Friday, October 19, 2018

Review: Justice League #10

Justice League #10 came out this week, the opening chapter of the upcoming 'Drowned Earth' storyline. Written by Scott Snyder with art by Francis Manapul, it is a crackling issue, an excellent opening chapter which gives us the skeleton of the story while continuing to nudge forward the subplots which are the underpinning of this title.

Scott Snyder has been keeping his foot on the gas pedal in this title and this issue continues that pace. But while giving us a decent amount of exposition about the main plot, he also peeks in on the other members of the League, all of them busy with the current Legion of Doom threat. And, as if that wasn't enough, he also injects a lot of DC history into the issue. We get guest stars and mentions that deepen the continuity of the universe. For an old timer like me, I love seeing and hearing about these corners of the DCU.

Artist Francis Manapul really brings his A game here. As has been typical of the book, we are given crazy scenarios and locales, larger than life stuff, and Manapul is up to the challenge. But there is also small touches, little flourishes, which elevate even that heady stuff.

My one complaint? That there is a side mini-series about this. If I want to read the whole story I need to go outside this book. And I don't know if I am ...

On to the details.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Sales Review: September 2018

Sales for last month's books have been posted and I am starting to get nervous. It is a classic Anj move to look at sales (really orders) and think the worst. But when sales of your favorite character's book starts to hover around 20K, when it loses a third of sales in a couple of months, maybe I have a good reason to get nervous.

As usual, I love the analysis on ICv2. Here is a link to their coverage:

Supergirl #22 came out in September, the second issue of the new direction of the book.

I will remind people that before the Bendis pause and the new direction, the creative team of Orlando, Houser, and Rocha seemed to be peaking. The book had Artgerm variants and sales were healthy.

A 'bold new direction' can be a jumping off point. The idea of Supergirl wielding an axe and leaving Earth is certainly bold and new but it will it be accepted? Seems like many like a Supergirl on Earth.

The book came in at #104 and only 22,115 issues were ordered. That is a relatively precipitous drop. It's not as if the book hasn't dipped this low during the Rebirth time period. But the concern is where will it bottom out.

Yes, I am concerned.

For reference, the monthly sales figures of the Rebirth era Supergirl.

Oh how I miss those 30K figures.

Meanwhile, Brian Michael Bendis seems to have found his footing on the main Superman titles. The Action Comics book has crackled for me. And the Superman book with it's gorgeous Ivan Reis art has been steadily improving.

Superman is selling close to 70K. Action is close to 60K.

While not mega-sellers, maybe what DC was hoping with all the 'Bendis is Coming' stuff, these are very solid numbers. Glad these books are finding a sizeable audience.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Supergirl Episode 401: American Alien

Supergirl Season 4 started last Sunday and it started with a bang. I will start out by saying I was very very impressed with this episode. It built off of last season's revelations. It laid out the theme of the season nicely. Everyone had strong scenes with excellent characterization. New characters meshed very well with the cast. There were a couple of surprise guest stars. And ... and I think most importantly ... the political aspects of the plotlines and the themes were presented well, as aspects of the actual story instead of preachy, weird, hamfisted speeches.

I was thrilled.

There is no doubt that Supergirl is a politically progressive show, leaning left. Even the title card this season, colored by the rainbow, is a nice subtle nod to the idea of inclusion. The concepts of acceptance of diversity, embracing differences, and acknowledging value have been part of the show since its inception. Last year several episodes seemed to stall when the agenda seemed to be more important than the story, something I really have an issue with. The previews of this season made it seem like we could be in for more of the same. Instead we got a well-told story which showcased these issues. We weren't told what side to be on, we were shown. That goes a long long way with me.

Somehow this premiere not only gave us the foundation of the season but gave us subplots, name drops, personal character moments, and action. It was well acted all around. Despite all that, it didn't feel overstuffed, rushed, or superficial.

Seriously, I was so impressed with this episode that I can only hope that the rest of the season lives up to this beginning! Prepare for typical long review.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

DC Universe App

The DC Universe app came out a while back and I will admit it took me a bit of time to sign up. I wanted to wait for the first Titans episode to drop before downloading it. With the show pilot dropped, I decided the time was right.

I'll only give a bullet review of the Titans show. In three words, it's Snyder-level dark.

Maybe that is the point. Maybe this is a Titans show in *that* universe.

Dick Grayson is a police officer in Detroit involved with cases involving children. At night he becomes an ultra-violent Robin, bashing, stabbing, and maiming criminals. Yes, he utters the famous 'F Batman' line and we learn he felt he was becoming too much like his mentor. But this is a brooding Dick, willing to pulverize a fallen foe.

Starfire seems to have memory issues, lives as a mistress/courtesan to a Russian mob boss, and also has no problems killing people. Her powers erupt unexpectedly (maybe she forgot she has powers) and she incinerates some hitmen. But she also snaps the neck of a fallen foe.

We only see Beast Boy briefly. A green tiger in live action is awesome. A Gar who is a petty thief using his powers to lift video games from a department store is not.

At the very least Raven, effectively portrayed by Teagan Croft, is a fascinating character. Trying to bury something evil within her, barely hanging on, and  trying to find Grayson for help, she is fascinating.

The acting is good. The effects are good. And if I place this as a dark 'Elseworlds', I suppose the tone is fine. I can always rinse the ashes from my mouth by switching over to Teen Titans Go! I suppose I'll be watching. After all, Hawk and Dove show up next week. Hear me talk about them over here.

What about the rest of the app?

Monday, October 15, 2018

Review: Superman #4

Superman #4 came out this last week and was the best issue of this particular title since the Bendis takeover. While I have been enjoying the Metropolis plotlines in Action Comics, the Zaar-centric Superman hadn't grabbed me up to now. I think in this issue we finally get some of the characterization of Superman we have seen over in Action in this book. And that injection of personality added a ton of value to the proceedings here.

