Edmond Hamilton’s first Legion Adventure adds a very important element to the franchise: The Legion of Substitute Heroes. Not only do Hamilton and Forte create five new heroes out of the gate on their first team-up, but they create the idea that there’s a backup team for the Legion. That’s something no other team up till now really had—Not the Justice League, The Justice Society, or the Fantastic Four. Oh, a lot of Golden Age heroes had squads of sidekicks and admirers who would step in to help when their idols were indisposed, but no one had a formal team of super-powered substitutes… not until the Legion did. It not only expanded the simple number of super-heroes in the Legion’s universe, it added to the richness of their history.
It all begins with Polar Boy, Brek Bannin of the planet Tharr. Tharr is a desert world, and its inhabitants have developed the power to generate cold in order to protect themselves from extreme heat by “neutralizing heat vibrations.” Vibrations? Well, yeah, but I had to stop and think about it, and re-read some basic physics. Thermal energy is the energy of molecules moving—vibrating. Hamilton, as I’ve mentioned before, was a real science fiction author. He’s including real science here, where Jerry Siegel generally did not. I wonder, though, if less educated readers noticed the difference.