Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Leviathan Theory: Action Comics #1013 Clues

Action Comics #1013 came out last week and I must admit was a little lean in aiding my 'Leviathan is Ted Kord with help from the other Charlton heroes' theory.

Most of the clues that came out of this seemed to be information around the Leviathan army. Something concrete. And something that was vague enough to point at just about anyone.

But still, it is worth reviewing the information to look for patterns.

And, as usual, I am picking up a meta-textual clue vibe, a way for Bendis and the artists to give you a subliminal clue of where the story is headed. 

I can tell you that if this issue did anything, it spawned a new back-up theory, one you will hear about soon.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Early November Solicits. Dark Supergirl ... Again .... yeesh

DC has early solicited some of their November books so that orders for special 'acetate' covers can be gauged. Here is a link to that story over on Newsarama:

But more than anything, it had me muse over a famous quote by Satayana.

'Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.'

Because, in case you can't tell from the studded leather corseted, KISS make-up wearing, angry red eyed Supergirl on the cover of Supergirl #36, we have once again entered a Dark Kara phase. 

It occurs about every 3 years. 
It never works.
And we need to rebound from it.

Here I thought 'Queen of the Axe' Kara was Marc Andreyko's Dark Kara. But he and Dan Didio said 'hold our beers while we get shots of whiskey'.

Here is the solicit:

written by MARC ANDREYKO
acetate cover by DAN MORA
card stock variant cover by DERRICK CHEW

Supergirl—the infected! Brainiac-1 attempts to contact Supergirl at the Fortress of Solitude, but for what nefarious purpose? No matter what he has planned, things are about to go from bad to worse as Supergirl heads on a collision course with the Batman Who Laughs! He’s targeted Superman as part of his plan to infect heroes and transform them into their twisted Dark Multiverse counterparts—but Supergirl gets caught in the crossfire, and the Year of the Villain stakes get even higher!

And frankly, I'm tired of this.

Even if this is temporary, which of course it is, DC Editorial could have decided not to have Supergirl succumb, not to have Supergirl infected. But instead we get the drum beat again. 

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Amazing Heroes #91: Supergirl Anniversary

It has been 34 years since Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Thirty-four years!

And despite having picked over that series with a fine tooth comb for all things Supergirl related, including a seriously deep dive into it during its 30 year anniversary here on the site, I keep running across new things.

Back in April, I did several posts based on articles in the special post-Crisis issue of Amazing Heroes. This was a true treasure for a historian like me, especially one who lived through the Crisis.

So here we are on Sunday, July 28, 2019.

What happened 34 years ago today?

Friday, July 26, 2019

Review: Action Comics #1013

Action Comics #1013 came out this week and was a very good 'middle chapter' in a mystery like Event Leviathan. We got some new clues, a couple of which I think are big. We got some new information, but just a snippet to whet the appetite. And it spurred a new theory. (As a reminder, this is a review post. Clues get reviewed in a separate post.)

Just as important as that, writer Brian Michael Bendis continued to push forward the other, non-Leviathan plot lines the book has been percolating. Action Comics is as much a Daily Planet book as it is a Superman book and so seeing the story play out as a conversation between Perry White and Robinson Goode fit the tone of the book very well. So we got as much Red Cloud and Invisible Mafia as we did Leviathan.

On top of that, Bendis has a good ear for the characters here. Perry pushing Goode, asking about her stories and her sources while trying to nurture a good young reporter was solid. Goode asking if White treats all his reporters that way was also pitch perfect.

Szymon Kudranski continues to grab my attention on art. His use of different borders to connote the tone of a panel complements the art. At times his pencils seem a little rough but overall I have no complaints. And colorist Brad Anderson continues to impress me, especially in the Rose/Thorn scenes.

On to the book.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Sales Review - June 2019

The sales numbers for June have come out and as usual, I find ICv2's coverage of the month to be the best coverage. Here is a link:

The super-titles are transitioning a bit in plot. The Leviathan plots are heating up. The House of El/Unity Saga is coming to a close. And finally, the super-family is together in story.

Supergirl #31 was an important part of the Unity Saga story with Supergirl joining Superman and Superboy in thwarting Rogol Zaar and General Zod's attacks on Jor-El. This also was an issue which showed scenes from Superman #12 from a different perspective. So seeing the action unfold from different character's viewpoints was a nice touch.

