Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back Issue Box: Detective Comics #510

The DC relaunch is officially starting later today which means I have to wrap up my look at Supergirl interacting with characters coming back.

With Babs Gordon donning the cape and cowl  in the DCnU, I have been looking at a three part Batgirl/Supergirl team-up in the Batgirl back-up feature in 80's Detective Comics.

As for the 'freshness' of the DCnU, this cover doesn't seem to jibe with the sentiment. Two heroes fighting has been done forever to the point of feeling stale. It is worse knowing the old water under the bridge for Dick and Barbara. I also find this cover to be a weird anti-riff to this cover from Birds of Prey.

Kind of the same but radically different, right? Or am I seeing something that isn't there?

I am still going to miss Oracle.

But on to the story. I have reviewed the first two parts of the story earlier this month. The last part of this Supergirl/Batgirl story was released in Detective Comics #510.

Written by Cary Burkett and drawn by Jose Delbo and Joe Giella, 'Bride of Destruction' ended the battle between Supergirl, Batgirl, and the Annihilator.

In this story, a disgruntled scientist becomes a telekinetic/telepathic mutant after being bombarded by energies from a odd stone. Now with a freakishly bulbous head and imbued with mental powers, he decides the best thing to do is turn Batgirl into a bulbous headed bride and rule the world.

I absolutely love the insanity of the plot.

Amazingly, his powers are enough to repel Supergirl's attacks. She is blasted back by a force blast. The resulting explosion starts a fire. The villain loves it, hoping the flames will purge the area of human infestation. Fantastic!

While engulfed in the flames, the Annihilator seems to mutate even further.

Supergirl comes back on the scene and takes care of the fire while sending Batgirl out to find where the Annihilator has disappeared to.

One of the running themes in this story has been Batgirl's inferiority complex about Supergirl. While Karais treating Babs like a partner, Babs feels outmatched and out of Supergirl's league. I don't think Batgirl has expressed those feelings in the prior World's Finest team-ups so it is hard to figure out why she would feel this way here.

Those feelings don't stop her from being a hero. When she finds the Annihilator, she confronts him physically, throttling him. I still chuckle at how desperate the Annihilator sounds, trying to woo Batgirl with promises of being superior. It is an interesting angle on her feelings of inferiority during the story. Batgirl could become something super-human but she doesn't succumb to that temptation despite her current feelings.

And, as she has done throughout this story, Supergirl shows up and seems to be able to fix any problem in seconds. She entombs the Annihilator in a brick cocoon at super-speed. Despite having just successfully battled the Annihilator, Batgirl again sinks into some despair, feeling like she has simply been along for the ride.

But bricks can't hold the terrible power of the Annihilator's mind. He explodes the bricks outward and is free once more.

Finally, Batgirl comes up with the solution.

She tells Supergirl to hit the Annilator with her freeze breath. One blast of super-breath later, the Annihilator is back to plain old disgruntled Kenneth Anderson.

And without powers, he is quickly captured.

Babs realized that the Annihilator mutated and gained more powers after having been exposed to great heat (Supergirl's heat vision in part two, the fire here in part three). If heat increased his powers then, naturally, cold should decrease them.

Supergirl thanks Batgirl for realizing that connection. She tell Batgirl that she is happy they are on the best team. All along, there has been nothing but feelings of camaraderie in Kara, no feelings of superiority. And I think that this probably helped Batgirl get over those feelings. It isn't like Supergirl told her to stay out of the way. Supergirl was happy they were working together.

These issues came out in early 1982 and as far as I know it is the last Supergirl/Batgirl interaction until the Crisis.

There is nothing special about this story with its pedestrian plot and workman-like art. The Batgirl insecurities is an interesting wrinkle but not enough to make this anything but low importance to a Supergirl collection. It is a Batgirl/Supergirl team-up which might make it a bit more interesting. This issue can probably be found for a couple of bucks or less at cons or comic book stores.

And that ends my pre-DCnU look at Supergirl teaming up with returning characters like Resurrection Man, Nightwing, and the Barbara Gordon Batgirl.

The future is now.

Overall grade (three part story): C+

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Review: Flashpoint: Lois Lane And The Resistance

After reading the well executed Project Superman #3, I read Flashpoint: Lois Lane and the Resistance #3.

