Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Supergirl House Ad

We are just a couple of weeks from the new direction of Supergirl hitting the racks.

We haven't seen much in the way of interviews or sneak peeks. I wonder if that is because it might be too spoiler-y given the impact on the Bendis run. Or if DC is waiting a little bit, getting closer to the release date.

At the very least, this week Supergirl got a push in the form of a house ad in the main DC books. Any publicity is good publicity.

"The last Daughter of Krypton is on the hunt for the monster who destroyed her world!"

Okay, it is a decent if somewhat deceptive tag line. She doesn't have to hunt Zaar. She put him in the Phantom Zone. Really, she is hunting for the truth. She is trying to get to the bottom of Krypton's destruction. But monster hunting is a better hook for the curious fan.

I will always gush about Terry Dodson's art and this image is powerful. But that is one angry looking Supergirl, carrying a giant axe and garbed in darker colors. While this isn't a dark Supergirl, it is a fierce one. I keep hoping that DC will give us an optimistic, inspirational Supergirl for more than 2 years. Hopefully Marc Andreyko doesn't make her lose her way.

But if there is one thing that struck me about this ad which made it work for me was the faces behind Supergirl. At first I thought they might be people she is investigating.

On closer look, there is a very Kryptonian vibe to all these people. Headbands like classic Kryptonians. Black hoods like Byrne-era citizens. Basically, these are the people who Supergirl is trying to avenge. These are the dead, either from Kandor or the planet. But either way, these are the people who deserve the truth to be known, who deserve justice. They are pushing her.

That image of the dead of Krypton spurring her forward is a good one for this direction.

So are people getting more excited? Or approaching with more trepidation?

I am glad DC is giving it some publicity.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Bullet Review: Wonder Woman #51

Wonder Woman #51 came out this last week, written by Supergirl alum Steve Orlando and drawn by DC Bombshells alum Laura Braga. And as an issue it stuck out to me for a couple of reasons, enough that I thought that I should bullet review it.

I'll start with the fact that this is the first issue since James Robinson's run on the book. Regardless of the quality of the stories, one thing that stood out in the Robinson issues was the lack of Diana. We had issues without Diana. We had issues where she only appeared on TV screens in the background. There were issues where she was only active on a couple of pages. It got to be so glaring that I saw people doing the hard math on Twitter, adding up the pages where she didn't appear at all and posting a percentage.

Here, Diana is on every single page.

Next I'll say that I like to think of Diana as an ambassador of peace first and a warrior second. She should be preaching ideals and only heading into combat as a last resort. We haven't seen that Wonder Woman for a while. What we have seen is a sword-wielding fighter, eager to feel the arterial spray of her opponents. Heck, she was the God of War at one point. The whole last arc, her fighting the Dark Gods, was a brawl.

In this issue, we have the healer Diana, visiting the super-villain Mayfly in prison on a scheduled basis. This is a Diana who cares. She wants to heal. She wants to help.

Last for now, because this book takes place over a year with multiple visits, we get to see Wonder Woman in all the variations of her costume, from eagle-helmeted combatant to robe wearing ambassador. And Braga revels in it. Truly wonderful.

For those reasons alone, this was worth showcasing. But there is one more thing to discuss that I'll touch on at the end.

On to the book.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Review: Action Comics #1001

 Action Comics #1001 came out this week, the first issue in the Brian Michael Bendis run on the title, and it was very close to an excellent comic. The problem is it simply doesn't stick the landing and as a result, the last thing I remember about this book is the thing I liked the least.

No big surprise, the thing I like the least deals with Lois Lane. Despite promises that Bendis made that he was not going to undo anything that Dan Jurgens and Peter Tomasi did on their runs, Bendis has torn apart the super-family. And frankly, that was one of the things that brought me the greatest joy in the Rebirth/Reborn era. Now, Jon is gone, soon to return as a scarred older teen. And Lois is angrily typing away at a keyboard, apart from her husband who doesn't even know she is on Earth.


