Omniverse Comics Guide: Comic Book Reading Guides, Podcasts & Previews

Legends (1986-1987) Reading Order

Following the CRISIS OF INFINITE EARTHS (1985-1986), the DC Universe has started afresh! At least, for the most part. It’s been about five years since the introduction of Superman and, in that time, other heroes have risen with some even forming the Justice League of America. But the League is about to face a crisis of its own when Professor Ivo‘s bizarre plan for revenge against the team will push the group to their limit and some won’t make it out alive. But there’s an even bigger threat from Apokalips as the menacing Darkseid‘s plan to play claim to Earth begins with the discrediting of the world’s greatest heroes. Could this already mean the end for the heroes of this New Earth?

DC’s post-Crisis refresh didn’t necessarily play out across every title in their line. While some characters would get a new first issue or clearly defined new origin – such as Batman, Superman & Wonder Woman – others would carry on as before, referencing past storylines and even referring to the events of CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS itself. Justice League of America was one of the titles that carries on, almost as if nothing had happened, so DC decided to end the reign of the JLA and create an all-new Justice League in the fires of the LEGENDS event.

This storyline also establishes Darkseid as, perhaps, the primary villain in the new DC Universe and introduces a brand-new version of the Suicide Squad made up of costumed villains.

Major Crossover: With a main mini-series and numerous tie-in issues, Legends is considered to be a major event. Due to later changes in the origin of Captain Marvel, the Shazam tie-in has since been erased from continuity.

Must Reads: Story arcs marked with a ✔are must-read stories from this time period, along with any key related stories and often-forgotten tales that are worth a read.

When an issue contains multiple stories, the relevant story is denoted with square brackets. For example [2/5] refers to the second story of the five stories in that issue, so you don’t need to read the other four

  • THE END OF THE JUSTICE LEAGUE (1984) – Gypsy, Steel & Vibe join the JLA
  • CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS (1985-1986) – The DC Universe is reborn!

Want to keep it simple? Here’s the chronological reading order without story descriptions, or spoilers:

  •     Batman #401
  •     Detective Comics #568
  •     Green Lantern Corps #207
  •     Shazam! In the Beginning #4 (tie-in) [retconned]
  • Legends #1
  •     Justice League of America #257 (tie-in)
  • Legends #2
  •     Secret Origins 10
  •     Firestorm #55
  •     Cosmic Boy #1
  •     Firestorm #56
  • Legends #3
  • Justice League of America #258-259
  •     Cosmic Boy #2
  • Justice League of America #260
  • Blue Beetle #9
  • Justice League of America #261
  • Legends #4
  •     Warlord #114
  • ✔ Blue Beetle #10
  • Superman #3
  • Adventures of Superman #426
  •     Cosmic Boy #3-4
  • Action Comics #586
  • Legends #5-6
  •     Secret Origins #14
  •     Warlord #115

