Friday, August 30, 2019

Review: Action Comics #1014

Action Comics #1014 came out this week and was another great chapter in this title's run. This book has always been the more street level, Daily Planet, 'what's happening in Metropolis' of the Superman books and this issue showcased all that. From the scenes in the Daily Planet about the paper's mission and finanaces, to Superman/Clark breaking a story, to the Invisible Mafia having a very visible confrontation, this book bleeds Metropolis and I love it.

I will also add that the mystery of Leviathan has seeped into the book as well. And there is one big clue drop which bolsters my #LeviathanTheory. But remember, this is the review post. Clue posts drop next week.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis shows his gift of dialogue here. In particular, I love the scenes between Perry White and new Planet Owner/Capo of the Invisible Mafia Ms. Leone. Here Leone comes off like the guardian angel of journalism and truth. But we know her more nefarious leanings. So is she playing White to guide the stories in the paper, putting her spin on them. Or does she know that the Planet can be used as a weapon against other of her foes? Or does she truly believe in truth? Hmmm ...

Szymon Kudranski's art is solid as usual. His style runs from loose to tight at times which I find a little disorienting now and then. But overall, his style has a bit of a 'noir' edge which works for this book. His character scenes seem to flow better than, for example, this issue's big alien fight.

On to the book and particulars.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Terrificon 2019 Review Part 2 - Colleen Doran & More

Terrificon continues to impress me as a convention.

This year in particular seemed crazy as the guest list continued to grow right up to days before the event. It seems crazy to think that a current superstar like Liam Sharp was in the middle of one row because there were so many other mega-stars in the mix.

Truly, this was the biggest con for me for guests. And I felt lucky that I had met so many of the guests at prior cons. There were some guests who I felt okay not meeting because I had met them before. If I had to try and meet everyone on the guest list, I would have gone mad.

Once more, I will say that this is *the* con in the Northeast to head to.

Now last week, I showcased my Dan Jurgens commission.

Today, take a gander at my Colleen Doran.

I missed out on the opportunity to get a Doran commission in Boston several years ago. So this time I was determined to grab one. This is where pre-con legwork helps out. I contacted Doran through social media and set up my dropping off my sketch book on Friday for a full color commission. She preferred the classic Silver Age blue skirt costume which worked for me. And it helped that I was going to be at the con for all three days as it gave her time to do such a great piece.

I love this piece. This is the bright, optimistic, shining Kara of the Silver Age. And the color and depth of color really makes this pop. I was floored when I picked up my book on Sunday and I am still floored looking at it now. Just gorgeous.

Doran was so nice to chat with as well. She signed my JLA 3001 issues, an old Amethyst, and even a couple of issues for buddies who couldn't make it.

As for more Supergirl specific stuff, read on!

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Leviathan Theory: Event Leviathan #6 Cover & Maxwell Lord

I have a #Leviathan Theory and I am sticking to it.
Leviathan is Ted Kord, with the help of the other Charlton Heroes.
Much of that has been driven by the Watchmen-like vibes I have seen in a number of stories. The Watchmen characters were based on the Charlton characters. It is a sort of dark mirror image of each other once over sort of theme.
I had a cutesy little catch phrase too! 'This time I'm right!'

I have back-up theories. I have reviewed the clues. You can read all those posts here:

But I started this whole #LeviathanTheory thread with the idea it was Ted and I have to stick to that. In poker talk, I am pot committed.

Unfortunately, I am starting to think, this time I'm wrong.

Because when I saw the covers to Event Leviathan #6, my mind started leaning towards Leviathan being Maxwell Lord.

Part of that is the shadows of the Leviathan Troops in this Bryan Hitch cover. While I know they are the helmeted troops we have seen in this title, in silhouette, they look an awful lot like OMACs.

And in the Main cover, we see the Leviathan mask peeling away revealing a 'third eye' in the middle of the forehead. While you might think of Despero or Starro, it feels more like the Brother Eye eye.

I mean, those guys on the first cover look like this.

And given Maxwell Lord's connection to OMAC's back in the Infinite Crisis time, it all seems to make sense.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Melissa Benoist Signature

I really love the community of comic fans I am a part of on social media.

It is so easy to be negative. We all know the power of anonymity on-line.

But I believe in lighting a candle, not cursing the darkness. And somehow, I have found like-minded individuals on line, positive people who point out what they love in comics and pop culture rather than attack what they don't.

The group is definitely generous. I have my little #TopSecretProject where I send signed books to folks. I am always surprised at the number of packages that get sent my way.

