Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Creeper!

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I have a great fondness of The Creeper, that wild superhero created by Steve Ditko in 1968.

Whether it is the absolutely insane costume, or the manic laughter the Creeper uses, or his occasional brutal justice that he metes out, there is something about the guy that hits me right. The Creeper finally made a return to the DCU in the new Rebirth continuity and all my pals reminded me to look for his latest incarnation.

And kudos to friend Mart Gray of the Too Dangerous For A Girl comic review site for forwarding to me the (I believe) only interaction between The Creeper and Supergirl! Creeper and Supergirl ... that's like chocolate and peanut butter.

This panel is from Justice League Unlimited #8, written by Adam Beechen with art by Carlos Barbieri. The League has to team up with the Creeper hoping his madness will help them track down the Madmen. I don't own this issue ... but now I have to find it!!

I love how Supergirl is ... well ... creeped out by the Creeper. Too funny!

Monday, January 30, 2017

April 2016 Solicits

The April DC solicits came out recently and there are some great surprises in store for super-readers that month. I have to say, since Rebirth I actually look forward to the solicits knowing there is going to be something to pique my interest.

Here is a link to all the solicits for the month:

And now on to the super-books!

A “Superman Reborn Aftermath” tie-in! Superman and Supergirl meet again for the first time to face the evil of the Emerald Empress! Plus, what does it mean for the Girl of Tomorrow when tomorrow promises a Dark Knight? Shocking revelations, all-powerful sorceresses from the future, the Batgirl of Burnside and dinner in the Wild West—they’re all here in this amazing issue!
Sounds like a crazy issue with a lot of elements. I can understand the Superman, Batgirl, and Emerald Empress references but 'the Wild West'? Where the heck did that come from.

Look, I have been waiting for Superman and Supergirl to interact so this makes me happy. I think Batgirl and Supergirl should be friends in the DCU so that makes me happy. I have been waiting for the Legion to return so that makes me happy.

Suffice it to say I am down for this issue! This was the best thing I saw in the solicits.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Review: Action Comics #972

Action Comics #972 came out this week, the finale to the God-Killer and a turning point in the relationship between Superman and Lex.

This has been a very interesting story with the hard look at Luthor and his motivations. More than any story in the past, this arc written by Dan Jurgens has made me start looking at Luthor as a potential good guy. And I thought I would hate that ... I want my villains to be villains. But this has been well written and thought provoking. I don't know if I trust this Lex 100% but I might give him the benefit of the doubt moving forward.

I will say, it does fly in the face of the 'evil, privileged, narcissistic, ___ insert another bad adjective ___ white male misogynist we have been seeing in Superwoman. I would wish that the group editor would see how these two concurrent story arcs really fly in the face of each other. Maybe I am asking too much?

The art on the issue is done by Stephen Segovia and Art Thibert and the two do a good job of handling the multiple aspects of the proceedings here. We have street level fighting on an alien planet, a chilling scene in Lois' apartment, and some strong emotional character moments. It all works very well.

On to the book:

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Sales Review: December 2016

The sales for December 2016 were posted over on ICv2 and I highly recommend heading over there for great insight. Here is a link: http://icv2.com/articles/markets/view/36511/top-300-comics-actual-december-2016

But I was very interested in seeing the hard numbers because this was the first month in a long time that two dedicated Supergirl comics were on the rack at the same time. Has Supergirl reached a level of popularity that she can support two series? Or, from a print viewpoint, is she still a steady 'middle of the pack' seller.

Suffice it to say, as an eternal pessimist, my glass is half empty.

Supergirl #4 continued the Cyborg Superman/Argo City storyline. In this issue, Supergirl breaks out of her prison and breaks through to her mother that Earth must live and Krypton has already died.

This issue also had one of my favorite covers in recent memory, Bengal's variant of Kara saving Streaky from a truck accident.

So how did it sell?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Supergirl Episode 209: Supergirl Lives

There were plenty of reasons why I was pumped to watch Supergirl Episode 209: Supergirl Lives. It was the first since the midseason break so I was clamoring for a new episode. Second it was directed by Kevin Smith and so I knew that there would be plenty of comic sensibilities and references. Third, we knew this episode was going to a red sun world. And everyone involved seemed to be buzzing about it on social media.

I was ready.