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Essential StoriesTitle & Issue NumberSynopsis & First Appearance
Batman #401Batman and Commissioner Jim Gordon set a trap for the murderous, thieving Magpie by holding an event to display the famous Wayne CollectionG Gordon Godfrey’s anti-superhero rhetoric causes a distraction that gives Magpie the chance to steal the jewels and almost kill a guest. Despite a brief struggle, Batman & Robin bring Magpie in.
Detective Comics #568 A more portly G Gordon Godfrey holds a rally at Gotham University to oppose superheroes. Batman & Robin observe until they’re drawn in to the Penguin’s plot to steal genetically modified falcons from the labs. Penguin gets away with the head scientist and holds him for ransom. The scientist escapes and attaches a lure to the Penguin, drawing them away from Batman and allowing him to capture Penguin.
Green Lantern Corps #207 Kilowog gives a TV interview about his triumph over Black Hand. The Green Lantern Corpsstruggle with Hal Jordan’s relationship with Arisia since she suddenly became an adult. Guy Gardner returns, making a failed attempt to steal leadership of the GLC. Fortune teller Kari Limbo advises the GLC to give Guy a chance to prove himself. Appa Ali Apsa tries to take Guy back to Maltus, but Hal convinces Apsa to let Guy stay on Earth. Guy departs in anger. The Russians approach the disillusioned Kilowog. 
Shazam! In the Beginning #4 (tie-in) [later retconned out of continuity]Dudley Batson frees Captain Marvel from Doctor Sivana‘s machine, though he reveals himself as Billy Batson in the process. He immediately flies off to confront Black Adam and tricks him into activating the machine that transports matter to Limbo. With his enemies defeated, Billy Batson returns to K-WHIZ news station to interview G Gordon Godfrey on his controversial anti-superhero stance…
Essential StoriesTitle & Issue NumberSynopsis & First Appearance
Legends #1  Some time ago, Darkseid sent Glorious Godfrey and Doctor Bedlam to Earth to destroy the legendary heroes and weaken humanity’s will. Now, Dr Martin Stein assists STAR Labs test their new fusion generator. When a gigantic being called Brimstone bursts from it, Stein merges with Ronnie Raymond to contain it as Firestorm. Elsewhere, Captain Marvel tries to change back to Billy Batson while fighting the Macro-Man, but his lightning burns the villain alive. Rick Flag is shocked when he meets Amanda Waller and learns who the new Task Force X recruits will be. With Firestorm no longer at the scene, Cosmic Boy (of the Legion of Super-Heroes, visiting this timeline) bravely attempts to halt Brimstone’s rampage. He’s not back hard, but the Justice League of America are here to save the city…
Justice League of America #257 (tie-in)Zatanna has fallen into a trap set by the cultist Adam who wants to use her Homo Magi DNA to obtain power for himself. The Martian Manhunter & Gypsy struggle to save Zatanna, but she chooses to enter Adam’s mind to save him, then departs with him after their shared experience. Firestorm interrupts the discussion over Zatanna’s departure to ask for their help against Brimstone…
Legends #2 Dr G Gordon Godfrey stirs up the crowd who gather near the gigantic smouldering corpse of Macro-Man, rallying them against superheroes. The distraught Billy Batson swears he’ll never become Captain Marvel again, unaware he’s been set up by Doctor Bedlam. Rick Flag recruits the criminal Deadshot into Task Force X. Batman & Robin take down gunmen at a Gotham City shopping mall, but the crowd turns against them. Commissioner Gordon takes Batman to safety when he’s nearly blinded with a thrown perfume bottle. Robin is battered by the crowd. In Chicago, the police open fire on the Blue Beetle when he botches a drugs bust. Guy Gardner brings a passenger jet to an emergency landing on the freeway when its engine catches fire, but is mobbed by angry civilians. The Justice League and Cosmic Boy are buried under rubble while fighting Brimstone. The Teen Titans rescue Cosmic Boy, while Professor Ivo plots against the JLA. In Washington, the President orders all superheroes to cease activities…
Secret Origins #10 [1/4]The Phantom Stranger attends confession, revealing himself to be the Wandering Jew – a man who blamed Jesus of Nazareth for the death of his wife and son at the hands of King HerodGod speaks
to the Stranger and offers him release now that he understands why he was ‘cursed’ to walk the Earth
for 2000 years. But the Stranger asks to continue to fight for God’s cause a while longer.
Secret Origins #10 [2/4]The Phantom Stranger recalls his origin as the sole survivor of a city enveloped by a Great Flood when its citizens turn to evil. As the one good man, the ruler begs God to save his people and give them a chance of redemption. God sends an angel to save the man, but still let his people and his family die. The man refuses and knifes himself, but the angel resurrects him, cursing him to walk the Earth as a Stranger who can’t remember who he is or how he became this way…
Secret Origins #10 [3/4]In the far future, Phantom Stranger steps in when scientist attempt to reach through time and take energy from the Big Bang to save the universe. But the Stranger is knocked unconscious by the Avatar of Anti-Life who wants to end the universe and all existence throughout time. The Stranger dies but passes his power on to the scientist who becomes the new Phantom Stranger as his universe dies and a new one is born, with him ready to meet it. 
Secret Origins #10 [4/4]The Phantom Stranger recalls his origin as an Angel who refused to take a side in the war between God and Satan. Rejected by both sides, the Angel’s wings are torn off and he’s cursed to walk forever. In the present, the Phantom Stranger assists a man who’s been rejected by Guardian Angels and those living in the subway.
