Monday, April 12, 2021

Tom King Tweet

News continues to leak out about the upcoming Supergirl:World of Tomorrow mini-series.

Last week, Tom King posted this alternate cover of the first issue drawn by Gary Frank as well as an interesting tidbit within the tweet itself. But more on that later. For now, let's look at the cover.

First off, I am a long time Gary Frank fan, especially his take on Supergirl. I was there when Peter David's solo title hit the racks with some great Frank art. And I loved his take on the new Kara in Geoff Johns' Action Comics run, including the Brainiac storyline.

More recently, I have thought that his characters look a bit gaunt and haggard. Not so here.

Supergirl looks strong, fit, and healthy. I like that her hair looks like the wind is blowing through it, her cape billowing. And she looks fierce.

We finally get to see the 'vengeful young girl' who is the key to this mini-series. She looks very young, despite the Amazon-like armor. And the alien vegetation and the barbarian archer in the background gives us a sense of the planet she comes from.

But poor Krypto! He looks outright despondent. Maybe he is sad that Kara once again is going off-planet and wondering about her life. Can't I get a Supergirl series where she is simply an Earth-based super-hero, bright and inspirational?

Anyways, on to the tweet.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Supergirl Show #602 Review: A Few Good Women

Supergirl episode 602 came out this week and was titled 'A Few Good Women'. My guess is the title is a bit of a riff on the movie 'A Few Good Men'. In that movie, Tom Cruise tricks Jack Nicholson into admitting his crimes and thus making sure some justice is meted out.  We'll see how that plays out here.

Basically, the episode has three plots running through it. 

One is the remaining heroes trying to rescue Supergirl out of the Phantom Zone by breaking into it. This is a solid plot showing how the loss of Supergirl has impacted all of these supporting characters. I think I said it here but my sense is this season will have a bit of a 'Funeral For A Friend' feel to it. We will learn what these characters feel as they cope with the loss of Supergirl.

The second plot is Supergirl adapting to the Phantom Zone and trying to figure out a way to break free. She meets someone close to her within the Zone in a twist that has a sort of comic relevance to it. Guess it isn't spoilers to say it here in the introduction. She meets Zor-El. And that is pretty cool.

But it is the last plot which I find truly fascinating. Lex Luthor is on trial. We see how Andrea, Lena, Lillian, and even Eve Tessmacher are dealing with this.  This is definitely setting up one of the major plots of the season. And given the political bent of this series, no surprise it has a Trumpian feel to the villains.

Before we get into details, I have to say the acting in this episode was brilliant. Melissa Benoist is just a superstar, showing great emotional depth. Chyler Leigh wears her heart on her sleeve when dealing with her sister's absence. But Branda Strong and Katie McGrath steal the show with their cunning Luthor-ness.

On to the details.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Leviathan Wednesday: Manhunter #22

Welcome to Leviathan Wednesday where I look at Mark Shaw's history to try and see how he eventually becomes the mega-villain (or mega-hero depending on your viewpoint) Leviathan.

I have been reviewing the 1980s Manhunter series recently and have been intrigued about how much of it revolves around honor, masks and hidden identities, stolen technology, and cult behavior. It has really been a good foundation on why Shaw would take the turn he did.

Based on the perceived importance of the storyline in this series, I have reviewed several issues or just one.

Manhunter #22 is an issue that demands being viewed upon on its own. Written by John Ostrander and Kim Yale with art by Grant Miehm, this issue is, in a word, crazy. I have read it several times and I am not sure I follow exactly what is going on. We get a new retelling of the Manhunter army origin, a new wrinkle added into the mix explaining the Lionhead Shan which is key to their organization, and a sort of revamp/polishing of Shaw's character.

To be honest, using retrospect, I actually wonder if this story takes place mostly in Shaw's mind, which would dovetail nicely into the Leviathan history. 

Buckle up for a psychedelic, hallucinogenic ride! Here comes Saints and Sinners part 5!

Monday, April 5, 2021

Review: Future State Imperious Lex Vs Superman

Future State finally came to an end last week with Superman Vs. Imperious Lex #3. I have to admit, I enjoyed each issue of this mini-series more than the last and this ending was pretty much pitch perfect. I know I sort of was irked at the first issue as an 'agenda book with a story' but now I wonder if I just didn't have enough coffee that morning I wrote the review.

It is clear that writer Mark Russell is writing this with Lex as a Donald Trump analogue. It isn't subtle. But 20 years from now, with Trump hopefully less in the news cycle, you can read this simply as showing how a dictator and propaganda can warp people's minds. Still, with Trump still fresh in my head at least, the metaphors are obvious.
And while this is a one-sided story, Russell puts enough in the narrative to basically say that anyone inundated with one viewpoint of news is going to become lost. In fact, it is Superman who continues to be the beacon here, talking about mercy and keeping your mind on what you are fighting for, while still recognizing sometimes you need to fight.

Steve Pugh is solid on art. His page construction with panels and shadows is nicely done showing the craziness of the story and people's mindset. 

Get ready to dive into political allegory!

Friday, April 2, 2021

Supergirl Show 601: Rebirth

The season premiere of Supergirl season 6 aired earlier this week, an episode titled 'Rebirth'.  We have learned that this will be the last season of the show as well as a shortened season as well. 

I am sure I will have a lot to say about Supergirl as the season and the show wraps up. But I will start out by saying that I am delighted that we got this. Supergirl became well-known, a household world, and was portrayed magnificently by Melissa Benoist. Sure things were clunky in places. But who cares? I got to see my favorite hero on the screen for 6 years. Not everyone can say that, even in this super-hero heavy day. 

This season also has the uphill task of wrapping up last season. The pandemic made season five rush to a conclusion, and maybe not the best one. So this premiere has a dual task. It has to finish last season and it has to start up the main storylines of this season.

In many ways this felt like more like a finale and not a premiere. The cliffhanger at the end of this episode would have been brilliant as a cliffhanger at the end of a season. I wonder how much of this was filmed last year. And a lot needs to happen in this episode. Much of the things which happen are given little explanation or maybe a hand wave. We get a lot of comic book science. I give credit to the writers for this whirlwind. And I give big credit to the stars for pulling it off while giving us some emotional character moments.

And get ready for many deus ex machina that keep things going. 

Buckle up!

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Hot And Cold Comic Box Commentary - A Celsius Blog

I am approaching my 13th year anniversary running this site. 

Some believe 13 is unlucky. And maybe it is.

Because as the Tom King series approaches and I am faced with yet another weapon-wielding space-bound Supergirl who is either angry or sad or both, I realized I can't do it anymore. Because it is clear that the Supergirl I want to read doesn't exist anymore. Not in the minds of DC.

But I like blogging. And I like rooting for the underdog.

So why not switch things up. 

Welcome to Hot and Cold Comic Box Commentary, a Celsius blog.

Now I am going to be upfront here. Celsius is a problematic character. 

