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#319343 - 12/10/03 05:41 PM ABNETT AND LANNING END LEGION RUN & ABC'S MAJESTIC RETURNS in the PAGES OF SUPERMAN
Jennifer M. Contino Offline
Member

Registered: 08/01/02
Posts: 22928
Loc: PA
BY JENNIFER M. CONTINO
It's the end of a Legion era. After Damning the Legion and Losing the Legion, the critically-acclaimed writing team of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning (DnA) is now leaving the Legion. Issue 33 will be their last and the duo plan on going out with a bang. They collaborate on writing and answers, so all answers are labeled as "DnA." PULSE asked DnA some "what ifs" about current storylines and some dangling plotlines.

THE PULSE: I thought your run on Legion was supposed to go up to # 36, but I've just found out issue # 33 will be your last. Why? What caused the "end of DnA Legion" a few issues sooner?

DnA:
Our work on Legion had begun under editor Mike McAvennie, with whom we had a terrific relationship. When he left, about a year into the new ongoing, we felt we probably wouldn’t stay much longer either - we’d had a decent long run with Legion of the Damned, Legion Lost, Legion Worlds and the kick off of the new series, and we felt we were getting close to having nothing left we wanted to say.

The Steve Wacker came along as the new editor. His approach was totally different to Mike’s, but, madly, we got on with him just as well, and he really re-inspired us with his enthusiasm. We realised we DID still have stories we wanted to tell, so we decided we’d stay on, at least to tackle the Anniversary.

THE PULSE: Did you want to leave Legion? THE PULSE has heard rumors you guys didn't really want to leave the series ....

DnA:
We’ve now done pretty much five years worth of uninterrupted Legion, so it’s probably time to let someone else have a go. And time for us to have a go at something else, come to that. DC very obligingly asked us when we wanted to leave - how many more issues did we want to tidy up our loose ends, so we said up to 36. It is true to say that they then came and chopped us back to 33, but they were trying to fit creative and promotional schedules together, so it wasn’t just a whim. They were trying to fit everybodys’ efforts together.

THE PULSE: What were the goals you had for the series when you started working on these characters?

DnA:
Make it a damn good read, cut some new territory, make people realise it was a book worth reading, rather than one to avoid for fear of toppling continuity.

THE PULSE: How close to achieving those goals do you think you've come?

DnA:
Everyone could always use bigger sales than they get. It’s ironic we’re finally getting sell-outs as we prepare to leave. The critical acclaim has been huge, which is gratifying and makes us proud of the run. A collection might not have hurt somewhere along the line, but what the heck...

THE PULSE: A lot of people are curious why you had Garth return as Element Lad - if it was going to be kind of a "Proty" thing where it really isn't Garth but Element Lad pretending to be Garth, because he's crushed by what he did as "evil" Jan or something like that. What's going on?

DnA:
We did it because it seemed interesting...there are all sorts of ways the story can go.

THE PULSE: With the remaining issues you have will you be able to clear this up or will that be left to the next team?

DnA:
We certainly advance the story considerably in our finale story but this - like a lot of other things - will be left for future teams to worry about. From day one, we’ve been seeding the strip with storylines so that we could harvest them later, often setting things up that we hadn’t decided how best to conclude. Inevitably, some things are going to be left unresolved.

THE PULSE: People are also curious if Jeckie's new form would have another evolution and lead to a more humanoid Jeckie? Did you have plans for something like that down the line or were you always just going to have her become what she currently is?

DnA:
We didn’t intent to take her further physically, unless her new form proved even MORE unpopular than her old one. We were planning on developing her character though...having her reluctantly drawn towards her erstwhile ‘saviour’ Ra’s Al Ghul.

THE PULSE: Why did you want to have Cosmic Boy and Kid Quantum become an item? How did they get together?

DnA:
Again, it seemed like a good idea. They seemed to suit. He asked her out on a date in the Secret Files and that was the start, although they’ve been flirting for ages.

THE PULSE: Out of all the Legion couples, which have been your favorite(s) to manipulate?

DnA:
They’ve all been fun - Jo and Tinya, obviously, Garth and Imra too. Thom and Nura perhaps has been the most interesting, the one that’s gone the furthest. And that’s another plot we’ll leave dangling...her vision of his ‘future’.

THE PULSE: With Cub, we've seen an accelerated growth kind of like what was supposed to have happened to Validus in the Pre-Crisis world. Why did you want to have some "conflict" with Tinya's child? What did this add to the story and what inspired you to make Cub's existence be a troubled one? How, in the remaining time, will you be able to do more with Cub? Will you ever name the precocious child? If so, what?

DnA:
Let’s answer all the Cub questions in one go. As we said earlier, we’ve been able to tell pretty much all of the stories we had inside us. The dangling story threads that we’ll leave behind are the usual ‘work in progress’ story arcs you get on a complex ongoing book. Garth, as mentioned...there are five or six ways we can think of for running with that story. We hadn’t finalised which one, because we hadn’t got there yet. The exception is the Cub story. That is, if you like, the one story we’re not going to get to tell. We had it all worked out and we were really jazzed about it...us, Chris and Steve. Then the issues were cut back and we realised we didn’t have room. We agreed it would be stupid to spoil it by trying to squish it in. So we decided not to try. The Cub story will be our one regret about leaving. It would have been great. As it is, we leave it to other teams to figure out what, if anything, they want to do with the character.


