Adventure Comics #3

by Greg McElhatton, Reviewer |

Wed, October 14th, 2009 at 8:09PM (PDT)


Reading "Adventure Comics" #3 makes me a little disappointed that Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul are leaving the book in a matter of months. Sure, they're headed off to "The Flash" and Paul Levitz is taking over the helm of "Adventure Comics" so there are exciting times ahead. But as you read "Adventure Comics" #3, it's hard to not recognize the strong work the duo are doing, as well as the promise of many untold stories that were planned.

"Adventure Comics" continues to bring Superboy back into the world of the living, as Conner struggles to find his way while looking to his genetic "parents" for inspiration. It's a simple tactic but one that's paying off in spades. It's nice to not only see Superboy and Robin finally get back together, but quickly bury any sort of drama that might have existed between the two. Johns' story is one that feels almost healing, Conner recognizing his own worth as well as that of others. At the same time, Johns mixes things up with splashes of both humor and drama; Krypto's attempt to "help" his master in regards to his rogue's gallery is laugh-worthy, and Lex Luthor's plotting regarding Superboy makes me eager to see Johns' remaining issues immediately.

The art in "Adventure Comics" is unsurprisingly beautiful. I'm still in awe of Manapul's new style that uses ink washes to swirl and splash across the page. Brian Buccellato's colors make the entire book look like it was painted in watercolors, although with the way that Manapul spreads the inks across the backgrounds of the page that's actually not too far off. Still present, though, is that careful and tight form that Manapul has always used on his characters, especially their faces. And when Manapul draws Krypto, well, it makes me want to run out and get a dog of my own.

The second-feature with the Legion is entertaining, too. Johns and co-writer Michael Shoemaker tackle Brek Bannin and Dirk Morgna, as Polar Boy and Sun Boy head to the baking hot world of Tharr to hunt down a super-villain. And while the whole hot-and-cold team-up is an obvious play on opposites, it's nice that Johns and Shoemaker justify it in the story and why the two of them head to Tharr, as well as exploring just what Bannin's immensely hot world is like. Ever since Levitz had Polar Boy become a full member of the Legion of Super-Heroes he's been an interesting character, something that Keith Giffen and the Bierbaums continued with. It's nice to see Johns and Shoemaker also recognize the potential in the character, and this spotlight is made all the more pleasant with Clayton Henry's clean and crisp art.

With so many hints of stories that were to come, it's hard to not get slightly disheartened as you read "Adventure Comics" #3. Simon Valentine's story seems to be in such early stages that I doubt we'll get much more of what Johns had in store for him and his relationship to Superboy, certainly. The further hints of what the missing members of the Legion of Super-Heroes are doing in the 21st century are wonderfully tantalizing, even as sharp-eyed readers can try and pick up the locations of those characters. Even Johns and Shoemaker's Legion stories are heading towards somewhere that I fear won't be met during Johns' final three issues. (Doubly so since the lead feature of the next two issues is taken up by Superboy Prime and the Black Lanterns.) Still, I'll enjoy this ride while it lasts, and here's hoping Levitz and company are able to make "Adventure Comics" as thoroughly enjoyable as this creative team has.

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