Comic Book Review: Adventure Comics #0

The Revolution has mixed feelings about DC’s new Adventure Comics. I guess I should be grateful that DC is throwing me any scraps as a Legion fan and at least are allowing the Legion to be a part of the rotating cast of characters that are slated to appear in Adventure Comics. However, my resentment over DC’s continual shoddy handling of the Legion and the cancelling of their own title has left too much of a bitter taste in my mouth. And don’t even get me started on the “Justin Thyme” script that we got in Legion of Super Heroes #50. Therefore, my excitement over Adventure Comics is quite muted.

Adventure Comics #0 is a teaser issue that delivers a re-print of the first Legion of Super Heroes appearance in Adventure Comics #247 that came out in 1958. We are also getting a small Origins & Omens back-up story to pimp the upcoming Blackest Night event. Let’s go ahead and hit this review for Adventure Comics #0.

Creative Team

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Francis Manapul

Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with a re-print of Adventure Comics #247. It is the first story of Superboy and the Legion of Super Heroes. It is written by Otto Binder and the art is by Al Pastino. It is a fantastic story and well worth reading. I have read this issue many times.

After the conclusion of the reprint of Adventure Comics #247, we get a new Origins & Omens story. It begins with Scar, the scarred Guardian, reading the book of the Black Lanterns. Evidently, Scar is possessed by the power of the Black Lantern. Scar mentions that she no longer serves the Universe. That Scar now serves another force that has crept inside of her. Scar says that the Book of the Black contains all who glow with the invisible light of sentient emotion.

Scar says that deep within this book shines Lex Luthor who affects the lives of heroes like no other. Scar says that Lex will facilitate a being that may well disrupt their frenzy. A being that struggles with the process of emotions and that is much more like Lex than even Lex knows. We see Lex finishing working on Brainiac. Lex thinks about how his intellect and imagination where his keys out of Smallville and away from his father. Lex continues that he built an empire and that he owned Metropolis.

Then Superman appeared on the scene and made the people of Metropolis wish they could be him. Lex spits that it was an impossible dream. Lex continues that the people of Earth should be looking to Lex in order to see what humans are truly capable of. That Lex can give humans the possible. Lex adds that with Superman in his way that his philanthropic gifts to the world must wait.

Lex then wheels Brainiac out of his lab and towards Brainiac’s ship. The U.S. army guards draw their guns on Lex and tell Lex that he is not allowed to take Brainiac’s body out of the lab. Lex retorts that he has unlocked Brainiac’s technology and he is currently in control of Brainiac, Brainiac’s androids and Brainiac’s ship. Lex orders Brainiac to take out the guards. Brainiac springs to life and kills the guards. Lex and Brainiac then walk to Brainiac’s ship. Lex says “You’d think they’d learn by now. Lex Luthor is no one’s prisoner.

Brainiac then says that Lex is mistaken. Brainiac says that Brainiac is no one’s prisoner. Brainiac reveals that he let Lex tamper with his body so that Lex would then get Brainiac close to his bio-shell. Brainiac grabs Lex by the throat. Brainiac says that they are not leaving this facility. Brainiac then says “And I will tell you why…you and I are working together.”

We cut back to Scar still reading the Book of the Black. Scar says that the Book makes no mention of Brainiac. Scar continues that the Book does mention that there is another person that Lex will have control over. We see a panel shot of Kon-El flying in the air with his black Superboy t-shirt on. Scar says “But he is dead. And we control the dead. For once I bear witness to the Book of the Black…And I question what it shows me. The dead will save you, Lex Luthor. From Brainiac. From Superman. And from yourself.” We get a tagline that says the story is to be continued in Adventure Comics #1. End of issue.

Commentary

The Good: The Origin and Omens story in Adventure Comics #0 was a nice Blackest Night teaser. Johns has hinted before that Scar has been working behind the backs of the rest of the Guardians and now we see for sure that she is. Scar appears to be set to become the head of the Black Lantern Corps. This was a pretty neat move. I am getting more and more excited to see the Black Lantern Corps with each moment.

Johns does a great job with Lex Luthor in this issue. I always enjoy how Johns handles Lex’s character. It appears that Johns is tweaking Lex’s origin. We are certainly getting a much more Silver Age styled origin to Lex Luthor. It appears that the Post-Crisis on Infinite Earths origin for Lex Luthor has been scrapped. I have always preferred the Silver Age origin of Lex Luthor so I do not mind this tweaking of Lex’s origin. Having said that, readers who grew up with the Post-Crisis on Infinite Earths Luthor may not be thrilled with yet another move by DC to bring New Earth more in line with the Silver Age.

I am intrigued with the plot twist of Brainiac regaining control of himself and informing Lex that the two of them will be working together. This is a classic villain team-up and I am interested in seeing what Johns has in store for us with this plotline.

