Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Mark Waid On World's Finest Supergirl

I recently reviewed World's Finest #18 on the site. This is a flashback story, looking further back in time than the usual 'recent past' time this book lives in.

Given Superman's dialogue of being the only Kryptonian on Earth, I set this book pretty early, before even Supergirl arrived on the planet.

But then I remembered that in the Silver and Bronze Age, Supergirl was put in an orphanage by Superman. She was even told to hide her powers so she could be exploited as a 'secret weapon'. 

So maybe she is on Earth. It's just she hasn't been revealed yet.

No way to know but to ask Mark Waid himself. And, amazingly, he answered.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Review: Knight Terrors Action Comics #2

Knight Terrors Action Comics #2 came out last week, a split issue telling us two stories. One story is the extended Super-family fighting the Cyborg Superman in a horrific tale of despair and blood. The other is Power Girl fighting her Symbio-ship and herself to escape a sterile environment. 

I'll start off by saying the Super-family story by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Mico Suayan, and Fico Ossio is incredible. Knight Terrors isn't exactly a must-read event. I don't know if this story will ripple into the main Superman books. But it is a great character piece for Otho and Osul. There is a brutal ending to the Cyborg Superman, showing us his greatest nightmare. It ends with a Wizard of Oz homage. And the art by both artists is just incredible. This is a horror story first and foremost, something I can't say about all the Knight Terrors books. This is terrifying. Fantastic. And the art is the right mix for this story. I'll be gushing throughout.

I'll also add that Johnson reminds us of a couple of things which came out of the Warworld saga which have been pushed a bit to the back regarding the twins. So I just ate this up with a spoon. 

The Power Girl story, by contrast, seems to fall flat. I honestly don't know what writer Leah Williams is doing with 'Paige' anymore. We went through a back-up story in the main Action Comics book where Power Girl seemed to come to terms with who she is. She even changed her name to Paige. She was a troubled, lost soul not the confident Peeg I am used to. But I thought at the end of that story we were in a better place. Instead, this issue plays up Power Girl's self-loathing. A self-loathing Power Girl?? I have never seen that .. ever ... in all her history. Vasco Georgiev's art is subtle and slick. But this seems way wrong.

The Superman Knight Terrors books have been, for the most part, successes in my mind as they have probed into the characters' minds in a way that builds on the main books. The Johnson/Suayan/Ossio story is so spectacular, it elevates this whole issue.

On to the details. 

Friday, August 25, 2023

Review: Dark Knights Of Steel #12

Dark Knights of Steel #12 came out this week, the end to an entertaining Elseworlds maxi-series written by Tom Taylor and drawn for the most part Yasmine Putri. Putri is on art here.

For me, Taylor seems to shine the most on these Elseworld books where he can re-imagine DC characters or nudge them down a path he wants. One of my main issues with his 'in continuity' books is his very heavy-handed agenda driven stories. This book pretty much shied away from that. This was simply 'what would the DCU be like if it was thrown into a Game of Thrones style world'. There are good people and bad people. There are people who are ethically gray. It had character beats, side stories, a main plot, and a lot of action. It worked.

This is issue wraps up the story rather neatly. Taylor has to do a couple of things. Bring together our heroes to brawl with White Martians. Set things up for a sequel since, I think, this has been a successful book. Wrap up the side stories. Set up the next villain. And he does all that. The brawl takes a sort of back seat as the fight ends quickly, using a crutch that DC has been leaning on for 5 years. 

But what I really like is the time that Taylor gives to the characters here. This could be the last time we see these folks. Taylor gives us some great closing moments for all the characters, even the secondary ones. My favorite moment is with a supporting characters. This really felt like a fleshed out world and therefore I will miss it.

Putri work here feels a little bit less polished than her work in the earlier issues. But her work is so strong and powerful that it is still powerful and bold. I hope we see her work in other places. Put her on 4 issue minis or specials. But keep her in the fold.

I'll say it now. If there is a sequel, I'll be on board.

On to the details.

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

November 2023 DC Comics Solicits

The November DC solicits came out last week. Here is a link to check them out:

DC continues to churn through events hoping one will catch fire. From Dark Crisis to Lazarus Planet to Knight Terrors to now ... Beast World? I have become a bit more choosy with which things I buy when it comes these things nowadays. Knight Terrors I only picked up a couple of the minis. This one I think I won't be getting anything outside of the Metropolis special seen below. 

