Friday, April 28, 2017

Comic Box Commentary 9th Anniversary

Over 9 years ago, I created a blog called Comic Box Commentary with the plan to cover all the comics that I was enjoying at the time.

Then 9 years ago tomorrow I realized the canvas was too big and decided to be a bit more focused.

Hence the vaguely titled Comic Box Commentary became Supergirl Comic Box Commentary. And that is the origin of my terrible blog name. I suppose I should have simply started anew. But I didn't think about it that much.

How long would I do this? How often would I do this? Would I find it creatively rewarding (the reason I started it to begin with)?

Turns out, yes it is creatively rewarding. I would be posting often and for a long time.

How people found this place I'll never know.

And so today I celebrate my 9th anniversary the usual way I do - by thanking everyone who stops by, reads my comic reviews, and deals with my ramblings. I love the community of Supergirl fans who come here and the dialogue that occurs. So let me give you a round of applause. I deeply appreciate you all for visiting. In particular, I congratulate those of you who read my long reviews!

I have become friends with so many people because of this site as well. From podcasts to con meet-ups to sending each other comic stuff, it is such a fantastic group that I am honored to be included in!

Lastly, it is hard to believe how far the character has come during those 9 years! I started this site because I didn't like how Supergirl was being portrayed in the comics at the time. I also wanted to highlight her oft-forgotten history. Now she is everywhere!

So I'm raising the virtual glass of champagne to everyone! Thanks for being part of this place!

Happy Anniversary!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

General Zod On The Supergirl Show

The news hit the internet last week that General Zod has been cast for the Supergirl finale and that Mark Gibbon has been cast. Here is a link to Supergirl.TV's coverage:

I shouldn't be surprised by crazy responses to things these days but a portion of Supergirl critics and fans of the show had a bit of a meltdown. Would Zod be a Superman villain fighting Supergirl? Would there be room for another villain in a show which already has Cadmus and Queen Rhea?? And why take time away from a Supergirl show with someone clearly more associated with Kal?

But I think there is a simple answer. I think his role is going to be little more than a cameo.

That is because from the beginning I have said that there is going to more to come from this Legion  ring so prominently displayed in the show.

And that makes me think my prediction about Mon-El is going to come true.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Supergirl Show Episode 218: Ace Reporter

Supergirl episode 218, title 'Ace Reporter', aired this week and was a very Kara-centric episode, something which has been a bit lacking recently. We see a lot of Kara Danvers and a little bit of Supergirl. And for me, someone who loves complex characters with some depth, this was phenomenal. Yes, we have a mega-arc going on with Cadmus and Daxam. And yes, those are important.

But I watch the show for Supergirl.So I was thrilled about this. The title Ace Reporter is an appropriate one since the search for truth is a key part of the plot. And one of the things that I have noticed this season is that Supergirl is feeling good about herself lately. She has a swagger that makes me worry that she is heading for a fall. This story also played on that a bit.

But, in some ways, this was just as much a Lena episode as it was a Kara one. Lena has been sort of on the periphery of the show. We learned a lot about her early on in the season and during the 'Luthors' episode. But in many ways she is something of an enigma. We hear that she and Kara are best friends but we haven't really seen how that relationship came about. We see how Lena worries about whether she will descend into the megalomania her family is so well known for. But she is a mystery. Every episode she is in ends with me thinking 'is she a bad guy or a good guy?' We see much more of that up front here. There are some ominous overtones to the arc. And I can't help that there is some foreshadowing to an eventual confrontation between Supergirl and Lena. I have to add that Katie McGrath is stunningly beautiful in this episode.

There is a fine subplot with Winn, James, and Lyra.Mon-El is funny and helpful here. We get a lot of Snapper here. There is a great cliffhanger.

But the main focus is Kara and Lena. And that made for a great episode.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Review: Super-Sons #3

Super Sons #3 came out last week and was another chapter in a fast-paced, fun title. Things really seem to be propelled forward in this story. Not much decompression here. And that frenetic, almost 'short attention span' feel to the stories seems appropriate for the protagonists. Everything happens fast in that time of life.

But this isn't just an action book. Most of the fun here is seeing Jon and Damien interacting. At times I have said that the 'always at odds' relationship that DC has forced on Superman and Batman is adolescent and sophomoric. This plays that up. These characters are adolescents! So seeing them be friends and that at each other's throats makes sense. It plays up how silly the Superman/Batman stuff is these days.

