All right, I avoided publishing an immediate post concerning the news report that DC will be canceling the Legion of Super-Heroes as of issue #50. Newsarama reported this breaking news on September 29, 2008. You can read the article here. I figured that I needed a twenty-four-hour cooling down period so my post would be more rational and intelligent and less of a rage-fueled rant.
Before I rip into DC and Didio, let’s examine the statements that were made by Dan Didio. Dan Didio, who seems determined to lower my opinion of him with each passing day, stated “We’ve got a lot of plans and a lot of thought for the Legion right now, but coming out of the Legion of 3 Worlds, we’re going to let the characters rest for a little bit and see where we go from there.”
Dan Didio added “I don’t want to give too much away. But there are always plans for the Legion. They’re an important part of the DC Universe. And more importantly, I think we’ve done a great job with the story.”
My response to Didio would have to be: Are you fucking kidding me? Didio would have readers believe that they have so many plans for the Legion and that the best approach would be to cancel The Legion of Super-Heroes once again. For the zillionth time. Didio states that the Legion is an important part of the DC Universe and that they always have plans for the Legion. He then congratulates himself for a great job that has been done with the story.
Legion fans have had to suffer through twenty-two years of constant stopping and starting and flip-flopping over the direction and purpose of the Legion. Ever since 1986, the Legion has completely lacked any coherent direction or purpose. The downfall of the Legion began with Crisis on Infinite Earths when DC decided to throw the baby out with the bathwater and junk the Multiverse.
DC also decided that Superman’s entire history would be trashed. This included Superman’s career as Superboy. This lovely idea was obviously not thought through properly when it came to what it would do to the Legion. The scrapping of Superboy completely eviscerated the Legion’s history. It left poor Paul Levitz scrambling to cobble together makeshift continuity patches to the Legion’s history. This was the beginning of the end for the Legion.
DC finally woke up and realized the mistake of hiring a couple of fan fiction writers and teaming them with Giffen and canceled the TMK Legion. The TMK Legion made such a mess of the Legion’s continuity that DC decided the only solution was a total and complete re-boot of the Legion. This was a move that was practically unheard of in the world of comic books. Sure, other titles had been re-started and re-imagined. But, never had a title had nearly thirty years of continuity completely and totally junked.
DnA proceeded to do what TMK did by completely and blatantly ignoring the past continuity and established personalities and histories for the various Legionnaires. We then got a mini-series in Legion Lost. Then we got another mini-series in Legion Worlds. Then we finally got a new Legion title again. But, DnA had done so much damage to the Legion that DC decided to once again cancel the Legion.
But, that was not enough. DC then did what absolutely boggled my mind by completely and totally re-booting the Legion…AGAIN. So, now we got the threeboot. Once again, Legion fans had to take another kick to the crotch from DC and had to deal with yet another entirely brand new version of the Legion.
Of course, DC was not done meddling with the Legion. In a lame attempt to artificially boost sales, Didio decided to allow Supergirl to commandeer the Legion’s title. The result was the Legion being relegated to the status of second-class citizens. The stories consisted of nothing more than Legionnaires standing around helplessly while waiting for Supergirl to save the day by exerting little if any effort in the process.
DC decided to shake things up on the Legion of Super-Heroes by removing Waid and Kitson from the title and announcing that Jim Shooter would be taking over control of the Legion of Super-Heroes. I know that most Legion fans view Paul Levitz as the godfather of the Legion. But, a strong case could be made for Jim Shooter being the greatest Legion writer and not Paul Levitz.
And now we arrive at the present with DC announcing that once again they are going to cancel the Legion of Super-Heroes. And with the Legion of Three Worlds story who knows what direction DC is going to take with the Legion. At this point, DC might as well take the Legion and flush it down the toilet. DC’s constant bungling and mismanagement of the Legion of Super-Heroes has rendered it an impotent title.
Honestly, how the hell does DC expect the Legion to get good sales numbers when they are constantly rebooting and re-imaging the Legion every other day? The Legion’s continuity is such a mess that even long-time Legion fans have a hard time keeping everything straight. Never mind a newer reader. Newer readers are scared off of the Legion because the Legion’s continuity is impossible for them to follow. The lack of a constant and definable identity is what has killed the Legion. And DC is directly to blame for that.
It is no secret that successful comic books are ones that have a consistent easily definable and understandable identity. The X-Men are a band of mutants fighting against hate and prejudice in their eternal quest for acceptance on Earth. Iron Man is Tony Stark a billionaire genius and a playboy. Spider-Man is the everyman Peter Parker who struggles with just getting by on a daily basis. The Hulk is a classic monster tale in the vein of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as well as Frankenstein.
It goes on and on and on. Successful and popular titles are all comic books that are easy to define and have a strong and consistent identity so that readers know exactly what they are going to get when they purchase the title.
