Thursday, March 21, 2019

June 2019 Solicits

The June solicits for DC Comics came out last week and are available for perusal in the usual places. Here is a link to Newsarama and their coverage:

It is a wild month filled with hope for the ending of a story, the excitement of the beginning of a story, a story I didn't know about that I will be getting, and a big name story I knew about that I won't be getting. Did you follow all that?

Hopefully this is something of a turning point for the super-books, storming into the summer on a roll.

written by MARC ANDREYKO
variant cover by AMANDA CONNER
The House of El is united in this SUPERMAN/SUPERGIRL crossover! The Superman Family must unite to banish Rogol Zaar once and for all! But little do Supergirl, Superman, Superboy and Jor-El know, Rogol Zaar has brought some friends of his own…from the Phantom Zone! Supergirl not only has to make sure that Rogol Zaar doesn’t unite with his ax at all costs, but also has to deal with how the 10-year-old Superboy is now her age! This is the start of an intergalactic war you don’t want to miss!
ON SALE 06.12.19 

For some time I have been calling for the end of the Supergirl in space storyline. It just hasn't felt like a Supergirl story. The characterization of Kara has seemed off. And I just enjoy her more on Earth, with a supporting cast, learning to be a hero on her adopted world.

So when I saw this solicit, trumpeting a Superman crossover and some resolution to the Rogol Zaar storyline, I smiled. One, I like when the super-family acts like a family. Second, maybe this means Supergirl is back on Earth and will stay on Earth.

Nice Conner cover.

On to the rest of the books.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Supergirl 415: O Brother Where Art Though

Supergirl episode 415, titled 'O Brother Where Art Thou' aired this week and was a tour de force.

I have come to the hard realization that this show isn't truly a Supergirl show but an ensemble show. Supergirl might be the hub that the characters orbit around. But she is often one of the crowd. Once I realized that this was more of a 'team comic' and not a 'solo book', I was able to take a deep breath and try to enjoy.

This episode, for example, is mostly about Lena and Lex Luthor. Sure, Kara is present, caring about James and fighting Manchester Black. But those are the subplots. Instead, the main focus is examining the odd relationship of the Luthor siblings. We get a peek into their past and their interactions. And we got one hell of a reveal at the end. It all worked magnificently for me.

Much of the praise has to be heaped on Jon Cryer, who guest starred as Lex. I didn't anticipate that Ducky would be able to bring a sort of veiled malevolence, a sort of 'he's probably scheming but he seems sincere' undercurrent. It isn't always over the top bombastic. Instead it is more of a cold, chilling, calculating evil. Brilliant.

Another interesting plot is the ongoing darkening of J'onn J'onzz. We get a big moment in the end here. I wonder if what we see happen at the end actually has happened. You'll see what I mean.

On to the show.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Review: Superman #9

Superman #9 came out last week, the second chapter of The Unity Saga, and another chapter in the hard life of Jon Kent. I have to say, it has been hard to read these last two Superman books in the same month that I am also reading the fun-loving anime style Superboy in Adventures of the Super Sons. In this issue, writer Brian Michael Bendis continues to put our friend through the physical and psychological wringer. It isn't easy to read sometimes.

The Superman book as a whole has overall been the lesser of the two super-books on the shelves and part of that has to do with the whole family dynamic being played up here. We went from Peter Tomasi's super-family, heading to the town fair and going on vacation together, to this unit, split up through time and space, not even living together. I still don't know if I quite understand Lois and Clark's relationship these days and this issue continues that confusion.

And while Jon might be proud of his personal growth during his lost years, it seems that growth through abandonment and torture will never be as good as growth through love and nurturing. How can this poor kid, faced first with his genocidal schizophrenic grandfather, than the evil version of his father, and then the evil version of his mother ever live through it unmarred.

The issue's art is again split between Ivan Reis and Brandon Peterson. Reis does the present day stuff and continues to draw a classic Superman. Peterson brings a softer touch to Jon's flashbacks. His work on expression is fantastic, especially given how terrified and brutalized Jon is here.

But this remains something of a storyline I wish would not have happened. It still makes little sense, especially given that it started with Jon heading off with Jor-El and Lois leaving him there.

On to the book.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Matrix Monday: Showcase '95 #1

 Last Monday I covered the finale of the 1994 Supergirl mini-series. In the end, the Matrix Supergirl finally left Lex Luthor and found a mentor with Lex's ex-wife Elizabeth Perske.

In the immediate aftermath, Action Comics #700 came out with Lex attacking Metropolis. Oh, yeah, and then something called Zero Hour happened. Matrix was involved like everyone was in that event but did not have a big role. She receded a bit into the background.

Then 1995 rolled around and early on Supergirl was a bit more visible. In January of 1995, she was the cover star of the David Michilenie/Butch Guice  Action Comics #706 , a nice fill-in which reminded folks that she was part of the super-family.

She also was the cover star of Showcase '95 #1. The Showcase books at this time had yearly themes and 1995 was the year of Superman characters to headline the book. So this issue we get not only Supergirl but Alan Scott Sentinel and Argus. This also was a sort of try-out book for DC. Not only were more minor characters given the spotlight but newer talent were given a shot.

It is a weird convergence that she headlines two books in one month.

That is a great cover by Tom Grummett sporting a beautiful Supergirl.

And yes, I had this one signed by Tom Grummett a couple of years ago in Boston.

