Friday, July 30, 2021

Review: Action Comics #1033

Action Comics #1033 came out this week and was another tremendous issue in what is becoming a signature arc for writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson. As Marvel used to say this one has it all!

The thing that grabbed me the most about this issue is how proactive and sort of demanding Superman is in this book. Usually Superman leads by example, uncomfortable with forcing his opinions on others. But here, faced with a Warworld filled with slaves, some of whom could be Kryptonians, he can't sit back. He can't listen to Earth-based squabbling. And if he has to insert himself and solve a problem now so that the fight on Warworld happens sooner, then he will. I mean it, there is one moment in this book which I will show where I said 'whoa' out loud. I haven't seen a Superman like that before.

But we also get this look at Thao-La and how she is handling meeting her hero, knowing she is supposed to kill him, and seeing her dealing with her own trauma. I love the different reactions we get out of the other super-family members too. This is a compelling story and seeing the different ways Thao-La's dilemma is being processed by the supporting cast adds to the depth.

I'd be remiss not to mention Daniel Sampere's art here. I have always liked his work but this has to be the best stuff I have seen by him. It is stunning. From inspirational splashes to solid expressive work to awkward meetings, the work complements the story phenomenally, really adding to the story.

On to the book!

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Terrificon!

Just a heads up!

Tomorrow I am winging my way to Terrificon!

Hope to run into some of you there!

And I'll try to send updates in social media.

More importantly, I might not be responding to comments here as quickly as usual!

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Review: Superman Red And Blue #5

Superman Red and Blue #5 came out last week and really was a great issue. This series has really grown on me as the stories have recently become much more Superman-centric and less about other characters or political issues du jour. Yes, Superman can be political but he still should be the hero in his own stories.

This issue also has a great array of creators. I mean, they sort of had me with Daniel Warren Johnson, the creator of the recent Black Label Wonder Woman Dead Earth book and the current Beta Ray Bill book, both worth reading. But through in Mark Buckingham, Chris Sprouse, Joshua Williamson, G. Willow Wilson, and others and this is a true smorgasbord of talent.

It also doesn't hurt that one of the stories echoes a moment in Action Comics #500 that I just love. And it happens to involve Krypto, currently suffering and maybe dead in Tom King's Supergirl Woman of Tomorrow book. Another is a perfect encapsulation of 'Pa Kent wisdom', another trope I love.

I also love this playful cover by Amanda Conner featuring the dog of steel as well. Looks like the pup is going to get a nice treat from Superman.

Probably just best to jump into it. But I think this would be the issue I would recommend to people if they wanted to try this series out.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Review: Superman And The Authority #1

Superman and The Authority #1 came out this week and by the time I reach the bottom of this review I hope I have a grade in mind. Because I am a bit befuddled by the concept but I enjoyed the issue.

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by this. Grant Morrison is the writer of the mini-series. And with so many Morrison works, I probably will need to marinate in this one for a while. I sometimes just have to let the experience wash over me and hope I will appreciate all of it via osmosis. But one thing I know about Morrison, he never fails to impress. And in particular, his take on Superman has never failed me. 

Here we have a Superman on some Earth trying to make sure that he has a team of operatives who can act on his behalf when his powers fail him. But this is a Superman who was alive in the 60s. He is gray-templed, weakening, wearing a Kingdom Come S-shield, but still dang inspirational. And the first person he reaches out to is Manchester Black, one of his most powerful and deadly enemies. Whew .. some opening act.

The art here is by Mikel Janon, whose work I have always loved. Clean lined, dynamic, and lovely, his work sings here. His middle-aged appearing Superman looks like a movie star. The action scenes are fun and frenetic. And the colors by Jordie Bellaire only bring a layer of beauty to things.

But in a current DC world trying to work its way to a Future State, where the super-family has been shaken up a bit, is there room in my mind for the Superman of Earth-?. Well, as long as it entertains, yes.

On to the book.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Review: Justice League #65

Justice League #65 was released last week and as it has a strong crossover feel with Checkmate. That makes me happy.

The book basically has two plots running concurrently. One is Black Canary and Ollie hashing out his involvement in the new Checkmate and the reveal of Daemon Rose's identity. There is some great dialogue here. And the Daemon reveal is quite the eye-opener. There is even a super-villain sighting and a small mystery.

The second plot is the attack by Synmar Utopica on the JL. This also has some great dialogue and some fun moments. It once again shows how Synmar is a worthy foe of Superman as he brings down the house around the team.

I very much enjoyed the issue. So I won't bury that fact. I read comics to be entertained and I was very much entertained. But it felt to me like this was an extension of the Checkmate book and that the Synmar plot was sort of a filler to keep the rest of the League present in the pages. I don't mind that at all. But I wonder about others.

Steve Pugh is again on art and brings a lot of energy to the action here. We get both street level scuffling and super-powered throwdowns and both flow nicely. 

On to the book!

Friday, July 23, 2021

Review: Supergirl Woman Of Tomorrow #2

Supergirl Woman of Tomorrow #2 came out this week and was a better issue than the first issue, by a smidge. There are some moments in this book where I actually felt like this was Supergirl. A few brief moments. And there is also an homage to the Peter David run with the Matrix/Earth Angel character, something which will always make me smile.

But these are just a few rays of sunshine breaking through a blanket of dark clouds that is this story. 

Once again, it is clear that this isn't a Supergirl story. It is a Ruthye story. Everything happens through the lens of that character, clearly Tom King's pet project. The whole True Grit homage feel to this remains unbroken as this story is written when Ruthye is much older, remembering this adventure. Her overly verbose style sometimes overwhelms the reader when faced with pages of long internal monologues. Plus, Supergirl is asleep for a 7 of the 24 pages here.

It also isn't a Supergirl story because this doesn't feel like Kara. It's like King wants to make Supergirl 'cool' by having her curse like a sailor and throttle people without talking to them first. That isn't her. This could very very easily be Starfire from the Titans. She IS quick-tempered and she also has had to deal with tragedy. This could very very easily be Power Girl. She IS brash and heck, she has seen her universe die! But when I read this I wonder which Supergirl stories King read for his research.

Honestly, look at the issue (or the panels here) and in your mind's eye substitute Kory. The book reads the same.

Add to that some missteps like (nearly) killing Krypto and some questionable continuity and I just can't behind this book. At least not yet.

Once again, I will say the art is absolutely stunning and raises the grade of this book by a whole letter. Bilquis Evely brings a gorgeous look to all the scenes here from brawling, to quiet moments, to jaunts in space. I don't know how to explain it but it is both polished and raw at the same time. And it sings. Mat Lopes colors are wonderfully muted in places like the dank ferry they are on. But also the pastels in the landscape scenes are spectacular. 

On to the book. Settle in. This book is a big deal and so I am going to go over it with a fine tooth comb and give you all my thoughts.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

DC Comics 2021 Solicits

The October solicits for DC comics came out this week and are available to review in their entirety at the usual places. Here is a link to Newsarama (now Gamesradar) and their post:
https://www.gamesradar.com/dc-solicitations-october-2021/

It is an interesting month.

