Thursday, December 31, 2015

Review: Justice League 3001 #7

With the end of year reviews behind me, it is time to roll up my sleeves and get back to work, catching up on reviews from 12/20. As I am catching up, these may (or may not) be briefer than usual.

Justice League 3001 #7, written by JM DeMatteis and Keith Giffen with art by Chris Batista, Ray Faucher, and Andy Owens, sets the stage for the next phase of this title. I have always been impressed with the scope of this title. Giffen and DeMatteis have made this a complicated word with multiple power structures in play, and the League more often reacting than acting. Between the embedded evil Lois, to the 'Five', to the odd 'Earth as Takron Galtos' prison world, things have been moving along so wildly that at times I feel like I don't quite know all the players on the board.

Last issue we saw Scullions, incredibly powerful regenerating robots, attack the League as the vanguard of another threat, something trying to rule the universe. Regardless of all the minor regimes trying to gain some control in the 3001 universe, this new threat is major. It is demolishing everything in its path. Suddenly the League is composed of new members and on the run.

As someone who follows such things, I wonder if sales have something to do with this shift in the book. Was this plot going to happen but farther down the road? Was it rushed to now to get it done? Was the all female team always planned? Or an effort to bring in new readers?

 No matter the reason, there is a lot to like about this issue, something I seem to say in every review of this book.

The book is told after the initial battle with the Scullions in a series of flashbacks from various members of the team. After Clark's death last issue, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, and Flash do their best to hold off the arriving androids.

I have loved the Supergirl that is in this book, a sort of mid-70s confident Kara who is ready to be a leader and an inspiration. Here, as she trashes the Scullions, she spurs a frightened Teri to action.

But I think that there is something else going on with this Supergirl. More and more I think she is aware of what she ran from 1000 years earlier. I wonder if she is aware of her Crisis destiny, given that this feels like the Supergirl from that timeline. When she says 'I am not going to die here today' she may be just screaming a battle cry or she may be commenting that she knows that is happening somewhere else.

Teri has been trying create a log of the battle so that others may read and remember what happened but Supergirl wants no part of it. Teri is openly grieving, crying and shaken. Kara is all business, stomping about the safehouse/planet that Batman sent them to. Everyone grieves differently.

But Kara's comment about 'survival' again makes me think that she is well aware of some aspects of her life and history. Did she survive this only to die young somewhere else? Something is hidden here, maybe about how she came to this time?

Other people were on Takron Galtos at the time of the Scullion attack. Fire and Ice are with the League after we learn that Kara saved them, throwing them through a transversal gate. Unfortunately, in that battle, the Hal Jordan GL and Barry Allen Flash, part of the original JL3001, are killed. Blue Beetle and Booster Gold scattered and may or may not be alive.

In the aftermath, Ice says that the Scullions seemed confused by her and Fire's presence. It is something Kara noted as well. What do these characters have in common? They are from prior DC continuities that have since been erased. This is a pre-Crisis Kara and a post-Crisis Fire and Ice. Giffen and DeMatteis have always played loose with continuity in this book. Maybe this is some acknowledgment of that.

Guy shows up and is initially in a standard blustery mood. Guy seems to be grieving by joking and avoiding the issues at hand. But when Guy is called on it, the tough exterior cracks. Guy talks about Superman's blood is on her costume, how Batman seemed scared and that has shaken her resolve. Finally, pushed to the edge, Guy slaps Tora ... something I would never expect to see.

We know that Guy is struggling with the genetic rewrite of the original GL and the woman host DNA trying to regain control. So this unhinged and unsteady Guy makes sense.

We finally learn how the League got here.
Batman had set up an unknown safehouse for the League, a place only he knew about. He had set the transversal gate to the headquarters. But someone has to stay behind and destroy the gate so it can't simply be reopened. Batman sacrifices himself while everyone flies through. He even uses Kryptonite to weaken Kara and toss her in, knowing she wouldn't leave on her own.

Of all the 3001ers, Batman felt the most like the original. So having a failsafe plan and being willing to sacrifice himself is fantastic.

I also love how Diana speaks of him and his sacrifice. There is almost a loving expression on her face as she talkes of knowing him better than Teri. I wonder if Giffen and DeMatteis think Bruce and Diana should be a couple. But she talks of how Bruce would want a good death. She imagines him smiling as he battles the Scullions one last time.