Firestorm #55 With the JLA and Cosmic Boy buried in rubble, Firestorm stands alone against Brimstone. But the powerful creature unleashes his destructive power to earn favour with Darkseid, killing thousands of innocent New Yorkers. The next day, Dr Martin Stein & Ronnie Raymond watch as Jack Sawyer -inspired by G Gordon Godfrey – encourages his fellow students to burn books from the university library. Against Stein’s wishes, Ronnie forces the transformation to Firestorm only to be pummelled with rocks hurled by students. When he falls on the books, Sawyer sets them and Firestorm alight…
Cosmic Boy #1 Night Girl rescues the injured Cosmic Boy from an angry mob, while he recalls how they borrowed a time bubble to travel back from the 30th century to our present day. And how he immediately ran into Brimstone whole Night Girl was shopping. Cosmic Boy then met Superman – the man who inspired the Legion of Super-Heroes – but Supes didn’t even remember meeting him. Realising the timeline has somehow been altered (but not realising it’s due to the CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS), Cosmic Boy & Night Girl try to set things right by ensuring a planned NASA shuttle launch goes ahead and sets the path to Earth’s consolidation that leads to the Legion’s future. The rocket explodes and Cosmic Boy saves the payload but comes under fire from security agents who think he’s a superhuman spy. He escapes but fears for the future…
Firestorm #56 The crimefighter Hawk happens to be on campus and fights the mob, allowing Firestorm to gather himself and escape. Stein warns Ronnie not to form Firestorm again or he’ll shoot him. Hawk gathers an armed mob to oppose Godfrey’s book burners. Ronnie & Stein agree to an uneasy truce so that Firestorm can intervene, turning the bullets into harmless pies & flowers like a cartoonish war that ends in laughter. Later, Ronnie and Stein separate in better spirits. Dr Stein still doesn’t trust Ronnie, but sees that Firestorm is necessary.
Legends #3 With Darkseid’s Operation: Humiliation in full effect and the heroes on lockdown, Amanda Waller and Rick Flag gather the new Task Force X. The group – consisting of costumed criminals Deadshot, Bronze TigerCaptain BoomerangBlockbuster & Enchantress – are sent to do what the JLA couldn’t and bring down Brimstone. Deadshot & Enchantress succeed, but Blockbuster is killed before their victory.
Justice League of America #258 Infighting breaks out between Elongated Man and Vibe over the Justice League’s failure to stop Brimstone. Following the President’s announcement, Martian Manhunter disbands the League. Elongated Man leaves quietly. Vibe and Steel respond with anger. Still blaming the JLA for his mutated state, Professor Ivo sends an android modelled after his original form to kill Vibe, choking him to death, putting an Ivo mask on his face and leading his body in the street…
Justice League of America #259 *The Justice League are alerted to vibe location of Vibe’s body. Steel becomes enraged, while Martian Manhunter recognises Ivo’s handiwork. Elsewhere, Gyspy reunites Pamela Cross with her parents and accepts a ride back to Kingston with one of Ivo’s lifelike killer robots. The robot has the same doubts as his creator over killing Gypsy. He allows Ivo to think she’s dead and secretly returns Gypsy to her family. But the Manhunter catches up with him…
Cosmic Boy #2 Cosmic Boy and Night Girl break into the NASA base to find out if the rocket was sabotaged. Instead, they’re welcomed by the rocket’s designer, Jason, and rekey their worries to him. Angry protesters storm NASA to stop more launches, but Cosmic Boy, Night Girl, Jason and his fellow scientists fight back and get them out before the authorities arrive. The duo desert, not realising Jason Krinnski is Cosmic Boy’s ancestor…
Essential Stories Title & Issue Number Synopsis & First Appearance
Justice League of America #260  Martian Manhunter destroys Ivo’s robot. Steel decides to go against the Presidential order, donning his costume and searching for Ivo. His presence on the streets attracts police attention, including one of Ivo’s robots disguised as a cop. When Steel attacks him, the robot fights back and detonates itself, publicly exposing Steel as a cyborg which almost kills him. Martian Manhunter takes Steel to his grandfather, Hank Haywood, who turns off his life support and let’s him die…
Blue Beetle #9 Blue Beetle continues to fight crime, despite being considered an outlaw. Soon after, he sees the broadcast of the President’s order for superheroes to stand down and believes his time as Blue Beetle may be over. Ted Kord investigates the whereabouts of missing employee Angie Revere and finds out she’s been stealing equipment from Kord for her uncle, Chronos the Time-Thief. In Death Valley, archaeologist Cassandra Sharp is kidnapped. And on Pago IslandConrad Carapax gets close to freeing himself from the cave he’s trapped in…
Justice League of America #261 Martian Manhunter decides it’s time for vengeance on Professor Ivo. Vixen tracks Ivo down first, but she’s overwhelmed by Ivo’s androids. Manhunter comes to her aid. The Ivo they face turns out to be another android and the real Ivo is in a padded cell. The Martian Manhunter decides the Justice League must continue, but Vixen chooses her own path to embrace her human side.