And I have to say, it didn't disappoint. There is plenty to like here as almost every character has some story progression. There is plenty of action. And Kara, as well as Mon-El, have plenty of inspiring moments. As anticipated, there is plenty of comic and pop culture references that made me smile. And the scope of this was grand, worthy of a superhero epic.

There are some quibbles, of course. The plot seems to resolve almost too easily. There are a couple of deus ex machina moments. And because every character gets some growth, Supergirl isn't the focal point. While I understand this is an ensemble show, I'd love to have just a bit more Kara.

But the wait was over. The season's stories moved forward. And I was entertained. On to the details!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) Action Figure

I woke up on Christmas morning to find a gift from my youngest daughter under the tree for me.

I was absolutely thrilled to open it and find the Melissa Benoist Supergirl action figure, one of the figures I was searching for. Yes, I know that the internet exists for a reason but it is the thrill of the hunt. The last time I saw this was at the Boston Comic Con where the dealer was charging a bit of an exorbitant price.

So there I was on Christmas morning with this special gift from my kid. This will be a cherished memory. My kids get me.

As for the figure itself, it is really nice. In particular, I have to comment on the face sculpt which truly looks like Melissa Benoist. For me, that is the best part of the figure. And the rendition of the costume is on point. Lovely.

There are plenty of articulation points but they were relatively stiff on mine, so stiff I was afraid that I might snap off the foot, elbow, etc. As a result, it was difficult to stand on its own. As a result, I had to dust off a figure stand (this time the Crisis on Infinite Earths one) to get the figure to stay upright.

The back of the figure shows nice detailing of the hair and cape. Very nice.

I am getting close to needing to rearrange how my collection is displayed. But, for now, this figure's home is near the headband costume section. This is mostly because the chevron belt and red skirt motif flows nicely here. Even the SDCC animated figure in the back has that style.

But this shelf is crowded and another has more space. So my guess is I have to rethink things soon.

But wow ... what a great Christmas gift!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Back Issue Review: DC Comics Presents #56 - Maaldor

The Supergirl television show returns from its winter hiatus this evening with a much anticipated episode directed by Kevin Smith. The episode titled "Supergirl Lives" has Kara sent off world to a red sun planet where she apparently engages in combat. Knowing how big fan of comic books Kevin Smith is, I have been looking for to this episode for some time. But a little nugget was released last week which made me knowingly smile. Apparently there is a new aliens species on this episode called Maaldorians. here is a link to that small new site:http://www.cbr.com/kevin-smith-teases-new-alien-species-in-supergirl/

There is only one reason to name the species Maaldorians. It has to be arrest on the character Maaldor, a  villain from the late 80s and first seen in DC Comics Presents #56. has this issue also includes Supergirl analogue Power Girl as well as including the heroes participating in combat, I thought this would be a fun issue to review here.

I also find it slightly interesting that this cover from 1983, closely resembles the iconic cover of Crisis On Infinite Earths #7. It is a powerful image by comic legend Gil Kane.

"Death in a Dark Dimension" was written by Supergirl scribe Paul Kupperberg and drawn by Superman legend Curt Swan with inks by Dave Hunt.

I always looked forward to these two characters interacting and so bought this book when it was first on the spinner rack. I didn't collect All-Star Comics and so only read about Power Girl in the annual JLA/JSA team-ups. Given that the premise of this story is Maaldor looking for a challenge, I wish this book was a true free-for-all with both Supermen, Power Girl, and Supergirl all thrown into the mix. But I guess space limitations would make that impossible.

The issue opens up with this nice splash of Superman using his body as a shield to block a plasma beam from space targeted for the Daily Planet. It is unclear where the beam originates from but given the trajectory, someone with great power or technology must have sent it on so precise a trajectory.

Superman heads into space where a bunch of meteors seems to target him, changing course and enveloping him before some rift makes him disappear.

Meanwhile on Earth 2, Power Girl has to shut down an electrical plant which seems to have been the origin of the plasma beam. She knows that makes no sense but she deals with it. She then has to rescue a plane whose engine simply shuts down. After the rescue, she also disappears.

During all these challenges, there has been a sense that someone has been watching the Kryptonians.

We cut to another dimension where a seemingly omnipotent warrior Maaldor has finally conquered his entire universe. He is a fickle and impatient lord, killing his followers and enemies alike with a mere thought. But he finally admits that he is simply bored.

Superman and Power Girl arrive together and before they can figure out what is happening, Maaldor tells of his plight.

He needs amusement and he hopes the Kryptonians can give it to him. He is angry and insane because nothing can stop him or even give him a moment's pause.

