Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Sales Review: September 2019

The sales number for September sales have come out and as usual, ICv2 is a great place to go for a breakdown. Here is a link: https://icv2.com/articles/markets/view/44317/top-500-comics-september-2019

It was an interesting month overall. Spawn #300 came out and broke the 250K number. Spider-Man #1 came out and broke 150K. The Hickman X-titles all came close to 140K. Those are healthy numbers. And Doomsday Clock #11 finally hit the stands and cracked 115K. For comics, which always seem to be fading, that is a solid top 10.

As for Supergirl, it was a rare calendar month where 2 issues hit the stands. Due to some delays to recolor and redraw some Legionnaires, Supergirl #33 was put on pause until the pages were fixed.
And it was an interesting month storywise for the Girl of Steel. Supergirl #33 was the end of the Rogol Zaar epic and tied in closely to the Unity Saga. Supergirl #34 had Supergirl return to Earth and be suddenly thrust into the Event Leviathan and Year of the Villain arcs. Suddenly Kara was plugged into the main DCU again.

Since both issues were tied into bigger events, I wondered if sales would show a bump. Both issues also had 'card stock' covers.

Let's look.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Bullet Review: Batman/Superman #3

Batman/Superman #3 came out last week.

Given the Supergirl angle of this storyline of the 'Secret Six', the heroes infected by The Batman Who Laughs evil, I have felt a bit compelled to read. But this series is just the sort of dark take on the DCU that doesn't grab me.

This issue has Superman trying to fool the Batman Who Laughs into revealing his plans and his agents. But this plan involves something which seems a little silly to me, more on that later. It also seems like DC is doubling down on having the best of the best succumb to the darkness. I suppose that is considered even more shocking. But to me it means that the best can't fight off evil. And I don't like that.

Writer Josh Williamson has a good handle on Batman's voice. But the plot seems a bit off for me.

David Marquez's art is just luscious, bringing this book up a notch in my mind. It really is beautiful to look at.

That said, the wonky font in red on top of black word balloons makes the dialogue of the Batman Who Laughs nearly unreadable. It is just painful.

On to the book.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Review: Action Comics #1016

Action Comics #1016 came out this week, wrapping up the quick visit to Metropolis by Naomi while ratcheting up the Invisible Mafia storyline. As has been the norm with this book, there were great moments and snappy dialogue. This also, like last issue, showcased the difference in Superman and Batman regarding new heroes and advice. In many ways, this was just a sort of primer on Naomi for all those who have missed out on her solo comic.

The growth in the character of the Red Cloud and the subsequent fallout with the Invisible Mafia is the main push in this issue regarding the ongoing plots in the DCU. Leviathan is barely mentioned. There isn't any 'Legion of Doom' sigils. But what I did find interesting is how this issue shows the citizens of Metropolis and how they respond to super-fights and destruction.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis does a great job capturing the voices of all the characters. In particular, I love his Metropolis denizens and how they all seem to be behind their hero even if destruction occasionally happens.

Artist Szymon Kudranski has to kick it up a notch with his action sequences as it looks like a block is leveled in this fight. But there are plenty of dialogue scenes and close-ups which are rendered well.

Another fine issue. On to the details!

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Supergirl Show 501: Event Horizon

As I have said elsewhere on social media, my life is in a bit of a whirlwind these days and I am doing my best to keep my head above water.

So apologies for the lateness of this post, a review of the Supergirl Season 4 premiere titled 'Event Horizon. You are all two weeks ahead of me, so you definitely know more on where some of the plots in this series have gone.

For me, I was definitely impressed with this episode as it totally builds off of the events of the last. There isn't some feeling of a pause here. There isn't the sense that characters are starting from a clean slate. The events of last season are having a strong impact on everyone.

Alex is in charge of the DEO but in a relationship with Kelly.
Brainy is still dealing with the emotional fallout of his brief evil/cold turn last season.
Nia is trying to grow the romantic relationship she has with Brainy.
Kara is being celebrated for her article which took down Lex but is still dealing with not telling Lena her secret.

And Lena? She is harboring a lot of ill will after learning Kara is Supergirl. And Luthors hold grudges.

We'll add to that mix a bunch of new characters and plotlines. A new CatCo CEO. A new CatCo reporter. A new AI whispering in Lena's ears. Ma'alefa'ak returning to fight his brother. And oh yeah ... a Crisis on the horizon.

And, no surprise, the acting in the episode is solid. In particular, Melissa Benoist has a scene which reminds me just how blessed we are that she is on this show. She is such a force.

