Friday, October 29, 2021

2021 Jack-O-Lanterns

One of my favorite Halloween traditions is carving jack-o-lanterns. You can hit the link to see some of my assorted pumpkins from yesteryear (as well as some comic reviews relevant to the holidays).

I have decided that each year I will try to do a Legionnaire for a pumpkin, having done Sensor Girl, Wildfire, and Monster Boy so far.

This year, I went to Twitter to ask for some suggestions and got a ton of great ideas. But several people thought Quislet would be a fun one to try. 

Given the complexity of the other carving I was going to try, I figured Quislet was a good comic character to try. His design is relatively easy.

I am a big fan of the Baxter era and loved the quirky Quislet so hope you like this!

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Back Issue Bin: DC Comics Presents #97

Last month I took a deep dive into the Phantom Zone mini-series, a super bizarre mini-series written by Steve Gerber with art by Gene Colan. That mini-series was a trippy look at the Zone, redefining it as an extension of a being called Aethyr, the Oversoul. Aethyr had recently been reintroduced by Phillip Kennedy Johnson in Superman and Becky Cloonan and Michael Conrad in Wonder Woman.

But I knew there was one more Aethyr appearance I needed to cover, DC Comics Presents #97. the last issue of the series! This is one of those wacky books, a pre-Crisis tale which hit the stands a full 6 months after Crisis on Infinte Earths ended. 

This is written by Steve Gerber and is clearly a sequel to the Phantom Zone villain mini-series, picking up elements of that story directly. It has serious consequences. It ends on a cliffhanger, a story which could never be followed up on given the end of this continuity. The question I have is when was this paid for. Was this sitting in a drawer? Did Gerber pitch it as a 'pretty please' vanity project to put out before the pre-Crisis universe disappeared forever? It is a 38 page doozy which makes me think it might have been held for an Annual or a Special before Crisis made all that disappear.

The pace is also interesting as the front half is a sort of re-primer of the Phantom Zone with some of this story taking place on Krypton, with origins of Zod, Kru-El, and Faora again. It is only the back half where we get back into the insanity.

The art is by Rick Veitch, someone I know mostly from Swamp Thing. The story is bizarre and horrific enough that I think Veitch is a great fit for that. 

And while Supergirl isn't in this, there is a key scene which tangentially touches her history, one I covered here before.

On to the book. Buckle in! I don't know if I can make any sense of what is happening here.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Review: Superman Son Of Kal-El #4

Hey all, thanks for patience while I was on vacation! I am back and will start chipping away at the backlog.

I thought I'd start with Superman, Son of Kal-El #4, the latest in the new series documenting Jon Kent's adventures while wearing his father's mantle. This was also the first issue released after the upcoming reveal that Jon is bisexual was released. 

I actually liked this issue a lot. It was probably the strongest of the title so far as it played up both Jon's taking up the mantle and showed how well his father taught him to care for people. I loved the interaction with the Justice Leaguers. And in particular, I liked a scene he had with Lois.

Writer Tom Taylor has shown he is going to make this a comic about a super-hero fighting liberal social issues and I have complained about the easy way he is showing on side of these problems, leaving the scene just when things could get muddy. In this issue, we see the same unfortunately. I wonder if this Taylor setting Jon up for a fall. We'll see. That would be gutsy.

The art is by Daniele Di Nicuolo, a name I don't think I have seen before. He is within a stone's throw of John Timms art, the style similar, although his veers a bit more into manga. 

On to the book. 

Monday, October 25, 2021

Fanholes Commission Gift

I am very thankful for the comic book community I am part of here and on Twitter. It is a solid group of intelligent fans. And everyone is so generous.

My latest proof of this? Derek W. C. (@HOCOF on Twitter and one of the hosts of the Fanholes Podcasts) sent me a Supergirl commission to add to my collection.

This is a fun Supergirl sketch, sort of pinwheeling through the sky. I'm still not sure if she is flying up the page or banking down like in a swan dive. I assume she is flying down given the orientation of the paper. But who knows.

I love the energy of the page, a smiling Supergirl clearly having fun in the clouds.

