As Convergence brings back characters and concepts from the past, there's one set of enthusiastic fans who are hoping their favorite characters might get another chance — the Legion of Super-Heroes.
The once best-selling team has been through some confusing changes in recent years. Not only has the team been rebooted several times, but after the New 52 reboot originally seemingly left the team's continuity intact, a story in the final pages of the canceled Legion title implied that had changed. Then a story in Justice League United seemed to bring the team back, but the end of writer Jeff Lemire's run appeared to be the end of that potential Legion revival.
With this month's first issue of Convergence: Superboy & the Legion of Super-Heroes, writer Stuart Moore has revived the team as it existed in the 1980's — one of the most popular eras for the Legion.
As Peter Gross comes on board to help out with #2 (after this month's art by Gus Storms), Newsarama talked with Moore to find out more about his revival of the Legion of Super-Heroes for Convergence.
Newsarama: Stuart, why do you think there's such a loyal and enthusiastic fan base for the Legion from around this era — particularly the one that worked with a young Clark Kent?
Stuart Moore: By the mid-'80s, Legion fandom had been growing for years. Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen built on everything that had worked with the concept; they really explored the idea of a huge team that operated on every planet in the galaxy. The art was terrific, and the stories were a great mix of giant-scale epics and very personal dramas. Superboy was the icing on the cake; his appearances were a little less frequent than they had been before, but every time was an event.
Nrama: I know you've written a few issues of the Legion more recently. Did you know of the Legion back then? Were you a Legion fan at the time, or did that evolve later?
Moore: I always loved the Legion, yes. I think my first comic book memory is of a panel where a team of them were flying over Metropolis in formation.
Nrama: There's also been a few popular Legion reboots since then, and the concept has shown up on TV recently. What do you think is great about the Legion concept overall?
Moore: The Legion is the ultimate crazy, Silver-Age, Mort-Weisinger-type concept: two dozen superheroes in the far future. No sane person would come up with that idea—and that's exactly what's so incredibly great about it. It's big, colorful, dramatic, hopeful, and it operates on a larger scale than any other comic book.
Nrama: We learned in the first issue that Brainiac is crucial to the story, but what was it like revisiting all these Legion members who have been living under the "dome" in your Convergence issues?
Moore: It was really great. I stuck to the more familiar — and more humanoid — characters, because we only had two issues to play with. The Convergence situation, where the characters are trapped under the dome without their powers, led to some interesting twists for Colossal Boy and Wildfire, in particular.
Nrama: You got to add a surprising relationship into the mix.
Moore: Yeah, I got to give Superboy something he never had before: a little Legion romance. That felt like a very important moment.
Clark Kent Superboy was visiting the 30th century, as he's done for years, and his timing was bad. That's really the core of the story. No one in Metropolis belongs here on Telos' world, but Clark really doesn't belong.
Nrama: What's the greatest challenge for Clark in this story?
Moore: That's a perfectly phrased question, because the answer is: becoming Superman. He's right on the cusp, at a point where we've rarely seen him before. He's not quite a boy anymore, but not yet a man. And he has to rise to the occasion — while, at the same time, he's afraid that he'll never get home to become the hero he's destined to be.
Nrama: Well if you liked that question, then let's rephrase it for the Legion: What's the greatest challenge to the other characters as we pick up their stories?
Moore: At first, it's about keeping the people of Metropolis from falling into despair, under the dome. Then the Atomic Knights arrive, and that takes it to a whole different level.
Nrama: What was it like working with the Atomic Knights?
Moore: They're also great, crazy characters. The Knights wear medieval armor that protects them from radiation, and they ride giant mutated Dalmatian dogs! But their story is pretty tragic. They come from a future that's the polar opposite of the Legion's: In the Knights' future, World War III devastated the planet, leaving only a few survivors. The Legion is about a shiny, hopeful universe where people and technology have triumphed together. All of that made for a pretty meaty clash of cultures and personalities.
The Knights are featured much more heavily in #2. We focus mostly on their leader, Gardner Grayle, who's at a breaking point. The Knights haven't just been trapped under the dome for twelve months; they've been trapped in a living nightmare for years.
Nrama: What do you think of the Convergence idea overall?
Moore: When I started writing this, I was told, "Have fun." That's a great mandate, and DC stuck by it. The larger Convergence concept is a huge epic that plays out in the main miniseries. Our tie-ins feed into that and hopefully enrich the main story, but they're basically self-contained stories revisiting beloved characters. So it's win-win.
Nrama: What was it like working with Gus Storms on these issues, and what does his art bring to the story?
Moore: Gus is my collaborator and co-creator on EGOs from Image, so we have a very smooth working relationship. His storytelling is always clear and dynamic, and he excelled at the settings and environments of futuristic Metropolis; he picked right up on the old designs and made them feel fresh.
Unfortunately, Gus was only able to do #1, so my old friend Peter Gross stepped in on #2. Peter's just come off a long run on The Unwritten; he's mostly known as a Vertigo artist, but I'm one of the few people in the world who know what a giant Legion fan he is.
Nrama: That's fantastic. I'm trying to imagine his artwork on this team. He's got such a strength for characterization.
Moore: He did a particularly nice job on the small, personal moments. There's a flashback page with young Clark Kent on the farm in Smallville that he just tore up.
And then, Mark Farmer's inks and John Rauch's colors hold the whole thing together beautifully.
Nrama: What else are you working on that you'd like to tell folks about? I know we recently talked about the return of your Image series, but you've got some indie work you're doing, don't you?
Moore: I'm co-writing the next two novels in The Zodiac Legacy series, with some young fellow named Stan Lee, for Disney. The first book is out now, and it's also titled Convergence — I guess that name was just floating around in ideaspace. There may be some other Zodiac Legacy material coming up soon, too.
EGOs is continuing from Image; #8 is running a little late, but should be out in May. I'm still overseeing the Marvel prose novel line, and I just wrote an introduction to one of their upcoming Masterworks volumes. And I have a few other, very exciting new projects in development that I hope to be able to talk about soon.
Nrama: Anything else you want to tell fans about Convergence: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes?
Moore: Just that I had a great time with it, and the story fell together better than I could have hoped. If you're following the whole Convergence saga, this will show you how two of DC's most powerful teams fit in. If you're new to DC or the Legion, you can just pick up this book and read it — Superboy will tell you everything you need to know on the first three pages. And if you're an old Legion fan — like me — there are a few Easter eggs just for you.