Wednesday, October 31, 2018

2018 Jack O'Lanterns

Happy Halloween to every one who celebrates the creepy holiday!

I love the day for it's inherent fun. Costumes and candy! There is no downside.

But my particular niche of Halloween is jack o'lanterns. Every year I plan out a couple of pumpkins to carve and I try to elevate my game. I usually try to include one specific comic character having done Supergirl (duh), Flash, Reverse Flash, Rocketeer, Sensor Girl, and Wildfire in the past.

This year, blog friend Ryan Daly recommended that I honor the passing of Steve Ditko with one of the lanterns. Folks know that I love Ditko's DC stuff - Shade the Changing Man, Hawk and Dove, the Question, and Stalker are all faves of mine.

But this is Halloween. So it seemed more appropriate to pick something more horrific.

What could be more nightmarish than The Dread Dormammu!

I am pretty stoked about this lantern as it tool a lot of fine and delicate knife work. That head is basically floating except for the horn connections so that it precarious and unstable. One of my favorites no doubt.

So what else did I do?

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Supergirl 403: Man Of Steel

Supergirl episode 403, titled 'Man of Steel', aired earlier this week and was a very interesting episode for this show. I am going to very intrigued to gather up all the reviews of this episode to see where consensus falls.

First off, this is an episode completely dedicated to the villain. It shows us how Benjamin Lockwood, upstanding and open-minded family man was radicalized into becoming Agent Liberty. Our main characters are present but often as ancillaries to their scenes, more as a way to showcase how they impacted Lockwood's descent. Now some might call this a sympathetic look at the villain. But for me it was more of an opening for a redemption arc. This isn't me forgiving Liberty or understanding him. He is the villain in this piece right now, burning down factories and killing innocents. And the show certainly had a pretty clear message on toxic masculinity. He isn't sympathetic. He isn't misunderstood. He is a person twisted into something horrible by fear, hatem and circumstance. He is evil.

But already in two episodes we see how one of this season's themes is Kara as an inspiration of hope, a beacon of truth. We hear Alex say Supergirl can change people's minds. There is no doubt in my mind that the season finale is going to be Supergirl changing Agent Liberty's mind, or maybe his followers' minds. For us to believe that Kara can break through, we need to understand his roots.

As daring as this villain's episode was, it was just as impressive regarding the internal continuity of the show. Lockwood's story starts with a reference to Supergirl's 'Hope' speech from season one's finale and meanders through the big events of the first three seasons. From Alex's long hair and claiming to be an FBI agent to shots of Cat Grant to seeing James as acting CEO to wardrobe continuity, the Supergirl staff just nailed it. This show has a history that can be leaned on so why not do it. I was amazed.

The message of the episode is clear. But it is well-told and nuanced, not ham-fisted. I appreciated that.

On to the show.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Bullet Review: Superman #19

One of my missions recently has been re-collecting the earliest appearances of the Matrix Supergirl in the John Byrne run of Superman. I wasn't collecting Superman books on a monthly basis until Panic in the Sky and many of these issues were lost in 'the Parental Purge' so finding them again has been something of a fun little side mission.

This week I was lucky enough to stumble on Superman #19 in the dollar box. This is definitely an early appearance of this 'Supergirl'. We first saw her frozen in ice at the end of Supergirl #16.

So get ready to meet this mystery woman again!

Down in Antarctica, she has been thawed and is very much awake.

She is downright ginger and totally Lana-ish. That is completely appropriate given who this Supergirl turns out to be.

But she is also confused. She know she has a mission and she knows she needs to get to ... Smallville.
Back then, we Supergirl fans were as confused as she was. We had heard over and over, and seen over and over, that Supergirl was she was in the pre-Crisis DCU was gone. Heck, we weren't even supposed to mention her name!

And yet, here was this woman.

I wonder if this was a coloring error but I like the look of the blue leggings on this panel.

It reminds me very much of what Landry Walker and Eric Jones had her wearing in Cosmic Adventures. Of course in the very next issue, this flipped to the standard skirt that we are used to.

