Wednesday, June 19, 2019

DC Comics September Solicitations

The DC solicits for September have come out and it is a little bit heavy with new books and exciting news all happening. I won't comment on all the Harley love that is coming out but there is plenty. So head over to Newsarama to take a peek at everything:

In the meantime, I'll do my usual review of the super-books that are coming out.

written by MARC ANDREYKO
card stock variant cover by DERRICK CHEW

After months on the outer edges of the universe, Supergirl is back on Earth! But things are not as she left them—her adoptive parents have disappeared without a trace, Leviathan’s plans are in motion and a Brainiac lurks in the shadows with its sights set on Kara! Oh, and what about that grave? The truth of who is in it will shake Supergirl to her very core!

I am thrilled that Supergirl is back on Earth again. And a mystery of finding her parents is a good hook. I wonder if, based on Leviathan Rising, if Eliza has been recruited to Leviathan's ranks. As for the Brainiac on the loose, we have already seen Kara fight Indigo in the Fatal Five arc. But news coming out this month makes me wonder if there is another Dox Kara will be meeting.

With all these arcs mentioned in the solicit, too bad the cover is (of course) gritty angry Kara immolating a Leviathan crony.

 What else is coming out?

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Review: Supergirl #31

Supergirl #31 came out last week and continues the Unity Saga story which has been going through the Superman book. I posted my review of Superman #12 yesterday and this issue of Supergirl covers much of the same story, albeit from her perspective.

While the story beats are similar, there are some unfortunate differences. While my review of Superman praised the maturity and respect and love that was evident in Supergirl and the El family, this issue doubles down on Kara's anger and viciousness. It was hard to go from one to the other and think these are the same characters. I just don't quite understand writer Marc Andreyko's take on the character.

Now comes my every couple of year defense that I don't want a sickeningly sweet Silver Age Supergirl, trapped in an orphanage with no agency. I don't mind a fierce Supergirl, learning to be a hero, occasionally failing. I don't mind her being angry when the time is right. But Supergirl should be, foremost, optimistic and bright. She should be about hope, help, and compassion for all. And this sneering Supergirl isn't that.

The art in the book is split. Kevin Maguire does the first 5 pages of the book and then semi-regular artist Eduardo Pansica takes over. Pansica should just be named regular artist and Maguire should start working on the Annual. The two styles don't mesh well. Separately both are fine.

On to the book.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Review: Superman #12

Superman #12 came out last week, the next chapter in The House of El portion of the Unity Saga. It is an interesting book because it overlaps heavily with Supergirl #31. The two books tell the same story from the different angles of their main characters. In many ways it succeeds in giving us some added information of the perspective of the other protagonist. In others it fails where dialogue and some interactions are different.

Of the two, the Superman books succeeds more in my mind. Remember, this is coming from an avid Supergirl fan.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis succeeds in showing us the power of a united El family. Superman, Supergirl, Superboy, and Krypto all clearly love each other and are supportive of each other. That felt like a wonderful throwback to past times when the super-cousins regularly teamed up and had each other's back. We haven't seen much of that since 2011. I also love the outright respect that Bendis gives Supergirl as a character. Kara is treated very well.

The down side to the story is my rather lack of sustained interest in Rogol Zaar. I also fear about the long lasting besmirching of Jor-El's character. I liked the noble scientist who tried his best to save the world but could only save his child. Not this Mr. Oz character who seemingly knew about Zaar's plans to blow up the world.

Ivan Reis has shined on every Superman issue. But this issue with it's double page vertical spreads and space battles as well as family hugs and reunions is a tour de force. I knew I would love seeing Reis draw Supergirl. I didn't think I would love it this much.

On to the book.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Review: Event Leviathan #1

You know that I am intrigued by a book when it grabs the Friday review slot the week a Supergirl book hit the stands.

Event Leviathan #1 came out this week, the 6 week mini-series written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Alex Maleev. Nothing grabs me like a good comic mystery and this one is fantastic. Leviathan as a group has eliminated the spy agencies and villain organizations around the world. It is looking, apparently, to consolidate power. But interestingly, Leviathan has made it clear that they want what our heroes want. The ends are not villainous, at least according to them.

Since this is a mystery, Bendis is giving us a cast of DC's best detectives. Seeing four of them poring over a crime in this issue sets the stage. These are the best investigators, above reproach, and as a result, trustworthy. So this team is out to solve this puzzle. What I love about this is that all these detectives have strong and different personalities. These aren't necessarily 'good' teammates. So seeing them bristle with each other as they exchange thoughts is delicious. Of course, snappy dialogue in street level crime stories is right in Bendis' wheelhouse.

Alex Maleev is also a perfect choice for this book, and in particular this issue, as it is a scene draped in darkness and shadow. His murky style fits a noir environment. And great sleuths slinking through crime scenes is wonderfully complementary. Maleev colors this issue as well. The palette seems limited between blues and oranges. But again, that fits. The book is gorgeous.

As for me, I have a Leviathan Theory and trust me, another post just dedicated to my theory and the clues this issue provided will be forthcoming. This issue hasn't made me budge. But this is more of an introduction.

