Friday, January 17, 2020

Review: Legion Of Super-Heroes #3

Legion of Super-Heroes #3 came out this week and after a couple of months of set-up and settling in, we finally got an issue that felt unabashedly Legion to me. There are plots and subplots. There is interlac everywhere. There are romances and teen angst. There's interplanetary politics and super-villains. And there are a lot of Legionnaires in this book.  I was tickled.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis does his usual great job with snappy banter and characterization here. We pick up a lot of information about some of the Legionnaires we haven't really met yet. Everyone seems to have their own personality, a key to a successful Legion book. He even tosses in some Easter Eggs for fans. By far, this is his best issue of Legion yet.

The art is a mix of Ryan Sook's usual amazing work as well as Travis Moore's more thin lined and refined style. The book really crackles. The scenes on Rimbor and with Crav Nah are well paced and laid out beautifully. The characters really seem like individuals and the action is palpable.

After a long time, there really feels like there is a Legion book on the shelves and in my hand! On to the details.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Back Issue Box: Superman Adventures #31

Superman Adventures #31 is the second part of a fun story which includes a dark take on Supergirl, a crazed surviving parent of Supergirl, and perhaps the bleakest ending I have ever seen in an all ages book. I guess is shouldn't be surprised given that Mark Millar of Kick-Ass and Wanted fame is the writer.

The initial impetus to review this story was to once again show that the trope of a Supergirl turned evil had permeated even the all ages continuities. But to be honest, I like how this resonated more with the recent Mr. Oz/evil Jor-El stories that we saw in recent years in the Superman books.

And it is interesting to see all of this Kryptonian fighting Kryptonian given the Zod/Superman fights of recent years as well.

But it is the bonkers ending of this tale that really struck me.

Aluir Amancio is again on art and brings the dynamics of the cartoon series to the page. This is an action heavy issue and despite the 'cartoony' style, Amancio does a good job of showing the destruction that would ensue if Earth had to try and fend off three insane Kryptonians.

On to the book.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Back Issue Box: Superman Adventures #30

It's been a while since I thumbed through the back issue boxes and looked at an issue from the past which somehow resonates with what is happening in comics now.

Once again we are in the midst of a 'dark Kara' run in the world of Supergirl and so I thought I would take a look at Superman Adventures #30 and #31 for yet another take at an evil Supergirl. But these issues resonate even beyond that initiating fact. There is STAR Labs working with dimensional gate technology that overwhelms them. There is a surviving parent of Kal's who has gone dark (much like Jor-El did recently). There is even some life/death issues with the Kents although I don't know if the resurrection in Doomsday Clock has hit the main DCU.

The issue is written by Mark Millar. This is obviously early Millar, before he hit it big with Wanted, Kick Ass, and every other deconstruction of the superhero genre he has done. It is pretty clear, that at least these days, Millar loathes the concept of hero. Interestingly enough, in this story you see he still believes in the heroic ideal but for a kid's book this story is pretty dark.

The art is done by Aluir Amancio in a very Bruce Timm-esque style including some rather saucy appearing panels for Kara and Lois.

These issues are on the DC Streaming App which made my needing to scan a heck of a lot easier. So enjoy the bright colors.

On to the story.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Supergirl's Target Audience?

Last Friday I posted my review of Supergirl #38 and once again lamented how the character seems to be stuck in a  creative vicious cycle.

We get a dark turn for the character.
It isn't well received.
A new creative team comes in and redeems the character.
We get a couple of years of solid stories and solid sales.
The creative team just seems to be hitting their stride.
DC decides to do a dark turn for the character.

I have been running this site for 11 years now ... almost 12 ... and I have had to review that cycle at least 4 times. It is insane. In fact, an impetus for this blog at the time was to try and redeem the character myself, showcasing how great she is.

Anyways, the comments on that review were pretty lively and it took an interesting turn where commenters asked 'who is the target audience for Supergirl?'

I also think you can look at that question differently and ask '?'

And so I thought that I would open this site up for a discussion trying to answer those questions. Of course, I'll start.

Friday, January 10, 2020

Review: Supergirl #38

Supergirl #38 came out this week, another chapter in yet another iteration of something I call 'Dark Kara', the inevitable every 4 yr turn of the crank where DC tries to make Supergirl evil or edgy.

I'm kind of sick of it. And this issue didn't curtail that feeling. In fact, I have gone from really loathing these takes to something worse ... being bored with them. How many times, even within this one continuity, do we have to see Kara dealing with her grief about Krypton by becoming evil or dark or edgy?

From her initial hatred of Earth when she arrived to her teaming up with H'El to her leaving Earth entirely to becoming a Red Lantern to her wielding an axe and nearly killing people to now being infected by the Batman Who Laughs, we have read this story before.

And Dark Kara fighting Diana, which she does in this issue, is also a common response.

Here, Kara bemoans the 'weakness' of humanity for feeling 'safe'. And yet she wants to 'free' people from this weakness by infecting them the way she is. So, becoming evil and not caring about things at all is the cure? And even then, isn't her 'caring' about people to the point she wants to infect them showing that she cares? I don't know.

I'm just sick of reading issues of my favorite character where she is the villain.

That said, the art by Rachel Stott and Inaki Miranda, is beautiful even as it presents Supergirl as a pro-Wrestler or fan of G'War. And Krypto remains a bright spot.

I hope Jody Houser turns this into something worthwhile. But the end can't come soon enough. On to the details.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

DC Comics Presents Pin-Ups

Two of my favorite titles growing up were Brave and the Bold and DC Comics Presents.

Simple team-up books with Batman and Superman, most often done-in-one stories, the titles exposed me to the DC universes by showing me new characters interacting with my favorites. Many of my treasured comics of my youth are from these books.

As I settle into the new place I have been revisiting these books and came across a couple of pin-ups in DCCP which are worth revisiting given the Supergirl focus of the book.

DCCP #38 guest starred the Flash and also had one of the best 'Whatever Happened To?' stories, documenting the last adventure of the Crimson Avenger.

It also marked the first DCCP with the higher price point of 60cents, including 'more pages of story and art'!

I wonder if DC needed to pad the book with a couple more pages given the new price and so tapped George Perez on the shoulder and asked him to do a pin-up of all the guest stars to grace the book since its inception.

The result is a pretty cool double page spread of a boatload of DC Super-Stars!

Pretty cool to see Perez's take on all these stars.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Mike Maihack's 2019 Christmas Comic

Happy New Year to everyone!

One of my favorite parts of the holidays is the annual Mike Maihack Supergirl/Batgirl comic.

Maihack has been making these comics for a decade now! And I have loved them since their inception! Check out my Maihack coverage on the site over the years:

There is a lot to love about these sweet little strips, specifically the built-in continuity he has put in the strip. This is a Barbara who is trying to be 'the Darkness ... the Night' but can't help but let her sweet demeanor sneak out now and then.

We also have seen how Supergirl is over the top sweet, to the point of bringing cookies to the Batman Rogue's gallery one year. That explains their sudden presence at the end of this strip.

But seeing Babs slip up and admit she is friends with Supergirl is fantastic. And the response from Kara is perfect.

I mean the teary-eyed, goofy smile Supergirl in the top panel is just tremendous.

This is the World's Finest team I want to see.

Thanks to Maihack for making me smile as I rang in this new year. His stuff is always a wonderful gift!