Friday, July 19, 2024

Review: Superman #16

Superman #16
came out this week, an Absolute Power tie-in and the first issue post-'House of Brainiac'. It re-unites writer Joshua Williamson with the original artist on the title Jamal Campbell. Not surprising, it is a fun read with beautiful art.

I am not collecting Absolute Power. The concept of Amanda Waller somehow depowering all the heroes and taking control of the planet was completely uninteresting to me. It seems these days I collect every other 'DC Event'. Lazarus Planet yes. Beast World no. Absolute Power no. All In ... probably.

This issue actually is just what a tie-in/crossover should be. It is clearly an issue of Superman, telling its own story. But it is clearly taking place in the Absolute Power big story. As such, Williamson gives me enough info to get me up to speed as a non-reader of the event. Even more impressive, he hints at something that happened in Absolute Power that made me want check out that book. As I said ... impressive. If only there was one of those little editor boxes that might have led me to which of the books I should look. Without that info, the yearning dissipated.

The plot is simple. The heroes are in disarray and trying to get coordinated. Superman is in critical condition. Zatanna has an idea that can help everyone. Meanwhile, the Metropolis gang try to stay alive. It all works well. But there are smaller moments from the supporting characters that really are the high points here, showing how Williamson is working with a full cast and keeping me interested in all of them.

As for Campbell, his art is as polished as ever. I love his take on Zatanna. We get a Smallville flashback that is wonderful. He even makes amnestic Lex seem fresh, like a new character ... which in some ways he is.

Solid issue. Solid crossover. No complaints. On to the particulars.

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Review: My Adventures With Superman S2E9

The penultimate episode of season 2 of My Adventures With Superman came out this week. 
It is intriguingly called 'Superman!' and I think that title works for a number of reasons, especially given the exclamation point. This is Clark shaking off the fake life Brainiac has been giving him, rebecoming Superman. But we end on what seems to be doomsday and so that scream might be people asking to be saved.

I like this show. I love the dynamics of Lois and Clark in this show. I like how she saves him in this episode, opening his mind to the fake life Brainiac has fed him. I like how Superman and Kara decide to team up and fight in the end. I even like how Amanda Waller and Lex Luthor are shown, perhaps, the error of their ways. There are some nods back to this show itself and even to comics. It is both serious and comedic and wholesome all at the same time. This show is way way better than I thought it was going to be and I had pretty high hopes.

This is 'Supergirl Comic Box Commentary' so I have to talk about Supergirl's role here. 

As I have said, at length, I don't think that we needed her to have a dark past, whether as cruelly raised tool of Brainiac or mind-controlled/possessed genocidal weapon of destruction. I did know she would end up in a good place. And this episode cements both that dislike and ending. Kara starts the episode utterly defeated. She thinks Brainiac-possessed Clark is unstoppable. She calls the situation 'hopeless'. She sulks a little. She knows she has killed. It is only when Jimmy spurs her to be a hero that she shakes the doldrums and flies into battle. Heck, she seems ready to sacrifice herself for Earth. She ends up a hero.

But the truth is we could have eliminated all the darkness and got to this same place. She could have been happily exploring for Brainiac as a student for him. He could have destroyed these worlds while she was out on the next mission (we see he has to tech to destroy worlds). She might have realized she was a well-meaning dupe who didn't kill opposed to the 'raised as an angry warrior and world-killer'. We have been shown she has good traits throughout the show. Why we needed the dark varnish over her character still perplexes me. It wasn't needed. (And I know there is an outside chance that everything Kara remembers are implanted ... so maybe she isn't a killer. I can still hope.)

Anyways, I am glad Kara will end up a hero. And overall the show is entertaining and fun. Intrigued to see how it all wraps up. 

Monday, July 15, 2024

Review: Action Comics #1067

The second installment of the 'Superman Superstars' initiative on Action Comics began this week with Action Comics #1067. The latest superstar creative team to join the book is writer Gail Simone and artist Eddy Barrows.

I have been a fan of Simone for a while having been there for her Birds of Prey run (hard to believe that was 21 years ago) from the beginning. I liked her Wonder Woman run as well, especially the Ends of the Earth arc which brought in some of my favorite DC Sword and Sorcery characters. So i have been a bit interested to see what she'll do with Superman.

I also have been a fan of Barrows since his brief stint on Action Comics back in the New Krypton arc. My problem with Barrows has always been his inability to stay on a title long. So perhaps a brief story like this, written well in advance, might mean we'll see his art on the entire thing. His precise work is always wonderful to behold. And this issue, filled with moments big and small work, shines.

'Challenge from the Stars' includes the credit page which dedicates the story to Denny O'Neill and Neal Adams. And this opening chapter shows us why that dedication is present.

This fast-moving first issue is a definite riff on the classic Superman Vs Muhammad Ali treasury (one of the few treasuries I still own from my youth). In that story, an alien race challenges Earth's greatest warrior to a one-on-one fight for the planet. 

And that's the plot of this story too as Superman, early in his career, must take up the mantle to protect another planet from destruction.

A lot happens in this issue. No complaints about deconstruction here as Simone whips through the events a record pace, with Barrows bringing it all together beautifully. Nice cliffhanger too! This was a solid opener. 

On to the particulars.

Friday, July 12, 2024

Review: My Adventures With Superman #2

The comic My Adventures With Superman #2 came out last week, the second part of a mini-series with Superman dealing with a new version of Amazo.

I have been watching and enjoying the show this comic is based on, even while dealing with its terrible backstory behind Supergirl. This is a new Superman universe so everything feels fresh here as we see Clark learning his powers, dealing with his dual identity, and (most importantly) loving Lois Lane. 

