Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Supergirl Episode 323: Battles Lost And Won



The season finale to the third season of Supergirl, an episode titled 'Battles Lost and Won', aired this week and like many episodes in this latter half of the year, this one had it's ups and downs. Perhaps the title of the episode was a bit metatextual.

The main problem for me about this episode was that so many plotlines needed to be addressed that each seemed to feel rushed in getting to their conclusion. I almost wish these last two episodes were done over the course of three episodes, this way we could have time to see more of the emotional fallout to what was happening.

The next problem? Well, because we had to wrap up character plotlines, many of the main plotline of Dark Witches and Reign got wrapped up even faster with a lot of comic book science and lack of explanations. Some pretty weird things happen in this episode.

And when you have those problems, I tend to look at some of the scenes and wonder if time would be better spent elsewhere.

So what did I like. Well, the action sequences and effects were very well done. The actual resolutions of the character plotlines were, for the most part well done. I am glad where we ended up; I just wanted more journey. And there are a couple of good set-ups for season 4 already.

One last thing I feel I need to say is that none of the things I felt were locks for the end of this season actually happened. I am a lousy prognosticator.

On to the show.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Review: New Super-Man & The Justice League Of China #24

New Super-Man and the Justice League of China #24 came out this week, the last issue of this book, and I am sad to see it go.

I wasn't sure what I was going to get when I bought issue #1 of this book. Writer Gene Luen Yang was writing the main Superman book taking it in a direction I didn't like. But I figured with the name Super-Man, I was obligated to give it a shot.

What I have read for the past two years has been, month in and month out, an entertaining and complex book. Yang has had the luxury of giving us DC archetypes through an Asian lens, so it is both comfortable and new. He has looked back at some of the uglier sides of early DC comics and put them into a modern context. He infused Asian mythology into these new characters, especially in my favorite character of Wonder Woman. But most of all he has given us a young hero in Kenan Kong, a school bully lashing out because of his own familial problems and dropped onto the hero's journey. It has been a tightrope walk of action, politics, and comedy but somehow the book pulled it off. Never preachy, stodgy, or boring, I looked forward to seeing this book in my pull file. This issue was Yang's chance to say goodbye and push Kenan farther down the road of that journey.

We have had great artists on the book the whole time but Brent Peeples. His style definitely has grown over the time here. He also has had to deftly jump from silliness to earth-shattering action and has done so extremely well.

So long New Super-Man, I'll miss you.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Review: Wonder Woman #48


Wonder Woman #48 came out last week, an issue in which Diana appears on exactly one page. Critics (including me) have bristled a bit about Wonder Woman's secondary role in her own book since James Robinson took over and this issue is probably the strongest evidence of that. In reality, this should be called DC Comics Presents: Jason and Supergirl.

But as a fan of Robinson, in particular his run on Justice League of America - a team where Kara was the muscle, I enjoyed this issue. This read a lot like one of those JLA issues. I don't know if that is praise for the story or criticism for the complete lack of Wonder Woman in her own book. The super-powerful villains of the piece just disappear in the middle so heroes can talk a lot. But if comics are supposed to entertain me, this one did. Your mileage may vary but this is a Supergirl blog and this was a Supergirl heavy issue.

Jesus Merino is on art and I've always liked his style, thin-lined and precise. There's a lot of 'standing around chatting' in this book but he brings some character and expression to the proceedings. And this Jenny Frison variant of an all-female hero group is just gorgeous. I very much like how Supergirl looks younger here, appropriately.

On to the issue.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Review: Man Of Steel #3


The Man of Steel #3 came out this week, marking the halfway point of this opening arc of the Brian Michael Bendis era for Superman. Anyone who comes to this site knows I had some concerns about this takeover. Everything seemed to be going right for the Superman books. Why should DC rock the boat?

Three issues in and I can say that I am very pleased with what Bendis is doing here. This doesn't detract from the Jurgens/Tomasi/Gleason stuff. It just means that Bendis seems to be embracing all that Superman is much as those prior teams did. There are pitch perfect moments in this issue that just sang to me. If you like classic Superman or if you like Modern Superman or if (like me) you like both, you are in good hands here.

