Monday, June 26, 2017

Review: DC Bombshells #29

DC Comics Bombshells #29 came out last week, one of the last remaining print issue of this first run of the concept. After stumbling a bit in the middle issues, the title has found itself again these last few issues. For me, this most likely is because Wonder Woman and Supergirl have taken center stage again. And I just think that these stories of the Bombshells heading into Russia has just been more compelling than the Africa side adventure that preceded it.

Writer Marguerite Bennett has also given us a familiar trope for Supergirl, dealing with the existence of Power Girl. And, like many before, Bennett has the two fight each other at first before realizing that they are more alike than different. Bennett also gives us a very sympathetic Supergirl, dealing with grief but still striving to do what is right.

I'll focus on the Supergirl story but this issue also includes a nice opening with Raven, Ivy, and Harley. As readers we are asked the question 'what would you have done' if faced with the horrors of WWII. What are we doing now?

The art is done by Laura Braga and Aneke, veterans to the book. The two styles differ a bit. One is more fine lined and detailed, the other more broad stroked and economical. The characters look great in both versions and the action flows well.

On to the book!

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.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Review: DC Superhero Girls Wonder Woman Day Special

Last Saturday was Wonder Woman Day at local comic stores, a brilliant addition by DC to last month's Free Comic Book Day. The FCBD DC books were Wonder Woman and DC Super Hero Girls. But given the buzz of the Wonder Woman movie, I love that DC gave us another day of free stuff. And I love that they doubled down on Diana. If DC knew that they were doing a Wonder Woman day with a free Wonder Woman comic and a free DCSHG book, they could have looked elsewhere for FCBD. Instead, we get 4 Wonder Woman focused freebies. And that makes me happy!

DC SuperHero Girls Wonder Woman Day #1 is just the second chapter of the upcoming Summer Olympus graphic novel which is being released around the corner. The creators are writer Shea Fontana and artist Yancey Labat, the two most linked to the Superhero Girls. I do love this cover though, something of a badass Diana with Kara and Babs ready to throw down right behind her. This is the fiercest I have seen this version of these characters. And I love Ares appearing in Diana's bracelets.

And while the focus of this issue and this OGN is Diana, we get to see the other superheroes in action. So glad we got to see some hijinks on the Kent farm.

The two DCSHG freebies have grabbed my attention! I'll probably buy the graphic novel when it comes out.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Bullet Review: DC Bombshells #28

DC Bombshells #28 came out in print last week and continued a pretty engaging Supergirl portion of the Bombshell universe. We hadn't had Supergirl in the book for some time. Her arc is gripping with emotional layers and great call backs to the main DCU. I suppose one of the dangers of having a book with a cast as large as Bombshells is that sometimes characters can get lost or cast to the backburner. It can't be easy for writer Marguerite Bennett to give everyone the time they deserve in the few pages she has.

I'll focus on the Supergirl chapter in a bit. The rest of this issue focuses on the other members we have been following along on their trip into Russia. First off, Lois is chided by Killer Frost for not having killed Hugo Strange when she had the chance. The Frost turns out to be a bigger threat than had been anticipated, revealing herself as Strange's boss. not the other way around. We get a Bombshell version of the Reaper/Phantasm which was very interesting.  Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy continue to work their way into Stalingrad, commandeering circus animals as new friends, and ultimately using Ivy's powers to grow crops and feed the hungry. 

As always, the art is stunning. From the beautiful cover by Marguerite Sauvage to the lush work of Mirka Andolfo and Richard Ortiz, the book really pops. And Carmen Carnero really shines in Supergirl chapter.

After several months of what I would describe as doldrums, this books is sort of picking up again. This setting, the actual war, and these characters are much more interesting to me than prior focus of Vixen, Hawkwoman, and Cheetah. Will this last rally save this book from being dropped when it gets relaunched?

On to the book!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Review: Superman #24

Superman #24 came out this week, the next chapter in the Manchester Black storyline, and I have to say this was one busy issue, filling in a lot of answers over what has been happening in the sleepy town of Hamilton all these months.

Since Rebirth, I have had some concerns and questions over what has been happening around the town. Why would an alien be posing as Lois' editor? Why would giant squids be erupting from the ground? Why does farmer Cobb seem evil? Why did Jon immolate his kitten? Why???

It turns out that this has been a true long play for storytellers Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason. Almost every question I have been asking can be answered with 'because that is what Manchester Black wanted'. And that makes me happy.