So I was pretty excited when Professor Alan of the Relatively Geeky network sent me a Supergirl photo autographed by .... MELISSA BENOIST!

I don't know the details behind his obtaining this. I can't believe he sent it to me!

But I will cherish it!

I hope to meet Ms. Benoist in person some day! But for now, this is a cherished part of the collection!

Thanks Prof! And thanks to everyone who is part of the Supergirl and comic community!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Full DC November 2019 Solicits

Last week, DC released their complete solicits for November 2019. Here is a link to see all the books:

They had done something of a preview of some of the books earlier, showcasing the 'acetate cover' books which have a clear overlay which changes the initial image. I wrote about how disappointed I was with the Supergirl one last month here:

Now we know a little bit more about the Year of the Villain, who the Batman Who Laughs infects, and what issues we will see these heroes turned villain.

No big surprise, I am pretty tired with the whole darkening of good characters. I don't know how this infection happens. But it would be nice if DC recognized that Kara has gone through these dark periods before and it never seems to work. How I would have loved it if somehow Kara rejected this evil turn. Or was considered too good for the Batman Who Laughs to even try on her.

Instead we once again get this dreck played out. Even if it is temporary, it feels wrong.

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! 

I don't even care if somehow she sacrifices herself to the infection to save Superman from going dark (as may be implied here). I am sick of this take on Supergirl. 

I wish I know who to blame for continuously picking this scab. 

On to the rest of the books.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Review: Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #2

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #2 came out this week and was another delightful hodge podge of Silvr Age silliness, Mr. Action mystery, and Metropolic history and politics.

I am really amazed at how effortlessly writer Matt Fraction and artist Steve Lieber are able to weave all the different tones and styles into one book and have it not read like a muddled mess. From the Olsen ancestry to solving his own murder to being ostracized by his family to being a horse and hanging out with Comet, Jimmy is everywhere and everything. And that's just how it should be.

Despite some of the darker or seedier storylines though, the predominant feeling here is fun ... or maybe joy. I found myself smiling throughout the entire read, a different feeling (it seems) than those who read Alfred getting his head turned backwards by Bane in Batman. Frankly, I think comic needs more joy. And this book delivers.

I also think it is a wonderful companion book to the Lois maxi-series also coming out. Lois is all noir and shadows and heaviness. This is light and silly and sweet.

Hopefully this leads to a monthly, or a new super-anthology, or even an annual special. But Fraction and Lieber have the Olsen pistons pumping. There are still 10 issues of this and already I want more.

On to the book.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Terrificon 2019 Review Part 1 - Dan Jurgens

Summer is convention season and the big convention on my list has become Terrificon. Amidst a sea of 'comic cons' which are more pop culture get togethers, Terrificon remains a near-pure comic book based convention.

This is a convention with a true boatload of creators which range from legends of the field to the main creators I grew up with to current hot writers and artists. The guest list kept growing until it became clear that not all the books I was hoping to get signed would fit in my backpack in one go around and I would need to decant and refill the bag at the car a couple of times.

It also is the con where I focus my commission ideas at it has the best guests for a Supergirl fan like me.

As the 3 day con was so massive for me, I will be covering it in 3 posts, each focusing on who I got a commission from while rehashing other stories.

I was absolutely thrilled when Dan Jurgens was announced as a guest. Jurgens has been such a huge part of Superman, and by extension Supergirl's, history that he has been someone I have hoped to meet forever. And, given that it was during the Reign of the Supermen that the Matrix Supergirl turned the corner and became a hero, I knew I wanted a sketch from him.

I was lucky enough to get on his list and get this unbelievably phenomenal Matrix sketch complete with the minor details I love of the angled belt and oversized pointy sleeves. I love the determined look in her eye, ready to jump into action.

Thrilled to have this in my collection!

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Leviathan Theory: Event Leviathan #3 Clues Review

I have a Leviathan Theory.

Okay, I have Leviathan Theories.

But the main Leviathan Theory is that Levithan is Ted Kord, the Blue Beetle. That somehow Ted can see the entirety of the DC Universe. All its history. All its Crises. And, in a Watchmen like effort, has recruited the other Charlton heroes to help him get control of this Earth.

And now, anchored onto the conclusion, I read Event Leviathan and try to massage the information given to fit that theory.

And trust me, Event Leviathan #3, while not giving us any physical clues, is filled with enough nuance and innuendo to make me think that this time I am right.

