Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Adventure Comics #522 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

Some guy called Sun Killer tries to spring Saturn Queen from the ship taking her to Takron-Galtos. Mon-El shows up and stops him. Also some kind of blue space baby is there; Saturn Queen prays to him in her sleep, but he leaves when he sees Dyogene (who's there accompanying Mon-El). Dyogene and the blue space baby are apparently some kind of old enemies.

Dawnstar's still comatose on Medicus One and Dr. Gym'll says it doesn't look good. There's also something going on with Harmonia Li, who's on her way back to Earth.


Look at what Levitz has done here. With Dawnstar, I mean. The plot requires that the Legion not be able to find Mon-El, and that they not be able to find Chief Zendak. Therefore Dawnstar's powers can't be available to them. Therefore Dawnstar has to be in a coma.

This is the whole trouble with Dawny. Her powers are just too useful for her to be allowed to use them. DnA had it right when they made up Shikari: the power to find a place is a lot easier for a writer to cope with than the power to find a person.

Anyway, it's kind of clumsy, don't you think? Put her in a coma to patch a plot hole? Levitz shouldn't let me see him palming a card like that.

Adventure Comics continues to be neither fish nor fowl. This issue, while a complete comic book superhero story (don't get me wrong), seems like an appendix to the main LSH title. Maybe Adventure will get an identity of its own once the Legion Academy stuff starts; I hope so.

Anyway, while it was complete--Mon-El, in his first act as a Green Lantern, stops a prison break, and obviously needs a lot more training with the ring--it doesn't seem entirely standalone. If we only had two issues of Mon-El's initiation with the GLC, shouldn't they have taken us further into it? It feels like the start of something that's not going to be finished. Oh, and the stuff with Saturn Queen and her LSV is fine... but it's also something that's going to be resolved in the main LSH title, not this one.

Imagine if you were only collecting Adventure and not paying attention to anything else DC was doing. Do you think you'd find it a satisfying experience?

I feel like I'm dancing around the point. What was the meat of this issue? I guess it was Sun Killer himself. He seems like an interesting sort of a supervillain. He's motivated, he's got a clear sense of his limitations, he's got something intriguingly nonstandard about his powers (taking the light from the cold world of Orivan?), and he's very polite. I think Levitz has a keeper here. (Despite the fact that the Legion's had more sun-powered villains than any two superhero teams can use.)

- Sun Killer is the latest in a long line of Japanese solar-themed supercharacters. Isn't it just as easy not to be stereotypical?
- Tellus has hands again in this issue.
- I'm not sure if Sun Killer is supposed to be the thing that launched itself out of the Olduvai Gorge last issue and took out Wildfire and Dawnstar. Somehow I think he isn't.
- Or maybe the space baby is the thing from Olduvai. I like that better.
- That's Sun Killer on the cover of the LSV special coming in March. I wonder if Cryo-King will also put in an appearance.

Panel Count: 84 panels/20 pages = 4.2 panels/page. One single-panel page. The art this month is provided by Geraldo Borges and Marlo Alquiza, and it looks okay. Not the best, but fine. I liked the Harmonia Li parts most of all.

Oh! Let me talk about the cover! I just realized something. The Legion symbol that's used on the cover? Circle, inside of which is a letter L, and in the crook of the L is a shooting star arcing down?

Has anybody ever speculated on just what that shooting star represents?

I put it to you that it represents a small rocket carrying the young Last Son of Krypton down to the surface of the Earth.

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Blogger Matthew E said...

Oh, and, another point to be made about Sun Killer's portrayal:

(Verification word: evilerin. Is Blogger trying to tell us something about Shvaughn?)

10:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We get a cut in the cover price, but we only get 20 pages of Legion this month. Feh.The rest of the issue is taken up with a 6-page preview of a comic I have no interest in buying.In fact,nearly all the ads were of in-house product.Hey DC,if you got more outside advertisers in your comics you could drop the cover price more, thereby selling more comics. That's how you move product.
But letters pages are coming back! Missed those-the one page all fans will visit.Glass half-full,half-empty indeed.

8:43 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I'm reserving judgment on the letters pages until I see what they're actually going to be like.

9:05 PM  
Anonymous AJayMcL said...

I'm wondering what Space Baby and Harmonia Li have to do with Krona.Maybe this ties into the anticipated return of you know, Prince Uxas.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Do we know that the space baby has anything to do with Kronos? And I've forgotten who Prince Uxas is, if I ever knew.

11:52 AM  
Anonymous AJay said...

Krona (see Green Lanturn)a guardian obsessed with the origins of the universe. This connects with Titanfall.
Uxas is better known by another name that is perhaps a little more Apokolyptic.

12:22 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Oh, that's right. Prince Uxas. Okay.

