Friday, December 13, 2019

Review: Supergirl #37


Supergirl #37 came out this week, the first issue for the new creative team of writer Jody Houser, artist Rachael Stott, and colorist Cris Peter. And, in classic DC Comics fashion, the team is dropped onto the book in the middle of a crossover, this time The Infected plot with the Batman Who Laughs.

No 'Bold New Direction' here. Instead, pick up the book with an evil Supergirl overwhelmed and turned dark. Suffice it to say, I wasn't looking forward to this issue. I am totally sick of the 'Dark Kara' trope, having been played and replayed ad nauseum over the last decade.

Then I read the book.

It shouldn't surprise me that Houser has a decent grasp of the character and already shows that this isn't simply going to be a dive into the grime. After all, she co-wrote the tail end of the Steve Orlando run in this very volume. And here we see a Supergirl who is still trying to do the right thing although in a warped kind of way.

Artist Rachael Stott is new to me but her airy style fits the book nicely. At times veering towards loose penciling, the issue flows nicely. This is a classic 'hero fights hero' issue and Stott rolls out the action in a dynamic way. Add to that Bengal back on covers and vibrant colors by Cris Peter and you have solid art.

The hope, of course, is that this plot goes away quickly and we get to see Supergirl back in her environment. And already Houser is bring back some of the old gang. So I find it amazing that despite the cover treatment and the Road Warrior Kara, I was pretty hopeful after this read.

On to the book.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Supergirl Show 508: Wrath of Rama Khan


After a rocky start it looks like I will finally have caught up with the Supergirl show reviews today meaning I only have my look at the first three parts of Crisis on Infinite Earths left until I can take a deep breath. Thanks for bearing with me.

Supergirl episode 508 had the cute title of Wrath of Rama Khan and really did another great job of pushing forward the two main plots that have been building in recent episodes. One is Lena's turn to the dark side and her mission of mind control. The other is Leviathan and their ecological mission of tamping down humanity's destruction of the Earth.

As I have said, this season has impressed me with just how fast everything is moving. I feel like last season sort of tread water until Lex Luthor showed up. This season you better buckle up. In fact, one major subplot basically ended this episode, an impressive feat.

As usual, the acting here is on point. Many of the events needed to push the plot forward are forced or a little inane if you think about them too much. But otherwise, I really can't complain. This has been a very solid season of Supergirl, perhaps the best season start since we first met these characters way back in Season One.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Supergirl Show 507: Tremors


Well Anj, you promised yourself you'd have caught up with Supergirl in time to live review Crisis on Infinite Earths ...

Best laid plans ...

So for the time being I am going to be continuing/finishing my 'better late than never' show reviews and that brings us to episode 507: Tremors. And boy oh boy, this was a doozy!

One thing I have been applauding about this season is that the writers have pushed many of the character's plots forward rapidly. This episode is no different. In fact, plots I thought for sure would be lingering for the entirety of the season seem to be wrapping up.

I wonder if this show post-Crisis is going to be so different that this will be sort of like 2 seasons in one. Leviathan is suddenly emerging as the main baddie. I suppose the Lena issue will be the one thread to course through both sides of the show.

Anyways, I know I am a month late but there is a scene at the end of this episode between Lena and Supergirl that is just such an emotional gut punch and so well acted that I feel it should be up on television yearly recap shows. Just brilliant. In particular, Katie McGrath nails all the emotions roiling inside Lena. Wonderful.

On to the show!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Review: Lois Lane #6

Lois Lane #6 came out last week, the halfway mark of this maxi-series written by Greg Rucka with art by Mike Perkins.

The series has been interesting as it has been telling a handful of stories, slowly building the plotlines around government corruption and a murdered Russian journalist. It also has been something of a Journalism 101 class. And it has been a showcase on Lois herself - her skills, her emotions, her integrity.

This issue the plotlines take a back seat as Rucka takes the time to show us more of Lois' relationship, strained though it may be, with her father. Sam Lane died in Event Leviathan. And that certainly is an event that should be delved into more.

Now one thing has been clear for decades and for different continuities. Sam and Lois seldom saw eye to eye. Sam's xenophobia smacked against Lois' love of Superman time and again. But Sam was also, at times, a bit old fashioned in his views on politics and gender. This General Lane seemed to be a little different. He seemed more open to different viewpoints, at least listening, even if he reverted to his old ways.

In fact, I would say that the Lois/Sam relationship these days was one of begrudging respect and extended hands. They seemed to want to rebuild. But that was taken away. Overall this is an interesting look at the relationship with peeks back into their history.

Perkins does his best here, trying to bring some weight to scenes which are for the most part people talking. Some of the expressive work here looks a little strained. But again, the style fits the book perfectly.

