Tuesday, March 29, 2022

CBR: Supergirl Needs Consistency

No surprise given this site, Supergirl is my favorite comic book character. 
I have a sort of specific view on who she is - a smart, bright, clever, optimistic young hero on the journey. She has her foibles but she is clearly a force of good and justice.

One of the reasons I started this blog was back then she was hampered with an odd storyline where she had been sent to Earth to kill Kal-El, that Zor-El was insane and with Kara's help had shot up a school on Krypton, and overall she seemed disinterested in being a hero or even a citizen of Earth. That went against who I thought Kara Zor-El was.

Back then I asked for her to embrace Earth and become a hero. I hoped she would claim a secret identity and have a supporting cast. She needed to be stabilized.

We had seen that in Paul Kupperberg's run in the 80's. We saw it in Peter David's run (even if that was Matrix Supergirl and not Kara). And we have seen it in Sterling Gates and Jamal Igle's run. We saw some of it in Steve Orlando's run.

But between those runs we have seen such disparate takes on Kara that it is hard to know who she is. Is she the angry young woman from the earliest New 52? The goth villain from Reign in Hell? The moping future version in Future State? The emotionally devastated character in Tom King's run? 

Is my internal version of Supergirl, built on reading her adventures for decades, even valid?

As if on cue, CBR posted an article asking the same thing.


Please read the whole article. My thoughts below.

Friday, March 25, 2022

Review: Action Comics #1041

Action Comics #1041 came out this last week, the latest excellent chapter in the Warworld saga. This is one of the best comics on the stands these days. And this issue, a sort of rest issue within the main saga, continues that trend.

Writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson does something interesting here, taking the spotlight off of Superman and putting it on Midnighter instead. But even though the action is all from the Authority member, Superman as an idea, as an inspiration, is everywhere in the book. In fact, Superman's 'presence' is a great contrast to Midnighter, showing how different leaders rally folks in different ways.

Johnson also does something interesting with time here. I wonder if this issue sort of transcends the timeline of the book. We see that a lot has happened in this issue. But a lot of time has passed. I wonder if next issue we don't pick up right where this one ends, instead heading back. 

As this is a sort of side adventure, we get a guest artist. Dale Eaglesham brings a heavier ink to the tale than the artists who have been the regulars on this Warworld tale. But that thicker line and heavier shading feels more appropriate for a Midnighter story. The art complements the story.

Seriously, this Action book is just fantastic. No one should be sleeping on it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

DC Comics June Solicits

The DC solicits for June 2022 came out last week. Here is a link to look at all the offerings.

If there is one thing I can say about DC these days is that they are diversifying their output in hopes of getting more eyes on their books. Yes, there is the standard glut of Batman books. But there is more. There are young adult graphic novels. There are company wide crossovers and mini-themes like looking back at Flashpoint and Milestone. This is Pride month with an anthology out. Plus we start the Dark Crisis mini-series.

I don't know if I can tell you anymore what is in continuity and what is out of continuity. I don't know if there can be a timeline where the JLA is both dead and yet continuing to headline their own series. But here we are. 

Here are the super-books that caught my eye. 

Written by MARK WAID
Art and cover by DAN MORA
Variant cover by DERRICK CHEW

As Robin and Supergirl race to retrieve the secrets of the Devil Nezha from ancient China, Batman and Superman get more than they bargained for in the present! To save humanity from the fires of the demon, the World's Finest must go toe-to-toe with the protector of Sector 2814...Hal Jordan.

Hey! We get some more Supergirl in Mark Waid and Dan Mora's World's Finest book. 

I would love to see her as a sort of standing supporting cast in this book. Or maybe even headline a 2-parter!

I loved the first issue of this book and Waid rolling in other characters makes me think this is going to be a big win!!

Monday, March 21, 2022

DC Comics Cove Art: 350 Of The Greatest Covers In DC's History

I am always a big fan of coffee table books that discuss comic history and DC comics in particular.

A recent gift I was given was DC Comics Cover Art: 350 of the Greatest Covers in DC's History.

There were several things that I really liked about this book.

For one, it breaks up the book into time periods as opposed to characters. We start with the Golden Age and then move to Silver and Bronze. What I found interesting was that the next era, post-Crisis to New 52, they called the Steel Age. I guess I have called it the Chromium Age in my head but maybe that was a joke I heard along the way that I subsumed into fact. And then 2011 to present is the modern age. But it was a nice way to break it up with some pages giving brief bios of prominent artists from each era.

