Superman comic fans all know that when Clark Kent was a teenager, he met with a group of superheroic teens from the future known as the Legion of Superheroes - but up until now the Legion has been absent from the mythology of Smallville. That's all going to change on January 15th when the show returns to the air, as comic book writer Geoff Johns recently told MTV.

Johns is bringing the Legion, along with their classic enemy the Persuader, to the show, and the author couldn't be more excited. "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."

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Johns pitched the episode on the episode featuring the founding Legionnaires, Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad and Cosmic Boy, by explaining their relevance to Clark Kent at this point in the character's development. In the comics, the Legion helped Superboy understand how important it was that he become Superman. On Smallville, perhaps they will help push Clark towards embracing his destiny as a hero.

Johns was aware of the difficulties of bringing the characters into the slightly more realistic world of Smallville in terms of their appearance, and ultimately they settled on outfits that reflect their comic-book spandex uniforms, similar to what the show has already done with the various members of the Justice League. "So you got Saturn Girl in red and white with Saturn on her chest," Johns expained. "We had production meetings to talk through all the details. Do they have [flight] rings? What do they look like?"

The episode, titled LEGION does not rely on knowledge of the comic characters, but is written to keep fans of the comic happy. "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."

Smallville airs Thursday nights on the CW. New episodes, starting with LEGION begin on January 15, 2009. The drama about the early days of Clark Kent stars Tom Welling, Erica Durance, Allison Mack, Aaron Ashmore, Justin Hartley, Cassidy Freeman and Sam Witwer.