On to the book.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Review: Supergirl #28

Supergirl #28 came out this week and was another chapter in this space-faring adventure Kara is on to investigate Rogol Zaar. As this bold, new direction has moved along slowly, I have been less and less forgiving of it. This is something of a nasty story. And while occasionally we see Supergirl say something that sounds like the Supergirl I want to read, the actions and plots surrounding those lines make them feel more like lip service.

Writer Marc Andreyko writes a great, gritty, Omega Men story. I might like reading this if it were a Starfire story. Or a Darkstars story. Or an Adam Strange story. But so much of this feels like yet another 'extreme' look at Supergirl. Add to that a few cringe worthy moments for a book about a young woman hero and you get something that just doesn't feel right.

The art is by Eddie Pansica and I really like it for the story it is telling. It is a very muddy, brutal story and Pansica brings that feel of chaos and violence. This is the most ragged and beaten I have seen Supergirl in a while. Put him on an Adam Strange book and I'll be there.

These prefaces to my reviews are becoming almost cookie cutter, other than a slow descent into further dissatisfaction. I hope this arc ends soon and we head back to Earth.

On to the book.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Back Issue Magazine: Elseworlds Finest & Barbara Kesel

I am a big fan of TwoMorrows Back Issue magazine, basically subscribing to it out of my LCS. As a amateur comic historian, I love these looks back at themes, comics, and creators from my history.

The latest issue covers all the alternative realities that comics have given us in the Bronze Age, from Marvels What If? to DC's Elseworlds and a ton of other imaginary tales. I love the concept of Elseworlds and What If? so this issue was in my sweet spot. Definitely worth getting and reading.

As always, whenever I stumble across a Supergirl specific nugget, I try to share. As Supergirl has had roles to play in some of the storylines which fit this issue's theme, I wasn't shocked to see her mentioned.

Specifically, the Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl comic got some significant coverage within the Elseworlds article.

Can I say that this issue has been one of the books I have wanted to do a dedicated review of since I started the blog. And yet, somehow, I have never been able to get to it. Part of it is how long it is. It would be hard to cover in one post. And yet, I think it would be cheating a little to cover it in two posts. That said, I recently split each issue of Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds into 2 posts given the dense nature of those stories over on The Legion of Super-Bloggers site. So maybe I shouldn't be overthinking it.

Regardless of my review, I love the issue and if you don't have it, you should seek it out.

And perhaps this TwoMorrow coverage will spur me on a little.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Supergirl 414: Stand And Deliver

Supergirl episode 414, titled 'Stand and Deliver', aired this week and was a good episode, pushing all plotlines forward, focusing on the political atmosphere of the day with the usual bend, but also trying as best as this show can be to veer to the center.

One thing the show has always had going for it are the strong actors and the character work on the show. This episode, we get a ton of wonderful performances. And we get to see great character growth and moments. In this episode we see Dreamer and her excitement over being a hero. We get to see Supergirl inspire people. We get Brainiac 5 growing as a hero. We see J'onn's personal torment. But most of all, this might be the strongest James Olsen episode in two seasons. I

And the villains get to shine here as well. Menagerie is glorious in her high class desires. The Hat is surprisingly revolutionary. Manchester Black is dogged in his pursuit of revenge. And after a some time, we see just why Ben Lockwood would be able to rally people.

But there has to be a plot to build these on. The main plot is the growing anti-alien sentiment on Earth. After four invasions in three years, I'm not surprised. One thing the show has done is to paint the extremists on both sides in a bad light. The Elite balance out the Children of Liberty. Slaughtering your enemy is never the answer.

Add to this a great cliffhanger and I was pretty happy. On to the review.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

DC Superhero Girls Premiere

As a fan of Lauren Faust's My Little Ponies:Friendship is Magic as well as her take on the Super Best Friends Forever, I have been awaiting the rebranding and re-imagination of the DC Superhero Girls eagerly. Through shorts and interviews, I got the sense this was MLP on steroids, a sort of Looney Tune romp through the DCU while still giving the overall empowering message that the earlier DCSHG was built on.

Last week, the premiere of the show, titled #SweetJustice hit the airwaves and I was delighted.These are sort of side-eyed versions of our superheroes and they do semi-neatly fall into a My Little Pony algorithm. Wonder Woman is Twilight Sparkle, the leader of the group. She holds the team together and wants to train them. Batgirl is the Pinkie Pie here, bringing oodles of energy and sometimes lacking a focus. Babs sometimes gets in her own way but she is utterly sweet. Zatanna is the Rarity here, a stage presence with style. She is reluctant to get into heroing but brings pinache. Bumblebee is the Fluttershy, timid to a fault with power that reflects her lack of confidence. Supergirl is clearly the Rainbow Dash, an act first, rough and tumble with a heart of gold, counterculture tomboy. Which, I guess, makes the vegan and pacifist Green Lantern the Applejack. (Okay that last one is a hard fit.)

Of course, this is an origin story so we hear how the girls meet and become a team. There is a fight between them, a classic comic trope. We get a good look at all their personalities. And we get a glimpse at a possible hero. And there is a ton of fun and laughs. There might even be a few references for old-timers like me hidden in there.

This being a Supergirl blog, I'll say I was delighted with her characterization. I often describe Supergirl as fierce in her pursuit of justice. This Kara is that times 10. And her desire to be outside the mainstream, probably because of the known difficulty with her relationship with Kal, puts this outside of the norm for the character. But her actions speak loud. I think I am going to love this Supergirl. And I think I will be laughing with her too.