A lot of that has to do with the idea that Jason Todd has every motive to be Leviathan, to wring order out of the chaos of super-villainy and heroes with immutable morals. A lot of it has to do with words Leviathan says themselves.

So enough chitchat. Let's get to the clue review!

Let's start with the cover, which I think is an homage to Batman #618. While this was part of the Hush storyline, it showcases the dead Jason Todd. The death of Jason could be considered one of Batman's biggest failures. But moreover, his not avenging Jason was the impetus behind Todd becoming the Red Hood.

The Joker killed Jason. Batman arrested the Joker. The Joker has killed again and again. If Jason's desire for justice is driven by that, who else could we say could have such a compulsion.

Well, if you're Ted Kord and you can see everything that has happened everywhen then you know you were shot in the head when heroes like Batman didn't join you in your investigation in Countdown to Infinite Crisis.

And you also know that Wonder Woman, who did take that step, was vilified for it, driving a wedge between the Trinity.

Ted has a reason to want to bring order to the world. So something like this doesn't happen again.

Okay, onto the book itself.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Sales Review: July 2019 - edited

I have been reviewing sales on this site for many years and usual I discuss some minor fluctuations all while wondering where all the fans are.

I think this month I have, for the first time, been stunned.

The sales for July 2019 came out recently and the best place to review them, as always, is over on ICv2. Here is a link:

July was a 5 Wednesday month which meant overall comic sales were up from the prior July. No surprises there.

But looking at the actual numbers has me gobsmacked.

Supergirl #32 came out last month.

In it Kara and Jon team up to have a final showdown with Gandelo. Rogol Zaar shows up to join the party. This is a big part of the Unity Saga currently rolling through the Superman book, reuniting the Super-family.

While Marc Andreyko's run hasn't been a favorite, at least this issue was a crossover of a sort with the Bendis books. So how did it sell?

Friday, August 16, 2019

Review: Event Leviathan

Event Leviathan #3 came out this week, the ending of the first half of the book and a classic middle chapter for a mystery like this.

The bulk of the story is a loud, well paced, gorgeous fight scene between the team of detectives and the Red Hood. And, much like in an action movie, there is nothing like a good action sequence in the middle of a story to keep the adrenaline pumping and the crowd engaged. I still find it a little strange that Jason was able to defeat all these heroes. But I am not the biggest Red Hood fan so maybe that all seems in line.

But the foundation of this mini-series is the mystery of 'who is Leviathan' and there are clues here if you look hard enough. I doubt that writer Brian Michael Bendis is going to be obvious. The heroes aren't going to find an item, a footprint, a weapon to move things along. These are subtle clues. As such they are mutable, and easily malleable to fit into my #LeviathanTheory.

Alex Maleev's art is stunning as usual with a strong color palette to reflect the tone of the scenes. I have been a fan of his for a long time so seeing his version of Superman or Plastic Man is a treat.

But remember, this is a review post. The review of the clues will be sometime next week.

 I thought last month's cover was an homage.

I think this month's is as well.

Squint and you can see the similarities between Event Leviathan #3 and Batman #618. As both involve the Red Hood (in the Hush cover case, Robin's dead body), and given Jason's talk in this issue, it seems appropriate. It also leans into my theory a little bit. But more on that later.

On to the review!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Boston Fan Expo - Last Prep Post

People laugh when I call summer my 'Convention Season'.

But it seems so appropriate.

And nothing makes that more evident than the fact that with Terrificon still in my rear view mirror, I am prepping for Boston Fan Expo this upcoming weekend.

Fan Expo is more of a pop culture convention and less of a pure comic con. The draw here is as much for celebrities and voice actors.That said, there are certainly a number of big comic guests at this con each year and this year is no different.

What is interesting is that the biggest names (Todd McFarlane and Marc Silvestri) are creators pretty much missing from my collection. I have some early DC McFarlane stuff, and a handful of Silvestri New X-Men issues. But none of them are 'important' enough for me to consider standing in those lines and paying big bucks for premium packages.

And, also interesting, this is the first con where I think I am not looking to get a commission. I'll bring a sketch book and see if anything falls into my lap. But otherwise, I think I am there just to meet and get some signatures.

Most importantly though, the best thing about this con is that I am meeting so many friends I have made in social media. The Fire and Water crew (Shag, Rob, and Ryan), Diabolu Frank, Tim Price, WardhillTerry, Keith G. Baker and others are all going to be there. I can't wait to hang out with this wonderful community I feel blessed to be part of.

