Friday, December 29, 2023

Supergirl Best Of 2023 Part Three: Comic Moments #5-1

Welcome to the last post looking back at 2023 and Supergirl's best moments in comics over the year. 

Over the last two days (head here for day one and here for day two) , I've done an overall review of the year, looked at Supergirl's appearances in movies, my commissions this year, and started the 'best of' list including the honorable mentions.

But today is the big day, the top 5 comic moments for Supergirl in 2023. 

I had a hard time truly ranking these top 5 so just know that they are relatively interchangeable in rank in my mind. I'll again say that there were plenty of good moments over the year for the character. But always in the role of supporting player, background guest. 

Some might say these were crumbs. But as a supervisor of mine used to say all the time, 'crumbs make a cake'. There have been years that have been rough for the character, years where I could barely put together a 'best of' list. 

I loved this year for the character. If only her one solo story allowed her to shine!

On to the list!

Comic Moment #5 - Batman/Superman World's Finest #12 - 'I'm proud of you'

We had heard about Dick's terrible date with Kara early on in the World's Finest book. I was so pleased when we actually got to see that lousy encounter in total in the twelfth issue.

Mark Waid just understands the character. During the date, Supergirl simply realized that she didn't like who she was becoming when she was with Dick that night. She is mature enough to recognize her own feelings and act in a healthy way.

But more importantly, I love how she implies how she recognized that Dick was the way he was because he wanted approval, a sort of backhanded way of saying how Batman is screwing him up.

And then most importantly, Superman is proud of her. This is some years ago when Kara is younger and probably looking for Superman's approval (although not as insanely as Dick does with Bruce). It shows they have a more collegial relationship and less sidekick-y. Great end page.  

Comic Moment #4 - Lazarus Planet Alpha - 'No fear'

During the Lazarus Planet storyline, the heroes form a quick team to try and rescue the Devil Nezha to fight King Fire Bull. In the Lazarus Planet Alpha issue, Supergirl is a leader, a powerhouse, and a moral compass reminding the heroes they don't kill even if up against literal devils.

But here was my favorite moment. Supergirl is temporarily dazed by the fear-inducing effects of Golden Horn King. But then Blue Devil reminds that Supergirl doesn't succumb to fear. She steels herself and lashes out.

How great that an established hero like Blue Devil looks at Supergirl as fearless. And how great that she is able to shake off the fear and fight. Brilliant.

Comic Moment #3 - Knight Terrors Superman #2 - 'I know who I am'

In Knight Terrors Superman, Supergirl was faced with her nightmare, a panoply of Karas in all her outfits. With relative ease, she recognized it as a nightmare and battled on, eventually joining Superman in his own horrific visions.

Look at how writer Joshua Williamson just captures the current Supergirl so effortlessly. Sometimes she feels like she is still building a life on Earth like Superman has. That makes sense ... she is still a relative newcomer to this world. 

Also, she knows who she is. She didn't need to be afraid of visions of herself because she is comfortable and confident in her own skin and with who she has become.

How great to read of a Supergirl who is confident but still growing, still learning! 

Not trying to be negative but contrast this to the Kara we saw in her special, the one weighed down by social media, emotionally hurt to the point of inactivity and pettiness, and not having any memories of Krypton. 

Comic Moment #2 - Action Comics Doomsday Special - 'Facing off with the devil'

Which actually nicely leads us into the #2 best comic moment on 2023, in the Doomsday Special. How funny that Supergirl is given a much better show here in this special rather than her own. Kudos to writer Dan Watters and artist Eddy Barrows.

In Hell, Doomsday has died a million times over and is now resurrected to the point of near omnipotence. Doomsday is so strong he is about to upset the power structure of Hell, gaining believers in the lesser demons and about to smash into reality. The powers that be want to remain the powers that be and so recruit Supergirl to fight their battle for them.

How utterly fantastic is Supergirl's response to Neron when he initially proposes the fight. Arms crossed defiantly, she says 'Fat chance, pal. Do it yourself!'

Supergirl just told off the Devil. 

That is totally worthy of being the second best moment of the year. She stood up to and sassed Neron. Excellent.

