Friday, February 15, 2019

Review: Supergirl #27

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

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

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

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

So let's see what happened in the book.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyways, Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Back Issue Box Review: Action Comics #286

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

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

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

On to the story!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Legion Companion And Al Plastino

 Every so often, I feel lucky.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I mean I can never get enough Mooney Supergirl.

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

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

Monday, February 11, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

On to the book.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Review: Adventures Of The Super Sons #7

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

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

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

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

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

On to the book.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Supergirl Is Patient

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

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

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

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