Monday, September 30, 2019

Bullet Review: Batman/Superman #2

I have decided that I will collect the first arc of the new Batman/Superman book in hopes of trying to understand all the nonsense of The Batman Who Laughs. Tossing Supergirl into the mix of 'the infected' made it seem I sort of had to know.

But I find these sort of stories tedious, especially when it feels like every other year is 'Year of the Villain' with DC and every third year is 'Supergirl is dark and angsty'. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Here in Batman/Superman #2, the World's Finest pair squares off against the first of the tainted heroes, Shazam.

Joshua Williamson writes a good story with the usual feints of 'is Shazam really evil'? But I find that the Batman in this book is just too infallible, too prepared, and too paranoid for me to embrace. As always, when Batman is elevated this much, Superman suffers in comparison. There are a couple of good moments here for Superman. But otherwise this reads like a Batman book with Superman as a guest star.

One thing I do love is the art by David Marquez which feels like some mix of Doc Shaner and Doug Mahnke. That's a nice mix. Really good.

On to some specifics.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Review: Action Comics #1015

Action Comics #1015 came out this week and was a very entertaining issue which focused on Naomi, the latest young hero in the DCU. But it also added some important details to both the Invisible Mafia storyline and some Event Leviathan information.

For someone like me, who collects Naomi, this issue was a great recap of that title and its hero. I love that book and so seeing Naomi now entering the bigger DCU was a treat. It also hammered home the fact that her origin is a little bit Superman and a little bit Batman, one of the wrinkles I like.

On top of that, her interaction with Superman cements that writer Brian Michael Bendis has Superman's voice down pat. Between his helping Naomi here and his inspirational turn in Superman #15, this has been one heck of a month for the Man of Steel.

But this is more than a primer on Naomi. The Red Cloud side plot continues to plod along. And a huge juicy clue about the identity of Leviathan was dropped here. Remember though, this is my review post. The clues will be reviewed next week. But I am starting to have some resurgent confidence about my Leviathan Theory. Maybe this time I'm right.

This is my favorite issue so far from artist Szymon Kudranski. This issue has him drawing pages from Naomi's point of view. It has quiet moments and battle moments. And it has his usual elan about page layout and panel borders. Strong stuff here. On to the book itself!

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Sales Review: August 2019

The sales numbers for August have been posted and, as always, ICv2 has a nice breakdown. Here is a link:

It is an interesting month to cover here because there isn't a Supergirl book to track! The issue with the Legion was pulled back given a need for an art change and so we went a while without a Supergirl book on the rack.

This also was true of Superman.

So instead, I'll pick a couple of ancillary books to look at and see how they are doing.

Event Leviathan #3 came out.

I have been all in on this book. I have loved the mystery. I have loved tracking the clues. I have loved Lois's part. And I have been going bananas trying to figure out just who Leviathan is.

I mean, I have a Leviathan Theory!

I have really hoped the book would sell well because I love mysteries like this.

So how did it do?

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Event Leviathan Clue Review: Supergirl #34

I know that the reveal of 'Who is Leviathan?' is going to happen as the cliffhanger of Event Leviathan #5.

That's only a couple of weeks away.

That also means I don't have much more time to show my insanity and review clues which may or may not be there.

As you know, I have a Leviathan Theory and I am sticking to it. And part of that theory is that we are dealing with some Watchmen overlay. And as such, I am always looking closely for such clues.

So let's look at Supergirl #34.

At The Block, Shay Gravitas  pings Eliza's robot hand as a way for Supergirl to track her adoptive mother.

When the signal comes in, we see a dot within a circle on a light blue field.

Hmmm ...

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Review: Jimmy Olsen #3

I have been loving the new Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen book, a hodge podge of brief stories, flashbacks, Silver Age wackiness, and a mystery. The whole seems to be greater than the parts. You could read each 2 -4 page story separately but there is some resonance when you read them all in one sitting.

That said, I wonder if I am the perfect audience for such a book. Does a book like this, just north of weird, just west of silly, cater to the masses?

Frankly, I don't care.

In this day and age of Year(s) of the Villain, I need a little pure fun and legitimate story-telling to keep me invested. And writer Matt Fraction and artists Steve Lieber are just producing magic. I outright love this book. It is just the perfect melange of everything Jimmy Olsen.

On to Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #3.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Review: Superman #15

I have been reading comics for a long time. I have read a lot of comics. I have read it all.

