Friday, December 30, 2022

Christmas Gift

My comic store's DC delivery was delayed by a day this week which means that, unfortunately, reviews will be pushed back to the beginning of next week.

So instead I present to you a pretty cool Christmas gift one of my daughters got for me this year.

Here are two comics from the Middle East. Silver Age reprints of Action Comics but in Arabic!

The seller told her that many of these were destroyed in some of the more anti-Western times over there. But that might be apocryphal.

Regardless, as someone who loves seeing comics in other languages and formats, this was a very cool gift to receive!

 Of course, I was even luckier to have the actual comic of one of them. Action Comics #316 is of some import to Supergirl history. In that tale, Zor-El and Alura return to Kandor (after having lived on Earth for a bit). And the Danvers, who had moved to Kandor, return to Midvale.

As you can see, the comic in Arabic is a little smaller than the actual comic.

And since reading there is right to left, this cover feels like the back cover to me, the staples being on the right.

But wait there's more!

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Mike Maihack's 2022 Supergirl/Batgirl Christmas Comic

Every year Mike Maihack gives us a Supergirl/Batgirl Christmas comic and it is always a delight.

Maihack seems to get the essence of both characters. Supergirl is joyous, fun, creative, and bright. Batgirl is a little tight, a little buttoned up, maybe a little suppressed as she tries to remain in serious bat mode.

This year's comic is another wonderful entry. I mean, it starts out with Supergirl helping Santa deliver presents. Utterly fantastic. Supergirl would help Santa. Heck, Supergirl should help Santa.

But then the punchline is priceless. Even though Santa has 'sight beyond sight' for Christmas presents, he still can't come up with something for Babs. 

Supergirl's reaction ... perplexed that even Kris Kringle can't pierce the Babs veil ... is just fantastic. 

I am always thrilled when Maihack gives us another comic. This is always a Christmas gift I love.

Monday, December 26, 2022

Review: Dark Crisis #7

Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 came out last week, the final issue of a mega and meta event that frankly never quite grabbed me. Maybe I am just getting too old. Maybe I am just finally truly fatigued around events. This was supposed to be a monumental game changer. There were supposed to be universal stakes. But in the end, it just never really gelled into something solid for me.

I understand that writer Joshua Williamson was trying to incorporate all the DC event comics into this title as a sort of metatextual treatise on things. The fact that Pariah was the big-bad and had all the big-bads from prior events as his lackeys said that this was going to be the one event to rule them all. Through in the metaphysical Darkness from Alan Moore's American Gothic storyline (which ran concurrently with the original Crisis on Infinite Earths) and I felt like Williamson wanted to write a sort of love letter to DC event history. 

What I ended up reading was a sort of plot-jumbled omelet of a title. I don't know if it all made 100% sense. Pariah's plot, his link to the Darkness, the phony worlds the JLA live on,  the Earth heroes' plans to foil the plot, the over-heavy dose of Deathstroke, even how everything was solved ... it never seemed solid. You had to just take it in and move on. 

I also wonder if Williamson had scenes in his head he wanted to have happen and then wrote the story around it. There are moments which are powerful but they seem to come out of nowhere and with little continuity to prop them up. The character beats for some here also seem to come out of left field. 

In the end, we are back to infinite earths built on a foundation of the known multiversity. DC gets to have Grant Morrison's 52 Earth cake and eat it too! I suppose that those of us who have lamented the original conceit that COIE was built on ... that a multiverse was too confusing .. should be happy. 

The art here continues to be spectacular. Daniel Sampere really channels George Perez here with glorious battle scenes with innumerable characters everywhere. He also settles in for some of the more personal moments too. It is a stunning book to look at, no doubt. Add to that the multiple covers we got for this last issue, in particular the Dan Mora two-character spotlight covers, and this is a visual delight.

Still, I don't know it this is one I will go back to reread  that often. We got to a finish line DC wanted us to get to. Everything old is new again.

On to the specifics.

