Sunday, May 30, 2010
Is there anything better than getting an unexpected gift?
Last weekend I was feeling mentally drained. I had just been through the wringer at work. I was overtired. And I realized that I was woefully behind in scanning comics and writing reviews for here. For the first time ever, I felt like this blog was (almost) work rather than the escape from work it usually is. I felt low.
And then Supergirl Comic Box Commentary got nominated for a Kreativ Blogger award by blog-friend Martin Gray. The Kreativ Blogger award is a sort of 'pay it forward' recognition for good work in the blogosphere. A blog gets nominated (and therefore wins) the award by someone who reads and enjoys it. The recipient then graciously accepts the award and follows a few rules (see below).
The timing couldn't have been better. Just when I was feeling run-down, this award picked me up. So thanks you so much Mart!
Mart runs a great blog called Too Dangerous For A Girl! which is in my blog roll. Here is a direct link. Mart does a fabulous job reviewing comics in a concise informative manner. I have bought some comics I would have otherwise ignored based on his recommendations. I can give no higher praise. You should definitely check out his site.
So the rules for accepting the award are as follows:
1) Copy the award logo and place it on your blog.
2) Link to the person who has nominated you for the award.
3) You must thank the person who has given you the award.
So those three are done!
And now the rest ...
4) Nominate 7 other Kreativ Bloggers.
5) Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
6) Leave a comment on each of the blogs to let them know they have been nominated.
So here we go ... in no particular order. Comments have been left on the blogs.
Supergirl: Maid of Might
The whole website is a fantastic resource for any Supergirl fan. There are sections devoted to the history of the multiple incarnations of the character, figures and statues, and images. The blog section of the site keeps Supergirl fans updated on all things Supergirl as well as comics in general. This is really a slick and comprehensive site ... the gold standard for Supergirl sites.
The Idol Head of Diabolu
One thing that I appreciate about the blogosphere is that fans passionate about their favorite characters have a venue to ...well ... be passionate. One of my absolute favorite sites is the Idol Head, a tremendous site for anything about the Martian Manhunter by Frank Diabolu. Informative about all the eras of J'onn J'onzz as well as looking ahead, this blog is everything that I strive to be about Supergirl. It is organized and spiffy in ways that make me jealous.
Much in the same vein as the Idol Head, Firestorm Fan is an unbelievably comprehensive website and blog devoted to all the incarnations of DC's Nuclear Man. It also is organized and pleasing to the eye in ways that bring the casual browser in. In depth and easy to read, Firestorm Fan is great site and is another great character driven blog. Shag, the blog's creator, even got an interview once with Firestorm's creator Gerry Conway. That made me green with envy!
I love Saranga's blog for many many reasons. Yes, she has a clear passion for comics. Her reviews are well thought out, clear, and written in a smooth style. But her passion also extends to politics and gender/sexuality issues. I learn a lot when I visit there; I have never been more up to date on the political landscape of the UK. Saranga also runs a pure comic blog written for newcomers to comics called New Readers ... Start here. It is a good place for people interested in starting to read comics and reviews pertinent trades and excellent runs. I can barely keep up with one blog; how she maintains high quality on two is beyond me. Since both blogs are so fantastic, Saranga (and her blog team for New Readers) gets 2 of the 7 awards!
The Time Bullet
I was a fan of The Fortress of Fortitude, Mark's first blog which was a wonderful look back at the Golden Age of comics, often with fully scanned stories. The Fortress and the Fortress Keeper went away for a bit. Then, The Time Bullet came back, a similar blog with some peeks at more local comic topics as well. While posts may not be as frequent as they were at the Fortress, they are of high quality.
Adventures of Comic Book Girl
Comic Book Girl is another great blog that I always read. Nevermore does a great job on the blog looking at comics from the viewpoint of a young woman. The blog covers a lot of the comic world. But for me, in particular, I love the Batgirl coverage. As a very vocal supporter of Steph Brown, Nevermore was thrilled with her return. The comic reviews are filled with solid analysis mixed with the passion of a avid fan.
And now the hardest part of these rules:
7) Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
I have no idea what people might find interesting so I'll just wing it.
1) My favorite movie is Blade Runner. I am one of those people that have multiple versions of the movie and endlessly debate the merits of each one. For the record, I believe Decker is a replicant.
2) In the early 90s, I wrote letters to my favorite comics pretty frequently. I had a bunch printed, mostly in the Legion (or at least some blurb in the Readers Roundup section of the letter column). My favorite letter was one I wrote to Hawk and Dove trying to convince the creative team to have John Constantine guest star.
3) I worked at a movie theater through late high school and college and saw almost every movie made from 1987 to 1992.
4) As passionate as I am about comics, I am just as passionate for my favorite pro sports teams. I am a huge Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins fan. One of my favorite life memories is when the Sox won the 2004 World Series. My (then) 3 yr old daughter just happened to wake up that night and was with me watching the game on TV when the last out was recorded around 1130pm. We danced around the room and she giggled like mad (even if she didn't know exactly why Daddy was acting so foolish).
