I came to this particular Legion fan theory while listening to the Legion of Substitute Podcasters talk about the “Five Years Later” Legion. Fan Theories are something that gets really interesting as we have the natural wait between issues or episodes. I recall a scene later in the 5YL series where Chlorophyll Kid mentions that the Dominators’ technology is plant-based. That brings to mind the first appearance of the Subs and what ever was up with the alien invasion that they thwarted.
Of course, keep in mind that this fan theory is based on the Five Years Later Legion chronicled by Keith Giffen with Tom and Mary Bierbaum. That continuity was wiped out with Zero Hour. While it still exists as a theory, it’s ultimately moot, especially now that we have a brand new Bendis-created Legion that doesn’t tie into anything that’s come before.
The first time the Subs thwart an alien invasion of Earth.
For those that don’t know that deep, Silver-Age history of the Legion, the Legion of Substitute Heroes, or the Subs, was formed by five rejected applicants. They banded together to operate as an auxillary team that could help the Legion. They were constantly rebuffed by the efforts to help. When the Legion was off Earth fighting a robotic threat to Earth, the Subs spotted a bizarre rain of seeds.
Now is where I need to tell you a brief rundown of the members of the Subs. Polar Boy was the leader, who could project intense cold, but with little fine control. Night Girl had superhuman strength, but only at night or in total darkness. Fire Lad could breathe fire, but like Polar Boy, lacked much control. Stone Boy could turn into solid stone, but was inanimate while he did so. Finally, Chlorophyll Kid could accelerate plant growth. He’s the team member that would make the plant-based technology comment that sparks this theory. He’s also the one that is so important in this first appearance of the Subs.
When Chlorophyll Kid accelerates a seed it becomes a tree-like warrior. The Subs destroy the seeds and track them back to another planet, also the source of the robot ships the Legion of Super-Heroes are battling. The Subs go and discover a preparing invasion of millions of seeds set to rain down on Earth. They rupture one of the storage vaults of seeds. Chlorophyll Kid accelerates the growth of all of the seeds, causing a population boom on the planet that cripples its invasion plans.
Where this comes into the Legion Fan Theory
The Dominators have described their takeover of Earth as a Thousand Year plan. They also have demonstrated a technology based on plants. Was this seed-based invasion that was thwarted could have been engineered by the Dominators? The series demonstrates that aspects of Dominator hierarchy, both political and military have made efforts towards conquering Earth. Was this a plan from a rogue Dominator force? The scope says no.
It involves an entire planet geared towards the generation of plant-based warriors. It also predates the Dominators first appearance in the 30th century, and when they next appear, they are negotiating a peace settlement. Perhaps this negotiation is the result of dealing with the trashing of a plan using plant-based warriors. During Earthwar, they are still trying to maintain peace. For an enemy playing the long game, recovering from a failed invasion by planning a covert takeover of Earth, negotiating peace with an apparent;y stronger enemy seems appropriate.
Why It Ultimately Doesn’t Matter
Five Years Later is in the minority when it comes to favorite periods in Legion publishing. The Dominators really haven’t had an impact in over a decade. The only reason this even came to mind was that the Legion of Substitute Podcasters was revisiting this series. One of the elements of Five Years Later that worked the best was the covert takeover of Earth. While the Earth in Brian Michael Bendis’s current Legion is rebuilding, literally, working in a covert Dominator takeover would need too many things to mirror this theory. Not only would the Dominators need to be re-introduced, but Chlorophyll Kid needs to be created so he can join a Legion with three dozen members already in need of exploring.
There’s no indication that the subs’ first appearance was in the mind of the Legion writers. Throughout his blog, I find no mention of this possibility by Tom Bierbaum. I just happened to notice something after twenty years and made a huge logical leap. Most likely what happened during the Subs’ first appearance was yet one more failed invasion of Earth, which seemed to happen a lot in the early days of the Legion.