Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Supergirl Best Of 2019: Comic Honorable Mentions

Happy New Year's Eve and welcome to part 2 of my annual Supergirl review. Yesterday I looked at all the non-comic events with Supergirl in 2019. Today I turn my eye towards comics. I'll take a look at comics in general and showcase some Honorable Mentions for the best Supergirl comic moments of 2019. Tomorrow I'll announce my top ten Supergirl moments for the year.

As always, settle in. These end of year posts tend to be long! I have 12 months to cover!

 First off, from a blog point of view, there were two secondary threads which were highlighted this last year on the site.

First off, I ran through the early history of the second incarnation of the Supergirl character in a segment I called Matrix Monday.

I'll say that it was pretty fun to look back at the growth of that Supergirl character over time, from her initial concept to her time as a Luthor lover to ultimately embracing her role as hero. I hope folks like that run.

Less Supergirl-centric but just as fun for me was my coverage of Event Leviathan and my various Leviathan Theories. Turns out I was wrong this time. But breaking down the comic for a variety of clues both overt and subtle was really fun for me and kind of re-energized me.

In fact I was so enmeshed that writer Brian Michael Bendis caught notice. And now I will be an agent of Leviathan in this February's Leviathan Dawn special. So look out for my comic debut!

But enough about the blog! Onto the Honorable Mentions for the best Supergirl Comic moments of 2019.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Supergirl Best Of 2019: Non-Comic Stuff

Hi all!

Hard to believe but I am about to embark on my 11th end of year analysis of all things Supergirl at this site! I have been doing this for some time! As always I can't thank the audience that comes here enough! Without the interaction on the site, this would be a dull business. I have made so many friends here. Thanks again!

In a bit of housekeeping, I'll just say that 2019 has been a bit tumultuous for me personally n case folks didn't notice the blip in social media presence in October and November. But things are looking up. I am in a better place mentally as I transition to a single life. So thanks for sticking with me and for all the well wishes that came my way as I hinted at the upheaval on Twitter and here.

Anyways, we are here to look back at the year for Supergirl and as usual I will start with a look back at the non-comic happenings for our favorite Girl of Steel. Tomorrow I'll give my Honorable Mentions for the 2019 best comic moments. And then on New Year's day I'll post my Top Ten 2019 best comic moments.

Overall, 2019 was another good year for Supergirl and from a non-comic viewpoint, it starts with the show.

In the beginning of 2019, we saw the end of the fourth season of the show. While the season started a bit shakily, it really stuck the landing. By bringing in an incredible Lex Luthor, somehow played to full intensity by Jon Cryer, the whole season ended with a whirlwind of activity and energy.

The slogging plotlines of Agent Liberty and Red Daughter all rolled into each other in great ways. We had wonderful flashback episodes looking into tying the events of the season together coherently. And, of course, the exclamation point was Lena shooting Lex in the chest who then revealed Kara's secret identity.

I mean it, the beginning part of the season four seemed like it was walking through molasses. But the last 5 episode just exploded. So nothing to complain about there.

Friday, December 27, 2019

DC Superhero Girls: The Good, The Bad, & The Bizarre

Life has been a bit busy for me these last few months so some Supergirl stuff has slid by without commentary. One of those has been the Lauren Faust led DC Superhero Girls show. There have been some great episodes with some quality Kara moments that I hope to eventually cover.

We’ll start with the most recent episode “#TheGoodTheBadAndTheBizarre’. Of course, for comic fans the title hints strongly at who the villain of the piece will be.

One thing that I have liked about this version of Supergirl has been her sort of irascible personality, ready with a snarky remark and a left hook at all times. She’s fun and way less saccharine than the last DCSHG Supergirl we had.

I don’t even mind her sort of familial rivalry and semi-distaste for Superman in this universe. Here Clark is played up as being perfect and (perhaps appropriately) narcissistic.

This episode plays up both of those aspects of her character.

But we start on a good note.

After months of feeling overlooked and being overlooked, Supergirl is now the darling of Metropolis, considered a hero worthy of bus tours and endorsements. And after feeling bad about herself or ignored for so long, Kara wallows in it a bit.

