Friday, June 23, 2017

Review: Superman #25


Superman #25 came out this week, the finale of the Black Dawn. This arc is truly the culmination of the first year of this book. As we have come to learn, all the mysteries of the town of Hamilton have converged into this plot. Manchester Black has been manipulating events from behind the scenes, hoping to woo Jon Kent into the fold of pro-active, amoral anti-heroes. Oh, by the way, Black's return to Earth came with him opening up an unstable gate to a dimension of monsters.With all that going on, there is plenty of super-powered action.

But really this whole arc has boiled down to the concepts of hope and goodness. Can Jon shake off the darkness and embrace his father's ways? Can he realize that killing those who stand against him only makes him as big a villain? Can he get past the fact that Lois was maimed while Superman was nearby, unable to protect her?

I think we all know the answer.

But we have to get there and this book moves along at a quick pace getting us to the ultimate conclusion and still giving us time to have special wrap-up moments for all the major players. Writers Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason have to bring an ending to a battle of near omnipotent gods and that is no easy task. The way Manchester Black is (spoilers) defeated seemed to come out of nowhere but when dealing with such power levels, you have to roll with it. And one of the biggest Lois moments of the year is thankfully swept under the rug in a similar way. But if you can get past how Black is defeated, the issue crackles.

The art is a mix of Doug Mahnke and Patrick Gleason with inks by 6 different people! As a result, the art seems uneven. We get the crisp usual fare of Mahnke.. But we don't seem to get any of the heavy lined Gleason art I am used to. The styles on his pages change just slightly enough to jar me a bit.

On to the book!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Review: Superwoman #11

Superwoman #11 came out over a week ago. This review has been pushed back because DC continues to put out 4 Superman titles in the same week. As a result, this book has been pushed back a bit. Thanks for waiting!

We are now 3 issues in the K. Perkins era on the title and I feel like we are finally starting to get some glimpses of what she hopes to accomplish in this run. The first issue was setting up the post-Reborn Lana. Now we are into the first arc, finding Zeke, Steel's missing nephew. This leads to a melee with Skyhook.

Overall, this complicated Lana, dealing with anxiety, phobias, needing to be loved but wanting to be a hero, is a great character. I think there is a lot to be mined here. And I am hoping that the book survives long enough for Perkins to find solid footing and really explore Lana and her world. In particular, we get a hint as to how Lana's powers work in this issue which seems pretty fascinating.

That doesn't mean I think we can just move forward. The post-Reborn world is confusing. I still don't know the exact nature of Lana's powers. Are they still some remnant of Superman's? And I think I need a better sense of her personal timeline to fully understand things. So I am hoping we get backstory too!

The art on the issue is done by Jose Luis (no Garcia-Lopez) and is very good, reminding me of Brad Walker in some places. That's high praise. And I preferred this Renato Guedes variant cover for my collection. There is something classic about the monster looming over the hero who is tracking them. And Superwoman looks great.

On to the book.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Review: New Super-Man #12


New Super-Man #12 came out one week ago and was one of the best comics I read. The book as a whole has definitely been a happy surprise of the Rebirth world, a funny, dramatic, and fresh new group of characters in the DCU. And having the sheen of classic DCU heroes has made it a little bit easier to engage.

This issue really pushes the narrative forward. We learn the origin of Wonder Woman, tied to a Chinese folk tale. We learn of a running theme of the danger of  individuals trying to leap from one Buddhist realm to another. We get some more of the mystery villain. And we end on a great cliffhanger, ramping up the suspense in a running subplot. I really hope that we aren't sprinting to the finish line because a cancellation is on the horizon.

Honestly, this book has been a delight. Writer Gene Luen Yang walks a tightrope here. The New Super-Man is something of a conceited jerk who is slowly working towards being a selfless hero. We see enough of both sides to make Kenan feel like a real person, with faults and aspirations. There is a perfect mix of humor, drama, and action. It really is a well-rounded book with a classic feel.

