Dragon Ball Super's line of massive power-ups to Goku and Vegeta have had the side effect of leaving many of the Z-fighter characters from Dragon Ball Z behind. Characters like Piccolo, Krillin, and even Gohan haven't been relevant factors in many of the fights and/or story arcs of Dragon Ball Super, but now the manga is changing that. The current "Galactic Patrol Prisoner" story arc has forced the Z-Fighters to step up and hold their own against a fearsome new villain named Planet-Eater Moro. Moro has set his sights on planet Earth, at a time when Goku and Vegeta are both away in remote parts of the universe, seeking new training beat this powerful new foe.
Warning: Dragon Ball Super Chapter 54 SPOILERS Follow!
The previous chapter of Dragon Ball Super saw Moro's henchman send a scout group to Earth, in the form of the Macareni Gang. The Macareni's went up against Piccolo and got their clocks cleaned, only to get a big save by the arrival of some elite gang members from Moro's inner circle. One of those arrivals was killer alien android Seventhree, who can copy powers of his foes, and nearly kills Piccolo using the Namekian's own moves.
Piccolo gets a last-minute save from Seventhree thanks to Gohan's timely arrival. The new issue picks up with Gohan throwing down with the evil android, and it's a fight that reminds fans why Gohan is potentially Dragon Ball's biggest powerhouse. No matter which of Piccolo's tricks (or other techniques he's collected) that Seventhree tries (limb stretching, size changing, mentally-controlled energy blasts), Gohan counters with an even stronger one, culminating in a massive Kamehameha.
It seems the fight was over at that point, but Seventhree had one more trick up his sleeve: a copy of Moro's energy-siphoning powers!
Like Goku and Vegeta, Gohan's Super Saiyan energy is quickly drained by Moro's power, and Piccolo, Krillin, and Galactic Patrolman Jaco all get drained thereafter. Members of Moro's elite "Galactic Bandit Brigade" (Seventhree, Shimorekka, Yunba) pounce on the Z-Fighters and deliver a serious beatdown; things look dire until Moro decides to spare the Z-Fighters and Earth, in order to wait for Goku and Vegeta to return at full power, so that Moro can consume it all in one meal.
If nothing else, hopefully this chapter makes Gohan and the Z-Fighters realize why they need to be strong enough to stand without Goku and Vegeta - something a lot fans want to see explored in a full-on Z-Fighter spinoff series.
The Japanese-language and English dub releases of Dragon Ball Super are now complete and available to stream with FunimationNOW and Crunchyroll. Viz Media is releasing new chapters of the manga at a monthly rate that can be read entirely for free through the Shonen Jump digital library, and Dragon Ball Super's big movie, Dragon Ball Super: Broly, is now available on Blu-ray and DVD. Fans in Japan are also able to enjoy fresh non-canon adventures from the franchises with new episodes of Super Dragon Ball Heroes' promotional anime series.