Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Newsarama's "Legion at 50" #4: Geoff Johns

Newsarama's 4th interview on the Legion at 50 is with Geoff Johns, who discusses (among other things) "Legion of 3 Worlds". I'll hit the highlights here and update the annotations page.

Newsarama: Geoff, this issue spends much of the first part of the story inside the Superman museum. Was that an effort to make this #1 issue accessible to new readers?

Geoff Johns: It was, but that scene tells you more about Superboy-Prime. It's what makes Prime lose it when he discovers his big, monumental contribution to the history of the DC Universe ends with him being shoved in a broom closet. It’s a literal version of what happened to him last time he saved the universe and was pushed away.

NRAMA: And what are the Legion members' motivations right now?

GJ: Well, Lightning Lad is just thinking, screw this – let's go. He's got a little bit of a temper and a bit of a chip on his shoulder. He’s tired of having to prove himself to anyone. And then Polar Boy and Sun Boy are complete opposites. Sun Boy essentially has given up. His passion's out. And Polar Boy's passion will never, ever die. He wasn't a Legionnaire for a long time. Polar Boy was a “sub”, so when he got on the team, it was the greatest day of his life. Every day that he wakes up and that ring's still there, it's the greatest day of his life all over again. And Sun Boy just doesn't understand that anymore. He doesn't know what the big deal is about the ring.

NRAMA: The conflict between Polar Boy and Sun Boy is essentially what this entire scene with the United Planets Council is about, isn't it? That's the basic question facing the Legion up front – Sun Boy and the Council verbalize it: Does the Legion still have a place in the universe?

GJ: Yeah, do they? That's the central question to this. What is the Legion all about? My goal is to tell an epic story that redefines and re-examines who the Legion is, both as a team and as individual members. So I want to challenge all of that, and look at it and break it open.

And also, Superman – what's he all about? He says they can't imprison Prime because he always breaks out. And he's not going to kill him because it's against everything he believes in.

NRAMA: There are tons of different characters in this issue, particularly in the museum, and with this artist, you can get away with it. Was this a case of you getting the art and seeing things he'd added?

GJ: I had a huge list of what was in that museum. But George added a lot to this issue, a ton. He’s a master storyteller. George goes even a step further than I do when it comes to the depth of this mythology. It’s an absolute honor to work with him, and I’m incredibly grateful it’s on Superboy-Prime and the Legion.

NRAMA: But some of this – like the 1,000 Olsens, I know from interviewing you before, that's all you.

GJ: Yeah. That was. [laughs] I just thought if Jimmy Olsen is the curator of a museum – a program of him even – it's going to be more about his adventures. I just like that Hall of 1,000 Olsens because, imagine if there are 1,000 Olsens in there, you only see maybe 10 of them, so it's a big room. I’d love to play laser tag in there.

NRAMA: Brande's death is an interesting parallel to the Legion's origin story. They could save his life the first time, and that's what inspired the beginning of the Legion. But they couldn't save his life here, and it's a turning point just like before.

GJ: Obviously, that parallel wasn't an accident. It started with Brande, and it will either end or start again with Brande.

NRAMA: And the threat really materializes when Superboy-Prime breaks the Legion of Super-Villains out of prison. Yet what’s this about Lightning Lord saying they're inspired by Superboy-Prime?

GJ: He's an ancient evil whose name has never been said. They don't talk about it a lot. It's the secret Legion of Super-Villains code.

NRAMA: Anything else you can tell us that we're going to see coming up?

GJ: The Sorcerer’s World. The Central City of the 31st Century. The future of the Green Lanterns...

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