Before that, we had a very solid issue of Superman investigating the fires that have been plaguing the city. We see him trying to figure out who is behind it. We see the Planet staff working on the story. We see the exhausted Fire Department not knowing where to turn. We see the entrenched organized crime within Metropolis responding to the fires. And all of that is written very well with great dialogue and strong artistic beats. I was eagerly turning the pages.

Patrick Gleason is on art and brings his strong style to the proceedings. His Superman is larger than life, broad chinned, barrel chested, and powerful in his symbolism. But the seedier scenes, the grimy Fire Station, the meeting of the mob, also work well.

We were so close to a great issue. On to the specifics.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

October 2018 Solicits

The October solicits for DC Comics came out this week and there are a couple of things which sound good, a couple of things which sound bad, and something that sounds like THE EXTREME 90s !!!

Here is a link to Newsarama's coverage if you want to look at all the solicits for the month:

One thing that stuck out immediately is Newsarama picking the Supergirl cover to spotlight the article. And no mistaking that that is Artgerm back on this cover. You might recall my postulating that Artgerm's variants for the book made it sell and extra 10K a month.

On to the relevant books and material.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Agent Liberty Coming To The Supergirl Show

Continuing my coverage of the upcoming Supergirl Season 4, I thought I'd do a quick review of Agent Liberty.

The announcement about Liberty's inclusion on the show was announced a week ago, naming Smallville alum Sam Witmer as playing the part. Here is a link and a blurb.


In the show’s interpretation on the character, Agent Liberty is the ruthless and terrifying founder and figurehead of Children of Liberty, a hate group that supports a human-first world order. According to a description from the show’s producers, he’s “a brilliant orator in the guise of a family man” and the scariest thing about him is how easily he can convince people that he’s right. Given that Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) and the DEO tend to be pro-alien integration, it’s definitely fair to assume they won’t get along with Agent Liberty and his Children of Liberty.

As I said in earlier posts and reviews, political stories are often delivered in a ham-fisted way on the show. So it is a shame that Agent Liberty, a star-spangled hero, is the terrifying founder of a hate group. I'm not denying the existence of hate groups. I am not saying that some of these groups hide behind patriotic iconography. I'm just saying that I wish that shows wouldn't add to that twisting.

Supergirl and Superman fight for truth, justice, and the American Way. They defend the flag and its ideals. I don't want kids to be watching a show and learning to hate the flag and America. Hopefully, the writers and Supergirl will present a solid counterpoint. That the Children of Liberty aren't representatives of what America means. Give me one shot of Supergirl standing hands on hips with the American Flag flapping in the wind behind her ... pretty please?

Anyways, onto the DC character.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Supergirl SDCC Wrap-Up

While my con season is right around the corner, the monolith of conventions Sand Diego Comic Con is in our rear view mirror. This convention, while on my bucket list, is really more about pop culture and mega-media approaches to our beloved characters. The big screen and small screen celebrities descend and give us all the sneak peeks.

Now there is a ton of coverage everywhere for you to deep dive. I'm going to just give some high level gut reactions to stuff that I saw. And clearly the biggest news to drop was about Season 4 of the Supergirl show. And I am both interested and a little worried. Bear with me. We'll start out with the official trailer.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Fan Expo Boston Preparation

Okay, we are moving at light speed towards my conventions season. I am lucky enough to have a several conventions be close by over the summer months and each con has a distinctly different feel to it.

The first con is Fan Expo Boston, formerly The Boston Comic Con. Last year was the first time Fan Expo was running the show, purchased from the local organizers. As a result, last year had a very corporate feel to it. It was moved to a bigger venue, one with free parking, and had more celebrities on the guest list. But it lost a little bit of the 'true comic con' homey feel the prior incarnation did. The comic guests seemed like a tack on rather than the draw.

Now I'm not complaining. I have Terrificon coming up to give me the true comic feel. And I don't mind experiencing a more business-like con here because it is probably the closest I'll get to San Diego.

