Saturday, May 30, 2015

August 2015 Solicits

The concept of DCYou rather than a DCU has hit the public with DC trying to show that it offers more than just the hard core, glum super-hero books that have dominated its solicits over the last 3 years. DCYou means you get to decide the sort of books you want to read. There will be different styles and tones.

The August solicits for DCYou came out this week and are available many places including Newsarama here:

Now this soft reboot of the comic line is hard to gauge right now. We haven't experienced it yet! Some new books look interesting enough to grab immediately: Bizarro, Starfire, Black Canary, and Green Arrow with its new team all seem like books for me.

Of note, no Supergirl book here. And no Supergirl in JLU.

Here are the super-ish books of the month.

Cover by ANT LUCIA
1:25 Variant cover by EMANUELA LUPACCHINO

The ultra-popular statues from DC Collectibles come to life in their own ongoing comic book series! Learn the story behind this alternate reality where the Second World War is fought by superpowered women on the front lines and behind the scenes! It all begins with the stories of Batwoman, Wonder Woman and Supergirl.

I covered this announcement last week. I love some of these designs. I love the idea of heroes active in WWII. And that creative team is perfect. I cringe just a bit at that Supergirl outfit but at least she is active here.

Art and cover by AARON KUDER

"Truth" continues as Superman defies the Metropolis police and faces a new threat from the shadows!

Remember when Superman was an inspiration for others, a symbol of hope and good? Remember when he wanted truth and justice? Fought a never-ending battle?

Now he is defying cops.

Will 'Truth' be worth it?

Art and cover by JOHN ROMITA, Jr. and KLAUS JANSON
Bombshells Variant cover by DES TAYLOR

Before “Truth”: Superman’s very existence is threatened, and Lois Lane must make the toughest choice of her life!

I guess that 'Before "Truth"' makes this a prequel issue or flashback issue. Will this be the in depth look at Lois' decision to reveal Clark's identity? And will it make it sense for her, and him, and the continuity?

The treatment of Lois in the New 52 has been shabby and uneven. I don't know that this decision will make things better.

Written by GREG PAK
Bombshells Variant cover by DES TAYLOR

“Truth” continues as Superman must learn to depend on the new Batman’s help—but can he trust him?

I am trying to suppress my eye roll when I read something about Superman and Batman not trusting each other. Is this even a story now? Or the new norm?

It is a shame because Pak was actually making the Bruce Batman and Clark Superman act like friends in this book prior to the shift.

Ah well, guess we'll have to see how this plays out as well.

Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Bombshells Variant cover by TERRY DODSON
"Truth" continues -- and as Superman and Wonder Woman deal with the ramifications of his secret identity being blown, they dig deeper into the disappearance of Lana Lang and Steel, which force them to team up with an unexpected and dangerous nemesis.

I fear that I am going to be sucked back into buying this book because of 'Truth' as well as Lana being part of the storyline. I was a big fan of Lana when first reintroduced in the Pak/Kuder book. I soured a bit during the Smallville horror story but she turned things around. 

I hope Tomasi does her right.

Art and cover by HOWARD PORTER
1:25 Variant cover by HOWARD PORTER

It’s the Super-Buddies versus Giant Turtle Olsen starring in...Who the hell cares what it’s called? It’s Giant Turtle Olsen! You are so welcome. Oh, and the Justice League will show up too. I mean, it being their book and all…And hey, did we mention Giant Turtle Olsen?

Supergirl has been conspicuously absent in the DC books. Last month, a rather Silver Age Supergirl was featured on the cover of JL 3001. I reluctantly added the book to my pull list.

Now this month, no mention and no sight of Supergirl in the book's solicit. Over on Twitter though, artist Howard Porter confirmed she is in the book.

Which Supergirl is in the book? Is this a riff on Silver Age Superman given the Giant Turtle Olsen? So is it the Silver Age Kara? Is this another attempt at a Giffen 'funny' title?

This month hasn't exactly made me want to run to the store. I don't know if I am optimistic about any of these books. Even Bombshells is an unknown commodity.

