Monday, September 4, 2017

The New Fatal Five: Who And What Are They???


In the pages of "Supergirl," writer Steve Orlando has been slowly establishing a brand new version of the Fatal Five dedicated to taking down the Girl of Steel. The only similarity this version has with any of the others is that the leader, or rather, the ringmaster, is none other than the Emerald Empress. This isn't the first time the Empress has put together the Fatal Five, but as of this incarnation she's now the only consistent member of every version, sort of like Robotman in the Doom Patrol.

That doesn't mean this group has no similarities to the original.



Anj put it best in his review of Supergirl #12 by matching up the original Five with the newest version.
Emerald Empress = Emerald Empress
Magog = Persuader
Solomon Grundy = Validus
Selena = Mano
Brainiac 8 = Tharok

Let's run down the roster and figure out where these five fit in the grand scheme of things.

Emerald Empress: The muckity-muck in charge of the whole shebang. The Empress is the only original member of the Fatal Five, and from what I've seen she's been the only consistent member of each version (or at least there's been An Empress in each Fatal Five).


Considering that this is a Legion fan site I should pretend you know who the Emerald Empress is. For the sake of argument, she's Sarya of Vengar, a 31st Century criminal who came in possession of the Emerald Eye of Ekron, a powerful magical artifact which may or may not be the one really wearing the emerald pants in the relationship (depending on the continuity).

There have been three other Empresses besides Sarya: Legion reject Cera Kesh, Leland McCauley's girlfriend Ingria Olav, and Orandian peasant Falyce. Even Shrinking Violet wielded the Emerald Eye during the Reboot Legion. But Sarya is considered the default Empress and the one used in all other media featuring the Legion and the Fatal Five. Versions of Sarya have appeared in the Reboot and Threeboot continuities, but for all intents and purposes the original died in LoSH Vol.3, asking Sensor Girl to mercy kill her in order to be free from the Emerald Eye.

Who She Is Now: Sarya seemed like the original Emerald Empress at first glance, but "Supergirl" Annual #1 shed light on her backstory and revealed she's a very different character.




Sarya of Orando was a slave, used and abused by a duke until the day the Emerald Eye found her and turned her into the Emerald Empress. Sarya murdered the duke who tortured her and began to look for her family, finding only her long lost father. The joyous reunion was undercut by a vision of the future granted by the Emerald Eye, wherein Sarya's father would die. Sarya believed Saturn Girl of the Legion was responsible and traveled to the 21st Century to kill the Legionnaire, but got sidetracked and drafted into the original Suicide Squad. In "Justice League Vs Suicide Squad" Sarya was freed from her prison alongside the rest of her Squad, but fled the first chance she got to find Saturn Girl. As we saw in "Supergirl" #8, Sarya was told by Saturn Girl that Supergirl is really the one who "Destroyed her life," and has assembled her new Fatal Five through lies and manipulations to stop Supergirl from accidentally killing her father.



So the first thing I noticed is Sarya's backstory now looks very similar to Falyce's origin from the Johnsboot Legion, and I'm not sure if the use of Orando was supposed to be a complex in-joke to Sarya's death at Sensor Girl's hands. There's no telling how much truth there is to Sarya's claims of her father's death, and this could very well all be the result of the Emerald Eye controlling her thoughts.


Indigo/Brainiac 8: A female descendant of the infamous Brainiac from the far future, Brainiac 8 originally debuted in Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day, having traveled to the present DCU and instigated the deaths of Lilith Clay and Donna Troy. At the time, Brainiac 8 appeared to be malfunctioning and was not inherently evil, nor did she know who she was. She was given the name "Indigo" and joined the Outsiders led by Arsenal and Nightwing, and even developed a romantic relationship with Shift, a doppelganger of Metamorpho.

