Follow TV Tropes


Comic Book / Legends (DC Comics)
aka: Legends DC

Go To

Legends is a six-issue mini-series that was published by DC Comics in 1986, created by John Ostrander, Len Wein, John Byrne, and Karl Kesel. In the story, Darkseid attempts to destroy the legend of superheroes by having his underling Glorious Godfrey pose as American sociopolitical pundit G. Gordon Godfrey to cast aspersions on superheroes in the minds of the general public. This results in violent rioting and the President of the United States calling on a ban on superhero activity until G. Gordon Godfrey's real purpose ends up being exposed when a Parademon swarm attack is unleashed on Washington, DC.

This series was most notable for launching the semi-humorous Justice League International and the perennially popular supervillains-doing-espionage title Suicide Squad with Amanda Waller debuting as their leader, as well as starting the career of the third Flash, Wally West. It also marked the Post-Crisis debuts of Wonder Woman (after she was rebooted from scratch by George Perez and Greg Potter) and Captain Marvel, as well as establishing the Post-Crisis Status Quo in DC's books at the time (prior to this, most of DC's books out at the time were still set in the pre-Crisis continuity, but officially changed to the new timeline after the mini).


Legends provides examples of:

  • Accidental Pervert: Blue Beetle, when he stands outside an apartment window and sees a woman dressed in only a towel, coming out of a shower and looking out. Comically, though, he does say she has a nice tush.
  • Alliterative Name: Glorious Godfrey, a.k.a. G. Gordon Godfrey.
  • Anti-Hero: The Suicide Squad, known here as "Task Force X".
  • Anyone Can Die: The whole point of "Task Force X", as demonstrated on their first mission to take down Brimstone.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Sunspot uses his power blast to get out of the ankle cuff that Guy Gardner holds him upside-down by, but in the process he accidentally blasts off his right foot. Guy tends to Sunspot's injury, but threatens to cut off the villain's left hand if he uses his power blast again.
  • As the Good Book Says...: A quote is taken from Ephesians 6:12 to close out the story.
  • Advertisement:
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Brimstone and Magno-Man, both appearing in issue 1. Magno-Man, who is secretly Doctor Bedlam, gets taken out by Shazam's lightning bolt (though this is a faked death) soon after his appearance, while Brimstone is defeated by Task Force X in issue 3.
  • Black Boss Lady: Amanda Waller of "Task Force X".
  • Boxing Kangaroo: Beast Boy turns into one when dealing with Captain Boomerang.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Superman is brainwashed by Amazing Grace into becoming Darkseid's willing servant during his own series' tie-in with the story.
  • Caught Up in the Rapture: Dr. Fate catches up various superheroes for the purpose of confronting G. Gordon Godfrey at the end of the series to put an end to his stirring up the hatred of superheroes for their destruction, as per Darkseid's overall plan. The cover of issue #5 has Captain Marvel standing among piles of empty superhero clothing, completing the image of the Rapture, although that part doesn't happen in the story itself.
  • Compelling Voice: Glorious Godfrey, and in the related Superman side story, his sister Amazing Grace.
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Guy Gardner brings a crippled airliner down to safety and expects the people to thank him. Instead, he gets an angry mob riled up because he landed said airliner in the middle of a busy highway, despite the fact that he only did so because he got pinged in the head by a piece of yellow-colored debris from the airliner (which, as any Green Lantern fan would know, is a weakness of the Guardians' Green Lantern ring). Guy Gardner just snubs the ungrateful crowd and flies off.
  • Continuity Snarl: Several - an inevitable result of how many tie-ins there are. Perhaps the most notable is how everyone in this story treats Wonder Woman as a new hero (with her appearance in Washington, D.C. implied to be her first) while in her own book by George Perez, she'd already made a very public debut saving Boston from the demoness Decay.
  • Creator Provincialism: Darkseid's Operation: Humiliation seems to be mostly focused on the United States. The other-world region of Skartaris in the Warlord tie-in story is also included.
  • Criminal Amnesiac: What Superman became in his related side story when he was abducted by Darkseid and manipulated by Amazing Grace on Apokolips. Fortunately, Orion and Lightray helped restore Superman's memory and true self.
  • Crisis Crossover
  • Dating Catwoman: Superman with Amazing Grace while he was amnesiac on Apokolips in his related side story.
  • David vs. Goliath: Vibe vs. Brimstone, which is even lampshaded by Vibe himself. Not that it keeps Brimstone down.
  • Easily Forgiven: The superheroes had no ill will towards the public for turning against them because they believe that they were under Glorious Godfrey’s control. Guy was the only person to refuse to let them off the hook and would even point out that all Godfrey did was bring out their deep seated distrust towards them.
  • The Easy Way or the Hard Way: Said by Guy Gardner to Sunspot, though Guy adds that he's hoping that the villain would opt for the hard way.
  • Empty Piles of Clothing: Cover of issue 5 has Captain Marvel standing among piles of empty superhero clothing.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Amanda Waller makes her debut here, and she lets people know she's not screwing around. (And don't ever say "cotton' pickin'" around her.)
