Thursday, March 17, 2011

Adventure Comics #524 Review

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

The cadets, in disgrace after being caught at the end of last issue, are grounded. But Chemical Kid is worried about his dad, so he goes back to Phlon with Gravity Kid, Dragonwing, Comet Queen, and Glorith, and they end up in a confrontation with... I guess it's the Taurus Gang. Black Mace, anyway, and a few other people. And it doesn't go well.


Second-issue syndrome, but that's okay; Levitz and Jimenez have a plot in mind that's just starting to ramp up. I don't know what there is to care about with the Taurus Gang and Chemical Kid's dad, but both the villains and the planet Phlon are fairly fresh territory for Legion comics, so there's a lot of room for interesting stuff.

Characters. I hope they give Luornu more to do in this series than to be the shouty one. Seriously; she's good for a lot more than that. Also, I'm glad we got to see some of Chemical Kid's good qualities this issue; he seemed genuine in that scene where he was talking to Glorith. For a second, anyway.

Is it just me or is the legacy aspect of the Legion Academy overdone a bit? Too many of these characters have connections to the Legion. Variable Lad is Dr. Gym'll's nephew and Glorith is Mysa's student; in the past we had Laurel Kent and Shadow Kid and Magnetic Kid, all with Legionnaire relatives. Also, Chemical Kid's family is rich. I'm getting the idea that the Academy is kind of exclusive. (Obviously there are other ways in; Dragonwing seems like she's from the wrong side of the tracks, and Comet Queen and Glorith are nobody in particular.)

My Taurus-fu is not strong. I'm pretty sure I've got their other appearance somewhere, but if anyone would care to explain in the comments just which Taureans we're dealing with here and what their deal is, I'd appreciate it.

Now that we've got the Academy starring in a comic book, at least for a little while, let's think about what kind of superhero group they're going to be. I came up with ten fundamental points about the Legion here; go look at 'em and come back. Of those ten, some of the superficial ones certainly apply here (1,2,3,4,7,9, and 10). Specifically, they're trying to stress the teamwork angle, which, from a pedagogical point of view, makes sense. The differences? There aren't as many Academy students as there are Legionnaires. It's not special to be an Academy student (although see Nightwind's appearance in the "For No Better Reason" arc of DnA's The Legion series!), but it is special to be a Legionnaire, and the Academy does kind of feed on that a little.

And most of all, there's no evidence of Superman's influence in the Academy. (There was when Laurel Kent was a member, but not since then.) There's a lot of Legion influence, but nothing specific to Superman.

We could say another couple of things about the Legion that have become true since I first wrote that thing: first, that the Legion helped Clark Kent become Superman, and second, that the Legion is a beacon of diversity in a xenophobic universe. The Academy isn't really using these things either. The Academy students are overall less diverse than the Legionnaires are (do you realize how many Earthlings there are in this group?), but I suppose you could say that, as kids being taught how to be heroes by ex-Legionnaires, they're sorta playing a Superman role... except that they don't resemble Superman in the slightest. (Except maybe Jed.)

So that's how they're like and not like the Legion. Let's keep our eyes out for things we can say the Legion Academy stands for other than the obvious, that they're a way of feeding the UPs superhero systems.

- "Since I was a snot." Way back then, huh?
- Is there a comic book character who has appeared on more covers, with less known about him, than Urk?
- I didn't realize that Gym'll was so squat compared to Variable Lad
- I have to keep reminding myself: Phlon is where Chemical King and Kid come from; Phlan is the setting of Pool of Radiance
- last panel of page 11. Is that Dragonwing or Black Mace causing that FWOOSH? If it's Dragonwing, why's she doing it?
- Michael Chiklis as Black Mace in the movie? Maybe Bruce Willis?

Art: 91 panels/19 pages = 4.8 panels/page. One 12-panel page, two single-panel pages, one case of 5 panels spread over 2 pages. 19 pages?! Hold the line at $2.99 all you want, DC, but it doesn't mean much if the comics keep shrinking.

But Jimenez does his usual fine job. I particularly like his Bouncing Boy. And Phlon looks like a real interesting place! (Despite what Chemical Kid says about it.)

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