I often complain about how in this day and age, books are written for the trade. How lingering subplots and strong supporting casts seem to be cast aside to tell a neat 6 issue adventure. I doubt that the layered approach that Paul Levitz brought to his Legion could survive these days. To find out that since day one, we as readers (and the Kents as characters) have been strung along by villains posing as friends is frankly ingenious. And, I'll say it again, it is also rare in this era of comics.

Now the issue isn't perfect. The reasoning behind all the chaos seems to come out of left field a bit. I felt like I needed to reread the issue to make sure I understood what was happening. And maybe just a wee bit of exposition might have helped things. But overall, the very idea of having all the prior mysteries come together in this thread is pretty slick.

The art on the issue is mostly Doug Mahnke and he brings a sort of frenetic, over-stuffed, 'what the heck is happening' feeling to some panels which add to the chaotic feel of the story. But he also pulls back at times, giving us splashes and larger panels when the action dictates. There are some pages by Patrick Gleason as well giving us a quiet moment of strength for Lois, showcasing just how defiant she is during times of danger.

On to the book!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Wonder Woman Week: Review Adventure Comics #397

Happy Wonder Woman Week here at Supergirl Comic Box Commentary! I am still basking in the afterglow of the fantastic Wonder Woman movie and thought I would take this open day to again share a meeting between Diana and Kara in the comics. I have just covered Supergirl's day as an amazon here. But that issue didn't have Diana in it and I wanted to showcase her given the recent movie.

So that reminded me of Adventure Comics #397, a rather key issue in Supergirl history for a number of reasons. First off, she does indeed team up with Diana Prince and a special guest star. This is during that time in the 70s when Wonder Woman was depowered, learning martial arts, and ran a trendy Gotham City boutique. This issue also began the trope in Supergirl's Adventure Comics of Kara wearing different costumes in the stories, fashions sent in by readers of the time. This cover of Kara inspecting some new duds is often played upon in later comics and Supergirl coverage. But this issue (in the second story) also introduces Nasthalthia 'Nasty' Luthor to the Supergirl supporting cast. Nasty was a thorn in Kara's side for the rest of the Adventure Comics run and even appeared in All-Star Superman. (I am afraid to read it but that Nasty story was covered in the 14th post ever on this site, back in June 2008!. Here is that link:

But I am covering this issue here because of the Wonder Woman connection, so let's get on to the story!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Supergirl Season Two Overview

It has been a couple of weeks since the end of the second season of Supergirl and I have been mulling things over. There is a lot to think about and process when you realize we are talking about 22 episodes.

I felt like I needed one more post to bring up the lingering thoughts and issues I had and give everyone more opportunity to chime in. This won't be exhaustive. This is really just me writing a bit off the cuff, talking in broad strokes, and being a bit more raw.

Season as a whole: B
There are definitely a lot of high points to this season and I'll go through each character after this. I think the big villains in this season were definitely a high point. Lillian Luthor/Cadmus and Rhea/Daxamites were delicious in their villainy. I thought the addition of Superman was just right. The few moments we got of Cat made me realize how much I miss her. I thought the addition of the Alex/Maggie relationship was very good. I thought the Kara/Mon-El relationship was a bit forced. But my main problem with these relationships is that it made for much fewer Kara/Alex moments, a big part of what I love in this show. There are characters that seem forgotten or lost. I thought the politics of the show often seemed heavy handed and one-sided. Much like I complained about the Feminism 101 approach to season 1, I thought this season was Liberal Politics 101. Don't tell me ... show me. It is funny to think that the episodes I feel I will rewatch the most are Mr. & Mrs. Mxyzptlk, Duet (from the Flash), the Invasion crossover, and Alex - and many of those are a bit outside of the main plot running through the show.

All that said, there was never an episode that I finished and said 'that was awful'. The cast is terrific together. And there was a ton of super-heroics throughout that made me very happy. There are some things that need to be smoothed out, but overall I thought this was a very solid season.

On to the characters!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Supergirl The Movie Storybook

I have spoken in the past about the very giving nature of the internet comic book fan community I consider myself a part of these days. I am still shocked at the generosity of the friends I have met here.

The latest example was this gorgeous copy of 'The Supergirl Storybook' sent to me by Doom Patrol and Hawkman afficianado Doug Zawisza (@DZawisca on Twitter). This is a really meaty adapatation of the movie written by Wendy Andrews.