On to the synopsis/review.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Review: Supergirl #4 (1994 miniseries)

And so Matrix Monday reaches Supergirl #4 from the 1994 mini-series, the finale. Finally, we get a Supergirl who is her own woman, free from the influence of those who wish to use her. Finally, we got a Supergirl that old-school Supergirl fans could get behind.

Of course, it was also the 90's, so we need to get there with leg bands and spikes. But that's okay.

As I have said many times in the past, The Death of Superman, Funeral for a Friend, and Reign of the Supermen were all sort of catalysts for the Matrix Supergirl character. With Superman gone, she seemed to step up. She wanted to fill his void as a hero for Metropolis. And she wasn't going to sit by when his body disappeared or when newcomers tried to claim his name.

In the aftermath of those mega-selling books, we got a Superboy book and a Steel book. At least Supergirl got this mini-series. And writer Roger Stern took all the progress we saw in the character in those earlier arcs to its logical conclusion. Supergirl was finally going to see Luthor for the manipulative villain he was and strike out on her own.

It would have been easy to make her *extreme* !!! It was the 90's after all. And we do see elements of that here. She initially is a destructive force, lashing out at Luthor, and almost (as we'll see) killing him. Thankfully, Stern back pedals a bit keeping the more innocent and optimistic side of Supergirl dominant.

The art by June Brigman and Jackson Guice is as solid as it has been in the series. But with the darker turn in plot, they employ more moody settings and shadows. It all blends nicely.

I wonder how many people go to Roger Stern at a convention with all four issues of this mini-series to get signed. I should have asked him.

In fact, I hope I do run into him again at a convention so I can ask about this story. At Terrificon, there was a line waiting behind me to meet him so I was brief in my interaction.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Review: Adventures Of The Super Sons #8

Adventures of the Super Sons #8 came out this week and was a sort of pause in the action issue, a way (I believe) for writer Peter Tomasi to turn the last corner of the title of the corner and head into the home stretch. With older, scarred Jon in the Superman books now, we are down to 4 issues with these two like this so let's enjoy it.

 It was filled with the standard fun moments. There is the usual friendly friction between Jon and Damian. There is a nice moment where you see how the sons have inspired someone. And there are the usual tangential takes on some classic DC tropes. Tomasi has treated this like a blurry, whirlwind tour through DC's Bronze Age. This issue plugs in nicely to the series as a whole.

Carlo Barberi is on art and, as I have stated many times before, his style is perfect for the series. There is a bit of exaggeration, a hint of anime, and some cartoonish flourishes that complement that story very well. I wouldn't mind seeing him be the designated fill-in artist on Young Justice should Patrick Gleason ever need a break.

But as with each month, there is a pang of sorrow. I loved the original Super Sons series and I love this maxi-series. It is a shame our youthful, overly optimistic Jon had to be grimmed up.

On to the book.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

DCSHG: Get To Know Supergirl

The premiere of the DC Superhero Girls reboot is happening tomorrow!

My interest has been growing as I see more and more of the shorts that have been released on-line. The latest Supergirl specific short was released last week and is a blast. Here is the link:

Again, this is a much different take on Supergirl than the prior DCSHG version. And I think one of the aspects of this show is to take a personality quirk and amp it up to 11. Supergirl is the rebel of the group. So that is going to be THE aspect we get.

Now some of what they show resonates a bit in the comic character's history. So I am willing to give this very proactive, punch first Supergirl the benefit of the doubt.

We start out with the whole theme song.

"When the super-me become the super-we."
"Crushing it side by side."

Clearly mutual support and friendship are key themes here. After all, friendship is magic!

I do love the Supergirl scene of her swinging her fist so quick we get after images. Very Mort Meskin!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Supergirl 413: What's So Funny About Truth, Justice, And The American Way

This week's episode of Supergirl was titled 'What's So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way'.

Comic fans know that as the title of the story in Action Comics #775, written by Joe Kelly with art by Doug Mahnke. In that story, Superman is confronted by Manchester Black and his elite, a group of heroes who are willing to be judge, jury, and executioner against perceived villains and despots. It is up to Superman to not only live up to his ideals but to defeat this group. It is a brilliant story, near universally beloved by Superman fans.

We have seen the show borrow from comics in the past. From the Black Mercy episode in season one (borrowing from 'For the Man who has Everything') to this year's take on Crisis on Infinite Earths, the show knows when to pillage from good comic stories.  As a result, that title carries a little weight to it. This episode does borrow from that comic. In it Supergirl is asked to confront her ideals and figure out how to fight Black and his gang. But when you name yourself after Action Comics #775, you better be fantastic.

I actually like this episode a lot. We got to see Supergirl's hero squad grow. We got to see Alex act like Alex. We got some comic Easter Eggs. And there was plot movement for both Agent Liberty and Lena Luthor. When it was done, I was quite happy.

But then I remembered the title. And it isn't Action Comics #775 good. I think I just need to forget that piece of it. Perhaps my main problem is that in the comic story, Black and the Elite are embraced as heroes who make the tough decisions about crime. That is the biggest issue facing Superman in the story. People like Black and his violence. I don't think there would be as many people happy about the show's version of the Elite, killing the military, stealing from the British royal family, and otherwise acting like a murdering terrorist group.

