Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #33 Review

What Happened That You Have To Know About:

Supergirl and Timber Wolf are complaining to Brainy about the combat they're in the middle of. He blows them off, telling them that they should be able to win without his help, and goes back to worrying about the Winath team. The Wanderers confront him about setting Mekt up on Winath, but he snarks them away.

On Winath, Star Boy, Sun Boy and Mekt fight some electrically-powered Winathians. They capture Star Boy, and Sun Boy and Mekt flee. Mekt starts suspecting that Brainy is behind not only a plot to get rid of the three of them on Winath, but the Validus cult itself. The Winathons catch up with them, and Mekt blows away his father, perhaps fatally, still ticked at Brainy.

Tenzil Kem escapes the grain silo as we all knew he would. He rescues Star Boy from the Winathletes, and the two of them find and destroy the device that's giving all the Winathers electrical powers, just in time to end the fight Mekt and Sun Boy are in. The four Legionnaires--well, one Legionnaire and three guest stars--reunite and discuss just who's responsible for what. Tenzil believes that the Wanderers are behind the Validus cult, and when Mekt threatens Tenzil, he bites Mekt's finger off! Dude! Tenzil arrests Mekt (causing the rest of the Wanderers to sneak off Earth), and Star Boy and Sun Boy return to Legion HQ.

Now. The conspiracy theories. Tenzil believes, based on the evidence, that Mekt had the idea to destroy the Dominator homeworld and had Jeyra Entinn put the idea in Cosmic Boy's mind. He also believes, based on some kind of 'signature' on the lightning-powers device on Winath, that Vrax Gozzl (the Coluan Wanderer) was behind the Validus cult. So Cosmic Boy is now off the hook for genocide, which is nice and convenient.

Now, Mekt believes that Brainy rigged all this, presumably to kill two birds with one stone (neutralize the Wanderers and save Cos).

In Brainy's defence, the Wanderers did leave Earth abruptly, suggesting that they were up to something. We know that Brainy was lying truth out of Metropolis for Tenzil's benefit, but we don't know just how involved he was with the Winath situation. So it's not clear just what's going on right now, but I expect it'll be straightened out soon.


Dennis Calero continues his fine work on the art. He gives his characters really interesting faces.

Hey, look! A story that comes to an end after two issues! Pay attention, everyone: if it can be done with the Legion, it can be done with any comic book. Long arcs are fine every now and then, but most stories don't want more than one or two issues. (And you can fit them in a trade just as easily!)

I like Bedard's characterization of Mekt here. On the one hand, you can certainly see that he has a basis for his suspicions. On the other hand, how does the expression go? Just because everyone's out to get you doesn't mean you're not paranoid. And Mekt is obviously a wing nut. Guy fries his dad and blames Brainiac 5. (And, sticking with the characterization thing, this is the most kick-ass depiction of Matter-Eater Lad we've ever seen. He beats the snot out of two lightning-powered farmboys, he lays the Gollum on Mekt and he remains an extremely hoopy frood while he's at it. Only problem is, now that he's been established as the U.P.'s legal ninja, it becomes harder to use him as, I don't know, a Legionnaire.)

Even better is the little conundrum Bedard has set up. What, if anything, is Brainy up to? Is he just taking advantage of events to keep Cosmic Boy out of stir, or is he taking a more active and sinister hand? I wouldn't put it past him to do some plotting on the Legion's behalf (I wonder, for instance, if he somehow manipulated the Legion election), but I can't believe he'd screw with Lightning Lad's parents that way. But still: any time I'm reading something where I understand what it is that's going on, but still don't know what's going on, I like it. As far as I'm concerned, a writer who sets that up is doing his job. (See also: P.C. Wren's Beau Geste.) Short, snappy stories with action, characterization, art and nuance. Shame that Bedard and Calero aren't sticking around longer.

- Brainy's password is 'nulnarla', an obvious almost-anagram of 'Nura Nal'
- I still can't believe that Tenzil bit off Mekt's finger! Holy moley!
- the art on Star Boy's power effects is pretty cool
- Tenzil says that his bosses expect the Wanderers to turn into a 'Legion of Super-Villains'. I can sum up my reaction to that in two words: What. Ever

I hope we get more issues as good as this before the creative-team-change in #37. And after, for that matter; I'm not worried about Manapul's ability to carry the torch passed to him by Calero, but the suspected candidates for the next writer come with the dashedest lists of pros and cons, and it's hard to know what to expect.

Membership Notes:

Sun Boy accepts his flight ring back, so he's a Legionnaire again. A condition of his return is that Terror Firma is also welcomed into the Legion, but it remains to be seen a) how many of them accept, and b) whether they become Legionnaires or just legionnaires (and, c) who some of them even are in the first place). The Wanderers collectively blow town, so we can assume that they've turned down Supergirl's offer. No sign that Tenzil Kem is going to become Matter-Eater Lad.

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Blogger Luke said...

The thing I didn't understand was what exactly the Wanderers gained from this plan. How is taking over Winath and making Mekt fight his family help them? Hopefully Brainiac 5 will figure it out because I sure as heck didn't! (I'll try re-reading tonight.)

But otherwise, this was a sweet issue! I liked how Brainy totally blew off Supergirl, that cracked me up. And I hope to see more of Sun Boy, he seems very interesting and troubled.

Thanks for posting!

6:44 PM  
Blogger Matthew E said...

Yeah, I don't get that either. Which is one reason to think that maybe it was Brainy all along, planting evidence and stuff. I hope another explanation presents itself.

11:24 PM  
Blogger Mohundros said...

I only finally bought and read this issue today.

I think that maybe Brainy's working off a premonition from ghost Dreamy. He's manipulating thing to an end -- to prevent some sort of catastrophe that would happen if Supergirl weren't the leader and if the teams weren't separated on those worlds. He does have an ultimate plan, but it's not just his plan.

5:16 PM  

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