How do you like your Super-Pets: sweet – or vicious? You can take your pick with these new, fun plush figures of Red Lantern Atrocitus’s furball Dex-Starr and Supergirl’s faithful pet Streaky the Super-Cat! Better yet, why not get both?
1. DEX-STARR – 9"
2. STREAKY – 9"

At least I got this!

I don't know if I can justify buying this for myself or any of my Supergirls as they are a little too old for stuffed animals. Maybe ...

But still .. Streaky!!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Review: Convergence #8

Convergence as an event initially sounded like a two month layover, a way to allow DC to continue to publish comics while the company moved coasts, leaving New York and heading to California.

Somewhere along the way, it became something more. It became another universe redefining event, a way for DC to reset things, a mere 3 years removed from the New 52 upheaval. I have certainly had my issues with the company's approach to their characters in the New 52 DCU but soft rebooting that hard reboot has something of a whiff of desperation.

But I can't have it both ways as a fan, can I? I can't sit back and complain about the New 52 and then complain when DC tries to reshape things away from that harsh new continuity.

And so we get Convergence #8, a book which gives DC readers back a multiverse (which I thought we might already have), folding in some of the Multiversity Earths as being legitimately in canon. But I don't necessarily know if I feel like anything is necessarily different. And I don't know if I 100% understand what happened here. And I wonder of Scott Lobdell had the audacity to rewrite the ending of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the granddaddy of all crossover events and really the gold standard of these sort of books. I know Crisis. I am friends with Crisis. And Convergence, you are no Crisis.

Writers Jeff King and Scott Lobdell do their best to explain things here. Things in the DCU are very different at the end. But I also feel like the first 7 issues were just biding time. Many of the plots and subplots of this series aren't crucial to this ending.

Art is done by a whole stable of artists (Stephen Segovia, Carlo Pagulayan, Eddie Pansica, Ethan Van Sciver, Jason Paz, Scott Hanna, and Trevor Scott). I guess it is too much to ask that a universe-redefining issue gets done by one artist?

Last issue, we had a great moment where Parallax incinerates Deimos, an evil sorceror from the Warlord series who was hoping to rule the universe.

Unfortunately, all the time-traveling chronal energy Deimos had absorbed is now being taken into the Convergence planet, making it unstable.

And since the Convergence planet exists outside the space/time continuum of the multiverse, this planetary destruction will destroy everything.

Now I suppose that since there are cities from all continuities on this planet, it has a sort of finger into all those realities. So maybe this makes sense?

Telos, who name drops both Zero Hour and Countdown, knows that the temporal energy needs to be absorbed by something other than the planet itself.

Initially there is hope that Booster Gold and Waverider could take it in. But it is too much for them to do alone. In fact, the only one who can take it all in is Brainiac.

Brainiac, the villain who started all this, who has imprisoned these people, has suddenly become a needed ally.

We finally learn a bit about this version of Brainiac.

When he survived the Flashpoint event, he went beyond the Source, existing outside reality, and witnessing everything. He saw the Crisis and multiple versions of himself, us reading comics, Infinity Crisis, Countdown, and even the birth of the New 52.

In a moment of clarity, he asks for help, hoping to return to his original form and not this 'cancerous' monster warped by all the continuity-changing events he has witnessed.

So Brainiac living outside time and witnessing all these events is an interesting concept. He is, in essence, the stand-in for long time readers who also have lived through all these reboots and has come out angry and deformed. Maybe Brainiac begging to return to somewhere else, somewhen else is Lobdell and King acknowledging the fans?

Remember all the maneuvering of the New 52 heroes outside the Convergence planet the last 2 weeks? Well that also seems completely superfluous. Because once the planet manifests itself in the Earth 0 universe and nears destruction, those characters all turn tail and run, returning home to 'say goodbye'. Only Superman and Supergirl stay behind to watch.

You would think that Superman and Supergirl being there together, holding hands and hoping, would be a good moment. But for me, this was a horrible moment.

First off, how terrible is it that with the universe, heck all reality, about to be snuffed out, the heroes of the New 52 left. Did they really exhaust all their options? Did they try to save everyone? Nope. They left to say goodbye to their loved ones. I would think the heroes would be trying anything to save everyone.