The art here is by Billy Tan and the best word I can come up with is lovely. There is a sort of soft elegance to the book despite it being populated by giant terrapins and snake women. It really is gorgeous. I really liked Viktor Bogdanovic's time here but I think Tan's style just fits better.

On to the book.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Review: Action Comics #981

Action Comics #981 is the third chapter of the Revenge storyline, an arc uniting some of Superman's deadliest foes into a lethal squad.

I often find the middle chapter of an arc to slow things down a bit and this issue holds form. There is a great cliffhanger. There is a nice building momentum in some side scenes. And there is a lot of fighting. But this issue didn't feel like it had the substance of the prior chapters.

It's not like this is a miss of an issue. It's not like I disliked the issue. But as I have said elsewhere, I am expecting a lot of the Superman books these days. And this one didn't seem to hold up. I wonder if my overall apathy about General Zod is coloring my view. Because I do think Dan Jurgens up to this point has elevated this book substantially.

Jack Herbert brings a fine lined elegance to the art here. I don't know if this style is best suited for the brawl which dominates this issue as well.

Honestly, I think maybe I sound a bit too harsh here. But this was mostly big splashes of haymaker punches. I think enjoyed the smaller moments more than the melee.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Review: Legion Of Super-Heroes/Bugs Bunny #1


As you all know, I am a huge Supergirl fan.
As most of you know, I am also a huge Legion of Super-Heroes fan.
But many of you probably don't know that I am also a big fan of Looney Tunes and Bugs Bunny. I am an old guy and grew up watching reruns of Warner Brothers cartoons on the local TV station and laughed every time.

So when DC announced a Legion of Super-Heroes/Bugs Bunny crossover, I knew I was in. That's like chocolate and peanut butter. The fact that Legion of Super-Heroes/Bugs Bunny #1 heavily involves Supergirl makes it the best of three worlds. It's like chocolate, peanut butter, and a cookie crunch. And Lightning Lass, who I love, is on the role call. That's like a special layer of caramel amid the cookie, chocolate, and peanut butter.

But I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting the book to be so phenomenal. I haven't laughed this hard while reading a comic in a long long time. Writer Sam Humphries brings out the best Looney Tune bits while also giving us a hysterical look at some of the most tried and true Legion tropes that are out there. If you are a fan of Bugs and/or the Legion, you simply must read this.

Adding yet another layer of spectacular is the fact that Tom Grummett is on art. I know Grummett best for his time on the Superman books and I loved his Matrix Supergirl back then. His art skews just enough to the cartoony side of things to make this a perfect fit.

Get ready to laugh out loud!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Review: Supergirl RB #10


Supergirl #10 pushed forward the Batgirl team-up arc 'Escape from the Phantom Zone' plot at a fantastic speed. Writer Steve Orlando really keeps the pace of this storyline up here, having a lot of events happen in an almost Bronze Age manner. Things happened here that made me say 'I wasn't expecting that'. Surprises are always happy events for a grizzled reader like me. But I always hope that out of the blue events will be explained or expounded on later.

Even with the pedal down, Orlando really keeps this a character-driven issue. We continue to see Supergirl growing as a hero, dealing with some insecurities, but standing up for what she believes in. This Kara who helps people, even those who have wronged her, is wonderful. And we start to see how she is influencing others. Small moments with Psi and Ben Rubel show this. Even her interaction with Batgirl shows how their personalities interact.

And to make matters better, Orlando continues to mine the depths of Supergirl and Superman mythos. There are some wonderful callbacks to the Silver Age and Bronze Age here. This leaning on the past continuities shows a certain respect for the character and her history. That makes me very happy!

The art is by Brian Ching who brings that rough feel to the proceedings, maybe most appropriate for this issue in the Phantom Zone. The covers by Robson Rocha and Bengal are great, grabbing my eye when on the shelf.

On to the book:

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Supergirl Show Statue

The Shriner get a big edition recently when the Supergirl statue I ordered a while back finally came in.

And I literally mean big. This is a giant statue! And it is gorgeous.

It actually all started with the box. This is a very clean reason patient of this statue, with an upper close lock at a very solid sculpture depicting Melissa Benoist as Kara.