Anyways, I am not damning this episode. Remember, I liked it! On to the details.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Sales Review: January 2019

The comic book sales numbers for January 2019 were released last week and as always, ICv2 does a good job of breaking them down. Here is a link:

I was a bit interested in seeing these numbers in the context of recent news regarding DC's number of titles. There were rumors that DC was going to slash their number of titles to 22 but this proved unfounded. Ultimately, the news broke that DC was paring down by about 10-15% of titles but also adding new 100 page spectaculars, making those books available in places other than Walgreens, and probably breaking even in total books solicited.

So that was much ado about nothing in a way. But when I hear that ongoing titles are going to be pruned, I always have to wonder and worry about the Girl of Steel.

We are in the middle of a space arc, one with a vengeful and surprisingly violent Supergirl. And sales have been a bit all over the place. (And yes, I know by sales I actually mean orders through Diamond,)

Supergirl #26 was released in January. It sported an Artgerm variant of Supergirl in a classic costume holding Streaky.

The book also saw the return of Kevin Maguire on art.

How did it sell?

Monday, March 4, 2019

Matrix Monday: Supergirl #3 (1994 mini-series)

We are into the back half of the 1994 Supergirl mini-series, a story our Matrix realizes that Lex Luthor has been using and manipulating her. For two straight issues we have seen LexCorp test her physically and mentally. It is time to break free.

In Supergirl #3, Supergirl comes face to face with Luthor's ultimate goal regarding all those tests. He wants a new body. His own cloned body is dying. And he also wants an army of Supergirls to control. Writer Roger Stern does a great job of showing us how the truth slowly sinks into our innocent heroine's mind. She has been looking for love and purpose and Lex gave her both. Now she knows that was all a ruse.

Stern also does a wonderful job leaning into this Supergirl's short history in the DCU. All the major events are brought up here, showing us the highlights. Moreover, Stern shows how all of this has been building up for a couple of years. The seeds were planted, the lines laden with foreshadowing said. It shows a sort of respect for a character that could have been a joke. Kudos to Stern for treating Supergirl well.

The art here is by the usual team of June Brigman and Jackson Guice. The art this issue feels a little looser than the prior two. Some of that might come from the major action sequence which the book revolves around. This approach works for Supergirl given the mayhem and destruction happening around her.

Lastly, this does what a penultimate issue should do. We are brought to a point were we can see the climax coming up. I also feel like the story is at a place where a satisfactory ending is within the reach of one issue's pages.

And yes, I got this issue signed by Stern last year at Terrificon.

On to the story.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Review: Action Comics #1008

Action Comics #1008 came out this week, the second part of the Leviathan Rising arc which, I suppose, will be finished in May with the release of the Leviathan prestige format one shot.

Since Brian Michael Bendis took over the Superman family books, Action Comics has been his home for the supporting cast. This is where we have interacted the most with the Daily Planet staff. This is where we have seen Firefighter Moore and Mayor.

This has also been Bendis' home for more street level crime and old fashioned mysteries. Those topics blend well with the foundation of this book being the investigative journalists in the cast. So as readers we have had to unravel the mystery of the Red Cloud, the leader of the Invisible Mafia, and the motive for arsonists around Metropolis. As a reader, giving me a mystery to solve is always engaging. I have been pretty gripped by these stories, trying to figure out the answers along side our heroes.

Leviathan Rising is no different. Who is Leviathan? Why are they eliminating other organizations? What is the source of the Manhattan-esque energy powers? Is this an existing character (like Talia Al Ghul or my current guess ... see below) trying to grab power? Or is it someone brand new? This issue gives us some clues ... but not many.

The art is by Steve Epting and he brings a grounded approach to the proceedings. His Superman is not some ultra-handsome Adonis. In some places, Superman looks more like a pugilist sporting an old broken nose. But for a Superman book dealing in more military/espionage trappings, Epting's more realistic style works very well.

On to the book.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Legion Outpost: Steve Lightle, Sensor Girl, and Supergirl

Last month, I stumbled on this Legion Companion book, published by TwoMorrows and put together by Glen Cadigan. It is a fabulous collection of interviews with Legion creators from the earliest up through Zero Hour. I decided that the best way for me to digest this was not to read it front to back but to pick and choose which creators struck my interest in the moment. Last month I reviewed an interview with the man who drew the first appearance,  Al Plastino.  

This time I decided I would jump forward to the Baxter series and read a 2003 interview with Steve Lightle. This interview was done by Glen Cadigan. I love Lightle's art, in particular his Legion stuff so I dove right in. It is interesting to read how Lightle got given the book, why he left the book, and how he feels when people always want to talk Legion with him.

But this is a Supergirl blog. So what am I talking about here? Well, if you saw the title of the post, you know it is Sensor Girl.

I get the sense that as I read through this book there will be Supergirl nuggets for me to showcase here.

I was a big fan of Sensor Girl and I loved her original costume. There is something that just works there.

For me, back in the day, the thing that obviously intrigued me about Sensor Girl was the chance that she was Supergirl. Crisis was happening. Her first appearance was in Legion of Super-Heroes #14, which came out one month before Crisis on Infinite Earths #7.

There were rumors that writer Paul Levitz was planning on Sensor Girl actually being Supergirl. But I never heard anything concrete about that being the plan. So let's hear what Lightle recalls.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

DC Superhero Girls: Get To Know Supergirl

The new take on the DC Superhero Girls is cranking out new material on YouTube as a sort of preamble to the ongoing show. This has included 'Get to know' mini-sodes about each of the characters.