I have to say that this mini-series has never grabbed me. Part of it might be that there was some buzz before this came out for DC to give Lois her own book. There was some serendipity that suddenly in the Flashpoint world, Lois was going to star in a mini-series. Even the first cover, Lois clad in a black trench coat, all spy-ish, made me think this book was going to be just what Lois fans like me were looking for.

Unfortunately, the first issue felt rushed with Lois more reacting than acting, more telling rather than doing. The second issue was more about Grifter and Penny Black with Lois spending most of the time in the background. Could DC have added the Lois Lane name and amped up her presence here figuring sales would be better than a Flashpoint:Britannia and the Resistance book? Hmmm.

And this issue was more of the same. Sure, there is one pretty good moment for Lois. But this is mostly about the Resistance and their efforts to purge the UK of the Amazon forces. Lois wasn't the star here at all. She was a member of the Resistance, a member of the team.  Unfortunately, I bought this book thinking it would be a Lois book. It is hard for me to look past her limited role and grade this book.

The book also suffers from the fact that there is no clear art direction. Oliver Nunez did the interiors of issue #1. Gianluca Gugliotta penciled last issue. This issue we get yet another team on art - penciller Christian Duce and inker Walden Wong. The art is fine but the lack of stylistic consistency throughout the mini also weakened the story.

The issue starts with a quick origin story of Penny Black. She was a member of British Navy serving on a boat with some prototypical technology for an engine. The ship's tech was stronger than expected, teleporting the ship and fusing with Penny's body.

Now armed with some sort of technology telepathy, Black was given the Britannia armor and became a local hero.

It is a relatively standard 'comic book' origin but it at least gives us more back story for Black who I felt was the real star of the book. I do wonder if she somehow survives into the DCnU Relaunch, making her way into the Stormwatch book. Or maybe one of the Abnett and Lanning written books.

Last issue ended with Resistance member Hyde (her human form Bobbie that is) revealed as a traitor, setting up the resistance to be ambushed by Artemis and the Amazons.

In what I thought was a good plot point, Bobbie's alter ego Hyde is not a traitor, regains control of their shared body, and begins thrashing the Amazon assault squad, freeing the Resistance force. I like the idea of two halves of a personality at war with each other. Too bad there wasn't enough time in the book to explore this more.

Lois and Black make a break for the Britannia armor hoping that will turn the tide.

Artemis follows, striking Penny in the back with an arrow. Lois has become something of a soldier in the book and she tries to hold off Artemis with a machine gun without much success.

Luckily, Black is able to fuse with the armor, healing herself in the process. One thing about Flashpoint, it is a violent world and as readers we have seen plenty of this violence with some over the top gratuitous panels. Here, Britannia flies through Artemis torso, splitting the Amazon's body in half, blood splattered all over the book.

I guess this is war. But I think that sometimes these scenes of violence are better handled off screen, letting my imagination fill in the gore.

Britannia immediately takes to the air and is confronted by Wonder Woman. The two battle with Britannia able to just hold off Diana's powerful attacks.

Black is able to bring Diana to one of the concentration camps that have been set up for men, finally showing Wonder Woman the horrors of the Amazon land. With a surge of conscience, Diana swears she didn't know and frees the men.

For me, this is the weakest part of this series. How could Diana not know anything about the concentration camps, the mutation camps, the reeducation camps, the slaughter. Could she really be that oblivious? I mean there are camps! There are ships coming in with 2 lines - one for men, one for women. There are new troops added to the Amazon forces, former humans suddenly bulked up. Even the outside world knows about the camps! Could Diana really not even hear the rumors, not run across these things during her time fighting? Did no other Amazon ever mention these things to Diana during these years of war ... even in passing? It seems wrong. Diana is a smarter woman, a better leader than this.

In an even odder turn of events, she simply flies off to confront Penthesilea. No word to the troops. No taking to the airwaves and asking people to stand down.

Here is the best Lois moment in this issue. Luckily Lois is able to stumble across a working Emergency Broadcast System studio. (I know, lucky find!)

Despite knowing it will be dangerous, Lois courageously takes to the airwaves telling everyone within earshot about the Amazon camps and the need to keep fighting on.

This is the Lois I like to read about, not only reporting but fighitng for justice.

As expected, the Amazons don't really like Lois' news report and find her.

I have to assume the 'boom' is Kal finding Lois and rescuing her.

And here is the sad part about Diana flying off. With no new orders, the Amazon troops come out in force to surpress the Resistance's forces which now include the very men Diana freed! This should be a time where arms are put down and preliminary discussions of peace and reconciliation happen. Diana should be there to tell her troops to stop, that she has learned new information and is deciding on a new course of action.