But more than just that personality, that look into Superman's ethics and some Pa Kent wisdom, it is the juxtaposition of these scenes with the mayhem violence happening around it that works doubly well. It isn't additive; it's multiplicative. When you hear what Superman wants but you see what he has to do, it makes the narrative sing.

Add to that Ivan Reis art (inked by Joe Prado and Oclair Albert), which is Neal Adams' stunning, and you have a winner issue. The action sequences are huge, letter-boxed, and mind-blowing. I also have to single out colorist Alex Sinclair for the huge palette he displays in the Zone scenes. Letterer Josh Reed also joins in the fun. From the art viewpoint, everything works together. Even the foil-enhanced cover is shiny fun.

I was floored here. And entertained. It all worked. On to the book.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Review: Supergirl #23

Supergirl #23 came out this week and was another interesting chapter in this new direction for the title. I know that interesting is an odd choice, a damning with faint praise sort of word. But the truth is I enjoyed this issue. There are plot points that feel a bit forced. There is one magical moment that felt off. Kara's emotions continue to run a bit rampant, a sort of step backwards. And much of the turmoil seems overly forced.

Writer Marc Andreyko builds the mystery of 'The Circle' and their role in Rogol Zaar's plan to destroy Krypton. We get to finally see the mystery man who has been in shadows on the cliffhanger pages and he looks familiar. Kara gets lucky and is given the next crumb in her trail. There is a lot of fighting that, in theory, could have been avoided. Perhaps the thing I am having a hard time wrapping my head around is Kara's labile emotions. I get that she is reeling from the Zaar reveal. But her angry reactions and lack of trust feel more like the Kara of 2011, not 2018.

What truly elevates and saves the issue is the art by Kevin Maguire. No big surprise that Maguire injects so much emotion into the scenes. Kara looks fantastic. And I love his Krypto. The book really sparkles. Seriously. If this issue had less spectacular art, I think I wouldn't be so forgiving. Add to that the shiny, foil cover by Artgerm and the fun Supergirl rocket-surfing variant by Amanda Conner and the book just looks stunning.

Onto the book!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Comic Book Implosion and Supergirl

As a comic book reader of a certain age, I knew that I had lived through the DC Comics Implosion of the 1970s. As an amateur comic historian, I thought I had something of a grasp of what it all was about. But I knew I didn't quite get it. For some reason, I always shunted the Implosion to the mid-70s rather than the later years of the decade. I needed to learn more.

So when the book Comic Book Implosion came out earlier this year, I made a mental note to seek it out. It was on a short 'to buy' list as I saw it waiting on the shelf of my LCS for me to get when the appropriate big sale came around.

Turns out blog friend Mart Gray, of the great Too Dangerous For A Girl review site, made my waiting for a sale moot, sending me a copy to read. And this definitely was a fascinating look at that slice of time.

I definitely knew the term DC Implosion was a riff on the marketing term 'The DC Explosion'. And yes, I am old enough to remember seeing this Joe Staton ad in books and wondering where I would be able to read more Big Barda (having discovered her in the Englehart/Rogers Mister Miracle) and Hawkman.

The book gathers a number of sources - interviews, articles, and publicity pieces - and snips and rearranges them more chronologically so that you understand how the Implosion unfolded. It turns out it all had to do with cover price and shelf life. As a kid growing up then and in a family that was frugal (out of necessity), the difference between a 50c comic and a 35c comic was a big deal.  So to see how those pennies crushed this endeavor and ended a whole swath of comics was fascinating to read.

But this is a Supergirl blog. So did this impact her?

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Review: Last Siege #5

The Last Siege #5 came out last week and this title continues to impress me. As I have said before, this book has played out in my mind like a movie. At times the art has felt like storyboards. The panel layouts and viewpoints and extreme closeups have reminded me of spaghetti westerns or Kurosawa films. Trust me, all of that is high compliment. I have loved this story.

This issue, in one brief moment and one panel, I was thrust away from film and back into the comic book form. We'll get there I promise. But when something jarring or different happens in a book the way this did, I was shocked. And that is the best compliment of all. Because after reading comics as long as I have, being shocked is hard to come by. It's a small moment for sure ... but it mattered. So kudos to artist Justin Greenwood for bring this wonderful style to the book.

Best yet, writer Landry Walker starts to peel back the origins of the mysterious swordsman who has been protecting this last castle. We learn his name and his backstory.  We see how he is linked to the warlord King running roughshod across the land. We see how imagery from early in this book is paid off here. It all just clicks.

My comic store has been getting only a handful of these issues each month. So head out and find them or buy the eventual trade. You won't be disappointed.

On to the book.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

DC Nation #5

DC Nation, the company produced news and propaganda magazine came out last week. As usual, it was a great mix of puff pieces, interviews, process pieces, and solicits.

I have loved every issue. Yes, I love the stuff written about the things that I do read. But I also love the more in-depth looks at books I don't read. I don't often drop $4 on a whim for a title these days. So for all I know I am missing a ton of good material. So reading articles about titles I don't get might lure me into a impulse purchase. And you have to love the price point ... free.

Nothing particularly Supergirl in this issue outside of the solicit listing. But still, there are some nice bits for Super-family fans. And there is all the usual stuff too.

First off, there is an article listing the top ten villains in the current DC.

Coming in at number 9, Talia Al Ghul! What is interesting is that she is listed as appearing in Action Comics!

We know that the Invisible Mafia in the book is headed by an as yet unseen female leader. Perhaps that means that Talia is the head of the organized crime movement in Metropolis!

I'll also remind you that Talia led the group Leviathan, a word dropped in one of the pages on Perry White's desk. All the more reason for me to believe she is heading up the mob.

Lastly, we did just see her in the Super Sons before that title ended. Maybe Damian will show up? Or Batman?

What else?

Monday, October 8, 2018

Review: Justice League #9

Justice League #9 came out last week and this was another fine issue in what has been a very exciting title so far. If you have been reading my reviews, you know that one of the things that I have very much liked about the book is the absolute breakneck speed it has been going at. Huge concepts are just thrown at the reader and before you can digest it, the next huge thing is on its way. I have talked about needing to pause to take a breath intra-issue to get my bearings.

