Monday, August 31, 2020

Review: Legion Of Super-Heroes #8

Legion of Super-Heroes #8 came out last week and was a powerhouse of an issue. 

A sort of jam piece where every page focuses on one Legionnaire and is drawn by a different artist as the fight between the Legion and King Crav and the Rimbor gang comes to a head. For someone like me, a long time Legion reader, seeing these glimpses at different Legionnaires and hearing a bit of their origins, learning a bit about their powers, this was a complete treat.

As I have said before, writer Brian Michael Bendis is walking the tightrope of this book. There is enough classic Legion stuff here for an old timer like me to love. There is a feeling of a hodgepodge approach to the team here with elements of several incarnations mashed together. And there is enough new stuff here to make me intrigued. And this approach of giving each Legionnaire a page is a great way to introduce new readers to these characters.

But the real treat here is the art. This is a real heavy hitting lineup of artists each bringing jaw dropping art. It would be easy to post each page here. But I have to pick and choose carefully. Please go out and get the issue! It is amazing!

On to the book!

Friday, August 28, 2020

Review: Action Comics #1024


After what felt like an eternity of no new material to cover on this site, I was delighted to see a glut of books in my folder this week - Legion, Amethyst, Batman/Superman, and today's review Action Comics #1024

This issue marks the third chapter in the House of El story arc where the Superman family is brought together to finally (I think) bring an end to the Invisible Mafia plot thread which started writer Brian Michael Bendis' run here. I have heard rumors everywhere that Bendis' run on the Superman books is coming to an end sometime in the near future so closing out this Mafia arc makes sense.

But for me, the biggest thing of this issue is the return of Supergirl to the forefront and the beginning of the Superman Family (notice the capital letters).  After months of Supergirl in space, axe-wielding Kara, evil Kara, and goth clown Kara, we actually have a true Supergirl sighting here. It made me smile. Thankfully. I needed this as a Supergirl fan.

Things are also brought to a boiling point as we round the corner of this arc. Often times middle chapters can plod along a bit without true progression. Not true here. I do wonder if we have a 'fridging' here but certainly that isn't the only motivation our heroes have to take down the Mafia.

The art by John Romita Jr is in his style although there are a couple of high points in the issue I will point out later. And I like the cover more for the 'meet the new boss' trade dress. It's Superman ... same as the old boss!

On to the book.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Variant Cover Action Comics #1027

What has happened to Supergirl since her comic left?

Is the military still after her?

Is she still having hallucinations?

Is she still hating Earth?

One thing we do know is that Brian Michael Bendis seems to have her best interests in mind. She has always been portrayed well in the Superman books.

I was thrilled when I saw this variant cover of Action Comics #1027 on line. Once again we see Supergirl as a prominent member of the Super-family.

But the big thing is that it is drawn by Gary Frank!

I have always loved Frank's art. He did the early issues of the Supergirl series by Peter David. And he drew her when Geoff Johns helped reclaim her character in the Brainiac arc in Superman.

Look, I know I am searching for any hope, but at least she isn't in Goth mode.

I'll be there for this variant, for sure.

It is just good to see Kara back.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Back Issue Box: Superman #123 -

I continue to figure out what to cover on this site with a complete dearth of Supergirl material to bolster new input. 

I sometimes am amazed at issues I haven't covered on this site despite this place being around for 12 years. One of those issues is Superman #123, the first appearance of a version of Supergirl. Here we met Super-Girl (notice the hyphen). 

It has always been said that this issue was a sort of trial run for Kara. But I wish some of the folks responsible were alive to discuss this more. 

Was there a discussion where it was said 'we should make a Supergirl but before we bring one into the universe, let's give a dry run to see how people like it'. Was there a discussion where they said 'if there is a big response we should consider making a Supergirl'? Or did they simply read the responses to this one-off character and say 'we should create one'? I know these are minor differences but I wish I could pick the brains of the creators to see if they remembered. This issue was released in June of 1958. Action Comics #252 came out in March of 1959. So we are 9 months away from our Supergirl.

I also wish I could find the letter column covering this issue to see what the letters were like to see if there was a feel about the fans' take from there.

I do wonder if the 'feel' of this story defined how Kara Zor-El would be treated in her own stories. If this was wildly popular, the writers might have decided to continue the relationship we see here between Super-Girl and Supergirl.