Instead the last page is the two sides of the battle charging at each other, guns blazing, spears thrusting.

Did this mini-series show us what the Amazon-run UK look like from the point of view of the oppressed. Yes. Did it introduce Grifter into the DCU? Yes. Did it introduce Penny Black? Yes.

But did it star Lois? No. And did it give me enough of the Resistance to make me actually care for those characters? Not really. And did it have a lot of death and carnage? Yep - Hawkgirl, Cheetah, Huntress, and Artemis all die violent deaths on screen.

So I can't say that this satisfied my need for a great Lois story (although James Peaty and Kelly Sue DeConnick did some solid Lois stuff in the last year of Supergirl, so at least I have that).

Overall grade: C

Monday, August 29, 2011

Review: Flashpoint: Project Superman #3

Flashpoint: Project Superman #3 came out this week and brought this story of the Flashpoint world Superman to a very satisfying close. I haven't been too keen on the Flashpoint world and in particular, found the Atlantean/Amazon war stuff to be pretty tedious. But I have enjoyed both Kid Flash Lost and Project Superman as they were really more character driven series and (for the most part) tangentially involved with the war storyline.

As I have said before, I have read plenty of Superman Elseworld stories before so I am used to these sort of arcs, seeing what would come of Superman if he wasn't raised by the Kents and taught to cherish life. This mini-series has shown a different sort of Superman, sheltered and abused for most of his life, but suffering from that torture rather than angry. For me, the most interesting part of the book has been how big a presence General Sam Lane has had in Kal's life, a position in stark contrast to the one he held in the non-Flashpoint DCU.

Writers Scott Snyder and Lowell Francis do a good job giving Kal some depth here, despite having him say few words. They also do a great job conveying just how horrible this world is, whether it be the torture lab where Kal was kept or the war torn areas of the world.

And Gene Ha's work here really is perfectly suited for the book, thick lined and kinetic, and somehow conveying both a roughness as well as remarkable detail (I know that makes no sense). When words and art mesh, comics are gold. Ha's work meshes here ... wonderfully.

The damage  by the Flash and Batman that freed Kal from his laboratory prison unfortunately destroyed the power supply that was keeping Sinclair/Doomsday and General Lane in the Phantom Zone. Suddenly freed, filled with Doomsday's rage and decades of frustration, Sinclair goes straight to work.

He was built to 'defend' the world from enemies. But now he looks at everyone as his enemy. Fueled by hate and flush with power, Sinclair decides to carve a bloody path across the world, starting with General Lane. There are great moments for Sinclair too. He doesn't allow Lane to even get any 'defiant last words' instead pulping him immediately. Unlike much of Flashpoint, Lane being crushed is done off panel. Here it works.

Through the issue we see Sinclair killing, destroying, absorbing energy from the original Doomsday (who I guess is subject number 3 ... not Supergirl), and tracking down Kal.

And this is why Lane being killed off screen works.

Kal has fled from the compound and heads straight to Europe. He comes across the horrific sights of the war-addled continent. People, dead by their cars as they tried to flee, food for the crows. If Kal thought his prison in the sterile sunless cube was Hell, he has learned a new definition. Look at the horror on his face.

But from a story telling point of view, the crow eating the corpse carries a quiet power to it, something that would have been lessened if we had seen Lane's brains splattered over the previous page. This stands out as terrifying because there wasn't something more terrifying immediately preceding.

Now whether Kal has simply fled and luckily runs into Lois or if he is tracking her, he finds her in the UK, fighting for the Resistance.

I have to say Lois is a bigger presence, a better character in this mini-series than in her self-titled Flashpoint mini.

To Kal she represents something good in this world ... maybe the only good thing. He wants to protect her and the best way to do that is to simply leave the area.

I love Lois' response. First, she states she can't just leave. She has to 'do something' to better the world. That's the Lois I am used to seeing, that I want to see. But then she realizes that Kal is damaged goods, traumatized, and afraid. She softens, realizing that she probably needs to protect Kal at least emotionally. Ha's facial expressions work so well here.

But before this conversation can continue, Sinclair arrives. He is massive, maybe 10 feet tall, towering over everyone like the monster he is.