Onto the particulars.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Review: Batwoman/Supergirl World's Finest 100-Page Giant #1 - 'Sister,Sister'


Last week I reviewed 'Exit Interview' from the Batwoman/Supergirl World's Finest 100 Page Giant. Today I will review the actual team-up story inside this issue. I have to assume that somehow this issue was done given the Batwoman/Supergirl power hour on the CW these days. For me, Batgirl will always be Supergirl's World's Finest partner, not Batwoman. But I am happy any time we see some Supergirl promotion these days.

The story titled 'Sister Sister' is written by Margaret Stohl with art by Laura Braga. It follows a similar team-up story thread. The two heroes are both tracking a crime separately. They mistake each other for enemies and attack each other. Then the team up to win the day, getting a friendly farewell in. Certainly this had a classic feel.

It is the characterization that I sometimes felt was off. Supergirl seems to have little joy in her, doing her acts of heroic out of sense of obligation, like it is forced duty. I don't read much Batwoman but she is really snarky here. I am used to the Bat-characters being more sullen and quiet, so maybe this is spot on.

Braga just did the Supergirl Annual #2 and there drew a very young Kara. Here she shows the slightly older character we are used to. She brings a nice style to the proceedings here. In particular, I liked her take on the Batwoman villain Alice.

On to the story.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Review: Batwoman/Supergirl 100 Page Giant - 'Exit Interview'


The Batwoman Supergirl World's Finest 100-Page Giant came out this week and was something of a delight for me. I'll be reviewing the new Supergirl material here at the site including the team-up story tomorrow. But I think this book is a winner overall all and well worth the $4.99 cover price. Heck, the beautiful Joelle Jones cover alone might be worth it.

But the real treat for me was the new Supergirl solo story titled 'Exit Interview' by writer Andrea Shea and artist Mike Norton.

I very much like the early stories in the Supergirl title when Rebirth happened. There was a re-inventing of her character by Steve Orlando to make Kara a hero, a defender of Earth again. The 'Help, Hope, and Compassion for All' mantra was there.

But one thing that I struggled with was how the title tried to be everything we know about the comic Kara as well as throw in some of the things we know about the TV Supergirl. So she was an intern at CatCo and a DEO agent but also a high school student and a new hero. That was a lot.

This story seems to end one of those threads while starting a new one.

And while I don't know much of Shea's works, I think she captures Kara's voice nicely here. There are echoes of Silver Age Supergirl in some of the dialogue but in a good way.

Mike Norton delivers as he usually does. There are great emotional moments here as well as some action shots. All are done solidly, especially the expressive work.

On to this delightful story!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Bullet Review: Green Lantern Blackstars #2


I freely admit that I am a Grant Morrison fan, the odd mix of acolyte and apologist. I find most everything he writes interesting even though it often is impenetrable. I have decided that reading a Grant Morrison comic is akin to sitting in a thunderstorm. It is exciting. And you just have to let the experience wash over you.

But even when Morrison is at his most inscrutable you can tell he loves comics and reveres the concept of hero. His love of Superman is palpable. And he wants to honor the past.

His current Green Lantern comic is a typical Morrison book. It is pretty trippy. It is often more about the myth and location than it is about Hal Jordan. And I love it.

Currently, we are in the midst of a side story in the book. Hal Jordan has joined the Blackstars, a cult who follow a being named Mu who hopes to bend the universe to his will, a way to protect people. Hal has seemingly abandoned his ring, taking the name Parallax, and is out there with the conquerors.

Green Lantern Blackstars #2 came out yesterday.

I am surprised DC allowed it to be published.

Because in it, Morrison gives a withering, blistering castigation of the state of comics today, in particular DC.

And, of course, I loved it.

Get ready to ride the wave.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Supergirl Show 506: Confidence Women


My life is in a bit of flux these days so I have not been able to be on top of the Supergirl episodes as they come out. So I have been trying to catch up. And every time I think I have closed the gap, a new episode comes out!

So here is my 'better late than never' review of Episode 506, Confidence Women.

One thing that I have really loved about this show is how it has really leaned into its own continuity lately. Last year we had a great episode looking at how Lex Luthor had manipulated the Red Daughter Kara throughout the season, showing us how involved that plot was in all episodes. Even flashback episodes like Midvale show how the writers respect what has come before.

In 'Confidence Women', we get another flashback episode, this time focusing on two of the antagonists of this season, Lena Luthor and Andrea Rojas. Not only do we get new aspects to their stories, specifically how they were best friends before National City but we also see a lot of weaving of their histories into this show's history. We see scenes which take place in season one, season two, and last season. And most importantly, it again shows just how wounded Lena is, betrayed throughout her life by those she trusted the most.