But Batman has been replaced by Batman, the descendant of the Wayne name in the precocious Tina. Tina has made her Bat-Mecha into a mobile transversal. The League can now teleport in and out of any place. While Tina pesters and irritates Kara, Supergirl knows not to ignore or rebuke such formidable intelligence.

This Batman is now on the League.

Because Supergirl is now in charge.
The League has a new mission. And a new makeup. Now it needs a new leader, someone who will do the right thing. And Supergirl seems more than ready to take on that mantle.

But there is more. I might be over-reading this. But these two panels of a pensive Supergirl looking out into the night sky, initially draped in shadows, seemed heavy with meaning. There is something almost funereal about that first panel. Looking out into the darkness, it might just mean that Kara knows she is in a dark place. But it also might again mean she knows about a dark destiny.

And that second panel, a steely Supergirl now in the light I think shows that she has now stepping into the role of the leader. She has to be the beacon. But even that expression seems to have a slight sense of sadness in it.

I haven't spoken about the art yet. Chris Batista and the inkers do a nice job veering close to the styles of Porter and Kolins, adding scratches and wear-and-tear on everything. The fight sequences are nicely rendered. But the big win is the expressions, adding much emotional overlay to the dialogue.

So this seems like a 'bold new direction' issue, a new path for a new team. And I am loving it. This book, like REBELS a few years ago, is the book I am championing, hoping DC will continue to print.

Overall grade: A

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Best Of Supergirl 2015, Part 3 of 3: Top Ten Comic Moments Of Supergirl

The hours of 2015 are slowly slipping away which means it is time for me to look back at the year in comics for Supergirl and pick my top ten moments. As this is an end of year post/list it is a long entry. So please settle in.

It was an interesting year for the character of Supergirl. Despite selling in the upper 20K range each month, and despite having a diverse creative team who were clicking on all cylinders, DC decided to cancel the Supergirl book in March. Writers K. Perkins and Mike Johnson with artist Emmanuela Lupacchino had finally brought Kara back to being an optimistic hero who inspired. Unfortunately, we'll never see what else they had in store. Perhaps the most befuddling thing for me was that books selling far less than Supergirl were not cancelled. She also was a charter member of Jeff Lemire's Justice League United but at the when the Supergirl book was canceled, Kara inexplicably left the team.

Despite not having her own book set in the DCU proper, the character has been active in many other books and universes. The Kara of Earth-0 was briefly seen in the Convergence mini-series which reset the Universe. But other versions and incarnations of Supergirl were featured prominently in three of the Convergence mini-series. The pre-Crisis Kara was in Convergence:Adventures of Superman. The pre-Death of Superman Mae was the star of Convergence:Supergirl Matrix. And the pre-Flashpoint Kara was a player in Convergence:Justice League book.

Different versions of the character have also been seen in other universe/Elseworld style title. She was seen in Bryan Q. Miller's Smallville. She has been in Marguerite Bennett's DC Comics Bombshells. And the Silver Age Kara is now a headliner in the 'is it or isn't it in continuity' Justice League 3001.

Whew, that's quite a lot of books for a character who hasn't been seen active in the main universe for eight months!

And, of course, I would be remiss if I didn't point out, again, that despite the media blitz and newfound popularity of the character, there is no current Supergirl book either in print. At least we had the recent announcement of the digital Adventures of Supergirl book by Sterling Gates and a great cast of artists.

Lastly, I was happy with my long review of the 30th anniversary of Crisis on Infinite Earths, particularly Crisis #7. Let me process and rethink that event.

But let's not dwell on DC's odd creative choices and instead embrace the best moments of the year. And there were many. So many that I had to include three honorable mentions.

Honorable Mention #3: Let me drop a Bombshell - DC Comics Bombshells #1

One of the best little surprises of 2015 has been Marguerite Bennett's Bombshells book, a fun romp through an Elseworld where women heroes are battling in WW2.

Initially I wasn't happy when I heard that Supergirl was a Soviet shill. But that was all rectified from our first meeting of this Kara. We learn that she has many powers, including 'ruining rude and vulgar men'. What a wonderful introduction!

Despite her initially buying into the Soviet ethos, we have seen this Supergirl be pro-active, loyal, and ethical. She has her heart in the right place and knows when she needs to rebel. I like this version.

Honorable Mention #2: There'll be no Attack of the Clones - Supergirl #38

It is hard to believe that this moment happened in 2015 because it feels like forever ago.