But the big thing was that this was a Superman Family story. The cousins are together. So how did it sell?

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Leviathan (Back Up) Theory - Superman?

Have you every been watching a mystery movie and you have think you have solved it.

And then a crazy idea creeps into your head and you begin to question your original thoughts?

There is no doubt I have my Leviathan Theory.  Leviathan is Ted Kord and his lieutenants are the other Charlton Heroes. I am sticking with it.

But permit me another post to discuss a crazy back-up theory that crept into my mind the other night.

A while back on Twitter, blog friend Mark Danvers wondered what was going on with Lana Lang, a character not really seen a ton since the end of her Superwoman comic.

And that kernel blossomed into a crazy new Leviathan guess.

Let's head down the rabbit hole.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Supergirl Show: New Costume, Lena, & Season Five Trailer

The Supergirl show is in its summer hiatus but Season 5 has already started to film and news has started to leak. And between San Diego Comic Con and interviews and magazines, a lot has dropped. I will try to cover the big news here knowing a lot of other news (Mehcad Brooks leaving, Winn returning, Brandon Routh being Kingdom Come Superman in Crisis) also broke and could be covered.

One of the first media bombs to drop was that Supergirl will sport a new costume next season. Here is a link to that story:

Now I am a huge fan of the blue shirt/red skirt look for Supergirl. It;s my favorite version of the costume. And so I am sad to see it go.

I also think this new suit, now with blue pants, is fine. But in some ways it is a little boring to me. There isn't much color here. The cape being so far up and back even eliminates red from the upper body. Things could be worse. But this is just okay to me.

In some ways it reminds me of some of the costumes with pants we saw in the 1970's Adventure Comics run.

Monday, July 22, 2019

DC Superhero Girls #LostAndFound

Lauren Faust's new take on DC Superhero Girls remains a fun Looney Tunes romp through the DC Universe. One thing I have liked is seeing some tiny personality quirks begin to stick to these characters. While each of the main girls fits a certain personality trait akin to the My Little Pony gang, we are starting to see some other secondary characteristics stick. I love it.

I also think this is something of a throwback cartoon with wacky violence and even gentle teasing injected into the shorts. I suppose it is only a matter of time before someone complains. Until then, I am soaking it in.

The latest short, #LostAndFound, is now available on YouTube:

Diana has lost her magic lasso, the Lasso of Truth, and knows that mischief is about to explode.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Review: Jimmy Olsen #1

These are great times to be a Superman Family fan. Superman has seen something of a renaissance under Brian Michael Bendis. A Supergirl book is on the rack. It has all but been confirmed that a Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes book is happening. Lois Lane has a solo book. And now, another title hits the stands.

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #1, the first part of a 12 part maxi-series, came out this week and was a funny, fast paced, entertaining romp through the Superman universe. If the Superman books are standard super-heroics and Lois Lane is a gritty, topical look at the more noir aspects of Metropolis, Olsen is a weird, Vertigo-lite, Silver Age crazy book. Writer Matt Fraction seems to have embraced the wackiness of Olsen's classic title, showing us the strange events that seem to gravitate to Mr. Action. Throw in a number of new characters who could be a supporting cast and you have a heady brew. I loved it.

And the decision to have Steve Lieber on art is something of an inspired choice. This is going to be a crazy book, no doubt. But you can lean a little too hard into the weirdness. Pick an artist that is too stylized or too cartoony and it becomes a caricature. Pick someone too photo-realistic and it is jarring. Lieber walks that fine line. This is solid, realistic art which makes the craziness seem that much more insane. These events are happening in a grounded world.

I don't know if I was ready for the sort of 4-page mini-burst rapid fire story telling of this issue. But if that is going to be the feel of the series, I'll be okay. You can't settle in. Things happen, happen fast, and then we are off to the next thing. This is a sprint of a book, perfect for Jimmy.

On to the details!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Luma Lynai Sighting: Green Lantern #9

I have been enjoying the new The Green Lantern comic for all its Grant Morrison zaniness. Now I am a Morrison apologist and almost nothing he does is going to fall flat for me. But the scope of this book so far has been insane. And for once, I actually sort of like Hal.

One thing that has always impressed me with Morrison is his knowledge of continuity lore and his willingness to include comic history in his stories.