 As for guests I am excited to see, read on.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Leviathan (Back Up) Theory - The Atom

We are two months into Event Leviathan and I have my Leviathan Theory in the bank. Leviathan is Ted Kord, aided by the other Charlton heroes.

Like any good mystery, there isn't just one suspect. Anyone can still be Leviathan under that mask. And I have been poring over these clues so much that other theories were bound to bubble to the surface. Hawk and Dove? New 52 Superman? Adam Strange? A case (maybe not particularly strong ones) can be made for any of these characters. I know ... I have done so.

Let me throw another onto the pile.

Leviathan is Ray Palmer. And 'we' means just that. He has a partner.

What do we know about Leviathan right now that are facts. He wants to bring about world order. He doesn't want to fight super-heroes; he wants them to join. He has very advanced tech. He knows the heroes very well, maybe having worked beside them. And he seems to come from a tragic past.

Mix those facts in with some things implied in issues and I have a decent back up theory that the Atom is Leviathan.

In fact, even the names are a hint. The Atom is something small. Leviathan, by definition, means something big. That word play alone might be a hint.

But you aren't here for semantics.

You are here for a breakdown of clues. So let's get to it.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Supergirl 1970’s Slurpee Cup

One of the pieces that has eluded me over time had been the Supergirl 7-11 Slurpee cup from the 1970s.

Now I know that things like this are available on line, via EBay, etc.

But there is something about finding things in the wild that makes the hunt so much more delicious.

So imagine my surprise when last week I walked into my comic store and saw they had acquired a massive Slurpee cup collection. And front and center in the the display was the Supergirl cup.

And yes ... it is now mine.

This was definitely the style guide, corner of the cover, stock art pose for the Supergirl of the time. I am not a big fan of the ballet slippers. But this will work!

And, while not in the best condition, it is basically intact. So I'll take it!

Friday, August 9, 2019

Review: Lois Lane #2

Lois Lane #2 came out this week and was another hard-boiled noir chapter in this close up look at Lois. There are a couple of plot lines working their way through the book, a couple of mysteries to sink my teeth into. But the true strength of this issue is just the character of Lois and the multifaceted look at her.

Writer Greg Rucka really gives us a three-dimensional look at Lois. We see her capabilities as a reporter, deftly getting information and backing up people she interview into corners where they have to talk. We see her dogged determination for justice but how her focus is on the root of a problem, not a symptom. And we see the human person who can still be vulnerable even though her facade is one of invulnerability. It truly is impressive work, showing us just who she is.

We also get to see how the world views her. And, interestingly enough, it isn't always shining. But people often want to tear down, not build up.

Mike Perkins is again on art with colors by Paul Mounts. Perkins realistic but semi-grungy approach is perfect for this story so steeped in the real world. And with scenes that jump from nighttime murder scenes to dimly lit bars to sun-soaked walks on the street, Mounts perfectly captures the tone with his palette.

This was a great read, a perfect blend. Maybe this maxi-series will pave the way for a monthly?

On to the book.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Terrificon Prep

Con season starts with a bang on Friday and so I think posting might be a little off at the beginning of next week as I try to settle back in.

It didn't help that to clear the decks for this upcoming weekend at Terrificon that I worked like a dog this week at work. Many clinical hours. Many late nights.

All of that will be behind me tomorrow morning when I pack the car and head to the con. And despite having met many of the guests at prior cons, I still have a ton of books I am bringing in hopes of getting them signed.

But the real mission on day one is setting up commissions.

And I have two I am really hoping to obtain and then an open third slot with some possibilities.

 The hope is to get on Colleen Doran's sketch list. Doran is a huge Legion and Supergirl fan. And I have been a fan of hers for a long time so I am hoping to head to her table early and drop off the book. I think I'll let Doran decide which Supergirl costume she wants to draw.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Leviathan (Back-Up) Theory-Hawk and Dove Revisited

The DC Comics October 2019 Solicits came out last week.

As usual, I pored over the cover for Event Leviathan #5 to look for any early clues that might be gleaned from it.

And, not surprisingly, one came to mind. Unfortunately, it isn't a clue to corroborate my Leviathan is Ted Kord theory. Instead, it leans into my #1 back-up theory. The 'we' of Leviathan is Hawk and Dove. You can read that back-up theory here: 

And I can't help but look at this cover, look at that portion of the Leviathan mask, gaze at it as a negative space and think of one character.


