It’s Graduation Day for Legion Academy students Nightwind, Power Boy, Lamprey and Crystal Kid but celebrations are muted in some quarters. Most of the younger students are deflated, angry or both at the fact that after years of training, none of the graduates are off to the Legion of Super-Heroes. They’re leaving Montauk Point, outside Metropolis, to join the Science Police.
Miss Uncongeniality, Dragonwing, reckons the students have been sold a crock, that no one will ever be deemed good enough for the Legion. Variable Lad is more sanguine, hinting that he rolls with the punches because life’s not been easy for him. Chemical Kid takes the cynical view, as ever, enjoying the chance to get up Gravity Kid’s nose. Something’s on the latter’s mind, and we see what it as he joins the departing Power Boy, Jed Rikane. Jed fears he’s going to spend the rest of his life ‘slamming animals back into their cages on Takron-Galtos’, bringing a tender response from Gravity Kid.
Meanwhile, someone’s breaking into Legion HQ in Metropolis. In a wonderfully corny way that homages Adventure Comics past, they’re shown only in shadow, despite plenty of light sources. Their thoughts make it clear they’re a member of the Legion of Super-Villains, but who? We eventually see that it’s the man with Element Lad’s powers known as – what else? – Cosmic King. Soon he’s battling Legion Academy tutors Duplicate Girl, Bouncing Boy and Night Girl, who have answered an alarm. They put up a decent fight, but the peculiarly named transmuter wrecks the oxygen supply, choking the heroes.
Still, there’s one more line of defence – Comet Queen has grabbed Dragonwing and Chemical Kid and followed her teachers. Cosmic King’s not worried, though …
… he should be, as this is the penultimate issue of the current Adventure Comics run. We know that some Academy members are going to be filling in LSH slots vacated by the sub-team about to be Legion Lost in the 21st century. I wouldn’t bet against it being the Academy students, fast-tracked into the big time after saving the day next month.
As for this month, it’s another great showing for the Academy strip. The characters are growing, with the quiet confirmation of the relationship between Gravity Kid and Power Boy not liable to scare any horses. So they’re in love, it’s no big deal. The incursion by Cosmic King ties into the Legion of Super-Villains storyline in the Legion of Super-Heroes title without being dependent upon it. Comet Queen shines with her can-do attitude, contrasting with that of Night Girl, who reckons she’s useless in the light (it’s pretty poor if after all these years she’s not developed a few tricks she can fall back on).
Duplicate Girl impresses with her take-charge attitude in the field, while husband Bouncing Boy demonstrates that he’s the king of emotional intelligence. And not someone you want to slam into your face.
Interpreting Paul Levitz’s splendid script are two pencillers, regular team member Geraldo Borges and new recruit Ransom Getty, and inkers Marlo Alquiza and Rob Hunter. The gentlemen acquit themselves well, excelling in both the big and small moments. The nearest thing to a problem is Gravity Kid’s hair, which was almost acceptable under his visual daddy, Phil Jimenez, but now looks tragic. The painted-on beard, the pudding bowl hair, it’s over-designed, too faffy – awful. It’s a good thing the rest of him looks rather nice.
On a happier note, there’s a very cute close-up of Bouncing Boy towards the end, as Getty and Hunter make him look as rounded and plastic as he would do.
Overall, the artwork’s tasty throughout, and beautifully coloured by Hi-Fi. John J Hill provides the lettering, and does a great job.
The striking cover, by Francis Portela and Javier Mena, had me thinking poor Duplicate Girl was going to be Canon Fodder Lass yet again, losing a body in battle – it must be so tempting now she can manifest in multiples. Levitz resists, but not before teasing us with a reference to Computo, the first entity to kill a Luornu Durgo.
I’m going to miss this title enormously, once it makes way for The New 52. It’s gone through several changes of direction in the couple of years since it was ‘uncancelled’, finding a real winner with this strip. Hopefully, it’ll not be long gone.