Legends #4 Black Canary is fired upon by a police officer she’d just saved from Count Vertigo, only for him to accidentally shoot his partner. Darkseid sends Desaad to Skartaris to turn its denizens against the Warlord. Batman ignores the Presidential order to apprehend the Joker. Guy Gardner stops a robbery headed up by Ms Magnificent. Blue Beetle stops Chronos from stealing rare clocks, but the police’s attempt to arrest the Beetle allows Chronos to escape. The President orders the arrest of G Gordon Godfrey, but the crowds are on his side. Captain Boomerang is freed from his obligations to Task Force X, but immediately returns to crime. Godfrey unleaded Warhounds on the FlashChangeling & Captain Boomerang. Darkseid makes his move to drag Superman to Apokalips…
Warlord #114 In Skartaris, Desaad disguises himself as the Warlord and tricks peasants to their deaths to shatter his heroic reputation. He finds a possibly ally in the assassin Y’smalla. Meanwhile, the real Travis Morgan rescues V’Zarr Hagar-Zinn from other-dimensional demons, but the mage sacrifices his freedom to return the Warlord, Mariah Romanova & Shakira to Skartaris…
Blue Beetle #10 After checking Angie Revere is safe, Blue Beetle resumes the search for Chronos. A purse snatcher takes Melody Case’s handbag, but is immediately hit by a truck. At the hospital, costumed henchmen take the purse-snatcher and leave Melody unconscious. The Blue Beetle catches up with Chronos and uses his own time-freezing stopwatch against him. But Beetle leaves Chronos for the police when bystanders hurl abuse at him…
Superman #3 Darkseid transports Clark Kent to Apokalips, then hurls him through his window, believing he omega beams somehow brought a human to him instead of Superman. Down among the Hunger Dogs, Superman disguises himself to avoid notice, until his attempt to save a woman from Darkseid’s troops leads to him being attacked by a Pacifier and its Glommer pilot before being thrown into the fire pits…
Adventures of Superman #426 Superman is fished out of the fire pits by the Hunger Dogs and taken to their leader Amazing Grace, the woman he saved earlier. The amnesiac joins her army as the Hunger Dogs stage a rebellion. But it’s all a ruse and many of the Hunger Dogs are killed by Parademons and Superman’s true master is revealed to be Darkseid…
Cosmic Boy #3Cosmic Boy & Night Girl decide to rush home to their future to make sure it’s not been impacted by the changes they’ve witnessed, but their time bubble hits a time storm that returns them to the present. They turn to Dr Krinnski to help repair the time bubble. They break the time barrier holding them in the present, but overshoot their era and crash land at the end of time where they face the Time Trapper
Cosmic Boy #4 The Time Trapper reveals his plan to extend the end of time back to its beginning, ending all time. He gives Cosmic Boy & Night Girl 24 hours to find their way home from the end of time. They fight their way through his citadel , though Cosmic Boy is forced to cheat by blocking the sand in the hourglass in order to win and escape via their time bubble. Time Trapper warns them that the Legion’s next attempt to travel through time will be their last. And his plans will somehow involve Superman…
Action Comics #586 Darkseid knew Clark Kent was Superman all along. His move to test the Phantom Stranger’s neutrality has resulted in Superman believing himself to be Darkseid’s son. Orion & Lightray of the New Gods investigate, clashing with the amnesiac Superman until Orion restores his memory. Superman rushes to take his rage out on Darkseid who transports him back to Earth…
Legends #5 Billy Batson is convinced the world needs heroes and transforms into Captain Marvel. The wisdom of Solomon makes him realise Macro-Man’s death wasn’t his fault. Captain Boomerang is hauled away by the angry mob and taken to G Gordon Godfrey who orders a march on Washington. Amanda Waller orders Rick Flag to bring Boomerang in before he can reveal the existence of Task Force X. Batman, Black Canary, Blue Beetle, Captain Marvel, Changeling, the Flash, Guy Gardner & Superman are teleported to Washington by Doctor Fate to confront Godfrey. In Gotham, the injured Robin drags himself out of hospital to rejoin the fight…
Legends #6 Martian Manhunter joins the gathered heroes as they take down the Warhounds, only for G Gordon Godfrey unleashed a legion of Parademons. Task Force X recapture Captain Boomerang before he reveals the secrets of the Suicide SquadWonder Woman reveals her existence to the general public when she joins the fight. A Parademon steals Fate’s helmet. Manhunter saves the President, prompting him to rescind his over against superheroes. When Robin and local children step between the crowd and the heroes, Godfrey strikes a child and dons Fate helmet. The Helmet of Fate leaves him a drooling wreck and Darkseid’s plan in ruins as people come to their senses. Some of the gathered heroes agree to form a new Justice League, which is the exact opposite outcome Darkseid had intended.
Secret Origins #14Amanda Waller tries to convince the President to continue funding Task Force X by exposing the origin of Rick Flag Sr’s original Suicide Squadron from World War II, the Task Force X of the 1950s and telling the history of Rick Flag Jr. The young Rick Flag became leader of Mission X in his father’s honour. Waller tells her own history and the origin of the new Task Force X. The President signs off on the Suicide Squad, but Sarge Steel warms him that he may have made a mistake…
Warlord #115 In the weeks since his arrival, Desaad has tasked Y’Smalla with masquerading as the Warlord while he tortures those she takes captive. Having returned to Skartaris from their other-dimensional adventure, the real Warlord & Mariah are attacked by villagers who have fallen for Desaad’s trickery. The Warlord & Mariah race to Desaad’s fortress. Mariah destroys the amulet that makes the Warlord love her.  Desaad escapes his crumbling fortress, knowing he’s at least damaged but not destroyed the Warlord’s legend.

