Friday, May 29, 2020

Review: Supergirl #41


Supergirl #41 came out digitally this week, the penultimate virtual issue of a title which has limped to cancellation. I have talked a lot recently about the ever erroneous decision to darken Supergirl by DC. It inevitably leads to a cancellation and unhappy Supergirl fans. And this volume is no different. From Marc Andreyko's axe-wielding space explorer to the tainted viral infected Goth villain, Supergirl fans have suffered for the last 2 years. To have the title end digital only adds to the somberness of this.

Perhaps even worse is that the book continues this darker tone even as it winds down. Supergirl was cured of the Batman Who Laughs virus somewhere in some mini-series I wasn't collecting. I have to assume the other tainted folks (Donna Troy, Hawkman, Captain Marvel, and Jim Gordon) are also cured. But in this issue Supergirl continues to reel a bit from the infection, suffering hallucinations. I don't know if it is editorial or writer Jody Houser or just DC in general who feels like even in her own book Supergirl can't go out the hero.

Rachel Stott is on interior art and does a solid job of showing just how unsteady Supergirl is mentally, slipping in demonic imaginary images between the normal things Supergirl should be seeing.

The high point of the book is the imaginative cover by  Carmine DeGiandomenico. We see the world and visions collapsing down on Kara, putting pressure and stress on her. But the borders and her body are in the shape of the S-shield, as if it is the strength or what the shield represents which is aiding her. Very slick.

On to the book ...

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Luke Daab Legion Postcards


2020 has certainly been a bit crazy.

I guess that is putting it mildly.

Every so often I am reminded about the grace of humanity and the support of friends.

The other day, good friend Russell Burbage sent me a set of Legion post cards done by Luke Daab. This was an unexpected gift, a little ray of sunshine. As Wonka said, 'so shines a good deed in a weary world'. I can't thank Russell enough! I smiled for a long time when I opened the package.

Let's just start with the delightful Supergirl and Brainiac 5 postcard. I love how Kara is holding Brainy's arm and just looking at him so smitten. Look at those big eyes and that wide smile.

This is the Supergirl we want and need.

Now I have known Luke's work for a while and I am always floored by it. You definitely should look at his stuff so you have to check out his stuff here: daabcreatuve.com

You can also follow him at @daabcreative on Twitter.

As for Russell, he has been running the Legion of Super-Bloggers since its inception and I had the honor of being one of the contributors at the beginning, reviewing multiple runs of the Legion including my beloved 5YL. If you haven't checked out that site, head there:
https://legionofsuperbloggers.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Supergirl Season Six Delayed

The overall Supergirl news continues to be somewhat depressing.

First, the comic is canceled. It is hard to know when or if a new book will make its way to the racks.

And now we learn that the show has been held back until the midseason of 2021. Here is a link:
https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/cw-holds-new-returning-series-january-launch-sets-corona-proof-fall-schedule-1294594

The new season of Supergirl will be held for whenever midseason 2021 is for The CW and will film after star Melissa Benoist returns from maternity leave.

This is hard.

Obviously, the show is dealing with the COVID pandemic and the ability to film as well as Melissa Benoist's maternity leave. You can't really rush either of those concerns. So no new material until spring I guess.

I wish The CW would put together a mini-season of animated Supergirl material, something which can be done remotely by the actors including Benoist, to keep people interested. Even if not on the main screen, put it on CW Seed.

The question then is how long will season 6 be? Will it be 10 or 12 episodes? According to some, it will be a full season, although how can you fit in 19 episodes as a latter half midseason replacement?

If true, will the short season make it more like a continuation of season 5? Will it have its own storyline.

It really feels like 2020 is just a bad year to be a Supergirl fan in general.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Back Issue Box: Superman #363


I continue my look at a COVID-19 inspired back issue box review today by looking at Superman #363.

In last issue, Lois and Lana got exposed to a deadly tropical plague germ, a universally fatal disease. Ironically, it is the same tropical disease which killed Ma and Pa Kent. At the time Superboy couldn't save his adopted parents, even a Kryptonian blood transfusion failed.

