Or – “The Heavy Legacy Of Condo Arlik…”
Chemical Kid’s brand of ‘leadership’ has brought him and his teammates to his (hilariously named) home planet Phlon, where Chem’s illusions about home and dear old dad have been seriously tested. Their chances of making it through the Academy are getting slimmer all the time, but even if they do make it, there’s no guarantee that the Legion won’t treat them like they do poor Power Boy (not to mention how they treat their own seasoned veterans.) Not that I’m bitter, mind you…
ADVENTURE COMICS #525
Storytellers: Paul Levitz & Phil Jiminez
Artists: Geraldo Borges & Mario Alquiza
Inkers: Andy Lanning & Sean Parsons
Letterer: John J. Hill/Sal Cipriano
Editor: Brian Cunningham
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
Previously, on Adventure Comics: There is a strange sort of double-standard within the Legion of Super-Heroes. The same team that inducted the like of Dream Girl, Matter-Eater Lad and Karate Kid turns up it’s collective nose at guys like Polar Boy, Crystal Kid and Night Girl. I’m on record as highly irritated at the inelegant way that M-E Lad was moved offscreen in this latest edition of the team, and I still chafe at the state of Blok and the White Witch, leaving Wildfire and Dawnstar as pretty much the only members to have joined after the team’s ORIGINAL run in Adventure Comics. Some of the members of the Legion Academy have been trying to get to the A-squad since the early 70’s, and STILL get no respect, so I don’t know why Chemical Kid and his partners want to get involved…
From Bad To Worse To ‘O-M-G!’
Things go bad quickly on Phlon, as Chemical Kid discovers that he’s not the only person to have gotten a genetic graft from the late Chemical King. Before the villains can take them out, though, Glorith teleports in and mystically zorches all the bad folk with her mighty, mighty magical powers. There’s something to be said for the fact that most of these Academy students have a tie or two to Legion continuity for the oldsters like me, but every time Glorith so much as breathes funny, I get a dangerous chill down my spine remembering what she was like after the 5-Year-Gap. More tense moments are taking place back home, as Cosmic Boy and his former paramour Night Girl meet up to assess the state of the Legion Academy senior class, including Power Boy and Lamprey. The kids handle a crisis quite well, but the meat of the conflict is Night Girl taking Cosmic Boy to task for his loss of focus and for the end of their relationship. Nicely handled stuff from Levitz, here.
Meanwhile, Back On Sorcerer’s World
There’s some interesting stuff going on with Blok and Mysa, but the book is structured strangely, ending the Academy story short and treating the Black Witch’s adventure like a co-feature. I’m not entirely sure why it was done this way, but it’s pretty abrupt and damaging to both stories. Mysa has a mental tug of war with Mordru, takes him down, and is reunited with Blok (who looks PHENOMENAL under the pen of Borges and Alquiz) in a moment that is sweet, but the whole tale doesn’t have a lot of heft. The fact that it mostly takes place in Mysa’s mind doesn’t help, and the conflict is a pretty talky one. The issue suffers less from problems with the story than it does from the structuring of the issue and the stories within.
The Verdict: Interesting Happenings…
The Legion of Super-Heroes isn’t the Avengers or the JLA, a group that has to be limited in scope or membership. One of the underlying problems that I’m having with this arc is the fact that it seems quite clear that none of the Academy cadets (some of whom have been at this for DECADES) aren’t going to make it into the team, and that the reasons given for not using interesting characters will be unsatisfying and nonsensical, much like the non-reasons for (Yes, I’m going to keep harping on this) Matter-Eater Lad’s exit. Power Boy’s density powers and Lamprey’s electromagnetism are no more impressive than Cos’ own powers or Sun Boy’s or even Dawnstar’s. This arc (and the concept of the Legion Academy) are designed to have characters try out for the LSH, and when most, if not all of them fail, it raises larger issues about the story being told. That said, this book is very nice to look at, thanks to Phil Jiminez and company, and if you’re of a mind not to over-think things, it’s an enjoyable, if flawed, issue. Adventure Comics #525 is kind of a mixed-bag, leaning towards the positive, earning 3 out of 5 stars overall, even if it does keep pressing one of my hot-button issues about the current run of the group. And isn’t that cover amazing?
Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day: Why can’t writers avoid ‘painting themselves into a corner’, like the Senior Class subplot here?