So I was both thrilled and not surprised to see Luma Lynai appear in The Green Lantern #9.

And I love the way artist Liam Sharp draws her. Just spectacular.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Leviathan Theory - Clues In Event Leviathan #2

My Leviathan Theory basically is that Ted Kord, the Blue Beetle, is Leviathan.

The seed was all the Watchmen overtones I saw in the initial clues. That led me into thinking the Leviathan group is basically the Charlton Heroes of Earth-4 now united by Ted to be the Leviathan organization. Between Monarch-looking enforcers and a high ranking female Leviathan operative, I can easily see Captain Atom and Nightshade in the mix.

Moreover, I have this sense that this Ted has seen it all ... or remembers it all. He remembers being killed by Max Lord, at the time the head of Checkmate. He remembers the betrayals and the Crises. He is spurred to action.

And in last week's Event Leviathan #2, several clues were dropped which help bolster my opinion.

I already covered all the clues from the solicited cover here. Looks like my thoughts on the cover being an homage of Justice League #1 was on the money. On Twitter, artist Alex Maleev said it was not coincidence the cover looked that way.

Now, let's take a look into the issue and start a deeper dive. And get ready for a long read. Because conspiracy theories can be rambling.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Review: Superman #13

Superman #13 came out last week and was an interesting issue, basically a flashback to the days before Krypton exploded. We have seen Jor-El pleading to the Science Council in just about every incarnation of the Superman origin. This time we see him pleading to another group, the Circle. And finally, it is revealed he was part of that group.

When Brian Michael Bendis came on board and talked up Man of Steel, he said that he was going to tell a story about Krypton's destruction, answering a question that hadn't been asked before. And this issue feels like a sort of pre-quel to Man of Steel in many ways. We have seen that Rogol Zaar initiated the destruction of Krypton. Now we know that Jor-El was involved with the Circle and might be complicit in some of that group's more unsavory interactions with cultures. I haven't really enjoyed this demolition of Jor-El from brilliant scientist to sociopathic madman now to historical murderer. So much for the House Of El being a noble house on Krypton, differentiating itself from others. Now they are just as much in the mud.

At least Superman calls his father out for these actions. I guess here nurture overcame nature.

The art is predominantly by Brendan Peterson, covering the flashback portion of the issue. The art is stylish with almost a Cully Hamner feel. Ivan Reis does the present time portion with his usual classic look.

Alas poor Jor-El. I thought I knew you well. On to the book.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Review: Supergirl #32

Supergirl #32 came out last week, another chapter in the House of El storyline, trying to tie up the Rogol Zaar storyline started in Man of Steel before the Event Leviathan mega-arc takes over the focus of the super-books.

As such, and no big surprise given some of the turns in the Supergirl title, things happen rather quickly here. In some places, too quickly.

I also think there was something of a missed opportunity here. Superboy joined Supergirl on this mission. And yet, he is only in the beginning and the ending of the book, sort of disappearing in the middle without much explanation. It's a shame because their interaction in the few pages they share is well done, the sort of banter cousins would have.

But once again we have an uneven presentation of Supergirl who floats between overpowering rage and unflinching morality depending on the whim of the script. Since this is an even issue, she is measured in her actions. Were this an odd issue, she would be the Queen of the Axe coming within millimeters of decapitating someone. (I kid. But it seems that random.) Marc Andreyko has yet to show me he has an understanding or even a foundation for the character.

The art is done by Kevin Maguire and is his usual top notch stuff. Really love his take on Jon.

On to the book.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Review: Event Leviathan #2

Event Leviathan #2 came out this week and was another interesting chapter in this ongoing, all-reaching mystery. I feel like this series is going to have a pace like a snowball rolling down a mountain. We are still just building momentum. But as this moves on, my guess is things will go faster and crazier.

The first issue ended with Damien Wayne wondering if the Red Hood was Leviathan. After all, some of the aspects of these attacks sound like something that Jason Todd would do. This issue is Batman questioning Red Hood, trying to see if this allegation by Damien holds any weight.

Now admittedly, I am not a Jason Todd fan. I don't read the Red Hood. But my interactions with him in passing make me think that he isn't a team player. He isn't a leader. And he doesn't seem like one to be as organized as the Leviathan attacks have been. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

But the bulk of this issue is this quasi-interrogation. But there are clues sprinkled throughout, most of them in a scene between Plastic Man and Leviathan himself. Some of these definitely add to my theory, all of which will be laid out in a separate post.