I had no idea this book even existed. And for Doug to stumble on copy that is in such pristine condition, pick it up, and send it to me is just unbelievable.

First I was really struck at the condition if this book. It looks like it came off the shelves yesterday with nary a ding on the cover. And the book probably was never read because the binding is pretty stiff, cracking deliciously as I opened it wide.

But second, I am really floored at Doug's generosity. This is such a wonderful gift for me. (I really can't believe how many people have sent me Supergirl stuff. I am really humbled.

Here is a look at the back cover. As I said this is a really in-depth adaptation of the Supergirl movie. But one of the big draws for me is the number of color photographs inside the book. As the cover says, there are over 50 photos inside, some splash pages and others inset in the text.

The back cover selection certainly covers the scope of the movie nicely. We see Argo City, Supergirl flying, the troubled romance with Ethan, and then the battle with Faye Dunaway. That last photo with Supergirl defiantly in the background is just great.

Here is my favorite 2 page spread showing the wonderfully graceful flying of Helen Slater. If there is a picture that embodies Supergirl in this book it is that one of her flying in the trees. She is smiling broadly, almost angelic in her body language, and just so bright!

I have said it too many times but Helen Slater just nailed the part. I hope to meet her some day!

As you can see, the story itself is pretty dense with a lot of description of the plot and action. This looks like it is built more for the middle school crowd. The story runs just about 40 pages with some pages being entirely text.

I do like how whenever Kara uses a super-power it is in a blue bigger font. I suppose if you were skimming the story, you'd want to read the action bits.

My favorite part of the movie is the battle with the invisible electricity monster so I was really hoping we would get an action shot of her and the monster.

Unfortunately, all we get is her holding the lamp post she uses as a weapon. No monster.

I wonder why they wouldn't include one.

And, of course, I am reminded of how the cast in this movie included some pretty big names. Faye Dunaway as Selena! Mia Farrow as Alura! And, of course, Peter O'Toole as Zaltar!

I know Slater has talked about how O'Toole was so helpful for her on the movie, running lines and even reading Shakespeare at times. I know the movie is a bit campy and isn't exactly the highbrow stuff these actors were used to doing. But I am glad they did more than mail it in.

This book will definitely be a highlight on my bookshelf and I can't thank Doug enough. I love the Supergirl fandom that comes here. And I am awed by how giving everyone is. It is the circle of life of fandom.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Supergirl Middle Grade Novel

I want to send a hat tip off to Twitter's @weezil88 For sending me this news story last week. It seems that the CW continuity Supergirl will be headed to the book shelves this fall. Here is a link to Entertainment Weekly's coverage:

First off, the book sports a pretty amazing cover by Cesar Moreno. Supergirl is bursting off the cover! And I love the implied S-shield in the background.

Here is the pertinent blurbs from the article (which I always recommend you read in full): The Flash and Supergirl will be saving the world some more this fall — only this time it will be in book form.

Both DC heroes will be the stars of their own individual middle-grade novels, EW can announce exclusively.

Supergirl: Age of Atlantis  will be written by Jo Whittemore and will see Kara Danvers deal with various weird goings-on all over National City. Not only have average citizens suddenly start performing feats, but the Department of Extranormal Operations (the DEO) has captured a humanoid sea creature, and Kara will have to figure out what drew him to National City, and what his connection to this surge of super-citizens may be.

Of course, old school Supergirl fans when reading 'a humanoid sea creature' were probably all screaming 'Jerro' at the top of their lungs! What a perfect way to tie in comic history into this new continuity. We already saw Sterling Gates do it seamlessly in Adventures of Supergirl. 

I don't know Jo Whittemore but certainly the plot seems fun and interesting. 

“We’re big fans of The Flash and Supergirl  TV shows at ABRAMS,” Andrew Smith, senior vice president and publisher ABRAMS children’s books, said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to be working with Warner Bros., the shows’ production teams, and super-fan authors Barry Lyga and Jo Whittemore to introduce two epic new series featuring original adventures not seen on TV for the DC Super Heroes. These new stories expand upon the hit television shows in exciting new ways, and we can’t wait for fans and new readers to experience them!”
And glad the publisher at least came out and said they and the authors are fans. You want someone who likes the characters to be writing their stories.

Will I read this? Hmm ...

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Graduation Day!

Yesterday my own oldest Supergirl graduated high school today.