And this is also a rather mature appearing super-woman here.

Interesting, in looking at the site, I have never reviewed The Supergirl Saga, the end of the Byrne run on the Superman books. Hmmm ...

Friday, October 26, 2018

Review: Action Comics #1004

Action Comics #1004 came out this week and it was the first issue of the Brian Michael Bendis run on this title that left me a little cold. One of the biggest problems I have had with the reboot has been the removal of Lois and Jon from the book. This issue brings back Lois but does it in such an awkward and odd way that I had to wonder if Bendis has been reading Superman at all.

After a couple of years of a truly loving super-family in the Tomasi and Jurgens written Rebirth books, eliminating Jon and Lois seemed short-sighted. Still, I have very much enjoyed Action Comics since Bendis took over. I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he would be able to bring back the Kent family in a way that I could understand and appreciate.

Instead, in this issue, we find out that Lois basically 'needs space' and decided to stay hidden without talking about it with her husband. It is only after he 'discovers' her that she opens up with her concerns. Now you might say that plenty of couples have ups and downs and this could ring true to real life. But Lois never really is able to explain what it is that was missing before. She says she needs room to write but she wrote when she was with Clark as a couple, prolifically. Two books as Author X as well as her Planet stuff.

Even more perplexing, Clark just seems to accept it. You would think he'd have more questions.

And the Jon stuff is glossed over. Remember, their kid is now alone, in space, with a mass murderer who tried to foment chaos on Earth to convince Superman that humans are horrible and worthy of genocide. Not exactly good parenting 101.

All that said, Ryan Sook's art is so wonderful it just sings on the page. From the brief action scenes to the conversations in the Planet to the heart-to-heart Clark/Lois scenes, Sook's work is superior. His expressive work is just wonderful. That alone elevates the book.

Still, this just left a sour taste. On to the particulars.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Thom Zahler Commission

I am continually floored by the generosity of the comic community on line. And I have been lucky enough to find myself in a section of fandom who are the nicest and most generous group of people I know. Just last month, the Sutherlands sent me a great Ron Randall commission.

Yesterday, I received a package from The Irredeemable Shag, one of the co-founders of the excellent Fire and Water Podcast Network. At the Baltimore Comic Con, he saw this original drawing by Thom Zahler and picked it up for me. What a tremendous gift and what a perfect commission.

There is so much to love about this. This is classic Bronze Age Supergirl and Brainiac Five. There is a playful feel to the piece. I get the feeling that Supergirl is trying to sneak up on Brainy to give him a hug but he knows she is swooping in and has put his force field on. Her dreamy expression and his self-satisfied half-smile say so much. The addition of the force field line adds a little kinetic feel as you get the sense Supergirl as kind of bumped into it.

Add to that a feeling of depth with the color palette, from the shades of purple in Brainy's worksuit to Kara's hair, and you get a superior piece.

Given the addition of Brainy to the Supergirl show, this piece feels even more relevant now than usual. Of course, long time Kara fans love this relationship. Heck, even as an old man I can say without shame or embarrassment that I ship them.

I loved Zahler's Love and Capes comic and just found his Warning Label comic on-line. Totally visit his site for fun stories too!

But the real story here is the generosity of Shag. Thank you so much for the gift! Totally unexpected and appreciated! I owe you one!

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Supergirl Episode 402: Fallout

Supergirl episode 402, titled 'Fallout', aired this week and truly was a show about the fallout of the reveal to the world that President Marsdin is an alien. With this Earth already torn about alien rights, this was, as Otis said, the perfect fuse to light the bomb. Certainly, this episode leaned heavily onto the theme of this season. It looks like the main storyline will be about respecting and accepting people who are different than us, assuming their actions are good. So while it might seem that aliens are an easy substitute for immigration issues, I think this can apply to other marginalized groups who feel attacked.