Brainiac absorbs the temporal energy and promises to return the occupants of the cities to whatever universe they desire.

His plan goes awry when the 'First Crisis' is too strong to send everyone back. If that crisis, Crisis on Infinite Earths, is not 'changed' the DCU will become a universe again, rather than a multiverse as where all can exist.

Brainiac sends Supergirl and the Flash back to that Crisis to meet their fates. But then, oddly, Parallax and the Pre-Flashpoint Superman (with Lois and his newborn son in tow) also head there to try to help.

Of course, this Flash and Supergirl are heroes willing to sacrifice themselves to save everyone. But their mission isn't to save the universe. Their mission is to prevent the collapse of the multiverse.

I don't know how to read this. Are they trying to change the ending of Crisis on Infinite Earths? Stop the creation of a Universe? Altering that story?

Or is it that they simply  need to relive the ending of the Crisis, create a universe, so that all the subsequent event comics can unfold as they did?

I am sooooo confused.

Because if the Crisis ended differently, did Supergirl live? Is Superman/Lois/Baby Jon out there somewhere? Inside Alex Luthor in Paradise (we know how that goes)?

And who would dare to try to change that book? 

And then we get to see that they were 'successful'. There is now a multiverse.

We see multiple Earths again.

But you see how behind each Earth is a 'shadow' of characters. The pre-Crisis/pre-Flashpoint trinity are behind the New 52 characters. We see worlds from the Multiverse sourcebook.

And we hear that each world has evolved.

We don't get an old school Earth 2, we get the New 52 Earth 2. We don't get the pre-Crisis heroes, we get the 'evolved' New 52.

So do we have all the continuities in play? Or not?

Meanwhile, the Convergence planet survives, is reinvigorated by Alan Scott, and becomes the new Earth 2.

Why is Dick Grayson so important? Unknown.
What is Telos' real name and why was that crucial? Unknown.

Is there really anything that different about this DCU now than there was before this? Didn't Multiversity give us these worlds anyways?

And is what about Crisis on Infinite Earths? Undone? Changed? Redone? If it is changed, I have a doozy of a Supergirl prediction.

As for Convergence, it is no Crisis. It is just another event on the pile.

Overall grade: C+

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sales Review: April 2014

The sales numbers for April 2015 came out this week and I have induced a migraine by trying to wrap my head around what all these numbers mean. As always, ICv2 is the place to look at the nitty-gritty. Here is a link:

This marked the first month of DC's Convergence phemonenon. There were only a handful of 'regular' titles released in April. This is an 'event' so it might grab curious readers to check things out. And, I suppose, it worked. Sales overall for DC went up.

But do high sales means there is an interest in these characters and time periods within the comic community? Will some of these sales nudge DC into reinventing things? Or is it simply the curiosity factor around Convergence that is priming the sales pump?

For example, different Supergirls appeared in a number of these books. One of them was Convergence Justice League. This was a look back at the James Robinson JLA, the book where the legacy heroes had assumed the roles of the mentors in the League.

Almost any book with Justice League in the title is going to sell well.

And Convergence Justice League #1 did sell well. It did about 63K in sales. Now that is solid.

Does this mean that people want a Justice League with Supergirl, Donna Troy, and Jade? Or is it simply the Justice League name that brought people in?

Dan Jurgens wrote Convergence Superman, a love letter to the immediate pre-Flashpoint Superman.

He's happily married to Lois. They declare their undying love for each other. They work together as a team.

There has been plenty of talk about how shabbily Lois is being treated in the New 52 continuity. So many fans of a classic Clark/Lois dynamic embraced this.

And it sold very well. Convergence Superman #1 sold just under 52K. It sold almost as much as Superman #40, the in continuity book.

Does this mean there is as much interest in this sort of Superman?

Does this book selling this well mean DC will rethink its approach to the character? Bring back a more classic Lois? Bring back a more heroic and inspirational Superman?

Or is this, again, just the Convergence logo bringing in readers? Or does this just show that Superman fans will read Superman books since the sales are nearly identical?

Can you see where my headache is coming from?

