Friday, March 22, 2019

DC Superhero Girls: Adventures In Bunnysitting

The first stand alone episode of the new Lauren Faust led DC Superhero Girls aired last week and it was a complete hoot as well as a good look at the personalities of Zatanna and Supergirl. You just knew I was going to love it.

#AdventuresInBunnysitting is a sort of 'Trouble With Tribbles' take on magical rabbits. And while the silliness that ensues from the premise of magical fertile bunnies is brilliant, it is the character stuff that really hooked me.

One thing we knew was this Supergirl was a rebel with a gruff exterior, the 'punch first' muscle of the team, with a chip on her shoulder about Superman. It didn't initially sound like a take I would like. But after the shorts and the hour long premiere, I was sold. This is a magnified take on some aspects of Kara's classic character, attuned for these Looney Tunes shorts. And this episode also showed that there is a different Supergirl simmering under the hard exterior.

Add to that the usual flourishes tossed in for adults and you have a big big win. Please seek this episode out, especially if you are a Supergirl or a Zatanna fan.

On to the show.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

June 2019 Solicits

The June solicits for DC Comics came out last week and are available for perusal in the usual places. Here is a link to Newsarama and their coverage:

It is a wild month filled with hope for the ending of a story, the excitement of the beginning of a story, a story I didn't know about that I will be getting, and a big name story I knew about that I won't be getting. Did you follow all that?

Hopefully this is something of a turning point for the super-books, storming into the summer on a roll.

written by MARC ANDREYKO
variant cover by AMANDA CONNER
The House of El is united in this SUPERMAN/SUPERGIRL crossover! The Superman Family must unite to banish Rogol Zaar once and for all! But little do Supergirl, Superman, Superboy and Jor-El know, Rogol Zaar has brought some friends of his own…from the Phantom Zone! Supergirl not only has to make sure that Rogol Zaar doesn’t unite with his ax at all costs, but also has to deal with how the 10-year-old Superboy is now her age! This is the start of an intergalactic war you don’t want to miss!
ON SALE 06.12.19 

For some time I have been calling for the end of the Supergirl in space storyline. It just hasn't felt like a Supergirl story. The characterization of Kara has seemed off. And I just enjoy her more on Earth, with a supporting cast, learning to be a hero on her adopted world.

So when I saw this solicit, trumpeting a Superman crossover and some resolution to the Rogol Zaar storyline, I smiled. One, I like when the super-family acts like a family. Second, maybe this means Supergirl is back on Earth and will stay on Earth.

Nice Conner cover.

On to the rest of the books.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Supergirl 415: O Brother Where Art Though

Supergirl episode 415, titled 'O Brother Where Art Thou' aired this week and was a tour de force.

I have come to the hard realization that this show isn't truly a Supergirl show but an ensemble show. Supergirl might be the hub that the characters orbit around. But she is often one of the crowd. Once I realized that this was more of a 'team comic' and not a 'solo book', I was able to take a deep breath and try to enjoy.

This episode, for example, is mostly about Lena and Lex Luthor. Sure, Kara is present, caring about James and fighting Manchester Black. But those are the subplots. Instead, the main focus is examining the odd relationship of the Luthor siblings. We get a peek into their past and their interactions. And we got one hell of a reveal at the end. It all worked magnificently for me.

Much of the praise has to be heaped on Jon Cryer, who guest starred as Lex. I didn't anticipate that Ducky would be able to bring a sort of veiled malevolence, a sort of 'he's probably scheming but he seems sincere' undercurrent. It isn't always over the top bombastic. Instead it is more of a cold, chilling, calculating evil. Brilliant.

Another interesting plot is the ongoing darkening of J'onn J'onzz. We get a big moment in the end here. I wonder if what we see happen at the end actually has happened. You'll see what I mean.

On to the show.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Review: Superman #9

Superman #9 came out last week, the second chapter of The Unity Saga, and another chapter in the hard life of Jon Kent. I have to say, it has been hard to read these last two Superman books in the same month that I am also reading the fun-loving anime style Superboy in Adventures of the Super Sons. In this issue, writer Brian Michael Bendis continues to put our friend through the physical and psychological wringer. It isn't easy to read sometimes.

The Superman book as a whole has overall been the lesser of the two super-books on the shelves and part of that has to do with the whole family dynamic being played up here. We went from Peter Tomasi's super-family, heading to the town fair and going on vacation together, to this unit, split up through time and space, not even living together. I still don't know if I quite understand Lois and Clark's relationship these days and this issue continues that confusion.

