The Revolution has been thrilled with the return of one of my all time favorite Legionnaires: Mon-El. Yeah, the real Mon-El. Not Valor. Not M’onel or any other kind of crap like that. Just some good old school Mon-El. The return of Mon-El is enough for me to know that I’m probably going to enjoy the vast majority of Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #25. Not even the plastic super bimbo can dampen my enthusiasm for this issue. Let’s hit this review.
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciler: Barry Kitson
Inker: Mick Gray
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Dream Boy telling Lightning Lad and Shrinking Violet that they need to get the Kryptonite from Brainiac 5’s armory. Dream Boy said he just had a future vision and the need to get it fast.
We cut to the Wanderers outside of the Legion HQ. Jeyra tells White Witch that it is time for her to do her part. The White Witch casts a spell that seals the Legionnaires in their headquarters partitioned in twos and threes. That none of the Legionaries realized that they are trapped in whichever room they are in inside of the headquarters.
We shift to Brainiac 5 having a vision. Brainy is talking with Dream Girl. Brainiac 5 tells Dream Girl that he hasn’t told the other Legionnaires that she visits him since he doesn’t want them thinking he is insane. Dream Girl shows Brainiac around a bombed out and decimated Metropolis. Dream Girl tells Brainiac that this is going to happen to Metropolis very soon. Dream Girl tells Brainiac that Metropolis is a lost cause.
Unfortunately, before Dream Girl can tell Brainiac what he can do to help prevent the situation, Superbimbo wakes Brainiac 5 out of his vision. Brainiac rightly calls her an imbecile and informs her that he was not sleeping. He was thinking. Supergirl fills Brainiac 5 in on the fact that they have been sealed into the room by some mysterious energy walls. Phantom Girl can’t phase through it. Supergirl can’t break through it. Cosmic Boy can’t use his powers to disrupt it.
We shift to Light Lass, Ultra Boy, Karate Kid and Star Boy all disappearing from Legion HQ. We cut back to Brainiac 5 finishes analyzing the force shield sealing them in the room. Brainy states that Supergirl can continue punching at it, but she won’t be able to crack it. That the shield is a very efficient trap.
Brainiac 5 then continues to work on freeing Mon-El from the Phantom Zone. Saturn Girl says that Mon-El told her that he was put in the Phantom Zone because he had some incurable disease. Brainiac 5 says it is lead poisoning. That lead is fatal to all Daxamites. That no one has ever found a cure. Brainiac 5 says he could whip up a cure, but the key ingredient is in another room that they can’t get to.
With that, we cut to the key ingredient which is Kryptonite. We see Dream Boy in the armory holding the container of Kryptonite.
We then cut to Ultra Boy, Light Lass, Karate Kid and Star Boy all appearing in some unknown location in Metropolis. They are surrounded by the members of the Wanderers. Their leader has a hood over his face. The hooded leader introduces his team as the Wanderers and tells the four Legionnaires that he wants to recruit them to join the Wanderers.
Ultra Boy wants to brawl rather than listen to the Wanderers’ leader. Light Lass tells Ultra Boy to hear what the leader has to say. The hooded leader tells the Legionnaires that nearly a decade ago, the U.P. assembled a black ops team. They did the U.P’s dirty work for years. A while back, the U.P. received intel that the Dominators were active after years of dormancy. The U.P. sent their black ops team to investigate. The U.P. told them that they were in deep cover and promised them no backup.
The black ops team found Dominator thickets on backworld after backworld and every skirmish was more brutal than the last. The Dominators seemed to be in unlimited numbers. However, the black ops team was not and they lost members with each skirmish. Eventually, the only survivor of the black ops team was the hooded leader of the Wanderers. He did find out that the Dominators’ long range plan was to attack Earth. The hooded leader didn’t trust the U.P. to intervene, so he made his way back to this side of the galaxy and slowly gathered his own team: The Wanderers.
The Wanderers consist of a group of battle-hardened fighters who, unlike the Legion, couldn’t care less about answering to the spineless U.P. The hooded leader says that he doesn’t need allies like the Legion. That he needs soldiers who will work for him and not with him. That he has studied the Legion and he knows which of them won’t stand for taking orders. Those are the ones that they have imprisoned for now.
That he chose three of the four Legionnaires in front of him because they are psychologically the most likely to follow him once they hear what’s at stake. And the fourth he is counting on her loyalty for a different reason. Light Lass then tells the Legionnaires that the hooded leader is her and Garth’s older brother: Mekt Ranzz. (Sweet!)
We cut back to Supergirl still idiotically punching at the unbreakable barrier and saying that it still won’t give. (No duh, bimbo.) Saturn Girl tells Brainy that Mon-El’s state of mind is borderline psychotic from being trapped for so long. That Mon-El remembers someone with an “S” on his or her chest putting him in the Phantom Zone. Brainiac 5 says “Perfect” and then finishes his work on the Phantom Zone projector and frees Mon-El from the Phantom Zone.