For me, the book I was intrigued about was Convergence Adventures of Superman, a look back at the pre-Crisis Supergirl written by Marv Wolfman.

What would Wolfman do to Kara this time?

Convergence Adventures of Superman #1 sold around 40K, a jump up from the standard 26K the solo Supergirl book did. Was this interest in the pre-Crisis Supergirl? A morbid peek to see how Wolfman would write this Supergirl again? Did this well because it is basically a Superman-driven book?

For me though, the thing that stuck out was that this book outsold the in-continuity Superman/Wonder Woman #17! I have tired of the uneven stories in that title and I am pretty sure I am jumping off that book come June.

Will that be a wake-up call to DC about that book?

Now those Convergence books with Supergirl were labeled a Justice League or Superman title.

So what about Convergence Supergirl Matrix? This is a pure Supergirl driven book (even though it should've been called Convergence Ambush Bug). And this is the 'confusing' Matrix Supergirl (even though she calls herself Kara, adding to the confusion), the one that 'needed' to go away to reintroduce the Kryptonian cousin.

Convergence Supergirl Matrix #1 sold almost 35K, more than the solo title had sold.

But this was a rough issue with an uneven portrayal of Supergirl. I don't know if I would want a Supergirl like this to be *the* Supergirl. But does this show DC that a Supergirl book can sell?

Or is all of this just a representation of a 2 month mega-event?

Regardless, I was glad to see these different Supergirl incarnations in print again.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Review: Convergence Superboy And The Legion Of Super-Heroes

Convergence: Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #2 came out last week and was an upgrade from last month's efforts. Last month seemed like a clunky mess, especially given the rather boxy, almost simple art within. This month, with a new art team and some nice moments of heroism, is a much better issue and story.

Writer Stuart Moore gives us an inspirational Superboy here, just on the cusp of manhood, and a much better character than the guy moping around last issue talking about the Legion almost like imaginary friends. Those moments of Superman-ness from Kal elevate the book for me. Because I need those out of my Superman.

Comic veterans Peter Gross and Mark Farmer pull together the art in a much more satisfying way. 

Now there are holes to be sure. The biggest for me is trying to figure out exactly 'when' in Legion history this is. The suit on Ayla, the presence of Superboy, the white streak in Invisible Boy's hair and Shady;s slicked back hairdo probably puts this in early Baxter time when Superboy still now and then appeared. And some other plot points seem thrown in or haphazard.

But the characterization is solid and therefore I was sold.

We start out with one of my most favorite tropes in Superman/Superboy stories, old-fashioned Pa Kent wisdom.

When a chicken is significantly injured, Pa realizes the right thing to do is to put it out of its misery. He decapitates it (maybe a bit to close to Clark if the boy is caught in the blood splatter).

Clark is still a boy. He shouldn't have to worry about the tough decisions at this point in his life. He should enjoy his childhood.

It mirrors what is happening now in this Legion dome. A boy would think that the Legion was a dream-like fairy tale with perpetual happy endings. A man might have to make a hard decision about what to do when faced with war. And Clark is a young man now.

Clark might be thinking about things differently, bringing wisdom, ethics and maturity to bear regarding this dome world. But the Atomic Knights are bring an almost irrational zeal to their approach.

There leader, Knight Gardner Grayle, has clearly been psychologically scarred by the devastation of nuclear war and his life underground protecting the few survivors.

He blames the Legion for not being there to protect his world. He can't trust them or anyone because everyone made the nuclear holocaust happen.

There is no discussion. There is no diplomacy. He is here to do whatever it takes to defeat the Legion world and redeem his. The unhinged Knight is the foil to the mature Clark.

Of course, Moore needs to keep the story moving.

In one of those plot points that I guess I need to accept, the Knights in their weaponized armor defeat the Legion. There is a line about the Knights being survivors and the Legion being out of practice ... a way to explain this.

But really? Couldn't Superboy alone trash these guys? I think Ayla alone could give them a run for their money.

And then, as I predicted last month, when the dome came down, Wildfire was somehow returned to the living. He arrives in time to slow down the Knights from killing the Legion.

