Friday, March 29, 2019

Supergirl's 60th Anniversary!

According to Mike's Amazing World of Comics, March 31st, 1959 is the day that Action Comics #252 hit the newsstands.

That means this weekend is the Supergirl's 60th anniversary.


It is always hard for me to know what to write on days like this.

I think my love of the character has been poured out on this site over the last 11 years.

For me Supergirl is the perfect blend of character traits. She is innocent and bright and optimistic. She sees the best in everyone. She is fierce in her fight for justice and in her desire to help. She sometimes thinks with her fists first. She can fail. She is learning. She wants to be the best she can be. She is a hero.

How can you be bright and innocent and sunny and still be fierce and think with your fists.

It isn't an easy tightrope to walk and that is we have seen so many versions of Supergirl veer to extreme to one end. She could be saccharine in the Silver Age. She could be grim and dark in the 2000s.

For me, when she hits that perfect mix, she is the best hero to aspire to. Because she isn't infallible. And she always wants to be better. Who can't empathize with that sentiment.

Now the character is everywhere - television, cartoons, comics in the media, with all the associated merchandise.

So let's celebrate this anniversary. Back in 1985 I don't know if we would have much to hoot about.

As we approached this, I asked for some celebratory tweets on Twitter. Here is what I got.

Leave a comment and let me know why you love Supergirl!

I'd love to hear it!

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Sales Review: February 2019

The sales numbers for February 2019 have come out and I am officially going to yellow alert. If you want to see the bad news laid out before you, I recommend heading over to ICv2 to see the list. Here is a link:

Since the inception of this new arc, I wondered if the Supergirl crowd was going to like the direction of Supergirl heading off into space and leaving Earth behind. I also wondered if somehow the Bendis takeover of the super-books would lead to more readers heading to Supergirl, especially since this space arc tied directly into Superman's stories.

I haven't been thrilled with this new arc. So how has it been doing.

Supergirl #27 was one of the tougher issues to get behind as a Kara fan. She shoots people in the chest with a rifle, rips out a tongue, wields Zaar's axe with the initial intent to kill, and then admits that her story/quest isn't really moving forward.

Not exactly a book that screamed quintessential Supergirl. It also lacked the selling power of an Artgerm variant. So how did it sell?

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Supergirl 416: House of L

Supergirl episode 416, titled the 'House of L', aired this week and was far and away the best episode of the season.

From the very title, a take on the 'House of El', it was clear this was going to be an episode focusing on the Luthor family, specifically Lex. And the episode itself was remarkable for showing just how enmeshed Lex has been in everything that has been happening this entire season.

We have seen snippets of Red Daughter throughout the season. We saw her illness. We saw Lex dying of cancer. We saw Otis return. We saw the turn of Eve Tessmacher. And admirably, the writers have put it all together with a perfect timeline. Add to this all the smaller nods to the other plots of season 4 as well as some big time comic book nods and I was simply floored. This episode even explained some of the more inexplicable things that happened in prior seasons! Amazing.

But underneath all the evil machinations and duplicity, the core of this show (and it shows in this episode) is Supergirl's heart. Despite brainwashing and conditioning by Lex, even Red Daughter can see what a good person our Kara is. Whether it is Alex's devotion to her sister or Lena's friendship, Red Daughter is exposed to what she could be ... and that inspiration almost works.

All this story wouldn't work if the performances aren't up to snuff. Melissa Benoist playing the smitten, blank slate Red Daughter, slowly learning about the world was perfect. Jon Cryer again shows just how manipulative and evil he can be as Lex, often an understate malevolence. And Andrea Brooks as Eve Tessmacher almost steals the show.

I don't know if I will be able to express how much I liked this episode. But I'll try.  On to the show.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Northeast Comic Con & Paul Pelletier Commission

The summer is my big convention season. I am lucky to have four local cons worth attending bunched up between August and November. Boston Fan Expo, Terrificon, Granite Con, and Rhode Island Comic Con all are close enough to drive to.

