Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Review: Challenge Of The Super Sons #6

The Challenge of the Super Sons #6 came out this week, the penultimate issue of this fun mini-series. This is before Jon was aged. This is before Damian went even crazier. This is when two tween heroes could just have some silly fun. 

Writer Peter Tomasi has had a great understanding of these two boys, making me laugh as they bicker and joke their way through their adventures, inspiring each other along the way. This issue has all of that as our heroes escape from the distant path to get back to the 'present' day. I do think this mini-series could have easily been 6 issues, not seven, This side adventure in the past has gone on for maybe just a little too long.

Some of that feeling might come from the art in the last few chapters. Evan Stanley has a nice, fun, cartoony style. But it is hard to jump to that after getting more standard superhero fare from artists like Max Raynor. I wonder how I would feel if the whole book was done in this sort of style. 

Still, there are a couple of great moments in this issue that makes me once again know I will miss it when it is gone. I know I will definitely miss this Jon.

On to the book. 

Monday, September 20, 2021

Review: Superman And The Authority #3

Superman and The Authority #3 came out last week and was another tremendous issue in what has been a very entertaining mini-series. Writer Grant Morrison is telling a story of an aging and weakening Superman forming a team to act on his behalf. But as I have said in the past, Morrison is also weaving in comic history, commentary on comic fandom, and a surprising amount of humor. I think Manchester Black is almost a stand-in for Morrison, calling it like he sees it at times.

This issue concentrates mostly on the recruitment of the Enchantress to the Authority. It involves a true laugh out loud moment. It ends with three different cliffhangers, one as the team is trying to recruit their next member, a new Lightray.

The art is by Mikel Janin and Travel Foreman and the book has a very pleasing polished look to it. I love the new look uniforms for the Enchantress and Nat Irons. And I the wild environment of Fort Superman is showcased nicely with great points of view in wide open page layouts.

If there is one complaint it is that we only have one issue left. The team hasn't even been fully formed yet. We have just learned about the threats the world faces. How is this going to wrap up in one issue? Or is the plan for it to end with the actual formation and take it from there. I wouldn't mind a lot more issues of this title.

On to the details.

Friday, September 17, 2021

Review: Justice League #67

Justice League #67 came out this week, wrapping up the Synmar Utopica storyline while further introducing us to the United Order. It also nudges the Checkmate story a baby step down the road. This is an issue that has a couple of very solid moments. But there are a couple of things about the story that don't sit quite right.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis continues to shine when it comes to Superman and Lois. I love the way Superman is portrayed here. He still wants to convince the villain to reform. He doesn't want to make his enemy suffer. And he can still rally the troops around him. But the defeat of Synmar happens a bit too quickly and a bit too familiarly. I still am rubbing my chin about Daemon Rose. 

The art here is done by Phil Hester and there is an appropriate sharpness to the works. Everything is angular and harsh, befitting an issue that is almost entirely a brawl. And he handles the different alien races of the United Order well.

Still, the Superman stuff is solid enough to nudge this book up a but in the grade.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Supergirl Show 611: Mxy In The Middle

Supergirl episode 611, title 'Mxy in the Middle' aired this week. Going in I assumed I was going to like this episode. With Thomas Lennon reprising his role as Mr. Mxyzptlk, it was going to take something dramatic for me not to like it.

This episode propelled the Nyxly plot forward, giving our villain a sympathetic back story and making her a victim of 'the patriarchy'. As such, our heroes keep giving the 5th dimensional imp the benefit of the doubt, hoping they can talk her down from a life of revenger. I suppose this whole back season is going to be a parade of social issues and this one is women being taken advantage of or forsaken by 'the man'. Who would think that the 5th dimension would have such issues.

And as always, Supergirl is only part of the story. Nia and Brainy have as much to do, if not more, than our hero. In fact, in what is becoming an unhappy norm, she barely has any of the big moments in this episode. She continues to espouse hope and self-improvement. But she throws no punch, defeats no monster.