Throughout these top nine, there has been this running theme of Supergirl being comfortable in who she is - a junior hero, a role model, a scholar, a fighter, a leader. 

So what could be the number one moment?

Comic Moment #1 - Superman #7 - 'Field Commander Kara'

That theme just seemed completely encapsulated in this page from Superman #7, written by Joshua Williamson with art by Gleb Melnikov.

A major new threat, The Chained, has appeared in the skies of Metropolis and Superman has already been defeated by him. It is up to the super-family to defend the city.

In this splash page, we see Supergirl leading the charge. She is the field commander, with Natasha, Conner, and Jon following her into battle. She is the one who deploys them in the city, sending some out on rescue duty while she takes him on herself.

Confident, strong, a leader, a role model. I like this 2023 Supergirl and this page captures it perfectly. This was my #1 Supergirl moment of the year because it was the distilled essence of how she was (for the most part) treated.

I don't know what 2024 will bring us Supergirl fans but for now this one is happy.

And what about you? What moments did I forget? Was my ranking off? And what was your favorite Supergirl moment?

Thursday, December 28, 2023

Supergirl Best of 2023 Part Two - Commissions And Comic Moments #10-6

Welcome to part two of my wrap-up of Supergirl in 2023!

You can head here for part one, a little bit of overall review, the animated stuff, and the honorable mentions for best comic moments.

As I said, this has been a good year for Supergirl albeit one relegated mostly to a supporting role in Superman and Action Comics. Joshua Williamson and Phillip Kennedy Johnson seem to get her as a character. Her powers might be the same as Superman but she is different. She is smart. She is a sort of scholar of Krypton. She is young and a bit brash and heroic. She is still learning.

Interestingly enough, over the last couple of years, I have seen Supergirl sort of settle into a middle generation of heroes. In academic terms, she is like Junior Faculty. She isn't a newbie any more. But she isn't tenured yet either; she is young. But she is older and more experienced than Kenan and Jon and the super-twins. She is a sort of role model for them. And she seems, again in these background scenes and small moments, sort of embraced the role. I love it.

This is character growth that makes more sense than, let's say, getting drunk and crying in the middle of a sun. 

One of my joys every year is heading to comic conventions and doing my best to grab some commission sketches. The last couple of years, I haven't been too lucky. This year I was much more successful getting three great pieces. 

I have always liked Denys Cowan's work and he was the target at Terrificon. I love that commission, Supergirl proud and strong.

And then at Wicked Comic-Con, I grabbed both Eduardo Risso and Adriana Melo. Risso's piece is smoky and noirish, a unique take in my collection. And Melo just loved the 70's costume and gave this beaming, slightly cheesecake-y take on Kara.

Mission accomplished!

But onto the #10-#6 Supergirl comic moments of 2023. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Supergirl Best Of 2023 Part One: Non-Comic Moment And Comic Honorable Mentions

Hard to believe that we have reached the end of another trip around the sun. 

I have to say that 2023 has been a very good year for Supergirl. In fact, I would have rated it an excellent year overall except for a recent event which made things a little less exciting.

But I think back to 2022 and how Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow was still fresh in my mind. That was a drunk, despondent Kara who didn't resonate with me. It worries me a little that Woman of Tomorrow is going to be the basis for the planned Supergirl movie. Thankfully that representation by Tom King never creeped into the main comic universe.

Which brings us to 2023. 

Between Phillip Kennedy Johnson on Action Comics and Joshua Williamson on Superman, Supergirl has been in good hands. She has been a leader, a scholar, a mentor, a friend in those books. She is often the smartest person in the room and the emotional core of the family. That positive character portrayal seeped into the ancillary books like Steelworks, Monkey Prince, Lazarus Planet,  World's Finest, and others. I actually had a tough time narrowing things down to a top ten comic moment. Also, there were so many very good moments that no one stood out as a clear number one. They're all great. 

So today, I'll cover some non-comic stuff, a dishonorable mention, and the five comic moments which almost broke the top ten. 

Settle in!

Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Review: Batman/Superman World's Finest #22

Batman/Superman World's Finest #22 came out last week, continuing the 'Return to Kingdom Come' storyline. 

From the beginning, I have had some trepidation about this story because of how much I love Kingdom Come. The more that happens on the Kingdom Come Earth, the more difficult it will be to reconcile the events of Kingdom Come unfolding as they did. 

Here we are on this world. The heroes are worshipping Gog. Our Earth-0 Superman and Batman are interacting with, even befriending the Superman and Batman of Earth-22. Shouldn't all these events be remembered? Shouldn't this impending battle against Gog lead to a more jaundiced eye at Magog? Isn't Gog's failed 'Catacomb' prison similar to the 'Gulag' in Kingdom Come and wouldn't that give the KC Superman pause to make it? And won't our heroes tell these heroes about the witnessed graveyard?

The only thing I can think is that somehow this is Earth-22A, close to the Kingdom Come world but not the actual one. It is the only way to put the genie back in the bottle.

Outside of my concerns, there is a lot to like in this issue. Our Superman's anger over how David turned into Thunderman is powerful. Gog's origin is linked to DC history and the Fourth World. The World's Finest team unites with the other world's World's Finest team. It's all pretty cool.

And, as usual, Dan Mora smashes it on art. We get to see his Supergirl again briefly. He gives us three new character designs. We see his take on some Kirby stuff, some Morrison stuff, the and some Alex Ross stuff. It is all beautiful. 

I am going to try to keep my worries at bay and judge the issue on it's own merits. But it'll be tough.

Monday, December 25, 2023

Merry Christmas And Happy Holidays

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas to all who celebrate!

Hope everyone is relaxing and recharging!

Friday, December 22, 2023

Review: Superman #9

Superman #9 came out this week, a truly entertaining comic that I loved. Writer Joshua Williamson basically put the creative foot down on the gas pedal in this issue, rocketing us through a series of scenes that pushed the main plot forward while hinting at a number of subplots bubbling under the surface.

In some ways, this felt like a very classic comic book. I grew up in a time when there were often A, B, and C plots in titles. There was no decompression. There were mysteries and intrigue. There were emotions and consequences. There were guest stars. Things were fun. And it is all here. Plus, there is a tremendous cliffhanger.

Despite all the subplots that are touched on here, the main plot of Pharm and Graft trying to get their revenge on Lex Luthor takes a turn here. I have started to warm up to the new partnership between Lex and Superman as shown in this book. I don't know about Pharm and Graft yet though. They seem a bit too flat right now. Thankfully, Williamson hints at some things here which add some interesting wrinkles to the villains.

Jamal Campbell gets another issue off. Instead, Bruno Redondo, who has been killing it on Nightwing, fills in here and definitely continues to shine. There is a polish to the book which is appreciated. In particular, the Lois scenes are nicely rendered with emotion. I also found the page layouts suited the action well, adding to the story. Colorist Adriano Lucas does great work here, especially in the Marilyn Moonlight scenes.

As I say often, I wanted the next issue to be in my hand right after I read this one which is always a great sign. On to the book.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

DC Solicits: February 2024

The March DC Comics solicits are out and the month is a fairly standard mix of books. There'll be a new Suicide Squad book out which I won't be getting. Mark Russell and Mike Allred reunite for a Batman book which I won't be getting. Superman will guest star in Tom King's Wonder Woman which I won't be getting. But the Super-books seem interesting.

Here is a link to all the solicits:

Alas, still no Supergirl solo title. It is a sad thing to say that in some ways I am glad since it most likely would have been written by Mariko Tamaki, who totally missed the mark for me with the Supergirl Special. But on to the actual books on the shelves.

Power Girl #7
Variant covers by KEVIN WADA and JAE LEE

The Supergirls are trapped! While tracking down the missing citizens of Metropolis, Paige and Kara have found themselves powerless in the mythical realm of Ferembia. They’ll now have to rely on their wits to find an escape and the brains behind the whole operation before they’re stuck in their own personal dark age!

I haven't exactly been warm to the Power Girl book. And I don't think Leah Williams understands the Power Girl character or the Supergirl character. But usually when the Supergirl and Power Girl character team up, they fight each other. So I am sort of looking forward to this D&D style team up. Who knows if it will be any good. Love the Reeder cover.

