Or – “Heeeey, Now Waitaminnit…  Now, Wait Just A Minute.”

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In my primary line of work, we spend a lot of time chiding and making fun of people for not reading their bill, their contracts, or the inserts that come in their envelope each month.  So, it’s kind of ironic that my biggest problem with this issue was clearly labeled on the cover…

Adventure Comics #5

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Written by Geoff Johns and Sterling Gates
Art by Jerry Ordway; Co-feature art by Francis Manapul
Cover by Jerry Ordway; Variant cover by Francis Manapul

Previously, on Adventure Comics:  Thanks to Nekron, Scar, and Black Hand, the crisis known as the Blackest Night has cascaded across the galaxy, and the lost world of Earth-Prime is no exception. When the black rings animated the dead in the Hall of Justice basement (and, by the way, I want to know who came up with the brilliant idea of storing corpses in the basement anyway? Sounds like an Oliver Queen brainchild to me… That guy never thinks things through.) While regular Superboy Kon-El was away in Europe seeking out Red Robin (YUMMM!), his place in the book was usurped, as the recently reussurected Alexander Luthor used his cosmic powers to seek out his old companion Tom Welling-Prime. TW, for his part, was haunting the chatrooms and message boards of Earth-Prime, the world where the comics are made. Bringing the victims of Prime’s rampages along with him, Alex has re-empowered the last son of Krypton-Prime, and brought him to the horrifying realization that “next issue” will mean Prime’s death. And now, that next issue… HAS… COME.

We find TW-Prime right where we left him, overrun by the corpses of his victims (Charaxes, Bushido, Razor-sharp, Element Lad, Sun Boy, Ballistic, Mongrel, Nightblade, Geist, and Breach) as Alex Luthor relishes his defeat. Their battle rages through the streets of New York, eventually crashing into a building: the offices of DC Comics. Faced with Dan Didio, young Clark is even more enraged, screaming that his life isn’t just a story that they’re making up. “This is my LIFE!” hollers the armored Kryptonian as he threatens to kill the editors of Adventure Comics. (For those who didn’t know, Earth-Prime was the world that represented OUR reality, a world wherein the characters of the DCU were just comic book characters, and the creators of the comics lived. That only changed when Clark got powers, actually…) Teleporting them back to Prime’s basement home, Alex shows Tom a picture of his lost girlfriend Laurie, filling Prime with rage, and causing him to agree to join the Black Lantern Corps! The Black ring channels his rage, transforming him into a Red Lantern (?!!) and causing him to continue his rant. “I wanted to be WORTH something,” he screams. “I wanted to MATTER!” His love for Laurie overwhelms him, causing him to explode with the power of the emotional spectrum, blasting away his armor and all his comic books. Suddenly, Laurie appears at the door, telling him that everything is going to be alright, holding him as he cries… Holding him so that he cannot see the Black Lantern ring on her hand.

When the second feature kicks off, I am hoping for a tale of Timber Wolf, or perhaps something with Saturn Girl, but am instead greeted with a panel of Superboy and Krypto flying back from Paris (where they met Tim Drake in issue #3.) I check the cover, and see what I missed: “Second Feature: Superboy.” Well, crap. Still, we have a Connor story to keep us warm, as they make it back to Smallville to find his friend Lori exiting a vandalized building. She doesn’t explain, though, and Connor is forced to fly her into the night sky where she can kiss him passionately… although that wasn’t, apparently the plan. Lori explains that she has been repeatedly vandalizing the doctor’s property, but won’t explain why until he flies her home. Loriexeplains that her mother was injured in an accident, and Doctor Greer refused her mom treatment. Someone arrives at the door, and before they can answer, Kon-El is stricken by a strange green radiation… Lori opens the door to find Lex Luthor holding a box of Kryptonite. “Uncle Lex?” she says, as Connor’s world fades to black.

This was an oddly uneven issue, as the more engaging tale of the two has a much less entertaining or sympathetic protagonist. Tom Welling Prime is a whiny, pathetic little weasel, but his rage, his loss, and his pain really come through.  Jerry Ordway’s art is it’s usual excellent self, to the point where I was able to identify Dan Didio immediately during his cameo appearance… The Kon-El second feature has a much more relatable character, but is short enough that it doesn’t quite gel for me, giving just the hint of the coming Luthor/S-boy conflict, and returning (presumably) Lex’s lost half-sibling Lena Thorul to the continuity, a very Geoff Johns touch. Francis Manapul’s new art style is refreshing and fun, looking like it’s shot direcly from the pencils. All in all, this issue balances itself out, with a slightly strong moment for, strangely enough, the Kryptonian from Earth-Prime. Adventure Comics #5/#508 is a well-handled issue on all fronts, earning a respectable 3 out of 5 stars overall. Here’s hoping, though, that next issue means more Legion in our Superboy…

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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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7 Comments

  1. December 17, 2009 at 11:47 pm — Reply

    You know, I picked this up despite it being on the drop side of my comic pull list. I agree, you actually feel sorry for the whiny little snit. I enjoyed the whole thing, event though I practically flew over Alexander’s dialog, right up until they did the whole Black Lantern ring on Laurie’s hand. If they really wanted to “make up” for what they had done, they would have just left it alone.

    Got nothing for the second feature. This book is coming off the pull list until the Legion return to it.

  2. Jacin B
    December 18, 2009 at 9:21 am — Reply

    The reason you feel sorry for him is simple: When the zombies come, your gut instinct turns to ‘us against them.’ Being that he’s still living, no matter how repulsed you may’ve been by him before, he’s still one of ‘us.’

    As long as he’s still breathing, you’re pulling for him — and, as soon as he stops breathing, you’re pulling the trigger to put a bullet in his skull.

    Right now, you’re not feeling for him so much as you’re seeing an ally in danger, on the verge of toppling over that precipice and onto the other team. And, you’re desperately wanting him to see the danger you see. To come back to his senses and get away in time.

    The question is, whether or not he’ll do it.

    And, besides that, we were told that he dies this issue. He didn’t, near as I can tell. So, either the comics produced on Earth-Prime aren’t as accurate as they think or something changed somewhere along the way.

    • December 18, 2009 at 7:56 pm — Reply

      And, besides that, we were told that he dies this issue. He didn’t, near as I can tell. So, either the comics produced on Earth-Prime aren’t as accurate as they think or something changed somewhere along the way.

      There was that moment where the Black Lantern ring commanced him to die. Could that have been the death they prefaced? Or could it be that Earth-Prime comics, just like the ones in our world, engage in exaggeration and hyperbole to sell books?

  3. December 18, 2009 at 10:40 am — Reply

    Or did Prime die and is now a Black Lantern with Laurie?

    You know, I never realized how appropriate the SBP/Tom Welling comparison is. I’ve always said Tom thinks he’s playing Bruce, not Clark, but maybe he’s playing SBP instead….
    ***
    I guess the “Uncle Lex” comment squashes the popular conjecture that Lori (the girl sleeping through class) is actually Dream Girl….

  4. December 18, 2009 at 4:19 pm — Reply

    I thought Laurie was wearing a Blue Lantern ring? Hence the word “Hope” in the panel. Am I wrong?

    • December 18, 2009 at 7:54 pm — Reply

      I thought Laurie was wearing a Blue Lantern ring? Hence the word “Hope” in the panel. Am I wrong?

      The symbol on the ring is the triangle with “fingers” symbol from the Black Lantern rings…

    • Thelastavenger
      December 21, 2009 at 3:47 am — Reply

      Superboy-Prime is the one feeling hope. Which means he is vulnerable to the Black Lantern Ring.

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