There is a mega-dose of exposition that will pad out the plot of the remaining episodes, explaining what Nyxly will be up to. But I pity our heroes who can't solve the obvious riddle laid out before them.

Still, Thomas Lennon does a great job as Mxyzptlk, although he isn't allowed to do much magic. Still he is frenetic and silly enough to make me hope we see more of him.

On to the details.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Review: Phantom Zone #2

Today I review Phantom Zone #2, continuing my look at the mini-series that brough the concept of Aethyr into the DC Universe.But I am doubly lucky reviewing this issue because Supergirl is really a star in this issue. With Superman stuck in the Phantom Zone, it is up to the other heroes to deal with the repercussions of the Phantom Zone villains being free. Let me tell you Kara and Wonder Woman step up big time.

As I said in the review of the first issue, the pacing of this mini-series is interesting and almost overly deliberate. Writer Steve Gerber has a lot of stuff to cover. He has to cover all the action on Earth and he takes his time. This issue is mostly the villains initial actions, removing as many heroes as they can. But it isn't enough, Gerber throws in some cold war paranoia. In fact, he barely touches on all the wackiness that is going to happen with Superman in the Phantom Zone.

The art is again wonderfully rendered by Gene Colan. I still don't know if he is the right choice for superheroics but there is enough horror for it to be a Colan issue. Tony DeZuniga on inks seems to ground the work making the more JLA pages a bit more solid and less ethereal than the usual Colan fare. Let's start with this eye grabbing cover of Supergirl supposedly dead while the ghostly Superman looks on. Wonderful!

On to the book!

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Bullet Review: Suicide Squad Annual 2021

Last month I did a bullet review of Suicide Squad #6. I had been a little confused by the quick change in Superboy in this book given how he had just been portrayed in the Bendis' Superman and Young Justice books. In Suicide Squad #6, we got the answer. The Squad's Superboy wasn't Conner. Excellent turn and certainly one that allayed some fears of mine.

Suicide Squad Annual 2021 came out last week and followed up on that story giving us all the answers behind the Superboys and the Squad. It does explain things nicely, calling back a Superboy villain from the 90s, leaning into the new continuity that everything sort of happened. All this worked for me. 

The art is a mix of Dexter Soy and Eduardo Pansica. There are a lot of splash pages and double splash pages in the book. Given the over the top action, I suppose some of these pages were warranted. But there are so many it made me wonder if they were all there just to pad the page count to bring this single issue script up to Annual length. Soy and Pansica both are solid artists and the action is rough and tumble, befitting the story.

On to the book.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Review: Batman/Superman Annual 2021

The Batman/Superman title is leaving us soon, canceled within the next couple of months. It is a shame because I never tire of seeing these two icons working together as heroes and friends.

In particular, once the Infected storyline ended in this iteration of the title, the book has really soared. In particular, writer Gene Luen Yang has done a great job injecting some life and fun into the proceedings. While I thought his last story arc regarding Auteur.IO went on a touch too long, there is no doubt I liked these alternate versions of the characters.

The Batman/Superman Annual 2021 came out a couple of weeks ago (sorry it has taken me so long to get to it) and gave Yang the opportunity to play with those characters one last time. Given they will most likely be lost to comic limbo and that I enjoyed them, I was happy to read this solicit. The concept of the flip book also was interesting. We have seen split pages used with these characters and Yang himself did a 'choose your own adventure' Terrifics issue. So I liked that idea too. The plots are fine, picking up some threads from the prior arcs and padding out the textures of these worlds.

I also liked the artists on the book. Francesco Francavilla has a very film noir style which worked swimmingly for the Superman tale set in the grungy Gotham of Batman's world. And Paul Pelletier's clean pencils also shine in the Batman story in the clean cut streets of Superman's Earth.

I will say the flip book trick wasn't really necessary as the two sides meet in the middle just for a second and neither really is needed for the others story. This could have been just two chapters in one standardly oriented book.

On to the details.