Geoff Johns Talks "Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds"

If for some reason you weren't considering adding "Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds" to your pull list for the next five months (and shame on you if you weren't) superstar writer Geoff Johns shared this newsflash with CBR News earlier this week.

"If people liked Bart Allen, they should probably read the book. XS is in it."

XS would be Jenni Ognats, Bart Allen's cousin and the granddaughter of Barry Allen, the Silver Age Flash, who just returned to DCU proper himself in "Final Crisis." Barry Allen will be showcased by Johns and fan favorite artist Ethan Van Sciver in the highly anticipated, five-issue miniseries "The Flash: Rebirth," which begins in January 2009.

And while he wouldn't come right out and say whether or not the five-issue miniseries absolutely, positively marked the return of the speedster formerly known as The Flash, Johns teased, "Obviously, one of the big things in 'Lightning Saga' that we still haven't addressed is the lightning rod and what that's all about. That will be a central focus of the series."

"Lightning Saga" was a five-part story told in the pages of Johns' "Justice Society of America" and Brad Meltzer's "Justice League of America" in 2007, which not only featured the Legion of Super-Heroes but also ushered in the return of Wally West and his family to DCU and delivered the lead-up to the death of Bart Allen, who was West's successor as The Flash.

In a climatic scene, a lightning rod used by Karate Kid was revealed by Brainiac 5 to be housing a hero, but who was trapped within was left a secret.

Johns said that while he and living legend artist George Perez are jamming as many Legionnaires as possible into the 31st century epic, a few key members will be front and center with Brainiac 5 being one that he named.

"The key characters are Cosmic Boy, Lighting Lad and Saturn Girl and then from there Brainiac 5, Polar Boy, Sun Boy, Dawnstar and Wildfire. Those are really the main guys," said Johns. "A lot of them are in there, but those are the main guys."

Perhaps adding fuel to the flash fire, he then added one more name.

"Again, XS is also a pretty major character."

While the good guys are obviously 'key' in "Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds," it's the bad guys who get to have all the fun.

And the Legion of Super-Villains is stacked with heavyweights like Cosmic King, Saturn Queen and Lightning Lord, not to mention the Dark Nobleman, Mordru.

But this is Superboy-Prime's story. It's his adventure. And Johns is bringing the readers along for the ride.

"He's the main guy who gets us into the story," said Johns. "So if you have been following him for a while, you're all set. If you've liked or loved-to-hate watching Superboy-Prime through 'Infinite Crisis' and 'Sinestro Corps War,' here's where he is going to be next. This is the next stage of his quote/unquote adventure - the adventures of the Boy of Steel."

"I think, at this point, some people are more familiar with Superboy-Prime then they are with the Legion," Johns continued. "But everything you need to know you will find out in the book. It's pretty accessible going in. It's really the story of Superboy-Prime entering this world in the future and seeing what the DC Universe is like a thousand years from now. And then he meets up with the Legion of Super-Heroes."

He also meets up with a few heroes from the 21st century too.

"Superman will be one," said Johns. "And another will show up."

Johns said he finds Superboy-Prime to be a fascinating character because he is the boy whose greatest wishes came true...and then he had them taken away, just as quickly.

"He's become jaded and angry. And he's such a fun character to write, he's just such a jerk. He's scary, he's funny. He's tragic. He's a bizarre character to me. But I loved writing him in 'Infinite Crisis' and 'Sinestro Corps' and the special I did too, so I've been very intent on working with him again.

"Superboy-Prime is representative of good intentions gone bad."

When asked if Superboy-Prime was as villainous as a Lex Luthor or was simply a lost child following the wrong path, Johns said, "It's debatable. I think that's a great debate. And that will be talked about in this book."

This year marks the Legion's 50th anniversary in comics and Johns has been throwing the creation of writer Otto Binder and artist Al Plastino a one-man birthday party.

After featuring the Legion of Super-Heroes in the JLA-JSA crossover, Johns showcased the team in a recent arc of "Action Comics."

It was also announced at Comic-Con International that he would be writing a "Smallville" episode for the upcoming season that would introduce the Legion to the show's eight-year continuity.

Johns, as rabid a fan of the DCU as they come, said he loves the Legion because it's a 'whole different world.'

"You have Star Wars. You have Star Trek. You've got these future universes and the Legion of Super-Heroes is kind of the superhero version of that. [Paul] Levitz, {Keith] Giffen, [Jim] Shooter, Abnett & Lanning, and so many others helped build this wonderful universe," said Johns. "And there's also something really interesting to me about what influence Superman has on the universe a thousand years from now, and how he is going to influence other aliens to immigrate to Earth in hopes of a better life - and to make a difference to this place."

Johns teased that plot threads coming out of "Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds" will affect almost every book he's working on.

"I hope that anybody who has enjoyed something that I have worked on before, or who wants to follow Superboy-Prime or wants to see what happens to the Green Lanterns a thousand years from now, will give the book a shot because we've put in 185 percent on this from top on down.

"When the book comes out, it will take you a half and hour to read it."

Johns explained, "The best thing about what we are doing is that everybody is loving it so much. Eddie [Berganza] and Adam [Schlagman], our editors, have been all over it, every single detail. They want to get everything right. Brian and Kristy [Miller] at Hi*Fi did an amazing job on the color. Scott Koblish, our inker, is working until 4 a.m. to get this stuff done, but he's loving it.

"And George is having a great time. He loves the Legion of Super-Heroes. He already wanted to work on the Legion, and the story was coming together. It was just sort of serendipity. Nobody else could draw the story I am writing - nobody else."

How's that for a ringing endorsement?

Johns said he's loved Perez' art since he first laid eyes on it all those years ago.

"He's an amazing artist to work with because he's so concerned about detail, but at the same time, he's always focused on story. People say he can draw a million characters, and he can, but he gets all the references and the little details right too. Everything is perfect. And the way he paces his stories is fantastic. He'll do an eight-panel page and it won't feel crowded. And that's a feat and a half."

Johns closed by saying "Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds" won't tie in directly with Jim Shooter's "The Legion of Super-Heroes" but added "it's not directly tied in, but the characters and where Jim has them are. Jim Shooter's work on the Legion is a huge influence. He's one of the greatest comic writers in any generation, from his work at Valiant, Marvel and now [again] at DC."

Asked if he'd like to write a "Legion" ongoing one day, the always candid Johns said, "If the opportunity presented itself and it was the right time, we'll see. I love the Legion."

"Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds" #1 thunders (and lightnings) into stores on August 20.

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