But I am invested. This season is off to a great start (or it got off to a great start 3 weeks ago). On to the show.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Leviathan Back Up Theory Revisited: New 52 Superman

I have had a Leviathan Theory which seems to be completely wrong. I thought that Leviathan was Ted Kord. I thought that the Enforcer was Captain Atom. I thought that the woman who confronted Director Bones early on was Nightshade.

That seems to be wrong. More and more things seem to be pointing to a Manhunter.

But I have also had back-up theories. One early guess was that Leviathan is the New 52 Superman, At the time, I thought this was unlikely. In fact, in my own personal odds table, I listed the New 52 Superman as being a 100:1 bet.

So why I am I revisiting? Well, let's revisit two important early clues.

Let's start out with one of the first clues.

Superman finds a note that says that he and Leviathan want the same thing.

So this is someone who thinks like Superman.

And then this comment from the Question.

Wouldn't it be a twist if Leviathan turned out to be Superman?

And wouldn't it be a classic mystery writer trick to tell us the answer before the mystery even really unfolds?

And let's not forget the doubling down of the trick. In Event Leviathan #3 Plastic Man wonders if Superman is Leviathan as well. Two bites at the apple ... how very tricky Mr. Bendis!

Now let's dive into new clues, specifically from Event Leviathan #5 and Supergirl #35.

Monday, October 21, 2019

DC January Solicits

The January solicits for DC comics are now out and the new year is ringing in with a dose of darkness and a recent blighted storyline revisited. Will this be a banner ringing in of 2020? Or will DC look back at this decision and realize they weren't seeing things clearly?

I'll cover the super-specific stuff but if you want to see the total solicits, you can head to Newsarama here: https://www.newsarama.com/47466-dc-comics-january-2020-solicitations.html

But I will say, I don't think I am feeling too excited about much of this.

written by JODY HOUSER
card stock variant cover by DERRICK CHEW

After Batman and Superman couldn’t stop the Infected Supergirl from trying to thee entire world, they knew they had to call in the only person they trust can bring Kara back...Wonder Woman! Will Diana’s compassion be enough to cure Kara of the infection that’s taken over? If not, what’s a fight between an uninhibited Kryptonian power house against a god like? You’ll find out here!

So this is a solicit with a typo. What was Dark Kara trying to do?

Anyways, you know how much I am sick of Supergirl being tainted and corrupted, so it is going to take something special for me to like this. And ironic that it is Wonder Woman's compassion that is the weapon here. You would think that Supergirl and her 'compassion for all' mantra would mean she wouldn't be darkened by the Batman Who Laughs.

Sigh. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Review: Jimmy Olsen #4

We are in another year of the villain. We have the Batman Who Laughs corrupting the best of all heroes. We have Perpetua and a mutated Lex Luthor leading an entire universe to Doom. It all seems so dark and dreary.

And then there is the wacky, laughy, crazy Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen by writer Matt Fraction and artist Steve Lieber.

Everything seems right again.

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #4 came out this week and was another wonderful chapter in this story. Like prior issues, this is a series of vignettes. But unlike the last, these are all in some sort of linear order showing how Mr. Action's life has sort of unraveled. Bound by the framing technique of Jimmy divulging all to Lois in an effort to figure things out, we see how Jimmy has come to the conclusion that Lex Luthor 'killed' him. Brilliant.

Perhaps best of all is the new 'Timmy Olsen' persona, a hit and run, provocative, sort of YouTube personality reporter who basically is causing trouble in Gotham. For someone who wants to keep a low profile, Jimmy ... ahem 'Timmy' ... isn't exactly hiding. All of Timmy's antics made me laugh.

As for art, Steve Lieber is on his A game this issue. We start with the Citizen Kane homage cover. Then we have several interesting panel choices and page layouts which really give a sort of Madman feel to the proceedings. It echoes the addled Jimmy perfectly. Kudos.

Another winner! A wonderful palate cleanser!

On to the book!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Levithan Theory: Event Leviathan #5 Clue Review And Back-Up Theory Laurel Kent

We are one month away from the big reveal. Who is Leviathan?

But in Event Leviathan #5, it was heavily implied that Leviathan is a Manhunter. This pretty much eliminates my Leviathan Theory that Leviathan is a cabal of Charlton heroes.

And it is pretty late to be bringing up new back-up theories. But I have to give blog friend Greg Araujo (@garaujo1 on Twitter) complete respect for coming up with a peach of a theory this late in the game.

You see everyone jumped on the Manhunter bandwagon recently and it seemed a small jump to get to Mark Shaw, the last Manhunter. He has had ties to the Justice League. He was a hero at one point. He is a Manhunter. He fits the bill.

But the most obvious answer isn't always the right one.

So let's do a deep dive into the clues we saw in Event Leviathan #5 which will lead to the back up theory listed in the title.

We'll start out by reviewing the names eliminated by Lois' second group.