To paraphrase Chekov, you don't see a Wildfire suit in act one unless someone is going to fire anti-energy bolts in act three.

Still, as much as I love Wildfire, he didn't really do too much to advance the plot. I wonder if Moore put him in the book because he is a fan of the character.

After more of a skirmish which is something of a stalemate, the Knights bring out their doomsday weapon.

They have Morticoccus, the germ I know best from Countdown. If they have to kill everyone in this city, including themselves, with a biological weapon, they will. Even if the Knights die, their people in their city will live.

Gardner is clearly unhinged.

Now I can imagine a thousand different ways a pre-Crisis Kryptonian could end this standoff.

But I like this one over heat vision, super-speed, or freeze breath.

Clark talks Gardner down.

"Sometimes not killing is even tougher."
"Come up out of the bunker, soldier."

Oooh ... I got shivers.

This is such a good moment, a Superman moment. Not ended with violence. Not ended with death. But with wisdom and inspiration. The war is over. Join the living.

The book ends as all the Convergence books ended this week, with an earthquake signifying Telos' world shifting into the main universe.

With the tournament presumably over, the groups can end this as friends.

Superman shaking the hand of an adversary who he has inspired to something more than violence.

Corny? Or perfect? Up to the individual reader I suppose.

And then the moment that was toughest for me to wrap my head around. I love Lightning Lass. She is my second favorite Legionnaire. And I loved her relationship with Vi in the Legion, an important moment for comics even if it was never overtly named or depicted.

So having Ayla and Clark become a romantic item here felt weird. It seemed to downplay or erase her relationship with Vi. Of course, if this is from the earliest Baxter series time, it take place before that relationship blossomed. And Vi is nowhere to be seen here. And, I was reminded that in the later Baxter issues, Ayle flirted with Magnetic Kid.

Then I wondered if there were any other Legionnaires around that could have fit this plot point if Moore wanted to make a romance happen. Shady, Phantom Girl, and Dreamy are spoken for. Jeckie wasn't around at this point. Duo Damsel would fit the bill but she's married. That would leave Vi or Ayla.

Anyways, maybe I am overthinking this. These mini-series aren't going to rewrite continuity from three reboots ago.

So, on the plus side, great Pa Kent moment. Great Superman moment.
On the downside, the Knights are an actual threat and Ayla isn't with Vi.

I still think the pluses outweigh the minuses. The panel alone where Superboy/man says 'Get out of the bunker.' probably raises this a whole grade for me. And better art certainly helps.

Overall grade: B

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Review: Convergence #7

Convergence #7 came out last week and once more I feel compelled to review the book. For one, there are some great Supergirl moments in the book and from multiple incarnations of the Girl of Steel. Second, the art on the issue is done by one of my all-time favorites Aaron Lopresti. Third, there was finally a moment in this storyline that made me sit up and take notice, a sort of ka-pow moment that was appreciated by an old timer like me.

That doesn't mean I think this is a fantastic event comic. I don't know if I actually 100% understand what is happening, why things are happening, or  what the motivations of the main characters are. I can imagine the pitch meeting.

DC exec 1: You know what would be cool? Having all sorts of historical incarnations of all our characters meeting and brawling!
DC exec 2: Sounds awesome! How are we going to do that?
DC exec 1: Who cares! We'll figure that out as we go.

And I have to agree with those imaginary executives. Seeing the pre-Crisis Supergirl fighting along side the original Captain Atom and Harley Quinn is cool. And seeing temporal rifts bringing back images of prior versions of characters made me smile.

But this 'dome city world', Brainiac's role, Telos' role, Deimos' goals, and the motivations of all the domed city prisoners? I don't know if I actual get what Brainiac was doing. I don't know how Telos got his powers, how powerful he is, and why he is doing what he is doing now. And the idea that one of the big bads is a villain from the Warlord comic makes it hard to take seriously. Just what the heck is actually happening here?

All of that confusion is swept under the carpet though because of the superb art by Aaron Lopresti art. I loved Lopresti on Wonder Woman and even bought a couple of issues of that awful Amethyst book solely because of him. This book was worth the cost just for his art and his rendering of Supergirls.