I also liked that this book really gave a hard look at the covers and picked a very interesting mix. This isn't the 350 'most iconic' covers. You can probably guess some of the most famous covers that are in this book. But it also gives pages towards horror comics, war comics, and other nooks and crannies. There are pages dedicated to Nick Cardy's Aquaman covers and to the Levitz/Giffen Legion books. And some of these are true deep cuts. 

Lastly, it was fun to see how many of the covers in this book I have in my collection. No Golden Age, of course. But I have a decent number of the others.

Since this is a Supergirl site, I'll showcase the issues where she is featured. There are 5 of them. Make your guesses and then click. I know you are going to get at least 2 right.

And apologies for pics. This is a big book, not amenable to scanning.

Friday, March 18, 2022

Review: Batman/Superman World's Finest #1

Batman/Superman World's Finest #1 came out this week, an action packed, nigh perfect comic book which hearkened back to thrilling adventure comics of old. I unabashedly loved this comic. This was like mac and cheese, a comfort food of a comic that made me feel happy. 

The book opens with the pages previewed in Detective Comics #1050 but continues full throttle with an over-sized, no ad book. So I didn't mind paying for those pages again. I wasn't cheated. But I won't review those pages here again. 

Writer Mark Waid does a great job here, flashing back to an early meeting of Batman and Superman as a way to show how they became best friends. And that history does resonate in the latter half of the story so didn't feel gratuitous. But the big win here is the characterization of a young Dick Grayson as Robin. I get the sense that Robin is going to be the straw that stirs the drink. He will be our POV character, the comic relief quipper, and the contrast hero against the megastars of Superman and Batman. I trust Waid to handle the DCU well and he does. He writes the DC that I want to read. It takes place some time in the past and has a classic flavor.

Dan Mora is on art and he just shines here. Mora has a lot to show us here as Waid does a deep dive into the DC Universe already. Poison Ivy. Metallo. The Penguin. The Weaponeers of Qward. The Doom Patrol. The work is crisp and engaging. I hope he stays on this book for a long time. But if he doesn't, please give him a classic Doom Patrol book to pencil. I love his take on the team, one of my favorite properties. 

And I was lucky enough to grab the last copy at my LCS that has the cover by Artgerm which reminded me of one of his early covers on Batgirl #14 . So happy to see Kara and Steph together. Make the poster and t-shirt now DC!

I am going to gush.

On to the book.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Mike Maihack Supergirl And Batgirl St. Patrick's Day Comic

Every so often something wonderful happens.

Like when Mike Maihack decides to drop a Supergirl/Batgirl comic for St. Patrick's Day.

The last time I read a Supergirl comic she was watching a repentant elderly criminal get bashed in the head. I doubt that we will see her in a comic any time soon given that downbeat, horrific mini-series.

So imagine my delight when I saw this magically delicious comic. 

Maihack has always had his Kara be fashion obsessed, changing her costume constantly. So here, to get into the green of St. Patrick's Day, she got herself a dose of gamma radiation like the Hulk. Not exactly the wisest move. She'll only turn green when mad.

And she probably won't get mad given this Kara is always smiling and giggly and just pleased about her new costume. 

Hey. I got to see a smiling Supergirl, giving her friend a gift. and sizzling with Kirby Krackle.

Best St. Patrick's Day gift I could have received.

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Review: Superman Son Of Kal-El #9

Superman Son of Kal-El #9 came out last week, the second part of a two-part crossover with Nightwing. It was simply incredible.

Writer Tom Taylor and artist Bruno Redondo are on both issues (the first part in Nightwing #89) and bring together this story which could be read as a standalone even though it is completely enmeshed in current storyline. It is a wonderful, heart-warming story showcasing the similarities between Jon Kent and Dick Grayson, both living in the shadow of the legacy hero they emulate and trying to forge out on their own.

For me, in particular, the characterization of Dick, who has basically shed the sidekick role and has become his own fully formed hero but also someone who still feels Imposter Syndrome when comparing himself to Batman, was fantastic. But when Taylor finally recognized the elephant in the continuity room, that Jon was tortured for 6 years, I smiled. Thank you Tom Taylor.

We even get some good Lois moments and some plot advancement. 

Add to that Bruno Redondo's inventive art conveying action through multiple images and bringing feelings to the stories. The pages flow wonderfully. And several panels stick out as perfection.

