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Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #1 [Review]

Quick Rating: Not Bad
Story Title: Yesterday’s Hero

The Legion members recount how a young Superman came to be part of their team…

legionofsuperheroesinthe31stcentury001Writer: J. Torres
Art: Chynna Clugston
Colors: Guy Major
Letters: Rob Clark Jr.
Editor: Jeanine Schaefer
Cover Art: Steve Uy
Publisher: Johnny-DC/DC Comics

The initial draw for me to this issue was the price. The prospect of buying a new issue with no discounts at a bricks and mortar store for just over the $2 mark grabbed my interest out of principle (though I sheepishly admit to virtually ignoring all Johnny-DC books for the last couple years). It’s a first issue, it’s cheap, and it features characters I’m not terribly familiar with…so hey, might as well check it out, right?
The first thing I noticed with the issue was the paper quality. Very thin, and if it isn’t, sure feels like the classic newsprint from comics of days gone by…which explains the cover price.

The story is pretty simple and straight-forward: the Legionaires have conflicting views on what exactly it was that led to a young man of steel being part of their 31st-century team. We basically get several narratives from the characters, recounting a couple of quick adventures, collectively serving as a first-issue introduction-and-origin of the team and info about its starring characters.

We’re given a look at the Legionaires "interviewing" the young man of steel to see that he’s eligible to join (this seems vaguely familiar to me as something from one of the original Legion of Super-Heroes stories from way-back-when); and then a fight with the Fatal Five.

The art is also fairly simple and not terribly detailed (which is not to say there’s no detail), and somewhat manga-ish. I realize this is to have it fit with the actual cartoon this series is a companion to (though I’m not sure if the first episode’s aired yet). It’s not particularly my cup of tea so to speak, but it fits the tone of the book, the characters are distinct and recognizeable, and so I really can’t complain about it in and of itself.

I’m not sure how this book will go over with long-time Legion of Super-Heroes fans, as my primary knowledge of the characters comes from the first year of the current iteration in the mainline DCU, but while this is definitely much different from that, I found it to be entertaining enough. I’m not a huge fan of the "Americanized-manga" styling, and a seemingly-on-the-surface over-simplification of things (the perception of which has largely kept out of the Teen Titans animated and Teen Titans Go! comic series). But as a simple, fun story not bogged down in continuity, this definitely isn’t bad.

It’s also a self-contained "full" story, in a debut issue of a new series, that actually introduces the main/core team, gives a look at all the characters and interacts with them…which scores points in MY book.

This is worth checking out if you’re looking (at least) for a quick diversion from all the heavy seriousness of many other current fare, and wouldn’t be a terrible issue to offer to the younger crowd–or read WITH them. Nothing all that spectacular, but certainly NOT bad at all.

Ratings:

Story: 3/5
Art: 3/5
Overall: 3/5

Adventure Comics #0 [Review]

Quick Rating: Decent
Story Title: The Legion of Super-Heroes / Origins & Omens

Superboy meets super-powered teens from the future, and a new Luthor/Brainiac team is introduced.

Writer: (AC247) Otto Binder, (O&O) Geoff Johns
Artist: (AC247) Al Plastino, (O&O) Francis Manapul
Colorist: Brian Buccellato
Letterer: Swands
Associate Editor: Sean Ryan
Editor: Elisabeth V. Gehrlein
Cover: Aaron Lopresti
Publisher: DC Comics

This issue is primarily reprint material, reprinting the story from Adventure Comics #247…a silver-age comic. This was the story that introduced Superboy to a super-hero club–the Legion of Super-Heroes. Encountering several individuals who know that he is Superboy AND Clark Kent, Superboy agrees to go 1,000 years into the future with these super-powered teens, who invite him to join their club as an honorary member if he can pass their initiation.

At the end of the issue is a 6-page sequence–the Origins & Omens story (one of which will be found in each of a number of other DC titles this month). This one continues a thread from the recently-concluded New Krypton story and sets the stage for the earliest issues of this series.

The story and art on the reprint are instantly recognizeable as silver age fare. While I appreciate concepts of the silver-age and greatly enjoyed time spent reading through my grandfather’s collection of comics half a lifetime ago, these days I find such stories in a bit of opposition with my interest. However, this story was decent, and it IS interesting to see the early/original version of the characters that would go on to have so much more depth in the years since this introduction.

The Origins & Omens bit seemed extremely short, but it has me interested in what’s to come. And I couldn’t help but recall Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? as I read this latest version of a Luthor/Brainiac interaction. The writing’s familiar–it’s Johns, after all–and the art is solid.

However, I’m doubtful that the Origins & Omens sequence is itself enough to justify the cover price. If you want the reprint and/or especially enjoy the Lopresti cover, this issue is well worth the $1. And if you’ve never read this story, there are few better ways to get a piece of history added to your “read” pile.

Ratings:

Story: 3/5
Art:
3/5
Overall:
3/5

Adventure Comics #10 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 3/5/5
Art: 2.5/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Adventure Comics #8 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 2.5/5
Art: 3/5
Overall: 2.5/5

Superman: Secret Origin #2 [Review]

The Boy of Steel

Writer: Geoff Johns
Penciller: Gary Frank
Inker: Jon Sibal
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Steve Wands
Assoc. Editor: Wil Moss
Editor: Matt Idelson
Covers: Frank w/ Anderson
Publisher: DC Comics

The silver age is apparently back. This issue–while including smaller moments of Clark and his parents, and of Luthor and his own life, as well as some of LUthor’s interaction with Clark (establishing them as acquaintances if not exactly best buds)–primarily focuses on the Legion of Super-Heroes and their first meeting with Clark, and allowing him to tag along “back to the future” with them. While in the future, recently-introduced elements (I believe from Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes) are established as being present from the get-go of things. It’s also pretty easy to fit the original silver age story of the characters’ first meeting between the pages here. The issue’s finale introduces another character whose presence means the current Superman is all the more NOT the character I grew up on.

The story itself isn’t bad–Johns has a great handle on things. However, I’ve bristled for years now at elements being “snuck” back into the Superman mythos that I’ve thought make him too much “super” and not enough “man” and this story really puts aside any sneaking and is quite overt at putting things back into the mythos. At the same time, I imagine that going back to re-read Superman and the Legion will reveal references to what is shown in these pages.

I’ve been curious as to exactly what is and is not official cannon in the Superman books of late, so I’m glad to see his secret-since-Infinite-Crisis origin revealed at last. The execution seems to be working quite well, even if I don’t like the content all that much.

The art team provides fantastic visuals. Even Clark as “Superboy” comes across as pretty realistic–he looks rather awkward in the costume and it’s easy to see that he’s not entirely comfortable in it yet. At this point, Frank is pretty much my favorite Superman artist, and very certainly in the ranks of Dan Jurgens, Jim Lee, and Alex Ross.

Again, while far from enamored at the undoing of so much of the Superman I grew up with from 1989 to present…I can’t deny that in and of itself, the story and art are both of high quality, and taken apart from my preferred continuity, this issue has some of the best Superman work of the last decade.

Story: 8/10
Art: 9/10
Whole: 8.5/10

Adventure Comics #3 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Superboy:
Story: 4/5
Art: 4/5

Legion of Super-Heroes:
Story: 2.5/5
Art: 3.5/5

Overall: 3.5/5

Adventure Comics #1 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 4/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #5 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 4.5/5
Art: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #4 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

Story: 4.5/5
Art: 4.5/5
Overall: 4.5/5
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Adventure Comics #0 [Review]

Full review posted to comixtreme.com.

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