  • Expecting Someone Taller: In Issue 1, one of the people who watches Wally West as the new Flash take down and apprehend Deadshot says that the Flash used to be taller, despite Wally and Barry being the same height.
  • Explosive Leash: The cuff that gets slapped on Deadshot's and Captain Boomerang's wrists to make sure they would not run away from the group on an assigned mission.
  • Faking the Dead: Doctor Bedlam fakes his own death while posing as Macro-Man in order to disgrace Captain Marvel for killing him by using his magic lightning bolt to transform back into Billy Batson. It's still rather traumatic for him to go through, though.
  • Fembot/Ms. Fanservice: Chronos' bikini-clad robot lady.
  • Flaming Sword: Brimstone creates a sword out of literal flame to deal with "Justice League Detroit".
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Glorious Godfrey and Amazing Grace were considered C-listers of the New Gods. Legends shows that Heart Is an Awesome Power, using their abilities to seduce to devastating effect.
  • Generic Doomsday Villain: The series featured one of these in the form of Brimstone, an Apokoliptian behemoth that combined this trope with Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever. An artificial monster created from a "techno-seed", Brimstone believed itself to be a fallen angel that had to cleanse the earth of "false gods" (read: superheroes) but aside from this delusion had no character at all to speak of. In its death throes the beast called for Darkseid, who callously dismissed it as unworthy before revealing to his henchman Desaad that the only reason he'd even created it in the first place was to "remind the humans they are never far from my thoughts".
  • Glory Seeker: Guy Gardner as Green Lantern is this in the series, understandably since he was just brought into the role during Crisis on Infinite Earths and felt he got passed over the role when Hal Jordan was initially chosen.
  • Hand Blast: Sunspot, a villain whom Guy Gardner deals with, fires energy blasts from his right hand.
  • A Handful for an Eye: Batman tries to rescue Jason Todd (Robin) when he gets attacked by an angry mob, but gets blinded by a perfume bottle thrown in his face.
  • Hate Plague: Glorious Goodfrey use his powers of persuasion to manipulate average citizens to fear and hate the world's superheroes.
  • Hell Hound: The Warhounds are a mechanical version of this.
  • Heroic BSoD: Billy Batson, during the time that he believed that he as Captain Marvel killed Macro-Man. He gets over it when he realizes that it was a hoax.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: What the heroes in this series become, thanks to Glorious Godfrey's manipulations. It takes the children to speak reason unto the adults and parents, and Godfrey slapping a child, to make them see what's going on.
    • Not that what Guy Gardner does for heroics wins him any respect even if Glorious Godfrey wasn't manipulating anyone.
  • He's Back!: Billy Batson as Captain Marvel after his Heroic BSoD.
  • Identity Impersonator
    • J'onn J'onnz disguises himself as the President of the United States to protect the real President from a group of would-be assassins.
    • DeSaad and Y'smalla as Travis Morgan in the related Warlord side story.
  • Inconvenient Summons: In Issue #1, Ronnie Raymond is busy in the shower when Professor Martin Stein merges with him to form Firestorm to deal with Brimstone. Ronnie comments on this, saying that he's going to appear naked when they separate.
  • Introdump: In case you needed to know who made up "Justice League Detroit" when they show up to deal with Brimstone, they provide it at the end of issue 1.
  • I Want My Mommy!: Ms. Magnificent when she rips a steel door open from its hinges to find a horrifying green monster created by Guy Gardner's power ring: "Mama?"
  • Killed Off for Real: Blockbuster in the main series. Vibe and Steel in the related Justice League of America side story.
  • Large and in Charge: Amanda Waller. She immediately shows why she's nicknamed "The Wall" in later Suicide Squad comics.
  • Large Ham: Brimstone seems to be programmed with it. "Gaze into my eyes, ye mighty...and despair!"
  • Legacy Character: Wally West and Guy Gardner were just made the respective successors of both the Flash and the Green Lantern prior to this series starting, and this is showing how they are dealing with having to carry on the legacy of their forebears. Also to a lesser extent of focus are Ted Kord as the Blue Beetle and Dinah Laurel Lance as the Black Canary.
  • Literary Allusion Title: Story titles of issues 4 and 5, "Cry Havoc" and "Let Slip The Dogs Of War", referencing Julius Caesar.
  • Make My Monster Grow: Brimstone, created from Darkseid's "technoseed" and grown quickly inside an experimental fusion chamber.
  • Mercy Kill: In the Justice League of America side story, the second Commander Steel, Henry Heywood III, has most of his flesh burned away by an android built by Professor Ivo. His grandfather, the original Commander Steel, puts him on life support but euthanizes him after recognizing that he will never wake up.
  • Mind Rape: Glorious Godfrey gets one by trying to use the stolen Helmet of Fate.
  • Nerf: Wally West had to deal with the fact that since Crisis on Infinite Earths, the blast from the Anti-Monitor's antimatter cannon had knocked down his speed from near-light to the speed of sound. This gets commented on by a few people, including Captain Boomerang when the Flash confronts him during a crime spree.
  • More than Mind Control: When the civilians tried to apologize to the superheroes for turning on them, Superman told them that he had no hard feelings. Guy Gardner on the other hand, wouldn't forgive them so easily. He even pointed out that deep down, they always hated and feared them and that all they needed was a push.
