Tuesday, September 30, 2008

No More Books. That Is Cancelled.

Most people reading this have probably heard that LSH v5 is cancelled as of issue #50.

Kevin Melrose of Blog@Newsarama scraped some thoughts out of me on this topic and included them in his article here, if you haven't seen it.

One thing I mentioned in my e-mail to him that wasn't included in the article, but that I particularly want to mention, is this:

But it could still turn out all right; the Legion has a long history of ill-advised decisions resulting in good comic books.

Because it's true. If anyone had asked me whether I thought Five Years Later, or the pocket universe, or the Mordruverse/Glorithverse card trick, or the reboots, were good ideas, I would have said that they were not. I wouldn't have signed off on those decisions at all. And yet I love many of the comic books that were created in the wake of those decisions. Obviously the same thing could happen again.

Not that we know just what the decision is that's been made, or is being made, or will be made. What I object to is a) the timing and b) the sense I have that DC has no plan at all for the Legion.

First, the timing. One doesn't celebrate the 50th anniversary of a comic book by cancelling that comic and everything else related to it.

Second, the no-plan thing. Apparently Mark Waid thought enough of his Legion vision that DC brushed the reboot Legion aside to give him the space to achieve it. Very good. Except that he lost interest within thirty issues and DC had to scramble. They got Shooter. No, they didn't get Shooter, but they have Bedard. Yes, they did get Shooter. But we've also got Geoff Johns bringing back the original Legion. Except it isn't the original. Well, it sort of is. It's the original Legion, just like you remember it from the Levitz era, except it's completely different but we'll all pretend it's the same. And there'll be a few stories about the original Legion except they'll all be really about Superman. And everybody will get so excited about the original Legion that they'll forget about the stuff Shooter is doing. And then they'll just cancel everything and everybody will be happy.

DC says they have big plans for the Legion in 2009. I don't believe it. I'm sure they'd like to do great things with the Legion in 2009, but... like what? Don't tell me Geoff Johns is going to write a Legion series. I don't buy it. Johns can't write all the comic books. Still, he's the only logical choice: whatever the Legion's new status quo is going to be is going to be built by Johns in Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds; no point in writing it and then turning it over to somebody else. So now we have this hiatus of indeterminate length.

Maybe I'm selling DC short. Maybe they have a great plan, and, understandably, don't want to let us in on it. Maybe, starting in 2009, the Legion is going to be on rails and will produce wonders the likes of which we have never seen.

But I'm not getting that vibe.

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Blogger SPM said...

I'm pretty convinced there is a plan. After LO3W, I think the Legion will have a new status quo and I'm more convinced the JLA/JSA and Action Comics version will be the one featured.

I'm disappointed in the cancellations of books, but happy the Legion has been making appearances.

I still think there is a slight chance the three Legions might be combined in some way as a result of LO3W, but probably not. It might depend on the status of the multiverse after Final Crisis and some of the other events.

My guess is Johns will write a new series coming right out of LO3W with a rotating arc of pencillers and covers by Perez. He will drop a title to launch this book and I'm guessing it will be GL.

10:14 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Well, we'll see. There are any number of ways this could play out that I'd like at least a little. The only one I wouldn't like at all is the one that's just another reboot. But I don't think DC is going to do that.

10:21 PM  
Blogger snell said...

Yes, but if DC goes with Johns' Version 1.?, isn't that effectively the same as a reboot? Or at least the equivalent of Pam Ewing waking up and finding Bobby in the shower, saying the last season was just a dream??

10:28 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Uh... you could make that argument. I wouldn't call it a reboot, because I didn't call the Mordruverse/Glorithverse thing a reboot. And I think the Johns version and the Glorithverse Legion are comparably similar to the original Legion.

To me, a reboot is where everything starts over from scratch. As many differences as Johns's Legion has from the original Legion, it's clearly not starting from scratch.

Now, it is a point of discontinuity, just like a reboot is. (As was, for instance, the transition from the early reboot to the DnA reboot.) But DC has done its best to smooth the way for it by giving Johns's Legion three big arcs in which they're supporting characters.

10:35 PM  
Blogger Wndola said...

I know it's not canceled yet, but someone needs to start up a bring back the legion (any legion) campaign. We should make a logo and get t-shirts on cafe press or zazzle. And maybe a facebook group?

Legion presence has been pretty strong at the cons I've been to in the last few years we just need to get organized... were out here easy money.

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's hoping that the teens of tomorrow will be back in a way that doesn't suck.

11:44 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

My interest in Waid's run was middling at best though I bought the book, out of my love for the Legion. The 'Supergirl' stunt just annoyed me to no end. I've been really unhappy with Shooter's stint and honestly - glad it's ending. I'm ready for the pre-crisis Legion to come back to the title.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Wndola: I think that a save-the-Legion campaign would be futile in this case. In the case of LSH31C, it seems to me that it's only DC's will that determines whether they publish it or not. With the main title, though, there's all this editorial complexity that has led them to this point, and they can't just overturn the decision, because (I think) they don't know just what they'd do to do that. Of course, if there's something specific you want out of whatever new Legion title we eventually get, and there will be one someday, you should definitely write a letter to DC and tell them about it. Faint heart never won fair lady!

