Monday, April 20, 2015

Superboy Meets Mon-El

According to the 1976 DC Calendar, April 20 is the day that Superboy first met Mon-El. Seeing as how today is MONday, April 20, we here at Legion of Super-Bloggers thought we would commemorate one of the greatest bromances in the history of comics.

The LSB Round Robins have already profiled SUPERBOY #89 (you can read our review here). So we aren't going to go over the particulars of their initial meeting here. However, there are two panels in particular we want to re-present for you:

Think on it: here are two of the strongest young men in the galaxy. Neither have any other siblings*, and then they happen to meet each other and hit it off immediately. Right away they consider each other "like brothers." One gives the other a "nick-name" that is embraced more fully than his given name. They are pals.  (*relatives of Mon-El were later mentioned in Legion continuity, but he himself was never shown interacting with them.)  

Then the unthinkable happens, and they have to part, possibly forever. It's a painful scene to watch. 

For 1,000 years Mon-El is trapped in the Phantom Zone  (only two years real time). Thankfully editor Mort Weisinger decided to move the character into the 30th Century and join the Legion. From there he was always a stalwart member of the group, serving with distinction and eventually being voted Leader. He often teamed up with Superboy, such as when they went to Smallville together to escape from Mordru, or as when they tried to go on a reconnaissance against the Time Trapper, as shown below. Remember the Time Trapper; he'll come up again later. 

Because Mon-El first appeared in "present day" Smallville, he had ties to that city that were stronger than any other Legionnaire. In fact, he sometimes visited Smallville just to vacation there! As a time traveller he could in theory have gone back and visited his own parents, but we never saw that he did. Instead, he visited "his brother's" family, the Kents. 

Like Superboy, Mon-El was a time traveller. He was *actually* from the days before Krypton exploded, then got caught in a time wave where he re-appeared in Superboy's time. So he is chronologically older than all other Bronze Age DC characters!

And eventually, "time" caught up to him. When the Legion decided to face off against the Time Trapper once and for all, Mon-El led the fight. They first went back to Smallville to meet up with Superboy. That's where we get these affectionate scenes:

Of course, Superboy ends up paying the ultimate price to save Smallville and his Legion friends. Mon-El is the first mourner at the passing of Kal-El. His death affects him deeply.

This story brings a tear to my eye every time I re-read it.
The only thing I think that could have made it better is if at the end Mon-El had whispered Superboy's real name to him....

At the official ceremony for Superboy, Mon-El led the remembrances. In case you can't read this, he is saying, "He called me his brother, and took me into his home. And from the day we met, he thought of me every day of his life. Sleep well, Kal-El, brother." I'm tearing up just typing this!

Finally, Mon-El is one of the Legionnaires willing to give his own life to make sure that the Time Trapper never hurts any one else. He and three others take a vow to defeat the Time Trapper, even at the loss of their own lives. The Legion is able to defeat the Time Trapper, and, at peace with himself, Mon-El drifts away into a death-like to play baseball with his younger brother again.


  1. The thousand years in the Phantom Zone always bothered me, and still does. Why not take Lar out of the Zone, fly him to the future, and pop him back in just in time for the Legion to cure him? It seems like something Ma and Pa Kent would come up with the first time they heard about Lar's predicament.

    Also, props for getting away with the Supergirl memorial statue. I guess it helps when the writer is one of the company bigwigs.

  2. Superboy died? Wouldn't that affect, um... his career as Superman?

  3. The retcon or "ByrneCon" they did back in the 80's that led to Crisis.. that had to be "undone" by Infinite Crisis still ticks me off.
    It's almost as bad as in the name of diversity, hijacking classic characters and reassigning them to groups that some feel are unrepresented. Here's a newsflash.. CREATE NEW ONES! But in this generation of reboots and nothing new... whatever.