THE PULSE: What did you enjoy the most about revisiting Legion history with the Superboy issues?

DnA:
It was all fun. Guess the most fun was trying to pay homage to a continuity that didn’t really exists anymore without causing contradictions.

THE PULSE: What were the biggest challenges to making that story work?

DnA:
See above - the Legion visiting teen Clark, who is now NOT Superboy, but getting the same resonance as the original scene.

THE PULSE: If you had been able to stay with the series longer, who would you have had Reep hook up with: Ayla or Jeckie?

DnA:
Honestly hadn’t decided.

THE PULSE: What - if any - plans did you have to return Laurel to the pages of Legion?

DnA:
Brief ones that we never did get space for.

THE PULSE: You've created more than a few memorable scenes and situations since taking over the series. What stands out in your mind as some of the BEST ones?

DnA:
Live Wire at the end of legion Lost...the intro of Timber Wolf...finding Superboy...the shock reveals: Ra’s, Element Lad, Universo...the visual development of Braal, Winath, Titan, Rimbor, Metropolis and Legion World...Imra as the diner waitress...

THE PULSE: What - if you could - would you erase from your Legion run?

DnA:
Erase? Bah! We’ve barely started on the GOOD bits yet! wink

THE PULSE: How does it feel to work with Keith Giffen on an issue? A lot of people got into The Legion of Superheroes when his run began. Were those some of your first Legion issues, too? What did you think of his run?

DnA:
Keith’s run was magnificent. Working with him is a real treat, and the issue should entertain all those who remember those days fondly.

THE PULSE: What's coming up in your final arc?

DnA:
It’s a story featuring everybody, a real big blow-out finale, but the focus is Live Wire. We things it’s a great last chapter to our run.

THE PULSE: Besides Legion, you're also working on the upcoming Superman arc: Strange New Visitor. How did you come up with the idea for this story?

DnA:
The idea not so much, because it was pretty much demanded by the continuity immediately prior to it. The challenge was running with it and making it work.

THE PULSE: Why was now a good time to reintroduce Mr. Majestic? Was that your idea or did the editors approach you with the notion of that?

DnA:
It was DC’s. It was going to be a ‘visitor’ character, possibly even one we invented for the purposes, then we found out we were able to use Maj, and it seemed to bring with it so many benefits of resonance. It’s a crossover, if you like, but it’s a cross over ABOUT crossing over.

THE PULSE: What sets Mr. M apart from Superman in your opinion?

DnA:
He’s got no human touch. Nothing of Superman’s common sense or human experience. Maj is noble, kind even, brave, as powerful as Supes and as smart as Reed Richards. He’s kind of detached.

THE PULSE: We've seen heroes kind of switch worlds before, how is this story going to be different from what one might be expecting?

DnA:
It’s going to be a great way to defamiliarise the characters and settings of the DCU, particularly Superman himself.

THE PULSE: How was working on Superman different than working on The Legion?

DnA:
More...linear. Its a solo book (despite the large supporting cast) where as you don’t get bigger team books than Legion. The big challenge was finding the confidence to write Superman. I mean, it’s Superman!

THE PULSE: What did you find the most rewarding about the experience?

DnA:
See above. It’s Superman!

THE PULSE: What other projects are you working on?

DnA:
We have a few possibilities that we should be able to talk about soon. Certainly, we’ve got plans to work with Keith Giffen some more, possibly taking a project to Marvel with him. Andy continues to ink his socks off on X-Men, Avengers and Otherworld (Phil Jimenez’s vertigo series). Dan’s just starting his fifteenth novel - Double Eagle - for Black Library. We keep busy.



THE PULSE thanks Gale Skipworth for her help with this interview.

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#319344 - 12/10/03 05:49 PM Re: ABNETT AND LANNING END LEGION RUN & ABC'S MAJESTIC RETURNS in the PAGES OF SUPERMAN
Tobey_dup1 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/27/02
Posts: 17
Loc: Seattle, WA
I'm sad to see them go. I've enjoyed their run on Legion since the beginning.

Maybe they can push DC to collect the Legion Lost and Legion Worlds run of their books since they were so instrumental in getting these guys such critical acclaim.

Hopefully the next writer will build on what has been established by DnA, while adding what they can to the pantheon of my favorite team smile

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#319345 - 12/10/03 05:51 PM Re: ABNETT AND LANNING END LEGION RUN & ABC'S MAJESTIC RETURNS in the PAGES OF SUPERMAN
xdemon Offline
Member

Registered: 08/14/01
Posts: 331
Loc: Houston, TX USA
Looks Like Rich Johnston nailed this one - Mark Waid is up next?
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Reality is an illusion that occurs due to lack of alcohol.
-Anonymous

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#319346 - 12/10/03 06:29 PM Re: ABNETT AND LANNING END LEGION RUN & ABC'S MAJESTIC RETURNS in the PAGES OF SUPERMAN
brint Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/17/02
Posts: 15
Loc: PEI,Canada
Damn.. I wish them well. Their run on the Legion comes second only to the Paul Levitz run. The Legion needs someone with vision to write this book. I'd like to see Geoff Johns (I've seen his name and Legion linked before) tackle this, with Carlos Pacheco on art. Waid and Kitson might not be too bad either. Just so long as there's not a return to the silly Legion that we had before DnA took over and fixed it.