5) While I enjoy all music, I have two genres that I really love. One is 1980s and 1990s alternative music (The Smiths, The Talking Heads, The Police, The Cure, The Violent Femmes, etc.). The other is 1940s standards particularly Frank Sinatra. As a result I am sort of a wild card at Karaoke.
6) The first comic I can remember reading was Superboy and the Legion of Super-heroes #211. In that issue, Element Lad confronts his planet's destroyer Roxxas with the plan to kill him. In fact, he pulls the trigger of the laser pistol! Luckily, Chemical King sped up the reaction within the gun's battery making it powerless. It turns out that Roxxas was hoping to be killed; he is completely insane and feels he is being haunted by the ghosts of all the Trommites. What a completely messed up comic for a 6yr old kid to read. No wonder I was hooked!
7) If I had to pick a super-power to have it would definitely be super-speed.
Anyways, thanks again Mart! I really appreciate the nomination!
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Last Sunday, a couple of friends and I decided to drive a little ways north and go the Granite State Comicon ( http://www.granitecon.com/), a semi-annual comic convention in New Hampshire. While I have known about the con, I have never had to opportunity to attend before, something which irked me last year when Jamal Igle was the guest. Unfortunately I was working that day and couldn't go.
This year's line-up looked very good for a con of this size. It was really the artists that were attending that prompted us to go. Talent Caldwell, Becky Cloonan, Tim Seeley, Khoi Pham, and Craig Rousseau were amongst the notables. With the thoughts of getting a couple of commissions, we grabbed some coffee and piled in the car.
The con itself was bigger than I expected with a large area for collectible card game and video game tournaments, an expansive artists alley with pros and locals, and a decent amount of dealers. All in all a top-notch 'local con', one I am sure I will go to again.
For me, the goal was to get commissions from Becky Cloonan and Talent Caldwell (in that order) and I was thrilled when I was able to get them from both. Here is the Becky Cloonan commission.
I sort of lump my commission collection into three sort of categories: artists who are well known for drawing Supergirl, artists whose work I really like, and artists who I think will have an interesting interpretation of the character.
Cloonan falls into 2 categories. One I really like her work. It is described in some places as 'manga-influenced' but if it is, it is not overt. Her layouts, angles and perspectives, and subtle but expressive characters all make for great storytelling. Her books flow like movies, giving a dynamic feel to the issues. Two, I also thought that her style would make for a unique take on Supergirl. Cloonan is best known for work on Vertigo books and I wondered how that background and her style would mesh with a Supergirl piece.
I love this piece which shows a sort of shy and sweet Supergirl. It is a great addition to my collection. I couldn't thank her enough.
If you want to see more of Cloonan's work, I highly recommend getting the Vertigo mini-series Demo. These are 'done in one' haunting (but not necessarily horror) stories written by Brian Wood. They are up to issue 4 of the 6 issue mini. In particular, I would look for the first issue which is a suspenseful story about dreams and self-fulfilling prophecies. Great stuff.
Here is a link to her blog: http://inkandthunder.blogspot.com/
As a fan, it is always cool to meet creators you like. Cloonan was great to talk to and get some art from.
Friday, May 28, 2010
War of the Supermen #4, out this week, was the big finale, the wrap-up of nearly two years worth of stories, the final chapter.
As I have said throughout this mini-series, this couldn't have been an easy task for writers Sterling Gates and James Robinson. They had to be walking a fine line between keeping the plot moving, touching on all the storylines, and having them reach their conclusion and doing so in a very compressed format. Which scenes can happen off screen? Which happen on screen? If on screen, how much space do they deserve? 2 panels ... 4 ... 6 ... 2 pages?
I am sure that there are scenes that the writers wish they had the space to play out in a much more in depth way. There are some scenes I wish were longer.
In many ways, this I felt like this series was trying to be a sort of giant reset button, removing most of the New Krypton arc so that the new directions of Superman can be started with a clean slate. But I think that is wrong. The events of this long arc should be long-standing. This should be something that effects the characters for some time, something they should be reflecting on.
As with most 'big issues', this review is long.
I had to show the Aaron Lopresti variant cover before getting to the story. Sure, the main focus is Superman, sporting the scars of battle.
But I love the two inset panels too. That is one angry Supergirl throttling General Lane, eyes glowing. I also love that Donna Troy and Congorilla somehow made the cut to show that the war is effecting all the DCU.
I wouldn't mind if Lopresti drew the Supergirl 75th variant cover. I really hope that he ends up on some DC monthly title soon.
But on to the story.
The issue starts out scanning the globe, showing the various battlefronts on Earth.
Zod is facing off against Superman in Metropolis. As blocks of the city get leveled, Zod gloats that every one on the planet will suffer. There is a nice shot of Zod spiking a battleship onto a city street, a very nice demostration of just how crazy this war would be.
On a separate front, Project 7734 soldiers are ordered by General Lane to slaughter Kryptonian soldiers that have been captured and are helpless. This is a war with no prisoners, even the helpless will be amongst the casualties.