I'd love to hear if this grabs anyone. On to the books.

Variant covers by CLAYTON HENRY and CULLY HAMNER

As the ramifications of the Titans’ battle with Starro reverberate across the globe, Metropolis is hit with an unexpected surge of electricity from…is that—? No. It can’t be. Livewire? BUT SHE’S A—A—okay you’re going to have to read this one to believe it. Meanwhile, Supergirl and Dreamer take on the terror of the Flamebird, Power Girl is no longer, and amid the chaos a threat continues to grow on the horizon. All signs point to a major new shift in the world of Superman in Beast World Tour: Metropolis!

This is the month after the Supergirl Special so I am hoping her being here for this means she doesn't decide to go off-world again. 

Poor Power Girl. She has a big spotlight on her these days but is still transmogrified into a phoenix!

Every month we seem to hear that there is a major shift in the Superman world. Given Jon's appearance on the cover and the complete lack of mention in the solicit, I wonder if something is going to happen to him.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Review: World's Finest #18

Batman/Superman World's Finest #18 came out last week, starting a new arc and focusing on the first meeting of Superman and Batman. This book remains an extremely entertaining read. This new take on the origin of the World's Finest team is a fun new wrinkle to continuity.

Writer Mark Waid has been pulling a sort of Bob Haney Earth-B continuity in this title. He has been writing stories which take place in the 'recent past'. All of his writing has been incredibly fun and just perfect comic book super-heroics. But is it in continuity? I don't know if I can fit a Supergirl who lived in an orphanage and has a red shouldered costume in the current DCU. 

Frankly I don't care. Bring me good stories.

This story is just as fun and just as good. Waid is trying to show how Superman and Batman who became friends. I have read this story many times before. So why not another take? And, given this is their first adventure, we are even further back in the 'recent past' and Waid gives us visual cues and clues to help cement that.  It is Waid's forte to dive deep into the DCU. Throw in the Riddler and a Superman specific villain at the end and it all sings. 

Dan Mora gives us the split cover, linked by the hand shake at the bottom. Travis Moore is on internal art and gives us a solid take on a very very classic World's Finest and their early costumes. There isn't a ton of action here, focusing on the mystery. But it flows well and Moore keeps the action moving smoothly. 

Everyone should be buying this book. On to the details. 

Friday, August 18, 2023

Review: Knight Terrors: Superman #2

Knight Terrors: Superman #2 came out this week and was a fantastic story for fans of  the super-family. In particular, this issue really did a great job showing how close Superman and Supergirl are, at least in writer Joshua Williamson's mind. To see the super-cousins working together, talking to each other like colleagues, and saving the day. There's even some fun Lois moments. And Aquaman and Mera are the real heroes!

As I have said recently, the last year has been wonderful for me as a Supergirl fan. The bad taste that Tom King's Woman of Tomorrow mini-series has sort of been cleansed from my psyche by Joshua Williamson and Phillip Kennedy Johnson. Kara often seems wiser beyond her years, 'the smartest person in the room', and a fierce fighter of injustice. We get a ton of that here, as I'll show. But there is an unfortunate downside to all this upside ... more on that later.

The art by Tom Reilly works well with the story. There is something rough and ready with the art which amps up the nightmarish parts of the story. It has the feel of Chris Samnee, very much a compliment. I love his take on all the Supergirl variant zombies. The cover by Gleb Melnikov works well with the cousins getting ready to throw down.

I don't know if I needed Knight Terrors as an event. It makes little sense overall. But the two Superman mini-series have really utilized this little break to explore the characters and their motivations in a way that can only help the main titles. I enjoyed this a lot, especially as a Supergirl fan. 

On to some details.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Bullet Review: Amazing Spider-Man #306

I have already talked about my fantastic time at Terrificon and the creators I met and interacted with. 

But I didn't mention any of the books I bought. Today I will focus on the main book I bought, Amazing Spider-Man #306.

Now I know what you are thinking, what is a Spider-Man book doing on a Supergirl blog? I should thank Twitter friend @gcmcallis for telling me about this issue. 

