Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Classics - Adventure Comics #371

The Legion of Super-heroes seem to go through ups and downs on a regular basis.

The team has gone from being the most popular title in DC's lineup to cancellation more than once. (In fact, the "New 52" title has just been canceled by DC.)

It all seems to hinge on the creative team (as such things always do) - when the right team is working on the series, it hits new heights. Here I'm thinking of Dave Cockrum, Mike Grell, Keith Giffen, Paul Levitz, Curt Swan, Jim Shooter, Adam Hughes - you get the idea.

At other times, the creative team just doesn't quite work, and the results are less than impressive.

For example: this issue from 1968. There are no credits on the story, but the Comics Database says the first story is written by Jim Shooter (who also did layouts), drawn by Curt Swan with Jack Abel inks.

It feels like a rush job - definitely not the best work by any of those creators. The story has Colossal Boy blackmailed into betraying the Legion (and his method for doing so is silly at best)

Worst of all, the 11-page story is continued to the next issue. All this for some inept blackmailers? Surely the Legion can manage bigger stories than this.

The backup story is actually a reprint from Superboy's comic in 1949, with two panels added to shoehorn the Legion into the story (we never do find out what terrible menace they need help with).

Written by Edmond Hamilton and drawn by George Papp, it certainly feels like a Golden Age story - it's silly, as Superboy and heroes from other worlds are lured to a distant planet, where they thwart their captives... by throwing temper tantrums.

So a below-average issue at best. In fact, the only good thing about it is the cover by Neal Adams - and it's spoiled by a goofy word balloon, wherein Superboy says, "That's the way the kryptonite crumbles." Yeah.

Luckily for the Legion, there were better days ahead - this was definitely a low point for the series.

Grade: C-



Anonymous said...

I don't have that comic in front of me, Chuck, but wasn't the reprint from a Superboy comic from 1959? Seems more likely than '49.

Sam Kujava

Chuck said...

Sam, you're right, it does seem more ilk 1959. Not sure if I misread or if the database was wrong - I'll double-check later today. The comic itself doesn't indicate that it's a reprint.