Again, these scenes show nicely that this war has happened because two madmen have had control of their planets armed forces. Neither want a simple victory. They will only be satisfied if the enemy is completely annihilated. Their really isn't a 'right side' of this war.
But the scene I was waiting for was the Supergirl/Ursa brawl. Well, after getting a shot in, Supergirl is defeated and about to be executed by Ursa. Ursa feels that Supergirl is a traitor for fighting the Kryptonian army. It is only the timely arrival of the Superman family that saves Kara.
I don't think that Superman and Supergirl have really picked sides here. I think they are trying to limit the death and destruction. They want both sides to stand down and let the truth come out. They want the people responsible for this to face justice. So I don't think Kara is a traitor to her race.
As for her losing the battle, I don't mind Supergirl being defeated here. Ursa is a grizzled war veteran who is in full battle frenzy mode. I think Superman might lose a fight with her right now. If anything, I think it was fantastic that Supergirl stood up to Ursa knowing she was probably outmatched.
With Ursa captured, the Superman family regroups. It was a bit of serendipity that they even were there to save Supergirl. They were all headed to the Project 7734 headquarters when they saw her.
Conner realizes that the Phantom Zone has returned and that is probably the best place to deposit Ursa for the time being. He sends Krypto off to the Fortress to grab the Phantom Zone projector.
One thing that has made me cringe throughout this long arc is how relatively easy it has become to harm a Kryptonian. Magic satellites, Black Lightning wielding 'red sun lightning', sonic screamers, white dwarf grenades, red sun rifles, red sun shackles, green K machine guns, green Kryptonite Metal Men armies ... we have seen them all. Know we see synthetic Gold K handcuffs? My guess is that all this ordnance will 'disappear' from the DCU once the threat of the Kryptonian threat is gone. If not, couldn't almost anybody defeat or kill Superman and Supergirl? I understand how the creative teams needed to for the Earth forces to be able to mount a threat or there would be no conflict. But it seems like it was almost too easy to hurt a Kryptonian throughout this arc. Will that ease remain once we are back to 2 Kryptonians?
At last though, we see Superman and Zod face off and trade blows.
I talked about the writers walking a fine line in this series. Another place I see that is with the characterization of General Zod. Let's face it, while both sides have done wrong, Earth has been the aggressor here. Zod could almost be a sympathetic character. His planet destroyed, his people decimated by Lane's villainy ... I can see why Zod would be filled with righteous fury. That said, we know that Zod hasn't been an angel here.
So I was glad that Gates and Robinson included the line above. Sure Zod is angry at Earth. But he is really angry at the House of El. That line sort of casts Zod into a different light. He isn't defending his people. He is out for revenge. It's personal. Zod even asks for his men to find Lois. Just like Lane, Zod doesn't want to simple win the war, he wants to erase humanity from the face of the planet. Once you cross that line, there is no justification.
While Superman deals with Zod, Superboy begins a whirlwind tour of the Earth, zapping as many Kryptonians as he can into the Phantom Zone. Conner is able to stop Non from murdering the JLA.
This is another one of those things that I had to ruminate over for a bit. Could one hero with one Phantom Zone projector really scrub the Earth of all the Kryptonian soldiers? Wouldn't the Kryptonian army swarm Superboy so he couldn't capture all of them? Wouldn't one of them destroy it long range with heat vision? Wasn't this too easy?
Anyways, the remainder of the Superman Family takes the fight to Lane on his home turf.
This is one of those scenes which I wish was given more space. While I am thrilled ... thrilled ... to see an angry Supergirl towering over Superwoman, I would have loved to see how that happened. And Steel is able to defeat Atlas. And The Guardian is able to exact some justice and defeats Agent Assassin. The thing is, Superwoman and (in particular) Atlas have been formidable foes. Atlas was able to stand toe-to-toe with Superman and has thrashed Steel in the past. It felt, just a little, like this was too easy. Maybe seeing more of the battle would have explained the victories a bit more.
With the troops taken out, Supergirl faces her mother's killer ... her world's destroyer. She is barely able to contain her rage when Lois talks her down. Supergirl isn't a murderer. She shouldn't sink to Lane's level.
It is simplistic ... and maybe a bit hackneyed ... but it works here. Unlike Superman, Supergirl is still on her journey. In the past ... heck even in the recent past ... she may have immolated Lane. So I was glad to see her struggle a bit, to come close to crossing the line but in the end do the right thing.
Lois vows to tell the world the truth about her father. He will face an international court for his crime.
But to Lane, this is a war without prisoners.
He ends his life.
I don't know about this. It didn't seem exactly right here. I think Lane is deluded about what happened. I don't know if he would fear a courtroom. He doesn't think he has done anything wrong. So for him to commit suicide so quickly, seemed off. Maybe if this scene was longer showing Lane realize that the evidence against him was so damning that he had no other choice.
Meanwhile, Superboy arrives in time to help Superman fight General Zod.