It wasn't revealed who Indigo truly was until "The Insiders" arc, which was published alongside the reveal of Superboy being a brainwashed sleeper agent for Lex Luthor in Teen Titans. The Brainiac 8 programming manifested itself and revealed that Indigo was a sub-personality made to endear the robot to others, but the Indigo personality fought back enough to beg Shift to do a mercy kill on her to stop her from hurting anyone else.

Brainiac 8 last appeared for a gratuitous appearance in Superboy-Prime's Legion of Doom as part of J.T. Krul's lackluster finale of the pre-Flashpoint Teen Titans series. How and why she was with this Legion was never really explained given how rushed all the books were to make way for the New 52, but given Krul's writing abilities I doubt it would've been an engrossing story.



Who She Is Now: The Brainiac 8 of the Rebirth universe claims to be "The Woman of Tomorrow," foretelling Supergirl of a supposed future and turning the people of National City against the Girl of Steel as a "real" hero. Whether or not Brainiac 8 truly believes she's doing the right thing or is simply manipulating the masses like she manipulated the Outsiders has yet to be determined.


Magog: Who Magog is has varied throughout the DC Multiverse.



The original Magog came from Kingdom Come, where he was "The New Man of Tomorrow." Mark Waid and Alex Ross presented Magog as a symbolic golden calf to go with the biblical imagery so prevalent in the famous Elseworlds story. Magog was responsible for heralding a newer, deadlier generation of heroes who managed to kill off all the super-villains. Magog's claim to fame was murdering the Joker after the Clown Prince killed everyone in the Daily Planet, including Lois Lane. When the courts found Magog Not Guilty, Superman, in his disillusionment, became a recluse. Unfortunately, Magog's brand of justice began a chain of events culminating in the Parasite killing Captain Atom and unleashing a nuclear explosion that destroyed the state of Kansas. Haunted by guilt, Magog surrendered to the Justice League and sought to redeem himself for his sins.




Magog appeared in the regular DCU, but lacked the depth and redeeming qualities of the original. Lance David Reid appeared in "Justice Society of America" as a new recruit of the JSA before he was remade into Magog by the power of Gog, the last surviving god of the Third World. Magog was brash and unpleasant and finally left the JSA, and later the JSA All-Stars, over disputes concerning his methods. He was killed by Maxwell Lord in "Justice League: Generation Lost" in order to prevent Magog from leading the world to a cataclysm similar to the "Kingdom Come" universe.


Who He Is Now: The Fatal Five's Magog was created by Circe in "Superman/Wonder Woman." David Reid lost his parents during Darkseid's invasion way back in the New 52 "Justice League" series, so Circe utilized his resentment and hatred to turn him into a pawn to destroy Superman and Wonder Woman. He first approached the super couple with a Trojan Horse identity as "Wonderstar" to get their guard down, then attacked them under his real form.

Magog has joined the Fatal Five after the Emerald Empress has foretold Supergirl's descendants will be the death of his family, or something. I mean, the man's an idiot so it's not that hard to manipulate him. It turned out, much like with the rest of the Fatal Five, the Empress lied.


Solomon Grundy: The one villain predating every other member, Solomon Grundy's also the most recognizable of the team.



A criminal, and possible child molester, who drowned in Slaughter Swamp during the 19th Century and was revived as a shambling zombie with enormous strength. Grundy took his name from a children's rhyme, often repeating "Solomon Grundy, Born On A Monday." Grundy's died and come back multiple times, his personality changing with each rebirth and causing no end of frustration for the Justice Society of America, the Golden Age Green Lantern Alan Scott, and Batman.


Following "Flashpoint," nearly all the JSA-associated characters were deported to the "Earth-2" series and given new costumes and origins. Under James Robinson and Tom Taylor's hands, Grundy was rewritten as a slaughterhouse worker who went mad when his wife committed suicide after their boss raped her. He came back as some kind of evil Swamp Thing knockoff dressed in a pseudo-BDSM leather costume, claiming to be the avatar of "The Gray," the elemental force of rot and decay.