This issue is a that deep breath unto itself. While we get a smidge of plot progression, this is really about characterization. We see the Leaguers interacting with each other. We get a glimpse into how writer Scott Snyder sees these personalities. It really elevates the team dynamics here. After seeing them scurry for 8 issues, we see them rest. And, in what feels like the classic Silver Age trope of the team 'splitting up', we get a bunch of two hero vignettes. I loved it.

I have complimented Jorge Jimenez on art before. But I love his stuff. Here, we really get to see his range. From cafeteria scenes to outer space fist fights to literal world (or moon) building, Jimenez brings style and power to the images.

So if you are looking for an issue of this issue as a jumping on point, or an issue to recommend to a friend so they can sample what the book is like, use this one.

Onto the book.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Review: Adventures Of Super Sons #3

Adventures in Super Sons #3 came out this week and was another look at some DC Silver Age tropes in a carnival mirror. Peter Tomasi is really taking advantage of this last trip on the ferris wheel of fun. This current mini-arc of the sons fighting the super-villain fanboys of the planet Cygnus has been a blast, seeing the younger version of the World's Finest team trying to outwit an adolescent take on the Injustice League.

This time around is a hysterical look at the Superman Red/Superman Blue. The Jons don't like each other and seem more interested in fighting each other than the villains. It is a rare day when Damian is the voice of reason!

The art team of Carlo Barberi and Art Thibert continue to bring a sort of giddy energy to the book, bordering on cartoony but staying within the confines of more modern sensibilities. The images really jump off the page.

Add in a cliffhanger showing that our tour through the Silver Age isn't over and you have a confection worth reading. I love this book. And I will be said when this team goes away in the aftermath of the Bendis re-imagining.

On to the book.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Back Issue Box: JLA Act Of God

Just yesterday I wrote about the upcoming CW Flash/Arrow/Supergirl crossover event title  Elseworlds .

Today I thought I would review an example of an Elseworlds series in which Supergirl (Linda Danvers/Matrix) played a pretty big role. And so I present JLA: Act of God, a three part prestige series written by Doug Moench with art by Dave Ross. The premise is simple. What if suddenly all biologic powers disappeared? What would happen to the world?  I'll be highlighting the Supergirl portions predominantly but I'll keep you up to speed with the overall story.

I have to admit, this was a bit of cosmic serendipity. My comic store had just put out a large, well organized collection into the dollar boxes. All three issues were there and I find it hard to pass up prestige books in the dollar boxes, let alone complete mini-series. So I bought this on a whim. I was not expecting such a big Supergirl role so this was someone up there guiding my purchasing hand.

Now overall, I think this is just an 'okay' mini-series. There is a lot of plot points you just need to roll with. There is some goofiness that I would not have anticipated. Superman is treated pretty shabbily. But the fun parts definitely made it an enjoyable read, especially for the price.

I don't know Dave Ross at all. I found the art in the book quite nice with a fine-lined detailed approach. At times it felt a little like Rags Morales. That is a very nice compliment.

So where does Supergirl fit into all of this? Well, to put it in context, the Supergirl title was on Supergirl #50 during this run, the end of the long form Earth Angel arc by Peter David. It is that angelic Supergirl we see here. How did she fare? Let's find out.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

10 Years Ago ... Supergirl #34

Just earlier this year, I celebrated by 10 year anniversary of doing this blog. One of the reasons why I felt compelled to start this blog and focus on Supergirl was because of the rather shabby treatment of the character (in my mind) since her re-introduction into the DCU.

Over on Twitter 2 days ago, Sterling Gates tweeted out that it was his 10 year anniversary since the release of Supergirl #34, his first issue on the book. I am amazed at how quickly time flies. Both Gates and artist Jamal Igle tweeted out some recollections and thoughts about this issue.


That is crazy.

But if any character needed a soft reboot, a bold new direction, a creative team that cared about her, it was Supergirl.

As a new blogger who needed to believe in Supergirl, the news hit me. And this was one of the things that seemed a bit of cosmic luck. Just five months into stubbing my toe trying to blog, Supergirl was getting a new team.

I had never read anything by Sterling Gates and scoured shelves for some Green Lantern Corps issues to get a sense of his style. I had a smattering of Jamal Igle books in my collection already, including a fill-in issue on Peter David's Supergirl run and pulled them out to remind me of his art. 

And you can see how excited I was back then. Supergirl #34 is listed in 16 posts! Sixteen!

I reviewed the book the day after it came out! That just doesn't happen anymore!

I covered the sales. I covered other sites reviews. I culled blurbs from interviews and publicity pieces. I showcased Fernando Pasarin, the artist on the variant cover. I looked up Joshua Middleton pieces since he was on covers. And I kept my fingers crossed.

 And I was floored.

There was this self-realization by Supergirl that she was maybe heading down a wrong path and needed to reinvent herself. The creative team acknowledged the rough parts that came before but smoothed them out. We got Linda Lang. We got a Kara that embraced Earth and wanted to help.

It was the beginning of an incredible run ... maybe *THE* run of Supergirl to date.

So congratulations to Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle for their Supergirl run and hope they celebrated their 10th year anniversary! As a Supergirl fan, I can only say my appreciation for their run and for Supergirl #34 has only increased over time!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Supergirl CW Crossover: Elseworlds

The annual CW crossover story for Arrow, Supergirl, and Flash has been officially named Elseworlds
and this comic fan couldn't be happier.

In 1989, DC Comics published Gotham by Gaslight, a story imagining Batman in the 1880's Gotham, hunting down Jack The Ripper. It is a great book, written by Brian Augustyn with art by Mike Mignola. Spurred by the success, DC began printing all sorts of books tagged with the logo 'Elseworlds', stories where familiar characters could be re-imagined or have their lives changed.

Let's face it, they were imaginary stories.

