Wednesday, May 31, 2023

DC August 2023 Solicitations

The DC August 2023 solicits came out last week. As August was month 2 of the Knight Terrors event, I wasn't expecting much but those books. But it turns out there is a decent amount of super-material coming out this summer. 

Now I will admit that I don't think I am really interested in the Knight Terrors mega-event and might avoid most of it. But if you want to see all the solicits, including those books, head here:

But the best news about the month is we finally get a Supergirl spotlight, her first since Woman of Tomorrow ended.

• Written by DAN WATTERS
• Variant covers by LUCIO PARRILLO and PUPPETEER LEE
• 1:25 variant cover by CLAYTON CRAIN
• 1:50 variant cover by JON BOGDANOVE

• It is a creature beyond reason—and the only force in the universe strong enough to kill Superman. It’s Doomsday, the living embodiment of death, destruction, and evolution! In the wake of Dark Crisis and Lazarus Planet, King Doomsday now sits on a throne of skulls across a river of blood, holding court over the demons that swarm in the depths of Hell…and he may have just found a way back to the land of the living. It’s now up to Supergirl and Martian Manhunter to drive the beast back and see that he never again returns to our earthly plane—even if they must die to do it! Plus: the return of Bloodwynd, the debut of the Doomhounds, and a clue to the next big Superman event!

I wrote about this issue here but there is a little more to unpack here.

One, I am very very sad that the Jon Bogdanove, Meatloaf-inspired cover is a 1:50 variant, basically meaning I won't be getting it.

Second, Doomhounds sounds like a fun concept in theory. Hope they pull it off.

Lastly, I hope that somehow this doesn't lead to Supergirl being stuck in Hell, Queen of Hell, wielding a Hell-Axe or any other nonsense.

I have high hopes for this book. I have yet to be disappointed by Dan Watters.

Now the rest of the books!

Monday, May 29, 2023

Bullet Review: Dawn Of DC Primer #1

Saturday May 6rh was Free Comic Book Day.

So imagine my surprise when I walked into my comic show on May 23rd and discovered another free comic book for me to grab. the Dawn of DC Primer #1 was on the shelves for free and included not only a new original story by Joshua Williamson and Leandro Fernandez but also some Who's Who style ads for some of the newer titles on the shelves. 

'Dawn of DC' is a decent enough tagline for a Rebirth style soft reboot of the line. Ollie is back in a solo title. Hal is the GL acting on Earth again. Superman is flying high in his solo book. We also are getting a new Cyborg book, the new Doom Patrol book, and a new look at the Titans as the premier superhero team in the DCU.

I do find it interesting that it was the Knight Terrors preview that was given out on FCBD. This book seems more like a true primer on the whole DCU, something you might want to entice new readers with. If you are using FCBD to see what DC has in mind, would you suddenly pick up a company wide crossover lasting 2 months?

The story in the issue is solid enough, showcasing Amanda Waller as a true villain, working with C-list villains to put a bounty on all super-heroes heads. I really don't like this turn Waller has taken over the last couple of years. She is a megalomaniac on par with Luthor here, thinking she knows what is needed to right the world and willing to do anything to achieve it.

This does include some references to the new books coming into the fold. We get a nifty new magic item for the DCU. The art by Fernandez has a sort of Sean Phillips roughness to it which works for the mostly dark nature of the story. That is a very cool wraparound cover by Jeff Spokes. And who doesn't like (pseudo) Who's Who pages. 

On to this quick look at the story.

Friday, May 26, 2023

Review: Action Comics #1055

Action Comics #1055 came out this week and was another crackling issue. 

Since Action Comics became an anthology, the issues have run the same pattern. The main story featuring the Superman Family is just dynamite. The Superman/Lois/Young Jon story is solid. The last feature is okay. And that pattern happens again here. All the stories are solid but the main story is just comic gold.