This comic continues to focus on the Lois/Clark relationship as well as Jimmy being part of the news team. The scenes that sing the most in this book are those of these three interacting. I especially like Lois and Clark sort of feeling each other out as new daters. Part of that is learning more about this Lois and contrasting (and comparing) her to her father. Given what we have seen this season on the show, I like seeing more of what life was like growing up as Lois with Sam.

In this issue, the Jimmy/Clark/Lois trio head into an army base to try to find and free the Amazo robot. But it isn't Superman; it's Clark. Seeing him deal with decreased powers and try to remain a hero and help Amazo is another part of this chapter that works well. 

We end on a solid cliffhanger putting Clark in some peril. 

Pablo Collar brings the style of the show to the book as well making this smoothly slide into this universe. 

On to the book.

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Review: My Adventures With Superman S2 E8

The eighth episode of the second season of My Adventures With Superman, titled 'The Death of Clark Kent',  came out this week and was another interesting episode, perhaps opening up a door for a better ending for Supergirl than I have been expecting.

My reviews of this show have been an interesting exercise for me. I actually am enjoying the show as a whole with its wholesome foundation, its somewhat darker plot themes, and it's anime twee-ness. It is a crazy mix. 

There is no doubt this is a small town Superman with small town beliefs and a very earnest approach to helping people. Superman is that wholesome protagonist that the whole show is built on. But the themes of the show are ones of isolation, persecution, and loneliness. This season has Superman truly questioning if he fits in on Earth and it is amplified by Luthor and the government turning the people against him. 

Add to that, you have the Brainiac/Supergirl story. Brainiac wants to recreate Krypton. He wants to convince Superman that he doesn't belong so he can use Kal. And he has been using Kara this whole time. It means that Superman is going to have to choose Earth. Kara is going to have to reject Krypton, at least the vision of it Brainiac has been filling her head with. 

But mixing anime cuteness and wholesome 'aw shucks' Smallville with genocidal Supergirl's and depressed, isolated Superman and keeping it cohesive is tough. I think about the movie Thor Love and Thunder which had Jane dying of cancer, a god-killing being kidnapping children and threatening to sacrifice them mixed in with ludicrously bad humor attempts. It didn't work. 

Somehow this show is pulling it off. I'm enjoying it overall. 

I still wish Supergirl had a better backstory ... but the truth is that might come to pass. On to the particulars.

Monday, July 8, 2024

Review: Kneel Before Zod #7

Kneel Before Zod #7 came out last week and was another brutal, fight-filled brawl of an issue. But it is also about as close to a Keith Giffen Legion issue I have read in a long time. As a long-time LSH fan, I was pretty tickled by the issue.

Outside of the nostalgia of this issue (and trust me there is a lot of stuff for a Legion fan to love here), I have sort of turned the corner on this book. Yes, the issues are mostly violent action and a lot of it. But the real foundation here is that, for all his bluster, Zod is a broken man. From visions of Jor-El to losing his family to looking into the abyss this issue, Zod is falling apart. This is a very different take from the character that has always been a ramrod straight, narcissistic despot. It finally has added some depth to the character for me.

Dan McDaid continues to be a sort of revelation on the book. His art remains a sort of rough beauty, perfect for a melee like this title. Moreover, this issue he really leans into Giffen, from the 9 panel grid to Munoz-esque faces in shadow to the Kirby-esque Emerald Empress. And more. 

I am pretty sure this series got cut short and will end soon. I doubt writer Joe Casey is going to tell us the full story he wanted to. And there are a lot of loose ends. But for now, I am going to enjoy this dive into Zod.

On to the book.

Friday, July 5, 2024

Review: Power Girl #10

Settle in ... this is probably my last review of this Power Girl run. Barring some major Supergirl crossover, I think Power Girl #10 will be the last issue in my collection. 

This issue was a loose tie-in to the House of Brainiac storyline. But in a very tangential way. So with that connection to the main books over, I'm done.

This issue shows much of what I have been struggling with in terms of the book. Writer Leah Williams continues to me a Power Girl I don't particularly recognize. It leans into a current trope in comics - that our heroes are just like us, traumatized and hurting. That means we are heroes. I go more for the heroes aren't like me but are people I should aspire to be like.

But, for me, this issue's fault lies with the plot. A lot of what we are told seem spurious or coincidental. Much of it doesn't make much sense within the confines of the DCU. It will be easier just to show you.

The art continues to be solid in a sort of grungy way. I like Eduardo Pansica a lot and think his stuff would be perfect for a back alley, ground level book. And I like the Nicola Scott variant cover even more than the standard Yanick Paquette one. No denying the source for Scott's vision.

When does an homage become a copy?

But I seriously love this Kerry Gamill cover from the 80's Power Girl mini-series. Nice updating.

On to this book.

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

Review: My Adventures With Superman S2E7

My Adventure With Superman S2 E7 came out this weekend and was a fun side adventure showing just how Lois and Jimmy ended up in deep space at the end of E6. 

Titled 'Olsen's Eleven', a nice grown up homage to the heist Ocean's films, the episode has Lois and Jimmy putting together a gang to steal a jumpship out of STAR Labs. Having them team up with some 'villains' added a fun element. 

The show is a bit progressive and certainly in line with the current themes of comics. The 'villains', like Livewire and Heat Wave, or Brain and Mallah, are in loving, committed relationships and only want to live their best lives freely. Meanwhile, the usual 'good guys' are militaristic and dictatorial. 

Supergirl herself is only in this episode for a few seconds. But her presence is felt throughout. The government is using her as propaganda to tout the anti-Superman, anti-alien message. Lois also thinks of her as a threat and is ready to use deadly force. Meanwhile, Jimmy keeps bringing up how Kara seems to have a good heart and is who she is because of the lack of love in her upbringing. 

