Monday, August 16, 2010

Adventure Comics #517

Writer Paul Levitz has an interesting balancing act going on here that should benefit readers new and old.

While he tells the story of the "modern day" Legion of Super-heroes in that title, in Adventure Comics he's taking us back to the earliest days of the organization.

It's a clever way of (slightly) retooling the concept and introducing the Legion to new readers. It's also a part of the Legion's story that (as far as I know) has never been told. When the team first appeared in the late '50s they were already organized, working together and adding new members.

This storyline starts with the original trio - Lightning Lad, Cosmic Boy and Saturn Girl, and it offers an interesting look at their early training, their relationship with each other, and throws in a few surprises along the way.

It also addresses a question I have wondered about - how does Saturn Girl, whose power is mostly passive (telepathy) manage to hold her own alongside two powerhouses?

The artwork by Kevin Sharpe and Marlo Alquiza is good - solid and professional, marred only by a few odd character poses here and there.

I also enjoyed the backup feature with the Atom (Ray Palmer). The 11-page story moves briskly as the Atom tries to uncover a mystery attacker and stay alive in the face of a deadly trap.

He takes an action that seems ill-advised (which I won't relate here for fear of spoiling things), but by and large it's a good story. Kudos to writer Jeff Lemire and artists Mahmud Asrar and John Dell on strong work.

So, two entertaining features that long-time fans will no doubt enjoy, but they're accessible enough that new readers should have no trouble following along.

Grade: B+

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