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.