Saturday, May 26, 2018

Review: The Last Siege


I have been a fan of the creative team of Landry Walker and Eric Jones for some time now, following them from Supergirl Cosmic Adventures to Danger Club and beyond. So when I heard they were being joined by artist Justin Greenwood on the Image book The Last Siege I knew I would be there.

Now Cosmic and Danger Club are two very different styles of books so I didn't know what to expect with The Last Siege. It leans more towards the darker end of the thematic spectrum mixing medieval politics with sword play and desperate battles. I have been trying to come up with a sort of elevator pitch shorthand for the book and I guess I would say it's "Seven Samurai meets Braveheart meets Yojimbo". But even that sells it short for what I am sure will be an exploration of power and the corruption of power throughout the story.

Walker brings the reader into this first issue effectively, going back and forth between two plotlines which are inextricably linked and therefore laying the foundation for what the story is about. In particular, the opening pages are quite cinematic and let's the reader know this isn't going to be a sunny romp.

Greenwood's art is new to me but very much works here. I think of medieval times as a sort of dingy, rough time period and there is a raw quality to the linework here which just puts me into the story. You can feel the grime and grit as warriors battle in the rain.

I'm in and hope you will give it a try.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Review: Wonder Woman #47


Wonder Woman #47 came out this week, the only book on the shelf this month to feature Supergirl as we await her 'bold new direction' in August. So even though Kara is out of her mind in the issue, I have to be happy she is somewhere.

I have been collecting Wonder Woman since the Rebirth reboot. I found the Rucka run to be good enough, especially the early issues resolving some of the New 52 snags. Recently James Robinson has come on board and his time has been a bit more hit or miss. At times Diana seems like an after thought in her own book.

This issue seems to underscore that a bit. The first half is a fight with Supergirl in which we get some good insight into Diana and some wonderful art by Stephen Segovia. But this fight, in the end, is sort of meaningless and ends with a whimper. The second half is dedicated to Diana's long lost brother Jason, a character who has dominated the book a bit too much. I don't read the book for him; I read it for Wonder Woman.

The overall story here is about Dark Gods coming to Earth which seems a bit badly timed given that we also have Omega Titans coming in No Justice. I thought this was a tie-in to that book but it turns out the Dark Gods are their own entities.

I'll stress again that Segovia really crushes it this issue. His visual storytelling is superb. On to the book.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Happy Anniversary! The Shrine Then & Now


I continue my look back at ten years of collecting by looking at the sheer amount of Supergirl merchandise I have obtained over the course of the last decade. It's crazy to look at this 'then and now' take on the collection.

Here is the first look at 'The Shrine' from way back in June 2008 here:
http://comicboxcommentary.blogspot.com/2008/06/shrine.html

Back then I was using a tiny sort of 4 shelf corner cabinet to display 22 pieces.

I quickly would need more space.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Supergirl Episode 319: The Fanatical

Supergirl episode 319, titled 'The Fanatical' came out this week and was an decent episode. This one pushed the season long plot of the World Killers forward a bit. We learned of a possible solution to Reign, one that would save Sam. We revisited the Coville cult and saw how people can define themselves by their faith. And, given the name of an upcoming episode, we are that much closer to seeing Erica Durance as Alura.

But the main thrust of this episode was character growth as once again we see how the events of this season are bringing people together or driving them apart. Every member of the DEO team is struggling a bit these days with some personal crises. And as a result, everything seems a little uneasy. Supergirl and Lena are bristling with each other. Mon-El is dealing with his conflicted feelings. J'onn is dealing with his father. Alex is trying to mother Ruby. James is pulled between alliances. All this while their friend is captured and threatening the world. Add to this a relatively heavy dollop of political sentiment and you get an episode more memorable for character moments than for punches.

While I love the cast and the well developed characters, this is another episode where Supergirl seems like part of an ensemble show instead of a lead. J'onn and Alex carry the emotional heft here. James is the political figure crying out for social justice. Mon-El gets most of the action.

Hopefully when all this plays out, Supergirl is the center of all the action and the actual hero of the day.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

New Creative Team/New Look For Supergirl Announced


In what has to be deemed tremendous news, we learned yesterday that the Supergirl title has not been cancelled and will be back on the shelves this summer! Supergirl #21 ... not even a renumbering! Hooray! ... will be out in August!