  • Never My Fault: The Star City police officer who shot another police officer trying to stop him from firing at Black Canary decides to blame her for the death instead of taking responsibility himself, most likely since he was under the mental influence of G. Gordon Godfrey.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The only reason the mob is freed from Godfrey's power is because he hits a child who was trying to talk some sense into the crowd - if he hadn't, they would have stayed under his control.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Dr. Fate's reaction when a Parademon steals the Helmet of Fate and he is faced with an angry mob surrounding him.
    • Godfrey's reaction after his Would Hurt a Child moment, when he realizes that the crowd is so angry at his actions that he can't put them back under his power.
  • Power Palms: Sunspot, a villain whom Guy Gardner takes care of, fires energy blasts from the palm of his left hand.
  • Put on a Bus: Firestorm, Cosmic Boy, and "Justice League Detroit" appear in the first two issues, but afterward get shuttled off to their own related side stories and never appear again in the main series. The Cosmic Boy mini-series eventually leads to the revelation that the history where Superman was once Superboy has been retconned to take place in a "pocket universe" that the Time Trapper had created.
    • Bus Crash: For "Justice League Detroit", as most of that version of the League either retired or were killed off by Professor Ivo's robotic copies in the related Justice League of America side story.
    • The Bus Came Back: Only J'onn J'onnz returns to the main series as an active hero.
  • Recursive Canon: In one of the Justice League of America issues, it was mentioned that Kenner's Super Powers Collection (a series of toys based on DC's heroes and villains) exists in the DC Universe.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Pretty much what happens with most of the superheroes except for Superman when the President of the United States has to enforce a ban on superhero activity, seeing that the supervillains would take advantage of this ban to commit crimes without any interference.
  • Shout-Out
    • Beast Boy tells Wally West as Flash that he'd rather enjoy a McLean Stevenson (Col. Henry Blake from M*A*S*H) retrospective. He also mentions Monty Python (particularly the Flying Circus sketch "The Spanish Inquisition") when he sees Captain Boomerang being captured by an angry mob.
    • Blue Beetle comments that the Parademon horde looks more like escapees from The Wizard of Oz. He also mentions Robin Hood, William Tell, Zorro, and The Scarlet Pimpernel as heroic outlaws that he is being compared to.
    • Wonder Woman, coming fresh from the island of Themyscira, compares Darkseid's Warhounds to being like Cerberus.
    • Guy Gardner mentions Arnold Schwarzenegger when mocking Sunspot's super-strength.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Wonder Woman at the end of the series. The problem with her was that she was still a newcomer learning about "Man's World", and the crossover event required an appearance from her. However, she wasn't ready to make her debut, so it was justified in that she saw what was going on, felt she couldn't just be a bystander, kicked a little ass, then left, with Batman and Superman wondering "Who the heck was she?!"
  • Suicide Mission: After the superheroes fail to take down Brimstone, Amanda Waller sends "Task Force X" to do the job.
  • Super-Persistent Missile: Darkseid's Omega Beams, which in the Superman side story seek after Superman to transport him to Apokolips and then later try to destroy him. In the latter instance, Superman guides the Omega Beams back toward Darkseid to strike him instead.
  • Take That!:
    • G. Gordon Godfrey was named for American sociopolitical pundit G. Gordon Liddy.
    • Sunspot, the villain beaten by Guy Gardner, is a transparent Expy of Marvel's Star Brand (the over-hyped headlining book of Marvel's The New Universe, which spectacularly failed to take off, and bore a suspiciously resemblance to Marvel Editor Jim Shooter). Guy doesn't even break a sweat, and Sunspot ends the fight by shooting himself in the foot while ranting about why the New Universes he tries to create keep exploding.
  • Taking Up the Mantle: Wally West as the Flash after Barry Allen's death. Also the group of heroes that assemble against G. Gordon Godfrey (minus Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Beast Boy) take up the mantle of the Justice League after "Justice League Detroit"'s dissolution.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Superman seems to be the only one who is willing to obey the President's ban on superhero activity, while the others simply ignore it for the sake of doing good. Although they don't appear in the series, Infinity, Inc. moves to Canada and works with the Global Guardians for a while during the ban.
  • The Vamp: Amazing Grace in the related Superman side story.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: G. Gordon Godfrey, up until his Villainous Breakdown.
  • The Watcher: The Phantom Stranger plays this role in the series, while also debating with Darkseid about his plan to destroy the legend of superheroes.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Glorious Godfrey, who ultimately does, eventually causing the populace to turn against him.
  • Your Mom: Beast Boy makes fun of G. Gordon Godfrey while watching him speak on television, saying "Your father wears your mother's Army boots."

Alternative Title(s): Legends, Legends DC