Thursday, June 27, 2019

Leviathan Theory - Event Leviathan #2 Cover

Well, by now you have all read my Leviathan Theory . Briefly, Leviathan is Ted Kord. His lieutenants are Captain Atom (the Leviathan enforcer) and Nightshade. And I am building this all on the Watchmen-esque visuals and words saturating the Leviathan books. And when I think Watchmen in the DCU, I think Charlton heroes.

For me, the clues are present and loud. But I wonder if I am starting to see meaning in things that aren't really meaningful.

For example, I have been looking at the cover for Event Leviathan #2 and I am convinced that the whole thing is one big clue.

And it all points to Blue Beetle.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

DC Superhero Girls #SheMightBeGiant

I am a bit late but a couple of weeks ago, DC Superhero Girls released #SheMightBeGiant, a short on the Cartoon Network 'introducing' the character of Giganta to the universe.

The overall plot is a similar one with Bumblebee having to overcome some concerns for inferiority to save the day.  It includes one of the classic DC Superhero Girls homages which has made this show delightful. Best of all, it involves Supergirl. And that riff is what prompted this post.

We meet Doris Zuel, a jock and bully in Metropolis High School. Zuel always picks on Karen (Bumblebee) to the point that our hero avoids her in the hallway. In an effort to increase her strength, Zuel pumps herself full of some Bane-like steroid that her father has created.

 Heading to the mall to get some free weights to bulk up more, Doris runs into an sales man who has old fashioned ideas about women and exercise. He points Doris to the yoga mats and the 3lb. mini barbells.

This infuriates Zuel and with the formula in her veins, she flies into a rage. The results are rather Hulk-like. And if you don't believe me keep reading.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

DC Essentials Action Figure

DC Collectibles just released their DC Essentials line, a highly articulated set of action figures that really let's you pose the figure in many different ways. Supergirl made the cut and was one of the first figures in the line.

This is a DC Rebirth costumed Supergirl and I really think it is a beautiful rendition of that costume. I am a sucker for the pleated skirt look for the 'blue shirt, red skirt' combo.

And, not that I dwell on these things, it comes in a handsome box with nice iconography and dress.

The back of the box shows the other figures in the line, some in more dynamic poses than others. The text discusses the articulation and says you can place Supergirl 'in flight, in fight, or just being super'. Nice little paragraph.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Back Issue Box: Action Comics #345

One thing that I try to do with my back issue reviews is find some older Supergirl story which resonates with the current storylines.

Currently, Supergirl is in outer space. Event Leviathan has a quasi-villain attempting to take over the world with a new world order. And the real world is a quagmire of divided states of outrageous politics.

With all those things in mind, I thought I would review Action Comics #345, a pure Silver Age story in that within a tight 12 pages we have an enormous story.  We learn of a new Earth, learn its politics, sees Linda Danvers elected President, Supergirl put on trial, a fascist uprising, Supergirl saving a solar system, and then ultimate political redemption!


Welcome to the Silver Age indeed!

And perhaps nothing hammers that home more than the cover, which highlights the Superman story, in which his secret identity is revealed on the real world prank show Candid Camera, hosted by Allen Funt.


"The Exile of Steel" was written by Jim Shooter with art by Jim Mooney. 

And the story itself starts out with a bang. Supergirl, standing before a rather young looking judge, is found guilty and exiled.

We learn in the text that this is another Earth. So it seems in the Silver Age, the threat of exile loomed over Supergirl on any Earth.

On to the details.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Leviathan Theory - Event Leviathan #1

I have a Leviathan Theory. And I am sticking to it.

Briefly, Leviathan is Ted Kord. His lieutenants are Captain Atom and Nightshade. And all of this is because there is a very Watchmen heavy subtext to everything. And, of course, the Watchmen were based on the Charlton characters, such as Blue Beetle.

The problem is that I have anchored on this theory so even the slightest thing which I can link backwards to the Watchmen/Charlton stuff looks obvious to me. Of course, that could be the insane workings of a lunatic mind, seeing connections where there are none.