So you know it wasn’t going to last.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Bullet Review: Doomsday Clock #12

It took a long time ... a very long time ... but Doomsday Clock finally finished this month.

My hope is to reread it in its entirety, in one sitting, at some point soon.

In the end, it is a Superman story.

It is a love letter to DC Continuity.

In many ways, it is a love letter to Watchmen too.

And it goes a long way to say a simple message, Superman is the heart of the DC Universe and he always will be.

The Watchmen shouldn't be the template upon which the DCU is built.

It is Superman and all he represents.

Now did we need this heavy, sometimes clunky, perpetually delayed book to get us there? To tell us what many of us already know? Will it matter to the powers that be as we continue to be mired in the Year of the Villain, a time when this message sat next to Batman/Superman #5, an issue where six of the best heroes are corrupted?

I can only hope.

Because every Superman fan should read this story or at the very least this issue. I'll let others pore over the panels and the plots in detail.

Moreover, every Supergirl fan should also read this issue as well.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas!

For those who celebrate, Merry Christmas!!!

Hope everyone has a happy holiday season!

I'll be back tomorrow with a Supergirl Christmas gift, tucked away in a recent comic!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Review: Legion oif Super-Heroes #2

It is a conundrum that DC has been dealing with for the last 2 decades ... maybe 3.

How do you update a continuity heavy IP like the Legion that will both bring in new readers and satisfy the old guard? The threeboot? The retroboot? None have been able to figure it out.

Somehow you have to acknowledge all that has come before and not ignore the old stories. Because the Legion fandom (what exists of it) is very particular about continuity. And yet, you also can't drown the new readers in a dense pre-existing world that probably no longer exists.

Now I'm not ready to anoint the Brian Michael Bendis/Ryan Sook take on the team as that bridge but Legion of Super-Heroes #2 was another good step in that direction. And our point of view character is Jon Kent. I mean 'Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes' has a nice historic ring to it. The Legionnaires we have met all seem to be close enough to their historical counterparts to have a ring of truth. But with a true Legion of characters, we have barely scratched the surface.

So here we are with a team of 'the best of the best', acting as an independent peace keeping force bound by their own code, recognized by the UP but perhaps in a grudging way, trying to do what's right. But they're also kids figuring stuff out. I like it.

Add to that the stunning art by Ryan Sook and so far I have little to complain about.

So let's look at this issue.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Review: Batman/Superman #5

Batman/Superman #5 came out this week, continuing the semi-ridiculous story of 'The Infected', the secret six heroes who have come under the influence of the Batman Who Laughs. I have been following along to keep track of Supergirl here. But this isn't exactly a storyline that has grabbed me.

I have never been a fan of this Batman Who Laughs character, the embodiment of the 'grim and gritty' nature of comics as well as another interpretation of the infallible, unstoppable Batman. I have never been a fan of corrupting good characters, especially when the darkened characters are the brightest. So seeing Supergirl and Captain Marvel made evil (again) doesn't make me happy. And poor Donna Troy; she can't catch a break.

Add to that this storyline of the Batman Who Laughs (heretofore denoted as BWL) bringing his JLA satellite to Earth-0 to make the whole world dark is pretty silly.

But there are also a couple of moments here where writer Joshua Williamson leans so deep into the these things I don't like that I just shook my head.

The one high point of this series is the art by David Marquez. There is a smoothness to his art, a clean kinetic style that elevates the book. Heck, even his Insane Clown Posse Kara looks as good as she can.

Let's take a look at some of the particulars.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Review: Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #6

Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #6 came out this week and was another great chapter in this amazing, label defying book by Matt Fraction and Steve Lieber. Since the beginning, this book has been equal parts action, mystery, zany science fiction, and pure humor. How such an omelet has gelled is beyond me. But somehow this team has pulled it off.

Prior issues of this title have felt like a jam piece of tangentially connected anecdotes showing how crazy Jimmy's life is. This issue, Fraction pulls the purse strings a bit, bringing some of these chapters closer together, as if a big picture is coming more into focus.

And, it turns out, that Jimmy has a special and truly unexpected benefactor in this story. Shocking.

