Friday, June 21, 2019

Review: Adventure Comics #507 *revised*

(In my initial version of this review, I accidentally credited Paul Levitz with writing this story. It is written by Michael Shoemaker. This is a terrible mistake on my part and I have no excuse. More importantly, Shoemaker's ability to write these characters this well, with both a look back and to the future is impressive. After all, I mistook him for Paul Levitz.

Apologies to Mr. Shoemaker.)
Adventure Comics #507 continued the re-reintroduction of the Legion of Super-Heroes to the DCU. With the original timeline back in play, writer Michael Shoemaker used the 'second feature' of Adventure Comics to check in on the team, catch up older fans on what has been happening with the members, but also giving some back story to readers who might not know the Legion at all.

It is a heavy lift. Satisfying old fans while engaging new fans in a continuity heavy franchise like the Legion can't be easy. But so far, Levitz is firing on all cylinders. We have had a story focused on Lightning Lad and the other original members. Last issue was Sun Boy and Polar Boy. This issue we 'meet' Blok, White Witch, Dawnstar, and Wildfire. We even get a nice little Brainiac 5 moment. And the story gives back story, personality beats, and advances longstanding plots. It really is that marriage of old school and introduction.

Clayton Henry remains on art and brings a smooth sensibility to the proceedings. There are some panels where he seems to be invoking some of the organic feel of early Legion Giffen.

So what happens when a Legionnaire makes a big sacrifice to save the universe? Can love survive?

We open with a dramatic splash.

Blok is barreling through Legion headquarters, screaming that he needs to leave Earth and head to the White Witch.

Nice perspective by Henry as you can feel Blok's momentum. And making the credits be impacted is always a fun little addition to the art.

White Witch is on Sorceror's World. She has absorbed Mordru's essence. And during that battle, Blok was blasted with energy. He is flaking away. He has always had a special relationship with White Witch, platonic love, and he needs to see her.

Brainiac 5 thinks that an overemotional response to doomed love is foolish. Only he and Quislet seem above it. So to help Blok deal, he asks Wildfire and Dawnstar, another unrequited love story, to help calm their friend.

So much to digest here.

First off, Brainiac 5 *has* lost his mind over doomed love. In a way. Supergirl and Laurel Gand don't exist in this timeline. So maybe he hasn't? But his scoffing at this felt like he was denying his own history.

Next, this idea that Blok is unstoppable when he is moving, a sort of Juggernaut move, is new. But again, for new readers, this little exposition helps.

So in comes Wildfire and Dawnstar. Lovely looks here by Henry.

And again both the text boxes and dialogue helps inform powers.

Turns out that Wildfire and Dawnstar aren't there to stop Blok. They want to help.

So they all pile into the cruiser and head to Sorceror's World.

En route, Blok and Wildfire commiserate over the fact that for physical reasons their love can never be complete, never be truly returned.

It reminds Blok of Romeo and Juliet.

Worst story ever.

Great little moment.

But on Sorceror's World, things have changed with Mysa.

She is now the Black Queen, sitting on her dark throne, surrounded by the skulls and petrified remains of her enemies. I think I see Blue Devil, Zatanna, the Specter, Alan Scott. Anyone else?

But for sweet, naive Mysa the White Witch, this is clearly a change.

She absorbed Mordru's energy and has contained it, controlled it. She is trying to bring some order to this world by being a more benevolent leader, all while struggling with the darkness inside her.

But seeing Blok, her rock, her love, softens her.

For a brief period of time, she reverts to her original form, the pure goodness, the Legionnaire, and cures Blok of the poisoning of Mordru.

A now smooth Blok embraces his love ... and kisses her!
She says that she needs him there. That his support, his love, will help her keep the evil of Mordru at bay.

What I love his that panel of Dawny and Wildfire clutching each other's hands. They see themselves in this relationship. But even that awkward kiss between Blok and Mysa is denied them.

Blok remains behind. And so a long awkwardly silent flight home commences.

Once more the two have to confess their love while acknowledging that they cannot fully experience it.

As a Wildfire fan, this is a great story. As a Mysa fan, this is a great story. As a Legion fan, this is great as it showcases the characters wonderfully. For old time readers, it enriches these old plots. For new readers, it introduces them.

And for some reason it really kicked me in the feels.


  1. RE: Mysa's throne scene: Raven (upper right) and Kid Devil (middle left), plus another Green Lantern I don't recognize (upper right).

    1. I think the upper left might be Hal Jordan when he was the Spectre, maybe?

  2. Also, I agree, great Dawny & Dirk scenes, though I still hate any containment suit for Wildfire that has been "modernized". The old suit was unique & familiar, so you could read his body language and the subtleties in his face plate. The newer suits lack that familiarity, and the cool retro character.

  3. The numbering just wrecks havoc on one's ability to keep track of these things.

  4. Oh sure, we could've had Dr. Fate or Madame Xanadu or even Deadman, but why Kid Devil? I know it's just a little nitpick and it's not even important, but seriously?

  5. Oh, and by the way, here's more people they missed: Zauriel, Black Orchid, Swamp Thing, Enchantress, Amethyst, The Marvel Family, Detective Chimp, etc. Not enough space though, I'll admit that.

  6. Great story. Great review.

    Only one small nitpick: Geoff Johns is the writer here, not Paul Levitz. These stories follow-up on Johns' LEGION OF 3 WORLDS mini-series, and sets up the team's involvement in THE LAST STAND OF NEW KRYPTON mini-series by Sterling Gates. Levitz does not take over the Legion again until Adventure Comics #515.

  7. Howdy Super Bloggers and Legion fans! I need your Legion expertise!

    I'm hard at work on a massive DCU mod (modification) for the PC game Freedom Force, and I currently working on building The Legion of Superheroes into the game. The trouble is, I’m a bit out of my depth with these guys. I’ve always liked the Legion, but I have read few of their stories, so I’m working largely from Internet sources about what the various characters can do and what they are like.

    I wonder if there are any folks among you Superbloggers or fans who A) would let me pick their brains about powers and portrayals of various Legionnaires and/or B) would be interested in eventually doing some testing to help me make sure the characters feel ‘right.’

    Here’s a little info about the project, as well as my post with the working roster for the Legion and their foes. This is everyone I’m currently planning on including (and everyone included is a playable character in the sandbox mode). I’ve already got art assets for all of these, which is awesome. I'll be posting more pictures and such soon-ish, if you're curious.

    Anyone willing to lend a hand with some comic knowledge?

  8. I really liked this story. I love that look for Mysa and this was one of the first stories I read with her and Blok and I think it’s still one of my favorites.