One of the things that I liked about the premiere episode was that it set the tone and the theme of the season in motion without being too heavy-handed or preachy. This episode sort of continues that mode. Certainly, people speak with weighted words which sound more like a script than normal conversation. But the writers here do a good job of showing both sides of this issue while clearly standing up for one. For me, I applaud them.

Let me start out by saying that this Earth has every right to be worried about aliens since for three seasons an army has come and tried to brainwash, take over, or kill everyone. The planet has been subject to alien army invasions and terra-forming. People should be nervous. That said, not all aliens can be painted with the same villainous brush, nor should they be. At the very least, the show comments on all of this. The bottom line is clear, as said by Supergirl in this very episode. People, alien or not, should be judged on what they do, not where they come from.

Political agenda aside, the episode also is entertaining to watch. This isn't a documentary; it's a super-hero show. We see Supergirl in action. It is clear she is a big deal on this world, hanging out with the President and addressing the world. We see her hiding her powers while acting as Kara, a nice fun lift in the middle segment. We see character growth in all the mainstays. But this is most apparent in Nia Nal who goes from nervous cub reporter to open force for justice. And seeds for future plots are planted.

I liked this episode a lot, albeit a little less than last week's. Onto the particulars.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Show News: Elseworlds And Lex!

How amazing are the CW crossover events?
First we had a take on Invasion.
Then we had Crisis on Earth X .
Now we have Elseworlds.

I have always been impressed with these arcs just for the scope. It must be crazy to get the casts of multiple shows together at the same place to film at the same time.

But I have very much been impressed with how deep these lean into comic history, stuffing the episodes with Easter Eggs for the astute comic reader.

The Network has been cranking up the publicity for this year's by releasing some pictures to whip up people's interest.

It starts with this poster where we see that in this Elseworld, Barry has become Green Arrow and Ollie has become the Flash. Now that is an Elseworld. I do wonder if this is how we will see Batwoman; she is the Batman on this world. It isn't as if we haven't seen such gender flops in Elseworld's before in comics.

Seriously, this poster alone made me giddy. But the best was yet to come.

Monday, October 22, 2018

January 2019 Solicits

The DC solicits for January were released this week and it looks to be an interesting 5 week month. Here is a link to the entire list:

One of the most interesting sites was the return of the 'Prestige Format' in a number of books released in the 5th week. I'm a huge fan of that format. Unfortunately, the 2018 price tag of $8-10 bucks makes the 'impulse buy' of them unlikely. The hook or idea has to be huge to prompt the buy. Is something like The Other History of the DC Universe, mini-series looking at characters who have felt different or prejudiced against, bold enough to bring me in? Or am I more likely to get the silly sounding anthology Mysteries Of Love In Space?

Another fascinating piece is the return of Young Justice, spotlighted below. But we are here for the super-books. On to those issues.

written by MARC ANDREYKO
variant cover by STANLEY “ARTGERM” LAU

Supergirl…super-captured! Still recovering from radiation poisoning, Kara finds herself in the clutches of the Citadel and its ruthless leader Harry Hokum, who is eager to experiment on one of the last Kryptonians in the known universe. How is Kara supposed to track down answers to her Rogol Zaar/Krypton mystery in the midst of a Vega System civil war? And you don’t throw a civil war in the Vega System without the Omega Men returning—even some long-lost ones!
ON SALE 01.16.19

I can't help but notice that Artgerm is back on the variant cover. Remember everyone, this is a business. If Artgerm on the book lifts the sales by 10K, maybe they should keep him on variants.

Kevin Maguire is on art again. I don't know how the Shaner/Maguire duties are being divvied up.

And I like the sound of the plot as well. If Supergirl is out in space, you may as well bring in the more cosmic stuff. Omega Men? Why not? Give me some Primus and Tigorr please!

In fact, why not have a crossover with JL Odyssey!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Review: Justice League #10

Justice League #10 came out this week, the opening chapter of the upcoming 'Drowned Earth' storyline. Written by Scott Snyder with art by Francis Manapul, it is a crackling issue, an excellent opening chapter which gives us the skeleton of the story while continuing to nudge forward the subplots which are the underpinning of this title.