Alex Maleev continues to stun me with his art and colors here. From the varied dappled nighttime scenes to the cool, in control 'green' of the Question, to the bright reds when action unfolds, this whole thing works.

I am totally on board here.

On to the story.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Leviathan Theory - A Clue In Harley Quinn?

You all know my Leviathan Theory.

I have spoke of Anchoring Bias, the idea that once you have an idea, you cannot move from it.

Now I am manifesting Confirmation Bias, the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one's existing beliefs or theories.

I believe that Leviathan is Ted Kord.

Now I am seeing confirmation of that idea just about everywhere. Even in comics outside of Event Leviathan and Action Comics.

But a Levithan Theory clue in Harley Quinn #63 ?

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Artgerm Supergirl Statue

The shrine got a little bit bigger this week when the Artgerm Supergirl statue finally arrived at the store.

This is a really beautiful piece. It seems to veer near cheesecake. But there is something also wholesome and angelic about it that really makes it a wonderful addition to my collection.

Standing pretty tall on a metal post, giving the illusion of flying, this is a DCAU Supergirl, or a latter half PAD Supergirl depending on your viewpoint. But whatever continuity it is gorgeous.

And the sculpt itself is solid with great details

And how great is it that it truly mirrors the cover of Supergirl #19!

I love when things hearken back to the comics.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Review: Adventures of the Super Sons #12

Adventures of Super Sons #12 came out last week, the end of the maxi-series and the end of the sons as we have known them.

This is the end ...

Or is it?

Writer Peter Tomasi has been sending the boys through a warped tour of DC's Silver and Bronze ages in this book as Jon and Damien fight Rex Luthor and his Gang. And now that Jon is 17ish and presumably about to join the Legion of Super-Heroes, we won't be getting more tween adventures of this next gen World's Finest. And that makes me more than a little sad. The boys have brought a lot of joy into comics and heaven knows I need as much fun as possible.

Artist Carlo Barbieri has also brought a sort of whiz-bang quasi-anime feel to the book which has really given it a ton of energy.

But anytime a book or concept like this ends, I have to wonder why. Certainly there were more stories to tell. And while I know I only need go back to the longbox to reread these stories, I'll always wonder what might have been.

Still, there is a little bit of light peeking through the darkness of this ending. Maybe there is more?

Monday, July 8, 2019

Review: Lois Lane #1

Lois Lane #1 came out last week and was a great opening issue to this maxi-series, giving us a sort of quick cross-section of what the investigative reporter's life must me like on a day to day basis. I was very entertained by the issue and was instantly wanting to read more. That is always a good sign for a first issue.

Writer Greg Rucka is known for his adept handling of female characters and this issue puts that on display. We get a very three-dimensional look at Lois, making her feel like a real person living her unreal life. From a very topical expose of the President, to her beginning an investigation on the apparent suicide of a Russian colleague, to the complicated private life of being Clark Kent's wife and Superman's paramour, we get just about everything. And Lois responds to all those chunks of her life impressively. She is determined, quick-witted, intelligent, angry, blase. But mostly she's unfazed. She has been around the block a couple of times. This read like the way I want Lois to read.

And Mike Perkins on art gives a very real portrayal of all this. I think Perkins' style works best in the dark, seedy corners of investigative journalism. But even the bright shiny press conferences and sun-dappled romantic scenes really crackle here. The work really shines.

Paul Mounts contributions as colorist can't be dismissed either as the scope of the book goes light to dark, dingy to spotless and his colors capture it all.

If the whole series is going to be like this first issue, I'll be thrilled. We need a Lois book on the racks. And this is a great one. On to the story ...

Friday, July 5, 2019

Leviathan Theory - Entomology

By now everyone who comes here is probably aware of my main Leviathan Theory , the idea that Ted Kord is leading the 'Charlton Heroes' in a way to wrest control of the world and bring order.

From Captain Atom as the 'Enforcer' to Nightshade as a lieutenant to all the Watchmen references, I am pretty confidant of this pick.

As a result I am looking for any clue, even the vaguest whiff of a clue to help bolster this idea.