The Convergence world is somehow being thrust into the main DC Universe. The main heroes were mobilized in last week's issue to see if they were needed and to witness. Even Scott Lobdell's Watcher, the Oracle is present.

Superman is outside the JLA satellite Saving lives as usual. I don't know what happened to Stormwatch, but there they are needing to be scooped up and brought to safety.

But this is where that shoddy DC editing rears its ugly head again. Last month, the interaction between Supergirl and the Red Lanterns was completely wrong. And Guy was once again wearing a red ring.

Here he is in a Green Lantern uniform. But he still calls the Red Lanterns his team. And there is the dead Zilius Zox again alive and well.

Meanwhile, the lines have been drawn on the Convergence world. Those heroes fighting for survival are brawling with Deimos' organized troops. It is weird to see the pre-Crisis Superman fighting the Kingdom Come Superman. Weird.

But I love the pre-Crisis Supergirl fighting the Flashpoint Wonder Woman. Fantastic!

And great splash page by Lopresti. Gorgeous.

Telos arrives with Grayson to battle Deimos for control of the world and somehow all of the space-time continuum (or is it continuums).

What I like about this whole Convergence series is how strong and heroic the pre-Crisis Supergirl is shown to be. Whether in the Convergence Adventures of Supergirl series or this main series, she is right up front.

Here she makes the call to trust Telos and rallies some heavy hitters, old school Captain Atom and Ultra Boy. How great that she is at the forefront of this group, as the leader, and an important part in their campaign!

I will say again, Lopresti draws a gorgeous and strong Supergirl. But the best is yet to come!

The current Superman, Supergirl, and Martian Manhunter are on the satellite when a wave of temporal/spatial energy hits them. Suddenly, they are every other incarnation they were all at once.

For a Supergirl fan like me, this was pure gold. Yes, the headband costume is missing the red shoulders. Yes, the midriff costume skirt was blue, not red. But who the heck cares. We see the current version, the Lupacchino variant with full red bottom and weird S. But we get the 70s hot pants. And the white shirted Linda Danvers. And immediate pre-Crisis. All in one panel, all drawn with Lopresti flair. Incredible.

And we see Fleischer Superman, energy Superman, old school J'Onn. This is the power of DC history.

I have to say it again. It is great as a Supergirl fan that she has such a prominent place in the issue. I means she is square in the center of a two page spread here.

Clearly one of the best moments of the year so far.

Meanwhile, on the planet, now in the main universe, Deimos shows his true colors.

He doesn't care about those who are fighting for him. He gains power from their deaths, from all deaths.

Just like that the two factions of characters are all on the same side against a common enemy.

Now why Deimos wants everyone dead, I have no idea. I don't know if I understand the hows and whys of anything on this planet. And really ... Deimos?

There haven't been many moments in this series that have made me smile and giddy like a young comic book fan. I crave those moments that suck me into the story and make me think 'THAT JUST HAPPENED!"

Well, we finally get one here.

Hal Jordan Parallax decides Telos is the best chance he has of regaining Coast City. He makes the sort of decision Parallax would. He incinerates Deimos with a massive single blast. There is nothing left but a smoking crater.

I wasn't expecting that. But it makes perfect sense.

Unfortunately, because Deimos absorbed the power of the time-traveling heroes, and Parallax killed Deimos, that energy isn't available to Telos any more.

So instead, time and reality goes insane. Reality is being ripped apart.

So, of all the Convergence issues, this one was the most fun for me.

Supergirl is really featured prominently throughout. We get to see all her incarnations. There is a'ka-pow' moment with Parallax. And we are near the end.

I do wonder though. Should I be worried?

Lobdell writing. Supergirl featured prominently in a Crisis-esque mini-series. No solo book. A possible 'new version', more like the show's Kara, possibly on the horizon. Could Supergirl die in the next issue???

But, rather than dwell on ugly possibilities, I'll concentrate on the fun. I was entertained. And that's all I can ask for.

Overall grade: B+

Monday, May 25, 2015

Supergirl Show Stuff

Lots of stuff to briefly cover today. And nothing as big as the bombshell of the leaked pilot Friday.