Her origin has not aged well and says a lot about how far we have come on this world. I'll review that origin here today. Let's get it behind us.

She also can be grating and one-dimensional.

But let's face it, she is a woman of color. And she led a super-hero team in the 1970s. We should be celebrating her. And that is what I intend to do here.

Again, fair warning, I am about to review her cringe worthy origin. Let's get it behind us.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Leviathan Wednesday: Manhunter #20 And Manhunter #21

We are nearing the end of the Manhunter series from the late 80s. And that means another chapter in Leviathan Wednesdays is going to come to a close. 'Saints and Sinners', of which Manhunter #20 and Manhunter #20 are the middle chapters, is the last story arc of the title with and extra epilogue issue finishing the series. 

Writers John Ostrander and Kim Yale keep the action going and Grant Miehm's art really gets dynamic and innovative as this story proceeds through these chapters.

This storyline and indeed this blog post takes a bit of a turn at the end. Throughout this Manhunter title and indeed in the first 2 chapters of this arc, Manhunter has been a relatively grounded book. Mark Shaw is a bounty hunter with some advanced skills and tech. But he is still a bounty hunter without true super powers. 

The plots have been fertile ground for someone like me who is looking at this title through the lens of Shaw's ultimate destiny as Leviathan. The stories revolve around spy agencies, masked killers, duplicity and charisma. As I have said more than once ... and as I will probably say later this post, no wonder Shaw became Leviathan. He is forever embattled by the things he loathes and hopes to destroy in the present as Leviathan. 

But the 'grounded' part of this book? Well, that is about to end. So buckle up, there is a lot that happens here so the post is long and things are about to get weird.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Review: Batman/Superman #16

Batman/Superman #16 came out last week, the first issue with the new creative team of Gene Luen Yang and Ivan Reis. And, to be honest, it felt more like the first two issues as Yang spins a tale of two new worlds, each with one of our titular characters acting as a super-hero. Then, just before the end, Yang splices the stories together and gives us a glimpse at our actual DCU heroes and how they are going to get pulled into the mix. 

I like this issue a lot. While Yang's run on Superman wasn't a favorite, his New Super-Man and Terrifics work was stupendous. He seems to have a good handle on fun, super-hero adventures. He also is quite creative in his story-telling approach. While not as wild as the Terrifics 'Choose your own adventure' issue, this issue's double plot was interesting, so much I read the book twice in a row, utilizing both ways of reading the layout.

Ivan Reis is on art and just shines. Reis work was spectacular on Superman with Brian Michael Bendis so I am glad he remains on a semi-super-book. He really embraces the weird new worlds and the very structured panel layouts. Just great stuff.

And a solid cliffhanger ... maybe three cliffhangers ... to leave me wanting more.

On to the book!

Friday, March 26, 2021

Review: Action Comics #1029

Action Comics #1029 came out this week and was a decent middle chapter in 'The Golden Age' story that new writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson Last issue we saw how Jon thought this 'breach' fight was Superman's last known mission. Jon was dealing with the fact that his father was no longer infallible or immortal. And just as importantly, Jon was dealing with having to step into the role of Superman if his father did die. 

This issue builds on all those fears. Another battle rages. Jon does his best to protect his father. And when it is all done, there is some home spun Pa Kent wisdom and we all learn something. Oh, and we get a cliffhanger leaning into the Future State books. 

Phil Hester remains on art and again does a great job conveying the action with an economical, clean style. He does a good job distinguishing Jon and Clark, something which could be an issue when the two are flying in tandem in battle. 

While I did like the message of the story, in essence that it is Jon's time to grow up and shine on his own, I wonder if this was a great arc as a 'jumping on' point with a new creative team/ Do we really want to see Superman being old, sick, dying in the first story? This was not the palate cleanser I was hoping to get after Superman Red and Blue #1 gave us stories of a sad Superman mostly failing or worse, people blaming Superman for not solving their own problems.

On to the book.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Leviathan Wednesday: Manhunter #18 & Manhunter #19

Welcome to Leviathan Wednesday, a side project where I look at Mark Shaw's history in comics and then forward project what I see onto his ultimate move to becoming Leviathan.

We are approaching another key moment in his history. 'Saints and Sinners' is a 6 part arc occurring at the tail end of his solo series in the 80s. While he remained a bit player in Suicide Squad after this, the end of the Manhunter book put another pause on his comic career.

But what better way to end this run then by having Shaw take on a version of Dumas, the villainous assassin we met in the first arc. I'll probably cover this in three posts but settle in. This one gets a bit wonky.

The creative team remains consistent. John Ostrander and Kim Yale plot. Yale scripts. And Grant Miehm is on art. This is a relatively action packed story and touches on a lot of the characters and plots and history of Shaw so this is a solid read for Leviathan buffs. Miehm really stretches himself nicely here, giving us innovative page layouts and dynamic fight scenes. I feel he is starting to feel it here.

Onto the book.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

DC Comics June 2021 Solicits


The June DC Comics solicits have been released and are available around the net. Here is a link to Newsarama:

It is an interesting month for sure with an Infinite Frontier mini-series, a Wonder Woman Black and Gold color mini, and other goodies.

Alas, the one glaring thing is no Legion book mentioned anywhere. Has the book been cancelled? Shelved? Awaiting another <gasp> reboot? (Please no!) I wonder why there is no news anywhere. I did see on Instagram Ryan Sook say he was done working on the characters. So it doesn't sound promising.

Of course, I am burying the lede. There is a Supergirl book on the shelves this month.

Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow #1
written by Tom King
art by Bilquis Evely
cover by Bilquis Evely
card stock variant cover by Gary frank
blank variant cover

Kara Zor-El has seen some epic adventures over the years, but finds her life without meaning or purpose. Here she is, a young woman who saw her planet destroyed and was sent to Earth to protect a baby cousin who ended up not needing her. What was it all for? Wherever she goes, people only see her through the lens of Superman’s fame. Just when Supergirl thinks she’s had enough, everything changes. An alien girl seeks her out for a vicious mission. Her world has been destroyed, and the bad guys responsible are still out there. She wants revenge, and if Supergirl doesn’t help her, she’ll do it herself, whatever the cost. Now a Kryptonian, a dog, and an angry, heartbroken child head out into space on a journey that will shake them to their very core.

I wrote my thoughts on the topic already here

One thing I will add is that I have read a bit of King's comments here and there and heard him on Word Balloon. He kept referring to his Superman run, one I haven't read. He keeps saying he wants to show how strong and good Supergirl is. And he spoke in depth about Supergirl's origin. It was interesting that he referred to the Silver Age original origin - Argo City, kryptonite ground, lead shielding, meteorites destroying lead shielding. I mean that hasn't been around for a while. 

He kept saying that he was drawn to Supergirl because of that tragic background (he kept saying how she had lost her world three times in that origin) and how she is a survivor. 

But he never said anything about her hope, optimism, or brightness.

I am still approaching this with some trepidation. But at least he seems to have done some homework.