Monday, December 18, 2023

Review: Superman Lost #9

Superman Lost #9 came out this week. That means the series wraps up next month. And frankly and I suppose appropriately, I am lost. I am also sorry if I have already used that joke in my reviews.

There is a kernel of a good story here. What if Superman lived on a dying planet he couldn't save? What if he wasn't rocketed away as a baby but lived, loved, and failed? How would he respond? And then let's see that response through the lens of his friends and family by doing a timey-wimey jump, living 20 yrs on the doomed planet but gone only hours on ours. 

That could be a good story! Superman reliving in a way the death of Krypton. Superman failing to save everyone. Superman despondent. Throw in a lot of Supergirl talking about her similar history and there is a great 4 issue mini-series there. Heck, make the doomed planet have similarities to Earth and the current climate problems and you have a 6 issue mini-series. 

Instead, we have a 10 issue series which has had a few too many plot threads to keep the story compact and comprehensible. Luthor giving Lois cancer. Lois tracking down some shady Senate crime. Another time jump Superman talking about his lost Earth. A maniacal love interest. 

And it is all told in a sort of sputtering, short chapter way to make it jarring. I simply don't know if one more issue will tie it all up. As you will see, there are a number of plots that are simply ended in this issue.

The art this issue remains strong. Carlo Pagulayan remains slick here. Dan Jurgens and Brett Breeding are also present for some pages. 

On to the book itself.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Review: Action Comics #1060

Action Comics #1060 came out this week, the penultimate issue in the Phillip Kennedy Johnson run, ending in the upcoming Action Comics Annual. It's hard to believe that it has been a nearly 3 year run on the Superman titles for Johnson. I had no idea who he was when he started on the book but I am going to follow him around comics, for sure.

I think one thing I have loved about Johnson's run has been his pacing. Arcs like Warworld weren't rushed but weren't slow either. They felt epic. Each issue pushed the story forward but left you wanting more.

The current Blue Earth storyline has a different feel. I almost wonder if Johnson had to compress the story he wanted to tell. These issues feel a little too rushed. A little too much happens off screen. Reveals and movement happen quick. This is still a very solid story. But the Earth Al Ghul reveal happened last month and we only have one more issue to wrap it up. That's fast.

I also wonder if Johnson isn't taking advantage of his last story to put in all the things he dreamed of. Superman wielding a sword? Done. Constantine and Superman? Bloodwynd? Why not play with the toys while you can. 

I do like that the axle of this story is Osul and Otho. I do wonder if they are going to stick around after Johnson leaves. Surely the Kryptonian myth of their family is foreshadowing.

As has mostly been the case, the back-up stories in the anthology aren't as solid as the main feature. Steve Orlando, Nicole Maines, and Fico Ossio gives us a story of Dreamer being recruited by Amanda Waller. It is pretty impressive how that Dreamer, a character created for the Supergirl show, gets a back-up feature in Action before Supergirl herself. I am pretty sick of Waller. Joe Casey and Dan McDaid give us a prologue of the upcoming Kneel Before Zod mini-series. But I have more questions than answers about what that story will be about. 

On to the book.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Crisis On Infinite Earths Part 1 Trailers

DC Entertainment is planning to release an animated version of Crisis on Infinite Earths in 2024. The whole story will be told over a trio of movies. But the teaser trailer and the official trailer for part one have dropped and it looks pretty good. 

Head here to watch the teaser This one has the most Supergirl content.

There is a lot of classic Crisis iconography. We see the anti-matter wave erasing worlds. We see the Anti-Monitor Shadow Demons. We see the Monitor pulling together the heroes to fight the threat. We even see the Earth-3 villains involved. Their world was the first we saw die in the book. 

The trailer looks pretty good.

Now as many know, I have come to appreciate the Supergirl legacy with Crisis. While I don't agree she was irrelevant and ready to be offed, there is no denying how great the story is and how much her legend grew because of COIE #7.

So will Supergirl face the same fate in the movie?