I'll say it again. I know Supergirl will be left in a good place when this season ends. It is the story to bring us there, the 'genocidal, mind-controlled weapon' of the villain that I don't like. It is a shame we couldn't get a different, less dark, less difficult origin for her in this universe. Because I have been very entertained by this show. We are on the redemption trail. How I would have loved something less edgy from the start! Ah well.

On to some particulars.

Monday, July 1, 2024

Review: Superman #15

Superman #15 came out last week, ending the House of Brainiac arc and bringing us into Absolute Power. I have enjoyed Joshua Williamson's run on the character and this Brainiac arc has been pretty engrossing. I think it has nicely showcased the new world order that Williamson has made - villains as allies, family as phalanx, Brainiac as universal threat. 

Does this closing chapter stick the landing? The answer is mostly. 

I love the way this story ends, mirroring Superman's origin and leading us to 2 major new plots. I like how the super-family has to come together to bring about victory. Throughout Williamson's run I have been intrigued by this 'new Lex', the guy who wants to be Superman's partner. We see that, at least in this storyline, he was telling us the truth. 

Things I don't know if I completely understand is Brainiac's overall plot. He wants to bring about the Brainiac Queen, it seems, to destroy all life in the universe. That doesn't jibe with historic Brainiac, the one who wanted to gather knowledge. I still don't know if the other Brainiac's are from other timelines? When did Brainiac become overwhelmed with emotions? I suppose if I just say Brainiac is evil I can just accept much of this. I was hoping for more understanding of Brainiac's motives. 

The art is again by Rafa Sandoval who is now one of my favorite artists working for DC. I love his take on Supergirl! And the page layouts, panel construction, and pacing of the book really sing. This felt like a finale to a big story artwise.

I am hoping Williamson stays on the book because I have enjoyed his run and this arc was another good chunk of his run. On to the particulars!

Friday, June 28, 2024

Review: Action Comics #1066

The House of Brainiac storyline wrapped up this week with the last two chapters released on the same day. Interesting choice. The arc has really been very entertaining up to now, building up some mysteries and momentum, throwing characters together to fight the bigger threat, and amping up Brainiac as a mad villain. 

Here in Action Comics #1066, part 5 of 6, writer Joshua Williamson keeps the momentum going. One thing that I like about this story is how we see the breadth of the super-family and even see people like Lobo and Luthor joining in to stop the Brainiac Queen from annihilating everything. There are some interesting possible callbacks to other stories as well that keep a veteran like me happy.

That said, I still don't 100% know what all the mysteries in Brainiac are about. The glitches, the hole in his memory, the gathering of other Brainiacs, the whole goal of the thing is still a little vague in my head. I keep puzzling about the 'why' and I don't get enough answers to be satisfied.

And there are a couple of confusing moments in this issue that also had me wondering where this would all go.

The art remains fantastic as once again Rafa Sandoval and Miguel Mendonca team up to bring us some incredible action. This is a sort of horror/sci-fi setting and it works well. Laura Braga pencils a Lex/Lena backup and brings a very different style but it works for a story looking back at young Lena.

In the end, I think this was a solid book but perhaps not up to the excellence of the prior issues.

On to the particulars.

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

My Adventures With Superman S2 E6 - Darkest Of Dark Supergirls

Last week I reviewed the fifth episode of My Adventures With Supergirl. It was the introduction of Supergirl to the show and it wasn't pretty. She was once again portrayed as the dupe of the villain and basically dark.

Well, I just watched My Adventures With Superman S2 E6, "The Machine Who Would Be Empire", and if you thought E5's Kara was a dark Supergirl, you ain't seen nothing yet. In this episode we finally hear the name Brainiac as the bad guy. And he has been acting as Kara's 'father'.

I'll start out by saying it is clear that Kara has been mentally tortured throughout her life, raised by a heartless Brainiac who has warped her thoughts and bent her into a tool for his evil. He also seems to have outright mind control over her. In many ways, she isn't responsible for the vile events she has done. And settle in because they are despicable.

I'll also say that I know that in the end this Kara will turn, become a hero, and be a force of good. We see in many places in this episode she has a good heart at her core.

But neither of those two things, her manipulation or her good heart and eventual hero turn, make up for what I had to watch here. 

Because this decision to do this to Supergirl was just that ... a creative decision. Show runner Josie Campbell could have introduced Kara in any sort of ways. But instead she chose to make Kara a tool for the villain, a genocidal maniac, a person who at the end of this episode is living in pain.  

They made Supergirl the villain again. They made her emotionally and psychologically abused again. And they made her dark again. 

And frankly I'm sick of it.

Because we start the episode with her bathed in red light, angry eyes, and vowing to convince Kal to join her in rebuilding the Krypton Empire with her 'father'.

Monday, June 24, 2024

7 Million Views


I do an anniversary post yearly.

So sorry if this seems overly self-congratulatory.

But last week, the site crossed 7 million views. 

Thanks for everyone who visits and comments.

This is a site predominantly about Supergirl! 

Thanks for coming by!

Friday, June 21, 2024

Review: Batman/Superman World's Finest #28

Batman/Superman World's Finest #28 came out this week, the next chapter in the Imp-Killer storyline by Mark Waid, Dan Mora, and Travis Mercer. It is another dandy of an issue filled with crazy Jimmy Olsen action, dimension hopping, and a call back to one of the greatest Batman moments ever.

Mark Waid is clearly a fan of the DC universe and has used this book to bring back a lot of Z-list characters and DC historical events. He has brought back a sense of heroics and excitement to stories. And he continues that here, showing us a crazy story of 5th dimensional hijinks, 6th dimensional tyrants, Jimmy Olsen Silveriness, and showing us that it is hard to be Silver Age silly in the current DCU. It all just crackles with fun.

