Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving - Supergirl Trades

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone here in the states and those that celebrate.

It has been a while since I have had Supergirl content on this here Supergirl blog so I am thrilled to give you this news (and hat tip to excellent friend Mart Gray for sending it my way!).

There are two new Supergirl trades coming out in the near future! 

Here is a link to Bleeding Cool's coverage:

Now the trades themselves are great, showcasing most of the Supergirl stories in the DCAU comics, those based on the Bruce Timm animated shows. 

But for me, and maybe I am grasping at hope or maybe I am looking to give thanks for something, but I have to wonder the timing. Why release two Supergirl specific trades in the near future?

And the only thing I can think of is that there is a new monthly on the horizon. 

How better to promote a new Supergirl book than to put out Supergirl trades showcasing her.

I can dream, can't I?

Even if there isn't a new monthly, I will definitely grab these books. I have covered some but not all of them here over the years.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Back Issue Box: Secret Origins #23

 It was the late 80's and mega-crossovers in comics were still in their infancy.

In 1985 DC had given us Crisis on Infinite Earths, redefining the DCU.

In 1986, DC gave us Legends, a wellspring of ideas and excellent new comics and characters.

In 1987, they gave us Millennium

The concept seemed sound. The Oans and the Zamarons were going to leave the universe in the hands of New Guardians. Their old foes, the Manhunters, were going to stop them and take over instead. And to go about this task, the Manhunters were going to activate sleeper agents they had sprinkled throughout the universe. Who was actually a Manhunter? It was a mystery.

Unfortunately, the actual event fell flat. How flat? Flat enough that I must have given away Millennium at some point. It is no longer in my collection. (And I still have Countdown!)

But one of the things DC must have realized is that the Manhunters as a group weren't well known. How could they be a universal threat? Who the heck were they?

So to bolster the main event along with the crossovers, Secret Origins #22 would focus on the group giving important background information. 

And this is where I come in because this was the post-Crisis reintroduction of Mark Shaw, ultimately Leviathan. With the Crisis behind us, changes could be made to continuity. Who was Shaw? Did things play out the same?

Let's find out.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Who's Who XVIII - The Privateer

In my quest to review the history of Mark Shaw as (hopefully) the sequel to Event Leviathan is around the corner, I recently showcased his story in the Justice League of America comics from the late 1970's. 

Within a year, writer Steve Englehart and artist Dick Dillin had rolled the Jack Kirby 1st Issue Special Manhunter idea into Green Lantern mythology. He then re-introduced Shaw as the Privateer only to have him turn villain.

That was 1977!

So where did he turn up next?

Well, in Who's Who, the Definitive Handbook of the DC Universe.

For 9 years Shaw stayed in comic limbo.

And even when he showed up, it was only as an entry in this, not a story. The art is by Stan Woch and is a decent representation of the Privateer identity. I do like that the surprint shows us Shaw in his Manhunter gear as well as the Star-Tsar.

It wouldn't be until Millennium in late 1987 that Shaw shows up again, predominantly in Suicide Squad and then his own book. 

No surprise it is Millennium we see him again. It is, after all, a Steve Englehart story about Manhunters. I'll be looking at Shaw's Secret Origin one more time as well as his time on the Suicide Squad.

But as I dive in so much of Event Leviathan begins making sense. His speech pattern. His claiming to be a hero. His hatred of secrets (maybe hitting too close to home?). His talk with Plastic Man. 

This has been fascinating and I think I have just started peel back the onion.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Back Issue Box: Superman #371, Private Life Of Clark Kent

Hard to believe that I am double dipping on an issue but today I will be looking at Superman #371 again. This time I'll be looking at the back-up story, a Private Life of Clark Kent feature by writer Bob Rozakis and artist John Calnan.

In my early years of reading comics, I loved these Private Life stories, whether in Superman Family or in the main titles as back-up features. These were usually stories with Superman outwitting someone but in his Clark Kent persona. It often involved Steve Lombard getting a come-uppance. But as a kid I liked how Superman occasionally needed to use his wits instead of his fists. 