She actually gets some decent screen time in such a packed trailer. First we see the Monitor say he needs her and her facing the screen (above). 

And then there is a cool action shot of her skimming the surface of the sun!

I like the way Supergirl is drawn in this latest round of DCAU movies. I liked how her character grew in the Legion of Super-Heroes movie. I hope she survives this Crisis. But we'll see!

Catch out the official trailer here:

This one shows much more of the set-up including the presumed destruction of Earth-3. There isn't as much a spotlight on Kara in this one. I think this is Supergirl given she is talking to the Brainiac 5 from the Legion movie. (The costume is a little dark for Supergirl so this could be Black Canary.)

I completely don't like the look of Harbinger here though. This seems like a needless redesign. 

Still, I'll be gearing up to buy this as soon as it is available.

Monday, December 11, 2023

Review: Superman '78 The Metal Curtain #2

Superman '78 The Metal Curtain #2 came out this week and was another fun romp in the Donner-verse. We are picking up right after the last series and I think we are still before Superman II in continuity. If you are a strict continuity believer and this is before the second film, there are some things here that are tough to explain away.

But if you decide that continuity details aren't crucial, and you can let a couple of things slide, you can sit back and enjoy this for the absolute fun that it is.

Writer Robert Venditti has been able to tap right into the feel of the movies, the tone, the charm, the action. But most of all, and most entertaining for me, is that Venditti is able to perfectly capture the emotion of the Lois and Clark relationship as well as the Lois and Superman relationship. Throw in a cold war Metallo and you have a great history piece. Plus, we get an unexpected guest star perhaps expanding this DC Universe.

Gavin Guidry really brings it this issue. I mentioned his strong work on Lois last issue but he exceeds that here. He really brings us an expressive Lois, a nice riff on Margot Kidder. We also get some action here. I like how the Metallo of 1978 is appropriately bulky. No sleek mechanics back then. 

If there is one complaint, it is that these are very quick reads. I'd like a little more story.

On to the book.

Friday, December 8, 2023

Review: Power Girl #3

Power Girl #3 came out a couple of weeks ago and continued to showcase a Power Girl who doesn't seem like the Power Girl I have read for a long time.

Writer Leah Williams continues to show us 'Paige', a hero who is uncomfortable on Earth, feeling out of place and alone, and lacking confidence. This issue shows us how she feels most akin to a dying lion, the last feline survivor of Krypton. This should feel poetic or emotionally powerful but it falls a little flay because it makes little sense.

The main villain of the story is Power Girl's Symbioship program, the computer which fed her an AI history in her trip to Earth. I have any number of issues with this. The first is that there hasn't been much background information about the symbioship in the story. I don't know if I actually knew that it was a villain. Superman talks about having destroyed it in the past ... but when? And what is it? 

If the device that controlled Amalak was a symbioship drone (which I think it is), didn't 'Paige' bring that to the auction from issue #1? Why didn't it attack her then? 

And what is it's goal?

I have read a lot of Power Girl in my time and I am lost here. Add to that a couple of pages of Omen which make me dislike her a lot and you have little going storywise for me.

The art is by Eduardo Pansica and I like his sort of rough scratchy are here. But he has little to work with here in this issue. There isn't much action to let him shine. 

On to the book.

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

DC Comics Solicits: February 2024

The February 2024 DC solicits were solicited earlier this month. They include something that made me roll my eyes so hard I might have sprained them. And it's a shame I'm missing a Lois solo story in Brave and the Bold but that price is too hefty for one story in an anthology. 

You can head over to Newsarama to see all the solicits. Here are the super-family ones.

Variant covers by LEE BERMEJO and WARREN LOUW

The Lex Luthor revenge squad attacks! Superman is back from his blast to the past but finds that Mr. Graft and Dr. Pharm have gathered some of Lex Luthor’s greatest enemies with a mission to wipe out Lex and everything he loves from Metropolis. Superman will fight to save Lex’s life but when he learns the truth about Lex’s past…will he want to?

I like the name Lex Luthor Revenge Squad, a nice riff on the old Superman Revenge Squad. That is very appropriate given the current 'are they partners' plot between Lex and Supes. 