Dan Mora continues to bring us the best art on the rack. Again, this is a mix of high action and insanity. Only Dan Mora could bring us feisty Kara, a giant pie in the face, and Batman incinerated as a marionette and have it all look gorgeous. Travis Mercer steps in for the the dimensional interludes with Batman and Superman and brings a Mora-esque feel to things so we don't feel pulled out of the story. 

But couldn't help but give some love to this Nathan Szerdy variant cover. Such a nice little double homage to the Bruce Timm specials for Batgirl and Supergirl. 

But to catch us up to speed, the 6th Dimensional imp killer had just declared Jimmy Olsen the champion of Earth and challenged Mr. Action to a duel.

There is so much fun in this story as it veers from craziness to peril. But in particular, the characterization of young Robin is one of the best parts. Here he won't let Mxyzptlk disappear. Mxy's assessment of Jimmy is hilarious.

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

DC Solicits: September 2024

The Superman books right now are flying high with House of Brainiac. Which makes me wonder how much Absolute Power will drain some of the energy out of the books. The solicits for September are out and I just don't find much in the current continuity to be too thrilling. 

Here is a link to the full solicits:

After reading the solicits, I don't think I'll be getting the main Absolute Power series or the tie-ins.  So here are the Super books.

Art and cover by JAMAL CAMPBELL
Variant covers by FRANCESCO MATTINA, W. SCOTT FORBES, and SWEENEY BOO 1:25 variant cover by AL BARRIONUEVO
Artist Spotlight variant cover by NICOLA SCOTT


Waller has the powerless heroes of the DC Universe on the ropes! Can the powerless Superman and Zatanna find the mystical map to the Dark Roads in time to get some major back-up?!
Lex Luthor, Lois Lane, Mercy, Jimmy, and Silver Banshee are on the run from the superpowered Amazos but find themselves pulled into a battle for the soul of Metropolis! Don’t miss the shocking cliffhanger that impacts the future of the Superman titles!

A cliffhanger that impacts the future of the super titles? Let the guesses abound! My money is on 'Jimmy dies'. 

I like Zatanna so maybe this will be fun. Can't wait to see Jamal Campbell's take on her.

Monday, June 17, 2024

My Adventures Of Supergirl S2 E5 - Dark Supergirl ... Again!

My Adventures With Superman S2 E5 dropped this weekend. 

I had fears going into this episode. Big fears. Fears that Supergirl would be brainwashed, duped, or outright evil. Because as a Supergirl fan, I know that her character is often mistreated. She is used as a plot device. She is used to elevate Superman. She is not treated like the resilient hero she should be.

Now I know that there is a very good chance that at the end of this season Supergirl will see the error of her ways and end up being a hero. But seeing her evil or dark or manipulated has been done too often, has been done incessantly, and is really a tarnish on her character.

"Most Eligible Superman" has an ongoing plot of Superman being a contestant in Metropolis' Most Eligible contest, a plot that pushes the Clark/Lois relationship theme forward. 

But it opens with Kara now on Earth. I suppose her dressing like Android 18 from Dragon Ball Z is another hint of her character arc. After all Android 18 started out as a villain but also becomes a hero. 

On to more of the disheartening particulars.

Friday, June 14, 2024

Review: My Adventures With Superman #1

It's a week of My Adventures With Superman talk as today I review the first issue of the comic tie-in, a story nestled between the first two seasons of the show. 

I have to say that the show has grown on me as a very interesting mix of silliness and wholesomeness with an undercurrent of some serious themes. And this season is sort of ratcheting up the latter piece with Clark's isolation and Lex's narcissism as major themes. 

The comic, written by show runner Josie Campbell with art by Pablo Collar, has the same vibe. From the manga-like art to a little whimsy, this book strikes an overall nice tone. But the story here of an apparent villain who might not be exactly that works well. 

In particular, I really like how Clark is classic Clark. There is a small town, 'aw shucks', 'I'm a little awkward but also a great friend and I want to just help people' feel to him and Superman. It helps that this is a Superman early in his career, sort of feeling out everything.

The book is ranked 13+ but this issue would be fine in the hands of a 10 year old Anj. So maybe this is an entry into comics for any young fans in your life.

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Fear Of Where 'My Adventures With Superman' Is Going - S2E4

I have been enjoying My Adventures With Superman as an IP for the Man of Steel. Somehow the show walks a fine line between whimsy and drama. The character pieces inject some anime fun and imagery which keep an upbeat feel to everything.

Not that everything is rosy, especially in this season. We are seeing why the Lois/Sam relationship is strained. We are still seeing Superman dealing with his feelings of isolation and loneliness.

I am sure that last part will be dealt with or at least riffed on with the appearance of Supergirl in the show. We have seen the angry images of Kara in some previews. We know she is out there. But we haven't met her yet.

When you show me an angry Supergirl, I worry. There have been too many instances where Supergirl has been utilized by evil forces for my tastes. There have been too many times where she has been held back as a hero to make Superman better. And this last episode 'Two Lanes Diverged' made me nervous.

Lex Luthor has taken a much bigger role in this season and now is proclaiming 'The Superman Problem' to the media. 

Superman is an alien. Superman is incredibly powerful. Superman could force his will on Earthlings. Superman is dangerous. Superman cannot be trusted.

If Superman can't be trusted ...

Monday, June 10, 2024

Nicola Scott Covers

Recently it was announced that artist Nicola Scott will be doing a set of variant covers in September called 'Through the Ages". The covers have, as expected, characters as their looks and costumes have changed over time. Here is a link to an article and a sneak peek of the lot:

I was thrilled to see that Supergirl was being honored. I'll definitely be grabbing this one.

