Thursday, May 23, 2019

DC Superhero Girls #Beeline

I know that I am beginning to sound like a broken record (a dated reference if there ever was one) but this new take on DC Superhero Girls is a ton of fun and I love it.

As I have said since its debut, the show is a great mix of action and humor. There are deep cuts to the DCU. There is a dollop of adult humor and references, the sort of things to keep the grown-ups happy. And there are messages of pride, empowerment, and inclusion ... but the stories drive the messages, not the other way around.

All the kudos to Lauren Faust for this injection of adrenaline into this franchise.

Take, for example, the latest long form episode airing on the Cartoon Network, #Beeline.

This is a story of Bumblebee learning to be strong, be proactive, and embrace being a hero, someone who puts the well being of others over herself. But we have to get there.

We also get a version of the Legion of Doom and end with a classic superhero trope, the villains and heroes running towards each other.

But the episode opens with a dramatic shot of the heroes running towards the camera, racing to get somewhere 'before its too late!'

What is the threat?

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Supergirl 422: Quest For Peace

The Supergirl season 4 finale, episode 422 'Quest for Peace', aired this week and just blew me out of the water. The show just nailed it.

When you look at the season as a hold, I can't help but feel that this was the strongest of the bunch. Yes, some early episodes did struggle with this show's occasional clunky, ham-fisted writing. It was clear there was an agenda to the season and that agenda seemed to overwhelm the story rather than supplement.

And then Lex Luthor happened.

Jon Cryer's performance was like an adrenaline injection. His first two episodes were brilliantly crafted. You definitely felt Lex's presence in the next couple of episodes as the characters all seemed to be scrambling to catch up to the schemes. And then this episode which tied it all together! Amazing.

Moreover, all the plotlines tied up nicely, even if some of them were obvious.

And then, the teases for next season. Just incredible. I can't believe I have to wait months to see where all of these new plot lines are going!!

I don't think I have ever been this happy about a Supergirl season or its finale. Wow.

On to the show.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

DC Comics August Solicitations

The DC solicits for August came out and there are a number of things that stood out to me. You can check out all the books over on Newsarama here:

One thing I will say is that I don't have much interest in the Super Sons novels or the Miller/Romita Superman Year One, so no coverage of that here.

For me, this is definitely the summer of Leviathan as I am all in on this plot. For one, it is fresh and new. As a grizzled fan, I love anything that true feels innovative. And this crossover event, a sort of street level, not galactic/universal, feels very new.

As it is the year of the villain, the title logos of the super-books are all getting busted up, an effect I always like. We also get Lois and Jimmy!

Add to that a reset on the Supergirl book and the summer can't get here soon enough.

On to the books.

written by MARC ANDREYKO
card stock variant cover by DERRICK CHEW

After a year in space solving the mystery of Krypton’s demise, Supergirl returns to Earth to discover that everything she knew as Kara Danvers is gone! Plus, the usurper Brainiac-1 has set his sights on the unsuspecting Girl of Steel – and his plans are far from benevolent! ON SALE 08.14.19

So Kara is back home. But all of Kara Danvers is gone?

Is Andreyko erasing the 2 years of stories we got from Steve Orlando and Jody Houser? Seems wrong. I was hoping we'd pick up that continuity. Maybe I am ringing the alarum too early.

I like Brainiac as a villain for Supergirl given she truly lived through the Kandor event.

Let's hope she stays on Earth, isn't a rager, and acts the hero.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Review: Superman #11

Superman #11 came out this week, The Unity Saga: The House of El part 5. With Event Leviathan around the corner, the time has come to reunite the El Family and time to finish up the Rogol Zaar storyline which began back in last May's Man of Steel.

Brian Michael Bendis has a lot of plot threads out there that have been simmering along. Rogol Zaar's history and motivations are still unknown. General Zod and Superman's visions of the future have blipped in and out. Superboy being gone and now older is just being addressed. Jor-El being alive (sigh) and deranged (sigh) has been running through this book since before Bendis took over. Most interesting is that all these plots are interwoven. So this arc seems like it is going to tie off all the plot threads into a neat bow.

