Monday, August 21, 2017

Review: Superman #29

Superman #29 came out last week and was a nice little read, merging the Green Lantern mythos and Superman. The usual plotting team of Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason are not here. Keith Champagne, who I know mostly as an inker is writer here. Doug Mahnke is on art.

Champagne does a good job of bringing us the inspirational hero that Superman should be. Between tirelessly looking for missing children to spouting some words of wisdom to public to sacrificing himself for others, Superman is very much the classic hero. I even like how Champagne describes Superman's vision powers. As for the story itself, Superman as a symbol against fear makes perfect sense.

And Doug Mahnke brings his usual powerful style to the proceedings. In particular, the end scenes with the villain are incredible. Even the title page is fabulous, an almost poster worthy pose.

But this grand, superhero fights supervillain story was a bit welcome after the last history lesson issues. Trust me, I loved those issues. But getting back to the super-stuff was nice.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Bullet Review: DC Comics Bombshells #33

DC Comics Bombshells #33 came out this week, the last issue of this volume of the characters and my last issue reading this. When this series started out, I was very impressed at writer Marguerite Bennett's ability to weave a very solid story about World War II and the arrival of super-women fighting the Nazis. The first year was fabulous.

But since then, since the battle of London around issue 12, it has felt like the book has lost its way. There are a lot of ideas in this book but the stories haven't read well. It's like those ideas haven't gelled into a narrative. As a result, the book has been something of a mess. On top of that, there has been a bit too much cutesy dialogue recently ... something that I might have tolerated more of the story around it was stronger.

And so this last issue wraps up the story. Bennett has brought a bunch of subplots together into a large battle in Russia. So Supergirl's grief and Raven's familial issues and Lois's optimism are all here. But it seems so scattershot. So much happens with little explanation. The moments in the story where I have said to myself 'I guess I have to roll with that' were numerous. Now I will admit that I haven't been paying significant attention here. Perhaps my laziness as a reader because I haven't been engaged has been part of the problem.

One of the things that hasn't been a problem on the book has been the art. In particular, I discovered Mirka Andolfo, Laura Braga, and Sandy Jarrell in this book. All three are here and shine. In particular, Mirka Andolfo has become a favorite in my mind.

On to the book.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

This Weekend ... Terrificon!

I haven't even done my overall take on this year's Boston Comic Con and I am already heading off to my next convention.

Terrificon is a convention a little south of me in Uncasville Connecticut and I am considering this my big con for the season. For me, this just seems to be a convention more built for me. There are a ton of comic creators that are going to be there who had huge impact on me in my salad days of comic reading.

Yes, there will be current mega-stars there. You don't get much bigger these days than Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. And I will be hoping to get on commission lists for Brett Booth and Barry Kitson.

But it is the veterans that are going to be there, creators who I haven't met yet at other cons, that is the big draw. And so I'll be there with bells on!

Let's start out with Keith Giffen! Keith Giffen!!!

He plotted/drew Legion of Super-Heroes in the Great Darkness Sage era.
He wrote/drew/created my beloved 5YL Legion.
He wrote the bwa-ha-ha Justice League.
He wrote the Doom Patrol.
He wrote Justice League 3000/3001.
He wrote 52.
He wrote/drew/reinvented Dr. Fate.

I seriously could probably fill a whole long box to bring to have him sign. So distilling this down to my usual 8-10 books is proving to be difficult. I may need to head to his table once each day.

Seriously, I am geeking out that I will be meeting Giffen.

But there's more!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Review: New Super-Man #14

New Super-Man #14 came out last week and continued to story of the Justice League of China fighting the fascist rule of the evil Emperor Superman. Once again, writer Gene Luen Yang provides a very entertaining issue, moving the plot ahead, stuffing in an incredible amount of character development, throwing in a great throwdown, and ending on a cliffhanger. What more could you ask for?

