Adventure Comics #2 (DC Comics)
by Geoff Johns & Francis Manapul/Geoff Johns, Michael Shoemaker & Clayton Henry
I continue to be impressed with this new series and writer Geoff Johns’s take on Superboy. The story has a strong foundation in characterization but there’s also a delightful old-school approach to the super-hero elements as well. This second chapter is a fairly quiet one, as it continues to focus on Superboy’s efforts to reintegrate back into a world that thought he was dead and on his own identity crisis. The conversation and reconnection between Conner and Cassie is sweet and touching. It’s wholesome on a level that’s rather difficult to swallow in the context of the 21st century, especially given Superboy’s previous rep as something of a horndog. But it’s comforting as well. I enjoyed the Luthor/Brainiac scene. While it’s connected to the ongoing “World of New Krypton” storyline unfolding in the other titles in the Superman family line, Johns doesn’t allow those elements to intrude on this story. He maintains an accessible tone here, and despite the fact that the script touches upon events and characters from other DC titles, there’s still a self-contained quality to the storytelling here that’s refreshing. Manapul’s loose, sketchy style works nicely as well, establishing a wistful atmosphere that’s in keeping with the nostalgic and character-driven elements.
With this second issue, the Legion of Super-Heroes backup story shrugs off its links to the main feature, taking the story in a new direction. Johns and co-writer Michael Shoemaker offer an accessible plot despite the fact that a lot of Legion history factors into it. As a longtime Legion fan, I really enjoyed the premise of this new Lightning Lad story, as it stays true to what’s come before (even as far back as the Silver Age) while bringing a new twist/mystery to decades-old characters. Clayton Henry’s art has never looked better than it does here. While the lighter tone of his style is intact, there’s a more refined look at play, especially on the first page. He uses shadow to great effect, and his work here reminds me of the styles of such other industry stalwarts as Mike McKone and Olivier Coipel. 8/10