On to the rest of the books.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Review: Superman Red And Blue #1

Superman Red and Blue #1 came out last week, the first issue of the prestige format mini. The anthology series sports interesting creative teams and each story will only sport hues of the titular colors.

When the series was announced, I was over the moon. There have been umpteen Batman Black and White series. Maybe it was time for the Man of Steel to get his own prestige book sporting big names and cool color schemes.

Maybe I went in with super high expectations. I so desperately wanted this to be a great book. Now hear me out, it isn't a bad book. But it felt like every story wanted so desperately to be so inspirational and so progressive. And when you pack a book with that much targeted story telling, one after the other, I couldn't help but feel preached to. 

Now I am all about Superman being a symbol of hope, an inspiration. He wants to help everyone. He sees the best in us. Perhaps one such story in each issue would have felt right.

And perhaps I am just a wee bit too cranky. Perhaps the best thing to do is not read the next issue in one sitting but instead read one story each night.

On to the book.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Review: Justice League #59


With Future State and Infinite Frontier behind us, it is time for DC to move forward with their next era. One of the books that I was most eager to read was Justice League by powerhouse creative team Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez.

Justice League #59 hit the stands yesterday and was a fun opening chapter, setting up the established team, giving us a peek at future members, and starting out the threat that the team will be facing. I have to say that it is the make-up of the team that grabbed me the most. I am not a big Black Adam fan so I want to see if Bendis can sway me. I am interested in seeing Hippolyta on the team, hopefully as a foil to what Diana would be doing and saying. And I have been a Naomi fan since her title hit the stands. So put them on a standard team and I am in.

I am late to the David Marquez game seeing his art first in the the recent Batman/Superman book and I was floored. So seeing his smooth polished style on the Justice League seems all win. The page layouts here are very imaginative. And the action sequences show some rough edges which standout from the otherwise perfect art giving us a sense of the power. Love this wraparound cover too! This seems more like a peek at the new universe as a whole and not just the JL.

Add to that a great Justice League Dark story (which I won't cover) and this is a very solid opening issue.

But frankly, I just want to read more Bendis Superman. So if this is where that was happening, so be it.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

QPosket Supergirl

Every so often I am reminded just how great the community of comics friends I have made through social media is. I really feel like this group is such a positive group, wanting to share in each others' passions. 

And I am humbled about their generosity.

The latest friend to thank is Herman, on Twitter as @IntoWeird, who sent me this QPosket Supergirl figurine from the other side of the world. He saw it; he thought of me. He bought it and sent it on its way.

That is amazing and really shows the positive power of social media. 

This figure is completely adorable, in case you couldn't tell from the box.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Leviathan Wednesday: Manhunter 16 and 17

 With announcement of a June Checkmate comic, it looks like Leviathan Wednesdays will be cutting it close to when a new Leviathan comic is on the racks. Manhunter volume 1 ran 24 issues. There is a handful of the Kate Spencer Manhunter book I'll need to cover as well. The timing might be perfectly right. I love it when an ad hoc plan comes together.

Today I'll review Manhunter #16 and Manhunter #17, two 'done in one' issues both which play into my deep dive into Mark Shaw nicely. Both issues build on this significant ongoing narrative I have been uncovering as I try to decipher why Shaw turned into Leviathan. 

In Manhunter #16, Shaw is again faced with a case where lies and misinformation have led to tragedy. But it also shows Shaw's passion for justice. We are reminded of his history as a public defender and how that passion led him to the Manhunter cult to begin with.

In Manhunter #17, Shaw and Batman tangle. And while Shaw has a thirst for justice, he definitely has a thirst for cash. And that life as a bounty hunter isn't going to endear him to Batman. No wonder these two have issues in Event Leviathan.

Two more significant steps on the way to Leviathan. 

On to the books.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Checkmate In June!

Back in 2019, this blog, and indeed my mind, became obsessed with Event Leviathan. I was going to solve the mystery about who was behind the Leviathan mask. I had a #LeviathanTheory and I was sticking to it.

Turns out I was wrong.

It was Mark Shaw behind the mask. 

But the Shaw reveal made sense with what I knew then. I followed Leviathan from the mini-series into the Superman books. I bought the followup one-shot, Leviathan Dawn, which was to lead into Event Leviathan:Checkmate, a sequel mini-series.

In this, many of the main players in the Event Leviathan hero squad teams up with some new faces to take down Leviathan.

I was ready. 

I found Leviathan so interesting, a sort of populist revolutionary asking everyday people to rise up against the insanity of shadow organizations and superhero/supervillain nonsense. Sure, his methods skew a bit warped. Maybe he is more anti-hero than super-villain.

I was ready.

Alas ... the best laid plans. The administrative and creative changes at DC Comics put the book on the back burner. 

So I waited. And waited.

I stoked the Leviathan fire, reviewing the history of Mark Shaw through First Issue Special to Justice League to Suicide Squad to his own book, Manhunter

And then, the news broke on Friday.

Checkmate is coming out on June 22.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Review: Superman #29

The Philip Kennedy Johnson era of Superman officially began this week with the release of Superman #29

Johnson wrote the Future State books of Superman:Worlds of War and Superman House of El. I thought both books were solid and showed that Johnson seems to have a very good understanding of Superman is. How Superman is always going to help and always puts others ahead of himself. Suffice it to say, I was relieved. And as a result, I was looking forward to these books.

Then Infinite Frontier #0 came out and Johnson's story was all about Jon and how the Spectre seemed to think Jon was on a dark path to being a tyrant. 

Suddenly I was less excited. Hasn't Jon been through enough? Haven't we had enough 'dark takes' on super-family characters?

Superman #29 seems to build on that, focusing on Jon. We see him back from the Legion future and dealing with the knowledge that he gained there. He's withdrawn, upset, and seems poised to have some emotional turmoil send him spiraling. While Jon's concerns are valid, I thought this was just a little off.

Artwise, the book is very solid. We start with this tremendous wraparound cover by John Timms showing the extended family and a bunch of villains. I really love Timm's Supergirl so I was happy to see it one last time. Inside art is done by Phil Hester who brings an economy of lines that allow the story to unfold perfectly. It really has an energy. And his expressive work is brilliant, showing so much.

On to the book.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Leviathan Wednesday: Manhunter #15

 Welcome again to Leviathan Wednesday, a look back at Mark Shaw, Leviathan. In this blog series I have been looking at Mark Shaw's comic history from Manhunter to Privateer to Manhunter again. We also look at his history from hero to criminal to hero/bounty hunter.

I have to say I have been enjoying this look back as I try to piece together why Shaw becomes Leviathan. Today I look at Manhunter #15, one issue in the late 80s solo series. 

Now I have been amazed at this series as it has been, so far, an appropriate foundation for the Leviathan turn. Every issue has been showing Shaw being lured into missions by spy agencies, betrayed by spy agencies, discovering hidden information, or glomming onto new tech. No wonder he became Leviathan.