I wish I could say more about the artist Flash! All I know is the info Derek sent me from the Comic Link auction page, Any further information would be appreciated,

And thanks again Derek! Such a great present for me! A cool addition to my collection!

Friday, October 22, 2021

On Vacation

Hey all,

I am on vacation until next week so there will be a slight break while I walk around Washington D.C. and visit some friends.

Things in the future -

Catching up on the Supergirl show episodes.
Review of Superman Man of Tomorrow #4
Back issue review of DC Comics Presents #97 to look at Aethyr
A gift from a good friend

Thanks everyone for their patience!

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Review: Challenge of the Super Sons #7

Challenge of the Super Sons #7 came out last week and ended the mini-series. I am sad to see it finish.

I don't know if these are the best stories. But they are a ton of fun. They are very entertaining. And they are a throwback to simpler comic stories. Where action reigns supreme and characters grow and it is escapism.

Peter Tomasi has always had a great handle on these tween legacy characters. He knows that these are the sons of heroes who have different upbringings and different values. And that friction, as well as the growing respect they have for each other, is really what fuels these stories. That is front and center in this issue. The ending of this time spanning story comes quickly. But it is the journey not the destination.

Max Raynor is back on art and brings the same energy he brought in the earlier chapters. I said before that I hope that Raynor gets a regular gig soon. I like his stuff.

Both Jon and Damian are very different characters right now than the ones we see here. I will miss these versions greatly. But given all that is going on now, I fear this is the last time we will see the super sons like this.

On to the book.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

DC Comics January Solicits

The January solicits for DC comics have come out and are available for viewing over on Newsarama
(  ) and other places.

This is an interesting time for me in comics in general as there are a number of titles I collect which I am enjoying immensely. There are others that seem a chore and I am close to dropping. But overall, the quality of the books I am reading is very solid.

Of course, I am not a big fan of how Supergirl is being treated. 

January has one big surprise which makes me happy and some interesting stories. On to the super-books.

Written by TOM KING
Art and cover by BILQUIS EVELY
Variant cover by NICOLA SCOTT

It's the moment you've been waiting for…the capture of Krem! With the fugitive in custody, Supergirl must now deal with his allies, the ungodly Brigands! To stop them once and for all, she must leave Ruthye behind with the man who killed her beloved father. Can she trust the young girl to let the villain of our story live long enough to stand trial? Or is this the tragic end of his story and ours?

I will never complain about the art in this book and this cover is very dramatic with Supergirl squaring off against the brigands. 

I am starting to wonder if Ruthye kills Krem and somehow Supergirl takes the blame so that Ruthye doesn't have to live with the weight of that sin. 

But here we are at the penultimate issue. Cheers to a Kara living in pain, alone and sad.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Review: Superman And The Authority #4

Superman and the Authority #4 came out last week, the last issue of this quirky mini-series that I have unabashedly loved.

I shouldn't be surprised that Grant Morrison could pull off such a series. Somehow this series is both in continuity and seems out of continuity. It started with Superman meeting Kennedy. It ends with Superman heading off to Warworld, sliding into the current Action Comics arc. It is seems to include metacommentary on social media, comic fandom, and comic property creators. It throws in some intriguing lines that probably will impact the entire super family. All this while being massively entertaining. Morrison grasps who Superman is. 

Mikel Janin is also amazing on this book, bringing us such polished art that I want to inject it into my eyeballs. His older, graying Superman is just dazzling. His Lois Lane is feisty and sort of scary. The  
action sequences include very palpable hits. 

But it is the droll ending of the big villain arc that is the can't miss moment here. It has to be seen to be believed.

On to the book.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Supergirl 615: Hope For Tomorrow

The latest episode of the Supergirl series, titled Hope For Tomorrow, aired this week. These episodes are getting to be a little bit tricky to break down and critique. 

It is my usual intro here. This is another fun episode for this back end of the final season with the Super Friends battling the 5th Dimensional Imp, Nyxly. There are super-heroics. Supergirl is at the center of the action. We see totems and gauntlets. And Alex and Kelly become moms. All of that works.