Add Lieber's clean pencils and you have a winner. After seeing this book, I want to see Lieber do a comic about boxing. He draws the best bashed in faces!

On to the book!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Injustice 2 Supergirl Figure

 I didn't collect all of the Injustice 2.

The issues I did get showcased a pretty heroic Supergirl, no surprise given that it was written by Tom Taylor who wrote the All New Wolverine book so wonderfully.

So when I saw a mini-figure of the Injustice 2 Supergirl on sale at my comic store, I couldn't resist.

It comes with a couple of extras - an angry head and some different hands. And it is a marvel of design with plenty of places of articulation for near limitless posing.

 The back of the box shows that posing nicely. How I wish there was some way I could both pose and display the figure in that flying pose! Pretty slick!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

November 2019 Sales

The sales figures for last month are out and, as usual, ICv2 provides the coverage that I like. Here is a link: https://icv2.com/articles/markets/view/44696/top-500-comics-november-2019

Now in October, Supergirl #35 had one cover. Despite being an Event Leviathan crossover, it was only ordered just above 19K. I, foolishly I suppose, think that content matters most for sale. But I don't think I am right.

Supergirl #36 was Marc Andreyko's swan song on the book. It also was a Year of the Villain crossover, directly linked to the Batman Who Laughs and The Infected storyline. It also sported a second cover, a card stock painted cover by Derek Chew.

I don't like the idea of Supergirl becoming a villain ... again! But I suppose her being a big part in a big DCU story could be considered a good thing.

So how did it sell?

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

DC Comics March 2020 Solicits

The solicits for DC Comics March are up and there are some interesting things coming that month. Here is a link to the official listing over on Newsarama:https://www.newsarama.com/48253-dc-comics-march-2020-solicitations.html
Robin is getting an 80 year anniversary book. The Strange Adventures book by Tom King and the art tandem of Mitch Gerads and Doc Shaner comes out. I'll probably give the Strange book a shot. I liked Vision and loved Mister Miracle. But I did not like Heroes In Crisis. And I worry King is trying to mine the same land too much. And I am soooo ready for Amy Reeder's Amethyst!

But onto the super books.

written by JODY HOUSER
cover by JOE BENNETT
card stock variant cover by DERRICK CHEW

Supergirl is out of control! Having fully succumbed to the Batman Who Laughs’ deadly infection, she has left her boundaries behind and is flexing her power to the world. Is even Wonder Woman a match for a Kryptonian fully unleashed? The hope is that the true Kara Zor-El is still inside this rampaging monster, and that she’ll come to her senses. But even if she does, will she ever be the same? The consequences of the Dark Multiverse infection could change Supergirl forever…and not for the better! Don’t miss this do-or-die conclusion to the “The Infected”!

I had some optimism after reading the first issue of this arc. But hearing she 'fully gives in' means she doesn't fight off the infection which is what I was hoping.

And the dreaded 'will she ever be the same' line? What does that mean. That she'll be scarred by her actions?

Hmm ...

Monday, December 16, 2019

Review: Superman #18

In the middle of 2015, DC made the bold announcement that Superman's secret identity was going to be revealed to the world. In a storyline called 'The Truth', Lois reveals Clark's secret identity to before a villain Hodr could use the information to blackmail Superman. The story moved onto to Superman overutilizing his flare power and ultimately depowering and then becoming a wrestler and then ...

Well ... let's not look back.

Anyways, here we are only 4 short years later and Brian Michael Bendis is picking up that baton again. In a storyline I'll also call 'Truth' Superman's identity is revealed to the world. But unlike the last time we did this dance, the decision to reveal is being made by Superman himself.

After a life espousing truth and justice, living by the ethics the Kents taught him and after seeing what path Jor-El's life took after living a life of lies, it seems Superman decides the right thing to do is reveal.

Now I don't know if I am on board for this story as a whole. I can't imagine that this will stick for the super-long term. And frankly, I like the idea of the secret identity of Clark Kent. I went into this issue ready to roll my eyes and say 'here we go again'. But somehow Brian Michael Bendis includes some heart warming moments, some laugh out loud moments, and an inspirational speech that made me think that I wanted to read more. That's high praise.