And finally we got the 'Get to Know' Supergirl short. View here:

It is clear that Batgirl is going to be the straw that stirs the drink here. She is the narrator of these 'Get to Know' videos. And I love this opening shot of Supergirl rescuing Babs in a classic Superman/Lois pose.

Maybe if we are lucky, Babs will say the classic 'Who's got you?' line.

But the rest of the short gives us a primer on Kara. If we think that the DCSHG are in some ways analogs of show runner Lauren Faust's take on My Little Pony then it is clear that Supergirl is the Rainbow Dash of the group.

And that means Supergirl is 20% cooler.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

May 2019 Solicits

The May solicits for DC comics have been released and there is a whole heck of a lot of news to cover. To see all the books on sale that month head here:

First off, the Supergirl solicit (after the cut) doesn't sound like anything is being pushed forward in any significant way. In fact, there is a line there that just makes me think that the creative team is treading the 'will Supergirl cross the line' story which never seems to work.

May brings us the end of Heroes in Crisis, a book which hasn't caught the world on fire. I wonder if this would have been better received if DC hadn't hyped it as the end all, be all. It also is the beginning of DCEASED, a DC zombie event written by Tom Taylor. I love Taylor but loathe zombies. And that feels so 2005. And, in theory, Doomsday Clock #11 is on the list.

But the big news for super-fans is buried in the Leviathan special solicit below. That news should make people smile broadly!

On to the books.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Matrix Monday: Action Comics #676

I have been enjoying my look back at the early days of the Matrix Supergirl these last few months. From the early appearances to The Supergirl Saga to her self-exile, it has been interesting to see just how low her character went at points only to emerge from the other side.

I am halfway through the 1994 Supergirl series and yet her I am taking a break in the middle to review the last few pages of Action Comics #676 by writer Roger Stern and the series new artist Jackson Guice. To place this issue in the timeline, this is the first issue after Panic In The Sky. I mean, check out the UPC box text. "After Panic In The Sky, Thing get back to normal in Metropolis - NOT!"

Why pump the breaks on the mini-series reviews? Well, in the review of Supergirl #1, there was a panel of Matrix meeting Lex Luthor II for the first time. I loved this Sistine Chapel like look at their meeting. And I realized, given that the Matrix/Luthor romance is a key part of that mini-series that I should look at their first meeting.

Now understand that the majority of this issue is Luthor II being introduced to Metropolis and Superman fighting the Hellgrammite. But I am not covering those pages.

Instead I am covering the last few. Here we go!

Friday, February 22, 2019

Vacation Staycation

Hey all!

This week I have been on vacation. No traveling to exotic locations. More like hanging out with the family and taking advantage of all the cool stuff locally.

It also has meant that I have had ample time to chill out with comics.

Figured it would be cool to share my comic nook, the Sanctum Sanctorum.

It is in a corner of the unfinished basement. But I love it. This is where the magic happens.

The cataloged collection are all in boxes on heavy steel shelves. There is no room for more boxes and there is no real room for more shelves. So hard to know what will happen when those boxes are filled. Maybe time to cull.

Behind on the floor are other boxes of loose comics, some roughly organized. Those are the 'readable' books, foldable, tattered, and loved. A nice rocker is there as well as a stand up lamp like in a mod 70s apartment.

Behind, on the studs, you'll see prior commissions and comic pages.

 That wall extends about 5 more feet to the right and is similarly filled. Those were the pre-sketch book days.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

DCSHG: #StreetStyle

The latest DC Rebirth I have been coming to grips with is the Lauren Faust take on the DC Superhero Girls. It definitely is a rehash of Faust's Super Best Friends Forever, a series I loved when it came out.

The Supergirl in the SBFF's was definitely brash. She was something of an instigator. Maybe even a little punk. We have only seen glimpses of her in the latest DC Superhero Girls shorts but it is clear that she is more of the action oriented, authority-chafing Kara from the SBFFs instead of the awkward, shy, lonely Kara from the Shea Fontana DC Superhero girls. In our quick looks, we have seen her sleep-fly, crashing through buildings. We have seen her toss tacos in a food fight and be called a bully.

Finally, in the #StreetStyle, we actually get a true glimpse into this Supergirl's personality. Here is a link:

It is funny. I think if this was the comic Supergirl, I'd probably bristle. But here, in the DCSHG, I don't mind this loud Kara. In fact, I think she is kind of fun. And my guess is she will demonstrate the sort of fierce defense of the helpless as well as the fierce pursuit in justice that I love in the character.

On to the short.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Supergirl Episode 412: Menagerie

Supergirl episode #412, titled Menagerie, aired this week and overall was a very solid episode. Every plot that has been percolating this season was moved forward. Every character had strong moments. This was mostly an Alex episode and that was needed given that her brain has been made into a frappe in recent times. We needed to know that *our* Alex was still in there somewhere. We even got a new villain! So I was overall pleased with this one.

That said, there were two moments in this episode that will stick out in my mind and neither are good. One is a terrible continuity gaffe for anyone who has watched this show since its inception. The other is an unintentional 'laugh out loud' moment about a plot twist which has irked me since it started. And both involve Alex's mind wipe to some extent. I am sorry, I can't align myself with any universe where that was a wise decision.