So you could see 'what if Superman was raised by the Waynes?' and 'What if Batman met Houdini and fought vamipires?' and 'what if Superman was around during the Civil War?' and 'What if Batman existed in a world where America was a Theocracy?'

Released in the wonderful Prestige Format, and usually with great creative teams, they were enticing. And as they existed 'outside continuity', as a reader you could pick and choose which stories intrigued you. I got a bunch of these and liked most of them.

So is the television Elseworlds going to be a similar take? Will there be new worlds? Changes in reality? Is Batwoman present because the idea of 'Batman' has been rewritten?

My guess is yes. But there is even more going on perhaps making this feel more like a certain Crisis.

Read on!

Monday, October 1, 2018

Heroes In Crisis #1

Heroes in Crisis #1 came out last week, the first issue in DC's big company crossover and a sad return to the days of grim, gory, dark story telling of recent years. Unfortunately, this shouldn't surprise me.

One of the things that spurred me to start this blog was the darkening of Supergirl's character in the Loeb/Turner era. I wanted to shine a light on her more heroic past so new readers woundn't think she was always the sullen, sulking, angry girl who just wanted to be left alone.

And over the 10 plus years of doing this, I have witnessed the descent of the DCU into a dark place. Some of the more notable lowlights I have covered include Cry For Justice and the  ripping off of Red Arrow's arm, the graying of all DC in Forever Evil . and the grim nature of Future's End.

Where was the optimism? Where were the heroes spurred to help humanity because it was the right thing to do? Where was the light which was going to save us from the darkness?

It was only a few years ago that DC had a course correction, deciding that they couldn't go down any further. It was time to correct the mistakes of the New 52 and subsequent stories and bring back the ideals, the hope. We got Rebirth  and for a short period of time we were happy.

I got into comics to read the exploits of heroes and be inspired to do more. Yes, even then they had human problems – love, finances, fatigue – but they always rose above. But you get the sense that things are turning and we are heading back to a DCU where (per Dan Didio) heroes can't be happy. Now the trend is to make them utterly relatable, to give the characters not only feet of clay but whole bodies of the stuff.

Heroes In Crisis is a story purportedly about PTSD and healing. Instead of that, we get a bloody, brutal issue.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Review: Action Comics #1003

 Action Comics #1003 came out this week and continued to be a tremendous read, my favorite of the Bendis Superman titles. Bristling with Metropolis activity and heavy on character interaction, it is this book which makes me think Bendis has a great handle on Superman and his supporting cast.

As is usual for this book, the Daily Planet pit and the staff play a big role in this issue. From Perry to Robinson Goode to Jimmy to Clark to the revelation that Lois is back, all the Planet scenes just sizzle. And knowing that Robinson Goode is a plant just revs up the suspense.

Not that the plot doesn't progress. The Red Cloud mystery continues with one suspect now eliminated. The Invisible Mafia mystery continues to swirl. And even the unknown origin of Goode gets a couple of hints added to the mix.

But the biggest joy was the interaction with guest star Batman. Two simple words made me smile!

The art on the book is done by one of my personal favorites, Yanick Paquette. One thing I love about Paquette's work is that the page layout and panels are a big a part of the story-telling as his expressive and detailed art. His pages in Wonder Woman Earth One sing in this manner. And here, we get that same strength. Just incredible.

All in all, this was a wonderful issue to start this somewhat troubling week of comic reading. On to the book.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Mister Miracle #11

It's been a week since Mister Miracle #11 hit the stands and so my hope is I am near the spoiler event horizon.

I have been a fan of this series since the beginning. King and Gerads have really done this spectacular job of making this a truly complete story of the duo of Mister Miracle and Big Barda. We open with some drama and sadness as Scott seems to have tried to kill himself. We then have Scott enter into a new war with Apokolips as a general, ascend to the title of Highfather, all while navigating married life, family politics, and being a new dad.

Throughout the series, panels have been warped as if the original shifted in the copy machine or the signal was breaking up on an old antenna television. And while at times this has been a very sad book, there was somehow this undercurrent of hope. Even when covered in the blood of his enemies after days of nonstop combat, the love and respect Scott and Barda have for each other was a foundation for something better.

The plot twists and the opening suicide and the warped panels (the biggest 'interference' happening in panels discussing death and pain) all made folks wonder just what was this story.

Was it 'real'?
Was it purgatory?
Was it a near death experience?

I myself kept saying I thought it was something like 'An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge', a potential future that Miracle was running through his mind in a second before he was in danger of dying.

But then the end of Mister Miracle #11 happened. Spoilers ahead.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

December 2018 Solicits

December's solicits have come out and it will be a brief month with few books. DC is taking the last week of December off for new books. The holidays will keep the racks bare. That week's books will be out in January, a 5 Wednesday month to begin with.

Here is a link to Newsarama's coverage:

And here are the books which grabbed me!

written by MARC ANDREYKO
variant cover by AMANDA CONNER
It’s a super-sized issue of SUPERGIRL!

Supergirl and Krypto go back to the “scene of the crime”—the ruins of Krypton! With Z’ndr hitchhiking, Supergirl is not only there to find clues on who the killers of Krypton are, but to pay her respects to her dead family and friends for the first time since she left the planet. But a mysterious caretaker whose duty is to protect Krypton’s remnants at all costs attacks and won’t let Kara through! As if that weren’t enough, the Kryptonian powerhouse and her super-powered pooch are stricken with radiation poisoning from the dead planet and must also fight their inner demons!
This anniversary issue also includes two backup stories! First, witness the thoughts and fears of Krypto as he is affected by the radiation poisoning from the wreckage of Krypton. Then, learn more about our new hitchhiker, Z’ndr Khol, as he scavenges a booby-trapped ruin in a remote corner of the galaxy in an off-the- wall space adventure!

A double sized issue only 5 issues into the new run? And is the double size because of the 'anniversary' number of 25?

Either way, Kara heading to the site of Krypton smacks a bit of Silver Age. I am hoping Doug Mahnke's cover showing her cachectic because of Kryptonite poisoning.

