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Mild Mannered Reviews - Regular Superman Comics

Adventure Comics #10 Adventure Comics #10

Adventure Comics #10

[Original Numbering: #513]

Scheduled to arrive in stores: April 14, 2010

Cover date: June 2010

"Superman: Last Stand on New Krypton": Part Six - "Divide, Conquerorable"

Writer: Sterling Gates and James Robinson
Penciller: Travis Moore and Eduardo Pansica
Inker: Julio Ferreira and Eber Ferreira

"Awake - Part 3"

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

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

"Divide, Conquerorable"

Brainiac hits Superman with red sun radiation causing the Man of Steel to plummet towards the ground. Surprisingly a Brainiac drone catches him and once they land Superman quickly realizes that the drone is being controlled by the Legionnaire known as Quislet. After Quislet gets back into his personal ship he notices that Superman is troubled and asks him about it. Superman looks at a deep crater and says that Brainiac has stolen his people again and that they need to get to the monster's ship because after Brainiac steals a city he destroys the world that city came from. The red sun radiation has worn off so Superman takes off for Brainiac's ship.

Superboy, Chameleon Boy, Matter Eater Lad and Element Lad fight their way through Brainiac's forces to find the other bottled cities. Cham and Element Lad are swallowed by one of the walls and before Superboy can do much about Lex Luthor appears. Superboy grabs Lex and intends to put the villain in the hospital but Lex came prepared with a Kryptonite powered robot. Superboy collapses and Lex hits him with a strange gun and suddenly Superboy is transported into the bottled city of Kandor.

Meanwhile Mon-El flies through space and feels free and at peace when a group of Daxamites appears to bring him home. He fights back yelling that to one as him Daxam is a prison. General Zod, Ursa and Non appear and tell him that it is either Daxam or the Phantom Zone. Mon-El attacks them as well and the scene shifts to Brainiac's drones taking the unconscious and hallucinating Mon-El away. From inside Kandor Superboy sees this and wonders where they are taking Mon.

In short order Superboy realizes that he doesn't have any powers but can still fly thanks to his Legion flight ring. He finds General Zod and Zod's forces and wants in on whatever they are planning. Zod refuses and feels that if Superboy is of any use it would be as a bargaining chip in his future dealings with Kal-El. Superboy uses his tactile telekinesis to attack and prove that he isn't exactly powerless. Zod recovers quickly and takes Superboy down hard. Using the reverse engineered Brainiac tech Zod and his soldiers enlarge and prepare to ruin Brainiac's day.

3Story - 3: As I write this review it strikes me that I am getting a taste of what being reviewer would have been like during "Reign of the Supermen" or "Death of Clark Kent" or any number of the big events that ran through the Superman books through the nineties.

It's hard to judge this issue as a single story because it is so dependent on having read the previous chapters. As an installment of "Last Stand on New Krypton" this issue succeeded in furthering the story and setting up the next chapter. It resolved a cliffhanger (I am assuming it did because I haven't had a chance to read the rest of this storyline as of yet) and put Zod and his crew into play and even gave Superboy some good screen time.

So, on that level I liked the issue. The Superman scene was brief but strong. The Superboy scenes were handled well and Conner got to have a great hero moment before getting owned by General Zod. I even liked the Mon-El scene even though it didn't seem to serve any function beyond saying, "Hey, don't forget about Mon-El!" Events are progressing nicely on a dramatic front and the main characters are now in play for the big, epic battle at the end.

3Art - 3: The art in the Superman and Mon-El sections of this issue was fine. I liked both of those scenes quite a bit from an artistic standpoint. I wasn't all that thrilled with the Superboy scenes, though. They weren't terrible just not all that good. The beatdown that Zod gave Superboy, for example, was kind of wonky. Zod's legs went all rubbery there making the fight look comical.

"Awake - Part 3"

Car-Vex rests in her quarters at Project 7734 and reminds herself that she needs to remain calm even though she was responsible for the death of her friend Quex-Ul. A solider arrives and informs her that General Lane wants to see her and she follows not wanting to keep the General waiting. She flashes back to a conversation with General Zod where he absolves her of guilt over the murders she committed. Back in the present Car-Vex enters Lane's command center, noticing the beefed up tech that everyone is sporting, and Lane shows Car-Vex images of Brainiac attacking New Krypton. He then reveals that he knows she is really Kryptonian. Car-Vex attacks and manages to get out of the room despite the fact that her powers are fading. She finds Nadira and Az-Rel in a cell and realizes that the two had been tortured. Lane enters the room and reveals that he knew of her mission to infiltrate the organization and kill him from the start. Car-Vex asks him to get it over with and after telling her that it's nothing personal he points the gun at Car-Vex's forehead and pulls the trigger.

5Story - 5: "Awake" ended with a gut punch ending and I dug the heck out of that. Trautmann didn't hold anything back as Car-Vex's story came to a close and to my mind it couldn't have ended any other way. With the stakes being as raised as have been in the Superman books for the last few years to have her taken captive and locked up would have been a cheat but that didn't happen here.

The strength of this installment is the same as the strength of the story in general; character. We got the final piece of the puzzle regarding how Car-Vex became so devoted to Zod and his cause. Zod, like any good manipulator, made Car-Vex feel as if her crimes were not her fault. It was basic but effective and led to Car-Vex betraying one of her best friends. This is why when she discovers Nadira and Az-Rel she doesn't blame them for giving her up. This gave Car-Vex's final fate more emotional weight and it hit me pretty hard because even though she is a bad guy she was killed by another "bad" guy. Everything unfolded just as it should have and I appreciated that as a reader.

5Art - 5: The art, like the writing, was very solid in this story. I especially liked that Gallo started out with pages containing several panels allowing the character work to shine through before going to the splash page of the monitor room to the two page spread of Lane's men going after Car-Vex. The build up to that moment and then the release was awesome. Gallo didn't let up either and the storytelling over the last few pages was very strong.

2Cover Art - 2: I didn't like this cover at all. The action is flat and the characters look goofy.

3Variant Cover Art - 3: I liked this cover over the standard one but only by a safety. I feel like the cover lies to the reader because the center image doesn't happen in the issue and neither does the Mon-El image. The art is better than the standard cover, though and for once I wasn't annoyed by the retro feel to it.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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