"Heroes get remembered, but legends never die!" -- Babe Ruth. "The EPIC Of The CENTURY -- STARTS RIGHT HERE! So screams the cover blurb on the cover of the first issue of DC's six issue mini series "Legends". The people tasked with producing the book had a daunting task before them. Legends was o be DC's follow up to the monumental Crisis On Infinite Earths comic that had made such an impact the previous year. The problem? How do you follow a series that featured thousands of characters (every character that existed in DC Comics stable made at least a brief appearance during the course of the issues)?
With such a well received book, with a story on such a grand scale, HOW do you follow that blockbuster? Answer -- you don't! Instead, the creator behind Legends NARROWED the scale! They made the focus much smaller and the story only featured a relative handful of characters. They told a much more intimate (yet still fun and exciting) more involved story. Legends #1 opens with a splash page of the tortured planet of Apokolips. Apokolips is the home of the evil Darkseid and his sycophants. Darkseid sits in contemplation. He is the ruler of all that he surveys but (as DeSaad, Darkseid's "faithful" lackey is quick to point out) the super heroes of the planet Earth have THWARTED his will time and time again.
Darkseid formulates a NEW plan. Darkseid decides that rather than another full frontal assault on the heroes of Earth, he will instead attack them via their LEGENDS. In order to destroy the heroes, he must first destroy the public's faith and belief in their heroes. Darkseid must rend the very fabric of heroism. Darkseid quickly summons Glorious Godfrey. The Master Plan? Send Godfrey to Earth, where he will use his persuasion powers to slowly sway the minds of the people of Earth into distrusting and even hating their heroes. After Godfrey departs for his mission, Darkseid gains a visitor. The enigmatic entity known as the Phantom Stranger warns Darkseid that his newest plan is ultimately doomed to failure. Why? Because the spirit of HEROISM can NOT be destroyed!
Firestorm is the first hero to enter the battle. Professor Martin Stein, one half of Firestorm, is "on loan" from Vandemeer University to S.T.A.R. Labs, when suddenly the creature known as BRIMSTONE appears in the lab! Stein wastes no time in summoning Ronnie Raymond, the OTHER half of Firestorm and AS Firestorm, they enter into battle with their monsterous foe. The hero proves to be no match for the giant creature however. Brimstone casually tosses Firestorm aside. Meanwhile, the new Flash, Wally West (the ex-Kid Flash) is in the midst of fighting one of The Batman's deadliest villains -- DEADSHOT!
While the New Flash is nowhere near as fast as the previous Flash, he is able to handle Deadshot's bullets by knocking them out of the air. Flash quickly captures the villain. After dropping Deadshot off with the authorities, he returns to Titan's Tower. Another Titan, The Changeling, is watching TV. It is here that we get to see Glorious Godfrey in his role as the instigator G. Gordon Godfrey. As they watch, the TV screen goes black. At the TV Station, panic spreads. The building is under attack by a gigantic creature!
Quickly, young Billy Batson, whom had been interviewing Godfrey for Station WHIZ, races to say his magic word and transform into the hero known as CAPTAIN MARVEL! Cap rushes off to handle the menace, while an unseen Glorious Godfrey gloats. Cap soon sees Macro Man destroying another building. In the ensuing battle, Macro Man manages to grab Cap and tries to crush him in his huge hand. Cap gets an idea of how to escape. "Captain Marvel may be too large to slip out of Macro Man's grip -- but Billy Batson is another story entirely!" And so, Cap shouts his magic word "SHAZAM!" Only this time, something goes horribly wrong. Macro Man bursts into flames! He stumbles off of the building to the ground far below. Billy Batson recoils in shock and horror! "Dear Lord, what have I done?? My power just murdered that man!"
Meanwhile at the Pentagon, Colonel Rick Flagg reports for his new assignment. Here, Colonel Flagg (and we the readers) first meet the new head of Task Force X -- Amanda Waller! Waller shows Flagg a stack of files with "Task Force X's First Candidates". Flagg is shocked as he looks through the files. We will find out the secret of Task Force X another time. The scene shifts again; this time to a diner. A disguised Cosmic Boy is having lunch. It is then that Brimstone attacks, blowing a hole in the diner wall. Into action goes Cosmic Boy! After a fierce struggle, Brimstone topples an entire BUILDING onto Cosmic Boy! Cosmic Boy survives by using his magnetic powers to repel the falling rubble.
The book has a two page spread in which Cosmic Boy looks up to see the Justice League (Detroit Era) standing before him. The first issue ends with a horrified Billy Batson vowing to "never become Captain Marvel again! NEVER AGAIN!!" The ending caption reads -- "First Blood To Darkseid!"
Legends is a fantastic miniseries! The creative team took a huge challenge, and pulled off an exemplary job all of the way around! The LEGENDS miniseries debuted THIRTY YEARS ago in 1986! I still remember reading that first issue (the first of MANY readings to come) in my 7th Hour American Government class during the beginning of my senior year of high school! It is one of my "time capsule" comic books, as I am instantly transported back in time to enjoy the book as I did thirty years ago! HAPPY 30th ANNIVERSARY TO LEGENDS!