Hard to believe that 18 years have passed so quickly. Everything went by so fast.

But I am unbelievably lucky to have raised such a smart, sweet, wonderful woman.


Friday, June 2, 2017

Wonder Woman Day! Review: Supergirl #9

Happy Wonder Woman day! It is hard to believe but today marks the opening of the Wonder Woman solo movie, the DCEU movie I have been most looking forward to. And I figured I would join in the fun of celebrating the Amazon and her universe.

Surprisingly, there hasn't been a ton of Supergirl teaming up with Wonder Woman. There is the zany Haney Brave and the Bold #63 (a book I will cover at some point I'm sure), the wild massive crossover in Wonder Woman 291-293, her training with Diana in her re-introduction of Kara Zor-El to the DCU in Superman/Batman #8-13, the fight in the New 52 Supergirl #17 (booo!), and the occasional odds and ends of meeting in panels like in Wonder Woman #600. I am sure there are more but I wish that the two would run into each other more.

Today, I will look at Supergirl #9 from the 1972 Supergirl solo series. While the issue doesn't have Diana, it takes place on Paradise Island and includes Hippolyta and Nubia! What better way to help celebrate Wonder Woman's history on a Supergirl blog!

And like many stories in the Bronze Age, this won is an overstuffed, fast-moving, rather insane story and that is without counting Supergirl's swearing off men for good! So settle in for a wild ride with some great moments of 70's comic telling and Kara becomes 'The Super-Amazon'!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Supergirl DCTV Action Figure

The second Supergirl action figure based on the television show comic came out last week and it is beautiful. This mirrors the show costume nicely from the big boots to the gray leggings to the thumb holes on the sleeves.

There are plenty of points of articulation so that you can position the figure nicely. And the inclusion of the multiple hands are a nice touch, giving you some options. I chose the closed fist for my display.

This series includes other DCTV characters including Supergirl's own Martian Manhunter! Hopefully all the J'onn fans out there are lining up to buy this.

And the Vixen and Constantine figures also look great.

The side of the box really showcases what I think is the best aspect of this figure and that is the sculpt of the face. It is almost eerie how much it looks like Melissa Benoist!

Just lovely.

My one complaint is the lack of a true stand for the figure. I had to dig up an old one to give the figure the support it needed to standup.

But outside that, the figure is great. From the wrinkles in the boots to the skirt pleats, to that Benoist face, the whole thing is beautiful. Again, the arms have a lot of articulation so you can have her in a bunch of poses.

And the back matches the front nicely. Plenty of detail work appears in the hair and cape.

Very nice.

Obviously, there is going to be a growing bunch of collectibles based on the show costume. So I anticipate needing to rearrange things on the shrine again.

But for now, I only have 2 show pieces. The two action figures are similar in design although this latest one is superior in size and sculpt.

Here is a bit of a close-up, the new figure in the background there.

Nice piece, albeit a bit pricey. But it is a nice addition to the collection and let's me give the show the support it deserves.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

August 2017 Solicits

The full August solicits for DC Comics were released last week and it looks like the summer season is going to go out with a bang, especially for Supergirl fans! I am pretty thrilled with the comics and can't wait to talk about them so I am going to jump right in.

For viewing all the solicits, here is a link to Newsarama:

Variant cover by STANLEY “ARTGERM” LAU
“EMERALD ERADICATION” part one! Emerald Empress’ attack on Supergirl begins as her new Fatal Five assembles. Empress’ plan to destroy Supergirl’s present to preserve her future goes into full swing as Supergirl tries to hold her own—but soon even her abilities are out of her control.

I spoke a bit about this before in terms of Robson Rocha coming on board as series artist. But there is a lot to love here. I like the idea of the Emerald Empress being a sort of Supergirl- specific Legion foe. Given the timey-wimey nature of these stories, my assumption is somewhere in Kara's future but Emerald Empress' past, these two have tangled.

I am wary of 'powers out of control' stories in general. But only one year into a new take on Supergirl might be too early, but we'll see.

But the cover ... wow! It took me some time to see that Kara has been shot through the left shoulder and is sliding down the wall. And who is that shadow? The art is beautiful and if this is what Rocha is going to bring,  I am going to be very happy!