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#319347 - 12/10/03 07:12 PM Re: ABNETT AND LANNING END LEGION RUN & ABC'S MAJESTIC RETURNS in the PAGES OF SUPERMAN
comicsareliterature Offline
Member

Registered: 10/02/01
Posts: 644
Loc: montreal, quebec, canada
Hello.

I would like to simply thank DnA for telling some great tales over the last few years. I have enjoyed them immensely, and DnA are also two very polite, friendly con creators, to boot!

I think Waid and Kitson can be a good replacement team. I worry about Giffen's involvement, though. I loved his art the first time he worked on Legion, but that second run was...well, I didn't love it as much as the first run, that's for certain.

Sigh, if I did get to have a wish list for artists to join Waid, though, I would have to say it would come in this order:

1--Mike Grell. The best damned Timber Wolf ever!

2--Steve Lightle. Probably better than Grell, overall, but Grell was from my youth so he gets the nod due to nostalgia... smile

3--George Perez--A pipedream, so I put him at #3.

Now, please keep in mind that this ios just a personal wishlist, and no offence was intended towards anyone else's favourite creator.

Hey, OM, if you read this, how about posting your own list. I figure you might be the only guy on here who has read Legion longer than I have.
_________________________
michael

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#319348 - 12/10/03 09:22 PM Re: ABNETT AND LANNING END LEGION RUN & ABC'S MAJESTIC RETURNS in the PAGES OF SUPERMAN
Garth Ranzz Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 11/26/03
Posts: 20
Thanks for the great interview Jen. And to Gale too! Glad to see the two of you working together.

While I am someone who came in late in DnA's run but was there for many years prior, I've come to enjoy story-telling. They've sometimes let down after a big buildup but the current 'Foundations' arc is going well.

But I think, more then Dan and Andy, I'm going to miss Chris Batista as artist. He may have only recently joined the Legion family (as has inker Chip Wallace) but his work quickly became amongst the best of those who have worked on the team. I hate to see them leave so soon. Any chance you could wrangle an interview with them?

Scott S.

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#319349 - 12/10/03 09:50 PM Re: ABNETT AND LANNING END LEGION RUN & ABC'S MAJESTIC RETURNS in the PAGES OF SUPERMAN
Engine Joe Offline
Member

Registered: 07/14/01
Posts: 726
Loc: Nashville, TN
I remember back when the "Archie Legion" had just been canned and the big announcement came down that both Legion books would be cancelled. Ever since the relaunch began to lose it's way after the first year, some truly talented creators had struggled in vain to capture the team's spirit while still telling good stories, but nothing worked for them. Each story was worse than the last.

Then, DnA came to the DC Legion message boards and did something that, for some reason, no one else had ever tried: they ASKED the Legion fans what they felt was important to the concept and what should be kept and what should be done away with. And then, they did something even more unheard of in comics: they actually gave the readers 90 percent of what they asked for.

So not only are DnA very good comics writers, but they also understand the golden rule of business: "the customer is always right"!

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#319350 - 12/10/03 10:30 PM Re: ABNETT AND LANNING END LEGION RUN & ABC'S MAJESTIC RETURNS in the PAGES OF SUPERMAN
Sphinx Magoo Offline
Member

Registered: 01/27/02
Posts: 672
Loc: Stately Magoo Manor
i'm glad to see that they've got work coming. i'm looking forward to their superman storyline...

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#319351 - 12/11/03 12:05 AM Re: ABNETT AND LANNING END LEGION RUN & ABC'S MAJESTIC RETURNS in the PAGES OF SUPERMAN
Chris Irvine Offline
Member

Registered: 08/06/01
Posts: 1243
Loc: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
I can`t believe Brevoort passed over giving these guys Avengers instead of our friend Chuck. DnA can handle a big cast of characters easy, and make super-stories sing like not others. And so Avengers is the quintessential super-hero book and Andy is even inking it? Plus the chance the reunite them with their classic run teamates, Olivier Coipel. It`s a no brainer. What was Tom thinking that day...?
_________________________
I never was a Space Ranger
--------------------------
...circus showing and as he watches the 12 year old on the trapeze, turns to his date and says "Yea, I've had my eye on him for awhile." eww

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#319352 - 12/11/03 12:19 AM Re: ABNETT AND LANNING END LEGION RUN & ABC'S MAJESTIC RETURNS in the PAGES OF SUPERMAN
DaveGarcia Offline
Member

Registered: 06/07/01
Posts: 294
Quote:
Originally posted by comicsareliterature:

Hey, OM, if you read this, how about posting your own list. I figure you might be the only guy on here who has read Legion longer than I have.



Pacheco will be on there somewhere smile

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