The main feature is written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson with art by Rafa Sandoval. It continues the Metallo story but with the added bonus of the big bad being Hank Henshaw the Cyborg Superman. Kennedy does the usual bit of magic, weaving in story beats for all the family members. Superman remains a role model for the twins while trying to rehabilitate Metallo. Kara is the smartest person in the room. And best of all, we get the return of the Eradicator. That means all 4 members of the Reign of Superman are in this story! There's action! There's plot! There's character moments! 

The young Jon story is proceeding just about the way I thought it would. Lee Weeks is back on art. It is good to see young Jon learning the ropes and some valuable lessons. But I think Dan Jurgens telegraphed the plot twist a little.

Lastly, the Steel story by Dorado Quick and Yasmin Montanez has branched out to include some of the extended super-family. But I don't know exactly where it is going. 

All in all, a very good issue with a sparkling lead.

On to the details.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Review: Superboy Man of Tomorrow #2

Superboy Man of Tomorrow #2 came out last week and was another entertaining issue in this solo mini-series for Conner.

As I have said before, I am glad that Conner is getting this issue. He has kind of languished a bit here in the DCU. Now the spotlight is on him. One thing that I find interesting is that in the current DCU, Conner is the young, brash, impetuous member of the super-family. Kara and Jon are long in the tooth, established heroes in comparison. And that sort of unpolished, youthful hero image fits Conner well. 

In fact, one thing that I like writer Kenny Porter is doing is having Conner really strive to live up to the examples of the other super-family. We hear him talking about the other members with respect. He talks about trying to be like them. Or maybe it is better that he is trying to be himself with them being role models. He is applying that sort of example to the Cosmoteers.

Jahnoy Lindsay continues to bring a stylized art to the proceedings. It just leans a little into cartoon, a little into anime, without overdoing it. That sort of wild energy is also perfect for a Conner book as well. 

On to the book. 

Monday, May 22, 2023

Review: Superman #4

Superman #4 came out last week, another crackling issue in the latest run by Joshua Williamson and Jamal Campbell. I have been pretty impressed with the book so far with its revitalization/reimagination of some classic Superman villains mixed with the ongoing Lex and Superman team-up plot.

Williamson is doing a great job juggling all of these plotlines. The Lex/Superman alliance (?) is the backbone on which everything is being built. I will tell you still struggle a little bit with this one. I still don't know if I quite grasp what Lex is looking for Superman to do. Even if I take Luthor at his word, he wants Superman to elevate humanity somehow? Hmmm.

Bolted to the Luthor story is the Dr. Pharm and Dr. Graft vengeance tour against Lex. So that also is simmering away monthly. Why do they hate Luthor? How far are they willing to go since, in essence, Lex has lost his freedom during this incarceration. To achieve their goals, they are releasing Superman's rogues to wreak havoc. So that feels almost like a 'done in two' old school fight against supervillains. 

So this layered story telling is working well since every issue feels like its own story but as part of a bigger arc.

If only I understood the Lex part better. Perhaps it'll become clearer.

Jamal Campbell's art is really luscious and alive. I have really enjoyed the work on the book so far. Superman looks beefy and tough. The supporting characters are expressive and fun. The villains are monstrous. I know Campbell doesn't usually stick around long on monthlies but I wouldn't mind a 6 issue on/6 issue off staggering to keep him on the book for a bit more.

As for this issue, Lex and Superman discuss Pharm and Graft. The villains send out Silver Banshee. And we get a little backstory to what has been happening in Metropolis. So the pattern continues in a good way.

On to the details.

Friday, May 19, 2023

Review: Batman/Superman World's Finest #15

Batman Superman World's Finest #15 came out this week ... and I'm just grinning. 

Has there ever been a book more appropriately named? This book is truly the world's finest comic being produced.

Who doesn't want fun, gripping, interesting superhero action in a cohesive universe? Who doesn't want to see Batman and Superman as friends. Robin and Supergirl as sidekick about to take the step into full-fledged heroic personas? A deeeeeeeep dive into DC's catalog, with B-list heroes fighting D-list villains? Snappy dialogue? Gorgeous, energetic art? 

This book just sings.