And yes, this ultimate throwdown of three super-teams from China is a great action piece. But for me, no big surprise, it was the personal moments - specifically between Bat-man and Wonder Woman that made me the happiest. This is a book basically about kids becoming heroes. And there should be growth. Given the tenuous shelf life that most comics have these days, Yang isn't taking the long road on some of the subplots here. And kudos to him for that. For the readers enjoying this book, we deserve to see these moments.

The art is again done by Billy Tan and I just loved the polished look of the book. It somehow fits the tone here. Tan is able to bring the right feeling to both the action sequences and the quieter scenes. Yang and Tan together really click.

I wonder how much more I'll have this book to enjoy. Everyone should be reading this book. It is a ton of fun.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Review: Superwoman #13

Superwoman #13 came out this week, and like Supergirl, I think it might be the best issue of the title so far.

Writer K. Perkins weaves story for us. We have a framing story set in the present day where a mind controlled Lana is fighting Lex Luthor. But we also get a flashback tale of Clark and Lana's adolescence back in Smallville. It all ties into Lana's origin and how she has maintained her Superwoman powers. (Of course I would pick the sepia-soaked nostalgia of the Renato Guedes variant).

Now there is no doubt that I am an absolute sucker for Smallville Lana stories and most of this issue is a flashback to those early years. That always works for me. But Perkins updates some of this story slightly. Gone is the vapid cheerleader Lana conniving to reveal Clark as Superboy (who I know doesn't exist in the current DCU). Instead we get a smart, independent, young woman who is bored with the idyllic small town life. This Lana better jibes with the Lana that we have now. And it isn't such a dramatic change to make me think 'this isn't Lana'.

And the art by Steven Segovia and Art Thibert is powerful. There were times that I was reading this issue that I paused on a page to just take in the art and make my eyes smile. I hope these two stay on the book.

Put it all together and you have a Superwoman book that seems to have put the first vexing arc behind us and sifted through the stabilization issues. Now we have stories moving forward instead of fixing the problems present when looking back.

Seriously, kudos to Perkins for wringing a story out here, complemented perfectly by the art (and colors by  Hi-FI!). I hope DC and readers notice what is unfolding here!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Review: Action Comics #985

Action Comics #985 came out last week, a new arc with a guest creative team of writer Rob Williams and artist Guillem March. I suppose after the superb Superman Revenge Squad story as well as the upcoming Mr. Oz reveal, regular writer Dan Jurgens deserved a little bit of a breather.

This issue explores the new dynamic between Lex Luthor and Superman. With Lex being a 'hero' now and part of the Superman Family, but still having some nefarious history with the Man of Steel, this relationship is suddenly fresh soil to till. From the God-Killer arc to Revenge to this Only Human, it has been interesting to see a Superman struggle with a Lex who seems to be on the right side of humanity.

As a reader it has also been hard to take Lex at his word. Every so often he says a line which makes me think he is the same old Lex, just wearing a sheep's clothing.

Writer Rob Williams (who I know best from the quirky DCYou Martian Manhunter book) tells a solid tale of trust and mistrust even if he brings back The Machinist as a villain. I have to say very little of the Geoff Johns/JRJR run on Superman has stayed in my head. Was the Machinist part of Hordr? Did he die? Do I need to go back and look?

And I know Guillem March best from good girl art and covers. His art here isn't that style at all, bringing a rougher edge than what I am used to.

On to the book.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Review: Supergirl #12

Supergirl #12 came out this last week and is probably my favorite issue of this run to date. This is a fast moving issue with intrigue, action, and some teenage angst. There is punchy dialogue. There is a some mystery. There is just incredible art by Robson Rocha and Daniel Henriques. And there is a Stanley 'Artgerm' Lau variant cover. If this title started out like this, we might still be selling 40K a month.

It's not that I disliked the first year of stories. But the Cyborg Superman arc was something of a bummer to start out on. And Brian Ching's somewhat loose pencils were definitely a style I needed to become accustomed to.