Lastly, I am presenting this from my copy of Supergirl Archives Vol. 1. If you see this in reprint form in other comics, they usually color Super-Girl's costume as green and orange and make her a redhead. It differentiates her from Kara and makes it less confusing. But in the original coloring (as presented here) she is in the red and blue. 

On to the story.

Monday, August 24, 2020

Supergirl Show Lego

 DC Fandome was this last weekend and I am still sifting through the coverage to see if any Supergirl news came  out of it.

One thing we did see last week is that an exclusive Supergirl lego mini-figure was made for the  event and given to some lucky people.

It is a clearly Kara from the show. Whether it is the bangs or the pants, there is no denying this is a cool figure based on Melissa Benoist

I love it, especially for the bangs! Too cute.

I can only hope that this becomes available to all people and in all lego-carrying venues. 

Come on DC, send one my way!

And as I said before, send me any FanDome news you think I would be interested in!

Friday, August 21, 2020

Jim Lee Fandome Poster


 The DC Fandome event is around the corner. Of course, it is happening on a day I am working. So I will be scouring the internet the day after for any news of  Supergirl which has been spilled ... if any.

The timing of the event given the recent DC purge is interesting. 

But I do like the energy that we are seeing around the event and hope it might rekindle some hope about the company.

One thing that did catch my eye was this poster by Jim Lee looking at DC properties which have crossed over into other media. Here is a link to some coverage:

Now I can understand some of the buzz around the new Batwoman being there. That show is getting a bit of an upheaval. 

But you can guess where my eyes went.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

The Ever Changing Landscape Of This Site


I have been running this site for 12 years now and for the most part I have been able to keep up 4-5 posts a week.

But 2020 has been something of an anomaly.

Whether it has been the pandemic and its fallout or the DC purging and its fallout, the usual stuff I post about has kind of dwindled.

There is no Supergirl comic on the market for me to cover. So with that goes monthly sales reviews. And with DC not using Diamond any more I'm not sure there is a DC sales site yet. (Help me if there is!)

I can continue to review Action Comics. Superman, Batman/Superman, and Legion. But the ancillary titles which pop up - Jimmy Olsen, Lois Lane, Super Sons, Young Justice, Leviathan minis, etc ... they all are gone and given DC's slashing of title volume probably not coming back soon.

Based on things I encounter in these current reviews, I pick and review back issues. I don't want to be an inventory review site. I like building off story. So the material to pull from is less.

And then there is the non-comic stuff.

I review the Supergirl show but that hasn't restarted filming. So who knows when we'll see reviews for them again. Sometimes I look at back issues based on show topics. So nothing there.

I review my convention schedule. I talk about my prep and who is coming and who I am hoping to get commissions from. I review the days at the con. I review the commissions I get. None of that is happening there.

I review Supergirl merchandise I get. But DC Direct has been disbanded. 

Anyways, the whole point of this post is to say that, in general, 2020 stinks and it will probably impact how often I post here. I'll hope to stay busy because this place is a great creative outlet for me and I love the Supergirl community.

So bear with me!

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

DC November Solicits


 The November solicits for DC Comics gave out last week and it increased my concerns over the future of my favorite characters and comics. Here is a link to Newsarama's coverage:

 DC has recently gone through a purging, with editors fired and staff let go. Jim Lee has come out and said 'DC Comics is still in the business of making comics' ... and he said it unironically. Lee also said the focus is going to be on digital comics. He expects 20-25% fewer DC titles on the rack in the future.

And this new reality is shown to be right around the corner in these solicits. There are a number of cancellations in these solicits including Hawkman, Hellblazer, Suicide Squad and a book I cover here.

To make things worse, at least for me, there is just a glut of those Death Metal books here. I am completely uninterested in that.

On to the books.


art and cover by JOHN ROMITA JR. and KLAUS JANSON
card stock variant cover by GARY FRANK

Is Superman on the ropes? An epic battle rages across the skies of Metropolis! The House of Kent, Superman, Superboy, Supergirl, the Legion of Super-Heroes’ Brainiac 5, and Young Justice’s Conner Kent all unite to face an enemy from another dimension unleashed by the Invisible Mafia! This kind of power can lay waste to an entire family of super-people!
All of this plus the future of the Daily Planet revealed! Another epic Superman story for the ages by the team of Bendis, Romita Jr., and Janson!