Tuesday, August 6, 2019

DC Superhero Girls: #CrushingIt

The Lauren Faust led DC Superhero Girls has been a huge hit for me, a sort of step up from the semi-bland prior incarnation. A mix of Looney Tune mayhem with some more subtle messaging has made this an unexpected 'must see' for me.

Last week, Cartoon Network showed a new episode every day at noon. Now while I am thrilled that so much new content came out and on a regular basis, noon is hardly prime time. And I don't know how well the time slot was trumpeted. I hope this wasn't Cartoon Network dumping all the material out at once as a harbinger of cancellation.

Welcome to the half full/half empty life I lead.

Anyways, all the episodes were fantastic. There is a Krypto/Ace the Bat Hound one that is fantastic. There is a Babs/Harleen going to a Batman convention that includes the most annoying Robin you will ever meet. That one also has a 'some days you can't get rid of a bomb' joke!

But for me the best one was #CrushingIt.

In that episode, the normally unflappable Diana is rendered into a giggling, ineffective, and inattentive mess because of a crush she has on Steve Trevor, the first boy she met when she landed in America.

Whether it is volleyball, science experiments, debates, or the class play, Diana can't get her stuff together around Steve.

Perhaps best of all, Steve is played as an average guy. This isn't the strong, fearless leader of the comics. He's just Steve.

All of that, especially Diana's clumsy blushing ineptitude, was enough to make this a winner. But there is a joke run through the episode that made this even better.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Chrissie Zullo Supergirl Statue

DC Comics Collectibles has come out with a set of statues based on Chrissie Zull's art.

I have been a fan of Zullo for a long time and have seen her art evolve over time. I really like her current style so I couldn't say no.

This statue is a pure delight. It is cute. It is bright. It sort of pops on the shelf. I love the colors in her eyes. And adding a snarky looking Streaky is perfect.

From the hands on hip, to the smile, to the sideways look, to the proportions like the chunky boot, this whole thing works for me. Throw in a pointy belt and oversized sleeves and you have my perfect costume.

Let's take a closer look.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Leviathan (Back Up) Theory - Adam Strange

During the San Diego Comic Con news blitz, it was announced that a new Strange Adventures title, starring Adam Strange, would hit the racks some time in 2020. The creative team was a powerful troika of Tom King, Mitch Gerads, and Doc Shaner. Here is a news blurb:

Now King and Gerads hit a home run out of the park with Mister Miracle. And Shaner's art is always stunning. So I am all in.

But I was puzzled a bit by the dual cover images that were sent out with the announcement.One is a 'clean', classic take on the Strange character right out of the Silver Age by Shaner. The other is a grungy darker take complete with skeletal features and graffiti calling Strange a liar and a killer.

You would think that a new series touting the character on the horizon would make him not be a possible suspect to be Leviathan. But those dual covers struck me. What if Strange doesn't know he is Leviathan? Or what if another version of Strange, right out of the multiverse, has  replaced him. It might explain why there are two cover versions. One, the heroic 'true' Strange. The other, the dark reputation of him once it is revealed he is Leviathan.

So settle in for another back-up #LeviathanTheory.

Leviathan is Adam Strange.

Let's look at the evidence.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

October 2019 Solicits

The DC Solicits for October 2019 came out last week and I am trying to maintain some optimism. But it isn't easy. For a list of the entire slate, you can head to Newsarama here:

Now there are some interesting things that are hitting the racks this month. Call me nutty, and it isn't in my usual wheelhouse, but I am intrigued to read the Brian Azzarello/Emmanuela Lupacchino new Birds of Prey book. And a new Hellblazer book might be worth checking out.

But the whole DC line is tied up in the Year of the Villain storyline. Every cover seems to show citizens and heroes bloodied and zombied up. And it just seems that DC, under Dan Didio, is a one note singer. Every 2-3 years we have to darken everything up. And it never seems to work. The shine of Rebirth is finally dulled. We are back in the doldrums of Forever Evil and Future's End. Grim isn't better.

It doesn't help that Didio at SDCC complained that people buy the reprint books DC puts out rather than buying new books. Didio should be embracing the history and legacy of his company. He should realize people buy those because they are good stories, classics. And maybe they are shying away from new content because they aren't good.

But I digress. I am here to light a candle, not curse the darkness.

As for the super-books, there are a couple of new items on the docket. But to be honest, for the first time in a while, I felt compelled to post the prices of books on this post because comics aren't cheap anymore. And while I might be interested in trying something new, $9 is a big ask.

On to the super-books.