Friday, August 5, 2016

Threeboot: Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #27

Recap: The Earth is under attack. The Dominators long brewing plot of a robot rebellion has finally occurred. Their giant robot delivery system has covered the planet in an unknown red mist. Fighting this threat are uneasy allies - The Legion of Super-Heroes and The Wanderers. The Wanderers are led by Mekt Ranzz, Lightning Lad's brother who has always been a bit unhinged and seems to have a death wish. Can these two teams unite to fight a common threat?

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #27 is a huge action issue, laying the landscape of an Earth at war. After months of slowly cultivating subplots, creators Mark Waid and Barry Kitson finally bring it all together. Suddenly we see just how massive, just how world-threatening the Dominators' plot is.

So we see the Legion and the Wanderers fighting on many fronts, trying to collaborate when methods differ, and hoping to stay a step ahead. This is a bloody issue, as war issues should be.

But in the midst of that action, Waid and Kitson continue to give us character moments. From Brainy's smugness to Cos' nobility, we continue to learn about who these people are. The best scenes involve Garth and Mekt. This is a dysfunctional family trying to come together in the most stressful of times. This isn't your father's Ranzz family. So we need to see these scenes to understand their relationship.

Overall, I couldn't ask for a better second issue to this 'finally here' war arc. The pace is brisk, the action huge. But the smaller moments still shine.

On to the book.

The issue opens with the revelation that the red mist was a techno AI virus which has taken over all Earth technology.

Suddenly the world is thrown into chaos. Planes drop from the skies. Food machines aren't delivering food. All the basics of shelter, nourishment, safety is gone.

This is a pretty incredible attack by the Dominators, basically reducing Earth to the stone age. And as we have seen in this threeboot, people of Earth like a very sedate, very calm, very controlled environment. This must be absolutely terrifying.

Kitson does a nice job here showing how devastated the planet is by giving us glimpses of it through multiple screens.

Again, this attack has to be more crippling than a military assault given the culture of the time.

But things get even scarier.
The Dominators have always been portrayed as frail things. But here we see the latest version. With powers 'genetically scraped' from beings they have captured, the new Dominator soldiers are buff and tough.

Still, Sun Boy knows the Legion are tougher stuff.

For old timers, this ratchets things up a notch. Now the Dominators aren't only technological threats, they have super-powered infantry!

As I said, one thing that I loved about this arc was the compare/contrast moments of the Legion and the Wanderers. Mekt says he wants soldiers but he seems to have one strategy - battle.

Here Cos says the teams need to rescue the UP delegates and get them off Earth. There, the rest of the UP can unite and help the planet. But Mekt thinks saving a few bureaucrats seems like a waste.

Much like the brightest moments of the 5YL run, this moment stands out, showing who the Legion are. You need to rescue before you can go on the offensive. You need to think of the long game.

It isn't truly a war until there are casualties.

The Dominator troops have landed and begin throwing the UP delegates out of the top stories of the UP headquarters. Without thinking, Invisible Kid activates his flight ring to fly up and rescue them.

But the Dominator AI virus is potent. When the ring is activated, it explodes, literally disarming Lyle. The flight rings can't be used, not even for communication.

The only flyers are ones who can come by it naturally. Luckily, in this group, Cham is there to grab all the potential victims.

In fact the only communication that the Legion has is through their symbiotic telecaster acolyte outside the HQ.

Like in the first panel, Waid uses this technique to show us just how put upon the team is. They are separated. They can't communicate to organize. And they are being overrun.

I do like the mystery that Phantom Girl is looking for something in the Legion headquarters. That has to be a hook for something coming up.

And it pains me that I forget this character's name. But seriously, she has proved her worth a handful of times in this book already. Make her a full fledged member already!

Inside the city limits, cloaked by a forest raised by Plant Lad (Chlorophyll Kid), Braniac 5 begins constructing a teleporting unit to send the delegates home. He knows that even his device will have only 5 minutes of use before the virus disables it.

Meanwhile, Mekt and Garth fend off the beefed up troops, frying them as they approach.

One thing I love about this sequence is the conversation the Ranzz's have. Garth truly thinks that Mekt has mobilized the Wanderers to go out in a blaze of glory. But Mekt says that being in charge has changed him. He no longer wants to die.

Hmmm ... I don't know if I trust him.

Unfortunately, the teleporter malfunctions earlier than anticipated. Some delegates are killed. Other grievously wounded.

The Legion plan to mobilize intergalactic allies won't work. Earth is seemingly on its own.

The team in Metropolis has no choice but to retreat. But Cos, who stayed behind as the last line of defense is captured.

Will Mekt run a rescue mission? Or will he say 'c'est la guerre'? Which Mekt will rise?

Whew! I have to say, this is a pretty incredible issue if only in that it showed starkly just how outmatched the Legion and Wanderers are here. The Dominators have really plotted this out well, completely shattering the stability of Earth. But in the midst of all the action, we still see some great character progression. So I thought this was a solid chapter in this arc.

The book also has a memorial for Dave Cockrum who had just passed away at the time. We get some pages highlighting what Cockrum brought to the Legion. And we get these personal tributes by some famous Legion creators.  Pretty sweet.

So another great issue in this run. Waid and Kitson really were putting out a great Legion.


  1. Too bad DC didn't hang on to Dave as his Legion art work was THE best !

    Unfortunately he left for greener pastures and will be forever remembered for his contribution to the All New All Different X-Men !

    Had DC realized what they had in Dave's creative abilities the Legion would have had both Nightcrawler and Storm added to their ranks instead of Marvel cashing in on them as X - Men !

    Dave Cockrum like his work with the Legion gone too soon !

  2. The girl with the symbiote was named Theena, and she was sometimes listed in the "roll call" in the front of the book showing the characters and their powers, so I guess she was an "unofficial member"?

    Then again, Light Lass mentioned in the letters column that anyone who wants to be a Legion member is one, so technically, Theena is already a member!

  3. Thanks for comments!

    Cockrum was a crazy talent. I'm glad DC let the Legion book honor him that way.

    And thanks for reminding me her name was Theena! She needs a flight ring!