This year's comic guest list is very impressive. Perhaps last year's success was enough to lure some big names. So I definitely have people to run and see. I also have a couple of commission hopes. So with all that said, here is my Fan Expo Boston con prep post.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Review: Justice League #4

Justice League #4 came out this week and has been the mode of this book, things happen crazy fast. There are huge plot points that are unfolding here. But there are so many, I feel like I only have a sense of what is happening as supposed to deep understanding. From the Totality to mystic glyphs to the Still Force to Ultraviolet Corps to the living evil sun Umbrax, there is a lot happening here. And I just haven't connected it all. It's a puzzle that I can see all the pieces but I haven't out together.

Scott Snyder seems hellbent on leaving me reeling as a reader. There is a big sense of grandeur here. This seems like a massive, universal threat; this is the sort of thing the League should be going after. There are enough small character moments to keep us invested in who the heroes are. But I'll admit, I feel a little bit confused. It's definitely a fun ride. I feel a little punch drunk.

The art by Jorge Jimenez is insanely good. Everything is just a bit stylized, just a bit off of reality, enough to keep it feel like a warped universal threat. I cannot get enough of his work here. It is frenetic, energetic, and brutal. This book is visually delicious.

But can it all be brought together. Will I be able to put the pieces together in a way that I actually understand what has been happening? Or is it one of those 'bigger than life' arcs where I simply have to let it wash over me.

On to the book!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Sales Review: June 2018

The sales (orders) numbers for June have come out and, as always, ICv2 does a great job laying out the numbers and talking about the market as a whole. Here is a link to the month's numbers:

 It seems like DC has been riding something of a creative crest lately. DC Metal was a huge hit. Scott Snyder/Jim Cheung/Jorge Jimenez are on one of many new Justice League books coming out in the aftermath of Justice League:No Justice. Brian Michael Bendis is on the DC side of the border and spearheading a Superman era. Tom King has been steadily bringing us excellent Batman stories. Joshua Williamson is redefining the Flash family. And other big projects like Heroes in Crisis, G. Willow Wilson on Wonder Woman, and Grant Morrison on Green Lantern are all in the wings.

It has the feel of a post-Legends DCU with so much unbridled creativity exploding onto the shelves but with the added feel that many of these things will stick.

So how did things sell?

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Back Issue Box: Green Lantern #65

The Marc Andreyko/Kevin Maguire new direction of Supergirl is still about a month away. That's a month without a new Supergirl book to review. So it was time to head to the back issue boxes to find a story to cover. My hope is always to try to find a back issue that has some echo to the current continuity or current storylines.

The new arc for Kara is her heading into space to investigate Rogol Zaar. And in doing so she runs afoul of the Green Lantern Corps. We have all seen the 'Wanted Dead of Alive' advertisement.

With the Lanterns playing a role, I thought I would try to touch on some interaction between Supergirl and Green Lantern. I have already covered the Red Daughter arc back when it was hitting the shelves. And I didn't want to cover Hal doing everything in his power not to hit on her in the Mark Waid era Brave and Bold.

Instead, I'll be covering Green Lantern #65, the second part of The Siege of Zi Charam storyline, from August 1995.  This is an interesting time in the history of Supergirl. This is the Matrix Supergirl. We are about one year out from the Roger Stern mini-series, a story where she finally separates herself from Lex Luthor and his control. We are also about one year away from the Peter David reclamation project for the character, making her an amalgam of Matrix and Linda Danvers.

So where was Supergirl in this time? I'll say 'a little lost'. I don't know if creators knew exactly what to do with her. She became a kind of member of The Titans during a hard time for that team as well. A lost soul from a pocket universe with no anchors to anyone, she even seems lost. And this issue showcases that very well. While Supergirl seemed to grow in Funeral For a Friend and beyond, that self-confidence isn't here. She is basically unmoored. Writer Ron Marz gives us some very good moments to Mae and Kyle Rayner as Matrix begins to open up.

