Brian Michael Bendis and DC Comics are about to bring back the Legion of Super-Heroes in the pages of Superman, before launching them back to where they belong, headlining their own monthly book. It’s been a minute since the Legion has graced the pages of DC Comics, but Bendis and artist Ryan Sook are ready to bring back the future’s greatest and most hopeful team in the pages of a new Legion of Super-Heroes series. Mr. Bendis told us all about the hope for a better tomorrow, Superman’s place in the DCU of the future, and everything Legion of Super-Heroes!
Den of Geek: Since the New 52, Legion of Super-Heroes appearances have been sparse. Why is now the right time to return to the Legion?
Brian Michael Bendis: I can’t speak to why it was sparse but I can say that the time is now for the Legion of Super-Heroes because the story of the Legion is a group of heroes who get together and try to live the best versions of themselves through unity and living the ideal lives of heroes. That’s the world we need right now. That’s the world we are not getting outside our window. It is such an honor to reveal a hopeful future where everyone gathers together to be the best version of themselves.
There are people who are generously coming online and telling me, “Hey, thanks for that 20 minutes I didn’t have to think about what the real world is giving me. I really needed a break so thank you.” Or, “I really needed some hopeful thoughts in my head.” That is something we can offer the audience that they’re not getting anywhere else, so I’m happy to. I’m so happy that the Legion’s legacy, going back to the earliest days, has always been about peace. This isn’t something new, this was the most hopeful world in comics.
Where does the Legion fit into the Modern DC Universe?
There have always been people that were like, “I’ve heard about the Legion but where do you start?” Well, you don’t have to worry about that because the way it lines up, the Legion has actually never appeared in the DC Universe. When you read their first appearance, that’s actually the first time Superman is meeting them or anybody. Their first appearance will be in Superman #14 and #15, so you’ll meet them along with the Superman family. The Legion will have a big offer and the offer will then generate where we’re headed which is a future where excitement awaits.
We’ve had a whole year and change to build something new, something magical, and, you know, because it’s such a buy in, we’re doing Legion Millennium. It’s a two issue series that is a DC artistic jam event where each chapter is done by one of the great artists working today. We came up with this interesting idea where there’s a character, right now, in today’s DC Universe who will discover, “I’m not aging. My powers, I’m not aging,” and from that discovery, which is scary and terrifying, she walks us through all the DC futures and histories that are coming, some of which people know very well, some of which we get to reintroduce. We’ll line them up in a way that they haven’t been lined up before and then this character will take all those experiences and all those futures, including the one we’re living in right now, and walk up right up to the Legion of Super-Heroes’ front door and start a new chapter for all of us.
The Legion’s future is one of the most narratively rich and hopeful sci-fi futures ever. What appeals to you about the setting of the Legion?
You said it perfectly. It is a very dense and rich sci-fi universe. Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen and Mike Grell and Jim Shooter, so many creators have added to it over the years. What we’re getting to do, with all these seeds, it’s similar to what I did on Ultimate Spider-Man, which is cherry pick the best things about the characters and the world and put them in this beautiful stew of everything that’s great about the Legion and put it out in a modern story. That’s what my job on Ultimate Spider-Man was, and I realized, “Oh my God, the Legion doesn’t exist here; we can create the Ultimate Legion,” for lack of a better word. This is literally like every era of Legion, all the best parts put into ours. All the parts that are the most inspiring, the most hopeful, the most story motivated.
What Legion characters are you looking forward to exploring?
All of them! And I’m not just saying that. Each of them can lead their own series. The frustration of writing the Legion is that you can’t get to all of them in every panel. On top of the classics I have loved my whole life, we have new characters. That’s very much part of Legion tradition. Every generation adds characters to the mix, so we’re doing that as well. I’m so excited for these characters. I’m thinking of writing stuff outside the comics to put online just to have more stuff out there. That’s how excited I am.
What is your take on the bond between the Legion and Superman?
I was so happy that the pathway to Legion was so clear when I got to DC. When I hopped on Superman I was looking for the greatest parts of Superman, and Legion is one of them. So I was like, “Oh, can I have Legion too?” I was getting greedy. In my first meetings with Dan Didio I was like, “Let’s tell this big story that gets us to Legion.” That’s what was planned, first thing.
Back in the day, the Legion was introduced through Superboy. Can we expect Jon Kent to be part of the new Legion’s future?
People have already scene Jon in the artwork so I’m not being coy about this but how he gets there and why, you’ll find out in Superman #14. There’s a general reason and it’s pretty cool. Superman #16 has a reunion of the Super Sons and the fallout of the Legion as well.
Favorite oddball Legionnaires?
I don’t think any of them are oddball. I’m not bullshitting; they’re all awesome. I will say, I’ll plug our new ones. We have Monster Boy coming. We have Gold Lantern coming. We have a new Doctor Fate. So we’ll see the future of magic at DC. Also, I’m getting a lot of positive feedback on the design on Timber Wolf, so I’m very happy to hear that.
Check out the two amazing covers for Legion of Super-Heroes #1…
Here’s DC’s official synopsis of the first issue…
“Welcome to the 31st century! Inspired by the acts of and lessons learned from the greatest heroes of all time, the Legion of Super-Heroes have gathered together to stop a galaxy from repeating its past mistakes. The greatest lineup of heroes in comic book history returns with new, fresh, and reader-friendly stories! Eisner Award-winning writer Brian Michael Bendis reteams with master artist Ryan Sook (Action Comics) for one of the most ambitious mainstream comic books ever created! Why have the Legion of Super-Heroes broken the cardinal rule of the United Planets and inducted Jon Kent, a.k.a. Superboy, into the Legion? What are they hiding? And what does it have to do with Aquaman’s long-lost trident?”
The new saga of the Legion begins in Superman #14 which arrives on Aug. 28, continues in the two-part Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium in September and October, and then the all new Legion of Super-Heroes #1 on Nov. 6.
Read and download the Den of Geek SDCC 2019 Special Edition Magazine right here!