DC Comics confirmed for Newsarama at Baltimore Comic Con that Legion of Super-Heroes, the ongoing series that relaunched the fan-favorite, teenage team from the future, will be canceled with issue #50 after a four-year run.
"We're going to bring a close to the Legion of Super-Heroes now," said DC Senior VP and Executive Editor Dan DiDio. "There's a lot going on with the characters. I thought that [writer] Jim [Shooter] and [artist] Francis [Manapul] have done a terrific job with the series, and '50' seemed like a really nice number to bring this series to a conclusion."
However, Legion characters aren't going away, DiDio said. "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," he said.
Shooter, the current writer of the Legion of Super-Heroes ongoing comic, told Newsarama in Baltimore that he found out about a month ago that the series was canceled with Issue #50.
"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," Shooter said. "I understand new comics sales are not doing so well right now. Which is weird. Just look at this crowd. Everyone seems so excited about comics. They're buying something."
Shooter said his story will come to a climax in the next few issues as he finishes up the "One Evil" storyline.
"Since the beginning of this run, I've had this growing menace in the background, which are these mysterious Destroyers from who-knows-where who seem to be intent on destroying all life. And the overall series title is 'One Evil.' And I think most people thought that's what the one evil is," Shooter said. "But no, as the story progresses, you find out one of the Legionnaires, Princess Projectra, has kind of lost her mind. Her planet is destroyed, her friends are dead and everything is gone. And she gets treated pretty badly. She finds herself a girl without a planet, and she's just generally in trouble. She wants restitution, not revenge. She wants restitution, which of course is going to lead to conflict. So the 'one evil' is her."
Shooter joined the Legion series with Issue #37 after it had already been struggling to find an audience. Launched in 2004 by writer Mark Waid and his frequent co-collaborator, artist Barry Kitson, the series was one that Waid publicly stated he wanted to be a Top 10 title. While the creative team and DC had high hopes for the ongoing, a new Legion fan base never really latched onto the comic, even when the title temporarily added Supergirl to the roster and masthead in 2006. After Tony Bedard wrote the series after Waid's departure, DC handed the reins over to Shooter, who was already a legend among Legion fans because of his years writing the original team.
Over the last year, Legion fans have gotten quite a few other stories about Legion team members, with an alternate-Earth team showing up in Justice League, Justice Society and Countdown last year, as well as being featured in a well-received story in Action Comics earlier this year by writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank. Currently, all three versions of the Legion -- including this current team -- are involved in Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds, a five-issue mini-series by Johns and artist George Perez.
Because he's been writing the Legion so much lately, Johns has been asked frequently by fans during DC panels at conventions if he would write the team in an ongoing series. His answer has always been that he'd love to do it. So Newsarama asked DiDio: Is it possible there will be a Johns-penned series featuring the Legion of Super-Heroes in the future?
"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," DiDio said. "He's got Flash, Green Lantern, JSA, Action, and specials coming up because this thing called Blackest Night is looming. But I'm sure that the Legion will stay close to Geoff and near and dear to him as well, and you'll probably see some of them appear through some of his runs down the line. I don't want to give too much away. But there's 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. I think Jim and Francis have done a great job bringing it to an end. And after Legion of 3 Worlds, there will be more opportunities, so we're going to explore those after that series concludes."
Shooter said his departure from Legion of Super-Heroes does not mean he'll be leaving comics, as he's already been given the opportunity to work elsewhere in the industry.
"I might be doing some stuff for Dark Horse, and I've been talking to the Valiant Entertainment people, who want me to do some things," Shooter said. "So I have no shortage of stuff to do. It's just that I was really enjoying this. I was hoping it would press on.
"I've really enjoyed this run with Francis Manapul. He's still young and learning, but he's going to be great someday. And Livesay is a great inker. I really feel good about a lot of the stuff we did," Shooter said. "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."