Or – “Reconnecting With Old Friends…”


Last time out, Kon-El caught up with Wonder Girl, the love of his life and founding member of Young Justice.  She told him of her grief-fueled kiss with Tim Drake, who was Robin at the time, and they forgave one another for youthful indiscretions and/or untimely death.  This discussion seems to have spurred Kon to look up his ex-best pal, but the new Red Robin (YUMMM!) is somewhat busy trying to track down a millionaire who is stuck in a cave somewhere…  Will their reunion be as cordial as the first?

Adventure Comics #3 (#506)
AC1_1.jpgWritten by Geoff Johns
Co-feature written by Geoff Johns and Michael Shoemaker
Art by Francis Manapul
Co-feature art by Clayton Henry

Previously, on Adventure Comics: Connor Kent, aka Kon-El, returned from his prolonged absence into the midst of a cosmic crisis that shook both the 21st and 31st centuries.  The battle with the Legion of Super-Villains left his world changed, and led to the return of the original Pre-Crisis version of the Legion of Super-Heroes.  Upon his return to Smallville, Connor has tried to get back to basics, keeping a running tally of things that Superman did, and trying to match those feats to understand his Kryptonian nature.  Sadly, though, he is also working through such a list for his human side, and the DNA of Lex Luthor.  This, by the way, makes the current workings of his mind somewhat suspect.  At the same time, in the 30th Century, the LSH rebuilds in the face of a xenophobic United Planets, a populace who doesn’t quite trust them, and many missing members, dealing with menaces large and small, issues of family, the return of old friends and the dispatch of an Espionage Squad into the past for unknown (seemingly Kon-El related) purposes…

We open with Connor checking one more thing (“Died and Came Back”) off his list of Superman-related to-do’s and dealing with high school biology.  His lab partner (Simon Valentine, from issue #1, last seen discovering Tellus in Bruin Lake) natters on about DNA, the genetic portion of good and evil, and whether or not he could isolate a person’s “moral fiber,” and divine their true nature.  Before Kon can respond to this very tempting line of thought, he’s interrupted by the hilarious arrival of Krypto.  The super-dog has brought Connor’s old rogue’s gallery (Silver Sword, King Shark, The Scavenger, and Stinger) as prizes, like a group of super-powered dead birds.  Simon is bothered that Conner disappears (“What does Lex Luthor do?   3) Alienate friends.”) while the Metropolis Kid angrily upbraids his super-pup.  They deliver the villains back to their various incarceration sites, and Kon wonders about tracking down Lex Luthor.  Krypto can’t track him, and so they seek out Red Robin on the streets of Paris, trying to track down a Mother Box to find out what happened to Batman.  It just so happens that Robin knows the location of one Luthor Lair already, and the boys go searching for clues.  When the unpleasant topic of WHY Robin knows this lab comes up, he admits that he raided it initially in order to find information on cloning, to try and bring Kon back.  They share embarassing secrets (One is searching for his seemingly dead adoptive father, the other for his possibly evil genetic donor) and bond, while another super-pair, Luthor and Brainiac come up with some sort of nefarious plan.  “Drop me off at Smallville,” says Luthor to his green-skinned buddy ominously.

Our co-feature kicks off on planet Tharr, the hottest planet in the universe, the homeworld of Brek Bannin, Polar Boy.  Once leader of the mighty LSH, Brek is now stuck in wingman mode as he and Sun Boy chat up girls at a poolside bar.  Everyone knows Brek as the “Substitute” hero, while Sun Boy does his usual schtick to try and impress the ladies.  “I make it… HOT,” he smarms but the women of Tharr are completely bewildered.  “On PURPOSE?” asks one hottie (See what I did there?  Heh) who can’t understand why anyone would want MORE heat.  The art is really lovely here, as Clay Henry delivers a wonderful alien world and some beautiful facial expressions.  They’ve come looking for Cryo-King, Tharr’s OTHER super, who has made a bid for Legion of Super-Villains membership and finally gotten a break.  The fire and ice duo trail Cryo to Tharr’s frozen inner core, where he gets the drop on Sun Boy.  Polar Boy attacks, and  things suddenly get personal, as Cryo-King reminds Brek again of his “Substitute” stigma.  An angry Polar Boy quickly drops his counterpart, and he and Sun Boy counter-attack, easily taking down the villain.  Johns delivers some wonderful moments illustrating the basis of this odd friendship, as Dirk tells Brek that he made an excellent Legion leader, and a great hero besides, and both men agree that the mission turned out to be kind of fun.  The story ends with the boys discovering an ancient paper map of Earth.  “You think you’re the only Legion with an espionage squad in the 21st century?” asks Cryo-King as the Science Police drag him away…

