Friday, August 17, 2018

Review: Justice League #6

Justice League #6 came out this week and continued its insane pace, tossing aside some plot lines and barreling forward with others. Scott Snyder and returning artist Jorge Jimenez continue to just dazzle me with this arc as huge ideas are brought up and wrapped up in panels. The threat level is huge which feels right for the League. All this in the era of trade waiting is so fresh it feels innovative. It also feels rather classic, akin to the classic Dick Dillin era satellite stories. I have thoroughly enjoyed this book so far.

I also feel that unlike prior issues, Snyder gives us a little backstory, a little more information, a little more explanation to some of the proceedings. As a reader, huffing and puffing to keep up with this pace, any crumbs of exposition to keep me grounded is appreciated. But even these are done within scene, don't feel like an information dump, and are really just niblets.

The art continue to dazzles on the book. Jimenez brings such a sense of motion and energy to the proceedings that the pictures have a kinetic feel. There is some high stylized action, with bodies just slightly warped. It is enough to make you think you seeing someone move out of the corner of your eye.

But it is the story that gets me as every member has a moment to shine here. Plus the issue opens and closes with such dramatic splashes that I remain hooked. I don't know the last time I have so enthusiastically love a Justice League book. High praise.

On to the book.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Boston Fan Expo Recap #1 - Tyler Kirkham Commission plus Lee, King, & Orlando

This last weekend was Fan Expo Boston, the beginning of my convention season. I have been anticipating this con greatly because of the depth of the comic creator guest list that was coming and I wasn't disappointed.

From a commission point of view, I knew that this was going to be a light con, maybe two commissions. And my number one target for the day was Tyler Kirkham. Thankfully, I was able to land on his list and get a sketch.

I also knew that this was going to be the con where I would go the extra mile to make sure I met Jim Lee. I had the opportunity a couple of times prior but passed when the lines became too long. This time I spent a bit more to guarantee a brief interaction.

And the list of other creators that were present is a bit too long to regurgitate. I'll touch on John Byrne and Bob McLeod in recap #2. But it was great to meet Steve Orlando, Sam Humphries, Greg Land, and others there. And I also got to run into Tom King, Clay Mann, Peter Tomasi, and Frank Quitely again.

The one thing I have to say is that almost every creator had some charge for signatures. Often it was 2-3 for free but then $5 after. Some where every sig was $5. Some were $10. It has made me change my approach to pulling books for sigs which is kind of a shame. I understand their side of the financial equation as well.

The last day was a family day where the two youngest Supergirls joined me and were able to meet the cast of Steven Universe. They had a great time shopping for themselves and friends. 

So overall, a very good experience. Up next, the Kirkham commission!

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Mercy Graves And Otis On Supergirl Show

I continue to catch up on old news that had been pushed onto the back burner by reviews and conventions.

Despite the show being about 2 months away from premiering, the news continues to come out fast and furious. Wednesdays have remained a sort of 'show news' day.

The most recent news was the announcement that Mercy Graves and Otis Graves have been cast as characters on the show. Rhona Mitra will play Mercy. Robert Baker will be Otis. Here is a link:

And a blurb from the brief article:
Based on the iconic DC character, Mercy Graves (Mitra) is an ex-CADMUS agent who has always believed in human exceptionalism. But with both Lex and Lillian in prison, Mercy is stepping out of the Luthor shadow and running her own show. With her biting wit and lethal brawn, Mercy steadily becomes a key figure in National City’s growing “human-first” movement.

Baker’s Otis Graves is Mercy’s defacto right hand man. What he lacks in brains, he makes up for with his savant-like abilities to assassinate aliens. Otis is a character from the Superman movies with Christopher Reeve and has not been featured in comic books.

My brief thoughts next!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Supergirl On The Big Screen?

Between work, conventions, and reviews, I am a bit behind on some Supergirl news. Better late than never I suppose.

About a week ago, news spread across the internet that a Supergirl big screen movie was being bandied about. This is about the most bare-boned of a rumor as you can get. No producer. No director. Someone tagged to be the screen writer. But maybe where there is smoke?

