Monday, February 01, 2016

Kingslayer: Rebirth

Porter and/or Syaf...?
So is this what DC's little twitter teaser campaign and the rumors were all about? The triumphant return of Kingslayer, making only his second appearance after 1978's Super Friends #11...?

For appear Kingslayer did, in last week's Superman #48, by writer Gene Luen Yang and pencil artists Howard Porter and Ardian Syaf. Unfortunately, he only appears on the first four pages of the book, the first of which is above.

I'll be honest, when I first laid eyes on the page, I thougth he was meant to be Mirror Master, but according to the dialogue, the costume is actually red and green, not orange and green.

But wait, you might think. Didn't Kingslayer wear a more royal, less Christmas-y purple and green in the pages of Super Friends...?
Yes, on the cover.

But inside, he apparently wore red and green.
(I say "apparently" because he wears all white in the copy of Super Friends #11 that I read, but that was only because it was collected in Showcase Presents: Super Friends Vol.1)

In Superman, Kingslayer is at the Lampert Auditorium of Central City University–don't worry Flash, I'm sure someone else will fight supervillains in your city for you if you're busy–preparing to assassinate the Donald Trump of Earth-0. I'm assuming by his dialogue that the bald man shaking with anger at the third podium is supposed to be Earth-0 Trump, anyway. Which would make this a Republican debate. So who are these other two? Is Ben Carson much younger and fitter and Lasik-ed in the DCU? Is Hilary a Republican, or did Carly Fiorina dye her hair blonde? And where are the other, what, 11 candidates?

Anyway, Kingslayer seems to have a bead on Mr. Donald Trump Mr. Wilbur Wolfingham, when out of the shadows appears Colonel Steve Trevor, who has the audacity to make fun of Kingslayer's costume while he himself is wearing...what, exactly? It looks a little like The WInter Soldier Costume run through some kind of '90s filter.

Kingslayer says something that I don't understand–can heat-seaking super-arrows not "see" red and green or something? I'm not a scientist, Yang!–and the exploding arrow makes a bee-line for Trevor, until the timely arrival of Superman!
Oh yeah, have you not read any Superman comics since last spring? That's what Superman looks like now.

This panel, a portion of a splash page, gives us the best look at New 52 Kingslayer's costume. The chest is all covered with what look bellboy or elevator buttons.

I preferred his original look, which had a crown broken in half:
Now that's a costume! It says exactly what it means!

Anyway, after Kingslayer VLORPs out his, um, light axe and takes a swing at Superman, the Man of Steel punches him in the breadbasket and Trevor captures him in a lasso of torture, based on Wonder Woman's lasso of truth ("You have your ways," Steve says in his defense of torture, "We have ours."

While they alpha-male at each other, Kingslayer throws himself through the skylight (Gee, maybe the Secret Service should have had a guy up there or something...?) and crashes to the ground of the auditorium, hard enough to crack the floor with his head. Don't worry though, he's not dead: he still says "Oof!" when Trevor punches out the tied-up dude who just through himself off a roof.

People start to panic and make for the doors, but Superman wisely stops them. Turns out they were rigged with explosives (maybe there is no Secret Service in the DCU?), and Kingslayer's nefarious plot was to not kill any of the would-be "kings" on the debate stage, but the "kingmakers" in the audience.

I don't know; I doubt there were that many big-time donors, media personalities or other presidential nomination gatekeepers in that very audience....unless by "kingmakers" he meant "voters," but then he'd really have his work cut out for him.

And that's it for Kingslayer: Smart enough to kill Steve Trevor (were it not for Superman's flying tackle) and murder a debate audience, but not nearly as cool as the guy from Super Friends.

We first encounter that Kingslayer when he's taking a meeting with a guy who calls himself "Overlord."
Overlord seems to be tempting fate, by inviting a guy named "Kingslayer" in to meet him, while he's sitting on a throne, wearing a crown and an ermine cape If you look closely, you'll see that the head of his crown is actually half a globe, and his chest sigil is a globe with a crown encircling it.

If I didn't know better, I'd think this guy wants to rule the world or something.

Anyway, if you want to be king of the world, wouldn't you be skittish inviting a guy named Kingslayer to your court? Perhaps he feels safe knowing his underling, named Underling, is there (do note the U on his jacket). Ramona Fradon's art fantastic, but the costume designs aren't exactly subtle, are they?

Kingslayer's all about getting paid, though. When Overlord starts explaining his motivations, Kingslayer leans against a column, puts a hand on his hip and says, "Tell it to your shrink! My terms are clear, my fee high!"

Kingslayer's plan is incredibly complicated: He targets six different monarchs who are all visiting the United Nations, each with a different and rather elaborate death trap or other over-the-top attempt on their life. Each of these six monarchs are characters familiar to the DCU, like King Solovar of Gorilla City, King Vulko of Atlantis, Prince Mark, etc, and each gets a different Super Friend as a bodyguard.

Naturally, they thwart all of these attempts...and realize just in time that Kingslayer wasn't after just those six heads of state, but the entire U.N.! The leaked info about the targets and the attempts on their lives were all just a super-elaborate feint. When the Super Friends find his booby traps at the U.N.–electrified chairs, poison gas-spouting microphones and even heat rays disguised as lamps–Kingslayer makes one final, poorly-thought out attempt to assassinate everyone. With rifle in hand, he leads a handful of rifle toting followers against Superman, Wonder Woman and the gang, and, well, that ends about as well as one might expect trying to take down Superman and Wonder Woman with firearms might go.

And poor Kingslayer, he gets laid low not by one of the big guns, but by the lowly Wonder Twins, in the shape of an eagle and the form of a geyser!
Although, come to think of it, as embarrassing as it may be for a super-villain to get taken down by the Wonder Twins, it's probably still preferable than being taken down by Steve Trevor.

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