In this battle, Zod claims that he destroyed the Phantom Zone. Maybe I am forgetting something, this seemed to come out of nowhere with no explanation. This is another one of those things about New Krypton that won't have a satisfactory explanation and I need to move on from.
During the fight, Krypto takes a Kryptonite knife meant for Superboy. Is there any better way to make Zod a villain by having him hurt a dog? Luckily it looks like Krypto will survive.
With the remaining Kryptonians besides Zod in the Zone, Superman decides to end the war. With Zod in his clutches, Superman sets the Phantom Zone projector to self-destruct, sending the two of them into the Zone and sealing it off from the inside.
Inside the Zone, Nightwing arrives to settle things once and for all.
The Kryptonian demi-god will seal the Zone permanently. But it has granted his human host one last wish. He is able to send Superman home to Earth.
I do like how the Nightwing dragon grabs the Zod wraith and flies off with him. It is a nice image, like a demon taking a fallen soul to hell.
Cast from the Zone, Superman returns to Earth. With the Kryptonian threat removed, it is time for everyone to heal.
Supergirl mourns the loss of her people, setting up this memorial in deep space.
The capstone reads "Hail the Lost Souls of New Krypton. May Rao Guide You Into His Embrace". Before translating, I thought this would have been a grave site for Alura. It is interesting that the marker is for everyone rather than just her. Of everyone, Supergirl lost the most here ... her father, her mother, her best friend. I don't think Supergirl is going to be able to just move on from this.
And the other stories wrap up as well. The Guardian quits the Science Police to raise his 'daughter'. His niece Billi reveals she is pregnant with Mon-El's child.
In the zone, Chris has reverted to his child form and he and Mon-El set out to explore the Zone.
And Superman and Lois?
They begin the slow process of grieving and healing.
Despite the evidence stripped from Natasha Irons' mind, General Lane is viewed as a hero. Lois says she will continue to tell the truth about her father.
Clark admits that some Kryptonians may have escaped Conner's sweep.
But no matter what, both worlds lost.
The last words are from Lois.
This was a war that was born from ignorance and prejudice. She hopes that eventually everyone can live together in peace.
I know that this review may have read that I was disappointed by this issue. The truth is I'm not. What I am disappointed in is the fact that it felt so rushed. What I wouldn't give to have had this be a 6 issue miniseries, with some space to flesh out some of these scenes, allowing the plot lines to be wrapped up more organically. I think it is a compliment to everyone involved that I am left wanting more stories. Part of that disappointment is that the buildup to this miniseries was over a year of stories ... issues which sometimes seemed to be treading water rather than moving forward. It's like the New Krypton arc was a cross country skiing marathon ... slow and plodding in places but with a sprint at the end.
Given the lack of space to wrap up all those storylines, I don't think Gates and Robinson could have done any better. I applaud them for their efforts here, expanding and contracting scenes effectively.
And I guess this is more evidence that Eddy Barrows can never truly be a monthly artist. Once again, the art chores are split. Barrows art is slick and I really like it. But couldn't he finish this issue? Instead, we have three artists finishing the issue. Not exactly as smooth a ride as I am sure DC would hope. That said, I guess it could have been worse. The fill-in pages are beautiful. Cafu's pages really shine here. And Eddie Pansica has some of the more dramatic pages ... the climax in General Lane's lair. Still, the change in art from page to page is something I never like seeing.
I am still amazed how tight this mini-series was given it's mission to wrap up all of New Krypton in 4 issues. And I am elated that Supergirl was such a big part of this mini-series. Kara was really a star here.
So the New Krypton chapter in the super-books is over. And we have new directions coming up. To be honest I can't wait. I am especially looking forward to the Supergirl title and some stand alone Kara issues.
Overall grade (issue): B+
Overall grade (mini): B+/B
Overall grade (all of the New Krypton arc): B-/C+
Thursday, May 27, 2010
All the solicits are viewable at Newsarama here: http://www.newsarama.com/comics/dc-august-2010-solicitations-100517.html and are now on the DC Comics home site.
Here are the super-family related solicits.
Written by STERLING GATES
Art by JAMAL IGLE & JON SIBAL
Cover by AMY REEDER & RICHARD FRIEND
Enter: Bizarro Supergirl! But how did she get to Earth and just what does she want? The real Supergirl better find out fast, or else there won't be much left of Metropolis to save! And to make things worse, an even bigger threat looms on the horizon with an eye for the Girl of Steel! Featuring the stunning debut of new regular cover artist Amy Reeder (MADAME XANADU)!
What a lovely cover by new Supergirl team member Amy Reeder.
We already knew that Supergirl is fighting Bizarro Supergirl in this issue. I am convinced the Bizarro will be an Alura-made attempt at cloning Kara.
But what bigger threat could be looming on the horizon. Let's all take a deep breath. I doubt it's the Anti-Monitor.
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #48
Written by JAMES ROBINSON
Art by MARK BAGLEY, ROB HUNTER & NORM RAPMUND
Cover by MARK BAGLEY & JESUS MERINO
The BRIGHTEST DAY continues with a shocking connection to the White Light in part five of the JLA/JSA crossover!