Who is Z'ndr (Xander?)? And who is the guardian at the site?

A Krypto a solo story will always be appreciated. And I can't wait to see Brad Walker and Emanuela Lupacchino drawing Supergirl again.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Sales Review: August 2018

Last month we got a new direction and a soft reboot of the Supergirl title. While the numbering remained the same, we waited three months for the Bendis-izing of the super-titles to gel. Now we are back, bold and new. And since the revamp, I have been waiting for the sales numbers for August to drop.

As someone who has been watching sales numbers of Supergirl books closely, I had been pretty impressed with what was happening in the latter stages of the Orlando/Houser/Rocha run book. Sales, most likely boosted by Artgerm variants, were up. Supergirl was nosing around the 31K mark. And the stories themselves were really starting to click. It was as if the creative team had found their groove, concentrating on some of the plots and letting others fade. Suffice it to say, I was very happy with the book's directions and sales were more than healthy.

So how did Supergirl #21 fare? Well, you can look at the top 500 books ordered for the month of August here on ICv2:

So after a couple of years living as Kara Danvers, daughter of Eliza and Jeremiah, DEO agent, CatCo intern, and student at National Tech, Supergirl decided she needed to investigate Rogol Zaar's claim that he blew up Krypton.

Basically, the baby of the Orlando Rebirth book was thrown out with the bath water. Healthy sales or no, Kara was going in a new direction, one leading her away from Earth.

So did it bring in new readers?

Monday, September 24, 2018

Back Issue Box: Infinite Crisis Secret Files And Origins

One of my greatest joys in comics is scouring the bargain bins for hidden gems. Dollar boxes are abundant here and whenever I thumb through, I feel like some old miner, panning for gold and hoping to strike it rich.

Now usually I am looking for things from the 70s and 80s in those bins but more recently, I have discovered a new passion. I like finding books from the 90s and 00s which maybe I should have bought but didn't. And any over-sized or Prestige format book found there is most likely going to get bought.

In particular, I have found a new love for the DC Secret Files and Origins series. These books usually have a couple of stories. They exist to fill in readers to a current character's history and ongoing stories. And they always have some version of 'Who's Who' style pages. It has reached a point that, if in the $1 box, even for characters or arcs I don't like, I'll probably get the Secret Files and Origins.

Which brings me to Infinite Crisis Secret Files and Origins 2006. To be frank, I don't really remember this Crisis too well. I remember Alexander Luthor and Superboy Prime escaping paradise and doling out 'reality punches' to shake up the universe. I think Luthor even makes 'tuning forks' like the Monitor. And, of course, Superman from Earth-2, the first hero and the ultimate hero in Crisis on Infinite Earths, was made a patsy.

I also remember a hodge-podge of artists filling in pages in the latter issues.

But the ending? I don't recall.

So this falls into one of those 'don't like the arc but maybe I'll like this Secret Files' sort of issue. And, as usual, I did. A few key moments will be shared!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Review: Justice League #8

I have been pretty pleased with the recent Justice League comic, written by Scott Snyder with art from Jorge Jimenez and Jim Cheung. It is an often confusing, universe shaking, wildly imaginative story that often leaves me perplexed and breathless.

What has been interesting is the plan to intermittently have an issue be dubbed Legion of Doom, written by James Tynion IV, and focusing on a villain. It is a chance to take a breath, slow down, and see life from the other side of the fence.

Justice League #8 is mostly about Lex Luthor, the leader of the villains and the one most in the spotlight for the earlier arcs and his conversation with The Batman Who Laughs. We get some of the League. We get some of the other LOD. But mostly it is these two talking in half-truths, each trying to be the smartest guy in the room. Thankfully, there is some plot progression at the end.

This was my least favorite issue of the run. It is probably because I didn't read Metal and have no idea who this Batman Who Laughs is. Tynion does a good job of painting the picture that he is exceedingly powerful and dangerous. But he is basically an unknown to me. So his talk with Luthor didn't carry the punch I think it would for others more informed.

That said, Mikel Janin is on art and is wonderful. His art is slick and gratifying. Everything kind of has a sheen to it, detailed and expressive. This title is one of the prettiest on the stands.

And, as I said, more clues get added to the mix.

On to the book.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Justice League Action Happy Meal Toy

My youngest Supergirl is 14 but still heads to McDonald's now and then, usually to hang out with friends. And it seems the only things on the menu that she herself will eat are fries and McFlurries.

That said, her friends still occasionally enjoy McNuggets or other treats there.

Where is this all going Anj?

Well, my daughter came home and said that she had gone to McDonald's with her friends. Her friends got Happy Meals complete with Justice League Action toys! And when the friends were going to throw out the toys, my daughter said, without shame, 'I bet my Dad would love this.' And she brought it home for me!

I must be doing something right!

As for McDonald's, if you head to their Happy Meal website now, you'll be greeted by the Justice League Action opening page. There is Supergirl, right up there with the Trinity! Amazing.

That could have been Flash or Green Lantern. It could have been Stargirl or a villain.

But they chose Supergirl.

I am still floored by things like this. She is that much in the public consciousness.

On to the actual toy!

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Ron Randall Commission

A couple of weeks back I got the best surprise in the mail.

Darrin and Ruth Sutherland, of the R a D Adventures podcasts, sent me the Ron Randall commission above.

Darrin and Ruth are found on Twitter at @RaD-Adventures and podcast  at Trekker Talk, Warlord Worlds, Xenozoic Xenophiles, and other shows. They are just the nicest people on the internet, great friends and so generous.

I admit they introduced me to Trekker, a great comic by Randall. And they even introduced me to Ron (at least electronically) leading to this interview from earlier this year:

I've always been a fan of Randall's art and held out hope I'd run into him at a local con so I could get a sketch.

So imagine my surprise to find the package on my doorstep which had this inside. This is ust a lovely take on Supergirl.  She looks so young and happy, almost pensive.