If I told the Anj that started this blog 7 years ago that Supergirl would be getting a touted live action show, he would have laughed.

The Anj of today isn't laughing. But he is smiling. Because producer Greg Berlanti making a Supergirl show has thrust the character into the mainstream spotlight. And, more importantly, Berlanti and all those involved seem to have a grasp of who the character is and how she should be portrayed.

But even the Anj of today would never ever ever imagine Supergirl appearing on the cover of Variety. Here is coverage of the article:

And yet, there she is, in all her glory, arms crossed, smiling, standing in an iconic heroic pose. Amazing.

As a fan of the Flash show, it is great to see Grant Gustin on the cover with Melissa Benoist.

But other shots from the cover shoot are available on line. Here for example:

And I love the cover choice. But some of these other pictures are incredible.

Like this action shot of the Flash getting ready to run while Supergirl seems to be preparing to take flight. Love it.

But this is my absolute favorite picture. I can understand why this wasn't the cover choice. But how perfect is this.

After years of grim and dark takes of the DCU heroes, of Zach Snyder desaturating colors and having Superman kill, we get a shot of Flash and Supergirl smiling and laughing.

I feel like we need to make a caption for this. Like Flash saying 'How long will it take us to defeat The Gang? 1.6 seconds?'

But even still shots like these make me so happy that Melissa Benoist is playing Kara. She just exudes Supergirl.

A few more things to comment on ...

 "Supergirl" television series

Over on EOnline, Melissa Benoist talked briefly about putting on the Supergirl costume for the first time. Here is the link:

And I love this quote which again proves why she is perfect for the role:
" ... but the second I put it on, something shifts inside of me. It's kind of impossible not to feel strength and empowerment and positivity and hope. It really is pretty surreal."

I can imagine Kara Zor-El saying those words the first time she put on a Supergirl costume, knowing what the symbol meant, the inspiration it brings.

Mike Maihack, artist on Cleopatra in Space and the excellent on-like Supergirl/Batgirl comics, got around to drawing Supergirl in her show costume. I love this picture, a smiling triumphant Supergirl soaring over the city. I want this on a t-shirt!

Now if only we could get a Supergirl comic on the shelves!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

30th Anniversary: Crisis On Infinite Earths #5 Satellite Scene

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Crisis on Infinite Earths, I have been looking at the Supergirl specific issues, culminating in the classic Crisis on Infinite Earths #7.

Earlier this month, I reviewed Crisis on Infinite Earths #5 and showed how the creative team of Marv Wolfman, George Perez, and Jerry Ordway were really starting the stretch their legs on the book, bringing more and more characters from the DCU into the story.

And no scene captured that feeling more than the famous 'Monitor satellite scene' in the issue. There, on two pages, Perez stuffed in as many characters as he could, both the famous and the obscure, the popular and the forgotten. I can remember looking at these pages closely when the book first hit the shelves, trying to name everyone that I saw.

This scene certainly struck a chord to fans and creators alike because we saw it replayed elsewhere, albeit from different viewpoints. I thought, breaking briefly away from the Supergirl-centric approach to my Crisis coverage, I'd review those other versions of this gathering in a couple of Crisis cross-over issues and one late arrival.

Swamp Thing #46 was one of the more interesting Crisis cross-overs to hit the stand. This was smack in the middle of the run by the acclaimed, legendary team of Alan Moore, Steve Bissette, and John Totleben. Moore had made Swamp Thing into a true horror comic. This was the 'American Gothic' storyline, one which introduced the world to John Constantine. At this point, Swamp Thing didn't know exactly what was going on other than the world was becoming darker and a great metaphysical threat was approaching.

Moore had included the JLA as cameos in the 'Anatomy Lesson' arc and later in this book he would include other mainstream characters like Zatanna, Zatara, and Mento. He even has an arc where Swamp Thing fights Batman and later Lex Luthor. So Moore didn't shy away from dipping his toes in mainstream DC.

Here we open up with Swamp Thing just as he is brought to the Monitor's satellite. Constantine talks about the multiverse ending. We see him look into a globe similar to Morrison's Orrery of Worlds. And Constantine warns that there is more than just the physical worlds that people need to worry about.

