Wednesday, December 6, 2023

DC Comics Solicits: February 2024

The February 2024 DC solicits were solicited earlier this month. They include something that made me roll my eyes so hard I might have sprained them. And it's a shame I'm missing a Lois solo story in Brave and the Bold but that price is too hefty for one story in an anthology. 

You can head over to Newsarama to see all the solicits. Here are the super-family ones.

Variant covers by LEE BERMEJO and WARREN LOUW

The Lex Luthor revenge squad attacks! Superman is back from his blast to the past but finds that Mr. Graft and Dr. Pharm have gathered some of Lex Luthor’s greatest enemies with a mission to wipe out Lex and everything he loves from Metropolis. Superman will fight to save Lex’s life but when he learns the truth about Lex’s past…will he want to?

I like the name Lex Luthor Revenge Squad, a nice riff on the old Superman Revenge Squad. That is very appropriate given the current 'are they partners' plot between Lex and Supes. 

But what is the truth Lex is revealing. I hope we don't hear more about his trying to be a superhero.

Written by JASON AARON
Art and cover by JOHN TIMMS

The shocking second chapter of the Worst Bizarro Story Ever! Jason Aaron’s first time writing Superman sees the Man of Steel trapped in a world gone mad, a Metropolis transformed into the City of Bizarro! While Superman struggles to save the lives of people who despise him, he’s also battling the most powerful Bizarro of all…the one inside his own mind!

Hard to know what to say about this given I have little experience with Jason Aaron. 

I do like John Timms' art and seeing him do a crazy Bizarro story sounds great. Timms shined on Harley Quinn and that was pretty zany.
Written by MARK WAID
Art and cover by DAN MORA
Variant cover by DAVE WILKINS

“Return to Kingdom Come” concludes! With no way back to their own Earth, will Superman and Batman have to witness the tragic events that led to cataclysm—or are they fated to take the place of their doppelgangers?

I have to admit that I have enjoyed this peek into the Kingdom Come world more than I thought I would. I suppose I should have faith in Waid. 

I think we all know that 'our' Superman and Batman won't be trapped there. 

I do wonder how their presence doesn't effect the Kingdom Come timeline though.
Variant covers by BRAD WALKER and JEN BARTEL

The citizens of Metropolis are missing! Looking for an escape, many have fallen victim to Avalon, a new street drug that transports you to a simpler era…the Medieval Times! And turns out that it’s not just a trip you take in your mind, people are being physically transported to this magical plane too! Looks like a job for Power Girl and her new bff, Supergirl?!

Okay ... here I am rolling my eyes again.

This sounds like an issue to 'rest' between arcs.

But now Power Girl and Supergirl are BFF's. 

DC has us on a roller coaster. They're jealous of each other. They're friends. They're jealous of each other. They're friends. Now they're best friends.

I have no idea what to expect because writer Leah Williams has shown no sense of Power Girl's continuity. And if she read Mariko Tamaki's recent Supergirl Special, she'll have no sense of Supergirl's either.

Art and cover by GAVIN GUIDRY
Variant cover by STEVE EPTING

Metallo declares war against Superman on American soil! These two men of steel will duke it out in the nation’s capital, and only one can be declared the winner!

We all knew the Hackman Lex Luthor was going to show up in this book. Here he is in all his glory on the cover.

Looking forward to this.

Written by JOE CASEY
Variant cover by LUCIO PARRILLO

The cosmic tragedy of the House of Zod continues, as New Kandor’s first nuclear family truly goes nuclear! With his newly christened homeworld a prime target for alien invasion, General Zod is forced to mine the darkest depths of his own soul in order to defend it. It’s madness and mayhem on a galactic scale brought to you by the star-crossed team of Casey and McDaid!

It has been a while since we have seen Zod in a comic, a much needed breather for the character.

I forget if the planet they put New Kandor on was a yellow-sun planet or not. I mean, a world of super-powered beings probably can defend itself. 

I sort of like DC putting out super-based minis at a regular clip. Steelworks ends, Kneel Before Zod starts. Now if only we got a Supergirl book. 

Variant cover by JOCK
Variant cover by MICHAEL CHO

The cataclysmic crossover between the DCU and Legendary’s Monsterverse continues!

The Justice League have regrouped after their initial losses and discover nefarious plans by the Legion of Doom AND the League of Assassins are underway to use the Monsters for their evil purposes. As Lois Lane uncovers truths about the monster's identities, the League also learns of a beacon that’s drawing all the creatures to one location…the final battle to save Earth is about to begin!

The first issue sizzled. 

I like the idea of villainous groups using the kaijus for their own nefarious gains. Grodd working with Kong should be a hoot. And I suppose Ra's Al Ghul thinks the monsters 'cleansing the planet' of man fits.

