Friday, May 06, 2011

Still the Biggest Thrill of All

Intrepid correspondent Sarcasm Kid brings to my attention a commissioned picture he's just received from Joe Prado, depicting White Lightning Lantern Lad. Thanks very much for sharing it with us; it looks cool.


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.


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.

- 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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