Friday, December 13, 2019

Review: Supergirl #37

Supergirl #37 came out this week, the first issue for the new creative team of writer Jody Houser, artist Rachael Stott, and colorist Cris Peter. And, in classic DC Comics fashion, the team is dropped onto the book in the middle of a crossover, this time The Infected plot with the Batman Who Laughs.

No 'Bold New Direction' here. Instead, pick up the book with an evil Supergirl overwhelmed and turned dark. Suffice it to say, I wasn't looking forward to this issue. I am totally sick of the 'Dark Kara' trope, having been played and replayed ad nauseum over the last decade.

Then I read the book.

It shouldn't surprise me that Houser has a decent grasp of the character and already shows that this isn't simply going to be a dive into the grime. After all, she co-wrote the tail end of the Steve Orlando run in this very volume. And here we see a Supergirl who is still trying to do the right thing although in a warped kind of way.

Artist Rachael Stott is new to me but her airy style fits the book nicely. At times veering towards loose penciling, the issue flows nicely. This is a classic 'hero fights hero' issue and Stott rolls out the action in a dynamic way. Add to that Bengal back on covers and vibrant colors by Cris Peter and you have solid art.

The hope, of course, is that this plot goes away quickly and we get to see Supergirl back in her environment. And already Houser is bring back some of the old gang. So I find it amazing that despite the cover treatment and the Road Warrior Kara, I was pretty hopeful after this read.

On to the book.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Supergirl Show 508: Wrath of Rama Khan

After a rocky start it looks like I will finally have caught up with the Supergirl show reviews today meaning I only have my look at the first three parts of Crisis on Infinite Earths left until I can take a deep breath. Thanks for bearing with me.

Supergirl episode 508 had the cute title of Wrath of Rama Khan and really did another great job of pushing forward the two main plots that have been building in recent episodes. One is Lena's turn to the dark side and her mission of mind control. The other is Leviathan and their ecological mission of tamping down humanity's destruction of the Earth.

As I have said, this season has impressed me with just how fast everything is moving. I feel like last season sort of tread water until Lex Luthor showed up. This season you better buckle up. In fact, one major subplot basically ended this episode, an impressive feat.

As usual, the acting here is on point. Many of the events needed to push the plot forward are forced or a little inane if you think about them too much. But otherwise, I really can't complain. This has been a very solid season of Supergirl, perhaps the best season start since we first met these characters way back in Season One.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Supergirl Show 507: Tremors

Well Anj, you promised yourself you'd have caught up with Supergirl in time to live review Crisis on Infinite Earths ...

Best laid plans ...

So for the time being I am going to be continuing/finishing my 'better late than never' show reviews and that brings us to episode 507: Tremors. And boy oh boy, this was a doozy!

One thing I have been applauding about this season is that the writers have pushed many of the character's plots forward rapidly. This episode is no different. In fact, plots I thought for sure would be lingering for the entirety of the season seem to be wrapping up.

I wonder if this show post-Crisis is going to be so different that this will be sort of like 2 seasons in one. Leviathan is suddenly emerging as the main baddie. I suppose the Lena issue will be the one thread to course through both sides of the show.

Anyways, I know I am a month late but there is a scene at the end of this episode between Lena and Supergirl that is just such an emotional gut punch and so well acted that I feel it should be up on television yearly recap shows. Just brilliant. In particular, Katie McGrath nails all the emotions roiling inside Lena. Wonderful.

On to the show!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Review: Lois Lane #6

Lois Lane #6 came out last week, the halfway mark of this maxi-series written by Greg Rucka with art by Mike Perkins.

The series has been interesting as it has been telling a handful of stories, slowly building the plotlines around government corruption and a murdered Russian journalist. It also has been something of a Journalism 101 class. And it has been a showcase on Lois herself - her skills, her emotions, her integrity.

This issue the plotlines take a back seat as Rucka takes the time to show us more of Lois' relationship, strained though it may be, with her father. Sam Lane died in Event Leviathan. And that certainly is an event that should be delved into more.

Now one thing has been clear for decades and for different continuities. Sam and Lois seldom saw eye to eye. Sam's xenophobia smacked against Lois' love of Superman time and again. But Sam was also, at times, a bit old fashioned in his views on politics and gender. This General Lane seemed to be a little different. He seemed more open to different viewpoints, at least listening, even if he reverted to his old ways.