Art is done by Ron Lim and he brings a sort of house style to the affair, a perfect look for the mid-90s. The women figures are very thin. Everyone has rather flat faces. But it is still a very pretty book to look at.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Man of Steel Homage Panel

I know I read into this stuff too much. But when I read The Man of Steel #6, I was struck by the panel on the right. Here, a forlorn Clark sits slumped in Jon's room, contemplating how alone he is.

When I looked at that image, I couldn't help but remember the image on the left, the last panel of part one of Alan Moore's famous 'Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?' story. They are too similar in composition for coincidence.

But if this is an homage, it’s begging to be compared and contrasted. Because enough is different to make me wonder if writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Jason Fabok were intending on making look at the pictures and the reality they are expressing.

And that need to differentiate them starts with the simple decision to have one be Superman and one be Clark and having them face opposite directions. Now doubt they are similar, close enough for the second to evoke the first. But they are very, very different.

Monday, July 16, 2018

More Supergirl Stuff!

As San Diego comic con approaches and Supergirl continues an unprecedented run of public interest, the character's merchandise list grows longer. I have to say that this particular run of announcements is very compelling to me as I try to figure out how to get it all.

First off is the blu-ray version of her movie from 1984. Here is a link for details:

This special edition of Supergirl presents the film's International Cut, remastered in High Definition for Blu-ray, along with the rare Director's Cut on a bonus DVD.

As most know, it has been years since I have seen the movie. I have always wanted to review it here on the site. Now it looks like I'll finally get the chance. I have only heard rumblings of the director's cut version so I can't wait to see that.

I am just amazed that the interest in Kara Zor-El has reached such a peak that the campy movie from the 80's is getting such a slick re-issuing. I can't wait to see Helen Slater gracefully flying and saying she doesn't scare easily again.

But wait there's more.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Review: Superman #1

Superman #1 came out this week, the first issue in the proper Superman titles for writer Brian Michael Bendis. With multiple covers and lush internal art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado, the book is something of an event, ironically coming out on the same day that Marvel started up a new volume of Spider-Man.

I was hoping to be floored by issue. I wanted to be so amazed by what I read that I was ready to declare myself all in on Bendis. I felt that The Man of Steel mini-series which started this new era seemed to fizzle a bit. I was questioning the direction the Lois/Jon plot went. I needed to just get that sense of joy and anticipation that marked me clamoring for more.

And I didn't quite get it.

That isn't to say that there aren't fine moments in this book. Bendis does a great job here of showing just how incredible Superman is as a hero. We see him effortlessly deal with multiple huge calamities throughout the story, showing us just how powerful he is and how dedicated he is to his duties. That was great. And there are small moments and mentions within the book that make me think the subplots and surroundings are going to be well cared for by Bendis.

Unfortunately, it is the big plot moments that have left me scratching my head. In The Man of Steel, it was the nonsensical decision to let Jon go off with the maniacal Jor-El, Lois in tow. That seems odd and out of character. Here, it is the presence of gentle soul J'onn J'onzz asking Superman to become a king over the world. That seems odder and more out of character. And that was so jarring that the rest of the book, which is delightful, seemed dimmer.

I have no complaints about the art. Reis and Prado bring a modern-day 'classic Neal Adams' feel to the proceedings. Whether it is space battles, office shenanigans, quiet moments at home, or chaotic environments, everything pops off the page. And as a fan of his watercolor covers on Justice League of America back in the day, I chose the David Mack variant.

On to the book.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

DC Nation #2

DC Nation #2 came out last week and I continue to be enthralled with this free magazine. Yes, it is free advertising for DC Comics. But there is enough solid material to make it feel more like just a commercial. There are interviews, behind the scenes process pieces, and creator profiles. For a comic geek like me, this is nirvana. You can't beat that price point either!

Now I'll remind you that this issue was originally solicited with a Supergirl headline. No such luck now. Maybe DC felt it was better to hold onto that article until we were closer to the actual release of the Supergirl book.

I can only hope she merits her own article.

But there was some Supergirl (and Superman) stuff in the magazine.

