More information has come out about Brian Bendis’ rebooted Legion of Super-Heroes. The new information came to us by the way of an interview with Bendis at the Den of Geek. The interview did have a few nuggets of new information in it. We got some new information on three brand new Legionnaires. We also get an answer on whether Bendis’ Legion is a completely new and separate Legion from all of the prior Legions.
But, before we get to those aforementioned answers, there was one sentence from Bendis that caught my attention. What was not earth-shattering, but still interesting, was Bendis’ answer to how he would describe the Legion’s setting. Bendis stated:
It is a very dense and rich sci-fi universe.
With this answer, Bendis is clearly admitting that he is well aware of the defining characteristics of the Legion’s setting. However, Bendis’ answer is also proof from the man himself as to why he was the absolutely worst match for the Legion of Super-Heroes franchise. Who has ever confused Bendis with a story that is a dense and rich sci-fi story? Hickman? Yes. Morrison? Certainly. Bendis? Not in a million years. In fact, a dense and rich sci-fi story is about the most polar opposite direction that you could get from a typical Bendis story.
All right, now to the important information. Bendis answered a question about if readers will need to study up on the Legion of Super-Heroes in order to enjoy Bendis’ Legion. Bendis stated:
When you read their first appearance, that’s actually the first time Superman is meeting them or anybody. Their first appearance will be in Superman #14 and #15, so you’ll meet them along with the Superman family.
With this answer, we finally have an official confirmation that Bendis’ Legion of Super-Heroes will be a full and complete reboot of the franchise. Again.
This makes Bendis’ Legion the third complete and total reboot of the Legion of Super-Heroes franchise. This also makes Bendis’ Legion the fourth complete and distinct version of the Legion of Super-Heroes.
If you are confused, don’t worry. Most people are confused when it comes to the Legion of Super-Heroes. This is why it is unwise to do full and complete reboots of a franchise multiple times. It is also why you do not see it being done on any other comic book franchise. For some clarification on the various full reboots and different versions of the Legion, you can check out our handy Legion of Super-Heroes chronology.
I am mystified why DC decided to authorize an unprecedented third full and complete reboot of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Especially since Geoff Johns did such a masterful job folding the Pre-Crisis Legion back into the DCU. Many readers remember Johns’ Legion from Superman, Action Comics, JSA, Final Crisis, and the Legion’s own comic that was published up until 2013.
Having said that, there is one massive advantage to a full and total reboot with Bendis’ Legion of Super-Heroes: It is easier. Bendis is not known for his research skills. Bendis is not known for his use of continuity. Writers like Geoff Johns, Scott Snyder, Grant Morrison, Jonathan Hickman, and others all revel in the hard work of research. All of these types of writers relish working with the details and intricacy of continuity. Bendis does not. Bendis usually takes over a title and simply ignores anything that happened before he got onto the title.
Therefore, by performing another full and complete reboot of the Legion, DC has freed Bendis from the work of having to do research on the Legion and having to properly understand their continuity. Instead, Bendis can do what he always does. Bendis can just ignore anything before him and simply write his own story. I hate like death having to deal with another total reboot of the Legion. But, given that DC hired Bendis to launch this new Legion of Super-Heroes then a full reboot was the smart direction to take.
Bendis’ general approach to writing is further emphasized when he stated how he would handle writing the Legion. Bendis stated that he would:
cherry pick the best things about the characters and the world and put them in this beautiful stew of everything that’s great about the Legion and put it out in a modern story. That’s what my job on Ultimate Spider-Man was, and I realized, “Oh my God, the Legion doesn’t exist here; we can create the Ultimate Legion,” for lack of a better word.
So, basically, DC has made writing the Legion as easy as possible for Bendis. Writing a Sci-Fi title with a huge roster of characters has absolutely never been in Bendis’ wheelhouse. Bendis made his name back in the day by writing stories that focused on a small number of street-level characters that employed TV-style dialogue. It is now 2019, and Bendis is in his 50’s and no longer at the top of his game. So, DC has rebooted the Legion freeing Bendis from continuity and research and then supplied him with an endless amount of already created characters and storylines that he can pick and choose from in order to make his story. Bendis can basically just take older stories and rewrite then with a “modern” spin on them. That is a pretty easy task even for a writer who is older and completely out of his comfort zone.
The last bit of interesting information that we got in this interview was that Bendis officially confirmed that we will be getting a few brand new Legionnaires. Bendis then specifically names three of the new Legionnaires.
We have Monster Boy coming. We have Gold Lantern coming. We have a new Doctor Fate.
Bendis does not confirm the designs of these characters or point out who they are in any of the teaser pics that we have gotten on the Legion. So, let’s take a look at the teaser shot from the Late Night with Seth Meyers show and pick out which ones we think are these three brand new Legionnaires.
Monster Boy must be the character that is sitting on Colossal Boy’s shoulder. The Gold Lantern must be the character in gold and black with the gold goggles. Dr. Fate is the character wearing the gold helmet. Bendis does not mention a fourth new Legionnaire. This is surprising because that green skeleton character in armor looks nothing like any Legionnaire I have seen before. I would think that this character is also a new Legionnaire.
I am thrilled with the name “Monster Boy.” This shows that Bendis is embracing the Legion’s tradition of using “Boy,” “Girl,” “Lad,” and “Lass” in their codenames. This was one of the biggest mistakes of the Zero Hour Reboot Legion. They ran from those classic style codenames and it robbed the Legion of something that makes them unique. So, I’ll give Bendis some love for taking this direction with the codenames.
All right, that is all of the new Legion of Super-Heroes news that we have for now. As always, the second we see anything having to do with the new Legion of Super-Heroes we will be sure to comment on it right here.
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