How BENDIS' Return to DC Was Built on His LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES Fandom

Legion of Super-Heroes - Millenium art
Credit: DC
Credit: Ivan Reis/Joe Prado (DC)

The Legion of Super-Heroes will make their “Rebirth” debut in Superman #14, as writer Brian Michael Bendis honors the tradition of the Legion time traveling to the present-day to develop a relationship with the current Super-family.

The Legion will become part of the story that Bendis is telling in Superman and in fact, according to the writer, “this whole storyline has been a build-up to get to this moment.”

After the Legion’s debut in Superman, Bendis will explore the team further for two issues in September and October called Legion of Super-Heroes: Millennium, part of a wider event detailing the DCU’s future. After that story’s conclusion, Bendis will launch a new ongoing Legion of Super-Heroes title.

Newsarama talked to Bendis about the debut of the team in Superman, why he wanted to write the Legion of Super-Heroes, and how Jon’s age might mean he’ll play a larger role in the team’s interaction with the Super-family.

Newsarama: Brian, before the new Legion of Super-Heroes title, where does the Legion first show up? In your Superman story?

Brian Michael Bendis: Yes. The debut of the Legion of Super-Heroes — and there are now, at the moment, no Legion of Super-Heroes — but their debut in this DC Universe is going to be in the pages of Superman.

Credit: DC

Nrama: Does that mean there’s already a relationship between the Legion and Clark, perhaps that already exists? Or are they starting anew with that relationship now?

Bendis: I don’t want to spoil what the relationship is to the Superman family, but it is a version of the classic relationship.

They have come here for a reason, and that reason is because of something that happened in the Superman family.

And that is all going to be revealed on page.

I know a lot of people are wondering what their connection is to the story. I’ve been teasing almost to the point of cruelty on Twitter about this.

I’m so deeply excited that we’re revealing this cover and this information.

Nrama: You have a new dynamic in Superman that didn’t exist in past Legion stories because Clark Kent has a son. And Jonathan is now Legion age. Since the Legion is often associated with Superboy, does Jon play a role in this interaction with the future team?

Bendis: Jon, Supergirl, Zod, Superman — all of these players come into it.

Credit: Ivan Reis/Joe Prado (DC)

Nrama: Hmm… do I sense you avoiding that question about Jon?

Bendis: Literally, the answer to your question is the spoil at the end of the issue. [Laughs.] That’s why I’m not — it’s literally a spoiler. I’m sorry I’m not answering it more straight.

Nrama: OK, let’s leave that answer for the story. I believe I saw you tease on Twitter that Superman #14 introduces the United Planets. Is that where people should look for the Legion?

Bendis: Yes, in Superman #14. The United Planets, the Legion — it all happens in #14.

It starts in #12, but it really lands in #14.

But just to be clear, although the characters debut in Superman, all the designs of the characters were done by Ryan Sook.

He’s literally been working on the designs of these characters for months.

Credit: DC

I think people are going to be blown away when they see how much work he did. We’re going to be showing it to people, but it’s dozens and dozens and dozens of designs for every character to nail it down.

He was thinking, with every design, does this help us build the world of 1,000 years from now?

Nrama: Does the appearance of the Legion in Superman tie into Millennium? Or maybe lead into it?

Bendis: Yes. It leads right into Millennium, which leads into just about the biggest thing I’ve ever done in comics.

Nrama: That’s a big statement.

Credit: DC

Bendis: I’m not even messing around. No hype. No bullsh*t.

The Legion of Super-Heroes is the biggest project I’ve ever done in my life.

Nrama: I’m sure you’ve heard that the Legion has some pretty loyal fans, and they’ve been … well, disappointed in the past is probably a good way to put it.  Are you ready to face the Legion fans with this story you’ve crafted?

Bendis: Oh, but I’m one of them. I’m a Legion fan.

Nrama: You mean, back when you got to DC?

Bendis: I stormed right into the offices at DC and said, “Where are the Legion of Super-Heroes? And if you’re not making one, I want them to exist in this universe!”

So I put that on my list right away.

Credit: DC

This whole storyline has been a build-up to get to this moment.

Nrama: The current Superman storyline?

Bendis: It’s been going on, literally, since I walked into the door at DC Comics. It’s been building to this moment.

Nrama: Seeing what you’re doing with Young Justice, you seem to be aware that there’s an audience for stories about young characters. Was that part of your attraction to the Legion?

Bendis: Yes. And I’ll just put this out there. Think about how long it’s been since there’s been a Legion of Super-Heroes book. It’s been about nine years.

That is a couple of generations of comic readers, really.

Credit: DC

So much has changed in our world, and the way people read comics, and the way people collect comics — everything about it has changed.

When the Legion of Super-Heroes were around, they were, like, one of the top-selling books. And there was a reason.

They take you to a place that is so completely unique that the movies haven’t even gone there yet.

The Legion of Super-Heroes is one of the few corners of comics that you could only get in comics now. And that got super-exciting to me, the idea that there is something so powerful, so potent, so full of imagination that comics is where they have to be.

I know Legion has shown up in Supergirl, and in other places — I know, but I’m talking about the gigantic Legion in the 31st Century, the dozens of members, all from a different planet, all with a different power, all coming together to celebrate an Age of Heroes that they desperately want.

This is a story that just feels like people are dying for.

Credit: DC

Nrama: OK, you just spoke the language for Legion fans.

Bendis: Yeah, ‘cause I’m one of them. The Young Justice and their point of view is something I deeply believe in. I will only be able to show you, with the first couple issues of Legion, that what the Legion are bringing is something even more potent and even more powerful.

We actually get to leave where we are and go 1,000 years into the future. I can’t think of anything more inviting right now, in the world we live in.

I would love to travel 1,000 years into the future to see a hopeful Age of Heroes. That sounds exciting.

I think about it every day as I’m writing it. And that’s what I’m promising.

Brian Michael Bendis
Brian Michael Bendis
Credit: DC Comics

Nrama: It’s so weird, though, that you’re writing this space-based, hopeful future story while you’re concurrently writing an edgy street-level detective story like Event Leviathan. Is that a challenge?

Bendis: No, now that I’m older, I can only do them at the same time. It’s weird — like, my brain needs both things for the both of them to work. And I have one of my best friends that I work with who can only do one project at a time. He can’t even talk about another project. And I get that totally. And they are potent, and they are right about their project.

But my project? I need, like, six different ones. It’s just how my brain works.

And I’m so grateful that I have the opportunity, because I now see that that is a version of my best self, when I have these opportunities.

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