On to the book.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Sales Review: May 2019

Sales numbers for May have been released and as usual I'll send people to ICv2 for the best coverage. Here is a link to their article.

It is an interesting month for me to look at as the summer events are starting to trickle out. Meanwhile in the super-books, Event Leviathan is about to take over meaning that the space race with Rogol Zaar needs to wrap up soon.

Supergirl #30 was a sort of closing chapter to her space quest as Kara faced off against Empress Gandelo and learned more about Rogol Zaar's part in Krypton's destruction.

It also had the major moment when Supergirl was just about to bury Zaar's axe into Gandelo's skull. Thankfully, Krypto used his good nature and his puppy dog eyes to not have Supergirl go the way of Rorshach.

So ... how did this rough, angry Supergirl issue sell?

It came in at slot 118, more than 20 slots lower than the last slot.

It also sold 18,443 units ordered. That is down from 19,550 from the month before.

We are getting pretty low in sales.

Will Event Leviathan lift this? Or will this darker turn for Supergirl once again lead to dwindling sales and the need for a reboot ... or cancellation.

I've spoken too much about this.

I worry that Andreyko will use Supergirl's book as a backdoor Manhunter book (based on the Leviathan Rising Special). I don't think is going to end well.

Last month also had Doomsday Clock #10, one of the best recent comics I have read.

It sold a very healthy 117,419 units ordered. Amazing.

What is more amazing is that DCeased, a zombie book, sold more than twice that!! I am not a zombie person so I am skipping this book (although I have heard great things).

Still, this erosion of Supergirl sales since Andreyko took over cannot be ignored. When will be see the Final Issue blurb  in the solicits?

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

DC Superhero Girls #FightAtTheMuseum

I have been pleasantly pleased with the new DC Superhero Girls under the direction of Lauren Faust. As I have said before, this is a wonderful mix of empowering messages, superheroics, and looney tunes action. As someone who lived through the reinvigoration of the My Little Pony franchise under Faust's direction, I feel this show has that same elan. It just checks off all the boxes. I can only hope that it catches fire the way MLP did.

On top of the story, I have also applauded the visual direction of the show with wonderful perspective shots and direction that just elevates it. There is this wonderful energy to the show, a concoction of mature cinematography telling a superhero story.

And I really have been tickled pink by the Supergirl on the show. This Kara is brash, a bit of a hothead, punching first and asking questions later. She is the rebel, the iconoclast throwing shade on Superman. While I am routinely against this persona in the DC continuity, in a side project team show like this, where everyone has a personality trait to demonstrate, I don't mind it. Welcome to the complex personality of this Supergirl fan. Nicole Sullivan does such wonderful voice work, bringing a little conceit, a little snark to the proceedings. And Supergirl has really been showcased. If I recall, Faust said Supergirl was her favorite when she was making Super Best Friends Forever. And this Kara is basically that Kara.

One thing I do know I like about Supergirl as a character is that she is a young hero, on the journey, and learning.

The title of  this episode is #FightAtTheMuseum, I suppose a riff on the Night At The Museum movies. Supergirl has to learn the lesson that might doesn't always make right. She also learns that she can't just punch every problem away. Get ready!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Terrificon Prep - Early Thoughts

Hard to believe but we are two months away from con season. And this year the season opens up with my favorite show, Terrificon.

I have lauded the show in the past. It is truly a comic book convention. The guest list is almost exclusively comic book creators. And perhaps the best thing about the show is that it really runs the gamut of creators. We get golden age legends. We get bronze age stalwarts. And we get the current stars. Every time I think the show can't list more guests, more get posted. If there ever was a show to commit to a three day trip, it is this one. Because I don't think there is time in one day to get to everybody. It is amazing.

 There are celebrities but they all always have a strong link to comic books. This year the show is bringing in stars from the 1989 Batman movie and others.

And the venue is great. Huge hall. Free parking. All levels of eating options within the casino. And, if you are into that, gambling.

Here is a link to the site if you want to scan the guests:

But this is a con prep post, which means I have to talk about my commission conquests and other hopes.

The top commission hope is Colleen Doran.

I am a long time fan of Doran. She loves the Legion. She was one of the artists on the recent JLA 3001 book that I loved. She is a fan of Supergirl. And her art is just dreamy.

I missed out on the opportunity to get a commission from her several years ago when she was at the Boston Comic Con. I won't let the chance pass again.

So I will be heading to Doran's table first.

Who else am I hoping to get?

Monday, June 10, 2019

Back Issue Box: Supergirl #5

 Last week I reviewed DC Superhero Girls #SuperWho, an animated short in which Supergirl (and Superman) fight Chemo.

With that in my mind, I thought I would review Supergirl #5 from the Peter David run in which, you guessed it, Supergirl fights Chemo. Although, as you'l see, it isn't so much a physical fight as an existential crisis.

One thing that David did brilliantly in this run is walk a fine line between superheroics and metaphysical. This was the Matrix Supergirl, trying to figure who she was in this new universe she was in. She had questions about herself. Was she 'alive'? Was she a creature? Was she real?

