Or – “I Think I’m All About The Big Picture…”

Maybe it’s something strange about my bio-chemistry, but while I’m a big fan of the Legion of Super-Heroes in all it’s incarnations, I find myself incredibly harsh about individual issues featuring the team.  My heydey with the LSH was during the Volume Four (Five-Year-Gap) stories of the Legion, and while I remember them fondly, I also remember being regularly enraged with the way the issues played out, especially when they blew up the Earth just to prove a point.  My second realization while looking at this issue’s cover is that the Gary Frank costumes make some of the female Legionnaires look REALLY slutty, especially poor Lightning Lass…

ADVENTURE COMICS #522
Written by Paul Levitz
Pencils by Geraldo Borges
Inks by Mario Alquiza
Letters by Sal Cipriano
Colors by Hi-Fi
Published by DC Comics
$2.99

Previously, on Adventure Comics:  The Legion has reformed after a major crisis, but has been forced by the xenophobic Earthgov to take on an additional member:  Earth-Man, their own recent enemy.  While the artist formerly known as Absorbency Boy has settled into his life as a Legionnaire (and possibly begun to prove that he’s not the utter tool he seems to have been) the rest of the team has dealt with tragedy after tragedy.  R.J. Brande has died, the entire moon of Titan has been destroyed and it’s refugee populace attacked and hounded, the team is under siege by a group of Durlan separatists, and their members keep disappearing on them.  The latest Legionnaire to disappear is Mon-El of Daxam, who recieved the last Green Lantern ring in existence and has set out to try and figure out the best way to deal with the legacy of Hal Jordan.  (Here’s a hint:  Womanize, drink, grandstand and basically act like a contentious, insufferable and insensitive jackass and you’re probably covered.)  Also, I still haven’t quite forgiven Paul Levitz for his cavalier treatment of Matter-Eater Lad…

We open in deep space, as a Science Police transport ship heads for prison planet Takron-Galtos, bearing the Legion of Super-Villains ringleader Saturn Queento solitary confinement.  Before that happens, though, we get to meet a new potential member of the Legion of Super-Villains, as Sun Killer comes calling, smashing through the hull and blowing up some S.P.s…  I’m immediately bugged by this guy, clearly modeled after a sumo wrestler and wearing his Japanese heritage on his sleeve in an extremely noticeable “see-how-diverse-we’re-being” way.  He burns his way through the Science Police to save his mental mistress when his way is suddenly blocked by Mon-El and his new ugly costume and glowy Oan fetus sidekick, Diogene.  While battle erupts in space, we get to check in with the creepy Doctor Li and watch as the fragments of Titan seem to be coming to get her, pounding against the hull of her starship.  She suddenly realizes that she has to get back to Earth immediately.

There’s a big ol’ fighty-fighty as Sun-Killer attacks Mon, using Superman’s weakness against him as he bombards Mon-El with red sun energy, but their climactic battle falls pretty short as Mon overcomes the new kid and flicks him with a single finger, knocking the would-be villain out.  Tellus arrives too late to help (and too late to even see Mon, who quickly flees, saying that he’s done with Earth and the Legion for a while) while there’s some strangeness about Diogene’s “ancient foe,” a blue-skinned creature that seems to have something to do with Saturn Queen, as well as some ominous buildup towards the LSV one-shot in the near future.  I have my issues with the art, notably the fact that Mon, Sun-Killer, Diogene and the blue creature are all rendered with showy glowy computer energy effects, making the whole issue very overwhelming in terms of the color palette.  We also get a five-page preview of a book that itself serves as not much more than a preview of an online game, but that’s pretty much awful and mercenary and doesn’t really count against the content of this book, since it’s advertising content.

The bottom line for me is that this issue felt quite generic, from the good-but-not-terribly-unique art to the overblown computer effects to the patented “Take-out-Dawnstar-so-she-can’t-track-someone” subplot that gets namechecked in our brief Tellus sequences.  The issue features 2 Legionnaires (3 if you count Dawny floating in a bacta tank) and one villain, and stretches out a minor fist-fight/exposition sequence to 22 pages without a whole lot to merit the attention.  I like Mon-El as the Legionnaire chosen to wear a Green Lantern ring, but wonder why any Legionnaire had to wear one in the first place, and Sun-Killer not only bothers me for duplicating the abilities of existing Legion of Super-Villains member Sun Emperor, but for reminding me of Sun-Chained-In-Ink from Kurt Busiek’s Trinity series not so long ago.  It’s not a disappointing issue so much as it is a completely uneventful “meh” kind of thing, a day-in-the-life of some Science Police guys who get to watch Mon-El fight and say enigmatic things.  Adventure Comics #522 just sort of happens, with nothing terribly off-putting but not much in the way of “Hell, Yeah!” either, leading to a middle of the road 2.5 out of 5 stars overall

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day:  Does Levitz’ Legion work feel like a throwback to the 80’s for anyone else?  And is that necessarily a bad thing?