The New 52 Supergirl was a difficult character to love at the beginning of her run. When written by Tony Bedard, K. Perkins, and Mike Johnson, she grew tremendously and became something better.

Here we see her defend Superboy, standing between him and her new friends, and looking determined. This is a far cry from her earlier books when she called Superboy  an abomination, called him 'it'. She  hated him and wanted to kill him. All under the watch of Scott Lobdell.

So this splash page, this cliffhanger, reminded me of just how far Kara had come as a hero!

Honorable Mention #1: Evil gets the boot! - Justice League 3001 #2

Justice League 3001 is a sort of mashup of multiple universes and multiple continuities. It is an absolute hoot and people should be reading it. One huge reason to read it is the inclusion of a Silver Age Supergirl. The Supergirl in this book is the perfect representation of that era's Kara.

She is young and optimistic and bright. But she won't deal with nonsense. She is proactive and fierce when confronted by evil. And she can't believe that the universe has become such a grimy place with such flawed heroes. She is a legendary inspiration to these characters.

In her first appearance, all of that is encapsulated in this one panel, high kicking a Starro drone and declaring she hated bad guys! Love it!

This is not the last image from that book in this list.

Best moment #10: "I'm the muscle!" - Convergence Justice League #2

In Convergence Justice League, Frank Tieri and Vicente Cifuentes brought back the James Robinson's JLA, a version of the team made up of legacy heroes. And this pre-Flashpoint Supergirl was definitely the muscle of that group. That was a great run with excellent Supergirl characterization.

In the mini-series, she must fight the Flashpoint Aquaman who had kidnapped Mera. With the team locked in combat, Supergirl must bash her way into throne room. This is a powerful splash page once again showing that Supergirl can be the tank of a League.

Best moment #9: "Friendship is magic" - Justice League United #10

When Justice League United was first announced, writer Jeff Lemire went out of his way to define Stargirl as the face of optimism in the DCU. He also said that Supergirl was bullheaded, annoyed, and the opposite of bright. Supergirl was going to be the foil of Stargirl.

I wasn't happy.

In the end, that dark, edgy Supergirl never really dominated her personality. She might be brusque. But she was definitely heroic and strong. I liked the way she interacted with this team.

In Lemire's last issue, we see how Kara was again moving away from New 52 personality. She was even moving away from how Lemire initially defined her. She isn't a loner.

So seeing the three young heroes Equinox, Stargirl, and Supergirl declare their friendship made me happy. Supergirl would be a friend and ally.

Best moment #8: To Hell with Lex - Convergence Supergirl Matrix #2

So we have had the Bombshell Supergirl, the Silver Age Supergirl, the mainstream Supergirl, so why not add the Matrix Supergirl to the Best of 2015 list.

The Convergence:Supergirl Matrix mini-series was insane and inane. It had continuity gaffes (Matrix was never called Kara) and some attempts at humor that were clunkers. But there was also some character growth over the two issues.

Here, Matrix has finally had enough of Lex Luthor II bashing her. She delays a fight with Lady Quark to stand up to him, just as she did in the real comics back in the mid-90s. And off-screen we hear her thrash him.

This was an odd little series with wildly stylized art but it had its moments.

Best moment #7: "Winning" -  Justice League 3001 #6

As I said above, the Silver Age Supergirl in Justice League 3001 is such a fun character. She brings the practicality and principles of a more pure time to this darker universe. And since she is teaming with diluted JLA archetypes with much less power, Supergirl is clearly the most powerful member.

Here, again, we see Supergirl flexing her muscles and showing her no-nonsense attitude. After initially being surprised at the power of two attacking robots, she returns to utterly destroy them while declaring how she is simply winning.

Such a wonderful page by Collen Doran that made me smile!

Best moment #6: Smallville tummy aches - Smallville Continuity #3

I loved the Smallville series by Bryan Q. Miller and I loved this Kara. She was somewhat impetuous. She nicely countered the more dour and stolid Superman. I loved her unabashed heroism that had a nice sense of snark towards bad guys. The two cousins had a great relationship as well, something always appreciated.

I could have included almost any Supergirl moment from Smallville but this one stuck out to show her personality. While giant death from above plummets from the sky, Supergirl joins Superman, saying this kamikaze run makes her feel good in her tummy. There is no way the Smallville Superman would say that line.

