Sunday, June 22, 2014

Guest Review - Adventure Comics #353

   For the last of our Guest Reviews, Ray Hill is back to talk about an issue that continues to have an impact on the Legion of Super-Heroes.

   It's easy to wonder why the Legion of Super-Heroes continues to have a rabid fan base, considering most of the heroes involved have - let's be honest now - powers that aren't too impressive (not counting Superboy, of course).

   This issue of Adventure Comics is a good example of what sets the team apart. Published in 1967, writer Jim Shooter teams with superstar artist Curt Swan to tell the story of the death of a Legionnaire. At the time, it was almost unheard of for a super-hero to die, especially in a DC comic.

   They'd come close before, as both Triplicate Girl and Lightning Lad were apparently killed - but the writers managed to work around it, and the characters continued.

   But this story increased the pressure, as a powerful cosmic creature known as a Sun-Eater approached our galaxy. It would destroy our sun, and only a handful of Legionnaires were available to fight it.

   Seeking help, the team drafted a group of powerful criminals (who would join forces to become the Fatal Five, one of the Legion's greatest foes). The story's kind of an odd mix of silliness (as the villains plot to betray the heroes), action (as they try to stop the Sun-Eater) and surprises, as one hero makes the ultimate sacrifice.

   And that's what set the Legion apart - almost anything could happen. Heroes could die, they could betray the team, they could fall in love - even get married. It made for a wide-open field of story possibilities for the creative team, and proof that the Legion could tackle serious stories successfully.

   Who gets killed? Sorry, I can't say - we have to follow Chuck's rules. It's his playground (but a Google search will clear it up for you).

Grade: B+


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