We get the further progression of Lena as a sorceress, something I am still getting used to. Her neophyte powers going toe to toe against a Mxyzptlk-ian level power isn't helping me get used to it. And we get a tactical decision by our heroes that is so bizarre that I am scratching my chin over it. 

But overall this felt like a super-hero show with Supergirl at the center and the good guys using their powers to hopefully save the world. Given some prior episodes and seasons, I have to be happy with that.

On to the particulars.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Mart Gray Supergirl Stamp Gifts!

I'll get by with a little help from my friends.

Long time friend Mart Gray sent me a wonderful gift from across the pond. So here are some UK stamps from the Royal Mail Group! Royal Mail Group is a British multinational postal service and courier company, originally established in 1516 as a department of the English government.

 Here is some internet coverage about this from Bleeding cool:

There is a lot to love about this sheet. Love that it is the Justice League with Wonder Woman front and center. I think it is great for Jessica Cruz as the Green Lantern. 

And, of course, how great that Supergirl is on the sheet. I think it is great that Supergirl is part of this Justice League, even if it is just on some merch.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Review: Superman '78 #2

I love the 1978 Superman movie. It had action. It had charm. It had humor. And it had a Superman I could believe in. Not just that he could fly but that he was truly good.

When Superman '78 was announced, I wondered if it could capture that magic. Two issues in and I can say yes.

Superman '78 #2 came out this month and made me smile. Writer Robert Venditti captures the spirit of the movie so well. From Superman earnest nature to Lois' spunk to Luthor's subtle evil mixed with wry humor. He even brings in some Superman II nods. It all just sings. 

Perhaps most interesting is how his Brainiac feels like the Brainiac we know but also is different enough to feel right for this univers.

Wilfredo Torres brings exceptional art here, evoking the actors who played these roles without being overly photo-realistic. His Superman really looks like Christopher Reeve. And his action sequences flow nicely. 

If you like the movie, you should be reading this book. On to the details.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Review: Batman/Superman #22

Batman/Superman #22 came out earlier this month, the last issue of this title. It's a shame to see another version of a World's Finest title fade away. Yes, this one started as basically a side series for the Batman Who Laughs mega-arc. But throughout the book, the heroes have been partners and friends. I am always glad to see Batman and Superman working together.

Writer Gene Luen Yang has been on the book for a while and as is his fashion, he gives us a quirky story with a meta-textual peek at comic books in general. His Auteur.IO story riffed on comics and fandom. This issue is even crazier.

Yang is almost a gimmick writer at times. You couldn't do something like this as a title long term. But Yang can inject some fresh air and some humor into books. Think about his 'choose your own adventure' Terrifics book or his 'flip book' Annual on this title. 

This issue has a Mxyzptlk-powered Calendar Man learning he is in a comic and taking advantage of the panels and gutters. And it is funny and cute. Why not do something like this in a final issue?

Artist Paul Pelletier brings solid story telling to the insanity. I like how he breaks the rules here. 

The only thing missing is an Ambush Bug cameo!

On to the book.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Supergirl Show 614: Magical Thoughts

This week Supergirl episode 614, 'Magical Thoughts' aired. It was another fun super-hero episode with the Super Friends working hard to stop Nyxly from uniting a universe-threatening weapon.

We are in the back 9 of this show so I am glad that we are ending the show on a wild ride. This is a sort of cosmic level threat that is fitting for an ending arc. Thankfully, the show is giving Melissa Benoist some extra time and extra drama on screen. She will be missed.

But given this is the last hurrah, I like how the show is pulling out all the stops. This episode made me actually kind of like and respect William. That is no easy feat. I don't know of I like Lena becoming a sorceress but why not. We may never see her again. 

I also love the character of Nyxly as she is portrayed by Peta Sergeant. It is such a wild ride of emotions, moving from despair to joy, and always chewing up the scenery. Perfect for a 5th dimensional imp. 

I still can't believe I have lived in a world where Supergirl got a prime time show. I feel blessed.

On to the show.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Review: Superman Son Of Kal-El #3

Superman Son of Kal-El #3 came out last week and was easily the best issue of this young series. There is some great super-hero action. There is some wonderful Kent family moments. And there is even some fun.