Over on Syfy.com, it was announced that Marc Andreyko and Kevin Maguire will be the new creative team. Andreyko then does an brief interview about the book. Here is a link:
http://www.syfy.com/syfywire/exclusive-supergirl-returns-with-new-creative-team-and-brand-new-costume

Now first off, I definitely like Andreyko as a writer, especially his work on Manhunter. So I really feel like Kara is in good hands there. And I have gushed about Kevin Maguire on this blog many many times. I can't wait to see him drawing Kara monthly. So I am grateful for that announcement.

We also get Terry Dodson on the cover of the first issue of the new direction. And in the story, Kara will sport at least four new outfits as designed by Jorge Jimenez. So more artists I love are attached to the title. This is great news. While my beloved red skirt is gone on the more classic outfit, at least the long point sleeves remain. And I like the wide gold belt. Nice touch. Okay, onto the article itself.

I'll say again, I am thrilled the book is staying around. My thoughts on specifics coming up.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Supergirl On Sundays


 The CW Upfronts were held last week and there was some shakeup to the lineup of the shows worth mentioning here.

The biggest change for the network as a whole is the CW now expanding to Sunday nights.

And this has an impact on the Supergirl show as she will now be the 8p show on Sundays. Here is a link to the whole schedule: http://tvline.com/2018/05/17/cw-fall-lineup-2018-supergirl-sunday-charmed-schedule/

I am glad that the CW feels Supergirl can still be the tentpole on a night, especially a new night for the network. Having the reboot of Charmed follow the show also is evidence that the network has faith in the series bringing in and holding viewers.

Of course, much like Mondays, it does mean that Supergirl will be up against prime time professional football. Hopefully that doesn't crush the numbers.

The Supergirl 'poster' for season 4 looks a little odd to me, like a photoshop job. Does Melissa Benoist's head look just a smidge too large?

Friday, May 18, 2018

Review: Superman Special #1 (2018)

With the Bendis era around the corner, DC has allowed the current Superman creative teams a little breathing room to wrap up some storylines.  Earlier this month we had  Action Comics Special #1 , an extra issue to let Dan Jurgens finish one of his ongoing plots, the complex recent relationship between Superman and Lex Luthor.

This week we got Superman Special #1 which allows Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason one last chance to showcase the super-family as well as close out a lingering plot point, the destiny of Captain Storm.
As this is a special, we also get a couple of short bonus stories, perhaps inventory left unpublished before now.

I have touted the Tomasi/Gleason run since it started so no surprise I love their story.  It is a nice amalgam of the father/son relationship we have seen grow in this book, a wonderful representation of Lois (something missing before Rebirth), and a nod to heroes of all ages. It ends with a literal closing of the door, a symbolic way for the creators to show that their time here is done.

The art on the main story is done by Scott Godlewski who brings a nice feel to the piece, bring a little Darwyn Cooke and a little Wayne Boring to the proceedings, totally appropriate for an adventure on Dinosaur Island.

But the key thing is that it made me once again realize that despite firing on all cylinders, this team is being nudged out. I am hopeful that Bendis is bringing something phenomenal.

On to the book.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Joelle Jones Supergirl statue


The Shrine got a little bigger recently when the DC Cover Girls Joelle Jones Supergirl statue came in.

It is an absolutely gorgeous statue.

Like mind-blowingly beautiful. Not surprising given it is based on Joelle Jones art, someone whose work I have loved for a long time.

There is something that just says 'graceful' about this. From the faraway, serene expression to the holding out of the cape to the gentle leg positioning, this gives off the angelic, pure feel that Supergirl is sometimes known for.

It is really a great piece, one worth saving for if you have enough cash for just one Supergirl piece.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Supergirl Episode 318: Shelter From The Storm


Supergirl episode 318, titled 'Shelter from the Storm' aired earlier this week and was the second episode in a row which I found just a bit lacking. Now trust me, there are some very solid moments here, including a slow boil on the Lena/Supergirl eventual clash and some touching moments between J'onn and his father. There are even some Donner nods, something which always makes me smile.

Unfortunately, for me, there were several story decisions here which I thought lessened the total arc. In particular, the constant Mon-El is what is driving me a bit batty. There was a perfect moment in this episode for him to exit the show in a heroic and sympathetic way. It would have been the best redemption for the character and the perfect way to put Supergirl back in the spotlight.

Instead, Mon-El reverse course, comes back, and ultimately sort of saves the day. And then, the embers of the Kara/Mon romance suddenly seem to be glowing brighter.

I haven't had the complete disgust towards Mon-El that others have had. I think he has grown a lot as a person, even just in last season. But the time was right for him to head off into the sunset.