I liked this episode very much,especially the tight continuity that came with it. And that came with surprise guest stars! Brilliant.

On to the episode.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Review: Action Comics #1017


Action Comics #1017 came out last week and was an interesting and enjoyable read. But I feel for writer Brian Michael Bendis.

Right now, concurrently in the DC Universe, the following things are happening.

1) Leviathan has completely destroyed the espionage community and is trying to wrest control of the world.

2) The Batman Who Laughs has infected six heroes and is trying to bring Doom to the planet.

3) Perpetua, the dark force of creation, is trying to destroy the universe.

That is a lot of universe shaking stuff happening. And not surprisingly, it all seems to impact Superman. That means his own titles are going to have to respond. You can't have a world changer, a world destroyer, and a universe destroyer all eyeing Earth and pretend it isn't happening.

So we get Action Comics #1017 in which somehow Bendis is able to give us all the supporting cast Superman stuff I love in this title and somehow bring two of those three storylines into this book. I have loved Action for it's Daily Planet-centric feel and this issue is no different, even though we are dealing with all that heaviness. Serious kudos.

This issue also marks the start of a John Romita Jr. run on art. Frankly, I have never seen the appeal of his work. Everyone looks like boxers who have had multiple broken noses. But I know I am in the minority.

On to the book.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Review: Supergirl Annual #2


Supergirl Annual #2 came out this week, a clear tie in to the Batman Who Laughs and the Year of the Villain but without sporting any of the usual trade dress. Between the lack of 'crossover' buzz and no publicity in last week's main title issue, I wonder if this whole thing will fly under the radar. And that would be something of a shame.

Writer Robert Venditti comes on board to show us Kara Zor-El's last day on Krypton. It is overall a great day (hence the title 'The Best Day of Her Life') with fun times and great occasions. Of course, it could also easily be called the worst day of her life. Still, there is a sweetness in this young Kara, unscathed by all of the tragedy in her life as well as all the super-heroics. Intermixed in these moments are the Batman Who Laughs trying to lure her to the dark side. We know how that ends.

In the end, there are a couple of things which irk me. One, we have already seen the last day on Krypton for this Supergirl. Remember her father drugging her? Her mother shooting her father? This is still that New 52 Kara. I suppose Rebirth could have wrinkled the timeline. But this is all new. Secondly, all of this survivor guilt and weighed down by sadness stuff that Kara deals with here has already been dealt with by this Kara ... ad nauseum! I don't need to see this anymore. No more Dark Kara redeemed! Please!

But the overall story is a fine one. And Laura Braga brings a definite youthful look to this Supergirl, appropriate for the time it occurs. Honestly, there are times here where she looks more like the Cosmic Adventures Kara than the Rebirth Supergirl. That's high praise.

On to the book.

Friday, November 29, 2019

Supergirl Show 505: Dangerous Liaisons


I continue my catch up reviews on the Supergirl show with my post-Thanksgiving look at episode 505, title Dangerous Liaisons. Of course, there is the famous book by the same name which looked at the treacherous and secret-filled relationships in French courts. But this episode looks at the relationships within this show and points out where there is some peril. Many of these relationships aren't amicable. Many are damaged. It is an interesting title to showcase that.

As I have said in prior reviews, this season has really done a good job in pushing plot lines forward. We aren't slow burning many of these. Every episode seems to have us take a good step forward. That makes me happy.

But there are a couple of character things which haven't sat well with me. First off, the good. This season we have seen a lot of Kara Danvers. We have seen her as an investigative reporter on the job. That was a big complaint from last season. But while Kara has been very visible in season 5, Supergirl really hasn't been. The time in costume feels limited. And more importantly, we haven't really seen Supergirl win much. Another thing which has stood out is how Dreamer and her powers are really a sort of Deus Ex Machina. If the plot needs some quick resolution or a way to progress, Dreamer can somehow do it. So just two things I have been noticing and will be looking out for.

And finally we have the reappearance of Leviathan! As many know, I immersed myself in the comic mystery surrounding Leviathan. Now I get to mull over the puzzle again, this time in live action.

The bottom line is I have been very pleased with this season so far, but what I wouldn't give for the end of an episode to be Supergirl standing triumphantly over a villain.

On to the details.

We start out with Andrea Rojas starring in a commercial for the Obsidian Tech VR contact lenses which are being released within the week. The ad is a Rojas walking through a field where she suddenly sees people throwing rainbows, dancing, and doing other things only possible in a dream world. The slogan is 'Make your imagination your reality, today.'

It works well as an ad, showing everyone gloriously happy in paradise.