Love that Cho variant. And hope Kara remains a presence. 
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Variant covers by DAN MORA and JAMAL CAMPBELL

They’re bad to the bone, ready to brawl, and the sons of two of the deadliest villains in the galaxy: they’re the Sinister Sons and the DC Universe will never be the same! When the son of General Zod was cast off of his adopted homeworld of New Kandor, Lor-Zod runs afoul of a kid on a mission: Sinson is out to prove he’s got what it takes to live up to the family name of Sinestro! But all is not as it seems, and the sons’ journeys will take them into the heart of darkness in this sensational first issue! Superstar Super Sons scribe Peter J. Tomasi returns to the world of DC youth once again—joined by fan-favorite artist David Lafuente—to craft one of the most dynamic debuts of a duo in DCU history!

I think I'll sample this one.

I miss Super-Sons a ton. Writer Peter J. Tomasi had it all going before Jon got aged up. 

But am I ready for a 'sinister' version? I'm not a fan of Lor-Zod to begin with. And a Sinestro son? When did that happen?

Anyways, I trust Tomasi. So I'll try.

Not a bad month. What did I miss?

Monday, December 4, 2023

Review: Steelworks #6

Steelworks #6 came out last week, the last issue of a very entertaining mini-series focusing on John Henry Irons wondering if he should change his life and rid himself of his Steel persona all while dealing with some revenge-driven people from his past.

Michael Dorn, that's right Worf from Star Trek fame, writes a fun story that has pushed John Henry forward a bit while keeping him pretty much embedded within the super-family. John is worried he is becoming Steel and losing himself. He wants to protect Metropolis making the supers superfluous. He wants to create limitless energy. And he wants to marry Lana. In the end, he realizes that perhaps he doesn't need to change things so dramatically. 

But to get there, he needs to fight the former CEO or Amertek. While all the character stuff about Steel is played seriously, Dorn gives me something I realize now that I needed ... an old school villain. Mr. Walker could walk away with the zero energy generator. Instead he loses his mind, screaming insanity, and being hell bent on revenge with a giant mecha. Glorious!

There is some loose comic book science, done to keep the Kryptonians on the sideline so Steel can save the day. But that also felt classic to me.

Sami Basri and Vicente Cifuentes bring pleasing art to the proceedings. Everyone just looks great. If a 'Lana as Super-Woman' story get put in the Action Comics anthology, I vote they be on art. It all looks top notch here. 

I doubt we'll get a sequel but this was worth it. Kudos to Dorn for stepping in. On to the book.

Friday, December 1, 2023

Review: Action Comics #1059

Action Comics #1059 came out this week and was another fascinating chapter in Phillip Kennedy Johnson's last storyline. The secret of Norah Stone is revealed and alas, this time I was wrong. My guess that Norah Stone was a Warworld refugee and relative of Otho-Ra was incorrect.

Stone and her now super-powered Blue Earth are starting a smear campaign against the Super-family as well as bringing a new brand of vigilante justice to Metropolis. While that is happening, the plot to recruit Otho-Ra to the dark side goes into full swing. For me, Otho is the most interesting character of the issue as we see her struggling to decide which road she will go down in life. In a wonderfully subtle moment, you see how she looks to Kara as a role model. But we are heading to a showdown. Which side will Otho be on?

I also think that Johnson must realize his time on Action Comics is indeed coming to a close. So why not put in all the cool things he has dreamed about in the past. Johnson has talked about his love of Superman Annual #10, so why not have Superman wield a sword during his run!

Rafa Sandoval has the month off but Eddy Barrows comes in and brings a very slick issue. Some very powerful moments here. I usually think of Barrows as the artist I'd want for a super-powered brawl. Here, the moments of Otho-Ra battling on a mental landscape really stand out. Strong stuff. 

As for the back-ups, the New Super-Man story by Gene Luen Yang and Viktor Bogdanovic really crackles. It explains why Kenan is on the team now and not in China. It includes a moment which, I think, is a reference to the Jean Claude Van Damme movie Bloodsport. Big win. The Jon Kent story, written by Dan Parent with art by Marguerite Sauvage, is a little too precious and too light on action for me to like. Someone along the way must have felt we needed a romance comic story here.

I don't quite know why Johnson is leaving Action Comics. He will be missed. On to the book.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Review: Justice League Vs. Godzilla Vs. Kong #2

Justice League Vs Godzilla Vs Kong #2 came out last week and was another pretty brisk and fun read, a sort of comic version of a summer popcorn movie. After reading the first one, I was a giddy mess. I never expected to see these two IP's together in a comic. This issue felt a little more like a standard comic. I was less giddy but no less entertained. This issue set up the plot a little more, gave us the first throwdown, and was (unfortunately) Kong-less. 

Writer Brian Buccellato keeps the plot moving, cranking up the threat of Godzilla. Whether this is the kaiju's actual power level or if he has been amplified by the Toyman isn't known. But we see the giant lizard stand toe to toe with Superman. It sets the table for how big a threat these monsters can be. Add to that a couple of nice side moments, building on the DCU's history as it exists on this Elseworld. There are a couple of hiccups but you still have a winner here.