So when a comic floors me, when it makes me pause and say 'wow', when it teleports me back to being a very young Anj and reminds me why I love this medium, I am giddy.

Superman #15 is such an issue.

For a Superman fan, a Supergirl fan, a Legion of Super-Heroes fan, and a fan of heroes being heroes and not all mired down with angsty feet of clay, this issue was perfect.

I read it and muttered 'wow'.
Then I immediately reread it and said 'wow' again,

For a grizzled reader, frayed and friable from decades of grim and gritty, this was wonderful.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis shows us just who Superman should be. He is an inspirational figure, a true friend, a wonderful cousin, and a great father. He also shows us how much potential there is within all the Els. So Superboy shines. And Supergirl shines. These heroes are able to even nudge villains closer to the light. Wonderful.

Ivan Reis and Joe Prado bring a power to the proceedings, larger than life and Neal Adams-esque in its grandeur. And I was glad to see Brandon Peterson get some pages with the Jor-El piece since he covered Jor-El's time in issues. This is a big issue which needs big art and the team delivers. Just incredible.

The Unity Saga is over and ends on the perfect high note.


Friday, September 20, 2019

Review: Supergirl #34

Supergirl #34 came out this week and was the first issue since the Rogol Zaar storyline ended. It also was a strong tie-in to Event Leviathan, a book that I am loving and also enmeshed in the the Superman books. And on top of that, it also had a strong 'Year of the Villain' JLA hook as well. More than ever, Supergirl felt like a DCU book, involved in the events of the entire universe. Yes, it will be nice when this book is solely Supergirl's adventures. But this issue made it seem like Kara matters in the universe writ large.

All that said, this was also an opportunity for writer Marc Andreyko to bring Supergirl back to Earth and try to re-establish her here. There was plenty of stuff happening in the book before the Zaar arc, back when Steve Orlando and Jody Houser were guiding the ship. Thankfully, Andreyko picks up some of those plots. There are plenty of stories still waiting to be mined there.

Eduardo Pansic remains on art here and brings a certain scratchy feel to the proceedings. The issue runs the gamut of science fiction, character conversation, and street fighting, showcasing Pansica's range. There is even a sort of gratuitously grotesque scene in the middle making me think Pansica would be perfect should DC restart a horror anthology book.

Overall, this felt like a big step up from the prior angtsy, angry, axe-y books which preceded it. Hopefully, this means the tone of the book will be better. Just in time for infected Dark Kara?

Thursday, September 19, 2019

DC Comics December 2019 Solicits

The DC Comics December solicits came out last week and there are a lot of interesting things to comment on. I am surprised that a couple of these were almost stealth announcements rather than trumpeted in the usual manner.

Here is a link to Newsarama's total coverage:

One thing that I didn't see much of was some fallout from Event Leviathan. It looks like the plan is to move on. That isn't a knock. More an observation. I also suppose that with the ending unknown, any announcement might be tipping their hat.

On to some books.

written by JODY HOUSER
cover by BENGAL
card stock variant cover by DERRICK CHEW

Infected Supergirl strikes! After Supergirl protects Superman from getting infected by the Batman Who Laughs virus, she gets infected herself...and accepts this new version of herself with pride! With Batman and Superman claiming to want to “cure” her to cover up that she had to protect Superman, and the Batman Who Laughs wanting to use her in his own plans, which side will Supergirl choose? Or will she forge a whole new alliance?

All right. First stealth announcment.

A new Supergirl creative team.
Gone is Marc Andreyko and gone is Kevin Maguire.

In is Jody Houser (who co-wrote the back end of Steve Orlando's run) and Rachael Stott.

I found Marc Andreyko's run an uneven mess. I didn't quite know his take on Supergirl as her emotions swung like a pendulum. She was often too dark. And it never seemed like it was Kara's book. So I won't necessarily be grieving here.

You think DC would really be promoting an all female creative team on Supergirl in some fashion. But I guess it is classic DC to not take advantage of something positive.

I also have to say good luck to Houser who comes onto the book when Supergirl is possessed by evil. I am glad to see Bengal back on covers. I hope this isn't a one-off.

On to more books.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Leviathan Theory: Event Leviathan #4 Clues Review

I have a  Leviathan Theory. Ted Kord and the Charlton Heroes are Leviathan.

And at the beginning, I was convinced I was right. There was enough Watchmen overtones and reverberations to make me think there was a reverse analog plot happening. And I am still on board with my theory.

But there are other clues and other suspects. And there are clues pointing to lots of people.

