Friday, September 10, 2010

Adventure Comics #518 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

The Legion is in the middle of a campaign against Zaryan and his raiders. They're working effectively and win two battles, including one on Naltor. After that, Dream Girl has a vision of a Legionnaire dying (take a drink!) and sends a warning message to them. Meanwhile, ghostly voices around the Legion clubhouse are disconcerting some of the Legionnaires.


My only problem with this issue is that I know where it's all going. Believe me, if it was a new storyline, I'd be all over it. But this part of Legion history is very well-trodden ground indeed. Levitz does an excellent job of coming at it from a new angle, so it feels new, and is in general a pleasure to read, but if you think about it for two seconds you can see all the pieces falling into place.

One example: the ghostly voice. When I first read that part of the story, I really sat up and took notice. Wow, I thought, what could that possibly be? It can't be any of the Legionnaires, because none of them are dead yet. Is it Fortress Lad himself? Then I thought about it for two seconds and I was all, oh, right, of course; I know who it is. Oh well; new readers are in for a treat. There are new readers reading this, right? That's what it's for, after all.

You know one difference this story has from the original Silver Age story? In this story, Superman has a history. In the Silver Age, he didn't, really; he only had a present, a status quo. So who cares if Superboy goes into the future and learns about the past? Oh, I know, I know; can't let him know that he's going to work at the Daily Planet. That's not what I mean. I mean, then, there wasn't much about Superman's life that Superboy would react to much, learning it temporarily. Now there certainly is, and it's appropriate for Levitz to show us some of that.

Now that I think about it... the core of this arc is that Saturn Girl doesn't want anyone else to die for her. She'd rather do the dying, if anyone has to, and we know very well from Legion history how that plays out. But there's another Legionnaire death alluded to in this issue: Superman's, at the hands of Doomsday. Where was the Legion during that time? One answer is, when that story first came out, Superman had never been a Legionnaire, according to continuity. But now he has been again. So will we ever get the story on why the Legion didn't (or did!) intervene? Or did they just figure that he eventually came back to life, so they weren't needed? Or, more to the point, I wonder how Saturn Girl regards Superman's death as compared to Lightning Lad's death. I don't want to make the Superman/Doomsday thing all about the Legion, because that was never what it was all about, but Levitz is the one who brought it up, after all.

So this is the fourth of six issues in this arc? I wonder if Levitz is going to have time to colour in any Legionalia that's not related to, shall we say, Zaryan and his aftermath. I guess we'll get some hint when the solicits come out in a week or two. Next issue, apparently, the Legion goes to Smallville. Sounds major.

Panel Count: 83 panels in 20 pages = 4.2 panels/page. 2 single-panel pages. I think Sharpe is improving in his time with the Legion, to this extent: there are some beautiful panels. Look at the three pages with Dreamy and Berem, for instance. But then you get panels where you wonder if he knows what these characters are supposed to look like (compare Phantom Girl to herself on page 7, for example). Oh well; if the Legion is really being bumped out of Adventure, it'll stop being a topic of conversation.

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