But what is the truth Lex is revealing. I hope we don't hear more about his trying to be a superhero.

Written by JASON AARON
Art and cover by JOHN TIMMS

The shocking second chapter of the Worst Bizarro Story Ever! Jason Aaron’s first time writing Superman sees the Man of Steel trapped in a world gone mad, a Metropolis transformed into the City of Bizarro! While Superman struggles to save the lives of people who despise him, he’s also battling the most powerful Bizarro of all…the one inside his own mind!

Hard to know what to say about this given I have little experience with Jason Aaron. 

I do like John Timms' art and seeing him do a crazy Bizarro story sounds great. Timms shined on Harley Quinn and that was pretty zany.
Written by MARK WAID
Art and cover by DAN MORA
Variant cover by DAVE WILKINS

“Return to Kingdom Come” concludes! With no way back to their own Earth, will Superman and Batman have to witness the tragic events that led to cataclysm—or are they fated to take the place of their doppelgangers?

I have to admit that I have enjoyed this peek into the Kingdom Come world more than I thought I would. I suppose I should have faith in Waid. 

I think we all know that 'our' Superman and Batman won't be trapped there. 

I do wonder how their presence doesn't effect the Kingdom Come timeline though.
Variant covers by BRAD WALKER and JEN BARTEL

The citizens of Metropolis are missing! Looking for an escape, many have fallen victim to Avalon, a new street drug that transports you to a simpler era…the Medieval Times! And turns out that it’s not just a trip you take in your mind, people are being physically transported to this magical plane too! Looks like a job for Power Girl and her new bff, Supergirl?!

Okay ... here I am rolling my eyes again.

This sounds like an issue to 'rest' between arcs.

But now Power Girl and Supergirl are BFF's. 

DC has us on a roller coaster. They're jealous of each other. They're friends. They're jealous of each other. They're friends. Now they're best friends.

I have no idea what to expect because writer Leah Williams has shown no sense of Power Girl's continuity. And if she read Mariko Tamaki's recent Supergirl Special, she'll have no sense of Supergirl's either.

Art and cover by GAVIN GUIDRY
Variant cover by STEVE EPTING

Metallo declares war against Superman on American soil! These two men of steel will duke it out in the nation’s capital, and only one can be declared the winner!

We all knew the Hackman Lex Luthor was going to show up in this book. Here he is in all his glory on the cover.

Looking forward to this.

Written by JOE CASEY
Variant cover by LUCIO PARRILLO

The cosmic tragedy of the House of Zod continues, as New Kandor’s first nuclear family truly goes nuclear! With his newly christened homeworld a prime target for alien invasion, General Zod is forced to mine the darkest depths of his own soul in order to defend it. It’s madness and mayhem on a galactic scale brought to you by the star-crossed team of Casey and McDaid!

It has been a while since we have seen Zod in a comic, a much needed breather for the character.

I forget if the planet they put New Kandor on was a yellow-sun planet or not. I mean, a world of super-powered beings probably can defend itself. 

I sort of like DC putting out super-based minis at a regular clip. Steelworks ends, Kneel Before Zod starts. Now if only we got a Supergirl book. 

Variant cover by JOCK
Variant cover by MICHAEL CHO

The cataclysmic crossover between the DCU and Legendary’s Monsterverse continues!

The Justice League have regrouped after their initial losses and discover nefarious plans by the Legion of Doom AND the League of Assassins are underway to use the Monsters for their evil purposes. As Lois Lane uncovers truths about the monster's identities, the League also learns of a beacon that’s drawing all the creatures to one location…the final battle to save Earth is about to begin!

The first issue sizzled. 

I like the idea of villainous groups using the kaijus for their own nefarious gains. Grodd working with Kong should be a hoot. And I suppose Ra's Al Ghul thinks the monsters 'cleansing the planet' of man fits.