Artist Christian Duce brings a smooth pleasing style to the book. I am sure that some of the close-ups of Godzilla are probably digitally traced from the recent movies. But the super-hero work here is great. Some characters, like Hawkgirl and Batgirl in particular, really look fantastic. 

We get an out-of-the-blue cliffhanger which might need a little explanation but made me wanting more.

On to the book.

Monday, November 27, 2023

Review: Batman/Superman World's Finest #21

Batman/Superman World's Finest #21 came out last week and was another interesting chapter in this arc which returns us to the Kingdom Come world. Or at least I think it does. 

Our heroes have found Thunderman (former Boy Thunder) on a multiverse world which is quite dark. It looks like the Kingdom Come world. Last issue, the heroes saw that world's future, the graveyard from the gulag being bombed in Kingdom Come #4 was evident. 

From the jump, I have been worried about how this story would impact that story. How could Kingdom Come unfold if those heroes have interacted with our heroes, have heard about Thunderman's rage, that they know about a multiverse? 

I hope writer Mark Waid will be able to put the genie back into the bottle and leave this world sort of untouched. In the meantime, he is doing great work showing us how the events of that world impact the main Batman and Superman. I liked the interactions between the Batmen and Supermen. There is a killer cliffhanger. But between those ups is the down of Gog. That groan you heard was me when I see Superman bending the knee in worship. 

The art by Dan Mora remains an unbelievable high point to this book. He really crushes this whole issue from the knockdown fights to the emotional beats, to the more insane moments of Gog being summoned. Mora is just a force.

Could this whole thing be on a world that is close to the Kingdom Come world but not *THE* Kingdom Come world? Who knows.

On to the book.

Friday, November 24, 2023

Review: Superman #8

Superman #8 came out this week and moved along the plot of The Chained quite well while continuing the subplots that have been percolating from the first issue. There is a little bit of a cheat in the action in this issue, the one thing which sort of brings the efforts down. Still, quite a fun ride, a solid middle chapter. 

Writer Joshua Williamson does a good job here of building up the threat of The Chained, tying the villain into Lex's history and Conner's history. The threat feels real. As this is a Lex villain more than a Superman villiain, this battle leans into the new dynamic between Luthor and Superman, forcing a bit of a team-up. And we get quick peeks at the newer members of the book - Lena Luthor, the Countess, Dr. Pharma and Mr. Graft. Still, the ending of the fight with the Chained is a bit of a stretch on a couple of levels. 

The art is a bit all over the place with Gleb Melnikov, Norm Rapmund, David Balteon, and Jamal Campbell all listed as being on art. I really like Melnikov's grungy, energetic art on the Chained battles. There are nice, bigger panels highlighting some of the action. The cover by Campbell conveys the threat of The Chained, Superman weighed down. 

On to the book!

Wednesday, November 22, 2023

Bullet Review: Amazing Heroes #56 plus Thanksgiving Joy

Happy Thanksgiving to all the Americans out there who celebrate. 

I have an awful lot to be thankful for this year! At the same time, I'll be glad to put 2023 behind me.

But just on Monday, I was thankful to discover a new comic book store opening right near work, Friar Tuck's Comics & Collectibles. The story literally opened 2 days ago so their website is pretty bare:

More about the store at the bottom of the post but something I stumbled across and purchased there was Amazing Heroes #56, a 'super-heroines' issue with a preview of the Supergirl movie. 

Not a bad copy and a great Kevin Nowlan cover.

Here is a cleaner look, not my copy (which is above).

I don't normally post articles like this in their entirety. But it is just over 2 pages of text.

I pretty sure that most people who visit this site realize what a treasure Helen Slater is. This articles just cements is. Hearing from a 20 year old Slater talking about the process of auditioning and preparing for the role once she got it.

I love the anecdote here where she states she didn't even know that Linda Lee was Supergirl. And then, when auditioning as both parts, she said to steel herself she used a school mantra of 'The Obstacle Strengthens the Will.'

She then said the famous line 'You've had your fun Selena, the game is finished!' and got the role. 

I also was pretty impressed with the in-depth discussion of the Slater's physical regimen.

She had muscular legs from all her dancing but was 'slight' in the upper body and so had to go through 3 months of tough workouts to get into shape. 

While most of the article focused on Slater, we do get some info on all the sets built for the movie.

There is a brief discussion about the cast.

But my favorite line is that the plot has been 'jealously guarded'.

The climax will be 'a spectacle of soaring imagination, stunning surprises, and mind-boggling special effects'. 

Now I am very forgiving of the movie. I love Slater. But even I know it is pretty flawed. I know why the plot was 'jealously guarded'.

As for Friar Tuck's, it is a very posh store. 

I was there for opening day and all I can say is that the back issue section is massive. There are tons of wall books and lots of key issues and older key issues in glass cases. Most of the issues are in very good condition and the price reflects that quality.

As for me, in addition to the Amazing Heroes, I also grabbed Dakota North #3 and #5 to complete that run in my collection. Anyone near Boston or Brookline should visit.