CCI: Warner Animation Part One -- Legion of Super Heroes

Sat, July 28th, 2007 at 12:00am PDT

TV/Film
Hannibal Tabu, Columnist

Warner Brothers animation had a lot to show on Friday at Comic-con, with clips from new seasons of both the Emmy-winning "The Batman" and a revamped "Legion of Super Heroes," all moderated by TV Guide's Rich Sands. This article is part one of that reporting.

Starting with the Legion, Sands introduced producer James Tucker, directors Brandon Vietti and Michael Goguen, as well as voice actors Yuri Lowenthal (Superman), Phil Morris (new villain Imperiex) and Alexander Polinsky, who will be playing Chameleon Boy.

Things look a little different than last season, leading some fans to wonder, "what gives?" "The great thing about the Legion is every so often they do a reboot," Tucker said. "Going into the second season, the mandate was to up the ante. Season one was the Silver Age version of the legion. Season two we wanted to make it the Bronze Age, things happen that are a lot more exciting and dangerous. The show's got a lot more hard hitting action. It's darker visually, and the plots are more adult, but not adult skewing. It's a lot more exciting of a show."

"This season starts a year and a half to two years after the last season ended," Tucker said. "They're closer to 17-18ish now. There's stuff that's happened between seasons. I think it'll be easy for fans to catch on."

Wait, there's a clone Superman now? Lowenthal gets two checks? "I'm just happy to be playing both," Lowenthal said, confiding that, "in one episode I play three. The big difference is the one you're more used to has a sense of humor, and the one that you're not used to doesn't have a sense of humor, and that makes him even funnier. It puts him at odds with the rest of the group."

"The difference between the two characters is that the newer one is more Conanish," Vietti offered.

"There's a little bit of Mon-El in him," Tucker said, "and a little bit of a character i can't name, but you recognize the color scheme." That seems to imply possibly the late Kon-El, who also had some super-clone issues.

Phil Morris is now the voice of Imperiex, who will be the overarching threat to the Legion and the galaxy this season. "In the comics he kind of sucked, to be honest," Tucker said. " We needed a villain who we could do anything with, who didn't have baggage like Darkseid, and a guy who had some heft to him. We picked somebody the fans wouldn't be too mad if we tweaked, and somebody we could develop. He's way cooler in the show. You'll grow to appreciate him as a villain in his own right."

"Imperiex was really kind of a watered down entity in the original version of Legion," Morris said, "and here he is an intergalactic threat par excellence. He's got style, he's got flair, he's ultimate evil. James was like 'can you make him ten times more savage!' The more you make him evil, the better the heroes look. Imperiex is such a bad cat that you don't know if osmebody's gonna get killed this episode, or if he's gonna achieve whatever goal he's after. I know you're gonna hate him!" Morris then let out a crazed cackle, super villain style.

Lowenthal wasn't so convinced. "He'd be all evil on the takes," the actor said, "and between he's like 'oh, I'm on 'Legion of Superheroes!' He's such a geek!"

Chameleon Boy is joining the show as a regular character. "He's there because his dad kind of funds the Legion," Tucker admitted.

"We wanted to bring another thing of comic relief," Goguen said, "which is what Alex brings to the character. He's still a serious super hero, and he can still kick ass."

"We described him as Eddie Haskell as a shapeshifter," Tucker offered, or Danny Bonaduce on 'The Partridge Family.'"

Polinsky said, "He likes to get in trouble, and he's a smack talker, I love him, he's a great character."

As for what other Legionnaires we can expect to see, the panel noted Karate Kid, a return for Matter-Eater Lad (also voiced by Polinsky), Dream Girl, Computo, Nemesis Kid, Dawnstar and Invisible Kid. "He's in every episode," Tucker quipped. The Legion of Substitute Heroes could be seen in cameos, "and Tyroc rocks."

As for dream LSH stories to adapt, Tucker would go for Earthwar or the Heroes of Lallor, saying that to do The Great Darkness would need more time and more than a network show could handle. "Maybe on a DVD, so put your votes in."

"The thing about 'Legion' is that there's a ridiculous amount of characters," Goguen said.

The new season premieres September 25th on the Kids WB.

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