For the purposes of this site, there is no Supergirl solicited. Perhaps she is taking a break from her life of battle and woe. There are the usual Superman books solicited including the last issue of the Challenge of the Super-Sons book. I'll cover them in a second.

But this is a big Wonder Woman month with an 80th anniversary special, a Nubia book, the much anticipated DeConnick/Jimenez Amazon Historia book. If you are a Diana fan like me, there is a lot to get excited about in October.

And there is the usual glut of Batman books.

But onto the super-family issues.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Tom King On SyFy


I keep trying to be optimistic about this Supergirl:Woman of Tomorrow mini-series.

I keep trying.

Tom King was interviewed by SyFy about the book and he is trying to make me think better of his approach. But even when he is saying words that you would think would raise my optimism, it just doesn't seem to work. 

Here is a link to the interview. Please read it in its entirety:
https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/exclusive-tom-king-on-supergirl-woman-of-tomorrow-dc-comics

Let's start with SyFy calling it a 12 issue mini-series. Remember, it was King who said in interview (and I paraphrase) that "Supergirl doesn't sell well enough for a 12 issue series." We know it is 8.

King starts out by saying that he channeled the overall feelings of 2020 into Rorschach and Strange Adventures, books which look at the darker side of life.

King says that Supergirl comes from someplace different.

He says that his ideas about Supergirl were inspired by a glimmer of hope.

You would think that his words - words like hope, optimism, and heart - might make me think better of this book.

But the words are meaningless when you compare that to the basic heartless, pessimistic, hopeless tone of that first issue. Where is it?

A few more blurbs to mull coming up.

Monday, July 19, 2021

Review: Challenge Of The Super Sons #4

Challenge of the Super Sons #4 came out last week and I continue to be tickled by this book. 

Writer Peter Tomasi has a good handle on these young characters, having written them so long. As always it is their interactions, showcasing how they are different but can still work together, that brings the juice. 

The overall story is a hoot too. Superboy and Robin have to secretly save Justice Leaguers from a cursed magic scroll. So they have to put one over on their elders ... all for a good cause. That adds a little extra wrinkle of fun to the proceedings. On top of that, the scroll was activated by Felix Faust and Vandal Savage who are hunting the boys through time. That is a solid foundation.

Now some of the details are a bit preposterous. But this is a book that wants the reader to remember thrilling comic adventures of yesteryear and smile. So I don't mind a little zaniness.

Max Raynor is on both parts of the issue and I have become a big fan of his work. Our heroes look like kids. And the action looks great. I love his Jon, a mix of earnestness and anxiousness to get down to it.

On to the book.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Review: Action Comics Annual 2021

The Action Comics 2021 Annual came out this week, a nice mix of current storylines and the Future State future peeks. Much like the Future State House of El one-shot, this was a very entertaining read by  writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson with art by House of El artist Scott Godlewski and with Siya Oum providing the framework story.

I was very impressed with all that Johnson pulls off here. The framing story really builds on the current Phaelosian storyline working its way through the main Action book. This framework is from the past as we see the current teenage Thao-La back when she was more of a young child. This section gives us some backstory as well as a new mystery to unravel.

We then move well into the future as we hear another tale of the House of El. This one predates the House of El one-shot. We get some Supergirl here, learning what she did before she sulked off to the moon in her own Future State mini. These characters descended from Superman are interesting. I like seeing them fight together as a group. And I like the glimpses we get of their culture.

And on top of that, we get a nod to a mini-series from the early 80's, one of my faves and one I have not truly reviewed here on this site. So maybe that will be a little blog mini-project to start up. I am all in favor of the direction Johnson is taking us with the Phantom Zone.

As for the art, Godlewski slips us into the Future State world easily. His pages are mostly battles and he brings us into the fray expertly. I like the designs of the various Els. Siya Oum's pages are the framework and non-Phantom Zone pages. There is a more angular and slightly stylized look to these pages but there are solid moments there as well.

If I have one quibble, it is that many pages are devoted to the Els fighting there way to the center of the Phantom Zone. I think that part could have been told in about half the pages, making this more like a regular issue. No complaints about the art in those sequences. Beautiful.

On to the particulars.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Andy Schmidt On Ultragirl


In my review of Crime Syndicate #5 earlier this week, I wondered if Supergirl appearing to be a hero on the backwards morality driven Earth 3 was some sort of commentary by DC Comics on how they think of Kara.

I freely admit that I sometimes overthink things regarding Supergirl given my passionate fandom. 

I also know that I am probably still reeling from a Supergirl Woman of Tomorrow #1 issue which did not work for me at all. 

I posted the review and sent out the tweet link, including writer Andy Schmidt on the tweet. And amazingly, I got a response about my concerns.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

The Passing Of Robson Rocha


DC Comics artist Robson Rocha passed away earlier this week from complications from COVID-19. 

This news was staggering especially when learning that Robson was only 41 years of age, I feel like I was lucky enough to discover his art early and therefore could follow him to the books he was on.

But he will always be most fondly remembered by me as being the artist on the back end of the Supergirl Rebirth book. In those books you could really see his art blossom. 

He had that uncanny knack to be able to bring energy and movement to action sequences, tremendous expressive work to the characters, some gravitas to the quieter moments in Kara's life, and still show Supergirl's joy.

No cover better captures all that than the cover for Supergirl #20.

Monday, July 12, 2021

Bullet Review: Crime Syndicate #5

Crime Syndicate #5 came out last week continuing a fun and entertaining look at the new Earth 3. Writer Andy Schmidt and artist Kieron McKeown continue to weave a story where the heroes and villains we are accustomed to have switched roles.

As I have said before, what I like about this book is that there is sly humor woven into the story of evil triumphant. Yes the Justice League analogs are murdering scum. But the book isn't an incessant trip deeper into darkness. I don't think I have seen one person have their hands cut off. Not one blood soaked brawl. Instead we have silly editorial notes and a ragtag group of heroes trying to save the day.

Not to say this is a happy book. We do get a barn full of dead people. It just doesn't feel like it is titillated by the evil. The tone is just right.

And I shouldn't bury the lede. Kara is in this book too. But more on that in the main review.

The art is done by McKeown who brings a crisp feeling to the action. The figures are lovely and the action dynamic.

On to the book.

Friday, July 9, 2021

Review: Justice League #64

 

Justice League #64 came out last week and was another great character issue in this new run by Brian Michael Bendis.

 "Character issue" doesn't describe it fully. There is a new plot nudged forward. We do get the new United Order, a sort of Guardians of the Galaxy of the just started United Planets. And that is an interesting team to break down.

We get the return of the Synmar Utopica, one of the more puzzling villains introduced in Bendis' run. I don't think I ever quite understood its motives. 

We get the ripples of Checkmate into the League and specifically with Ollie.

But as usual, it is the quieter moments between the action where Bendis really shines. I like his Black Adam. I like the simmer of Naomi's powers and family (although I hope it comes to a boil soon). It is the on-again Ollie/Dinah romance and how cute they are as they flirt and fight. 