Best moment #5: The inspiration of Maxima and her reveal - Supergirl #40

When I first read this moment, the day the book came out, I knew it would make the top ten list. I really thought it would end up higher on the list. 

The last arc in Supergirl, written by K. Perkins and Mike Johnson with art had Emanuela Lupacchino,  had Kara attending Crucible, a school to train heroes.

Throughout this arc, Supergirl is a beacon of inspiration, leadership, and friendship. Kara impresses so much that Maxima is able to come out to her.

Maxima's parents wanted her to find a male to mate with to keep the bloodline going. Instead, Maxima ran to Crucible to escape that. She opens up to Kara that she isn't attracted to men.

Just an extremely powerful moment. This was a Supergirl giving Maxima hope for the future.

Best moment #4: Optimism will defeat any Crisis - Convergence:Adventures of Superman #1

Convergence:Adventures of Superman was written by Marv Wolfman , the person who called Supergirl a barnacle on Superman, merely a 'Superman with boobs', and therefore expendable in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Supergirl fans have lamented the fact that DC back then didn't understand the worth of the character. Why couldn't they see what we saw?

Well, maybe the passage of time has softened Wolfman's view of the character. Here, Superman basically talks about all the wonderful things about this pre-Crisis Kara. He talks of her optimism and cheer. Her bright outlook has helped Superman through tough times. And everyone is better because Supergirl is around.

This is impactful because this version of Supergirl was trying to leave Superman's shadow, trying to be her own hero, trying to get his approval. Having him validate her here is incredible. Amazing that it came from Wolfman.

Best moment #3: Who needs a League to defeat Starro? - Justice League 3001 #2

I was completely surprised when Supergirl joined the Justice League 3001 book. But this was the absolute kapow moment from her first appearance in the title. Supergirl awakens into this crazy universe and immediately is faced with the threat of Starro. The world the League is trying to save has been overrun by Starro drones. In fact, the League has been struggling with this problem.

And then Supergirl arrives. And just like that, off screen, with no problems at all, Supergirl defeats Starro prime. We turn the page to see Supergirl, hoisting the giant starfish overhead, basically chatting with the Flash about how she used all her powers to end the threat.

Wow! This set up the entire feel for this character in this book. She is clearly powerful, the most powerful in the book. She isn't going to hold back when faced with evil; she is going to fight it. She is a force.

And all that is told in this one panel where we see how easily she defeats a super-villain that has held the entire Justice League at bay in the past. Incredible!

Best moment #2: Brainy and Kara, my one true pair - Justice League United #10

In one of my favorite stories of the year, Jeff Lemire had the JLU and the Legion of Super-Heroes team up to fight Byth and Infinite Man. This was a great arc in Justice League United and brought back a Legion that felt true to me.

The two teams engage in wild brawls and barely squeak by with a win. Afterwards, there is this quiet moment between Brainiac 5 and Supergirl. These two have never been together in the New 52 universe but they are always linked. We have seen similar scenes play out in comics, specifically in the Sterling Gates run.

Seeing this page was like a gut punch. I want these two to have a history, a relationship. So Jeff Lemire referencing it was spectacular. They do have a history in this universe because Brainy wonders if this adventure will change anything.

What will/would happen between them? We may never know.

But this nod to the past, to Supergirl's history, was greatly appreciated.

And that brings us to the #1 Supergirl moment of 2015.

Best moment #1: "You have proven yourself more than worthy" - Supergirl #40

These best of lists haven't always been easy to do, especially in the early New 52 years. That was a Supergirl that hated Earth, hated her family, hated Superboy,  hated her fate. It was a Supergirl who wanted to be left alone, who raged, who left Earth, died at the hands of her father, and ultimately became a Red Lantern. The DC realized they needed to change things. And so Tony Bedard and then K. Perkins and Mike Johnson came on board to rewrite things, to redeem the character. Bedard had her shed the lantern ring and become a hero.

Perkins and Johnson then really make Supergirl into the hero she is meant to be. That started when Kara is picked to be a student at Crucible, a universal school for heroes and leaders. After all that rubbish at the beginning of the New 52, to see Supergirl recognized as a future leader was great.

And then, in the final issue of the run, after saving the school from disaster, we got this moment.

To the leaders at Crucible, people who had trained the greatest heroes and leaders in the universe, Kara had proven she was more than worthy to be there. She was a hero amongst heroes. She was the leader of the next generation of heroes. All that other stuff was finally behind her.