But enough about Mon-El. The straw stirring the drink of this episode was Lena, just as she was last week. Katie McGrath is ratcheting up the Luthor-ness of Lena, even as Kara seems to be unintentionally nudging the character deeper into the shadows. Look out. A Luthor is going to be the big bad of Season 4, no doubt.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Happy Anniversary! Top Ten Supergirl Commissions!


I continue my semi-self-congratulatory tenth anniversary of Supergirl blogging by looking back at my every growing collection of commissions. I am pretty lucky that New England has a good convention scene that allows me the opportunity to run into creators on an annual basis. And I am also lucky enough to have a job where I can moonlight an extra shift to fund a convention season, allowing me to at least try to get commissions.

As I write this, I have just under 100 commissions in the collection. Initially I got them on separate Bristol board and would frame them. But I quickly ran out of wall space in the comic area of the basement. It also was kind of hard to share the collection. So a while back I switched to sketch books which I now bring to conventions. It has served me well. I know have a portable art gallery. And artists who I do commission seem to like flipping through the book themselves.

As part of this 10th anniversary celebration, I have been looking at some Top Tens and figured my commission collection was a natural for such a list. The problem is I love all my sketches. So picking a top ten feels like I am rejecting the others. So I am presenting the top ten commissions that stuck out to me today. Ask me tomorrow and I might pick a different 10 all together. And these are listed unranked and alphabetically by artist. This is just the top ten.

If you love any of my commissions, please drop me a note. In the mean time, on to the list,.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Supergirl Quick Hits


 Hey all, just a couple of unexpected Kara moments cropped up this week at the comic store which I thought were worth mentioning here. One is current. One is pure Bronze Age joy.

We'll start off in Wonder Woman #46. 

I must admit, I haven't been too impressed with James Robinson's run as it seems like Wonder Woman is a supporting character in her own book. I will openly admit that I am floored by the tremendous Jenny Frison variant covers that have been on the book.

This issue has Diana battling the Cheetah. Cheetah keeps ranting how the god Urzkartaga, who cursed her with her bestial form, is dead. Dark gods are coming. And this theistic upheaval is enough to enrage and madden the Cheetah who goes on a killing spree.

In fact this seems to be hitting home normal people too. They are questioning their faiths and rioting.

Maybe you can see where this is going given the Supergirl focus of this site.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Review: New Super-Man and the Justice League of China #23


New Super-Man and the Justice League of China #23 came out this week. The writing is on the wall that this book is ending and so I am trying to enjoy every second of it I have left. Writer Gene Luen Yang continues to give us a fresh look at familiar characters as they deal with their side of the globe. 

This issue concludes the North Korean Aquaman story, bringing him into the fold of the League. As has been something of a running theme in this book, Aquaman needs to come to grips with who he is as an individual in the face of expectations from his elders. Kenan has needed to grapple with his human parents as well as the warring Yin/Yang in him, trying to become the best version of him that there is. Baixi has been trying to deal with what it means to be a Batman as well as his life as a big brother and a boyfriend. Deiling has had to reconcile her life as an elder spirit Green Snake as well as being a human.

And here, Aquaman has merged with a Korean water god who wants to bring its wrath down on the people. But Kwang Jo is a simple Korean kid who likes American junk culture. How do you figure out who you are and what you want to do in the face of that pressure.

While these are relatively heady topics, Yang always keeps the fun infused in the book. I wish I had another year of this book.

On art, Brent Peeples continues to shine. He has a sort of 'no fuss' style that allows the story to unfold without distraction. I realize that sounds like damning with faint praise but I love the look of this book.

On to the book.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Teen Titans Go! Supergirl



 I have been watching  Teen Titans Go! the series since its inception.

It is bananas. It is a strange, addled, mind-boggling look at the DCU through a haze of sarcasm and lunacy. I have seen episodes which embrace criticism of the proper DCU, episodes where the characters die of old age, episodes based around farting, to ones where they get gritty in response to fan complaints, and just about everything in between.

Yes, I take my comics and comic characters very seriously. Maybe too seriously.

But Teen Titans Go! is a wickedly guilty pleasure, one I routinely laugh out loud at.

So when they announced Teen Titans Go! To The Movies, I was pretty stoked. After remaining on the landscape for five irreverent years, it deserves some big screen time.

One thing that has always stood out to me is that despite the wealth of DC characters who have appeared, we hadn't seen Supergirl before.

Before now that is.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Supergirl Episode 317: Trinity



Supergirl episode 317, titled 'Trinity' aired this week and was an interesting episode to dissect.