Still, we get Dreamer. We get Agent Liberty. We get a proactive Brainy. And we get a lot of Kara and Alex, something which I think elevates the show every time we see it. In fact, we got so much good Danvers stuff that it was only on the second watch that I realized we only see Supergirl in costume in one scene at the end.

I know. I shouldn't curse the darkness. I should light a candle.

Let's accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Review: Superman #8

Last month, I sort of lost my mind as I reviewed Superman #7.  In that book, Lois decides to leave her son in the hands of the previously homicidal Jor-El after seeing the two break up a crime ring. That made no sense. In that book, Jon Kent returns and tells his parents that Jor-El is insane and needs to be stopped. That shouldn't be a revelation. Everything about this particular story has felt off kilter and wrong. Since Man of Steel when Lois and Jon left, I have been wondering if Brian Michael Bendis would be able to convince me as a reader that these characters made decisions they normally would.

I am sorry to say that Superman #8, out last week, did little to change my opinion that the entire Kent family made decisions they wouldn't have and shouldn't have in regards to Jon and Jor. This issue we get to hear Jon fill in the gaps of the years he has spent away from home and all he has witnessed. Again, given the actions of 'Mr. Oz', none of this should shock Clark or Lois. Jor-El had gone mad, tortured by whoever plucked him from Krypton's death. Having Jon hang out with him unsupervised is the very definition of a poor parenting decision.

The art is split between Ivan Reis and Brandon Peterson. Peterson's work has a more organic feel to it, reminding me in places of Stuart Immonen (high praise indeed). The expressive work is top notch. Reis (and inker Joe Prado) continue to be stellar in their fine lined, precise work here. The book is gorgeous to look at.

Still, I can't quite shake off the idea that this story should never have happened. On to the book.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Matrix Monday: Supergirl #2 (1994 mini-series)

Supergirl #2, the second issue in the Matrix mini-series from 1994, playfully has the word Supergirls as it's trade dress, showcasing last issue's reveal that Luthor is creating a clone army of his innocent girlfriend. There are a lot of Supergirls in a lot of bubbles. If this doesn't grab your eye, not much will.

The truth is we don't see much of this part of the story in this very good issue. Instead, we have Supergirl finally realizing just how much of a toxic relationship she is in with Lex. For months she has been creating excuses for Lex for his poor behavior. She has accepted his apologies and inane rationalizations for his actions at face value, always leaning on her belief that Lex is ultimately a good man. Even hearing from trusted sources like Clark and the Kents has done little to dissuade her.

In this issue, Supergirl finally listens to herself and realizes that Lex is mistreating her. She hears others say how she is being used and abused. And maybe because she hears it not from the viewpoint of Lex being evil but from the angle that she is complicit in her own abuse does she shake away the cobwebs. It's about time.

Writer Roger Stern does a great job in these first two issues showing us just how terrible Lex is. And he does a very good job in showing us just how slowly Supergirl comes to seeing through the lies.

The art by June Brigman and Jackson Guice also is strong here. We get action sequences in the book. We get to see how graceful Supergirl can be even while fighting. And we see some quieter, more civilian moments, reminding is that she is a young woman as well.

All in all, this is a great second issue as it pushes the plot forward but in a more character-driven way.

On to the book.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Review: Supergirl #27

Supergirl #27 came out this week and continues a concerning trend in the book for me. As this space odyssey has progressed, it has seemed less and less like a true Supergirl story. The impetus for this quest was for Kara to find out what role Rogol Zaar had in the destruction of Krypton. I wasn't sure then if that was a strong enough cause for Kara to abandon Earth. But at least it was something personal, something tied to her history.

As we have moved 6 issues into this new direction, we have barely made much headway. There is something of a forced plot point of Appa Ali Apsa having split up redacted information into crystals scattered over the galaxy, making a longer quest a necessity. We have a memory that maybe Zor-El was involved in creating the bomb that Zaar uses. We have crime boss Gandelo trying to hunt or delay Supergirl. But really there hasn't been much movement. It is glaring enough that Supergirl says it herself in this book.

Moreover, these last couple of issues read more like an Omega Man story than a Supergirl one. Seeing Supergirl spitting on villains, shooting a Liefeldian gun, and overall being a bit nasty just pushes this further away from what I am looking for in a Supergirl book. Again, I shouldn't be surprised. This is the wash/rinse/dry/repeat Supergirl 3 year cycle. We seem to have to get mired in angst, have that approach fail, and then reboot every so often.

As for the art, Eddie Pansica does a good job here. I have liked his art in the past and he certainly brings his A game here. But when a book has many different artists in a short period of time it makes me worry that it isn't of prime importance to either the creators or the producers. And I love Yanick Paquette's cover even if it is Supergirl screaming as she fires her rifle.

So let's see what happened in the book.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day for all those out there celebrating romance.

I am always surprised at how much Supergirl showed up on mainstream stuff in the Bronze Age.

Here we see her and her then bestie Batgirl on a Valentine's Day card, talking about what a great team they are together.

I love this version of World's Finest so seeing the two together on something like a school Valentine is fantastic. I can only hope that their friendship, rekindled recently, remains intact and revisited.

As for Supergirl, we know that in the Silver Age, her falling in love ... often with the wrong people ... was well-trod soil. She had her standard beaus - Comet, Jerro, Brainiac 5, and Dick Malverne. And then all the villains, unscrupulous aliens, and criminals who want to marry her.