But another thing that has become more and more evident is the physical beating Shaw has taken in these adventures. It is one thing to be duped by shadowy cabals. It is another thing to be battered and nearly killed over and over. Shaw, as Leviathan, says he is trying to protect humanity from hidden information, super heroes and super villains, and the different spy agencies in operation. Some of that has to come from his own brushes with death at the hands of these people.

Nothing shows that more than Manhunter #15, an issue by John Ostrander, Kim Yale, and Grant Miehm. Shaw is basically dying in this issue, pummeled by a supervillain after being clobbered by others just the issue before. No wonder he wants the world to change.

On to the book.

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Review: Future State: Superman Vs Imperious Lex #2

Future State Superman Vs Imperious Lex #2 came out 2 weeks ago and continued a sort of political allegory look at Superman vs a very Trump-like Lex Luthor.

I thought the first issue of this mini-series was a bit heavy handed. The truth is I went into reading that first book expecting to be bludgeoned by political overtones. Maybe I was prepared to be preached to and as a result I was waiting to be underwhelmed.

I think I came into this issue a bit more accepting and a bit more ready to be entertained. So while the political overtones and metaphors are pretty evident, the book unfolds nicely and the plot is entertaining. Maybe I am maturing.

Writer Mark Russell does a good job at unpacking how someone of power like Lex could dupe everyone into believing he is a savior when it is clear that he is ruining the planet and the people. And even when you think Lex might be seeing the error of his ways, it turns out he is a self-serving villain.  What I really love about this issue is that Lois is the hero.

Steve Pugh's art is solid work here, giving us an older and wiser Superman, a smart Lois, and a crazy alien world. But the real art win here is Yanick Paquette's cover. This is a propaganda poster at it's best with Lex clutching a Lexor child, shielding him from Superman's evil boot which is trying to stamp out Liberty. This is how Lex is portraying things, as him being the last hope against a monster trying to remove freedoms. Just pitch perfect.

On to the book.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Bullet Review: Infinite Frontier #0

Every time I think I might be getting too old for this comics thing, that I am complaining too much about comics wishing they were more like 'my comics', I am reminded that this is still a great medium filled with great stories and great characters.

Case in point, Infinite Frontier #1, a sort of stroll through the upcoming new DCU continuity. The issue gives us quick peeks into upcoming storylines and titles, catching up the reader on what happened after Metal (because some of us skipped it) and where this is all going.

I knew I should buy it to get a sort of foundation on this new omniverse, megaverse, whatev-verse is going on. But after so many reboots, Rebirths, and rejuvenations in the last decade, I was pretty exhausted.

The book sat on my pile until Sunday morning. I burned through a stack of bargain bin books before reading it.

And yet, when I finally sat down, almost of all of what I read seemed interesting and intriguing. I suppose that is what this is supposed to do! Make me interested in what is coming up. But more importantly, it calmed me down. 

Wonder Woman, the true hero of Metal, is offered a spot in the Quintessence. She is afraid to ascend because there is some darkness lingering she can feel. The Spectre takes her on  walkabout through the new DCU to show her all is well.

There is a lot of 'let's get back to the good stuff' here. There is a lot of 'the new stuff is going to be good'. I might even say there is a bit of 'everything old is new again'. 

I'd advise buying the book as a sort of primer of the new DCU. I am only going to show some tiny bits here which grabbed me.

Friday, March 5, 2021

Review: Future State Batman/Superman #2

Future State Batman/Superman #2 came out last week, finishing a two part story set in the near future. I thought the first issue was a decent story by writer Gene Luen Yang (who is taking over the book once Future State ends), showing his thoughts on the pair, having their thoughts contrast and setting up what they think of each other.

This issue seems to push that a little bit further in a direction I'm not exactly happy with. While last issue it was clear that while fundamentally different, the two work together well and like each other. This issue again veers into the all two common realm of breaking the two apart. I mean, these are the World's Finest and should be best friends. But here Batman can't even be honest with Superman, even if the lie is to protect his friend.

I am hoping that this doesn't continue in the main book once Yang takes over. I'd rather see the two be buddies working together. But that might be too much to ask these days.

One thing that is interesting is that I feel that Yang likes Superman more than Batman (no surprise given prior works) as the Man Of Steel's character really kind of shines here.

The art is a hodge podge with Scott McDaniel doing breakdowns and Ben Oliver and Stephen Segovia splitting the hard work. Segovia and Oliver's art complement each other. The book feels seamless. And the art is gorgeous. But I wonder who couldn't meet the deadline.

On to the book.

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Leviathan Wednesday On A Thursday: Manhunter #13 and #14

Welcome again to Leviathan Thursday (pushed back a day given Supergirl news)  as I look at Manhunter #13 and Manhunter #14, delving into Mark Shaw and his descent from Manhunter to Leviathan. 

As I have said before, the title is a sort of standard super-hero book. But Shaw is a fascinating character. And as I have said before, the stories all involve technology, spies, and lies. Shaw is immersed in it. But he is also impacted by it, often detrimentally. So no wonder he walks down the path to Leviathan.

This will be an odd post covering two issues. One is a stand alone silly issue. One is a middle chapter in a huge crossover story and I am only covering this issue. But both have interesting bits which continue to pave this road to villainy.

Writers John Ostrander and Kim Yale do a great job keeping this book a mix of adventure, snappy dialogue, and intrigue. The first issue has art by John Koch who has a house style standard approach to the affairs, almost borderline cartoony. The second issue brings back Doug Rice. His art remains stylized and energetic, working well with the action.

Settle in. I'll try to be pithy!

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Tom King And Bilquis Evely On Supergirl

Well ... ask and ye shall receive again.

Just yesterday I posted Bleeding Cool's rumor of a Supergirl book coming out in the summer. I wondered who would be at the helm. And I was concerned that once again DC would come out with a dark version of Supergirl.

A mere 4 hours after my post went up, CBR posted an article confirming the next team on Supergirl. Here is a link:

Spinning out of Infinite Horizon, we are getting a Supergirl 8-issue maxiseries titled Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow

DC had this to say:

Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow "promises to be a character-defining masterpiece the likes of which has never been seen before for DC's Maiden of Might."

Now I know that this is PR from DC. They have to make this sound big. But Supergirl has been around for more than 60 years. There are some pretty impactful stories and runs that she has been in. I feel like statements like that denigrate prior creators. 

Here is the solicit:

Supergirl: Woman Of Tomorrow #1 

Written by Tom King
Art and cover by Bilquis Evely and Mat Lopes

Kara Zor-El has seen some epic adventures over the years, but has recently found her life without meaning or purpose. Here she is, a young woman who saw her planet destroyed and was sent to Earth to protect a baby cousin who ended up not needing her. What was it all for? Wherever she goes, people only see her through the lens of Superman’s fame.

Just when Supergirl thinks she’s had enough, everything changes. An alien girl seeks her out for a vicious mission: her world has been destroyed and the bad guys responsible are still out there. She wants revenge and if Supergirl doesn’t help her, she’ll do it herself, whatever the cost.