In the past, I have used my clue review posts to try to back up my claim. But now, I think it is better for me to use these to review all the clues I saw.

That means some will point to the Charlton heroes. Others will point to different back-up theories I have. And still others will just be some things I noticed which don't point to anyone necessarily but make me pause and wonder if I am missing something.

Believe it or not, it starts with the cover.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Countdown #44 - Crisis On Infinite Earths #7 Moment

There are some times my life as a comic blogger takes me down odd rabbit holes.

First of all, I was shocked to discover that for some reason, I still have all 52 issues of Countdown in my collection. I thought for sure they were purged.

Then, as part of my #LeviathanTheory I decided to head into Countdown to look at Monarch. Just scanning covers, I decided to open up Countdown #44.

In the back of that issue (and in preceding issues) was a backup strip written and drawn by Dan Jurgens reviewing the multiverse.

This included a pretty detailed look back at all the prior JLA/JSA annual team-ups with flash back and homage panels done with usual Jurgens love.

But if this is a story reviewing the multiverse, it has to go to Crisis on Infinite Earths.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Event Leviathan Clue Review: Millennium Legion of Super-Heroes #1

On Wednesday I do an in-depth of review the clues I found in Event Leviathan #4.

But over on the Comics Beat, blog friend Cori had the luck to interview Brian Michael Bendis about Event Leviathan. Here is a link to that post:

First off, I am, to use local parlance, wicked jealous.

Second, I was intrigued to learn that there was a clue hidden in the Kamandi pages of Millennium: Legion of Super-Heroes #1. I actually didn't mention those pages at all in my bullet review so shame on me.

So let's take a peek.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Review: Event Leviathan #4

Event Leviathan #4 came out this week and it was another fascinating issue in a wonderful mystery book. We have turned the corner in this book, now in the back half. And between some reveals here and a doozy of a cliffhanger, I am definitely still plugged in.

The deception, secrets, and feints continue to fly here. There are is enough to chew on to make me add yet another suspect to my list of who Leviathan is. And while my main Leviathan Theory remains unchanged, I have to consider the fact that this time I might not be right.

Brian Bendis continues to capture the voices of the detectives trying to solve the mystery. And mostly this is a back room conversation between our sleuths as they try to unravel this tangled yarn ball. I do have to chuckle seeing the group continue to snipe and suspect each other. Perhaps that is what Leviathan wants.

Alex Maleev continues to marvel here. While I think of him as a street level artist, perfect for the dark alleys of a noir mystery, he shines here tonight with the more sci-fi and super-heroic aspect of this issue. Love this cover, especially the diagonal color separation between the blues of Superman and the red of Leviathan. Visually arresting.

One last reminder. This is the review post for Event Leviathan #4. The clue review will post next week.

On to the book.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Boston Fan Expo Review

Hard to believe but summer con season is about a year in the rear view mirror.

This was a great year with Terrificon being a comic creator/commission fueled 3 day marathon of running from table to table.

Right afterwards was Boston Fan Expo. While there were great comic creators, this was a much more laid back convention for me with no commissions and just a few signatures I was hoping to get.

As such, it was a super fun, relaxed time thumbing through books, looking for hidden gems, and actually taking my time with the few creators I was hoping to meet

 But all of that was secondary to meeting so many comic community friends in person.

Rob, Ryan, and Shag from the Fire and Water Podcast Network,.
Diabolu Frank from the Rolled Spine Network.
Darrin and Ruth Sutherland from the RaD Network.
Derek Crabbe from the Fanholes podcast.
Keith G Baker, Time Price, and Ward Hill Terry were all there as well.

It was just amazing to meet these incredible people who I have been friends with forever on line. Walking the con, breaking bread, and even watching Transformers cartoons, that was totally the highlight. (Yes, I am the shy Dr. Mid-Nite at the far left.)

What is just as amazing is some of these friends thought that I was so organized and on missions at this con, which honestly was the most laid back con I have been to in a decade.

There was one major (probably minor) purchase.

I found a decent copy of Action Comics #261, the first appearance of Streaky, at a decent price.

I have only seen high grade copies in the wild. So this serviceable copy is perfect for my collection! Yay Streaky!!

 The major signature get was Becky Cloonan on my Harley Quinn #0.

That's now 11 sigs on that book.

I will also say it was great to see Steve Rude again. And I was very excited to meet Dan Slott and gush about She-Hulk and Silver Surfer for 2 days in a row. Slott was so animated and just a great ambassador for the scene.

