Monday, June 17, 2013

So Would a Thirtieth-Century "Birds of Prey" Be Abbreviated "MMMBoP"?

So the news has it that DC will be coming out with a Justice League 3000 series, uh, sometime this fall. Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire are to be the creative team. There are character designs by Howard Porter which put me in mind of nothing so much as this, for 31st-century equivalents of Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, Flash, and Wonder Woman.

Some facts.

1. With Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire involved, this comic book may very well be good.

2. JLMMM doesn't look like any kind of Legion of Super-Heroes comic. It may be, though; there may be some kind of connection. We'll see. If there's enough of a connection, I'll buy and review the series; if not, not.

3. It seems like kind of a tired-out idea. Tell the truth: the Justice League in the future. Did any of you want that? Independent of how you feel about the Legion, did any of you want that? I did not. It's not such a bad idea that it can't be saved, mind you. But whatever virtues this title is going to have, it's going to have to come from fine work by the creative team, because the premise isn't helping them out at all.

4. Since we're discussing this new title in the context of the Legion of Super-Heroes, let's talk about diversity. Look at our cast of 31st-century characters here. There are five of them. At least four of them are white. And it looks like four of them are men. Now, the Legion never had the diversity in their membership that they should have had, but they were better than this. Even in the early '60s when they first started adding members, they had girl Legionnaires all over the place, and, while comics were too conservative for them to have any Legionnaires of nonwhite Earth colours, they did at least have a green guy and an orange guy, for what little that was worth.

4a. Of course, Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire are all white males themselves. Which is cool: if I had a stupid comic book I was trying to put over, I'd be thrilled to get them to work on it. They're great. I'm just saying, if DC wants to claim to be championing any kind of diversity, there's really nothing they can point to here.

I'm not really pleased about this news. But I'm not too angry either. I would like another Legion series of some kind instead; of course I would. Of course I would! But I don't blame DC for concluding that it's time to try something else, not after the sales numbers on the current series.

Some have advocated that DC give the Legion a rest for a while before trying to sell them to the public again. There may be some sense to this notion. And that's effectively what this JLMMM series is going to be: a rest for the Legion. I don't know if it's going to succeed or fail. If you put a gun to my head I'd guess that it's going to fail, for two reasons. First, that it's kind of a stupid idea for a series. Second, as great as the KG/JMDM/KM combo is, I've never heard that they were magicians when it comes to the sales of their comics. (Tell me if I'm wrong.) So this series might last, what, for a couple of years? (Note: this is assuming that KG/JMDM/KM are actually going to stay on this series for the long run. As assumptions go, this one is something less than ironclad.)

And then when JLMMM has been cancelled, and maybe there have been a few changes among the decisionmakers at DC, they'll give their head a collective shake, and some writer will step up and propose a Legion series. And let's hope that whoever this writer is, she has a good idea for how to make it work as well as we all know it can.

It is just...

...and I hope you will pardon the expression...

...a matter of time.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unless Justice League 3000 is a direct continuation of Legion (we'll know via LSH #23) then I will not even waste my time on this crap.

A lot of people wanted Legion cancelled. Well now it is. Enjoy the replacement. I won't stick around that long.

11:59 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

"First you break it, then you say it's broken"...

It's a shame the way this turned out. Remember a few years ago I pointed out we were living in a kind of golden age for the Legion and we should enjoy it while we could? I hope we all enjoyed it while we could.

12:03 PM  
Blogger Rob S. said...

Assuming the creative team sticks around for a while, I think it'll be a good book. Won't be a Legion book, but I expect it'll be good.

But whether it succeeds or fails, I'm sure the Legion will be back soon... either bouyed by its success or in the wake of its failure.

2:23 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

It's certainly got a chance to be good. But if I had those guys working for me, I'd try to give them something better to work with than this stuff.

2:31 PM  
Anonymous AJay McL said...

So I guess I can add Justice League 3000 to the list of Justice League titles I already don't buy.

11:41 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

The thing is, if I was still buying non-Legion DC comics, would I buy this? I might, you know; the creative team is good enough that I could see myself giving it a shot.

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't want the Legion cancelled,but I wanted it to be better.So did other fans,which is why they weren't buying any of the Legion books.This "golden age" turned out to be fool's gold.
I've lots of respect for the team behind JL 3000;their JL comics ruled the late '80s.Even so,I won't be buying this latest comic of theirs.Now putting them on a proper Legion comic....give that a try,DC.

3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


3:24 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

You wouldn't have to sell me too hard on it.

3:40 PM  
Anonymous AJay McL said...

Clustering the titles was a deal breaker for me. If you like Legion then you'll like Titans, meh!! Legion Lost should have taken place in any other period but the 21st century. They should've wandered through time with home in sight.

2:32 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Aah, I don't know. Clustering the titles is entirely irrelevant to me, and the Legion has a longstanding tie with the present day. If the comics had been better the rest would have boiled away.

8:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ideally, I think I'd rather that this JL3K have nothing to do with the Legion, and be set in the 25th century or something, to ensure that.

But that's not gonna happen.

I agree that there should be more diversity. Obviously, if you are going to use the names SuperMAN, BatMAN, and Wonder WOMAN, you've got three of the genders locked down, but that leaves the non-gender-specific Flash and Green Lantern as possible ladies (and it's not like there's ever been a human female Green Lantern, since, apparently, in DC studios, earth women lack willpower or something, suggesting that nobody at DC has ever actually been married...). There's also no reason why any or all of them couldn't be ethnic or even flat-out non-human (ha, an alien Batman! That would rock!).

The Green Lantern, at least, is masked, so he could surprise us and be non-white...

Having been spoiled by Young Avengers, where the Thor legacy was actually a Scarlet Witch legacy and the Hulk legacy was actually a Captain Mar-Vell legacy and the Iron Man legacy was a *Kang the Conqueror!* legacy, I'd love for this JL3K group to have a few red herrings in it, such as the Superman analogue being a powerless dude whose dregs of Kryptonian DNA allow him to use some Kryptonian tech (such as Supes 'armor') to ape superhuman powers, while the Batmanalogue actually *does* have super-powers, and isn't just some rich dude with some gadgets and martial arts training.

Mix it up. Maybe the 'Flash' is descended from Dr. Light, and doesn't have Speed Force powers at all, but has light powers, which is totally suitable for a name like 'the Flash.'

I'd love for this sort of mix-up to be the case.

If I wanted to read about an alternate Justice League, in which every character is just a mildly tweaked version of the standard Justice Leaguer they represent, I would hands down rather read about the far more interesting Crime Syndicate of Earth 3!


2:56 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I am in the admirable position of not having to care about any of it. I wish this title neither well nor ill; its fate is of no concern to me at all.

I just thought of this. I was imagining someone responding to me, but Matthew, if JLMMM succeeds, doesn't that make it less likely for the Legion to make a comeback? And I realized that that question has a perfectly obvious answer:

No, it doesn't, because DC would [b]definitely[/b] be perfectly content to undercut Giffen and DeMatteis and Maguire and the JLMMM title by bringing in some kind of Legion title that would totally undercut everything they were trying to do and make it clear to everyone that their 31st century was not the "real" DC 31st century. They have, after all, done exactly that before.

9:11 AM  

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