Adventure Comics #521 review

I’ve enjoyed the recent tales of the early Legion of Super-Heroes, but I’m delighted to see Adventure Comics move to current continuity. I know this phase will be short-lived, but even a month or two of bi-weekly 31st-century fun is to be treasured.

Especially when we get a story as fine as ‘The Summons of the Ring’. I’ve moaned about the heavy use of Green Lantern mythology in the LSH title over the last several months, and here it’s the cover-featured storyline. But if we must have the business front and centre in order to get it over with, and see the strips centred on all-Legion activities, bring it on.

Dyogene, the mysterious servant of Oa, turns up at Legion Clubhouse in a last bid to find someone to be a new Green Lantern and tackle some unrevealed threat. Shadow Lass is peeved to be snubbed, but new beau Earth-Man/Murdering Scumbag shows rare sensitivity in pointing out that being ignored by an ethereal, inhuman, floating green sperm thing likely isn’t personal. Bless.

Gathering all Earth-based Legionnaires, Dyogene finds someone to be Green Lantern – Mon-El. Having been dumped by the faithless Shadow Lass, he’s rightly ready for a change. While I don’t understand why a Green Lantern ring should be, to my mind, wasted on someone who already has immense power, there is precedent in the form of whiny Daxamite Sodam Yat. And Mon-El, while being one of the longest-serving Legionnaires, hasn’t been spotlighted in the current run, so it’ll be good to see him in action. Plus, his new-look costume is a winner (fear not, he still has the Big Yellow Fasteners). I just hope his teammates get involved, this being, you know, a team book.

The most interesting aspect of the whole business is the reaction of Shadow Lass, virtually begging Mon-El not to leave the Legion. It seems she’s simply been using Earth-Man in a bid to make her ex jealous. Well tough luck, Tasmia – you made your bed, now Earth-Man can lie in it.

There’s another storyline this time, in which Invisible Kid, Sun Boy, Tellus, Element Lad, Dawnstar and Wildfire rescue humans and animals alike from an earthquake in Africa. All the members get some play, but it’s Element Lad who stands out by dint of clever power use, and brains. When it becomes apparent that this is no natural disaster, energy blaster Wildfire and pathfinder supreme Dawnstar follow a trail into space, only to get a nasty surprise. 

At the risk of sounding like Broken-Record Kid, writer Paul Levitz proves once more that he’s up there with the best of them when it comes to juggling characters, powers and plot. Even when the concept of a story doesn’t grab me, Levitz has me applauding. And I love the little touches, such as his remembering that Wildfire isn’t just a jock, he’s an astrophysicist – I don’t think that’s been mentioned since the Seventies.

Regular inker Marlo Alquiza teams up with visiting penciller Geraldo Borges and the two produce excellent work – the Legionaires are good-looking, strong, dynamically posed and all-round heroic. Even Earth-Man and his Mutton Chops of Mayhem. Expressions are dramatic, but never over the top, while the big action moments have plenty of impact. Hi-Fi’s colours are, as ever, better than average, with a splash of Dyogenes bathing the Legionnaires in green energy especially effective.

The cover, by Scott Clark and David Beaty, takes a similar tack, and the composition and colours work well. 

Even if it is a Green Lantern cover.

There’s a back-up. It’s the Atom, still running around trying to help long-lost Uncle Dave beat shady scientists. It’s written by Jeff Lemire, drawn by Mahmud Asrar and John Dell, and perfectly OK … but I’d rather see more of the Legion’s strip.

Still, this is the last of the Atom in Adventure Comics, as it becomes a $2.99 book and drops 10 story pages. So long as the Legion sticks around, whether it be the regulars or upcoming adventures of the Academy students, I’ll be happy.