The problem is that around February, when the cold, dark winter has finished gnawing at my soul, I begin to get con hungry. The conventions can't come fast enough and I end up prepping for August's conventions in early March.

As if answering my prayers, the North East Com!c Con Colletibles Extravaganza happened earlier this month.

This really is a small con with a small roster of celebrities and comic pros as well as a diverse exhibition floor of comics, toys, and other collectibles. There were only a few comic dealers, mostly with bargain bins. But sometimes those are the best place to find gems.

At a time when I needed a little diversion, it was a welcome respite.

The big comic creator at the show that I wanted to run into was Paul Pelletier.

I'm a fan of Pelletier's work, specifically his time on Flash and She-Hulk.

I have run into him at prior cons and he has always been on my list of potential commissions but it just has never come to fruition. I was going to get one at last year's Terrificon but by the time I got my sketch book back it was too late.

So I decided that perhaps my best chance of grabbing a sketch was at this small con. And it happened!

As usual, I arrived at the con early and headed to Pelletier's table.

Check out the fantastic commission sketch! I love this happy, flying Supergirl. Just gorgeous. I have always love the way Pelletier draws faces and this beaming Kara is perfect.

This was definitely worth the wait. Just a fantastic addition to my collection.

Amazingly, my first sketch book is almost filled.

I brought some issues to get signed by Pelletier as well. That included Action Comics #51, the one issue he has done where he actually drew Supergirl (he wondered if I had brought it for a signature since I was asking for a commission of her). And my beloved Legion of Super-Pets Super Sons Annual #1.

I thumbed through a ton of cheap bins and bought a lot of nonsense. But I was thrilled to fill a couple of actual holes for relatively cheap. I got these 4 issues and Hercules Unbound #1 together for $20. Not bad. I have been searching for that Mister Miracle in the wild for years. I love getting key Legion historical issues. And I didn't even know about that post-Crisis Amazing Heroes book.

So the con itch is temporarily scratched. And a great commission was obtained too!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Back Issue Box: Adventures Of Superman #638

I am taking a break from my Matrix Monday series to take a different look into the Back Issue Box.

Today, I'll be covering Adventures of Superman #638, a fascinating Mxyzptlk story which borders on an Imaginary Story (aren't they all). Greg Rucka brings us a touching but also humorous issue. It also is a tour de force for artist Matthew Clark.

As always, I try to make my looks back somehow related to current stories, even if tangentially.

In Superman #9, Superman had a waking vision of the future including his daughter. I always like these potential family futures. You may recall that I covered possible future daughter Laura in my review of  Superman Family #200 .

But there have been other visions of other daughters out there as well.

Friday, March 22, 2019

DC Superhero Girls: Adventures In Bunnysitting

The first stand alone episode of the new Lauren Faust led DC Superhero Girls aired last week and it was a complete hoot as well as a good look at the personalities of Zatanna and Supergirl. You just knew I was going to love it.

#AdventuresInBunnysitting is a sort of 'Trouble With Tribbles' take on magical rabbits. And while the silliness that ensues from the premise of magical fertile bunnies is brilliant, it is the character stuff that really hooked me.

One thing we knew was this Supergirl was a rebel with a gruff exterior, the 'punch first' muscle of the team, with a chip on her shoulder about Superman. It didn't initially sound like a take I would like. But after the shorts and the hour long premiere, I was sold. This is a magnified take on some aspects of Kara's classic character, attuned for these Looney Tunes shorts. And this episode also showed that there is a different Supergirl simmering under the hard exterior.

Add to that the usual flourishes tossed in for adults and you have a big big win. Please seek this episode out, especially if you are a Supergirl or a Zatanna fan.

On to the show.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

June 2019 Solicits

The June solicits for DC Comics came out last week and are available for perusal in the usual places. Here is a link to Newsarama and their coverage:

It is a wild month filled with hope for the ending of a story, the excitement of the beginning of a story, a story I didn't know about that I will be getting, and a big name story I knew about that I won't be getting. Did you follow all that?