Amazing Spider-Man #306 was written by David Michelenie with art by Todd McFarlane right when the artist was making major waves in comics. I won't review the whole issue just the parts that make this worthy of being mentioned here.

We can start with the cover, clearly an homage to Action Comics #1, with McFarlane giving a hat tip to Siegel and Shuster next to his name. Perhaps this alone should have let Superman fans that some cool Superman homages are inside!

Monday, August 14, 2023

Terrificon Wrap-Up

Terrificon happened a couple of weekends ago and was flat out awesome. Every year this show seems to grow in excellence. This year was no different. The comic guest list was just jam packed, I think numbering over 50 professionals. There was a solid celebrity presence as well. But clearly, this is a comic book focused show and that makes me very happy. Artists alley was like a hall of fame.

I had done my prep and pulled my books, including some for friends. I was ready to see all the folks I was hoping to. Imagine my surprise when I ran into someone I wasn't ready to see. More on that below the break. 

I consider myself lucky to go to this show every year. So luckily, there were many creators who I have met before and didn't have much to get signed from. But it was still cool to see the long lines for folks like Jim Starlin, Tom King & Mitch Gerads, Ron Frenz, Greg Land, Chris Claremont, Alan Davis, and others. 

There was plenty of exhibitors as well and they thankfully ran the gamut from super-expensive, slabbed, key issues to boxes of cheap bins. I had the luxury this year to really thumb through these books and pick up a few. 

And it was great to see the place was packed with fans of all ages and all levels of fandom. The folks with big boxes being wheeled around to folks like me with heavy backpacks to others with nothing but love for the medium.

I'll start my personal review with the one commission I got: a Denys Cowan Supergirl! This was the one commission I was really hoping to grab so I was thrilled!

Friday, August 11, 2023

Review: Superman Annual 2023


Superman Annual 2023 came out this week and was phenomenal. I really feel like we are riding a wave of superb Superman stories and this annual was a near perfect reflection of that. In writer Joshua Williamson (and Phillip Kennedy Johnson) I feel we have someone who understands the character, respects Superman's history, and wants to move forward with fresh new stories. 

This Annual isn't really a Superman story. He is on the periphery of this story. Instead we deep dive into Superman's supporting cast, both allies and villains. There is a page that was an emotional gut punch for me. And we end on perhaps the most delicious cliffhanger I have read in a while. There are a couple of new faces to boot, adding new spice to the delicious mix.

We have callbacks to the modern era and Cat Grant. We have callbacks to the Bendis era (I feel I am a bit of a Bendis apologist here). For someone like me, this shows respect for those that came before. 

Add to that a heady mix of excellent artists and you have a winner. Jack Herbert brings his fine-lined detail here. Edwin Galmon has a sort of water color panache. Caitlin Yarsky brings a solid look to Mercy Graves. Max Raynor is ... well .. Max Raynor, bringing energy and polish. And old Supergirl friend Mahmud Asrar is here. I do wish that the book was separated into chapters with each artist getting the credit they deserve. Or give us old school page numbers and list which artist was on which pages. They deserve people to know.

I outright loved this book. It was joyous and raucous and sad between the covers. Brilliant.

On to the details.

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

Review: Adventures Of Superman Jon Kent #6

The Adventures of Superman Jon Kent #6 came out, bringing this series to a close. I'll start out by saying that I didn't like this series. And this finale didn't really elevate it. There is one clever moment, bringing something from the beginning of the series into play at the end in a different way. But outside that, this ended with a whimper.

I haven't really enjoyed what writer Tom Taylor has been doing with the character for a while. Jon is a socially conscious hero. But Taylor has veered so hard into it that Jon comes off as a jerk. Jon comes off as superior and condescending. What is worse, Taylor seems to make all the problems too easily solved by Jon. Taylor avoids the hard parts of the story, gliding over them or avoiding them. And he makes Jon seem almost self-contradicting in some of his ethics. 

In this story, Jon needs to show the world that the Injustice Superman is wrong. But the way we get there and the ending isn't satisfying. In the end, we get more of Taylor's odd take on super-heroics. The Injustice world isn't changed. Val-Zod and Red Tornado are still in the Phantom Zone. And the big face-off with Ultraman never happened. Get ready to cringe.