And when she merged with the sinful Linda Danvers, there were even bigger questions. What was redemption? Did she have a soul? What was she?

In the end, we find out that this merging of Matrix and Linda makes her something even more than the sum of the parts. She is an Earth Angel. But here, early in the book, we don't know that. And Supergirl herself is pretty unsure of who or what she is. She is figuring out what powers she still has. She is trying to figure out whose life she should be living. And she is still asking those deep questions. Is she truly alive?

Who would ever expect Chemo to be a mirror for her to look into?

Gary Frank and Cam Smith are on art and the book is absolutely gorgeous. This is before Frank started to draw everyone gaunt with extra cross-hatching. The art is smooth, glossy, stunning. It was this book and its look that made me a lifelong Frank fan. Just brilliant.

On to the book.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Review: Adventures of the Super Sons #11

Adventures of the Super Sons #11 came out this week, the penultimate issue for this maxi-series and therefore the penultimate issue of the tween Jon Kent Superboy. In the main Superman books, Jon has been aged and is now a true teenager. So enjoy this romp while you can. We are about to see the end of this incarnation of the Sons and their fun escapades.

Writer Peter Tomasi has truly taken advantage of the space he's been given. He has given us a healthy dose of the Damian/Jon dynamic which is really the straw that stirs the drink of this series. But we also have seen a sort of warped buffet of the DC universe, sampling the Silver Age, horror comics, science fiction, and straight up super-heroics.

The book, and this issue, has been aided by the art of Carlo Barberi. This is a super-hero book, but it is also a fun super-hero book, light-hearted in a way you would expect the adventures of adolescents to be. And Barberi's dynamic style, the perfect mix if anime, cartoon, and standard comic art complements the story perfectly.

This book does just what it should do as the 11th chapter of a 12 chapter story. The boys are close to being back home. Most of the villains have been taken care of. We have a great cliffhanger. And we know that a final showdown with Rex Luthor is around the corner.

Hopefully, lots of people have been loving this book as much as I have.

On to the details!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Leviathan Theory - Superman Leviathan Rising #1

I honestly hope that I am not driving people away as I continue to point out my  Leviathan Theory and all the clues that I see to try and bolster it.

But I can't help myself.

A comic mystery, a true comic mystery, will always grab my attention. And this is the first real mystery in comics, at least for me, in a long time. Maybe it is better to say that this is the first comic mystery that I have cared about in a long time. Yes, I am looking at you Heroes in Crisis.

Superman Leviathan Rising #1 came out a couple of weeks ago and I reviewed the book. But there were clues there, clues to make me think that maybe I am right.

Briefly, my thoughts are that Leviathan is Ted Kord. I believe Leviathan as an organization is led by the Charlton heroes, specifically Captain Atom and Nightshade. And I base a lot of this on the 'Watchmen' like feel to much of Leviathan's gear and attacks. And since the Watchmen characters were based on the Charlton folks I think this is art imitating art imitating art.

So, on to the clues.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

DC Superhero Girls #WasabiWar

After what seemed to be a slow start out of the gate, the new DC Superhero Girls has been putting out great new material, both 'full' episodes on the Cartoon Network (introducing Livewire and Giganta) and the YouTube shorts.

The latest short on YouTube, titled #WasabiWar is available and features the interesting pair of Zatanna and Supergirl. Here is a link:

Remember, Zatanna here is the 'Rarity', enjoying the finer things in life and following societal rules of decorum. Supergirl is the 'Rainbow Dash', a bit rough and tumble, a bit of the rebel. So you know insanity will ensue.

Zatanna has somehow obtained a reservation at one of the fancier and more exclusive sushi restaurants in Metropolis. She invites Supergirl.

And while Zatanna is a bit demure and subdued as she revels in being there, Kara is more in a pub mode, using the chopsticks like drum sticks and generally being a bit rowdy.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

April 2019 Sales

Looks like I missed the ICv2 article on April sales when it first came out and maybe that was a good thing. Here is the link:

I have been watching the sales on the main Supergirl title steadily erode for any issue not blessed with an Artgerm variant. The sales on Supergirl #29 with it's charming Amanda Conner variant continue the trend.

After a whole arc in space and an unappetizing opening chapter in the Superman Leviathan Rising special, I have to say that it might be time for DC to start thinking about who to let take over the book in Marc Andreyko's place. Or, more likely I fear, is waiting for the dreaded *Final Issue* label in some upcoming solicit post.

And that is because we once again find ourselves in the Dan Didio Supergirl Cycle of Death.

Step 1: Supergirl gets a creative team who wants to write her as angry and gritty.
Step 2: It doesn't sell.
Step 3: A new team comes on writing Supergirl as a young optimistic hero learning the ropes.
Step 4: Sales increase and stabilize in the middle of the pack.
Step 5: DC thinks it can do better.
Step 6: Cancel the book or go back to step 1

Proof is out there.
Step 1 folks: Loeb, Spencer, Green, Andreyko
Step 3 folks: Gates/Igle, Bedard, Johnson/Perkins, Orlando

Supergirl #29 came out in April.