Add to that Ivan Reis returning and giving us the most modern take on Neal Adams power pencils and you have a winner.

There is even a deep cut homage that made this old-timer laugh out loud.

Suffice it to say, I liked 'The Truth', no lie.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Review: Supergirl #37

Supergirl #37 came out this week, the first issue for the new creative team of writer Jody Houser, artist Rachael Stott, and colorist Cris Peter. And, in classic DC Comics fashion, the team is dropped onto the book in the middle of a crossover, this time The Infected plot with the Batman Who Laughs.

No 'Bold New Direction' here. Instead, pick up the book with an evil Supergirl overwhelmed and turned dark. Suffice it to say, I wasn't looking forward to this issue. I am totally sick of the 'Dark Kara' trope, having been played and replayed ad nauseum over the last decade.

Then I read the book.

It shouldn't surprise me that Houser has a decent grasp of the character and already shows that this isn't simply going to be a dive into the grime. After all, she co-wrote the tail end of the Steve Orlando run in this very volume. And here we see a Supergirl who is still trying to do the right thing although in a warped kind of way.

Artist Rachael Stott is new to me but her airy style fits the book nicely. At times veering towards loose penciling, the issue flows nicely. This is a classic 'hero fights hero' issue and Stott rolls out the action in a dynamic way. Add to that Bengal back on covers and vibrant colors by Cris Peter and you have solid art.

The hope, of course, is that this plot goes away quickly and we get to see Supergirl back in her environment. And already Houser is bring back some of the old gang. So I find it amazing that despite the cover treatment and the Road Warrior Kara, I was pretty hopeful after this read.

On to the book.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Supergirl Show 508: Wrath of Rama Khan

After a rocky start it looks like I will finally have caught up with the Supergirl show reviews today meaning I only have my look at the first three parts of Crisis on Infinite Earths left until I can take a deep breath. Thanks for bearing with me.

Supergirl episode 508 had the cute title of Wrath of Rama Khan and really did another great job of pushing forward the two main plots that have been building in recent episodes. One is Lena's turn to the dark side and her mission of mind control. The other is Leviathan and their ecological mission of tamping down humanity's destruction of the Earth.

As I have said, this season has impressed me with just how fast everything is moving. I feel like last season sort of tread water until Lex Luthor showed up. This season you better buckle up. In fact, one major subplot basically ended this episode, an impressive feat.

As usual, the acting here is on point. Many of the events needed to push the plot forward are forced or a little inane if you think about them too much. But otherwise, I really can't complain. This has been a very solid season of Supergirl, perhaps the best season start since we first met these characters way back in Season One.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Supergirl Show 507: Tremors

Well Anj, you promised yourself you'd have caught up with Supergirl in time to live review Crisis on Infinite Earths ...

Best laid plans ...

So for the time being I am going to be continuing/finishing my 'better late than never' show reviews and that brings us to episode 507: Tremors. And boy oh boy, this was a doozy!

One thing I have been applauding about this season is that the writers have pushed many of the character's plots forward rapidly. This episode is no different. In fact, plots I thought for sure would be lingering for the entirety of the season seem to be wrapping up.

I wonder if this show post-Crisis is going to be so different that this will be sort of like 2 seasons in one. Leviathan is suddenly emerging as the main baddie. I suppose the Lena issue will be the one thread to course through both sides of the show.

Anyways, I know I am a month late but there is a scene at the end of this episode between Lena and Supergirl that is just such an emotional gut punch and so well acted that I feel it should be up on television yearly recap shows. Just brilliant. In particular, Katie McGrath nails all the emotions roiling inside Lena. Wonderful.

On to the show!

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Review: Lois Lane #6

Lois Lane #6 came out last week, the halfway mark of this maxi-series written by Greg Rucka with art by Mike Perkins.

The series has been interesting as it has been telling a handful of stories, slowly building the plotlines around government corruption and a murdered Russian journalist. It also has been something of a Journalism 101 class. And it has been a showcase on Lois herself - her skills, her emotions, her integrity.

This issue the plotlines take a back seat as Rucka takes the time to show us more of Lois' relationship, strained though it may be, with her father. Sam Lane died in Event Leviathan. And that certainly is an event that should be delved into more.