Who He Is Now: Classic!Grundy reappeared in Rebirth's "Batman." It seems the Empress is having Grundy's strength and destructive nature boosted to make him more of a threat. Although if my info is character, this Grundy is a clone of the real deal, wherever he may be. While Grundy is the berserker of the Fatal Five much like Validus, he retains enough independent thought that he has more agency as a character.



Selena: The one villain I don't think anyone expected to see in a Supergirl comic, and the only one besides the Emerald Empress who has paradoxically fought Supergirl and yet never fought her.

Selena was originally the bad guy of the 1984 "Supergirl" film, portrayed by Faye Dunaway against Helen Slater's Kara Zor-El. Selena was a fledgling sorceress who had the good luck to discover the Omegahedron, the source of Argo City's life and power, when it landed on Earth. Selena believed the Omegahedron was a mystical artifact and used it to bolster her dark power. Dumping her somewhat boyfriend and magic teacher Nigel, Selena conspired with her friend/lackey Bianca (played by Brenda Vaccaro) on how to best use their good luck to take over the world. In the process, Selena drew the attention of both Supergirl and Supergirl's alter ego Linda Lee, whom Selena and Bianca referred to as "The Runt." Selena unleashed magical attacks and even summoned an invisible demon to battle the Girl of Steel, before deciding to banish Supergirl into the Phantom Zone. But Selena underestimated Supergirl's resolve, and in their final battle Supergirl was able to trap Selena and Bianca into the Phantom Zone forever.


Who She Is Now: This is Selena's first time in the proper DCU, and she barely resembles the original version. Dark skinned and black-haired, the new Selena claims to be "The Heir of Ataxia" and was first seen in Limbo Town's jail for crimes against Nigel Grimm, a nice in-joke to the movie. Just after Selena broke free did the Emerald Empress show up and recruit the wicked witch.

Selena's the one I'm most interested in and I've repeatedly asked Steve Orlando if a new version of Bianca will appear at some point.

BONUS!
Check out our own Legion of Super-Blogger Anj's review of Supergirl Annual #1 over at his site Supergirl Comic Box Commentary:
http://comicboxcommentary.blogspot.com/2017/09/review-supergirl-annual-1.html 

3 comments:

  1. " I mean, the man's an idiot so it's not that hard to manipulate him."

    Poor Magog. I'm sure somewhere, someplace, he must have fans.

    I'm NOT one of them, but he MUST have some fan. I guess.

    "Although if my info is character, this Grundy is a clone of the real deal, wherever he may be."

    Your information is correct. This Grundy is a clone. The original is -for now- locked down in Arkham Asylum.

    I'm pretty happy to see a comic incarnation of Selena.

    Pretty good and useful summary. Well done.

    There're two Legion-related plot points I'd like to see explored further:

    - Empress is aware that she was deceived by someone who wanted her to kill Saturn Girl. She dismisses it, though, because of her focus on killing Supergirl. Who tried to manipulate her into killing Imra and why? Is it related to the current ongoing cosmic upheaval? We'll see this subplot panning out? I sure hope so. Say what you will about Orlando's writing, but so far all of his subplots have got payoffs.

    - Imra also talks about a "Supergirl dynasty" not helping her out when she was a slave. Now, she may be referring to heroes inspired by Kara (an obvious allusion to the Legion, since they were inspired by both Krypton Kids)... or a bloodline? In the Pre-Crisis comics there was a Superman Dynasty, as evidenced by Klar Ken T5477 and Laurel Kent. Is that concept being reintrouduced?

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  2. The Original Jim Shooter "Fatal Five" is one of the greatest super villain teams created !

    They rank with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Crime Syndicate of America, Sinestro Corps, Masters of Evil and of course The Legion of Doom !

    This is nothing but a commercial cheap copy !

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    1. And don't let me forget the Flashes Rogue Gallery and Hellfire Club !

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