We all understand, in one way or another, that DC's continuity is--well--complicated. Between the Crises and the reboots and the rebrands, things can be a little daunting to process if you look too far beyond the surface level--which is why teams like Legion Of Super-Heroes can cause some headaches, especially for people who aren't completely immersed in the weirdest and most arcane corners of DC history.
Don't panic if you've never even heard of them--they haven't been around for a while. After a prolonged first run that officially kicked off back in the late '50s, the Legion has enjoyed off-and-on publication over the decades with the most recent volume wrapping up back in 2015, so they haven't actually seen the light of day in any official capacity for a while. And, lack of spotlight aside, the Legion is a team burdened with their own baggage. Naming members of the Justice League is pretty easy, even for someone who's never picked up a comic in their life--but the Legion's roster is notoriously more complicated, and stacked to the brim with names that most likely won't sound familiar like Timberwolf, Bouncing Boy, Shrinking Violet, and Lightning Lass.
Some may be more familiar, especially to fans of the CW's Supergirl show, which has developed live-action incarnations for other Legionnaires like Mon-El, Dream Girl, and Brainiac 5--but given just how deep the Legion's typical roster goes, with average team size usually sitting somewhere in the 20s, if not the 30s, the new faces will undoubtedly outnumber the old.
But, with any luck, that won't be the case for too much longer, even for the fan who has never encountered the Legion before this moment. DC is bringing a brand new, completely rebooted incarnation of the team to shelves from the minds of all-star creators Brian Michael Bendis and Ryan Sook, who hope to introduce the Legion to a new generation of readers--even if that means having to overcome some of the inherent challenges of a team with such tricky, deep-cut-fueled history.
GameSpot spoke with Bendis one-on-one to hear exactly what he hopes his brand new Legion #1 will do for new readers of the series--and, perhaps more importantly, what the new comic actually is.
"Here's the pitch," Bendis laughed. "It's a thousand years in the future, and the galaxy finds itself in turmoil. So one teenager from each planet of the United Planets gets together, and creates the ultimate super team of superheroes, specifically living the ideals and experience of the 21st century age of heroes. They're bringing back the idea of heroes to inspire the entire galaxy to be its best self, the way Superman and Batman and Wonder Woman did a thousand years ago."
He continued, "[this is] a tale of the greatest team of superheroes, the biggest team of superheroes, coming together to bring about peace through understanding and love and adventure."
But the fun and the adventure is only a small part of the equation, he added. "For those of us who have already experienced Legion, you know it's like nothing else in comics. It's a very unique experience. It's very dense. It's very exciting. It's like almost next level, and why people are so jazzed online about it is because we're in that time right now where there's a new generation of superhero fans who, because of [movies like Avengers: Endgame] and all the stuff that we've experienced, think they've seen it all, and we know they haven't. We know like, 'Oh no, no, no, no, there's more.'"
If that sounds like a daunting prospect, especially in the wake of a pop culture mega-event like Endgame, don't panic. The team at DC doesn't plan on throwing anyone into the deep end unsupervised. "We have a special thing we're publishing called Legion of Super-Heroes Millennium. It's a two-issue special event, and inside it, a character from today is going to discover that she stopped aging and didn't know it. And now is going to be walking us a thousand years into the future, stopping by some very pivotal moments in DC's future," Bendis said. "And, we're going to stop by Kamandi by Andrea Sorrentino, and Batman Beyond, and Booster Gold, by Nicola Scott, and we're going to walk right up to the Legion's front door."
And if two-issue specials aren't your thing--or, perhaps, if you're already spending time reading mainline books like Batman or Superman--Bendis has a solution for you as well. "The Legion's actually going to debut very soon in Superman 14, where they're going to offer to a member of the Superman family to come join them, which is very much in the tradition of the Legion--even though this Legion that we're seeing, because of all the way the DC universe works, this is actually the first time the Legion of Super-Heroes has ever appeared."
He laughed, continuing, "So anyone reading our stuff today about the Legion of Super-Heroes, every character is meeting them for the first time. They see a brand-new situation for the reader. That's as reader-friendly as it gets."
Beyond welcoming new Legion readers into the fold, Bendis hopes the team will help bring the real message of superhero comics into the spotlight. "I must say that, I know there's a lot of people right now, feel very frustrated with the world's energy and stuff. People who've been reading comics, you can see them online just enjoying their time in a fictional world of hope, where good guys win and bad guys lose. And it's been just a joy to tell stories to people who are desperately in need of them. And so if you're looking for that, come join us. That's what comics are all about."
Legion Of Super-Heroes Millenium #1 hits shelves on September 4 and Superman #14 arrives on August 28.