Steve Trevor, Director Bones, Amanda Waller, Talia Al Ghul, Ra's Al Ghul, Max Lord, Batgirl, Jimmy Olsen, Ra's Al Ghul, Red Hood, and Kate Spencer - none are Leviathan.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Review: Superman #16

Superman #15 came out last week and was a wonderful issue giving us a little coda to the Super Sons team of Jon and Damian. The Super Sons was one of the unfortunate pieces of collateral damage when Brian Michael Bendis came on. Jon was aged up to join the Legion. That meant the tweener team written by Peter Tomasi had to go away. And that was a shame. I loved that book.

In this issue, Bendis shows how this friendship isn't going to be affected by the age jump. This was something of a wild romp akin to the Super Sons book. He also shows that he understands the personalities of these two and how they interact. I laughed out loud more than once when reading this. That's always a good sign.

And we also get a touching ending, the perfect capstone to Jon's adventures in the present day DCU.

Art is by David LaFuente and he brings a style akin to Carlo Barberi and the other Super Sons artists. There is a little chunky, Saturday morning cartoon feel to things. But it just works perfectly with the characters and the tone of the story.

I am sad that the original idea of the Super Sons is going away. But I think this issue showed it can still kind of work.

On to the book.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Review: Supergirl #35

Supergirl #35 came out last week and was another issue putting Supergirl in the middle of the Event Leviathan and Year of the Villain storylines. It is wonderful to see Supergirl enmeshed in the major crossovers of the DCU. In fact, Supergirl gets to face off against Leviathan himself. And during that encounter, a possible clue is revealed.

Now that the Rogol Zaar/Mistress of the Ax story is over and Kara is back on Earth, writer Marc Andreyko gives us a Supergirl who is more classic in tone. This is a Supergirl who seems ready to fight injustice but also has a strong sense of compassion. It is a bit interesting to see her simply shed all the anger and angst we saw for a year ... but frankly I am glad it is gone. And it is nice to see elements of what came before, specifically her relationship with the Danvers, brought back to the book.

Artist Eduardo Pansica continues to shine as the book's artist. There always seems to be one impressive splash of Supergirl flying in each issue. This issue includes a brawl with Leviathan and Pansica is able to bring some fire to the proceedings with page layout and rapid fire panels.

This was a good issue. On to the particulars!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Review: Event Leviathan #5

 Event Leviathan #5 came out this week and as usual, I absolutely loved it. I thought for sure this issue would end with the big reveal of who Leviathan is. Instead we someone being heavily implied as being Leviathan. But until I see an actual answer, I am holding out hope on my Leviathan Theory.

This issue rolled along as most of this mini-series has, a thorough review of clues and suspicions punctuated by some brief moments of action. This issue had a lot of facts drop and a lot of guesses eliminated with very little fanfare. It makes me wonder if this story could have supported 9 issues or 12 instead of the quick 6 it is being told in. We have lots of suspects crossed of the list here. We get lots of clues here, mostly in dialogue patterns and speeches. But best of all, this is clearly a Superman story as Lois and Clark are the core around which everything revolves.

And since we didn't get a reveal, you are going to get another clue review as well as a dandy of a new back-up theory, supplied by a blog friend who will get full credit when that post happens.

Brian Michael Bendis continues to have snappy dialogue with flourishes like Zatanna saying she is a fan of Lois and Constantine being called Sting. The whole thing crackles.

And Alex Maleev continues to stun with his art, stylish, moody, and brimming with emotion.

On to the issue.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Event Leviathan: This Time I'm _____

Now I have had a Leviathan Theory and I have been talking about it since the middle of May. In short, Leviathan and his cohorts are the Charlton Heroes and Leviathan himself is Ted Kord. And I am sticking to that guess. In fact, I have been so certain, I have claimed the phrase 'This time, I'm right' to discuss the book.

Along the way, I have also looked at other leading candidates for who could be under the mask. And I have posted those back-up theories here, reviewing all the clues I found and how they supported or disproved people.

And I have to say, I have so much fun just throwing myself into the assignment. I hope you guys have enjoyed it too.

But keep reading, because there will be a sad statement at the end of this post.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Leviathan Theory: Lois Lane #4 Clues

Tomorrow Event Leviathan #5 will hit the stands and the mystery will be solved. My assumption is the last page of the issue will be the big reveal.

Now I have had a Leviathan Theory and I have been talking about it since the middle of May. In short, Leviathan and his cohorts are the Charlton Heroes and Leviathan himself is Ted Kord. And I am sticking to that guess.

And since May I have been writing posts about clues wherever I see them. And last week's Lois Lane #4 had a couple of doozies.