And while Jon might be proud of his personal growth during his lost years, it seems that growth through abandonment and torture will never be as good as growth through love and nurturing. How can this poor kid, faced first with his genocidal schizophrenic grandfather, than the evil version of his father, and then the evil version of his mother ever live through it unmarred.

The issue's art is again split between Ivan Reis and Brandon Peterson. Reis does the present day stuff and continues to draw a classic Superman. Peterson brings a softer touch to Jon's flashbacks. His work on expression is fantastic, especially given how terrified and brutalized Jon is here.

But this remains something of a storyline I wish would not have happened. It still makes little sense, especially given that it started with Jon heading off with Jor-El and Lois leaving him there.

On to the book.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Matrix Monday: Showcase '95 #1

 Last Monday I covered the finale of the 1994 Supergirl mini-series. In the end, the Matrix Supergirl finally left Lex Luthor and found a mentor with Lex's ex-wife Elizabeth Perske.

In the immediate aftermath, Action Comics #700 came out with Lex attacking Metropolis. Oh, yeah, and then something called Zero Hour happened. Matrix was involved like everyone was in that event but did not have a big role. She receded a bit into the background.

Then 1995 rolled around and early on Supergirl was a bit more visible. In January of 1995, she was the cover star of the David Michilenie/Butch Guice  Action Comics #706 , a nice fill-in which reminded folks that she was part of the super-family.

She also was the cover star of Showcase '95 #1. The Showcase books at this time had yearly themes and 1995 was the year of Superman characters to headline the book. So this issue we get not only Supergirl but Alan Scott Sentinel and Argus. This also was a sort of try-out book for DC. Not only were more minor characters given the spotlight but newer talent were given a shot.

It is a weird convergence that she headlines two books in one month.

That is a great cover by Tom Grummett sporting a beautiful Supergirl.

And yes, I had this one signed by Tom Grummett a couple of years ago in Boston.

On to the book.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Review: Supergirl #28

Supergirl #28 came out this week and was another chapter in this space-faring adventure Kara is on to investigate Rogol Zaar. As this bold, new direction has moved along slowly, I have been less and less forgiving of it. This is something of a nasty story. And while occasionally we see Supergirl say something that sounds like the Supergirl I want to read, the actions and plots surrounding those lines make them feel more like lip service.

Writer Marc Andreyko writes a great, gritty, Omega Men story. I might like reading this if it were a Starfire story. Or a Darkstars story. Or an Adam Strange story. But so much of this feels like yet another 'extreme' look at Supergirl. Add to that a few cringe worthy moments for a book about a young woman hero and you get something that just doesn't feel right.

The art is by Eddie Pansica and I really like it for the story it is telling. It is a very muddy, brutal story and Pansica brings that feel of chaos and violence. This is the most ragged and beaten I have seen Supergirl in a while. Put him on an Adam Strange book and I'll be there.

These prefaces to my reviews are becoming almost cookie cutter, other than a slow descent into further dissatisfaction. I hope this arc ends soon and we head back to Earth.

On to the book.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Back Issue Magazine: Elseworlds Finest & Barbara Kesel

I am a big fan of TwoMorrows Back Issue magazine, basically subscribing to it out of my LCS. As a amateur comic historian, I love these looks back at themes, comics, and creators from my history.

The latest issue covers all the alternative realities that comics have given us in the Bronze Age, from Marvels What If? to DC's Elseworlds and a ton of other imaginary tales. I love the concept of Elseworlds and What If? so this issue was in my sweet spot. Definitely worth getting and reading.

As always, whenever I stumble across a Supergirl specific nugget, I try to share. As Supergirl has had roles to play in some of the storylines which fit this issue's theme, I wasn't shocked to see her mentioned.

Specifically, the Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl comic got some significant coverage within the Elseworlds article.

Can I say that this issue has been one of the books I have wanted to do a dedicated review of since I started the blog. And yet, somehow, I have never been able to get to it. Part of it is how long it is. It would be hard to cover in one post. And yet, I think it would be cheating a little to cover it in two posts. That said, I recently split each issue of Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds into 2 posts given the dense nature of those stories over on The Legion of Super-Bloggers site. So maybe I shouldn't be overthinking it.

Regardless of my review, I love the issue and if you don't have it, you should seek it out.

And perhaps this TwoMorrow coverage will spur me on a little.