Now with the opening arc behind us, we are moving out of 'origin' and into adventures.

Steve Orlando is crackling here. This is the Cat Grant I want to read. These are the villains I want to see fighting Kara. And this is the caring Supergirl still reaching out to those who have hurt her as she moves forward. Plus, there is a lot of Legion working its way into this arc. Maybe Supergirl will join that team when we eventually meet them in the Rebirth DCU.

And I just have to say one more time in this introduction how much the art just sings on the page. This is detailed, energetic work which just sings. You see every clothes wrinkle, every hair strand, every crackle of energy. I hope everyone out there in comic land notices this book and trumpets it.

On to the story.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Boston Comic Con 2017

We finally are entering my convention season!

Boston Comic Con is this weekend (!!) and I will be going at least 2 of the three days. I have been going to the con since its inception when it was a tiny show in the basement of an insurance building. It has grown immensely over that time.

While that growth has meant that I have met a ton of creators, it also has meant a sort of creep in scope to now include non-comic, pop culture celebrities. And then, last year, the local coordinators who ran the show sold it to Fan Expo. I honestly worry that the feel for the show will change.

All that said, the guest list this year of comic providers is just as fantastic as in the past. I have a list of creators that I am hoping to run into and chat. Unfortunately, unlike prior years, I haven't been able to set up any commissions beforehand. And I have also noticed that over the last couple of years the price of commissions has skyrocketed meaning I probably won't be able to get as many as I used to.

So here is a list of the folks I am eyeing for a commission as well as some folks I am pumped to meet. I'll have a small stack of books for all the creators listed below to sign (hopefully).

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Bullet Review: Superman #282

Earlier this week I appeared on the DigestCast show of the Fire and Water Podcast Network to discuss The Best of DC Blue Ribbon Digest: The Many Lives of Supergirl. One of the stories in that digest was from Superman Family #165, a tale where Linda Danvers becomes a guidance counselor at the New Athens Experimental School and wonders if she should continue a career as Supergirl.

That time period, of Kara questioning being a super-hero, isn't one of my favorites. I like the Supergirl who is fierce in her defense of the helpless and a warrior for justice. Rereading that story reminded me of the back-up feature in Superman #282. In that story, Superman tries to impart some wisdom to Supergirl, telling her a tale from Krypton that in some ways reverberates with her current dilemma. Now Supergirl is really a small part of this story, only part of the framing sequence. But it is worth reviewing.

This story is also the first appearance of Nam-Ek, one of my favorite Kryptonian villains.

Lastly, this issue is also worth obtaining for the main story, 'Lex Luthor ... Super-Scalphunter.' That story, written by Elliot S! Maggin with art by Curt Swan, is a bit bonkers. Luthor vows to scalp Superman and wear the Man of Steel's locks as a toupee. He also dons his famous purple and green battle suit for the first time.

But onto the Supergirl story!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Bullet Review: DC Bombshells #32

DC Comics Bombshells #32 came out this week, the penultimate issue of this run.

The storylines of all the Bombshells have all come together in Russia. Faora has been revealed as the villain pulling the strings from behind the scenes all along. The Kryptonian general is hoping to create an army of super-powered army through cloning  so she can overrun the world.

Supergirl has overcome her grief. She has put the death of her sister behind her. It still motivates Supergirl but she isn't weighed down by it. The rest of the Bombshells are ready to fight Hugo Strange's army of creatures.  And a bulk of the issue is devoted to Raven's origins.

But I am running on fumes with this title.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Digest Cast: Supergirl

You all have read my thoughts about Supergirl over the years here.

Have you ever wanted to HEAR my thoughts on Supergirl?

Over on the Fire and Water Network of podcasts, I was invited onto the DigestCast to discuss The Best of DC Blue Ribbon Digests #17 - The Many Lives Of Supergirl.

Here is the link for DigestCast so go and listen!