Love that Cho variant. And hope Kara remains a presence. 
Written by PETER J. TOMASI
Variant covers by DAN MORA and JAMAL CAMPBELL

They’re bad to the bone, ready to brawl, and the sons of two of the deadliest villains in the galaxy: they’re the Sinister Sons and the DC Universe will never be the same! When the son of General Zod was cast off of his adopted homeworld of New Kandor, Lor-Zod runs afoul of a kid on a mission: Sinson is out to prove he’s got what it takes to live up to the family name of Sinestro! But all is not as it seems, and the sons’ journeys will take them into the heart of darkness in this sensational first issue! Superstar Super Sons scribe Peter J. Tomasi returns to the world of DC youth once again—joined by fan-favorite artist David Lafuente—to craft one of the most dynamic debuts of a duo in DCU history!

I think I'll sample this one.

I miss Super-Sons a ton. Writer Peter J. Tomasi had it all going before Jon got aged up. 

But am I ready for a 'sinister' version? I'm not a fan of Lor-Zod to begin with. And a Sinestro son? When did that happen?

Anyways, I trust Tomasi. So I'll try.

Not a bad month. What did I miss?

Monday, December 4, 2023

Review: Steelworks #6

Steelworks #6 came out last week, the last issue of a very entertaining mini-series focusing on John Henry Irons wondering if he should change his life and rid himself of his Steel persona all while dealing with some revenge-driven people from his past.

Michael Dorn, that's right Worf from Star Trek fame, writes a fun story that has pushed John Henry forward a bit while keeping him pretty much embedded within the super-family. John is worried he is becoming Steel and losing himself. He wants to protect Metropolis making the supers superfluous. He wants to create limitless energy. And he wants to marry Lana. In the end, he realizes that perhaps he doesn't need to change things so dramatically. 

But to get there, he needs to fight the former CEO or Amertek. While all the character stuff about Steel is played seriously, Dorn gives me something I realize now that I needed ... an old school villain. Mr. Walker could walk away with the zero energy generator. Instead he loses his mind, screaming insanity, and being hell bent on revenge with a giant mecha. Glorious!

There is some loose comic book science, done to keep the Kryptonians on the sideline so Steel can save the day. But that also felt classic to me.

Sami Basri and Vicente Cifuentes bring pleasing art to the proceedings. Everyone just looks great. If a 'Lana as Super-Woman' story get put in the Action Comics anthology, I vote they be on art. It all looks top notch here. 

I doubt we'll get a sequel but this was worth it. Kudos to Dorn for stepping in. On to the book.

Friday, December 1, 2023

Review: Action Comics #1059

Action Comics #1059 came out this week and was another fascinating chapter in Phillip Kennedy Johnson's last storyline. The secret of Norah Stone is revealed and alas, this time I was wrong. My guess that Norah Stone was a Warworld refugee and relative of Otho-Ra was incorrect.

Stone and her now super-powered Blue Earth are starting a smear campaign against the Super-family as well as bringing a new brand of vigilante justice to Metropolis. While that is happening, the plot to recruit Otho-Ra to the dark side goes into full swing. For me, Otho is the most interesting character of the issue as we see her struggling to decide which road she will go down in life. In a wonderfully subtle moment, you see how she looks to Kara as a role model. But we are heading to a showdown. Which side will Otho be on?

I also think that Johnson must realize his time on Action Comics is indeed coming to a close. So why not put in all the cool things he has dreamed about in the past. Johnson has talked about his love of Superman Annual #10, so why not have Superman wield a sword during his run!

Rafa Sandoval has the month off but Eddy Barrows comes in and brings a very slick issue. Some very powerful moments here. I usually think of Barrows as the artist I'd want for a super-powered brawl. Here, the moments of Otho-Ra battling on a mental landscape really stand out. Strong stuff. 

As for the back-ups, the New Super-Man story by Gene Luen Yang and Viktor Bogdanovic really crackles. It explains why Kenan is on the team now and not in China. It includes a moment which, I think, is a reference to the Jean Claude Van Damme movie Bloodsport. Big win. The Jon Kent story, written by Dan Parent with art by Marguerite Sauvage, is a little too precious and too light on action for me to like. Someone along the way must have felt we needed a romance comic story here.

I don't quite know why Johnson is leaving Action Comics. He will be missed. On to the book.