Spoilers for Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #2 ahead!
In Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #2, readers learn a sad truth about the heroes of our time; they failed to save the world. Even though the heroes of the 31st century know this—they ended up making the same mistakes themselves. The issue, written by Brian Michael Bendis, with art by Riley Rossmo and colors by Ivan Plascencia, is available in stores now and on all digital comics platforms.
The Legion of Super-Heroes exist in the 31st century, and while the team’s origins have changed some during its 60 plus years of existence, every incarnation began as a way to recapture the spirit of the heroic ages of the 20th/21st centuries; in some iterations, Superboy was the catalyst for the team’s existence. Much like the 21st century, the 31st is overflowing with heroes. Since the Legion exists a thousand years after the heyday of Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman, readers might assume that the Legion learned from their predecessor’s mistakes but Future State: Legion of Super-Heroes #2 reveals that is clearly not the case.
In the last issue, readers learn that Legion member Element Lad and his people laid waste to the galaxy, manipulating elements to cause mass destruction. In the wake of the attack, the Legion has disbanded and as the issue opens, the useless hero Bouncing Boy reflects on the Legion’s tenure. He reevaluates the Legion’s attempt to recreate the spirit of 21st century heroes, and whether or not they were successful depended on your point of view. Bouncing Boy goes on to say the Legion “messed it all up like they did” before concluding no one has learned anything in the last thousand years.
Bouncing Boy never reveals how exactly the 21st-century heroes messed up, but the fact that they made mistakes and failed in their mission is a depressing one. What is even more of a bummer, however, is that the Legion did not learn from their mistakes and ended up making the same ones themselves. However, all hope is not lost for the Legion: they learn that Element Lad’s people were not responsible for the attacks, that they were taken over by the inhabitants of Titan and used as a method of striking back at the United Planets. With the threat of the Titans gone and Element Lad’s name cleared, the Legion is free to heal and rebuild the galaxy.
The proverb “those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it” applies here. The Legion had a thousand years to study the heroes of today and try to improve on what they did. The Legion of Super-Heroes may have initially failed in Future State, but the issue ends on a note of hope and healing—and maybe the Legion will learn their lesson this time.