Hopefully this is something of a turning point for the super-books, storming into the summer on a roll.

written by MARC ANDREYKO
variant cover by AMANDA CONNER
The House of El is united in this SUPERMAN/SUPERGIRL crossover! The Superman Family must unite to banish Rogol Zaar once and for all! But little do Supergirl, Superman, Superboy and Jor-El know, Rogol Zaar has brought some friends of his own…from the Phantom Zone! Supergirl not only has to make sure that Rogol Zaar doesn’t unite with his ax at all costs, but also has to deal with how the 10-year-old Superboy is now her age! This is the start of an intergalactic war you don’t want to miss!
ON SALE 06.12.19 

For some time I have been calling for the end of the Supergirl in space storyline. It just hasn't felt like a Supergirl story. The characterization of Kara has seemed off. And I just enjoy her more on Earth, with a supporting cast, learning to be a hero on her adopted world.

So when I saw this solicit, trumpeting a Superman crossover and some resolution to the Rogol Zaar storyline, I smiled. One, I like when the super-family acts like a family. Second, maybe this means Supergirl is back on Earth and will stay on Earth.

Nice Conner cover.

On to the rest of the books.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Supergirl 415: O Brother Where Art Though

Supergirl episode 415, titled 'O Brother Where Art Thou' aired this week and was a tour de force.

I have come to the hard realization that this show isn't truly a Supergirl show but an ensemble show. Supergirl might be the hub that the characters orbit around. But she is often one of the crowd. Once I realized that this was more of a 'team comic' and not a 'solo book', I was able to take a deep breath and try to enjoy.

This episode, for example, is mostly about Lena and Lex Luthor. Sure, Kara is present, caring about James and fighting Manchester Black. But those are the subplots. Instead, the main focus is examining the odd relationship of the Luthor siblings. We get a peek into their past and their interactions. And we got one hell of a reveal at the end. It all worked magnificently for me.

Much of the praise has to be heaped on Jon Cryer, who guest starred as Lex. I didn't anticipate that Ducky would be able to bring a sort of veiled malevolence, a sort of 'he's probably scheming but he seems sincere' undercurrent. It isn't always over the top bombastic. Instead it is more of a cold, chilling, calculating evil. Brilliant.

Another interesting plot is the ongoing darkening of J'onn J'onzz. We get a big moment in the end here. I wonder if what we see happen at the end actually has happened. You'll see what I mean.

On to the show.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Review: Superman #9

Superman #9 came out last week, the second chapter of The Unity Saga, and another chapter in the hard life of Jon Kent. I have to say, it has been hard to read these last two Superman books in the same month that I am also reading the fun-loving anime style Superboy in Adventures of the Super Sons. In this issue, writer Brian Michael Bendis continues to put our friend through the physical and psychological wringer. It isn't easy to read sometimes.

The Superman book as a whole has overall been the lesser of the two super-books on the shelves and part of that has to do with the whole family dynamic being played up here. We went from Peter Tomasi's super-family, heading to the town fair and going on vacation together, to this unit, split up through time and space, not even living together. I still don't know if I quite understand Lois and Clark's relationship these days and this issue continues that confusion.

And while Jon might be proud of his personal growth during his lost years, it seems that growth through abandonment and torture will never be as good as growth through love and nurturing. How can this poor kid, faced first with his genocidal schizophrenic grandfather, than the evil version of his father, and then the evil version of his mother ever live through it unmarred.

The issue's art is again split between Ivan Reis and Brandon Peterson. Reis does the present day stuff and continues to draw a classic Superman. Peterson brings a softer touch to Jon's flashbacks. His work on expression is fantastic, especially given how terrified and brutalized Jon is here.

But this remains something of a storyline I wish would not have happened. It still makes little sense, especially given that it started with Jon heading off with Jor-El and Lois leaving him there.