15 thoughts on “Adventure Comics #521 review

  1. For as long as I have been reading Legion stories (about 50 years), writers have had to deal with keeping Superboy and Mon-El from overpowering their teammates. Superboy had to be in stories because he had to be on the cover. But he often woul show up and leave (ovten with Mon-El) on some space or time mission. Even after Superboy resigned, Mon-El was used mainly in big story lines. This is the ultimate solution, write him out. He'll be back at least to handle this bevulous crisis looming out there, and when he does it will be a very big deal.


  2. I remember those excuses for removal, very funny. I suspect that's what led to the creation of the Time Trapper … something massive that the most powerful members had to deal with off-panel, and eventually we got to meet him.

    I like knowing that Mon-El is around and on the team. I'm fine with him often being off on a space mission but back for the big events … it just doesn't feel like the LSH without those BYFs on display.


  3. i like that you point out the yellow disc fasteners on Mon-el's costume. I really love those. And also the curtain-like thingie atop his undies.
    Haven't read the issue yet, but if given the chance (like if they put this to a reader vote like they do for the legion leader), I would vote for Duplicate Damsel as the new GL, she would be a corps herself


  4. Thanks Will. One of my fan chums had an apa-zine called Big Yellow Fasteners, so the phrase sticks with me.

    I do like Mon-El'ss style, very Silver Age Jor-El. How do you feel about Lightning Lad's oddly gathered-at-the-top trunks? Have you read Teenagers From the Future, the collection of essays on the Legion? There's a great one on 30th Century Fashion.


  5. Not only am I happy to have this book set in the present-day future, but I'm just as happy that Kevin Sharpe is off the book for the foreseeable future. I never warmed up to his work.

    At the end of the Atom story, I thought, “Oh, hell, I have to pick up *another* book to get to the end of this snoozefest?” And then happily realized I had to do no such thing. I wish no ill toward Ray Palmer, but at least Ryan Choi had quirky, fun stories built around him. This one's been a series of 8-page slogs to nowhere, with I think only one decent cliffhanger among them.

    Wouldn't it be a kick if Mon-El were elected leader? That's what the Omnicom's highly unscientific exit poll is predicting.


  6. I just can't see where Mon-El would get the support – I thought I was pretty much his only fan during his recent run in Superman. Still, it would indeed be interesting for him to win (it's a shame there apparently wasn't time to see anyone campaigning for the position – can you see Mon actually wanting it?)

    I'm with you as regards the Atom, I'm just not interested enough to buy another 'special'. I grew up with Ray, but I prefer to read about Ryan.


  7. Cant believe DC picked Mon-el as the new GL! Its not as if Mr Morose ever needed any stronger powers. And hes off on another mission, Rao knows where. If only Tinya had beeb leader! Nice cover tho; very evocative of those old Silver Age covers. I call those gold thingies Mon-el has snappers [like the old snap buttons you used to get on old duffle coats]. Ive got Teenagers From the Future book too, highly informative.


  8. Thanks for steering me over here from Legion Abstract. That's the kind of length of comment I was looking for!

    Fabulous that you've put an image of the cover up there too. Will be following along here from now on too…


  9. By the way, I tried to use your Labels to get to other Legion related posts (or at least Paul Levitz related stuff), but your Labels actually seems to be just one long label. It might be my ignorance but, er, are you using the Labels correctly? I can't seem to select just the term I want. Maybe you need to put commas or semi-colons or something else between Labels in order for them to come up as separate terms?


  10. Oh Lordy Rob, I never even knew labels were meant to be clickable. I'll sort that. Meanwhile, I'm pretty sure the search box will bring up Legion of Super-Heroes and Adventure Comics posts. The listing by months, too – I reckon I've done every new LSH issue, and a fair few Adventures.

    Sorry about that! Am bear of very little brain.

    And thanks for popping along (if anyone reading this is interested in the LSH and doesn't know of Matthew's Legion abstract, there's a link in my blogroll on the right of the main page).

    And if any LSH readers (from anywhere) wish to know about a brilliant UK-based Legion apa, yell!


  11. wow haven't heard of that essay collection, must look for that!:) am a really big silver age fan (been reading my dad's 60's collection for years now)


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