Andrea then tasks the CatCo workers to basically use CatCo as an ad agency for the lenses. She wants stories about the launch event. She wants numbers of subscribers touted. It all seems unscrupulous for a news agency to become a shill.

While in CatCo, we learn that Kara hasn't told Nia that William Dey is undercover, investigating Rojas himself. In fact, Kara lies to Nia, giving some excuses for Dey's behaviors last episode. You would think these characters would know by now how secrets can divide.


There is a small subplot where Kelly is planning a Date-versary party for Alex. She asks Kara for some gift ideas and it is cute that Kara knows exactly what make,model, and size of a motorcycle helmet Alex would want.

But this Kelly/Alex relationship seems oddly intense for something which we have just learning about. More on this later.


Kara approaches Dey about his mission to dig up dirt on Rojas. She wants to help even if he thinks it will put her life in danger.

Kara tells him that there is someone they could interrogate, Breathtaker, the wind powered villain from last episode. But she then basically tells him all about the DEO ... you know the secret (but is it) government agency? Seems weird to just tell him, a reporter, about the whole set up. Maybe they'll be his next story.

But then again, I thought the DEO was more in the open now.

What I did like is Kara saying she wasn't helping for a share of the byline. She was doing it for justice.

Meanwhile, Lena and Hope/Eve begin their study of Malefic.

They first give him a human illusion (I know it is to save special effects money but I guess it is easier to explain a human than a Martian should someone stumble in.)

What I did like was the casting. Phil LaMarr! Jon Stewart from the Justice League animated show! That's fantastic.


 At the DEO, Dey watches Alex question the Breathtaker. In a nice bit of continuity, they have strapped a Truth Seeker onto the villain. We saw those last season. So that was a nice callback.

But the interrogation is pretty fruitless, even when Dey tries to take over with pointed questions. Breathtaker doesn't know who hires her. She just takes the money.

She does reveal a couple of assassins she has worked with in the past, including one called Riproar, a sort of Robocop meets Doctor Octopus mashup.

It turns out Riproar killed Dey's best friend Russell Rogers.

When Kara says they will continue to look for ways to take down Rojas, Dey practically breaks down. He calls the whole story an emotional abyss. Hmm ...


On cue, we cut to Riproar stealing something from the Luthor cache in Fort Summit.

Afterwards we get a very nice scene between J'onn and Kara. She asks him for help in the Riproar piece of the puzzle but also talks about how she is reeling. Everything seems unreal these days. He gives her some words of reassurance. It is always good to see space dad in action.


It turns out that Riproar stole a rifle Lex called the Marathon Laser because it was accurate up to 26.2 miles away. It is an assassin's dream. But luckily it has a power source that can be traced.

Supergirl is convinced this is somehow related to the Obsidian go-live of the VR lenses and that Rojas must be behind Riproar's actions. But it was hard for me to figure out the angle. What could Rojas want with a single assassination.


I will admit that the 'fall of Lena' is my favorite subplot so far this season.

Malefic offers a quid pro quo. He will work for her, allowing her to study his powers so she can figure out the frequency for his mind control powers. In return, she has to remove the mental block which stops him from attacking J'onn.

She seems to take the high road saying all her work is to stop people from hurting each other. Why would she allow him to kill J'onn. But then she acquiesces.

It is fascinating to see that murder is a line in the sand for Lena even though most everything else she has done has been villainous. Yes, her goals are noble. But the means to get there? Not so much.



Since Breathtaker didn't pan out, Brainy says they should question the other assassin they have in custody, the sentient tattoos from earlier this season. He can have the tattoos put on him while shutting down his mainframe so they cannot control him.

This questioning doesn't get us far either. Just a lot of blather.

But it does give Jesse Rath the opportunity to completely chew the scenery. He really goes all out pretending to be the vicious personality of the tattoos. Kudos to him for basically losing it on screen. Delicious.


Thinking they don't have much to go on, Supergirl says she is basically going to confront Rojas.

But Alex stops her. Rojas is Kelly's boss. Accusing Andrea could make Kelly feel wronged or interfere with Kelly's work. And Alex doesn't want that to happen this early in their relationship which is going so well.

This is the same Alex who quickly sanctioned the Martian death ray last episode to protect Kelly, sort of the reverse pace for this request.

It all seems fast and very personal with Alex here, weirdly so. Like she is putting her feelings for Kelly above her job and mission. I wonder if this is a subplot we'll see progress ... maybe Alex makes a mistake in her job because of her feelings and has to reconsider things.

At long last, the Leviathan Lady from last season's finale shows up.

She tells Riproar to change the world!


Back at LexCorp, Lena says that she will hone down to the frequency of Malefic's brain waves by having him incept three of the more ornery critters (my words) in the universe - a Daxamite scorpion, a Terran Oceanic Devil, and a Maaldorian Dendroasp.