I can't thank Darrin, Ruth, and Ron enough for this great gift, a truly wonderful addition to my collection!

Thanks again!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

More Supergirl Movie Rumors!

Boy, time flies!

It was only a month ago that news of a possible Supergirl movie hit the internet.

Of course, there wasn't much there other than news of a screen writer. But the idea that Warner Brothers might want to re-energize the Super-franchise by moving away from the doldrums of the Snyder-verse seemed to make sense. With the success of Wonder Woman and impending success of Captain Marvel, it just seems like a no brainer.

But now some new rumors have come out in the aftermath of the announcement that Henry Cavill will no longer play Superman. It is unclear that the Cavill rumor is true. So these new Supergirl movie rumors are worth discussing here, even if (as the first rumors) this is an exceedingly premature conversation.

First off, this comment from The Playlist. Here is the link and a blurb:

A source today, right after today’s news broke, echoed the same sentiment that Warner Bros would shift focus to "Supergirl" and that movie—likely a period piece set in the 1970s (though this could change) with the young Kryptonian as a teenager—would knock Cavill out of the running for appearing in that particular time period (he’d still be a child then). So, the actor could stick around, but if Supergirl were to go first and with no “Man of Steel 2” film in development, it’s very conceivable that Cavill could not turn up as Superman again for several, several years hence everyone kind of walking away for now, but keeping the door open.

Now I must admit that I don't know if I am keen on Supergirl being set in the 70s, especially if it is part of the DCEU continuity. If Kara did reveal herself back then, wouldn't the S-symbol be known. Wouldn't Superman's reveal be less profound? If she were alive, wouldn't she come to aid Kal when the Phantom Zone folks arrived? Or does that mean she's dead in the present?

Honestly, there is nothing wrong with her arriving after him. Or having arrived earlier but having been in suspended animation or something to explain her youth. Isn't that what the Man of Steel open pod supposed to be all about?

All that said, the idea of a 'Daring New Adventures of Supergirl' style movie is intriguing if only to see Linda Danvers in all those clothes we saw in that comic.

And then the rumor about the villain!

Monday, September 17, 2018

Review: Superman #3

Superman #3 came out this week and was my favorite Brian Michael Bendis penned issue of this title. I have been enjoying Action Comics a bit more than Superman because Bendis seems to have a great grasp of who Superman is, what he means, what he would say, and how people would react to him. Action Comics is mostly Metropolis based plot with street level crime and lots of Daily Planet scenes. So that works.

Up to know Superman has been the more Super and less Man of the books. The opening story has the entirety of Earth sent into the Phantom Zone where Rogol Zaar has been exiled. I haven't warmed up to Zaar as a villain yet. The new take on the Zone as a Hellish physical realm is still one I am wrapping my head around. So this arc hasn't exactly grabbed me.

This issue does move the plot along pretty nicely. We learn why all this is happening. We see Zaar scheming from the zone. But most importantly, we see how Superman is leading in this crisis. And we see the profound effect he has on people. We also get a look inside his head to see his thoughts when all this is unraveling. We get an oddly moving moment with a classic DC villain. This was a character issue. And that made me happy.

Add to that the gorgeous art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado and this issue is a winner. Reis and Prado have the tough task of drawing Earth-side calamities as well as massive space fights in the deeper Zone.  There stuff is wonderfully detailed and just gorgeous. I hope their run on the book is long.

On to the details.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Review: Supergirl #22

Supergirl #22 came out this week, the second chapter in the Marc Andreyko era, and a decent move forward in the storyline of Kara's space investigation of Krypton's destruction. I was heading into this new time with some trepidation. Steve Orlando and Jody Houser had really got their sea legs and were crafting great stories in this title just to have the Bendis-izing of the super-titles rock the boat. Plus, images of an axe-wielding Supergirl being portrayed as an enemy of the Green Lantern Corps seemed like a step backwards.

This second chapter does push the overall storyline forward nicely. We get a lot of internal monologue here which does a good job of telling us just what Kara is feeling here. I have a better sense now of why she is so hell-bent on this mission. There is a nod back to the Silver Age which made me smile. And Kevin Maguire hits another home run on art here, giving us every bit of expressive emotion he can in the art. And there is no doubt this book is linked to the ongoing Superman books. Overall, I liked this issue.

Not to say it wasn't perfect. I don't quite understand why Supergirl is being so secretive about her mission. She seems a bit all over the map here emotionally, more than I would expect from someone who has lived the New 52 life she has. I don't want all those lessons to simply be swept under the rug.

On to the book.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Supergirl:American Alien Trailer

We are about a month away from the premiere of Supergirl Season Four and the CW is starting to ratchet up the publicity. The latest has been a brief trailer called Supergirl American Alien on YouTube. Here is a link:

There is a nice voice over by Kara. Here it is:

No matter how much we believe in ourselves it never really goes away.
Well I think ‘I’m not afraid of anything’
Then something chases me back down the rabbit hole
But once we catch ourselves, we have to jump right back out there.

As the trailer plays out, it becomes clear that this is Kara talking to Nia Nal in CatCo. Is this a plot about Nia being transgender and afraid by opening up?

But this plays into Kara's character as well. We have seen her be overconfident on the show in the past. So she comes to this moment of mentoring honestly.

On to some screen shots!

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Review: Justice League #7

Justice League #7 came out last week, the conclusion of 'The Totality' arc. As has been the case with this title, there is a lot of action and a lot of big comic book ideas that rapidly fly by. It has been almost dizzying in execution and definitely confusing in some places. I feel I really have been flying by the seat of my pants here. But 7 issues in, I actually wouldn't mind a little exposition now.

I think Grant Morrison and his books. A lot of big ideas came and went in his books. But often, they were in the background or were minor details to the plot. I could roll with them because Morrison often times built a foundation for the main storyline that was solid. Here? Those crazy ideas are the main plot.

Now that isn't to say I haven't liked this title. It is bonkers and sometimes I need that in my comic runs. And the art, this issue by Jim Cheung, is gorgeous.

