Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Adventure Comics #4 (507)
Johns, Gates, Ordway & Wiacek
The fourth issue of this series ties into Blackest Night. The comic focuses on Superboy Prime and relies heavily on satire. The issue manages to raise a smile or two but adds little to the Blackest Night mosaic and doesn’t establish what this title is really about. The issue also contains a backup about the Legion of Super-Heroes that seems to provide a story with a theme but does little to clue the unengaged reader about the characters involved making it rather hollow. I’m not sure this issue provides much to anyone other than the hardcore fan.
The comic starts off well enough as we check in on Superboy Prime. We get some background about the character as he sits there reading DC Comics. He’s essentially interfacing with the readers as just another reader of the very same comic books he’s appearing in currently. While the comic (the actual one, not the one in the story) does give some information it’s still littered with references to Earth Prime, Earth-2, etc. It seems this information is relevant and if you haven’t read some (or perhaps all) of the various DC Crisis comics over the years you’ll be hard pressed to have this all explained to you here. I suppose most reader understand what this all means but why scare off new readers unnecessarily?
One of Superboy’s dead buddies gets a black ring and seeks out Superboy. It seems they are on different Earths and somehow he (and some friends) shows up on Superboy’s Earth to kill him.
This comic is a mess. Forget the oddities like Superboy needing a ride from his parents to the comic book store when he seems to have super powers. Or does the Black Lantern give him his powers? It’s not clear and it’s not explained. More than likely you needed to read some other unrelated story from years ago to know Superboy is missing his powers. Or is that it that in some obscure issue of Blackest Night it was determined a Black Lantern can give out super powers? Either way I missed that one.
Sarcasm can be a powerful device for obtaining laughs. Satire is also a great way to get some chuckles from the hardcore, in-the-know fans, but this comic is over the top. Page after page of sarcasm and satire makes Superboy a complete joke by the sixth page and by the twentieth page you’d have to start to wonder if Johns is just laughing at the people who will purchase this comic. If it’s inside jokes among the creators then why charge $4 to the general public for it? This comic mocks the reader by making the characters within the story utterly silly derivatives of themselves.
Finally, the comic book series is in its fourth issue. It’s a young series. It’s taking advantage of the major DC event to bring in new readers. Yet, it seems it’s using unrelated characters for the crossover. How do you expect to keep readers when you use a non-regular character in your crossover issue? How will a new reader really understand what this series is all about? It could be a great series but you wouldn’t be able to judge it with substitute characters.
The saving grace of this issue is the artwork. Both in the main story and the backup story you have terrific art. From the color palette to the heavy line detail, this comic provides an incredible display of a visual story.
The good news with this comic is that many stores offer you one of the colored rings with this issue’s purchase. More good news is if you are a hardcore DC fan and know all of the ins and outs of the DCU then you might love the satire and the heavy handed jokes as Superboy gets kicked around by Earth Prime (or is it Earth-2?) characters. However, I found this issue to be confusing at best and a wasteful mess at worst in the story department. I’m simply baffled that this issue hopes to gain some new readers with this type of material.
2 out of 5 geek goggles