ACTION COMICS 864

Awww, this just brought a big old smile to my face. Silver Age nostalgia meets 21st century (what else?) action. The story has Lightning Lad (my, that fella just won’t grow up!) dropping Superman off in the 21st century and staying for a reminisce in the Fortress of Solitude. They’re sitting in the Interplanetary Zoo from the Silver Age, complete with Kryptonian Thought Beast, and swapping funny anecdotes. Batman turns up, and is understandably suspicious that this is the third version of the Legion he’s met, and we’re given actual issue numbers for the relevant comics (that’s the Silver Age team in the JLA/JSA team-up from JLA 148-9; the Final Night meeting with the post-Zero Hour team; and the recent Brave & Bold run-in with the current rude kids).

So writer Geoff Johns wasn’t kidding – everything is back in continuity, so far as he’s concerned. This fact is underlined by the issue’s mystery narrator – I guessed who that was pretty quickly (no, it’s not the narrator from DC Universe 0!), but in case you’re going to buy this book, I’ll leave that a pleasure (hopefully, anyway) to be discovered. And if you’re not buying the book, othe reviews will perhaps be less discreet!

The three heroes wind up in Gotham City, where the post-Countdown bodies of Karate Kid and Mono Maiden are found, courtesy of Mystery Narrator dumping them there. There’s then a meeting with Legionnaire Star Boy aka Thom Kallor, currently the JSA’s Starman, and a tad brain addled still. What’s intriguing here is that, as I choose to read a comment from the narrator, he’s not actually schizophrenic, as believed, just unable to deal with knowledge of the future given him by Dream Girl.

Then there’s Thom’s comment: ‘But Karate Kid IS dead. AGAIN!’ That’s interesting, because the presence of Val Armorr in and beyond the Lightning Saga was pointed out by many readers as a sign that this ISN’T quite the original, Silver Age Legion grown up, as Val died in that continuity, courtesy of Nemesis Kid (well done NK, well done crispy Val). But now it seems that the apparent mistake was part of Geoff John’s plan. I look forward to seeing where this goes next.

Thom also takes a step here towards becoming the Danny Blaine of the James Robinson Starman posited future, and gives Superman a piece of ‘art’ he’s created, no doubt a clue to something or other.

The characterisation is great throughout – Batman and Lightning Lad are intense in different ways, while Superman loves both his friends but accepts that there’s no point trying to make them into drinking buddies.

Guest artist Joe Prado does a great job, tapping into his inner Gary Frank while showing off his own talent. Shame about Lightning Lad’s appalling curtains haircut – the rest of his look is great, especially the tattoo.

The issue is rounded off by a terrific Kevin Maguire cover – four books read and I think this will be my comic of the week.

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