Or – “Fast Times At Thirtieth Century High…”
With one bad decision under their belts, it’s much simpler for the kids of the Legion Academy to make a few more bonehead plays… Is there any chance of them making it to their second year?
ADVENTURE COMICS #524
Storyteller(s): Paul Levitz & Phil Jiminez
Inker: Andy Lanning
Editor: Brian Cunningham
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99
Previously, on Adventure Comics: An unknown amount of time has passed since we last saw the LSH, but the Legion Academy is once again open for business. A new class of powered youngsters (including familiar names Glorith and Comet Queen) is having trouble acclimating to life as a possible Legionnaire, and a late-night excursion to go drinking has led Chemical Kid to the realization that his credit card has been cut off, and that something has gone wrong with his father’s fortune. What are the odds that this means something larger is in play? If you have to ask, you haven’t read much Legion…
A Wicked Dressing-Down
We open the morning after last issue’s arrest in the club, as Duplicate Damsel lays into Chemical Kid and company, roaring about how irresponsible they’ve been. Chem tries to blow her off, but Luornu isn’t having any backtalk from a punk from Phlon (Heh.) and grounds the entire team. As they walk away grousing, husband Bouncing Boy reminds her that they were kids in the Legion once, and she reminds him that it got one of her selves killed. I really like the dynamic between Chuck and Lu here, and the use of Legion history as part of the story. That history continues as we find that Chemical Kid got his powers due to a genetic graft from the late, lamented Chemical King, Phlon’s original Legionnaire. There’s a little bit of interesting character work around Glorith, whose presence unnerves me greatly (as it probably does anyone who read Legion Volume 4.) Either way, the kids steal a cruiser and set off to Phlon to try and suss out what’s going on with Chemical Kid’s daddy and his suspended fortune…
Some Gorgeous Artwork Going On
Phil Jiminez obviously loves the Legion, and his work in this issue is pretty breathtaking, as we see the alien world of Phlon, we get at little bit of fighty-fighty, and even get to see Cosmic Boy for a few brief moments. Tellingly, Cos is meeting with Nightwind, Power Boy, Lamprey and Crystal Kid who have been going to the Academy for about 45 years now. The four of them are excited that they may make it into the LSH, but Cos tries to warn them that it may not happen, which annoys the crap out of me. This volume of Legion has taken at least seven characters that I like and sidetracked them in favor of Green Lantern silliness and the adventures of Absorbency Boy, and as much as I understand why they might want to keep the headcount low, I’d like to see Power Boy and his ilk make it in. This also confuses me, as there have been indications that several years had passed for the LSH while their other incarnations were interacting with our reality, but this issue kind of undermines that theory. We end with Chem and his pals facing down an old Legion foe and ending up with the short end of the stick as we fade to black…
The Verdict: Interesting, But Annoyingly Elitist
Nothing makes me more irritated than attempts to try and “toughen up” the image of the Legion of Super-Heroes, whose core concept is ‘happy teenage heroes from the future.’ This issue continues the trend of misusing or sidetracking characters with potential (and once again shows how ugly the new costumes are in Cosmic Boy’s short appearance) but has some fun with the new Academy kids. Duplicate Damsel’s drill sergeant routine is fascinating to watch, especially as Bouncing Boy serves as her quiet, humorous foil. I’m liking this arc in it’s micro-scale moments, with the dialogue shining in a brief appearance by Legion mainstay Doctor Gym’ll, even while some of the larger scale bits play less well for my biases. All in all, though, Adventure Comics #524 does a good job advancing the new characters and their arc, earning 3.5 out of 5 stars overall. Now, if only we could overcome the seeming belief that nobody but the founders, Brainiac 5 and Earth-Man deserve airtime, we might get the 30th Century on track…
Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day: With a team called “The Legion,” what is wrong with bringing in any and ALL qualified heroes and letting them go on ‘detached duty’ wherever you want them to be rather than come up with silly rationales why they keep quitting/getting depowered/etc.?
Levitz’ Legion is really coming into it’s own with this, the Annual and Legion of Super-Villians. Great stuff obviously leading into some huge things. Levitz does Epic better than most everyone, short of the Korvac adventure in the Avengers.
I always wondered why the Legion didn’t do more of a Mission Impossible style of mission decisions. Just take the members with powers needed for the mission. This would have given the writers latitude to decide which members they wanted to write/draw.
I’ve never understood why, in a vast cosmos, we don’t have a rotating roster of “deployed/patrolling” legionnaires, squads serving on outrigger patrols in the far reaches for, say, three to six months? This allows a larger roster and can always be “fiddled” with to allow a writer to either play with a character or group who is serving “overseas” or rotate her/him/them back to the “HQ” for any of a variety of reasons!
I don’t know… maybe it’s those twelve years I spent in the Army talking but to me, this seems an easy way to add new blood without having to kill off, imprison, retire or “I’m-taking-a-leave-of-abscence-to-embark-upon-a-journey-of-self-discovery” another character. You can create core sub-teams AND flavor of the moment squads as well.
Regarding your comment about Earth Man, he hasn’t appeared in the last 3 issues of the main book, and wasn’t in the Annual either. Maybe they’re trying to counter-balance all the airtime that they gave him in the first arc.
I’ve gotta say that Levitz & company appear to be on a real roll lately between the Annual, the two Jiminez Aventure issues, the Legion of Super-Villians one-shot, and LoSH #11. Hopefully the current story arc will be worth all the setup.