And quite the lineup on this cover.
Top row: original, mid-Adventure Comic run, one-shot Adventure Comic costume
Middle row: Hot pants from the Bronze age, Crisis era, Matrix Supergirl, DCAU/late Linda Danvers white shirt
Bottom row: Michael Turner reboot, DC Rebirth costume, current jacket version

That is a pretty solid take on Supergirl during the ages.

But one thing I found interesting.

Friday, June 7, 2024

Review: Kneel Before Zod #6

Kneel Before Zod #6 came out this week, meaning the book is at the halfway point. 

I have pretty interested in the overall plot of the book, giving us a deep dive into the persona of General Zod. We have seen him in a sort of 'mid-life crisis' mode of ennui as he rebuilt New Kandor. He is haunted by visions of Jor-El.  Then there was a moment where he was sort of down and out with Ursa taking over. And then there was rage as he bashed his way through several attacks and ships.

While this peek into Zod's mind has been interesting, the issues seemed a bit light with many pages filled with over the top, brutal action.

This issue is much more story-driven than action driven which made me happy. I don't know what Zod's plans with New Krypton will be. I think it is fascinating that he seems interested in leading an army out for unknown conquest. Writer Joe Casey is peeling back Zod's gruff exterior to show me a more complicated being. 

But the big thing about this issue is that it is  chock full of Legion of Super-Heroes mythos. From character races to 9-panel grids, this felt like an 'evil Legion' book. For a Legion fan like me, this was wonderful. Made me realize how much I miss the IP. 

Artist Dan McDaid continues to bring a sort of rough, grungy style to the book, perfect for this prison ship environment. I love how his Jor-El is clean and unblemished, a stark contrast to everything else in the book. 

I still don't know how I fully feel about this book. Pieces really grab me. But this issue sparkled. On to some specifics.

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

My Adventures With Superman S2, Episodes 1-2

Imagine my surprise to turn on Max the other day and find three episodes of My Adventures of Superman lined up to watch. 

I didn't really cover the first season of the show, a sort of anime-fueled, update to the Superman legend. I definitely found the relationship between Lois and Clark to be the core of the show. The addition of Supergirl to this season made me particularly interested.

How would Supergirl be portrayed? What will her story be? Show runner Josie Campbell has treated Kara and Mary Marvel pretty well in both animated features and comics. So I have faith even if early images show an angry Supergirl.

Regardless, any time Kara crosses over into other media, I am thrilled. 

But there is always a little worry. 

So let's see what has happened in these first two episodes from a Supergirl-centric look.

It starts with an expansionist Krypton, an empire that stretched out over the stars until an enemy came to the planet and the Kryptonian force was defeated.

Based on what I see, I have to believe it is Brainiac.

Monday, June 3, 2024

Review: Power Girl #9

Power Girl #9 came out this last week, a tangential House of Brainiac tie-in with "Paige" fighting some Czarians in Metropolis.

I have struggled with this title a lot since its inception. "Paige" isn't Karen. A Power Girl who feels awkward around other people isn't the one I know either. Having Omen save the day all the time and Power Girl either defeated, needing to be saved, or in the background of her own book doesn't work either. And "Paige" specific plots, about her symbioship attacking her, have been lost amidst cutesy fantasy and cat-focused issues.

So we come to this issue which on its face corrects a lot of that.

Power Girl is a hero in this. She uses her powers and strength pretty well in her fights. There is no Omen to be seen. The symbioship threat is back. From a 10000 foot view, this issue is better.

That doesn't mean this is a good issue. It's a Power Girl issue, more than many have been. But I still have some difficulty with the plot and the events and even the outcomes. Still, I should be happy there is some vague overall improvement.

Leah Williams seems to focus equally on Crush and the new Halliday Girls in this book. So I'm not surprised to see all of them come off just as tough as "Paige" even if they are just humans. And I still don't know 100% what the symbioship is trying to do here. 

The art remains solid. I like Eduardo Pansica here. His fight scenes are slick. He has a good grasp on Power Girl just as he did with Supergirl years ago. And if there is one thing keeping me here the most it is Yanick Paquette on covers. Paquette is a favorite and this (literally) cheeky take on the old 'Lobo's Back' books is great. 

On to some of the details.

Friday, May 31, 2024

Review: Justice League Vs. Godzilla Vs. Kong #7

Justice League Vs Godzilla Vs Kong #7 came out last week, ending the series, a true sprint to the finish line.

You know that feeling when you are watching a silly, summer blockbuster movie and you stop and try to rationalize some glaring plot holes or insane coincidences only to realize it is a fool's mission. That you aren't supposed to be thinking hard about something like this? 

That is sort of my feeling about this finale.

This book has been wildly fun in places. There has been plenty to love and there is a lot to love in this issue. But a couple of issues ago I began to worry how the many plots threads that writer Brian Buccellato had been introducing would be tied up. 

The answer is that they'll be tied up very quickly. You just have to roll with it. I wonder if I would feel more fulfilled if this was a movie and not a comic I am reviewing.

The art remains an interesting mix of Christian Duce's beautifully fluid, thin lined art mixed with Tom Denerick's scratchier 'late Neal Adams' style. They don't always mix well. 

I wish the energy and enthusiasm I felt in the first couple of issues carried throughout.

On to the book.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Review: Batman/Superman #27

Since it's inception, the Mark Waid/Dan Mora Batman/Superman World's Finest has been a revelation. It has been the most entertaining book on the rack, the perfect blend of adventure and fun, all set in an Else-When continuity that seems to be a mix of Classic DC and current continuity set in the past. I suppose with it's callbacks to pre-Crisis Bronze DC, animation, and Silver Age stories, it might be written for readers of a certain vintage like me.

