ABNETT AND LANNING RETURN TO KNOWN SPACE IN 'LEGION WORLDS'
PREVIEW: 'LEGION WORLDS' #1
The 31st century is in a shambles because of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. But this April, they begin making the future a better place.
The writing team had taken over the reins of DC Comics' "Legion of Super-Heroes" and "Legionnaires" books and gave them a solid shaking up, via the integrate-or-die Blight, before the books were shelved in favor of the just-completed "Legion Lost" limited series, which chronicled what happened to a portion of the teen superhero team that had been tossed into parts unknown averting a post-Blight calamity. The limited series' dark tone and art style marked a distinct break for the shinier and happier 30th century LSH readers had become familiar with after the franchise was restarted in the 1990s (which, in turn, replaced a darker incarnation of the franchise).
But LSH readers who have been asking for some light and hope will be getting it this spring, as Abnett and Lanning return the Legion, and fans, to the United Planets in the pages of the six issue "Legion Worlds" miniseries.
Each issue features a different artist, showcases another world from UP space and catches readers up with one or more of the non-lost Legionnaires. The first issue stars M'Onel, and features appearances by Kinetix and Triad.
"Not every issue is entirely focusing on one character," Abnett and Lanning told the Comic Wire Wednesday in a joint e-mail interview. "Expect quite a few Legionnaires to show up in the rest of the series. And there are backup stories as well, so 'Worlds' isn't necessarily just always a solo character focus."
There's also a change in the political status quo of the United Planets, one that might have readers of DC's Superman line of books feeling a bit of déjà vu, with M'Onel having a forcibly close relationship with the new president, a person the Legionnaire hasn't had cause to embrace previously, to put it mildly.
"It is more coincidence than design," Abnett and Lanning said. The character" (and us writers) began his power move before 'Lost' even started. The fact that it's happening in the Superman books is an interesting parallel, and our story also grew out of who the character ... is."
The setting generally has also gotten an upgrade, with more futuristic language and styling evident.
"We were very involved ... it was all quite deliberate. Not only must the LSH franchise have a sci-fi feel to it (and that must be constantly tinkered with to keep up with what is considered 'futuristic' by the readership), but we were determined that each of the worlds we focused on should have an individual look and feel (another reason we went for very different artists to realize the issues)."
Also receiving an update in "Legion Worlds" #1 is the team's long-time foe Tharok, the leader of the Fatal Five, who is now capable of giving even Superman-class M'Onel a run for his money.
"The Fatal Five have indeed been upgraded (we're not saying by who ...) and will be appearing in the Legion book AND other DC titles in the near future. It's all part of a bigger picture ..."
And, of course, "Legion Worlds" follows up the last page of "Legion Lost" #12 with the lost Legionnaires returning home.
"The idea behind 'Worlds' is to take a look at what other former Legionnaires are up to at the moment the Lost Legionnaires return, a la 'where you were the day Kennedy was shot?' Not everybody can get the news right away, in this case, since communications between worlds isn't what it used to be. Some of the heroes will learn of it perhaps some time after it's already occurred."
And as for the future, Abnett and Lanning are thinking in broad strokes:
"The Legion's return will herald a return to the galaxy's former glory. We'll show in 'Worlds' that the galaxy can't work together anymore, and the Legion is going to change that. But it isn't going to be easy ..."
MUSICAL CHAIRS AT THE HOUSE OF IDEAS
While the most dramatic changes at Marvel Comics since Joe Quesada was named the new editor-in-chief have been in the company's flagship Spider-Man and X-Men franchises, the company has begun tweaking some of their other superhero books.
On Wednesday, the company officially announced a new artist for "Thor" and a number of editorial shifts in the Your Man @ Marvel section of their Web site.
The changes announced include:
- Stuart Immonen handling art chores on "Thor" beginning with #38, after a guest stint on issue #33. Immonen is currently scheduled for three issues, although YM@M alluded to this being a possible trial run for ongoing work.
- "Cable" will now be edited by "X-Treme X-Men" and "Spider-Girl" editor Matt Hicks.
- Editor Michael Marts will now handle "Black Panther," in addition to working on "Wolverine," "Deadpool" and "Exiles.
- "Iron Man" will be handled by "Avengers" (and "Thunderbolts," "Defenders," "Captain Marvel" and "Incredible Hulk") editor Tom Brevoort.
The news presumably would have been announced at the press conference originally scheduled for Wednesday, but that was bumped due to a scheduling conflict at Marvel.
ANOTHER JLA/AVENGERS TIDBIT
Got room for a little bit more JLA/Avengers news?
While the formal announcement from DC and Marvel Comics on Friday that the long-awaited JLA/Avengers team-up miniseries will be a reality some time in 2002 was welcome news to fans who had been hoping and anticipating since the 1980s, the project is in such an early stage that few details were available, beyond creators, format and so on. (See Friday's Comic Wire Extra and the follow-up piece in Monday's Comic Wire for all that, as well as the creative team's views on the project and past DC/Marvel collaborations.)
Project writer Kurt Busiek, though, is a regular in online forums around the Internet, including CBR's own Avengers message board, where he has answered some questions about the upcoming project, including why the miniseries will ignore DC's and Marvel's previous crossover specials and miniseries.
"Because, for the most part, the readers (and for that matter, the creators and editors) don't want to have a 'JLA/Avengers' project like this feature the characters meeting and saying, in essence, 'Oh, you again. Hi, gang,'" Busiek posted over the weekend.
"Not only do George [Pérez] and I, as well as [editors] Tom [Brevoort] and Dan [Raspler], want to make this book feature a 'first meeting,' so the teams aren't familiar with each other, but we've had over 150 e-mails so far at the JLAAvengers address, and over and over again, readers have asked for us not to make this a sequel to previous crossovers, but to have the teams meeting for the first time."
Busiek set up the e-mail address to solicit fan input on what they really want (and don't want) from the project.
HAVE COMIC BRIEF, WILL TRAVEL
Here's what's news and press releases in CBR's Comic Brief since the last edition of the Comic Wire:
- The Gunwitch and Nocturnals return to haunt Oni Press
- "Daredevil: Yellow" swings over to June to join Hot Summer Knights
As for last time in the Comic Wire:
- Faerber Gets in Touch with his Inner Kennedy in "Noble Causes"
- Still More 'JLA/Avengers' News
- Larsen on the Mend After Illness