Mon-El stand before them and is thrilled to be free. Brainiac 5 then comes up to Mon-El and asks him if he recognizes the blonde girl. Mon-El then looks at Supergirl and gets a pissed off look on his face and blasts her across her face! (Hell yeah!! Do it again, brother!)
Mon-El and Supergirl proceed to have a massive brawl that destroys the room. Meanwhile, Brainiac 5 quickly works to create an antitoxin for Mon-El’s lead poisoning sickness. Cosmic Boy then astutely figures out Brainiac 5’s plan with causing Mon-El to attack Supergirl. That two individuals of such power pushing themselves to the limit will eventually shatter the force field that has them trapped in the room. A Mon-El and Supergirl’s brawl leads them through out the entire HQ as they break the force fields trapping the various Legionnaires in the rooms they were in.
Now that Dream Boy is freed from the armory, he runs to Brainiac 5 and gives him Kryptonite. Brainiac finishes concocting the antitoxin for Mon-El and puts it in a pill. He tells the Legionnaires that they have to get Mon-El to swallow it. Invisible Kid turns invisible and sneaks up to Mon-El and shoves it in his mouth and then Colossal Boy slams Mon-El in the ground to get him to swallow the pill.
Colossal Boy then asks Mon-El if he will behave himself. Mon-El says that he will behave. Mon-El then thanks the Legionnaires for freeing him and for curing him. Mon-El says he owes them a tremendous debt. Cosmic Boy responds by saying that all Mon-El has to do in return is join the Legion.
Suddenly, Mon-El disappears. We cut to Mon-El re-appearing in front of Mekt and the rest of the Wanderers and the other four Legionnaires. Mekt says that Mon-El is the most important player of them all. End of issue.
The Good: What the hell just happened? Did I actually enjoy an issue of Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes from cover to cover? Oh dios mio! I did. Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes was a good solid read from start to finish. Waid finally delivered the kind of story that I always believed him capable of turning out on this title.
I have been stunned by the lack of quality issues on this title. Waid is simply too talented of a writer to continue to drop the ball. Patience finally paid off as we got treated to an issue that was an excellent blend of action and drama. This issue was perfectly paced. The story had a nice flow to it as it shifted seamlessly between the various scenes and slowly built up tension in the reader until the exciting ending.
Waid constructs a technically sound issue. We begin slowly as the tension builds with the confinement of the Legionnaires and the disappearance of four of them. Things get even more tense as Mekt Ranzz reveals himself to the four Legionnaires that disappeared from the HQ and Brainiac 5 manages to free Mon-El. Then the story explodes with action and Supergirl and Mon-El engage in a wild brawl. After the brawl is over and Mon-El’s lead sickness is cured, he suddenly disappears and appears before Mekt and the other four Legionnaires.
That is a well plotted issue that ends with a great hook ending that makes the reader want to read the next issue. We have five Legionnaires being offered a roster spot on the Wanderers and we have a Dominator threat to deal with. If that doesn’t get you interested then not much will!
Waid threw a nice curve at the reader with the Wanderers. Waid had faked me out into believing that we were seeing Lightning Lord assembling the new Legion of Super Villains. Instead, Waid delivers to us the Wanderers which are actually a much more intriguing concept than a new version of the Legion of Super Villains. I dig that the Wanderers are not villains, yet they aren’t allies and have no desire of working with the Legionnaires. Placing the Wanderers in that gray area as not traditionally evil and not traditionally good makes them a much more complex plotline than a straight up evil teen version of the Legion.
The Wanderers also provides for some nice history to the Legion universe. It only makes sense that there would be some form of metahuman team prior to the Legion existing. A black ops team that does the U.P.’s dirty work makes perfect sense. It would also explain why the U.P. would want to control the Legion and turn them into a public version of what they had with old black ops team.
The black ops team also gives a very dramatic origin for Mekt. The bloody battles with the Dominators and Mekt being the sole survivor of the black ops team certainly makes Mekt into a much harder character than any of his previous versions. Mekt was always kind of a bratty, egotistical and jealous brat. This version of Mekt is a battle hardened warrior. This Mekt is a soldier created to do one thing: fight. I really dig this new take on Mekt’s character. I think Waid’s version of Mekt is certainly the most compelling version of Mekt that we have ever seen.
Clearly Mekt wants to do the right thing in saving the universe from the Dominators. However, it is also plainly obvious that Mekt suffers from some serious mental scars from his battled with the Dominators. It should be interesting to see if Mekt and the Wanderers become another “good” super team that simply has different tactics and philosophy from the Legion or if Waid transforms Mekt into a misguided egomaniac that turns the Wanderers into his own band of thugs bent on re-making the universe in his image.