In it an irate Supergirl seizes Rogol Zaar's axe and attacks.
Zaar's men call her The Queen, Lady of the Axe and swear allegiance.
The space-faring mystery behind Rogol Zaar is rushed to its ending in inane ways.

Not surprisingly, this dark Supergirl and stilted story didn't work for me.
But how did it sell?

Monday, June 3, 2019

Superman Leviathan Rising Review Pt 2: The Rest Of The Book

Superman Leviathan Rising #1 came out last week and was the prologue for the Event Leviathan crossover which is working its way through the DCU this summer. It is a book of chapters with a story working its way through most of the parts. (The Supergirl part felt a little separate.)

The main story was written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Yanick Paquette. That is a great creative team. We also got first looks at the upcoming Lois Lane book by creators Greg Rucka and Mike Perkins. And we saw the zaniness that Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber are planning in the upcoming Jimmy Olsen book as well.

Some of the plot points shown here nicely dovetail out of the opening crumbs we have seen in the recent Action Comics issues. We got to see the new head of Leviathan and hear his motivations and machinations. We learn what happened to Talia Head, the old leader of Leviathan. And we got to see how the threat of Invisible Mafia is not only read and not only still present but also well respected by the underground.

 Finally, this is a mystery. You have read my #LeviathanTheory posts here. There are a few crumbs here to add to my thoughts. I might gloss on them here. But, I think there will be another post there.

On to the book.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Superman Leviathan Rising Review Pt 1: Supergirl

The Superman Leviathan Rising #1 special came out this week and laid out the path that the super-books will be taking during the upcoming Event Leviathan crossover. From peeks at the new Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen books (written by their respective creative teams) to linking the threat of the Invisible Mafia to the Leviathan organization, the cavalcade of talent on this special lay out a great sort or mid-story prologue. We have been circling Leviathan for sometime in Action Comics. Here we see him straight on.

I'll be reviewing the bulk of this giant early next week. But today I thought I would focus on the Supergirl chapter. As said above, this special sort of paves the way for the Event Leviathan storyline. And that impacts Kara as much as anyone. Her chapter feels separate, as if she is going to be tangentially involved with the main plot but not a key figure. I can easily pull her pages out of this special and the main story would go off without a hitch.

And bear with me as this is something of a rant. A rant that happens so frequently in Kara's comic history that it flows easily out of me, like some memorized prayer.

The creative team on this chapter is writer Marc Andreyko and penciler Eduarado Pansica. So this segment feels like Supergirl's main book. Now if you have read my reviews of Andreyko's 'Supergirl in space' arc, you'll know that I haven't been too thrilled with it. And angry Kara, wielding an axe, screaming for vengeance, and abandoning Earth seems all so 2004, all so New 52 to me.

Here we see that Supergirl is back home and hoping to reconnect with her adoptive family the Danvers only to find their house demolished and her parents missing. When we get the back story we see that Eliza Danvers acts completely out of character, leading to her disappearance.

It is as if Andreyko wants to scrub away all the good foundation that Steve Orlando and Jody Houser built in the prior issues. A sort of awkward Supergirl, learning to be a hero, surrounded by a nurturing family and a supporting cast of other teens? That was a recipe for great stories and solid, steady sales.

But DC never seems to want that stability. It is always trying to swerve Supergirl into a gritty, dark mess which never works. And after having her be called 'The Queen of the Axe', Andreyko doubles down by removing all the supportive elements from Kara's recent history.

And, much like the Omega Men played way too big a role in her stories, it looks like the Kate Spencer Manhunter might also be around to steal some pages.

Does DC want a Supergirl book on the shelves? Does Andreyko like Supergirl as a character? Does anyone in DC care what the Supergirl fan base wants to read?  I don't think so.

On to the details.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Leviathan Theory: Posters

I know I am going a bit overboard with my Leviathan Theory posts.

But I live for comic mysteries like this. I look for the clues and sift out the feints. I lean on decades of comic reading and too much comic history. It is, simply, a ton of fun.

And I feel like this is the first mystery of this scope that I have been on-line to discuss. There wasn't an internet, a comic community, a blogging atmosphere for Sensor Girl or Armageddon 2001.

So you have to bear with me.

DC came out with 8 one page ads to promote the event and to shine a spotlight on the DC detective characters investigating Leviathan in the main mini-series. And some of the text can be fit into my theory.

And, to make matters worse, I have a theory and I am looking for corroborating evidence for my theory everywhere. But get ready, the end of this post will be a new 'back up' theory in case you don't like my original onw.

Let's start out with this one where Leviathan himself speaks. If this is Ted Kord, he would have seen the heroes doing everything in their power to change the world and fail. Nothing earth-shattering here. If Leviathan is a former hero,which I think they are, this text makes sense.

On to the others.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

DC Superhero Girls #SuperWho

I have been pretty thrilled with the new DC Superhero Girls and the approach to the characters and stories. As I have said, there is as much Looney Tunes humor in these shows as there is life lessons and values. I don't mind either.

