When "Smallville" recruited Geoff Johns to write an episode for the show, they expected to get more steeped in comic book-lore than ever before -- they just didn't realize how much. John's episode, set to air January 15, brings in the classic comic book team the Legion of Super-Heroes and a new villain in the Persuader.
"The concept of the Legion throws a wrench in Clark's life," Johns said. "They've already built up to a huge climax with Chloe and Doomsday, and then the Legion comes in and completely complicates everything."
Johns pitched the show on introducing the time-traveling Legionnaires -- Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad, and Cosmic Boy -- by explaining that they would be relevant to Clark Kent's life at this point in time (unlike some other characters who'd been introduced on the show although he wasn't supposed to meet them until later -- can you say Green Arrow?). And when the time came to talk villains, Johns brought in a bunch of his comic books to show them how the Persuader would translate in a cameo appearance.
"He's one of my favorite Legion villains," Johns said, "because he's this futuristic assassin, he's dressed like an executioner, and he has one of the coolest weapons, an axe that could slice an atom in half. He can slice Clark, so he can slice anything."
To translate the Legionnaires, Johns said there was some debate over whether they would wear spandex, but found middle ground in uniforms that give nods to their comic book appearances. "So you got Saturn Girl in red and white with Saturn on her chest," he expained. "We had production meetings to talk through all the details. Do they have rings? What do they look like?"
Following the episode won't require knowing Legion history, Johns promised. "If you're not a Legion fan, it's a lot of 'Do you make your own destiny? Is it written in stone? Do your heroes live up to your expectatons?' There's a lot there for you. But if you're a fan, we worked our asses off to be as faithful to it as possible. There's so much mythology in this episode, I think the fans will be blown away."
Did you catch the sneak peek of John's episode "Legion" after last week's "Smallville"? What did you think?