Monday, July 31, 2023

Review: Knight Terrors: Action Comics #1

Knight Terrors: Action Comics #1 came out last week and was an interesting mix of horror stories.  Superman and Supergirl are carrying the horror in the Superman Knight Terrors book. Action has been an anthology book recently. So we get two stories here.

The first is a Power Girl story by Leah Williams and artist Vasco Georgiev. I wasn't a hundred percent keen on Karen becoming Paige, the psychic counselor. It feels like perhaps the psychic side of things may be waning in Williams approach to the character, even if Lilith remains a key supporting cast member. But what I like about this story is that Williams really seems to be leaning into Power Girl history. Her nightmare is a warped view of her origin from the 70's Showcase arc by Paul Levitz and Joe Staton. Now old timers like me know this story but Williams is playing a bit coy, not filling in the backstory here. It feels a little padded, as if a few pages could have been shaved off. But overall it was a good read. I don't know Georgiev but the art is breezy and strange as it should be.

The second story by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and artist Mico Suayan give us truly horrific story, driven by Osul's fear of the Cyborg Superman. This one truly reads like a horror comic with jump scares, terrifying shadows, and a story of robotics taking over a body (cue memories of the scary robot lady in Superman III). It is interesting that the Supers seem capable of sharing nightmares, perhaps showing how close they are. And Suayan's are is the stuff of nightmares.

I don't know if Knight Terrors is going to amount to anything. And I don't think I needed these stories. But both were brisk, entertaining read.

On to the details.

Friday, July 28, 2023

Review: Superboy The Man Of Tomorrow #4

Superboy The Man of Tomorrow #4 came out last week and was a thought-provoking comic for a Conner fan like me. A reminder, this comic is out because it was the winner of a round robin tournament. So to get such a sort of deep dive into Conner's psyche is a bit of a revelation! I'm pretty glad this won and I am reading it. 

Writer Kenny Porter is giving us a good plot of Superboy stumbling onto a Dominator kidnapping and experimenting on youths. Conner joins the Cosmoteers to try and stop this. But there is a more sinister or gray thread here that makes it very interesting. But more importantly for me, it is the character development in Conner that is more fascinating. He went to space to find himself, feeling redundant. He wants to grow. He is espousing the tenets of Superman showing he wants to grow. But there is a feeling of 'been there' here. He is acting like 'The Metropolis Kid' in some ways, young and brash and quippy. Does he want to grow? Or does he want to wallow in this comfort zone.

And as a reader, I am torn. I loved the impetuous Conner and have enjoyed the echoes of the early stuff. But I also like to see character growth. But if he grows too much, is he still Conner? Hmmm ....

Jhanoy Lindsay is on art again and brings his manga-infused insanity which works so well with a Superboy story. From character design to action, this is a kinetic and anime driven story.

On to the details.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

DC Comics October 2023 Solicits Part One: Supergirl Special

The DC Comics solicits for October 2023 came out last week. There is a lot happening. A Wesley Dodds Sandman book, a Jay Garrick book, an Alan Scott book and even more. Here is a link to all the solicits:

Now  I usually go over the super-solicits in one post but as you can see by the title a Supergirl Special has been announced. I felt like that deserved its own post. Because I should be thrilled. I should be.

Here is the solicit.

Variant covers by FRANK CHO and WILL JACK
1:25 variant cover by RAMON PEREZ
1:50 variant cover by AMANCAY NAHUELPAN
Foil variant cover by WILL JACK ($8.99 US)
$5.99 US | 48 pages | Variant $6.99 US (card stock)


After joining the Superman Family and their heroic efforts in Metropolis, Kara thought she had found her place in the world. But there’s only room in town for one Supergirl, and Power Girl’s sudden reappearance has made her redundant. Her identity and role are both in question as she looks for answers. Will they lead her out of the city or out of this world?

Find out as critically acclaimed writer Mariko Tamaki (Supergirl: Being Super) returns to the Maid of Might with the help of Skylar Patridge (Wonder Woman)!

I am not thrilled.

Monday, July 24, 2023

Review: World's Finest #17

Batman/Superman World's Finest #17 came out last week, ending the Newmazo 'who killed Simon Stagg' storyline.

Mark Waid and Dan Mora have been hitting home runs for the last year and a half with this book. For me, far and away, it has been the most entertaining book being put out during that time. I have loved it. 

No one bats a thousand. 

This issue is still a very good issue. Mora's art continues to sing. Waid continues to dig deep into the DCU. Seriously, the cast of heroes and villains in this issue is immense. In the end, I think Waid tried to bite off more than he could chew with this storyline. In five issues we have gone from murder mystery to worldwide threat. Multiple plot twists and new plot threads cropped up. I almost feel like it could have been split into two arcs. And as we sprint to the end, the villain's defeat seemed a little too quick, a little too pat.

If anything, I think this book suffered mostly by being compared to itself. This still was a blast. Just not as brilliant as the issues which came before.

On to some of the book's best moments.

