Thursday, October 27, 2016

January 2017 Solicits

I have been a bit remiss in covering the January solicits for DC Comics which came out a while ago. Here is a link to Newsarama's coverage of the entire month:

There were a couple of surprises in the solicits and I suppose my Christmas money is already spent a bit. But here we go!

Art and cover by BRIAN CHING
Variant cover by BENGAL
“REIGN OF THE CYBORG SUPERMEN” part five! As National City becomes a war zone, Cyborg Superman’s plan to resurrect Argo City reaches its deadly final phase: rain Argo City itself down upon the earth! Supergirl is all that stands in the way of total destruction—but with the clock ticking and the stakes rising she’ll need more than just brute force. She’ll need the help of…Cat Grant?

'Reign of the Cyborg Superman' is a nice throwback name for this arc. The idea of Argo City falling to Earth has been done before in DCCP #97 so I'll be interested to see if this version of that is as horrific as that one. I do wonder how the heck Cat Grant can help. Some pep talk?

I like the cover a lot. There is Supergirl in a nice dynamic figure, clearly driven. And the surrounding images of the mechanized Argo City citizens is a nice one.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Supergirl Episode 203: Welcome To Earth

The third episode of Supergirl Season Two was titled 'Welcome to Earth' and heavily played on topics that are on the minds of many people in this election year - prejudice and immigration. But here, rather than comment on the issue by looking at illegal aliens from other countries, we are discussing illegal aliens from other planets. The president is going to grant amnesty to all the aliens living undocumented in America and not everybody agrees. This has been a major hot button issue in this presidential election year here so this certainly was a timely discussion.

Unfortunately, and maybe appropriately, the topic is covered a bit heavy-handed and ham-fisted in this episode. Understanding that this isn't a college or Master's level course on this topic and knowing that some of the audience are viewers who are kids, this has to be a sort of primer on the subject, presented in broad strokes. In some ways, this reminded me more of the early episodes of Season One where feminist ideas were presented in stilted dialogue that hit the viewer over the head.

That isn't to say I didn't enjoy this episode. There is some personal growth in almost all of the main characters in the show, mostly around this amnesty point. We meet a couple of new characters: Mon-El, Maggie Sawyer, and Miss Martian. And it is clear that an Alex/Maggie relationship is starting to simmer on the back burner. And Lynda Carter is great as the President Marsdin (so close to Marston!) and the show runners add a couple of Wonder Woman Easter Eggs.

And no big surprise, Melissa Benoist is just dazzling in the episode. Whether it is the nervous giddy Supergirl preparing to meet the President or the prejudiced Kara thinking about Daxam or the frustrated Kara Danvers learning one of the most basic tenets of journalism or the determined Supergirl squaring off against a villain, Benoist captures it all perfectly. She is simply a superstar.

On to the particulars. Settle in!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Silver Age Supergirl Puzzle!

One of the things I am fiercely proud of is that I belong to a fantastic on-line community of comic fans. There are too many of you out there who I routinely converse with on-line to go ahead and list. But hopefully you know who you are and who much I value our friendship.

Something that has really blown me out of the water has been how generous the group is to each other. We all know each other's special characters and creators and I think we are each on the look out for anything we could send along.

So I was floored the other day when Rob Kelly of The Fire and Water Network sent me this Supergirl puzzle from his youth. I have interacted with Rob for years now on-line and have been honored to be a guest on his Fire and Water podcast as well as his Film and Water show as well. He really is a knowledgeable fan and an overall great guy.

I'll be honest, I didn't even know a puzzle like this existed which made opening it up an even bigger surprise. It really is a great addition to my collection.

The front of the canister is the classic Supergirl pose from the early 70's in her run in Adventure and her short-lived solo title.

The back of the box shows the puzzle, Supergirl standing heroically behind a one-eyed alien who is either cringing in fear or readying an attack.

Astute observers will recognize this one-eyed menace as one of Nightflame's flunkies in Adventure Comics #421. I have to assume that Mike Sekowsky drew the alien for this puzzle. I thought this might have been a direct lift from a panel from that story but it isn't.

It is only 81 pieces so a short 10 minutes later there was the complete puzzle, finished in all its glory.

That is simply amazing! I love it!

It definitely warrants a place in the shrine. Surprisingly, the 70s section of the collection has grown pretty rapidly in the last year or so. I have come to really like that version of the costume and am happy to see it represented more.

Once again, thanks to Rob for being so generous and kind.

