Last summer, DC Comics writer Geoff Johns surprised readers with a little story he called Sinestro Corps War, juggling a multitude of villains and ring-wearing heroes in a space-based epic that became one of DC's most successful events of 2007.
It may be a year later, but it looks like Johns is up to his surprise-pulling tricks again.
This year, Johns will join with artist George Perez to tell another epic story about a team of ring-wearing heroes in Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds, the oversized five-issue mini-series that begins in August.
While we talked to Johns in detail (both here and here) about the characters he's re-introducing in Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds, we're checking back again as the release date draws near and Final Crisis is underway (just as we did Monday with the other Final Crisis mini-series set for August, Final Crisis: Revelations.
And this time, Johns spilled about how this series will reverberate into the coming year, confirming that not only will questions be answered about the Legion, their lightning rod and that rascal Superboy-Prime, but readers of Green Lantern might also want to take note.
Newsarama: First, Geoff, let's talk about the scope of Legion of 3 Worlds. We talked a lot in the past about the Legion characters, but will this comic play into other things going on the in the DC Universe?
Geoff Johns: Legion of 3 Worlds, while an epic on its own, sets up a lot of things for 2009 in the DCU. It’s grown out of my work on Action Comics, Justice Society of America, Green Lantern, The Flash, Teen Titans and Infinite Crisis. It’s strange, looking at it in the big picture. It’s a culmination in a sense for me and leads me to the next level and the next books.
NRAMA: So this story will have ramifications on more than just the 31st Century?
GJ: There are some major ramifications. Specifically in titles I’m working on and going to be working on. One will be announced in San Diego.
Eddie [Berganza] and Adam [Schlagman] are my editors on Legion of 3 Worlds and we’re all waiting for people to see our first issue. It’s something we’re all extremely proud of.
NRAMA: Just as a recap, what can you tell us about the story you’ll be telling over the course of the five issues?
GJ: George and I want to deliver a mini-series that's epic and character-redefining. But while it's very large in scope, the set-up for the story's straight-forward. It's Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes versus Superboy-Prime and the Legion of Super-Villains in the 31st Century. And then, like Brainiac 5 of the Legion says, “If this is a Superboy from a parallel world, we need to fight fire with fire.”
NRAMA: So to combat Superboy-Prime, the Legion brings in two other Legions from other Earths, right?
GJ: Yes. The Zero Hour Legion and the current Legion as written by Jim Shooter. It’s a bit of a celebration.
But the central focus of Legion of 3 Worlds is: What is the Legion's role in the universe? Because right now, you come in to see the Legion, and they are told by the United Planets they're useless now. That they don't matter. And as a lot of their members are scattered across the universe, thanks to their recent reintroduction in Action Comics, they're suddenly faced with the greatest threat they've ever come up against while their team is a wreck.
NRAMA: Action Comics #864 also introduced the main villain, Time Trapper. When you say the "greatest threat," is that who it is?
GJ: The greatest threat is the Time Trapper, along with his weapons: Superboy-Prime and the Legion of Super-Villains.
NRAMA: The Time Trapper used language in Action Comics about how he had made alternate realities and pocket dimensions. This series has a "Crisis" label on it, but you're not resetting continuity, are you?
GJ: It's not about rewriting history. DC has done enough of that. It's about building characters back up. From Cosmic Boy to XS.
And I’ve worked extremely hard to make this the most accessible book possible given the arena we’re working in.
NRAMA: So somebody who's interesting in reading this mini-series doesn't have to go back and read anything else first?
GJ: You do not need to read anything. You don't need to know who Superboy-Prime is when you read issue #1. You don't need to know who the Legion are, and you don't need to know anything about their world. You don't even need to know who Superman is when you pick up issue #1. I'm doing my very best to make it accessible and make it so that anyone can read that first issue and understand the story.
That said, the Superman and The Legion of Super-Heroes hardcover that just came out by Gary Frank and myself is a good intro to the concept of the Legion if anyone’s interested. I’m really happy with how our first arc on Action turned out.
NRAMA: With a title like "Legion of 3 Worlds," it seems like you'd be juggling a lot of different characters.
GJ: Sure, but it focuses on a certain group characters. We have a lot of characters who show up, but we focus on a core group. In Sinestro Corps, I had a lot of different elements in there. I had Anti-Monitor, I had Sinestro, I had Superboy-Prime, I had Cyborg Superman and the Manhunters. But at the same time, I think that the Sinestro Corps one-shot really laid out everything. You didn't need to know everything going in. And that's what I'm aiming to do here too. I want to show people who might have never given the Legion or shot, or haven’t in awhile, why they should.
NRAMA: How has it been working with George Perez?
GJ: George is doing amazing work. It's by far some of the best stuff he's ever done. And Scott Koblish is fantastic. He's a huge Legion nut too, so he's really delivering an A-plus game on this book.
George Perez is a master storyteller. He knows these characters really, really well. He puts in so much work. I can't wait to see someone do annotations on the first issue. If you're a DC Universe fan at all, you'll be in heaven.
NRAMA: You know, Geoff, there are a lot of guesses about what's going to happen in this series, and I'm sure you can't directly address those. I'm sure you know what they are. But are there any moments you can tell fans that they can expect to see?
GJ: OK. For people who have been reading DC for awhile, we've got that Lightning Rod that Brainiac 5 has floating around. And that will definitely be explored. That's an important piece of the book. And Green Lantern fans will find some interesting things in there as well.
NRAMA: You had told Newsarama readers in a Green Lantern interview earlier this year that Rond Vidar was one of two Green Lanterns in the 31st Century, but you wouldn't say who the other one was.
GJ: That's right.
NRAMA: But elements we're seeing in Green Lantern are still being felt into the 31st Century?
GJ: It's all one big story of the DCU a thousand years from now.
I look at all my books individually, but also as part of the bigger story of the DCU. Sometimes my books interlace and sometimes they don't. There are elements in there that do, and characters that cross over. Like, you see Starman in Justice Society of America and then you see Action Comics, with Starman in there with the Legion. That's essentially what I do with all my books in the DC Universe. I'll weave the stories together organically. And Legion of 3 Worlds is a big part of that.
NRAMA: And finally, you said earlier that you're not resetting continuity. But you're going to address why there are three Legions and how they fit together?
GJ: Sure, this about who the Legion of Super-Heroes are, and what the next step is for the Legion -- and someone else important to the DCU. And what the future of the DC Universe is, both in the 31st Century and the 21st Century. A lot of this ties into what's going on now. Of course there will be issues that will deal with the different Legions when they show up. We'll address all of that. We'll address everything we can. But at the same time, the purpose is telling a clear, kick ass, Crisis-style story with me and Perez at the helm and Scott Koblish tearing it up on inks. I hope people give us a try.
Legion of 3 Worlds #1 is due in stores on August 20th.