Adventure Comics #0 Review
This is a great intro to comics for those that have fallen for Superboy and the Legion of Super Heroes, either from their recent appearance on TV’s Smallville or their great animated series that ran for two seasons.
The primary tale is a re-print from the classic Adventure Comics #247, written by Otto Binder with art by Al Plastino. I say classic, because this 1958 tale introduced the concept of the Legion (a team of 30th century teen super-heroes) into DC’s ever expanding Universe. Cosmic Boy, Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl were the first three members shown, though since their debut both the popularity and membership of the Legion has grown exponentially. Some may complain that this light issue features a re-print from the Silver Age and a mere 6 page back up, but it’s certainly worth the $1 US cover price.
I enjoyed the reprint. It’s…quaint and brought a smile to my face. Comics readers back in the 50s and 60s must have had a ball. There’s no hint of the darkness and convoluted narratives inherent in today’s “funny” books. It begins with Superboy flying around and meeting three different teenagers who know his secret identity. Shocked, the Boy of Steel learns that the trio are visiting him from the future and take him on a brief trip to show him their home. Here, Clark sees a Superboy robot being demonstrated in a class room, tries an “out of this world” ice-cream consisting of 9 different flavours from 9 different planets and eventually tries out for Legion membership. He aims to beat the three teens at their own games, as they only possess one super power each. He fails not by choice, but rather distraction, as in the course of the competition he’s distracted by saving the wayward Superboy ‘bot, a wayward satellite and a wayward invisible eagle of Neptune. That’s a lot of waywards!
Superboy remains quiet on why he lost and humbly accepts the Legion’s mocking. However, it turns out the trio caused all those distractions to test his heart, thus earning Superboy a medal declaring him, “Super Hero Number One,” which he waves infront of his unimpressed Dad.
Modern readers may too easily forget the genius of the Golden and Silver Ages in comic book history. Sure the tales are simple and the art ain’t flashy, but decades ago these creators gave the world concepts that have lasted. Despite the hokey dialogue and abundant use of thought balloons, and even the grand tones of a narrator, this was enjoyable. Today’s creators owe much to writers and artists of the past. They really are standing on the shoulders of giants.
The back-up tale is an original one, written by DC’s golden boy (with very good reason) Geoff Johns, who also penned the Legion’s Smallville debut. Art is supplied by Francis Manapul. This is the first Origins and Omens feature, which DC will use to set markers for the future of their books, focusing on the Green Lantern: Blackest Night event. It’s told from the point of view of Scar, a corrupted Guardian of the Universe. Lex Luthor, currently a prisoner uses his access to Braniac’s body to learn his secrets and fly the coop. However, Braniac awakens and wants none of that. It’s a vague hint for what’s next for the DCU. However, the last page, showing a glimpse of Superboy (who hasn’t been seen since his death in Infinite Crisis) looks like he’ll finally make a triumphant return, but as a possible pawn of the new Black Lanterns who use the dead for their own ends.
With a groovy Aaron Lopresti cover, in a homage to the often-imitated original, with American Idol undertones Superboy faces a thumbs down from the Legion’s judges. Underneath it is a brief comic, but a Superboy centered one showing his past and future. It’s cheap, so grab it.