Sunday, August 31, 2008

Rapid Fire Reviews: Reign in Hell #2, Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds #1, and Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1

Well, all three of the books could potentially impact Supergirl or have some interesting nuggets in them. None have enough Supergirl involvement to warrant a solo review. So here are some quick reviews.

Reign in Hell #2.

The bottom line here is no Linda Danvers in this issue. Thus no long-winded review. The thrust of this issue seems to be the choosing of sides in the war in Hell by various Earth-bound people.

The issue starts with a conference at Stonehenge between Zatanna, Captain Marvel, Detective Chimp, Dr. Fate, and Zauriel. In some ways it echoed a bit of the circle of magic made way back in Swamp Thing #50 by Alan Moore. Zatanna sat at that table too. Her father Zatara died at that table. The discussion here is mostly exposition as the magic wielders talk about how this war in Hell could have impact on this plane and that people should get involved. The majority of the rest of this issue shows heroes and villains (Nightshade, Ibis, Black Alice) deciding who they will back in this war in Hell.

Here Blue Devil decides he will back Satanus in hopes of regaining his humanity (lost when he made a deal with Neron back in Underworld Unleashed).

Not a great issue, but not bad. My one complaint is that there are conversations between characters who are not named or labelled. There is a blond guy and a young dark-haired guy who I really don't know because I did not pick up Shadowpact or similar titles. And of course, no Linda.

Overall grade: C

Final Crisis: Legion of 3 worlds #1.

I am not quite sure exactly how this mini-series fits into the Final Crisis storyline.

The story itself is quite compelling. The Time Trapper plucks Superboy-Prime from his limbo and places him into the future. SB-Prime goes to the Superman museum and becomes infuriated that he is considered a footnote in history below lightweights like Toyman and Prankster.

There are lots of visual goodies in George Perez's museum panels including this museum homage to Kara.

And this museum piece of the Silver Age Comet (lower right)!

SB-Prime decides he will ruin the reputation of Superman and destroy all he loves in the future. To accomplish that, he goes to the prison planet Takron-Galtos and frees a bunch of super-villains including many of the Legion of Super-Villains, specifically Lightning Lord, Saturn Queen, and Cosmic King.

In the meantime, the Legion is politically reeling and is about to have it's funding pulled when out comes RJ Brande to try to save the day. Just when he is about to turn the political tide in the Legion's favor, he is assassinated by Leland McCauley. When Brande reverts to his Durlan form, the tide swings back saying that Durlans are infiltrating Earth.

Realizing they need help to figure out all that is going on, the Legion calls in Superman. To fight the army of Super-villains that are now free, this Legion decides to recruit the Legion from other timelines (the 'Legion Lost' Legion and the 'current' Legion). And that means Supergirl may be recruited too. There she is in the back row!

Superman hopes that somehow they all can redeem SB-Prime, a tall order given the absolute mayhem and death he has spread around the last couple of years.

There was a lot going on here and for an old Legion fan like me, a lot to like. Johns has based this Legion on the Levitz run albeit with some new costumes and new attitudes. It made me feel nostalgic to read the names RJ Brande and Leland McCauley. But redeem SB-Prime? The guy has killed many heroes and even destroyed a whole Earth in Countdown. Is he redeemable? Do we want our heroes to try?

Overall grade: B+

Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #1.

This mini-series seems the one most tightly linked to Final Crisis as it looks like the real villain behind it all, Mandrakk the Dark Monitor will be revealed here. Darkseid may be doing stuff on Earth, but Mandrakk seems to be poised to do something multi-universal.

Now this is written in pure Morrison trippiness so I am going to venture some guesses/interpretations here, but other feel free to speak up.

As seen in FC#3, Superman is called upon by a Monitor to leave Earth on a universe saving mission. If successful, the Monitor will give Superman some Ultramenstruum, the stuff of the cosmos that can save Lois.