Certainly there was a lot of momentum in the World Killer storyline here, as the evil Trinity of Reign, Purity, and Pestilence nearly brought about the end of the world. We see some weakness in this Trinity ultimately as the human side of these Kryptonian entities are able to manifest at opportune times for our heroes. So yes, despite being a Trinity, they are not 100% united.

But the bigger plot for me in this episode was the weakening of the heroic Trinity of Supergirl, Alex, and Lena Luthor. Yes, there is an obvious comparison here, three strong women fighting for a cause. But just like the villainous trio are splintered, you can see it here. This whole episode seems to be intent on shoving Lena out of the light and into the darkness. I have no doubt at all know that Lena will be the big bad in Season 4. Because despite Lena doing nothing but good, the characters here mostly doubt her. In fact, Supergirl's distrust of Lena and Lena keeping secrets seems to be out of left field. Kara herself has secrets. So to flaunt it so much seems wrong.

Yes, as a viewer and long time comic fan, I have been watching the 'will she/won't she be evil' scenes with great glee. But that is me, outside this reality. All this stuff seemingly could have been hashed out with a mature conversation over a coffee.

The bottom line is that all the secrets and barriers between these heroes all are now torn down ... except for two big ones. Kara's secret identity seems still hidden ... maybe. And Lena's huge secret at the end of the episode is known only to James.

So in the end, I expect Reign to be defeated at the hands of Lena. And this defeat will somehow paint Lena poorly leading to an ultimate dissolution of this friendship. It actually mirrors the Lex/Kal initial friendship nicely. After all, as I learned in Unbreakable, usually arch-enemies start out as friends. (They called him Mr. Glass.)

On to the show.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

DCNation #0: No Justice Bullet Review


DC Nation #0 came out last week, a bargain at a quarter because it sets up three major new storylines in three of DC biggest properties. I knew I was going to review part of it at the very least. My thoughts on the Brian Michael Bendis/Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez story were posted a couple of days ago here.

I wasn't planning on covering any of the other stories because I don't always read Batman and I hadn't read Justice League Metal so I didn't think I had the background to cover the No Justice story by the deep team of talent comprised of writers Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, and Joshua Williamson with art by Jorge Jimenez. But the appearance of Supergirl made a couple of people reach out to me for coverage. And so here we are.

This will be a bit of a bullet review so don't expect too too much. My plan here is to look at each team and then cover the Kara spot. Onto the story.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Review: Action Comics Special #1


Action Comics Special #1 came out this week, the epilogue to Dan Jurgens run on the character which has spanned two decades. It seems fitting to me that Jurgens end it with a Superman vs. Luthor fight, pitting the arch-enemies against each other one last time. It also seems fitting to me that this reminded me of another landmark Action Comics issue which came out during a prior Jurgens run (albeit written by Roger Stern), a sort of look back as we turn to the future.

Perhaps most important, it closes the door on the 'Luthor is kind of a hero these days' plot which has been around for most of Rebirth. I don't mind my villains being villains and seeing Lex wearing an S-shield and trying to chum around Superman didn't always sit well. Lex should loathe the shield; he should hate Superman. With Brian Michael Bendis coming on board and a new era of Superman coming up, it seems like a fine time to regress to the classic version of these characters.

Jurgens does this in a most interesting way giving us a surprise villain for the Luthor/Superman pairing to fight together, acting as comrades in arms for one last time. Nice wrinkle and decent story. I wonder if Jurgens was given enough lead time to know this was his final story.

And Will Conrad provides his usual detailed, fine lined approach to the art which gives this story a sense of preciseness. It looks beautiful.

This is a special so there are extra pages. Surprisingly, the best extra story is one by Max Landis. I almost feel ashamed to write that last sentence. Turns out that story is a reprint from a recent holiday special, which makes sense given the content.

On the book.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Review: DCNation #0

 DC Nation #0 came out this week and had three stories within to promote some of the upcoming storylines in the fresh new DCU. This includes a Tom King/Clay Mann Batman story and a Justice League story to promote the post-Metal DCU by writers Scott Snyder, James Tynion, and Joshua Williamson with art by Jorge Jimenez.

I am a DC fan so of course I was going to get this regardless. But for me the draw was a Superman story by Brian Michael Bendis with art by the legendary Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, praised be his name. We all have been curious about where Bendis will be taking the Superman family once he grabs the reins. I have been worried about him upsetting the apple cart of the recent excellence in the book. And frankly this story made me a little more worried than the action sequence in Action Comics #1000.