Her title does get a huge advertisement, the inside back cover.

So as someone who has wailed and gnashed my teeth against the 'Dark Supergirl' theme, I have to say I don't know if I like the 'Wanted:Dead or Alive' banner over Kara. Even the 'not recognized as a hero and sort of a criminal' vibe for Supergirl irks me. So I don't exactly know how to feel about an axe-wielding Supergirl being viewed as a criminal by the universe's police force.

Hopefully, this all turns out well.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Supergirl Show Season 3 Photo Booth Scene

I recently got a fabulous gift in the mail.

Eric Carrasco, a writer on the Supergirl show staff, sent me several of the photo booth strips of Kara fighting the Kalanorian Finhead, from episode 315: In Search of Lost Time.

The photo booth scene was a fun little moment in a very amusing opening scene to the episode. So to be able to hold the pics in my hand and look at it close up was great. This is a great souvenir for me to have from the show! I can't thank Eric enough.

But what events led to me having this in my hands?

Well ...

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Review: Justice League #3

Welcome to my review of Justice League #3 by Scott Snyder and Jorge Jimenez. And therefore, welcome to one of the more difficult reviews on the recent docket. As I mentioned in my review of last issue, this book is rushing along with the pedal floored. Incredible action, fantastical plots with speedy plot resolution, and new elements added seemingly every other page, this book is dense and fast ... how the heck is that possible!

Because of that, it is hard to write a review. How can you cover all the plot progression without just having the review be a synopsis? And how do you cover the amazing stuff within critically without overlooking some new nugget which is critical?

Trust me, this is a problem I wish I had to deal with all the time. It is a sign of quality.

Suffice it to say, Scott Snyder, continues to pepper this book with an amazing amount of story. I feel like I am riding the wave, letting it all wash over me as I try to figure it all out. Somehow, I think I am missing the forest for the trees. I figure at some point, I'll need to reread it all.

Jorge Jimenez shines as usual. The thing that amazes me is that Jimenez is somehow able to keep up with the story without making it feel cramped. This is an issue with 3 splash pages! It has several half page semi-splashes. And yet it is able to tell the story that Snyder demands. In particular, the Ultraviolet pages are just glittery.

On to the book!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Review: Last Siege #2

The Last Siege #2 came out this week and continued to weave a fascinating story of mixing medieval with samurai/spaghetti western sensibilities. A sole castle is holding out against a marauding warlord who is taking over the land. A lone stranger, well versed on martial arts, arrives to the leaderless castle with a decree from the dead king that he is in charge. Whether it is Yojimbo or The Magnificent Seven, a stranger aiding an overmatched land is a well traveled road. But that in medieval times feels fresh.

With the plot established last issue, writer Landry Walker decides to use this second chapter to nudge the story forward as well as giving us character motivation and depth. We are sort of in the same place we were at the end of the last issue but we know have a better sense of where we are going.

Really, the power of this issue is contrasting the stranger and his approach to the situation to that of Feist, the soldier almost put in charge of the castle. One is ordered and strategic. The other is unhinged and brutish. There will be more conflict ahead.

The art by J.K. Greenwood and Eric Jones really complements the plot points extremely well. It is the power of comics! Meshing words and art! There is that raw feel to the proceedings. fitting of the time period. But the Feist sections are intentionally muddy and almost messier, giving Feist a certain feel.
And yes, I got to the store early enough to get this moody Gabriel Hardman variant. Fantastic.

I'm enjoying this book a lot.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Review: Man of Steel #6

The Man of Steel #6, the last issue of the Brian Michael Bendis mini-series aimed to introduce a new direction to the Superman books, came out this week and I am very conflicted. This issue, and as a result, this whole mini-series, has significant ups and downs. It has major character moments that shine a great light on the players. There are others that make little sense with the characters' histories.
So I am struggling trying to balance the good and the bad in my mind.

From a mini-series point of view, I feel like it started with great momentum and polish but then sort of fizzled. There isn't much true resolution to any of the things which were begun here making me wonder why this needed to be a stand-alone at all rather than just twice a month issues running through both Action Comics and Superman.