We review this great digest from 1981 showing the different periods of Supergirl's life.
There is orphan and secret weapon Supergirl in The Great Supergirl Mirage from Action Comics #256 (by Otto Binder and Jim Mooney).
There is revealed super-hero in The World's Greatest Heroine from Action Comics #285 (by Jerry Siegel and Jim Mooney).
There is college student Linda in Supergirl Goes to College from Action Comics #318 (by Leo Dorfman and Jim Mooney).
There is reporter Linda in Crypt of Frozen Graves from Adventure Comics #424 (by Steve Skeates, Tony DeZuniga, and Bob Oknser).
There is drama student Linda in Trail of the Madman from Supergirl #1 volume 1 (by Cary Bates and Art Saaf).
And finally there is Guidance Counselor Linda in Princess of the Golden Sun  from Superman Family #165 (by Elliot S Maggin and Art Saaf).

Whew ... a lot of great stories, many covered on this blog.

Not only do I help with the reviews, I talk about Supergirl's history and my love of the character.

But there is more.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Review: Superman #28

Superman #28 was the second chapter in Clark and Lois's walk through American history, teaching Jon about the sacrifice of the military in defending this country's freedoms. It also slips in some simple lessons about living in a society and how to impart change. Writers Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason pick up where they left off last issue although maybe a little more heavy handed than they were last issue. There is a lot of history exposition here to bring the point home for Jon. While some exposition is needed, there are whole pages of near text book style discussions of events. I think dialing things back a bit would have made the issue roll a bit more smoothly.

There also is a rather gruesome ending, a moment that was meant to be heartwarming but seems like it is more of a horror movie shock. That ending sort of soured some of the pride that was building in this story.

The art is again by Scott Godlewski who brings a nice feel to the story. The scenes at real national monuments feel real and sharp.

On to the book.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Sales Review: June 2017

The sales numbers for June 2017 were release a bit ago over in ICv2 and as usual I wonder what is happening in the comic market. Here is the link to the list:

This report comes out in a time period where someone from DC while at San Diego Comic Con (originally linked to Jim Lee who later denied it) stated frankly that the comic market is dying and companies need to figure out how to keep it viable.

Now I have heard for about a decade that the comic market is dying and it is still kicking. But when I look at the sales numbers, I do wonder if we are approaching the end of days. On to some specific sales.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

TV Guide Comic Con Special 2017

I was lucky enough to grab the TV Guide Comic-Con 2017 Special at the local Barnes and Noble. And even better, I was able to find the Supergirl cover. I love this cover. The splattering of all colors and Melissa Benoist's determined and action-ready pose is just spectacular.

The Flash, Arrow, and Black Lightning all share one cover. Supergirl is the only hero to fly solo on the cover! That's great.

It also is the third year that Supergirl has graced the cover.
Here is the 2015 SDCC TV Guide coverage.
And here is the 2016 SDCC TV Guide coverage from last year.

This magazine covers all shows that could be covered at the Con so Supergirl only has a handful of pages for coverage. Still, I try to support the show whenever I can.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Bullet Review: Injustice 2 #6

Injustice 2 #6 came out last week and sported some cover treatment announcing this to be the origin of Supergirl. Now I am not a big video game player (don't have the time to dedicate to long play) and I'm not a big fan of the premise of Injustice (Superman killing the Joker and going mad and taking over as a despot). So I have shied away from this book.

All that said, I have seen Supergirl's story videos on YouTube and a number of players have told me that Kara is really treated well in the game, acting the hero. So when I saw this glorious cover by Mike Miller with the Injustice Supergirl flying in such an iconic pose, I figured I'd bite.

I have absolutely loved what writer Tom Taylor has done on the All-New Wolverine book so I shouldn't be surprised that Supergirl is treated well. And Miller's art is clean and slick.

And this origin story is a good one, showcasing Kara's strength, courage, and even a little nod to Silver Age Supergirl.

If only it wasn't a universe with an evil Superman I might stick around. On to the book ...