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Merry Christmas And Happy Holidays!


May everyone's days be merry and bright!

Taking a couple of days off here but will be back and ready to go after some festivities!

(Thanks to Mike Maihack for always giving us great Supergirl content, like above!)

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Review: Batman/Superman World's Finest #10

Batman/Superman World's Finest #10 came out this week, the penultimate chapter of the Boy Thunder storyline. 

I'll start out by saying this issue ends with a doozy of a twist and a cliffhanger. As I have said before, when you surprise a grizzled comic reader like me and you surprise me in a good way, that is a victory. I did not expect what I saw and I loved it.

That said, the last page is probably the best part of the issue. I expect a lot from this book. From the first issue, writer Mark Waid and artist Dan Mora have been hitting it out of the park. Every issue has been just about perfect. That's hard to maintain. This issue just didn't sizzle the way the others have.  Maybe it is my Joker fatigue?

Dan Mora continues to shine but this is also a bit rougher than I am used to seeing his stuff here. It's funny. I have seen Mora churning out cover after cover which just glitter on the rack. I love his work. Perhaps all that is impacting things?

I don't always buy the expensive variants but I loved this one by Brandon Peterson and so spent a little bit too much for it. Love the trading card look and that Supergirl is present.

On to the book.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Bullet Review: Dark Crisis Big Bang #1

Last week, Dark Crisis Big Bang #1 came out, a fun little piece of fluff barely attached to Dark Crisis in any meaningful way. But when I read the solicit, a tour of the DCU written by Mark Waid with art by Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund, I knew I would be in. 

Then I saw this cover by Nathan Szerdy mixing a Joker henchman from the 1989 Batman movie with the Wonder Woman from the Laurn Faust Super Hero Girls cartoon. Now I knew I was really in. 

This will be a super brief review.

Dark Crisis itself is sort of a crossover that is barely holding itself together. There are a lot of crazy ideas thrown together. It is very meta about the other DC events. But it feels a bit jumbled. I know Pariah is trying to recreate a multiverse. But I just don't 'feel' the threat. I don't sense the characters' peril. It just isn't gelled to me. 

This one-shot has the Dark Crisis trade dress but is just a one-shot of Waid giving us a snippets of all the known universes Barry Allen has visited while on a mission. It is very fun to re-visit some of the 52 Earths created by Grant Morrison in their Multiversity event. But Waid adds more, telling us we are in true infinite multiverse. It even includes a text page of these known worlds, including a bit in the back that really ... and I mean REALLY ... caught my eye. 

As for the art, I have nothing but love for Jurgens and Rapmund who bring their classic style to all the odd worlds we get a glimpse of. I also am very impressed with Jurgens' handle on the Flash. I wouldn't mind seeing Jurgens on a Barry mini-series.

If you love the old DC multiverse, you should get this if only to see all the classics that are brought back into existence. I mean Earth-4, the Charleston Earth? I am thrilled to see that again.

On to the book!

Friday, December 16, 2022

Review: Superman Son of Kal-El #18

Superman Son of Kal-El #18 came out this week, the last issue of the series, although this doesn't feel like a finale in any real way. This reads like a standard issue of this title with the usual mix of social commentary and minor super-heroics.  

I don't know if I was expecting a big final splash page with some platitude like 'the battle never ends' or 'I am Superman'. But there isn't even a final issue dress on the cover. I suppose with the 'Adventures of Superman Jon Kent' mini-series around the corner this is more of a pause than anything else.

Writer Tom Taylor has been consistent with his take on the character. Jon has gone a year and a half without throwing a punch. There are a couple of plot points here which are a little magical in terms of how they play out. And there is the clear social justice bend here, although not as ham-fisted as it usually has been presented. I'll take understated in the context of the story than overstated in place of story 100% of the time.

The art is dreamy by Cian Tormey. You can see how his style has evolved over the issues he has been here and there is always a nice flair to the action. I hope we continue to see him on other books. 