This reminds me of the famous Twilight Zone episode 'A Nice Place to Visit' where a crook dies and goes to a place where he always wins at everything but never has a challenge. In the end, the place turns out to be Hell.

When Kal and Kara refuse to fight Maaldor so he can 'get his jollies', he reminds them that he has an entire universe under his thumb. With but a thought he could commit murder, genocide on a massive scale. If they are heroes, they will fight him.

It is the right threat to hold over Superman and Power Girl. They could never let millions die because of their inaction.

And it is a nice ploy by Maaldor. He knows they wouldn't stand down.

Suddenly, Kal and Kara find themselves in an old fashioned arena, armored and armed with melee weapons while Maaldor and a crowd watch on.

The two quickly ditch the gladiator garb. They won't need that. And as an opening round, Maaldor sets monsters against Superman and Power Girl, beasts they quickly dispatch.

I don't always know if Swan was great at fight sequences, but this splash page with different angles, gives it a nice feel of a wild brawl. No structure.

With the monsters defeated, it is time for the main throwdown, Kryptonians vs. Maaldor.

What I like is that Power Girl is the one who takes the initiative. She isn't going to wait. She wades in, saying she has faced bigger threats with the JSA, and really hammers him in the gut. Incredibly, Maaldor shrugs it off.

And then, using just his mind, he seems to kill Kara with a thought.

She really appears dead. And that incenses Superman. Superman really seems to fly off the handle, vowing the beat down Maaldor.

There are several pages of straight up combat between the two. And again, Swan gives us a non-paneled splash page, filled with energy. And I really like that we see Superman using all his powers to try to get an upper hand. This has a frenetic feel as arena fights should feel.

But you understand just how powerful Maaldor is. He defeats Superman, almost too easily.

Really nice art here.

But before Maaldor can land the killing blow, Power Girl re-enters the fray. It turns out that the Kryptonian physiology is a little different than Maaldor is used to. His death stare stunned her. For the first time in a while, Maaldor is down.

And this panel is very well conceived. The angle, looking up at Superman, gives our hero the 'high ground'. And Superman breaking out of the panel border accentuates that as well.

But how do you beat Maaldor? He might be down but he isn't out. And knowing the death stare isn't enough, my guess is he could still defeat these two.

Ahh ... but Superman gives Maaldor the ultimate challenge. Can he face himself? Looking into his own soul??

It seems a little bit of a deus ex machina. I think Maaldor would look inside himself and be pretty pleased.

But instead, when he looks inside, and sees his black soul, he implodes.

Maaldor defeats himself.

Seems a little bit of a cop out. But when you set up an omnipotent being, you need something omnipotent to beat them. And that isn't easy.

Nice page again, the overlapping faces and eyes add that layer of insanity.

I especially love the ending.

The evil and insanity of Maaldor was so great that he has created a new plane of pure madness. It is so vile that Superman cauterizes the rift so none can spill out. So even if Maaldor is gone, his evil is not. I very much like that something as omnipotent as this villain wouldn't simply wink out of existence. He would persist in some way.

This isn't the last we see of Maaldor. He appears briefly in Crisis on Infinite Earths. And there is another DCCP issue where Superman enters that mad zone.

Hmmm ... maybe Maaldor is the madness zone between Earth and Meta in Shade the Changing Man?

Will the Maaldorians on the Supergirl show be as evil? Will we see an arena? Maaldor himself? I can only hope.

As for this issue, it is a nice look at the dimensional super-cousins. And certainly worth the $1 you would spend when you see it in the bargain bin!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Review: Superman #15

Superman #15 came out this week, the second part of the sweeping Multiplicity storyline, pitting the Supermen of the multiple Earths against a common enemy who is hunting them. Even though we are only two issues in, this story has a huge scope and the feel of a company wide crossover. I have really been caught up in it and that is great news as a reader.

Writers Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason lean on Grant Morrison's Multiversity mini-series, bringing in the Justice Incarnate team to team up with the Superman of Earth 0. They showcase many of the 52 worlds that were laid out in the orrery of worlds. In fact, Tomasi and Gleason might be in charge of defining some of Morrison's unknown Earths. At least one is defined in this issue.

But there also seems to healthy dollop of Final Crisis: Beyond Superman mini-series as well. I feel I need to go back and reread that mind-trip to see if it adds anything here.