Now we're talking. Superman and Supergirl and the Legion coming together in battle! And an extra-dimensional villain? Will it be Blaze given Red Cloud's demonic look?

I am ready for this! Supergirl acting as a hero!

Monday, August 17, 2020

Review: Superman #24

Superman #24 came out last week, the second part in a brief 2  part story where Superman seeks mystical aid from Dr. Fate. Last issue we saw that Superman was reeling from all the personal upheaval in his life. It had left him feeling somewhat off kilter. Wondering if it was some magical attack, he asked for a check-up by Fate. 

Then a fight broke out. 

And then, this issue, the fight was over. Just like that, this 2 issue story is done.

One thing that I have discovered from my time reviewing comics on this site is that I am seldom satisfied and I often am contrary to myself.  I have oft bemoaned the fact that comics are 'written for the trade', stories stretched out over too many issues to pad an idea.

So here is a slick 2 parter and I think it was over too quickly. Writer Brian Michael Bendis sets up Xanadoth as an omega level magical baddie, someone so powerful the Lords of Order AND Chaos teamed up to defeat. And in the span of two pages, somehow, he is dispatched. Maybe just a bit too quickly for my taste.

That doesn't mean that the subplot in this 2 parter isn't fantastic. In fact, the idea that Superman is reeling a bit from the chaos in his life makes perfect sense. I think of him as just a guy trying to do his job and do it well. Certainly this year has been the most chaotic in my own life and I have felt a bit frazzled. So seeing my hero having to deal with 'stuff' humanizes him, makes me empathize.

And, no surprise, the art by John Timms and Kevin Maguire is great. In particular, seeing John Timms take on Supergirl makes me want to see more. But the mystical battle scenes by Maguire are top notch.

On to the book.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Supergirl Season 6 Poster

With the pandemic impacting comic book conventions everywhere, DC Comics announced  DC FANDOME , an on-line convention-like experience.  For 24 hours, there will be announcements, interviews, and general fun.

Part of the experience is interaction with cast members from the CW DC shows. This has included the creation of 'posters' for the characters which also lean into their comic book histories.

While Melissa Benoist is not one of the announced guests, Supergirl did get her own poster.

As usual, Benoist is simply perfect as Supergirl, ready to fight against injustice.
The overall color of the poster background is yellow. Of course, the supers always sport the primary colors. And this is dazzling, having Supergirl really stand out. It also blends nicely with the other posters I have seen of Dreamer and Iris West.

The background is also interesting from a comic point of view ...

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

The Abattoir That Is DC Comics Editorial


 When AT&T bought Warner Brothers, I assumed that some changes would be made to the WB and some of that would trickle down to DC Comics. I have been wondering when the axe would drop or when corporate changes would be made.

 It seems that time is now. As of 8/10, news had leaked out that there were going to be major changes in the DC C suite and Editorial offices. Here is a link to Bleeding Cool's coverage of the proceedings: 

 This is not trimming of the fat. This is a culling of the herd. 

Now I certainly haven't agreed with the path DC has taken in their comics, probably an overall sentiment of the last 20 years or so. But some of the names are good comics people, people who love comics and the characters, and who interact with fans.

Seeing Hank Kanalz, Andy Khouri, and Brian Cunningham listed among those who are leaving was shocking. These were solid folk who I followed and trusted.

Does AT&T even care about this little corner of WB? Is there a vision for the future? Or was this just a purge? 

Does AT&T care about stories and characters? Or only (as Gerry Conway states so eloquently on Twitter) the ability to strip mine the IP for profit?

Or was this just a result of downward economic trends in the pandemic? Employees were laid off everywhere within WB. Or is that just an excuse?


 This doesn't sound too good either. 

'A rapid reduction in titles' means less product on the shelves. I suppose the dust has to settle a bit and new people have to be brought on board. Or maybe AT&T thinks that the world simply doesn't need 50 DC titles a month.

And I will say that I simply dislike reading digital comics. If this is AT&T's way of moving out of the paper publishing business, this might be the death knell for my fandom.

