Tuesday, April 30, 2019

DCSuperhero Girls #SilverScream

Just last week, I finally got around to reviewing DC Superhero Girls #MeetTheCheetah.

One of the things that tickled me about that short was that Supergirl was firing off bad puns left and right. As people most likely know, I love puns. And obviously, I love Supergirl. So that seemed like a match made in heaven.

So just when I didn't think I could like or relate more with this new Supergirl, I saw the DC Superhero Girls #SilverScream short over on YouTube. Here is a link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOHRwZ1Z6aI

In it we see learn that Supergirl is also a movie fanatic and also like the horror genre of movies. And when she is at the theater, she like to immerse herself in the experience. People distracting her from the movie are going to irritate her.

It is as if Lauren Faust is trying to create the most Anj-est Kara there is.

#SilverScream starts off with the marquee shot.

Summer of Danger VIII is showing.

There is even the secondary title 'He remembers what you don't remember' - perhaps some riff on 'I know what you did last summer'?

But it is what happens inside the cinema that is hilarious.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Comic Box Commentary Is 11 Years Old!

Hard to believe it but I started this site 11 years ago.

It is crazy to look back at things in 2008 when the impetus was to trumpet a character I felt wasn't in the spotlight enough. Now she seems everywhere.

No big changes in mind for the upcoming year other than maybe taking a day off now and then. But as always, if people have ideas for me, please fire them my way!

Thanks to everyone who comes here and shares the passion.

Thanks to everyone who reads my over-long reviews and comments!

Thanks to all the friends I have made on this site! You all are the best!

Friday, April 26, 2019

Review: Action Comics #1010

Action Comics #1010 came out this week and was an interesting middle chapter of the Leviathan Rising story arc which is leading into this summer's mega-crossover, Event Leviathan.

As a sort of middle chapter of a prologue, I wasn't expecting much plot progression here. And outside of a death (major or minor depending on your love of the character), a semi-reveal, and a solid cliffhanger, we didn't learn too much here.

What we did learn is that the presence of some unknown entity like Leviathan is going to make everyone antsy and jittery. Everyone is going to be suspicious of everyone else. And some bad decisions are bound to happen because of that. It reminds me a little bit of John Carpenter's The Thing. Anyone or anyones (plural) could have been the monster. Who do you trust? As such, having people wonder out loud if someone is Leviathan ... directly to their faces ... is interesting.

This might be my favorite issue for Steve Epting on this book so far. This is mostly a street level issue with spies confronting spies. That style of story works for him. The one truly super-moment is brought about in a very cinematic style and crackles. And kudos to colorist Brad Anderson for bring the shadows to this espionage tale.

I also have to say that I have had my thoughts about who Leviathan is. I have, all along, thought that ultimately Leviathan would be the Earth-0 version of a Watchmen character. Someone like Dan Dreiberg of Earth-0. But I have changed my mind. I have taken that Watchmen idea and looked at it through a mirror darkly. My latest guess revealed later.

On to the book.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

DC Superhero Girls #MeetTheCheetah

DC Superhero Girls #MeetTheCheetah aired a while ago. Sorry it has taken me so long to have it bubble to the top of the pile.

I have been pretty impressed with the show so far. It has had a great mix of action and humor. Each of the characters have a pretty unique outlook and personality. And, under it all, are the social lessons which seem to be de rigueur for cartoons these days. Unlike the old version where those lessons seemed primary, here they seem to be more nuanced. That makes me happy. Cartoons should be fun and educational ... not necessarily preachy.

We finally get a supervillain in the mix and it is classic Wonder Woman nemesis Cheetah. I like how the identity of the Cheetah is a little bit of a mystery here. I am curious if people who have never been exposed to the character anticipated the expected reveal at the end. And we also see the first time that Supergirl needs to be eliminated as a story element because of her power level.

But for me, the best thing about this show so far is that it truly is an all ages affair. Prior episodes have included Spinal Tap riffs and Watership Down references. Here we get pretty much a straight up homage to the Alien movies. And that makes me thrilled.