And I have been overall pretty happy with this take on Supergirl. She is the tough one, the 'bad girl', the iconoclast of the group. She is the act first, think later member of the team. And in a group show where each of the friends needs to embody a character trait, it makes more sense for Kara to fit that bill.

It also helps that we have seen that the rough exterior probably hides a softer inside waiting to be nurtured, waiting for her to be confident enough in herself to let herself be vulnerable.

One thing that I didn't think I'd be too keen on is her relationship with Superman.

I'm a big fan of the super-family being family. I don't want Superman to dominate Kara. I don't want him to be the stern father figure. But I do like him being an inspiration for Supergirl, someone she can turn to for advice.

In a recent episode, #SuperWho, we see that it is something adversarial. Supergirl is upset that Superman arrived here first and has become this hero. She doesn't like being in his shadow.

And here Superman seems aloof and something of a narcissist. I always worry about how Superman is being portrayed, especially to people who might not be exposed to him anywhere else.

So yes, #SuperWho is a hilarious episode showing an exasperated Kara trying to find her way in the world. It has a deep cut DC villain. But I wish Superman was shown in a brighter light.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Leviathan Theory: The Enforcer In Action Comics #1011

I am trying to figure out in my head how to handle my Leviathan theories here on the site.

One thing to do would be to insert my ideas about the theories in the reviews of the books where new clues appear. New theory ideas would be rolled into the ongoing story. The down side would be that my already super-long reviews would be longer.

The other would be to have separate Leviathan theory posts thus giving me more room to discuss why I have the new idea and give some supportive evidence around it. This would keep my reviews the same length but it would mean many more Theory posts (when warranted).

For now, I think what I will do is insert any new fleeting theory (maybe Leviathan is Ocean Master??) into the review. But anything more substantial, anything that needs a broader discussion or panels from other books for evidence will be in a separate post ... like today's.

My main  Leviathan Theory  is laid out here. I freely admit that I am pretty anchored on this theory.

So let's look at my theory that Captain Atom (as a stand in for Doctor Manhattan who was a stand in for Captain Atom) is the 'Enforcer' of Leviathan.

Squint and you'll miss it but Atom is mentioned in an article for the Planet that Perry is proof-reading. You don't get all of it but it looks like Atom was seen streaking into a building before it exploded. Too obvious a clue?

It is interesting that Atom, who hasn't been seen in a while has suddenly reappeared. But wait there's more!

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day Off!

Happy Memorial Day!

Thanks to all those who have served our great nation.

I have had a very tough recent period at work and today is a day off for me. So no post for me.

Enjoy the day!

I know I will be!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Review: Action Comics #1011

Action Comics #1011, part 5 of Leviathan Rising, came out this week. Written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Steve Epting, this chapter focused on enriching the mystery of who or what Leviathan is. We get a lot of discussion, a lot of information, and a lot of clues. And since I already have a theory I am anchored on, I saw a lot of corroborating information.  Of course, I am anchored.

One thing that Bendis does very well is character development and moments. There isn't much action in this issue. But we get a whole role call of people who are impacted by the Leviathan attacks. It is interesting to see the patsies having to fight back. It is intriguing to see spies wonder just what is going to happen next. And we get to see the clout that the press has in the DCU. This is a great Lois issue.

The art by Steve Epting is solid work, perfect for this more street level espionage story. The scenes play out well and he has subtle expressive work which helps in the dialogue scenes which dominate this issue. And the cover, showing the weight of the problem on Superman is brilliant.

But this is what a mystery is like. Not every issue is going to be a slugfest. For someone like me, who devours clues, looks for patterns, and wants to solve the mystery, these issues are a gold mine. I loved it.

On to the book.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

DC Superhero Girls #Beeline

I know that I am beginning to sound like a broken record (a dated reference if there ever was one) but this new take on DC Superhero Girls is a ton of fun and I love it.

As I have said since its debut, the show is a great mix of action and humor. There are deep cuts to the DCU. There is a dollop of adult humor and references, the sort of things to keep the grown-ups happy. And there are messages of pride, empowerment, and inclusion ... but the stories drive the messages, not the other way around.

All the kudos to Lauren Faust for this injection of adrenaline into this franchise.

Take, for example, the latest long form episode airing on the Cartoon Network, #Beeline.

This is a story of Bumblebee learning to be strong, be proactive, and embrace being a hero, someone who puts the well being of others over herself. But we have to get there.

We also get a version of the Legion of Doom and end with a classic superhero trope, the villains and heroes running towards each other.

But the episode opens with a dramatic shot of the heroes running towards the camera, racing to get somewhere 'before its too late!'

What is the threat?

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Supergirl 422: Quest For Peace

The Supergirl season 4 finale, episode 422 'Quest for Peace', aired this week and just blew me out of the water. The show just nailed it.

When you look at the season as a hold, I can't help but feel that this was the strongest of the bunch. Yes, some early episodes did struggle with this show's occasional clunky, ham-fisted writing. It was clear there was an agenda to the season and that agenda seemed to overwhelm the story rather than supplement.