Which brings us to Batman/Superman World's Finest #27, the next chapter in the Bat-Mite/Mr. Mxyzptlk arc. This is perhaps the craziest issue of the lot, amping up all the things I said I love about the title to 11. I get the sense you are either going to love this issue or hate it. And I loved it.

Waid continues to show us a world where every super-villain suddenly has a helpful 5th Dimensional imp. This is a world threat meaning Waid and Mora get to give us a deep dive into the DCU. Mora continues to show a complete mastery of comic art and the characters in the universe. Waid continues to make this a Who's Who book with Batman and Superman stirring the drink. 

And yet there is whimsy in this book. From Batman The Animated Series, the filmation Batman, to the wonkiness of Silver Age Jimmy Olsen, there is comic joy amidst the action battles. 

How can someone mix world-threatening plots and near omnipotent 6th dimensional overlords with the insanity of early comics successfully? This way I guess.

On to the book.

Monday, May 27, 2024

Review: Superman #14

Superman #14, part 4 of the House of Brainiac event, came out last week and was just another excellent chapter in this arc. Writer Joshua Williamson continues to push this story forward while adding new mysteries and wrinkles to keep the momentum building. He also is leaning into DC history and continuity here. From all the Brainiacs, to call back to recent mini-series, to maybe deeper dives, I love it.

There are three sort of plot lines in this issue. Superman and Lobo are skirmishing while General Chical watches on. This plot sort of truncates in this issue and not in the way I assumed it would. I like being surprised. And when I say it truncates, it truncates.

There is the ongoing Lex and Supergirl team-up. Obviously I am following this one pretty closely. Given the weird history when Matrix Supergirl hooked up with Lex, seeing the two together always has some historical resonance. I like here how both don't seem to like or trust the other but they understand that Brainiac is the bigger threat. Here there are a couple of new nuggets to mull over.

The last plot is Brainiac's actual plot. We know he has some holes in his memory ... I have a theory, We know he is building something. We get to finally see it. He actually kind of wins in this issue with the book ending on an ominous cliffhanger. 

Together that is some great stuff. I have the usual questions and nitpicks. But from a story view, this is great.

Rafa Sandoval and Miguel Mendonca combine on art again here and continue to shine. Sandoval's Superman is the sort of physical presence I like. Giant, broad chested, intimidating when he needs to. Mendonca does most of the Supergirl pages and his style is a little rough but solid. The action and panel composition is great. 

On to the details.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Back Issue Box: Action Comics #546

You know it is a tough week when here we are on Wednesday and I still haven't been to the comic book store this week. I probably won't get there until tomorrow!

So while I promise I will get to reviews of the new releases soon, I figured I could dip into the back issue box again today. After reviewing the semi-trippy origin of the new Brainiac in Action Comics #544, I figured I'd cover the ending of that arc in Action Comics #546

I have only recently been reading this Marv Wolfman run on Action Comics in the immediate pre-Crisis wind-down of the character. I have to compliment him for his efforts to expand the scope and grandiosity of the book. He introduced Syrene and Lord Satanus. He brought Brainiac back and then amped up the danger of the villain. Heck, this story feels like a mini-event with the finale guest starring both the JLA and the Teen Titans. (The Titans were at the top of the heap at this point.) He even tried to shake up the supporting stories, splitting Lois and Superman and having Clark date Lana. Maybe the powers that be realized Superman and the universe needed to be updated and reinvigorated.

But he also seems to have increased the crankiness of Superman overall. As Clark, he is a little angry, a little put upon, a little twitchy. Part of it that this Clark wants to enjoy his life and the way he has lived up to then feels off. That wish to optimize the Clark life means his Superman often acts like he is tired, doesn't want to move on to the next threat, and almost wishes he could sit back and relax. There is just a tinge of emotional and physical fatigue here. Interesting in a way, but off-putting.

Gil Kane really breaks it all out in this issue given the guest stars, city street battles, and the one-on-one fight of Superman and Brainiac. This new Brainiac isn't the easiest design and at times Kane seems unsure of the proportions, the head/face plate being inconsistent in places. Still, my admiration of Kane as grown over the years. And I'm 99% sure he basically traced a Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez pic in this issue. Overall a good job here.

On to the details.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

DC Comics August 2024 Solicits

The August 2024 DC Comics Solicits are out and you can find the entire list here for perusal:

It is an interesting month for a number of reasons. There is this big rumor that September is going to be another upheaval month for DC with the Scott Snyder led 'Absolute DC' supposedly coming out. I suppose that naming makes sense given the concurrent Absolute Power crossover in the main universe. 

As for Absolute Power, I said in prior posts that I doubt I am getting this mini-series but this month's solicit reads intriguing enough that I might grab it.

Outside of that mega-crossover, there are some new mini-series being listed. There is another volume of DC Vs. Vampires and Dark Knights of Steel. I sort of like Vampires and I definitely enjoyed the first volume of Dark Knights but neither of these new series sound like something I'd be interested unfortunately. A Deathstroke-centric Knights? Not my cup of tea. 

I don't know what to think of Gotham By Gaslight:The Kryptonian Age given that the solicits don't mention Kryptonians. 

And two DC books I am collecting - Green Lantern War Journal and JSA - are both ending meaning my pull list is that much leaner with no new books to replace them.

Ah well. On to the Super-books. 

Superman #17
Art and cover by JAMAL CAMPBELL

After the traumatic events of Absolute Power #2, Superman and Zatanna trek into the darkest areas of the DC Universe to find a way to stop Waller and her growing army. Powerless and without magic, are they willing to make a deal with a devil to save the world

Traumatic events? Someone dying?

Always interested in seeing Superman team-up with magic based characters and Zatanna is a favorite. So I'll be there. Glad to see Jamal Campbell back on the book. But I thought he was at Marvel now?