Steve Pugh is on art and gives a fine-lined, angular feel to the proceedings. This is a bit different from the smooth, organic offerings we have seen her by David Marquez. But the art does work. In particular, some of the panel layouts are slick. We do get several splashes as well.

On to the book.

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Terrificon Prep

I cannot tell you how giddy I am to be posting a convention prep post. And for my favorite comic convention no less!

That's right! At the end of this month I'll be heading to Terrificon!!

As usual, show runner Mitch Hallock has put together a fantastic roster of guests. You can check out the entire show's slate of guests and panels here:https://www.terrificon.com/home.html

As I have said in the past, Mohegan Sun is a great venue for the con. The Expo Center is huge and spacious. The casino has every possible level of food options within from the finest dining to the quickest of food courts. It is easy to find and there is free parking. It is a dream.

But the pull is always the guests. And there are plenty of mega-stars I can't wait to meet. I have started the process of pulling books for signatures, figuring out which books I should get signed for friends, and contemplating commissions. I was truly hoping that the site would garner me a press pass but alas no such luck.

One of the interesting things about this year's con is that I anticipate it will be a bit more relaxed for me from a commission standpoint.  Here is the list of guests I already have a commission from: Tim Sale, Dan Jurgens, Pat Broderick, Dave Johnson, Khoi Pham, Jerry Ordway, Mike McKone, Matthew Clark, Jim Calafiore, and Joe Rubinstein.

That doesn't mean I don't have a few hopes and dreams out there.


At the top of the commission wish list is Lee Weeks. 

I have been a longtime fan of Weeks work. But I loved his Convergence: Superman and Superman Lois and Clark mini-series which introduced us to Jon Kent.

He will be the first table I go to in hopes of snagging a sketch. Fingers crossed.

(As a side note, I hope to get some of those issues signed by him and Dan Jurgens who is also attending.)

Monday, July 5, 2021

Review: Batman/Superman #19

Last week we learned in DC's September solicits that the Batman/Superman title was ending. I was surprised and a bit dismayed by the news. Since taking over the title, writer Gene Luen Yang has made this title one of the most fun and entertaining book on the shelves. It has been fun to see our heroes sort of romp through adventures as pals.

Batman/Superman #19 came out last week, the next chapter in the Auteur.Io storyline looking at different 'universes' as written by the insane movie mogul. This book hasn't really starred out main heroes. Instead we have followed a Superman from a Golden Age movie serial and a more Silver Age Batman complete with boy wonder. In this chapter, Yang decides to delve deeper into the filmography of Auteur.Io and the DC Universe. And so we have Alanna Strange and El Diablo in the mix as well.

I also see that Yang is talking about some creative loss here. Auteur.Io is trying to create the perfect world. But it seems impossible in the current world where everyone has an opinion on how everything could be better. No longer can people just enjoy a story, foibles and all. Instead they have to comment. Heck, I do that almost every day here. But you can't please everyone and as a result, the stories become muddled messes. And great stories might be scuttled because some audience might find it horrible or offensive. I find the theme fascinating.

Alas, Ivan Reis has the month off here. Instead we have a smorgasbord of artists. It is quite a row of talent. Emanuela Lupacchino, Darick Robertson, and Steve Lieber are all top notch talents on their own. So to see them bring their styles to the various landscapes here is an added bonus.

On to the book.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Review: Checkmate #1


I had a Leviathan Theory and I was sticking to it. In Event Leviathan, I thought for sure that the villain behind the mask was going to be Ted Kord. 

Turned out I was wrong. Leviathan was Mark Shaw. And that led me down the rabbit hole. Who was Shaw exactly? And how and more importantly why did he become Leviathan? I scoured his comic history.

And so we are here, with Checkmate #1, the sequel to Event Leviathan. I have been waiting for this. For one, I find Leviathan an interesting sort of villain. In some ways, he's like Robin Hood, hoping to help out the little guy by opening up the world to honesty. Plus, I have to say that after reading all the history of Shaw, I can see why he has become Leviathan. He was used, abused, brainwashed, and manipulated by espionage agencies in the DCU. Why wouldn't he want revenge?

So maybe I am going to be somewhat of an biased reviewer. 

But I thought this first issue was fantastic. 

Writer Brian Michael Bendis sets the table nicely in this opening chapter. First off, we get some far flashbacks showing how Shaw got into the original Leviathan organization. I need to see some of this backstory. I need to see how Shaw took over that place from the inside out.

Then we see a more recent flashbacks of Talia Al Ghul trying to wrest things back.

Of course, we then get to the present day when the new Checkmate is just starting to get organized in hopes of stopping Leviathan from whatever he has planned next. It was good to see this team together again. Plus, the Checkmate leader Mr. King is somewhat of a mystery himself. Who is this guy?

We even get a reminder that we don't know what Sam Lane meant when he told Lois to find the Snowman Ticket at the end of Event Leviathan.

But best of all is a deep cut DC character who shows us just how Leviathan might convince people to join him. 

I would, of course, be remiss if I didn't mention Alex Maleev's moody art. From the opening flashback to the ending cliffhanger, everything is laid out wonderfully and gripping. 

On to the book!

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Review: Superman #32

Last week, I reviewed Action Comics #1032, written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson. I raved about it.

Superman #32 was also released last week, also written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson. And while this was a fine issue, it wasn't as mind-blowing as Action. This story just comes to a sudden sort of ending with a couple of bizarre twists that had me stroking my chin.

Prior Johnson stories have focused in on the father/son relationship of Clark and Jon. There is this known turn coming up where Jon takes up the mantle of Superman and takes over. It seems that the purpose of this Shadowbreed story is to once again showcase that relationship but now with Clark realizing his son is not a child anymore and a worthy successor. It also brings in the relationship of the Qarath family and how Thrakkamites have a different parent/child relationship as well. A contrast will always make the focus that much brighter.

But the story built on that premise is a bit muddy. I don't know exactly what the Shadowbreed is. I don't quite understand the aftermath of their defeat. I don't know why Qarath O Bakkis waits as long as he does to make his play in this tale. I don't know how Superman survives this encounter. 

That's a lot of 'I don't knows' to roll with.

The art by Scott Godlewski is quite good. He has a good handle on Jon, portraying him as a youth nicely. The action sequences are well paced and drawn. And these aliens look ... well ... alien.

On to the story.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Review: Justice League #63


Justice League #63 came out last week, a sort of  ending to Brian Michael Bendis' first arc as writer on the title. I say 'a sort of ending' because it feels more like a pause. The ultimate ending, the defeat of Zumbado and the freeing of Naomi's world, doesn't happen here. Instead this felt like the first round.

But there are other goals here as well. Bendis is making a new team here with some interesting new recruits - Black Adam, Hippolyta, and Naomi. Much like the odd roster of Bendis' New Avengers way back in the day, this team is going to be filled with individual personalities and outlooks. And after a few years of the 'big seven' or a sort of DCAU JLA, it'll be good to bring in some new blood.