But you are here so I may as well show you all the bread crumbs that I saw in Event Leviathan #1. As usual, this will be a bit rambling as I just rattle of the vibes I have been picking up.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

DC Comics September Solicitations

The DC solicits for September have come out and it is a little bit heavy with new books and exciting news all happening. I won't comment on all the Harley love that is coming out but there is plenty. So head over to Newsarama to take a peek at everything:

In the meantime, I'll do my usual review of the super-books that are coming out.

written by MARC ANDREYKO
card stock variant cover by DERRICK CHEW

After months on the outer edges of the universe, Supergirl is back on Earth! But things are not as she left them—her adoptive parents have disappeared without a trace, Leviathan’s plans are in motion and a Brainiac lurks in the shadows with its sights set on Kara! Oh, and what about that grave? The truth of who is in it will shake Supergirl to her very core!

I am thrilled that Supergirl is back on Earth again. And a mystery of finding her parents is a good hook. I wonder if, based on Leviathan Rising, if Eliza has been recruited to Leviathan's ranks. As for the Brainiac on the loose, we have already seen Kara fight Indigo in the Fatal Five arc. But news coming out this month makes me wonder if there is another Dox Kara will be meeting.

With all these arcs mentioned in the solicit, too bad the cover is (of course) gritty angry Kara immolating a Leviathan crony.

 What else is coming out?

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Review: Supergirl #31

Supergirl #31 came out last week and continues the Unity Saga story which has been going through the Superman book. I posted my review of Superman #12 yesterday and this issue of Supergirl covers much of the same story, albeit from her perspective.

While the story beats are similar, there are some unfortunate differences. While my review of Superman praised the maturity and respect and love that was evident in Supergirl and the El family, this issue doubles down on Kara's anger and viciousness. It was hard to go from one to the other and think these are the same characters. I just don't quite understand writer Marc Andreyko's take on the character.

Now comes my every couple of year defense that I don't want a sickeningly sweet Silver Age Supergirl, trapped in an orphanage with no agency. I don't mind a fierce Supergirl, learning to be a hero, occasionally failing. I don't mind her being angry when the time is right. But Supergirl should be, foremost, optimistic and bright. She should be about hope, help, and compassion for all. And this sneering Supergirl isn't that.

The art in the book is split. Kevin Maguire does the first 5 pages of the book and then semi-regular artist Eduardo Pansica takes over. Pansica should just be named regular artist and Maguire should start working on the Annual. The two styles don't mesh well. Separately both are fine.

On to the book.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Review: Superman #12

Superman #12 came out last week, the next chapter in The House of El portion of the Unity Saga. It is an interesting book because it overlaps heavily with Supergirl #31. The two books tell the same story from the different angles of their main characters. In many ways it succeeds in giving us some added information of the perspective of the other protagonist. In others it fails where dialogue and some interactions are different.

Of the two, the Superman books succeeds more in my mind. Remember, this is coming from an avid Supergirl fan.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis succeeds in showing us the power of a united El family. Superman, Supergirl, Superboy, and Krypto all clearly love each other and are supportive of each other. That felt like a wonderful throwback to past times when the super-cousins regularly teamed up and had each other's back. We haven't seen much of that since 2011. I also love the outright respect that Bendis gives Supergirl as a character. Kara is treated very well.

The down side to the story is my rather lack of sustained interest in Rogol Zaar. I also fear about the long lasting besmirching of Jor-El's character. I liked the noble scientist who tried his best to save the world but could only save his child. Not this Mr. Oz character who seemingly knew about Zaar's plans to blow up the world.

Ivan Reis has shined on every Superman issue. But this issue with it's double page vertical spreads and space battles as well as family hugs and reunions is a tour de force. I knew I would love seeing Reis draw Supergirl. I didn't think I would love it this much.

On to the book.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Review: Event Leviathan #1

You know that I am intrigued by a book when it grabs the Friday review slot the week a Supergirl book hit the stands.

Event Leviathan #1 came out this week, the 6 week mini-series written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Alex Maleev. Nothing grabs me like a good comic mystery and this one is fantastic. Leviathan as a group has eliminated the spy agencies and villain organizations around the world. It is looking, apparently, to consolidate power. But interestingly, Leviathan has made it clear that they want what our heroes want. The ends are not villainous, at least according to them.

