Exit Interview: FABIAN NICIEZA Explains LEGION LOST Split

LEGION LOST Loses Nicieza, Gains DeFalco

Fans of DC's new Legion Lost comic are losing one more thing — the title's writer, Fabian Nicieza.

After launching the "New 52" title in September, Nicieza is leaving after February's Legion Lost #6. As Newsarama reported earlier today, he'll be replaced by Tom DeFalco, although artist Pete Woods is staying on the book.

Nicieza is well known to DC fans as the writer on Red Robin, but also worked at Marvel for many years on X-Men and Avengers titles. In fact, X-Men fans may remember his sudden departure from X-Force because of a rumored disagreement with then-Marvel editor (and current DC Editor-in-Chief) Bob Harras about the comic's direction.

But this time around, Nicieza is making it clear that his departure from Legion Lost is the result of things outside the world of comics. He works for two other companies, and Nicieza said recent changes at those businesses have required him to dedicate more time to them.

According to Nicieza, he is still under contract with DC and intends to write again for the publisher — but his current time constraints keep him from dedicating the level of commitment required for a brand new team book like Legion Lost.

To get the details, Newsarama talked to Nicieza.

Newsarama: I know that you came into this kind of reluctantly in the first place, but you've told me time and again that you just like the Legion characters so much that you decided to take the book. Was that the same thing that pulled you away?

Fabian Nicieza: No, that has pretty much nothing to do with what's going on. It's almost like the perfect storm happened since we talked at the convention and kind of caught me in a big honking wave.

In my non-comics work for Starlight Runner Entertainment and FunGoPlay, which is about 75 percent of my life, a couple things happened at both the companies that has required far more attention on my part. Some of this is positive, specific writing opportunities, and some of it negative, but both have necessitated my increased focus on those responsibilities.

So all of that happened in the last four to six weeks. And I quickly realized that I couldn’t keep up with the extra amount of work required to do for a book in the New 52 line, especially a team book, on the kind of schedule that I think is right.

I believe the work should be done when it's supposed to be done, and an artist should have an entire script waiting for him while he's still drawing the previous script. And we were just getting tighter and tighter, to the point where I wasn't going to be able to make that happen the way I wanted to. So I just felt, for the sake of the book, for the rest of the creative team, the characters and my own sanity, that it would be better if I closed out my tenure on Legion Lost after the first arc.

Nrama: So it sounds like it was something you didn't anticipate at all when you started the project?

Nicieza: Not at all. The book has been a lot of work, but a team book always is, and I knew that it would be more time-consuming than a solo book. But combining that with the intensive focus on these launch titles and everything else I do on a daily basis, I didn't want the work to suffer.

These are characters that I've liked and enjoyed and wanted to write since I was 12 or 13 years old! The choice hasn’t been an easy one by any means, but I think it was the right one.

Nrama: Are you going to miss these characters?

Nicieza: Yeah, I am. I had a lot of good ideas about where I wanted to take them, but none of that really matters now. Tom DeFalco takes over with issue #7 and I'm really curious to see what he does with the book.

Nrama: Have you talked to Tom about it?

Nicieza: I just talked to Tom, but we only briefly discussed the title and the characters. I'm not one to say, "This is what I was going to do and this is what was going to happen." I believe that the next writer in line should have the opportunity to do whatever the heck they want and not have to deal with too much baggage carrying over. I’d say he’s got more than enough experience that he doesn’t need my feedback on the book. Besides, we’ve been friends for 25 years and we don’t get to touch base often enough, so there was plenty of other stuff to talk about than just comics!

Nrama: Favorite thing you got to do in this comic?

Nicieza: There are about 500 scenes I haven't gotten to do yet! But for what’s been printed? My favorite scene I got to do was Timber Wolf stealing the police car. There are some Dawnstar scenes in #4 and #5 that I really enjoyed. A moment between TWolf and a guest-star in #6 I loved. And also a scene with Tyroc in #6 that will hopefully make Tommy D’s life a lot more interesting!

Nrama: You've also gotten to reveal the individual voices of the characters because each one is narrating an issue. I think some of them have rarely had that much exploration in a comic.

Nicieza: Yeah. I think it's a combination of getting to hear them in more depth than they've had a chance to in the regular Legion book historically. But also, the way this story ended up being structured, it was such a rush for the characters. They don't get a lot of breathing space in the first six issues, so doing the narration was a good way to have internal monologues slow the pace down a little bit. What's happening in the panels and in the art is still pretty break-neck speed, but the narration lets you give it some deeper perspective and insight.

Nrama: Does this mean we won't see you doing comics anymore for DC?

Nicieza: I sincerely hope not! I'm under contract to DC, and happily so. There are no issues in that regard. It's really just a matter of needing a little bit of breathing space right now, specifically to make sure that my day jobs are going the right way. But also one of the assignments for Starlight is an exciting writing opportunity that has to be done by, like, February-March. So I've got to really focus a lot on that in the next few months.

I've already talked a little bit with a couple editors and with Dan [DiDio] to make them all very aware that if they want me, I want to be had! It's just a matter of finding the right book or character that will work for all of us. My relationship with DC has been really comfortable and professional for years now, so I'm very confident that we'll find something soon.

Stay tuned to Newsarama for our interview with new Legion Lost writer Tom DeFalco.

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