Scott Snyder has been keeping his foot on the gas pedal in this title and this issue continues that pace. But while giving us a decent amount of exposition about the main plot, he also peeks in on the other members of the League, all of them busy with the current Legion of Doom threat. And, as if that wasn't enough, he also injects a lot of DC history into the issue. We get guest stars and mentions that deepen the continuity of the universe. For an old timer like me, I love seeing and hearing about these corners of the DCU.

Artist Francis Manapul really brings his A game here. As has been typical of the book, we are given crazy scenarios and locales, larger than life stuff, and Manapul is up to the challenge. But there is also small touches, little flourishes, which elevate even that heady stuff.

My one complaint? That there is a side mini-series about this. If I want to read the whole story I need to go outside this book. And I don't know if I am ...

On to the details.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Sales Review: September 2018

Sales for last month's books have been posted and I am starting to get nervous. It is a classic Anj move to look at sales (really orders) and think the worst. But when sales of your favorite character's book starts to hover around 20K, when it loses a third of sales in a couple of months, maybe I have a good reason to get nervous.

As usual, I love the analysis on ICv2. Here is a link to their coverage:

Supergirl #22 came out in September, the second issue of the new direction of the book.

I will remind people that before the Bendis pause and the new direction, the creative team of Orlando, Houser, and Rocha seemed to be peaking. The book had Artgerm variants and sales were healthy.

A 'bold new direction' can be a jumping off point. The idea of Supergirl wielding an axe and leaving Earth is certainly bold and new but it will it be accepted? Seems like many like a Supergirl on Earth.

The book came in at #104 and only 22,115 issues were ordered. That is a relatively precipitous drop. It's not as if the book hasn't dipped this low during the Rebirth time period. But the concern is where will it bottom out.

Yes, I am concerned.

For reference, the monthly sales figures of the Rebirth era Supergirl.

Oh how I miss those 30K figures.

Meanwhile, Brian Michael Bendis seems to have found his footing on the main Superman titles. The Action Comics book has crackled for me. And the Superman book with it's gorgeous Ivan Reis art has been steadily improving.

Superman is selling close to 70K. Action is close to 60K.

While not mega-sellers, maybe what DC was hoping with all the 'Bendis is Coming' stuff, these are very solid numbers. Glad these books are finding a sizeable audience.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Supergirl Episode 401: American Alien

Supergirl Season 4 started last Sunday and it started with a bang. I will start out by saying I was very very impressed with this episode. It built off of last season's revelations. It laid out the theme of the season nicely. Everyone had strong scenes with excellent characterization. New characters meshed very well with the cast. There were a couple of surprise guest stars. And ... and I think most importantly ... the political aspects of the plotlines and the themes were presented well, as aspects of the actual story instead of preachy, weird, hamfisted speeches.

I was thrilled.

There is no doubt that Supergirl is a politically progressive show, leaning left. Even the title card this season, colored by the rainbow, is a nice subtle nod to the idea of inclusion. The concepts of acceptance of diversity, embracing differences, and acknowledging value have been part of the show since its inception. Last year several episodes seemed to stall when the agenda seemed to be more important than the story, something I really have an issue with. The previews of this season made it seem like we could be in for more of the same. Instead we got a well-told story which showcased these issues. We weren't told what side to be on, we were shown. That goes a long long way with me.

Somehow this premiere not only gave us the foundation of the season but gave us subplots, name drops, personal character moments, and action. It was well acted all around. Despite all that, it didn't feel overstuffed, rushed, or superficial.

Seriously, I was so impressed with this episode that I can only hope that the rest of the season lives up to this beginning! Prepare for typical long review.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

DC Universe App

The DC Universe app came out a while back and I will admit it took me a bit of time to sign up. I wanted to wait for the first Titans episode to drop before downloading it. With the show pilot dropped, I decided the time was right.

I'll only give a bullet review of the Titans show. In three words, it's Snyder-level dark.