And I have to be honest, I kind of gushed about his She-Hulk to him. Love that run.

As I said, this was a low-key con for creator missions which meant I had time to thumb through the cheap bins.

I found this book from my youth, lost in some parental purge. The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones #6 with Howard Chaykin art, sure to be brought to the next con I see Chaykin at.

But the big win was meeting my buddies!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Supergirl Season 5 Poster

We are in the home stretch for the Supergirl season 5 premiere on October 6th.

As part of the promotion, the CW released this poster.

I love Kara front and center in the poster in her new costume and looking off into the distance.

But I also like that this season all the supporting cast is there as well.

This is an ensemble show so I am glad to see everyone in the cast get a nod.

But Supergirl is the axle the show revolves around. I am thrilled she has the position of prominence and the presence she does.

Can't wait for the show to get back on the air!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Bullet Review: Legion of Super-Heroes:Millennium #1

It has been a long time since a Legion of Super-Heroes book has been on the rack. We just saw the actual team pop into the Superman books at the end of the Unity Saga.

Before a new, true Legion of Super-Heroes book hits the stores, DC has released a two part mini-series to bridge the gap and define the timeline. Legion of Super-Heroes:Millenium #1, the first part, came out last week. It is written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Jim Lee, Dustin Nguyen, Andrea Sorrentino, and Andre Lima Araujo.

There are interesting aspects to the book.

The idea of Rose and Thorn being immortal and walking through the timeline of the DCU is a decent hook. How did she become immortal? And what does it mean for someone with a tenuous grip on reality to live forever?

I very much like the idea of there being a defined order of the different eras in the DCU. What came first? At the very least we have a timeline. That works for me.

And the respect Supergirl gets shown here is wonderful. Kudos to Bendis!

What is missing is the Legion! I suppose their name in the title is a draw.

I'll concentrate on the Supergirl section but I'll briefly touch on two other moments in the book.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Review: Lois Lane #3

Lois Lane #3 came out last week and was another excellent chapter in this maxi-series. Writer Greg Rucka sort of pumps the brakes a little on plot progression, instead dwelling on character moments. Part of the beauty of this book is that we are really focusing in on Lois. Anything that makes her more three-dimensional, or gives us insight into her personality is great.

We also get a lot of Question moments in the book. Or moments with Questions. In particular, I loved Renee's reactions throughout the issue. She would be someone who could easily be written as a two-dimensional, hard and brusque. But again Rucka gives us a peek behind the curtain into who Montoya is as a whole person.

Mike Perkins continues to shine on art here. His ability to convey emotion with expressions and body language is pretty impressive. You know what these characters are thinking and feeling, his art complements the words so well. Add to that a martial arts fight in the middle which reminded me of Denys Cowan's work on the Question book in the 80s and you have a winner. That Cowan comparison is about as high a compliment I can give.

Throw in a funny cliffhanger and you have a solid read.

On to the book!

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Fire and Water Network Patreon!

Hey everybody,

I often talk about the positive on-line comic community I consider myself part of.

A big part of that community, a sort of organizer of the group, is the Fire And Water Podcast Network.

In fact, if you head to their site and look over their shows, you'll see that I have been lucky enough to be a guest on many of their podcasts! It is a great group of folks who carry the theme 'find your joy' over the airwaves.

The group puts out shows near daily and all are worth listening to. To defray costs, the group has started and Patreon page. I figured as a sort of distant cousin to the show, I want to promote the site.

So if you are a fan of their shows, or have liked listening to me on their shows, click the link below and donate! Thanks for considering!

Friday, September 6, 2019

Review: Supergirl #33

Supegirl #33 came out this week and I must admit I was something of a roller coaster of emotions. There are downs and ups and then a little bit of a down again.  The art by Kevin Maguire is great. Overall there are lots of wonderful moments in this book. There are bits in this book that made me say 'now that sounds like Supergirl', something that  has been very rare in this Marc Andreyko written run.

But after a year of Supergirl tooling around in space, this book ends pretty much back where it was at the end of the Orlando/Houser run. Which makes me quote Bugs Bunny. 'Was this trip really necessary?'

It is probably easier to just review the bits of the book that struck me and then give my end thoughts. There is a section in the middle which basically is a repeat of the Legion portion of Superman #14 so I wont be reviewing those pages here. Just know that Kevin Maguire's 2 page spread of the new Legion is just as prestigious as Ivan Reis' pages.

