Thursday, December 17, 2009
Review: Adventure Comics #5
Well, it took just over one week for me to get the energy up to review Adventure Comics #5. I don't know what to say. I just don't find Superboy Prime to be an interesting character. What's more, as I said with last issue, I'm unsure exactly how I am supposed to be interpreting this current story.
Is it supposed to be comedy? Is it supposed to be drama? Is it supposed to be dramedy?
What's more, it just feels a little out of place in comparison to the rest of the Blackest Night crossovers. I have never had to ask if any of them are supposed to be read as comedy.
The story is written by Geoff Johns and Sterling Gates. Art is done by Jerry Ordway. I have nothing but great respect for all three of these creators.
You may recall that in the last issue Alexander Luthor brought all of Superboy Prime's murder victims to Earth Prime to fight him.
With the battle raging, Superboy Prime decides that he will bring the fight to those he holds responsible for his current ordeals. He actually goes to the DC Comics headquarters.
What follows is several pages of Prime ripping apart DC's offices. While I recognized Dan Didio, I unfortunately was unable to identify anyone else ... people I assume are actual members of the DC staff. Throughout this chaos, Prime rants about the quality of the stories that are being produced and how they affect people like him.
So Prime shatters the fourth wall. And it is amusing that he is complaining about the stories in DC comics to the very comic creators that produced the books I consume. Is this supposed to be funny? An amusing way for the creators to insert themselves into the story? Or is it supposed to be taken seriously? Is it supposed to be some sort of commentary on the obsessed fan?
I just don't seem to have a sense of what the underlying theme here is supposed to be ... what I should be thinking as a reader. I suppose I can put my own theme here but the scenes seem disjointed as though they were written for drama but are a little comedic or vice versa.
Luthor decides that he doesn't like the DC offices as an arena and teleports everyone back to Prime's basement.
There, Luthor calls Prime's comic book collection his Kryptonite. Luthor states that Prime does not belong to the community of comic book fans.
Unclear of how to defeat these enemies, Prime grabs one of the Black Lantern rings and puts it on his hand.
What happened next in the book is actually the most interesting piece.
Despite being a black ring, Prime systematically adopts the other colors of the emotional spectrum.
He eventually seems to settle on one color that serves him best ... red for rage.
I don't know exactly why the Black Lantern ring responded this way to Prime but it is clear that he is a seething emotional cauldron.
In fact, he swirls through the spectrum so quickly and thoroughly that the resulting combination of lights shatters his Black Lantern ring and seems to destroy all of the Black Lanterns surrounding him.
Now that is pretty nifty writing. That is the first time that we have seen that particular use of the emotional spectrum used to destroy the Black Lantern threat. Maybe it is some depth to Prime after all.
Unfortunately for Prime, the story ends with a tragic twist. His girlfriend Laurie returns from the dead telling Prime that she has returned to give him a happy ending. She says that "they" have given her back to him ... the they apparently being the DC is staff.
In fact, while she may have been returned to him by the writers she is not so innocent. She is a Black Lantern.
For once, I actually felt bad for him. I suppose making me care even a little bit for a character that I don't like is the mark of a decent story.
The second feature of the book was a Conner Superboy story. It was good to see Johns and Manapul working with the character again.
In it, Conner discovers that his classmate Lori has been vandalizing a local doctor's office. She has done this because the physician has refused to care for her chronically ill mother since their medical insurance has run out.
While such a minor incident speaks of the little-town feel of this book, it just seemed off that Conner would actually put on his Superman list that the Man of steel 'stopped vandals'. Somehow this felt too small to be put on the list.
One thing this interaction to cement is that Superboy considers Wonder Girl to be his girlfriend. Despite some romantic efforts on her part, Lori cannot sway Conner from Cassie.
Another thing it does show is that Superboy is wise enough to know that he cannot solve everyone's problems. He doesn't specifically attempt to help Lori's mother. Instead he tells Lori that she should look to the town for help. That sounds like something Clark would say.
Unfortunately this warm scene is broken up by the sudden arrival of Lori's uncle ... none other than Lex Luthor. And he comes bearing gifts: a big chunk of Kryptonite.
I'm going to miss this creative team working on this character.
So I was a bit underwhelmed by this issue. I shouldn't be surprised given that I don't necessarily like prime as a character and he was the star of the book. Still there were some nice twists to his story and the Conner story was pretty good as well.
Overall grade: C