Writer Mark Waid is clearly having a ball here. I have been reading DC for over 40 years and I think I have a comprehensive fund of knowledge on the era this book takes place in. But when you start pulling out the weird villains of the 70's Titans and Challengers of the Unknown, I am at a loss. But here they are! But these little flourishes and Easter Eggs only work if the main story is engaging. Things are becoming clearer here. We have moved from a 'Who killed Simon Stagg?' murder mystery to an all out robot rebellion on Earth. Waid went there in his Threeboot Legion but this time we get to see some familiar faces joining the fray. Throw in 2 new villains and the writing crackles.

Dan Mora gets to have just as much fun. The book is Batman/Superman but Mora gets to bring his style to a ton of the DCU here. The Titans, Supergirl, Robin, the Doom Patrol, the Challenger of the Unknown, and Red Tornado are all in this book. This reads more like a Legends of the DCU book and Mora is sizzling. As I have said before, every character he draws makes me want to have Mora on that character's book. Heck, I'd read his Red Tornado! Whoa!

Enough gushing. We have hit 15 months of it. On to the details.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Wicked Comic Con Recap, Part II: Adriana Melo Commission, Sigs, And Some Conversations

Welcome to part two of my recap of Wicked Comic Con,

This is only the second year this con has been running and I felt like maybe there were some growing pains here. 

I have no idea how well it did financially but it felt a little less crowded than I anticipated given the guest list. 

Despite the prestigious attendees, there weren't any comic related panels on the docket. (Can you imagine a Harley Quinn panel with Palmiotti, Conner, Dodson, and Stephanie Phillips?)

There were plenty of exhibitors there with truly incredible collections on sale. The wall books were unbelievable. And while I wasn't there to buy key issues, they were there if you wanted. 

This was a great con. This was a great guest list. The Hynes Convention Center is a great venue. And the staff for the con were exceptionally friendly and helpful.

Thankfully they have already announced their dates for next year!

On to some of my escapades!

Monday, May 15, 2023

Supergirl in Action Comics Presents: Doomsday Special #1

Since we learned about the conversion of Action Comics from a Superman solo book to a Superman Family anthology book, I have been hoping for a Supergirl solo story. 

Supergirl Woman of Tomorrow ended over a year ago. The last page of that book has her watching Ruthye execute a repentent Krem. The Supergirl solo book ended over three years ago and ended with an arc where she was infected by the Batman Who Laughs and turned into a villain. 

Thankfully, in the main Superman books, we have been given bits of a more heroic, intelligent, and optimistic Kara. But these were simply bread crumbs. And I wanted a meal.

So I was pretty thrilled when I came across this story about the Action Comics Presents: Doomsday Special #1, solicited for August! 

The book is written by Dan Watters with art by old friend Eddy Barrows. And here is the solicit!

It is a creature beyond reason—and the only force in the universe strong enough to kill Superman. It’s Doomsday, the living embodiment of death, destruction, and evolution! In the wake of Dark Crisis and Lazarus Planet, King Doomsday now sits on a throne of skulls across a river of blood, holding court over the demons that swarm in the depths of Hell...and he may have just found a way back to the land of the living. It’s now up to Supergirl and Martian Manhunter to drive the beast back and see that he never again returns to our earthly plane—even if they must die to do it! Plus: the return of Bloodwynd, the debut of the Doomhounds, and a clue to the next big Superman event!

So I admit that the title highlights Doomsday, a character that I think is overused. But this is a Supergirl and Martian Manhunter adventure as they try to stop Doomsday. 48 pages! And Bloodwynd!! Holy 1990's!

We finally will get a Supergirl adventure where she is at the center of the action ... and hopefully not evil, angry, overly traumatized, or sad! 

Okay, I won't curse the darkness! There is a lot to love here. 

Friday, May 12, 2023

Review: Superman Lost #3

Superman: Lost #3 came out this week and I find that the initial significant fascination with the story that I had with the first issue is fading a little bit. Last issue Superman went to a planet that was clearly a metaphor for Earth and was sent on his way. Here he comes to another planet to learn about that world. I don't think we are settling into a 'world of the month' pattern here especially based on some clues we are given. But the planet we visit here, outside of one thing I loved, never quite got my interest. So in some ways this felt like a dense but empty read.