And then Lex Luthor happened.

Jon Cryer's performance was like an adrenaline injection. His first two episodes were brilliantly crafted. You definitely felt Lex's presence in the next couple of episodes as the characters all seemed to be scrambling to catch up to the schemes. And then this episode which tied it all together! Amazing.

Moreover, all the plotlines tied up nicely, even if some of them were obvious.

And then, the teases for next season. Just incredible. I can't believe I have to wait months to see where all of these new plot lines are going!!

I don't think I have ever been this happy about a Supergirl season or its finale. Wow.

On to the show.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

DC Comics August Solicitations

The DC solicits for August came out and there are a number of things that stood out to me. You can check out all the books over on Newsarama here:

One thing I will say is that I don't have much interest in the Super Sons novels or the Miller/Romita Superman Year One, so no coverage of that here.

For me, this is definitely the summer of Leviathan as I am all in on this plot. For one, it is fresh and new. As a grizzled fan, I love anything that true feels innovative. And this crossover event, a sort of street level, not galactic/universal, feels very new.

As it is the year of the villain, the title logos of the super-books are all getting busted up, an effect I always like. We also get Lois and Jimmy!

Add to that a reset on the Supergirl book and the summer can't get here soon enough.

On to the books.

written by MARC ANDREYKO
card stock variant cover by DERRICK CHEW

After a year in space solving the mystery of Krypton’s demise, Supergirl returns to Earth to discover that everything she knew as Kara Danvers is gone! Plus, the usurper Brainiac-1 has set his sights on the unsuspecting Girl of Steel – and his plans are far from benevolent! ON SALE 08.14.19

So Kara is back home. But all of Kara Danvers is gone?

Is Andreyko erasing the 2 years of stories we got from Steve Orlando and Jody Houser? Seems wrong. I was hoping we'd pick up that continuity. Maybe I am ringing the alarum too early.

I like Brainiac as a villain for Supergirl given she truly lived through the Kandor event.

Let's hope she stays on Earth, isn't a rager, and acts the hero.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Review: Superman #11

Superman #11 came out this week, The Unity Saga: The House of El part 5. With Event Leviathan around the corner, the time has come to reunite the El Family and time to finish up the Rogol Zaar storyline which began back in last May's Man of Steel.

Brian Michael Bendis has a lot of plot threads out there that have been simmering along. Rogol Zaar's history and motivations are still unknown. General Zod and Superman's visions of the future have blipped in and out. Superboy being gone and now older is just being addressed. Jor-El being alive (sigh) and deranged (sigh) has been running through this book since before Bendis took over. Most interesting is that all these plots are interwoven. So this arc seems like it is going to tie off all the plot threads into a neat bow.

As for the events of this issue, I love Superman's presence in the galaxy, a known hero who is able to shut down a battle quickly. And the last page is winner both in image and words.

This is a wide screen issue which takes place during an intergalactic brawl between four factions. There are two page splashes. There are half page panels. There are giant images spanning two pages with smaller panels around that anchor. Big action deserve big art. Ivan Reis with Joe Prado and Oclair Albert really convey the scope and size of the action.

I do feel like Leviathan is building some momentum for the DC books across the board. That said, I hope the ending of this story doesn't feel rushed!

On to the book.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Leviathan Theory


Please settle down as this may be a rambling post.

It will be an attempt for me to put into words my theory on who Leviathan is. Or maybe more like who are in the group Leviathan.

But it will be trying to connect thoughts and feelings and guesses I have been working through as clues and scenes unfold. And in that way, it will be akin to a neural map of my mind, the blogging equivalent of a conspiracy theory connected by yarn and thumb tacks.

At its essence it boils down to this inescapable Watchmen feeling that is draped over everything. And you know when the Watchmen are discussed in comics, you need to remember their origins, the Charlton heroes they were based on.  And when you think about those heroes, you need to think about their histories in DC Comics.

And so I beg you to stay with me here, as I lay out the crumbs of my case, hoping I can sweep them together in your mind and form a cake.

I also freely admit that this very well could represent anchoring bias. Anchoring bias is when you make a conclusion early on and then twist all further incoming information (even ignoring new information) so that it fits your conclusion. I made a leap early. And this is my anchor.

On to the details.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Supergirl 421: Red Dawn

Supergirl Episode 421, title 'Red Dawn' aired this week and basically blew me out of the water. It was amazing. This episode marked writer Eric Carrasco's last work on the Supergirl series and he went out with a bang, pushing the gas pedal down. Everything is screaming to the finale. Amazing.

There was almost too much to love about this episode, stuff I will cover when I get into the details/recap.

The Alex/Kara moments here were extremely powerful. Their ending scene made me choke up a bit. And getting the young actors who played them in the Midvale episode back was a nice touch. The flashbacks helped flesh out the ending of the Alex memory storyline.

Brainy gets a great turn in this episode as he overcomes his awkward emotions in the least desirable way. I guess Brainiac's like to bottle things up too much. The pressure got to him.