So far so good for this series! Loving it.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Supergirl 419: Crime And Punishment

Supergirl Episode 419, titled Crime and Punishment, aired this week and was an interesting episode. In many ways it felt like a middle chapter of a mini-series. The purpose here isn't to solve any problems. It isn't really there to progress the plot. Instead the purpose it serves is simply to churn up the suspense, bringing the simmering plot lines to more of a boil.

The main plot is the dream team of Lena and Supergirl trying to track down Lex Luthor and figure out how he was able to get some version of Supergirl into the White House. Seeing these two team up as they try to unravel the clues and get into Lex's mind is pretty great. It truly was something of a mystery. And I liked the glimpses we had into the insanity of the Luthor mind.

A subplot is Kara's reaction to being treated like a villain in her own world. She is used to being the hero, being the inspiration. So seeing her become despondent about the fear Supergirl now invokes was another fascinating wrinkle. And her solution, how to be the hero while not being Supergirl is also great, giving us a look at the other side of her dual identity.

And yes, we get to see how this new world of 'Supergirl, Public Enemy #1' effects Alex, Colonel Haley, Brainy, and James as well.

But the big win is the main plot. We haven't seen Lex or Red Daughter in two episodes but we definitely feel their presence here. And that is a good thing.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Supergirl 1- La Derniere Fille de Krypton

When you are an avid comic book fan who also happens to be friends with people who do a lot of traveling, you often get cool gifts and souvenirs.

A very good friend of mine was recently in Paris and noticed a comic book store just a few blocks from his hotel. He went in and saw this trade - Supergirl, La Derniere Fille de Krypton - and knew he had to grab it for me.

I am a sucker for stuff like this. I have a fun side collection of foreign copies of Supergirl and Superman books. This one is quite slick.

For one, I love the 'non 3D' Supergirl logo. There is something clean about this. Perhaps it being black on the yellow background helps.

And the back cover also is sharp with the black background.

The text I can muddle through with my high school French and deductive skills. It says she comes to Earth to find Superman is not a baby and she has to decide if she will embrace humanity (or something like that).

Monday, April 22, 2019

Matrix Monday: Superman #83

 Just last week I called for a hiatus to Matrix Monday.

Sorry, that was premature.

Even though I had gone right up against the beginning of Peter David's reimagination of the character, I was reminded of Superman #83, an epilogue to the Funeral For A Friend arc, and a sort of closure to the entire Reign of the Supermen storyline.

This issue came out 4 months before the beginning of Matrix's mini-series, Supergirl #1, to put this in the right context. (Had I thought about this in a more organized way, I would have done this purely chronological. I came pretty close.)

I have said before that I found Funeral For A Friend to be something of a turning point for the Matrix character. It was there that she seemed to become more independent, began to think more like a hero, and seemed determined to fill the shoes of the departed Superman.

Here, I think, we see more of that. I really want to hear what people think about a certain scene near the end.

I think Roger Stern had her take a little step backwards in that independence at the beginning of that mini-series. But I think he did that to make her eventual break away from Lex that much more impactful.

On to the book.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Amazing Heroes #91 - Special Post-Crisis Issue Part 2 - Crisis #7 Review

About a month ago I stumbled across Amazing Heroes #91, a treasure trove of information about Crisis on Infinite Earths in retrospect. I already covered the look at Supergirl's death scene as being something most everyone - creators and reviewers alike - looked at as having been done well.

Now historically, Amazing Heroes wasn't exactly sympathetic to Supergirl's character so I was interested to look more at some of the Supergirl specific commentary in this book.

One thing that caught my eye was reviewer R. A. Jones look back at the series in total. Jones does a great job here looking at each issue individually and then summing up his thoughts about that particular section of the tale.

For the most part I can remember Jones reviews as being pretty fair and a bit more in-depth than many.

And as a fan of Crisis on Infinite Earths, I dove right in.

So what did he have to say about Crisis on Infinite Earths #7?

