Friday, May 06, 2011

Adventure Comics #526 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

The Academy students cover up Chemical Kid's dad's misuse of the Chemical King gene modification by magically extracting it from Alchemical Girl's body. Then they turn Black Mace and the rest over to the cops. Meanwhile, there's some inconclusive discussion about whether any of the students are Legion material.

In the backup story, XS is taking it easy and making a mosaic. Exciting, right? She stops by the Olduvai Gorge and runs into some evidence of the blue space baby. She takes a rock from the site for her mosaic, which might be important, but probably isn't.

Review:

Not much main story this issue. Only twelve pages, and not much happened of consequence. The idea of stealing back Alchemical Girl's powers is an intriguing one, though; I quite like it. It raises all kinds of questions. Like, do they have the right to do it? Can superpowers really belong to someone, do humans have a right to be more than human if they can do it? Or does it matter how they do it? I mean, if Black Mace and the gang had stolen a weapon, the students would certainly be in the clear if they confiscated it and put it back where it belonged. How much does it matter that one of the crooks internalized the weapon? Why should that mean she gets to keep it? So I liked that part.

One of Levitz's favourite Legion buttons to push is the "undermanned" one, where the Legion just doesn't have enough manpower to cover the whole United Planets. Sometimes what he used to do is have the Legion consider adding new members and then not do it because none of 'em were ready and it was better to have to few Legionnaires than another dead one. This whole Academy arc is full of this theme, and some issues of the main title also touched on it. Either Levitz is building up to one of the anticlimaxes of all time (and it'd be a neat trick if he could do it and make us like it) or we're going to get some new Legionnaires out of this. It has happened in the past. The main candidates, though... I agree with last issue's evaluation of Lamprey; Power Boy just isn't that interesting; and Crystal Kid is nothing in particular. But I'm holding out some hope for Nightwind.

XS is one of my favourite Legionnaires, so I was looking forward to the backup story here, but Jenni was acting pretty passive. She's not doing anything! She could be learning about her new homeworld, or being an active Legionnaire, or something. But no; she's making a mosaic all by herself. Okay, fine; if she needs a break and is working through some stuff, it's understandable. Until she finds something dangerous and blows it off because she figures the Legion can handle it, even though they don't know about it, as far as she knows; it's one of the stupidest things I've ever seen a superhero do.

The only thing that could justify this to me is if the mosaic was significant somehow, maybe even hypnotizing her. Except then we'd have the added problem that I don't like that idea.

Is this going to tie into Flashpoint? I'd really rather it didn't tie into Flashpoint.

Is it Comet Queen next month, or graduation? I think it was supposed to be Comet Queen but then she got pushed back a month. Looking forward to it either way.

Notes:
- Levitz seems to be suggesting that Jed Rikane has more powers than just the superstrength. Sure looked like it last issue
- Funny how much "raw genes" look like kryptonite
- I presume that Luornu's last line is for the benefit of new readers, who don't know that she actually is a nice person
- Didn't see much of Variable Lad this arc, did we?

Art: Borges: 53 panels/12 pages = 4.4 panels/page. Two single-panel pages. Moy: 38 panels/8 pages = 4.8 panels/page.

If you can't have Jimenez, you could do a lot worse than the job Borges does here. The splash page where Glorith is dechemifying Alchemical Girl is worth the price of admission all by itself, and the closeup on Chemical Kid on the last panel of page 10 is good too. The Legion is swimming in good artists these days.

I wasn't a big fan of the Moys in their previous stint on the Legion. Not that they weren't any good; it's just that their style didn't appeal to me. Their characters looked, oh, kinda plastic, like toys. (That said, I far prefer the Moys to most of the rest of the art in comic books of that era. Far.) But that's a lot less true in this issue. Don't really care for their portrayal of Night Girl, but they make Jenni look really good. And that phantasmagoria she experiences in the Olduvai Gorge is very nicely done too. Overall the backup was pretty nice to look at.