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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15 Comments

  1. Luis Dantas
    January 10, 2011 at 8:59 pm — Reply

    Mon-El of Daxam, who recieved the last Green Lantern ring in existence and has set out to try and figure out the best way to deal with the legacy of Hal Jordan. (Here’s a hint: Womanize, drink, grandstand and basically act like a contentious, insufferable and insensitive jackass and you’re probably covered.)

    DC has really shot itself in the foot with its handling of Green Lantern since the mid 1990s, hasn’t it?

  2. Luis Dantas
    January 10, 2011 at 9:04 pm — Reply

    Does Levitz’ Legion work feel like a throwback to the 80′s for anyone else? And is that necessarily a bad thing?

    I sure hope it is such a throwback. What came since simply hasn’t been as good.

  3. Randallw
    January 10, 2011 at 11:20 pm — Reply

    So will I need to start getting Action Comics to keep up with my issues of LoSH?

    • J Michael T
      January 11, 2011 at 7:33 am — Reply

      Same question here…

    • January 11, 2011 at 4:48 pm — Reply

      It looks like Adventure will be the Legion’s second book, at least for now…

  4. Blackthunder01
    January 11, 2011 at 7:45 am — Reply

    I don’t read the comic but I sure wouldn’t mind buying a print of that cover art. Yum.

  5. January 11, 2011 at 8:58 am — Reply

    Looks like Dawnstar got the worst of it, to me. Since when did her…uh…top…only cover half of her chest?

  6. Jay W
    January 11, 2011 at 1:53 pm — Reply

    BTW – that’s a Scott Clark cover, not a Gary Frank cover…Frank doesn’t tend to go the slutty route, although if that is your complaint, perhaps you should take a look at some of the Marvel X-Men books first.

    Frankly, I think the Legion is better than ever these days. Adding Phil Jimenez on ADVENTURE just sweetens the pot for me.

  7. paul
    January 11, 2011 at 4:32 pm — Reply

    The Gary Frank costumes are awful, and I think I mentioned this a while ago. I realize the “L” belt buckles were not his idea, but they’re awful, too. Can we get Mike Grell back?

  8. tidge
    January 11, 2011 at 7:20 pm — Reply

    I strongly dislike what Gary Frank did to Sensor Girl’s costume, as it totally misses the point of the costume (which was to completely hide “Jeckie”).

    These issues *do* feel like a V3/Baxter throwback, which I don’t think is a bad thing. What makes it feel like the Baxter series is that we have some long arcs, with a couple of members strongly featured (so far Brainiac 5, Earth Man) but significant contributions from all other active members.

    I’ll admit…that formula *eventually* ran its course, but that was 20+ years ago and after a significant run. I liked a lot of what came afterwards, but I’m satisfied with the take on the two LSH books right now.

  9. Brett
    January 11, 2011 at 9:33 pm — Reply

    Adventure, post Mon-El as GL arc, is a Legion Academy-centered book. DC just announced today that Jiminez signed an exclusive deal to draw it. So that’s promising.

  10. markw
    January 12, 2011 at 12:03 pm — Reply

    I didn’t think this issue was that great as a stand alone read, which was disappointing since Mon-El is probably my favorite Legionaire.

    But I did love how it started to bring really things together. While the intergration of Earth Man into the Legion and the Durlan assassin plot have been pretty much the “main” plot lines so far, this issue sees Titanfall, the search for the Green Lantern, and the somewhat random appearance of Saturn Queen in issue all tied together into one larger plot. But the end of the book I was more excited for this run than I had been in a while.

    Another solar based bad guy doesn’t seem like the best choice, but hopefully Levitz has somewhere interesting to go with him. The idea of him eating stars to get his powers is pretty cool. And I suppose he needed someone with a power set that could actually threaten Mon-El in a one-on-one fight.

    • January 12, 2011 at 1:11 pm — Reply

      Another solar based bad guy doesn’t seem like the best choice, but hopefully Levitz has somewhere interesting to go with him. The idea of him eating stars to get his powers is pretty cool. And I suppose he needed someone with a power set that could actually threaten Mon-El in a one-on-one fight.

      Yeah, but naming him “Sun-Killer” and adding him to a group of characters that includes Sun Boy, Sun Emperor, the Sun-Eater and more is a bit questionable, as well.

  11. brainypirate
    January 13, 2011 at 7:37 pm — Reply

    Okay, I LIKE the Gary Frank costumes and wish the entire DCU would move in that direction–they’re realistic enough that cosplayers could wear them without looking ridiculous and yet also visually interesting and consistent with the characters. What I hated were those LSH pajama suits that everyone wore in the reboot, with the two-toned leggings with built-in footies. Those were hideous!

    As for Sensor–I still hate the original costume. It’s dated, in an 80’s-version-of Joan-Crawford-meets-Joan-Collins sort of way. I get the need to hide her face, but the military-style jacket with 1940s-era shoulder pads? Hideous on every level. Even Alexis Carrington threw those out in the 90s!

  12. Damascus
    March 23, 2011 at 4:56 am — Reply

    “fragments of Titan seem to be coming to get her”

    Do you think that maybe Meteor-Attractor Lad might have been stowing away on her ship?

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