Malefic is oddly poetic. He calls his incept power his cross to bear and is amazed it is basically a frequency. Isn't cross to bear an odd saying for a Martian living in the Phantom Zone for centuries? Did they have crucifixions on Mars? Did he eavesdrop on Earth?

It just struck me.


Back in CatCo, Kara and Dey break into Rojas' office to look for some sort of evidence connecting Andrea to Riproar. While there, Kara finds a picture of Andrea looking chummy with Dey's friend Russell Rogers.

In a flashback we see Dey heading into Russell's apartment only to find Riproar there. While they never found Russell's body, it seems clear that Riproar killed him.

So now a conncetion between Russell and Rojas.

All that said, it was pretty obvious that Russell and Riproar were the same person even halfway through this episode. No mistaking that chin and beard.


The Marathon Laser signal is detected in New Mexico and Supergirl flies in to fight. There is brief fight with a decent left hook by Kara that sends the Doc Ock lookalike flying, tentacles all crazy.

But then he shoots her with the laser rifle which was tricked out with whatever he stole from this lab. It floors Kara, stopping her in her tracks and allowing him to escape.

The new rifle was modified with a particle amplifier which makes it a fusion cannon with the heat of the center of the sun. And it can no longer be tracked. So now Riproar is even deadlier.

In Lexcorp, meanwhile., Malefic calms all the aliens allowing Lena to calculate his q-wave frequency. She knows now how to manipulate the q-waves for inception.


Once Brainy figures out what the rifle does, he goes back to see that the trip of assassins all killed a member of an Icelandic crew around Lake Vostok. If the laser was shot into the ice cap there it would flood the Earth.

I do like how Brainy says it is what he would do if he were a super-villain. At least in the comics, he has come close a couple of times.


J'onn and Kara race to the lake but it's too late. Riproar blasts the ice shelf.


And Riproar is no help once captured. He can only say he does what 'they tell him to do'.

Creepy.

It is clear that J'onn and Kara will need to create a reverse vortex to stop the flow of water and then have Kara freeze it with her superbreath. But J'onn warns her that if she is sucked into the vortex, Kara could suffocate.

So I guess, especially after last episode, that Supergirl does indeed need to breathe air this season.


While the two heroes fly around the geyser, someone has to stop the tidal wave about to sink National city.


People are stumbling around, oblivious to their surroundings while their new VR lenses are on. Seems like an odd thing to be using in public. But the DEO runs interference, shepherding people to the high ground. Alex is there and almost dies as wreckage falls.

And here is the Dreamer Ex Machina move of the episode. She basically goes all Goku and whips up a  Kamehameha blast of dream energy, dissipating the tsunami.

Okay, that's a stretch.

There is nothing left but the wrap-up.

Riproar is in DEO custody but is basically a blank slate. Even J'onn can't get a telepathic read. His armor is adhered to him. And yes, he is Russell Rogers. So that is a weird coincidence.

Second, the tidal wave would have wiped out Obsidian's manufacturing hub so it probably wasn't planned by Rojas.

Kelly witnessed Alex almost getting flattened during the tsunami and is completely stressed. It triggers her PTSD from her time in Afghanistan. Luckily, Nia is there as a friend to help.

And it turns out that the Leviathan lady has some connection to Andrea Rojas, slipping into Andrea's limo for a chat.

But the biggest ending scene was Lena sporting lenses that can incept. She brainwashes Malefic that he likes being imprisoned. She won't erase the martian mind block and instead will have him stay there.

Lena can incept now.

Chilling.

She really has gone dark.

So everything has been pushed forward nicely again.

Things I'll keep my eye on moving forward. The Alex/Kelly relationship becoming so encompassing that they interfere with each other's lives. Dreamer becoming a cure-all. Supergirl and how much she accomplishes in her super-suit. And, of course, Lena's descent.

I'm close to being caught up!

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Thanksgiving for those who celebrate!

I'll be heading to 2 family events, one for the turkey dinner, one for the pie and coffee.

But I figured I should take this day to give thanks to something in comics.

There was a recent solicit for a Superman 100 Page Giant and the breakdown of the contents were showcased over on Bleeding Cool here:
https://www.bleedingcool.com/2019/11/21/robert-venditti-paul-pelletier-andrew-hennessy-new-superman-giant-1/



One thing that stood out was the reprint of 'Looking Glass' from Supergirl #54, from the eternally beloved Sterling Gates/Jamal Igle. This was an important chapter in that Kara's life. Reeling from the New Krypton war, the death of her mother, and the arrival of Bizarro Girl, Supergirl was trying to sort out the emotions of her life.

