Friday, July 12, 2019

Review: Adventure Comics #10

Adventure Comics #10 continues to flesh out the entertaining Last Stand of New Krypton storyline. As with the last two issues, this issue pushes the main storyline forward while adding some depth to the ancillary characters.

As an amateur comic historian, I have really loved how Adventure Comics has felt during this run, how it has been rolled into the super-family of books. The last two issues have starred Superboy, the Legion, and Supergirl. These issues have had multiple stories.

And the original Adventure Comics? Well there were long and storied runs for Superboy, the Legion, and Supergirl. The original Adventure was often an anthology series with multiple stories in every issue. So the current make-up of the book is a nice (even if unintentional) homage.

Top off this issue with another great cover by Joe Quinones and you have another satisfying issue.

As with the prior reviews, you are being dropped into this company wide crossover, so buckle up!

The first half of the book concentrates on the main storyline of Last Stand, the battle for Kandor having moved to Brainiac's ship. It is something of a creative hodge-podge ... written by James Robinson and Sterling Gates and drawn by Eduardo Pansica and Travis Moore. They all have been on the prior Last Stand issues of Adventure albeit on separate story segments. But with all the plots converging onto Brainiac's ship, the creative teams have merged into one segment.

As a plot update, the last Last Stand chapter within the Superman titles ended with two cliffhangers. One was Superman, powerless after a blast of red sun energy, plummeting to his presumed death. The other was the re-bottling of Kandor and General Zod's enigmatic 'he's lost' comment about Brainiac.

The first cliffhanger is answered pretty quickly.

Superman is grabbed before he splatters by a flying Brainiac drone. Of course, it really isn't Brainiac. It's Quislet controlling the robot.

And in classic Quislet fashion, the device cannot tolerate his presence for too long. Rather than simply disintegrating the object as he did during the Levitz years, the drone explodes.

With the red sun effect ended, Superman races to re-enter the fight.

Meanwhile on Brainiac's ship. Superboy continues to fight with the Legion. During the fight however, Conner gets separated and ends up face to face with his nemesis Lex Luthor.

In a nice nod to continuity, I like how Conner angrily brings up the recent Smallville events (which played out in his solo book) as yet another reason to pound Luthor. What Lex did to Lena in that  title was unbelievably cruel. And he did it right in front of Conner. That memory should be fresh ... should evoke rage in Superboy.

Anger only gets you so far though. After a healthy slug of Green K, Superboy is struck by the weapon Lex is carrying.

When Conner awakens ...

He finds himself in Kandor. Nice perspective shot in this splash page. Life in that bottle must be terrifying. Imagine always seeing giant robot heads looming over you.

But giant Brainiac drones isn't the only thing Conner sees.

Unfortunately, he also sees Mon-El, trussed up and captured by Brainiac. We do get a peek into the fevered dreams of Mon-El who seems tormented by his xenophobic Daxamite heritage and his time in the Phantom Zone. Alas, we know he is probably headed back there.

Unsure of what to do next, Conner seeks out General Zod.

Zod initially brushes Conner off. This forces Conner to show the General that he has more in his arsenal than just his inherent Kryptonian powers (which are somehow negated in the bottle). Conner still has his tactile telekinesis which he uses to toss Zod around.

Zod then shows why he is the military leader he is. Now aware of Conner's abilities, he adapts his fighting style and makes short work of Superboy, besting him easily.

One thing I didn't like in this scene was Zod seizing military control of the city from Alura ... accomplished in one panel. This happened after such a big deal was made of Alura's standing up to Zod in the last issue of this arc, her maintaining control of the city.

And we finally learn why Zod seemed pleased when Brainiac bottled Kandor and took it on board the Brainiac main ship. Turns out Zod has a handful of devices which can counteract the Brainiac shrinking technology. (Okay, it comes a bit out of left field but it has been said many times that Zod was obsessed with besting Brainiac. Developing this tech would be part of that obsession. So I was okay with it.)

When Brainiac brought the city on board, it was like bringing the Trojan Horse into the city. Now Zod and his hand-picked elite soldiers are enlarged and free on board. This 'Brainiac Revenge Squad' is ready to fight. Yet another nice turn of events, another enticing cliffhanger.

Now if only someone could explain to me my odd infatuation with Ursa.

All in all, this was another entertaining issue in the Last Stand arc. That said, the whole of Last Stand of New Krypton/War of the Superman ended quickly with lots of things happening fast or out of no where (for example Zod taking over the city and having non-shrinking tech). It wasn't the landmark year of stories I was hoping for.

Overall grade: B

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