Superman: Mon-El – Man of Valor

The second (and last) Mon-El volume in this New Krypton saga holds up as well as the first one, making this stream of the story the most enjoyable for me amongst the three Superman “spin-off’s”.  Part of that is because Mon-El as a character is actually likeable, he’s genuinely heroic, and their are some great moments related to the Legion of Super-Heroes.  

The plot has to do with the fact that Mon-El is apparently dead, as part of General Lane’s master plan to discredit Kryptonian heroes, but in reality being held prisoner in Project 7734.  His colleagues at the Metropolis Science Police mourn his loss, while Mon himself is experimented upon and tortured by some gorilla scientist (for real).  He escapes thanks to unexpected help from the Parasite, and then sets out to “undo the damage” that General Lane has done to Superman’s reputation, simply by going out there and being a hero – which is a fun hook for the character, for as long as it lasts.

I’ve found the whole “Science Police” element of the New Krypton stuff, including the Guardian, to be a lot of fun.  We’ve known all along that Officer Harper has a secret, and found out over in the Nightwing & Flamebird book that so did Officer Romundi.  But here we discover, in a couple of the book’s most memorable moments, that Officer Wilcox and Control, and even Hovercam #2, aren’t who they appeared to be either.  These bits were some of my favorite parts of the story so far, because they are well done but also because they tie the Legion of Super-Heroes into the narrative, and hold promise to explain some plot points in that franchise that have been around since they began to reappear in the modern DCU back in The Lightning Saga.  The bit where Mon-El’s pal Mitch reveals himself by saving a girl from a burning car is particularly awesome, and shows why Matter-Eater Lad would actually be pretty amazing in real life, no matter how funny his name or his powers are.

There are a few hiccups in the flow of the story here.  In addition to the now requisite random standalone stories at the start and end of the book, there is an odd jump where a crossover with Nightwing & Flamebird took place, followed by a few pages of repeated material from that collection (maybe that’s how it was originally published?).  There’s also a casual reference to the presumably important plot point of Luthor and Brainiac escaping from Project 7734, an event which hasn’t turned up anywhere else yet (but maybe it does in the forthcoming New Krypton vol. 4?).  But these issues aside, it’s a fine and enjoyable read.

That last story even jumps ahead until after the conclusion of this whole epic is over, to show us how Mon-El gets back into the Phantom Zone and give us a glimpse of his eventual “first” meeting with the Legion.  It’s a fitting conclusion to the volume and doesn’t really spoil anything. except that, you know, Mon-El doesn’t die and the earth isn’t destroyed.

Superman:  New Krypton Index
Last SonBrainiacNew Krypton vol. 1New Krypton vol. 2Mon-ElSupergirl:  Who is Superwoman?Nightwing and Flamebird vol. 1New Krypton vol. 3Codename: PatriotSupergirl:  Friends and FugitivesNightwing and Flamebird vol. 2Supergirl: Death and the FamilyMon-El – Man of ValorNew Krypton vol. 4Last Stand of New Krypton vol. 1Last Stand of New Krypton vol. 2 War of the Supermen

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