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Geoff Johns drops by to talk about Justice Society of America, Kingdom Come, the Legion of Super-Heroes and another shocking last page

By Ben Morse

Posted January 11, 2007  4:45 PM

One month ago, comic fans were buzzing about the shocking last page of Justice Society of America #1.

Fast-forward four weeks, and it looks like lightning just struck twice.

The final page of Justice Society of America #2 saw the unmasking of the mysterious Starman and another glimpse at the world of the classic DC tale Kingdom Come courtesy of Alex Ross’ gorgeous paints.

However, if you just skipped to the last page, you missed the second issue of what might be quickly becoming one of the best mainstream superhero titles being published today.

Writer Geoff Johns took the time to chat with Wizard about the past, present and far future of the first superteam.

WIZARD: So with that last page, is it safe to say that this is indeed the Starman from Kingdom Come?

JOHNS: Yes. There’s still a lot more to him, and the next arc coming up is essentially all about Starman.

I don’t know if this was something you intended all along, but the last page of every issue being a big-deal cliffhanger of some sort is very cool.

JOHNS: Every last page should be a massive deal. Also, if you look at that last page, there’s that banner saying: “Who’s hunting the JSA? Find out next issue!” You will get this answer next issue. Come back next issue and find out. I’m never going to end an issue of Justice Society of America with just “To be continued.” You’re always going to get a little bit of a hint, even if it just says: “Next: Justice League of America.” It’s always got to say something different. The goal is to make this a bit different from your average superhero book.

Back to Starman: He looks remarkably like how the adult Star Boy looked back in the old days of Legion of Super-Heroes, and of course that’s who the Starman in Kingdom Come was supposed to be: a grownup Star Boy. Between this and the arm of another old Legion member, Dawnstar, showing up on the last page of issue #1, it seems like there’s quite a few Legion references finding their way into this book…
JOHNS: Well, you look at JSA being the very first superhero team and the Legion being the last. In a strange way, the teams do have something in common. There is just something so cool about linking the very first team and very last team of this universe.

You’ve written the JLA, the JSA, the Teen Titans, even the Outsiders and the Suicide Squad to some degree; outside of guest appearances here and there, I think the Legion is the one major DC team you’ve never written, correct?

JOHNS: I don’t think I’ve ever written a Legion story.

Where do you stand on the Legion of Super-Heroes? Are you a fan?

JOHNS: Yeah, I love the Legion. My uncle had those old Adventure Comics issues by Jim Shooter when I was a kid. I really got into the Legion when Paul Levitz wrote it and then again when Keith Giffen did the “Five Years Later” story. I also really liked the Legionnaires book drawn by Chris Sprouse back in the ’90s. Those first six issues or so were just awesome.

It seems like a lot of people stay away from the Legion because of all the continuity changes over the years. They think it’s impenetrable.

JOHNS: The concept is not impenetrable, and the fact that they’re doing a [Legion] cartoon show proves that. The Legion perseveres and DC keeps publishing it because the idea of all these members from different planets uniting as a big team is just a great concept. It’s gone through reboots and different interpretations, but so has Superman. Still, I can understand why the Legion seems a bit scary for new readers. It’s a bit like the JSA in that sense.

How so?

JOHNS: I think people can be intimidated by the history. That’s why we took a lot of steps to make Justice Society of America #1 very reader-friendly. Same with #2. We’re not going slowly, but we’re letting you know who these characters are. People say the Legion is impenetrable or the JSA is impenetrable or even that X-Men is impenetrable because these teams have so much history. But they’re not; they just sometimes have characters and you don’t know where they’re coming from. With this book we’re trying to be very direct: These are who these people are and this is why they’re here. Any Legion references coming up will hopefully also be very reader-friendly.

You’ve said that Starman’s lines, though they seem random, will all make sense in the end. Any lines in particular from this issue to pay attention to?

JOHNS: He mentioned the name “Kenz Nuhor,” and if anybody does a quick search on the Web, they can find out a lot more about who that is. Starman’s entire history can be figured out in this issue. Every single line he says to Power Girl means something. Eventually we’ll lay it all out for you, but if you work a bit you can figure it all out. If you’re a DCU geek you’ll get it, and if not, he’s just a cool, crazy character who got lost somewhere.

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