I got chills.

We finally had Supergirl, the hero.

Of course, just when we get the Supergirl we all want and deserve, DC canceled the title. Such a shame.

So that wraps up my end of year review and the Top Ten Supergirl Comic Moments of 2015.

What did you all think? Did I miss anything?

Happy New Year to everyone!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Best Of Supergirl 2015, Part 2 of 3: Commissions And Merchandise

Welcome to Best of Supergirl 2015, part two.

With the show review behind us and before heading into tomorrow's Top Ten Supergirl Comic Moments of 2015, I figured I would put together something of a hodge podge post covering my year in commissions and the Supergirl merchandise solicited.

This has overall been a very good year for the character, starting with the advent of the television show and continuing with merchandising and her appearance in other media outlets.

But personally it was a very good year for me when it came to commissions as well.What I like about seeing this montage of all the sketches is the range of artists on the list.

I got commissions from legends Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez and Mike Grell.
I got commissions from newcomers Erica Henderson, Annie Wu, and Joelle Jones.
And I got commissions from established artists Yanick Paquette and Darick Robertson.
I think it is cool it broke down that way.

I also find it interesting that the 'hot pants' Bronze Age outfit was the costume in half of this year's commissions. I think I may start expanding the collection to other versions of the costume, maybe depending on the artist's strengths or interest level.

As for merchandise, Supergirl continues to be a popular subject for statues and figures.

Here is the 'Femme Fatale' statue which featured the Timm-verse white t-shirt costume. While I wouldn't consider Kara a femme fatale, I think this is a fun piece.

A statue based on the television show costume was recently solicited. This looks lovely.

And there was also a recent solicit for an action figure based on Darwyn Cooke's take on the character. I am most excited that this includes Krypto and Streaky.

There was also a very large Sideshow Collectibles statue of  Supergirl. It features her in the Michael Turner belly shirt costume. This statue is a bit too pricey and a bit too saucy for me as a fan. But I am happy that the powers that be felt she is popular enough to deserve this high end statue.

And while the show is the multimedia darling, Supergirl also made it to another small screen, the computer monitor, when we learned she would be one of the characters showcased in DC Superhero Girls.

The show is a silly sort of romp. It clearly leans on the tone and style of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic. The cartoons on the site are true shorts. And while Supergirl hasn't appeared yet, she is described as sweet, awkward, and fun loving. Sounds pretty good to me.

I also love the look with the golf shirt, Chuck Taylors, and gold trimmed skirt.

While I haven't seen any quite yet, there have been plenty of sneak peeks of all sort of DC Superhero Girls stuff, from toys to clothes, to action figures and dolls.

The site is a lot of fun and could be a nice gateway for young kids.

Lastly, you know that Supergirl is starting to sink in to public consciousness when you see things like this.

She was in a Jeopardy clue. Now that is reaching into the mainstream world.

So we have a great show and toys and statues of Supergirl in 2015. But what about her in comics?


Monday, December 28, 2015

Best of Supergirl 2015, Part 1 of 3: The Supergirl Show

Welcome to the first of in a series of three posts looking back at the Best of Supergirl in the year 2015.

It has been an incredible year for the character in many aspects as Supergirl has finally been brought into popular culture in a meaningful and incredible manner. While I tend to concentrate on the Supergirl in the comics here, there is no doubt that any 'Best of Supergirl 2015' coverage has to begin with the television show.

I am still in shock as a Supergirl fan that each week I get to see my favorite character on the small screen, appointment viewing for me and the supergirls at home. Insanity!

Of course none of that initial excitement would mean anything if the show wasn't good. And while I might be biased, I think the show has been incredible.

It all starts with Melissa Benoist as Supergirl.

I mean, she lights up the room with her performance of Kara. She has this infectious sort of enthusiasm when she is in the costume, doing heroic deeds and seeing the best in everybody. But most importantly, she brings the range of emotions you need to bring to the character. Sure there is that optimism and brightness. But there is a fiery streak she shows when she sees evil being done. There is the uncertainty of being a new hero. She can be shy as Kara. And yes ... adorkable. Supergirl can be the most vulnerable character while being the most invulnerable and Benoist captures it all. How I love the initial plane rescue scene and her happiness afterwards!