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22 Comments:

Blogger Prof. Lemaris Lang said...

Speaking of Flashpoint . . .

Friday's Newsarama featured the Kid Flash mini-series. It will take place in the future.

There was no specific time period mentioned, but it was implied that Bart Allen returned to his own time period which is the 30 century.

Readers will learn about the present day Tlashpoint reality by seeing its future.

The Legion was not mentioned, but who can they resist including even just a cameo.

We'll see.

LL>

10:02 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I'm still not sure I want to jump into Flashpoint or not. I can see how it might be good. I can also see how it might be nothing at all.

10:10 AM  
Blogger karl said...

Jed Rikane reminds me somehow of Colossus from the x-Men; similar character.
disliked how Jenni [XS] was written in this issue; I can only put it down to how her version of the Legion dealt with such things back in the 90s. Shell have to put her silly teenage crushes and what-not behind her if shes joining [has joined?] this LSH. And I really really wish some other artist [any artist!] would draw XS for a change' Im tired of the Moys 'happy faces' XS.

7:41 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Jed and Colossus... how so?

As for XS... When I wrote my The Legionnaires entry for XS, I left out something important that I didn't think of until recently.

Of all of DC's superheroes, XS is their great resistance fighter. Most of the great XS moments come when she's involved in some kind of resistance movement against some twisted regime, a role she played fairly often. I wonder if Levitz is going to give us anything like this for her, or at least acknowledge that she's been through a lot of it.

8:59 PM  
Anonymous Mo Walker said...

@Matthew E - Are you referring to XS' time as a resistance fighter on Xanthu? That was during DnA's run. I remember that plotline started in an issue Legion Worlds.

Personally, I think Levitz either included the XS backup to remind people the character is a Legionnaire, and/or to connect the Legion to Flashpoint. I wouldn't be surprised if XS plays a role in main book or the Kid Flash mini. After all, XS is Barry Allen's granddaughter.

Does anyone know anything about Levitz's views on XS? He inherited her from Johns.

3:50 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

On Xanthu, yes, and also in the "Legends of the Dead Earth" Annual, and on Earth during the "Legion of the Damned" storyline.

I heard an interview a while ago where Levitz said about XS, "She seems like a fun character." That's about it.

4:01 PM  
Blogger Martin Gray said...

XS appears in the Flash family group shot in Flashpoint #1, as miscoloured in the Free Comic Book Day Green Lantern preview. Hopefully she'll catch up to her heroic mojo there.

8:18 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

She's probably going to get killed off, or join the Teen Titans and get killed off, or something.

8:58 PM  
Anonymous Mo Walker said...

@Martin Gray - Have you been following the online coverage of XS being 'whitewashed'? If not, checkout - http://dcwomenkickingass.tumblr.com/post/5334269625/wwjenni and http://dcwomenkickingass.tumblr.com/post/5359835068/muchmore. Someone at editorial should have caught that mistake. XS has been around for nearly 20 years. Johns took the time to setup XS at the end of L3W. Mistakes can happen, but isn't that what editorial is there to catch? Luckily this is being corrected before Flashpoint #1 comes out.

@Matthew E - I hope XS is not killed during Flashpoint. XS has so much story potential because of her ties to 21st Century DCU. I do not think XS would ever join the Teen Titans, because Kid Flash is already there. A Flash Family style book would be nice. I fondly remember the XS/Impulse (Bart Allen) team-ups from the 90s.

1:05 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

As I say, she's one of my favourites; I don't want her killed off either. And I think she's much better off with the Legion than with the Flash Family.

In fact, I'm kind of scratching my head over the whole idea of the Flash Family. Is this interesting to anyone? I guess if the Green Lantern Corps can have its own title, so can the Flash Family...