Friday, July 21, 2023

Review: Knight Terrors: Superman

 Dawn of DC seemed to be firing on all cylinders, at least the books I was reading and I felt like the DCU was finally picking up some momentum. So when Knight Terrors, a 2 month cross-company horror based event that no one asked for, was announced I worried. It seemed like all this was going to do was pump the brakes on some titles that were really clicking. In particular, for this site, both Superman and Action Comics are solid right now. Do I need a break?

Knight Terrors: Superman #1 came out this week and I have to say allayed a few of my fears. You can think about these books in two ways. 

One, you can think about the main title. A villain named Insomnia is wandering through hero's nightmares looking for the Nightmare Stone to rule the world. Frankly, I don't care. I am not sure if this is going to impact anything in such a way that it warrants a two month mega-block.

But the other way you can look at this is it allows creative teams to take a hard look at the title characters. If each book is going to be a deep dive into character's fears, it gives the creators some room to explore. It gives the reader a sense of what the creators think of their charges. We are just seeing what writer Joshua Williamson thinks of Superman in that book. So why not have us see 'under the hood' as it were, learning what Williamson thinks is Superman's greatest fears. We learn it is being alone. And that is interesting. We know family is important to Clark. He loves his world. He loves his friends. Of course, isolation would be terrifying. 

Add to that a major Supergirl subplot and Williamson has created a book that I very much enjoyed as a Superman fan. I don't know if I am a Knight Terrors fan ... yet. But this worked.

Gleb Melnikov gives us a moody cover of Superman of Superman falling through the night sky. Tom Reilly does the inside art and  nails it. Reilly has a sort of Chris Samnee/Michael Cho classic feel to the proceedings. Things are scary when they should be. But his inclusion of some classic DC images made me smile. And, of course, the Supergirl stuff is great. 

So far so good here. On to the details.

Thursday, July 20, 2023

Chicago !!!

I’m currently winging my way to Chicago for the next several days!

Can’t wait to see all the sites Linda saw!

Don’t worry, reviews will probably stay on time!

Monday, July 17, 2023

Terrificon 2023 Prep

Hard to believe but Terrificon, my favorite comic con and a summer tradition, is just 2 weeks away. And that means I have to start getting my stuff together. 

Terrificon has grown each year since I have started attending and this year in particular looks super-sized. The sheer amount of guests on the list is incredible. Head here for the rundown: 

Now one of the good things about being an obsessed middle aged fan is that I have been to a lot of conventions which means I have met many of these guests before so the list is long but my guess is my bag will be relatively light. So on to some of the highlights and folks I am looking forward to and some possible commission ideas.

Far and away, the creator I am most interested in meeting is Denys Cowan. I have never had the opportunity to meet him and so was thrilled when I saw him listed. 

Cowan drew the bulk of the Denny O'Neil Question series in the mid-80s which was a formative book for me, released at the perfect time. I love his art and will have a bunch of books for him to sign. I don't know if he is sketching but he would be my primary target! So pumped to meet him!

And a few more!

Friday, July 14, 2023

Review: Superman Lost #5

Superman:Lost #5 came out this week which means we have hit the halfway mark of this book. 

For those following along, I thought the first issue was amazing, really grabbing my interest. But the subsequent issues didn't keep up the momentum and I was losing my patience a bit. Although, regardless of the story, the art by Carlo Pagulayan has remained impeccable. 

This issue seems to have rebounded slightly with writer Christopher Priest giving us a little more story and a few new plot threads to mull over as a reader. We are still stuck on planet Kansas, a metaphorical Earth mired in political dissension and impending ecological disasters. The story definitely plays up the politics of this place but not as overbearing as it has in the past. And there is a more straightforward sense of time in this issue to at least let me wrap my head about where we are in the timeline. The story moves forward. I couldn't say that the last 2 issues.

That isn't to say it is perfect. Lois isn't treated well in this issue. I still don't know why her plotline about some unsavory congressman is in this (unless it eventually will echo 'Kansas'). And there are a couple of other plot points that feel off.

 But overall, this is a better read with more story and less pontificating. And certainly less confusing.

As usual, Pagulayan's artwork just sizzles. We get significant action in this issue as well as the usual quieter moments as Superman works through the PTSD of his 20 year absence. Everything is crisp and beautiful. 

On to the book.

Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Frank Cho Cover Girls Of The DCU Supergirl Statue

It has been quite some time since I have purchased anything for the Supergirl shrine I have. For one, I have no room on my current shelves for anything new. Plus, with the dismantling of DC Direct, it has felt like Supergirl merchandise has sort of slowed down. 

One item that has been on my radar for a while has been the DC Cover Girls statue designed by Frank Cho. I have always liked Cho's art. He doesn't draw Supergirl often so this had a lot of appeal.

This last June was something of a monumental one for me for a couple of reasons so I decided I needed a little gift to myself. And when I saw the statue on sale for 50% off at Big Bad Toy Store, I jumped. 

I love this statue.

The box is pretty slick with close-ups of the statue as well as a full figure shot.

But I honestly don't get excited about the box. 

So onto the statue itself.

Monday, July 10, 2023

Review: Steelworks #2

Steelworks #2 came out last week and was another interesting issue for this new series. I feel there is a lot of potential in this book with multiple plots and character points all sort of being unveiled as the book progresses.