The rest of the ensemble cast really shines as well. I have come to really love what Chyler Leigh is bringing to the character of Alex, the brilliant, protective, and powerful older sister. Calista Flockhart has been brilliant as Cat Grant. Cat could have been a caricature but Flockhart is bringing some depth to the character, making her as much an inspiration as Supergirl. Peter Facinelli is smarmy, charming, and evil. And Jeremy Jordan, Laura Benanti, Mehcad Brooks, and David Harewood have also been great.

There have been some wonderful moments in every issue, covered exhaustively by me in the reviews.

But I think the one that gave me the most goose bumps was an IM conversation where Superman told Kara he was proud of her, saying she was doing great, and that he was impressed with her victory over Reactron.

Getting validation and appreciation from Superman is something of a running theme throughout Supergirl's history. Whether it is implicit (throwing her in an orphanage until she knows how to use her powers) or only perceived as such by Kara (in the 2003 reboot series), Kara wanting to earn the S-shield and Superman's respect is a theme. She wants to emerge from his shadow and be her own hero. This little electronic discussion is something I, as a Supergirl fan, have been waiting to read for decades. I got chills.

All the commentary on feminism, race, work conflicts, family issues, and love ... this emotional side of the show is solid.

And the show has really excelled with the special effects for the action sequences. From the plane rescue to Reactron's beams to Livewire's electricity to Hank's transformation to J'onn, this really has felt like a mini-movie week in, week out.

But it isn't just the effects, the 'Human for a Day' hunt for J'emm felt like horror movie. The fight sequences, whether Kara throwing haymakers or Alex emptying twin .44s into Jemm, the whole heroing side of the show is so well done.

Add to that just enough Easter Eggs to keep a hard core Kara fan attentive and you have a winning formula. I mean we have heard 'Maiden of Might', 'Guardian Angel', and 'Secret Weapon' on this show. Unbelievable!

I gush weekly about the show in episode recaps. So if you want more details, I would head to those posts.

But between all the publicity for the show and now the final product, it has been a fantastic year for Supergirl in the television medium. And now people who might not know otherwise recognize how great a character Supergirl is!

Happy 2015!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas And Happy Holidays

To all those who celebrate, Merry Christmas!

And a happy holiday season to everyone!

I'll be busy opening gifts and hanging with family, drinking egg nog and singing carols like a lunatic for the next couple of days. So no new posts until next week.

Reviews for this week's comics will also be delayed a bit for some 'Best of 2015' columns running Monday through Wednesday.

Thanks to all who come here and support the site! You all are the best!

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

An Early Holiday Gift: Belinda Zee

I was on Twitter the other day and I asked Eric Jones for an early Christmas gift.

I have never understood why DC hasn't published more Cosmic  Adventures of Supergirl. Landry Walker and Jones clearly want it. Lots of Supergirl fans want it. It is a no-brainer.

Anyways, I was bemoaning the lack of new Belinda Zee in my life and asked Jones for a doodle and he obliged, posting this new picture on Twitter.

Since some people might have missed it and since it is so fantastic and since I really miss the character, I thought I should share here. Heck, I might make a t-shirt to wear at next year's conventions.

Now, if only DC would do the right thing and put out a sequel!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Mike Maihack's 2015 Supergirl/Batgirl Christmas Comic!

I have gushed about Mike Maihack's Supergirl/Batgirl comics in the past. Maihack has this uncanny knack to get to the heart of these characters. From Supergirl's endless optimism and cheer to Batgirl's dour Bat exterior masking a brighter interior, these comics are pure pure joy.

One of the things about these strips is that Batgirl tends to be the 'straight man', the character who sees the insanity around her and might look at the crowd exasperated. Supergirl has been able to handle just about everything that has been thrown at the duo and the most Batgirl has had to do is shake her head.

So I love this year's Christmas strip. Realizing that Batgirl might feel unneeded, Supergirl gives her the best present ever. Purpose. She'll sit this battle out so Batgirl can save Gotham.

How can you not love the lower 1/3 of this strip, both characters smiling brightly, doing the right thing. Wonderful.

As always, a big thanks and Merry Christmas to Maihack for producing these strips. I love them.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Sales Review: November 2015

The comic market is a tough thing to follow if you are a DC fan. The absolute mega-media-monolith of Marvel has been dominating the market for so long that I think it is time to throw in the towel. There is no defeating the power of Disney, Star Wars, the Marvel movies, the cross-pollination on ABC and ESPN and the Disney channel cartoons. Marvel is everywhere and as a result they are crushing the comic market. And let's face it, the Marvel comic market is the dust on the flea of Disney. But good for them for promoting their stuff and producing good comics and movies.