Now, a Kryptonian, a dog and an angry heartbroken child head out into space on a journey that will shake them to their very core!

And here are my thoughts.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

New Supergirl Book On The Horizon?

Ask and ye shall receive. 

Last week I posted the list of official upcoming DC titles coming up in the future and I lamented the lack of a Supergirl title.

 That very day (maybe I spurred something?), Bleeding Cool posted an announcement. Here is a link. 

And here is the key blurb.

Bleeding Cool has learned that DC Comics is to launch a new comic book Supergirl: Woman Of Tomorrow #1 in June as part of the continuing DC Infinite Frontier books.

 Now I have to admit that seeing a Supergirl book is on the horizon is always good news.

But that title really worries me.

Really worries me.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Review: Future State House Of El #1

When Future State and it's books were announced, I circled the Phillip Kennedy Johnson books as must haves. In the new Infinite DCU and post-Bendis, Johnson is taking up the reins of the super-books. While these stories are in a possible future, the Johnson Future State super-books would at least give me a sense of his take on the character.

Future State House Of El #1 was labeled as the continuation of the Future State Superman Worlds Of War mini-series. But we are once again flung into some future, with some time having passed since the cliffhanger of Superman WoW and left to fill in the gaps.

Now I was pretty impressed with the Worlds of War book for the take on Superman as an inspirational figure, always on the side of truth and justice. If this is where Johnson is going I'll be fine. And truthfully, this one-shot seemed to continue that feeling. We are generations removed from Superman but his family, in all their incarnations and with all their mixed lineages, all continue to espouse his ethics. In fact, even the freed peoples from Warworld, recognizing Superman's role as freedom fighter, have stuck around and fight under his crest. Their mantra is ‘Truth and Justice’. What’s not to like about that.

There are some great new characters here. Ones I hope we see at some point in the future. But it is the plot that I liked here. Superman's inspiration continues.

The art is by Scott Godlewski and is truly gorgeous. It seems to be on the outskirts of Ed McGuinness, although a much finer line. But the scope of this outer space brawl is vast. The characters are many and all dressed in different regalia. It all comes of beautifully. Give this artist a monthly!

On to the book.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Review: Future State Legion Of Super-Heroes #2

Future State Legion of Super-Heroes #2 came out this week and I feel like Brian Michael Bendis and Riley Rossmo hit this one out of the park. It must be hard to fully flesh out a completely new timeline in just two issues. But you get the sense that Bendis knew where these characters were heading and with dialogue and plot twists, you can sort of fill in the gaps. (As a fan of 5YL, I am used to mentally filling in time gaps with the Legion.)

As I have said with the 'regular' Legion book, Bendis is walking the tightrope of bringing back classic themes and characterization from the prior runs while making this new and fresh. So last issue, when Element Lad was revealed as the big bad, I thought this was a nod to the Abnett/Lanning run. Of course, there was one more twist and a doozy making this very original.

Rossmo's art is unique and quirky but somehow fits this odd 'possible' timeline. Dystopic, frenzied, action-packed. In particular, Rossmo gives us several splash like pages where we see the same character in multiple action shots, showing how it unfolds in the environment. Gorgeous.

Okay. Now while I liked this story, I do hope that the main title does not pick up where this left off and instead continues that timeline. We haven't learned enough about that team to jump forward.

On to the book.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

No Supergirl Comic On The Horizon

The cancellation of the Supergirl title.

The end of the Brian Michael Bendis run on the Superman books.
Future State and Infinite Frontier re-imagining the whole DCU.
No mention of Kara in any of the solicits.

It made me wonder if and when we would see Supergirl again.

I wrote that just last week when I thought I saw Supergirl in a Future State page as part of the Legion. Since then Supergirl has been announced as being a character in the upcoming DCEU Flash movie. 

I wondered if maybe we would get a new Supergirl book. After all, she has a show, an upcoming movie appearance, and a fandom. 

Unfortunately it doesn't seem like we will see any Supergirl any time soon. On its web site, DC announced upcoming series. Here is the link.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Leviathan Wednesday: Manhunter 10, 11, & 12

People who frequented this site back in 2019 know that I had a Leviathan Theory. Ted Kord was Leviathan. That was my theory and I was sticking to it. 

When it was revealed that Mark Shaw was Leviathan, I was a bit blind sided. Sure, in retrospect, many of the clues pointed to Shaw. But it still felt like it came out of left field. I know that is because I was a bit too married to my guess.

I found Leviathan to be an intriguing anti-hero though, still do. His goal is for truth to win out, for their to be no secrets, and for the destiny of humanity to be in the hands of the people, not shadowy organizations perpetuating a never-ending game of trickery.

With that in mind, I began this deep dive into Mark Shaw's history. And all I can say is after reviewing a decade of stories, Shaw being Leviathan makes more and more sense. Today's three parter from Manhunter #10, #11, and #12 really shows how Shaw came to his current beliefs.

In this arc, multiple spy organizations and shady cabals are vying to get their hands on some unknown alien weapon. Shaw has to get the tech into the hands of the 'rightful owners'. As the tale unfolds, you see Shaw's greed for new technology as well as showing him just how many secretive groups are out there trying to gather power for themselves.

Written by John Ostrander and Kim Yale with art by Doug Rice, you can see just how this adventure was a couple of giant steps down the road to the ultimate destiny of Leviathan.

Settle in. This is a 3 parter being reviewed. On to the books.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Supergirl On The Big Screen! Sasha Calle Announced!

The comic internet sort of exploded last week when it was revealed that 26 year old Latinx actress Sasha Calle was announced as Supergirl in the upcoming DCEU Flash movie.\

This included this ZOOM call footage of director Andy Muschietti telling Calle she got the role. 

I haven't seen Calle in anything. She is an interesting choice given the diversity she brings to the role. I will admit that I hope that she dyes her hair blond. But she seems quite delightful. And those who know her from The Young and The Restless seem to think she is a star in the making.

I guess in some ways I am burying the lede! Supergirl is going to be in the big screen DCEU. Now most people know that I have pretty significant issues with the Zach Snyder movies. At one point I actually hoped that Supergirl wouldn't be included in this DCEU out of pure fear. As the Flash movie seems to be based on Flashpoint, Calle could be a Supergirl from any sort of universe or part of the main universe. And Muschietti is a solid director. I liked It. He was attached to a live action Robotech at one point. He is in line to do an update of the Howling. That all sounds good. We'll need to wait and see.

There is a bit more info out there about the Calle announcement, for example here on Deadline:

Monday, February 22, 2021

Future State: Superman Worlds At War #2

Future State Superman Worlds At War #2 came out this last week and was another good issue showing us one potential destiny of the Man of Steel. I have to say, between his stint in Imperious Lex and his death brawl with Darkseid in Immortal Wonder Woman, this Superman gets around.