Of course, the big moment was at the end with the Kon-El teaser. Obviously, we are going to see Conner once again in some form or another. It is interesting that Scar says that Lex will have control over Conner even though Conner is dead which means that it should be the Black Lanterns who have control over Conner. It is certainly possible that Kon-El will not be a Black Lantern.

One possibility is that Lex is going to re-clone Kon-El. Or possibly the third stage of Brainiac’s plan over on Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds #3 will turn out to be Brainy re-cloning Kon-El. After all, the Legion did just help to bring back Bart Allen. I am sure Young Justice fans are rejoicing the return of Bart and the looking return of Kon-El.

Johns does an excellent job melding the New Krypton story with the Blackest Night event in order to try and weave the fabric of the DCU into a more cohesive structure where various titles actually touch and impact on each other. Johns does his best to try and create a more unified vision for the DCU. And this is critical considering the fact that DiDio flip-flops so much that he gives the DCU a scatterbrained feel with no unified vision or master plan.

I thought it was brilliant of Johns to link these two large storylines together in order to create even more excitement and interest in both stories. I may be critical of some aspects of Johns writing, but his plotting abilities and his world building skills are truly impressive.

Francis Manapul cranked out some great artwork. This was not the same Image styled artwork than what we got from Manapul over on Legion of Super Heroes. Manapul’s art looked intense and it created a wonderful creepy and dark mood that matched the tone of the back-up issue.

The Bad: While I enjoyed re-reading the story from Adventure Comics #247, it also gave me an bad feeling. It is sad to see the Legion after stepping out of Superboy’s shadow and finally gaining their own title nearly thirty years ago regressing all the way back to where they were in 1958. The reports coming from New York Comic Con seem to indicate that Geoff Johns will be writing Adventure Comics and that this title will be featuring a rotating cast of supporting characters from the Superman family. Among these supporting characters will be the Legion of Super Heroes.

I am less than pleased that the Legion will not even be appearing in ever issue of Adventure Comics. The Legion have fallen so far that they have gone from having their own monthly title to guest starring on Adventure Comics on an irregular basis. The fact is that DiDio has not just stunted the Legion’s growth, but he has actually de-evolved the Legion all the way back to having them mere supporting characters to Superman. That is so depressing. At least it is to this long-time Legion fan.

This direction of the Legion of Super Heroes shows a complete lack of vision on the part of DiDio. This is not a creative and forward thinking approach. This is like Chrysler panicking that they cannot design and sell modern cars so they cobble together a “retro” car in the Dodge Challenger that looks and feels straight out of the 1970’s.

DC is showing the same lack of imagination, vision and forward thinking with the Legion of Super Heroes. Instead of trying to progress and further evolve the Legion as its own fully functioning identity, DiDio is taking the easy and cheap road by simply giving up. DiDio decides to turn back the clock on the Legion and take them back to their old Silver Age Adventure Comics era.

Overall: Johns is a master world builder who knows how to pimp big events. Johns manages to use a six page back-up story that gets the reader excited about both Blackest Night and New Krypton as well as enticing the reader to come back and buy Adventure Comics #1. That is impressive to sell the reader three separate items all in such a short story. By tying these stories together even slightly it helps to create more broad appeal to these various stories among comic book readers.

As much as I enjoyed the six page back-up story, it just is not enough substance for me to recommend that readers who have been enjoying either New Krypton or the prelude to Blackest Night to go and purchase this issue. However, Kon-El fans who have been starving to see their boy in any shape or form might want to go ahead and get this issue.

2 Comments

  1. I hold out a little more hope for the Legion, even as they retreat to rotating appearances in Adventure. If DC was having problems with the recent book, maybe the best thing is to pull back, and give another Legion book a fresh start once DC has a clearer direction lined out.

    And the last Lo3W gave more details on the previous meeting of all three Legions so there is obviously a story to tell, Flash-heavy though it would be. If Johns features them in another of his big events, the Legion’s higher profile will help sell a relaunched Legion ongoing.

  2. ..

    This was a pointless comic whos new content should have been in a Superman title or even a Green Lantern book.

    As for Didio, I personally don’t think he knows what to do with the LSH but for whatever reason won’t put the resources behind it to issue a monthly.

    If Didio he would put the effort given to Countdown to the LSH, we’d have a book full of pure satisfaction.

    How can “teen-age-heroes-in-space” go wrong? It’s just Green Lantern Corps without the chromatic rings.

    I’d be happy with a “Mary Jane Loves Spider-man” treatment at this point.

    Didio makes a lot out of “returning to the iconic versions of characters” idea. But isn’t the iconic version of LSH the Jim Shooter/Mike Grell not the Gardner Fox “Superboy’s Pals” stuff?

    I also thought the Adv 247 reprint KICKED ASS on that Luthor/Brainiac back-up nonsense.

    ..

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