Maybe that is the point. Maybe this is a Titans show in *that* universe.

Dick Grayson is a police officer in Detroit involved with cases involving children. At night he becomes an ultra-violent Robin, bashing, stabbing, and maiming criminals. Yes, he utters the famous 'F Batman' line and we learn he felt he was becoming too much like his mentor. But this is a brooding Dick, willing to pulverize a fallen foe.

Starfire seems to have memory issues, lives as a mistress/courtesan to a Russian mob boss, and also has no problems killing people. Her powers erupt unexpectedly (maybe she forgot she has powers) and she incinerates some hitmen. But she also snaps the neck of a fallen foe.

We only see Beast Boy briefly. A green tiger in live action is awesome. A Gar who is a petty thief using his powers to lift video games from a department store is not.

At the very least Raven, effectively portrayed by Teagan Croft, is a fascinating character. Trying to bury something evil within her, barely hanging on, and  trying to find Grayson for help, she is fascinating.

The acting is good. The effects are good. And if I place this as a dark 'Elseworlds', I suppose the tone is fine. I can always rinse the ashes from my mouth by switching over to Teen Titans Go! I suppose I'll be watching. After all, Hawk and Dove show up next week. Hear me talk about them over here.

What about the rest of the app?

Monday, October 15, 2018

Review: Superman #4

Superman #4 came out this last week and was the best issue of this particular title since the Bendis takeover. While I have been enjoying the Metropolis plotlines in Action Comics, the Zaar-centric Superman hadn't grabbed me up to now. I think in this issue we finally get some of the characterization of Superman we have seen over in Action in this book. And that injection of personality added a ton of value to the proceedings here.

But more than just that personality, that look into Superman's ethics and some Pa Kent wisdom, it is the juxtaposition of these scenes with the mayhem violence happening around it that works doubly well. It isn't additive; it's multiplicative. When you hear what Superman wants but you see what he has to do, it makes the narrative sing.

Add to that Ivan Reis art (inked by Joe Prado and Oclair Albert), which is Neal Adams' stunning, and you have a winner issue. The action sequences are huge, letter-boxed, and mind-blowing. I also have to single out colorist Alex Sinclair for the huge palette he displays in the Zone scenes. Letterer Josh Reed also joins in the fun. From the art viewpoint, everything works together. Even the foil-enhanced cover is shiny fun.

I was floored here. And entertained. It all worked. On to the book.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Review: Supergirl #23

Supergirl #23 came out this week and was another interesting chapter in this new direction for the title. I know that interesting is an odd choice, a damning with faint praise sort of word. But the truth is I enjoyed this issue. There are plot points that feel a bit forced. There is one magical moment that felt off. Kara's emotions continue to run a bit rampant, a sort of step backwards. And much of the turmoil seems overly forced.

Writer Marc Andreyko builds the mystery of 'The Circle' and their role in Rogol Zaar's plan to destroy Krypton. We get to finally see the mystery man who has been in shadows on the cliffhanger pages and he looks familiar. Kara gets lucky and is given the next crumb in her trail. There is a lot of fighting that, in theory, could have been avoided. Perhaps the thing I am having a hard time wrapping my head around is Kara's labile emotions. I get that she is reeling from the Zaar reveal. But her angry reactions and lack of trust feel more like the Kara of 2011, not 2018.

What truly elevates and saves the issue is the art by Kevin Maguire. No big surprise that Maguire injects so much emotion into the scenes. Kara looks fantastic. And I love his Krypto. The book really sparkles. Seriously. If this issue had less spectacular art, I think I wouldn't be so forgiving. Add to that the shiny, foil cover by Artgerm and the fun Supergirl rocket-surfing variant by Amanda Conner and the book just looks stunning.

Onto the book!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Comic Book Implosion and Supergirl

As a comic book reader of a certain age, I knew that I had lived through the DC Comics Implosion of the 1970s. As an amateur comic historian, I thought I had something of a grasp of what it all was about. But I knew I didn't quite get it. For some reason, I always shunted the Implosion to the mid-70s rather than the later years of the decade. I needed to learn more.