Again Lois shows her mettle, picking up a weapon and firing on Sinclair. She even tries to talk to Sinclair, telling him that the right thing to do is stop the Atlantean/Amazon war, not mete out his revenge on General Lane by killing her and Kal.

I love the last panel, a sort of homage to the car-crushing cover of Action Comics #1, Kal smashing an auto in Sinclair's face.

Their skirmish attracts the Amazon army forcing Sinclair to wade into battle. It is clear that he is an unstoppable monster, casually crushing the women as he makes his way to Kal and Lois.

As noted in the earlier issues of this mini, it is interesting that General Lane plays the role of Pa Kent in this book, the loving father figure teaching Kal just what a hero does. Despite being overpowered by Sinclair, Kal knows the right thing to do is protect people from monsters. It is a rare look of determination and courage on Kal's face in this Flashpoint world.

Great work by colorist Art Lyon, driving home the fact that Sinclair is a monster, is 'other', by coloring him in blue, the blood soaked area around him bright red.

Now I don't know if I quite understand what happens next but Superman begins absorbing energy from Sinclair, draining him of all the power he has. And in dramatic fashion, Kal ends the fight by punching through Sinclair's chest, causing a massive explosion.

Superman doesn't kill. But Kal on Flashpoint Earth realized that this creature needed to be put down.

But there are consequences to violence like that. It is never as simple an answer as people believe.

Lois is within the blast area of Sinclair's death explosion and is killed by its force. This Lane does get some last words. And her last words are that Kal needs to help the people of this Earth because it is the right thing to do. And then we get a pieta-like panel, reminiscent of Crisis #7.

Man, I love Lois in this issue. Such a strong character, a strong will. It is time for Kal to become Superman on this Earth.

And I like the journey that this Kal has gone on. It would be easy for him to simply hide out after escaping but instead he goes to help Lois. And then makes the logical next step, if Lois deserves protecting then everybody does. So is it nature that makes Superman a hero? Or nurture? There is no denying that even here it is a human loving presence teaching Kal right from wrong that is a big part of who he is. Here it is General Lane.

In the past DCU, it's Ma and Pa Kent. In the new DCnU? Dan Didio says he has no 'human tether'. So what will we see?

Snyder and Francis do a great job showing us enough snippets of Kal's life and Sinclair's devolution to give us a strong sense of who they are, what their motivations are. And it leads to a prefect denouement, with Kal suddenly thrust into the role of world saver. And Gene Ha's art complements that script seamlessly. This miniseries was a bright spot in the Flashpoint universe.

Overall grade: A

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Supergirl Bullet Points

With six books coming out this week to review, there are a couple of small releases and topics I wanted to at least touch on.

First off, as part of a Twitter-storm of info, DC has been releasing splash pages from all the upcoming relaunches including this one from Supergirl. We have seen this page before but not fully colored.

I am pretty amazed at how I have already come to accept the boots, even thinking them interesting visually now. Still, the corners on the bottom seam as you transition from red to blue is still jarring, not sleek or aesthetic, and really the part of the costume I hope will be changed. I'd even be fine with the weird coloration if there was a simple single line/seam.

Another part of the publicity whirlwind has been the release of 'new villain' images. Over on his blog, Mahmud Asrar posted this head shot and linked it on Twitter with the newvillains hashtag. So this looks like someone we'll be seeing in the Supergirl book. Supergirl certainly has been fighting a lot of robots and mecha-suits lately. I wonder if this villain is responsible for the missing Kryptonian ship, maybe trying to assimilate/absorb the technology?

Finally, independent artists have been coming up with their own DC relaunches on a site called DC Fifty-too. This was one of the more recent additions by Mike Maihack. Here is the link:

And here is his pitch:
Can the same blonde-haired, wonder teen from Metropolis who helped Barbara Gordon finally put an end to Killer Moth's week-long crime spree also be the new popular transfer student at Gotham High? Good thing they have superheroics in common because Babs' and Kara Zor-El's student lives are about to clash."

That's a rough tagline for a book that shouldn't come as any big surprise for those who have followed me online for longer than a week. I would take a more all-ages approach to the series, placing Babs and Kara in high school who, despite some social differences, eventually become best friends. That's when I would introduce an idolizing fourteen-year-old Mary Marvel to annoy the heck out of them.

So as much as I think this looks like a great comic, and certainly one I would read with the kids, I think I still would rather see the next all-ages Supergirl book be Cosmic Adventures in the Ninth Grade. Now if there was room for 2 all-ages Supergirl books, let's have this one too! The addition of Mary Marvel is a great idea.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Review: Action Comics #904

And so ends this volume of Action Comics.

