Legends (comics)

For the Radical Comics graphic novel, see Legends: The Enchanted.

Cover of Legends 1 (Nov, 1986). Art by John Byrne.
Publisher DC Comics
Publication date November 1986 – May 1987
Main character(s) Darkseid
Justice League
Captain Marvel
Teen Titans
Creative team
Writer(s) John Ostrander
Len Wein
Penciller(s) John Byrne
Inker(s) Karl Kesel
Colorist(s) Tom Ziuko
The Collection ISBN 1-56389-095-X

"Legends" was a comic book crossover story line that ran through a six-issue, self-titled limited series and various other titles published by DC Comics in 1986 and 1987. Each of the individual crossover/tie-in issues had a Legends Chapter # header added to their trade dress. The series was plotted by John Ostrander, scripted by Len Wein, pencilled by John Byrne, and inked by Karl Kesel.

Publication history

The six issues of the Legends series could be read as an abbreviated story by themselves, or all 22 chapters could be read as a longer story that included the Legends issues as well as issues from other titles including Batman, Superman, and Secret Origins. It was also the first major DC Universe crossover after the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths.[1]

Legends served mainly as a launching pad for several new comic series, including the latter-day Flash title, Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis' comedy/action take on the Justice League, and the villain-based black ops Suicide Squad.[1] The series also saw the post-Crisis introduction into the DC Universe of Captain Marvel (who was spun off in the miniseries Shazam: The New Beginning) as well as Wonder Woman, who had been rebooted by DC Comics at the same time Legends was being published. The majority of the heroic cast would found the new JLA.


Darkseid makes a wager with the mysterious Phantom Stranger that he can turn humanity against its heroes. To win the bet, Darkseid sends his minion Glorious Godfrey to Earth,[2] where Godfrey uses the sound of his voice to control people's minds and turn them against Earth's heroes. To further his scheme, Darkseid sends a fire elemental called Brimstone to Earth[3] to defeat the Detroit-based Justice League along with Firestorm and a time-traveling Cosmic Boy.[4] Darkseid also arranges for the cyborg villain Macro-Man to be killed by the mystic lightning that Captain Marvel uses to change into Billy Batson,[5] and Captain Marvel is blamed by the media for Macro-Man's death. Batman suffers his own loss when Robin (Jason Todd) is trampled by a crazed mob.[6] Fearing widespread panic, President Ronald Reagan (the U.S. Commander-in-Chief at the time of publication) declares martial law and bans all superheroic activities in America.[7] This angers several members of Reagan's department of defense, who - at the behest of Amanda Waller - activate "Project: Task Force X", AKA the Suicide Squad.[8] Recruiting a team of expendable imprisoned supervillains, Amanda Waller has the Suicide Squad destroy Brimstone.[9]

Doctor Fate is forced to intervene when Glorious Godfrey uses his army of followers to invade Washington, DC.[10] Dr. Fate organizes Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel, Guy Gardner, Black Canary, Changeling, the Flash, and the Blue Beetle to oppose Glorious Godfrey. They are joined by the Martian Manhunter, who responds to a JLA distress call from the President, and Wonder Woman. They defeat the forces of Glorious Godfrey, including Darkseid's cyborg Hounds of War. The masses are freed from Godfrey's power when Robin gathers an army of children untouched by Godfrey's powers to serve as a human shield between the heroes and Godfrey. Godfrey strikes one of the children, and the shock frees the mob from his power. Godfrey is defeated when he steals Dr. Fate's helmet and puts it on, rendering him mindless. In the aftermath, the Martian Manhunter, Batman, Blue Beetle, Guy Gardner, Black Canary, Captain Marvel and Dr. Fate form a new Justice League. Superman and the Flash decline membership, stating that they will assist if needed, Wonder Woman quietly exits and Changeling opts to remain with the Teen Titans.

Story chronology

The official reading order was announced as follows by DC Comics:


A trade paperback Legends: The Collection (ISBN 1-56389-095-X) was published in 1993 collecting the entire 6-issue limited series.

The three Superman issues have been collected in Volume 2 of the Superman: The Man of Steel trade paperback series.


  1. 1 2 Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1980s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 221. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. DC's next big crossover showcased John Byrne's pencils on all six of the miniseries' issues. Entitled Legends, this new limited series was plotted by writer John Ostrander and scripted by Len Wein...By the series' end, the stage was set for several new ongoing titles, including...the Suicide Squad, as well as the Justice League.
  2. Wein, Len (w), Byrne, John (p), Kesel, Karl (i). "Once Upon A Time...!" Legends 1: 3 (November, 1986), DC Comics
  3. Wein, Len (w), Byrne, John (p), Kesel, Karl (i). "Once Upon A Time...!" Legends 1: 5 (November, 1986), DC Comics
  4. Wein, Len (w), Byrne, John (p), Kesel, Karl (i). "Breach of Faith!" Legends 2: 9 (December, 1986), DC Comics
  5. Wein, Len (w), Byrne, John (p), Kesel, Karl (i). "Once Upon A Time...!" Legends 1: 14 (November, 1986), DC Comics
  6. Wein, Len (w), Byrne, John (p), Kesel, Karl (i). "Breach of Faith!" Legends 2: 13 (December, 1986), DC Comics
  7. Wein, Len (w), Byrne, John (p), Kesel, Karl (i). "Breach of Faith!" Legends 2: 22 (December, 1986), DC Comics
  8. Wein, Len (w), Byrne, John (p), Kesel, Karl (i). "Once Upon A Time...!" Legends 1: 15-16 (November, 1986), DC Comics
  9. Wein, Len (w), Byrne, John (p), Kesel, Karl (i). "Send For...The Suicide Squad!" Legends 3: 6 (January, 1987), DC Comics
  10. Wein, Len (w), Byrne, John (p), Kesel, Karl (i). "Cry Havoc!" Legends 4: 15-18 (February, 1987), DC Comics
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