Here is a link to my review of that issue from nearly 10 years ago:
http://comicboxcommentary.blogspot.com/2010/07/review-supergirl-54.html 


Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Supergirl Show 504: In Plain Sight

I continue my 'better late than never' review of Supergirl episodes, today covering Supergirl Episode 504: In Plain Sight.

One thing that is clear about this season, at least for the episodes that I have watched is that plots move pretty quickly now. Secrets and plots that would linger forever in prior seasons are now being moved forward, and in some instances wrapped up, already. It has made these episodes very enjoyable so far. Things are moving at a good clip. I'm happy.

And there are a lot of plots right now. J'onn and Malefic. Lena, villain, and mind control. William Dey and Catco. Brainy and Nia. Alex and Kelly. And while Supergirl is involved in all of them, the only one she seems inextricably linked to is the Lena one.

But I am sort of burying the lede here. We had heard that Mehcad Brooks was wrapping up his time on the show and this episode closes his story for now. It is a satisfying ending for the character and really brings him back to his roots. I feel like the show never really knew what to do with James, so while I will miss Brooks, I think this was the right choice.

On to the show!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Review: Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #5


Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #5 came out this week and while it nudged along one of the main subplots of this maxi-series, it was mostly Jimmy and Batman punking each other.

I don't know if I have ever laughed as long or as hard about a comic as I did with this one.

For me, the idea of an infallible and ultra-prepared Batman is semi-ridiculous. The fact that he has stood toe-to-toe with Darkseid, single handedly defeated the Justice League, and always has the right tool in his belt, stretches even my suspension of disbelief, and I will tolerate heat vision and sorcery!

So to see someone poke fun at Batman the way writer Matt Fraction does here is just perfect, a needed deep cleansing breath. And he also shows that maybe Batman has a sense of humor as well, a needed bit of humanity in the otherwise incessantly dour Dark Knight we get.

Artist Steve Lieber continues to bring solid art to the book, ranging from moonlit dinners to action sequences. But it all starts with the brilliance of this cover. Jimmy clearly can't handle the Batmobile. But even better is the fast food flying everywhere. I doubt Batman goes through the drive thru.

On to the book!

Monday, November 25, 2019

Review: Batman/Superman #4


Batman/Superman #4 came out this week continuing the story of the Batman Who Laughs infecting heroes close to the titular pair in some major evil plot. I have been following along because Supergirl is (unfortunately) heavily involved in this arc.

An interesting wrinkle about this issue is that it gives us a bit of a repeat of events from Supergirl #36. We see Kara again infected, this time with art by David Marquez.I like seeing scenes from different perspectives.

Writer Joshua Williamson brings a good pace to the proceedings here, especially the battle scenes. But he makes one slight gaffe in my mind when it comes to the Secret Six. We'll get there in the review, promise.

The art by Davis Marquez continues to shine. His work is clean, even when dealing with the Goth-like villains. And the action is smooth and palpable.

But seeing once again Kara succumb? Well, I have seen it enough to last a lifetime.

On to the book.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Review: Supergirl #36


Supergirl #36 came out this week and seemed to hit all the notes I worried it would hit. This is the Year of the Villain, Supergirl is one of the 'Infected' and readers get yet another turn at a dark Supergirl. You would think DC would not want to keep drinking from this well and yet, here we are.

This also represents writer Marc Andreyko's last issue as writer on the book. You may recall that Andreyko already put Kara through a grim turn, having her abandon Earth, wield Rogol Zaar's axe, and come thiisssss close to using it to kill. When that arc was over, Kara seemed to move past her rage. Now, infected by the Batman Who Laughs, we get an more vicious turn than the 'Mistress of the Axe'. Now perhaps Andreyko had little to do with this current turn. Perhaps it was DC leadership who deemed Supergirl one of the Secret Six. But it seems to me that back to back 'Dark Kara' arcs, especially after she seemed to learn from the first one, seems pretty silly.

The art by Eddie Pansica remains spot on beautiful. Pansica has really grown on this title. And I have come to look forward to his monthly double page spreads of Supergirl doing something spectacular. This issue Pansica is given multiple splash pages to work with and he really brings it to the table. Alas, this also seems to be his last issue on the title.

Derek Chew provides this variant cover with a classic shirt rip.


Perhaps it was the tilt of the figure, but I couldn't help but be reminded of the famous Jamal Igle cover from Supergirl #53.

But let's get into the issue.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

February 2020 solicits

The February solicits for DC Comics have been released and there are a couple of surprises worth mentioning. Overall, we still seemed a bit mired in The Year of the Villain. And the Superman books take a turn that I don't know that I agree with. And hey ... I become a comic book character.