I have pondered the death of comic books and the death of DC Comics for a long time. It suddenly feels a bit more real.


Part of this is the complete dissolution of DC Direct.

Again, per Bleeding Cool, rather than having an in-house department to control and parse out merchandise, AT&T will most likely sell the license for the properties to other companies. 

This also sounds like a bit of a cash grab.

Maybe it just what DC needs. To paraphrase the great Harry Lime, times of chaos are often times of great creativity. If I am sick of most of what DC has been doing recently, maybe things need to be shaken things up a bit.

Still I can't help but feel that this is more like a salting of the Earth than sowing a new crop.


 Maybe I should be thinking more about Swamp Thing #50 and Swampy's thoughts on aphids. Maybe it is only from the evil of this destruction that a purer, more virtuous DC Universe.

I guess we'll have to see.

All that said, only the best for those who have lost their jobs in this cycle.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Back Issue Box: Action Comics #267

I've been in a but of a Legion mood these days and figured maybe now was the time to review Supergirl's first interaction with the team. For clarity, I don't own this individual issue but have this story reprinted in multiple places. It is on the dream list.

Action Comics #267 sports a great cover of a spurned Hercules lashing out at a poster of Superman. But the real draw is the Supergirl story when a Legion of Super-Heroes comes to the past to recruit her. 

This is early in Supergirl's career. She is Superman's secret weapon. She is almost paralyzed with fear about breaking Superman's edict that she remain in hiding. But you can see just how much she wants to help and be a hero. These early stories show us this foundation of Supergirl, the need to help people.

It is also interesting that this is the first appearance of three Legionnaires. When you add that to the first appearances of many Legionnaires in the Supergirl story in Action Comics #276, you come to realize just how important Supergirl is to Legion history.

And, as with other elements of Supergirl's early history, some of the details here are changed in future reprints to help form a better continuity. So just like Argo City went from having a 'bubble of atmosphere' to a protective dome, so did a crucial detail here get changed.

On to the story!

Monday, August 10, 2020

Back Issue Box: Legion of Super-Heroes #283

With Wildfire being prominently featured as the opening splash Legionnaire in Legion of Super-Heroes #7 and with some hints about old continuities and histories put in there, I thought it would be fun to review his history. It doesn't hurt that Wildfire is my favorite Legionnaire. So why not let him into the spotlight here a little.
So today I will be reviewing Legion of Super-Heroes #283, a spotlight issue for Wildfire reviewing his history and adding some elements to his back story not seen prior to this. I have to say this is a little bit of a weird and interesting issue for a couple of reasons.

First off, the cover is done by art legend Jim Aparo! Aparo is best known for his Batman work. I don't think he did any other Legion work outside this piece. So getting to see his take on Wildfire alone makes this issue worth it.
Second, Roy Thomas is the writer. Now Thomas has some Legion credits but he is more a WWII kind of writer. I never really cozied up to his Legion stuff. And he oddly inserts a lot of romance (or impossible romance) into this story. Most of Wildfire's angst comes from his failed relationships with women ... which feels a little off. I suppose it plays into his 'not being human, am I truly alive' angst. But weird.

The art is by Howard Bender with inks by Bruce Patterson. I like Patterson's inks and he does a good job here with the visuals which move from college romance to high stakes super-hero action.

Overall, this is a good primer on Wildfire including all the things mentioned in that LSH #7 splash - his failed first attempt at joining the team, his being a hothead with a loud mouth, his concern about not being a 'thing'. 

On to the book.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Review: Young Justice #17

Young Justice #17 came out this week and continued an interesting little run where the team is still trying to figure out where they are and who they are in this new continuity. Nothing says that as elegantly as the cover where we see three of the members in mirror images sporting their old continuity costumes and their current ones.

This issue has a strong them about mentoring and legacy and leading by example. There is a running theme of a young 'normal' girl from Metropolis doing her part in the aftermath of the Legion of Doom attack on the city. She is doing her part and she is seeing what her contemporaries ... the member of Young Justice ... are doing as well. More importantly, we see several of the legacy members of the team interacting with their mentors: Cassie with Diana,  Bart and Barry, etc.

