Adventure Comics #522 review

Mon-El’s first outing as a Green Lantern doesn’t take him far from Legion of Super-Heroes business as he must prevent a new villain from rescuing an old enemy. The old foe is Saturn Queen, being transported across space, unconscious, to prison planet Takron-Galtos. The newcomer who wants to prove he’s worthy of membership in the Legion of Super-Villains is Sun Killer.

Sun Sumo might be a better name, as he’s a big boy and obviously styled on the famed wrestlers. He’s also a tricky soul, blasting power-sapping red sun energy at Mon-El who, being new to power ring-slinging, doesn’t manage to apply the willpower to compensate. 

Still, he rallies the aid of of mentor cum sidekick Diogenes and wraps things up quickly so they can follow the trail of a weird blue baby who shows up briefly at the urging of Saturn Queen. For though in a sleep state, she’s broadcasting calls for aid, one of which brought Sun Killer to her. It seems Little Blue is the Adversary whose threat sparked Diogenes’ quest to recruit a new GL.

Mental marvel Tellus shows up afterwards to check on Saturn Queen, having been (relatively) nearby, standing by the injured Dawnstar on cosmic hospital Medicus One. And mysterious time expert Harmonia Li has a page or two in which to act mysterious.

‘Consequences’ rattles along at a fair old pace, giving us plenty of action-packed scenes while moving the large story along with questions aplenty. Will Mon-El’s apparent non-knack for power ring use motivate his speedily giving up the GL role and returning to the Legion as leader? How long before Saturn Queen shows that a girl in chains doesn’t have to be awake to get herself freed? Is the Adversary tot L’il Darkseid? How have humans, as Diogenes says, caused the coming crisis?

The story by Paul Levitz is a reminder of how formidable Saturn Queen is, with even Tellus creeped out by her mere presence – I can’t wait to see what happens in the coming LSV Special. New guy Sun Killer may be cuddly but he has a terrifying determination to him, and is even scarier in that he doesn’t seem to appreciate how deadly he is to ordinary sentients. Mon-El is on great form and really doesn’t need a power ring – I’m sure he’d have seen Sun Killer off sooner had he not been distracted by his new trinket.

Mind, I was surprised to see him fall briefly to red sun rays – last I remember, our guy was immune as a result of the serum that protects him from lead poisoning. And new Science Police office Lt Amadi has his hand seemingly shattered by heat on one page, only for it to be fine a few pages later. Either he has healing powers, it’s an artistic blip or – most likely – I’m misreading.

Speaking of art, Geraldo Borges is back on pencils and very good he is too. There’s excitement to the pages as he gives Sun Killer (who reminds me, visually, of old Legion foe Omega) a suitably murderous intensity. And his Mon-El has power and grace, though his hair’s a tad fluffy – Mon’s ‘do should be jet black and darned straight. I like that we’re shown just how protective transuits are activated, and Oan grub Diogene suddenly looks like a viable character. It’s sterling work, embellished with style by Marlo Alquiza, lettered by Sal Cipriano and coloured by Hi-Fi.

Kicking off the book is a DC Icons cover by Scott Clark and David Beaty featuring favourite ladies of the Legion. It’s generally splendid, though I hope they’re on their way to the Clubhouse cafe to feed themselves up … what a lot of skinny Minnies.

8 thoughts on “Adventure Comics #522 review

  1. I hadn't caught the Lead Serum Gaffe, well spotted. A curious glitch for Levitz to make but while it was a good issue I do have some antipathy to Saturn Queen's prescence. I know she goes all the way back to the Silver-Age but to me she and the original LSV trio were always obscure oddities, they certainly never made any noteworthy appearances in the 70s or 80s Legion that I can recall and most of my knowledge comes from that Superman/Batman run a few years back.
    I just find it odd modern writers are playing her and the other two up because of all that… I never knew them as major threats. Universo, Mordru, the Fatal Five, Starfinger, indeed even old Evillo and Mantis Morlo got more airtime than the original LSV during the original Legion series'.

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  2. I'd say underuse is a reason for Paul Levitz to have a crack at upping the threat level of the LSV's founding trio. We didn't see them much in the old days but they had a deliciously evil vibe.

    I wouldn't pay much mind to the Superman/Batman Saturn Queen appearance, that whole story was mad – I expect it'll be ignored. We shall see!

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  3. It's amazing to think that a couple of years ago we had no Legion, now we're getting three books in a single month. DC seems to have realised that while LSH isn't a massive seller at the moment, it's guaranteed to sell a certain amount.

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  4. It's amazing to think that a couple of years ago we had no Legion, now we're getting three books in a single month. DC seems to have realised that while LSH isn't a massive seller at the moment, it's guaranteed to sell a certain amount.

    I hope so, I think re-establishing the original continuity and adding trusted hand Paul Levitz is a great advertisement, especially as his work is still so immensely enjoyable.
    A part of the appeal of the Legion historically wasn't just the escapism aspect but the convincing & fun universe it built for itself, much like the Superman books did after the '86 revamp.

    It's still not clear what direction exacty Levitz is steering the Legion in but the Geoff Johns Apartheid/racism allegory doesn't seem much of a part of it. That's maybe for the best as I just wouldn't want that intensity of topic to become the 31st Centurys defining feature, typically the Legion has always been about defending us (the United Planets) from them, whether that be the Dominator/Khund empires or dictators like Mordru and Universo.
    While the Green Lantern aspect currently being pursued fits into that I'm a bit weary of DCs increased tendency for pimping that franchise all over its line of product as well.
    I don't think the Legion needs to be bolted onto it, even tangentially, as others like Hawk & Dove or Firestorm are in danger of being.

    But lets raise a glass for the idea of Legion Academy, it's not original given the X-men and Avengers are doing it right now but in its defence there has always been a Legion of Subs, and this is just picking that old tradition up and rolling with it.
    I think this is an excellent means of introducing potential recruits and seeing if they are popular enough to oin the Legion proper, given the team is badly undermanned they need it, but especially so as thanks to the passing of time and over 20 years of franchising in comics the LSH has gone from THE biggest team in comics to one of the smallest…. now there's irony.

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  5. I agree, David. Much of the Legion's appeal hasn't been any individual issue — though there have been many excellent ones — but the gradual accumulation of a universe around the group. And I'm happy to see that universe & history expand once again, after so many years in limbo.

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  6. I would argue that the appearance of the original LSV is off. All of them were in the initial arc of the Baxter series back in the '80s. Although Nemesis Kid was running them then. Cosmic King doesn't show up hardly at all, but Lightning Lord is always around.

    I am disturbed by Diogene the big, blue space sperm.

    Oh, one other thing, the girls on the cover have an evil look on their faces.

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