That is not the case with the Legion of Super-Heroes. Hell, even long-time readers have absolutely no idea what they are going to get when they pick up an issue of the Legion. The Legion’s identity is in a constant state of flux. There is no stability with the Legion. The purpose and structure of the team constantly change. The identity of the Legion is constantly being re-invented.
At some point, DC has simply got to say enough is enough. DC has to pick a direction and stick with it. They have to pick a strong identity and purpose for the Legion and stand by it. This is like how floundering NFL franchises are usually ones who constantly change the Head Coach every single season. Look at the Oakland Raiders. That franchise is a joke. They are nothing more than a punch line. And part of that is because they have no stability because they are constantly changing the Head Coach.
Well, DC has made the Legion of Super-Heroes the comic book equivalent of the Oakland Raiders. The complete lack of stability of the title has completely ruined the Legion. And it has completely ruined the marketability of the Legion as well. I simply do not see how the Legion ever establishes itself as a title that can routinely post strong sales numbers as long as there is a total lack of stability with the history, purpose and identity of the Legion of Super-Heroes.
I know that many fans will state that having Geoff Johns write the Legion will automatically translate into great sales numbers for the Legion. And I know that many fans feel that Johns is going to be tapped as the writer for a new Legion of Super-Heroes title. First, I hope that never happens since Johns has yet to even remotely display a proper understanding or love for the Legion of Super-Heroes. Johns is a self-admitted and unabashed Superman fanboy and simply views the Legion as a minor extension of the Superman mythos.
However, more important is the fact that I just do not think that Johns has the time to pen a Legion title. Right now, Johns has his plate full. Dan Didio answered questions of Johns writing a new Legion of Super-Heroes title by stating “You know what? I think we’d love Geoff to write everything right now. But realistically, he’s got a pretty full slate with everything that’s going on. He’s got Flash, Green Lantern, JSA, Action, and specials coming up because this thing called Blackest Night is looming.”
As much as it pains me, I have to agree with Didio. Johns is much better suited to write the Flash, Green Lantern, JSA, and Action Comics. Johns knows those characters better than he knows the Legion and Johns loves the other characters more than he does the Legion.
I would much rather keep Johns on the four aforementioned titles rather than have him drop one of them in order to add the Legion to his workload. And I think that it is simply asking too much from Johns to add a fifth title to his slate in addition to handling DC’s next big event in Blackest Night.
I feel bad for Shooter. I know that he is not that popular of a person within the comic industry, but I thought he was doing a good job on the Legion. I certainly found Shooter’s Legion to be better than anything we have gotten since the Post-Zero Hour “Kiddie” Legion.
Jim Shooter only found out this news that the Legion of Super-Heroes was getting canceled one month ago. Shooter commented “It’s a drag, but I get to finish most of my story. It would have finished in Issue #54, but Issue #50 is going to be a 30-page story, and I’m hoping people will be intrigued enough that they’ll want to finish the story. So we’ll see.”
Jim Shooter turned in some of the best work on the Legion that we have gotten in a long time. Still, the sales numbers were very low. Do I blame Shooter for the low sales numbers? No. The low sales numbers are due to DC’s constant raping of the Legion that has rendered it practically impossible to publish a monthly Legion title that will be a sales monster.
What really gets me is that Shooter had his story planned through issue #54. Are you telling me that Didio could not at least give Shooter four extra issues in order to properly finish up his story before canceling the title? Who cares if the Legion ends with issue #54 instead of issue #50? It should make no difference to Didio. By not allowing Shooter the ability to properly finish his story, Didio disrespects Shooter as a professional and Didio disrespects the readers by denying them a properly concluded story.
I am totally beside myself at the moment. I am so sick and tired of how DC has continually butchered the Legion. Canceling the Legion of Super-Heroes once again is the final straw. I have no idea how DC can expect long-time Legion fans like myself to keep coming back for more punishment. At some point, Legion fans are going to say enough is enough.
Why bother believing anything Didio says when more than likely in five years, Didio will waffle once again and probably cancel and completely re-boot the Legion yet again. Given the past handling of the Legion, there is absolutely no reason at all that any Legion fan should have faith in Didio or DC being able to properly handle the Legion in the foreseeable future.
Shooter summed up his feelings on the Legion of Super-Heroes getting canceled by stating “I really feel good about a lot of the stuff we did. And I think if more people had heard about it and more people had seen it, it might have really caught on. But anyway, I really had a great time. I don’t regret it at all. Maybe I’ve laid a foundation for somebody else.”
Sadly, that is not going to happen. Instead of using a strong run by Shooter as a nice foundation for the future of the Legion, Didio is sure to flush Shooter’s Legion down the toilet. And DC will then “treat” the reader to an all-new re-imagined Legion. Again. Yay.