It's a shame that the story didn't hold up because the art by Clayton Henry is so smooth and polished that it seems wasted here. I hope he gets put on something soon. 

On to the details.

Monday, August 7, 2023

Review: Steelworks #3

Steelworks #3 came out last week and remains an unexpected delight in my reading pile. I have admitted in the past that I thought Michael Dorn as a comic writer was a stunt. But dang, he is killing it on this book, respectful of DC history while carving a new path for Steel. 

One of the underlying plots here is John Henry Irons trying to make Metropolis a safe city through technology. He wants to shed himself of his armor. He wants to make the super-family superfluous in Metropolis. And he wants to bring free energy to the wall. But at times he sounds almost like a fanatic. Those aims could veer into Luthor-ville. 

What I find interesting is that each issue seems to show that Irons probably isn't going to get there. On this world, it'll be hard to be completely safe. It'll be hard to be completely magnanimous. Steel is the straw that stirs the drink of this book. But the super-family, especially Natasha, are around to help.

I find this book a very interesting read. It is dense and heady. But Dorn knows he needs to put action in the story to keep it moving. It's working.

The art is again mixed by Sami Basri and Vicente Cifuentes. There is a polished feel to the pages. They certainly know their way around the super-family. 

On to the book.

Friday, August 4, 2023

Review: Superman The Last Days Of Lex Luthor #1

A Mark Waid Superman book is always fantastic. A Mark Waid Superman book should always be trumpeted from the highest hill. Bryan Hitch is a modern comic legend. Hitch doing a DC book should be big news. And Hitch inked by Kevin Nowlan is a dream team! A Mark Waid/Bryan Hitch Superman book? That should be heavily promoted ... everywhere.

So how did Superman: The Last Days of Lex Luthor #1 sneak up on me? Because this is just what I would expect a Mark Waid/Bryan Hitch Superman book to be, near perfect. This is a modern book with Bronze Age sensibility and reverence. I was blown away by how spectacular this first issue was and I fear it will go unnoticed.

Waid gives us the Superman we need, willing to do anything to help people, even someone like Luthor. When Lex says he is dying, Superman agrees to help save his enemy. But we see some peeks that lead me to believe that Superman blames himself for Lex's turn to evil, an echo from classic DC history. Throw in action, the Fortress, and Kandor and you have a great milieu to tell a wonderful story.

I am not the biggest Hitch fan but inked by Nowlan (an artist I am a big fan of) leads to a sleek presentation. The story moves all around allowing the art team to stretch itself. I love the Chris Samnee variant cover I picked, especially because the wedding ring is so apparent.

But the best thing for me, again, is how Waid references the Lex/Superman origin I grew up with. Waid also opens and closes the book with that flashback, or that hint of a flashback, which just bookended the issue nicely. 

Much like World's Finest, if you are a Superman fan you need to get this.

On to details.

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

DC Comics October 2023 Part 2: The Super Books

I already aired my thoughts about the upcoming Supergirl Special #1 coming out in October. Today I thought I would cover the remaining Super-books coming out that month. Here is a link to look at all the DC books coming out that month:

One thing for sure. DC Comics loves their variant covers. This month is insane with variants.

Variant covers by JORGE JIMENEZ and CARLA COHEN
1:25 variant cover by FREDDIE E. WILLIAMS II
1:50 variant cover by JORGE FORNES
Artist Spotlight variant cover by GABRIELE DELL’OTTO

Superman versus Clark Kent! When the mysterious young Norah Stone drains Superman’s strength and unleashes an impostor tyrant Superman on Metropolis in his place, a powerless Clark Kent is forced to face the monster alone. Who is Norah Stone? And can Clark protect his identity while fighting this impossible battle? Featuring Gene Luen Yang and Viktor Bogdanovic’s return to the Super-Man of China!

Sounds like the beginning of a new plot line and I am a sucker for 'fake duplicates' of Superman so this sounds great. And as a fan of New Super-Man, I am so glad to see the original creative team back on the book.

This Carla Cohen Supergirl variant is jaw-dropping-ly stunning. Hope I can scoop it up.