They also were nice little palate cleansers after the more usual super-heroics that existed in the rest of the issue.

In retrospect, it is interesting that little Anj liked these quiet stories so much.

Now in the last issue of Superman, our hero was depowered and offput by being under an orange sun. So I thought the Private Life of Clark Kent in this issue would be fun to look at.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

February 2021 Solicits

February's DC Solicits were released last week. While there is a glut of Future State books, the second of this two month experiment, there are a few other books out there worth peeking at. But this is a Supergirl blog so here is a link to those books: 

Now I don't think I am going much of this side trip to future worlds. In fact I am way more interested in seeing March's solicits. That will be the new norm for DC after the recent layoffs. And looking at the Future State books I do worry that these are books that have agendas. It takes something special to make books with an agenda be story-driven and not agenda-driven.

But here we go.


card stock variant cover by ALEX GARNER

The moon colony built around Superwoman's Fortress of Solitude is under siege! Shape-shifting aliens have come to this place of peace in search of Lynari, a refugee from their homeworld. It's a bad move on the part of these intergalactic bad guys: if Kara Zor-El offers you sanctuary, there's no way she's going to let anyone get their monstrous hands on you. Let's just hope this gamble is worth it, because Lynari's secret—the one that got her in trouble in the first place—could mean bad news for everybody!

So perhaps this is an agenda book about refugees, undocumented aliens, and the need to welcome people running to freedom from oppression.

The question for me is 'will this be a Supergirl story'? Or is this a story about refugees and undocumented people?

We shall see.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Back Issue Box: Justice League Of America #150

Get ready True Believers because I am about to finish the first leg of my deep dive into the character of Mark Shaw, aka Leviathan, as I prep for (hopefully) Event Leviathan Checkmate

This leads us to Justice League of America #150, cover dated January 1978. This is the big turning point for our character. It is here that I feel you get the foundation of his turn to Leviathan. Of course, hard to know if any of this actually happened in current DC continuity. But the overall feel of the character is there. 

This also is the beginning of Mark Shaw's comic book hiatus until 1987!

Interestingly enough, this is also the end of Steve Englehart's run on Justice League of America. I don't know if this was by choice or by edict. In some ways the Shaw story here is wrapped up exceptionally quick which makes me wonder if Englehart wanted to draw this out that plot a bit more.

As usual, the art here is done by JLA veteran Dick Dillin. You get the feeling that Englehart put some bonuses in here for Dillin given it was the writer's last issue and it is #150, a sort of Anniversary number. But there are also parts of this story which are completely bizarre, allowing Dillin to open up a little bit.

So ... what happens to Mark Shaw aka Manhunter aka Privateer ultimately Leviathan. Let's find out.

Friday, November 13, 2020

Review: Superman #27

Superman #27 came out this week and was another example of why I will be missing Brian Michael Bendis when he is off the super-titles. Throughout his run, we have seen Superman as a symbol of hope and goodness and this issue is a perfect example of that. You want to root for this Superman. You want to be this Superman. 

All that characterization is folded into the Synmar Utopica storyline. While this arc is an interesting way to compare and contrast the concept of super-men analogues, I haven't warmed up to the Synmar character yet. I don't quite understand his motives. I don't understand his powers. I don't know what happened in the conclave of his people that spurred this whole thing on. (Although I have a theory I will share at the end.)

I have complimented Ivan Reis and Danny Miki before on their art on the title. But they continue to stun me. This is a crazy issue in choatic dimensions and alien environments. This is a slugfest. And then in the middle we have a quiet scene between Lois and Lana. It all just sizzles on the page. Once again, I have to mention Alex Sinclair's colors. Synmar is vibrant. His halo energies dazzling. And there is one sequence of space travel which is just brilliant.

Just one more month. Will this all get wrapped up?

On to the book.