1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

During the 90s,the Flash title could've been called The Flashes. The title character had a fleet of similarly powered allies running beside him.I was a steady reader of The Flash at the time,so the Flash Family appealed to me at least.What things are like since Barry Allen replaced Wally West as the focal point of the speedsters I can't say,but I doubt XS won't return to the Legion.The DCU has more than enough speedsters running around in the present day.Surely XS can be spared to go back to the future.
In fact,solo supeheroes don't stay solo.Sooner or later,they collect a posse of like-themed comrades: the Flash family,the Superman family,the Batman Family,et.al.Solo characters become part of a team,a sort of mini-Legion featuring superheroes with the same fashion sense.

4:11 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I hope that this:

I doubt XS won't return to the Legion.The DCU has more than enough speedsters running around in the present day.Surely XS can be spared to go back to the future.

is true (I mean, it makes sense), but you're kind of undercutting your own statement with your last paragraph there.

4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe so,but it's true.Superman started as a solo act,then from him sprung forth Superboy,then Supergirl,Superboy II,Superdog,and so on. That grim loner Batman begat Batgirl, Batwoman,Bat-mite, Bathound,et.al.Superhero books become team books in one way or another.

Nice as it was to have the Moys putting a "vacant smile" on Jenni's "plastic" face,the only time she acted like herself was in her indignation at Night Girl's offer. Otherwise,a different XS was being shown.Care nothing about Flashpoint,but if the mosaic has anything to do with it,that means the mystery behind it will at least be revealed in out lifetime.

1:10 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

No, I mean, you're right about that, but doesn't it make XS less likely to go back to the Legion?

9:03 AM  
Anonymous AJay said...

I'm in favor of Nightwind's graduation to fulltime legionaire. Levitz has put a lot of effort into giving the newbies distinctive personalities and I wouldn't be surprised if we get 3 or 4 graduates out of this class. Seeing them interact with the now-adult LoSH would be interesting.
XS will definitely connect the Legion to Flashpoint and, as hinted herein, whatever is going on with the GL Corps and the beginning of creation (that mysterious hand again).

11:51 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Oh well; as long as it's done well, whatever it is.

So look: next month we've got Comet Queen, then after that we've got Graduation Day, and then the Legion moves out of Adventure for the foreseeable future. Right? Wonder if/when they'll be back.

11:55 AM  
Blogger Chris Cottingham said...

Could the blue baby/energy/gem have anything to do with Flash-foe Cobalt Blue? (http://www.hyperborea.org/flash/cobalt-legacy.html) It would be a reason for Jenni to be involved.

I also thought of Despero's Flame of Py'tar when Saturn Queen was enhanced by it. But neither of these possibilities seems very cosmic.

8:09 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I doubt it on Cobalt Blue. Don't know enough about the Despero thing. I suspect neither one is large-scale enough.

8:18 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

I still say that if we have a green flaming baby-sized character (Dyogene) tied to the Green Lantern side of things, then similarity implies that a blue flaming baby-sized character is tied at least to Dyogene, if not to the Blue Lantern. (Although how it ties to "compassion", I don't know.)

Even Blogger agrees: my code word is "drings"!

As for XS, she really needed another page of characterization for it to ring true. What we got was "I'm offended that you want me in the Legion". What we needed was "I've been in the Legion from my universe for more than 5 years and I've seen as much experience as any Legionnaire from this universe. I need knowledge about this Legion's foes, yes, but I'm offended that you want to send me to the Academy at all." (And we needed Night Girl acknowledging that the diss was there but unintentional.)

2:56 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I don't think Dyogene is a baby, though; more like a grub or something. It's possible that there's a connection, but I'm not predicting it.

As for XS, I think that what we needed was an entirely different story. This is what she's been up to, this? Scrapbooking?

3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting that the morally dubious operation of depowering Alchemical Girl is performed by someone named Glorith.More evidence that she will someday become the Glorith we know.

1:17 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

You can look at it like that, yeah. But is this more evidence, or the first evidence? (Not counting the name, of course.)

8:45 AM  

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