Writer: James Robinson. Pencils: Fernando Dagnino.
What Happened: This comic was all about Gen. Lane of Project 7734 trying to recruit Mon-El into joining his forces against the world of New Krypton. Lane tries to reason with Mon, which doesn't work, he has him beaten up by Atlas, which once again, doesn't work, and he has one of those damnable talking apes in the DCU experiment on/torture Mon, which also doesn't work. After a few weeks of this, the Parasite, who is also being forced to work with Lane, visits Mon in his cell and offers to help him escape, provided he takes Parasite with him. With no other real recourse, Mon agrees, and after allowing Parasite to leech some of his power, the two make a break for the portal exit of the Project. Parasite activates the portal and races away, and when Mon exits the portal, he is met by Lane and a surprising amount of carnage. Mon can't imagine Parasite caused so much damage in such a short timeframe, and Lane explains that it wasn't Parasite who did this damage, but Lex Luthor and Brainiac(from Adventure Comics #2)when they made good their escape from the Project. With Lane's super-powered defenders after Lex and Brianiac, Lane tells Mon that there's nothing he can do to force Mon to stay, so if he wants to go, he might as well. Mon is surprised, and threatens to expose Lane's evil activities, but Lane could care less, explaining that Superman is persona non grata on Earth, all thanks to Lane. Mon leaves swearing to fix Supes bad image. This issue concludes two days after Mon and Lane's meeting with Guardian and the Science Police preparing to battle Bizarro, who is menacing the skies of Metropolis again.
What I Thought: For the most part, I liked this issue, but not for the reasons one might have expected. The torture/experimentation on Mon-El actually became very tiresome after a while, it just kept dragging on. I do wonder if that talking ape(it's the DCU, OF COURSE there was a talking ape here!)may wind up discovering the cure for Mon's impending death, but that's neither here nor there, although if that does indeed happen, remember, I said it first! No, the parts of this comic that featured Mon were almost universally boring, with one exception, whenever Gen. Lane was involved. I thought James did a wonderful job with Lane here, he's not just another crazy super-villain with an axe to grind, Lane seems to firmly believe the Earth is threatened by the very existence of New Krypton, and he is going to do everything in his power to protect the planet. Sure, some of his actions aren't "nice"(torturing Mon for example), but everything he does seems to be for the greater good. I liked the fact that Lane actually showed remorse at the sight of the soldiers who died during Luthor and Brianiac's escape as well. The fact that he seemed truly bothered by the loss of life definitely had me looking at Lane in a different light. It's funny how one simple, well written scene can totally transform one's ideas about a character.
Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.My god, WHAT is DC's obsession with talking apes?!?