On to the rest of the month!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Sales Review: April 2017

The sales results for April 2017 were posted a while back on ICv2 and as usual, I think there is a story to tell in the numbers. Here is a link for the coverage:

For me, one of the things that truly vexes me is that DC puts out 4 super-titles in the same week. We get Action Comics, Supergirl, Superwoman, and New Super-Man all released on the same week. If you want to buy all of them, it would run you about $15. And that isn't even counting all the other titles you might be interested in! It seems like a big block to swallow all at once to keep up with the Superman family.

And let's face it, comic readers don't want to pick up an issue that came out the prior week. Our minds don't work that way. So I don't think many people would put an issue aside for a week.

So something's got to give.

In the best of all worlds, DC's release schedule would look like this

Wk1: Action, Supergirl
Wk 2: Superman, New Super-Man
Wk 3. Action, Superwoman
Wk 4: Superman, Super-Sons

They have the bandwidth to do this.

And isn't that better than:

Wk 1: Action, Supergirl, New Super-Man, Superwoman
Wk 2: Superman
Wk 3: Action
Wk 4: Superman, Super-Sons 

I just think that Superman fans might be more apt to plunk down their money if titles and therefore costs were spread out!

Instead, the average consumer needs to choose. Let's see if there is a pattern.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Review: Action Comics #980

Action Comics #980 came out last week and was another chapter in Cyborg Superman's creation of a new Superman Revenge Squad. Written by Dan Jurgens with art by Patrick Zircher, the book is set-up chapter. Jurgens is taking his time putting this team together, perhaps in a way to build up suspense while filling in some of the gaps in these characters' back stories. There is definitely a need, in the post-Reborn super-world, to smooth out the rough edges of continuity here. So Jurgens uses this issue to make sure everyone is on the same page historically.

But there are all the other recent changes to main characters' lives that we need to be kept abreast of as well. So the move to Metropolis and the creation of Batman's Justice League of America are all covered here as well.

I have been very impressed with Jurgens' run on the title so far. And I am always impressed with Zircher's art. But this issue felt like something of a pause. We seemed to downshift a bit. And maybe that is a necessary evil in a middle chapter of a story. We need to set up the rest of the plot. But I feel like the story covered in this issue could have been covered in a fraction of the pages.

I will freely admit that I am a Harley Quinn fan. So I had to get this Gary Frank cover with Quinn is just impotently hammering away on the Cyborg's head. Frank draws everybody great but this Harley is just about perfect!

On to the issue.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Review: Super-Sons #4

A bit of Supergirl-specific news came out this week, delaying things a bit. So I am catching up.

Super Sons #4 came out last week, the end of the first arc and potentially the end of the team. More than any prior chapter, this issue shows how difficult it would be for these two boys to be friends and to work together. It isn't easy for the more down-to-Earth Jon to deal with the narcissistic worldly assassin Damien. And this battle showcases that.

The villain of the piece, Kid Amazo, has the potential to be a legitimate threat. But in this story, he is relatively easily dispatched. Maybe too easily. And really, in the end, he isn't even defeated by Superboy and Robin. Really, I think Amazo was really just a catalyst to showcase the differences of the Sons.

As much fun as it is to see the sons bristle with each other, I am finding the interaction with the larger DCU even more engaging. So seeing Luthor, Lois, and Alfred in here was also a great.

Lastly, Jorge Jimenez's art is the perfect style for this book. Stylized, somewhat exaggerated, and in places cartoonish, it jibes wonderfully with the tone of the book.

On to the book!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Supergirl Episode 222: Nevertheless, She Persisted

Supergirl Episode 222, the season finale titled 'Nevertheless, She Persisted, aired this week and was an incredibly intense, over-stuffed, and every emotional ending to what has been a crazy season. This episode felt more like a mini-movie than a television show with spectacular effects, a rousing score,. massive fights, and all the major characters (well most of the major characters) having key moments to move the plot along. I was thrilled. And I suppose given the names in the credits (writers Andrew Kreisberg and Jessica Quallers; directed by Glen Winter), I shouldn't be surprised.

While the title of the episode is clearly referencing Senator Warren's defiance while speaking to the Senate, the overt politics of this season were put on the back shelves a bit to let the story stand more on its own. And for the most part it delivered. The ultimate victory came in the form of a true deus ex machina, but overall this shined.

But the time has come to put a bow on this season. In looking back, the show really covered a ton of topics and subplots. Sometimes all this made Supergirl feel more like a character in an ensemble cast than the headliner.