So let's jump right in.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Terrificon 2019 Review Part 3 - Dan Brereton

Well, we come to the end of my Terrificon coverage.

Hard to believe that the con is almost a month in the past. The three days flew by as I ran to meet as many creators as I could, did my best to get commissions, and even meet Diabolu Frank!

I have to admit, this is the convention for me these days. Just an incredible array of comic book creators and celebrities.

I was lucky enough to get all the commissions I was hoping to get during the con. You have already seen the Dan Jurgens and Colleen Doran ones.

The last commission I was hoping to grab was from Dan Brereton. I have been a fan of Brereton since his work on the prestige format mini-series The Psycho. I have since followed him to Nocturnals, Legends of the World's Finest, Giant Killer, and other minis and one shots. I love his style.

I have a painted Brereton commission framed in my comic book nook but I was hoping to grab one in the sketch book. I love his stuff and wanted to get one in that format.

Thankfully, I got to him early and was and nabbed a place on his list.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Leviathan Theory: Action Comics #1014 Clues Review

Well, we are approaching the halfway mark of the Event Leviathan phenomenon.

That means clues are now starting to add up. With new information, some suspects should be considered less likely. And other should be considered more likely.

Action Comics #1014 came out last week and gave us one big clue drop. I suppose the information conveyed here will eventually be revealed in the main Leviathan book. But for those of us following here, we got this bonus nugget a little early.

But for me, it is something of a big deal because I think it makes a couple of suspects more likely. In fact, I think this adds some further credence to my overall Leviathan Theory that it is Ted Kord and the Charlton heroes.

So first a review of the mystery angle.

One of the big mysteries around Leviathan is the blue energy that the group is using to destroy sites while whisking people away unharmed.

Remember, Superman described it as things being 'just not there anymore'. Not disintegration. Not destruction.

Later, Batman describes the energy as something not in his catalog, perhaps otherworldly.

Those descriptions have led me to implicate Captain Atom, The Atom, and even Adam Strange. All have access to odd energies.

So what did we learn in Action Comics #1014?

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Quick Peek At Justice League #30

The current Justice League title has been a rather interesting, almost 'over the top' book where every issue so far has been a world/universe/multiverse crisis in the making. Writer Scott Snyder and sometime co-writer James Tynion IV have really been keeping the gas pedal pressed to the floor with cosmic threats from beyond, artifacts of incredible power, and mind-blowing concepts about the origins of the DCU.

It has been somewhat hard to follow at times. A lot of the ideas are presented with a sort of 'roll with it' laissez-faire attitude. You either let the plots wash over you and buy into it or you get irritated at the lack of cohesive sense and story-telling.

For me, and I might say for once, I am in the former category, not the latter. I don't think I could elegantly tell you who Perpetua is, why a doorknob in a Legionnaire's hall is the most powerful known item in the DCU, what weapons the Legion of Doom has, or what is happening.

All I know is the heroes seem nervous that they might not win this time. And that alone has me invested in the ride.

One page in this week's Justice League #30 stood out though, for a couple of reasons.

With the universe and perhaps the multiverse in jeopardy, the League gathers all the super-heroes they can find and deputize them.

That's right. Everyone is now officially a member of the Justice League. Because when it hits the fan, the heroes will need every strong right arm they can get.

I love these sorts of pages. I love when Superman is looked on as this inspirational leader, able to muster up an army with his words alone. Snyder has really let Superman shine in this book and that makes me happy. That alone might make me showcase this page.

But there were a couple of details worth highlighting.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Review: Superman #14

Superman #14 finally came out last week, delayed a short period of time by DC editorial to make some changes.

But for someone who has been waiting years ...YEARS ... for the Legion of Super-Heroes to show up again in the DCU, a couple more week's wait was fine. Because ... BOOM ... we have the Legion again. And it is a Legion that seems dripping with the optimism of the future and willing to reward the heroes of their past for inspiring them.

And while I bemoan the loss of Super-Sons, having Superboy be the guiding light of this Legion is a wonderful nod to the past.

I would be remiss if I didn't talk about the other things that happen in this book. An odd-Zod truce of a sorts. A revelation about Rogol Zaar. The end(?) of the Mr. Oz story. And some wonderful Supergirl moments. This truly was a great ending chapter to The Unity Saga, my guess being that Unity refers to the United Planets. Amazing.

And I love this Krypto-centric Adam Hughes variant cover. Always good to see a Hughes Kara. But how awesome that there is a 'no Streaky' sign present!

On to the details!