And, of course, bringing Naomi back into the spotlight of the DCU given her upcoming appearance on the CW as well as a 'second season' of her comic was another goal. And here she is, graduating from Young Justice to the big Leagues, pun intended.

This issue seems to accomplish those goals in a fast moving, splash page full issue. The front half is crazy action packed. The back end is the coda to that battle with one moment that stands out as excellent.

As usual, the art is by David Marquez and I have gushed about his art on this book before. But here, the battle sequences are even more spectacular. The art is eye candy and probably worth the cover price alone.

On to the book!

Friday, June 25, 2021

Review: Action Comics #1032

Action Comics #1032 came out this week and was another interesting character in this storyline bringing possible Kryptonian refugee survivors into Superman's world.

This arc is connected to Mongul  and seems to be leading directly into Superman leaving Earth to fulfill his role as rebel leader on Warworld in the Future State books. I don't specifically know if I am keen on Superman leaving Earth for a long time so I entered this run with some trepidation. But this chapter at least gives me a good reason for that eventuality to happen.

Moreover, Kennedy does a good job here of including all of the immediate super-family in the proceedings. Lois, Jon, and even Kara have some role to play in this mystery. Is Thao-La a Kryptonian proper? Or some offshoot? Or something else all together? How does she know Kryptonian historical figures and dialects? And is she working with Mongul or against the villain? 

Throw in the Source Wall chunk that was on Thao-La's ship as an enigmatic plot point and you have a couple of decent puzzles for our heroes to figure out.

I'll say I am enjoying this title more than the Superman book and part of that has to do with the more Earth-bound nature of the adventures and the inclusion of the key supporting characters.

I'd be remiss not to mention Daniel Sampere's detailed and lush art work here. Once more, he gives the quieter scenes some gravitas. But the big win is the kaiju fight in a rainstorm at the back end. You will see that those pages just sizzle.

On to the particulars.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

September 2021 DC Comics Solicits


The September solicits for DC Comics are out. Here is a link of all the comics that'll be on the shelves:
https://www.gamesradar.com/dc-solicitations-september-2021/

As usual, Batman and Bat-books abound in the month. Also, there are plenty of Suicide Squad books coming out. No big surprise there given the upcoming movie. But the super-books are holding their own. It does seem like the futures seen in Future State are coming to fruition in the present. 

We also have now sampled Tom King's Supergirl book. Having read that opening chapter, I am now looking more closely at the solicits for that book. 

SUPERGIRL: WOMAN OF TOMORROW #4
Writer: TOM KING
Artist: BILQUIS EVELY
Cover: BILQUIS EVELY
Variant Cover: ROSE BESCH

Supergirl sets her sights on the Brigands, a group of dastardly nomads hell-bent on slaughtering all they come across. Now she must follow their path of destruction to find the fugitive they've been hiding who set her on this intergalactic journey in the first place!


Since we know that King borrowed liberally from True Grit in the opening chapter, I am wondering which Western this might be leaning into. The Magnificent Seven with Calvara's horde? 

It seems the Brigands are hiding Krem and Supergirl is on the trail. 

Hoping this book somehow rights after that first issue.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Supergirl S-Shield And Sasha Calle In The Flash Movie

Back in February, the world learned that Supergirl will be in the upcoming Flash movie, played by Sasha Calle. Given the rumors that the plot of the movie is Flashpoint, I can see this Supergirl being on the main DCEU Earth or in one of the other timelines opened up by the Flash's time trips.

Last week, director Andy Muschietti gave us the smallest of peeks at Supergirl's S-shield in the upcoming movie.

That sort of textured rubberized Henry-Cavill feel is definitely present, as is the Kryptonian scripts curling through the body of the S.

There are some subtle changes in theglyph itself, the lower portion of the S curving up lower and also tapering to create a new feel.

But the big thing for me is the prominence of red above the shield, a look many Supergirl fans probably recognize. And then, some shots of Calle in the costume leaked.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Review: Superman Red And Blue #4

Superman Red And Blue #4 came out this week and was another fun issue in this mini-series. After the somewhat glum first issue, the series has turned it around giving us some excellent stories about Superman, his villains, and his influence on people.

In fact, this series seems to have few stories about Superman himself and more about how he has impacted or influenced other people. I think in this time of grim and gritty story-telling, where Supergirl is drunk and murderous, I need to hear that Superman still inspires.

This issue also includes a trope that I never get tired of even if others have. We get some Pa Kent wisdom told in flashback and still powerful in the present. I can't get enough of it!

And it was interesting to see two Bizarro stories make it into this one volume. You think they could have been spaced. The tone of the stories are very different so I suppose they are fine together.

Finally, it was nice to see Mark Waid get another shot at the Man of Steel. His story is my favorite of the book. Why hasn't this story been done before? And the ending is just pure perfection. Put Waid back on a DC monthly!

On to the book.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Review: Supergirl Woman Of Tomorrow #1

Where to begin this review of a book which is visually gorgeous, a super-hero rendition of True Grit to the point at times it feels like plagiarism, and a slap in the face to long time Supergirl fans?

Where to begin?

Well, first I'll ask you to settle in as this might ramble a bit.

Second, I'll say that this is an extremely well drawn and well colored book. I think Bilquis Evely is a revelation and Matheus Lopes coloring makes this feel like a pastel western movie come to life. I have no objection to the art in this book which is frankly stunning.

I advise everyone who hasn't read the novel True Grit or seen the movie to do so (both film versions are fantastic). But this seems like an absolute lift of that story. The extremely well spoken young girl (Mattie Ross in Grit/Ruthye here) seeks revenge for her father's death at the hands of a bandit (Tom Chaney/Krem). She heads into a town on her own and full of gumption. She tries to convince a bounty hunter to help her because she needs a man of certain skills (true grit/ruthless). The initial hunter tries to steal the bounty she is offering. The person she wants to help her (Rooster Cogburn/Supergirl), ornery and drunk, initially tell her to move on.  But to show her own grit, our main character (Mattie/Ruthye) braves an expanse of water to finally make their point. I mean, if I taped a picture of Hailie Steinfeld over Ruthye and Jeff Bridges over Supergirl, this could read as True Grit.

But let's move beyond that because maybe this is just an homage.

The real opening point here is that this isn't a Supergirl story in any way.

This is a Ruthye story. Just like Mattie is the protagonist of True Grit, this is Ruthye's tale to tell. She does the narration. She drives the story. Supergirl is a part of Ruthye's story. She doesn't appear in the book until page 7. She is once again a guest star, a plot point, in someone else's story. And that is sad when you consider that King said this is THE Supergirl story to define her moving forward.