On to the book. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Back Issue Box: Action Comics #301

What can I say? With a lack of new material on the shelves to review and with a surprise find of a Comet the Super-Horse kid's book, I have been looking back at some of Comet's adventures. Earlier this week I reviewed Supergirl's Girl Friend Lois Lane #92 in which a nearby comet turned Biron from horse back to human.

I realized that the story turn of Comet turning human hasn't been officially reviewed here. So why not dust off 'The Secret Identity of Super-Horse' from Action Comics #301.

Written by Leo Dorfman with art by Jim Mooney, the story adds a new wrinkle to Comet's story. We know he wished to turn human because he was in love with Circe. He was turned into a horse by the vengeful Maldor and then banished. Kara's rocket freed him from his prison and he began a super-heroic career with her.

Now this issue begins two subplots which have made their relationship a little bit cringey. One, he gains the ability to turn human when a comet is near Earth. And second, it is clear he has developed strong feelings for Supergirl. For these things to happen, you need the same rapid fire plot twists that the Silver Age is known for. 

But a lot of Comet/Biron/Bill's love of Kara seems off from a 21st century view. He doesn't reveal either aspect to her.  As a human, he looks much older than our Maid of Might. And the hint of bestial love of some sort, even fantastical, is a bit odd. 

But here we are! Let's learn how Comet gains the ability to become a man at last! (Of note, scans are from the reprint of the story in Adventure Comics #390.)

Monday, December 12, 2022

Review: Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #92

I have been going down a little rabbit hole here on the site, looking at the origin of Comet the Super-Horse. It started with my review of the children's book Comet!, a remarkably faithful adaptation of the Silver Age origin. With that done, I thought I'd look at the actual origin in Action Comics #293.

With those out of the way, I thought I would take a look at one of the wackier books from the early Bronze Age, Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #92. Leave it to writer E. Nelson Bridwell to take a look back at DC's history and faithfully stick to the details. And leave it to the early Bronze Age to have Lois undergo a rather Olsen-esque transformation into a centaur and a horse. Also, leave it to this time era to make things be a little cringe-y and weird. 

The art really sings here. We start out with a Curt Swan/Neal Adams cover with the Lois centaur while Superman look on shocked. The inside art is Swan again, this time inked by Mike Esposito. Esposito really overpowers Swan's work here. Still, things are truly gorgeous here. 

But please, buckle up. Like many stories from this era, there are more plot turns in this one than in years of current comics. It is a wild ride ... no pun intended!

On to the book.

Friday, December 9, 2022

Bullet Review: Monkey Prince #9

No big surprise that I picked up Monkey Prince #9 this week. With a guest star like Supergirl and a fantastic variant cover by Inhyuk Lee featuring her, it was a cinch that I'd pick it up and cover it here. I mean, look at how cute this cover is.

I also wonder why I haven't been reading this book to begin with. The writer is Gene Luen Yang, whose work I liked on New Super-Man and The Terrifics. I sort of liked his work on the Superman book. The art is by Bernard Chang, whose work I have loved just about everywhere. Whether Supergirl or Wonder Woman or Demon Knights or you name it, I love Chang's art. Seriously, I loved Chang's Kara and even have an original Chang Supergirl page hanging in my office.

The two treat Supergirl with a lot of respect. She is smart and pro-active. She is clearly established. And she doesn't suffer fools lightly here. I'm very happy with her here.

But I don't know if I can comment as easily about the main character. I know, I am jumping on board at Monkey Prince #9

Everybody's comic is their first comic. This is my first Monkey Prince. I know nothing about his origin, his powers, his motivations, or anything, I am usually against recap pages but I sure could use one here. Or maybe even a little origin box around the issue's title. But nothing.

The issue opens with the Monkey Prince's parents are scientists who work for LexCorp. A trio of demonic beings, calling themselves Generals, break into LexCorp to find Bizarro clones to eat in hopes of getting powers. Crazy opening scene ... but one I could barely follow.