We had multiple big bads in the form of Cadmus and the Daxamites. We had major plots involving Maggie and her relationship with Alex, Winn and his relationship with Lyra, James and his relationship with the Guardian suit, and J'onn and Miss Martian. We had political stories about alien amnesty, refugees seeking asylum, the down trodden forced into slavery, and basic prejudice. Jeremiah Danvers blipped into the storyline and then vanished again. That is a lot of ground to cover.

And I haven't even mentioned the elephant in the room ... Mon-El. At least on social media, he was something of a lightning rod. Some fans loved his arc as he tried to walk away from a rather ugly past to become something better all while inspired by Kara. Others hated him for being the epitome of the slick, emotionally abusive, frat boy. He was that kind of man that bullied his way into a relationship by constantly nagging the woman, then didn't respect her wishes, and then groveled his way back in. For me, I didn't think he was all that bad. At times his actions were cringe worthy. And unfortunately, he doesn't have a big redemptive moment in this episode. I was hoping there would be big moment where he sacrificed himself for others. All that said,  I believed him when he said how inspired he was by Supergirl and what she represented. I mean, that's why I love her as a character.

But enough looking back, let's look at this episode itself. Be prepared, I took a lot of screencaps because there was so much to love. And I am going to write a lot, not only recap but thoughts. Because this was an overstuffed episode. On to the show

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

RIP Rich Buckler

Over the weekend, the news broke that veteran DC and Marvel comic artist Rich Buckler had passed away after a long battle with cancer. News reports are everywhere but here is Comic Book Resources coverage:

It seems like the loss of legendary comic book creators like this are all too common these days. But personally, this one stung a little bit more than usual. Buckler holds a pretty important place in my heart and my comic heritage. Buckler was a workhorse in comics, a solid artist who is littered throughout my collection. But I think he is sort of underappreciated. Everyone says that they love Buckler's work but I haven't heard many (or any) say Buckler is one of their favorite artist. And that is a shame because is work is just wonderful.

For me, Buckler is best known for his cover of Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #1. This is a truly iconic picture of Supergirl, one of the best known images of her. I had met Buckler a couple of times at conventions and was lucky enough to get him to sign the cover, joining Carmine Infantino and Paul Kupperberg. This is really a cherished book in my collection.

As I said, this cover is a pretty iconic image of the Girl of Steel, even appearing as a US Postage stamp.

Buckler also drew the fantastic Superman vs. Shazam treasury, a story that is truly more of a Supergirl and Mary Marvel storyline. Buckler really shines in this treasury drawing a remarkable Kara. And he even got to draw Quarmm, the Sand Superman!


Back in 2008, I was able to get a Buckler Supergirl commission in my sketch book. While I should have got him to draw the 70s style costume, back then I was pretty locked into the Matrix look.  I love this commission as well. It is a nice action pose with a smiling Supergirl.

Buckler was so much more than that one cover. I know he created Deathlok and had a long career with Marvel. But I'm a DC guy. Buckler drew All Star Squadron. He drew covers and interiors of The Flash in a time when I would often pick up that book. He drew Justice League issues. He drew Superman issues.

As I continue to talk about why Buckler matters to me, I'll add that he drew the Secret Society of Super-Villains. And SSV #9 was my introduction to the Creeper, one of my all time favorite characters. It was Buckler's moody depiction of The Creeper that really grabbed my attention as a kid and started a a life-long love.

My condolences to his family and friends. The comic world is a little smaller now.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

New Supergirl Artist Robson Rocha

The full DC Comics August Solicitations are going to be revealed soon. But some super-titles, including Supergirl #12, were previewed over on Newsarama here:

But the biggest news in that article is that Robson Rocha is taking over on monthly are duties on the book. Here is the solicit.

“EMERALD ERADICATION” part one! Emerald Empress’ attack on Supergirl begins as her new Fatal Five assembles. Empress’ plan to destroy Supergirl’s present to preserve her future goes into full swing as Supergirl tries to hold her own—but soon even her abilities are out of her control.

It looks like all art might be getting shaken up because Artgerm is on the variant cover, not Bengal.

But the big news is Rocha. I have had my issues with Brian Ching's art on the book. It has at times seemed rough, rushed, and unfinished. There have been high points with Ching, no doubt. But I think that he would work better on a different style of book.

So I am glad that Robson Rocha is coming on board. Rocha has a sort of fine-lined and more polished look to things. I have covered Rocha's art on some issues here. You can look for prior reviews with his art here:

I first ran into Rocha's art on Demon Knights and Worlds' Finest. I liked his art then. There was a very good sense of action in the proceedings. And while different artists gave the work a different feel, it always looked very good.

