Friday, September 9, 2016
Threeboot: Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #30
Recap: The Dominator war is nearing its climax. The Dominator's have completely shut down Earth's technology and are running amok on Earth. Meanwhile, the Legion,Wanderers, and Sun Boy's crew are on the Dominator's homeworld smashing everything in site. It is an odd two-front war. But how can this war come to an end?
Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #30 marks the end of an era for this threeboot incarnation of the team. This marks the conclusion of the Dominator War, perhaps wrapped up a bit too quickly. Now mind you, there are huge moments in this issue especially regarding Mon-El. The plot is really handled well. There are at least three big scenes in the book that really struck me. But things on Earth return to normal a bit too quickly.
It also marks the last issue that Mark Waid is listed as a creator. Waid, who had the extremely difficult task of creating a new Legion that still pleased the old regime of fans, is off the book. And I have to say, this change hurts. Waid seemed to have a great grasp of the idea of the Legion. The book really was clicking for me at this point. And yet, he's out.
Barry Kitson is back on art. But the book is inked by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti. And Palmiotti's pages just seem a bit rougher than what I am used to on this book.
But this is the end ... in a way ...
We open with a memorial for Mon-El.
Somehow between last issue and this page, Mon-El has died. Talk about an opener.
It is the sort of stunner that Waid knows how to use, a big hook to get me to want to turn the page.
We flashback to a week earlier.
The Legion and their allies are on the moon above the Dominator homeworld. The big guns for the Legion have crippled the entire planet, razing the Dominion's Science Cities. With a working lab, Brainy has found a 'cure' for the AI virus which has shut down the Earth's technology. It feels like the war is over.
But Sun Boy heard the scientist last issue and his end game. The Dominator Super-Soldiers will spread throughout the universe, keeping the Dominator plans alive to gain strength. It has to end here and now.
This is some pretty dark talk from the Legion.
Dream Boy comes in to provide some exposition.
First off, he reveals that Dream Girl has reached a 'higher level of Naltorian consciousness', able to speak to people in their dreams. He lets everyone know this is how Brainy has predicted so much recently. I will say, I liked the idea of Dreamy as a spiritual advisor more when it seemed like she only spoke to Brainy.
Dream Boy also talks about how he knows that Cos has ordered Brainy to build a bomb capable of destroying the entire Dominion homeworld. (Remember when he had a dream of nothingness in space?)
Again, this seems grim and gritty for the Legion. Part of this arc has been contrasting Mekt's killer instinct with Cos' more level-headed and frankly more Legion-like approach to life. Has Cos turned to a darker path?
Cos says the Dominator threat just needs to be removed. That means using Brainy's bomb. That simply doesn't sound like Cos.
What I like are the responses from those gathered.
Mekt is a foil for Cos. He thinks it's impressive.
Dirk is also a foil for Cos. He left because he thought the Legion needed to do more. He thinks it's expedient.
Garth is Cos' friend. He knows it is wrong.
Those are the three perfect people to sound off about this idea. Just subtle characterization by Waid here. We need to believe in Rokk here. But this seems off.
Who is this Cos?
This has to be an homage to Ferro Lad delivering the Sun-Eater bomb. (Heck, earlier Mekt says Cos has 'no iron in his soul'. Another Ferro-reference?).
But Brainy knows that delivering a bomb that will kill 5 billion people isn't something Supergirl could do, nor should she. Kudos for Waid for understanding Kara in a way DC didn't at that point. (This very month Supergirl #17 was on the stands, the issue where Joe Kelly had her shooting up her Kryptonian high school in a Columbine style assault!!??.)
Still, could Kara watch by while this plan is actualized?
And then things get a bit brutal.
Cos orders the dying Mon-El to deliver the bomb.
Sometimes the leader has to order the sacrifice one of his troops for the greater good. But Cos seems more like the type to sacrifice himself.
I don't know if I can convey how gripping this whole scene plays out.
Mekt says that he 'owns' Mon-El because he rescued him. He won't let Cos order his new powerful Wanderer to do this. And Kara again says she is going to do it.
But Cos won't back down. Using Kryptonite he wards off Kara. And he says he is in charge. He gives Mon-El the bomb.
And Lar travels to the core, detonates the bomb, leaving the space empty, devoid of life.
Whew ... this really isn't your father's Legion. So much for the code against killing. Cos just removed a race from the universe.
Legionnaires are healing. Supergirl decides to look for a way back to her time. The Ranzz's seem to grow closer. And Triplicate Girl decides she has three times the passion for Element Lad.
It feels too easy. What about the Dominators on Earth? Did they surrender? Had they all headed back to defend the homeworld? What about the true end of the war on Earth?
Still it is clear that Waid was wiping the slate clean, letting whoever was taking over have no plot threads to deal with.
But things aren't as they truly seemed. And it shows just how strong Cos is at both heroics and reading people.
The 'bomb' that Brainy made? Well it actually was a Phantom Zone bomb that shunted the entire Dominator homeworld and Mon-El into the zone. They aren't dead. They're just in stasis. So it wasn't a suicide mission. It wasn't genocide. And it did end the war.
But it is more than just that. Cos knew he needed to bluff Mekt, to be a leader that Mekt respected.. He knew he needed to free Mon-El from Mekt's "ownership".
It is just brilliant.
And then we get an ending for the ages, a perfect sort of capstone for Waid's run.
Three strangers from the future come back in time to meet Cos and invite him to join their group of heroes. It is the classic Superboy and the Legion origin except it is Cos as the hero from the 'past'. It shows how legendary, how esteemed Rokk will be viewed. He has achieved that level of historical fame.
I loved it. Because it felt so classic and yet so new. That was exactly the quest of the Threeboot.
And so ends the Mark Waid run on the Threeboot. There are 20 more issues. There are two distinctive creative voices. There is (in my mind) a downward trend.
And so I end this review as I end many of my reviews. What did you all think? Not only of this issue but of the Waid run in general.
I have to admit, I think I enjoyed it a lot more in this reading than I did when it first came out.