This issue is a quick read. Artists Ed Benes draws the bulk of the issue's pages and Ryan Sook, Clay Mann, and Jorge Jimenzez fill in some place,  providing "big art" here. We get near splash pages, splash pages, double page splashes, and wide screen effects over two pages. This is the very definition of big art. And yet, despite the speed with which I read this, I felt this material deserved this treatment. This really is a sprawling story and big stories deserve big art. And shockingly, Benes reels in the cheesecake, giving us iconic hero poses rather than butt shots. I love the cover by Ryan Sook as well. What is more Superman than protecting a depowered Captain Carrot bunny?

Lastly, there is a reveal here ... a nameless reveal ... but it does cross off one mystery. Who is the villain here?

On to the book!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Supergirl #6 Bengal Variant - Superman #233 Homage - Edited

A couple of days ago, Steve Orlando tweeted out this pic (from Comicosity), the Bengal variant of Supergirl #6.

If you know me at all, you can imagine how over the moon I was at this image.

Everything about this works - the smile on Supergirl's face as she smashes these chains, the links flying everywhere, the power in this pose! It is just perfect.

And it is even more perfect because it is clearly an homage to one of my favorite comics of all time!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Review: Superwoman #6

Superwoman #7 came out last week and was something of an overstuffed and semi-confusing issue. One of my compliments about this book is that Phil Jimenez (as is his style) tends to really fill his issues with story. Between scene changes, inset panels, and strong dialogue, a Jimenez issue often feels like two issues. It isn't coincidence that Superwoman tends to be the last review I do the week it comes out. It takes me that long to digest.

But this issue felt as if Jimenez tried to put a bit too much into the issue without as much explanation or discussion as felt I needed. Things seem to happen and we move on before we learn why what happened happened. So why does the Superwoman Bizarro break free? Why is that Bizarro inexplicably ripped in half in one panel but whole a page later? What did Lena learn from the Kryptonite Man? When did Natasha make an squadron of armors? Etc etc.

It also doesn't help that another aspect of this story is to build up Lena at the expense of Lex. I just commented in my review of Action that Dan Jurgens is making me rethink Lex as a possible hero. Here, perhaps to narrate a hot political topic, we learn that Lex takes credit for Lena's work, steals her ideas, and is only who he is because of Lena. And I don't know if I need that wrinkle in Lex's story. Why play out feminism issues in Lex's origin, something pretty firmly set? Why not use all that story for a different villain with less history? It is a good story to be told but maybe not with Luthor.

The art is a mix of Jimenez, Jack Herbert, and Matt Santorelli and they do well mixing in the action sequences and talking scenes.

But still, I left this issue a bit reeling. I don't necessarily know what truly happened here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Review: New Super-Man #7

Since its inception, I have been enjoying the New Super-Man book. This book is a sort of wonderful mix of political intrigue, teenage angst, humor, and action from writer Gene Luen Yang. Where was all of this in 'The Truth'? Last issue ended the first arc with the Chinese Freedom Fighters defeated and the new Justice League united in uncovering all the dirty secrets of Dr. Omen and the Ministry of Self-Reliance.

New Super-Man #7 starts a new arc and really kicks it off in a great way. Remember, we have been thrown into the lives of these characters. We have a very good understanding of the personality of the Bat-Man and this book's Wonder Woman. But we know nothing of their back story. We don't know all their motivations. And so with this next arc, it looks like Yang is going to flesh out this world.

It also looks like Yang is going to upgrade or modernize the character of I Ching, the guru from Denny O'Neil's runs on Superman and Wonder Woman in the 1970's. I really look forward to see where this plotline is heading.

The art on this issue is by Billy Tan and his take is a much smoother, polished take on this world than usual artist Viktor Bogdanovic. While I have enjoyed Bogdanovic's inkier, scratchier stuff, this issue really sparkles. I wouldn't mind seeing Tan on the book as an official fill-in now and then.

On to the book.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Review: Action Comics #971

When I first heard that Lex Luthor was going to 'star' in the Rebirth Action Comics as Superman, I cringed. I was yearning for old fashioned excellent Superman stories. Rebirth seemed like the right time to return to greatness. Why give Lex the title?

Well, it turns out my concerns were misguided. Superman is definitely the lead in this book. But Lex is definitely an important supporting cast member. Rather than a 'twice a year' villain with a new gizmo, Lex is part of Superman's life, part of Metropolis' elite, and out in the open.

