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Adventure Comics #8

Posted: Monday, March 8, 2010
By: Shawn Hill

Gates, Robinson, Trautmann
Moore, Lopez, Gallo
DC Comics
:Plot: Braniac 5 does something in the future, Element Lad does something in the past, and a Phantom Zone escapee does something bad.

Comments: Three stories, all revolving around New Krypton, and all putting this book squarely in the sci-fi side of Superman's family. Is each story enough to make the book worthwhile as the focus shifts from Superboy to the Legion of Super-heroes? Or is it just filler? Depends on how much you want a Braniac/New Krypton crossover, I suppose.

I didn't read much of the Trautmann story, just enough to know it's a story of villainy with no nice Kryptonians in sight. Humans are training a Human Defense Corps to kill Kryptonians (more Xenophobic paranoia from DC), but they've been infiltrated by a double agent. Gallo's art is strong, but the drab colors and lack of excitement pull the whole tale down. Wouldn't it have been nice if there were other good Kryptonians besides Clark?

Gates' tale trods some familiar paths with Braniac 5 (he was bullied on Colu as a child, not very convincing as thuggishness, at least the physical kind, seems very un-Coluan previous tales that took a more Vulcan/shunning route to Querl's struggles were more believable). It's mostly interesting because the Johns-ian sub-Levitz mature and battle-scarred version of Brainy has more evident flaws and vulnerabilities than his younger, more arrogant counterparts in other continuities. Moore's art works from Gary Frank's designs in a pleasing way, but the story goes through the motions: a space anomaly threatens a space station, and the Legion saves them. Ho hum.

Robinson's tale has the most style. There's a great reveal in the tradition of old-school visits by the Legion to Smallville, and we find out what all those hints about clandestine observers have been since this title was rejuvenated. Lopez does a good job differentiating Mon-El and Conner, but I don't like the new Sensor Girl look at all. It seems to mix up the worst parts of her quasi-military look with Projectra's excesses from her revealing red and gold regal number, just not a good combination. And why do she and Star Boy still need masks, anyway?

Final verdict: passable entertainment and quite attractive visually, if you're starving for a Legion fix. But their looming involvement in a New Kryptonian war could be dicey. Robinson may tie in the story to his currently much-improved JLA, and in fact an overall increase in excitement and full-length stories would improve this book.



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