Meanwhile, DC seems like a lost company. Their talent pool is limited. They don't know what to do with most of their properties. They keep deconstructing Superman, infantilizing Wonder Woman, and trying to be edgy and failing utterly.

This isn't abstract. This is concrete. Every month, ICv2 shows us the sales and just how bad DC is doing. Here is the sales charts from last month:

Superman #46 had Superman fighting his way through the mythology fight club, finding out where Hordr Root's lab was located, and battling a Sand Superman. There were some parts of this particular issue that were good. But it is still just a chapter in a story that hasn't grabbed the audience.

The book sold just over 42K, the 55th best selling book in the list, and far below characters who are less iconic.

Something is wrong here.

The only thing I am happy to report is that Max Landis' book didn't sell like gangbusters either (41K). I don't want the keys to the Superman universe handed to him.

A more classic version of Superman is available in the Superman:Lois and Clark book written by Dan Jurgens with art by Lee Weeks.

I was wondering if a strong showing by this book might lead to an overhaul in how Superman is presented these days.

The second issue only sold 22K meaning that there wasn't a huge push for this particular version of the book. This is still healthy sales for a mini-series looking at a past incarnation.

Still, I was hoping this would sell better.

And the only book showcasing a quasi-'in continuity' Supergirl? Well that is Justice League 3001, the book all old school DC fans should be reading.

Maybe we all are reading it. Maybe there are only 14K of us left?

I keep fearing this book is going to go away! Don't let this Kara head off to limbo! Please read this book!

Anyways, the solicits show a reversion to a powered Superman in a couple of months. Will sales rebound?

I can only hope!

Monday, December 21, 2015

March 2016 Solicits

The DC Comics solicits for March recently were released and there was a lot to look forward to. I know what you are thinking - 'that sounds like optimism'. Well, I am optimistic. And it seems like I am going to be broke as well.

The solicits can be found in lots of places but here is a link to Newsarama's coverage:

But it has been a while since I have truly been looking forward to a month as much as this one. I can only hope that I'm not let down.

Art and cover by SCOTT KOLINS

After a brutal defeat by Lady Styx’s legion, the remaining members of the Justice League are forced into hiding—but there are eyes everywhere. How do you hide in plain sight? You create secret identities. But will that be enough to elude Styx’s deadliest bounty hunter, Eclipso?

Another month, another month without 'Final Issue' linked to the solicit.

This book is so good. I'm not the biggest fan of Scott Kolins so I'll have to deal a bit with the lack of Howard Porter.

I love this all-female team. And the idea of the team being on the run makes sense given the outright corruption and darkness of the universe they are in.

And this is the second cover in a row with Supergirl front and center. And this looks like a different costume than the last. Could this Silver Age Supergirl be adopting the 'Adventure Comics' sensibilities of many different looks?

Cover by ANT LUCIA

While Lex Luthor continues to manipulate events behind the scenes, Kate Kane remains in the clutches of the Nazi Edel Nacht, who lays out his plans for world conquest. The inexperienced Huntress is determined to go rescue her, with or without Catwoman’s help. And Zatanna makes plans to cause trouble in the outside world, even as she remains imprisoned in the Joker’s Daughter’s cabaret.

Supergirl isn't mentioned in the solicit but this is the only other print book that Supergirl appears in.

Bennett has been doing a great job on this book. And I am thrilled to see Marguerite Sauvage back on art. The cover, with Luthor pulling the strings, is a grabbing as well!


Superman returns in all his glory in this very special issue that sees the Man of Steel back to full power as he faces his greatest enemy and also comes face to face with the pre-Flashpoint Kal-El! At last, it’s the meeting of the Supermen you’ve been waiting for!
This issue features open-to-order variant covers that will ship in opaque polybags.

First the good news. Superman has his powers back. He has his costume back. He is meeting the stranded pre-Flashpoint Kal. That is all good news. I will be happy if 'The Truth' fades into the background like 'Doomed' and 'Grounded'. Let's just get some Superman stories without gimmicks and deconstruction!

Now the bad news.
The cover is pretty bad. Superman's rib cage is just anatomically awful. Those are some Liefeld Captain America dimensions there.