Since this is a mystery, Bendis is giving us a cast of DC's best detectives. Seeing four of them poring over a crime in this issue sets the stage. These are the best investigators, above reproach, and as a result, trustworthy. So this team is out to solve this puzzle. What I love about this is that all these detectives have strong and different personalities. These aren't necessarily 'good' teammates. So seeing them bristle with each other as they exchange thoughts is delicious. Of course, snappy dialogue in street level crime stories is right in Bendis' wheelhouse.

Alex Maleev is also a perfect choice for this book, and in particular this issue, as it is a scene draped in darkness and shadow. His murky style fits a noir environment. And great sleuths slinking through crime scenes is wonderfully complementary. Maleev colors this issue as well. The palette seems limited between blues and oranges. But again, that fits. The book is gorgeous.

As for me, I have a Leviathan Theory and trust me, another post just dedicated to my theory and the clues this issue provided will be forthcoming. This issue hasn't made me budge. But this is more of an introduction.

On to the book.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Sales Review: May 2019

Sales numbers for May have been released and as usual I'll send people to ICv2 for the best coverage. Here is a link to their article.

It is an interesting month for me to look at as the summer events are starting to trickle out. Meanwhile in the super-books, Event Leviathan is about to take over meaning that the space race with Rogol Zaar needs to wrap up soon.

Supergirl #30 was a sort of closing chapter to her space quest as Kara faced off against Empress Gandelo and learned more about Rogol Zaar's part in Krypton's destruction.

It also had the major moment when Supergirl was just about to bury Zaar's axe into Gandelo's skull. Thankfully, Krypto used his good nature and his puppy dog eyes to not have Supergirl go the way of Rorshach.

So ... how did this rough, angry Supergirl issue sell?

It came in at slot 118, more than 20 slots lower than the last slot.

It also sold 18,443 units ordered. That is down from 19,550 from the month before.

We are getting pretty low in sales.

Will Event Leviathan lift this? Or will this darker turn for Supergirl once again lead to dwindling sales and the need for a reboot ... or cancellation.

I've spoken too much about this.

I worry that Andreyko will use Supergirl's book as a backdoor Manhunter book (based on the Leviathan Rising Special). I don't think is going to end well.

Last month also had Doomsday Clock #10, one of the best recent comics I have read.

It sold a very healthy 117,419 units ordered. Amazing.

What is more amazing is that DCeased, a zombie book, sold more than twice that!! I am not a zombie person so I am skipping this book (although I have heard great things).

Still, this erosion of Supergirl sales since Andreyko took over cannot be ignored. When will be see the Final Issue blurb  in the solicits?

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

DC Superhero Girls #FightAtTheMuseum

I have been pleasantly pleased with the new DC Superhero Girls under the direction of Lauren Faust. As I have said before, this is a wonderful mix of empowering messages, superheroics, and looney tunes action. As someone who lived through the reinvigoration of the My Little Pony franchise under Faust's direction, I feel this show has that same elan. It just checks off all the boxes. I can only hope that it catches fire the way MLP did.

On top of the story, I have also applauded the visual direction of the show with wonderful perspective shots and direction that just elevates it. There is this wonderful energy to the show, a concoction of mature cinematography telling a superhero story.

And I really have been tickled pink by the Supergirl on the show. This Kara is brash, a bit of a hothead, punching first and asking questions later. She is the rebel, the iconoclast throwing shade on Superman. While I am routinely against this persona in the DC continuity, in a side project team show like this, where everyone has a personality trait to demonstrate, I don't mind it. Welcome to the complex personality of this Supergirl fan. Nicole Sullivan does such wonderful voice work, bringing a little conceit, a little snark to the proceedings. And Supergirl has really been showcased. If I recall, Faust said Supergirl was her favorite when she was making Super Best Friends Forever. And this Kara is basically that Kara.

One thing I do know I like about Supergirl as a character is that she is a young hero, on the journey, and learning.

The title of  this episode is #FightAtTheMuseum, I suppose a riff on the Night At The Museum movies. Supergirl has to learn the lesson that might doesn't always make right. She also learns that she can't just punch every problem away. Get ready!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Terrificon Prep - Early Thoughts

Hard to believe but we are two months away from con season. And this year the season opens up with my favorite show, Terrificon.