It’s the grand finale of this team-up, and it’s chock-full of revelations as the greatest threat to the Earth may not be Alan Scott or the chaotic energy of the Starheart, but one of the other members!
Plus, don’t miss the second feature starring Cyborg, whose goal of restoring Red Tornado’s body becomes a battle to save the android’s sanity as the madness of the Starheart engulfs them.
Oh man, I didn't realize this JLA/JSA crossover was going to be a 4 month/5 part battle with the Starheart.
I think that this particular roster of the JLA is going to be a hard enough sell as it is. I want to read stories about those heroes interacting and growing as a team. And while I am sure we will see that growth in this story, it will be watered down by the constant presence of the JSA. Let's hope we get to see the JLA mature.
Written by J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI
Art by EDDY BARROWS & J.P. MAYER
Cover by JOHN CASSADAY
"Grounded" continues as Superman enters a small town in Ohio where, like many towns, a number of its residents are from other places. But when The Man of Steel discovers that there are also a number of residents secretly from other worlds, he unravels a mystery that may have grave consequences for Earth.
I keep hoping that I will hear what the overall theme of Grounded is. At the very least the rumor of the 'powerless Superman' seems unfounded given that Supes is floating in outer space.
Maybe 'Grounded' is Superman trying to become grounded with humanity again. Maybe this look at a small town is Superman trying to reconnect with the citizens of Earth after the war with Krypton.
There is no getting away from the talent. JMS, Barrows, Cassaday. Solid. I am expecting great things.
ACTION COMICS #892
Written by PAUL CORNELL
Co-feature written by JEFF LEMIRE
Art by PETE WOODS
Co-feature art by PIER GALLO
Cover by DAVID FINCH & JOE WEEMS
Lex Luthor's all-consuming quest for power leads him straight into conflict with Deathstroke, the Terminator! What happens when the DCU's most ingenious mastermind meets its most lethal killer? We don't know, but it's sure gonna be fun finding out ...
This issue also features a new Superboy story by Jeff Lemire (SWEET TOOTH) and Pier Gallo (ADVENTURE COMICS) - the creative team of the upcoming new SUPERBOY ongoing series!
I just don't know if I am happy with the apparent decision to keep Superman out of Action Comics for more time. Aren't the sales numbers from the last year pretty evident. I don't know if a lot of people want to read Lex Luthor starring in Action Comics. They want Superman.
Again, DC has put together the right talent. Cornell, Woods, Finch are all names. My bet is the story will be entertaining. But I want Superman to be here.
Written by PAUL LEVITZ, JOE KELLY, DAVID FINCH, J.T. KRUL, STEVEN T. SEAGLE and others
Art by JERRY ORDWAY, DAVID FINCH, ADAM HUGHES, FRANCIS MANAPUL, DUNCAN ROULLEAU and others
Cover by FRANK QUITELY
You're invited to a spectacular anniversary celebration as Paul Levitz unites the World's Finest with the super-team he's best known for - the Legion of Super-Heroes! Lex Luthor has finally unleashed a threat powerful enough to gain the Legion's attention in the far future, but to take Luthor down, they'll have to journey into the past and ask for help from both Batman and Superboy!
Plus, Joe Kelly and various writers and artists chronicle the history of The Man of Steel and The Dark Knight in adventures that span from yesterday into the far beyond! Adam Hughes writes and draws a tale starring Supergirl and Batgirl, J.T. Krul and Francis Manipul deliver a tale of Superboy and Red Robin seeking advice from their mentors, Ace and Krypto get leashed by Duncan Rouleau, David Finch writes and illustrates a story for the first time, and Joe Kelly, Steven T. Seagle, Billy Tucci and many more surprises help commemorate this anniversary extravaganza!
I don't always collect Superman/Batman. But this anniversary issue looks stuffed with creators whose work I love. So even without the Supergirl story, I probably would have bought the issue.
But then I saw that we get another story of the New World's Finest - Supergirl and Batgirl - and that it is drawn by Adam Hughes. How can I not get the issue. And then we see all the renditions of World's Finest get a time to shine - Superboy/Red Robin and even Ace/Krypto. Awesome.
SUPERMAN: THE LAST FAMILY OF KRYPTON #1
Written by CARY BATES
Art by RENATO ARLEM
Cover by FELIPE MASSAFERA
Returning to a character he's long been associated with, legendary writer Cary Bates explores a different side to Superman's legend in an Elseworlds tale that hinges on the fact that while baby Kal-el has rocketed to the distant planet Earth from his doomed homeworld of Krypton, he was not alone. How does a world handle the emergence of the Last Family of Krypton as Jor-El, Lara and Kal-El make Earth their adopted home?
So here is one of the surprises! A pleasant surprise too!
I grew up reading Cary Bates Superman stories. So I am eager to read this one too. And the story sounds interesting ... how would the world respond to the super-parents. And how will that effect Kal. I am sure he won't be raised in the 'Mom's apple pie ... do the right thing' atmosphere the Kents provided.