It is great to see this scene from Swamp Thing's eyes. He feels out of place amongst the lunacy there. From Kamandi to Ambush Bug to the Creeper, it is Mardi Gras. It is a place of Gods and Monsters. Nice. Moore always had a turn of the phrase.

But I loved how Swamp Thing notices the reaction to Alex Luthor. Surprise and suspicion. I would react the same way. How do you trust a Luthor, even if he is from Earth 3?

Again, Swamp Thing at this point doesn't know exactly what part he is playing in this, just that Constantine has him blipping from place to place fighting monsters. They run into the Phantom Stranger who brings up the mysterious (at this point) Newcastle event.

There is a ton of foreshadowing here ... both in Swamp Thing's personal response to hearing the name Luthor to the Stranger saying he will see Constantine and Swamp Thing again. Nothing was wasted in these Moore issues. It remains a stellar read.

Finally we get a little information. Constantine and Swamp Thing will spearhead the defense of the spiritual planes while the super-heroes will defend the physical realm. I love Constantine's confidence that the physical world will survive. It is the other threat that is more dangerous.

Spoiler alert - Later in this issue we learn about the Brujeria, the Invunche, and the plan to bring back the Anti-God. All this comes to a close in Swamp Thing #50. Go out and buy these issues or trades!

We move from what I consider the best Crisis crossover, and certainly one of the more intelligent, to one of the sillier and forgettable crossovers, Infinity Inc. #22.

Now you have to remember that Earth 2, as it was, was going to disappear after the Crisis. The backbone of the All-Star Squadron and the history of Infinity Inc. was going to change dramatically. Roy Thomas was the writer of all the Earth 2 books and must have felt like he was playing continuity Jenga, removing a key piece somewhere and hoping nothing would fall.

Maybe because of this upheaval, Infinity Inc. got 8 Crisis cross-over issues - 7 monthly issues and an Annual! (Similarly, All-Star Squadron got 7 cross-over issues.)

Infinity Inc. #22, written by Roy Thomas with art by Mike Clark, Tony DeZuniga, and a young Tod McFarlane,  starts out smack dab in the middle of the Crisis on Infinite Earths #5 satellite scene.

The team, composed mostly of the children of the All-Star Squadron, meets up with their parents and spend a good portion of these early pages arguing with Helix, a super-villain team that spar with throughout the book.

One of the things that I like about these visits to this scene is we see the smaller picture. As Swamp Thing is just trying to absorb all he is seeing, these more seasoned super-heroes seem to take it all in stride.

So here we see Fury and Silver Scarab touch base with Wonder Woman and the Flash simply to compare notes.

I love Plastic Man and Elongated Man in these panels.

And look at Scarab waving to his parents.

Look closely though. There, in the shadows ...


It's Supergirl! Standing between Deathbolt and Blok. And there is Braniac 5 too!

We get a bit of exposition here about what is happening in the Crisis. We have Alex Luthor again explain about the merging of worlds.

And, as in Swamp Thing, he is asking the gathered to trust him, to help him save the universe.

And then something of a left wing turn.

In 1999, 13 years after the Crisis, Marv Wolfman tapped the well one more time writing a one-shot issue of Legends of the DC Universe: Crisis on Infinite Earths #1. Art was by Paul Ryan. In this issue, the heroes journey to another world to try to stop the anti-matter wave from destroying everything.

One of the main characters in the story, as seen by the cover, is Supergirl. That's right, we get a whole issue of Kara Zor-El in the headband at a time when Linda Danvers was dealing with being an Earth Angel.

Seems a little odd ..

I am sure I will review this issue in it's entirety at some point.

But the last page of the book is another look at the satellite scene. This one is a bit more consistent with the original, from Harbinger to Pariah to Luthor and even Platinum and Mercury, the framework of the scene is the same.

There in the middle is Supergirl. She is hugging Superman. It is a bit chilling knowing what we know happens soon enough.

And so this closes my look at Crisis on Infinite Earths #5 and the famous satellite scene.