The monitor has recruited the Superman equivalent of a number of universes including Captain Marvel, a Doctor Manhatten-like Captain Adam, Overman the Nazi Superman, and Ultra-Man. Before the mission can even be discussed, the ship they are in must flee from another ship trying to destroy them. The Supermen guide the ship through universes to comic Limbo, seen in Morrison's Animal Man comic as the place characters go when not written about.

There, Superman discovers a book in the Library of Limbo and it is here that the origin of Mandrakk is revealed. I wish Morrison would have written this piece in a straight-forward way, but instead we get snippets and Grant-speak. From what I can tell, there existed a universal Monitor. This uber-monitor detects within itself a flaw and sends a probe to investigate. (My guess is the flaw is the multi-verse.) When this uber-monitor contacts the flaw it becomes aware of chaotic events happening and calls these events 'stories' (this is all so Morrison meta-textual). Having never seen/heard/experienced stories, it is overwhelmed. It creates a construct to contain the flaw (my guess this is the orrery). But it's contact leads to this:

"An uncanny form", this Superman-like structure stands as a monument in the world of the Monitors where it is revered as being something connected to the first Uber-monitor and later felt to be a doomsday device to save the universe from an ultimate enemy, Mandrakk the Eater of Life. Superman it seems is some archetypal figure born from the first Monitor's Earthly encounters. It's all soooo messianic.

Of course everything I just wrote could be wrong! Ahhh .. the beauty of Grant Morrison. But it sounds like an evil Monitor exists (maybe an anti-monitor?) and somehow Superman is the key to defeating it.

The Supermen opt to leave Limbo. The female monitor who has led them kills Overman and drinks his blood to sustain her own waning life. (Maybe she is the monitor from the Vampire Earth?).

Here is the one Kara bit. Our Superman went on the mission to save Lois. Overman went on the mission to find his beloved cousin, Overgirl, the Nazi Supergirl we saw dead in Final Crisis #3. It wonder if our Superman would make the same sacrifice for our Supergirl?

Anyways, it is a heavy convoluted trippy story. There seems to be a lot of intersting ideas here and I hope I can piece all this together. It is hard to know if Mandrakk shows up here or in the final issues of Final Crisis. The Doug Mahnke art is slick and detailed here. I guess I like Morrison a lot because while I didn't grasp it all, I loved this book.

Overall grade: A.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Review: Superman #679

James Robinson’s run continues to pick up steam and add some new elements of mystery in this months issue Superman #679, an issue with a lot of Supergirl action.

To recap, as this is my first review of the Superman title, Superman is in a knuckle-busting brawl with a massive figure calling himself Atlas. Atlas appeared in the first issue of the short-lived series 1st issue Spectacular from the 70’s.

1st Issue Spectacular was a sort of showcase for new title ideas where reader feedback might lead to an ongoing title. Atlas was in issue 1 and was a Jack Kirby creation. He lived in a medieval world and was unbelievably strong. His parents were killed by an overlord when he was young and he vowed vengeance. Overall, this was an average issue. On the other hand, I highly recommend finding issue #9, a Dr Fate story written by Marty Pasko and drawn by a young Walt Simonson.

In the Superman title, Atlas is brought to Earth from his planet by the U.S. military and trained to fight Superman. While Atlas vows to basically take over the world if he is freed and defeats Superman, the military decides eliminating Superman is worth that risk. They drop Atlas in Metropolis where he squares off with Superman. Surprisingly, he seems to be getting the better of Superman who is confused how Atlas is able to shrug off his strongest blows.

While Superman is pummeled, we see Supergirl enjoying ‘a moment of play’.

This scene did not strike me as Kara’s being disinterested in heroing or her being flighty and immature. Instead, it struck me as endearing. Kara is playing with lions the way other teenage girls might play with kittens. Look at the happiness on her face. But her down time ends quickly. As soon as her super-hearing picks up the Superman fight, she is off … flying at super-speed to help her cousin.

Here we see her flying into metropolis to join the fray. This shadowed figure is overseeing the battle from a rooftop, but seems to be ‘blipping’ in and out. Jimmy notices him, seems to recognize him, but can’t get a shot of him before he disappears.