Writer Michael Dorn has sort of jumped into the deep end of the DCU, diving into continuity, bringing in the super family, and concentrating on technology as the sort of spine of the book. Steelworks against versus Amertek is a solid plot, like Stark against Hammer. Amertek giving powers to disgruntled workers who feel wronged by Irons is great. And this all is built on this idea Irons has to keep Metropolis safe solely through technology. This issue brings us a new villain amping up the threat.

But on top of that plot undercurrent are great character threads. Steel wanting to shut out the super-family from protecting Metropolis is very interesting. His wanting to have tech completely protect humans could spin down a 'is this villainous' take. But what I like most about this is how Natasha is not on board. Some friction between those two is very interesting. Add this simmering Lana romance and you have some fodder for a solid book. 

Both Sami Basri and Max Raynor are listed as artists on the book. The book flows well. There is no specific breakdown on who is doing so hard for me to know exactly. Good action, some fun page layouts, and an appearance from the Super-family makes this is a visually strong issue as well.

I am pretty excited about this book so far! On to some specifics.

Friday, July 7, 2023

Review: Adventures Of Superman Jon Kent #5

Adventures of Superman Jon Kent #5 came out this week, the penultimate issue of this mini-series.

I'll be honest. I have struggled with this series since its beginning. This was billed as a Jon/Ultraman book and then jumped the tracks and became an Injustice book. If this had been billed up front as an Injustice mini (something I don't read), I may not have picked it up to begin with. The face-off against Ultraman was a plot worth examining but was cut short.

Writer Tom Taylor instead is mining the Injustice world again and I can understand why. It has been successful for him. And, I suppose, seeing Jon see some other darker version of his father has some potential. But most of the character beats have fallen flat here. In this issue, we see a haughty Jon being superior and almost insulting to other heroes. This is either a bad turn for the character or a set-up for a revelation next issue. Either way, not much else happens in this issue.

Clayton Henry continues to shine on art. His work is smooth and clean. There is a nice flow to everything. I don't necessarily like the Injustice versions of costumes but he brings a nice polish to them.

I don't know how this will wrap up in any satisfactory way. From what I have been told, this whole story happens early in the Injustice timeline. So I don't know how it could impact that world in a meaningful way.

On to the book. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

DC Comics September Solicits

A while back the DC solicits for September 2023 were released. Here is a link to all the solicits:

September means the 2 month 'Knight Terrors' company event is over and we can head back into the main storylines for the ongoing, in continuity books on the rack.  I am ready to shrug at Knight Terrors. I don't think I wanted this story. But who knows, it might be awesome. 

September looks pretty full of super-books including the first issue of an ongoing Power Girl book which I may or may not collect long term. The Power Girl story in Action Comics and in her one issue special was a bit lackluster. 

But any month with this much Super-material (even if there is still no Supergirl book) makes me happy. On to the books.

Batman/Superman: World’s Finest #19
Written by MARK WAID
Cover by DAN MORA

The origin of the World’s Finest Team concludes! What, of all things, could tie the Riddler and the Phantom Zone together—and what secrets will the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel learn about one another that will define their friendship? All this, and a lead-in to an upcoming event set in the present day!

There is a lot to take in here. But let's not bury the lede. The last sentence says we are getting a World's Finest story in the present day?? Waid has worked his magic in this 'elsewhen' 'recent past' timeline. Why rock the boat?

The Riddler and the Phantom Zone is an odd pairing> And I assume that the familial tragedy that has spurred both Superman and Batman to be the way they are is the defining idea behind their friendship. 

I love this book.

And now the rest of the books.

Monday, July 3, 2023

Review: Action Comics #1056

Knight Terrors is around the corner and will be taking over DC Comics for the summer months. I can only assume, as a result, the ongoing titles probably felt they needed to tie up the current storylines rather than delay.

As a result, Action Comics #1056, which came out last week, finishes the Metallo/Cyborg Superman storyline which has been ongoing for the last few months. I have really enjoyed this storyline immensely. Writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson has given us a dense story with multiple layers. We have a new take on Metallo, a sort of sympathetic backstory of someone who has only felt powerful when he was holding a weapon or even becoming a weapon. We hear about his love and respect for his sister. We have Cyborg Superman pulling the strings behind the scene before showing himself. And we get the Blue Earth movement in the background, a group aiming hate at aliens on Earth. 

But as I said, it wraps up this issue. I think the Cyborg portion of this ends almost too quickly. There is a sort of quick fix to defeating the issue. Back in the Bendis days, the Phantom Zone projector was used as a 'get rid of the overpowered villain' tool. At least it isn't that. 

And there is one other minor story detail that sort of irked me just a little regarding the Blue Earth folks that I'll touch on below.

The rest of the story just sings. I love the Metallo arc. Johnson has a great grasp of the Superman Family. 

Rafa Sandoval's art is rough and powerful in this issue which is mostly a huge brawl. I think that sort of scratchy feel to things amps up the violence and energy of the brawls.

This is an anthology book. The 'Young Jon' story and the 'Steel' story are okay reads. 

On to the details.