Rob sent along this picture of him in his youth, holding this very puzzle with sheer, unadulterated happiness.

Thanks Rob. This will be a cherished part of the collection.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Sales Review: September 2016

In something which feels unprecedented in this last decade, DC continued to dominate comic sales in September. Whether it is the optimism of Rebirth or the doldrums of Civil War 2 or the quirky nature of comic fans, the tables have turned. Fascinating.

Here is the link to ICv2's coverage of the month:

For me, there has just been a different feel to the DCU (or at least the titles I am collecting) since Rebirth. I actually like what is happening! The Superman books feel like Superman books. No dude with bloody fists. No aloof floating guy. Just someone there to help. Supergirl reads like Supergirl, a bright young girl trying to fit in, trying to do what's right, and learning. Wonder Woman is acting like Wonder Woman (and remember I liked the Azzarello/Chiang book for the Elseworlds it was).

So here we are, with DC on top of the world.

But let's look at the specifics.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Review: Superman #9

Superman #9 came out this week, finishing the Escape from Dinosaur Island storyline. This brief story was a nice homage to Darwyn Cooke's New Frontier book and a deserving tip of the cap to Cooke's brilliance. Tomasi and Gleason finish up the story of The Losers, the ragtag group of WWII soldiers whose story opened up the New Frontier book.

From that viewpoint, seeing Captain Storm dealing with dinosaurs and shooting machine guns, this story was wonderful. Cooke's work was brilliant. I don't mind revisiting that world one more time.

But beyond that, what I liked about this was that Tomasi and Gleason didn't treat this as a simple side mission diversion. They do end up tying it into the bigger arc coursing through the Superman books. There does seem to be a link to Mr. Oz here.

Most importantly, at least for me, is the interaction between Jon and Clark in this issue. We truly get a sense of how young Jon is. And we get to see Clark acting as the dad here, guiding his son through this crazy world while dropping some knowledge. I will be honest, there was a moment here that reminded me of a young Anj and his father. It reminded me of Anj and his young children. That is powerful stuff.

The art is done by Doug Mahnke and has is usual panache throughout. Sure, there are battles with giant gorillas wielding sea mines and torpedoes. There are pterodactyls zipping around kaiju. But again, the power here is Mahnke's expressive work with Jon and Clark. That is really where this book shines.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Review: New Superman #4

I am a bit behind in my reviews, just covering last week's New Super-Man #4 now. That is what happens when you release 4 super-comics in one week DC!

As I have said before, I have been enjoying this comic more than I ever thought I would. Writer Gene Luen Yang and artist Viktor Bogdanovic are creating a fresh new universe, tangentially tied to the DCU enough to feel a little familiar but innovative enough to be completely new. So it is fun to see these Chinese analogues of familiar heroes, comparing and contrasting them to the more classic versions.

Moreover, Yang is really creating compelling characters here. Whether it is Kenan as the vulnerable bully or Deilan's naivete being challenged in the face of facts or Kenan's dad thinking optimistically while maybe being used ... they all are layered. I really don't know who the good guys are in this book. I don't think Dr. Omen is all she claims to be. But the Freedom Fighters don't look like noble rebels either. Maybe there is goodness in these organizations but it isn't pure.

Bogdanovic continues to bring a stylized, grainy roughness to this book which works well with the story.

So, no complaints right now! Onto the book ...

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Supergirl Episode 202: Last Children Of Krypton

The second episode of this second season of Supergirl aired earlier this week and continued to showcase the super-cousins as they faced the Kryptonite-powered menace of not one ... but two Metallos! I got the sense from this episode that the show runners were using this first mini-arc to set up the current season, redefining some of the characters' roles while reestablishing some of the emotional cores of the show. Remember, a network change happened. The producers might feel they need to inform new viewers exactly what happens in National City all while satisfying everyone who followed from CBS.

As a result, 'Last Children of Krypton' felt a little busy. A lot happens in this episode. And some of it felt a little off as the emotional beats and some storylines happen a little quickly. This isn't as nutty as last season's premiere which could have used another 30 minutes. But it felt a bit cramped.

That isn't to say I didn't like the episode. What is stuffed into this episode is, for the most part, pretty good. From the strained relationship of J'onn and Superman to the new Catco to Winn being the voice of familial reason, there is some solid stuff here. I was happy and entertained. You can't ask for more.

So with the deck chairs rearranged and everyone's roles reset, this season is ready to take off. No complaints here.

On to the particulars; settle in.