But if the next plot hinges on the ending of this Totality arc, I can only hope that we get some more solid background. A shaky foundation helps no one.

On to the book!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

DC Nation #4

I have said before how much I love the DC Nation free magazine. Every month we get company propaganda but also a lot of interviews, process pieces, creative thinking, and Direct Currents.

For someone like me, who likes the behind the scenes stuff as well as the actual finished products, this book is a godsend. And DC Nation #4 continued the trend. I mean, I am stoked about the upcoming Grant Morrison Green Lantern book. So getting to read an interview with him and Liam Sharp is fan-tastic.

Not that all the news is good news. This issue has 'real' psychoanalysis of the DC Trinity and the reports read pretty rough. The Superman one in particular makes him sound depressed. That isn't my Superman.

But we are here to light a candle, not curse the darkness. So what stuff relevant to this site grabbed me?

There is an article about the foil covers coming out in October. It reminds me of the 'Chromium Age' of enhanced covers in the madcap speculator 90s. Jim Lee has seen all the covers and picks out his favorites. No surprise but the Artgerm variant on Supergirl #23 is on that short list.

Unlike some of Artgerm's covers, this really looks like a young girl Kara. Even her pose strikes me like a kid being told to vogue a bit. I love it.

Lee is able to put into words what I feel from Artgerm's covers. There is a vitality in the heroes that just seeps from the page.

And now more news.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Review: The Last Siege #4

The Last Siege #4 came out last week and once again it was one of the most cinematic books that I have read recently. Everything about this title screams film to me. From my description of this as spaghetti western meets Braveheart, to the way the panels flow almost like storyboards, this comic plays out in my mind while I am reading it like a movie. And that is high praise. Because comics are all about filling in the gutters, about intuiting what happens between panels. When a book flows the way this one does, it is magical.

To put it in even stronger terms, I am starting to hear a score in my mind when I am reading this, from percussion beats as our hero is kicking down a door to frenetic strings as our Queen is running on rooftops dodging arrows.

Writer Landry Walker continues to slowly unwind this story of a single castle holding off the hordes of a warlord conqueror. But that external threat still hasn't manifested. Instead we have been shown the internal conflict within the walls of those who are willing to fall in line with the current regime even if it means losing their souls and those holding on to their integrity and identity. It all unfolds in the midst of brutal scenes of violence which makes it all the more glorious.

The art team consists of penciler Justin Greenwood, colorist Eric Jones and letterer Pat Brousseau. They bring a muddy and murky feel to everything here, creating the perfect tone for this dark play. Even when blood is shed, it is more of a black ink than a shock of red. It complements the writing perfectly.

This is the halfway point and it feels as though we have hit the apogee. Our queen has finally talked both in word and in deed. No turning back now.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Review: Adventures Of The Super Sons #2

The reappearance of an older, scarred Jon Kent still hasn't happened in Brian Michael Bendis' Superman books and I am thankful for that. Because it means I get to enjoy the more playful and fun-loving Jon Kent from the Super Sons book.

Adventures of the Super Sons #2 came out this week and continued this fun romp through the DCU. Writer Peter Tomasi has shepherded Jon and Damian through their adventures together and I think he probably realizes the writing is on the wall that Jon and Damian will never be these kids again. So why not write a crazy story and borrow from DC's crazier history at the same time. This is a ton of fun, a sort of roller coaster ride where things happen fast as you careen into plot turns.

Carlo Barberi and Art Thibert are the perfect pair to provide art on the book, bringing a kinetic and somewhat cartoony feel to the proceedings, amping up that crazy factor a lot. The action especially leaps off the page in a four color wonderful way.

But the main thing is that this is a fun book. I find myself grinning as I read it, a reminder of all that Rebirth was supposed to do. It seems recently that DC wants to undo a lot of that, as if they hate the prosperity it brought them. So savor this while you can.

On to the book.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Supergirl Roller Coaster!

Every so often I think back to the days when I first started this blog with intention of showcasing my favorite character Supergirl, a character I felt had been completely overlooked and at times mistreated.

The times have changed over those 10 years haven't they. Successful live action television show. Successful animated programs. Successful toy lines. Even successful comic titles.

Still, every so often I am surprised when I see just how immersed Supergirl has become in the public consciousness. Like when I see that now she is going to have her own thrill ride at a Six Flags amusement park in St. Louis. Here is the link:

And a brief blurb:
Drawing on SUPERGIRL’s powers of stamina and strength, thrill seekers spin and tilt, all while suspended from the whirling wheel of justice. Riders are raised up by a giant arm, feet dangling, and then launched into a high-speed spin…round and round…higher and higher.


Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Review: Action Comics #258 - Supergirl meets Krypto, Sent Into Space

Marc Andreyko has sent Supergirl into space with Krypto to investigate Rogol Zaar. Here at the site, I am continuing my unofficial and somewhat random look at adventures with Supergirl in space. And what better issue to look at than Action Comics #258, Supergirl's first adventure in space and the story where she first met Krypto! I strive to have these back issue reviews have some bearing on current arcs. So this seemed perfect.

This story also plays into the Silver Age theme of Supergirl being extremely worried of letting Superman down and kowtowing to his various demands and rules. It also shows Superman to be a rather nasty individual, putting Kara through the wringer for reasons that don't warrant such harsh treatment. Supergirl was truly cringing in his shadow back then.  Remember, we are only 6 issues into her very existence.

Once again the creative team here is the legendary team of writer Otto Binder and artist Jim Mooney. And it pushes the Supergirl narrative forward a fair bit, not only with this ongoing theme of needing to prove to Kal that he can trust her but also by introducing her to more of the Superman universe.

I wish I owned the issue itself. Scans come from the Supergirl Archives, volume 1.

Onto the story!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Terrificon Recap #2: Frenz Commission, Supergirl Sigs, Barry Kitson, Harley Quinn, And Other Stuff

Last week I began my review of my excellent time at TerrifiCon. As I said then, this convention has become the high point of my convention season. There were just too many great creators there to try and meet and chat with.