I don't know what more you could ask for except for DC to put these two issues together in a little squarebound prestige format so it can sit on a shelf for easy reading. 

On to the issue!

Friday, March 11, 2022

Review: Justice League Vs. The Legion Of Super-Heroes #2

Justice League Vs. The Legion of Super-Heroes #2 came out this week and felt like a sort of set-up issue for the bigger events to happen in future issues. There is some plot advancement, some wonderful character moments, and a decent cliffhanger.

The biggest thrust of the issue is to give us some backstory of Gold Lantern. I get the sense that somehow the 'Elders' who are behind his powers aren't exactly good beings. Could they be behind the Great Darkness threat? Or welcoming it? I don't know. Maybe I am a jaded comic reader always looking for the hidden villains.

What I like is we finally do get to learn a little bit about Kala Lour, the secret identity of Gold Lantern. We learn he is blind, explaining his solid appearing mask. And we learn he is a teacher, more of a pacifist, and a definitely a hero even before he was granted a ring. 

We get some wonderful moments of the Legion meeting the League. I loved seeing the Legion meet their heroes. And I love the League gets a peek into the future, showing them that their efforts in the present are worth it.

We don't learn anything else about the Great Darkness outside of one tiny hint at the end. So truly the plot movement is more of a nudge.

As for the art, Scott Godlewski shines here. There is one of the best Chameleon Boy panels I have ever seen in this issue. There are nice shots of many characters in battle mode. And the quieter moments with Gold Lantern show great 'camera' movement and emotion.

I really liked this issue. I don't mind giving stories room to breathe if what I am given to read is meaty enough to bolster the plot or deepen the characterization. That's what we get here. No surprise from writer Brian Michael Bendis. 

On to the details.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Back Issue Box Review: Supergirl #5

 Today I thought I would dip into the back issue boxes and look at an older story of our hero Supergirl. 

Given Superman's fight on Warworld to free people from their chains, my mind went to Supergirl #5 from her first volume in the early 1970's.

Yes, in this story Supergirl is inserted into a fight between tyranny and freedom. But it is everything else that happens around that which is crazy.

This one has just about everything. 
Depowered Supergirl? Check.
Stern Superman? Check.
Lookalike for Supergirl? Check.
Some ingenuity from Supergirl to save the day? Check.

But the twists and turns and plot leaps beyond even all that will make you dizzy. I don't know if I understand all of the machinations of the villain in this piece. And don't blink or you'll miss a crucial detail. 

All this in 16 pages!

'The Devil's Brother' was written by Arnold Drake with art by John Rosenberger and Vince Colletta. 

Given the time, you can see Rosenberger doing his best to channel Art Saaf's style. There is plenty of va-va-voom in this issue with this very leggy Kara.

As for Drake's story, you get a sense of one aspect of it here on the opening splash. A powerless Supergirl is being tossed around a horned alien that looks like a mix between Brainiac and Dubbilex. 

Whomp, there it is!

Monday, March 7, 2022

Review: World Of Krypton #4

World of Krypton #4 came out this week, the beginning of the back half of the mini-series. And things are getting heated. I am really liking how this tale is unfolding, mixing in classic Superman history with some new elements. For me, the thing that feels very new for me is the overall timeline. Unlike prior stories where it felt like the discovery that Krypton was going to explode happened shortly before the cataclysm. Here it seems like years. And that gives us more time to let the storylines breathe a little.

Writer Robert Venditti definitely is mining current events here on our Earth and using Krypton as an allegory. Krypton is over populated. The people are using dangerous amounts of energy. As a result the environment and the very planet itself is about to reach the brink. The Els carry hope in their hearts, that when the people are notified of the changes that need to happen, that they will comply. The Zods are warriors, used to fighting to survive, and decide that the people must be forced to comply to new rules. Both men want Krypton to survive. It's the means that differ. And we see that emphasized here.

Michael Avon Oeming continues to bring an interesting take on the proceedings. As I have said, the panels look like computer screens making this feel like I am watching a history tape of the events. He has a definite style but I like the fisticuffs he brings us here, good movement. He also brings us a great young Kara.

This is a Supergirl blog. As a side plot, Zor-El working to save his daughter apart from Jor-El leans into Supergirl history and that makes me happy. This isn't the New 52 Zor-El, drugging his daughter and sending her away. This isn't the Loeb Supergirl sent to Earth to kill Kal-El. This is a loving father trying to save his child. Wonderful.