Action Comics #904 came out a couple of days ago, ending the 73 year run of this incarnation of Action.  Written by Paul Cornell with art by Axel Gimenez, the issue ends the Reign of Doomsdays story arc. As with much of the Doomsday story, that portion of the issue ends with crazy plot discoveries, with things happening fast and with loose explanations. I shrugged my shoulders at that stuff. This arc has been a silly loud smash-em-up which was sometimes incoherent. I think it was meant to be high action like a loud summer movie release.

But there was much to like in this issue. Much much much to like. Because, knowing that this is the closing chapter in this version in Superman, Paul Cornell uses the issue to show us his thoughts on the Man of Steel. It is a reminder of all the things Superman is right now, all the things he should be, and maybe a reminder to the upcoming creators of the DCnU to not lose sight of what makes Superman special. And for those final pages, I want to openly thank Cornell. He said on page a lot of the things I have been thinking.

I would even like to think that he does the same with Supergirl. Kara had some big moments in this Action issues of Doomsday, showing what a hero she is. Maybe this was Cornell letting the upcoming Supergirl team know that they don't need to scrap all of her core identity.

And those pages elevate this comic into rare air of excellence.

Axel Gimenez art is very stylish and works well with this story. It is a little cartoonish at times and a little manga-like at times. In a story with such over the top action, that works well. I would definitely look to get a commission from him if I saw him at a convention.

Last issue, Superman was apparently incinerated in Doomslayer's ship. It turns out that he was no disintegrated, but instead transformed into 'information' and taken into the ship's database.

In a quick explanation (finally) of what has been happening in this arc, the ship turns out to be sentient and gives Superman some much needed exposition. The ship was an intelligent probe sent from another universe to explore ours. When here, it was first corrupted by Luthor for his purposes. And yes, Doomslayer is the evolved form of the Doomsday that Kara through down the cosmic rabbit hole a couple of months ago. He also took over the ship for his own evil purposes.

Luckily, the ship's sentience was able to grab Superman this way and teach him how to fix the ship and set it to teleport back to it's home destination. In fact, it will teleport away in a timely fashion so Earth won't implode.

Easy and quick answers to a tough plot.

Now if you are a Supergirl fan, you have to love this scene. Leading the charge against the Cyborg-Doomsday and shows some serious determination.

But her words resonated more with me than her right cross! "You don't get past me and you don't get to hurt my home!" This is the Supergirl I want to read, stepping into the role of Superman when needed, honoring the S-shield, and defending Earth as a hero should. Earth is her home!

Contrast that to the upcoming Supergirl, angry with no affection for humans.

Which Supergirl sounds right?

On the Doomslayer ship, Superman is able to fix the ship and set the warp field on a three minute timer. And Doomslayer, full of self-loathing, full of the rage of a Doomsday, does his best to get past Superman to stop that teleportation.

Is this panel another nod by Cornell to the 'old' DCU? Superman talks about being taught the 'rope a dope' style of fighting by an old friend. Of course, Muhammad Ali was the boxer whose specialty was the old rope-a-dope. And, in the pre-Crisis DCU Superman actually boxed Ali once. Is this referencing that story? I hope so!

The actually Doomsday, barely under the control of the Eradicator consciousness, is sent to the ship to help Superman while Supergirl and Superboy fire the defeated other Doomsday clones into the impending event horizon of the Doomslayer ship teleportation wake.

There is a nice little discussion by Superman here, that sometimes life is complicated and doing the right thing is tough. It is far easier and far more destructive to simply think of the world as a nail and hammer away at it.

Doomslayer is no different that Doomsday, always falling back on violence and death as a solution rather than a problem.

Realizing that the ship is about to leave this universe, and knowing that Doomsday is about to reclaim his body, the Eradicator tells Superman it was an honor to be his friend and throws Superman off the ship. The Eradicator sacrifices himself knowing the world needs Superman. And with that, the Doomslayer probe ship returns to its home dimension.

All that's left is the wrap-up. But most of it really is a credo on Superman as a character.

First off, Superman seems almost angry that the Eradicator sacrificed himself, angry because he thought he should have been the one to do that. Supergirl states the obvious - 'your example let him be a hero to the end.' And look at the look on her face. You just know that she would do the same thing.

