Friday, February 23, 2018

Review: Superman #41

The Bendis era of Superman is only 4 months away so I am reading all of the remaining Superman stories with a bit of a side-eye as I question if what I am reading will be part of his history or not. I know, it shouldn't matter if the story is good. They all 'matter' that way.

Superman #41, written by James Robinson with art by Ed Benes, is a good story, a riff on Krypton's destruction. Whereas in Action Comics, Superman is debating saving Krypton, here Superman is trying to save another planet. The echoes are pretty obvious from the pair of scientists trying to save their children to the inability for the planet to actually be saved. But into this familiar story is a decent look at religion and hope. Whereas Krypton seemed to 'worship' science, believing their results that the planet was safe, these beings believe their souls are safe.

Into that fervor comes Superman who wants to preserve life to the point of contemplating usurping control of the world. It ends decently enough including an answer to the question 'does Superman believe in God?'

The art is by Ed Benes and without a female character to pose salaciously, Benes is pretty restrained, giving us a nicely rendered alien world.

On to the book.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

May 2018 Solicits - No Supergirl

First off, any bad formatting on this post. I have no interest in reading thr HTML line by line to fix it. I'm too ticked off.

Well, the May solicits for DC Comics came out and ... sigh ... there is no Supergirl listed.

There is Doomsday Clock, there is Superman and Action Comics Specials, there is even a new DC Comics fan magazine. But there is no Supergirl. And there is no Bendis Man of Steel. Super Sons is there but as a final issue.

Here is a link:

We all were wondering what sort of grenade the Bendis move would be to the ancillary Superman titles. What would his taking over, revamping things, starting out with a mini-series named Man of Steel would be.

Bendis said that he wasn't going to restart things. He was going to just build on.

But there is no Supergirl.

I reached out to Clark Bull at DC Comics on Twitter. He said there are plans. There is a theory that there will be some sort of anthology series, a sort of Superman Family, that will take its place. But this seems foolish. Because Supergirl is selling well and actually thriving currently.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Review: New Super-Man and Justice League Of China #20

New Super-Man and the Justice League of China #20 came out last week, a new title for the book while keeping the old numbering. In many ways, I am thrilled the book is still around. Its sales numbers are lower than books usually survive at, let alone get a redirection and renaming. But it has consistently been a fun book to read, a sort of look at the DCU from a different perspective and culture. As all the JLA archetypes were already starring in the book, why shouldn't DC try to capitalize on the name Justice League.

That said, the book isn't named Justice League of China. New Super-Man is still there in big letters. So, despite the new branding, this read exactly like the New Super-Man book I loved. Kenan Kong is still the centerpiece of the action, getting the biggest character beats. The League is there, this time fighting a little known, rather infamous DC villain. And a two new versions of one of the Big Seven are introduced. This wasn't a bold new direction as much as 6 new words thrown on the cover.

Writer Gene Luen Yang is back with penciller Brent Peeples and they bring the same vim and vigor to the proceedings as before. In particular, there is a new quirk in Kenan that I find fascinating and bears watching. And Peeples are on aquatic creatures makes me think he'd be a fine fill-in artist for Aquaman.

New Super-Man #18 read like a final issue. So I wonder if DC is going to give this book a little more time to see if numbers improve. Like maybe on trade worth? I can remember, way back when this blog started, I reviewed the R.E.B.E.L.S. book and wondered every month when the plug would be pulled. I keep thinking that here too.

On to the book!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Ron Randall Interview

I recently heard that comic writer/artist Ron Randall was going to be producing another Trekker project and got pretty pumped about it. I discovered Trekker within the last handful of years (thanks to the excellent Trekker Talk podcast produced by Darrin and Ruth Sutherland) and love the book. Randall has had a long storied comic career and has crossed over into books I love, so I reached out to ask him a few questions. Enjoy!

1) You were the penciller on a number of issues of Supergirl during the period Kelley Puckett was writing the book. I also notice that Supergirl is a frequent commission request for you. Are you a fan of the character? Any recollections of your time on the book?

