Friday, October 4, 2019

Review: Adventure Comics #523

Adventure Comics #523 is a turning point in the Adventure Comics Legion relaunch. After months of New Krypton crossovers then months of flashbacks and then months of adjunct storytelling to the main book, the title morphs into a Legion Academy book. 

The Academy had always been, for me, an untapped Legion aspect. We occasionally would get an issue looking at the school (Legion of Super-Heroes #304 one of my favorite issues ever). But what happens on a day to day basis there? What classes do they take? Do they have down time? So having Adventure really scrutinize the Academy and the students thrilled me.

It also helps that writer Paul Levitz gets Phil Jimenez to come on board as a co-creator on the book. Jimenez is a well-known Legion fan so my guess is this was something of a dream project. I especially like that Jimenez got to play with some of the older Legion characters again, Night Girl, Duo Damsel, and Bouncing Boy.

But the draw here are the Academy students. These are, for the most part, new characters. Additions to the expansive Legion continuity is always welcomed!

On to the book.

We start out on Sorceror's World. There, an acolyte of Black Witch's named Glorith is being picked up by Night Girl and other students to join the Academy.

Glorith has lived the quiet life of a student magician before so she is a bit scared of leaving the planet and going to someplace as technological and loud as Earth. But Black Witch says it is her duty

Mysa must stay on Sorceror's World to keep the Mordru spirit in check.

Now Glorith is a loaded name. In fact, having covered the retroboot and New 52 titles already on this site I can tell you I was constantly waiting for her to go evil. I suppose it is good writing by Levitz to plant that seed for old school Legion fans.

I also love how Jimenez takes a retro but updated look at Blok and Night Girl's costumes. Blok is wearing his most famous Baxter outfit with some new details. And Night Girl is back in her black pant suit and beehive. But now she has, unfortunately, a boob window. Old and new though!

And then we meed the students, our main cast for the book.

Can't help but think of the Justice League #1 'wanna make something of it' cover. And good to see Comet Queen there as a sort of anchor for old timers. And Chemical Kid! It had been 3 decades since Chemical King had been killed. So nice look back.

Much of the book is told from Glorith's viewpoint, as seen in letters she is writing to Mysa.

She is overwhelmed by the noise and commercial nature of Earth and Montauk.

There is a nice moment showcasing some of the personalities of these new characters. Walking through the city, the crew sees a news story about the Legion. Chemical Kid, all cocky and self-assured says without a doubt he will be a Legionnaire, Meanwhile, the surly Dragonwing wonders if they will ever make the team.

After a walk through the city, Kid uses his powers to break into a store and hand out booze to the other students. He pays for it using his parents' enormous bank account but it is still wrong.

We as readers have to learn about these newbies. Levitz always gives his characters three dimensions. So this was a nice initial peek.

But not everyone thinks this night on the town is fun and games.

Duplicate Girl is keeping track of the students and isn't happy they are breaking curfew and boozing. She'll have to teach them a lesson.

As someone who lost a self in a Legion battle, Luornu would be a sterner teacher trying to keep things serious. I like that Bouncing Boy remains a bit more realistic and fun. He reminds her the students are just kids.

But Luornu knows Chemical Kid is trouble.

Love the old school Duo Damsel outfit.

Best punishment for nursing a hangover after a night out despite curfew? A 'Danger Room'-esque lesson by Night Girl.

Without using their powers on her, the group has to take the red ball.

Again, as someone mired in the Subs and with plenty of experience, Night Girl would also be a great teacher. She knows what it takes to make it.

Just like we need to learn about the Academy students' personalities, we need to learn about their powers. So each student attacks Night Girl individually, using their powers to impact Night Girl's surroundings.

Finally, Chemical Kid uses his powers on himself to speed up his own metabolism to become too fast for Night Girl to thwart. He is completely over-confident and this doesn't help things. With some derision, he walks out of the gym.

He gets a comeuppance. But not for a bit.

Long time readers know of other students and thankfully Levitz and Jimenez give us some updates.

Power Boy and Lamprey, long time students and now maybe in a relationship, are graduating soon. Will they become Legionnaires? Or will they have to look elsewhere to make their mark?

I was very happy that we get this look at these characters who we came to know well back in the day. But is this the bane of the Legion? New readers might not know who these two are and think this a wasted page.

Flush with self-importance on defeating Night Girl, Chemical Kid decides to go raid the liquor store again. But this time, again perhaps showing his personality, he only invites the female students. He is a bit smug.

This time, however, his credit is 'denied'. And without this credit this is nothing more than a robbery. Here comes the SciPo!

So I don't remember much of this run other than a general memory of enjoying this look at these new characters and at the Academy as a whole. Jiminez's art is just gorgeous and I love his designs for the characters, a mix of old and new costume details. So I am eager to reread.

And the mix of characters, Chemical Kid's arrogance, Glorith's innocence, Comet Queen's ditziness, Dragonwing's anger, makes for a good cast. This was a good introductory issue.

So a second Legion book but one really that can be read on its own.

What did you all think!


  1. I didn't care for any of them out of the gate. I'm more of a fan of 'simple' power sets like heat or cold or growth or shrinking. Plus Chem's cockiness, Dragonwing's acid powers and unrelated code name, plus Glorith's meek 'oh no the big city' outlook rankled. Not to mention most designs of the costume designs were too busy. And oh joy, "Blaze me to the moon" (or some other silly nonsense), here's Comet Queen, regressed.

    This was just my initial impression (strong), but many of them grew on me, and I looked forward to the book each month :)

    I just wish the older students had wound up in places other than they did (trying not to spoil).

  2. I would have loved to see more of some of the unnamed/unused past students (Westerner, Mandalla, greenish speedster "Bash", bearded strongman "Olympian",...) but surely Jimenez wanted to play with his own-created students.