It also is not a Supergirl story because this isn't really a Supergirl that I recognize. Yes, in places, she mentions things that show that at some level she understands what it means to be a hero. But this is a self-destructive Supergirl going to a red sun planet solely to get drunk. She is violent. Her only reason for getting to this planet is to wallow in her own sadness. Yes, Kara has witnessed trauma. But she has always used that to fuel her desire to help others. Not drown in it. Also, this Supergirl (if we say this is still the New 52/Rebirth one) has already left the planet angrily to realize she needs to return, become a Red Lantern and learned from her rage, gone to Crucible to recognize her worth, dealt with her father's trauma, etc. She chose rage and went into space to hunt Rogol Zaar only to once again 'choose Earth'. From a history point of view, she has dealt with this before ad nauseum! If we chuck in the Omniverse, she has gone 'dark' innumerable times in the last 20 years, always realizing it isn't right. Why tread this again?

And I am not saying (nor have I ever said on this site) that I want a squeaky clean, saccharine Supergirl. I like that Supergirl is complex, relatable, fallible. But I also like that she is bright, optimistic, and has risen above.

But this isn't a Supergirl story because it doesn't need to be. If you removed Supergirl and put Titan's Starfire here, it reads the same. Put in Jessica Cruz and it reads the same. Put in Stalker or Renee Montoya or almost anyone else and it reads fine. Put in a brand new Red Sonja character and it reads the same.

Lastly, a lot of this reads like King trying to hard to make this book seem 'mature'. Having Kara curse 6 times and vomit in her post-binge hangover is an attempt to show how gritty this book is. But these are superficial ways of making this seem adult.

Sigh.

On to the specifics.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

The Problem


My review of Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #1 will be up tomorrow.

When I went into the comic store yesterday, I wasn't shocked to see a good number of the book on the rack with both covers available. After all, Tom King is a draw and the Bilquis Evely art is gorgeous. Heck, we even got a Gary Frank Supergirl cover.

I unfortunately wasn't shocked to see how the store is promoting it.

I find it sad that the word 'Supergirl' is the smallest word on this little promotion on the rack itself. 

I am also not surprised to see that the new characters that King has created are being trumpeted here as if they are the stars.

This is the problem.

It seems like Supergirl is often the guest star in her own book. We saw this in the Future State book. 

And we have seen it in how DC has promoted this book in their solicits.

Given in interviews King seems to have completely missed who Supergirl is, I will not be surprised if this isn't truly a Supergirl story but a Ruthye story.

Wouldn't it be great if  DC promotes a true Supergirl book where the promos and solicits trumpet her role in the story as the star? Or am I asking too much?

Lastly, it seems to be widely recognized that this book's plot is cribbed from True Grit. You might recall my post from a month ago.

Okay, off to read Ruthye #1. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Leviathan Wednesday: The Justice Principle


8 months ago I reviewed First Issue Special #5, the first appearance of Mark Shaw, Manhunter. I had decided that I wanted to take a deep dive into the character to see if I could chart his course to becoming Leviathan. Were the clues that Brian Michael Bendis planted in Event Leviathan present in the past stories? Did it all make sense?

This was all in preparation for the upcoming Checkmate miniseries, the new book which picks up where Event Leviathan and Leviathan Dawn left off. Checkmate starts next Wednesday.

And so we come full circle.

With no other stories to look at, I decided to go back one more time to First Issue Special #5

In the back of that issue is a thinkpiece by Jack Kirby, Manhunter ... The Justice Principle. And in this piece we see some aspects of Mark Shaw Manhunter which still inform his character as Leviathan. This is a sort of credo by Kirby, one of comic's best prophets. And it is worth a read. 

But let's look at some good parts closer.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Tom King Interview On Supergirl Radio



Congratulations to Supergirl Radio for getting an interview with Tom King about his upcoming series Supergirl:Woman of Tomorrow

Here is a link to the site and the interview: http://supergirlradio.com/episodes/supergirl-radio-season-6-tom-king-interview-supergirl-woman-of-tomorrow/

It was interesting no doubt. It is definitely worth listening to.

King talks about liking Supergirl for being a survivor. He talks about going back and reading her earliest stories in Action Comics, the stuff done by Otto Binder. And he does seem passionate about the character. But there was stuff he said that also worried me.  

Let's start with his stating that Kara is harsher and more cynical than Superman.

He stated this as though it was fact. And I wish that I was on line when he said that so I could ask him to discuss that more. Because I think that while Kara is fierce in her pursuit of justice and her hope that others don't suffer, I don't think of her as classically cynical. I think of her as optimistic.

And harsh? 

He keeps saying that she just 'kicks ass' and that he just wants to right stories where Kara goes out and 'kicks ass'. And I don't mind a Kara who is proactive. 

But 'harsh and cynical' isn't really 'hope, help, and compassion for all'. So I don't know where he gets that.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Review: Challenge Of The Super-Sons #3

Challenge of the Super Sons #3, the print version of the digital first comic, came out this week and continued to be a glorious romp of a story. As always, the juice of the story is the interaction between the young Bat and Super, who are very different and also close friends.

Writer Peter Tomasi has had a good handle on these characters for some time now so I am no longer surprised when I grin while reading. He gives Jon an earnest 'aw shucks', 'we need to be the best we can be' enthusiasm to his heroics. Contrast that to Damian's hard-nosed, occasional 'ends justify the means' approach and you have fertile character soil to be mined.

What I like about this book right now is that the characters are involved in two mingled storylines, one in medieval times and one in the present. Of course, to them it is one timeline but for me the varying locales keeps the book fresh.

Art on this books is done by Jorge Corona and Max Raynor. Both have a style which is befitting the action of the title. I feel like Corona is a mix of Jorge Jimenez and Ken Rocafort. And that stylized approach is perfect for the shenanigans of the action. Raynor is a extremely polished visual storyteller and his work with the other JLA members in the book is stunning.

On to the book.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Leviathan Wednesday: Wonder Woman #23.1


Welcome to the last installment of Leviathan Wednesday, a side project I started last October with First Issue Special #5. The purpose of these Wednesdays has been to review the history of Mark Shaw and chart his path to Leviathan. 

And so we come to (as least as far as I know) his last appearance before Event Leviathan. Today's installment is Wonder Woman 23.1, from the New 52 era. This was one of what seems to be endless 'villain months' DC puts out in which the enemies of the title heroes take the reins for a month. This month occurred before the Forever Evil month. 

This issue stars the Cheetah, giving us the New 52 origin of Barbara Minerva and her transformation into Diana's arch-enemy. But most importantly, at least for my purpose, it guest stars Mark Shaw. This is the New 52 Shaw so it is hard to know if any or all of his prior history has happened. 

But if consider that some amalgamation of all the Shaws in continuity made up the one that became Leviathan then there are a couple of things that happen here that are interesting. Can you foresee this Shaw becoming Leviathan based on this one issue? No. But mix it up with everything else? Sure.

Shaw becomes Leviathan. And now I will have covered all his history. Now we know why.

On to the book.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Who's Who: Krypto (And A Little Bit Of Action Comics #500)


Over the last several years, Krypto has more and more become Supergirl's pet. I don't know if it is that Superman is too old to be romping with a dog or if Streaky is way too Silver Age for people to take seriously but we have seen a lot of Krypto and Kara. And that relationship is only going to get stronger with the Dog of Steel heading into space with the Maid of Might in Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow.

