's flanked by Mon-El and Brainiac Five

Call me cynical if you like but I have to wonder if that choice had anything to do with the budget. We are taling about a show that aired on the CW, after all. Cosmic Boy and Lightning Lad have powers that require at least some notional special effects, however cheesy. Brainy and Imra can pretty much slide by with a furrowed brow and a pained expression. 

Then again, they sprung for Brainy's Metron chair, so maybe not.

Why am I going on about all this, here on a blog supposedly dedicated to Massively Multiple Role-Playing Games? Isn't it obvious? 

DCUO's next big update, coming in November, is "LONG LIVE THE LEGION" . Not before time. As SJ Mueller, DC Universe Online Creative Director, puts it in the press release, "Players have been asking for a Legion of Super-Heroes episode for as long as I can remember".

I know I have. Except I was kind of hoping it would be, oh, I dunno, maybe the actual Legion? As in a bunch of them? I mean, it's a video game, right? No actors to pay, no special effects budget. You could have twenty or thirty standing around for much the same price as three, couldn't you? Silently, if you wanted to keep the voice-acting costs down.

But no:

"The episode will feature new and returning allies and adversaries, including founding members Saturn Girl, Cosmic Boy, and Lightning Lad as well as their foes Mordru, Emerald Empress, and Validus".  

Them again! What are the odds?

Okay, there is some wriggle room, obviously. It does say "including". Maybe the PR person just picked out the best-known names. Maybe the writers used the founder factor as a peg to hang the story on (god knows every other writer has) while extending the narrative deep into the roster.

We can dream. Dreaming works. Ask Dreamer. If not, how did we get Dream Girl in Supergirl? Okay, she's not actually Dream Girl, just a distant ancestor who happens to work in the same office as Kara Danvers, but it's close enough. Plus she's really good.


It doesn't matter, of course. I'm a Legion fan, remember? Any Legion is good Legion. Well, it isn't but it's better than no Legion, that's for sure.

I'm excited to see what DCUO gives us. There's an open-world version of 31st century Metropolis, although "open world" means something a litle different in DCUO to what it means elsewhere. There's also a chance to see inside the Legion's HQ, which I'm betting won't be the iconic, archaic fifties-retro finned spaceship version but could be the big L-shaped one, maybe...

And there are the villains to enjoy, if enjoy's the right word. Mordru is a freakin' big deal in both Legion and D.C. continuity. He's on the Darkseid would-be destroyer/ruler of the universe end of things so that could be... fun? The Emerald Empress has had her moments. too. Validus is just a fifty-foot tall monster with lightning coming out of his head but hey, what more do you want in a world boss?

The update launches in November (no exact date yet) and comes with "level-agnostic event versions of the content available free to all players for a limited time". I'll be there!

Probably not for long but I'll be there!

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