Monday, April 12, 2021

Tom King Tweet

News continues to leak out about the upcoming Supergirl:World of Tomorrow mini-series.

Last week, Tom King posted this alternate cover of the first issue drawn by Gary Frank as well as an interesting tidbit within the tweet itself. But more on that later. For now, let's look at the cover.

First off, I am a long time Gary Frank fan, especially his take on Supergirl. I was there when Peter David's solo title hit the racks with some great Frank art. And I loved his take on the new Kara in Geoff Johns' Action Comics run, including the Brainiac storyline.

More recently, I have thought that his characters look a bit gaunt and haggard. Not so here.

Supergirl looks strong, fit, and healthy. I like that her hair looks like the wind is blowing through it, her cape billowing. And she looks fierce.

We finally get to see the 'vengeful young girl' who is the key to this mini-series. She looks very young, despite the Amazon-like armor. And the alien vegetation and the barbarian archer in the background gives us a sense of the planet she comes from.

But poor Krypto! He looks outright despondent. Maybe he is sad that Kara once again is going off-planet and wondering about her life. Can't I get a Supergirl series where she is simply an Earth-based super-hero, bright and inspirational?

Anyways, on to the tweet.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Supergirl Show #602 Review: A Few Good Women

Supergirl episode 602 came out this week and was titled 'A Few Good Women'. My guess is the title is a bit of a riff on the movie 'A Few Good Men'. In that movie, Tom Cruise tricks Jack Nicholson into admitting his crimes and thus making sure some justice is meted out.  We'll see how that plays out here.

Basically, the episode has three plots running through it. 

One is the remaining heroes trying to rescue Supergirl out of the Phantom Zone by breaking into it. This is a solid plot showing how the loss of Supergirl has impacted all of these supporting characters. I think I said it here but my sense is this season will have a bit of a 'Funeral For A Friend' feel to it. We will learn what these characters feel as they cope with the loss of Supergirl.

The second plot is Supergirl adapting to the Phantom Zone and trying to figure out a way to break free. She meets someone close to her within the Zone in a twist that has a sort of comic relevance to it. Guess it isn't spoilers to say it here in the introduction. She meets Zor-El. And that is pretty cool.

But it is the last plot which I find truly fascinating. Lex Luthor is on trial. We see how Andrea, Lena, Lillian, and even Eve Tessmacher are dealing with this.  This is definitely setting up one of the major plots of the season. And given the political bent of this series, no surprise it has a Trumpian feel to the villains.

Before we get into details, I have to say the acting in this episode was brilliant. Melissa Benoist is just a superstar, showing great emotional depth. Chyler Leigh wears her heart on her sleeve when dealing with her sister's absence. But Branda Strong and Katie McGrath steal the show with their cunning Luthor-ness.

On to the details.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Leviathan Wednesday: Manhunter #22

Welcome to Leviathan Wednesday where I look at Mark Shaw's history to try and see how he eventually becomes the mega-villain (or mega-hero depending on your viewpoint) Leviathan.

I have been reviewing the 1980s Manhunter series recently and have been intrigued about how much of it revolves around honor, masks and hidden identities, stolen technology, and cult behavior. It has really been a good foundation on why Shaw would take the turn he did.

Based on the perceived importance of the storyline in this series, I have reviewed several issues or just one.

Manhunter #22 is an issue that demands being viewed upon on its own. Written by John Ostrander and Kim Yale with art by Grant Miehm, this issue is, in a word, crazy. I have read it several times and I am not sure I follow exactly what is going on. We get a new retelling of the Manhunter army origin, a new wrinkle added into the mix explaining the Lionhead Shan which is key to their organization, and a sort of revamp/polishing of Shaw's character.

To be honest, using retrospect, I actually wonder if this story takes place mostly in Shaw's mind, which would dovetail nicely into the Leviathan history. 

Buckle up for a psychedelic, hallucinogenic ride! Here comes Saints and Sinners part 5!

Monday, April 5, 2021

Review: Future State Imperious Lex Vs Superman

Future State finally came to an end last week with Superman Vs. Imperious Lex #3. I have to admit, I enjoyed each issue of this mini-series more than the last and this ending was pretty much pitch perfect. I know I sort of was irked at the first issue as an 'agenda book with a story' but now I wonder if I just didn't have enough coffee that morning I wrote the review.