The mysterious figure informs the government that Kara (codenamed second blue and red) is incoming. In response, the government decides to ‘let the hussy have it’ and fires a laser cannon from space. Almost makes me want to yell ‘Tetsuo!!’ Notice he has disappeared.

The purple laser hits Supergirl dead on and knocks the fight temporarily out of her. It certainly looks painful!

Before the wounded Supergirl can truly enter the fray, Superman tells her to leave the battle. He knows that he may die in this battle, he knows the deck is stacked against them given the space artillery, and he knows that if he is in trouble than a wounded Supergirl would be too. He implores her to leave to discover the truth behind the attack and (should he die) to avenge him. Begrudgingly, she heeds his words and takes off.

Now some Supergirl fans might bemoan this interaction stating that it makes Kara look weak and ineffective, especially her listening to Superman and taking off. I did not take it that way at all. Superman realizes that this battle was over before it began and a retreat would make sense. He is just too beaten to withdraw. Strategically it makes sense to have Kara 'live to fight another day'. Superman is, in fact, correct about his impending defeat. The fight ends the next page with Atlas standing victoriously over Superman.

Ahh, but there is one more super-family member to face Atlas. Next issue … in steps Krypto!

Overall, this story has been building slowly. We still don’t know why the government is focusing on Superman, how they captured Atlas, why Atlas is so powerful, and who the shadowy figure is. In some ways I hoped for more information about this story here. While drawn nicely, the first 5 pages are splashy brawl pages, which are reminiscent of the Doomsday fight but may have been overkill. Certainly after 3 pages we understood that Atlas was no push-over and actually winning. And I craved more background story about the ‘Atlas plan’; instead we get 2 pages delineating how Lois feels often inadequate for Clark’s love and 5 pages about Lana Lang’s troubles running Lexcorp. While both scenes are well-written (especially the Lois scene so nicely encapsulating how hard it must be to love someone larger than life), they seemed to slow the story down rather than build it up. These are minor quibbles honestly … but I often wonder how much padding is added to make a storyline a nice length for a trade.

I think the art work was nice here. I have liked Guedes’ version of Supergirl even when he caused a minor stir on the web with his concept pictures of Kara before his brief run on her title.

I really think those pictures show a lovely and healthy appearing Supergirl. Believe it or not there was an outcry from a subset of fans who sad Kara looked fat and frumpy! I definitely absolutely positively do not see that at all in these pictures!! It frightens me to think that some people saw that. She looks strong and athletic to me.

There also was a smaller outcry for his inclusion of bike shorts under the mini-skirt as opposed to lollipop pants or panties. I didn’t particularly mind that addition, feeling it at least solved the ‘panty shot’ vs. ‘how does her mini-skirt always stay down’ problem some artists run into.

The one problem I have with the art is the coloring which seems a bit overdone with multiple layers of shadowing/shading in panels that don’t necessarily call for it.

So, the Atlas storyline continues to move forward but with more questions and no new answers. Supergirl is well represented and seems to have really taken to heart the ‘I was sent to protect Kal’ impetus that we have seen her say over in Johns’ Action Comics. And there is no denying Superman and Supergirl are easily dispatched here, making me intrigued to read more.

Overall grade: B

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Grant Morrison on Final Crisis and Supergirl

There is a fabulous interview with Grant Morrison on in which he talks about Final Crisis, his story writing style, and Batman. As a Morrison geek, I highly highly recommend reading the whole thing so you can get an idea of how Morrison approaches writing and certain characters.

Here is the link: . It is a long interview, a whopping 6 pages long, and makes me jealous of the interviewer who must have had 20-30 minutes to just talk to Morrison about comics. I would love to just have a pint with Morrison and just talk comics with him. My buddy paid $200 at last year's New York Comicon to have a 10 minute conversation and get 3 books signed. I wish I had my buddy's disposable income!

Anyways, I am rambling in a fanboy way.