On to the book.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Matrix Monday: Showcase '95 #1

 Last Monday I covered the finale of the 1994 Supergirl mini-series. In the end, the Matrix Supergirl finally left Lex Luthor and found a mentor with Lex's ex-wife Elizabeth Perske.

In the immediate aftermath, Action Comics #700 came out with Lex attacking Metropolis. Oh, yeah, and then something called Zero Hour happened. Matrix was involved like everyone was in that event but did not have a big role. She receded a bit into the background.

Then 1995 rolled around and early on Supergirl was a bit more visible. In January of 1995, she was the cover star of the David Michilenie/Butch Guice  Action Comics #706 , a nice fill-in which reminded folks that she was part of the super-family.

She also was the cover star of Showcase '95 #1. The Showcase books at this time had yearly themes and 1995 was the year of Superman characters to headline the book. So this issue we get not only Supergirl but Alan Scott Sentinel and Argus. This also was a sort of try-out book for DC. Not only were more minor characters given the spotlight but newer talent were given a shot.

It is a weird convergence that she headlines two books in one month.

That is a great cover by Tom Grummett sporting a beautiful Supergirl.

And yes, I had this one signed by Tom Grummett a couple of years ago in Boston.

On to the book.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Review: Supergirl #28

Supergirl #28 came out this week and was another chapter in this space-faring adventure Kara is on to investigate Rogol Zaar. As this bold, new direction has moved along slowly, I have been less and less forgiving of it. This is something of a nasty story. And while occasionally we see Supergirl say something that sounds like the Supergirl I want to read, the actions and plots surrounding those lines make them feel more like lip service.

Writer Marc Andreyko writes a great, gritty, Omega Men story. I might like reading this if it were a Starfire story. Or a Darkstars story. Or an Adam Strange story. But so much of this feels like yet another 'extreme' look at Supergirl. Add to that a few cringe worthy moments for a book about a young woman hero and you get something that just doesn't feel right.

The art is by Eddie Pansica and I really like it for the story it is telling. It is a very muddy, brutal story and Pansica brings that feel of chaos and violence. This is the most ragged and beaten I have seen Supergirl in a while. Put him on an Adam Strange book and I'll be there.

These prefaces to my reviews are becoming almost cookie cutter, other than a slow descent into further dissatisfaction. I hope this arc ends soon and we head back to Earth.

On to the book.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Back Issue Magazine: Elseworlds Finest & Barbara Kesel

I am a big fan of TwoMorrows Back Issue magazine, basically subscribing to it out of my LCS. As a amateur comic historian, I love these looks back at themes, comics, and creators from my history.

The latest issue covers all the alternative realities that comics have given us in the Bronze Age, from Marvels What If? to DC's Elseworlds and a ton of other imaginary tales. I love the concept of Elseworlds and What If? so this issue was in my sweet spot. Definitely worth getting and reading.

As always, whenever I stumble across a Supergirl specific nugget, I try to share. As Supergirl has had roles to play in some of the storylines which fit this issue's theme, I wasn't shocked to see her mentioned.

Specifically, the Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl comic got some significant coverage within the Elseworlds article.

Can I say that this issue has been one of the books I have wanted to do a dedicated review of since I started the blog. And yet, somehow, I have never been able to get to it. Part of it is how long it is. It would be hard to cover in one post. And yet, I think it would be cheating a little to cover it in two posts. That said, I recently split each issue of Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds into 2 posts given the dense nature of those stories over on The Legion of Super-Bloggers site. So maybe I shouldn't be overthinking it.

Regardless of my review, I love the issue and if you don't have it, you should seek it out.

And perhaps this TwoMorrow coverage will spur me on a little.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Supergirl 414: Stand And Deliver

Supergirl episode 414, titled 'Stand and Deliver', aired this week and was a good episode, pushing all plotlines forward, focusing on the political atmosphere of the day with the usual bend, but also trying as best as this show can be to veer to the center.