The cover is a little too Alex Ross-y for me. But I'm intrigued.
SUPERMAN: EARTH ONE HC
Written by J. MICHAEL STRACZYNSKI
Art by SHANE DAVIS & SANDRA HOPE
Cover by SHANE DAVIS
Forget everything you know about The Man of Steel and brace yourself for a staggering new take on the world's most popular Super Hero.
Best-selling, Hugo Award-winning writer J. Michael Straczynski (BRAVE AND THE BOLD, Thor, Babylon 5) and red-hot rising star artist Shane Davis (GREEN LANTERN, SUPERMAN/BATMAN) team up for this exciting launch of the EARTH ONE graphic novel series. Set in an all-new continuity re-imagining DC's top heroes, EARTH ONE is a new wave of original, stand-alone graphic novels produced by the top writers and artists in the industry. The groundbreaking new line rockets into effect right here with the Super Hero who started it all - Superman!
What would happen if the origin of The Man of Tomorrow were introduced today for the very first time? Return to Smallville and experience the journey of Earth's favorite adopted son as he grows from boy to Superman like you've never seen before!
And here is the struggle.
I don't know if I necessarily want to drop $20 on 'Ultimate Superman'. But I like JMS and love Shane Davis.
I don't know. Anyone else thinking of getting this?
TINY TITANS #31
Written by ART BALTAZAR & FRANCO
Art and cover by ART BALTAZAR
Join all the super-people for a super birthday party at the Fortress of Solitude! This issue is going to be super...unless you count the room full of Brainiacs! Let’s hope the Brainiacs don’t ruin the party.
This issue picks up on the story from this year's Tiny Titans FCBD issue. Aw yeah! The all Super issue.
I can't wait to see Supergirl and Brainy meet here. It probably will be a bit more low key than the recent meeting in the main Supergirl title.
SUPERGIRL: DEATH AND THE FAMILY TP
Written by STERLING GATES, HELEN SLATER & JAKE BLACK
Art by JAMAL IGLE, CLIFF CHIANG and others
Cover by RENATO GUEDES
The Silver Banshee returns in this new title collecting SUPERGIRL #48-50 and SUPERGIRL ANNUAL #1, and this time she’s after an artifact that could break her family’s curse. Meanwhile, Lana Lang’s mysterious condition gets worse. Can Supergirl save her?
Now it seems like 4 issues seems like a sparse collection (even if the anniversary 50th issue and the Annual are double sized). I am hoping that there will be some little extra in this collection. Maybe a foreword? Cover sketches? Helen Slater and Jake Black's script?
COVER GIRLS OF THE DC UNIVERSE: SUPERGIRL STATUE
DESIGNED BY ADAM HUGHES • SCULPTED BY JACK MATHEWS
With strength and speed, the Girl of Steel blasts up through soil and stone, shattering solid rock, shooting into the stratosphere. As the Kryptonian cousin of Superman, Kara Zor-El has her sights set on the stars, streaking through the heavens in a supersonic blur – a soaring symbol of justice and truth.
Supergirl is the latest hero to join the stunning COVER GIRLS OF THE DC UNIVERSE statue series, with fan-favorite artist Adam Hughes specially commissioned to design Supergirl for this smashingly successful series.
And yet another surprise ... this one more expensive and advance solicited for January.
But ... WOW!
Now that is a Supergirl statue. Powerful, beautiful, dynamic. Wearing the Matrix costume. It is just about as perfect a Supergirl statue as I can imagine. And all mine for a the low low price of $99.
Let's tally things up.
October '10 - Michael Turner Supergirl mini-statue - $79.99
November '10 - Dynamic Supergirl statue - $195.00
January '11 - Cover Girl Supergirl - $99.00
That's bimonthly Supergirl statues for a total of $373.99. I think DC is trying to bankrupt me.
Still, the biggest question is the Superman:Earth One book. Someone help me out!
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
After the brutality of last week's Brightest Day #2 and the hard fought battles of War of the Supermen #3, Tiny Titans #28 was a much needed palate cleanser.
This was the Super-Pets issue which meant we got to read lots of animal hijinks. While it is no surprise that Streaky gets serious page space, I was shocked to see that Beppo really gets to shine in a couple of solo stories.
A while ago I declared 2008 The Year Of Streaky because the little cat seemed to be making a comeback. Well, Streaky hasn't shied away from the spotlight since then. Let's take a look at some of the action from the issue.
And look at the roll call. If you aren't smiling when you see Krypto, Comet, Streaky, Ace, and Proty ... well you should check yourself for a pulse.
Streaky and Comet have already been seen in this book. But Proty is new and for a Legion nut like me, I was thrilled and nostalgic to see him here.
I can't get enough of Streaky.
And who would ever think that in 2010 that Comet would be a recurring character ... even if it is in an all-ages comic. First we saw him in Cosmic Adventures and now here.
But the issue is mostly comprised of quick funny stories of the super-pets.