Now as I have said for a while, I am stuck on my Charlton guess so I look at clues through that lens first.

First ...
But not only.

And so I am going to tell you what I saw in the issue but with it bolstering a couple of different theories.

The bottom line is this time, I think I'm right.

On to the clues.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Review: Lois Lane #4

Lois Lane #4 came out last week and continued to impress me as a reader. Writer Greg Rucka and artist Mike Perkins continue to give me just the sort of Lois book I am looking for. And that's saying something.

I think the thing that impressed me the most about this issue is that it is a purely character driven issue, showcasing Lois' relationship to Jon, Renee's relationship to Vic, and even Lois' relationship to Renee. None of the plots that we have seen Lois investigating are moved forward much here. Washington's kickback deals to detention centers? Russian journalist being killed? Lois' informant shot in what may have been an attempt on her life? Barely mentioned.

While I love character issues, I usually want some plot line advancement. And yet, this issue that didn't bother me at all. I wonder if that is because I have been so thirsty for a Lois book and Lois moments that this was just the sort of drink to slake.

And I haven't mentioned the elephant in the room ... er ... issue. There is a whopper of a Leviathan clue in here. Remember, this is the review column. Leviathan clues get there own post, most likely tomorrow.

Mike Perkins art is his usual solid stuff. There are a lot of scenes of people eating in diners which doesn't allow him to stretch his muscles too much. But the Leviathan scene is appropriately moody.

On to the book.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Review: Legion of Super-Heroes Millennium #2

Legion of Super-Heroes Millennium #2 came out this week and was another walk down the new DC timeline, establishing a new order of events which culminates with a new age of heroes, the gleaming 'world' of the Legion.

The Legion being prominent in the title and the cover is a bit of a lure as the team is barely seen in the book. But this is definitely their introduction into the DCU proper. And, since they are the future of the DCU, we need to get there. And now we know that Kamandi predates OMAC who predates the Legion. For a DC continuity nut, I actually like having a little order among the chaos.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis tells the story through the eyes of the newly immortal Rose and Thorn. But one thing that is clear is that Bendis has done his homework. The different future times are all ripped from the DCU but sound and look right. And, much like last issue when he honored Supergirl by making her president, he gives Kara a nice moment here as well, albeit in memory.

And the art work on the book is stunning. It is a true murderers' row: Nicola Scott, Jim Cheung, Jeff Dekal, and Ryan Sook. Each 'chapter' is brilliant. And each has an art style which perfectly fits the tone of that period.

I have to say this was built for a long time DC reader, filled with memories and nostalgia. Toss in the introduction of the Legion and I was grinning.

On to the book!

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Work Woes

Life comes at you fast sometimes.

I am currently taking part in a teaching conference.

And then early next week I am away at another work conference.

So posts might be delayed/haphazard for the next week.

I'll try to get reviews up on time.

But the show premiere post will probably be delayed.

Bear with me!

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Leviathan Theory: Pax Americana

You need to understand something before you move on reading this post.

I have been obsessed with the Leviathan mystery, a healthy little comic diversion given the hectic nature of my life. And I have been poring over the clues. I have a Leviathan Theory.

Unfortunately, obsession can sometimes lead to madness.

 Robin said it best early in the series. When you get a theory that you are completely invested in, you can't shake it.

Moreover, as you think about it, it becomes more real.

I have described it as anchoring bias.

I believe that Ted Kord and the Charlton heroes are Leviathan.

And once you anchor on that, you look for things to confirm that bias.

And just yesterday I posted how the inclusion of the Multiversity map in Action Comics #1015 was actually a clue, a way to trigger the reader to start thinking about multiple Earths in this organized way.

And then that led me to thinking about the actual Earth 4 in the Multiversity map. And that led me back to Pax Americana.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Leviathan Theory: Action Comics #1015 Clues

We are one week away from Event Leviathan #5 and (I assume) the big reveal of who Leviathan is.

As a result, this may be my final Leviathan Theory clue review.

I have to say, this deep dive into the Event Leviathan mystery has been a ton of fun for me. I love a good comic mystery. 'Who is Sensor Girl?' back in the 80s Legion of Super-Heroes was wild. 'Who is Superwoman?' in the Gates/Igle Supergirl was another great puzzle to solve.

And now 'Who is Leviathan?'

Back in May, I posed my theory that Leviathan was the Charlton Heroes. I came to that conclusion through a mix of Watchmen vibes, power sets, and dialogue clues. It has always been my theory and I have stuck to it, even if I have sized up other suspects.

And I have waxed and waned a bit in my confidence around my pick. But when you anchor on a decision, you start to see everything as a confirmation of your thoughts.

So what did I see in Action Comics #1015 that flooded me with a newfound certainty that this time I am right.