And I hope this 'opaque polybagged' trick is a short-lived fad.

Art and cover by AARON KUDER
Polybagged variant cover by MARTIN ANSIN

Clark battles his way through Vandal Savage’s hordes to reclaim what is rightfully his—the Fortress of Solitude and his birthright! This epic anniversary issue leads to the finale of “Savage Dawn” in this month’s SUPERMAN/WONDER WOMAN #27 and SUPERMAN #50!
This issue features open-to-order variant covers that will ship in opaque polybags.

Love this cover by Kuder!
Very happy to see him back on internal art here. And looks like we come to an end of the Savage story. No mention of going back in time so maybe there will be no 'secret ID' rewrite.

And what of Hordr Root?

Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Cover by ED BENES
Polybagged variant cover by CHARLIE ADLARD

“Savage Dawn” continues from this month’s ACTION COMICS #50! A comet drawn by Vandal Savage to Earth is wreaking havoc across the globe—and empowering his children in the most dangerous way possible!
This issue features open-to-order variant covers that will ship in opaque polybags.

Every time I think I'm out, they pull me back in.
I suppose I'll get this issue given it ties in with the conclusion.

Written by TOM TAYLOR
Polybagged variant cover by TONY MOORE

The mystery of why Batman and Superman were brought into a cosmic murder case is revealed—and the ramifications for Superman are huge!
This issue features open-to-order variant covers that will ship in opaque polybags.

A vague solicit for a vague story from the past. Glad Paquette remains on covers.

Any ideas about the guy in the background?

Written by DAN JURGENS

Can even this Superman save Lois from the deadly vengeance of Intergang? Or will young Jon have to be the one to step up to this challenge?

Great cover here. Seeing the victims in the scope is a nice, iconic image.
I do like that the main villain here is something like Intergang and not a single villain. Will the whole 'oblivion stone' side plot tie in here eventually?

Written by NEAL ADAMS
Art and cover by NEAL ADAMS

The terror of Apokolips continues as the combined might of Kal-El and the warriors from Kandor fight back against Darkseid’s legions!

I get the sense I am not going to get all this series. This cover just doesn't work for me. I like the basic premise. I like Fourth World characters. But ... we'll see.

On sale MAY 18 • 688 pg, FC, $75.00 US
Collecting the Girl of Steel’s adventures from ACTION COMICS #252-307! As Superman’s secret weapon, Supergirl must adjust to life in the Midvale Orphange. The stories alternate between tales about friends and school, Supergirl’s efforts to master her new powers, and time-travel jaunts into the far future and distant past.

Oh my god!
This is a big surprise. A big, beautiful, expensive prize.
That is one big omnibus. It sports a gorgeous cover by Darwuyn Cooke who seems built to draw Silver Age characters.

But it is $75.00!
And I already have the two archives. And all these stories in the Showcase volumes. And a bunch of the floppies.
Do I need this book????
Can I say no????


In these tales from SUPERMAN #19-22, SUPERMAN ANNUAL #2 and ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #441-444, the mysterious Supergirl meets Superman for the first time! Plus, the Man of Steel faces Mr. Mxyzptlk, runs into the Doom Patrol and battles Metallo! And Lex Luthor is tricked into releasing criminals from the Phantom Zone—and it’s up to Superman to clean up his mess.

Another surprise!
This volume of the Man of Steel includes the Supergirl saga, the introduction of Matrix and the Pocket Universe.
I don't think this is enough to have me buy this. But for people interested in learning about the reboot of Supergirl, the origins are here.

Written by JEPH LOEB and others
Art by ED McGUINNESS and others

Collecting the unforgettable, twisted story originally from SUPERMAN #160-161, ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #582-583, SUPERMAN: MAN OF STEEL #104-105, ACTION COMICS #769-770 and SUPERMAN: EMPEROR JOKER #1. In this tale of a reality gone wrong, Superman must struggle against The Joker, Emperor of the universe!

Another surprise!
This was a crazy, wild story arc. It reintroduces Bizarro. It has some of the best Supergirl covers of the time and includes the flame-winged angel in the story. The art in all the titles is beautiful.

I would think this was a shoe-in for me to buy. But given the Supergirl show statue, the Cooke action figure, and the omnibus, I might have to skip it!

Anyways, start squirreling away the holiday money you get. A lot of cool stuff arrives in spring.