The final fight between Red Daughter and Supergirl drew on Sterling Gates, Crisis on Infinite Earths, and Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. Phenomenal.

Ben Lockwood might be heading to a mini-redemption. Although I think he wouldn't care how he got where he got, just that he got there.

And despite all that, my favorite scene was one between Lena and Lillian Luthor, filled with love, death, poisoning, and snark! Kate McGrath and Brenda Strong deserve a bottle episode of their own.

I do have to say that the back end of this season has been spectacular. Probably the best second half of a Supergirl season to date. On to the specifics!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

DC Superhero Girls #HardRock

While long episodes on Cartoon Network remain surprisingly sparse, the DC Superhero Girls minisodes on YouTube continue to flourish and remain a brief 3 minute respite from the doldrums of every day life. (Although a recent full episode on CN did have a 'Legion of Doom' style nemesis group! Sure to cover at some point!)

The latest minisode, called #HardRock is now up here:

It is clear that each of the main characters has a dominant personality trait that drives their characterization. This episode again focuses on how Diana is a stranger in a strange land, getting used to metaphors, idioms, and what consists of normal behavior here in the States.

That sort of trope can be endlessly mined for humor. And here it is no difference.

Supergirl's personality is to be rebellious. Here we again see that she is a hard rocker. And so bringing Diana into a punk concert is a recipe for hilarious disaster.

So get ready for a wild ride as we venture into the Lazarus Pit, a hard rock cafe.

(And how great is it that the club is called the Lazarus Pit, a nice Easter Egg for folks who get it.)

Monday, May 13, 2019

Amazing Heroes #91: Supergirl's Obituary

A couple of months ago I stumbled upon Amazing Heroes #91, a special post-Crisis issue of the premier comic magazine of the time.

The book is a treasure trove for a Crisis fan like me and I have been a mining it for retrospective looks at Supergirl's death and the review of Crisis on Infinite Earths #7.

Another thing I liked about the book was that the had an obituary section for all the heroes and villains who died in the series. What could be better than one last eulogy for Kid Psycho and the original Dove. Let's face it, they probably weren't mourned enough when they died. There wasn't time.

But that obituary section included all the big names as well.

And that included Supergirl.

One thing about these obituaries are that they are a little bit comic history and a little bit 'Who's Who' style history.

It is funny to read this detailed history in one setting as it highlights just how bonkers the last 15 years of Supergirl's continuity was. That said, the article doesn't poke fun or ridicule the history. It just reports it. After all, Supergirl had been around for nearly 30 years. She was bound to have a few wrinkles in her storylines.

Enjoy the article written by Mark Waid, Supergirl fan extraordinaire.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Review: Supergirl #30

Supergirl #30 came out this week and definitely was something of a reviewing conundrum.

Frankly, I have grown tired of this arc. The angry Supergirl, Queen of the Axe, pulping hands as she wallows in rage, is not a Supergirl I want to read. A plot about finding scattered stones that took an Omega Man detour. A panel in comic admitting the plot wasn't progressing. Then a deus ex machina assembling of all the stones to bring the plot to a rapid close. And then, this issue, more rage wallowing. I just need this approach to end.

So this was not a good story to read.

That said, it was an absolutely gorgeous book to read. Kevin Maguire is back on art and just shines on every page. Yes, the story beats are rough. But boy, are they presented in a beautiful way. I found myself lingering on each page, just soaking it all in. I can't think up enough adjectives. Sumptuous? Phenomenal? Spectacular?

And, it seems, this portion of the story has come to a bit of a close. We end this issue with the opening of the next super-arc.

But have we reached the end of this spin on the 'dark Kara doesn't work, let's bring in a new creator who understands her' cycle?

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Supergirl 420: Will The Real Miss Tessmacher Please Stand Up

Supergirl episode 420, titled 'Will the real Miss Tessmacher please stand up' aired earlier this week. As has been the case the last few episodes, the thrust of this episode was moving the main plots of Lex's behind-the-scene manipulations and Ben Lockwood's descent into madness forward. Of course, these two plots are intertwined given how Lex nudged Lockwood on this path to begin with.

But the subplots touched on in this episode were just as interesting to me. We are moving toward the inevitable secret identity reveal to Lena. It is going to happen. And the big question is how will Lena react? The scene at the end of this episode where this truly comes to a boil is one of the best scenes of the season. It also shows that maybe the best time for the reveal by Kara was last episode. I still say when Lena apologized for keeping her work with Lex a secret, Kara should have confessed.

The other subplot, lingering from last year, is Alex's desire to be a mother. This was a major plot point all last season and was basically swept under the rug. So while it felt like it came out of nowhere here, I can't complain. At least it was addressed.

The last subplot was the super-fast (and frankly feeling a little forced) relationship between Alex and Kelly Olsen. These two have basically become besties and now potential romantics in what feels like a blink.

As for the acting, I love Andrea Brooks insane take on multiple Eve Tessmachers, all of varying intelligence. And the action sequences were well done as well.

