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Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes is a six-part Superman story written by Geoff Johns with art by Gary Frank (pencils), Jon Sibal (inks) and Dave McCaig (colors). It ran from 2007 till 2008 first appearing in Action Comics no. 858 through 863 with an epilogue in 864. It was eventually collected into a trade paperback.

It is also the second installment of a Legion Trilogy that Johns began with The Lightning Saga and will conclude with Legion of 3 Worlds.

Superman is whisked away one thousand years into the future at Brainiac 5's request to help the Legion of Super-Heroes who are in trouble. Once there he discovers that he has no super-powers because Earth's sun has turned red. Superman learns that a team of rejects from the Legion has organized itself as the new Justice League and has either incarcerated the Legion's members or pushed them underground. This new Justice League has also proscribed non-terrestrial beings from Earth (including humans of terrestrial ancestry but born outside of the planet) and propagated the version that Superman had actually been an Earthling all along. It is up to Superman to rally the Legion to fight the Justice League and recover his powers before Earth is invaded by aliens who resent the League's xenophobic policies.

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  • All of the Other Reindeer: This is how Clark Kent is treated by the other kids in Smallville (albeit for being a nerd) in a couple of flashbacks. Also, this is how Earth-Man and Storm Boy think the Legion treated them.
  • All There in the Manual: The collected edition inexplicably doesn't reprint Action Comics #864. While the collection more or less still works on its own without the epilogue, its absence does cause problems for readers immediately proceeding on to Legion of Three Worlds. It's very much a bridge between the two storylines, setting up plot points, (such as Clark's new Flight Ring) and revealing that it was the Time Trapper who created Earth-Man's fake tablet 'revealing' Superman was human rather than alien in an attempt to separate Clark from the Legion.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • The Justice League of Earth contains mainstay Legion baddies such as Spider-Girl and Radiation Roy, alongside one-shot Legion rejects like Tusker, Golden Boy, Storm Boy, Eyeful Ethel, and Earth-Man (formerly Absorbancy Boy).
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    • Rainbow Girl appeared in a single panel in a Silver Age story, but gets brought back as a full fledged member of the Substitute Heroes
  • Barrier Maiden: In a way, Brainiac 5, because he (now as leader of Colu) purposefully delays the United Planets' planned attack on Earth, buying time for his fellow Legionnaires to fix the mess.
  • Beta Test Baddie: All of the future Justice League.
  • Blatant Lies: Earth-Man is so deluded about his rejection from the Legion that he rants about having been there when they first brought Superboy into their time.
  • Blessed with Suck: The Legion of Substitute Heroes and part of the Justice League are made up of members whose powers aren't that cool to start with.
  • Body Horror: Eyeful Ethel and Radiation Roy (under the armor).
  • Brought Down to Normal: Happens to Superman during 90% of the story due to the Sun turning red.
  • Cyborg: Storm Boy...voluntarily. At least 50% of his chest cavity is hosting some machinery or another.
  • The Cavalry: Played with. The Legion of Super Heroes calls in the Legion of Substitute Heroes for help and they do come to assist in the nick of time. They are even bigger losers than the Justice Leaguers but they do put up a great fight.
  • De-power: Superman has no powers since the future Justice League has turned Earth's sun red.
  • Fake Defector: Brainiac 5 pretends he's going to terminate Superman and the Legion to appease his fellow Coluans who are in league with other alien races to invade Earth and think Supes and friends are contaminating the information flow.
  • Fake Wizardry: Although he has the power to manipulate plants, Clorophyll Kid also claims that he can talk to them, which he can't do.
  • Family of Choice: Although Superman is only related by blood to one single Legionnaire, all of them have been his best friends and family since they were teens.
  • Fan Disillusionment: Earth Man claims to have met Superman as Clark Kent when the Legion first brought him to visit the 30th century as a young teenager, and he was extremely disappointed to see Clark was a dweeb.
  • Fantastic Racism: From humans on Earth towards any extraterrestrial beings in the galaxy.
  • Flashback: To Clark's tween years when he met the original Legionnaires.
  • Friendship Moment: At the end of the epilogue, Batman walks in on Superman and Lightning Lad drinking beer together and remembering the good, old days when they teamed up to play pranks on their teammates.
  • Fugitive Arc: Most of the plot develops as the heroes are on the run from either the Justice League or extraterrestrials hunting for Earthlings.
  • Hive Mind: Planet Colu.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Thanks to the Justice League instilling a human supremacist reich on Earth, the other races of the galaxy such as Braal, Titan, Winath, Colu, Imsk, and Rimbor have come to believe that Earth is a rabid animal that needs to be put down. In fact, the forces of the United Planets would've destroyed the planet had Superman and the Legion not ordered them to stand down after defeating Earth-Man.
  • Intimate Healing: Chameleon Girl has to kiss a comatose Sun Boy to help him regain consciousness fast.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Spider-Girl started off as an aimless Legion reject who simply fell in with the Legion of Super-Villains and was complicit with their takeover of the planet Orando, but has since graduated into full blown fully realized terrorism, fascism, and racism.
