Sunday, October 21, 2007

Geoff Johns, on Legion history and the new storyline

Via ComicBloc (see further discussion there, plus this page where he plugs the interview), it seems that Geoff Johns has clarified Legion history to some extent. It looks like everything after "Crisis on Infinite Earths" is gone - Pocket Universe, Magic Wars, all of v4. (The post-Zero Hour reboot version remains to be seen - but they did discuss "The Legion of Three Worlds" in the Lightning Saga story, and that would make the third one....) In this interview on IGN, Johns discusses his plans for Superman and Green Lantern (who, I've heard it said, ain't got nothin' on me). Go read the whole interview, there's a lot more than what I have quoted below, but the "money quote" is this: "...We're sticking with everything that happened up through Crisis on Infinite Earths."

IGN Comics: When you and Brad Meltzer started forming the premise of your JLA/JSA crossover, is that when the light bulb went off in your head and you realized you could follow it up with this Legion story?

Johns: Actually, when Gary Frank was first coming on the book, there was always a story arc I wanted to tell called "Superman and the Legion of Superheroes," and I wanted to put the Legion back into Superman's past, because there's such a rich history there. Superman became the hero he is because of both sets of his parents and also I think in large part because of his interaction and adventures with the Legion of Superheroes. And seeing him - a kid who doesn't really fit in and feels like an outsider - find people that make him feel like he's one of them I think is important in Clark Kent's development as a well-rounded individual.

An aside: Johns gets it with regards to Superboy/Superman, whereas James Tucker with the animated show doesn't seem to.
IGN Comics: You already told us why you think it's important for the Legion to play a role in Superman's development. Did you have to fight at all to bring the Legion back into canon?

Johns: You know, it was pretty open. There were some logistics, obviously, because this is the original Legion of Superheroes and there's another modern day version with their own book, and so there's just some balancing stuff to do there. But with what's been going on in the DC Universe now, it's opened up the possibility and we're able to tell this story, and we're able to go back to what I think is a hugely important legacy in the DC Universe - Superman and the Legion's legacy.

IGN Comics: The "dark alternate future" story has almost become a subgenre in comics, from "Days of Future Past" to "Age of Apocalypse" and onwards. Even Heroes got into the mix in their first season with the "5 Years Later" episode. This issue seems very much in the same vein as those types of stories. Did you look to any specific stories for inspiration?

Johns: No, as you'll see, there's a pretty big reveal in the second issue of this arc about the state of the future and why it's the way it is. We barely touch upon it in that first issue, and you only see a hint of the state of the future, but in the next issue we explore it and you find out what the state of the universe is. As far as past stories, all the influences come from Paul Levitz' run and Jim Shooters' work on Legion and the entire original Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes stories in Adventure Comics. So the inspiration from "dark future" stories doesn't really apply as much. You've seen those movies where a guy comes back home to the small town where he grew up and meets up with his friends again, and those stories were a bit of an inspiration, but that's about it.

IGN Comics: Is this arc very much geared towards fans of those old stories?

Johns: It's geared towards two groups of people. One group is people who never heard of the Legion of Superheroes. I think the first issue explores who they are pretty well and is fairly new reader friendly. You see Clark meet them and they tell him who they are and then they go to the future. The story arc is designed to introduce people to the Legion of Superheroes who never met the concepts or the characters before, and also it's for hardcore fans of the Legion. There's a balance there, and I think we're maintaining that balance well.

IGN Comics: Since Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC has went to great pains to remove Superboy from Legion continuity. With the return of the Legion to Superman's back-story, what does that do to the whole mess that has been Legion continuity? Or is that better left for an editor or future Legion writers to worry about?

Johns: The good thing is that you can pick up Adventure Comics #300 and that happened. You can pick up any Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes story and that happened. You can pick up the new trade coming out that Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen did, and that happened. All those are back-stories, so if you want to read them, the stories are there. Really, we're sticking with everything that happened up through Crisis on Infinite Earths.

IGN Comics: On a similar note - what impact, if any, will this have on the current Legion title?

Johns: There are plans afoot for something else a little later down the line for next year, because it's a big Legion anniversary, but we can't get into that just yet. I can't say who's going to be involved yet, but it's going to be big.

1 comment:

Terence Chua said...


But then why's Val alive? And come on - it's not as simple as "Adventure Comics #300" happened. Don't tell me Urthlo is back in canon, or the teenage Luthor.

I'm going to wait and see what kind if explanation they have to offer. I've been fooled one too many times when it comes to Legion history.