One thing the show has always had going for it are the strong actors and the character work on the show. This episode, we get a ton of wonderful performances. And we get to see great character growth and moments. In this episode we see Dreamer and her excitement over being a hero. We get to see Supergirl inspire people. We get Brainiac 5 growing as a hero. We see J'onn's personal torment. But most of all, this might be the strongest James Olsen episode in two seasons. I

And the villains get to shine here as well. Menagerie is glorious in her high class desires. The Hat is surprisingly revolutionary. Manchester Black is dogged in his pursuit of revenge. And after a some time, we see just why Ben Lockwood would be able to rally people.

But there has to be a plot to build these on. The main plot is the growing anti-alien sentiment on Earth. After four invasions in three years, I'm not surprised. One thing the show has done is to paint the extremists on both sides in a bad light. The Elite balance out the Children of Liberty. Slaughtering your enemy is never the answer.

Add to this a great cliffhanger and I was pretty happy. On to the review.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

DC Superhero Girls Premiere

As a fan of Lauren Faust's My Little Ponies:Friendship is Magic as well as her take on the Super Best Friends Forever, I have been awaiting the rebranding and re-imagination of the DC Superhero Girls eagerly. Through shorts and interviews, I got the sense this was MLP on steroids, a sort of Looney Tune romp through the DCU while still giving the overall empowering message that the earlier DCSHG was built on.

Last week, the premiere of the show, titled #SweetJustice hit the airwaves and I was delighted.These are sort of side-eyed versions of our superheroes and they do semi-neatly fall into a My Little Pony algorithm. Wonder Woman is Twilight Sparkle, the leader of the group. She holds the team together and wants to train them. Batgirl is the Pinkie Pie here, bringing oodles of energy and sometimes lacking a focus. Babs sometimes gets in her own way but she is utterly sweet. Zatanna is the Rarity here, a stage presence with style. She is reluctant to get into heroing but brings pinache. Bumblebee is the Fluttershy, timid to a fault with power that reflects her lack of confidence. Supergirl is clearly the Rainbow Dash, an act first, rough and tumble with a heart of gold, counterculture tomboy. Which, I guess, makes the vegan and pacifist Green Lantern the Applejack. (Okay that last one is a hard fit.)

Of course, this is an origin story so we hear how the girls meet and become a team. There is a fight between them, a classic comic trope. We get a good look at all their personalities. And we get a glimpse at a possible hero. And there is a ton of fun and laughs. There might even be a few references for old-timers like me hidden in there.

This being a Supergirl blog, I'll say I was delighted with her characterization. I often describe Supergirl as fierce in her pursuit of justice. This Kara is that times 10. And her desire to be outside the mainstream, probably because of the known difficulty with her relationship with Kal, puts this outside of the norm for the character. But her actions speak loud. I think I am going to love this Supergirl. And I think I will be laughing with her too.

On to the synopsis/review.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Review: Supergirl #4 (1994 miniseries)

And so Matrix Monday reaches Supergirl #4 from the 1994 mini-series, the finale. Finally, we get a Supergirl who is her own woman, free from the influence of those who wish to use her. Finally, we got a Supergirl that old-school Supergirl fans could get behind.

Of course, it was also the 90's, so we need to get there with leg bands and spikes. But that's okay.

As I have said many times in the past, The Death of Superman, Funeral for a Friend, and Reign of the Supermen were all sort of catalysts for the Matrix Supergirl character. With Superman gone, she seemed to step up. She wanted to fill his void as a hero for Metropolis. And she wasn't going to sit by when his body disappeared or when newcomers tried to claim his name.

In the aftermath of those mega-selling books, we got a Superboy book and a Steel book. At least Supergirl got this mini-series. And writer Roger Stern took all the progress we saw in the character in those earlier arcs to its logical conclusion. Supergirl was finally going to see Luthor for the manipulative villain he was and strike out on her own.

It would have been easy to make her *extreme* !!! It was the 90's after all. And we do see elements of that here. She initially is a destructive force, lashing out at Luthor, and almost (as we'll see) killing him. Thankfully, Stern back pedals a bit keeping the more innocent and optimistic side of Supergirl dominant.