The current Kara was just on the verge of a romantic relationship with Ben Rubel when that take on the character was shelved for the space-story unfolding now.

Anyways, Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Back Issue Box Review: Action Comics #286

Lex Luthor is coming to the CW Supergirl show, ready to be a nemesis to our hero. With no new episode this week, it meant I had an open Wednesday slot that I usually devote to the show. With that in mind, I thought the time was right to dig through the back issues to find a comic story where Supergirl and Lex had a throwdown.

I have to say I love when the two square off. Almost always Lex dismisses Kara as a pale copy of her super-cousin. So it makes it that much sweeter when Supergirl defeats him. I especially love Silver Age stories when the two interact. Back then, Supergirl was a true neophyte, a teenage girl, and subject to the standard gender norms of the time. So seeing her defeat Superman's arch-villain in those stodgy days is even more delectable.

And so I give you Action Comics #286 and the Supergirl story 'The Death of Luthor'. One thing in particular about this story that makes it stand out is that it comes on the heels of Action Comics #285, the issue where Supergirl is finally revealed to the world.'The Death of Luthor' picks up on all the beats of that story. People are still in wonder about her existence. Luthor thinks it's a hoax. Superman is still off-world, on the mission that prompted Supergirl's heroics in AC #285. And Supergirl herself is still getting the hang of being able to act out in the open. I love the history of this story as much as I love seeing Lex get a comeuppance!

On to the story!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Legion Companion And Al Plastino

 Every so often, I feel lucky.

I was in my comic store a couple of weeks ago when they were having a sale. As I was thumbing through their stock of back issues, I stumbled across this book, the Legion Companion.

It has a cover price of $24.95 but was on sale, about 70% off that. It is a TwoMorrows compendium of interviews with Legion royalty, bringing together these disparate conversations into one neat volume. From Otto Binder to Mark Waid and nearly everyone in between this book showcases creators of the Legion from multiple decades and continuities.

I have only started the book, just three interviews in and I already know that I'll be cannibalizing the Supergirl-centric bits to share here.

But seriously, this book was so cheap that I might have bought it for the Dave Cockrum cover alone!

Add to that Jim Mooney's drawing on the back, Kara holding a big place among the notaries, and the cover itself is a score.

I love TwoMorrows, subscribing to back issue and picking up Alter Ego and collections like this (for example the recent DC Implosion one). They never fail to satisfy.

I mean I can never get enough Mooney Supergirl.

But if you told me that Dave Cockrum once drew the head band Supergirl, I would have said you were lying. I appreciate that Supergirl was shown this Legion respect!

But onto the first noteworthy interview (from a Supergirl perspective), Al Plastino.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Matrix Monday: Supergirl #1 (1994 mini-series)

The Matrix Monday sometimes series rolls on this month with a look at the 1994 Supergirl solo mini-series written by Roger Stern with internal art by June Brigman and Jackson Guice and covers by Kerry Gammill. Supergirl #1 had a cover date of February 1994, a busy month in the Superman Family for DC Comics. Coming off the wildly successful Death of Superman , Funeral for a Friend, and Reign of the Superman story arcs, DC decided to showcase some of the heroes who emerged from that historic arc. That month there wasn't just a Supergirl first issue. Steel #1 and Superboy #1 were also on the shelves.

During the Death/Funeral/Reign arcs, the Matrix Supergirl character took some big leaps in character growth. She started to act independently, thinking like a hero, and embracing her role in the Superman family. She even started to recognize that maybe Lex Luthor wasn't the purest of hearts. At times, in those stories, she defied him.

This mini-series marks a major turning point for the Matrix character. Finally she sees Luthor for the evil person he is. She finally breaks away from him. She starts out on her own with a new mentor. I know ... spoiler alert. But I am giving away the ending just so that you can see how profound that turnaround is given how she acts here.

The art in this is also stunning. I am used to Guice inking his own pencils. Here, his lines over Brigman have a nice synergy.

I had the luck of meeting Roger Stern at last year's Terrificon and got him to sign these issues.

On to the book.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Review: Adventures Of The Super Sons #7

Adventures of Super Sons #7 came out this week and continued an almost frivolous romp through the DCU. This series has been a tour through Silver/Bronze Age DC with issues running through horror comics and silly sci-fi stuff. This issue seems to marry two of my favorite things: DC Legion lore and 1940's film noir. There is nothing like an old school prison break film! Chuck the sons of Batman and Superman into the mix and you have something transcendent.

Writer Peter Tomasi brings a Philip Marlowe feel to these proceedings as Robin, thrust into the role of prison warlord, gives voice over narration that would make Bogart blush. The story here is aptly titled Noir Town, leaning into the film noir conceit. And these pot-boiled words and swift violence all sounds so natural coming from Damian.

Despite that particular flourish, Tomasi does his usual excellent job of littering the story with name drops, homages, and even tips of the hat to creators that makes this a treat for grizzled readers like me.

After a couple of months off, Carlo Barberi is back on art and brings his stylized elan to the proceedings. His work fits the material so well. But there is one panel which made me smile wide as near perfection. More on that soon.

If there is one downside, it is that The Gang, the alien adolescents obsessed with Earth super-villains, remain the glue holding it all together. I'm a little fatigued of them. That said. as always, I'll miss this book and this version of the sons when it goes away.