So from cover layouts to power visualizations to Leviathan's handcuffs, I have been doing my best to force the clues to fit my paradigm.

So what about Leviathan himself?

Well, I mentioned how the mask as we had seen it was familiar to Carapax, an armor linked to Blue Beetle.

At the end of Action Comics #1012, we get an up close look at Leviathan's mask. This is one intricate and detailed rendering by new Action artist Szymon Kudranski. And I thought it was our best look yet.

And there was something about it ...

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy Fourth Of July

Happy Fourth of July to everyone who celebrates!

I'll be enjoying a couple of days off on this end!

Have fun everyone!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Leviathan (Back Up) Theory: Hawk & Dove?

I continue my look into my Leviathan Theory and back up theories I have been coming up with as different elements of the Leviathan mystery bubble to the surface.

As always, I contend that Leviathan is Ted Kord, with help from his Charlton friends.

One of the things that strikes me about this particular mystery is that I have been struck by clues that I think are meta-textual. Much of my theory about Blue Beetle is based on visuals and verbiage which remind me of Watchmen. These aren't clues that the characters could be aware of.

 I have also been struck by the use of 'we' in Leviathan's speech.'We are Leviathan.' That could be Leviathan talking about the organization as a whole. But it could be that Leviathan is a two person team. After all, we have seen this person and we have seen the Enforcer.

I also keep thinking about prior DC mysteries as a template for this mystery. Certainly writer Brian Michael Bendis is a huge comic book fan and historian. I can't help but think that he leans into history sometimes.

And one of the biggest DC past mysteries was Armageddon 2001. As many know, initially Monarch was supposed to be revealed as Captain Atom. But, at the last minute, because of leaked information, the book was changed and Monarch was revealed to be Hawk of Hawk and Dove.

Armageddon 2001 is looked at with a bit  of a side eye by fans. The Hawk reveal seems ludicrous. DC is often teased about Armageddon 2001 rather than praised.

So what if Bendis has decided to create a mystery similar to Armageddon 2001 but also to try and redeem that book? What if he wanted the ending of that book make more sense?

What if 'we' literally means two people?

What if the 'we' of Leviathan is actually the pair of Hawk and Dove.

Okay, on to the deep dive of this back-up theory.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Con Prep: Boston Fan Expo

We are approaching Con Season which means that time is growing short for me to get my preparation done including thoughts about commissions, signatures, and possible gifts for friends.

That means preparing for Fan Expo Boston right after Terrificon. Here is a link to the con:

Now unlike Terrificon, this is more of a Pop Culture convention with a corner for comics creators. Born from the ashes of the dearly departed Boston Comic Con, Fan Expo is about a true cross-section of popular culture. As a result, there isn't as much heavy lifting from a comic point of view.

That said, I am very much looking forward to this convention because it is also a cross-section of the comic community on-line I am part of. Rob, Shag,and Ryan from the Fire and Water Podcast Network will be there. Diabolu Frank from the Rolled Spine Network. Darrin and Ruth Sutherland from the R and D Network, Derek Crabbe, Keith G. Baker, and who knows how many more folks I hang out with in social media will be there. Hoping we head out to Karaoke!

Anyways, that means if any of you are going, we should try to meet and greet!

But onto the preparation and guests.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Review: Action Comics #1012

Action Comics #1012 came out this week and continued the tremendous momentum that Brian Michael Bendis has been bringing to the title in recent months. Yes, Event Leviathan is a huge story involving the Superman family and the DCU as a whole. But Bendis shows that life goes on for most people. So this issue shows that even with Leviathan is looming over everything like a shroud, crime and day jobs are still happening. These sort of issues enrich a universe, making it feel more realistic and three dimensional.

This issue also brings in an updated Rose and Thorn, a character who occasionally crossed my path in the Bronze Age, but not enough to have me feel attached or very knowledgeable about her. This hew version seems a bit more addled than the original, and more violent than I recall. Her pending story is very interesting.

But the real revelation in this issue is the new artist Szymon Kudranski. Kudranski has a great sense of  'cinematography', taking advantage of the medium by overlaying pictures, bringing in fascinating panel borders, and switching from the bright lights of the Fortress to the blood soaked bars of Metropolis. In particular the Thorn scenes have a bit of Michael Lark sensibility, reminiscent of Daredevil.

On to the book.