I was recently engaged in a discussion with someone elsewhere about comics, and the subject of the Legion of Superheroes came up, and it became, as all Legion discussions have since 1986, a rumination of how to "fix" the Legion and how to "make it work" for a broader audience.
And strangely enough, though I was never what you call a hardcore fan of the Legion (and even if I was, the past 25 years have surely taught hardcore Legion fans the error of their ways, I expect) I spoke up and made what I felt was a modest proposal, which I'm going to tease out a bit longer before we get to it.
A lot of approaches have been tried--shifting the status quo ahead to leap over the continuity problems and move relentlessly forward (whilst codifying fanfiction) making the Legion into a youth movement, or just saying "hang it all" and stating over from scratch, re-telling the classic stories with whatever character shook out from the last continuity fix.
I'm not the first person to weigh in the comics blogging game to weigh in on this (certainly not the most famous) but I will share with you my idea. The main thrust of it is this:
1. You don't need Superboy
2. You don't need R.J. Brande as the driving mechanism behind the formation of the Legion, because it's silly and not needed.
3. That firewall of superheroes between the present DC time and the future is where you should focus.
So! In Legion-time, mankind has colonised the stars, and thanks to special adaptations, you now have entire planets full of superhumans. And yet, for at least a millennium, the concept of superheroes has been forgotten about.
Why? Maybe in a society where everyone's super, no one is (a la The Incredibles) Maybe there's just been an exceedingly peaceful period of time (unlikely) maybe there was some great singularity point concurrent with humans migrating to space that shook up society so much that it fell away from the public consciousness.
They've kind of fallen into the same level of common myth that Robin Hood or the Knights of the Round Table have in our day and age--everyone knows the story, but no one really believes them all that much. This serves the purpose of setting the stage and also hopefully satiates those tedious tits who write that superheroes are the modern myth all the damn time.
And so, you set the stage for a group of young and old idealists from all the worlds of the galaxy banding together in the style of the Justice League or the Justice Society, or more appropos, the Teen Titans, and are equal parts the wave of the future and an echo of the distant past (or present) This would, I'd think, open things up to be able to tell superhero stories and build in the mythology worth using without it becoming this inscrutable mess that appeals only to the dwindling part of a dwindling whole.
And maybe we should also stop calling everyone "lad" and "lass," now.