Now I consider Power Girl and Supergirl to be two very different characters so you can't simply say that since Power Girl looked good, Supergirl will look good. That said, Rocha never really dipped too deep into the cheesecake aspects of Power Girl. And the action, as mentioned above, looked sharp. I think you can look at this and see just how Supergirl will be portrayed in the book.

Those Worlds' Finest issues were on the shelves a few years ago now.

If you want to see what Rocha's art looks like more recently, he did a three-parter in the now canceled Batman/Superman book. I reviewed these issues here as well if you want a deeper dive.

Suffice it to say, the art was stunning. there was a different, more detailed, more elegant look to these issues. The action still looked kinetic and powerful. But there was a still more refined look to the art here than even in those Worlds' Finest issues.

I am looking forward to this art change. Welcome aboard Robson Rocha!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Review: DC Bombshells #27

DC Bombshells #27, the print version of the digital first comic, came out this week. As always, since I read the floppies, I am behind the time.

The issue includes another chapter in Supergirl's journey home. Writer Marguerite Bennett has given us a new take on the character. Crushed by the sacrifice of her sister Kortni, this Kara is depressed and powerless. She decides she needs to head home to Russia to try to gain some normalcy but those plans are waylaid when she is discovered by Russian spies, German spies, and Lex Luthor on her train ride home.

I don't mind this Supergirl working her way through this emotionally. We saw how close she was with Kortni. We saw how she was ready to sacrifice herself to defeat the Tenebrau. She is still quite young. I imagine this is what would have happened had Kal died in the Crisis instead of her.

But what I really like is Bennett giving a new riff on an old Supergirl power. At least as how it is portrayed in this issue, I am very intrigued.

The art on the chapter is by Adventures of Supergirl veteran Carmen Carnero and really works well here.

Now while I enjoyed the Supergirl piece, the bulk of the book focuses on the Zatanna/Raven/Ivy/Harley story. And this has yet to grab me. I have talked about how I don't like when this book veers towards being an 'agenda book'. Here I didn't like how Bennett is getting bit too cute with her writing.

On to the book.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Review: Superman #23

Superman #23 came out this week and is the next part in the Black Dawn arc. It also reveals at last the enemy behind all the craziness that has been going on in the sleepy hamlet of Hamilton. And while I am not the biggest fan of the 'big bad', his goals behind his scheme actually makes sense for his character. We'll have to see how it all plays out.

This reveal shows story-tellers Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason have had a long play in mind. And it kind of all clicks into place. With the super-couple moving back to Metropolis (as seen in Action Comics), I guess this is the swan song for the Hamilton locale. So why not tear up the place?

The issue also includes something of a dramatic turn for Lois. Her portrayal in this title has been sort of up and down. She has been a bad-ass laser-firing hero. She has been a pie-serving 50's house wife. And she has been everything in between. In this issue we learn what it means to be a non-super-powered combatant in a chaotic city-wide brawl. Whether this plot twist has any legs will be determined. I doubt we will see a long-term change here.

But overall, while the big beats where solid, the issue overall is something of a muddle. For some reason, it feels rushed. Maybe that is because the middle pages seem to be inked in a more thick-lined style than I am used to seeing. Doug Mahnke's pencils are solid throughout, they always are. But the fight in Hamilton felt a bit muddier than I am used to seeing.

On to the book ...

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Review: New Super-Man #11

New Super-Man #11 came out this week and was another entertaining issue from writer Gene Luen Yang. While there is the usual spotlight on the title character, there is a lot of world building in this book as well. Yang is really creating a whole DCU on the Eastern Hemisphere and it has an old time reader like me pretty engaged. It is like discovering the DCU all over again.

In particular, one of the characters I have been most curious about in this title has been this world’s Wonder Woman. We have heard some tiny crumbs of her origin prior to this. Here we learn a bit more about her background and one of her previous battles. Even her name is somewhat changed. And that all makes me interested in learning more.

But it was also good to see some of the spotlight still focusing on Kenan and his character. Despite the heroic nature he has been showing in the book recently, he is still has some of the smug, self-important teen we met in the earliest issues inside him. That idea that he is growing but hasn’t completely grown is wonderful. This is the classic teen hero on the journey. 