That is part of Superman. He should be an inspiration to all super-heroes. They should strive to be like him.

And finally, finally, we get a prolonged scene with Lois, the reconciliation scene that we didn't see at the end of Grounded.

Cornell uses this quiet dinner to again state the basic tenets of Superman.

First off, Cornell (I think) comments on the citizenship fiasco from the Goyer story in Action Comics #900. Lois says that China wants to make Superman an honorary citizen and Clark simply doesn't want to go there again.

Nor should he.

And then, Clark again talks about how much he loved fighting alongside the Superman Family but not if that means the Family will sacrifice themselves. Clark thinks he is just 'some guy', not someone people should be following to their deaths.

Again, Lois (like Supergirl), reminds him that his example ... that his thinking that way ... is why the Superman Family strives to do the same. The Eradicator would have sacrificed himself for anyone just as Superman did.

And this, perhaps, was my favorite panel in the whole book.

I always say that it is the Kents that made Superman what he is. And Lois comes right out and says the same thing. Superman is a 'decent guy', someone old-fashioned, who lives a whole human life. Someone raised with the right values. Someone who puts others before himself.

All that reads 100% right to me. These are the reasons Superman is who he is.

Will he be like that in the DCnU? Without the Kents? While embracing his alien origins? Without Lois by his side?

Morrison seemed to grasp all these concepts in All-Star Superman. 'Kindly couple' being a key part in his short retelling of the origin. I hope he remembers them in the new Action.

And then, Lois asks Clark to take her home. Clark's a lucky guy.

Funny how that short speech seemed to answer all the nonsensical questions that led Superman to walk across America.

The last panel shows Superman simply as a man, someone in the crowd, not above it all. But grounded.

So this chapter of Superman comes to a close. And like many of these last chapters, the book has a sense of closure, ending on a high note.

But it also comes with the sadness of finality. Goodbye Clark and Lois as a couple. 

It is clear, based on this last issue, based on this last scene, that Cornell has a great grasp on just who Superman is. But we didn't really get to see him write a Superman story. We got the end of the Luthor arc and this Doomsday arc. I want to read more Cornell on Superman.

I want to read more of the Superman described in that last scene.Will the DCnU Superman have that feeling of hope, optimism, and inspiration? Will the new DCnU have a Supergirl that fights to defend her home? I can only hope so.

I can only hope so.

Overall grade: A

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Review: Legion Of Super-Heroes #16

It was bound to happen. With the DCU ending, and stories forced to wrap up in August, there was bound to be a clunker as creative teams rushed to finish things up.

Unfortunately, that clunker was the conclusion of the LSH vs. LSV arc in Legion of Super-Heroes #16. This story has been something of a slow burn, with slight progression each issue but few revelations. And, as feared, the story gets wrapped up in these 20 pages in a very rushed fashion. I was pretty underwhelmed by this issue. Not much seemed to work.

The Legion is relatively untouched by the new timeline of the DCnU so things will pick up right where this story left off. But I guess the whole 'jumping on' point of a number one issue forced writer Paul Levitz to finish things up.

Art is done by Daniel HDR and he has a smooth understated style that is works nicely. Here is hoping that DC finds some place for him to land.

The book opens with LSH battling the LSV on the World of Wisdom.

Earth Man has arrived and entered the fray, going right to the heart of the matter, challenging Saturn Queen and the Blue Entity.

So here is the first sort of misstep in the issue. We get a page of Sodam Yat on Oa. He can sense the battle that is happening and realizes he needs to lend his strength to Earth Man and 'fulfill his destiny'.

But you don't see Yat again in the issue. He neither shows up at the fight nor is shown lending his strength. Was the plan for him to have a bigger role?

One of the mysteries of this arc for me has been 'what is Dyogene?' Is it a living being? He looks like a chyrsalis. Is it a construct.

While we never quite learn what Dyogene is, I did find this line by the Blue Entity interesting. Is Dyogene truly Oan soil granted some form of life? Is it the ideals of the Guardians ... so concentrated that it gained some sentience? More on this a bit later. But it is hard to know if the soil comment is simply hyperbole.

And here is something else I thought was a misstep. One of the bigger mysteries of this arc is 'what is the Blue Entity?' Everything eventually seemed to point to it being the resurrection of Krona. But I wonder if that had to be scuttled when Krona became the big bad in the War of the Green Lanterns.

