Monday, May 20, 2013

Excuse Me While I React to This

Article at CBR about how Green Lantern #20 is going to be Geoff Johns's last issue on that title. I read it because Tim O'Neil, I think that's who it was, commented recently about how Johns was the only chance to make the Legion a success in 2013, and I was curious if Johns would say anything about what's next for him. (He didn't.)

But the first line of the article is, "DC Comics writer and Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns has spent the past fourteen years of his career revitalizing Silver and Golden Age characters such as Aquaman, Flash, the JSA, and the Legion of Super-Heroes."

Geoff Johns revitalized the Legion of Super-Heroes in much that same way that I revitalized my breakfast this morning. With all that that implies.

That's all I wanted to say. 



Blogger Jay Kay said...

Well, he did sort-of give the Legion some new themes for them to play with that Levitz did end up picking up and running with when he started back on them.

Also, I have to say that were it not for picking up Geoff Johns' Superman & The Legion of Superheroes arc on a lark, I probably wouldn't be anywhere near as into the Legion as I am now, and I know I'm not the only one who can say the same. Just throwing that out there.

6:35 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I think more of your second point than your first. Yes, he did draw attention to the Legion, and that pulled in a lot more people, some of whom ended up staying for the long haul. Fine.

But if he added one significant thing to the Legion mythos, I missed it.

7:27 PM  
Blogger Ricardo said...

I think Johns added to the Legion lore the same thing he added his pal Shoemaker added to the Legion.

And that fact that Johns attract readers is the main reason we see him on Aquaman or Deadman is around. However, there is no one that will say his take on either one is remotely close to "definitive" or even "good". Johns is a master of building unending plots that seem to matter to DC (thus, you HAVE to read to be able to read the next big event - which will 100% likely have heroes fighting each other and finding some artifact that will launch the next event and so on). But since his JSA days he hasn't done anything remotely decent.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

If Johns actually had a take on the Legion then that would be one thing. But he didn't. His idea of a take on the Legion was to turn back the clock and write a bunch of Superman stories in which the Legionnaires were supporting players. I don't believe Johns has any desire to write an actual Legion of Super-Heroes comic book; I don't think he's interested in them at all.

10:16 PM  
Anonymous Tim said...

As much as I'm loath to give Johns credit, he did inspire enough curiosity in me to finally jump into the Legion in a serious manner.

I had previously been a part of the DnA Legion w/Superboy (the clone) but prior the Legion just seemed the province of obscurists and uber-nerds.

The Lightning Saga (by Meltzer/Johns) got me on board. I've since gone over Levitz and Bates' runs as well as going thru the Teenager From the Future book and TwoMorrow's Best of Legion Outpost as well as the separate Who's Who Legion-specific published material.

Don't know that Johns did anything new other than restore the Legion of Old and by extension add a fan like me...just in time for it to be abandoned by DC's recent harsher publication standards.

3:14 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Well, to add fans to the Legion franchise is certainly a positive thing all around: good for DC, who makes money from it; good for the fans themselves, who get to read Legion comics; good for other Legion fans, who get company and more support for the comic books they like. I appreciate all that.

However, I propose that that's not so much a function of the quality of Johns's Legion work as it is a function of his prominence at DC (which helped him get the clout he needed to do this Legion stuff) and popularity among fans, which were both earned by his work on previous projects, none of which I have any issue with.

As far as restoring the original Legion (to the extent that that's actually what happened), well, DC could have done that any time they liked. Mark Waid wanted to do that and they wouldn't let him! So I don't see why anybody should get any kind of credit for it. (Especially considering how things turned out.)

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Tim said...

Well said. Completely agree.

Moreover, once this latest iteration gets nixed I don't see a way back to The Legion personally.

LOSH is currently the last DC comic I'm getting and there aren't any writers left in DC's stable that would attract me back to the Legion. Even Johns' output the last 5-6 years has so soured me that I actively avoid his work.

So because I am not invested in anything that DC is doing, they couldn't possible hook me with a story reason and because they have no talent that attracts me they couldn't possibly get me that way and because the New 52 brand, as a whole, represents editorial mangling, mismanagement and misunderstanding the core of the characters under their purview, as well as mistreatment of talent and a general lack of quality and excitement I can't see me slavishly coming back to partake of yet another Legion reboot/retool/dare to care.

Easy come, easy go for DC I guess. :)

9:38 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

For me, it's the premise of Legion comics that attracts me to them. I have no preconceptions about which creators can or can't produce good Legion comics; I was even ready to give Nicieza and DeFalco a chance.

Plus, most importantly of all, many times in the past DC has made stupid decisions related to the Legion that have resulted in good comics. That doesn't justify the decisions, of course, but I am certainly glad to have the comics. Obviously this could happen again.

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Tim said...

I was kind've banking on that reaction. You are my Legion source as I won't be back.

It would take a miracle. I mean, you'd have to basically report that the best Legion run in history is in progress.

Either way, I'll still be tuning into Legion Abstract. :)

9:56 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...


Well, that's kind of a tall order for DC, as there have already been some quite good runs.

Honestly, I'd rather they tried something that was interesting even if it wasn't very good, as opposed to a more conventional take that wasn't very interesting. Like I preferred the threeboot to Levitz's retroboot.

10:16 AM  
Anonymous stile86 said...

Your third reply is a beautiful summation of what Johns did and didn't do.

While his two arcs in JLA/JSA and Superman were interesting and did a great job of highlighting the "original" Legion to potential new fans, the Legion were only guest stars and the stories were good but not great.

Their best aspect to my mind was that they made me want to see more of the Legion, and apparently the same for others such that a new Legion series was begun ... again.

For the same reason I have been glad to see the Legion once again guest star in Grant Morrison's Action, even it was his usual weird and confusing style. Once again it brought the legion to prominence in DC's big gun book.

I'm reminded of the Baxter series and the Pocket Universe solution to the original Crisis. There was a letter from a disgruntled Legion fan about having to buy Superman comics to get the whole story. He put it down to a blatant grab to increase sales in the Superman titles. As Paul Levitz pointed out in reply, although it wasn't the reason for doing it, the crossover boosted Legion sales significantly while scarcely affecting Supes sales.

Unfortunately this time it doesn't seem to have worked as well or LSH wouldn't be facing cancellation again. Ah well, it seems it's never really the end for the Legion, after all it has more lives than Jean Grey. :)

5:46 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

DC has too much history with the Legion to ever cast them aside for good. Fifty-five years of comics, after all. How many characters have been published for fifty-five years straight and then not at all after that?

11:12 AM  

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