Okay, let me lay my cards on the table so you can decide if you want to read the whole review.

First let's discuss the good. Entering this mini-series I was most worried about how Supergirl would be treated. Ironically, she is the character who I think gets treated the best here. Kara shines bright. Bendis gives Superman a good internal voice. His thoughts in battle are well done. How people react to Superman is spot on. So that is also good.

Now the bad. The Lois and Jon subplot makes no sense. I could also say it is terrible. There is no way that Lois, Clark, or Jon should act like they do. We never get to the bottom of Rogol Zaar or his mission. At the very least, we should have been given some closure on this plot thread. Instead, it is kicked down the road a bit. And those things are so irritating that they drag the positive down.

Of course, Jason Fabok's art on the issue is just stunning. There is a fine line and extreme detail that work here. It has an Ivan Reis feel to it which works well as a bookend to the first issue. His Supergirl is just spectacular. I have no complaints on the art here or in the mini-series as a whole.

On to the book.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

DC TV Gallery Supergirl Statue

A couple of weeks ago, I was a bit surprised to enter my comic store and find the DC TV Gallery Supergirl statue waiting for me.

You know you have a problem when you don't remember that statue you ordered. I had completely forgotten about it. Part of that is that I prepaid for the statue the day I ordered it with gift certificates I had for the store. It also was ordered months ago so had slipped my mind.

All that said, I am glad I did order it. What a great statue! And pretty affordable.

And big!

A great purchase.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Happy 4th of July - Fortress Destroying Fireworks!

Happy Fourth of July for those Americans who are here! I'll be taking tomorrow off as I kick back for a day off!

The Fourth is always capped with excellent fireworks shows and we have been witness to some big fireworks in comics recently.

But none have been bigger than the recent destruction of the Fortress of Solitude at the hand of Superman himself.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Back Issue Review: Supergirl #5

At the end of Supergirl Season Three, Kara exposes herself to Harun-El, a proxy for black Kryptonite. The last episode closes with a clone/copy of Supergirl wandering in the icy plains of Siberia

This isn't the first time we have seen a version of Supergirl split off after Black Kryptonite exposure. It certainly isn't the first time that we have seen a 'Dark Supergirl' emerge as a personality or doppelganger. Heck, on the show itself we have seen evil Red K Supergirl as well as Earth-X Overgirl.

I know the show runners have talked about Mark Millar and Dave Johnson's Red Son as a template for next season. But I try to look back at Supergirl history as it pertains to the character's current continuity. And that means I should look back at a Black K created Supergirl identity.

Unfortunately, that means looking back at Supergirl #5 from the 2005 series. 

Now I am going to be up front. This isn't a good comic book.

It certainly isn't a good Supergirl story. And there are a lot of things about it that I loathe. In fact, it was the bananas approach to this volume that prompted me to start the blog lo so many years ago. I couldn't stand by and think that there were people who only knew *this* Kara. So buckle up for a bumpy ride.

You need to remember that in 2005, Supergirl was a hot commodity. Jeph Loeb and Michael Turner had brought her back in Superman/Batman. Turner was a red hot artist and his lengthy, all torso, waif of a Supergirl was vivid, grabbing the attention of people. This was the return of Kara Zor-El, cousin of Kal. Her book exploded onto the shelves, initially selling a ton.

The title was helmed by Loeb as writer for the first arc. Ian Churchill had a cleaner line than Turner but brought the same aesthetic to the art, a sort of prurient peep at an ultra-thin, barely dressed Supergirl, pouting and punching her way through the DCU. Loeb had her angry at the world.

Supergirl #5 ended the first arc and had two initial covers, with Turner and Churchill swapping classic and dark Supergirl figures. It sold well enough to get a second printing, all Turner. And it rather muddily ended the story in which an evil Kara emerges from Supergirl to attack anyone who crosses her path.

Are you still here?

Okay, onto the events of the book.