An origin issue from the future - but which future?
Credits & Solicit Info:
Adventure Comics #516
Published by DC Comics
Written by Paul Levitz
Penciled by Kevin Sharpe
Inked by Marlo Alquiza
Lettered by Travis Lanham
Colors by Blond
Edited by Brian Cunnigham
Cover by Scott Clark & David Beaty
Clark Kent, Superboy, has been called to the future by Brainiac 5. Once there, the Legion trinity of Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl & Cosmic Boy are joined with fellow Legionnaires Chameleon Boy and the aforementioned Brainiac 5 & Superboy at the reading of the Legion's mentor, benefactor and friend, R.J. Brande.
A holographic recording of Brande tells of his Durlan origins as well a the genesis of the Legion itself.
Interspersed throughout are scenes from Brande's life; his giving the Legion it's first club house, meeting Brainiac 5 and CircadiaSenius for the first time and Brande's pursuit to bring Superman to the future.
Quite a few details are revealed about Brande (while others that I thought would be were not). First and foremost is the revelation that Superman is the true inspiration that led Brande to create the Legion. This tidbit really solidifies the ideal of the Legion existing solely because of the Man of Steel (something that had been lost during all the reboot years).
Brande also relishes in pointing out "the green one" (Brainiac 5) and his numerous laboratory disasters.
Ultimately, Brande, who was a VERY wealthy man, gave everything to Legion. Brainiac 5 and Brande's son Chameleon Boy were singled out with additional gifts.
In the first Levitz Adventure from last month, we saw 'who' the Legion is and this month we found out 'why' there's a Legion. Next month appears to explore the relationships within the Legion. Looking forward to that, but first...
While a 'nothing really happens' is a strange tactic for a second issue, it fulfilled two objectives in this humble reviewers mind...
1) As mentioned, this explained WHY the Legion is. As inspired by Superman, they exist to honor his example to "make the universe a better place"
2) It closes the door on Brande (and any Legion financials woes) and pushes the Legion forward to whatever lays ahead.
With all that good comes some not so good.
Adventure Comics is where the "The Early Years" of the Legion takes place (it says it right on this issue's cover), yet this issue is set in and all about the 'older' team's era. Unfortunately only someone familiar with Legion history and thier current appearances would know this. At least this issue when Saturn Girls real name is identified as Imra Ardeen-Ranzz it's correct unlike last issue.
Also confusing is RJ Brande's speech pattern. At first when he said something like "I tell you a story I never tell before." I assumed either Brande was drunk or the editor was. But then his broken English/Interlac continued and I figured out that this is how (apparently) Brande always spoke and it was 'chronicler's error' in the past that had him speak clearly. Still some consistency would be nice to the new pattern. Early in his dialougue he says as he explains about the war that devastated Durla "... before we make a mess of it in Six Minute War". The absence of the word "the" is quite noticeable. Pages later he states "Most of the technology on Durla blown up in theSix Minute War." This time the addition of the word is noticeable. Situations like this pull me out of the story, that I'd rather stay in.
Apparently, Durlans can now becomes forms from scanning the printed page. Before they needed to scan the actually form in person (that's what the antennae were for).
The last item before the Geek Alerts, apparently the Durlans have been retconned (again something an old fan would recognize). Brande explains how 'his' Durlans were the ones seeded by Mon-El (Adventure #212) in the early 21st Century and that he hired a scientist to design the orange/antenna'd forms that most Durlans wear. This doesn't explain all the orange/antenna'd Durlans that have appeared in current time DCU (Invasion, the leader of the Green Lantern Corpse (GLC v2 #7), etc.
The current DCU mini "Great Ten #5" from just a couple months ago claims that some of their powers are Durlan based. How this fits (as well as the Olympian God origins) has yet to be determined.
All in all - a slow 'settng the tone' second issue that also closes a running subplot.
Long Live the Legion!
This series officially resumes Adventure Comics original numbering with this issue.
The Legion's origin first appeared in Superboy #147 (03/1968)
Superboy - 1st appeared in More Fun #101 (01/1945)
Brainiac 5 - 1st appeared in Action #276 (05/1961)
Lightning Lad - 1st appeared in Adventure #247 (04/1958)
Saturn Girl - 1st appeared in Adventure #247 (04/1958)
Cosmic Boy - 1st appeared in Adventure #247 (04/1958)
Chameleon Boy - 1st appeared in Action #267 (08/1960)
R.J. Brande - 1st appeared in Adventure Comics #350 (11/1966)
R.J. Brande - Death occurred in Legion of 3 Worlds #1 (08/2008)
Legion Clubhouse - 1st appeared in Adventure #247 (04/1958)
Time Bubble - 1st appeared in Adevnture Comics #247 (04/1958)
Pheebes (RJ's aide) - 1st appeared in Adventure #516 (09/2010)
Ji Daggle (Chameleon Boy's Aunt/Mother) - 1st appeared in Legion of Super-Heroes v2 #264 (06/1980)
Circadia Senius - 1st appeared in LSH v2 #295 (01/1983)
Someone who could be Marla Latham - 1st appeared in Superboy #98 (07/1962)
Someone who could be Universo - 1st appeared in Adventure #349 (10/1966)
The Atom backup feature begins with this issue - not reviewed.