In fact, I would say that the Lois/Sam relationship these days was one of begrudging respect and extended hands. They seemed to want to rebuild. But that was taken away. Overall this is an interesting look at the relationship with peeks back into their history.

Perkins does his best here, trying to bring some weight to scenes which are for the most part people talking. Some of the expressive work here looks a little strained. But again, the style fits the book perfectly.

Onto the particulars.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Review: Batwoman/Supergirl World's Finest 100-Page Giant #1 - 'Sister,Sister'

Last week I reviewed 'Exit Interview' from the Batwoman/Supergirl World's Finest 100 Page Giant. Today I will review the actual team-up story inside this issue. I have to assume that somehow this issue was done given the Batwoman/Supergirl power hour on the CW these days. For me, Batgirl will always be Supergirl's World's Finest partner, not Batwoman. But I am happy any time we see some Supergirl promotion these days.

The story titled 'Sister Sister' is written by Margaret Stohl with art by Laura Braga. It follows a similar team-up story thread. The two heroes are both tracking a crime separately. They mistake each other for enemies and attack each other. Then the team up to win the day, getting a friendly farewell in. Certainly this had a classic feel.

It is the characterization that I sometimes felt was off. Supergirl seems to have little joy in her, doing her acts of heroic out of sense of obligation, like it is forced duty. I don't read much Batwoman but she is really snarky here. I am used to the Bat-characters being more sullen and quiet, so maybe this is spot on.

Braga just did the Supergirl Annual #2 and there drew a very young Kara. Here she shows the slightly older character we are used to. She brings a nice style to the proceedings here. In particular, I liked her take on the Batwoman villain Alice.

On to the story.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Review: Batwoman/Supergirl 100 Page Giant - 'Exit Interview'

The Batwoman Supergirl World's Finest 100-Page Giant came out this week and was something of a delight for me. I'll be reviewing the new Supergirl material here at the site including the team-up story tomorrow. But I think this book is a winner overall all and well worth the $4.99 cover price. Heck, the beautiful Joelle Jones cover alone might be worth it.

But the real treat for me was the new Supergirl solo story titled 'Exit Interview' by writer Andrea Shea and artist Mike Norton.

I very much like the early stories in the Supergirl title when Rebirth happened. There was a re-inventing of her character by Steve Orlando to make Kara a hero, a defender of Earth again. The 'Help, Hope, and Compassion for All' mantra was there.

But one thing that I struggled with was how the title tried to be everything we know about the comic Kara as well as throw in some of the things we know about the TV Supergirl. So she was an intern at CatCo and a DEO agent but also a high school student and a new hero. That was a lot.

This story seems to end one of those threads while starting a new one.

And while I don't know much of Shea's works, I think she captures Kara's voice nicely here. There are echoes of Silver Age Supergirl in some of the dialogue but in a good way.

Mike Norton delivers as he usually does. There are great emotional moments here as well as some action shots. All are done solidly, especially the expressive work.

On to this delightful story!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Bullet Review: Green Lantern Blackstars #2

I freely admit that I am a Grant Morrison fan, the odd mix of acolyte and apologist. I find most everything he writes interesting even though it often is impenetrable. I have decided that reading a Grant Morrison comic is akin to sitting in a thunderstorm. It is exciting. And you just have to let the experience wash over you.

But even when Morrison is at his most inscrutable you can tell he loves comics and reveres the concept of hero. His love of Superman is palpable. And he wants to honor the past.

His current Green Lantern comic is a typical Morrison book. It is pretty trippy. It is often more about the myth and location than it is about Hal Jordan. And I love it.

Currently, we are in the midst of a side story in the book. Hal Jordan has joined the Blackstars, a cult who follow a being named Mu who hopes to bend the universe to his will, a way to protect people. Hal has seemingly abandoned his ring, taking the name Parallax, and is out there with the conquerors.

Green Lantern Blackstars #2 came out yesterday.

I am surprised DC allowed it to be published.

Because in it, Morrison gives a withering, blistering castigation of the state of comics today, in particular DC.

And, of course, I loved it.

Get ready to ride the wave.