Part of that worry is that whenever a big name comes onto the Superman books their first inclination always seems to be that they need to change things, shake things up, and make things different. And that rarely seems to work. So in the recent past when Gene Luen Yang decided to depower Superman, remove the Clark Kent secret identity, and make him a motorcycle-riding wrestler ... well that didn't work. That ain't Superman. And before that when James Michael Straczynski decided to have Superman walk across the US, ignoring people who were dying of a heart attack on their front porch, and telling someone he would let them throw themselves off a building and not stop them ... well that didn't work. That wasn't Superman.

But when Dan Jurgens, Peter Tomasi, and Patrick Gleason had him with Lois, being heroic and inspirational, and working for the Daily Planet .. ... that worked! It was truly a Rebirth, with Superman being Reborn into all the things that made Superman fans love him to begin with.

Now we are faced with Bendis and I know we have barely scratched the surface. But already Bendis has an evil alien being behind the destruction of Krypton and, in DC Nation #0, Lois Lane out of the picture and missing. This isn't exactly Superman ...

Will it work? I'll go in with an open mind like I always do. But it better be spectacular. Metaphorically, the apples are falling off the cart, rolling down the street.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Plastic City Comic Con Recap


Plastic City Comic Con is a local comic book convention that was new to me and boy, I am glad I discovered it. It is a true comic book convention and a perfect beginning to my convention season.

The big draw for me was that J.M. DeMatteis was in attendance. I have been a fan of DeMatteis for a long time and the idea of running into him at a smaller con made me think I might have some time with him to ask some questions. And I did, a brief amount. Because he is a popular creator and lots of people were there to meet him.

I also was able to meet and shake hands with the show runners of Terrificon, which has become my big con during the summer. It was a flyby meeting but I wanted to let them know I appreciated the show and was gearing up to attend.

But this was also a chance for me to actually thumb through back issues and buy comic books. As I have said before, I am usually busy with creators at the bigger cons. I am trying to get commissions and autographs. I rarely have time to just kick back and flip through back issues.

Not only did I have time to shop for books, I found some great books. Great books.

On to the show.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Supergirl Episode 316: Of Two Minds


Supergirl episode 316, 'Of Two Minds; aired this week and pushed forward the overarching plot of the World Killers, introducing us to the third and giving us plenty of new information about their abilities. We needed to get back to this story to make sure all the pieces are in order for the finale.

One of the things I have liked about this season has been the idea that Kara needs to embrace her humanity to be the hero she wants to be. At the beginning, she swears off being a human and dedicates herself to being unfeeling and alien. Over the course of this season we have not only seen Kara need to get in touch with her feelings and think about sacrifice for the good, we have seen it in those around her. Whether it is Livewire or Psi or Mon-El or J'onn or Alex or Winn, everyone has had to come to grips with caring about others more than themselves, about forgiveness and redemption. I am sure that all of these stories are building up to a climax where the humanity of the World Killers is going to be leveraged to defeat them.

This episode we see that it is Saturn Girl's turn to learn the lesson. Or maybe it is Kara's turn to question the lesson and relearn it. We also see that Pestilence has not only turned away from humanity but has embraced her evil side.

It all leads to heavy action sequences and plot progression. But beside that, there are tremendous character moments which explore the themes above. This felt like an hors d'oeuvre before the real deal.

On to the show


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Happy Anniversary! Top Ten List of Top Supergirl Moments of the Last 10 Years


It is absolute insanity to realize that I have been blogging about Supergirl for ten years now. I hope I have maintained the passion for her and DC in the entries that made me think of starting a site to begin with.

One of my favorite posts to do each year is my 'Best Moments' of the year. I review all of the comics Supergirl appeared in, I make a file of all the biggest moments from those reviews. I then prune what is usually a big folder of 30-40 moments down to something like 12-15 of the best. And then from there, I pick honorable mentions and rank a top ten.

With my tenth year anniversary approaching, I realized I had done ten "end of the year" 'Best Moments' posts. And that means I had my ten #1 Supergirl moments for the past decade.

So I thought, as a celebration of my anniversary, I would look at the #1 Supergirl moments for the last ten years and then rank them, making a Top Ten of the Top Ten list. This would therefore create an ultimate #1 Supergirl moment for the last decade!

A couple of caveats. One, I limited this to the actual #1 moments I picked each year. With the passage of time, I don't know if I would rank them as a #1 now. But I have to keep them. Two, I not only ranked them based on overall importance to the character but also my personal reaction to the moment. If this floored me but now is forgotten, it still might rank high.

So settle in for the Top Ten Supergirl moments of the last decade, based on my #1 Supergirl moments for each of the last 10 years. And settle in ... because I discuss each moment!