Thursday, January 19, 2017

Supergirl #6 Bengal Variant - Superman #233 Homage - Edited

A couple of days ago, Steve Orlando tweeted out this pic (from Comicosity), the Bengal variant of Supergirl #6.

If you know me at all, you can imagine how over the moon I was at this image.

Everything about this works - the smile on Supergirl's face as she smashes these chains, the links flying everywhere, the power in this pose! It is just perfect.

And it is even more perfect because it is clearly an homage to one of my favorite comics of all time!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Review: Superwoman #6

Superwoman #7 came out last week and was something of an overstuffed and semi-confusing issue. One of my compliments about this book is that Phil Jimenez (as is his style) tends to really fill his issues with story. Between scene changes, inset panels, and strong dialogue, a Jimenez issue often feels like two issues. It isn't coincidence that Superwoman tends to be the last review I do the week it comes out. It takes me that long to digest.

But this issue felt as if Jimenez tried to put a bit too much into the issue without as much explanation or discussion as felt I needed. Things seem to happen and we move on before we learn why what happened happened. So why does the Superwoman Bizarro break free? Why is that Bizarro inexplicably ripped in half in one panel but whole a page later? What did Lena learn from the Kryptonite Man? When did Natasha make an squadron of armors? Etc etc.

It also doesn't help that another aspect of this story is to build up Lena at the expense of Lex. I just commented in my review of Action that Dan Jurgens is making me rethink Lex as a possible hero. Here, perhaps to narrate a hot political topic, we learn that Lex takes credit for Lena's work, steals her ideas, and is only who he is because of Lena. And I don't know if I need that wrinkle in Lex's story. Why play out feminism issues in Lex's origin, something pretty firmly set? Why not use all that story for a different villain with less history? It is a good story to be told but maybe not with Luthor.

The art is a mix of Jimenez, Jack Herbert, and Matt Santorelli and they do well mixing in the action sequences and talking scenes.

But still, I left this issue a bit reeling. I don't necessarily know what truly happened here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Review: New Super-Man #7

Since its inception, I have been enjoying the New Super-Man book. This book is a sort of wonderful mix of political intrigue, teenage angst, humor, and action from writer Gene Luen Yang. Where was all of this in 'The Truth'? Last issue ended the first arc with the Chinese Freedom Fighters defeated and the new Justice League united in uncovering all the dirty secrets of Dr. Omen and the Ministry of Self-Reliance.

New Super-Man #7 starts a new arc and really kicks it off in a great way. Remember, we have been thrown into the lives of these characters. We have a very good understanding of the personality of the Bat-Man and this book's Wonder Woman. But we know nothing of their back story. We don't know all their motivations. And so with this next arc, it looks like Yang is going to flesh out this world.

It also looks like Yang is going to upgrade or modernize the character of I Ching, the guru from Denny O'Neil's runs on Superman and Wonder Woman in the 1970's. I really look forward to see where this plotline is heading.

The art on this issue is by Billy Tan and his take is a much smoother, polished take on this world than usual artist Viktor Bogdanovic. While I have enjoyed Bogdanovic's inkier, scratchier stuff, this issue really sparkles. I wouldn't mind seeing Tan on the book as an official fill-in now and then.

On to the book.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Review: Action Comics #971

When I first heard that Lex Luthor was going to 'star' in the Rebirth Action Comics as Superman, I cringed. I was yearning for old fashioned excellent Superman stories. Rebirth seemed like the right time to return to greatness. Why give Lex the title?

Well, it turns out my concerns were misguided. Superman is definitely the lead in this book. But Lex is definitely an important supporting cast member. Rather than a 'twice a year' villain with a new gizmo, Lex is part of Superman's life, part of Metropolis' elite, and out in the open.

I sometimes miss the days of the conniving, hiding Luthor biding his time to unleash something horrific. But I have to grudgingly admit that since Rebirth I have been interested in Luthor and his character. There are layers here ... whether onion or parfait ... and peeling him back to try to get to his core has been a very engaging read.

Action Comics #971 continued the 'Trial of Lex Luthor' storyline in which Luthor is being tried for crimes he has yet to commit. Hearing Luthor plead his innocence and seeing him hope for a Superman rescue has been intriguing. But this issue, we flip things on their head. Suddenly it is Superman that needs the saving. It is Superman who might be judging people too harshly. And it is Lex who has to stand up as the hero. And that is fascinating.

I live for the day when villains can all be villains and not have sympathetic back stories. But if I am going to be reading this sort of Lex, a character awash in gray areas, then I am glad it is being written like this.

The art on the book is by Stephen Segovia and I am impressed with his breadth. This issue flips from Metropolis to Nideesi to some unknown jungle world. That can't be easy.

On to the book.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Review: Supergirl #5

Supergirl #5 came out this week and was something of a statement issue for this new direction. Writer Steve Orlando fills this issue with scenes showing Kara's strength, resolve, and her sentiment towards her new world. If you want a primer on who this Supergirl is, you might start here.

One of my minor complaints about this Rebirth book has been the theme of Supergirl needing to recognize Earth as her home and say goodbye to Krypton once and for all. While that is clearly an important aspect of the character's life, it had been told already ... and recently.

I suppose DC might say that not enough people were reading the last title to have it be in the collective memory. After all, one point of Rebirth was to bring in new readers. But for someone invested in the character, some of the ideas bandied about here - Kara missing Krypton, unsure how much she likes Earth, even a little annoyed by the low-tech here - has been well trod material.

Still, I should be lighting a candle here. Based on the things Kara does and says here, it looks like this plot isn't going to linger. We know how Kara feels about Earth now and she sounds pretty resolute in her acceptance and love of the planet. I am thrilled.

Brian Ching brings a real energy to the proceedings too. I have to say I am slowly warming to his style. Some things still irk me a little. But overall, this issue really buzzed art-wise. There was a real dynamic feel that flowed. And there can be no denying that Natalie Dormer is his model for Supergirl. Look at every panel and see if you don't see Dormer there. Uncanny.

On to the book.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Stanhope Sighting

As a longtime Supergirl fan, I am thrilled when creators recognize her history and mythos. When writers throw in nibbles of prior continuity or bring back Supergirl-specific Rogues, it brings a smile to my face.

And it seems like current Supergirl writer Steve Orlando is doing just that. We already saw him name drop  Leesburg   in Midnighter and Apollo. In the Supergirl book, he named the DEO base #252. We saw a glimpse of someone who might be a main universe Belinda Zee.

And now in the Justice League of America: The Atom one shot, Orlando name dropped Stanhope College.

Here at Ivy University, Ryan Choi meets his dude-bro roommate Adam Cray.

Cray almost when to Stanhope for their rugby program. But instead he ended up a Ivy.

Stanhope College!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Back Issue Review: Supergirl #8 (1972)

This week I re-watched the Supergirl show episode titled 'Medusa', the mid-season finale for the show. Thankfully, the show returns in a couple of weeks.

But the idea of Supergirl and Medusa in the episode reminded me of Supergirl #8, from way back in 1972. This is a story where Supergirl fought the literal Medusa, not a virus named after the Greek gorgon of myth. And it is such a ridiculous story, I felt that I needed to share.

And trust me, this is pure 1970's comic zaniness. The plot doesn't make 100% sense. It is moves at a rocket pace. More happens in this issue than two years worth of comics these days. We travel the world. And the action is insane. Sometimes you just need to sit back and immerse yourself in the crazy. If you do, you will love this issue.

At the very least, we get to see Hawkman, Batman, and Green Lantern turned into statues. I mean, how can you look at this beautiful Bob Oksner cover and not want to read this!

Get read ...