After discussing Final Crisis and his proposed reboot/rethinking of Aquaman, Morrison gets asked specifically about Supergirl. Here it is:

IGN Comics: And what about Supergirl? She's had a lot of trouble connecting with readers since her return a couple years back. How do you plan on making her work in the story?

Morrison: Well as far as I'm concerned, I have her in Final Crisis to fight Mary Marvel. That's the main thing she's in there for. [laughs] But I know that Geoff and James Robinson have a big role for her in the Superman books. So I don't want to get into anything they might be up to with the character, because I don't actually know.

My take was inspired by a really nice story in the DC Bizarro anthology - you know, the one where they brought in a lot of alternative comics people in to tell DC superhero stories. And there's some really brilliant stuff in there. There was a great story with Supergirl, written by Dylan Horrock with art by Jessica Abel, I believe. And just the way they presented it, it was really sort of childlike and charming, like a story for a ten year-old girl. I thought it was a great way of doing the character. There's one panel where she's standing there painting a landscape, and she's got all this cool stuff in her room. And I suddenly thought there's something that maybe we can play up here with Supergirl, the idea of her being really creative and into all kinds of stuff. So we see her room, and she's playing the guitar, and she's got a sewing machine, and a laptop and she's got all these designs for new costumes, and she paints and draws and likes to make things and learn things.

It was my way of visually filling in backstory in a way that made her slightly more appealing, because they haven't really gotten a handle on her over the years. They've tried to do her as this bratty teenage girl, and then they tried to do her like a nice teenage girl. And I just thought, let's think what a real super-powered teenager might be like with that Kryptonian brain. I just figured she'd get bored easily and be into a lot of different stuff, and would be really well read and witty, and cool and self-assured as a result. And that's already a more appealing take on Supergirl. So the idea in Final Crisis was to present her as that cool, kind of switched-on, connected young girl up against Mary Marvel, the insane, threatening, f**ked-up, shaved-Britney girl. And let them fight it out.

Well what can I say? That was just about as great a response as you can get. Of course on this blog we have already talked about how great that panel of her apartment was, how it spoke more about Kara's personality that most of her current title. That panel alone remonded me of why I have loved this character for so long. Nothing in Morrison's comics is there by accident. He thought about her needing to stay busy because of her Kryptonian mind and so has her dabbling in the arts and probably told JG Jones to draw in the guitar, the easel, the sewing machine, etc.

And he thinks Supergirl should be well-read and witty, cool and self-assured. Isn't that better than the angst-ridden, short-fused, arrogant, self-centered girl we saw in Loeb and Kelly's run. That's even better than the heroic, learning, determined Puckett Kara, a version I liked.

Lastly, he now sets her up as what a super girl should be, setting her against everything they should not be encapsulated in the Female Fury Mary Marvel. (sigh) Final Crisis #6 can't get here fast enough.

Now I know that not everyone is a Grant Morrison fan, but I have been since way back in his Doom Patrol and Animal Man stuff. He can be maddening sometimes with his nonlinear style of writing. Sometimes his stuff can be inscrutable. I freely admit that I did not understand Seaguy, The Filth, or much of The Invisibles. While I could follow the individual mini-series in Seven Soldiers, I get the sense I missed many of the connecting threads and came away from the actual Seven Soldiers issues feeling a bit confused.

All that said, even when I haven't followed everything perfectly, the issues themselves were interesting and thought provoking.

The thing is, he can do more mainstream straight-forward super-hero fare. His JLA run was absolutely spectacular and included mega-stories like Rock of Ages and World War III, both of which had many characters even outside of the JLA roster and seemed like cross-over events when read. He even got me to buy a couple of years of XMen, a group of characters which have never caught on with me.

The problem that some people seem to have with Final Crisis is that it is hard to follow, that so much is unsaid, or happens off-screen, or is hinted at but not explained. The other knock is that without an encyclopedic knowledge of the DCU, and coupled with his writing style, no newer reader could ever follow this.

