10th Jun 2001
The Bierbaums Answer Some Questions
During Mary and Tom Bierbaum's tenure on the Legion some rather intriguing sub-plots arose. After the Bierbaums left the series these formed dangling plot-threads for the new creative team to contend with. Unfortunately, most of the issues raised were left unresolved after the Gordian knot approach of the "reboot" (the point at which all previous stories were wiped out and continuity reset to day one) they were cast adrift forever, never to be answered... until now.
Of the LSH and SW6, who were the originals and why were the duplicates created?
Your [Mark's] answer […that the SW6s were clones of the original LSH, made from cell samples taken at various times from imprisoned Legionnaires. The why was simple, the Dominators wanted to have mindless super-powered slaves to conquer with. The later Time Trapper machinations were spliced onto the story afterwards by other hands…] is what was originally intended, though we didn't know at the time that these characters would be starring in the Legionnaires spinoff (although we did create the SW6 batch specifically in hopes that they could be used for the planned Legionnaires series, which was, at the time, being planned to retell Legion history). When the Legionnaires spin-off adopted the SW6 batch, we pushed to avoid designating either group as "clones", so nobody would have to feel that their preferred group wasn't the "real" Legion1. We felt it was an issue that could be left a mystery, to be tied up in some spectacular way in the future (say, when Keith could be wooed back to do a shake-up-the-universe mini-series). And ultimately, we would have pushed for a creative explanation that allowed for both groups to be "real" from their own perspective. Maybe two dimensions somehow merged into one and both Legions were the "real" Legions of their own dimension. That's kind of half-baked and off the top of my head, but I think that's the sort of thing we'd have tried to come up with.
1 Yeah, it shouldn't matter, but look at how many people care whether or not Peter Parker is a clone.
Did Imra know that Garth had Proty's mentality all along?
Yes and no, in the way people in the office know somebody is an alcoholic. It's the kind of secret that people don't have the courage to address directly, but that people realise on some level of consciousness, even if they remain in denial about it. And I think Saturn Girl, in fact, knew it in her heart but was in strong denial about it. I mean, it was hard for her to accept the death of Proty, hard for her to accept her hormonal attraction to the original jerky Garth and hard for her to accept that she didn't originally question and resist the "reformed" Garth after his resurrection. Besides, Imra no doubt has told herself on some level that maybe Garth is still in there on some level.
This all addresses why the SW6 Imra stood by her jerky Garth. For one thing, in their timeline, Garth had indeed sacrificed himself for Imra and then come back from the dead with (presumably) the noble Proty personality. Now, Garth is suddenly reverting to jerkhood again, and Imra's in a bind. She wants to believe she can bring out the noble guy once again and she doesn't want to believe she's been dating a "pod-person" all these years. So she tries to hold their relationship together in part because it reinforces her ability to deny the true nature of Garth after the resurrection2.
And yes, it was our feeling that Proty's personality really did inhabit Garth. I think originally we figured Garth was completely dead and gone, but over time, it seemed to make sense (as people suggested) that there were leftover memory patterns or something that helped Proty pull off the charade. Maybe, maybe not, since Proteans could just as easily have the ability to imitate thought patterns as physical patterns and maybe Proty had access to Garth's stored thought patterns. As we implied in Legionnaires #10-11 (or whatever numbers the Proty story was), we saw the Protys as being pretty good at "seeming" like the people they're imitating, almost to the point of having a hypnotic hold over the people they're trying to convince.
2 All of this would have changed had we determined that the SW6 kids were "real" and not clones. That was one of the biggest clues that the kids were clones - that Garth had his original personality. The other biggest clue was that there was an SW6 Ferro Lad, when the original Andrew had been killed prior to the point in the timeline from which the SW6ers were snatched.
Who was Squire Burroughs and what was his origin?
Again my memory's getting a bit fuzzy, but he was just a made-up brother of Drake whom the Dominators apprehended and began experimenting on, hoping to produce their own Wildfire. It worked (even though genetic predisposition probably had little to do with it) and they had their own brainwashed Wildfire. For us, he was just a lark. We had to come up with lists of names for the SW batches and we just thought it would be fun and appropriate to show that relatives of the Legionnaires were among those the Dominators were most interested in experimenting on.
What was in Sussa's canister?
Did they never answer that? I don't think we ever settled on a clear answer ourselves. We had a number of ideas and, obviously, never got a chance to follow through on any of them. Let's see. The only one I can clearly remember was the "Dial H for Hero" dial. Hmm. I think we also toyed with the idea that the Heckler costume was in there. The ring of the second Starfinger was also a possibility, as I recall, and Darkseid's Anti-Life Equation as well.
Many thanks to Mark Childress for passing on these answers to me.