For me, this series was a key one to read. Phillip Kennedy Johnson is on writing. He is writing the Superman books after Future State and so this is a peek into what he thinks of our hero. I was pretty impressed with the first issue and I thought this one was also very good. There is no doubt that Johnson thinks of Superman as an inspirational and pure hero. This issue's telling is a bit ham-fisted in driving that home. But it shows why Superman believes in humanity. He is us. He learned from us. And as a result, we need to be like him.

Mikel Janin's art is, as always, beautiful. This is more impressive because the story jumps back and forth from two teenagers talking in a field and a barbarian brawl in space. In both settings he shines. My one slight complaint on the art is how the Warworld bits are colored only in tints of red or orange. It started to feel almost monochromatic after a while.

This also ends with a solid cliffhanger. Inspiration indeed!

On to the book.

Friday, February 19, 2021

Supergirl Sighting In Future State?

The cancellation of the Supergirl title.
The end of the Brian Michael Bendis run on the Superman books.
Future State and Infinite Frontier re-imagining the whole DCU.
No mention of Kara in any of the solicits.

It made me wonder if and when we would see Supergirl again.

Well, maybe just maybe we got a little glimpse. And in Future State Wonder Woman Immortal of all places!

In that series by Becky Cloonan, Michael Conrad, and Jen Bartel, an immortal Diana has witnessed the universe basically be destroyed by something called the Undoing.

Here she muses on how the Legion tried to fight this threat which ate stars. (Hmmm, big classic Legion vibes there.) Unfortunately, they lost. We see the scattered bodies of the Legion floating in space.

But take a closer look!

Thursday, February 18, 2021

DC May Solicits

The DC Comics May 2021 solicits have been released. DC has plenty of new books on the shelves so it looks like the rumors of the company only putting out a small number of floppies were, at least for now, unfounded. Here is a link to the complete list:

There is no mention of Supergirl anywhere. So I think she is on the shelf for a bit as DC tries once more to decide if they want to put out another title or not. But if they are going to come out with another Supergirl book, I want it to be the right book with the right creative team.

And another month without Event Leviathan:Checkmate on the docket. 

Let's jump to the super solicits.

Written by: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Art by: Daniel Sampere
Backup story written by: Becky Cloonan and Michael W. Conrad
Backup story art by: Michael Avon Oeming
Cover by: Mikel Janin
Card stock variant cover by: Julian Totino Tedesco

“Warworld Rising” part two! After a war-torn battleship escapes Warworld and makes the perilous journey to Earth, Superman searches for answers about the identities of its mysterious refugees and their apparent link to the planet Krypton. Could there be other Kryptonians in the universe? Meanwhile, Atlantean scientists study the wreckage of the Warworld vessel…and make a shocking discovery that could change the balance of power on Earth.

And in the backup story, stuck in the wrong timeline, Midnighter continues to gather intel on the Chrysalis in hopes of finding an answer. But will it cost him his relationship with Apollo? And who is being held captive at Trojan Solution.

Interesting to see that it sounds like Superman escapes Warworld and is back on Earth just 2 issues in. I hope that there aren't more Kryptonians out there because Between the Els and the Zods, there are already too many. I am pretty sure that the Kandorians are stull dead.

I don't know if I am too interested in the back-up.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Leviathan Wednesday: Flash #22 and Manhunter #9

Welcome to what has basically become Manhunter Wednesday, my deep dive into the Mark Shaw character as I try to show how his history leads him to become Leviathan.

Last week, I reviewed Manhunter #8, an Invasion crossover. This week I cover, as quickly as I can, Flash #22 and Manhunter #9, more Invasion information.

This is a decent story if you look at it from the viewpoint of Shaw seeing how secret organizations and duplicity lead to disaster. Remember, Leviathan is all about destroying spy organizations and abolishing secrets. What better storyline to hammer home that than a secret invasion by shape-shifting aliens. Moreover, let's throw in an immature hero like the then Wally West who almost gets taken in by it all. Shaw learns he can't trust heroes to see through these things.

Writers William Messner-Loeb, John Ostrander, and Kim Yale give us a pretty crazy story. Within the issues, Fidel Castro gets a lot of lines. In some ways, Castro almost gets a sympathetic voice. That is kind of odd. I don't delve into that too much here as I am concentrating on Shaw. But that stuck out to me.

The art is by Greg LaRocque in the Flash issue and he gets to showcase his talents nicely. There is a costume party in the issue with everyone in superhero or villain garb. LaRocque has different invitees pair off in the boozy atmosphere so we see Superman and Starfire flirting, etc. As a fan of his Legion work, it was nice to see his stuff here. Frank Springer and Pablo Marcos give us some solid if uninspired work in the Manhunter half.

Settle in. It's a two issue review so it'll be long but I'll try to keep it brief!

Monday, February 15, 2021

Review: Future State Superman/Wonder Woman #2

Future State Superman/Wonder Woman #2 came out last week, the last part of a quick 2 part mini-series. I have to admit I enjoyed this quick and silly story. In many ways it felt like an old school The Brave and the Bold or DC Comics Presents 2 parter from the Bronze Age. Our two heroes meet. Our two heroes swap enemies to try and befuddle and win. We get a smidge of characterization about our protagonists. And they end as allies.

In the aftermath of the disappointing Kara Zor-El Superwoman and Superman of Metropolis minis, this simple little adventure tale was charming. 

Writer Dan Watters has a decent character hook baked into the story. Superman doesn't think he can take a second off, let alone a day off. He feels the pressure of protecting the world and so never rests. That contrasts nicely to the 'live for the moment' vibe I get off of the Yara Flor Wonder Woman. Thankfully, her over the top anger and haughtiness is tamped down a bit in this issue. Add in the scientific Solaris and the 'dude bro' Sun God Kuat and you have a nice cauldron of players. The result is a story which nicely meshes humor and pathos.

Leila Del Luca's art is wild and vibrant, giving us some nice oomph to the story telling. In particular, Del Luca's Wonder Woman is stunning and powerful, a bit different from the somewhat gaunt Superman.

In short, this was a fun story. And goodness knows I need some fun in my life these days.

On to the book.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Review: Future State Kara Zor-El Superwoman #2

Future State Kara Zor-El Superwoman #2 came out this week and I did not enjoy it. Not at all.

I know I should probably stop there. I usually want to praise comics, not bury them. 

But there is a lot not too like here.

Let's start with the basics. This isn't a Kara Zor-El book. It is a Lynari book. It is a book made to promote the new character that the writer has created. Kara isn't the star here. She doesn't end the conflict. She doesn't grow. She doesn't say a word after the middle page of the book. Not one word.

Next, this is the usual crime of a creator not understanding the basics of the character they are writing. Last issue, Supergirl was a passive, unloved drone. Here she is an angry, hate-filled lunatic. She is a self-proclaimed 'villain to loathe, a tyrant queen'. Sorry, that's not Supergirl.