I have lauded the show in the past. It is truly a comic book convention. The guest list is almost exclusively comic book creators. And perhaps the best thing about the show is that it really runs the gamut of creators. We get golden age legends. We get bronze age stalwarts. And we get the current stars. Every time I think the show can't list more guests, more get posted. If there ever was a show to commit to a three day trip, it is this one. Because I don't think there is time in one day to get to everybody. It is amazing.

 There are celebrities but they all always have a strong link to comic books. This year the show is bringing in stars from the 1989 Batman movie and others.

And the venue is great. Huge hall. Free parking. All levels of eating options within the casino. And, if you are into that, gambling.

Here is a link to the site if you want to scan the guests:

But this is a con prep post, which means I have to talk about my commission conquests and other hopes.

The top commission hope is Colleen Doran.

I am a long time fan of Doran. She loves the Legion. She was one of the artists on the recent JLA 3001 book that I loved. She is a fan of Supergirl. And her art is just dreamy.

I missed out on the opportunity to get a commission from her several years ago when she was at the Boston Comic Con. I won't let the chance pass again.

So I will be heading to Doran's table first.

Who else am I hoping to get?

Monday, June 10, 2019

Back Issue Box: Supergirl #5

 Last week I reviewed DC Superhero Girls #SuperWho, an animated short in which Supergirl (and Superman) fight Chemo.

With that in my mind, I thought I would review Supergirl #5 from the Peter David run in which, you guessed it, Supergirl fights Chemo. Although, as you'l see, it isn't so much a physical fight as an existential crisis.

One thing that David did brilliantly in this run is walk a fine line between superheroics and metaphysical. This was the Matrix Supergirl, trying to figure who she was in this new universe she was in. She had questions about herself. Was she 'alive'? Was she a creature? Was she real?

And when she merged with the sinful Linda Danvers, there were even bigger questions. What was redemption? Did she have a soul? What was she?

In the end, we find out that this merging of Matrix and Linda makes her something even more than the sum of the parts. She is an Earth Angel. But here, early in the book, we don't know that. And Supergirl herself is pretty unsure of who or what she is. She is figuring out what powers she still has. She is trying to figure out whose life she should be living. And she is still asking those deep questions. Is she truly alive?

Who would ever expect Chemo to be a mirror for her to look into?

Gary Frank and Cam Smith are on art and the book is absolutely gorgeous. This is before Frank started to draw everyone gaunt with extra cross-hatching. The art is smooth, glossy, stunning. It was this book and its look that made me a lifelong Frank fan. Just brilliant.

On to the book.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Review: Adventures of the Super Sons #11

Adventures of the Super Sons #11 came out this week, the penultimate issue for this maxi-series and therefore the penultimate issue of the tween Jon Kent Superboy. In the main Superman books, Jon has been aged and is now a true teenager. So enjoy this romp while you can. We are about to see the end of this incarnation of the Sons and their fun escapades.

Writer Peter Tomasi has truly taken advantage of the space he's been given. He has given us a healthy dose of the Damian/Jon dynamic which is really the straw that stirs the drink of this series. But we also have seen a sort of warped buffet of the DC universe, sampling the Silver Age, horror comics, science fiction, and straight up super-heroics.

The book, and this issue, has been aided by the art of Carlo Barberi. This is a super-hero book, but it is also a fun super-hero book, light-hearted in a way you would expect the adventures of adolescents to be. And Barberi's dynamic style, the perfect mix if anime, cartoon, and standard comic art complements the story perfectly.

This book does just what it should do as the 11th chapter of a 12 chapter story. The boys are close to being back home. Most of the villains have been taken care of. We have a great cliffhanger. And we know that a final showdown with Rex Luthor is around the corner.

Hopefully, lots of people have been loving this book as much as I have.

On to the details!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Leviathan Theory - Superman Leviathan Rising #1

I honestly hope that I am not driving people away as I continue to point out my  Leviathan Theory and all the clues that I see to try and bolster it.

But I can't help myself.