I already talked about how great the venue was, how accommodating and friendly the creators were, and how it was comic book centric, so rare these days. So let's jump into more of my fondest memories!

If you remember from my TerrifiCon prep post, Kevin Nowlan and Ron Frenz were the two commissions I was hoping to score here. Last week I talked about how lucky I was to grab the Nowlan sketch. So did I go two for two?

Based on the title of this post, you can probably guess.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Back Issue Box: Darkstars #34

In her own title, Supergirl is heading into space to investigate Rogol Zaar.

Here at Comic Box Commentary, I have been informally reviewing past stories of Supergirl heading into space. Last month I reviewed Green Lantern #65, the second part of the crossover storyline The Siege of Zi Charam.

As luck would have it, I also have Darkstars #34, the middle chapter of the same arc. While Supergirl doesn't have much to do here, she is part of the Titans/Darkstar team-up trying to stop the Progenitors from overwhelming another system. For good or ill, these are the only two chapters I have of this arc. My sense we get much more Supergirl-centric action in chapter four. I also have heard from people who have read the whole story that I am not missing much. I always am looking though.

Writer Jan Michael Friedman and artist Mike Collins accomplish just what a middle chapter should do. They push the story forward, filling in some information with exposition, throwing in some action to keep people engaged, and setting up the finale. Friedman tries to include some character moments but the bulk of the story is told by aliens enmeshed in the action rather than the team. I buy this book for the Darkstars and these guest stars, not to see three alien races I know nothing about debate what to do. And pages are devoted to the other subplots within this title; I suppose for those collecting the title, this should happen.

Mike Collins art is cartoonish in places. It is muddy in others. In particular, his alien races are rather bland and flat.

But Supergirl is in space and she is trying to solve problems. So off we go.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Legion Of Super-Bloggers 4 Year Anniversary

Earlier this year, Supergirl Comic Box Commentary celebrated its 10 year anniversary.
That is crazy.

Today is my own person 4 year anniversary of contributing to the Legion of Super-Bloggers.

I can vividly remember my recruitment. The Irredeemable Shag, of the FW Podcasts, called me one afternoon in July 2014. The blog was being put together. They needed members. And knowing my love for the Legion, he wondered if I would be interested.

It was a warm day and I was walking outside of work, wandering off the hospital campus and onto a college campus nearby. I sat down on steps leading into a gothic building where classes were going on. I asked if I could cover the early Five Years Later run. The rest is history.

I have been manning the shop on Fridays pretty much ever since.
I have covered:
  • The first 50 issues of the 5YL run
  • The Waid/Kitson Threeboot through that titles end under Jim Shooter
  • The Levitz/Giffen run from the original series, from #300 up to the inception of the Baxter run
  • The Legion Secret Origin mini-series
  • The New 52 Series
  • The New 52 Legion Lost series
  • And currently, the Retroboot, spinning out of the Johns/Frank reintroduction of the team in Action Comics

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Back Issue Review: Action Comics #337

We have started the Marc Andreyko era on Supergirl, a time in which Kara heads off into space to investigate the claims of Rogol Zaar. Heading off into deep space, Supergirl is bound to run into systems without a yellow sun. She is certain to make new friends. And she will most likely make new enemies.

With that in mind, I will be trying to look into the back issue box to find adventures of Supergirl in sppaaaccceee!

Action Comics #337 has one of the best gogo checked Silver Age covers ever with Superman being both a top-hatted millionaire and bare-footed hobo. How can you not want to buy this issue?

But the real reason I am reviewing this is "The Green Sun Supergirl!" story in the back. After all, we already have seen in the current title that Kara has donned a new uniform designed to absorb yellow sun energy and provide it to her. Because outside of a yellow sun, she is without powers.

Will she survive on a green sun world? Make friends? Make enemies? Solve problems? Become a worshiped figure?

It's the Silver Age. You should be able to guess.

On to the story.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Terrificon Recap #1: Kevin Nowlan Commission, Supergirl Sigs, & More

I talk a lot about my 'convention season', basically the summer and early fall when I am lucky enough to attend several comic conventions situated within driving distance of my house.

Very quickly, Terrificon, a comic convention in Connecticut, has become the 'big con' on my list. This is a tremendous show and I would say for folks considering a stay in New England for a convention, this is the one to hit.

Unlike many comicons of today, Terrificon is clearly a comic book centric convention, focusing primarily on comic creators and less on celebrities (although they have some of them in attendance as well). The guest list has been impressive and is really a great mix of legends, creators from my youth, and current writers and artists, really running the gamut. Trust me when I say that I brought a ton of comics to get signed because I hadn't run into many of these folks elsewhere.

Also, most of the creators weren't charging for signatures. Instead they had a donation bin for the Heroes Initiative on their table. I didn't mind being very generous to that cause.

Lastly, the venue is at the Mohegan Sun Casino. It was a new exhibition hall. It was massive meaning plenty of room between the aisles to navigate. That also means free parking. And at the casino the meal options range from food court to quick decent meals to full on sit down restaurants. Absolutely no complaints.

Great fun!

So what did I get accomplished?

Monday, August 27, 2018

That Crisis Moment In Wonder Woman #53

You would think that 32 years after it hit the stands that the impact of Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 would lessen in me.

After all, while Supergirl did die and was subsequently erased from the DCU, she has come back in multiple incarnations. She has tremendous runs with amazing creators since COIE. She is at the peek of her popularity.

Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 has become a touchpoint in comic history. It gave *that* Supergirl an incredibly heroic death, one of sacrifice to save the many.

I have come to respect Crisis for what it has meant for Supergirl fandom, her character, and her mythology.

So I am not surprised when I still see that issue get referenced. Usually it takes the form of an homage of the famous cover.

But this week, in Wonder Woman #53, I saw my first COIE #7 dialogue homage. No surprise, it comes from Supergirl scribe and fan Steve Orlando.