Here is a link to Deadline Hollywood's coverage:

And here is a blurb:
Warner Bros and DC are developing a feature film based around Supergirl, the heroine and cousin of Superman. Oren Uziel is working on the script, I’ve confirmed.

There is no producer on Supergirl at this point. According to DC mythology, the character was a teen when she escaped the doomed planet Krypton along with the infant who grew up as Clark Kent. Supergirl has been played by Melissa Benoist in the Greg Berlanti Warner Bros series creation that heads into Season Four on the CW.

Finding a different way back to the Superman universe through Supergirl reflects the differing mindset of DC priority titles to be a bit out of the box, and away from a slate which, with the notable exception of the Patty Jenkins-directed Wonder Woman, has resulted in too many films that have been leaden, dark, and not that fun. And expensive — Man of Steel, Batman Vs Superman and Justice League carried around $800 million in production budgets to gross a collective $2.1 billion, according to reported budget estimates.

My thoughts up next!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Review: Superman #2

Superman #2 came out last week and was a decent issue moving the Phantom Zone story arc forward slowly while adding some information to the mystery of Rogol Zaar. It also was beautifully rendered by Ivan Reid and Joe Prado. But one thing I have to say is that it wasn’t exciting. And I don’t know if you want the second issue of your touted run to be that.

Here is the thing. I think Brian Michael Bendis gets the essence of Superman. There are character moments here, one in particular, that I really love. But there wasn’t any zing here, something I was craving.

And Rogol Zaar, the villain which launched Man of Steel, this title, and the impetus behind Supergirl’s space mission remains cipherous and one note. I want him to elevate and become the threat Bendis wants him to be. But we’re now 8 issues in the new direction and I barely know anything about him. At least throw me some crumbs.

As I said, the book is gorgeous. Ivan Reid and Joe Prado deliver a very detailed and lush book. Suoerman looks great. The pages and layout work. The opening scene is grand in scope and sings.

On to the book.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Review: Supergirl #21

Supergirl #21 came out this week, the latest 'bold new direction' for the character which in some ways feels like failed 'bold new directions' of the past. In what seems to be an endless cycle, we have an angry Kara, feeling alien, not recognizing Earth as her home, and striking it off on her own. In the ten years I have been doing this blog, I think I have seen 'angry Kara' attemped and fail at least three times.

And yet here we are again.

Writer Marc Andreyko has Supergirl reeling from the death of the Kandorians and the reveal that Rogol Zaar was behind the destruction of Krypton. Fueled by anger, she decides that she will head off into space to try to uncover who else was in on the genocide of her world. She cannot escape all that she has witnessed. She has survivor's guilt. And she has to focus that rage somewhere. So into space she goes.

Andreyko said in an interview that Kara has never dealt with that trauma and that simply isn't true. Supergirl has been dealing with the trauma of her past throughout her continuity. Remember, this is the New 52 Supergirl, not redone with Rebirth. So this is a Kara that has learned that she can't bring her people back (in the best forgotten H'El on Earth story). This is a Supergirl that has fled into space to leave Earth behind her only to return (in the best forgotten Michael Alan Nelson run). This is a Kara who hit rock bottom and embraced her rage becoming a Red Lantern only to realize (and be told by a mentor Guy Gardner) that she is stronger and better than that. It is a Kara who defeated the last World Killer and called Earth home. And even in the Rebirth run, it is a Supergirl who truly claimed Earth as her home, faced off against her evil father, dealt with her creepily re-animated mother, and was living in it as Kara Danvers and becoming the hero of National City, swearing that no one else would suffer as she has. She has dealt with this trauma ... a lot.

So to have her reeling from it, making this decision based on it, felt a bit like two steps backwards.

The idea of her wanting to get to the bottom of Krypton's destruction is a decent plotline. But the motivation could have been something else - her desire for knowledge, her wanting to honor the dead of Kandor, to bring further merit to her sending Rogol Zaar to the Phantom Zone. To say it is Kara's anger and sadness driving her seems almost lazy.

Now that isn't to say the story doesn't have high moments. And I shouldn't be dismissing an arc on the prologue. But this felt neither bold nor new.