The art by June Brigman and Jackson Guice is as solid as it has been in the series. But with the darker turn in plot, they employ more moody settings and shadows. It all blends nicely.

I wonder how many people go to Roger Stern at a convention with all four issues of this mini-series to get signed. I should have asked him.

In fact, I hope I do run into him again at a convention so I can ask about this story. At Terrificon, there was a line waiting behind me to meet him so I was brief in my interaction.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Review: Adventures Of The Super Sons #8

Adventures of the Super Sons #8 came out this week and was a sort of pause in the action issue, a way (I believe) for writer Peter Tomasi to turn the last corner of the title of the corner and head into the home stretch. With older, scarred Jon in the Superman books now, we are down to 4 issues with these two like this so let's enjoy it.

 It was filled with the standard fun moments. There is the usual friendly friction between Jon and Damian. There is a nice moment where you see how the sons have inspired someone. And there are the usual tangential takes on some classic DC tropes. Tomasi has treated this like a blurry, whirlwind tour through DC's Bronze Age. This issue plugs in nicely to the series as a whole.

Carlo Barberi is on art and, as I have stated many times before, his style is perfect for the series. There is a bit of exaggeration, a hint of anime, and some cartoonish flourishes that complement that story very well. I wouldn't mind seeing him be the designated fill-in artist on Young Justice should Patrick Gleason ever need a break.

But as with each month, there is a pang of sorrow. I loved the original Super Sons series and I love this maxi-series. It is a shame our youthful, overly optimistic Jon had to be grimmed up.

On to the book.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

DCSHG: Get To Know Supergirl

The premiere of the DC Superhero Girls reboot is happening tomorrow!

My interest has been growing as I see more and more of the shorts that have been released on-line. The latest Supergirl specific short was released last week and is a blast. Here is the link:

Again, this is a much different take on Supergirl than the prior DCSHG version. And I think one of the aspects of this show is to take a personality quirk and amp it up to 11. Supergirl is the rebel of the group. So that is going to be THE aspect we get.

Now some of what they show resonates a bit in the comic character's history. So I am willing to give this very proactive, punch first Supergirl the benefit of the doubt.

We start out with the whole theme song.

"When the super-me become the super-we."
"Crushing it side by side."

Clearly mutual support and friendship are key themes here. After all, friendship is magic!

I do love the Supergirl scene of her swinging her fist so quick we get after images. Very Mort Meskin!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Supergirl 413: What's So Funny About Truth, Justice, And The American Way

This week's episode of Supergirl was titled 'What's So Funny About Truth, Justice, and the American Way'.

Comic fans know that as the title of the story in Action Comics #775, written by Joe Kelly with art by Doug Mahnke. In that story, Superman is confronted by Manchester Black and his elite, a group of heroes who are willing to be judge, jury, and executioner against perceived villains and despots. It is up to Superman to not only live up to his ideals but to defeat this group. It is a brilliant story, near universally beloved by Superman fans.

We have seen the show borrow from comics in the past. From the Black Mercy episode in season one (borrowing from 'For the Man who has Everything') to this year's take on Crisis on Infinite Earths, the show knows when to pillage from good comic stories.  As a result, that title carries a little weight to it. This episode does borrow from that comic. In it Supergirl is asked to confront her ideals and figure out how to fight Black and his gang. But when you name yourself after Action Comics #775, you better be fantastic.

I actually like this episode a lot. We got to see Supergirl's hero squad grow. We got to see Alex act like Alex. We got some comic Easter Eggs. And there was plot movement for both Agent Liberty and Lena Luthor. When it was done, I was quite happy.

But then I remembered the title. And it isn't Action Comics #775 good. I think I just need to forget that piece of it. Perhaps my main problem is that in the comic story, Black and the Elite are embraced as heroes who make the tough decisions about crime. That is the biggest issue facing Superman in the story. People like Black and his violence. I don't think there would be as many people happy about the show's version of the Elite, killing the military, stealing from the British royal family, and otherwise acting like a murdering terrorist group.

