Friday, April 15, 2011

Adventure Comics #525 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

In the main story, Black Mace's mysterious ally turns out to be another Phlono with chemical-reaction powers. Glorith mysteriously revives, though, and takes out all the supervillains. This whole thing is about Chemical Kid's dad and his gambling debts.

Meanwhile, Cosmic Boy and Night Girl take Lamprey and Jed Rikane on a training exercise, which goes okay but not great.

In the backup story, the activity of the blue space baby causes Mordru to wake up inside Mysa's magic. She squashes him back down and takes a spare moment to send some power to Glorith, which is what causes her to wake up in the main story.

Review:

I gotta say that twenty pages doesn't go very far when you're splitting it among three different stories. Thanks to Jimenez and his high panel count, the lead story actually has room for a lot of action, but the nature of two of the stories (Lamprey and Jed rounding up the elephants, Mysa vs Mordru) are backup-feature types of stories, and what was meant to be the main story, the action on Phlon, went into wrapup mode almost immediately. So it felt like a tag-end of an issue. Oh well; maybe it'll read better in TPB form.

One payoff we did get was Chemical Kid learning the true meaning of Christmas. Not surprising, but nice to see. And after all, there's no point in turning this guy into a villain when we have Alchemical Girl around. Let's take note of this: Levitz has been doing a nice job of replenishing the Legion's supply of useful minor supervillains. (Although this actually started with Johns and Shoemaker giving us Cryo-King, who is exactly this kind of character.)

Jed and Lamprey's mission touched on a lot of familiar Legion subjects--organleggers, escaped zoo animals, H'hrnath's species. They were combined in new ways, but it's still well-trodden ground. Of greater interest was the byplay between Cosmic Boy and Night Girl, as their history intrudes on their conversation. Of greater interest to some, anyway; it seemed to me like a scene that was included out of duty and not because there was anything new to be said about Rokk and Lydda's failed relationship.

The Mysa-Mordru confrontation was similar. It seemed obligatory. I was just thinking... what we saw in this issue wasn't that interesting. Mordru tried to mystically assert himself over Mysa and her magic, and got slapped down. What would be more interesting? Not sure about that, but maybe Blok could play some kind of a role. Mordru's weakness, after all, is to be buried alive, encased in the earth, things like that. Well, Blok basically is the earth in a lot of ways. Maybe there could be some kind of deal where Mysa traps Mordru within Blok? Maybe... I hesitate to say this, but it is possible... maybe this is what Levitz had in mind when he first had Blok attracted to Mysa way back in the Great Darkness Saga in 1982. If so, that is really planning ahead.

Not an overwhelming comic book. Next month's has the "end" of the Legion Academy story, sort of only I think not really, plus XS! Looking forward to it. All twenty pages of it.

Notes:
- well, look at all those people on the cover. Any of 'em we don't know already? Like the big guy with the shoulders? Or the little flying box? I remember the little flying box from before, but I always thought it was how Tellus attended classes before he had his helmet
- what was that that Jed was diving through there on page 11? How does that work?
- Lamprey's last name is spelled "Scott" here, not "Skott". Could be a mistake, could be a revision
- Not excited to see Mordru again

Art:
First story (Jimenez): 73 panels/12 pages = 6.1 panels/page. One single-panel page, pages of 10 and 12 panels.
Second story (Borges): 37 panels/8 pages = 4.6 panels/page. No single-panel pages.

I think one of the things I like most about Jimenez's art is the panel arrangements. Check out pages 6 and 8, for instance. While I mention it, what is the deal with panel 2 on page 8? It's got a little tag end at the bottom left. What for? Nothing in it we need to see; nothing in panel 1 that needs covering up (as far as I can tell). Maybe it's to provide a sloping effect (along with the Phlono building in panel 1) that leads the reader's eye down to the start of panel 3.

(And the first panel of page 4 is just pretty.)

