Thursday, August 04, 2011

Adventure Comics #529 Review, and More

What Happened That You Have to Know About:

The other Academy students notice the fight in Legion HQ and show up to help. Cosmic King is holding his own just fine, but in the end he tries some kind of lethal attack on the students, and Variable Lad uses some kind of reflecting power to defend them. Both Variable Lad and Cosmic King are killed in the process. Gravity Kid quits the Academy to join the SPs on Takron-Galtos.


So that's Adventure Comics.

It ended on an up note, anyway (in the sense that the story was pretty good, I mean). Although I suppose we'll see the title surface again at some point.

I'm curious about how the timing works out between this comic and LSHv6. Cosmic King showed up in LSHv6 #15, and we know now that that couldn't have happened after this issue. So it must have been before it. Is there going to be a panel in LSHv6 #16 where Saturn Queen pulls Cosmic King out of the fight and sends him to Earth?

I don't really care for how both Adventure and LSHv6 ended, or will end, with characters dying. It's too conventional. It's a surprise twist that isn't surprising or twisty.

At the end of the issue, Bouncing Boy says that the students have increased their odds of becoming Legionnaires with the events of this story. I'm not sure I see it. True, they were brave; true, they showed initiative. But they didn't use teamwork to any noticeable extent. They couldn't really use their powers effectively against Cosmic King. The only one who really got through was Variable Lad, and he got killed. To me, they don't look any more like Legionnaires than they did before.

For the Jaquaans, what exactly is the advantage of that third arm on their back? How did it evolve? There's no eye-hand coordination with it, so how do they learn to do anything with it? I'd like it if some smart science fiction thinker came up with a real good story to explain that.

Art: 75 panels/20 pages = 3.8 panels/page. Two single-panel pages.

Low panel count, but it felt like a substantial story, so what do I know. Very pretty work by Borges, too; I direct your attention to Variable Lad on page 4 for an example of what worked for me.

In Other News:

Well, we're getting a miniseries where the Legion crosses over with Star Trek, published by IDW. I guess that's one idea. It'll be drawn by the Moys, which is cool as far as the Legionnaires are concerned but I can't quite picture their style being applied to Star Trek. Best news for me is that it'll be written by Chris Roberson, for whom this whole thing is right in his wheelhouse. I've wanted to see him write the Legion for a while.

I've thought of a couple of people like that, people whose takes on the Legion I'd enjoy seeing. Matthew K. Manning, for instance; he wrote a few issues of LSH31C that I enjoyed, and I figured that he'd do okay if he had a real chance to explore the characters. Or William Joyce: he's got that pulp-retro-future sensibility that ought to work great.

That's good thinking, right? Those are two decent candidates?

Combine them with Roberson and Fabian Nicieza and Paul Levitz, all of whom are going to be writing Legion comics this fall, and all of whom have impeccable credentials, and you've got five white guys. So I just fell into the same trap DC Comics did when they were doling out books for the relaunch. How come there have been so few women working on the Legion? For instance.

Not none. Mindy Newell. Mary Bierbaum. Colleen Doran. Gail Simone. But, issue by issue, across the long sweep of the Legion's history, very few.

And I don't imagine it's anything malevolent on DC's part that leads them to do what they do. They're doing what's easy. They have a stable of creators they know, trust, and like, who are acceptably professional and who are willing to write and draw whatever Geoff Johns thinks up for the 52 different titles, so where's the percentage in looking around for anything other than that?

This is something else people have been talking about a lot this week. For instance, my colleagues over at the Legion of Substitute Podcasters wrestled with this topic and came to conclusions I disagree with. Colin Smith at Too Busy Thinking about My Comics took on a related topic.

I read an article recently, and I'd link to it except I can't for the life of me remember where I read it, about some company who does some kind of creative work. Might be advertising or something; I dunno. The people in charge of the company decided that, for the work they did, they were going to hire 50% women and 50% men, period. So they did it and it worked out great for them. They're thrilled with the results of this policy. So, okay: why can't DC do the same thing?

Most of the people who give an opinion about DC's failure to hire female comic creators will say that they don't want quotas; they want the best people hired who will therefore produce the best comics. Which is all well and good except that
a) the available talent for DC certainly exceeds the number of available jobs by so much that DC could restrict themselves to the most constraining of quotas and still be able to fill the jobs without any perceptible loss in quality
b) it's easy for white guys to say that they just want the best comics possible; maybe the rest of the world could use something in addition to quality out of their comics (and, sure, it's true that superhero comics have a predominantly male audience... but is that the chicken or the egg?)
c) if your comics have been so overwhelmingly white-and-male for so long, how do you even know that you're getting the best comics? I bet baseball fans of the 1940s thought they were seeing the best possible baseball, too, before Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby and Aaron and Mays showed them that they weren't.

So, never mind Manning and Joyce for a while. What would Kelly Link do with the Legion? What if they turned the title over to Colleen Doran? Or Tara Tallan?

When I open a comic book, I want to see stuff I've never seen before. And, sure, I'm a Legion fan: I want to see Legion stuff I've never seen before. But at this stage I don't know if Paul Levitz is going to give that to me. Maybe we could try something radical and let someone from outside the boys' club have a pop at it.

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