Thursday, April 18, 2019

July 2019 DC Solicits

The July DC solicits came out last week and it looks like the super-titles are ramping up to close the current storylines in time for Event Leviathan to take over the scene. This has me pretty happy as, at the very least, it will close out the 'Queen of the Axe' Supergirl story we have been given. Here is a link to Newsarama's coverage of all the books:

And now onto the super-titles.

written by MARC ANDREYKO
variant cover by KAARE ANDREWS

The conclusion to the SUPERMAN/SUPERGIRL team-up is here! As the House of El is united, Superman, Supergirl, Superboy and Jor-El struggle to defeat the seemingly unstoppable Rogol Zaar, who is now teamed up with General Zod, Jax-Ur and even Gandelo! New alliances are forged and betrayed, and Kara must fight battles on two fronts: alongside her cousins and inside herself, as she faces her own rage and the corrupting influence of Zaar’s axe! If she survives it all, who will be the Supergirl who emerges on the other side? Join us on the epic finale to Supergirl’s space-opera adventure!

Also, if Brainiac is in the Hall of Doom, why is Lex Luthor upgrading an old Brainiac drone body? And why is the drone calling itself the true Brainiac?

Supergirl is back on Earth fighting side by side with her family! Fantastic.
She 'faces her own rage and the corrupting influence of Zaar's axe'! Not so fantastic.

I just think Marc Andreyko has little understanding of the character and her recent history.

At least it didn't say 'final issue'.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Bullet Review: Batman #68

This will be a quick hit but it is hard not to cover a book with art by Amanda Conner which features, albeit briefly, Supergirl.

Batman #68 is an interesting issue showing the presumed bachelorette party for the Bruce/Selina wedding. It also again shows the interesting dynamic between Bruce and Clark as they have the most sedate bachelor party I have been privy to.

In the end, it looks like this all might in Batman's head as it ends with him hooked up to a mind machine of some sort. So did this happen? Is this what Bruce thinks would happen at a Selina/Lois party?

Anyways, much like the double date Batman/Superman issues by King were fantastic, this semi-sequel was just as fun. There are plenty of laugh out loud moments. And it ends with something of a pithy character comment about the World's Finest different views of life.

And, no surprise, the artwork by Conner is just incredible.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Review: Superman #10

Superman #10 has a cover depicting Superman fighting his father, proclaiming the Wrath of Jor-El. It is a bit of a feint. These two actually never stand in the same room with each other. And in some ways, Jor-El is shown in a more positive light than normal (for this book).

Still, this chapter of The Unity Saga, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Ivan Reis/Joe Prado (present day) and Brandon Peterson (flashback sequences) pushes the plot forward nicely. There are some very good moments in the book and one nice hint at future battles to come.

I don't think I will ever be happy with the aging of Jon. I don't like the idea that he spent years marooned on Earth 3, either trapped on a volcano or in hiding. I don't think we needed that to happen. But, at the very least, he didn't go grim, dark, or evil ... my biggest worry when I first heard this was occurring. I don't think he should have gone; I don't think he should have been allowed to go. I don't think Lois should have left him. But here we are.

Bendis as usual brings us some great character moments. I like how Jon is thinking of Damian almost immediately on his return to Earth. And the Clark/Lois/Superman relationship still hasn't been explained well enough for me to understand what the heck is going on. At the very least, we know they are still madly in love with each other.

As for the art, it continues to impress. Peterson brings a sort of organic feel to his stuff with round edges and minimal rendering. Reis and Prado continue to evoke a sort of Neal Adams grandeur to the proceedings.

Overall, this was a very good issue. On to the details.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Matrix Monday: Showcase '95 #12

For the past couple of months I have been devoting Mondays to the Matrix Supergirl, covering her introduction to the DCU by John Byrne, to her more solid re-introduction to the universe by Roger Stern and Jackson Guice, to her mini-series, and then to her solo stories thereafter.