Now one thing has been clear for decades and for different continuities. Sam and Lois seldom saw eye to eye. Sam's xenophobia smacked against Lois' love of Superman time and again. But Sam was also, at times, a bit old fashioned in his views on politics and gender. This General Lane seemed to be a little different. He seemed more open to different viewpoints, at least listening, even if he reverted to his old ways.

In fact, I would say that the Lois/Sam relationship these days was one of begrudging respect and extended hands. They seemed to want to rebuild. But that was taken away. Overall this is an interesting look at the relationship with peeks back into their history.

Perkins does his best here, trying to bring some weight to scenes which are for the most part people talking. Some of the expressive work here looks a little strained. But again, the style fits the book perfectly.

Onto the particulars.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Review: Batwoman/Supergirl World's Finest 100-Page Giant #1 - 'Sister,Sister'

Last week I reviewed 'Exit Interview' from the Batwoman/Supergirl World's Finest 100 Page Giant. Today I will review the actual team-up story inside this issue. I have to assume that somehow this issue was done given the Batwoman/Supergirl power hour on the CW these days. For me, Batgirl will always be Supergirl's World's Finest partner, not Batwoman. But I am happy any time we see some Supergirl promotion these days.

The story titled 'Sister Sister' is written by Margaret Stohl with art by Laura Braga. It follows a similar team-up story thread. The two heroes are both tracking a crime separately. They mistake each other for enemies and attack each other. Then the team up to win the day, getting a friendly farewell in. Certainly this had a classic feel.

It is the characterization that I sometimes felt was off. Supergirl seems to have little joy in her, doing her acts of heroic out of sense of obligation, like it is forced duty. I don't read much Batwoman but she is really snarky here. I am used to the Bat-characters being more sullen and quiet, so maybe this is spot on.

Braga just did the Supergirl Annual #2 and there drew a very young Kara. Here she shows the slightly older character we are used to. She brings a nice style to the proceedings here. In particular, I liked her take on the Batwoman villain Alice.

On to the story.

Friday, December 6, 2019

Review: Batwoman/Supergirl 100 Page Giant - 'Exit Interview'

The Batwoman Supergirl World's Finest 100-Page Giant came out this week and was something of a delight for me. I'll be reviewing the new Supergirl material here at the site including the team-up story tomorrow. But I think this book is a winner overall all and well worth the $4.99 cover price. Heck, the beautiful Joelle Jones cover alone might be worth it.

But the real treat for me was the new Supergirl solo story titled 'Exit Interview' by writer Andrea Shea and artist Mike Norton.

I very much like the early stories in the Supergirl title when Rebirth happened. There was a re-inventing of her character by Steve Orlando to make Kara a hero, a defender of Earth again. The 'Help, Hope, and Compassion for All' mantra was there.

But one thing that I struggled with was how the title tried to be everything we know about the comic Kara as well as throw in some of the things we know about the TV Supergirl. So she was an intern at CatCo and a DEO agent but also a high school student and a new hero. That was a lot.

This story seems to end one of those threads while starting a new one.

And while I don't know much of Shea's works, I think she captures Kara's voice nicely here. There are echoes of Silver Age Supergirl in some of the dialogue but in a good way.

Mike Norton delivers as he usually does. There are great emotional moments here as well as some action shots. All are done solidly, especially the expressive work.

On to this delightful story!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Bullet Review: Green Lantern Blackstars #2

I freely admit that I am a Grant Morrison fan, the odd mix of acolyte and apologist. I find most everything he writes interesting even though it often is impenetrable. I have decided that reading a Grant Morrison comic is akin to sitting in a thunderstorm. It is exciting. And you just have to let the experience wash over you.

But even when Morrison is at his most inscrutable you can tell he loves comics and reveres the concept of hero. His love of Superman is palpable. And he wants to honor the past.

His current Green Lantern comic is a typical Morrison book. It is pretty trippy. It is often more about the myth and location than it is about Hal Jordan. And I love it.