Here we see Streaky joining in with some other ally cats to do some 'singing'. Of course, with his super-lungs, his caterwauling leads to city-wide broken windows.
I love how Supergirl and Superboy take it all in stride while Robin and Krypto cringe and cover their ears. Kara must be a proud pet owner!
As I said, Streaky gets a lot of face time in this issue.
Supergirl gives him a ball of yarn to play with. Of course, super-strength makes it a little bit different than the usual kitty getting tangled. A super-swat leads to some interstellar fun.
And we finally get to see Brainiac 5 and Proty show up in the book.
The Pet Club calls their own meeting in the Titans tree house. A squad of Green Lanterns drop off B'dg. And Brainy arrives with Proty. Of course, in 'real' continuity Proty was Chameleon Boy's pets.
But Brainy in this book gives us yet another venue to see Supergirl and Brainy to interact. Of course it would be much more of a school yard crush here than true romance.
Here Brainiac says how in the future he is good and awesome.
Maybe I am reading into things too much, but Supergirl's hands clasped in front of her makes her seem smitten. Compare her body language to Wonder Girl's.
I also chuckled a little at the classic super-pet gag of fetching a whole tree rather than the single tossed branch. I am sure I have seen this joke before but I can't place it. Regardless, it's still funny. Look how proud Krypto is!
The book also includes a great story of Beppo facing Titano. As always, this book is a silly take on the DCU and never disappoints.
For added fun, a Supergirl/Streaky maze was included in the back of the book! Aw yeah!
I always feel funny grading this book. It is always silly, always fun, always entertaining. And it always includes some serious DCU facts or riffs on continuity which makes it that much greater of a ride.
If you are a Supergirl or Streaky fan and you have a couple of spare bucks, you should take a look at this book.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
I don't watch the show, but apparently on last week's episode of Fox show Fringe, the characters there head to an alternate universe where everything is a little bit off including comic continuity. To show those slight differences, some mock-up covers of famous DC comics were created showing the differences. Included in that is this incredible re-imagination of Crisis on Infinite Earths #7.
I was almost giddy when I saw this; it is the most obvious reimagination of the cover and we have seen many different takes on it. It appears as if the background remains George Perez' art with Superman and Supergirl redrawn.
I would have preferred Supergirl to be in the headband outfit she wore in Crisis on this cover. But I do find it a bit noteworthy that Supergirl's skirt here is the pleated red dress more reminiscent of the Matrix costume rather than the current version.
So we have seen the real Crisis #7 on The Human Target a couple of months ago and now we have seen a different Crisis #7 on Fringe. Any time DC and Supergirl are seen in mainstream entertainment I am happy.
Anyways, I thought this was too delicious to not talk about. What a great image. I would love to see that on a poster or t-shirt. Makes me wonder what the DCU would be like if that was the 'real' cover.
Here is the link to the DC Source blog post including how Geoff Johns was involved and the whole gallery of altered covers:
This 'Man of Steel Returns' cover was my second favorite.
Monday, May 24, 2010
Jade, the green-skinned beauty I first encountered in the Crisis-crossover issues of Infinity Incorporated, was also brought back by the white energy. And James Robinson and Mark Bagley are covering the whys and hows here in the JLA.
I have to say, after semi-suffering through the Brad Metzler and most of the Dwayne McDuffie runs on the title (those stories seemed uneven and haphazard), I have shied away from the title. Even when James Robinson took over, I didn't come back on board.
But the inclusion of Supergirl onto the roster was enough to at least have me look at the title again. I am probably going to sound like an old-timer, but for me the Justice League should be the 'big 7' or at least have most of the 'big 7' on the team. This Justice League is sort of starting to look like a more classic League albeit as a legacy version. Dick Grayson, Donna Troy, and Kara are the 'new Trinity' on this team. And Jade is probably going to be on the team as the resident 'Green Lantern'.
And with those sort of pillars on the team, Robinson's inclusion of Starman and Congorilla can be looked upon as an interesting wrinkle.
But on to the story. In last issue, a huge green meteor fell to Earth and landed in Germany. The Justice League skirmished with a more-than-usually addled Etrigan and discovered that Jade was within the stone. The encounter did not go unnoticed by the local authorities as Der Rakete-Auslese, German's version of the Rocket Red corps, arrived to try to take control of the situation. In the mean time, over in the JSA headquarters, Alan Scott become engulfed and comatose in a blaze of green energy.
Here, at least Jade is angry as the German corps try to apprehend her. She has just returned to life, to Earth, and she isn't going to be imprisoned so soon. Especially when she needs to deal with the meteor that brought her home; the meteor is the Starheart, the source of her power and her father's power.
Bagley does a good job on this splash, showing Jade's anger and energy nicely. In particular, I liked the energy coiling and unfolding around her.
As Dick tries to calm everyone down and talk his way through the happenings, the JSA is flying towards Germany as well. Alan Scott, despite being catatonic in his cocoon of green flame, has arisen and started to fly to the green meteor as well.
