Western Animation: Legion of Super Heroes

The Animated Adaptation of the Legion of Super-Heroes comic book series. Ran for two seasons, 2006-2008, abruptly ending with a hook for the third season that never came.

When the series opens, the 31st-century Legion is hopelessly outclassed by the famed Fatal Five. They resolve to recruit the near-mythical Superman from the past, but for undisclosed reasons, Brainiac 5 brings them to Smallville, not Metropolis. There they invite 18-year-old Clark Kent to help them in The Future, promising that with Time Travel, he can return the minute he left.

At Brainy's insistence, everyone studiously avoids telling Clark who he's supposed to become in the future. Regardless, Clark finds the Superman Museum, connects the dots, and takes the costume from the display case, and the name of Superman, for his own. Together they defeat the Five, and then Adventures Happen.

The show had a very Silver Age tone to it, but the most noticeable and controversial change from the source material was turning team genius Brainiac 5 from a Human Alien into an android. Word of God is that this was supposed to tie him more closely to his ancestor the original Brainiac, as well as avoiding having to explain how an an organic can be the 'descendant' of a robot, clearing away a fifty-year-old example of Writing Around Trademarks.

Season Two saw everyone age about two years, even Brainy, and the show went Darker and Edgier after the very light and bouncy first season. The premiere visited a Bad Future where Superman's clone was bred to fight Galactic Conqueror Imperiex, who when cornered escapes back to the 31st century and proceeds to wreak havoc as the season's Big Bad.

The series had its own comic series, Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century, which ran for 20 issues, some of them taking place after the end of the show.

The character sheet can be found here.