Geoff Johns continues to deliver on both fronts with this book, as Kon’s story deepens with each issue and this issue’s Legion vignette gives us something entirely new and wonderful.  I’m enjoying Francis Manapul’s art on the S-Boy portion of the tale, offering a lighter touch and a more “pencilled” look than his work on LSH recently.  The coloring is nicely handled, using pastels and sepia tones that give the story a quiet, retro feel.  The moment where Red Robin takes off his mask and the two old friends finally got to see one another face to face is great.  (“You really need a haircut,” says Connor.  “You need a real costume,” retorts Tim.)  As wonderful as last issue was for Connor and Cassie, this issue surpasses it, as best friends finally come clean with one another and their friendship is rekindled.  As for the Legion, the new friendship of the Sun Boy/Polar Boy team shines, as we get one of our first looks at Tharr and get to reconcile the nerdy, reject Polar Boy with the Levitz-era leader.  It’s important to note that Polar Boy’s election to the post took place in LSH V.3 #36, well AFTER the point where Geoff Johns has said that his Legion takes off from (LSH V.3 #27.)  It’s good to know that we’re going to see some of the awesome moments that came AFTER the changes to the timestream did maintain in the home continuity, and it’s wonderful to see the devil-may-care womanizing Sun Boy and the quiet try-harder-and-succeed Polar Boy as a duo.  This issue hits all the right notes, from art to story to colors (although I had to add GRATUITOUS LENSFLAAAARE!!!!)  Adventure Comics #3 (also known as #506) earns a damn-near perfect 4.5 out of 5 stars overall.  The only place where the issue suffers, in my view, is in the split-feature format.  In a perfect world, I would have been able to pick up a full issue of the Legion of  Super-Heroes AND a full issue of the Adventures of Kon-El in the 21st Century…


The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. shamon
    October 19, 2009 at 5:58 am — Reply

    This is leading to something big now that the bad guys have sleeper agents in the past to but i wonder what are they trying to prevent also I come to think it has something to do with superboy or the birth of the United Planets .

  2. eric
    October 19, 2009 at 7:38 am — Reply

    DC has always made me wonder about the tight bond that Tim and Superboy have had. Tim’s love for Superboy has always been so strong. Either it has been the tight, brotherly bond or I wish DC would take it to another level and let Tim be at least bisexual. Maybe one day we will see something so natural as this in some of their writtings.

  3. Adam
    October 19, 2009 at 1:55 pm — Reply

    I fear that with Johns and Manapul’s forced exit from this book, that we’ll never see the finishing of this story. And it’s great story. I agree 100% with Matthew, I could read a whole book just on Conner and LSH.

    Which is why they both need their own book. Come on DC, hook us up.

  4. October 19, 2009 at 8:18 pm — Reply

    The nice thing about the Legion story was that it didn’t need the surprise reveal at the end to be perfectly enjoyable–and the surprise only sweetened the deal.

    I also wondered whether Sun Boy had been leader in the new timeline–didn’t he have a disastrous run during the five-year gap?

    Still, I wish at least someone on Tharr would have finally set the record straight about PB’s Legion status–I hate storylines that end with misinformation NOT being corrected….

  5. October 19, 2009 at 9:23 pm — Reply

    I could be wrong, but Sun Boy was never ELECTED Legion leader during the Five Year Gap. The United Planets suspended Legion elections with (I believe) Sensor Girl, and Sun Boy fell into the position after she left, then her deputy leader (Timber Wolf) also was taken out of action.

    • October 20, 2009 at 8:02 pm — Reply

      Ahh, thanks for the clarification. That period was after my time. I was recalling your Hero History, in which you point out the way everyone resigned while he was leader. But if he wasn’t elected, that would explain it.


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