On to the book.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Supergirl Is Patient

Big thanks to Rob Kelly of the Fire and Water Podcast Network for sending me this great children's book 'Supergirl Is Patient' but Christopher Harbo and Gregg Schigiel.

As someone who works in a 'go go' environment, who was kept on schedule by my family, and who is potentially wanting everything to go faster and more efficiently, I feel like I needed this book for myself, even at my advanced age. Anj needs to be patient. He needs to learn from his heroes.

This seems to be a series of books where each hero showcases a particularly good quality.  I like that Supergirl has patience. And I love the look, the Bruce Timm DCAU costume, minus the belly shirt. It really looks slick.

But this is really about the lessons. So let me share a few of my faves.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Supergirl Shrine: DC Mystery Mini

Last week, I thanked Russell Burbage for sending me the Supergirl figure from the Imaginext Series 5 figure run ( ). I also mentioned how I never get unopened mystery figures because I can't tolerate the chance.

So imagine my delight when in the same package that had the Imaginext figure, Russell included the Supergirl figure from the DC Super Heroes Mystery Mini series.

Now of all these things, this series is the one that vexed me the most. There was a Supergirl figure. There was a Streaky figure! A Streaky! There was Superman and Krypto! I'd be happy with any of those. That meant that I had a 7/24 chance of getting something that I would want. Heck, even the Joker fish one was sort of cool!

But still, I could only imagine getting 7 Catwoman black cats and none of the ones I wanted. So as many times that I picked the box up, I also put it down.

So in rides Russell to the rescue. He got the Supergirl figure and immediately thought of me and sent it my way! Another Christmas miracle!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Supergirl Show Renewed For Season Five

Last Thursday, The CW network decided to give their fans an early Valentine's Day gift announcing that they were renewing 10 shows, including all of the DC Comics superhero shows. That means we will be getting a 5th season of Supergirl.

Here is a link to Variety's brief coverage:

Times like this I remember my feelings in April 2009 when I started a Supergirl blog because I felt I needed to promote the character. Now Supergirl has a successful, live action show approaching 100 episodes.

Moreover, I feel I have been blessed as a fan to have someone like Melissa Benoist, who just seems to embrace everything that Kara is, as the star. No show is perfect. But this series has really showcased everything I love about the character and I get to enjoy it for another year.

And all this while maintaining a healthy audience in the usual graveyard time slot of Sunday nights. Incredible.

Hooray for all of us.

I suppose it should come as too big a surprise given the fact that the end of the Elseworlds crossover promised Crisis on Infinite Earths next year. You simply can't do Crisis without Kara.

But no worries now.

We'll get Supergirl S5.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Patriots Win!

Taking the day to revel in some Super Bowl Bliss.

Your Supergirl coverage will resume tomorrow!

Friday, February 1, 2019

Review: Action Comics #1007

Action Comics #1007 came out this week and carries the cover banner as part one of the Leviathan Rising arc that has been promised to we readers for some time. At least for this issue, the invisible mafia are indeed visible.

This is a fun issue giving us a closer look at writer Brian Michael Bendis' Jimmy Olsen. There certainly is a feeling of 'Mr. Action' in our favorite photographer as he slithers his way into some shady proceedings as well as winning the heart of a misguided woman. We even see him sporting the famous plaid shirt and bow tie. This all completely works for me. I have been waiting to get a Jimmy who is as fierce a investigative reporter as he is an irritant to Perry!

That said, there is a big portion of this issue devoted to a coming together of Lois and her father General Lane. I hope I get some comments on what people thought of this scene. Unfortunately, it didn't feel right to me. So much of what gets said here seems wrong. And it only further solidifies some of my concerns of how Bendis is handling Lois.

Of course, Leviathan rears its ugly head as we see the beginning of their attack on some of the more powerful organizations in the DCU, soldiers on both sides of the law.

Steve Epting is the new artist on the book. He is stepping into Ryan Sook's shoes and that seems daunting to me. Sook's work is gorgeous. I know Epting best from his run on Captain America with Ed Brubaker. I like his stuff here. In particular his character scenes show how slick he is with body language and expression. But he handles the bigger, more action stuff deftly as well.

On to the book.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

April 2019 Solicitations

Last week, the DC solicits for April were released. You can head to the Newsarama and other sites to review the entirety of the DC line. Here is the link:

It's hard to believe but April marks a year of the Bendis-ification of the Super titles. Last year at this time, we saw the solicits for Action Comics #1000. We then got the weekly Man of Steel in June. And we have been off to the races since.

Of course, this impacted Supergirl as much as anyone. So while April marks the year mark of this redirection, we are only 9 issues into Supergirl's solo title reflecting it. I am starting to hope this 'Supergirl in space' storyline will wrap up soon. I want her hero-ing on Earth.

written by MARC ANDREYKO
variant cover by AMANDA CONNER
The sins of the Circle—revealed! With a galaxy-wide bounty on Supergirl’s head, she, Krypto and Z’ndr must hide out at an abandoned planet until it’s safe enough to continue tracking the Circle’s trail of misdeeds. Unbeknownst to Supergirl, this planet is where the last crystal of Appa Ali Apsa was left to be found for the hidden messages in her other collected crystals to be revealed! Who killed Appa Ali Apsa? What other deeds happened at the hands of Rogol Zaar? Find out here!

Maybe this is a good sign. We are learning secrets. We are getting history of Appa Ali Apsa and Rogol Zaar. So let's bring it on home!