I sometimes miss the days of the conniving, hiding Luthor biding his time to unleash something horrific. But I have to grudgingly admit that since Rebirth I have been interested in Luthor and his character. There are layers here ... whether onion or parfait ... and peeling him back to try to get to his core has been a very engaging read.

Action Comics #971 continued the 'Trial of Lex Luthor' storyline in which Luthor is being tried for crimes he has yet to commit. Hearing Luthor plead his innocence and seeing him hope for a Superman rescue has been intriguing. But this issue, we flip things on their head. Suddenly it is Superman that needs the saving. It is Superman who might be judging people too harshly. And it is Lex who has to stand up as the hero. And that is fascinating.

I live for the day when villains can all be villains and not have sympathetic back stories. But if I am going to be reading this sort of Lex, a character awash in gray areas, then I am glad it is being written like this.

The art on the book is by Stephen Segovia and I am impressed with his breadth. This issue flips from Metropolis to Nideesi to some unknown jungle world. That can't be easy.

On to the book.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Review: Supergirl #5

Supergirl #5 came out this week and was something of a statement issue for this new direction. Writer Steve Orlando fills this issue with scenes showing Kara's strength, resolve, and her sentiment towards her new world. If you want a primer on who this Supergirl is, you might start here.

One of my minor complaints about this Rebirth book has been the theme of Supergirl needing to recognize Earth as her home and say goodbye to Krypton once and for all. While that is clearly an important aspect of the character's life, it had been told already ... and recently.

I suppose DC might say that not enough people were reading the last title to have it be in the collective memory. After all, one point of Rebirth was to bring in new readers. But for someone invested in the character, some of the ideas bandied about here - Kara missing Krypton, unsure how much she likes Earth, even a little annoyed by the low-tech here - has been well trod material.

Still, I should be lighting a candle here. Based on the things Kara does and says here, it looks like this plot isn't going to linger. We know how Kara feels about Earth now and she sounds pretty resolute in her acceptance and love of the planet. I am thrilled.

Brian Ching brings a real energy to the proceedings too. I have to say I am slowly warming to his style. Some things still irk me a little. But overall, this issue really buzzed art-wise. There was a real dynamic feel that flowed. And there can be no denying that Natalie Dormer is his model for Supergirl. Look at every panel and see if you don't see Dormer there. Uncanny.

On to the book.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Stanhope Sighting

As a longtime Supergirl fan, I am thrilled when creators recognize her history and mythos. When writers throw in nibbles of prior continuity or bring back Supergirl-specific Rogues, it brings a smile to my face.

And it seems like current Supergirl writer Steve Orlando is doing just that. We already saw him name drop  Leesburg   in Midnighter and Apollo. In the Supergirl book, he named the DEO base #252. We saw a glimpse of someone who might be a main universe Belinda Zee.

And now in the Justice League of America: The Atom one shot, Orlando name dropped Stanhope College.

Here at Ivy University, Ryan Choi meets his dude-bro roommate Adam Cray.

Cray almost when to Stanhope for their rugby program. But instead he ended up a Ivy.

Stanhope College!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Back Issue Review: Supergirl #8 (1972)

This week I re-watched the Supergirl show episode titled 'Medusa', the mid-season finale for the show. Thankfully, the show returns in a couple of weeks.

But the idea of Supergirl and Medusa in the episode reminded me of Supergirl #8, from way back in 1972. This is a story where Supergirl fought the literal Medusa, not a virus named after the Greek gorgon of myth. And it is such a ridiculous story, I felt that I needed to share.

And trust me, this is pure 1970's comic zaniness. The plot doesn't make 100% sense. It is moves at a rocket pace. More happens in this issue than two years worth of comics these days. We travel the world. And the action is insane. Sometimes you just need to sit back and immerse yourself in the crazy. If you do, you will love this issue.

At the very least, we get to see Hawkman, Batman, and Green Lantern turned into statues. I mean, how can you look at this beautiful Bob Oksner cover and not want to read this!

Get read ...

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Sterling Gates Writing For The CW Supergirl Show & Other News

Back in late December, Sterling Gates tweeted out this mysterious photo. At the time, it was unclear just what he was doing on the set of the Supergirl show but everyone was excited that one of the best Supergirl comic writers was somehow involved with the televisions series.

Last week, Supergirl TV unraveled the mystery and announced that Gates wrote an upcoming episode for the show! Here is that link: http://www.supergirl.tv/sterling-gates-writes-ep-13    Furthermore, it is now known that Gates will be writing the episode with Mr. Mxyzptlk!