Today I conclude this dedicated look with Showcase '95 #12. This story follows the Dichon story which was told in Showcase '95 #1 and 2 (reviewed here last month). The next solo story after this is in Showcase '96 #8, a prelude to the Peter David Supergirl book.

So this issue sort of is the capstone for the Matrix Supergirl. Sure, she continued to flit in and out of the Superman books. But for now, I think I will put the Matrix Monday idea on hiatus.

So let's see where 1995 left this Supergirl.

Before we jump in, figured I'd showcase (pun intended) that I have had the luck of getting this issue signed by Tom Grummett (cover artist) and Phil Jimenez who did the pencils on the Matrix story inside.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Review: Supergirl #29

Supergirl #29 came out this last week and seemed to push this opening arc by Marc Andreyko close to the finish line. And this makes me both happy and a bit miffed.

Happy because from the beginning this storyline of Kara demanding vengeance and heading into deep space away from an Earth she had just dedicated herself to made little sense. The beats of the story have made little sense. The side adventure/Omega Men pilot had little to do with her quest. And I just wanted Kara back on Earth as a hero. So this plot coming to a close is a good thing because maybe it leads to something more to my liking.

Irksome because to bring this to a close we need to plow through plot points with such velocity that it reads like a short cut to get us to the ending I want. Things magically happen here to move us to the finale in a way that I can't imagine Marc Andreyko anticipated. Also irksome because once again we are presented the angry, rage-fueled Kara that seems to come back every couple of years and met with disdain. I have said it here for almost 11 years. Dark Kara doesn't work.

Now the issue isn't complete disaster. Eddie Pansica's art is crisp and he brings a lot of big art to the big moments. There are a mix of downtime and high action sequences and he covers both settings very well. And colorist FCO Placencia brings the vibrant colors of paradise and the dismal colors of battle beautifully.

And the one thing that has always rung true in this arc is the inclusion of Krypto. Keep him in the book no matter where we go.

But onto the book.   

Thursday, April 11, 2019

DC Superhero Girls #KaraCare

The new DC Superhero Girls series has really hit the ground running. Mixing in 'full' episodes over on Cartoon Network and shorts over on YouTube, Lauren Faust and crew have been giving us all the material we need to learn about the new takes on the characters and their environment.

A recent YouTube short is now available titled #KaraCare. Here is a link:

Now I will admit, this is an interesting take on Supergirl. She is brash. She is rough around the edges. Here she is downright duplicitous as she takes advantage of a friend's kindness. This isn't the kind, dorky, awkward Shea Fontana Supergirl. But she is very likeable as a sort of 'bad girl' for this group, albeit one with a soft interior that occasionally gets shown.

I have been loving this series from the beginning and already know I need to cover the Cheetah main episode. So there will be more coverage soon!

On to this episode.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Red Daughter Poll: What Will Happen To Her?

The last several episodes of the Supergirl television show have been the best of the season. From Lex's deception to Red Daughter's timeline to All About Eve, this trifecta of episodes have put a whole new foundation under the season's plots and seem to have reinvigorated the fan base.

Honestly, there has been a ton of chatter on line about these episodes, like a spark reignited everyone's love for the show.

Of course, one of the biggest elements of this new direction is the Red Daughter, the Harun-El based Supergirl duplicate who has under Lex's sway and impersonated Kara last issue. In a throw away line, Eve says the Red Daughter was 'split' from Supergirl by the exposure to Harun-El.

The Red Daughter storyline obviously has to come to an end. So one of the things I have been wondering is what will happen to her. I had a few ideas so I decided to put up a poll on Twitter to see what people thought. And I have to say I got 288 votes, way way more than I anticipated. Thanks to everyone who voted.

The poll was 'What Red Daughter theory do you espouse to?' (I know, clunky grammar.)
1) Reabsorbed
2) Die nobly
3) Depowered (lives in Kaznia)
4) Other

So what did people think was going to happen?

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Amazing Heroes #91 - Special Post-Crisis Issue Part 1 - A Death Done Well

Almost 4 years ago I did an in-depth 30th anniversary review of Crisis on Infinite Earths, focusing in on Supergirl's role, her death, some of the decisions which led to her death, and ultimately her legacy after Crisis.

