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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Adventure Comics #5 Adventure Comics #5

Adventure Comics #5

[Original Numbering: #508]

Scheduled to arrive in stores: December 6, 2009

Cover date: February 2010

"He Primed Me" - Part Two: "Flame War"

Writer: Geoff Johns and Sterling Gates
Penciller: Jerry Ordway
Inker: Bob Wiacek and Jerry Ordway

"Superboy: The Boy of Steel"

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Francis Manapul

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

"He Primed Me" - Part Two: "Flame War"

Superboy Prime fights the Black Lanterns of the heroes he killed in the skies above Manhattan on Earth Prime. The heroes taunt him for what he did to them and Prime takes the fight to the offices of DC Comics and starts trashing the place since they are responsible for what happened to him. He does a really good job of tearing up the place and threatens to kill Eddie Berganza before Black Lantern Alexander Luthor arrives with the other Black Lanterns and informs Prime that all he is doing is proving that the creators are right about him.

Luthor transports Prime and the other Black Lanterns to Prime's basement and puts a bloody hand on his comic collection, which enrages Superboy Prime. As the other Black Lanterns attack Luthor begins to taunt Superboy Prime by telling him that others found a community and hope between the pages of the comics in the basement while Prime hated them because all he wanted was control, which he couldn't have and Prime hates what he can't control. Superboy Prime insists that all he wanted to do was fit in and eventually dons a Black Lantern ring. Prime struggles as one by one he goes through the most of the ring spectrum before finally finding himself alone in his basement. After once again saying that it wasn't his fault Laurie runs down and tells him that "they" know what they did was wrong and they will leave him alone now. Superboy Prime and Laurie hug but on Laurie's a Black Lantern ring.

"Superboy: The Boy of Steel"

Superboy and Krypto fly back to Smallville from Paris when Krypto suddenly flies off. Superboy follows and finds the Smallville Clinic has been vandalized. Lori, a girl Superboy has previously saved, comes out holding a baseball bat and tries to distract Superboy by asking for a ride home. He flies off with Lori and tries to get her to tell him why she did what she did when Lori kisses him. Superboy says that he has a girlfriend and is just trying to help her, which stuns Lori because no one has ever tried to help her before.

They fly to Lori's house where Lori gives Superboy the story behind her acts of vandalism against Dr. Greer. Her mother was in an accident when she was young that left her in a wheelchair and Lori's mother has been on the decline since. Greer refused to help Lori's mother after her insurance ran out. There is a knock and Superboy asks if there is lead in the door because he can't see through it. After Lori opens the door he becomes weak and Lori sees her uncle...Lex Luthor, who is standing in the doorway holding a box with Kryptonite in it.

4Lead Story - 4: This is a weird one because I really liked this story and at the same time I really hated it.

I have never really been a fan of comic book stories that take place in "the real world". There was a quaintness about when Stan Lee and Jack Kirby showed up in the pages of FANTASTIC FOUR or when Cary Bates was a villain in an issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA but it just never got me going as a reader. I see why other people do. I'm just not one of them.

So seeing Superboy Prime trashing the offices of DC Comics didn't do a whole lot for me.

The thing that made me "hate" this story was the fact that I am of the opinion that Superboy Prime is supposed to be the embodiment of the loudest, most obnoxious comic fans on the Internet and that kind of bugs me. It annoys me when a writer uses a character in their story to take a pot shot at the people that go on the 'net and complain about the comics they read. There's merit in it and I can certainly understand what most writers and artists feel when they climb on to a message board or find a blog where a guy or gal is ripping them a new one and accusing them of not being able to do their job but taking a character and turning him into one of those bloggers/posters isn't the way to deal with it.

I was hoping that the last few pages of FINAL CRISIS: LEGION OF THREE WORLDS was going to be the end of this sort of thing. Obviously not.

On the other hand I really liked the emotional heart to this story. Johns and Gates sold the turmoil inside Superboy Prime. Even though he has killed, maimed and destroyed this Clark Kent did get a raw deal and wanted nothing more than to be a hero. That doesn't excuse his actions at all but it does give me as the reader something to grab on to as far as relating to the character. It was heart wrenching to see Superboy Prime get beaten by the Black Lantern versions of the heroes he killed and to "hear" Black Lantern Alexander Luthor coming at him verbally and it made that moment when he put the Black Lantern ring on that much more powerful. The scene of him going through the green, orange and red reinforced this feeling and that last scene got to me, especially that great ending of seeing the Black Lantern ring on Laurie.

So I liked this story. And I didn't like this story. Up and down.

I like it when I am engaged this much by a writer...or writers in this case.

4Lead Story Art - 4: Ordway and Wiacek.

That is all you really needed to say to get me excited. I am such a fan of Jerry Ordway's artwork and I have been for years so as much as I was up and down about the story and the themes the art was solid all the way through. One of the things that I have always liked about Ordway's art is that as much as he has his own style he is a dead on illustrator when it comes to getting a person's likeness. Check out his art on the adaptation for the 1989 BATMAN film for a great example of this. So Superboy Prime and all the Black Lanterns looked great, but the DC staffers that I recognized looked like themselves as well.

Ordway also nailed the emotional side to the story. You could see the anger and the sadness on Superboy Prime's face as he goes from blind rage to being kind of a pathetic figure. The detail in the background was great as well and I will admit that I was kind of ticked when Black Lantern Alexander smeared blood on the comic boxes.

As silly as it may sound, the art in that scene made me relate to Superboy Prime on a really deep and emotional level.

I'm protective of my comics. Sue me.

4Back-Up Story - 4: On the surface this is a simple eight page story but there was a lot going on here though I had one glaring problem.

This is going to sound harsh and I don't really mean it that way but until the end this story was rather predictable. That doesn't make it a bad story because I dug it but I thought the whole, "my mother was injured and that mean doctor wouldn't treat her after she ran out of insurance so I am going to trash his clinic and pour sugar in his gas tank" thing was a bit obvious. I was thinking either a family member had been screwed over by the doctor or he was a little too touchy feely with Lori. I am glad they went with the "doctor was a jerk to my Mom" angle because the other one is a bit played out. I don't hate it because it is a good frame to hang a character around but I wasn't really feeling it despite liking the scene.

The ending, though, was great. I loved it. What a great cliffhanger to leave off on. Lori is Lex's niece. That was a great twist. It kind of makes me curious why she was so into Superboy knowing that her uncle was, you know, a super-villain but I did dig it.

Seriously. It was awesome.

Any takers on betting that Lori's mother's name is Lena?

Just a thought.

I also liked the fact that Conner has a girl named Lori kiss him while Superboy Prime had a girlfriend named Laurie that he was "reunited with" at the end of his story.

Not subtle but cool nonetheless.

4Back-Up Art - 4: It is a real shame that Manapul is leaving this title because I have really gotten to like his style over the course of this series. He did more in these eight or so pages than a lot of artists today can do in 22. The storytelling was really clear and I really felt for the characters on the page. Manapul did a really good job on this story and I am going to miss him when he's gone.

4Cover Art - 4: I really dig this cover. Ordway does a deceptively simple homage to the cover Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 and this is a rare time where it fits since these two characters were in that story. I like the characters against the stark background, which made Black Lantern Alex Luthor look creepier.

4Cover Art (Variant Edition) - 4: You know, outside of the glowing eyes of Krypto and the fact that it kind of spoils the ending to the second story I rather liked this cover. I've liked all of the variants to this title though that has a lot to do with the fact that they are continuing the original numbering from the first series.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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