Monday, May 20, 2024

Brainiac Who's Who Pages

With House of Brainiac showcasing all the forms of Brainiac and with my recent review of Action Comics #544, I was struck with how much Brainiac has changed over time. One of the ways I sort of try to catalog the changes on this site is to look back at some of the official biographies of characters ... the Who's Who pages.

We'll start with the original, the mid-Crisis 1985 Who's Who. This issue was on the racks just 2 years after Action Comics #544 and the same month as Crisis on Infinite Earths #6.  So this version of Brainiac was relatively new. 

This is a nice page with art by Ed Hannigan, the designer of the new form. There is a nice retelling of his origin, a 12th level intelligence construct sent out by the Coluan computer tyrants to reconnoiter worlds for them to conquer. Given Vril Dox as a pseudo-son to cement the humanoid persona.  I forgot about that aspect of his origin to be honest.

But this catches us up to the recent change to this emotionless 'unique organic' life form with infinite technology at his disposal. 

While this version only was around for 5 years or so, it struck a chord. I am glad this design remains around today either in the Brainiac ship form or the drone soldiers look. 

But the changes didn't stop there.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Review: Action Comics #1065

Action Comics #1065, the third chapter of House of Brainiac, came out this week and was a full-throttle, warp speed adventure, filled with brawls and plot progression. In many ways, this was a Supergirl issue, once again pushing the new reality that she is the second in command of the Super-family, the field general. Throw in some Superman/Lobo fun and a back-up story that brings back a favorite character of mine and this was a big win.

I'll start by saying Joshua Williamson is really crafting an excellent event here. There is still a lot of mystery around what Brainiac is doing here. What are his goals and motivations? He isn't acting quite like the cold collector of knowledge. The gathering of Brainiac doppelgangers is fascinating. And what is this 'missing knowledge' in his mind that is shorting him out. 

I like seeing a more proactive and frankly more physical Superman. His family is missing. Brainiac is a threat. He needs to find the villain and he'll use most any means possible. I like seeing Lobo as a sort of dark mirror of Superman, dealing with his own General Zod. Even Lex is intriguing as I try to understand his motivations and goals here.

But this is a Supergirl site and she dominates a lot of the issues. There was plenty I loved. She is smart and calculating. She is brave and pretty fierce in her determination to defeat Brainiac. Heroes and villains respect her and her leadership as she leads her team through the Brainiac ship. That's all great. 

She wields a gun and a knife in this issue. (Conner wields an axe.) I guess given the situation, that makes sense but isn't my favorite image.

She literally spits in the face of Brainiac. That seems a little bit childish and crass for my take on Kara.

She does something foolish and possibly suicidal at the end of the issue. That sort undermines the intelligence and leadership she showed before. Maybe not the best.

I am trying to see all that through the lens of her facing down her own personal boogie-man in Brainiac. I suppose she can veer towards the unhinged.

Still, for Supergirl, this has to overall be a positive. She is a main character, a hero, and proactive.

The art in the main story is done by Rafa Sandoval and Miguel Mendonca and really shines. I love Sandoval's barrel-chested Superman, a sort of modern Wayne Boring! And Mendonca somehow makes the jacket Supergirl costume look good! Mirko Colak brings a dark, heavily shadowed art in the back-up, a perfect style for the story itself.

Okay, enough prologue. On to the book.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Back Issue Box: Action Comics #544

The House of Brainiac event  by Joshua Williamson is underway and off to a solid start. 

One of the pieces of the plot that has grabbed my attention is the appearance of multiple iterations of Brainiac which have been seen on the villain's ship. Are these all within current continuity? Plucked from different timelines? Or universes?

With this mystery on my mind, I thought it would be interesting to look back at some Brainiacs as a back issue review.

Action Comics #544 was given the 'Anniversary' gold ink trade dress that DC used back in the day, celebrating 45 years of Superman being around. It contained two separate stories, updating Luthor and Brainiac in the immediate pre-Crisis days of 1983. 

From the viewpoint of history, this issue hit the mark. The Luthor armor introduced here has been around in some version ever since. And the updated, skeletal and monstrous Brainiac has been a staple since, even if used more for the villain's drones. 

In this time, Action Comics was being written by Marv Wolfman with art by Gil Kane. Wolfman was doing his best to sort of re-invigorate the Man of Steel, bringing in new villains like Lord Satanus, having Clark date Lana, and issues like this where old school villains got a bit of a polish. 

I won't be covering the Luthor story on this post but it is harrowing. 

The Brainiac story is almost a bit magical in its plot. and ends on a cliffhanger. Alas, I'll have to hunt for Action Comics #545! I don't own it. ]
I'm not the biggest Gil Kane fan but he does his best with the story. It features some seriously Kirbyesque sequences as well as alien landscapes and war. But Kane is up to the task. I love the cover with the almost scared Superman surprint looking at the new villains. Dick Giordano brings a bit of smoothness and polish to Kane's work here.

On to the book and the 'new' Brainiac!

Monday, May 13, 2024

Review: Kneel Before Zod #5

Kneel Before Zod # 5 came out last week, another issue dominated by Zod mowing through people in a rather gruesome fashion. This seems to be a sort of pattern of the book. There are a few crumbs of plot and characterization among the pages of violence.

I understand this is a General Zod book. So I knew violence was going to happen. Writer Joe Casey is filling in some history of Zod, showing maybe how he became what he is. We continue to see the sort of Jor-El obsession Zod has. And Casey does a great job of including some Kryptonian lore and some DC alien races, giving this a bit of depth. But these feel like crumbs. Last issue was dominated by pages of Zod just killing Khunds. This issue is dominated by pages of Zod killing Kaffarians. I need a bit more.

This also starts the book on a whole new direction which means all the plots we started on New Kandor in the first 4 issues seem to be in the rear view mirror unless we get back there. 