With that in mind I thought I'd share the Krypto page from the original Who's Who. Just fun art by Colleen Doran and Rick Magyar!

I had forgotten some of this history, specifically the timing of things. I knew his rocket went up before Kal's but I thought he was in suspended animation and delayed in getting to Earth. But instead he was floating in space for about a month until Krypton blew up and Kal's warp dragged him through too.

Some of this is downright silly especially his relative names. I love that he became 'Skip', Clark's dog with the big black spot for a while. 

But for me, I love that Krypto just always loved frolicking in space. That part makes his leaving with Kara every time someone has her leaving Earth makes sense.

Krypto is a good boy and a good friend. We learned that in the historic Action Comics #500.

Monday, June 7, 2021

Bullet Review: Crime Syndicate #4


One of the best things about this site has been how it has connected me to a truly excellent circle of comic folks on line. If you have been on here for a while you know I have become pretty great friends with Mart Gray of the Too Dangerous For a Girl comic review site. 

Mart has great taste and when he gushed about the Crime Syndicate mini-series, I knew I had to pick it up. It is a complete hoot. 

Yes, this is Earth 3 and these are villainous versions of our heroes. But unlike other recent takes on these characters which has been unrelentingly dark and vicious, this series doesn't sink that deep. Instead there is almost a sly, black humor to the proceedings. 

From silly nonsensical editorial boxes asking us to look for nonexistent back issues to the villains conniving to conquer even as they unwittingly become 'good guys' saving the world from Starro, I have loved this. You can have a villain book that is fun not horrific torture. So judos to writer Andy Schmidt and artist Kieran McKeown.

But this is a Supergirl blog and we know from upcoming solicits that Ultragirl shows up in this series in the final issue. I think we got a peek at her here.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Review: Justice League #62

Justice League #62 came out this week and was another interesting middle chapter of this storyline exploring Naomi's version of Earth while simultaneously building a new team. 

Brian Michael Bendis is no stranger to team books and certainly no novice at putting together unconventional super-hero squads. His New Avengers was a hodgepodge of characters like Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Spider-Woman and Wolverine ... certainly not the classic Avengers we were used to when that book first came out.

And as someone who doesn't mind a little bit of a shake-up in JL teams (I am a big fan of James Robinson's Legacy JL team from a decade ago), the addition of new voices like Black Adam, Hippolyta, and Naomi adds a little new spice into the staid team of big sevens. Bendis writes characters well so seeing these members interact is great reading.

Add to that David Marquez near flawless art and you have a solid beginning to this era. Marquez is a master showing movement and energy. And this issue, predominantly a big splash page brawl across a devastated landscape lets  him cut loose. From maces to faces, sonic screams, and giant tanks, it is all magical. But his expressive work in the character scenes also shines.

It has to hang on the plot. I have been waiting for answers surrounding Naomi and her world and we are now 4 issues in and I still don't think I know much. So overall success is going to be in how this wraps up.

On to the book.

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Leviathan Wednesday: Manhunter #16, 17, 19, 21, 22, 24, 25, 27, 28, 29, 30, And 34


How close are we to the end of Leviathan Wednesdays?

Well Checkmate #1 is out in 2 weeks. So we are really close. 

Today I basically wrap up what happened to Mark Shaw in the remainder of the Kate Spenceer Manhunter series. The last storyline in Manhunter, reviewed here, wrapped up the major Mark Shaw plot. In that, we learned that Mark Shaw had been programmed by the DEO to have two personalities, his own and Dumas. Much of the Manhunter history was fiction. The DEO had created nanites that when injected could rewrite someone's personality, making them think they were Mark Shaw and encoding his skills. That tech was then enhanced to create the OMAC warriors. Shaw is damaged. And the DEO is the cause. Hmmm ...

Shaw remains in the Manhunter series, showing up now and then. What happens to him is worth reviewing as it shows how Shaw is a victim. It shows why Shaw is a bit unhinged. And it shows why he would be on the road to becoming Leviathan. 

These issues are written by Marc Andreyko with art mostly by Javier Pina and Michael Gaydos. What is amazing are the array of cover artists for these issues including but not limited to Howard Chaykin, Arthur Adams, Kevin Nowlan, and others. Amazing.

But the thing is after this deep dive, I feel like Shaw has been abused by the system and the DCU. Now wonder he wants to lash out.

On to the books and a quick peek.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

DC Comics August Solicits




The DC August solicits have been released and despite some corporate turnover and turmoil, the company seems to be firing on all cylinders. Here is a link to Newsarama's listings:https://www.gamesradar.com/dc-august-2021-solicitations/

There are a lot of great books out there and the Superman family remains a pretty big presence on the docket. I better start saving my pennies. There are a couple of the periphery which I may not get. But overall, it looks like a good month. Let's look at the books.

Supergirl Woman of Tomorrow #3
story by TOM KING
art & Cover by BILQUIS EVELY
variant cover by DAVID MACK

Supergirl's journey across the cosmos continues! Her hunt to bring the killer Krem to justice brings her and the young alien in her care to a small planet, where they discover that there are still some very small minds, even on the outer edges of the galaxy. The cold welcome the locals give the Woman of Steel makes her suspicious enough to go looking for secrets they want to keep buried, and what she finds is nothing short of horrifying. Can she and Ruthye get off the planet alive now that these deadly sins have been exposed?

Can't get over that David Mack cover. Just stunning. And the Evely cover is also lovely.

Nothing in particular in the solicit itself. This sounds like it might be a 'planet of the month' series. But the thing is I wish there would be more mention of Supergirl herself in these solicits. What is she thinking? Feeling? Hoping?

I am sure this'll sell wildly. 

Monday, May 31, 2021

Review: Batman/Superman #18



Batman/Superman #18 came out last week and was another fun romp through alternate universes and the machinations of Auteur.10. 

Writer Gene Luen Yang continues to spin this fun tale of Elseworlds and showcasing the differences between a world where Martha Wayne lived and Superman is a peak hero with one where Batman is fighting standard corruption in a world without the Man of Steel. Moreover, he shows how these two pieces of the World's Finest, even when from disparate universe, would quickly become friends and partners. I like that. I also like that some characters, particularly Robin and Jimmy Olsen, have a sort of refreshing innocence to them. A Boy Wonder should be happy, not grim.
 
But I also can't help but think that part of this story is a commentary on the Snyderverse, fanatical fans demanding their views be the only view, and how big media is trying to warp these characters into something mass marketable. If you look for the meta-text, it's there.
 
Ivan Reis is on art with inks by Danny Miki and everything just sings. This really is a sort of romp of a story and the art pushes that pace along. Wonderful.

On to the book.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Review: Action Comics #1031

Action Comics #1031 came out this week and was a crackling second parter to the Warworld Rising storyline by creators Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Daniel Sampere.

I have to say this is probably my favorite issue by Johnson to date. The ever-present Father/Son musings have been muted here. The 'Superman is dying'/'Jon is becoming Superman' plot has also been put on pause a bit. I need to be clear. I don't mind those story bits. But at time in the Johnson era they have been a bit heavy-handed. I needed a breather and I got one.

