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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Adventure Comics #8 Adventure Comics #8

Adventure Comics #8

[Original Numbering: #511]

Scheduled to arrive in stores: March 3, 2010

Cover date: May 2010

"Superman: Last Stand on New Krypton": "Prologue" - Part One: "The Past is Prologue"

Writer: Sterling Gates
Penciller: Travis Moore
Inker: Julio Ferreira

"Superman: Last Stand on New Krypton": "Prologue" - Part Two: "The Future is Now"

Writer: James Robinson
Penciller: Julian Lopez
Inker: Bit

"Awake - Part 1"

Writer: Eric Trautman
Penciller: Pier Gallo
Inker: Pier Gallo

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

"Superman: Last Stand on New Krypton": "Prologue" - Part One: "The Past is Prologue"

Brainiac 5 muses on his namesake, the problems it caused him growing up and the reasons his father had for naming him after a hated ancestor before he and other members of the Legion come upon something that surprises even him. Earthgov Science Outpost Delta 2 is being enveloped by a strange energy rift. The Legionnaires save the scientists on the Outpost before it is destroyed and once they are back onboard the Legionnaires space craft Brainiac 5 reveals that six such rifts have opened up across the universe in the past six hours and that the source of the anomaly goes back one thousand years. Brainiac 5 tells them they need to get back to his lab because unless they can stop the original Brainiac from killing Superman a thousand years of history will be destroyed.

4Story - 4: Sterling Gates is turning out to be one of the strongest new writers DC has cultivated in the past few years. The flashback to Brainy's youth was very well done and gave us a neat character moment that ended on an almost humorous note with Brainiac 5 asking, "What the hell is that?" There wasn't a whole lot to this chapter but at the same time it was important because for the first time I am actually excited about the "Last Stand of New Krypton".

Sterling also eased me into accepting the Legion as a part of the story. I realize that the Legion and Superman are tied historically. Without Superboy there is no Legion. I get that on a rational level. The problem is that I grew up in an era where the Legion and Superman had very little to do with each other so that is what I am "comfortable" with. When it was announced that the Legion would be part of this end of the whole New Krypton event my first reaction was wondering why the Legion had to be shoehorned into that story. I thought about it for a moment and realized that it was probably a move on DC's part to link Superman and the Legion in the mind of the readers. It is a natural extension of the "Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes" arc from a few years back. Sterling Gate's writing in this first story made it a whole lot easier to accept and even look forward to.

4Art - 4: Space scenes must be maddening to draw as well as alien world and beings but Travis Moore does a bang up job of doing both. This story was set on different worlds and different time periods but the whole package looked very smooth and I like Moore's take on the Legionnaires.

"Superman: Last Stand on New Krypton": "Prologue" - Part Two: "The Future is Now"

Conner Kent flies into his room and is immediately called downstairs to talk with one of his teachers, Mr. Janson. To Conner's surprise Janson reveals himself to be Element Lad. Later, after Superboy convinces Mon-El to accompany him to Smallville, a meeting of the Legion Espionage Squad convenes in the Kent Barn. Once everyone explains who they were disguised as and what their part of the mission was Chameleon Boy reveals that the next step of the plan takes them to New Krypton.

4Story - 4: The only problem that I had with this part of the issue is that part of it is based on me having read another book. The reason that fact doesn't impact the overall score is that "Last Stand on New Krypton" is a big story and more than that it is an event and if someone is reading ADVENTURE COMICS but not reading the other Superman related titles this might push them to check the rest of the story out. It is marketing but marketing with a good story behind it, so any problems I had quickly faded once I got into that frame of mind.

There wasn't a whole lot to this chapter character or story wise. It had a simple agenda and that was to bring us up to speed on what Legion members have been in the past and what they have been doing there. It had some cool moments, especially Element Lad's shirt rip, but other than that it was an expositional piece but one that I liked quite a bit.

4Art - 4: The Element Lad shirt rip is what sold me on this story. I liked the first pages and seeing Conner go from Superboy to Conner Kent, but that splash page put a big, ol' smile on my face. The rest of the story had strong art as well, especially the group shot in the barn. The characters had real personalities to them too, which I also liked.

"Awake - Part 1"

At the headquarters of Project 7734 Car-Vex (who had been masquerading as Officer Romundi of the Metropolis Science Police) muses on her past as a scared prisoner in the Phantom Zone and how she was recruited to be one of the General's sleeper agents on Earth. General Lane comes into the room and after going over Vex's cover identity Car-Vex asks to be part of Lane's team. After giving him some intel on one of the General's other sleeper agents Lane accepts her as part of the group. As they head deeper into the installation General Lane explains why he is leading this group and why he has such a deep distrust of Superman. Thanks to the intel given to Lane by Car-Vex Squad K goes into action against the sleeper agent that Car-Vex gave up.

4Story - 4: I really dig Eric Trautman's writing. He wrote a solid story that got us into the mind of one of the General's sleeper agents and did so in a manner that befits a soldier undercover. We got to know Car-Vex and saw that she was so dedicated to keeping her cover and completing her mission that she gave up one of her own. She was shown to be cold and calculating and while I don't like her I liked how we got to know her.

What I liked most about this story is that Trautman allowed me to finally put into words why Sam Lane is such a sad and pathetic character. For the longest time I would read a chapter of the "New Krypton" saga where Lane would spout his, "I hate Superman because he is an alien and people need to see him as the threat he is," and during all of that he was presented as a strong and driven character if not slightly two dimensional character. Here Lane is revealed to be a good solider that gave into the most basic of insecurities. Sure he was uneasy about Superman, which was made worse by the fact that the daughter he had a strained relationship with was so taken with him but after the Man of Steel showed him and his men up during the Dominator invasion that uneasiness turned into resentment. Never mind the fact that Superman saved his men from wholesale slaughter; he made Lane and his men look weak. It seems that Lane would have almost preferred his men to die in combat rather than be saved by the alien because at least then they would have died with honor rather than feeling like, compared to Superman, they were less than nothing.

I like that. I like having a concrete reason to hate a character because now at least that character is more three dimensional to me.

It is kind of weird; I focused most of my review on two pages of the story. Do not be misled by this. I liked the Car-Vex side of it as well. The General Lane back story just got me going a little bit more.

4Art - 4: Pier Gallo's art in this was very cold but I think that served the story well. Car-Vex is a very cold character as is Sam Lane, so between the art and the colors I think the effect Trautman was going for came through stronger. There were some hinky faces here and there, especially in Lane's flashback, but overall I dug the art in this story.

4Cover Art - 4: The split screen effect to this cover was very cool. I will admit that when I first saw the cover I was a little crestfallen because, as I mentioned above, I am a fan of the Legion but see it separate from Superman even though the team's history is intimately tied to the Boy of Steel. Still, the art is solid and this is a great cross-time group shot.

4Variant Cover Art - 4: While I still feel that the variant cover thing for this title needs an overhaul it was still a neat piece of art.

Mild Mannered Reviews


Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.

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