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Mild Mannered Reviews - Adventure Comics

Adventure Comics #520

Adventure Comics #520

Scheduled to arrive in stores: November 3, 2010

Cover date: January 2011

"Tragedy: The Death of Lightning Lad"

Writer: Paul Levitz
Penciller: Kevin Sharpe
Inker: Mario Alquiza

Michael Bailey Reviewed by: Michael Bailey

Click to enlarge

Superboy and the rest of the Legionnaires mourn the death of Lightning Lad and carry his casket into Legion Headquarters. Cosmic Boy tells the group that their headquarters can serve as a living memorial to him. They activate the electro-towers, which will not only surround Lightning Lad's corpse with the energy he alone mastered but also keep his cells from deteriorating. Saturn Girl blames herself for his death but Cosmic Boy reminds her that it was Zaryan's freeze ray that killed Lightning Lad and even though Lightning Lad is dead the Legion lives on.

Later the Science Police prepare to take Zaryan down but the Legion flies in and gets first crack at the villain. Star Boy, Sun Boy, Colossal Boy and Phantom Girl lead the charge and talk about how R.J. Brande was able to convince the Council to let the Legion take point in the attack. As Saturn Girl remembers the moment Lightning Lad died one of Zaryan's captains damns Zaryan for trying to invade Earth and is glad they are far away from the fight. Turns out this isn't the case as Superboy, Supergirl and Ultra Boy attack the fleet. Supergirl points out that they are supposed to disable the fleet and let the Science Police take over but Superboy and Ultra Boy are having none of that.

Meanwhile Brainiac reluctantly sends Mon-El back into the Phantom Zone as the antidote to his lead poisoning is not quite perfected yet. Brainiac 5 also tells him that he should be a little more subtle next time he wants to communicate with them.

Elsewhere Saturn Girl continues to remember the events that surrounded Lightning Lad's death. After getting word from Naltor that a Legionnaire was going to die Saturn Girl arranged to be elected leader so she could be the one to die as she didn't want anyone to sacrifice themselves for her again. One problem; Mon-El managed to warn Lightning Lad and he died in Saturn Girl's place. Saturn Girl tries to resign but Cosmic Boy won't let her saying that even though she made a mistake she has to take her losses and learn from them. Saturn Girl thinks that she has the best friends in the universe and if they can find a way to reverse the freeze ray that killed Lightning Lad they will.

4Story - 4: This was a very strong if haphazard story. It did a nice job of not only tying up the threads from the previous issues but also of tying into a Silver Age Legion story as well as having some solid character moments. The problem is that the pacing was off. The flashbacks didn't flow as well as they could have and if you break the story down it goes funeral, fight scene, flashback, fight scene, small interlude, flashback, Saturn Girl tries to quit, Saturn Girl doesn't quit and walks away with her head held high.

Despite the choppy nature of this issue I still ended up giving it a four because the character moments were so strong. The funeral procession at the beginning was powerful as was Cosmic Boy's rousing speech. The two teams of Legionnaires getting their get back were a lot of fun too. One of their own had died and they weren't about to let the Science Police have first dibs on those responsible. Saturn Girl's scenes were by far my favorite and Levitz gave us a good insight on why she did what she did. The panel where she remarks on how much of a fool she was for realizing how much she loved Lightning Lad right before he died got to me pretty good.

I was amused to see Supergirl and Superboy appear in the story together. I guess the Pre-Crisis concept of the two serving as Legionnaires has been carried over into the Brave New DC. I like this a lot and would be interested in seeing more of the two interacting beyond kicking some alien butt with Ultra Boy.

Despite everything I just listed there is a part of me that wants to write this story off as two dimensional and a modern day rehashing of an old Legion story but Levitz's writing elevated the issue from that status. It was a good read. It wasn't the best comic I've read all year but I liked it a lot. It was more in line with the type of comic book storytelling I want to see than just about anything else I am reading and it made me smile in places, so on those levels this issue was a great success.

4Art - 4: The art for this issue was very strong. I like Sharpe and Alquiza's style quite a bit. Their characters have a very clean look to them and they made the old school, Silver Age Legion costumes work in a modern setting. They also have a good sense of composition and even though the story was a bit choppy the art was smooth throughout the issue. My favorite piece of art was the two page spread of the Legionnaires rallying together at the beginning of the issue. This needs to be a poster or, at the very least, a computer wallpaper.

4Cover Art - 4: I really dig on this cover. It is very somber and I love the lightning in the background which lets you know which character is the first to die. This was one of the best covers this series has seen so far.

Mild Mannered Reviews


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

January 2011

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