The Entity is not Krona. It is the 'evil loosed by Krona's crime'. So what exactly is this? The personification of evil? Of chaos? Is it the coalescence of the Guardians' hubris?

The problem is I don't know what he is. Or how he got freed. And that doesn't work for me.

Some of the Legion flocks to Earth Man to lend him their power. This bolstering of his psyche thwarts Saturn Queen's attempts to control his mind.

I have never been a big fan of the Earth Man character but this was a good moment for him as he tries to absorb the power of the Blue Entity and turn it back.

And then Mon-El shows up. Earth Man knows he is the best person to battle the Blue Entity and asks Mon-EL to use his ring to connect Earth Man to all the Legion fighting on the World of Wisdom. As a result Earth Man becomes a one man Legion, juiced to the max.

Is this what Sodam Yat was supposed to do?

And then, and don't ask me how, Earth Man defeats the Blue Entity by exploding? Firing all the energies of the Legion? Kneeling?

There is really no explanation. And it happens on one page. I had to go back to make sure I hadn't skipped any pages that explained things.

So I think I just needed more to work with here. I don't even really know what the entity was let alone how he is defeated. And how did Earth Man know what to do?

Anyways, the maneuver somehow kills Earth Man. I guessed this a while back. It is an easy out, not ticking off old time Legion fans, while removing a connection to the old DCU.

And then there is nothing left to do but wrap things up.

Brainy punches out Saturn Queen.

Mon-El gives Dyogene back the Green Lantern ring he accepted earlier this year. So that seemed quick without much explanation by Mon-El around that.

Shadow Lass scoops up Earth Man to mourn his passing.

The one interesting part of this was Dyogene hoping a new Mogo will evolve. If Dyogene is truly Oan soil, might he be a 'planet seed' from which a new Mogo might grow?

And Harmonia Li jokes about joining the Legion.

We never really learned who or what she is. So she was on the World of Wisdom at one point but left it. But she kept hinting about how she might be responsible for the Blue Entity. I never learned enough about her to care or to explain her role.

And she closes out the book with some pretty heavy prose about faith, wisdom, and will and how they will always help good defeat evil.

I am a Legion fan. I will check out the Legion titles in the DCnU. But I just think that this arc, this run of the Legion ended with a whimper and not a bang. I still have a lot of questions about pretty much everything. And that doesn't feel right.

Overall grade: C-

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Batgirl Supergirl Web Comic

I know I am probably the last to be posting about this story but Johnny Zito and Tony Troy of South Fellini have posted an 8 page web-comic featuring a team up of the Steph Brown Batgirl and the Kara Zor-El Supergirl. Art is done by Aluisio Cervelle Santos.

You can read a bit more about it over on CBR's Robot 6:

But I thought this blurb was worth repeating (again from Robot 6): “‘World’s Finest’ is a love letter to the ol’ DCU and two of our favorite characters,” they wrote in a press release. “Reboots happen, we’re OK with that, but Stephanie Brown and Kara Zor-El were pretty cool and we wish we had more time with them.”

The truth is those two characters were like peanut butter and jelly. Every time they teamed up it was a great read. And they seemed so natural as friends. So I have to thank the team for letting me get one more peek at the two.

Here is the link to the comic itself:

But I couldn't help but post a couple of panels.

In the story, a crazed man, Professor Pennypacker, plans to sacrifice the mayor's son in order to magically resurrect his wife in a robot form. Steph and Kara burst in to stop the plan. They are able to whisk the mayor's son out of the way.

In a nice twist, the man is so distraught that his wife is dead that he stabs himself in the gut, killing/sacrificing himself, and resurrecting her.

Vitalized by magic, the robot is able to stand toe to toe with Supergirl.

Batgirl has a plan though. She medically resuscitates the Professor. With him alive, the robot/wife dies again.

The dialogue here at the end is interesting. I didn't think Steph was this dark. If anything Supergirl could have said the grimmer lines Batgirl says here. But both girls have been through enough emotional trauma to be both optimistic and pessimistic about love.

I thought the artwork here, thick lined, chunky, stylized worked well with the story. And I love that Supergirl was in the Matrix-style red skirt.

It is a shame that, at least for the time being, we won't see the Kara and Steph World's Finest. And so I have to thank the folks at South Fellini for giving us one last little story of the two working together to stop the bad guys.

Will we see this sort of Supergirl in the DCnU? Will we ever see Steph again? It's only the end if you want it to be.