One of the problems with that contrast between the characters is that a writer could have them become more one-dimensional. So writer Peter Tomasi has to keep these interactions feeling fresh. I don't want Jon to always say 'this is crazy I'm calling Dad.' And I don't want Damien to always say 'no, I'm the best. I can handle this.' Part of the fun will be seeing how each influences the other.

The art by Jorge Jimenez is the perfect match for this title. Everything is a little warped and stylized. There is this slight craziness to it which works with the pace of these stories. I love it.

Now this arc involves Kid Amazo and I have to say I feel a little lost in what the villain's powers are. But I am just along for the ride here. It's like a roller coaster. Just grab on and try to take it all in.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Review: Superwoman #9

How do you remake a book that was just made? How do you reboot something which was just booted?

It can't be easy.

But that is what is going on in the Superwoman book. Phil Jimenez idea of Lana being infused with energy from the dead New 52 Superman couldn't exist anymore in the post-Superman Reborn world. And frankly, the first arc of Superwoman ended in such a jumbled, over wordy, preachy, and confusing manner that maybe erasing that and semi-starting fresh makes sense. I know I am trashing the prior arc but the truth is I enjoyed the opening chapters. It just all seemed to lose its way.

Superwoman #9 has the difficult task of somehow continuing the title, building on some of what has come before, all while trying to explain away the inconsistency of the recent past. Enter writer K. Perkins (of Supergirl Crucible fame) and artists Stephen Segovia and Art Thibert. Can they pull it off?

At least for this first issue, for me, the answer is yes. Instead of immediately trying to explain how Lana had powers, what adventures she has had as Superwoman, and what truly happened, Perkins instead concentrates on who Lana is as a person. The powers and the missions are important, but the character of Lana is the foundation of this book. We need to learn that first.

In Jimenez book, Lana was an extremely complicated character. She was a begrudging hero. She had anxiety issues. She was struggling with the pressure of all aspects of her life. And she was hiding all of this fear from those who loved her. I didn't always like Lana in the book. She seemed to have a hair trigger to lash out at those supporting her. She seemed ashamed of her problems. But always, she eventually tried to rise above. Perkins seems to embrace all of that complexity. Complicated and conflicted characters are always fascinating to read. Indeed there are wonderful bookend moments in this issue.

The art by Segovia and Thibert suits the book nicely. There is a lot of kinetic energy in the action sequences. But the quiet scenes, the conversations between characters, look great with solid expressive work.

On to the book.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Review: Superman #21

Superman #21 came out this week, continuing this arc looking at the World's Finest duo and their sons as well as exploring the mystery of the evil neighbor farmer Cobb. It is a very solid read by creators Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason, giving me a ton of stuff to mull over. The finest moments, as usual for this book, my favorite moment is one between Superman and Superboy, Clark giving some home-spun Pa-style wisdom. It is a shame there isn't much for Lois to do here but the bulk of the issue is a battle with a giant squid.

But there is more here. We get a ton of back information about Cobb, more clues to his mystery. I thought for sure he was going to be all about magic given the weird Deadman Swamp issue. But now, it looks like there is a lot of mad scientist in Cobb. I am trying to put together all the clues but right now I am a bit stumped. There is certainly some major 'Watchmen' vibes but I keep hoping that stuff stays at the periphery.

And we learn something about Kathy that made a wacky Anj theory spring into my mind. I thought Kathy was oblivious of her Grandpa's machinations. But now she looks like she smack dab in it.

Gleason's art works very well this issue. The kaiju that shows up and the infantry of the enemy are well done. And the quiet family moments all shine brightly. I have to add that John Kalisz and Hi-Fi bring a bright palette to the proceedings. From a color perspective, this book really sparkles.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

July 2017 Solicits

The July solicits for DC comics came out this week and I have to say, there were a couple of non-Super surprises there which means I might have to moonlight a little to get ready for the summer spending spree. A trade is coming out for the first year of Brian Q. Miller's Steph Brown Batgirl book, a series I ate up like an eclair. And Dolphin is guest starring in Aquaman! And those aren't even my favorite surprise!

And, as seems to be the norm, the super-books continue to look like they are on the right track with solid arcs and great art.

Here is the link on Newsarama for all the books:

And now the super-discussion.

Variant cover by BENGAL
“ESCAPE FROM THE PHANTOM ZONE” part three! Supergirl must quell the maelstrom tearing apart the Phantom Zone, as Batgirl faces down the Phantom King one on one. If they fail, they’ll be lost in the Phantom Zone forever!

Love this cover with Supergirl ripping through the Phantom King-like bandages. I am really happy this is a prolonged Babs/Kara story arc, a way to cement their friendship in this continuity. And hoping that we get a great new understanding of the Phantom Zone.