Christopher Priest continues to have Superman struggle to get back home. We learn in the issue he has been gone for about a year of his time. We know that he is gone for 20 years. So this issue is just a sliver of his time away. You might remember that Priest talked a lot about gravity and solar radiation in the prior issues. Here we talk a lot about time, distance, and the speed of light. I have to assume Dave Von Domeien PhD, given a special thanks credit, is helping Priest with the physics. I am reading this book for the Superman part and we get an okay Superman adventure here but with what feels like little stakes. Maybe I am just missing the point. Priest does plant some plot seeds.

That said, Carlo Pagulayan is just killing it on art here. This is a trippy issue with space dolphins, crackling energy fields, a brief super-powered fight, and a slice of Lois life. It all looks gorgeous. The art definitely elevates the book.

On to the book.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Wicked Comic Con Review Part 1 - Overall Thoughts, Ed Risso Commission, And Sigs

A couple of weeks ago I went to Wicked Comic Con here in Boston. 

This was the second year for the con which is definitely a comic book forward affair. There was nary a celebrity in the building. The creator list was flush with big names. The con grew from last year and was being held in the Hynes Convention Center smack downtown in Boston. I am crossing all my fingers and toes that this con remains successful because Boston needs a comic con. I don't think Fan Expo fits the bill.

I had a great time meeting and re-meeting a number of creators. The crowd was large on Saturday but there were so many creators that no one person seemed to have an enormous line. As a result, I didn't feel rushed to leave a table because of a large line behind me. I was able to talk to the creators about their works and pick their brains a little. I got books signed and a two great commissions. For the most part creators were charging $5 a signature with some wanting a bit more. Everyone wanted a bigger price if the book was being 'witnessed' by CGC. But I think $5 is reasonable. 

I worry a little. It felt (and I could be wrong) that the foot traffic on Sunday was a bit sparser than I usually see at cons. There weren't any panel discussions even though there were some heavy hitter creators there. Thankfully, they have already announced they'll be back next year! Whew! 

I can only praise. This was a super fun time for me. And I'll repeat that the creators in attendance were the cream of the crop. I hope they had a good time and would be up for more.

So what did I get?

Monday, May 8, 2023

Supergirl Hype Reel

The Flash movie is coming out in under two months from now. The second trailer hit a while ago, really showcasing the two multiverse co-stars of Batman (played by Michael Keaton) and Supergirl (played by Sasha Calle). 

Now I have to admit, I have grabbed me. This movie looks great. And Calle looks awesome in the suit. She says her name is Kara, so that puts her in as Supergirl. The short dark hair makes her the Clark analogue in this Flashpoint universe. She looks all the hero, wading right into battle and reminding people that the symbol she wears means hope.

I mean it sincerely ... I want this movie to succeed. I need this movie to be great.

I think because the guest stars have sort of dominated the trailer and the fan zeitgeist (well, mostly Keaton as Batman saying some very Keaton Batman lines), DC has decided to recognize and celebrate our favorite Supergirl.

So last week a Supergirl hype reel was put together and released by DC. Here is the link:

And some comments.

Friday, May 5, 2023

Review: Adventures of Superman Jon Kent #3

Adventures of Superman Jon Kent #3 came out this week and I just think I need to take a deep breath about this title. As I discussed in my review of last issue, I feel like the the character of Jon has been moved far away from the best rendition, the energetic, funny kid learning the ropes from his dad. Instead we have the traumatized, aged-up version guest starring in his own politicized book. When Superman Son of Kal-El got canceled, Adventures of Superman began.

The book had a decent pitch, Jon finally dealing directly with Ultraman who is working his way through the multiverse killing Kals. I thought getting some closure on the Ultraman story was a pretty good idea. But it turned out that was a feint.

Writer Tom Taylor gives us 2 issues of that story until Ultraman is killed by the Injustice Superman, snipping that plot thread before Jon can get closure. It irked me for a couple of reasons. One, this is a 6 issue mini-series and 1/3 of it was, in a sense, wasted by setting up a story that is ended abruptly. Two, I wanted Jon to face Ultraman. There is great character conflict with them; that is a story I want. But it was taken away.