I also have to add that I worried about what this changeup would mean for Supergirl in particular. After all, this is a Supergirl site first and foremost. This issue features Supergirl prominently and, again, I am very pleased. There is an easy camaraderie between the cousins here, a familiarity that I haven't sensed between them for a long long time. They clearly know each other, have fought with each other, and love each other. So that pushes this issue that much higher in my mind.

Add to all this the glittery artwork of Ryan Sook, one of my all time favorites, and you have a winning issue. Things travel fast. There is a lot of wordless pages here. But they punctuate the powerful emotional beats.

Bendis is here! So far so good.

On to the book.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Supergirl Episode 322: Make It Reign


The penultimate episode of Supergirl season three, titled 'Make it Reign' aired this week and it felt like things were sprinting to the end. There are a number of plotlines that need to be tied up before this is over. And, of course, we have the main villains, the Dark Kryptonian Witches of Juru and their agent Reign to deal with.

I have been trying to wrap my head around this season as a whole as we near the end. This mental exercise has given me a headache. Because there has been so much to love about this season. We got a flashback episode, the Legion of Super-Heroes, Argo City, a supervillain threat in Reign with a compelling back story, a ton of comic Easter eggs, and the wonderful theme of Kara needing to embrace her humanity and accept Earth as her home. Heck, we got Streaky! All of this has been wonderful.

But the counterbalance to that has been a Mon-El subplot which has been cringe worthy. I have never been hardcore anti-Mon but seeing he and Kara do this romantic dance knowing he is a married man is just horrible. And we have had to deal with a few episodes with politics delivered so heavily and clunky that the message went over like a lead balloon. There were times when Supergirl felt like a guest on her own show, saved by other people more than saving the day. And because of this, small things which shouldn't matter seem to magnify in my mind.

This episode moved the Reign plot forward, giving us a bit of an info dump, giving us an upcoming deus ex machina, and some unnecessary angst for a supporting character. I can only hope it all ties up nicely.

And I am trying to light a candle and curse the darkness in this up and down review.

On to the show.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Review: Injustice #24

In many ways, I feel remiss in not collecting Injustice 2 on a monthly basis.

I came at that decision honestly. I am not a video game player. I am sick to death of Elseworlds where Lois is killed and Superman a fascist. So the basic premise seemed off. So not pulled.

And yet, I keep hearing that Supergirl ends up the hero of the piece. And I absolutely loved what Tom Taylor did on All-New Wolverine. And I have, based on cover and buzz, picked up the odd issue here and there and really enjoyed the book. For example,  Injustice 2 #13.

And so I decided when I saw the cover of Injustice 2 #24 a couple of weeks ago that it was worth picking up. I am so glad I did. It is almost the perfect to pick up after Injustice 2 #13 because the seeds of Kara's heroics planted in that story come to fruition here. And with a lot of panache.

Taylor gives us a world under assault from Amazo and there is only one hero out there to save the day ... Supergirl. And that plot will always make me happy.

Bruno Redondo is on art and that name is new to me. He brings a clean style to the proceedings but with some nice flourishes here and there which elevate the work.

If you are a Supergirl fan, you should pick this one up.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

DC Nation #1


The second issue of DC Nation, the company-made fan magazine, came out this week and I have to say as a fan of DC, I was impressed.

First off, the price. Free!

Second, it is 48 pages of high gloss, gorgeous art and news. It isn't just 'Direct Currents', although the latest solicits are in there. There are interviews. There are small pieces where you get to 'meet' the creators and staff. There are process pages. There is concept art.

For someone who loves comics, loves seeing the creative process, loves hearing from the creators, this is a perfect vehicle for all things DC.

I wonder how long they can keep up something of this quality or size. I can imagine it eventually being 20 pages or $1 or both.

But until then, I am going to drink it all in. Especially when I learn a little more about my favorite characters and upcoming books.

For example,