So overall it looks like 2020 might be coming in hot!

To see all of the DC solicits, here is a link to Newsarama's coverage:
https://www.newsarama.com/47882-dc-comics-february-2020-solicitations.html

Onto the books.

SUPERGIRL #39
written by JODY HOUSER
art by RACHAEL STOTT
cover by KEVIN MAGUIRE
card stock variant cover by DERRICK CHEW

After the Lasso of Truth reveals something unexpected about Supergirl’s infection, Wonder Woman is quickly running out of ways to try to bring Kara back peacefully. Making matters worse, the government has sent robotic military backup to Smallville to deal with the possible atomic threat of Infected Supergirl—and neither Wonder Woman nor Supergirl is prepared for the innocent casualties this could mean for the town.

What do you think the unexpected truth is?

I'd bet good money that Kara 'wasn't really corrupted, she always felt that way' or some such Dark Supergirl nonsense. Hopefully I am wrong.

I am interested to see what Jody Houser will do with the character once this crossover stuff ends. I liked the Orlando/Houser back end of the pre-Andreyko run. So I actually have high hopes.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

October 2019 Sales Review



The October Sales figures have come out and ICv2 does their usual excellent job covering all the nooks and crannies. Here is a link to the story:
https://icv2.com/articles/markets/view/44482/top-500-comics-october-2019


DC really doesn't show up high on the charts and even then it is Joker one-shots and the like. I am amazed Spawn somehow is near the top. Sherman, set the WABAC machine.


 So how did Supergirl fare?

Supergirl #35 was another good issue re-establishing Supergirl on Earth. It had a strong tie in to Event Leviathan. And it actually felt like Kara was returning to form.

While this issue had a variant, it did not have a card stock variant. So the number you see is the total sales.

So how did it do?

Monday, November 18, 2019

Review: Superman #17


Superman #17 came out last week, a sort of epilogue to the Unity Saga and a prologue to the upcoming Truth arc. Writer Brian Michael Bendis is joined by artist Kevin Maguire to bring this sort of transition issue.

This ends up being a character issue as we see Superman's response to all the recent events in his life by reaching out to his support system. It humanizes Superman a bit as we see just how much he has been affected by recent events in his life.

Not to say there isn't some plot progression. This is the year of the villain after all. And someone I have been suspicious of I am even more suspicious of.

But I might be burying the lede. The highlight of this issue is Maguire's art. We all know that Maguire is a master of expressive art. But this issue stands out even among his own work. The emotional weight of the scenes are played out on the characters' faces. Erase the words and you still get the perfect sense of what the characters are feeling. Just brilliant stuff.

Now I don't know if I am on board with The Truth arc, yet another look at Superman revealing his secret identity to the world. But I liked this prologue.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Review: Event Leviathan #6


Event Leviathan #6 came out this week, the end of one of the better crafted comic mysteries in the recent past. 'Who is Leviathan' was a question which plagued me, nay consumed me. This blog could have been called Leviathan Theory Comic Box Commentary these last few months as there seemed to be a weekly post looking at clues.

And I have to sadly say that this time I was wrong. My carefully crafted theory that Leviathan was Ted Kord turned out to be wrong. While a backup theory turned out to be right, it was hardly a mystery by that point.

Here is the thing about great mysteries. Sometimes the reveal is a let down. And while the ultimate identity of who Leviathan is makes total sense, some of the details behind it remain a little bit troublesome. And everything wraps up so unbelievable quickly that we are basically left with a 'to be continued'.

Still, this issue is something of a marvel, told in flashback, with truly spectacular art and colors by Alex Maleev. Leviathan is set up as a big villain for the future. And, I suppose, it all makes some sort of sense.

I have to give kudos for Brian Michael Bendis for giving us this treat over the back half of the comic year. At a time where personally I needed something fun to think about, this mystery was perfect.

On to the book.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Supergirl Show 503: Blurred Lines


I continue my 'late to the game' reviews of Supergirl season five. I have now reached the third episode, Blurred Lines.

Taking a step back as I think about the episode, it does a good job of moving the underlying plots along, almost at a breakneck speed in comparison to prior seasons. Things are moving quickly for Brainy and J'onn and Kelly and Jimmy.

There are some slower burns. In particular Lena and her relationship with her AI Hope is one that is still simmering although maybe a couple of bubbles are starting to hit the surface.

But ultimately, this show is called Supergirl and frankly our hero didn't get a lot of heroic moments here. She is taken out by the villain. Other characters fare better. She gets semi-duped by Lena. She doesn't get the big moments. It is still something of an ongoing theme of the show that the supporting characters sometimes outshine our star.

Still, overall, this feels like one of the stronger starts of a Supergirl season.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Leviathan Theory - One Last Post


I have had my Leviathan Theory.