On to the show.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

DC Superhero Girls #PrizeFighter

I continue to be impressed with the Lauren Faust version of the DC Superhero Girls. While there haven't been many 'main' episodes on the Cartoon Network, the YouTube shorts are released with some regularity.

The latest, 'PrizeFighter', aired last week and was another fun look at the Supergirl character. This Kara is competitive and certainly a bit on edge but in a fun way. Here is a link:

One thing I love about this is that it feels a little more real than the prior DCSHG. The Shea Fontana shows were definitely great and I loved them. But it felt more like kids when they are at their aunt's house ... best behavior and careful. This new take is sort of a 'no holds barred' romp. The messages are still there, a bit more nuanced and always hilarious.

We also got a significant cameo in this episode. And as brief as it was it spoke volumes.

On to the show!

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Supergirl Gallery Diorama Statue

I recently purchased the DC Gallery Diorama figuring of Supergirl and added it to my collection.

I am usually a bit more reticent to buy merchandise of the Michael Turner, bare midriff costume as I often feel that that particular costume lends itself to cheesecake. That's not why I am a Supergirl fan. And on first blush, this statue with it's very low-riding skirt seems to veer into that territory.

But looking beyond the exposed hips the statue is quite nice. Ensconced in a bright package, this is an action shot of Supergirl emerging from an explosion or a star all while snapping chains that try to bind her.

So the overall subject matter is one of strength.

I am not a big reviewer of packaging but i am a bit confused by this.

Certainly the pastel blues and bright reds are eye catching. And the actual picture of the statue within showcases the things I like about it.

But it is odd that the illustration on the box is of the more current Rebirth Supergirl costume and more akin to her television version. Why not have a picture of the actual costume on the statue.

 And the text isn't my favorite either.

I am not a fan of the lonely Supergirl, reluctantly living on Earth, armed with her planet-splitting right hook. And while I think she is on a hero's journey, I don't know if she is struggling with her identity.

I suppose I am an old-timer who likes to believe that Supergirl is optimistic and bright, sees the best in people, is an extrovert and wants to help.

Okay, enough about the box. Let's get to the statue itself.

Monday, May 6, 2019

Review: Adventures of the Super Sons #10

Adventures of the Super Sons #10 came out last week. We are officially entering the home stretch for this comic and I for one will miss it tremendously.

Much like the prior books, this issue showcases the differences and similarities between Damian and Jon. It also has given writer Peter Tomasi a chance to look at some of the Bronz-ier areas of the DCU and either lavish homage or poke fun. Sometimes it is a little bit of both.

I also like the 'How I Met Your Mother' opening, a motif Tomasi has used before in the prior monthly Sons series.

Truly, this issue was a ton of fun and I'll get you to my favorite moments in a second.

Carlo Barberi is on art again and brings that crazed energy to the proceedings. We border on anime here, His style really leaps off the page and has brought some youthful vim to the pages. Barberi is really the perfect choice for this book.

So here we go. Buckle up your chin straps. On to the story.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Review: Year of the Villain

It seems like every other year since Dan Didio took over DC has been labeled (or at the very least feels like) The Year of the Villain. From the overall tone of the DCU to an event like 'Forever Evil' to 'Future's End', we seem to have had a darkening and a coarsening of the heroes of the DC Universe for about a decade. And just when you think things were getting better, just when Rebirth sort of reset things in a brighter and more classic way, the pendulum swings back.

So I wasn't too surprised, given these last years, to find that we literally have a Year of the Villain event in the DC books coming up. Scott Snyder is bring in Perpetua, the Anti-Monitor's mother, to rewrite reality. Brian Michael Bendis is ripping apart the political landscape in Event Leviathan. And the Batman who Laughs is lurking around every corner it seems.

This week a teaser of all those events came out for the small price of two bits. DC's Year of the Villain Special #1 hit the stands with stories from each of those writers whetting our appetite for the major plotlines around the corner. Add luscious art by Jim Cheung, Alex Maleev, and Francis Manapul and you have a great bargain for comic readers. Throw in a few articles and process art in the back and you basically have a steal.

For me, this already feels a little different than those prior peeks into the minds of the bad guys. The Leviathan story feels very fresh and looks like it is going to impact everyone. The Perpetua story is a Crisis-level event which probably will have the grandest of scopes. I just don't think I am going to see a ton of hands being chopped off here, a sort of marker I have for what mess I am in for. This seems better.

Too be honest, the Leviathan arc is the one I am most interested in. I have theories. So I will be covering that mini-story the most here. On to the book and a reiteration of my theory.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Sales Review: March 2019

The comic sales figures for March 2019 came out recently and as always they are fascinating to look at. And, as always, I'd recommend heading to ICv2 for the breakdown here:

It was a very interesting month because it included Detective #1000 and several other major DC books which made it a great month for DC. And the Superman books continue to move along at similar numbers. It will be interesting to see if Event Leviathan ends up raising those numbers as that crossover seems to be born in the super-books.

Supergirl #28 came out last month. It was another chapter in this quest. We had her fighting evil clones and squeezing off hands.
So how did it sell?