Writer Tom Taylor does inject some of the social justice politics that he has done in the series. It is one good moment in the book. But, as usual, Taylor scratches the surface and really doesn't answer some of the tough questions about these issues. It is easy to write difficult political situations when you make them so clearly easy. But we'll see.

I also like that Taylor treats Jon's new friend Jay a bit more realistically. Before this, Jay has struck me a sort of pretentious know-it-all. At [least here he seems a bit more human. 

I have always loved John Timms' art. His stuff is great here. The super-action is big and vibrant and dynamic. And he is just stylized enough, veering near Humberto Ramos but never getting that crazy. I've liked his stuff since Harley Quinn. 

On to the book.

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Review: Justice League #68

Justice League #68 came out last week and was something of an enigma for me. 

As usual, writer Brian Michael Bendis has a way with dialogue. His heroes are quippy and the banter is crisp. He definitely has a grasp for characters and each has their own voice. Artist Scott Godlewski continues to impress me. His work remains his own but reminds me a little of Jim Cheung in places, a solid compliment. You'd think with very good dialogue and art that I'd be happy.

But this really is two issues.

The front end is a Justice League book. But outside the witty banter, it completely wraps up, almost erases, all the consequences of the Synmar Utopica storyline. In the end, it is as if that story didn't happen. Now maybe some seeds for future stories are tucked in there. But it just ends.

The back half is a Checkmate book, almost a back door pilot. And while I like the team and the concept, you think I'd be thrilled that they are being given a spotlight. But this book takes place after the Checkmate mini-series ended. We are told Leviathan isn't a threat anymore. While I figured Leviathan would 'lose' in the mini, I thought he still might remain a threat. But here we learn it has been dismantled. Also, the team continues to do little more than bicker with each other. Wouldn't it be good to see the Checkmate team actually working like a team, especially if they have actually taken out their biggest enemy.

So I guess it is the plot I found lacking. 

On to the book.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Review: Action Comics #1035

Action Comics #1035 came out this last week and was another solid chapter in this Warworld arc. We are moving to the next stage and we are closer to Clark being offworld for what could be a long time given the Future State-ness of it all.

Even though I like my Superman on Earth, I have to give writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson a lot of credit here. He has crafted a very quality story that I am very engaged in. I want to see where this is going. He has written a highly ethical, highly moral, heroic Superman. I want to read more. I want the next issue in my hands right after I finish the current one. 

Daniel Sampere continues to give us stellar art on the title. And Johnson is putting him through the paces, going from major super-power brawls, to crowd shots with the JLA, to a romantic interlude with Lois right before he heads off world. It all shines.

I don't have much to complain about here. But as Superman does his goodbye tour, it would have been great to see him say his farewells to Kara. I worry that we won't see her in this book anymore. Pity since Johnson treated her so well.

On to the book.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Review: Checkmate #4

Checkmate #4 came out this week pushing forward some of the main plot and adding even more mysteries. It reads like the perfect 4th issue in a 6 issue mini-series. There were baby steps on the main plot. But a lot of information was given out for the reader to mull over.

Brian Michael Bendis is a natural writer for dialogue. There might be a touch to many 'curse words' here for my taste but it seems to be the natural pattern for the DCU right now. But I like the interaction between the heroes and the villains, Superman and Lois, and even the members of Checkmate. This all read well. Of note, I love how he writes Damian as a kid who is also truly one of the smartest people in the room. It must be tough to be an accomplished adult and see a child put you in your place.

There are also some nice nuggets to mull over here, some of which hearkens back to DCU history. The blood tests on Leviathan agents. The apparent double agents on both sides. The thought process of Mr. King. Pretty cool. 

Alex Maleev is on art and continues to flourish. There are a lot of cinematic angles and panels here. I never really thought of him as a flashy, super-hero, primary color guy but he is definitely shining here.

Lastly, just thinking back to those clues, it has made me appreciate the deep dive into Mark Shaw I did prior to this series. I am thinking it is going to pay some dividends.

On to the book!