It is clear that writer Mark Russell is writing this with Lex as a Donald Trump analogue. It isn't subtle. But 20 years from now, with Trump hopefully less in the news cycle, you can read this simply as showing how a dictator and propaganda can warp people's minds. Still, with Trump still fresh in my head at least, the metaphors are obvious.
And while this is a one-sided story, Russell puts enough in the narrative to basically say that anyone inundated with one viewpoint of news is going to become lost. In fact, it is Superman who continues to be the beacon here, talking about mercy and keeping your mind on what you are fighting for, while still recognizing sometimes you need to fight.

Steve Pugh is solid on art. His page construction with panels and shadows is nicely done showing the craziness of the story and people's mindset. 

Get ready to dive into political allegory!

Friday, April 2, 2021

Supergirl Show 601: Rebirth

The season premiere of Supergirl season 6 aired earlier this week, an episode titled 'Rebirth'.  We have learned that this will be the last season of the show as well as a shortened season as well. 

I am sure I will have a lot to say about Supergirl as the season and the show wraps up. But I will start out by saying that I am delighted that we got this. Supergirl became well-known, a household world, and was portrayed magnificently by Melissa Benoist. Sure things were clunky in places. But who cares? I got to see my favorite hero on the screen for 6 years. Not everyone can say that, even in this super-hero heavy day. 

This season also has the uphill task of wrapping up last season. The pandemic made season five rush to a conclusion, and maybe not the best one. So this premiere has a dual task. It has to finish last season and it has to start up the main storylines of this season.

In many ways this felt like more like a finale and not a premiere. The cliffhanger at the end of this episode would have been brilliant as a cliffhanger at the end of a season. I wonder how much of this was filmed last year. And a lot needs to happen in this episode. Much of the things which happen are given little explanation or maybe a hand wave. We get a lot of comic book science. I give credit to the writers for this whirlwind. And I give big credit to the stars for pulling it off while giving us some emotional character moments.

And get ready for many deus ex machina that keep things going. 

Buckle up!

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Hot And Cold Comic Box Commentary - A Celsius Blog

I am approaching my 13th year anniversary running this site. 

Some believe 13 is unlucky. And maybe it is.

Because as the Tom King series approaches and I am faced with yet another weapon-wielding space-bound Supergirl who is either angry or sad or both, I realized I can't do it anymore. Because it is clear that the Supergirl I want to read doesn't exist anymore. Not in the minds of DC.

But I like blogging. And I like rooting for the underdog.

So why not switch things up. 

Welcome to Hot and Cold Comic Box Commentary, a Celsius blog.

Now I am going to be upfront here. Celsius is a problematic character. 

Her origin has not aged well and says a lot about how far we have come on this world. I'll review that origin here today. Let's get it behind us.

She also can be grating and one-dimensional.

But let's face it, she is a woman of color. And she led a super-hero team in the 1970s. We should be celebrating her. And that is what I intend to do here.

Again, fair warning, I am about to review her cringe worthy origin. Let's get it behind us.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Leviathan Wednesday: Manhunter #20 And Manhunter #21

We are nearing the end of the Manhunter series from the late 80s. And that means another chapter in Leviathan Wednesdays is going to come to a close. 'Saints and Sinners', of which Manhunter #20 and Manhunter #20 are the middle chapters, is the last story arc of the title with and extra epilogue issue finishing the series. 

Writers John Ostrander and Kim Yale keep the action going and Grant Miehm's art really gets dynamic and innovative as this story proceeds through these chapters.

This storyline and indeed this blog post takes a bit of a turn at the end. Throughout this Manhunter title and indeed in the first 2 chapters of this arc, Manhunter has been a relatively grounded book. Mark Shaw is a bounty hunter with some advanced skills and tech. But he is still a bounty hunter without true super powers. 

The plots have been fertile ground for someone like me who is looking at this title through the lens of Shaw's ultimate destiny as Leviathan. The stories revolve around spy agencies, masked killers, duplicity and charisma. As I have said more than once ... and as I will probably say later this post, no wonder Shaw became Leviathan. He is forever embattled by the things he loathes and hopes to destroy in the present as Leviathan. 

But the 'grounded' part of this book? Well, that is about to end. So buckle up, there is a lot that happens here so the post is long and things are about to get weird.