Legion of Super Heroes provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc: Both Drax and Alexis are forgotten about after their debut episodes.
  • Acrofatic: Bouncing Boy.
  • Adaptational Badass: Brainiac 5 of the comics was merely a Teen Genius. Here, he's a robot with Technopathy who can transform into just about anything and extend any limb, and even has a One-Winged Angel form.
  • Adaptational Wimp: Karate Kid only got on because the Villain of the Week was nullifying powers. Comic Karate Kid is on the team because he's strong enough to fistfight Kryptonians with nothing but sheer unrealistic training skill.
  • Advertised Extra: The Fatal Five were only the main villains of two episodes.
    • The opening credits of season 2 were full of this. A notable example would be Sun Boy, who has an entire scene shown in the opening of every episode that season even though what was shown in the credits in pretty much all he ever did. There are also characters from season one who keep their spot in the opening despite their roles being significantly decreased that season to only appearing in a few episodes, like Saturn Girl.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parent: Phantom Girl sees her mother, President Winema Wazzo of the United Planets, as this. She knows her mother means well and the two get along better after "Champions" (although that's not to say their relationship was sour beforehand), but she can't help but feel exasperated when her mother becomes overly doting and protective or makes false assumptions about her daughter's dating habits.
  • Ambiguously Gay
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: Ron-Karr.
  • And I Must Scream: One interpretation of Ayla Ranzz before "Chained Lightning."
    • Wizards on Zarok who fail the trial are doomed to spend eternity encased in a block of ice, it would seem. They look terrified, but no one can hear them scream.
  • Animal Eyes: Ironically Timber Wolf's are of the slitted, cat-like variety.
  • Anti-Hero Substitute: Superman X.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Brainiac 5 refuses to believe in magic.
  • The Atoner: Dream Girl in her backstory. Lightning Lad doesn't buy it.
  • Bald of Evil: Rich Bitch Alexis loses her hair shortly after going off the deep end for Superman, and blames him for it, just like her presumed Silver Age ancestor—naturally her prison uniform reads, in Interlac, "LUTHOR." Unlike her ancestor, her hair grows back, though it's now much shorter.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: Justified; like the comics versions they probably use invisible "transuits" — in space, everyone can see all of you.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: With a Fusion Dance, even.
  • Betrayal Insurance: It's Brainiac 5, otherwise portrayed as Superman's very loyal Robot Buddy, who keeps Kryptonite for emergencies.
  • Big Bad: Imperiex in Season 2.
  • Big Eater: Bouncing Boy eats every bit of food he can reach.note 
    • Admittedly, this may hark back to his always-chubby comic original, who gained his powers when he accidentally drank the experimental serum he was supposed to be delivering. (In his defense, the container was exactly the same size and shape as his soda bottle...)
  • Book Ends: For both seasons; moreso in the second.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Superman in "Brain Drain." He finds a way to compensate.
    • Also briefly in "Message in a Bottle", where he's zapped into the bottled city of Kandor without bringing his power suit to nullify the effects of the red sun (which, due to time travel, he didn't know he had at the time). Luckily, one of his robot duplicates gives the suit to Brainy. Later, after the suit is damaged and Supes loses his powers again, Brainiac 5 uses data given to him from Brainiac 1.0 to turn Kandor's sun into a yellow sun, thus reversing this and turning Kandor into an entire city of superpowered Kryptonians.
    • Brainy in the finale. He's still smart but he's lost his ability to transform into his giant robot form or stretch his limbs. He essentially becomes a really smart, green human.
  • Cain and Abel: Lightning Lad and Lightning Lord Mekt.
  • Calling Your Attacks: In the episode "Champions", Jo Nah (a.k.a. Ultra Boy, who has all of Superman's powers but only one at a time) calls out his powers as he activates them so viewers can know what the hell he's doing, straddling the line between this trope and By the Power of Grayskull!.
  • Canon Foreigner: Superman X; several homage characters like Alexis, Zyx, and Drax; and Breath Boy, with the power to hold his breath.
  • Canon Immigrant: Alexis Luthor was officially introduced into the DC Universe in Grant Morrison's The Multiversity series.
  • Captain Obvious: Saturn Girl can give Deanna "I sense he's hiding something!" Troi a run for her money.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: A bit of a plot point in the episode "Phantoms". Phantom Zone escapee Drax hears the voices of his still-imprisoned parents in his head, constantly reminding him that he's evil and always will be. Supervillains really do make Abusive Parents.
    • In the Grand Finale, despite never having self-identified as evil before (quite the opposite, in fact), the still-alive villain says to...no one in particular, "Evil does not die. It evolves," in an ill-fated Sequel Hook.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Showcasing that Lightning Lad is surprisingly buff in Season Two.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Superman X's Kryptonite immunity. It was mentioned only once, when introducing himself and how his LEGO Genetics make him stronger, however, it never saw any use in the series proper until the finale, where it saves the Original Superman's life.
  • Chess Motifs
  • Civvie Spandex: A bizarre variation. The costumes the superheroes themselves wear are perfectly in keeping with superhero tradition, but the dress of the non-super characters and background characters suggest that this trope may somewhat be the case.
  • Clear My Name: "Cry Wolf" for Timberwolf.
  • Combining Mecha: Hoo boy. In the Season Two finale: the towering fusion of every Coluan ever, with Brainiac's Skull Ship as the head.
  • Composite Character: In "Phantoms," Drax is based on a hodgepodge of Phantom Zone criminals, is implied to be the son of General Zod and Faora/Ursa, and has many design elements of the non-Kryptonian Zod from Superman: Birthright.
    • Superman X is one of Conner Kent and Lar Gand/Mon-El.
  • Continuity Cameo
    • Wait, is that Booster Gold cleaning that museum? With Skeets taking tickets at the door?
    • ... Did Alexis just steal Lobo's bike?
    • "Jo Nah of Rimbor"?
    • And all the voiceless group-shot cameos by Legion members (e.g. Element Lad) and numerous Hopeless Auditionees (Night Girl, Double Header).
    • Can you spot how many Green Lantern Corps species are background characters?
    • Among the items a bored Zyx conjures up in the background while Superboy... er... man is expositioning is a Green Lantern power battery.
    • In "Trials", White Witch (a Legionnaire in the mainstream comics) shows up, but as a hologram/illusion contained with an enchanted bracelet tasked with guiding Zyx through his trials to regain his magical powers.
  • Conqueror from the Future: Imperiex.
  • Convenient Coma: Saturn Girl's in a "healing trance" for most of Season 2, while Matter-Eater Lad is similarly indisposed.
  • Cowboy Episode: "Unnatural Alliances."
  • Custom Uniform: Most of the characters' uniforms follow the pattern of a three-part division with a center band of contrast running down the middle, and all of them have the Legion emblem somewhere on their waist.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: The death of Lightning Lad and Mekt's sister Ayla. One became The Lancer, the other became the white-haired Aloof Big Brother on the path to villainy. Then Ayla turned up Not Quite Dead, which brought up all sorts of mutual guilt issues.