I am indeed a fan of Supergirl. That can be a bit demanding, as the character has undergone so many revisions/re-imaginings/reboots over the years.  But the core of the character and the concept has always been compelling.  And, I’ve always had a clear idea in my head of my particular “take” on Supergirl—how her character should “feel”—look, actions, movements, emotional responses, etc. In getting to work on that arc, “SUPERGIRL: WAY OF THE WORLD”, I felt my concept of the character fit perfectly. So, it has been one of the most comfortable, fun and rewarding experiences I’ve ever had while working on an established character.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Review: Action Comics #997

Action Comics #997 came out this week, another chapter in the Booster Shot story arc, the last arc for Dan Jurgens prior to Brian Michael Bendis taking over the super titles. Jurgens has certainly shored up the book since Superman Reborn. There has been a classic feel to the stories. And, while not as extensive as I'd hope, he brought in a feeling of super-family to the proceedings.

So it is a shame that this is the arc he is ending on. Because for some reason, this just isn't clicking with me. It may be that the impetus for this time trip is the fact that Mr. Oz turned out to be Jor-El. Not a fan of that. I wonder if the Oz story is going to be forgotten? Picked up by Bendis? Explained in Doomsday Clock? I think forgotten ... which would mean a several year buildup is just swept away.

And then the rest of the story ...  the trip back to Krypton, a story idea that never works for me for some reason. And, of course, Booster ... a character I've never took a shine to.

Here we have a loud, action filled chapter with Superman fighting General Zod, Ursa, and Lor-Zod. It is visually stunning. It is a good battle. But that's all it is ... a battle.

If anything, the subplot of Lois saving her father is the more compelling of the two storylines. That moves forward nicely.

Brett Booth brings a lot of style and zing the the proceedings. But many pages have wild panel layouts which at times made for confusing readings. I had to decide how to read the word bubbles in oddly angled shots. Still, the art was wild.

On to the book.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Review: Supergirl #18

Supergirl #18 came out this week, a crackling issue which moved the current storyline along nicely while also building the foundation of the supporting characters and environment. I don't know if I can say this is my favorite issue of the run but if it isn't, it is near the top.

One of the things that I have bemoaned a bit about comics in general has been the lack of interest in giving books a cast of supporting characters. I also feel that these days, at times, comics forgets to give us scenes with characters out of their costume, showing us the human side, something which allows me as a reader to relate more. In Supergirl, it felt like at the beginning of this run, the character was so busy in various circles that there was barely any breathing room. Whether it was acting as Supergirl or interning at CatCo or going to school or being at the DEO or living at the Danvers, Kara was running around. It felt like maybe the book was being too ambitious.

Writers Steve Orlando and Jody Houser have, in the last several issues, tightened things up a bit. The CatCo stuff is in the background a bit. Cat herself is gone. Supergirl is on the run from the DEO. That leaves just the Danvers and school as locales. Frankly, I have loved the new focus. We really have got to learn more about Kara Danvers, the shy, semi-awkward school girl trying to do what's right. And we get more in depth looks at Eliza and Jeremiah, at Belinda Zee and Ben Rubel, at Agent Ocampo. It all gives me as the reader a deeper feel of who these characters are.

That doesn't mean the action is lessened. The DEO is present as an antagonist. Villains are being sent to stop Supergirl. So you get characterization and super-heroics. It is just the perfect mix.

The art here sizzles too. First off, we get the Robson Rocha cover which has the feel of a 1940's horror movie or murder mystery. Then you get the Artgerm variant riffing on the cover of Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #1. And on inside art, you get Carmen Carnero. Carnero drew some of my favorite chapters of the Adventures of Supergirl digital series and seems very comfortable with the character. Everything is spot on, from the battles to the slow dances.

All in all a very satisfying read. On to the book!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Sales Review: January 2018

The numbers for January sales are out and posted over on ICv2. Here is a link:

It is the usual combination of gloom and doom and interesting tidbits. DC and Marvel seemed to be in dead heat, splitting most sales and most dollars. DC took 6 of the top ten but that was Doomsday Clock or all-Batman.

But we are here to talk about Supergirl sales.

And Supergirl panic ...