One thing I can unabashedly praise is the art by Kevin Maguire. Maguire is a legend and his work sings. His Kara is radiant. His expressive work is unparalleled. And he draws the best Krypto I have seen. The art elevates everything here wonderfully. Expect me to gush as I review the particulars.

On to the book.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Terrificon Prep Post

We are, in essence,one week away from Terrificon so I figured it was time to post my preparation discussion.

This is only my second year heading to Terrificon but it has become my 'big con' for each season pretty quickly. This is a true comic book convention bringing in a huge guest list of both current creators as well as legends. And while there are celebrities, the main emphasis is on comic creators. Please visit the con site to see the complete list of guests because it is too long to list here. It is massive.

There are so many creators at this con that I want to meet and get signatures from that I'll probably have to bring a wheel barrow to cart the books. Alternatively, and more likely, I'll have to run back and forth to the car a bunch.

This year in particular, there are creators who I have always wanted to meet who will be there. And there is a sneaky amount of Supergirl stuff present. And, as always, I'll try my best to get some news and history to bring back.

I'll be at the con all three days so look for me.

On to the specifics.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Review: The Last Siege #3

The Last Siege #3 came out last week and continues to be the perfect meld of samurai drama, spaghetti western cinematography, and medieval warfare. Despite that heavy smorgasbord of genres, there is a slight injection of racial and gender politics into this little battlefield story. Simply put, I am loving it. You could write this like a simple barbarian story if you wanted. But it is this depth that makes this special.

One of the things that really strikes me about this book is the multi-layered story that writer Landry Walker is presenting to us. There is internal strife within the walls of this last castle. There are power struggles on a political scale. There are brawls on a street level. And all of this is happening while combat is about to come to this land from a national scale. How can this one small estate hold off the armies of the warlord king when it can barely maintain stability on its own? The house's leadership needs to get settled before it can face off against a country.

This issue is all about this internal struggle. The Easterner who has arrived with papers declaring him in charge is trying to shore up the defenses of this place while mentoring the Queen. The knight Feist, who had power stripped from him, is back with a vengeance. He wants to rule, humiliate the Easterner, and abuse the Queen, all as a way to usurp power. And while we get plenty of sword and shield action, blood smeared everywhere, I am most intrigued with the Queen character. She hasn't said one word before this issue. She seems a child. And yet, I think there is steel in her, conviction. Despite all of Feist's haughty cries about debasing her, I think in the end she will emerge as the leader this place needs.

The art by Justin Greenwood and Eric Jones continues to fit the narrative perfectly. For me, the whole book reads like a movie. From the gritty mud to the battered mugs, with extreme closeups, odd angles and panel shapes, to whirling points of view, I feel like I am reading a film. Everything complements each other. This book crackles. High praise indeed.

On to the book.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Review: Justice League #5

Justice League #5 came out last week, a sort of rest issue by writer James Tynion IV and Doug Mahnke delving deep into the formation of the Legion of Doom. I don't know if the change in creative team was to give artists Jim Cheung and Jorge Jimenez some breathing room to get ahead or of it was planned all along. The good news is the change in team didn't interrupt the flow of the book.

One of the things that I have liked about this title so far is how insanely fast things are proceeding. There are a lot of big comic book ideas being thrown about in this book and as readers we haven't had much time to digest them. We certainly haven't been given a ton of exposition to explain them.

This issue, at the very least, gives us a little bit of a pause. While new wrinkles are introduced, this is basically backstory for what is happening now. And, despite my love of the breakneck pace earlier, this felt like a cleansing deep breath. Whew ... now I know some whys and hows behind Luthor's shenanigans.

Tynion rolls out the story in a serious of flashbacks and forwards so keeping track of when we are was as important as where. He seems to have a good grasp of Lex and his motivations. And we do get valuable knowledge.

I've been praising Doug Mahnke for years here. Suffice it to say, he brings his usual excellence to the book. In particular, the future scenes we get are done very well, offbeat and weird.