Superman has a little more time because Lois and Lana are young and healthy. So Superman begins the search for a cure and it takes him to some funny places. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

There is a nice little, almost easy solution to the whole thing. I am sure I am not spoiling things by saying that Lois and Lana survive. Writer Cary Bates shows just how distraught Superman becomes during this infliction, perhaps missing the answer in front of his face because he is reeling. Perhaps the most interesting thing that happens in this issue is a side scene with Lana. More on that later.

I also have to wonder how ethical it is for Superman to not tell Lois and Lana that they have the infection. Shouldn't he share this info so that they can get their houses in order? I am rubbing my chin on this. What do you think? Should he have told them? I think yes.

The art is steady as always in the hands of Curt Swan. But the win is the cover by Rich Buckler with Luthor cackling with glee over not helping his foe! Amazing.

But to be honest, the real reason to find this issue is that back up story where Bruce (Superman) Wayne - this Elseworld like story has the Wayne's discovering Kal's rocket - marries Barbara Gordon! And Babs becomes Batwoman! Wild stuff.

On to the issue!

Friday, May 22, 2020

Review: Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #10


Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #10 came out this week and was the perfect ray of sunlight in this COVID pandemic. I have always praised this book for its inventive storytelling style, its humor, and its perfect blend of all things Jimmy from Silver, Bronze, and modern eras.

This issue was no different. As always, I laughed out loud at a few things. And I am just impressed at how Matt Fraction is able to juggle all of these bizarre plot threads all while weaving a solid narrative. Truly this book is a revelation and it pains me that it isn't selling like hot cakes.

Steve Lieber continues to bring some ground sense of illustration while playing up the zaniness that is happening around him. Whether it is sad sack villains wearing crocs or cylindrical robots slipping on banana peels, it all works here. Add to that slick coloring by Nathan Fairbairn who adds subtle touches to the sunny scenes and this book continues to wow.

I can't help but contrast this title to the Lois book which came out at the same time and has been a heavy plodding mess. They are like two opposite ends of a comic spectrum.

On to the details.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

DC August 2020 Solicitations



The DC August solicits have been posted and for the most part they are simply the pre-COVID solicits resolicited with a nice addition. Here is a link"
https://www.newsarama.com/50230-dc-comics-august-2020-solicitations.html

One thing you won't see? Supergirl #41. As stated before, Supergirl #41 will only be available digitally. I am still a bit peeved about the whole thing. That said, we needed a new Supergirl book. A new direction. A creative team that actually likes the character. But when you end a character's title this way, it just makes the whole IP feel toxic. Will we get another Supergirl book any time soon?

SUPERGIRL: COSMIC ADVENTURES IN THE 8TH GRADE TP NEW EDITION
written by LANDRY Q. WALKER
art and cover by ERIC JONES

Supergirl’s cosmic adventure is back in print in this new all-ages book! Supergirl meets Belinda Zee, a new junior high adversary, in this all-ages title collecting the six-issue miniseries. And that’s just the start of the fun that includes super-powered pets and cosmic adventure!

Now this is a pleasant surprise.

One of the best Supergirl properties to come out in the last 2 decades, Cosmic Adventures is a treat. And it is the perfect Kara palate cleanser for the more recent mainstream DCU fare. Go out and buy it. And buy it for any young fan of the series. A young Lena plays a huge role.

And by all means, go back and read my reviews when the issues came out!


ACTION COMICS #1024

written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
art and cover by JOHN ROMITA JR. and KLAUS JANSON
variant cover by LUCIO PARRILLO
Wonder Woman 1984 variant cover by FRANK CHO

The city of Metropolis has been rocked by Luthor’s latest attack and the drama surrounding Superman’s truth, and that gives the invisible mafia a new foothold to change the City of Tomorrow forever. Meanwhile, the Daily Planet is under siege! The fallout from Superman: Villains continues as Clark Kent steps out into the world as a reporter for the first time.

I am still not a fan of John Romita Jr.

But I have been pleasantly surprised by how this Truth storyline has unfolded.

And you know I love the more city-based Action Comics plots. So looking forward to this.



SUPERMAN #24

written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
art by KEVIN MAGUIRE and JOHN TIMMS
cover by IVAN REIS and JOE PRADO
variant cover by BRYAN HITCH
Wonder Woman 1984 variant cover by GABRIELE DELL’OTTO

Superman’s legendary susceptibility to magic is about to turn his life inside out and upside down. A mysterious new villain has come into Superman’s world to pit him against the most powerful sorcerer and agent for the Lords of Order: Doctor Fate!