And what a breather. The Warworld refugees plot is pushed forward significantly. But there are still some mysteries here, enough to make me stroke my chin and ponder a bit. A new subplot with Atlantis is put into play. 

Plus, and shame on me for burying the lede, Supergirl shows up and is smart, bright, optimistic, and caring. Pencil in some moment from this issue into the 'best of 2021' list. If this is how Johnson views Kara, shame on DC for making her drunk and vengeful. Let her stay here.

Daniel Sampere's art (with great colors by Adriano Lucas) really pops this issue. The opening battle sequences given energy, the quiet exposition moments given care. I wouldn't mind seeing him on something Supergirl in the future if the stars aligned.

On to the book.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Leviathan Wednesday: Eclipso #11, #12, And #13


We are rushing to the end of my Leviathan Wednesdays. Checkmate is coming out in two weeks. We will see just what Mark Shaw is planning on doing as Leviathan. 

Last week I covered Manhunter #14 and #15 in which we learned just how broken Mark Shaw was, just how devious the DEO was, just how horrible Shaw was used by the various espionage agencies in the DCU. No wonder he rebelled.

In that review we were shown how Manhunter was killed by a thrall of Eclipso. But that Manhunter was not Mark Shaw; it was another DEO agent programmed to think he was Shaw, including all the backstory.

Given I knew that Manhunter wasn't Shaw, I thought I could skip reviewing the Eclipso issues. But the truth is, if I was deep diving into Shaw's history, I thought I should cover it. Moreover, I ran a twitter poll asking if I should run it. God bless the 16 people who voted! 12 said cover the issues.

So here we are. Eclipso #11-13 was written by Robert Loren Fleming with art by Audwynn Jermaine Newman and Ray Kryssing. Succinctly, it is a bloodbath. Fleming has a unofficial Suicide Squad invade a tropical island under the complete control of Eclipso. Not many make it out.

Now I will try to look at this story from the perspective that this is Mark Shaw. I'll also look at it from the viewpoint that this is that nameless DEO agent thinking he is Shaw. Either way, Shaw has reason to be angry.

The art is very much 90's extreme. Newman and Kressing have a style that looks like a perfect amalgam of Erik Larsen and Bart Sears. Somehow it works for this story and it's crazy plot. 

On to the book. Settle in.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Back Issue Box: Adventure Comics #412


Philip Kennedy Johnson is about to send Superman off to Warworld, reimagined as a place where Mongul has coliseum style barbarian battles. 

With that storyline starting soon and having already covered Supergirl's fight against the actual Warworld in DCCP #28, I thought it would be fun to review Adventure Comics #412, in which Supergirl is brought to an alien world to fight gladiator style. 

Like many of these stories in Adventure, which slide from the Silver Age into the Bronze, it is a wild ride. There are more twists and turns in these 22 pages than in a year's worth of today's comics. Just when you think we are cruising to the finish, we take another swerve.

Despite the odd plot turns, Supergirl shines throughout. Whether it is fighting for what's right or teaching compassion or even giving folks the benefit of the doubt, she really shines. Writer John Albano really does a wonderful job giving us a true hero.

Art Saaf and Bob Oksner are on the art. Their art is beautiful, veering closely to cheesecake but not too much. From the compelling cover to the action scenes, the art is fantastic.

On to the book.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Review: Superman Red And Blue #3


Superman Red and Blue #3 came out this week and was another fun little anthology with multiple solid stories about the Man of Steel. 

I suppose many creators have what they think is their 'Superman story' in their heads. What I am finding most interesting in this series is that every story seems to be focusing on his polite manners and helping hand. It is nice to see that these creators aren't treating those traits with derision, or making him seem old-fashioned, out of touch, or naive.

But after three issues, I am hoping there is one 'I'm nice until it's time not to be nice' throw down story. Show me how Superman unleashes when the time is right and the crime too big.

Still, I shouldn't complain. The parts that are being highlighted are what I love about Superman. I am glad this series is exploring them through the eyes of different writers and artists.

On to the book and brief looks at the stories.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Review: Justice League #61

Justice League #61 came out this week and was a standard sort of middle chapter in a long form story like this. We get some progression of the story but this is really a sort of slow roll. I don't mind it too much. I think going into a 'part 3' of a 6 part arc, I'm usually ready for this. It doesn't hurt that there are good character moments and great art.

We are back on Naomi's home world in this arc and it feels a bit different than the Earth we are used to. What is interesting to me is that it seems that Brutus isn't a native to that Earth but somehow stranded there. That makes me wonder just what has happened to that Earth before.

There also is a bit of an old school feel to this issue. The heroes land on this Earth but for some reason are separated and so need to escape some danger to reform. It gives writer Brian Michael Bendis a little breathing room to showcase his take on the different characters. 

One thing that is a bit chin-scratching is the still unanswered 'what are Naomi's powers' question. She can fly. She's strong. But why is she considered a mega-power? I hope we get some significant answers before the end of this arc.

Finally, David Marquez is on art and as usual his stuff is gorgeous. His action stuff feels energetic and dynamic. His quiet moments show good expression and body language. I hope he is able to keep up with the work.

On to the book.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Leviathan Wednesday: Manhunter #14 and Manhunter #15

Welcome to Leviathan Wednesday, my look at Mark Shaw's history and how it led him to become Leviathan. 

Shaw's history took some significant turns in the Marc Andreyko Manhunter book as we discovered that he was brainwashed by the DEO into become a killing machine. The Manhunter cult and the N'Lasa being were all part of  his programming, artificial memories implanted into him. And we also learned he had the Dumas personality built in as well, being two assassins in one, a perfect weapon for a corrupt secret organization. 

Trust me when I tell you things are going to get weirder in today's post where I cover Manhunter #14 and Manhunter #15. The first issue sort of wraps up the major Shaw storyline as he confronts the OMACs and makes a sort of ally with Kate. Manhunter #15 is a bit crazier as it opens up yet another can of worms about Shaw's history. 

In fact, for those of you who manage to get through these long posts, I am going to ask you an important question at the end. (I will bold it for those who want to just scroll.)

As I have said, Andreyko really embraced the Manhunter history in this arc and I appreciate it. And Shaw is such a compromised human, abused and tortured and unstable, and all because of the superiors of the shadowy organization he worked for. No wonder he wants to take them out. No wonder he hates them. No wonder he became Leviathan.

But the art on these two issues is just incredible. In #14, you have Javier Pina bring his smooth, organic, clean style to the book. In #15, you get flashback tales from two current superstars, Rags Morales and Sean Phillips. Sean Phillips is a personal favorite. In his story we learn that Kate Spencer's gauntlets belonged to the Azrael Batman. So seeing him draw an issue of Manhunter was a treat.

On to the books. Settle in.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Review: Challenge Of The Super-Sons #2


Challenge of the Super Sons #2 came out last week and continued a fun romp with the title characters before Jon was aged for the Legion. 

As usual with the print issues we have two stories, both written by Peter Tomasi.  