For me, this book has, since its inception, been a sort of throwback. There is a joy in this book even as the heroes struggle with some major identity issues. These are heroes doing heroic things because it is the right thing to do. And there is that sort of exuberance in the characters that I miss in the more dour proceedings in many comics these days. Writers Brian Michael Bendis and David Walker continue to give us the right mix of fun adventuring while adding the pain of growing up.

The art by Scott Godlewski continues to shine. This is an issue without much action. Instead there are these emotional moments where the tone must be set by expression and body position. In fact there is a panel of Diana in here which sort of floored me.

If I have one complaint it is that the books still seem to be reeling from the multitude of major events happening. This issue takes place before House Of Kent which is now several months in. And that means this book's timeline is delayed and off. But this is a minor complaint.

On to the book.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Back Issue Review: Superman Family #216

 Recently in DC Comics, two Superboys met each other. Jon Kent traveled back from the 31st century to visit Conner Kent in the present.

It made me remember an odd 2 parter from Superman Family when Supergirl from the 500th century travels back in time to team up (sort of) with the Supergirl from the present. It is a crazy story but classic for the Bronze Age. Last week, I reviewed the first part in Superman #215 .

Today, I wrap up the story by reviewing Superman Family #216.

There is a lot that makes little sense in this story. The Supergirls switch times to thwart two villains. But there isn't a clear reason why they have to do that. (At least the villains do have a decent reason to switch time periods.) A lot of the plot points are revealed in a long exposition section in the middle of the story in which one character explains the plot. And the ending is almost two easy.

Still, you have to give writer Marty Pasko some credit for trying to do this story in the constraints of two issues. We barely get a glimpse at the Earth in the 500,000. And in each part, Pasko mentions a prior story where the future Supergirl teamed up with Superman to defeat the villain Toxus. I wonder if Pasko hoped to eventually go back and tell that story.

Otherwise, this story is relatively forgettable. And even the usual steady work by Win Mortimer is diminished by the sparse inks of Vinnie Colletta.

On to the story ... settle in.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Review: Batman/Superman #10

 Batman/Superman #10 came out last week, the next part in the Ultra-Humanite story where the Atomic Skull was turned into a villain again and killed.

Yes, there is a plot of the Ultra-Humanite turning humans into walking drone bombs powered by Atomic Skull radiation. But for me, the most interesting part about this is how Superman's recent reveal and his recent busy schedule is weighing on him. That seems to be the undercurrent in Superman's piece of this plot and that is intriguing to me.

Over in Superman, we see that Clark is trying to cope with all his recent problems by talking to Dr. Fate. So why not see that sort of anguish spill over into other books. Writer Joshua Williamson does a good of of showing how different Batman's approach is to this in comparison to Dr. Fate's. Fate reached out with empathy. Bruce tells Clark he shouldn't feel guilty about this problem which is on his plate.

The mystery of these drone bomb zombies progresses here quickly. Our heroes figure out who is behind this and get their first round against them. And there is a very solid cliffhanger.

The art is by Clayton Henry and it is wonderful. Henry draws things big and bold. He makes things scary when they need to be. The action flows well and is vibrant.

On to the book.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Review: Legion Of Super-Heroes #7

Legion of Super-Heroes #7, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Stephen Byrne, came out last week and continued this series interesting new take on my beloved Legion.

As I have said before in my reviews, this title is an interesting mix of all that has come before it. The Legion is a tricky property. It is considered too dense or complicated for new readers. It has an aging fanbase tied to its continuity. It has undergone reboots. It has needed some vision which captures both the history of the main continuity but freshened up so new readers can enjoy the ride.

And somehow this new title seems to be doing just that.

This issue takes on one of the best parts of Legion's fandom ... the Legion Leader Election. As someone who once mailed in a vote for Wildfire, I can tell you, I love the election. So to see that brought back here made me smile.

The idea of a Superboy, a 21st century superheroic legend, joining the team to guide and learn, is old and new.

And the idea that the government that formed the Legion might be a little worried about them is also old (I see you Threeboot) and new as well.

Add to that Stephen Byrne's clean art, bringing a beautiful polish to the future, and you have another great installment in this title. His expressive work is stellar here. You need that sort of ability in a book where there are so many scenes of people talking. You need to help intuit their feelings.

Long Live the Legion! On to the book!