In this issue 312 of The Legion of Superheroes titled “Bad Cops” from June 1984, a few highlights stand out and are in order. First, we see science police officers with huge helmets, which look like Marvel comic’s Ant Man. Second, there are books in the year 3300. Third, we see floating furniture. As well, the story goes on to show huge computer hardware, AI robots, a terrorist attack, genetic scans, drones that disperse tranquil mist, all points bulletins, and lot of statistical probabilities to determine the future. “Bad Cops” is an interesting issue that revolves around the Legion saving society from a terrorist attack, which is a simple enough story.
To start, let’s say a little about police helmets in the future. To begin, they got a huge green sunglass thing on them. Next, the helmet has a big mic around the jaw and chin. Finally, the police helmets have a huge antenna on the right ear side of the helmet. What a strange police helmet to have for the year 3300.
As the story goes on, we see books in the year 3300. It seems citizens of the future collect them. These books are written in Interlac instead of local interplanetary languages, according to the Legion’s Element Lad. These books seem clunky for the future though.
Another interesting idea in the future is floating furniture. All furniture floats above the ground- couches, chairs, tables, etc. But one has to wonder how they are anchored.
There, too, is another scene of floating furniture. In this scene, Officer Erin is sitting on a floating chair which has a floating desk. She is watching a huge monitor. The furniture seems cool enough for the future.
Video games still have a place in the year 3300. One panel in the comic shows Brainiac and Superboy playing a video games. Who knew superheroes play games in the future.
Furthermore, what’s odd about the future society is computer hardware. We see clunky keyboards. Not onl that, monitors are big and huge. And there are no QLED or QDot televisions/monitors. Probably cause of the time of this issue LED’s were not mainstream.
Another strange thing about the future is civil rights. People protest and riot still in the year 3300. On top of that, police and Legionaires dispelled mobs. In one comic scene, the police via space ships use “tranquil mist” on the public as a means to breakup protests. You might think the future world resembles today’s China or Russia or even the US South in the 1950’s in regards to civil rights.
One comic panel is unsettling. It’s the scene where Science police officer Erin (SP) says, “Send in the drone ships with tranquil mist.” So much for First Amendment Constitutional rights to petition the government for grievances.
Of course, many other problems are still around in the future. Science Police officer Erin remarks what Element Lad said, “There is never a cop around when you need one.” She said this during a mob/riot.
In terms of technology in 3300, it seems like today’s technology. The future still requires debugging of computer programs. Also, there is lots of AI and probability statistics. AI robots take over the role of EMT’s in the future too, which is kind of like robotic surgery of today.
The police of the future still use All Points Bullitins (APB) to warn the public.. These are issued when criminals are at large and people should know. Police work hasn’t changed in that regards.
Towards the end of the “Bad Cop” issue, the story turns to terrorism. It seems a terrorist attack has occurred. And guess what, Superboy and the Legionaires save the day. It looks like the future hasn’t stopped today’s problems like terrorism and extremism which plague the future.
At the end, we learn one central computer controls society. It monitors every aspect of society including the personal lives of civilians and superheros. It’s kind of like a Watson of today with world wide data centres. However, the central computer is hacked which means hacking is still a problem in the year 3300.
One last thing, time travel is a thing in the year 3300, as it is today. In one comic panel, Superboy arrives from the 21 century to give a hand to the Legionaires in the 33 century. After saving a city, Superboy returns to his own time.
Of course you would expect time travel to be a part of The Legionaires and Superboy. The comic does take place in the future as well as now. Time travel plays into lots of the Legionaire story lines.
Overall, “Bad Cops” is a good one. Here, the comic writers of the 1980’s had to imagine a future time from their time. They did a fairly good job. I am sure they were ahead of their time for hospitals in space. But they were off in many regards to coming years and technology. And those ads at the middle and end of the comic about Moon Patrol and Dungeons and Dragons (video games) from the 80s were cool. And that holographic police ID and pink laser gun barrel on the cover- too funny. Nonetheless , the story line of terrorism was easy to understand.