The first issue of this new Superboy and Legion of Superheroes series was a nice start though I was not blown away by it. Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul did a good job hooking me in with Adventure Comics #1 which was in no small part by Manapul’s gorgeous artwork. Though I hope Johns picks the story up a bit as the slow burn approach he seems to be taking can hurt his run especially since it ends with issue #6. Let see what Adventure Comics #2 has in store.
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Francis Manapul
Colorist: Brian Buccellato
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with the US Military hunting down Brainiac who has Lex Luthor with him. (Don’t know when this happened. Would have been nice to be given a clue of when it happened.) The soldiers talk about how Lex escaped his cell and that Brainiac and Lex seem to be working together. As the soldiers talk their helicopter is attacked by Brainiac’s ship.
Inside of Brainiac’s ship Lex talks about how he had to study Brainiac and the knowledge he held of Planet Krypton. Lex tells Brainiac that Brainiac has turned himself into a God of Knowledge. Brainiac tells Lex Gods do not exist. Lex says he should tell the people of Earth that as they see Superman as their God. He continues to say how Superman is the reason he is not curing diseases, famine, and environmental disasters. (Did anyone else think that Lex and Brainiac were going to merge into one being like they did in the JLU cartoon while they talked?)
Brainiac says that Kal-El will die and Kandor will return to him and that Lex will inherit the Earth. Lex looks at a pod containing somebody (probably Superboy’s body before the Legion got it in LO3W) that it is his.
We cut to the Kent household were Connor is getting ready for a date, while continuing to check of things from his list of things Superman and Lex Luthor would do. The door bell rings and Connor goes to get it and sees Cassie (Wonder Girl). Cassie enters the house and greets Krypto and Ma Kent. Ma Kent tells Connor and Cassie that dinner will take another 10 minutes. Connor says that he and Cassie will take a walk while they wait.
Outside Connor and Cassie walk around Kent Farm reaching a picnic table were they talk about how much they missed each other. Connor tries to talk about the year he was gone but Cassie, who pictures her kiss with Tim, changes the subject.
As they talk Krypto flies in and drops of a picnic basket with the food Ma Kent was preparing. Connor and Cassie sit down to eat and Cassie brings up how Connor is trying to live Clark’s life by going to Smallville High and living with the Kents. Cassie continues by saying she does not want to be his Lana Lang. (Just by saying that she officially is Connor’s Lana Lang, though more like the annoying one from the Smallville TV show than the comic book version.)
Connor talks about how much he screwed up in the past with him being controlled by Lex and hurting everyone he loved (see the Teen Titans/Outsiders crossover “The Insiders”). As Connor reaches for Cassie’s hand she pulls her hand away. Connor asks her what’s wrong.
With some hesitation Cassie finally tells Connor that she and Tim kissed. She says it will never happen again and starts crying. Connor grabs Cassie and tells her everything is okay and that he loves her. They then kiss while Krypto holds up the picnic table they were on high in the air.
We cut back to Brainiac’s ship were Lex is looking through different headlines and see an article by Lois Lane talking about Superboy’s return. Lex is in shock that Superboy has returned. End of story.
Writer: Geoff Johns and Michael Shoemaker
Artist: Clayton Henry
Colorist: Brian Reber
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In the 31st century we see Rokk (Cosmic Boy) and Imra (Saturn Girl) having a conversation about Garth (Lighting Lad) and if they should tell him something. Rokk is against telling Garth but Imra says they must tell Garth.
Garth then flies in and ask them what they are talking about. Garth says he already apologized for the incident at the State of the Earth Address even though it’s an event swarming with anti-alien sentiment and president who’s a human supremacist. Garth yells at Rokk what else does he want. Rokk says he doesn’t want anything but its his brother, Mekt, how wants a meeting with Garth in exchange for Mekt giving up the Legion of Super-Villains location.
We then shift to New Takron-Galtos the Prison Planet where Garth tells the security guards he is there to talk to Mekt. The guards say Garth does not have clearance to visit his brother. They tell him to wait as they see if he can visit his brother.
As Garth walks through the prison Storm Boy asks if he is here to visit his brother. Garth grabs the bars to Storm Boy’s prison and sends some lighting into his cell saying Storm Boy is nothing but a reject. Storm Boy says Garth is no better than his brother. The guard tells Garth he now has clearance.
Garth enters his brother’s cell and asks him what he wants. Mekt says he wants his help. Garth can’t believe Mekt is asking for his help after he tried to kill him and his friends. Mekt says that the United Planets are tearing apart and that Garth and his friends are on the wrong side of the war. Garth ask what war is Mekt talking about, the war between the two of them and Garth’s twin sister since they were tagged by the Lighting Beasts?
Mekt says that is the only time he felt connected to his siblings and that for Garth it has always been easy as he has had Ayla while he had no one. Garth asks if this is all because Makt is the only one of their people not to have a twin. Garth continues to say he tried to be a brother to Mekt. Mekt smirks and says it is not true.
Garth asks what Mekt is talking about. Mekt tells Garth that their parents lied to them as Mekt did have a twin and that their parents hid it from them. Mekt tells Garth he wants Garth to look for his twin.
