Friday, September 30, 2016

Threeboot: Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #33


Recap: Cosmic Boy has disappeared and new Legion leader Supergirl (with some nudging by Brainiac 5) has sent three away teams to try to find him. It is unclear if Brainiac's motivations are above board as each team has a volatile makeup and has been sent into explosive environments. On Ranzz, Sun Boy, Star Boy, Mekt Ranzz, and Tenzil Kem run into a cult worshipping the Lord of Lightning, Validus. The cult seems to want Mekt to fulfill a prophecy and become Validus.



Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #33 is the second issue headed by new creative team of Tony Bedard and Dennis Calero and I have to say it is something of a mystery wrapped in an enigma. There is a lot of action here. But the resolution of the conflict is tricky to interpret when, as a reader, you have to question the veracity of Brainiac 5. Is he being honest and acting like a Legionnaire? Or is he pulling the strings here, manipulating everyone? How much can I believe anything that I have read?

In another interesting move, Bedard keeps the action predominantly on Winath throughout the issue. There are two other away teams who we know are in trouble. But we have no idea why. Are Mekt, Star Boy, and Sun Boy popular enough to warrant two full issues? Isn't one of the strengths of the Legion their deep cast?

The plot here, the cult of Validus, is interesting. It is a new ripple in the Legion lore. But as I read this issue I kept wanting to read the other teams' adventures.

On to the story.

The issue starts with a tease. Much like last issue, we see that the other two team are in the middle of brawls. Supergirl is battling some giant in Metropolis. Timber Wolf and Shrinking Violet are surrounded by flames on Lallor. They need help and are calling Brainiac for advice and troops. What is happening?

Brainy is annoyed. He has already calculated their chance of victory and both are 75% or higher. He doesn't have time for this.

But what is he doing? What is taking him away from helping? Or does he want them to fight and possibly lose?

Brainiac is the toughest character to read in this series. 


Last issue ended with the Winathian population holed up in underground grain storage sites. And somehow they all have lightning powers. They want Mekt and they are willing to kill whoever stands in their way.

Of course, these are ordinary people ... not warriors, lightning powers or no. The group is easily defeated by Star Boy who simply makes them too heavy to stand.

I love how the panel borders warp when the powers kick in. Nice effect.


It isn't 100% effective. The people are able to shock Star Boy, knocking him unconscious and releasing them from his power.

Mekt has never had a lot of loyalty for his homeworld. He doesn't have it for the Legion either. But he knows, for now, the Legionnaires are his allies. He and Sun Boy have no choice to retreat.

It is important to note Mekt's action. He doesn't want to be claimed by this cult. He seems surprised.


Meanwhile, Tenzil Kem was trapped in a silo filling with Winathian grain.

But we know who he really is. He simply eats his way out of the threat.

This Kem is a hardnosed Kem. He hasn't been shown to be a funny guy. But this scene had some humor, especially the 'super burp' panel which follows.

Interestingly enough, this ability of the Bismollian isn't well known, considered more of an urban legend.


Back at the Legion HQ, the Wanderers aren't happy with Brainiac 5 either. Their leader has been sent away, to a place where the team can't track him. Even their Coluan, Vrax, thinks that Brainy has sent Mekt there in hopes he will be killed.

I love Brainy's retort. Of course a 10th level intellect from Coluan would think that. It is straight out disrespect. And Vrax has no retort. He just takes it.

But this adds another layer of distrust for Brainiac 5. No one trusts him.


On Ranzz, Sun Boy and Mekt realize that the only way the Winathians can have powers is if they have been infused with nano-capacitors. And what world is known for miniaturization? Colu.

The plot really thickens.

But why are they mindless worshipers? 


Elsewhere, Tenzil is able to rescue Star Boy. They also deduce that a device is probably mind-controlling the populace as well as granting them powers. The device is discovered and crumpled by Star Boy. And just like that the Winathians are free from control and powerless.

It all seems a little bit too easy. And what is the end game of whoever set this up? What were they hoping


And this is where things get crazy.

The machine appears to be Coluan in nature, and with the specific workmanship of Vrax! This whole things has been a plot of Mekt to take over.

Huh?

Even if the evidence points to this, Kem should no better. What is Mekt's motivation for ruling a world he hates? What has he done on this planet to make them think he is in cahoots with the cult? Why would he help the Legion?

It makes no sense.


And Mekt tries to defend himself, sticking his finger in Tenzil's face. And Tenzil literally bites it off.

Note to self. Never stick your finger near the mouth of someone who eats everything.

This was truly the OMG moment of the book.

Insane.


Things get even wonkier.

Now evidence suddenly appears that the idea to blow up the Dominion homeworld was Mekt's. And it was placed in Cos' head by the telepath Jeyra Entinn.

But this is not true. And we know it is not true. And at least some of the Legionnaires (if not all) know it isn't true.

This all seems like a framing by Brainiac 5. And now there is a hint the Wanderers will become a LSV.

So the Winath adventure ends quickly and all too neatly. I honestly think (and I don't remember) that this is all Brainiac 5 working the angles.


But finally we get a hint about the Lallor team.

A shot of Wildfire! My favorite Legionnaire!

What a cliffhanger!

In the end, I think this seems like a lot of space granted to this side mission. I think the Winath plot could have been squeezed into one issue. And with none of the main characters on my list of favorite Legionnaires, this didn't grab me. It is only the intrigue surrounding Brainiac 5 that grabbed me here.

3 comments:

  1. It wasn't the story that made this arc so bad as it was a fresh concept but the "art" that was just terrible.

    For example back in Superboy #197 and running through both Dave Cockrum and Mike Grell, the Legion was good because of the great art work that supported the lousy story telling of Carey Bates.

    You bought the book each month because of the visual look of it and kind of ho hummed the story.

    Here the story was good it was the artwork that sucked.

    I stopped buying it because of this and my love of the Legion goes back to the original Adventure Comic days.

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    Replies
    1. Agreed. The art here is atrocious. I think the worst part is when Sun Boy and Star Boy react to Mekt getting his finger bitten off. Sun Boy's buzz cut suddenly grows three inches and stands up in air.

      During Calero's entire run on the book, it's apparent that he cuts corners and copy/pasted the same art in different panels with slight changes to the scale and position.

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