Long-time fans of the Legion of Super-Heroes already knew the significance of the return of the “Adventure Comics” title — it’s where Otto Binder and Al Plastino debuted the Legion back in “Adventure Comics” #247. While an all-new “Adventure Comics” isn’t set to debut until June, this specially-priced issue reprints that first adventure in all of its cheesy glory.
I do love the fact that a lot of those early Legion of Super-Heroes time travel stories seemed to revolve around the Legion messing with the heads of various Superman family characters (Superboy, Supergirl, Jimmy Olsen), and that fine precedent is set on page two, with the Legion attempting to see if they can shatter the timeline by causing Superboy to have a heart-attack and die right on the spot by repeatedly “outing” his identity. Once it’s revealed to be good harmless fun, it’s off to the future for Superboy’s initiation into the Legion, provided he can pass any of their tests.
People who have only read the modern takes on the Legion might be a little surprised by the strange tone of this book; it will no doubt feel almost quaint if you haven’t seen them before. The Legion members have their names written on their costumes, the heroes stop in at a local school to help out with the teaching, and of course no trip to the 30th century is complete without a trip to the ice cream shop. It’s very silly by modern standards, but at the same time there’s a certain amount of old-fashioned charm and fun to the comic. Reading this introduction, it seems almost hard to believe that they came back for more and more stories over the years, but even on its own this blast from the past is a nice piece of historical fun.
I suspect, though, that the majority of purchasers for “Adventure Comics” #0 will be picking up the comic for Geoff Johns and Francis Manapul’s “Origins & Opens” back-up story. In many ways it’s an epilogue to the recent “New Krypton” story in the “Superman” titles, revisiting the captive Lex Luthor and Brainiac, as well as hints about the “Blackest Night” event for later this year. It’s a nice little character piece about the two villains and their own goals, and Manapul’s new ink-washed art is just beautiful, and makes me eager to see his upcoming “Superman/Batman” issues.
For a dollar? I think it’s a comic with money well spent.