I've enjoyed the recent tales of the early Legion of Super-Heroes, but I'm delighted to see Adventure Comics move to current continuity. I know this phase will be short-lived, but even a month or two of bi-weekly 31st-century fun is to be treasured.
Especially when we get a story as fine as 'The Summons of the Ring'. I've moaned about the heavy use of Green Lantern mythology in the LSH title over the last several months, and here it's the cover-featured storyline. But if we must have the business front and centre in order to get it over with, and see the strips centred on all-Legion activities, bring it on.
Dyogene, the mysterious servant of Oa, turns up at Legion Clubhouse in a last bid to find someone to be a new Green Lantern and tackle some unrevealed threat. Shadow Lass is peeved to be snubbed, but new beau Earth-Man/Murdering Scumbag shows rare sensitivity in pointing out that being ignored by an ethereal, inhuman, floating green sperm thing likely isn't personal. Bless.
Gathering all Earth-based Legionnaires, Dyogene finds someone to be Green Lantern - Mon-El. Having been dumped by the faithless Shadow Lass, he's rightly ready for a change. While I don't understand why a Green Lantern ring should be, to my mind, wasted on someone who already has immense power, there is precedent in the form of whiny Daxamite Sodam Yat. And Mon-El, while being one of the longest-serving Legionnaires, hasn't been spotlighted in the current run, so it'll be good to see him in action. Plus, his new-look costume is a winner (fear not, he still has the Big Yellow Fasteners). I just hope his teammates get involved, this being, you know, a team book.
The most interesting aspect of the whole business is the reaction of Shadow Lass, virtually begging Mon-El not to leave the Legion. It seems she's simply been using Earth-Man in a bid to make her ex jealous. Well tough luck, Tasmia - you made your bed, now Earth-Man can lie in it.
There's another storyline this time, in which Invisible Kid, Sun Boy, Tellus, Element Lad, Dawnstar and Wildfire rescue humans and animals alike from an earthquake in Africa. All the members get some play, but it's Element Lad who stands out by dint of clever power use, and brains. When it becomes apparent that this is no natural disaster, energy blaster Wildfire and pathfinder supreme Dawnstar follow a trail into space, only to get a nasty surprise.
At the risk of sounding like Broken-Record Kid, writer Paul Levitz proves once more that he's up there with the best of them when it comes to juggling characters, powers and plot. Even when the concept of a story doesn't grab me, Levitz has me applauding. And I love the little touches, such as his remembering that Wildfire isn't just a jock, he's an astrophysicist - I don't think that's been mentioned since the Seventies.
Regular inker Marlo Alquiza teams up with visiting penciller Geraldo Borges and the two produce excellent work - the Legionaires are good-looking, strong, dynamically posed and all-round heroic. Even Earth-Man and his Mutton Chops of Mayhem. Expressions are dramatic, but never over the top, while the big action moments have plenty of impact. Hi-Fi's colours are, as ever, better than average, with a splash of Dyogenes bathing the Legionnaires in green energy especially effective.
The cover, by Scott Clark and David Beaty, takes a similar tack, and the composition and colours work well.
Even if it is a Green Lantern cover.
There's a back-up. It's the Atom, still running around trying to help long-lost Uncle Dave beat shady scientists. It's written by Jeff Lemire, drawn by Mahmud Asrar and John Dell, and perfectly OK ... but I'd rather see more of the Legion's strip.
Still, this is the last of the Atom in Adventure Comics, as it becomes a $2.99 book and drops 10 story pages. So long as the Legion sticks around, whether it be the regulars or upcoming adventures of the Academy students, I'll be happy.