  • La Résistance: The Legion has turned into this, chased away from any official posts or recognition.
  • The Law of Diminishing Defensive Effort: Superman tries to catch a bullet, but it pierces through his hand. Then the Legion reveals that Earth-Man has somehow turned the Sun into a red star.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: In the last issue, Zoidberg from Futurama appears as an alien arrested by the Science Police. This is a rather fitting cameo, seeing how this issue takes place in the 31st century (much like Futurama).
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Not only do a group of third-rate villains take over the world, but they're stopped in large part by the Legion of Substitute Heroes, a fourth-rate team that raises What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway? to an art form.
  • Life Isn't Fair: In a way, the whole excuse for the future Justice League to do what they do.
  • Living Battery: Earth-Man captures Sun Boy and turns him into a battery for a device that transforms the Earth's sun into a red star.
  • Master of Disguise: Chameleon Girl, obviously.
  • Midas Touch: Golden Boy, although he can control it at will.
  • Mood-Swinger: Rainbow Girl's problem due to the fact she can channel the Emotional Spectrum, but she can't control which emotion she taps into.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Justice League of Earth are essentially Neo Nazis of the future, having graduated to persecuting any races not from Earth. Earth-Man especially is blond haired and blue eyed with hard, Aryan features and a costume that only needs a swastika to make him an actual Nazi.
  • No-Sell: Lightning Lad isn't intimidated by Batman and fails to recognize what's supposed to make him so scary.
  • Not Good with Rejection: The new Justice League of Earth, particularly Earth Man.
  • Old Flame: Radiation Roy towards Spider Girl.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Clark when he's in front of Perry White, natch.
  • Plot Hole: The entire ploy with the crystal tablet hinged on it being used as proof of Superman's supposed origins as an Earthling by birth. It would later be revealed the Time Trapper hid the tablet until it was found by Earth-Man in the 31st Century. Brainiac 5 even confirmed the tablet actually was over a thousand years old. The problem is that if the Trapper went through a great deal of trouble to make the crystal tablet appear genuine, how is it Earth-Man and the rest of the Justice Leaguers were able to realize the tablet was a fake (keeping in mind the Trapper gave no indication he ever willingly plotted this whole scheme with Kirt)?
  • Power Copying: This is the ability of Earth-Man, leader of the "Justice League".
  • Prehensile Hair: Spider Girl.
  • Propaganda Machine: The Justice League of Earth control and manipulate the press and media to propagate their xenophobic agenda.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Earth-Man and Storm Boy are both hung up about a single moment of childhood rejection and have turned into remorseless, solipsistic psychopaths lashing out at the supposed "bullies" keeping them down.
  • Putting on the Reich: The Justice League wear a red armband with Superman's symbol on it.
  • Reconstruction: This is the Post-Crisis story arc that restores back to canon status Clark's membership as a Legion member since his teenage years. The epilogue story briefly mentions the Pocket Universe retcon as a ploy the Time Trapper created to make the Legion forget about the real Superman.
  • The Resenter: Earth Man argues that the Legion made young pencil-neck geek Clark Kent an honorary member not because of who he was but because of who he would become.
  • Touch of Death: Golden Boy if he gets to touch you, though he's not smart enough to use this on all his opponents or the Justice League would've defeated the entire Legion by now.
  • Skip the Anesthetic: All the surgery on Storm Boy must be performed without anesthesia.
  • The Sociopath: Unlike the Legion of Substitutes or other Justice Leaguers, Earth Man wasn't rejected as a Legion member because of his powers (which are actually more impressive than the ones that each Legion member has), but because they perceived him to be mentally unstable.
  • Stunned Silence: In the epilogue, Batman walks in on Superman and Lightning Lad reminiscing the good, old days when they played dumb pranks on their teammates. When Superman tells him Lightning Lad taught his teen self the importance of sometimes breaking rules, even if it was just for fun, Batman is left speechless.
    Batman: So you two got into...trouble? You? Trouble?
    Superman: Garth taught me sometimes rules had to be broken. Sometimes just for fun.
    Batman: ...
  • Torture Cellar: Where they were keeping Polar Boy.
  • Unbreakable Bones: Tusker's power.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The Justice League of Earth were really being manipulated by the Time Trapper thanks to him creating the crystal tablet they discovered and used as proof of Superman's supposed true origins.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: The future Justice League is just so loved by earthlings. Especially because of the propaganda they feed the people.
  • Weight Woe: Many of the Legionnaires, especially the founders, have a noticeable amount of gauntness in their appearances and look as though they've lost weight due to being on the run. Saturn Girl especially looks exhausted.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Polar Boy's offended when Wildfire asks if the Substitute Heroes are truly any different from the Justice League.

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