Issue & ImpactCrossover / Event
The Power of Shazam! (1994)
The origins of Captain Marvel/Billy Batson, Black Adam, Dudley H Dudley and Doctor Sivana are completely rewritten, erasing the ‘In The Beginning’ origin story from New Earth history.
Green Lantern Corps #209-211 (1987)
Despite his recent falling out with the Green lantern Corps, Guy Gardner insists on rescuing a brainwashed Killowog from Russia, risking an international incident; Guy and Kari Limbo are reunited but he has no feelings for her
Firestorm #58-59 (1987)
Darkseid immediately continues his campaign against Earth, turning Rudy Jones into the Parasite to mimic the original villain from before the Crisis on Infinite Earth (though Parasite’s origin is later altered)
Suicide Squad #1-2 (1987)
Amanda Waller and Rick Flag recruit their first official line-up of Task Force X, adding Karin Grace, Mindboggler, Plastique & Mushtaq (secretly Nemesis) to the line-up.
Suicide Squad #3 (1987)
Darkseid sends the Female Furies to break Glorious Godfrey out of Belle Reve Prison.
Blue Beetle #11-15 (1987)
Mento is revealed to be behind Cassandra Sharp and Amelinda Lopez’ kidnappings; Cassandra and Amelinda are given superpowers and inducted into Mento’s team, the Hybrid, as SciroccoTouch-N-Go; STAR Labs founder Garrison Slate finally makes an appearance at Kord Industries; Conrad Carapax’s mind is revealed to have been transferred into the robot’s form, initiating a rivalry between Carapax and the Blue Beetle.
Justice League #1-4 (1987)
The new Justice League – Batman, Black Canary, Blue Beetle, Captain Marvel, Doctor Fate, Guy Gardner, Martian Manhunter & Mister Miracle – officially come together; they’re quickly joined by the new Doctor Light (who soon departs) and Booster Gold.
Legion of Super-Heroes #37-38 (1987)
The Time trapper keeps his promise and attacks the Legion of Super-Heroes directly; the Legion’s history is altered, making the Superboy of a pocket universe responsible for their formation.
Suicide Squad #4 (1987)
Chronos is recruited into the Suicide Squad in exchange for a commuted sentence.
Firestorm Annual #5 (1987)
Firestorm #65 (1987)