Mark: Yeah. Oh well; Legion comics have hardly ever sucked, so we'll probably be okay. Sooner or later.

Kyle: Don't be surprised if that's not what happens.

8:39 PM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

Term for a retro-Levitz Legion series: the "deboot"

Roll back the Legion, we'll have an HQ of fun
Roll back the Legion, we've got the Khunds on the run
Frunt, grife, zeezee, squadj out the slang with no fear
Now we can roll back the the Legion... yipe! The Fatal Five is here!

1:45 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I actually prefer the term 'retroboot'.

Obviously it's most likely that Johns's Legion will retain the spotlight in some way. But it's not necessarily as simple as that; I could think of a bunch of different ways this could plausibly play out. And I'm not going to even try to predict which one we're getting.

1:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, Rokk's Comic Book Revolution has a great rant about this cancellation.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Thanks, I'll check it out.

7:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever version they come up with for 2009, I hope at some point they get DnA back on board. I've been rediscovering the DnA Legion the past few weeks, and I like these books more in terms of tone and its construction of the 30th century than what Johns or Shooter have given us so far.

11:23 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I know what you mean. In many ways the DnA run was the best Legion comics ever got. The 5YL era had some more powerful stories, but inconsistently so; DnA had a few weakish plots toward the end but the quality was always there.

I don't see them coming back, though; my completely uninformed impression is that they have other fish to fry.

8:06 AM  
Blogger Reboot said...

Well, right now DnA are writing Guardians of the Galaxy [Buy it!] and Nova [BUY IT!!!!!] for Marvel, and Authority: World's End for DC/Wildstorm. Plus, the upcoming War of Kings for Marvel again, and various sundry 2000AD and non-comics writing for Abnett.

Oh, and they've recently been signed exclusive to Marvel anyway (they can write Authority up to #15 under the terms, but no new non-Marvel comics).

11:02 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I've heard good things about Nova and I've been toying with getting Guardians of the Galaxy, but my cash flow is at pretty low ebb right now, so I'm probably going to have to pick up collections in the future.

12:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Something that I note is the mentining of the return of L.E.G.I.O.N. on Legion Omnicon in one of its blog reports. The fact Shooter said in an interview that he hopes someone else will finish his story leds me to believe that just possibly that DC won't let any of the three Legions die.

However if it turns out they get combined, we may see some name changes. Lightning Lass, Spark and Light Lass don't cause problems. Neither does Una Damsel (they are making it "Damsel" or something I recall), Triad and Triplicate Girl. Three Braniac 5s, Invisible Kids, Saturn Girls, Cosmic Boys, etc, will cause a lot of confusion.

6:23 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I never read much L.E.G.I.O.N., but I imagine I'll pick up this new series.

DC is certainly making all the right noises about not having another reboot. I think they understand about how all the different versions have their fans, and I think they'll aim for trying to appeal to everyone... but we'll see. You could very well be right about the name changes, and I imagine that some may be put off by this, but to me it's a minor issue.

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With the 31st century book in cancel status, Threeboot coming to an end and L3oW all going away, the wait has got to be big. There won't be any Legion stories until it happens.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I know. Some people are speculating that the Legion will be guests in Action Comics for a while, like back in the '60s, but it's all, as Josh Billings and Artemus Ward would say, onsartin.

It's quite a comedown. At the end of 2007 I did a top-ten-Legion-stories-of-the-year post, and I had (between the two regular titles, the cartoon, and some guest appearances) about forty issues/episodes to choose from. I'll have about the same to choose from when I do it this year. But at the end of 2009, it would take a lot of optimism to imagine that there will even be ten.

A while ago I said that we were in the golden age of Legion fandom. That'll come to an end this winter.

10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was not so long ago there was a vote at a con to see if the fans present flet Superman needed to be involved with the Legion.

Needless to say a lot of people gave the vote that they were happy with the Legion being independant of the blue-suited, red-pants man.

7:29 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Up until recently I would have given the same answer. But I'm coming around to the point of view that it's good for the Legion to have an ongoing connection with Superman beyond the obvious legacy elements.

I mean, I like Superman/Superboy, and Supergirl, just fine. I don't need to see them in every story, and I certainly don't think that a Legion story needs them to be a good story. But I do think that they should turn up every now and then.

10:37 PM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

I tend to agree. From the Legion's perspective, Superboy and Supergirl are members on the same level as Mon-El or Dream Girl, albeit ones with (a) historical significance and (b) legitimate limited availability.

I like seeing *all* the Legionnaires getting face time, not just the big guns. But I definitely like having the big guns in there.

1:05 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

And not because they're big guns. More to keep alive the connection between Superman and the Legion, both for sales reasons and thematic reasons. We can't pile it all on Brainiac 5 and Mon-El.

11:28 AM  

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