So sit down and catch your breath Justice League readers!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Supergirl In DC Nation #3

DC Nation #3 came out last week, the latest issue in the company's free promotional magazine. As I have said before, as a fan I am loving it. Sure, there are fluff pieces making every new comic sound like the best one ever. But there are behind the scenes pieces about the creative processes, interviews with creators, and an old-fashioned Direct Currents section.

With the release of Supergirl #21 just around the corner, I was thrilled to see the comic get double page, centerfold style coverage. I might not like the axe and I might find the new costume confusing, but giant-sized Terry Dodson art is always going to grab the eye.

And we also get some hints about the book's tone and direction which were very appreciated. We have only got the most basic of description about where writer Marc Andreyko and artist Kevin Maguire are taking us. I don't know if I agree 100% with what is said here. Much of it reads like the new direction is simply ignoring all that happened before. That said, I am thankful we still have a book on the shelf.

On to the particulars.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Review: Adventures of Super Sons #1

Bendis Is Coming!
The Super Sons Are Going!

Yes, with the arrival of Brian Michael Bendis to the fold, one of the cruelest cuts to the Super/Bat Families was the Super Sons book, a breezy, fun romp through the DCU as told from the point of view of the next generation. And, like their fathers, the sons certainly differ in tone and technique but that friction was also part of the fun. In the end, the two became fast friends and began to subtly emulate the better aspects of the other.

Of course a happy-go-lucky, endearing, gateway book for the next batch of readers title can never survive long at DC. Call that mentality 'Crisis on Infinite Didios'. So Bendis made Superboy a bit angry, demanding to leave Earth with his homicidal Grandfather to learn about himself. Unfortunately, we know that Jon returns older and literally scarred from the experience.

Perhaps because of the amount of backlash to this decision, DC gave writer Peter Tomasi one last revolution around the carousel. Adventures of the Super Sons #1, the first in a 12 part mini-series, came out this week and as readers, we are lucky to have it.

Tomasi sets the stage nicely. The opening half of the issue is a silly super-villain action piece designed to set the stage for anyone coming in fresh. We see Jon's infectious enthusiasm and optimism. We see Damian's confidence, feistiness, and mean streak. And we see how explosive that can be when mixed together. The issue ends with the reveal of the big bad of the series. Perfect.

 Carlo Barberi, who drew the last issues of the Sons' ongoing, is back on art and brings a slightly cartoony, slightly manga style to the book which is just perfect for the tone. These are middle school kids who look like middle school kids fighting super-villainous middle school kids. There is a gangliness or awkwardness to the poses which is perfect for adolescent adventures. The sons sport haircuts which would make DBZ characters jealous.

So drink it in folks. Because this fun time is here for a limited time only.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Tweeterhead Maquette Statue

Every so often I make a purchase that even I have to question.

A while back Tweeterhead announced the Supergirl Limited Edition Maquette statue, a glorious piece of a smiling Kara, sporting her 1970's hot pants costume and sporting a wide smile. It simply spoke to me from my earliest Supergirl memories, a happy, optimistic young woman. The hard tug of nostalgia strings is a difficult thing to resist and so I pre-ordered. Over the months, a slowly paid down the tab at my comic store, taking advantage of store reward cards and gift certificates to ease the pain.

Finally last week it arrived.

And it is glorious. And huge. And beautiful. And wonderful. And gigantic.

In fact, it is so big that it simply doesn't fit in the home collection. So instead it graces my work office.

And it all starts with the gorgeous box it comes in.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Supergirl Show: Masked Supergirl Theories

One of the biggest mysteries from the Supergirl Season 4 trailer was the appearance of an armored woman in S-shield armor.

Is it Supergirl?
Why is she wearing armor?
Is this protecting her from something?
If it isn't Supergirl, who is this woman?
Is she a hero? Or a villain?
Is someone co-opting the S-shield for their own purposes? Is this Angel Parker-Jones' character Colonel Haley working for Agent Liberty?

There is nothing quite like a mystery to stoke the fires of anticipation!

Now on line we have seen the outfit in the day. It's brighter than I thought!

So who is this? Or why is Supergirl wearing this?

Here are my early thoughts!