Thursday, October 19, 2017

Review: New Super-Man #16


New Super-Man #16 came out last week so forgive me for taking a bit to get to it. Of course, DC releasing 4 super books in the same week makes reviews tricky.

Writer Gene Luen Yang seemed to hint on Twitter that this book was going to be cancelled but then he sent out another tweet hinting that maybe it is sticking around. And that makes me happy because this book has been an utter delight. From the Kenan's mix of being sad and a bully and silly to the Chinese interpretations of the JLA to the exploration of Chinese mythology, it has all worked. And it has worked incredibly well.

This issue really focused on another aspect the book has been tiptoeing around, the misrepresentation of Asians in comics. And again, it is done so very well, leaning into DC's own history. We saw the dreaded Phuey En Yui earlier in the series. Here we head straight into Detective Comics #1.

The art is done by Brent Peeples. It isn't the smooth, polished look of Philip Tan but it is fine. Peeples seems to be improving with each issue. In particular, his aping the style from those early Detective Comics issues is spot on.

On to the book.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Supergirl Episode 302: Triggers


 Last week, Supergirl season 3 started with a very solid premiere, sowing some plot seeds, introducing us to the big bads, and giving us excellent character moments for both Kara and the primary supporting cast. This week the second episode, 'Triggers', aired and built on that foundation. And we got old-school Supergirl villain Psi to come in to challenge the Girl of Steel. This season is truly off and running.

One thing that I very much liked about this episode was that the emotional anguish that Kara was feeling in the premiere is still present. Yes, she is working through her grief. But one night of apps at the alien bar (as last episode closed) isn't going to alleviate all her pain. This sadness and anger and (as it turns out) fear runs too deep to be so easily 'cured'. As usual, Melissa Benoist brings it, showing us all the emotions Supergirl is feeling. And as a bonus, we get extra Danvers sisters scenes. As I said last before, season 2 didn't  give us enough of these two. Benoist and Chyler Leigh have such easy, breezy chemistry. Why not take advantage.

But as much as I loved the character stuff, the fanboy in me squealed a bit to hear about Gayle Marsh from Skokie, Illinois. How far have we come as Supergirl fans that Psi and her particulars were on a television show?? And Yael Grobglas plays her with such a cold, calm, and cruel, observing all she does with just a hint of enjoyment.  It makes me happy.

On to the particulars.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Review: Superwoman #15


Superwoman #15 came out last week and was another very interesting issue in this run by writer K. Perkins. I am an unabashed Lana fan and I have been very intrigued in seeing her as a super-hero. I sort of suffered through the slapdash, ill-focused early run of the book. And Perkins has done her best to try to shore this book up. Lana is much more likeable under her pen than she was before.

This book has always been about Lana discovering herself and dealing with her personal issues. And it was feeling like Perkins was bringing Lana to a place of stability. She was dealing with her anxiety. She was reconciling with Steel. She found out her powers were from Red K exposure. Turns out that stability was a fake-out. Lana is back on unsteady ground again. And while I understand all too well that life's ups and downs can bring peaks and valleys in your personal life and sanity, I keep hoping this book gives Lana a chance to breathe a bit and just do some heroing.

The art on this issue is by Sami Basri, someone I know mostly from the tail end of the last Power Girl book. It has a slightly cartoony, slightly anime feel to it but it works.

And heck, I haven't even talked about the new villain or the guest stars in the book. Let's get there!

Monday, October 16, 2017

Review: Action Comics #989

Action Comics #989 came out last week, the third part of The Oz Effect storyline. While the book is a good issue with wonderful art by Viktor Bogdanovic, it only slightly moved the story forward and the big step is basically the ending splash page.

Writer Dan Jurgens lays it all out again. We know Mr. Oz is Jor-El. We know he is manipulating the Earth so a lot of ill will is churning and a lot of disasters are transpiring. We know that Superman is questioning if Oz is his father. We know that Superman believes in Earth and won't quit his mission. And we know this all over again because those points are repeated here. There are a couple of new wrinkles, especially as I scratch my head over what Jor-El's plans are. But overall this is just representing, and maybe strengthening, the existing plots.

I have liked Bogdanovic's art since his time on New Super-Man and he continues to shine here. There are nice page layouts and solid panels. And there is a nice cover by Brad Anderson and Nick Bradshaw, a nice homage to the classic  All-Star Superman #10.

On to the book.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Review: Supergirl #14


Supergirl #14 came out this week and was a nice crossover event between members of the Superman family. Frankly, that word family needs to be part of the Superman mythos. Unlike the face-peeling, emotional trauma of the Batman Family, I want ... no I need ... the Superman family to act like loving colleagues, like family. So when Kara needs help tamping down her ramped up powers, I like that she heads to her cousin. And when he sends her to New Super-Man for help, that also makes sense. They are all parts of a wonderful whole.

I also love Supergirl's character in this issue. She is trying her best. She is embracing Earth as her home. She inspires people. But she throws down when she needs to. It is all I love about the character. While things are maybe a little 'warm and fuzzy', it works. Especially after the bigger melee feel of the recent issues. This issue felt like a 'one and done' pause which will lead into the newer plotlines revealed last issue.

Steve Orlando seems to have a great grasp on who Supergirl should be. I love how he peppers these books with nods to the past and other DC books. The book ends with Supergirl in control of her powers but I doubt Orlando has wrapped up that plot completely. This all works.

The art is by Jose Luis, perhaps giving Robson Rocha some lead time for the future issues. Luis' style (with inker Norm Rapmund) is akin to Rocha's. It is fine-lined and very detailed. It is very pleasing to the eyes. And the covers by Robson Rocha (homaging Jim Lee's Superman #205) and Stanley Lau really leap of the rack.

On to the book.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Supergirl Tidbits

Just a couple of quick hits of things I have noticed that I feel warrant some coverage but not big enough to deserve a whole post.

So here are some quick hits!


Item #1: Steve Orlando has been bringing a lot of DC history into his books, in particular Supergirl where we have seen Lar-On, Strange Visitor, and other nods to the past.

Here in Justice League of America #15 he has Ryan Choi comment on an experiment performed at the New Athens Experimental School. Of course, this was the school where Linda Danvers was a guidance counselor in the Superman Family run. Nice nod to the past!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Supergirl Episode 301:


The season premiere of Supergirl Season 3 aired earlier this week. It was incredible. It nailed it. I was floored. This was just the sort of strong start that you want a show to have.

The episode was aptly named 'Girl of Steel' as it dealt with Kara dealing with her grief over losing Mon-El by becoming hardened and denying herself any feeling at all. She forsakes her humanity. She embraces her 'alien' nature. But she seems to be protesting too much as every so often Kara shows she is hurting. I probably sound like a broken record but Melissa Benoist is incredible. From subtle intonations of lines to facial expressions to body language, you know just what her characters are feeling. Remember, Kara sent Mon-El to possible oblivion. This was her decision. And she is hurting.

We get to see most of the supporting cast interacting with Kara, trying to help her in any way they can, but mostly worrying about her. They see she is hurting. They are giving her space. But eventually, they have to intercede.

And while, for me, these character moments were the high points of 'Girl of Steel', the episode also does a great job of setting up the season. We hear about Cat and Snapper. We see Alex and Maggie together again. We get to see how James and Lena have grown in prominence. We meet one of the big bads in Morgan Edge. We get a hint of the bigger bad Reign. And, as usual, we get action sequences and great effects.

Overall, this was a brilliant episode, especially with showing just how Kara has to work her way through her feelings. Incredible.