Or – “Aren’t EVERYONE’S Siblings Out Of Their Minds?”

slsh10.jpgreviewbubble.jpgThe second issue of Justice Society of America featured the Heywood family reunion, a function that has been attended by two generations of superheroes (with a third on the way). From a comic book standpoint, the Commanders Steel have it easy. Can you imagine a Mar-Vell family reunion? Or a Stark family reunion? (Seems like every four or five years, somebody comes out of the woodwork to steal Tony’s company out from under him, so you know there’s more of ’em out there…) Now, imagine Christmas dinner at the Ranzz household, where not only do all the siblings have superhuman powers, but Mekt was ALREADY bug#%^$ crazy BEFORE he became a super-villain. I imagine it makes for awkward small-talk… “What did you do this year, Mekt?” “I used my lightning to melt seventy three people… Oh, and I also wrote a novel! Pass the potatoes?”

slsh1.jpgWhen last we saw the Legionnaires, all the mysterious maneuverings were laid bare, and their mysterious enemy who had been moving against them was revealed to be none other than Mekt Ranzz, with his own legion, calling themselves the Wanderers. As part of last month’s scheme to put the Legion out of commission, one of their young acolytes managed to sabotage the Legion’s forcefield systems. Thankfully, the presence of not one but TWO Kryptonian level agents within one of the fields allowed them to break out.

Unfortunately for their double agent, Ral Benem, his duplicity has been discovered, and several rather unhappy Legionnaires have found him. “I’m not scared of you! Nobody’s scared of you!” cries young Ral, proceeding to exposition that the Legion won’t make the hard decisions, won’t confront anyone. Legionnaire Timber Wolf (who looks about as likely to rip out Benem’s entrails as talk to him) channels his inner Jules Winnfield, with a 31st Century version of, “Well, allow me to retort!”


Kara Zor-El ain’t happy, friends, and when your Kryptonian ain’t happy, ain’t NOBODY happy, dangolAhtellyouwhut. A quick telescopic vision check allows her to find what they’re looking for: the final location of Mon-El, teleported away last issue by the Wanderers mastermind. The team breaks in through the ceiling, and Lightning Lad plays bad cop extraordinarily well (though the million-volt corona of white-hot electricity does help with the intimidation factor) only to be shocked into incoherence by the unexpected family reunion. Mekt has already convinced Mon-El to stand with him (indeed, it was his plan to release him in the first place, having maneuvered Brainiac 5 into breaking the unbreakable puzzle of the Phantom Zone), trumping Cosmic Boy’s Supergirl. Cos and Mekt stare holes in each other, as Saturn Girl telepathically finds out that Ranzz has been stealing those Legionnaires who act better as soldiers than generals. Y’know, the ones that want to break stuff? Cosmic Boy takes the headhunting personally…


I do wonder where Mekt thinks he gets his authority from, but he does have a point, as his telepath shows Mon and Supergirl a robot uprising in Tokyo. Having just quelled such a problem, Cos is willing to at least check things out, but he doesn’t trust Mekt any further than he can throw him. Mekt swears up and down that the robots are working for mysterious alien slavemasters The Dominators, and that if Cos fights him, quoth Ard the extremely effeminate, “you die, she dies, EVERYBODY dies!” Cos responds like any smart leader would…


Wow. Um… Mon-El is certainly… eager, isn’t he? Apparently, flying through the center mass of the Earth isn’t going to affect anyone badly (or cause any sort of tectonic distress), so Ultra Boy and Supergirl just follow him. Kinda makes you wish you were super-fast & invulnerable, doesn’t it? As the Power Triplets make their exit (with a very non-plussed Brainiac tagging along in his forcefield bubble), Light Lass decides that it’s time to stop being polite, and start getting real, (“The Real World: Winath!”) starting with the story of how exactly Mekt managed to get where he is today…. right after we check in with the team within the Earth’s crust. Supergirl asks Mon-El why they didn’t just fly around the world in the sky, and he admits that he enjoys being physical again after 1000 years as a ghostie. His memory is returning, even recalling how Kara’s cousin Kal (don’t say Superboy!) saved his life by putting him in the Zone. “You know Kal?” asks Kara.


Oooh… Foreshadowing. Your clue to quality literature. Back topside, Light Lass explains the true story of her big brother. It seems that, while joyriding near the planet Korbal, Mekt accidentally crashed his ship (mostly because of Spritle and Chim-Chim younger sibs Garth and Ayla ((now known as Lightning Lad and Light Lass, respectively)) stowing away in the hold). The natives of Korbal, due to their home planet’s extreme energy fluctuations, have the ability to emit lightning from their bodies, and Mekt decides to ask them for a jumpstart. He apparently didn’t ask nicely enough, as all three children are zapped unmercifully by the Korbalites. (Korbalinos? Korboalas? Korbalsafire?)


“The sound of flesh falling off the bone.” Gyah… With his new super-powers, Mekt takes the kids hone, and runs, abandoning his family, going so far as to leave behind false leads in his trail, to keep anyone from finding him. Cosmic Boy logically asks why Garth was so determined to find a brother that didn’t want to be found, there’s a message from Brainiac 5. Mekt was at least right about one thing, there WERE robots, were being the operative word. Ten seconds with Mon, Ultra Boy, and Supergirl has left them with a pile of hair-dryer parts. Just as he starts to report all clear, the ground starts to shake, and… um… Let me just show you.


Giant robot! Call Gojira! And I’ll be danged if it doesn’t LOOK like Dominator technology. The metallic leviathan pulls free of the wreckage of downtown Tokyo, and Brainy calls for major backup. As the members of both Legion and Wanderers start to head out as reinforcements, Ayla drops the other shoe. Mekt, born without a twin on a planet where nearly EVERYONE has a twin, has a death wish, and they’re all a part of his suicide mission. Ms. Super, Mr. Ultra and Mr. Mon (dubbed “The Muscleheads Three” by Brainiac) lay into the robot, finding that it has little in the way of defensive capability or armor, and that it’s practically hollow! Supergirl manages to get a look at the guts, and realizes that it’s not a weapon at all…


I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the way Mon is floating there. He doesn’t look good… A dawning look of horror crosses the green features of Brainiac, as his flight ring communicator cries out for information. It’s pretty obvious that Brainiac knows something that we don’t. As Cosmic Boy insists that Brainy report the situation in Tokyo, and as the red cloud starts to spread, Mister 5 responds, “Very well…”


Whatever the cloud is (and there are a couple of things that occur to me from Legion history, notably the “Red Death” gas used in the “Five Years Later” Legion issues, or possibly even Red Kryptonite), it’s spreading fast, and it won’t be long until we see what it does…

…unless you consider 30 days a long time, because that’s the cliffhanger. I liked the pacing of this issue, with snappy dialogue and a little bit of action for the Legion’s battletank types. What I didn’t like nearly as much was the feeling that not much happened, partially due to the flashback… The “Mekt is suicidal” revelation was interesting (and new) but I can’t help but feel there’s more going on than meets the eye. I also have a niggling suspicion that Mekt’s knowledge of Dominator plans is due to more than just good intelligence gathering. The little bit of teasing about the Supergirl mystery are nice, as well, though having Mon-El regain all his memories and not tell her what’s going on seems cruel. This issue wasn’t as chock-full as previous ones, but the writing is still top-notch, and the art excellent, earning an excellent 3 star rating…



About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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