“Adventure Comics” finishes up two stories this issue, both the Legion of Super-Heroes in the 21st century, and then Mon-El’s time outside of the Phantom Zone. And if you think you already knew the ending, guess what? You were exactly right.
I haven’t encountered a reader yet who hadn’t figured out what the Legion and Mon-El were going to do at the conclusion of this story, or what Mon-El’s fate would be when the dust settled. We finally get the seeding of the Legion Worlds (amusingly, also the final storyline for the old “Valor” series right before “Zero Hour” kicked in), and then it’s time for Mon-El to take the slow train to the 30th century and the Legion of Super-Heroes, where we already knew he would eventually be fished out of the Phantom Zone.
Sterling Gates and James Robinson each tell their half of the issue well enough, but there’s just nothing particularly out of the ordinary going on, unless you include a call-out to a forgotten mini-series from 2003. (It’s looking more and more likely that Robinson originally planned on writing lots more Mon-El in the 21st century stories; between a setup for a new supporting cast member getting tossed to the side and his arrival and immediate departure in “Justice League of America.”) So it’s predictable and feels slightly poky in places, although Robinson’s placing of the Lanothia city was a nice moment.
On the other hand, the art this issue was a treat. Travis Moore channels his inner Keith Giffen, which is perfect for a story involving the Legion of Super-Heroes. New Durla in particular looks exactly like Giffen drew it, as well as the appearance of Brainiac 5’s back-up. I do wish that Pete Pantazis and Steve Wands had realized that yellow letters on a box that fades from green to yellow becomes progressively unreadable the further down you go, though. I feel like readers everywhere are missing the last words of every sentence as a result. Bernard Chang discards his newer style for an earlier, cleaner look that he’s used before, but given the subject matter I feel like it’s an appropriate choice. Chang’s departure from the “Superman” titles is a real shame, and I’m hoping to see him turn up elsewhere.
At the end of the day, it’s a so-so wrap up to Mon-El and the 21st century Legion. It’s a little rushed in places, and some plot threads seem to have fallen away entirely. (Did anyone else notice that on the hidden Legion members in the 21st century that we never did get appearances of Dream Girl or Tyroc? Oops. Hopefully, Paul Levitz will fix that.) “Adventure Comics” seems to be the poster child for having stories derailed these days, but with Levitz on board starting next month let’s hope it’s the start of some stability.