Later we see Garth leaving the Prison Planet and he sets a course for Winath. End of issue.
The Good: Adventure Comics #2 was a very underwhelming read. Geoff Johns has failed to catch my interest for this new Superboy and Legion of Superheroes title. Still there were a couple positive things about this issue.
One of them is how Johns is taking the time to reestablish Connor back into the DCU after being gone for a few years. What I like about this is that unlike back in his time as a Teen Titan Connor actually comes off as a likable character. During Johns Teen Titans run Connor, along with Cassie, were my least favorite characters as the whole emo thing Connor had back then made him a very dull character.
Johns does a lot of character work for Connor in these past two issues to show the reader why Connor is an interesting character, and one of his pet characters. And it is because Connor has learned from his death that he needs to actually live his life and stop letting every little thing get him down like he used to do that he has become more likable. By doing this it also allows long time readers to see how much Connor has matured since he first appeared and in his time as part of Young Justice and Teen Titans.
I also liked that Johns didn’t make Connor the angry, jealous boyfriend when Cassie revealed she and Tim kissed. It is nice to see Connor reassure Cassie that all that stuff is in the past and that he still loves her. It made for a sweet final moment for the two characters.
Also I did enjoy the scenes between Lex and Brainiac. I like that DC has decided to take Lex back to his roots as a sinister mad scientist. It should be interesting to learn what he and Brainiac have in store for Superman and New Krypton as well as how Lex deals with his “son” being back.
Francis Manapul’s for this issue is just plain gorgeous. On his art alone Manapul took a story that probably was around a 4 or 5 rating and made me give the story a 6. I just love all the detail and emotion Manapul puts into this issue that is mostly talking heads. I especially loved that single splash page of Brainiac’s ship attacking the military helicopters.
The Bad: The thing that holds this issue and series back is the slow and methodical pace that Johns is taking with his story. While it is a good way to reestablish a character that has returned from the dead it hurts the overarching story Johns is trying to tell.
And what hurts the pace Johns has decided to take with this series is that we already know that he is going to be leaving this book after issue #6 to work on the new Flash ongoing series, and taking Francis Manapul with him. This kills any sort of momentum that this series might have had as Johns has clearly written these first two issues as start up points for an even larger story he was waiting to tell. But because his run on this title ends with issue #6 any long-term plans he had for this series is thrown out the window as with a new creative team there will most likely be a new direction for this series.
Also I am not too sure about the choice of Paul Levitz, former President of DC Comics, being helmed to take over writing duties. I am not familiar with Levitz’s work but it feels like a strange choice for a series about a teenage superhero. And I am not taking his age into account but it is more that it has been a long time since he has written anything of note that he will probably be very rusty. Coming on to write a book like Adventure Comics seems like an odd choice for him to begin writing on an ongoing basis again.
Also what hurt the main story for me is that I felt like I was missing out on a lot as Johns seemed to be referencing things going on in the current Superman books. This is the only Superman book that I am currently reading and I felt a bit lost in the references Johns. I would have liked it if Johns and DC would have put a little box in the corner telling me what issue in the Superman books did Lex’s escaped happened or when the government got Brainiac in their possession. But for now I am just left wondering what Lex and Brainiac are doing together and if this story does or does not tie into what is going on in the Superman books.
And I am not a big fan of the Connor and Cassie relationship. Back in Johns Teen Titans run their relationship was very annoying. Their relationship feels like it is a been there, done that type scenario and would love to see the two move on from the other and explore other relationships for a while.
Also by putting them back together so soon also puts Cassie back in her role of Connor’s girl. And I know Johns was trying to be funny by have Cassie say she does not want to be Connor’s version of Lana Lang but that is exactly how it feels. And by putting Cassie back into that role it reminds me of how much of a missed opportunity it has been to grow Cassie’s character while Connor was gone.
As for the Legion of Superhero back-up it was another disappointing back-up. Unlike the disappointing first back-up were Johns just introduced the characters by only giving us their names and powers the reason this back-up was disappointing is because I had no idea what was going on. The story seems to be written for long-time readers of the Legion and not for new readers like me.
While I understood the basics of the story with Garth meeting with his brother Mekt and how Mekt does have a twin I was not very interested in the story as I am not familiar with these characters. And at least for this issue Garth came off as a bit of an unlikable and boring character as all he did the whole issue was be angry. Doesn’t seem like a very deep character to me.
Also Clayton Henry’s artwork did not help the back-up as it was just average artwork. And I did not like how Henry made Cosmic Boy, Saturn Girl, and Lightning Lad look like they were in their late twenties, early thirties. This is supposed to be a new version of the Legion but the whole look Henry gave the issue made it feel like there is way too much history with these characters for new readers to get into this the team.
Overall: Adventure Comics #2 was a disappointing read especially with the news Johns and Manapul are leaving this book after issue #6. The slow and methodical approach Johns is taking with this series made this issue a boring read. Fans that are reading the current Superman books and are up to speed with the direction of the franchise will probably enjoy this series more than new readers like me. After this issue I am considering dropping this series before Johns run is over though I’ll let a quick flip through at my LCS for the next issue decide that.