Current Reviews


Adventure Comics #524

Posted: Monday, March 21, 2011
By: Shawn Hill

Paul Levitz
Phil Jimenez, Andy Lanning (i)
This is the team and the concept to take the book beyond its revival as a Superboy title at last, and a big improvement over the initial decision for Levitz to look at the current team in their titular book and revisit their origins in this one. Now it's all current, but with a different cast: Luornu and Chuck and Lydda are the Legionnaires (with others surely guest-starring as needed) as the teachers, while the students are the next generation of future applicants and leaders.

It's a bit like when the X-Men was supplemented by New Mutants, or the relationship that evolved between the Justice League and the Teen Titans, a way to continue the tradition while getting back to basics with the original concept of the book -- teen heroes of alien races in the far future in this case.

Levitz is also aided immeasurably by Jiminez, a seasoned pro at team titles who shows an obvious love for the cast who has done covers for previous iterations, and whose anatomical command and attention to detail rival the distinctive bar-setting work of Steve Lightle. This is a dream book for the dedicated fan, an idea we've been holding out for... well, for decades now, really.

The new fan might have a different question, though: it all might hinge on whether the new, young cast is strong and appealing. And on that score, it's sort of a mixed bag. Comet Queen was always an acquired taste, mostly a weird character design with an exuberant personality. She'll need a lot of fleshing out. Gravity Kid has cool powers and a cool costume (he looks a little like the Jude Law pleasure robot from A.I.), but hasn't really asserted himself. Dragon Wing and Chemical Kid have immature chips on their shoulders, and powers that aren't easy to portray.

Glorith, on the other hand, provides a lot of intriguing potential, but mostly because she's so completely different from the witch who bedeviled Volume 4 so much. The older generation (Lamprey, Nightwind, Power Boy and Crystal Kid) are also a mixed bag, with pretty standard abilities and similarly tentative, introverted personalities. The Academy just hasn't been the same since Laurel Kent was revealed as a Manhunter -- now she had some good old Kryptonian backbone!

Power Boy is the best bet of this lot, because his density powers make him a sort of physical bruiser, and that's a skill the Legion could always use more of -- Mon-El and Superman always being elsewhere, and Ultraboy, Blok and Night Girl all having power limitations. I mean, since they never met Monstress in this reality, anyway.

No one really has the charisma of Chuck and Luornu, whose powers (think Multiple Man and Mr. Fantastic, on a smaller scale) aren't all that but whose successful marriage and confidence and bravery have made them heroes many times over. Levitz does some good work connecting Chemical Kid to Chemical King (who died in the line of duty), and the adventure on the Kid's homeworld (where his wealthy family is attacked and the kids get in way over their heads) could become interesting. The book just needs the time for the new concept to click in. All the pieces are there for a home run, they just need a few more innings.

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