Viktor Bogdanovic has left the book, heading over to the Superman title. In his place is Billy Tan who brings a truly lovely, smooth, clean look to the book. It is different from Bogdanovic who looked pretty scratchy at times. I think Tan’s style might be a better fit for the book. Hope he sticks around.

On to the book.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Supergirl Episode 221: Resist

Supergirl episode 221, titled 'Resist' aired this week, the penultimate episode of the season. Given we have reached the boiling point on all plots, 'Resist' moves along at a very brisk pace, bringing together a number of subplots and characters that have been in the background of late. This episode really has a great combination of action sequences, suspense, and character progression. And it also has the return of Cat Grant, a return that made me remember just how important she was to this show last season on CBS.

In fact, the return of Cat was the high point of one of the most important efforts of the show. All the characters with agency in this episode are women. James, Winn, and Mon-El are really along for the ride and less important to plot progression. Supergirl, Alex, Maggie, President Marsdin, Rhea, Lillian Luthor, and Lena Luthor carry this story. And perhaps best of all, outside of one snarky Cat speech, it wasn't shoved down the audience's throats by corny dialogue. There was no 'why can't I? Because I'm a girl' cringe worthy lines here. Instead it just played out on screen. I was thankful for that.

I'll add here that the acting in this episode was stellar as well. As usual, Teri Hatcher just fills the screen with her diabolical Rhea, switching from loving queen to enraged sociopath in the blink of an eye. I already mentioned Calista Flockhart's performance as powerful. But there were small, subtle, powerful moments from Melissa Benoist, Katie McGrath, and Chyler Leigh that made this whole thing sizzle.

And we get a great cliffhanger to lead us into the finale.

There were some notes here that hearkened back to last season's ending, maybe a bit too close. But otherwise, this episode was fantastic. It even came with a great cliffhanger.

On to the show!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Review: Superwoman #10

Superwoman #10 came out last week and was another step towards the new reality of this book since Superman Reborn rewrote continuity and made Superwoman's history impossible. How can Lana have powers given to her by a dying New 52 Superman when that Superman never existed?

Writer K. Perkins has been given the monumental task of trying to sort this out. And I am rooting for her. I like Perkins as a writer. I loved what she did on Supergirl. And I like Lana and I find the concept of Superwoman fresh. But I wonder if this might be too much even for her. Because everything which led up to Lana being Superwoman is gone. So how do you continue?

That isn't to say that this issue is a failure. One of the things about Superwoman which has felt innovative is that Lana struggles with anxiety and PTSD. She is trying to be a hero while dealing with her own issues. And we see how these continue to be a big part of her character. Lana strives to move past these problems, or compartmentalize them, so she can continue to be better and help people. But the scenes of her flashing back to painful memories still show scenes that I don't think have happened now.

I am also rooting for this book because I think the art team of Stephen Segovia and Art Thibert is a dynamite pairing. The art here really sparkles. Plus, I love this Renato Guedes cover riffing on the classic Superman #1 cover, right down to 'wear and tear' and a price tag.

I just don't know if my rooting will be enough ...

Monday, May 15, 2017

Review: Action Comics #979

Action Comics #979 came out last week and was a good transition issue between the Reborn story and the upcoming Revenge Squad battle. As such, it was a very entertaining read as we toggled back and forth between a very happy Lois and Clark couple and an overly powerful group of villains eager for their destruction. That dissonance makes this a compelling read.

Writer Dan Jurgens is really amping up threat level of the Revenge Squad here. Any one of these villains alone has nearly defeated Superman. To put them all together makes this a true murderers' row.

I will say that I am hoping that the Cyborg Superman story will be fleshed out a bit. His origin is going to be relatively sticky in this post-Reborn universe. We know the Cyborg Superman and the Reign of the Supermen happened in this universe again. But we know that this Hank Henshaw is walking around, working for the military, and apparently human. How did that happen? The 'black suit' Superman stalked him in the Lois and Clark mini-series. Did that still happen? Was he cured? There is a lot to answer and I am hoping Jurgens realizes that.

But for me, the big win of the issue was the apartment hunting opening scene with Lois and Clark. Jurgens has such an ability to write these two in a very natural, comforting way. This whole scene made me smile. It even answered some 'real world' questions that have been nagging me!

Patch Zircher is on art and by now folks probably know I love his art. It is the small subtle things Zircher adds to his art that makes me really appreciate it, whether it be a pertinent background or even panel progression.