The first is a straight continuation of the Sons mission to save heroes secretly from a fate predicted on the Doom Scroll. This story features Wonder Woman being unknowingly stalked by a minotaur. The sons do their magic to save Diana all while quipping back and forth. This is pure entertainment with some standard friction and admiration between the two. Max Raynor is on the art here and his stuff is glittering. Last time I talked about Raynor I said DC needed to put him on a Batwoman book. Now I think I'd like to see him fill in on a Wonder Woman issue now and then.

The second is a flashback setting up the premise for the arc. Superboy and Robin are thrown back in time to meet the real villains of the piece, Felix Faust and Vandal Savage. I think I will definitely get a time travel story headache from the proceedings given the premise. The art is by Jorge Corona, a new artist for me. His work is a bit more stylized than Raynor's. 

This book is fun and breezy and I love it. On to the book.

Monday, May 17, 2021

Review: Superman #31

Superman #31 came out last week, the next chapter in the Shadowbreed storyline by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Scott Godlewski.

The overarching theme of father/son relationships has been heavy in Johnson's plots from the beginning. We have seen Superman's love for Jon, watching him try to hold on to his young son while letting him grow up. And we have seen Jon's love for Superman, coming to terms with the realization of his father's mortality. But the relationship is one of love and mutual respect. It is one of support and caring.

This issue we see the other side of the coin, what comes out of a father/son relationship gone wrong and the toxic outcome of such a thing. 

There is also the plot of the Shadowbreed. I don't exactly know what the Shadowbreed is exactly. But it seems to be a living organism that Superman is all to eager to wipe out. I don't know if there is a strict 'no killing' rule with Superman these days but this has me scratching my chin.

Scott Godlewski is on art again. He is inked on some pages by Norm Rapmund. The art is fine but the different inking styles are clear. It is jarring. But Godlewski does make this place quite alien.

On to the book.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Superwoman: Woman Of Tomorrow - I've Seen This Movie

If you look hard enough around the internet you can find the first 8 pages of Supergirl:Woman of Tomorrow #1. For example, here is Bleeding Cool's coverage: https://bleedingcool.com/comics/supergirl-woman-of-tomorrow-will-hit-store-shelves-on-june-15/

I have tried to be optimistic about this series.

This preview has gutted me a bit.

Now you might say that seeing a suddenly aged to 21, drunk, off-earth Supergirl in bar fights might be bad enough. And trust me, that is bad. For all the obvious reasons.

But really what makes me upset about this preview is that it is basically is an exact copy of True Grit. 

Like, enough is different to make it not be plagiarized. But if you watched the Coen Brothers movie, this preview can be seen pretty easily.

Here is the Wikipedia synopsis of True Grit: Feisty 14-year-old farm girl Mattie Ross (Steinfeld) hires Cogburn (Bridges), a boozy, trigger-happy lawman to go after an outlaw named Tom Chaney (Brolin) who has murdered her father. The bickering duo are accompanied on their quest by a Texas Ranger named LaBoeuf (Damon) who has been tracking Chaney for killing a State Senator. As the three embark on a dangerous adventure, they each have their "grit" tested in various ways.

 Now go and read the preview. I will highlight some pieces after the break.

Supergirl Show 607: Fear Knot


The mid-season finale of Supergirl season six, titled 'Fear Knot' aired earlier this week and I have to say I was pretty entertained by the episode.

First things first, for a midseason finale, our title character Supergirl  is barely in the episode. Like, barely. 

Now it is hard to know just how much of this was dictated by Melissa Benoist's limited availability. But after the two flashback episodes of Midvale, 2 episodes I thoroughly enjoyed, I was hoping for some Supergirl time.

All that said, this was a very solid episode for the rest of the team as they embark on a very dangerous mission into the Phantom Zone and face down their greatest fears. There is some callbacks to prior plots and character histories. There are some possible callbacks to prior episode moments. There is even an obvious monster movie homage.  And it laid out in an innovative way with a nice swerve that set up things up nicely. 

I have to point out the solid performances by old friends David Harewood and Chyler Leigh. Each have very great moments. 

And lastly, we have a nice cliffhanger to bring us into the back half of the show. 

Now we only have to wait until August!!

On to the show.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Leviathan Wednesday: Manhunter #12 and Manhunter #13


Welcome to Leviathan Wednesday where I look at the character of Mark Shaw to see how he could become Leviathan. And trust me, if you were going to read one segment of this Supergirl blog side tour, it would be this one. Because if you want to see why Mark Shaw might hate secrets and spy agencies so much that he became a super-villain/anti-hero, this is the one. 

Today I look at Manhunter #12 and Manhunter #13. As I have said, writer Marc Andreyko really leaned into the history of the Manhunter legacy with this series. Sure Kate Spencer picked the name but it seemed random. Now, stuff is going to get real.

Andreyko does take a few liberties, re-writing a lot of what I have covered here before. But the re-imagining of the Manhunter timeline somehow works here. The question really is what is the actual DC history of Mark Shaw in the current post-New 52, post-Rebirth world? This probably has some impact given Shaw's hatred of Spencer in Event Leviathan. Hmm ...

The art in Manhunter #12 is by title regular Javier Pina and has the usual polished, clean feel. Love the cover, an homage to the classic Infantino Batman and Robin pin-up.  Manunter #13 has Brad Walker as a penciler. This is probably early in Walker's career. The art is really slick in that chapter, detailed and vibrant.

Settle in. A lot is revealed in these two issues but they work best reviewed together. On to the books.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

What Might Have Been - Justice League #160


Sometimes there is a sort of comic cosmic karma.

Since the initiation of the JSA Presents show on the Fire and Water Podcast Network, I have been more interested in seeking out the JSA/JLA crossovers from the Bronze Age.

I am always on the search for Supergirl history nuggets in comic history.

SO imagine my feelings of luck and serendipity when Professor Alan sent me a comic care package including Justice League of America #160, the second part of 1979's JLA/JSA crossover.

It is a completely bonkers story with other heroes ripped from time, like Jonah Hex and Miss Liberty, joining in the fight against The Lord of Time. Don't expect much to make sense here.

But it was the letter column that really caught my eye.


The beginning of the letter column states that Zatanna will be joining the League in the next issue. I can tell you that Justice League of America #161 is a sentinel book from my youth, important enough that I talk about it on Fire and Water Power of Fishnet podcast here.

What I didn't know before getting this issue is that Supergirl was in the running to be the next member!

Turns out she came in fourth place in a reader poll of who should be the next member. She garnered 36 first place, 26 second place, and 21 third place votes.

Yes, that was a far cry from the votes that Zatanna got. But that's a decent showing for the Girl of Steel. 

I can only imagine how great it would have been to have Kara be a part of the preeminent superhero DC team, interacting with the big hitters and being in the spotlight. It even could have resonated with the fact that Power Girl was on the JSA at this point.

But honestly, I was surprised to see her do so well here. If I am reading this correctly, the poll was open to any character the letter writer wished. That means of the myriad of heroes, Kara came in fourth! 

If only she had won!