No, I knew about the connection between Krona and Li and Titanfall, that's fine, but--and it's possible I'm just being very absent-minded today--I still don't know how that gets the space baby in there.

Unless we hang the whole upcoming LSV plot with Saturn Queen and the space baby to her anger over Titanfall.

1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This issue,and the last LSH issue, focus on just one of the many storylines that are swirling about the Legion titles.Good.Paul never had trouble generating story ideas,but he tended to string them along longer than he should've. Fans got on the threeboot for spinning its narrative wheels,but there's any number of Levitz-scripted 80s issues that did much the same thing.
The scene of Prof. Li and the meteors was cosmically creepy.There's a storyline unduly neglected;Li's experiments destroy Titan,and she wants to resume those experiments on Earth?! The ominous-meter should be off the scale.
Great idea about the Legion symbol. You probably put more thought into it than the designers did.To them, it was probably a matter of filling in some empty space.
Rather than an appendix to LSH, this title is sharing the stage with it.I doubt anyone is buying this who isn't a Legion fan,now that it's all-Legion.Storylines can begin here,and they can finish up here.

11:51 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

I wouldn't say that the Harmonia Li storyline's been neglected; hardly an issue's gone by that we haven't checked in on her.

The difference between Levitz's second run and the threeboot is that Levitz was careful to include meaningful conflict in every issue; Waid often fell down on that. Levitz's second run held up very well over time, and I'm sure that part of the threeboot will too, but I suspect that other parts of it won't, not as well, anyway.

12:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Dawnstar [ even if her entire dialogue in Legion of Three Worlds was 'we dont have time for this' ]...but I do so fervently wish theyd bring back Shikari.

7:54 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Aah, they'll never leave anyone gone forever. Certainly I'd count on Shikari to come back before any of the 5YL-only characters.

8:01 PM  
Blogger Meerkatdon said...

I really like the theory that the shooting star represents Kal-El's rocket, but I'm afraid I just don't buy it.

The L-and-shooting-star was almost certainly based on a 1/3-page graphic banner that first appeared sometime in the 1960s as a page-filler: a giant red-trimmed yellow "L" against a blue background speckled with planets, stars, and a yellow shooting star/comet rising toward the right.

That banner was in turn based on the "Legion Flag" that debuted in Adventure #304, May 1963. On that flag, a giant red-trimmed yellow L sat on a blue background speckled with planets and stars, with a yellow-tailed comet under the L, descending toward the left. (Image at

As far as I know, the modern L-with-falling-star design first appeared in LSH v.4; I'd guess that the Bierbaums or Giffen resurrected the old banner, brushed away all the stars and planets, and made it into an oval. I suppose it's possible that they turned the rising star into a falling star in order to symbolize Kal-El's rocket...but that was the time when Superboy was being suppressed in DC, and TMK had Valor serving as the inspiration for the Legion.

Was the falling star their way of rebelling against the anti-Superboy rules? Could be...but I think it unlikely.

However, it's too good a theory to drop. This is a different Legion, after all...let's just agree that they chose this symbol to symbolize the infant Kal-l's arrival on Earth. That's a retcon I can really get behind.

10:57 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Thanks for tracing that down; I knew some of it but hadn't put it together at all. I hope Levitz or someone uses it; we can't be the only ones who've ever thought of it.

11:03 PM  
Anonymous AJay said...

My theory on the star within the Legion symbol is that it's Brande's product logo. He did make his fortunes by making stars, and as Legion's corporate sponsor he had bragging rights. BTW yours is my favorite Legion blog. Good job by you, sir.

11:30 AM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Thanks very much.

The Brande idea makes a bit of sense. Have we ever seen a star as part of a Brande logo? I don't remember it, but I could easily have missed it. Anyway, while it's a possibility, I wouldn't put too much weight on it without evidence as it'd be kind of a cheesy thing for Brande to do, and he didn't often do stuff like that. I don't think he ever tried to make money off the Legion.

11:45 AM  
Blogger Jim Drew said...

Frankly, the star/comet is just there so DC didn't get sued by Lexus.

(Remember when the reboot Triad's logo flipped the direction of the point? Turns out there's a health products company called Triad whose logo was a dead ringer for the original Triad logo:

As for the blue baby: if Diogene is the 31st century form of Will Entity, maybe the blue baby is the new Hope Entity form? And then what KO'ed Dawnstar might be the White/Life Entity? (Okay, I hope not, since I'd rather not tie the Legion books too strongly into the GL mythos.)

3:45 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Yes, but it's constraints that produce the greatest creativity.

I can't see Levitz leaning on the emotional spectrum too much. For one thing, it's kind of a (*looks around to see if anyone's listening*) stupid idea in the first place. He can come up with much better stuff on his own.

4:04 PM  

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