Poor Supergirl, feeling isolated and surrounded by extremists on all sides. But it makes for excellent television as she struggles to find a non-ideological resolution to this week’s crisis while her new super-team dynamic starts to crystallize.
The action begins with Manchester using J’onn’s visit as an opportunity to break out of prison with a little help from The Hat (the delightful Louis Ozawa Changchien). As you may have guessed, The Hat uses his Fifth Dimensional chapeau as sort of a Hermione’s beaded bag to pull out all sorts of useful things, like swords and booze. Plus, he can teleport. Team Hat! I didn’t expect a prison-break sword fight, but it was delightful, top to bottom.
Supergirl arrives to thwart the escape, asking, “Who’s Clockwork Orange?” But Manchester’s also recruited Menagerie and the surviving Morae, so they escape.
Before you know it, Brainy and Nia’s blindfolded-Skywalker-being-trained-by-Yoda session in the Fortress of Solitude is interrupted by a broadcast of Manchester introducing the Elite, a squad out to kill alien-hating racists. (Special shout-out to Menagerie, who helps produce the spot with helpful suggestions such as “Low angle? Are you insane?” and “Like and subscribe!”)
The Elite steal the crown jewels and mock Supergirl as out of touch with her “when they go low, we go high” rhetoric. (That’s…not even trying to be subtle, yet it works.) Manchester predicts the Girl of Yesterday is watching him at that moment, her hands on her hips—which she totally is—and challenges her to meet him one on one. Dang, but the Elite are an explosion of stylish fun.
Before Kara leaves for what is undoubtedly a trap, J’onn confesses that he’s still struggling with his vow to live as a man of peace versus his call to be a Manhunter. Kara points out that even Myr’nn joined the fight against Reign, then zips off to England to reenact the diner scene from Heat.
Manchester proposes she handle the kiddie crimes while they handle the nastier business, like Operation Claymore, the government satellite launching soon to shoot down any alien ships entering U.S. airspace. “What if it were your ship they were blowing up?” he asks her.
Supergirl’s next stop is the Oval Office, where President Baker owns up to Claymore. He refuses to let fear of an Elite attack shut down the base, and he also refuses to call off the launch, even if it results in shooting down ships of innocent aliens. After a frustrated Supergirl leaves, he orders the launch moved up to the next day. The invisible Morae overhears it all and reports back to the Elite, who make plans while gambling with the Crown Jewels over cards.
Nia, meanwhile, is frustrated at her slow training speed and Brainy’s refusal to create a paradox by telling her about her ancestors or her race’s abilities. So she swindles Kelex the caretaker android, who’s locked in a hilarious mutual hate-match with Brainy, into spilling all about Naltor and her potential powers. Brainy busts her when an attempt at astral projection goes wrong, but instead of reprimanding her, he says leaping before you look is what superheroes do.
So Kara’s team is coming together, but she makes a pitch for one more recruit: Alex. She surprises her at home and pretends not to have been there before—“Your place is great”—before filling her in on Operation Claymore. Alex is surprised to learn about it, especially since the DEO should be the first line of alien defense.
Supergirl tells Alex that she doesn’t know what to do. If she stops the launch, she’s aligning herself with the Elite, but if she doesn’t, it sends a message of support to the Children of Liberty. Alex tells her to do what she feels is right but declines to come with her out of fear of jeopardizing her job and the DEO.
So at Claymore’s launch site, it’s the Elite versus Supergirl’s super friends: J’onn, Brainy, and Dreamer. Just when it looks like Manchester has the upper hand, Alex joins the fray, explaining that she did what she thought was right. (Next page: President Baker has a weird way of showing gratitude)