The Monkey Prince's mother, Laura, has her neck snapped by one of the Generals. The Monkey Prince's father takes her to Prince's maternal grandfather, a super-scientist with a penchant for transplanting brains and healing injuries. Can the Prince's mother be saved?

But wait there's more. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Back Issue Box: Action Comics #293

It's a slow week for actual Super-comics so I thought I would double down on the Comet stories by reviewing Action Comics #293. Hard to believe that this site is this old and I haven't looked at this closely. But with my reviewing the Comet! kid's book and commenting on how it stuck to the Silver Age narrative, I figured why not look at the actual story. 

I'm always happy to see the Supergirl story get cover treatment. Here we see a wonderful Curt Swan and George Klein image of Supergirl riding Comet. With the super-horse unaffected by Kryptonite beams, even Superman has to note that Comet might indeed be the mightiest super-creature of them all! Kara looks almost manic! As a bonus, we'll see this exact scene coming up in the story!

I'll also point out that this is the second part of a two-parter. To set things up, Linda Danvers is spending some vacation time at the Supergirl Dude Ranch. There she meets Comet who she believes is just a horse. But during her stay she has some odd dreams which seem to hint that Comet could be something more.

And so we end up here with Comet's complete origin. And I think it's a hoot!

On to the book!

Monday, December 5, 2022

Review: Comet: The Origin Of Supergirl's Horse

I took a short trip south around Thanksgiving time, visiting Virginia. One of my goals whenever I travel is to do my best to hit local comic shops. This time I went to Local Heroes, a cool little shop in Norfolk. 

Inside, I discovered something I didn't know existed and which made me give thanks. A big kid's book about Comet the Super-Horse! There is a whole line of these books about DC Super Pets. 

It is written by Steve Korte with wonderful art by old friend Art Baltazar.

Perhaps most impressively, the book for the most part holds true to the Silver Age origin from Action Comics #293. Makes me think I might need to follow-up this post with one looking at that issue. (To be honest, I'm a little surprised I haven't reviewed that issue over my time here.)

This is a wonderful book for a Supergirl fan or a Comet fan. It is a great story for a kid's book filled with magic and heroism. And the art is perfect for the story. It starts with the front cover with a confident Supergirl and winking Comet. Also, I love the sneak peek at Comet's origin on the back. 

This definitely makes me want to seek out the Streaky book!

On to some details.

Friday, December 2, 2022

Review: Superman Kal-El Returns Special #1

The Superman Kal-El Returns Special #1 came out this week and was an entertaining anthology of stories looking at Clark's return to Earth and his touching base with some of the important people in his life.

As I have said in my Action Comics reviews, writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson has been doing a solid job bring the supporting cast of Superman back into the book now that Superman has come back from Warworld. I happen to think that Superman has a solid cast that should be spotlighted in his books. 

In this issue, we have different creative teams looking at some of the most important people in Superman's life and how his arrival on planet has impacted them. 

In what I think is the best story, Mark Waid and Clayton Henry give us a World's Finest story set in the present day. Waid has a solid handle on these two and their camaraderie. They are easy and old friends who immediately team up to fight a villain. There is just a natural amicable feel to this story that just sparkles.

Sina Grace and Dean Haspiel look at Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen. It is a fine story of Superman being inspired by humanity as much as he inspires. 

Legend Marv Wolfman teams up with artist Jack Herbert to give us another look at Jon taking on Lex, but this time with his father giving him some advice. This story also gives us a look at the Lois and Clark reunion and how the two took some time to get romantically reacquainted. This was a lot of fun.

And finally Alex Segura and Fico Ossio have Superman reuniting with the League and teaching Naomi how the life of a Leaguer is one of sacrifice. This one has one little continuity curve ball in it that has me scratching my head.

I would have loved a reunion story with Kara. Too bad that isn't here. Still, this is a solid book building on the Kal-El Returns arc by filling in some gaps.

On to the book.