Currently, we are in the midst of a side story in the book. Hal Jordan has joined the Blackstars, a cult who follow a being named Mu who hopes to bend the universe to his will, a way to protect people. Hal has seemingly abandoned his ring, taking the name Parallax, and is out there with the conquerors.

Green Lantern Blackstars #2 came out yesterday.

I am surprised DC allowed it to be published.

Because in it, Morrison gives a withering, blistering castigation of the state of comics today, in particular DC.

And, of course, I loved it.

Get ready to ride the wave.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Supergirl Show 506: Confidence Women

My life is in a bit of flux these days so I have not been able to be on top of the Supergirl episodes as they come out. So I have been trying to catch up. And every time I think I have closed the gap, a new episode comes out!

So here is my 'better late than never' review of Episode 506, Confidence Women.

One thing that I have really loved about this show is how it has really leaned into its own continuity lately. Last year we had a great episode looking at how Lex Luthor had manipulated the Red Daughter Kara throughout the season, showing us how involved that plot was in all episodes. Even flashback episodes like Midvale show how the writers respect what has come before.

In 'Confidence Women', we get another flashback episode, this time focusing on two of the antagonists of this season, Lena Luthor and Andrea Rojas. Not only do we get new aspects to their stories, specifically how they were best friends before National City but we also see a lot of weaving of their histories into this show's history. We see scenes which take place in season one, season two, and last season. And most importantly, it again shows just how wounded Lena is, betrayed throughout her life by those she trusted the most.

I liked this episode very much,especially the tight continuity that came with it. And that came with surprise guest stars! Brilliant.

On to the episode.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Review: Action Comics #1017

Action Comics #1017 came out last week and was an interesting and enjoyable read. But I feel for writer Brian Michael Bendis.

Right now, concurrently in the DC Universe, the following things are happening.

1) Leviathan has completely destroyed the espionage community and is trying to wrest control of the world.

2) The Batman Who Laughs has infected six heroes and is trying to bring Doom to the planet.

3) Perpetua, the dark force of creation, is trying to destroy the universe.

That is a lot of universe shaking stuff happening. And not surprisingly, it all seems to impact Superman. That means his own titles are going to have to respond. You can't have a world changer, a world destroyer, and a universe destroyer all eyeing Earth and pretend it isn't happening.

So we get Action Comics #1017 in which somehow Bendis is able to give us all the supporting cast Superman stuff I love in this title and somehow bring two of those three storylines into this book. I have loved Action for it's Daily Planet-centric feel and this issue is no different, even though we are dealing with all that heaviness. Serious kudos.

This issue also marks the start of a John Romita Jr. run on art. Frankly, I have never seen the appeal of his work. Everyone looks like boxers who have had multiple broken noses. But I know I am in the minority.

On to the book.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Review: Supergirl Annual #2

Supergirl Annual #2 came out this week, a clear tie in to the Batman Who Laughs and the Year of the Villain but without sporting any of the usual trade dress. Between the lack of 'crossover' buzz and no publicity in last week's main title issue, I wonder if this whole thing will fly under the radar. And that would be something of a shame.

Writer Robert Venditti comes on board to show us Kara Zor-El's last day on Krypton. It is overall a great day (hence the title 'The Best Day of Her Life') with fun times and great occasions. Of course, it could also easily be called the worst day of her life. Still, there is a sweetness in this young Kara, unscathed by all of the tragedy in her life as well as all the super-heroics. Intermixed in these moments are the Batman Who Laughs trying to lure her to the dark side. We know how that ends.

In the end, there are a couple of things which irk me. One, we have already seen the last day on Krypton for this Supergirl. Remember her father drugging her? Her mother shooting her father? This is still that New 52 Kara. I suppose Rebirth could have wrinkled the timeline. But this is all new. Secondly, all of this survivor guilt and weighed down by sadness stuff that Kara deals with here has already been dealt with by this Kara ... ad nauseum! I don't need to see this anymore. No more Dark Kara redeemed! Please!

But the overall story is a fine one. And Laura Braga brings a definite youthful look to this Supergirl, appropriate for the time it occurs. Honestly, there are times here where she looks more like the Cosmic Adventures Kara than the Rebirth Supergirl. That's high praise.

On to the book.