As a Supergirl comic fan, I am thrilled that Gates is getting this opportunity. And we know that he feels comfortable with this version of Kara given the excellent Adventures of Supergirl run he wrote last summer.

I also know that Gates is a huge Superman fan as well. I can't wait to see what mischief Mxy is going to be up to. As written here before, Mxyzptlk has plenty of history with Supergirl in all incarnations. He has done everything from destroy her middle school to want to marry her. So will this be a silly 5th dimensional imp? Or an evil sorceror type?

Episode 13 is scheduled to drop on 2/20 (if my math serves me right). Can't wait!

More recently,  the show got early word that they will be back for season 3! That's incredible. Here is some coverage by Entertainment Weekly: http://ew.com/tv/2017/01/08/cw-supernatural-arrow-flash-renewed/

Think about how much we fretted over the show coming back for season two. Hearing that the CW recognizes what they have and committing to it! This is thrilling!

And then even kookier "news". The Music Meister, famed one-shot villain in an incredibly entertaining episode of Batman Brave and the Bold television show, has been named as the villain in the musical crossover episode between Flash and Supergirl. Here is a link: http://tvline.com/2017/01/08/supergirl-flash-music-meister-musical-crossover/

I think as soon as the musical crossover was discussed that fans everywhere clamored and begged for the Music Meister to be the villain. I guess this is news but it isn't surprising.

Incredible stuff all around!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Injustice 2 Upgrades

During the holiday season, another preview of Supergirl in Injustice 2 video game aired here:

As I have said before, I am not a gamer. I used to be but adult life simply means I can't devote the time to video games that I used to. (Maybe if I didn't blog so much?) But seeing snippets like this always tempt me. Maybe some of my buddies who are more active in gaming can be lured into playing.

The graphics here are incredibly good, even better than the early images we saw in the prior  Injustice 2 preview.

It starts with this new costume with the sleeveless shirt and the gladiator shoulder pads. This is Injustice, a brutal fighting game. Having a costume that resembles in some ways a warrior or even a professional wrestler makes sense. The face and expressions are fantastic. She looks young and vibrant and close enough to real to make her shine.

But it is the powers that were the real lure.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Review: Superman #14

The Superman books have been firing on all cylinders since the #Rebirth event rebooted things. With the pre-Flashpoint Lois and Clark headlining the books, there has been a re-invigoration to the proceedings and a rediscovery of the basic tenets of what Superman should be.

Now we are six months into this 'new' universe and it is time to put the pedal down. We know the mystery of Mr. Oz and the human Clark Kent is going to be addressed in just a couple of months. And now we have this opening chapter to Multiplicity, a story which feels like a sequel to Grant Morrison's Multiversity seen through a #Rebirth lens. And I couldn't be more thrilled.

Superman #14 was written by Peter Tomasi and Patrick Gleason with art by the mega-event team of Ivan Reis and Joe Prado. It has two great covers but I prefer this variant by Andrew Robinson which is a riff off of Crisis #7. And the issue is a great opening chapter to this new arc in which there is a multiversal war against all the Supermen that exist. This issue for the most part is a long fight sequence. I suppose my one quibble would be to wonder if the fight could be briefer to give more story. But I suppose the length of the battle was needed to cement the threat level.But enough crumbs and hints were dropped around the fights to grab me. The art is gorgeous. Having Reis and Prado as the artists gave this a sort of summer blockbuster feel. I want to read more now and that is always a good sign.

And I suppose I do have more to read. I think I need to break out the main Multiversity mini-series, the Multiversity Guidebook, and even the Final Crisis: Superman Beyond mini. And that's a lot of Morrison. But I think they may remind me and inform me about some things I might be missing.

On to the book!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

March 2016 Solicits

The March solicits for DC Comics were released earlier this month and as usual there were a couple of surprises and some interesting things to mull over. I have to say, I am very excited for March not only for the Supergirl stuff but also the Superman stuff. It seems as if things might be coming to a head with the summer peeking around the corner when these issues come out.

While I'll be looking forward to the super-books, here is a link to look over all the solicits:

Variant cover by BENGAL
“Mission Mind”! Supergirl’s powers mean nothing when she’s trapped inside the consciousness of a killer. Creeping through the mind of a Kryptonian monster, Supergirl finds herself on a suicide mission to return Lar-On to sanity inside the D.E.O.