It all means I kind of don't know what to make of this series so far, a mix of an interesting look at Zod in the midst of countless pages of gore.

Dan McDaid continues to bring a nice rough feel to the proceedings. Zod is monstrous in this, still devastated by the explosion last issue. McDaid adds some nice flourishes to panels, having the art add to the mood. I love his scenes on Krypton. And the long violent scenes are beautifully horrifying. 

But I do wish the issues had some more story in them.

On to the issue.

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Free Comic Book Day 2024

Free Comic Book Day is like a mini-holiday for me but one that I always forget to block out on my work schedule. Luckily this last Saturday I was working in the late evening so was able to partake of the festivities at two store, one my home store and the other a new store near my work place I am trying to support. 

I usually am looking forward to the DC output. I grabbed the Absolute Power preview to see if it could lure me into getting it. (I am planning on skipping the main story.) I don't think it changed my mind. The main story is by Mark Waid and Mikel Janin and gives us a peek into the main plot, Amanda Waller trying to destroy super-heroes. There is a sort of despair and venality to the proceedings. 

For one thing we see that Green Arrow is working with Waller. Way to go Ollie! I can only hope this is a ruse. I mean, why would Ollie want this?

Plus we get to see Waller try to drain a no-name villain named 'Haywire' to power some device only to have it explode his body with feedback, apparently this has happened to some others.

I knew Haywire. I read Haywire. Haywire was a friend of mine. And you 'Haywire' are no Haywire!!

The last pages are previews of the first issue showing Superman being shot. 

Ah well, I think I won't be getting this unless others tell me I should change my mind. 

The Mad Magazine comic was a fun romp. Hat tip to friend Martin Gray who told me I should grab it for this 'blink and you'll miss it appearance of the 1970's Nasty Luthor! Bring her back DC!!!

As for the rest of the day, I grabbed the Flash Gordon book for me because I might be getting it. I like the character and the creative team of Jeremy Adams and Will Conrad. If the purposes of these books are to entice a new reader to pick up the series, this one does its job!  Talk about starting a book off with a bang!

I visited my main store of New England Comics when the doors opened and was glad to see a small line outside waiting! Woo hoo!

Despite the store getting money from me weekly, I still want to support the store for the work they do on FCBD so I grabbed a Swamp Thing trade so I stop wearing out the floppies. NEC has a 2 book limit so that was the DC and Flash Gordon books.

I have been very impressed with Friar Tuck's Comics, a new store right outside Boston. This is a high-end comic store with tons of back issues and great deals. I was pretty pumped to see a small line outside their store too! They had a 4 issue limit. This time I grabbed kid books to give to younger relatives and lure them into the hobby. 

I definitely wanted to support this store which just opened its doors. So I filled two big holes in my collection, Amethyst #14 and Thor #329

Hope everyone had an awesome FCBD 2024 and would love to hear about other's experiences!

Thursday, May 2, 2024

Review: Superman House Of Brainiac Special #1

I've very much been enjoying Joshua Williamson's House of Brainiac. We're just two issues in and I am already clamoring for more. So I was pretty excited to see the Superman House of Brainiac Special solicited for a dreaded 5th Wednesday.

Now the first two issues sizzled. This one has three stories, two directly linked to the Brainiac arc and one catching up on Perry White's mayoral run. 

Joshua Williamson writes the two Brainiac stories. The first one covers how Brainiac got a hold of the Czarian city he controls. It also gives us another link to the uncertain thinking we have seen Brainiac suffer from in this arc. The second Brainiac story has a much better reveal, something that I really liked. Unfortunately it also involves the now ever-present Amanda Waller, a character I could do without. Edwin Galmon provides a sterile futuristic art style to the Czarnia story. Fico Ossio brings a much muddier, grittier art style to the last story.

But it is the middle story that I found lacking. Writer Mark Russell does two things which sat wrong with me. One, he puts forward a rough and rumpled version of Perry White. That's not my Perry. And Russell is known for the political leanings in his stories and this one is no different. This one is a bit heavy handed and rather simplistic in its approach to a real problem. Steve Pugh remains rock solid on art. 

So this felt like a little step back from the tsunami of the first two issues. On to some details.

Wednesday, May 1, 2024

My Adventures With Superman, Season Two

I didn't cover the first season of My Adventures With Superman, a fun little show on Adult Swim, written by Josie Campbell and with a younger, hipper, more diverse take on Superman, Lois, and Jimmy.

That first season was a bit of a hoot. There was some deep cuts into DCU. There was an interesting take on Krypton. And the chemistry between Clark and Lois was engaging.

Thankfully, the show did well enough to warrant a second season premiering on May 25.  A preview has dropped too. Here is the link:

No need to delay the obvious. Check out the picture above!

Supergirl is in this season!

Monday, April 29, 2024

Comic Box Commentary Is Sixteen Years Old

Hard to believe it but 16 years ago I defined this site as a Supergirl site and I haven't looked back.

The character is still in a bit of flux at this point. In  the last year we have had positive takes by Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Joshua Williamson. We have had some less stellar takes by Mariko Tamaki and Leah Williams. 

We haven't had much else.

I am not too hopeful for a Kara-centric book any time in the near future. I just hope that when it happens it is written by someone who loves the character. 

I really feel like this is a sweet sixteen.

I have been covering the character since the Sterling Gates era through to the present. I still have lots of older stories I can cover. And I still love Supergirl so I'll keep my eyes peeled for all appearances.

I always have to stop and thank anyone who comes here to read my rambling reviews and listen to my thoughts on the super-family. I have made so many friends through this site. I am still here because of the conversations that happen here! Thank you all so much!

And let's hope for a great upcoming year for Kara!