I think much of the first complaint is done purposefully. Part of the scariness of Final Crisis is that there is a sense of doom, a sense of an impending apocalypse. The heroes can sense it. But they don't know who the threat is, where it is coming from, when it is happening. So for me, when we simply get quick glimpses of things that are happening around the universe, I get a sense of what the heroes are thinking. I can see a lot of puzzle pieces but I don't even know what the picture is. Things are slowly coming into focus over the first 3 issues, but by the time I even have a grasp of the big picture plot by Darkseid it's too late; evil has already won. I have really liked Final Crisis, but given the rancor on the web I get the sense I am in the minority.

I often got that sense of impending disaster, of larger threats, in Doom Patrol.

It might not be an easy read ... but since when is that mandatory? As intelligent readers, we should be able to piece this together. And this isn't random comic poetry like how The Invisibles or The Filth read.

As for the new reader knock, I think the same argument could be made about any cross-over. Would a brand new reader be able to pick up and fully comprehend Crisis on Infinite Earths? Infinite Crisis? House of M? Secret Invasion?

Enough from this Morrison apologist. The bottom line is I love everything he had to say about Supergirl. He wanted to make her more appealing, and it looks like he will!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It Came From the Back Issue Box: Legion of Super-Heroes 16

In anticipation of Supergirl's major part in Final Crisis #6, which is a long 3 months away, I am continuing my review of her role and appearances in Crisis on Infinite Earths and related issues.

While not emblazoned with an official Crisis On Infinite Earths Cross-Over banner, Legion of Super-Heroes #16 is often put on lists of issues pertaining to COIE. It is written by the Legion legend Paul Levitz and drawn by Steve Lightle and Bob Smith.

I always wonder why it didn't merit the official cross-over banner. As is wonderfully rendered on the Lightle cover, this issue mostly tells the story of Brainiac 5 dealing with Supergirl's death in the Crisis. I really think this is a great cover showing Brainiac's overwhelming grief. And the depiction of Supergirl at her moment of death on the cover is powerful and shocking.

The issue opens with Brainiac openly grieving Kara's death in his lab, replaying footage of her death over and over. Indeed, the panel above, a copy of a COIE #7 panel, is the only panel in this issue in which Supergirl appears. It seems as though Supergirl's death in the Crisis is a historical fact in the future, and this night represents the thousand year anniversary of her murder at the hands of the Anti-Monitor. This explains why Brainiac 5 is so grief-stricken now.

Brainiac 5's friends Rond Vidar and Chronarch try to help him with his grief but it is of no use. Brainiac tells them how despite knowing she was someone from the past, despite knowing when and where she would die, he still went to great lengths to meet her and love her, even inventing Time Bubbles to do so. But he knew he could not change destiny and so watched her go to her death.

This struck me as a little odd ... his knowing all this. I thought part of the mystique of the Crisis was that it was happening throughout all time at the same time. This is why Anthro and the Legion are shown facing the same anti-matter walls sweeping over Earth as current heroes are. As such, I would think that knowledge of its outcome would be unknown, as if history itself was in flux or being re-written (which of course it was). Still, despite knowing all this, Brainiac 5 is one sad Coluan! And for a super-intelligent android who already has had major psychological breakdowns in his past, that is a bad thing.

Now that is not the only storyline in the issue. The other storyline involves the newly added Legion rookies: Polar Boy, Magnetic Kid, Tellus, Quislet, and the mysterious Sensor Girl. They are the only Legionnaires minding Earth while the rest are off celebrating the baptism of Lightning Lad and Saturn Girl's baby boy Graym. Of course, the rookies are called into action when terrorists begin bombing places in the city including a techno-park. This part of the issue is rather pedestrian ... straight forward comics fare.

Sensor Girl's identity at this point was a mystery, although it was hinted at that maybe it was Kara behind the mask. Her powers remained vague enough throughout many of her first adventures to make it possible. The 'Who is Sensor Girl' mystery lasted about a year and was entertaining as readers tried to guess her true identity. Even Legion characters were in the dark and they started stating their guesses in future issues. Indeed, at one point while in the depths of his depression, Brainiac begins scheming on how to prove that Sensor Girl is Kara. He teeters on the edge of insanity at that point.