So when the book Comic Book Implosion came out earlier this year, I made a mental note to seek it out. It was on a short 'to buy' list as I saw it waiting on the shelf of my LCS for me to get when the appropriate big sale came around.

Turns out blog friend Mart Gray, of the great Too Dangerous For A Girl review site, made my waiting for a sale moot, sending me a copy to read. And this definitely was a fascinating look at that slice of time.

I definitely knew the term DC Implosion was a riff on the marketing term 'The DC Explosion'. And yes, I am old enough to remember seeing this Joe Staton ad in books and wondering where I would be able to read more Big Barda (having discovered her in the Englehart/Rogers Mister Miracle) and Hawkman.

The book gathers a number of sources - interviews, articles, and publicity pieces - and snips and rearranges them more chronologically so that you understand how the Implosion unfolded. It turns out it all had to do with cover price and shelf life. As a kid growing up then and in a family that was frugal (out of necessity), the difference between a 50c comic and a 35c comic was a big deal.  So to see how those pennies crushed this endeavor and ended a whole swath of comics was fascinating to read.

But this is a Supergirl blog. So did this impact her?

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Review: Last Siege #5

The Last Siege #5 came out last week and this title continues to impress me. As I have said before, this book has played out in my mind like a movie. At times the art has felt like storyboards. The panel layouts and viewpoints and extreme closeups have reminded me of spaghetti westerns or Kurosawa films. Trust me, all of that is high compliment. I have loved this story.

This issue, in one brief moment and one panel, I was thrust away from film and back into the comic book form. We'll get there I promise. But when something jarring or different happens in a book the way this did, I was shocked. And that is the best compliment of all. Because after reading comics as long as I have, being shocked is hard to come by. It's a small moment for sure ... but it mattered. So kudos to artist Justin Greenwood for bring this wonderful style to the book.

Best yet, writer Landry Walker starts to peel back the origins of the mysterious swordsman who has been protecting this last castle. We learn his name and his backstory.  We see how he is linked to the warlord King running roughshod across the land. We see how imagery from early in this book is paid off here. It all just clicks.

My comic store has been getting only a handful of these issues each month. So head out and find them or buy the eventual trade. You won't be disappointed.

On to the book.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

DC Nation #5

DC Nation, the company produced news and propaganda magazine came out last week. As usual, it was a great mix of puff pieces, interviews, process pieces, and solicits.

I have loved every issue. Yes, I love the stuff written about the things that I do read. But I also love the more in-depth looks at books I don't read. I don't often drop $4 on a whim for a title these days. So for all I know I am missing a ton of good material. So reading articles about titles I don't get might lure me into a impulse purchase. And you have to love the price point ... free.

Nothing particularly Supergirl in this issue outside of the solicit listing. But still, there are some nice bits for Super-family fans. And there is all the usual stuff too.

First off, there is an article listing the top ten villains in the current DC.

Coming in at number 9, Talia Al Ghul! What is interesting is that she is listed as appearing in Action Comics!

We know that the Invisible Mafia in the book is headed by an as yet unseen female leader. Perhaps that means that Talia is the head of the organized crime movement in Metropolis!

I'll also remind you that Talia led the group Leviathan, a word dropped in one of the pages on Perry White's desk. All the more reason for me to believe she is heading up the mob.

Lastly, we did just see her in the Super Sons before that title ended. Maybe Damian will show up? Or Batman?

What else?

Monday, October 8, 2018

Review: Justice League #9

Justice League #9 came out last week and this was another fine issue in what has been a very exciting title so far. If you have been reading my reviews, you know that one of the things that I have very much liked about the book is the absolute breakneck speed it has been going at. Huge concepts are just thrown at the reader and before you can digest it, the next huge thing is on its way. I have talked about needing to pause to take a breath intra-issue to get my bearings.