There is a little bit of weird karma that Dr. Fate is going to get a big storyline in Superman so recently after Marty Pasko, the main Fate writer in the 80s, has passed.

I do want to see Maguire's take on Fate. Should be cool.


BATMAN/SUPERMAN #11

written by JOSHUA WILLIAMSON
art by CLAYTON HENRY
cover by DAVID MARQUEZ
card stock variant cover by JAE LEE 
Wonder Woman 1984 variant cover by JENNY FRISON

It’s Superman versus Batman as the deadly machinations of the Ultra-Humanite crash to their end! The Dark Knight has been transformed into a human atomic bomb, all in the name of wiping Superman from the face of the Earth! As Batman struggles against the urge to kill his friend, Superman must undo the damage done and help the other victims of the Ultra-Humanite’s experiments. It’s the thrilling conclusion to “Atomic” that will reverberate across the DC Universe for months to come!

As I said before, I love the Ultra Humanite.

And I am interested to see how the relationship between Batman and Superman is pushed forward in this book. Will Williamson continue the dual text boxes to see how they are thinking and how they feel about each other?



LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #8

written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
art by EVAN “DOC” SHANER, JEFF LEMIRE, DUSTIN NGUYEN, JOËLLE JONES, MICHAEL AVON OEMING, LIAM SHARP, ANDRÉ LIMA, SANFORD GREENE, CULLY HAMNER, YANICK PAQUETTE, DAN HIPP, DAVID MACK, DARICK ROBERTSON, DAN JURGENS, BILQUIS EVELY, FABIO MOON, MICHAEL ALLRED, RYAN SOOK, ALEX MALEEV, JOHN TIMMS, DUNCAN ROULEAU, and NORM RAPMUND
cover by RYAN SOOK
variant cover by DUSTIN NGUYEN

Beginning a special two-part comics storytelling event! Over the course of two spectacular issues, 44 artists will dive into the 31st century—with each page starring a different Legionnaire! It starts when the team is arrested by a galactic authority that does not approve of the Legion—and it leads into an intergalactic showdown that will affect every member of the team!

Looks like a new issue for me to bring to conventions and try to collect signatures! That is a murderers' row of names. I can't wait to see this book. I mean, they had me at Fabio Moon. But there are many favorites listed here.

I do love that each page gives us a different team member. We haven't really met the whole team yet so this will be a good primer.



YOUNG JUSTICE #17

written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS and DAVID F. WALKER
art by SCOTT GODLEWSKI
cover by JOHN TIMMS
variant cover by MIRKA ANDOLFO

This very special issue focuses directly on the friendship at the heart of Young Justice: Conner, Tim, and Bart—a.k.a. Superboy, Drake, and Impulse. As younger men, these three iconic heroes built Young Justice on their friendship. Now their dream has grown and changed as much as they have. And with the demands of adulthood pulling them in different directions, they realize that nights like this one may never happen again.

With Supergirl off the board, maybe I should add Young Justice to the review list. I mean, technically, there is a Super-family member here.

I like these characters and I like what Bendis is doing here.

Hey at least we have comics!

Still, I am irked. No print Supergirl. It again proves they just don't care.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Supergirl Episode 519: Immortal Kombat


The Supergirl Season 5 finale aired this week and I will say it is going to be hard for me to know what to make of it.

Between the COVID-19 pandemic and the pregnancy of Melissa Benoist, 2 episodes (maybe 3) were shaved off the end of the season. Filming had to stop. As a result, this finale feels a bit rushed. There is one segment that is more unbelievable than an alien being able to process sunlight to give them the ability to fly. And, unfortunately, that very same scene is one that is almost a retread of several other season finales.

Do some plots come to an end? Yes. Are things left at an odd cliffhanger? Yes. Do the characters grow? Yes.

But it all seems like this was a 'let's do what we can with what we have' as opposed to 'let's bring this season to the conclusion we had in mind'? I hope that somewhere down the line, maybe on an extra in the season blu-ray collection, we have the writers spell out what they had hoped to do and how things were impacted.

Look, I liked this season a lot. I think I liked it more than many. I definitely feel like it was better than last season. But I wonder what might have been.

And I also think that all of that wondering is going to make me give this finale something of a critical pass as well.