But for now, he is in the early stages of grief. He continues to talk about how brief his time with Kara was. He has some drinks with friends.

He even contemplates going back in time and try to change history and save her, knowing the resulting ramifications could destroy himself ... even the universe itself. In the end, he knows he can't do that ... and brands himself a coward for doing the right thing. In some ways it echoes the current 'Saving Thomas' storyline, showing a hero desperate enough to save someone no matter the cost.

While it is clear that Brainiac is deeply saddened by the loss of Kara, some of his dialogue come off just a bit eerie here. His lines tend to be maudlin and over-the-top. These could be the lines spoken by a lover with a history of descending into madness. Or they could be the lines of an obsessed fan who has become a stalker. In any case, they felt right coming from his character, so addled with sadness.

In the meantime, Sensor Girl keeps acting just enough like Supergirl to keep people guessing. Here she helps the new Legionnaires defeat a bunch of brainwashed Science Police officers who were behind the bombings. As for who she turns out to be .... 2 decade old SPOILER ALERT ... in the end Sensor Girl is Princess Projectra.

While Supergirl barely appears in this issue, she clearly is the dynamic behind the happenings here. The concept of grief is not usually covered in comics, what with characters dying all the time. I like the fact that we actually got to see Brainiac's response to the death of Supergirl in such a lengthy way, that we got to see how much her passing impacted his every day life. All too often we don't see this in comics. We certainly didn't see this much of a reaction to her death in the Superman titles. We didn't see any reaction like this to Barry Allen's death. So I thought this was a touching cap-stone to Supergirl's comic career, one last eulogy to Kara. For fans of Supergirl, it would be a nice issue to have in a collection, a sympathy card in four colors.

I think comics do a better job of showing characters reacting to loss now. From Funeral to a Friend during the Death of Superman storyline to the recent Final Crisis:Requiem we at least see some scenes of super-heroes having to deal with grief.

Overall grade: B

Monday, August 25, 2008

Smallville Prayers Answered

Holy Cow!

Check this out from !! It is a brief report on the site ... what you read below is the entire article. But it shows good things can come in short reports!

According to reports from Toronto's "Fan Expo", actress Laura Vandervoort, who played 'Kara', aka "Supergirl", in Season 7 of the Vancouver-lensed, CW TV series "Smallville", will be featured in a Season 8 episode. "In October, I'm shooting," Vandervoort said during a panel alongside actor Michael "Lex Luthor" Rosenbaum. "They've asked me to tie up my storyline...."

Sounds like Kara will get out of the Phantom Zone!! All I can say is 'thank goodness'. How horrible would it have been if she stayed there? How is that honoring all the heroic things she did during the season.

Anyways, everybody give themselves a pat on the back! Maybe the powers that be over at Smallville felt our negative mental vibes. Or maybe they heard our collective on-line pleas. We were certainly loud enough!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Justice Supergirl Action Figure

The Supergirl doll based on the Alex Ross mini-series Justice was finally released last week. What a spectacular figure and definitely a worthy addition to the Supergirl shrine. Here are a couple of other views of the figure so you can get a sense of it in its entirety.

This is one of the best Supergirl figures in recent years. It is very nice and includes a couple of nuances that I really like. One is the very long cape that Kara is wearing here. I was never a fan of the smallish cape that some artists put here in. Also, the belt on the costume is a seperate (but attached) piece. As a result it hangs a little off the figure rather than just being painted on. For some reason I think that is a very nice touch.

This costume, the 'Hot Pants' costume, was the predominant costume for most of the 1970's and early 80's. This is the Supergirl that I grew up with, learning about the older versions of her costume later on. In fact this is the costume of one of the more iconic images of Supergirl, the Rich Buckler cover for Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #1. This is one of my favorite Supergirl covers. Heck this cover was even put on a US postal stamp.

I will say that this is another of my favorite covers in this costume, Daring New Adventures of Supergirl #5, by Ed Hannigan.