Anyways, I am not damning this episode. Remember, I liked it! On to the details.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Sales Review: January 2019

The comic book sales numbers for January 2019 were released last week and as always, ICv2 does a good job of breaking them down. Here is a link:

I was a bit interested in seeing these numbers in the context of recent news regarding DC's number of titles. There were rumors that DC was going to slash their number of titles to 22 but this proved unfounded. Ultimately, the news broke that DC was paring down by about 10-15% of titles but also adding new 100 page spectaculars, making those books available in places other than Walgreens, and probably breaking even in total books solicited.

So that was much ado about nothing in a way. But when I hear that ongoing titles are going to be pruned, I always have to wonder and worry about the Girl of Steel.

We are in the middle of a space arc, one with a vengeful and surprisingly violent Supergirl. And sales have been a bit all over the place. (And yes, I know by sales I actually mean orders through Diamond,)

Supergirl #26 was released in January. It sported an Artgerm variant of Supergirl in a classic costume holding Streaky.

The book also saw the return of Kevin Maguire on art.

How did it sell?

Monday, March 4, 2019

Matrix Monday: Supergirl #3 (1994 mini-series)

We are into the back half of the 1994 Supergirl mini-series, a story our Matrix realizes that Lex Luthor has been using and manipulating her. For two straight issues we have seen LexCorp test her physically and mentally. It is time to break free.

In Supergirl #3, Supergirl comes face to face with Luthor's ultimate goal regarding all those tests. He wants a new body. His own cloned body is dying. And he also wants an army of Supergirls to control. Writer Roger Stern does a great job of showing us how the truth slowly sinks into our innocent heroine's mind. She has been looking for love and purpose and Lex gave her both. Now she knows that was all a ruse.

Stern also does a wonderful job leaning into this Supergirl's short history in the DCU. All the major events are brought up here, showing us the highlights. Moreover, Stern shows how all of this has been building up for a couple of years. The seeds were planted, the lines laden with foreshadowing said. It shows a sort of respect for a character that could have been a joke. Kudos to Stern for treating Supergirl well.

The art here is by the usual team of June Brigman and Jackson Guice. The art this issue feels a little looser than the prior two. Some of that might come from the major action sequence which the book revolves around. This approach works for Supergirl given the mayhem and destruction happening around her.

Lastly, this does what a penultimate issue should do. We are brought to a point were we can see the climax coming up. I also feel like the story is at a place where a satisfactory ending is within the reach of one issue's pages.

And yes, I got this issue signed by Stern last year at Terrificon.

On to the story.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Review: Action Comics #1008

Action Comics #1008 came out this week, the second part of the Leviathan Rising arc which, I suppose, will be finished in May with the release of the Leviathan prestige format one shot.

Since Brian Michael Bendis took over the Superman family books, Action Comics has been his home for the supporting cast. This is where we have interacted the most with the Daily Planet staff. This is where we have seen Firefighter Moore and Mayor.

This has also been Bendis' home for more street level crime and old fashioned mysteries. Those topics blend well with the foundation of this book being the investigative journalists in the cast. So as readers we have had to unravel the mystery of the Red Cloud, the leader of the Invisible Mafia, and the motive for arsonists around Metropolis. As a reader, giving me a mystery to solve is always engaging. I have been pretty gripped by these stories, trying to figure out the answers along side our heroes.

Leviathan Rising is no different. Who is Leviathan? Why are they eliminating other organizations? What is the source of the Manhattan-esque energy powers? Is this an existing character (like Talia Al Ghul or my current guess ... see below) trying to grab power? Or is it someone brand new? This issue gives us some clues ... but not many.

The art is by Steve Epting and he brings a grounded approach to the proceedings. His Superman is not some ultra-handsome Adonis. In some places, Superman looks more like a pugilist sporting an old broken nose. But for a Superman book dealing in more military/espionage trappings, Epting's more realistic style works very well.

On to the book.