Adventure Comics #9 came out last week and represented the next chapter in the Last Stand of New Krypton.
This issue continues the three shorter stories started last month, touching on different aspects of the bigger story. With Adventure in flux, with no clear 'star' on this book with Superboy moving on, this is the perfect place for these stories. And Last Stand has enough moving parts that looking at the periphery can be as much fun as looking at the main story.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention the fine Joe Quinones' cover which showcases Supergirl nicely. I like her expression as she sees the massive clawed hand reaching over her shoulder.
The first story is written by James Robinson and srawn by Travis Moore. This looks at the events of Last Stand from the 31st century viewpoint.
As seen last issue, the temporal anomalies of the 21st century are tearing apart the future. Brainiac 5 is doing his best to come up with some way to stop the carnage.
All along we have been told that the event the Legion is trying to stop is the destruction of Brainiac's ship and the captured bottle cities. Now it is revealed that the event is the death of Superman! That's very interesting.
There is a touch of 'Crisis' here as well ... heroes on a satellite rushing to save the universe as galaxies wink out of existence.
While the Legionnaires realize they need Brainiac 5 to figure out the answer, he continues to deal with his family lineage and how his ancestor is responsible for this catastrophe.
Robinson reviews the whole Brainiac family tree and I love his take on REBELS leader Vril Dox and the destructive nature of his guile, how much good was done by Brainiac 2 but devastation always followed in his wake. Robinson also talks about Lyrl and his future. It is rumored Brainiac 3 dies at the hands of one of the following: Lobo, Atrocitus, Ragman, Gorilla Grodd, or his father. That is great ... quite a wide array of power levels there.
Despite all his trepidation in faciing off against his evil ancestor, Brainy decides to face his fears, face his heritage, and so he uses the powers of the Legion to send himself back in time. He is send back just as space/time collapses on itself.
It is an interesting viewpoint. We don't always see the internal motivations of Brainy other than his insatiable thirst for knowledge and his need to always be proven right. So to read how the title Brainiac weighs on him is something fresh.
Moore's art is solid if unspectacular. He does a good job of making the multiple Legionnaires look like individuals.
The second story continues to current timeline's story with Superboy and the Legion fighting in the trenches of New Krypton.
Written by Sterling Gates and drawn by Eduardo Pansica, the story focuses on Supergirl and Superboy's efforts to get the guilds of New Krypton united to fight the common foe.
The story opens up with a nice 2 page splash showing the the ongoing destruction on the planet. I always chuckle to see Matter Eater Lad engaged in battle. Somehow tens of thousands of Kryptonians have been killed but the guy eating the robot (!) remains unscathed. Too funny.
But while the Legion are able to function as a team, the populace of New Krypton continues to fight in segregated clusters.
The matter comes to a head when the Labor Guild asks for help from the Science Guild and are rebuffed. The Scientists think that attacking Brainiac's ship is more important than saving their fellow citizens.
When Superboy tries to help the situation, advising some of the Science Guild to stay and aid the Laborers, he is chastised. It speaks volumes to the deeply rooted prejudice of the planet that 'lackguild' exists as a slur of some sort.
I don't know exactly how I feel about the Legion's response. Tellus decides he will try a mass mind-wipe or telepathic nudge to get the Kryptonians to put aside their prejudices and fight as one. And the best person ... the best mind ... to focus that through is Supergirl who was raised in that culture but has moved past its inequality.
It is a nice nod to Supergirl and how much she has grown as a character. Despite being raised in that culture, she sees it is wrong.
But isn't Tellus plan little more than brainwashing? I am a bit conflicted. More than this, the Kryptonians need a leader to rally everyone. I still say that person is Superman.
The plan works slightly, with the Kryptonians closest to Tellus seeing the errors in their ways and then fighting as a team.
Tellus thinks the telepathic race the Lanothians (the city Mon-El just saved) could use their combined mind powers to change the minds of the whole Kryptonian race. With the battle raging on, the Legion, Superboy and Supergirl take the fight to the satellite.
Chances that the Lanothians are the ancestors of Saturn Girl? 100%
Chances their city gets enlarged on the Saturn moon currently circling New Krypton? 100%
Chances that moon gets moved back to Saturn? 100%
Chances that happens because New Krypton explodes? 75% I still think the planet is doomed.
The story otherwise continues to let Supergirl shine in this big arc. Gates does a nice job showing how high Supergirl is regarded by the other members of the team.
Lastly, Pansica's are is very good. He is the artist on one of the War of the Supermen issues.
But much like last issue, for me the last story in the book, the in-depth look at Zod's sleeper agent Car-Vex, was the best.
Car-Vex has just wormed her way into General Lane's good graces by throwing Quex-Ul to the wolves. We hear Car-Vex's thoughts as a voice-over, how she is lamenting the fact that she needs to betray the one person who showed her kindness in the Phantom Zone.
Her class, being part of the Labor Guild, is such a big part of her story. She was less than nothing on the planet Krypton. But in the Phantom Zone, as Zod points out, Guilds are meaningless. After being little more than a slave ... a tool ... on New Krypton, of course Car-Vex is going to listen to Zod. As he says, he is offering her a purpose.
So at Zod's command, Car-Vex gives up Quex-Ul allowing the Human Defense Corps to hunt him down.
Here we see yet another way that Kryptonians are suddenly vulnerable. After being 'tagged', Quex-Ul is murdered by a bullet to the head.
Car-Vex has a hard time dealing with her emotions after the kill, conflicted about murdering her friend versus obeying orders.
Here is the line that resonated to me. She says 'I am a weapon in my General's arsenal'. Despite thinking that her place in Zod's army has given her a purpose, she really remains a tool. She equates herself to a device in the hands of Zod. She has traded one type of slavery for another. She is deluding herself. And you can see the weight on her soul.
Eric Trautmann does a great job in creating some depth in this bit character in a short time. The fact that I can sympathize with this character says a lot. Pier Gallo does a great job on art keeping the mood dark and murky. In some panels, his work reminded me of some early Howard Chaykin.
So overall this issue's stories all worked on their own. But they also bolstered the overall Last Stand storyline. I thought this worked. It looks like this three-story format continues next issue.
Overall grade: A