This seems like a great concept. Supergirl in Lar-On's mind trying to help his madness. These sort of Dreamscape stories give the creators a lot of liberty which should make this interesting.

I don't know Matias Bergara's art at all so I look forward to see what he brings to the book!

And there are more books!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Review: Action Comics #970

Action Comics #970 came out last week, the fourth part of the Men of Steel story arc. Written by Dan Jurgens with art by Patch Zircher, the book is also tagged as The Trial of Lex Luthor. I have to wonder if Dan Jurgens is thinking of this arc as a sort of companion piece for The Trial of Superman arc from the mid 90s that he helped write. In that arc, Superman is being held on trial for the sins of his ancestors, crimes he didn't commit! In this story, Luthor is being put on trial for crimes he also hasn't committed but for crimes he is fated to commit.

This story, I suppose, tries to help answer the old philosophy questions 'would you kill Hitler as a baby?' What will Superman do when he learns that Luthor might become a universal despot and kill billions? Does Luthor's prior actions make Superman debate things more? And does the incarnation of Lex this Superman is most familiar with being overtly evil make the decision even harder?

It becomes an interesting conundrum for Superman and one thing I like about this is that Superman vacillates a bit. Spare one person who is destined to kill billions across the cosmos? Or let him rot in prison? Or save him?  This is a hard question to answer ... that's why it is an age-old philosophy debate.

As usual, Patch Zircher brings incredible art to the proceedings. Given one scene in this issue, I hope that Zircher gets the chance to draw a New Gods book at some point.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Review: Supergirl Being Super

Supergirl Being Super came out last week, a sort of Elseworlds by any other name look at Supergirl's origins. This is out of continuity. The main themes are there. Supergirl is sent to Earth at a young age (here younger than usual ... around 8 years of age). She feels unbelievably different than those around her. She is trying to find herself, define herself. All of that sounds pretty much like any Supergirl story since 1959.

But this is an origin written by Mariko Tamaki with art by Joelle Jones which takes place in current times. So the super-powers are, at least for me when I read this, sort of in the background. This is really a coming-of-age story but for someone who has extraordinary powers. Anyone who has lived through that tumultuous period of life called adolescence knows any difference feels enormous. Kara trying to figure out who she is should resonate with anyone who has asked these big questions to themselves as a teenager.  It's just that her difference is that she is an alien and can lift tractors. But it can still be as mundane as the self-consciousness as a giant zit.

And, of course, she is hiding the fact that she has powers which muddies things even further. When you are different and you hide those differences, bury them, it can lead to isolation and pain. I am sure we can all substitute any number of things instead of super-powers that can lead to desperation and emotional turmoil.

I will freely admit as a heterosexual white male just into the back half of my forties that I am not the target audience for this book. That said, I was a lonely unathletic nerd in high school who luckily had friends who understood me so this still resonated. Those adolescent wounds run deep.

Tamaki does a great job showing us Kara's life and how she is reacting to things in it. It all reads very natural. Joelle Jones is just superb on art, bringing expression and energy to the proceedings. I feel like Jones has dialed things down a bit from the super-stylized stuff I have seen from her in Lady Killer. But the art still is powerful. Sandu Florea's inks are clean and Kelly Fitzpatrick's color palette is spot on. And it all starts with that cover. This perspective of the 'upside down' Kara shown to us right side up is just engaging.

As this is a new concept, this review is pretty lengthy, so bear with me. On to the book.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Late Review: Superman 13

Superman #13 came out two weeks ago but holiday posts and end of year reviews kept pushing this review to the back burners. With the New Year here, I figured it was time to cover this issue. But as it is relatively dusty, I won't be going into as much exhaustive detail as I usually do.

For me, the main thrust of this issue is for us, as readers, to compare and contrast Frankenstein and the Bride of Frankenstein with Superman and Lois respectively. Frankenstein is chasing a villain Kroog and is justifying his actions to Superman (something Superman needs to do frequently). And Frankenstein and the Bride are no longer together, split because of what happened to their son. I am hoping that this is creators Gleason and Tomasi contrasting the couple and not foreshadowing something terrible in store for Jon and Clark/Lois.

Doug Mahnke is a favorite of mine and his action and his page construction sparkle here. In particular, I think Mahnke shines in quasi-horror stories so using the Frankensteins in his issues was a smart move.

On to the bullet review: