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Superman #697

by  in Comic Reviews Comment
Superman #697

Within the confines of the “Superman” title, Mon-El has been enjoying the spotlight. This issue starts a storyline titled “Man of Valor,” which gives Mon-El even more room to flex his muscles literally and figuratively.

Following the attack on the Science Police Headquarters, Control is revealed to be Reep Daggle — Chameleon Boy of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Quislet also reveals himself, and the ruse is dropped all around Mon-El, as a number of Legionnaires stand revealed. Among those time travelers brought back to the present are: Tellus, Quislet, Starman, Sensor Girl, Chameleon Boy, Element Lad, and Matter-Eater Lad. Their appearance takes Mon-El out of his game, and gives him a mystery to attempt to piece together.

The rest of the issue deals with James Robinson setting up the meeting between Mon-El and the Legion heroes. That meeting, of course, doesn’t occur here, but is the primary focus of “Adventure Comics” #8. That effectively renders this issue as a prelude of sorts, but it is still an enjoyable enough story. Robinson has definitely found a voice for Mon-El, and this issues reveals make it seem as though a great deal of hard work is paying off.

This issue is divided into two parts, with one artist dedicated to each of the two parts. Bernard Chang draws the first half, which contains the reveals and the Espionage Squad disappearing for a regrouping. Chang’s sketchy cross-hatch heavy style works well for the calamity and commotion of the surprises as Legionnaires drop their disguises during the heat of a showdown with General Lane. Javier Pina’s style is much more open, however, and gives the characters some weight, grounding them in the world Pina draws for them. Pina’s details seem clearer, but his portion of the story is a little less chaotic than Chang’s. Pina also gets to draw a quiet moment between Superboy and Mon-El.

Blond adapts to the emotion of each story segment with a color palette that adapts like a chameleon avoiding its predators. The opening sequence, with the fire and confrontations is hued in orange and tinged in red. As the mystery unravels in front of Mon-El, the palette shifts to a heavy gray concentration, then opens up once Superboy and Mon-El get together.

Having the story divided like this made the issue seem larger in page count than it truly is, which is just fine with me. What may have seemed like throwaways in months past now seem like finely plotted threads, as Robinson’s plans seem to come to fruition here. The true reveal, and payoff, however, will be delivered in next week’s “Adventure.”