I'm not really enthusiastic about Jimenez's new design for Lamprey. She looks like Fire from the JLI. Or Neon from Legion on the Run. It's just not a distinctive look. Meanwhile, I don't want to complain about the job Borges did on the backup, which overall was quite good, but he made Mysa's antennae look kind of gross.

Membership Notes:

Sure looks like Lamprey and Power Boy aren't destined to become Legionnaires. And I can't fault Cosmic Boy's reasoning, either. But what's Lamprey going to do on Takron-Galtos? Isn't there some water planet someplace that can make better use of her?

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14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mysa puts Mordru inside Blok?Man,that's dark.Don't think Blok is literally stone,and magic spells are usually cast to a very precise set of conditions.Even if Mysa is walking on the dark side,it's hard to see her imprisoning an evil sorcerer inside her "dear one".

The way Mysa saved Glorith was neatly done,but it has the danger of turning Glorith into a deus ex machina,someone to pull out of the box to wrap up a story quickly.She may not become a villain,but she could become a plot contrivance. Not something to look forward to.

2:50 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Mysa puts Mordru inside Blok? Man, that's dark.

That's why it could be a great story!

9:58 AM  
Blogger karl said...

I think Mordrus brief appearance is just to remind us hes still there, ready to be "unearthed" at some point in the future. Paul Levitz rarely puts a plot in for no reason, so I wouldnt be surprised in the next year or so if Mordru makes a Big Bad reappearance.
Oh, and XS returning...missed her a lot. hope she returns full time; I just wish the Moys wouldnt insist on drawing her with that vacant smile all the time. Cant anyone else draw her?

8:21 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I think Mordrus brief appearance is just to remind us hes still there, ready to be "unearthed" at some point in the future. Paul Levitz rarely puts a plot in for no reason, so I wouldnt be surprised in the next year or so if Mordru makes a Big Bad reappearance.

That's exactly my problem.

Oh, and XS returning...missed her a lot. hope she returns full time; I just wish the Moys wouldnt insist on drawing her with that vacant smile all the time. Cant anyone else draw her?

That's exactly my problem.

8:34 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Lamprey on Takron-Galtos: how many water worlds are out there? How many criminals who are aqueous or amphibious. There's got to be and entire (pun alert) water wing to the prison.

Given that these are two of the four senior academy students, and the graduation stuff indicates potential Legion placement, it seems to imply that either Crystal Kid or Nightwind is going to make it in. Presumably Berta as the most likely one, given both her distinctive look and the fact that Bob's powers are a strong duplication of Brek's.

2:22 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I agree about Nightwind (and 5YG/5YL Legion history bears us out). Still not convinced about Lamprey.

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Bobby said...

When did Rokk and Lydda break up?

6:31 PM  
Blogger Murray said...

I'm not really enthusiastic about Jimenez's new design for Lamprey.
What am I missing? I didn't think that his design was all that new? Isn't he following the design that Giffen put on the character years and years ago.

7:08 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Bobby: Sometime in the Lost Years between the Magic Wars and the Lightning Saga.

Murray: I'd have to go back and look at them both, but I remember Lamprey as looking less generic the last time I saw her. I think there is a difference.

9:25 PM  
Anonymous AJay McL said...

I wonder if Nightwind will use her middle name of Skye. It's interesting that a large percentage of characters being introduced or re-introduced come from the Earth,y'know with Kirt in the picture and all.

1:43 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I noticed that myself. I don't know if I want it to be a thing or not.

2:04 PM  
Blogger Martin Gray said...

Brilliant idea about Blok, Matthew!

I'm OK with a full-scale Mordru return, so long as he's sporting the winged beanie - it's ruddy iconic!

4:12 PM  
Blogger Van Dore said...

Did anyone catch that Lieutenant Pozner on page 5 of the first story is a little tribute to Neal Pozner, the guy who put together Amazing World of DC Comics #9 where many of the Academy pupils first appeared?

5:39 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I did see it mentioned but it's the kind of thing I'd never pick up on.

7:02 PM  

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