Really enjoying this so far. On to the particulars.

Friday, March 4, 2022

Review: Dark Knights Of Steel #5

Dark Knights of Steel #5 came out this week and was another wild chapter in a series that has been incredibly entertaining and intriguing so far. One thing I have learned about this title is that a surprise death or twist is going to happen in every issue. And this one did not break the trend.

Writer Tom Taylor has done an incredible job putting familiar DC characters into this Game of Thrones landscape. Of course, we have to cement them in this new reality which means new wrinkles and different takes. I was sort of depressed when I saw that Zala, the Supergirl of this world, was a vicious killer. Perhaps I should have waited a second. Taylor shows us that I may need to rethink everything. Even questions that I have asked myself which confused me seem to be answered here. It also looks like I have another mystery to solve. I have a couple of theories already.

After last issue's flashback, we are back in the present. Taylor pushes the plot forward as he has with every issue in this series. I mean, things happen at a breakneck pace. And don't blink or you might miss someone dying.

Also, after last issue's great fill-in by Bengal, Yasmine Putri is back on art. The results are typically astounding. The scene in the forest with Poison Ivy, Harley, and Diana is just lush. The fight scenes are powerfully rendered. And we get solid expressive work. 

I am truly enjoying this book, a fun, fast-moving Elseworlds.

On to the particulars.

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Wicked Comic Con

I have talked before about the embarrassment of riches there is in the Boston area in regards to comic conventions. With Terrificon, Boston Fan Expo, Granite State Comic Con, and Rhode Island Comic Con all part of my 'convention season', I feel I have opportunity to meet a lot of creators and shop for key pack issues.

Imagine my surprise and glee when a new comic convention suddenly appeared on the docket. This April 9th will be the first Wicked Comic Con in Boston. Here is a link: https://www.wickedcomiccon.com/

You might recall that there used to be a Boston Comic Con which was very much comic book focused with only a few non-comic guests. Over the years, that con grew from being a handful of creators in the basement of an insurance company to a massive endeavor in one of the premier convention centers in the city. Once Fan Expo bought out the Boston Comic Con, the focus shifted. Suddenly comic creators seemed to be just one of many groups brought in and the spotlight seemed to be on TV and movie celebrities. 

Wicked Comic Con looks much more like the old Boston Comic Con and I, for one, am thrilled. I am very much planning on being there that day and meeting some creators and hopefully getting a commission or two.

And while there are plenty of solid guests, I am highlighting the ones I am most excited to meet.

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Bullet Review: The Clubhouse Of Solitude; Bizarro Comics

Last week I talked about a recent post over on Grant Morrison's substack where they talked about DC and the company's ideas on darkening the values and characterization of Superman and Supergirl. I agreed with a lot of what Morrison had to say there. 

In particular, this line about Supergirl stood out:

Why, I say, oh why, is it so hard to simply serve the concept and write the adventures of a smart, creative and kind-hearted teenage girl with superpowers? What purpose earthly or unearthly is served by making this character an embittered space tyrant?


And then this snippet about Supergirl:

When I brought the Maid of Might into the Final Crisis series, my take was very much inspired by the Dylan Horrocks/Jessica Abel story from 2002’s Bizarro Comics anthology book – in my opinion quite simply the greatest Supergirl comic ever. If any version of Supergirl should serve as a template for the character moving forward, this is the one…

Now I had heard about the Bizarro Comic anthology and what a great collection of stories it was. But a Supergirl story that inspired Grant Morrison and how they portrayed her in Final Crisis? This I had to read!

Turns out is a breezy story with some emotional punch. Supergirl, still active as a hero, meets up with Mary Marvel who has retired and grown a little older. There are some wonderful character beats for both. The art is clean and simple giving the story a sort of Silver Age patina. But this is a confident Kara heading out and doing good while remaining smart and kind-hearted. On to the story details. 

"The Clubhouse of Solitude" is brought to us by creative team Dylan Horrocks and Jessica Abel. And from the first page of this short story, you know Kara is going to be treated right.

She has apprehended a villain called The Detonator who has somehow strung up old school bundles of dynamite around the Statue of Liberty.

When Supergirl turns him over to the police, one of the officers calls her 'The World's Most Popular Superhero!'

Spying the time on one of the cop's watches, Supergirl realizes she is running late.