This issue is a that deep breath unto itself. While we get a smidge of plot progression, this is really about characterization. We see the Leaguers interacting with each other. We get a glimpse into how writer Scott Snyder sees these personalities. It really elevates the team dynamics here. After seeing them scurry for 8 issues, we see them rest. And, in what feels like the classic Silver Age trope of the team 'splitting up', we get a bunch of two hero vignettes. I loved it.

I have complimented Jorge Jimenez on art before. But I love his stuff. Here, we really get to see his range. From cafeteria scenes to outer space fist fights to literal world (or moon) building, Jimenez brings style and power to the images.

So if you are looking for an issue of this issue as a jumping on point, or an issue to recommend to a friend so they can sample what the book is like, use this one.

Onto the book.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Review: Adventures Of Super Sons #3

Adventures in Super Sons #3 came out this week and was another look at some DC Silver Age tropes in a carnival mirror. Peter Tomasi is really taking advantage of this last trip on the ferris wheel of fun. This current mini-arc of the sons fighting the super-villain fanboys of the planet Cygnus has been a blast, seeing the younger version of the World's Finest team trying to outwit an adolescent take on the Injustice League.

This time around is a hysterical look at the Superman Red/Superman Blue. The Jons don't like each other and seem more interested in fighting each other than the villains. It is a rare day when Damian is the voice of reason!

The art team of Carlo Barberi and Art Thibert continue to bring a sort of giddy energy to the book, bordering on cartoony but staying within the confines of more modern sensibilities. The images really jump off the page.

Add in a cliffhanger showing that our tour through the Silver Age isn't over and you have a confection worth reading. I love this book. And I will be said when this team goes away in the aftermath of the Bendis re-imagining.

On to the book.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Back Issue Box: JLA Act Of God

Just yesterday I wrote about the upcoming CW Flash/Arrow/Supergirl crossover event title  Elseworlds .

Today I thought I would review an example of an Elseworlds series in which Supergirl (Linda Danvers/Matrix) played a pretty big role. And so I present JLA: Act of God, a three part prestige series written by Doug Moench with art by Dave Ross. The premise is simple. What if suddenly all biologic powers disappeared? What would happen to the world?  I'll be highlighting the Supergirl portions predominantly but I'll keep you up to speed with the overall story.

I have to admit, this was a bit of cosmic serendipity. My comic store had just put out a large, well organized collection into the dollar boxes. All three issues were there and I find it hard to pass up prestige books in the dollar boxes, let alone complete mini-series. So I bought this on a whim. I was not expecting such a big Supergirl role so this was someone up there guiding my purchasing hand.

Now overall, I think this is just an 'okay' mini-series. There is a lot of plot points you just need to roll with. There is some goofiness that I would not have anticipated. Superman is treated pretty shabbily. But the fun parts definitely made it an enjoyable read, especially for the price.

I don't know Dave Ross at all. I found the art in the book quite nice with a fine-lined detailed approach. At times it felt a little like Rags Morales. That is a very nice compliment.

So where does Supergirl fit into all of this? Well, to put it in context, the Supergirl title was on Supergirl #50 during this run, the end of the long form Earth Angel arc by Peter David. It is that angelic Supergirl we see here. How did she fare? Let's find out.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

10 Years Ago ... Supergirl #34

Just earlier this year, I celebrated by 10 year anniversary of doing this blog. One of the reasons why I felt compelled to start this blog and focus on Supergirl was because of the rather shabby treatment of the character (in my mind) since her re-introduction into the DCU.

Over on Twitter 2 days ago, Sterling Gates tweeted out that it was his 10 year anniversary since the release of Supergirl #34, his first issue on the book. I am amazed at how quickly time flies. Both Gates and artist Jamal Igle tweeted out some recollections and thoughts about this issue.


That is crazy.

But if any character needed a soft reboot, a bold new direction, a creative team that cared about her, it was Supergirl.

As a new blogger who needed to believe in Supergirl, the news hit me. And this was one of the things that seemed a bit of cosmic luck. Just five months into stubbing my toe trying to blog, Supergirl was getting a new team.

