When does a Crisis tie-in feel more like an actual Crisis comic? The answer, of course, is when it’s Final Crisis. Grant Morrison may be driving the main event, but this 5-issue tie-in with an all-star creative team managed to hit that classic Crisis feel. Of course, having the artist of the granddaddy of comics events certainly helps.
Final Crisis Tie-In: Legion of 3 Worlds
(w) Geoff Johns (a) George Perez
Dan Gehen (DG): So when we look at this book in the context of history, Final Crisis was even more polarizing and confusing when it was released than it is now. I’m sure that when DC editorial saw the pages of their flagship event book, there were more than a few expletives uttered. So when you look at Legion of 3 Worlds, it reads like DC trying to save face with readers. “Hey everyone! Here’s your more traditional Crisis story!” We’ve got a creative team of Crisis veterans Geoff Johns and George Perez telling a story that essentially is a continuation of the story from Infinite Crisis.
Jason Jeffords Jr (JJR): Personally, I barely had an idea who the Legion of Super-Heroes where, meaning I barely had any idea what was going on. But, I know I fucking love Perez’ art! Especially whenever he does team-up books, or huge team based books. Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds is the epitome of those, as it features 3 Legion teams of differing time-lines. The idea is literally in the name. Making Perez a damn fine choice for the mini-series. Who better to draw a shit-ton of characters on page while retaining amazing detail?
On the writing side, Geoff Johns heavy dialogue makes Legion of 3 Worlds feel like it was from the past.
DG: I think that Johns is trying to hit on that “classic” feel, which is why his writing feels so antiquated. Then again, this is a 10-plus year old comic we’re reading, so perhaps it’s just more indicative of the era. But that said, I’m always down for more dialogue-heavy issues. When I can pick up a book and it takes me more than 5 minutes to get through, I’m a happy guy. To that end, it took me a while to get through this, which I’m fine with since it meant I was able to spend more time looking at Perez’s art.
JJR: Oh yeah, I have no problem with dialogue-heavy issues, as long as the heavy usage is warranted, while retaining a good flow. Legion of 3 Worlds fits both those criteria. It honestly would have felt off it wasn’t as heavily worded, because so much transpires within: the multitude of Legions throughout the years, a few deaths, some rebirth and the conclusion of a story Jones started a few years back.
Turns out a few years prior Brad Meltzer and Johns wrote a crossover between Justice League of America and Justice Society of America titles, The Lightning Saga. This led to Superman and The Legion Of Super-Heroes the following year. Meaning, on top of being a Final Crisis tie-in it was the third and final story for a larger plot, while needing to have the ability to read alone. The craziest part is, it worked!
As someone that barely knew anything about these characters, I can say it’s probably what made me start reading them.
DG: I’m not going to lie, I just don’t care about the Legion of Superheroes. Does that make me a bad nerd? Some would say yes. But characters like Saturn Girl or Balloon Boy (I think at least one of those is made up) do absolutely nothing for me. This is the one part of Final Crisis that you let school readers seem to be very fond of, but for me it’s just a wet fart keeping me from the insanity of the actual story.
Sure, the Legion is here, but this tale is a battle of Superman and Superboy Prime – the whiney punk villain of Infinite Crisis. Basically, Geoff Johns was really trying to make this character be a big deal, as we’d see again in Blackest Night and his Green Lantern saga. If you’re like most readers and just can’t stand Superboy Prime… he isn’t any better here. I mean, the series ends with him being an internet troll, which I guess is a fitting end to his story, right?
JJR: I know a few that would say yes, but enjoy what you enjoy! Personally I like how weird some of the Legion of Superheroes are. But, I have never followed their series, instead I’ve just read ones that interest me.
I hate Superboy Prime -most people I know do- but back then I loved how it ended. Now, I’m more undecided. It felt fresh and different, but now I barely care because I really don’t like Superboy Prime, It is funny thinking of him as an internet troll though.
Do you think it deserved the Final Crisis title? Or that it should have been its own limited series?
DG: Because it’s more a continuation of what was being done by DC to reestablish the Legion, it really should’ve been its own thing. I really take issue with the idea that Superman would go on a time-travelling adventure after dealing with the events of Superman: Beyond and while there is still the existential threat of Darkseid – who in Final Crisis transcends time and space.
The tie-ins we’ve looked at so far seem to at least make sense in world-building and fleshing out the corners of the DC Universe that we don’t see in Morrison’s story. However, Legion of 3 Worlds is your classic cash-grab. If DC had the balls to release this on its own instead of slapping “Final Crisis” on it, this series would probably have been remembered. I mean, a series with the talent that this one possesses is deserves to stand on its own, even if I personally don’t find the characters particularly interesting.
JJR: That is kind of humorous to think about. Superman just up and leaving the Crisis to deal with Legion business. Which is something I’ve thought about when an event’s going on and other titles of the character is doing other things. Or when a character is in multiple books, like Wolverine when he was in a shit ton of books.
Honestly before delving back into Final Crisis, I forgot that Legion of 3 Worlds was labeled under Final Crisis. Oopsie. Hopefully it’s not too off topic. But, did the Legion even go anywhere after this? Like their own title? I vaguely remember the titles from 2009, and it seems as famous (and beloved) as the Legion of Super Heroes is it rarely has long ongoings after the 90’s. Hell, most of the ‘famous/loved’ Legion stories are from before the 90’s. Well, at least as my young mind remembers.
DG: At the time, the Legion had its fifth volume in publication, with Jim Shooter and Francis Manapul as the creative team. Afterwards, they had another volume written by Paul Levitz, and then the New 52 series, also written by Levitz. And now everyone’s excited about the Legion returning under Brian Michael Bendis, but really that series that ended with the Shooter/Manapul run was the team’s last hurrah for greatness.
At the end of the day, Legion of 3 Worlds is a solid story. It’s Geoff Johns doing what he does best – world-building and mythology expanding that has very little depth. It wouldn’t be until Doomsday Clock when Johns would try in earnest to do something as layered as a Morrison comic, but even then it reads as a continuity bandage. It resurrected Bart Allen and Conner Kent, which we didn’t even talk about because the story is so paint-by-numbers. Perhaps if this was afforded a chance to stand on its own, this would be better remembered. But like most Legion stories in recent years, it ends up being forgettable, save for Perez’s wonderful art.
Previously on “The Full Run: Final Crisis”