I have had my Leviathan back-up theories.

I have had odds and I have had changes to odds.

I have puzzled and puzzled.

I have looked for clues and I have looked at things thinking they were clues but wondering if I was reaching.

All of this means that this has been a great story with a great hook. Kudos to Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev for crafting this story.

And today, four hours from now, I'll know if I was right ... on any level.

So let's just take a look back at something which I hope will bear out as being important in the mystery.

The Watchmen Overtones.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Bullet Review: Harley Quinn #67


I was on board for Harley Quinn since way back when Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti reinvigorated her character.

I have been doubly on board since Sam Humphries took over the title. His book has been a perfect mix of comic insanity, fourth wall foolishness, and a modicum of emotional heft.

But in the end, it really is a humor book. And monthly I laugh ... out loud. In this world of dark vicious comics, I could use a few laughs.

In Harley Quinn #67, Harley, reeling from the death of her mother, is trying to get her family together for a Thanksgiving dinner. But she can't get them together. Meanwhile, she continues to struggle with the Year of the Villain and how Luthor promised to cure her mother if Harley drifted back into evil. An offer she turned down.

Basically, with all that happening, Harley decides to fight against crossovers. She can't deal with them any more.

Throw in a Supergirl cameo and I felt I needed to talk up this issue and this book here.

So where does that take us?

Monday, November 11, 2019

Review: Legion of Super-Heroes #1


I have been a Legion of Super-Heroes fan for all of my comic life.

I consider Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #211 to be my first comic.

I reviewed Legion books here and over on the Legion of Super-Bloggers.

I am very protective of the property of the Legion. I want them done right. I also have been craving a Legion book on the shelf. It has been too long.

So when Brian Michael Bendis decided to bring the Legion back, I was thrilled. I have liked what Bendis has been doing on Superman and Young Justice and Naomi. And I trusted his reverence of the past to treat them right.

Legion of Super-Heroes #1 came out this week. I will admit I read it with trembling hands. I love the Legion. I was hopeful.

To get to the point, I very much liked this issue. There are familiar names and familiar faces. There are some familiar places and a possible homage. But it also feels very very new. This is a new team. This is a new Earth. It felt nostalgic and innovative at the same time. That is a thin tight rope to walk.

On top of that, Ryan Sook is on art and makes the book so beautiful I wanted to eat it. Everything just crackles here. It is luscious book to look at. And, as a premiere, Sook is given plenty of splashes and double splashes to work with!

On to the book!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Review: Lois Lane #5



Lois Lane #5 came out this week and was an interesting issue. The major plots of the book were nudged forward just a bit. A subplot that has been nearly forgotten was mentioned again so we know that it is still out there. And there is great Question action.

But for a grizzled comic reader like me, the big joy of this issue was that I learned something. The young Anj used to be able to wow his parents with vocabulary and cultural references that he learned in comics. In fact, that was a big reason why my parents fostered the hobby ... I was reading and learning. In this issue, I learned a lot about journalism. That's a good thing.

Writer Greg Rucka does a good job of showing just how rigorous true journalism needs to be. He explains different levels of information that can be shared in reporting. And he shows how tenacious Lois is in following a story. He also shows how difficult it is to battle public perceptions of fake news.

Meanwhile artist Mike Perkins shows, once again, that he needs to be on a street level book. Please DC, give the man a Question solo title to draw. His work in unbelievable. But outside that, there is a page here, which I will share which shows the power of the genre, when words and images mesh.

I have really loved this book. So far, so good.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Batwoman/Supergirl World's Finest 100pg Giant Solicit


Back in the December Solicits, DC announced the Batwoman/Supergirl 100pg  Giant. But there wasn't much else there making me wonder what would the content be.

Last week, Bleeding Cool announced the creators and stories in the book. Here is that link:
https://www.bleedingcool.com/2019/10/30/dc-comics-contents-batwoman-supergirl-worlds-finest-giant-1/

I can understand DC wanting to maybe cash in a little on the CW Sundays which has Batwoman and Supergirl shows on back to back. They aren't a natural team-up in the comic world. But should be interesting. Heck, the Joelle Jones cover alone probably is worth the price.

So what can we look forward to?

“Sister, Sister,” a 16-page Batwoman and Supergirl team-up story written by Margaret Stohl with art by Laura Braga. When a powerful alien weapon falls into the wrong hands, it will take the combined might of Batwoman and Supergirl to save the city from the Religion of Crime!

I loved Braga's take on the Bombshells book so she seems like a natural for this story. I have never read anything by Stohl so I am looking forward to reading this. And an alien weapon and a city cult? Sound like the perfect mashup.