Alan Scott's trajectory takes him straight to the Starheart's crash site and the JSA begin their approach when a new player appears on the board.
Power Girl, as addled as the Demon was, zooms to the meteor's crash area as well. And it doesn't seem like she'll let anything stand in her way ... not even the jet carrying her friends. She simply acts like a battering ram and plows through the plane destroying it. Don't ask me exactly how it happens, but the Flash and Jesse Quick are able to use their speed to pluck their colleagues out of mid-air and safely bring them to the ground. Hmmm ... still trying to figure out how they could do that while in free fall.
Regardless, Power Girl is clearly out of control and wildly, maniacally spirals to the Starheart. The Justice League brace for impact when suddenly ...
Supergirl streaks in and stops Power Girl in her tracks with a powerful left hook.
Noting that Power Girl has 'gone nuts', Supergirl realizes it is time for her to shine in front of the League members.
I know it probably hasn't happened that often, but I just think the Supergirl/Power Girl fighting plot line has been overplayed.
It turns out that Congorilla contacted Supergirl before the team left the Watch tower. He felt they might need her.
We know that Congorilla and Supergirl were together on the 'Cry For Justice' strike team, so I understand how they know each other. But would he really feel comfortable calling her for help? My guess is there is more back story to them, something that happened during or after Cry For Justice that made them closer.
Before too much can be said, Power Girl recovers from Supergirl's initial attack and begins tearing through anyone and everyone she can. Much like War of the Superman, Robinson does a good job in a couple of pages showing just how insane it would be if a Kryptonian went bad and started destroying things. Power Girl single-handedly scatters the JLA and the Rocketmen.
Supergirl re-engages and is able to hold Power Girl in check until Dick can come up with a plan. Jade's powers are magic-based. Maybe she can stop Power Girl.
I always worry about the overuse of splash pages and the resulting inability for a lot of story to be told in an issue. This could be used as a template for creators trying to marry the use of splash pages for big action with story-telling. Despite 4 single page splashes and one double-page splash, this issue is dense with story. Between text boxes and clever multi-panel layouts by Bagley on the non-splash pages, a lot of story is told. That makes me happy. If I am now paying $4 for a comic, I want their to be some steak as well as sizzle.
In an effort to figure out exactly what is happening, Jade constucts a green force bubble around the JLA, the JSA, and the Starheart.
Supergirl realizes that she has to stay put with the group now. In a nice exchange, Dick sort of informally invited Kara to join the League. It's a small moment, barely registering with me the first time, but given the chaos around them I suppose there isn't time for any fancy initiation. I guess that is it ... Supergirl is now a member of the Justice League.
The Starheart, the source of her and her father's powers, is the crystallized form of the early universes chaotic elements. The Guardians mixed the chaos of those early times with their more ordered energy to create the stone. Somewhere along the way, a shard of it made it's way to Earth where Alan Scott was able to control it and use it for good as Green Lantern.
Now, somehow, the whole Starheart has come to Earth, and that much chaotic energy is starting to effect the magical and elemental forces on the planet.
I had to include this panel of Firehawk, one of my favorite characters from the early-80s. I loved that Gerry Conway/Pat Broderick run on Firestorm back then. I am glad that Robinson sees something in these smaller characters and brings them to the forefront.
The two groups of heroes finally realize what is going on. The Starheart's energies will continue to erode the stability of the world unless it can be controlled.
Somehow Jade's resurrection 'awoke' the Starheart and brought it from deep space to Earth. And if something isn't done everything will be destroyed: "Earth ... life ... McDonald's". For some reason I liked this line. Even super-heroes occasionally grab something from the Golden Arches.
But who or what can take control of the Starheart, contain it's energy?
You might say Alan Scott ... especially since he already wrested control from the shard in his lantern.
Unfortunately, it looks like it might be the other way around. Maybe the Starheart is going to control Alan Scott. Suddenly conscious, Scott dons his Kingdom Come Parallaxian armor and states he is here to bring about the end of the world.
Well, suffice it to say that this issue grabbed me more than a JLA issue has in a long time; I am on board for the ride. I have always like Jade and Donna; I have come to like Dick as Batman a lot. And now Supergirl is on the team. Add to that a sort of old school storyline involving the power source of the original Green Lantern and I'm happy.
I do have to say that I would have been a little happier if the JSA wasn't here in such numbers. I am trying to learn about the Justice League members, see how they are interacting. To have pages devoted only to the JSA detracted a bit from the story (even though the presence of some of them makes sense given the GL angle). And, I have already said how I am a bit fatigued with the Karen vs Kara story. I hope we get an explanation why Power Girl was effected by the Starheart since it seems to be effecting only magical and elemental characters otherwise.
Still, Robinson stuffs a lot of story into the issue and has be intrigued.
I like Bagley's art, particularly his rendition of Jade here. At times his line work seems muddier than I am used to seeing, a thicker line that sometimes distracted me a little. His Supergirl is very nice.
And, hurray! Supergirl is back on a team!
Overall grade: B+