I thought it was about as thorough as I could get.

Turns out I was wrong.

About a month ago I went to the North East Comic Con and there I stumbled upon Amazing Heroes #91, a special post-Crisis issue with an insane amount of goodness in it for a Crisis historian like myself. For a Crisis fan, this is a treasure trove. For a Supergirl fan, it is an interesting time capsule, once again looking back at what the reaction to Supergirl's death was on the comic scene.

I knew Amazing Heroes had done a lot of Crisis commentary back in the day, and it wasn't all kind to Supergirl in the aftermath of her death.With news of her impending death already out,  Amazing Heroes #74 had a requiem that was really more a diatribe about how pathetic Supergirl was as a character. And Amazing Heroes #78 had a review of Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 as it was on the stand by noted reviewed R.A. Jones. Jones was clearly a Supergirl fan and this review is more sympathetic (if not downright angry).

And then less than a year after Crisis ended, Amazing Heroes #91 came out and we were diving back into the pool again.

I bought this from a $5 and issue, 5 for $20 box. It might be the best $4 I have spent.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Matrix Monday: Showcase '95 #2

My on again/off again Matrix Monday series returns today as I finish the Showcase '95 story written by Charles Moore with art by Stuart Immonen. In part 1,a newly sentient AI, housed in a robot body came to Earth to collect crystals in which to download his essence. Along the way, he ran into Supergirl and felt that the Matrix body would be a more suitable receptacle.

This was a story that focused mostly on the true form of Supergirl, really showcasing the purple gloppiness of the Protomatter form. In some ways, focusing on that aspect of her on the heels of her self-title mini-series felt like a step backwards. In the mini-series, Matrix seemed to grow as a person. Here I was reminded a bit too much that she is 'other'.

The art by Immonen is very good. I have always been a fan.

On to the book!

Friday, April 5, 2019

Review: Adventures of the Super Sons #9

Adventures of Super Sons #9, written by Peter Tomasi with art by Scott Godlewski, came out this week and was another fun issue. As usual, writer Peter Tomasi uses this book to take a dive into the DCU as well as touch on some pop culture references. I am sure I sound like a broken record but the best part of this Sons pair is how they have played off on each other. They are clearly different. But they also have rubbed off on each other. It is the interaction between Jon and Damian that is the best part of the book.

This issue decides to dive into both the Westworld phenomenon as well as take a swipe at Jonah Hex. So suddenly the boys are on a world based on the Wild West, filled with cowboy robots with strict programming. But seeing our main characters adapting to this new environment is hysterical.

Scott Godlewski pitches in on art, as he has done earlier in the book. He doesn't bring quite the same zing that Carlo Barberi does. But the art is still slick. And certainly it is close enough to Barberi that the book has a consistent feel.

We only have three issues left. So buckle your seat belts!

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Supergirl Movie Cards

It only took me 10 years to actually getting around to review the Supergirl movie here on the site.

Just a couple of months later, I got a great gift in the mail. Blog friend Russell Burbage sent me to trading cards set for Supergirl the Movie!

Now if you thought the movie was a bit warped in its approach, wait until you see the cards! At least there was a vision out there to 'go for it' with this thing.

All that said, there is something eternal about Helen Slater in the Supergirl costume. She just emanates the feelings I want to feel when I think of Kara. I can look past a lot of the problems with the movie and the merchandise because of Slater. I mean, when I see her, I just sigh a contented sigh.

Thy eternal summer shall not fade ...

This is a set of 44 cards. That said, it isn't really a card set. Every 'card' is a sticker.

And the stickers have all sorts of wonky text and phrases.

'Go For It!'
'World's Fastest Student'
'Hopelessly Devoted to You' (Hope Olivia Newton John got royalties.)
'Break flying ... what a feeling!' (Is that a break dancing and Flashdance riff all in one?)

They even throw in some wild clipart. Check out the skull on the 'Trapped in the Phantom Zone' card.