Personally, I dig the idea of having another “good” super team in the Legion universe who simply doesn’t share the same philosophy of the Legion. The universe is big enough to support two super teams and it would certainly make for an enjoyable rivalry and some entertaining plotlines.
The Wanderers plotline also shows that Waid is finally starting to accelerate the Dominator plotline that he teased the reader with way back in issue #17 and pretty much hasn’t touched since then. It is nice to see Waid getting the Dominator plotline ramped up since it is one of the only plotlines on this title that has captured my interest.
It was neat seeing the return of the White Witch. I can’t say I was ever a big fan of her character back during Levitz’s run on the Legion. However, she has a history with the Legion and it is always nice to see more Levitz Legion characters returning to this new version of the Legion.
Of course, the biggest event in this issue was the return of Mon-El. And I have to admit that Mon-El’s return was everything that I had hoped it would be. Waid did a great job handling Mon-El’s psyche. It only makes sense that even a true hero like Mon-El would be driven to the point of insanity after begin trapped in the Phantom Zone for so long. And damn, did I love what Mon-El first did after getting freed from the Phantom Zone. That kicked ass. It was so satisfying to see someone just slap the spit out of Supergirl. That panel is now my new wallpaper on The Revolution’s main computer at the Bunker. Oh, you know you want to see it again. Go ahead and click on the pic and check out the large version of it. Enjoy. I’ll wait for you.
Seriously, Waid handled the return of Mon-El perfectly. The Legion gets back its most powerful member (yeah, sorry Supergirl) and the reader gets some of our beloved Legion history restored. The move to use the name “Mon-El” brings a tear to my eye. I feel like we are finally getting a little piece of the glorious Legion history that was wiped out via two total re-boots returned to us.
Waid also teases the reader with a bit of a mystery surrounding Mon-El’s entrapment in the Phantom Zone. We find out that someone with an “S” on their chest imprisoned him in the Phantom Zone. Was it Superman? Superboy? Supergirl? Maybe someone else? Who knows, but it certainly will be interesting to learn more about this plotline.
I thought the five Legionnaires that were chosen by Mekt to join the Wanderers were a rather interesting selection. It was telling that Mekt chose his sister, Ayla and not his brother Garth. This lets us know that clearly Ayla has a better relationship with Mekt than Garth does. It would be safe to assume that Garth and Mekt have a rivalry going between them. Ultra Boy was an interesting choice. He is a powerhouse who definitely won’t mind a violent and nasty war. However, Ultra Boy has always been a rebel and usually that kind of person doesn’t take orders well or make for a perfect soldier.
Karate Kid was a surprise. Karate Kid prefers to use non-violent methods to resolve conflicts and clearly is a free thinker who is extremely spiritual. I never thought of Karate Kid as being the military type.
Star Boy doesn’t have anything that resembles a developed personality so I can’t say whether or not his selection made sense or not. The last one chosen was Mon-El. Obviously, Mon-El is desirable since he is probably the most powerful member of either the Legion or the Wanderers. And in any war you need some serious heavy artillery.
I have to admit that even though I thought killing off Dream Girl was poorly handled and a rather bad idea, I do like how Dreamy keeps visiting Brainy in his visions. The scene with Brainy and Dreamy teases the reader with all of Metropolis being destroyed. It must mean that the Dominators succeed in destroying Metropolis. At any rate, this was a good teaser scene that piqued my interest.
The Bad: My only complaint would be the same thing that I dislike with every issue of Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes: Supergirl. Superbimbo is a total and complete idiot. I don’t know if Waid is purposely writing her as a total moron and trying to get the reader to be completely annoyed with her character or not. But, that is certainly what is happening with me.
First, Brainiac 5 mocks Superbarbie for pulling him out of his trance with Dream Girl and not finding out what Dream Girl had to tell him in order to prevent the cataclysmic scene he viewed. Way to go Super Britney. Then Supergirl moronically pounds away at the force field even after Brainiac 5 has told everyone that it is totally unbreakable. Brainy makes another snide comment how Supergirl can go ahead and continue to hit it anyway even though it won’t do any good. Brainiac 5’s condescending treatment of Supergirl as if she were a two year old is classic! It has certainly made me a huge Brainiac 5 fan.
Supergirl’s dialogue is totally ditzy. Supergirl comes across as a completely vacuous and insipid character. I have no idea why in the world this character would appeal to any comic book reader. I honestly think that Supergirl is actually brain dead. The point is that Supergirl adds absolutely nothing to this title. Supergirl is a complete waste of space. The sooner that this albatross is taken off the neck of the Legion the better.
Overall: Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes #25 was the best read on this title in a very long time. I had an absolute blast reading this issue. The Wanderers are a great addition to this title and so is the return of Mon-El. For the first time in a while I think that there is actually hope for this title. Waid just might actually be turning the corner on Supergirl and the Legion of Super Heroes. If we could just get rid of Supergirl then we might be in store for some of the best Legion issues that we have had in a while.