Lastly, there is this odd relationship this version has with Krypto, from saying that the super-dog was the only being in her life who taught her anything (so much for Zor, Alura, Fred, Eliza, Kal, etc) to literally being buried in the backyard next to him (spoiler alert). 

I enjoyed writer Marguerite Bennett's first year on Bombshells but since then not much of hers has grabbed me. I think she wants to be edgy, political, cute, and profound ... and that is simply hard to pull off. 

The one part of the book which I did like is Marguerite Sauvage's art, a sort of ethereal, breezy, fairy tale look to the proceedings. I don't know if the style necessarily works here but it is quite delightful.

On to the book. Read on if you dare.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Supergirl Album #36

Big thanks and hat tip to blog friend Paul Hicks, my brother from Down Under, who recently sent me a package of Australian comics including this Supergirl Album!

Murray Comics is a company from Australia that put together big books of reprint material. According to the the Grand Comic book Database page on the company, this single Supergirl album (although numbered #36) came out in 1980. But scrolling through the issues on that list it looks as though our Girl of Steel got at least 3 more showcase issues.

I am always intrigued at the issues picked for these books. Did Murray have access to all stories? Or only some of them? And of the ones featured in this book, why pick Superman Family #194 to go on the cover? There are others here that might be more intriguing images than that one.

Still, I love seeing all Supergirl material, especially from other countries. I was completely tickled to get this! Thanks again Paul! This issue in particular is great because it includes one of my favorite stories. And I have covered a surprising number of the stories inside right here on the blog.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Review: Manhunter #8

I am now 8 issues into my look at the 1980's Manhunter series as I gather clues into the ultimate transformation of Mark Shaw to Leviathan. It interesting for me to see just how much of this early run has been devoted to secret societies, masks, and outright duplicity. No wonder Shaw is so disturbed.

Manhunter #8 is no different, with Shaw tangentially involved the DC event Invasion. Shaw gets sent to Cuba to check up on the Flash and runs into Durlans. The whole thing, in many ways, is nonsensical. But from that 10000 foot view of Leviathan, it is just one more brick in the foundation of this turning of Shaw from hero to leader of the Leviathan army.

Writers John Ostrander and Kim Yale again show us a Shaw who is haunted by his Manhunter history. Shaw again sees secretive, manipulative groups trying to control others from behind the curtain of disguise. These themes have been prevalent from the beginning of the series. Whether Brian Michael Bendis read this to get his ideas for Leviathan is a mystery. 

But the plot of Durlans trying to take over Cuba but not really using their powers or being ruthless seems a bit inane.

The art here is done by Frank Springer with inks by Pablo Marcos. This is standard fare, nothing fancy.

On to the book.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Bullet review: Flash Facts

Last week I bought the DC book Flash Facts, a sort of chapter book for young readers about science and technology. It carries the star power of Mayim Bialik as editor but most of the stories are done by comic veterans whose names I recognize.

There are ten stories in this book with a variety of characters and art styles which makes me think it is a decent primer for kids who don't know the DCU but are into science.

And I was happy to see that Supergirl was one of the characters chosen to be represented. Her story could have easily been a Superman one, or a Starfire one, or a Miss Martian one. But Kara got the spotlight and that makes me happy.

The story is written by Cecil Castelucci (who I know mostly from Shade the Changing Girl) and drawn by Gretel Lusky, someone I don't know. Castelucci frames the story with some good Supergirl moments but the bulk of the pages are an almost encyclopedic discussion of the galaxy and space. Great knowledge dump, no doubt. I learned a ton. But not much warmth .. perhaps appropriate when discussing space.

Lusky's art is charming and fits the tone of the book. It has a nice polish too it and feels right for a 'children's book'. But I also think it would work well with any of the new DC young adult trades or even some licensed books like Superhero Girls.

Still, I don't want to belittle that framework portion of the story. Castelucci seems to understand Supergirl more than many.

On to the brief review.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Review: Future State Superman Of Metropolis #2

Future State Superman of Metropolis #2 came out last week, the ending of this Future State mini-miniseries, setting up Jon Kent as the 'new' Superman and ending the threat of Brain Cells. Now you might remember that I had some issues with the first issue. This issue is definitely an improvement. But that is about as far as I can go.

I know I have to check myself some time. I am sure it is hard to convey the entirety of a timeline and a character within two issues. And I know I am 'twitchy' when it comes to how Supergirl is portrayed. I have a vision of who Kara is in my mind. I haven't seen that Kara in a long time. And maybe I am at fault for nitpicking.

Writer Sean Lewis finishes the story he started, putting Jon through his paces and making him mature over this time. But much of that maturation comes in comparison to both Superman and Supergirl. While this longtime Supergirl fan always think of how she felt like she was in Kal's shadow, I haven't always thought of Jon's thoughts of following both Kal and Kara. So that is interesting.

But Lewis' take on Kara is close to what I want, certainly closer than last issue. But there are some subtle things that didn't work for me.

One thing that did work well is John Timms' art! While some of the action is a bit muddled, the overall look of the book is very slick. And his take on Supergirl is great. I love her future costume here.

On to the book.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Review: Future State Superman Vs Imperious Lex

The Future State books have been a mixed bag for sure. One of the books I knew I would be checking out but with some trepidation was Future State: Superman Vs. Imperious Lex.  I guess my concern was that this was going to be what I call an 'Agenda book', the sort of title which has a political view to trumpet but doesn't have a solid story to tell. It's all agenda. As I have said before I don't mind a story with an agenda. I don't like an agenda without a story.

Writer Mark Russell is known for his progressive stories and I worried that Superman would be an afterthought. Luckily, this was a solid story but as a clear modern political parable to America these last few years. But rather than castigate, Russell actually sounds pretty even handed. 

Steve Pugh is on art and brings a sort of Curt Swan-ish feel to the proceedings.

Look, I am a middle aged lifelong comic fan. You bring in Lexor, I am probably going to be happy.

On to the story.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Back Issue Box: Manhunter #7

It feels like I am settling into a nice routine of doing my Mark Shaw retrospectives on Wednesdays. I hope to continue this as we approach Event Leviathan:Checkmate.

As I said when I began this side project, sometimes I'll review multiple issues. Sometimes just one. It all depends on the tone of the books and how much they add to the Leviathan mystique. Today I'll review Manhunter #7 written by John Ostrander and Kim Yale with art by Doug Rice.

Once more, this is a good issue where you see how Shaw is working with and against shadowy organizations. And whether these cabals are 'good' or 'bad', they always end up hurting people, destroying them. 

But more than others, I thought this one also showed the other side of Shaw, the one who laughed and joked enough in Event Leviathan that I thought for sure it was Ted 'Bwa-ha-ha' Kord. 

This issue is also drawn by Doug Rice whose dynamic manga-esque style was a draw for the book. Here Rice shows his dynamic approach to the art nicely with the Count Vertigo battle. As you can see from the cover, his approach to showing Vertigo's power is to show a very geometric landscape showing height, much different than the usual wavy, seasick approach I mostly see the Count's effects displayed.

