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“What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way” was an action filled romp that also brought out deep character growth. It drew the line in the sand between the good guys and bad guys and fairly deftly explored the grey area between the two.
After considerable time in prison, Manchester Black reaches out to J’onn J’onzz to come and see him there. J’onn wants to help Manchester through the pain of his loss but Black and his new teammate Hat have other plans so Hat pulls a mobilizing gun out of his…wait for it…hat and zaps J’onn. Hat and Black escape prison, and are joined by Menagerie and a Morai (remember “Suspicious Minds”). The Elite are born! They face off against Supergirl but Hat also seems to have teleportation power so that face-off ends rather quickly. J’onn is ok and follows Supergirl back to base. Meanwhile, The Elite start going on a killing spree to take out the alien haters like the Children of Liberty; but, it’s not an exclusive hate by any means. Any anti-alien sentiment is enough to get whacked by this leadership group of the Intolerant Left (tm Manchester Black). They put out a video showing their mass killing mayhem and Manchester calls out Supergirl to face him through a message only she can see. She gets the message and meets them in…wait for it…Manchester, England. Black wants to assign duties between the two sides of the denominational divide. Supergirl can get the cats stuck in trees, raging fires, natural disasters, and the like while The Elite will take care of fascists of all varieties. Supergirl can’t abide by that deal so Black challenges her to take up the idea with President Baker who is planning a satellite that will blow away any incoming alien ship to Earth. It seems Black is correct and the showdown goes down at the launch site of the satellite in Wyoming. Hat with his 5th dimensional…hat…that can produce anything he wants and provide aforementioned teleportation provides Black with several weapons and is able to steal the Legion of Super Heroes ring from Brainy’s hand. Black takes the ring to fly after Supergirl but J’onn takes Black down and decides to set aside the oath that he gave his father to become a Martian of Peace. Supergirl succeeds in defeating The Elite’s plans to use the satellite against the White House and blow it away by destroying aforementioned, mentioned, satellite. The Elite get away this time but there’s certainly more to come.
Kara and Nia very awkwardly make their way from CatCo even though Alex has come to salvage lunch that she and Kara were supposed to have. Alex slips and mentions to James that Lena is moving into the DEO. James is quite cool and maybe even wants to explore McKenzie’s previous story about LCorp that he told her before had to be all wrong. Anywho, Kara, Nia, and Brainy make their way to the Fortress of Solitude to begin Nia’s training in earnest. We also get a rude exchange between Kel-Ex and Brainy who apparently do not appreciate one another. Nia wants to know about her planet and people but Brainy holds her back saying that knowing too much could paradoxically destroy the universe and such, blah, blah, timey-wimey, blah, blah. ANYwho, Nia goes directly to Kel-Ex to get the info she needs and starts astral projecting, which, of course, is months into the training regimen ahead of schedule. Duhhh. Brainy is ticked off but Nia explains that she’s always been like that, jumping in without thinking about it first. Brainy recognizes the hero inside of her because of that. In the midst of all of this J’onn is figuring out what it means to keep his oath and fight his inner Manhunter which Manchester Black is able to call out so easily because of the rage of losing his family on Mars. Supergirl invites him to take back up the sword, noting that even M’yrnn took on Reign at the end of his life. Supergirl recognizes that Black is calling her out because she is the symbol of hope. She wrestles with this, even going to Alex’s apartment all Super-suited up and tells her that no matter which way she turns her actions will either feed the alien haters or the human haters. She asks Alex to come and help with the satellite but Alex declines as technically, the DEO doesn’t know anything about it, and they really don’t. The showdown goes down and the Superfriends win the day, destroying the satellite with Alex bringing the Super Eco-Suit so Supergirl can fly to space and take care of things. Brainy’s ring is lost and Nia promises him they will find it.
