REVIEW :: Adventure Comics #1

August 21, 2009 at 12:37 pm By:

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In a summer comic book season populated by blockbuster “event” stories and universe shattering mega-crossovers, it’s nice to read a comic like Adventure Comics #1.

The title, a revival of on old DC book of the same name, stars a newly resurrected Superboy (the clone version). But instead of showing him battling muscle-bound super foes (as he recently did in Legion of 3 Worlds), this first issue focuses on the kid getting settled back into life in Smallville. As a result, artist Francis Manapul — in an almost painted-looking style — has been called on to fill large panels and full-page spreads with pictures of quaint farms, wide wheat fields and lush mountains.

Now, in another creator’s hands, a superhero hanging out in small-town America would equal one boring comic. But writer Geoff Johns is — as I’ve said many times in this space — really good at what he does. And what he’s doing in this debut book is world building (remember when first issues used to do that?).

In this issue we see Conner hanging out with Ma Kent, flying with Krypto, registering for high school classes and the like — this is Johns introducing all the main players, setting up the locations, hinting at sub-plots … essentially piling up all the building blocks necessary to create a viable “universe” for Superboy to operate in. 

The backup second feature showcases the Legion of Super Heroes, so it’s a little more cosmic. This short tale stars the schizophrenic Starman, and I’m not really a fan of that character. Coming attractions to future stories, however, show a lot of promise. At the very least, this is probably the most stable home for the Legion in a long while. I’m confident that enough readers will dig this change-of-pace comic to make it a long-running series. 

Carlton Hargro is Editor-In-Chief of Creative Loafing. You can read more of his writing at the magazine’s Comic Proportions blog.

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