Okay, so that is pretty crazy.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Supergirl 417: All About Eve

Supergirl episode 417, titled All About Eve, aired this week and was another solid episode, tying all the plots from the early portion of the season tighter, showing us how deep Lex's scheme has infiltrated America, and best of all, shed some more light on Miss Tessmacher. Add to that one dandy of an ending and this show is riding high after what might be considered a bumpy early start.

Last episode we saw how Lex Luthor was manipulating just about everyone to bring about his nefarious plot. Now that we know the plot, we get to see it progress. While Lex isn't in this episode, his presence is everywhere.

Throughout the episode we also get a sense of the stress that each character is feeling as a burden and how eventually it might break them. From Lena's guilt for working with Lex, to Jonn's guilt for not living up to the standards of his father Myr'nn, to Kara's feeling she needs to protect everyone from everything, to James recovering from the stress of his recent attack, each character learns to lean on someone for support. There is more to come for all of these but the seeds have been planted.

Lastly, the reveal about Miss Tessmacher and Andrea Brooks layered performance of her has made Eve a new favorite for me. Of course, the movie All About Eve is about a young sycophantic and manipulative young woman living the life of a lie and taking down those around her who trusted her. Nice call back. On to the show.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Review: Action Comics #1009

Action Comics #1009 came out this week and continued what I am calling a prologue to the Event Leviathan big summer blockbuster. Written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Steve Epting, the issue nudges the overall plot forward a smidge, giving us a few crumbs to whet the appetite. There is even a good cliffhanger to make me want more.

As usual though, the big win for this issue was the character moments. There are a lot of good exchanges in this issue, giving us some insight into characters' motivations and feelings. In particular, Lois Lane is a force in this issue as she stands up to Amanda Waller, one of the most powerful people on the planet. At first I thought maybe Lois' ire felt a little too amped up for the situation. But on second read, I think Lois has every right in the world to feel the wrath she is feeling.

Epting's art is appropriately grounded for this spy story. We don't need fantastical elan to see two intelligent people discussing a mystery. His Superman is a burly sort, reminding me a little of Lee Weeks' version. And this whole thing has a spy novel/film noir feel to it and Epting's use of shadow to hide people's faces works well when we are questioning people's motives.

Add in some side scenes with The Question and Alfred as well as a little peek behind the curtain of Leviathan itself and you have a nice hors d'oeuvre as we wait for the main meal to come.

On to the details.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Liberty Belle / Jessie Quick Comic Box Commentary

Yesterday was the 60th anniversary of the release of Action Comics #252. That means it was the 60th anniversary of Supergirl (Kara Zor-El) being introduced into the DC Universe.

There was a tremendous outpouring of love and support on social media, particularly on Twitter where fans and creators tweeted their love for Supergirl.

Yesterday afternoon, a new episode of DC Superhero Girls aired on the Cartoon Network, Supergirl being one of the members of the team.

Last night, the 17th episode of the fourth season of the Supergirl television show aired.

In essence, Supergirl is everywhere. There are even multiple other blogs and now podcasts dedicated to her history.

A couple of months ago I began to wonder if my creative energy might be better spent touting some other character. Maybe my work covering Supergirl was 'done'. Maybe I didn't need to champion her any more.

At first I thought about simply retiring the site and stopping blogging all together.

But then I thought, why not concentrate on another young woman, striving to be a hero, dealing with a legacy, and also being a sometime star of the small screen.

And so I welcome you to the new Comic Box Commentary, this one focusing on the enigmatic Jessie Chambers, better known as Jessie Quick, and also known as Liberty Belle. With a ton of history to pull from, a backlog of stories of her parents, and even a season of the Flash to pull from, it seemed too perfect. Heck. I read her stories in the Robinson era JLA, the early JSA issues, and even a Supergirl/Jessie Quick racing issue sponsored by Snickers.

Of course, we need a jumping on point for the blog. So I figured why not start where I first discovered Jessie, in the pages of Mark Waid's Flash.