Director “Schmuck” of Alien Affairs
Ben Lockwood is getting ready to meet with President Baker when the local DC Children of Liberty yahoo meets him in a bar. The yahoo says the Children are getting nervous about their leader’s behavior worried that he’s cuddling up to the President instead of lynching aliens properly. Ben leaves the bar and indeed meets the POTUS and asks him to deputize the Children of Liberty to keep up with The Elite who are taking all of the fun away from him. POTUS laughs in his face and tells him to smile for the cameras. Meanwhile, at the DEO Lena and Alex get all science-ey together and Alex realizes that Lena wasn’t speaking in hypotheticals at Thanksgiving. She really does want to super power the people. Lena says she will give the government the products of her research but never the methodology. When Alex later goes to confront Col Haley about the satellite, Col Haley assures her that the POTUS was operating outside of the proper boundaries and that neither she nor the DEO as an organization was brought in on the plan. Alex immediately goes back to Lena and off DEO CCTV camera pledges her undying loyalty to Lena, and Eve of course. After the POTUS loses his precious satellite he invites Ben back to the Oval Office to deputize him as the POTUS’ new Director of Alien Affairs. The local convening Children of Liberty yahoos are not convinced that Ben being a part of the government and not lynching is the best course of action. Ben summarily beats the DC head yahoo to death was a copy of his Agent Liberty mask. The other yahoos get in line. Quick-like.
This was a solid episode that packed a ton of action into some character muddiness and the storytelling really came together nicely. While I have loathed the Children of Liberty storyline from the beginning I very much enjoyed the position of Ben Lockwood coming to grips with letting the genie out of the bottle and not being able to possibly control all of his passionate followers anymore. And I very much liked the theme of Supergirl using herself as the symbol of hope knowing that her actions give credence to either the Intolerant Left or the Alt-Right Children of Liberty types. I was totally on board with Alex ditching her government trust and turning to assist Lena any way that she can. The Superfriend team assembled in this episode really worked for me and I hope we get more of this dynamic and at the same time I feel like Manchester Black and his Elite are equally formidable because they recognize their limitations and still continue to spread havoc in any way that they can. As lackluster as the Supergirl episodes have been of late, this was a refreshing breath of fresh air and hopefully a springboard to what the latter half of Season 4 has in store. I really liked this one! What a concept.
Cougar’s Comic Corner
“Action Comics #775, What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice, And The American Way?”
A group of metahumans calling themselves the Elite – consisting of Manchester Black, a psychokinetic; Hat, who has a supremely powerful magic hat; Coldcast, with power over subatomic particles; and Menagerie, who is covered with symbiotic creatures – suddenly appear on the world scene and proclaim themselves “super-heroes”. They are able to stop a terrorist threat in Libya involving a giant genetically enhanced ape, but not without killing the perpetrators, and not without huge and unnecessary loss of civilian life. Upon learning about the Elite from reporter Jack Ryder, Superman heavily disapproves of the Elite’s lack of morals and their willingness to kill. However, much to his dismay, many people tend to agree with the Elite’s brutal methods, as they see it as the only way to deal with increasingly dangerous criminals and evil-doers. During a conversation he has with Steel after learning this, he wonders if the world has moved on without the need of Superman.
Look for it here on Amazon/Comixology!
Next time on Supergirl!
Season 4, Episode 14, “Stand and Deliver”
SUPERGIRL TAKES A STAND — Between Ben Lockwood’s (Sam Witwer) new push to stir up the anti-alien movement and the Elite’s desire to target Lockwood and his minions, Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) is concerned about the safety of the American people – both human and alien. When Lockwood organizes a rally, the aliens decide to peacefully protest. Brainiac (Jesse Rath) and J’onn (David Harewood) join the alien march while Supergirl and Dreamer (Nicole Maines) patrol to keep everyone safe. Meanwhile, James (Mehcad Brooks) picks up his camera again to cover the march for CatCo, and Hayley (April Parker Jones) assigns Alex (Chyler Leigh) a job that clashes with her beliefs. When The Elite and Ben Lockwood stir up trouble at the rally, Supergirl is forced to take a stand. Jonathan Bennett guest stars. Andi Armaganian directed the episode written by Rob Wright & Jess Kardos.
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