On to the book.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Bullet Review: The Other History Of The DCU #2

The Other History of the DC Universe #2 came out last week and was another very interesting look at classic Bronze Age DC history through the lens of minority characters. This time it is Mal Duncan and Bumblebee. 

Written by John Ridley with art by Giuseppe Camuncoli, the issue is a nice slice of DC history, walking us through the history of the Teen Titans and Mal and Karen's interactions with the team. We are talking about real-life timing of these stories, for the most part, with Ridley placing this squarely in the 70s and early 80s. 

I like that this issue we hear both characters recollection of not only the trials and tribulations of the Titans, of Mal's desire to be accepted and how he just wished to be super, and Karen's legit super-powers but her reluctance to toe the line. But Ridley also throws in actual Earth history - Arthur Ashe's victory at Wimbledon and the busing riots in Boston. 

Like last month, Ridley stuffs the issue with iconic images of DC history. It is a great read. And Camuncoli does a great job with the art, doing homages but also keeping it all very grounded when he has to.

But this is a Supergirl blog. And I have to say, I think Ridley is a Supergirl fan. Because just like last month (see here: ), there is a lot of Supergirl in this book. 

And Ridley treats her with great respect and admiration. 

Read on!

Monday, February 1, 2021

Review: Future State Batman/Superman #1

Future State Batman/Superman #1 came out last week and I have to admit I was looking forward to this one.

For one, Gene Luen Yang is the writer here. He is also going to be the writer on the main Batman/Superman book in the coming months. I liked Yang's work on New Super-Man and The Terrifics so I was interested in seeing what he would handle the World's Finest duo. Yang picks up what Joshua Williamson has done so well in the main title, contrasting the two heroes but showing why they work well together and are friends.

Next, Ben Oliver is on art and I love seeing anything Oliver does. No doubt his work is meticulous and clean. I love his Superman. So big draw.

And lastly, I am basically staying away from Batman books. While I have heard some reviews on Magistrates and new Batmans, I haven't seen it first hand. So I thought this would be a good dip of the toe into the Gotham waters.

I do have to say that it has been hard for a simple mind like me to keep all this Future State timeline in my head. This looks like it could have been an issue from next month. But at some point Superman is on Warworld. At some point Superman is free and talking about Lexor. At some point, Superboy becomes Superman. It is enough to give me a headache. Are all of these Future States on one timeline? Or can some exist as their own fractured timeline.

On to the book.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Review: Future State Legion Of Super-Heroes #1

Remember when DC completely rebooted the universe in the New 52? 

It's sort of a trick question. You might recall that the Batman books and the Green Lantern books, which were selling like hotcakes at the time, didn't reboot at all and just chugged along.

Or maybe you remember the 'One Year Later' jump forward in time with Infinite Crisis where all books jumped forward a year in their timeline, keeping the foundation of the books intact but giving us some plot mysteries.

I was reminded of those a little when I read Future State Legion of Super-Heroes #1. Writer Brian Michael Bendis is guiding the main Legion book. And this Future State book takes place on that timeline somewhere. As he has said, it might be a year, a week, 5 years in the future from Legion of Super-Heroes #12 which we just read. So this is our current Legion, living in the current universe and timeline, just nudged forward. As a result, I felt this book had a bit more skin in the game than the other 'possible futures'. In my mind, this is simply the next issue in the current volume.

And, as he has been doing in the current book, Bendis sort of picks through all the Legion histories, finds the good bits, and adds it to his plot soup. Whether intentional or not, this book had some undertones of the 5YL Legion book as well as the Abnett/Lanning Legion Lost book. That completely works.

Add to that the wild and innovative art of the Riley Rossmo and this is a very solid book. Rossmo brings a style that is wild and stylized but gritty enough to fit this sort of more dystopian future. I once described Frank Robbin's art on Marvel's The Invaders as 'beautiful ugly'. I think that works here too.

On to the book!

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Back Issue Box: Guy Gardner Warrior #24

 Death Metal has happened and the DCU has been re-written. We are in a Future State. But as far as I can tell, Supergirl didn't have much to do with the victory over the Batman Who Laughs.

It got me thinking about Supergirl's place in other mega-events. Obviously, she played a huge part in Crisis on Infinite Earths. But otherwise? 

In 1994, DC rewrote the timeline again in Zero Hour. This time instead of Kara Zor-El heading into battle, it was Matrix Supergirl. And instead of a major role, this Supergirl was only seen in background shots of the main title. In fact the biggest role she had to play was in Guy Gardner #24, a Zero Hour crossover issue. And even in this, she is but one of many,

And remember, this is an odd time in Guy Gardner's history. He is a true warrior now, with Vulderian shape-shifting powers, making him a living weapon. The issue is written by Beau Smith, the main writer on the title. Art is by a smorgasbord of artists, many of whom are favorites of mine - layouts by Jackson Guice with pencils by Phil Jimenez, Howard Porter, and Mike Parobeck among those listed.

How does Matrix fare in a battle against time despot Extant? Well, let's take a quick good at the extent of her fight against Extant.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Review: Manhunter #6 & Suicide Squad Annual #1

Why did Mark Shaw become Leviathan? 

I have been looking at his history and trying to find clues in his background that twisted him into the commander of Leviathan. I know hindsight is 20/20 and I am picking out the things that make sense given the present. But in doing this deep dive, I am more and more impressed with Brian Michael Bendis choosing the character to head this new organization.

That brings me to Manhunter #6 and Suicide Squad Annual #1, a two part story which shows how shadowy organizations which keep secrets destroy lives and hinder humanity. These are important foundations to the Leviathan credo. So while this story has been pretty much forgotten, it is one more brick in the building of Mark Shaw, Leviathan.

Manhunter #6 is written by John Ostrander and Kim Yale with art by Pablo Marcos and Romeo Tanghal. Suicide Squad Annual #1 is written by Ostrander with art by Graham Nolan and Tim Dzon.

Let's just dive in!

Monday, January 25, 2021

Review: Future State Superman Worlds Of War #1

Future State Superman Worlds Of War #1 came out last week. Of all the Future State books, this was the one I was most eager to read. Phillip Kennedy Johnson is the writer of the main Superman story and as he is taking over the Superman books, I have been eager to see his take on the Man of Steel.

While the story has Superman in it for only a couple of pages, the story did a good job of giving me a feel for what Johnson thinks of Superman. At least for now, I am pretty happy. It is hard to know how much of this Future State business (if any) is going to trickle back down to the present day timeline. But the general respect for Superman is seen here. 

Add to that Mikel Janin very polished art and you have a very entertaining story. Johnson's script has Janin drawing it all, from human crowds sitting around a bonfire to Superman fighting demons to an almost deific Man of Steel. His art dazzles in all those arenas.

This was a very entertaining read, not only for the actual plot but for the reassurance it has given me (for now) for the future of the Superman books. I haven't been able to say that I have enjoyed all the Future State stuff I have read. I can here.

On to the book.