Mikhail Arkadin is added to the Firestorm Matrix, leaving Ronnie Raymond uncertain of Martin Stein’s fate
Warlord #120-121 (1987)
Warlord Annual #6 (1987)

DeSaad continues to use his new headquarters in Skartaris, bringing the war between Darkseid and the New Gods to the underground world; others find their way into Skartaris; Y’smalla pursues the Warlord again; Travis Morgan fights to restore his reputation as Skartaris’ protector.
Legion of Super-Heroes Annual #3 (1987)
Cosmic Boy and Night Girl have a son, Pol Jath Krinn
Blue Beetle #22 (1988)
Chronos returns to enact his revenge on the Blue Beetle, only to end up trapping himself in prehistoric times.
Suicide Squad #11-12 (1988)
Despite wanting to leave the life of a costumed hero behind, Vixen is recruited into the Suicide Squad when she loses control of her animalistic side and needs help getting it under control
Justice League International #13 (1988)
As a member of the Suicide Squad, Vixen comes into conflict with the Justice League
Action Comics #600 (1988)
Superman reveals he’s been inextricably drawn to Wonder Woman since they met while opposing G Gordon Godfrey
Firestorm #76 (1988)
A nuclear bomb test restores Brimstone, sending him on another rampage; Firestorm has a rematch with Brimstone, this time assisted by Firehawk
Suicide Squad #21 (1988)
Despite being freed of the Enchantress, June Moone tries to kill Eve Eden and is shot by a guard; she survives but is off the Suicide Squad line-up.
Cosmic Odyssey #1-4 (1988-1989)
New Genesis is revealed to have been restored.
Justice League International #24 (1989)
The Flash and Wonder Woman join the Justice League, specifically as members of Justice League Europe.
Starman #9-10 (1989)
Blockbuster’s brother Roland Desmond becomes the new Blockbuster.
Justice League America #38-40 (1990)
In search of revenge against the Detroit-era Justice League, Despero finds Steel’s body and rips it to pieces
Justice League Quarterly #5 (1991)
In a bizarre suicide attempt, Professor Ivo creates Amazoids– robots with the power to steal the powers of only one superhumans each – and orders them to kill him; Ice takes pity on him and Guy Gardner’s Green Lantern ring cures his mutated form.
Suicide Squad #66 (1992)
Amanda Waller continues to guide Task Force X up until their final mission; Bronze Tiger, Captain Boomerang & Deadshot remain with the team until the end.
Justice League Spectacular #1 (1992)
Superman joins the Justice League
Justice League Task Force #1 (1993)
Gypsy is recruited into the Justice League again.
Legion of Super-Heroes #61 (1994)
The Time Trapper is revealed to be a later incarnation of Cosmic Boy when he tries to save the Legion of Super-Heroes from being areased by Parallax; Night Girl kisses Cosmic Boy one last time before the Legion of Super-Heroes are erased from history; the Legion soon replaced by a new version of the Legion of Super-Heroes (retroactively dubbed the  ‘Reboot Legion‘).
JLA Annual #2 (1998)
The JLA fights ghosts deceased members of the Justice League, including Steel and Vibe.
The Kingdom #2 (1999)
Another possible origin for the Phantom Stranger is hinted at, with the implication that he may be the future son of Superman and Wonder Woman
Martian Manhunter #12 (1999)
Steel and Vibe are among the deceased members of the Justice League who make up the undead Justice league of the Damned.
Justice League of America #8 (2007)
Nathan Heywood takes up the Steel mantle, adopting the name Citizen Steel.
Justice League of America #39-40 (2010)
Steel and Vibe are briefly raised from the dead again as part of the Black Lantern Corps.

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