Disclaimer: Some of these reviews may sound give the impression that I don’t actually enjoy these stories, because I point out their flaws. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I collected them, am re-reading them, and I review them because these stories and their creators have meant so much to me throughout my life. I can point out mistakes and plot points that I, as an author, would hopefully not have made. But I, as an author, have not brought to readers a fragment of the joy that these creators have. Their sheer imaginative power is nothing short of wondrous.
Robert Berstein had not written any Legion stories to date. He was the regular Superboy writer for three years, however, and co-creator, with George Papp, of Mon-El. Unlike Edmond Hamilton and Otto Binder, he did not have a science fiction pedigree, nor was he, like Jerry Siegel, a godfather of all super-hero comics. He was actually a playwright and composer, who had largely written crime and war comics before being assigned to the Superman line in 1959. He had created the Phantom Zone only two months before Mon-El’s first appearance.
The second half of Mon-El’s origin is a wonderful trip through the world of DC Silver Age comics, and the time period itself, to a certain extent. We open with Clark Kent sitting in his high school classroom. That Clark is in a sweater vest and tie is hardly surprising. That all the other boys are actually wearing suits looks pretty funny to a modern reader. What happens in the classroom has absolutely zero to do with the Mon-El story, but is worth noting simply for its humor, and as another example that Clark’s Kryptonian hormones must have been raging at this point in his life, ’cause the boy just ain’t acting normal.