A comic mystery, a true comic mystery, will always grab my attention. And this is the first real mystery in comics, at least for me, in a long time. Maybe it is better to say that this is the first comic mystery that I have cared about in a long time. Yes, I am looking at you Heroes in Crisis.

Superman Leviathan Rising #1 came out a couple of weeks ago and I reviewed the book. But there were clues there, clues to make me think that maybe I am right.

Briefly, my thoughts are that Leviathan is Ted Kord. I believe Leviathan as an organization is led by the Charlton heroes, specifically Captain Atom and Nightshade. And I base a lot of this on the 'Watchmen' like feel to much of Leviathan's gear and attacks. And since the Watchmen characters were based on the Charlton folks I think this is art imitating art imitating art.

So, on to the clues.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

DC Superhero Girls #WasabiWar

After what seemed to be a slow start out of the gate, the new DC Superhero Girls has been putting out great new material, both 'full' episodes on the Cartoon Network (introducing Livewire and Giganta) and the YouTube shorts.

The latest short on YouTube, titled #WasabiWar is available and features the interesting pair of Zatanna and Supergirl. Here is a link:

Remember, Zatanna here is the 'Rarity', enjoying the finer things in life and following societal rules of decorum. Supergirl is the 'Rainbow Dash', a bit rough and tumble, a bit of the rebel. So you know insanity will ensue.

Zatanna has somehow obtained a reservation at one of the fancier and more exclusive sushi restaurants in Metropolis. She invites Supergirl.

And while Zatanna is a bit demure and subdued as she revels in being there, Kara is more in a pub mode, using the chopsticks like drum sticks and generally being a bit rowdy.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

April 2019 Sales

Looks like I missed the ICv2 article on April sales when it first came out and maybe that was a good thing. Here is the link:

I have been watching the sales on the main Supergirl title steadily erode for any issue not blessed with an Artgerm variant. The sales on Supergirl #29 with it's charming Amanda Conner variant continue the trend.

After a whole arc in space and an unappetizing opening chapter in the Superman Leviathan Rising special, I have to say that it might be time for DC to start thinking about who to let take over the book in Marc Andreyko's place. Or, more likely I fear, is waiting for the dreaded *Final Issue* label in some upcoming solicit post.

And that is because we once again find ourselves in the Dan Didio Supergirl Cycle of Death.

Step 1: Supergirl gets a creative team who wants to write her as angry and gritty.
Step 2: It doesn't sell.
Step 3: A new team comes on writing Supergirl as a young optimistic hero learning the ropes.
Step 4: Sales increase and stabilize in the middle of the pack.
Step 5: DC thinks it can do better.
Step 6: Cancel the book or go back to step 1

Proof is out there.
Step 1 folks: Loeb, Spencer, Green, Andreyko
Step 3 folks: Gates/Igle, Bedard, Johnson/Perkins, Orlando

Supergirl #29 came out in April.

In it an irate Supergirl seizes Rogol Zaar's axe and attacks.
Zaar's men call her The Queen, Lady of the Axe and swear allegiance.
The space-faring mystery behind Rogol Zaar is rushed to its ending in inane ways.

Not surprisingly, this dark Supergirl and stilted story didn't work for me.
But how did it sell?

Monday, June 3, 2019

Superman Leviathan Rising Review Pt 2: The Rest Of The Book

Superman Leviathan Rising #1 came out last week and was the prologue for the Event Leviathan crossover which is working its way through the DCU this summer. It is a book of chapters with a story working its way through most of the parts. (The Supergirl part felt a little separate.)

The main story was written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Yanick Paquette. That is a great creative team. We also got first looks at the upcoming Lois Lane book by creators Greg Rucka and Mike Perkins. And we saw the zaniness that Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber are planning in the upcoming Jimmy Olsen book as well.

Some of the plot points shown here nicely dovetail out of the opening crumbs we have seen in the recent Action Comics issues. We got to see the new head of Leviathan and hear his motivations and machinations. We learn what happened to Talia Head, the old leader of Leviathan. And we got to see how the threat of Invisible Mafia is not only read and not only still present but also well respected by the underground.

 Finally, this is a mystery. You have read my #LeviathanTheory posts here. There are a few crumbs here to add to my thoughts. I might gloss on them here. But, I think there will be another post there.

On to the book.