As for the events of this issue, I love Superman's presence in the galaxy, a known hero who is able to shut down a battle quickly. And the last page is winner both in image and words.

This is a wide screen issue which takes place during an intergalactic brawl between four factions. There are two page splashes. There are half page panels. There are giant images spanning two pages with smaller panels around that anchor. Big action deserve big art. Ivan Reis with Joe Prado and Oclair Albert really convey the scope and size of the action.

I do feel like Leviathan is building some momentum for the DC books across the board. That said, I hope the ending of this story doesn't feel rushed!

On to the book.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Leviathan Theory


Please settle down as this may be a rambling post.

It will be an attempt for me to put into words my theory on who Leviathan is. Or maybe more like who are in the group Leviathan.

But it will be trying to connect thoughts and feelings and guesses I have been working through as clues and scenes unfold. And in that way, it will be akin to a neural map of my mind, the blogging equivalent of a conspiracy theory connected by yarn and thumb tacks.

At its essence it boils down to this inescapable Watchmen feeling that is draped over everything. And you know when the Watchmen are discussed in comics, you need to remember their origins, the Charlton heroes they were based on.  And when you think about those heroes, you need to think about their histories in DC Comics.

And so I beg you to stay with me here, as I lay out the crumbs of my case, hoping I can sweep them together in your mind and form a cake.

I also freely admit that this very well could represent anchoring bias. Anchoring bias is when you make a conclusion early on and then twist all further incoming information (even ignoring new information) so that it fits your conclusion. I made a leap early. And this is my anchor.

On to the details.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Supergirl 421: Red Dawn

Supergirl Episode 421, title 'Red Dawn' aired this week and basically blew me out of the water. It was amazing. This episode marked writer Eric Carrasco's last work on the Supergirl series and he went out with a bang, pushing the gas pedal down. Everything is screaming to the finale. Amazing.

There was almost too much to love about this episode, stuff I will cover when I get into the details/recap.

The Alex/Kara moments here were extremely powerful. Their ending scene made me choke up a bit. And getting the young actors who played them in the Midvale episode back was a nice touch. The flashbacks helped flesh out the ending of the Alex memory storyline.

Brainy gets a great turn in this episode as he overcomes his awkward emotions in the least desirable way. I guess Brainiac's like to bottle things up too much. The pressure got to him.

The final fight between Red Daughter and Supergirl drew on Sterling Gates, Crisis on Infinite Earths, and Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. Phenomenal.

Ben Lockwood might be heading to a mini-redemption. Although I think he wouldn't care how he got where he got, just that he got there.

And despite all that, my favorite scene was one between Lena and Lillian Luthor, filled with love, death, poisoning, and snark! Kate McGrath and Brenda Strong deserve a bottle episode of their own.

I do have to say that the back end of this season has been spectacular. Probably the best second half of a Supergirl season to date. On to the specifics!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

DC Superhero Girls #HardRock

While long episodes on Cartoon Network remain surprisingly sparse, the DC Superhero Girls minisodes on YouTube continue to flourish and remain a brief 3 minute respite from the doldrums of every day life. (Although a recent full episode on CN did have a 'Legion of Doom' style nemesis group! Sure to cover at some point!)

The latest minisode, called #HardRock is now up here:

It is clear that each of the main characters has a dominant personality trait that drives their characterization. This episode again focuses on how Diana is a stranger in a strange land, getting used to metaphors, idioms, and what consists of normal behavior here in the States.

That sort of trope can be endlessly mined for humor. And here it is no difference.

Supergirl's personality is to be rebellious. Here we again see that she is a hard rocker. And so bringing Diana into a punk concert is a recipe for hilarious disaster.

So get ready for a wild ride as we venture into the Lazarus Pit, a hard rock cafe.

(And how great is it that the club is called the Lazarus Pit, a nice Easter Egg for folks who get it.)