Saturday, June 05, 2010

Adventure Comics #12 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About: Not a lot. Superboy spends some time with the Legion, doing superhero stuff and teenage stuff.


Kevin Sharpe is the penciller this issue. I didn't care for his work filling in for Barry Kitson in LSHv5, but his stuff looks a bit better here. Not great; he has a habit, for instance, of underdetailing figures that are supposed to be in the distance, and it can look pretty bad (for instance, see page 7). Sometimes his renderings work and sometimes they don't; compare Saturn Girl in the last panel of page 4 (good) with Saturn Girl on page 5 (not so good). Overall I'd give Sharpe a passing grade for this issue, but I don't think he's destined to become one of my favourites. Panel Count: 138/30 = 4.6 panels per page, over 30 pages. One single-panel page.

As for the story... I don't know. Maybe Levitz has something in mind for what he's going to do with this early-adventures-of-Superboy-and-the-Legion stuff. And maybe there's a demand for it; I see all kinds of people on message boards saying that they just can't figure out the Legion. My problem is that I've seen all this stuff before. On Smallville, in the Legion cartoon, in the Johns/Manapul issues of Adventure... it feels like very well-trodden ground.

But it doesn't feel like a Paul Levitz comic book, which is interesting in itself, because it clearly is a Paul Levitz comic book. Levitz, in other words, is stretching himself, which is all to the good. I just hope that there's something on its way that's more than background for the main Legion title. This was a pleasant read but not a compelling one. I'm sure I'll enjoy the next issue, but I'm not looking forward to it the way I'm looking forward to LSHv6 #2.

- R.J. Brande's voice is way different from how we're used to him sounding under Levitz. Maybe he's supposed to sound more Durlan here? By damn!
- I'll give Sharpe the benefit of the doubt and say that it's the Legionnaires who have no idea where they're supposed to stand on a baseball field. Why isn't Luornu triplicated? They've got nine positions to cover!
- If I never see the Involuntary Heat Vision of Orgasm again, it'll be too soon
- I did kinda like seeing the Legion at a specific stage of their membership. No Ultra Boy, Mon-El, Shrinking Violet, or Sun Boy yet. Sometimes I wish we could see an adventure of one of the weirdo Legion rosters from the Five Year Gap, like when the team consisted of Colossal Boy, Invisible Kid II, Nightwind, and Polar Boy

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Anonymous Avalon Lad said...

Good review. I'm haven't bought this yet. I certainly will be buying it, but from the sounds of it, there's no need to rush.

I totally agree about seeing a few tales of the five-year-gap Legion. I'd love it. But if that's not on the cards then the pre-Adventure Comics line-up during their very early days is a good, fertile period. This is part of Legion History that's surprisingly untapped.

However, I wouldn't mind Paul showing us the untold tale of the very first battle with Mordru.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

It's not so much that it's untapped; it's that it's untapped by modern storytelling. (Unless you count the early part of the reboot Legion, which, it seems to me, was definitely an attempt to revisit that stuff in a modern way.)

7:30 PM  
Blogger Ben Rawluk said...

Sadly, the new era of Levitz Legionnaires has left me bored and listless. It seems to be equal parts superficial characterization, poor artist choices, and bland stories that don't really add anything to the mythos. Boo.

3:16 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Don't forget, Levitz's strengths are best revealed in retrospect after a long cumulative effect. Paul Levitz is not a writer for the short run. If you stick around, I think there's an excellent chance that, say two years from now, you'll say that it was worth it and then some.

8:36 AM  
Blogger Paul said...

I thought this issue was a great throwback to the Silver Age stories of yore, and I really enjoyed it.

I wasn't super crazy about the art. I don't remember his 3-boot work, but this seemed rushed. A lot of the faces were wonky. For example, the panel where Saturn Girl talks about her parents being dead (something later rescinded by Levitz on his Facebook page). What should have been a very expressive facial expression seemed almost devoid of emotion. I know she's supposed to be the ice queen, but nothing else in the issue would have led me to that.

11:23 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I agree. I saw the same thing. I hope Sharpe is just a short-term guy for this title. There have been regular Legion artists before whose stuff I didn't particularly care for but in each of those cases I knew that it was largely my personal taste that was getting in the way. I mean, I don't want to slam the guy too much; what if he's reading this? He can certainly draw a lot better than I can.

Or maybe he'll just learn on the job. Look at Olivier Coipel; he was kind of shaky when he first started, and a lot of people really didn't like him. And then he turned out to be awesome.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Ben Rawluk said...

Coipel's work is fantastic, and I would love to see him on the Legion again. By the end, his characters were so fresh and kinetic (particularly Cham!) that I can appreciate his on-the-job growth.

10:29 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I'm happy with Cinar at the moment; I don't see any reason why he won't rank up there with the other top Legion artists. It's a shame how many artists make their bones on the Legion and then find they have bigger fish to fry.

10:42 PM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

I was really puzzled by that first bit of Brande dialogue. Didn't seem correct at all.

I've been pleased to see bits of the reboot leaking through into the retroboot: first Imra's mentor Aven, and now "Brainy blows up labs". There were a lot of nice bits from that era worth preserving in the main continuity where they can fit like this.

I'm anxiously awaiting seeing Jenni and Gates again.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Although original-recipe Brainy did his share of blowing up stuff too.

8:21 PM  

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