Instead, and perhaps slyly, Taylor sends the series to the Injustice universe. I know there are those who tout that Son of Superman was a success. I can't imagine DC would have ended it if it was flourishing. Injustice was a success for Taylor. So maybe he was thinking that if I send my version of Jon to a universe with a dedicated fandom I might upgrade sales. But I don't follow Injustice and now I have to get caught up on that universe. This issue is basically a primer of that world catching me up. But because this issue is mostly exposition on the versions of the DC characters there, it seems like we will be 50% through the series before we will reach the story that is being told. Now, just like with Ultraman there is some juice in Jon facing Injustice Superman. The book ends with a decent hook. Still, I can only think that I wasn't given the story I wanted and sent to a universe I don't care about. And because I am going in a little sour, things I think I might usually like are falling flat.

All that blather aside, Clayton Henry continues to give us a smooth, beautiful book. His art flows well. He gives us a lot of characters and a lot of action here and it all works. This is a more of a team book right now given all the heroes we meet and he handles them all very well. The art definitely elevates the book.

On to the details.

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Bullet Review: Nightwing #103

Nightwing #103 came out a bit ago but deserved a quick peek here. Over the last several months, there has been a back-up feature in the book. Writer C.S. Pacat and artist Eduardo Pansica have been telling a story of Nightwing and Jon Kent teaming up.

Now the story has had some twists and turns. I wonder how it would/will read if all the backups are read in one sitting. What initially got me excited was the premise that Dick was going to train Jon on how to use his powers physically ... how to fight. This physical aspect of hero-ing was something sadly missing in the Son of Superman title, written by main Nightwing scribe Tom Taylor.  

That kernel of the story has been pushed a bit to the background as the two are now investigating an explosion and a trapeze mystery at a circus. Someone cut one of the trapeze ropes, almost killing the mother in a mother/son trapeze act. Sounds pretty similar to the Grayson murders, no? With the new element of mystery added, this story has instead become a compare/contrast tale between Dick and Jon. How Bruce is different than Lois in investigating, for example. 

Ultimately, this chapter has them solving the trapeze rope crime. The solution is a bit saccharine for me but might be playing in on the theme that children (like Dick and Jon) are sometimes pressured into following in the family footsteps and that isn't always healthy.

Eddie Pansica continues to bring us very good art on the story even if this one is mostly people talking about clues and feelings. Not much action here ... something I hope we eventually get.

But there was one moment that stuck out that deserved a nod here.

Monday, May 1, 2023

Review: Action Comics #1054

Action Comics #1054 came out this week, continuing the anthology format of the Superman Family. Please remember when you get to the end that the overall grade takes all the stories into account. We get three stories here. One shines.

Phillip Kennedy Johnson continues to bring us a solid main story. This story brings a sort of resolution to the Metallo plot. We see a new super-power from Superman. There is an event with Otho that I hope isn't lost in the shuffle. I like how Jon reacts in this issue. The actual big bad is revealed. And there is a tremendous moment by Superman showing compassion to Metallo. I loved this story.

Max Raynor is on art duties here, giving Rafa Sandavol the month off. This issue is a little rougher in style than I anticipated. In my mind, Raynor is usually very polished. There is a lot of grime and violence in this issue and Raynor's are here mirrors that well. In particular, the pages with the Metallo fight really stunned. 

The middle story is the Lois, Clark, and young Jon story. This time Jurgens is on script and art. It has a 'twist' which I think was telegraphed in the first chapter. It's decent. I love seeing Jurgens on art. He is weaving two plots in this story so there is still some mystery in it.

And then we get a Steel story by Dorado Quick and Yasmin Montanaez. The story is a sort of primer on John Henry Irons with an ending that seems to hint at the upcoming story. The art is cartoonish in a way, definitely different than the other stories. I like Steel. This story occurs before Action #1050 so you need to snuggle it in your continuity. I'm glad to see Steel get some spotlight.

On to the book details.