So most Silver Age readers really loved the Justice mini-series. The story of the Justice League versus a Legion of Doom type line-up was coupled with old school versions of the DC pantheon. For Supergirl fans it was particularly wonderful because it was the first time we had seen the 'Hot Pants' costume in more than 20 years. In fact, it was the rumor of Kara being in the series that made me buy it in the first place. Here's a panel from Justice #7, one of the first panels we see Kara (albeit mind-controlled by Brainiac). Ross' women usually look like they are in their mid-30's, usually not a good style for Supergirl. Still, I think this is a pretty good rendition.

Now this costume has had some minor variations. Here is one of the first covers it is seen on, Adventure Comics #419. Note the beaded bottom of the shorts and the slippers rather than boots.

While this version of the 'hot pants' costume was the one in the latter Adventure Comics issues as well as the 1972 Supergirl solo title, I never was a big fan of it.

I like the boots look more than slippers; boots look more heroic.

Anyways, I recommend this figure highly to any Supergirl fan, especially those with a feeling of nostalgia for this particular uniform.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

More Middleton Magic

I'd like to thank 'Anonymous' (?) for pointing me to this February post on Josh Middleton's blog:

Man, that is a wonderful picture that just captures the innocence and grace of Supergirl. I mean ... that is beautiful in every sense of the word. Kara, the birds, the sunlight peeking through the clouds, the dappling of shadows everywhere ... simply perfect. *THIS* should be a poster.

On the blog, Middleton says this is one of a series of covers he was doing for DC's heroines. As we never saw this one on the title, I wonder if this will be a future cover. As this post is from February ... long before the new team was announced ... I wonder if we will ever see this grace a cover.

Lastly, I love that Middleton shows the reader the stages of this pic. First we see the thumbnail sketch.

Then the final pencils.

And then this final colored pic, definitely worth posting again.

I didn't think I could be more impressed with Middleton but I guess I was wrong. This may be the strongest of his Supergirl pieces that I have seen.

Friday, August 22, 2008

New Cover Artist Josh Middleton

When DC announced the new creative team for Supergirl, it included cover artist Joshua Middleton. Now I have to be honest that while I had seen his covers before, I did not know enough about him to place a name with a style.

I think everyone was pretty blown away by his first cover Supergirl #34 with Kara literally exploding out of Cat Grant’s editorial as she fights Silver Banshee.

Now on Middleton’s blog ( ) he shows us the cover for Supergirl #36 (Supergirl #35 is the Ross cover).

I am really impressed with Middleton’s art for a number of reasons. For one, it is a very dynamic style. Even though these are static scenes, there is a sense of motion, of action here. You can feel Supergirl bursting from the cover of 34. For the issue 36 cover, you can almost hear her yelling as the heat vision erupts from her eyes. You can almost feel the blast blowing her hair back. It isn't easy to convey energy and movement on a cover, but I think he succeeds. I love these covers, and the books aren't even out yet. But here's more:

As another example look at this cover from Runaways #11. Can’t you just get the sense of Dagger leaping and twisting as she flings her energy bolts here? Or this one from Justice League Classified #52. Can’t you feel Wonder Woman straining against her magic lasso trying to subdue this monster?

And his style seems a perfect fit for Supergirl. He draws young woman very nicely. There is a hint of manga here, but it is not overwhelming. I love this cover of Serenity #3, showcasing River. There is a quiet power here.

The women are drawn without the usual pulchritude or exaggerated curves we see all too often. Their poses are usually strong and powerful. He can do sexy too; here is XMen Unlimited #40. It's an understated sexy though and I doubt he'll go that route with Kara.

I also love the expansive palette he uses to color these, which adds to the depth and vitality of the pieces.

Look at this cover from New Mutants #3. Can’t you feel the energy crackling and bristling over this mutant (who I think is Magik but I am probably wrong)?

Anyways, I felt remiss in ignoring this member of the new creative team and felt a little showcase was warranted. I am really impressed by the 2 Supergirl covers we have seen so far and look forward to future issues.