I had never read anything by Sterling Gates and scoured shelves for some Green Lantern Corps issues to get a sense of his style. I had a smattering of Jamal Igle books in my collection already, including a fill-in issue on Peter David's Supergirl run and pulled them out to remind me of his art. 

And you can see how excited I was back then. Supergirl #34 is listed in 16 posts! Sixteen!

I reviewed the book the day after it came out! That just doesn't happen anymore!

I covered the sales. I covered other sites reviews. I culled blurbs from interviews and publicity pieces. I showcased Fernando Pasarin, the artist on the variant cover. I looked up Joshua Middleton pieces since he was on covers. And I kept my fingers crossed.

 And I was floored.

There was this self-realization by Supergirl that she was maybe heading down a wrong path and needed to reinvent herself. The creative team acknowledged the rough parts that came before but smoothed them out. We got Linda Lang. We got a Kara that embraced Earth and wanted to help.

It was the beginning of an incredible run ... maybe *THE* run of Supergirl to date.

So congratulations to Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle for their Supergirl run and hope they celebrated their 10th year anniversary! As a Supergirl fan, I can only say my appreciation for their run and for Supergirl #34 has only increased over time!

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Supergirl CW Crossover: Elseworlds

The annual CW crossover story for Arrow, Supergirl, and Flash has been officially named Elseworlds
and this comic fan couldn't be happier.

In 1989, DC Comics published Gotham by Gaslight, a story imagining Batman in the 1880's Gotham, hunting down Jack The Ripper. It is a great book, written by Brian Augustyn with art by Mike Mignola. Spurred by the success, DC began printing all sorts of books tagged with the logo 'Elseworlds', stories where familiar characters could be re-imagined or have their lives changed.

Let's face it, they were imaginary stories.

So you could see 'what if Superman was raised by the Waynes?' and 'What if Batman met Houdini and fought vamipires?' and 'what if Superman was around during the Civil War?' and 'What if Batman existed in a world where America was a Theocracy?'

Released in the wonderful Prestige Format, and usually with great creative teams, they were enticing. And as they existed 'outside continuity', as a reader you could pick and choose which stories intrigued you. I got a bunch of these and liked most of them.

So is the television Elseworlds going to be a similar take? Will there be new worlds? Changes in reality? Is Batwoman present because the idea of 'Batman' has been rewritten?

My guess is yes. But there is even more going on perhaps making this feel more like a certain Crisis.

Read on!

Monday, October 1, 2018

Heroes In Crisis #1

Heroes in Crisis #1 came out last week, the first issue in DC's big company crossover and a sad return to the days of grim, gory, dark story telling of recent years. Unfortunately, this shouldn't surprise me.

One of the things that spurred me to start this blog was the darkening of Supergirl's character in the Loeb/Turner era. I wanted to shine a light on her more heroic past so new readers woundn't think she was always the sullen, sulking, angry girl who just wanted to be left alone.

And over the 10 plus years of doing this, I have witnessed the descent of the DCU into a dark place. Some of the more notable lowlights I have covered include Cry For Justice and the  ripping off of Red Arrow's arm, the graying of all DC in Forever Evil . and the grim nature of Future's End.

Where was the optimism? Where were the heroes spurred to help humanity because it was the right thing to do? Where was the light which was going to save us from the darkness?

It was only a few years ago that DC had a course correction, deciding that they couldn't go down any further. It was time to correct the mistakes of the New 52 and subsequent stories and bring back the ideals, the hope. We got Rebirth  and for a short period of time we were happy.

I got into comics to read the exploits of heroes and be inspired to do more. Yes, even then they had human problems – love, finances, fatigue – but they always rose above. But you get the sense that things are turning and we are heading back to a DCU where (per Dan Didio) heroes can't be happy. Now the trend is to make them utterly relatable, to give the characters not only feet of clay but whole bodies of the stuff.

Heroes In Crisis is a story purportedly about PTSD and healing. Instead of that, we get a bloody, brutal issue.