Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Milly Alcock Hired To Play Supergirl

The news broke on Monday of this week that Milly Alcock was hired by James Gunn to play Supergirl in his upcoming slate of DC movies. There are many links out there covering the story. Here is one from Variety:

That is pretty much the extent of the news so now it is time for opinion. 

As a longtime Supergirl fan, I like that Kara is going to look like the classic character, as a blond. I have just started watching House of Dragons and have found Alcock to be a very good actor, holding up her end of her scenes. 

So I think the casting is great. 

I also like the reports that Supergirl will appear in the Superman Legacy movie, thus introducing her to the world before her solo movie gets released. Let's see the super-cousins actually interact on the big screen!

The Supergirl movie is scheduled for down the road so who knows if it will actually get made although it now has a star and a screenwriter. 

What I still have an issue with is the source material - Tom King's Woman of Tomorrow.

Remember this quoate?

That makes the character “much more hardcore,” Gunn explained in 2023 when presenting the first 10 titles in the new DCU slate. “She’s not exactly the Supergirl we’re used to seeing.”

I found much of Tom King's book to be terrible, showing us a depressed, angry, isolated Supergirl. She brings a child to witness (and not stop) an execution by stoning. She puts Krem in the Phantom Zone and then allows him to be beaten after he repents. She cries in the sun. Not a lot of heroism there.

But maybe Alcock will bring some pathos to the whole thing. 

One last note. I want to again thank Sasha Calle from playing an excellent Supergirl in the Flash movie. Her look wasn't classic but given the 'Flashpoint' feel of the whole thing, her looking more like Clark worked. And she played Supergirl with a steely determination and one with heart. 

Will I like the James Gunn Supergirl movie? I can only hope.

Monday, January 29, 2024

Review: Power Girl #8

Power Girl #5 came out this week and is a Streaky focused issue written from the super-cat's perspective. He doesn't understand the human language outside of his name. The word balloons from the humans are therefore gibberish. In essence, this is a sort of silent issue.

I have struggled with this title since it's inception in Action Comics. I have been reading Power Girl since the 70s and I have never seen her portrayed in this way. Writer Leah Williams presents us a character who is almost the opposite of the strong, confident, brash Karen Starr. Instead we have the non-confident, nervous, out of touch 'Paige Stetler'. And 'Paige' doesn't have much of an opinion, kowtowing to Lois and being saved by Omen. 

So while I have enjoyed animal issues like this before ( Super Sons Annual for instance - ) and I don't mind breather issues between arcs (like Mark Waid is doing in World's Finest), I don't know if this title has earned a silly issue so early. 

Do I like Streaky? Yes. But as Supergirl's cat. Not Power Girl's. Did I find it a little off-putting that she calls Streaky 'Stinky' in this issue, given that PG had an actual cat named Stinky in her history? Yes. Do I think that I am not going to be buying this title much longer? Yes as well although a Supergirl crossover means I will be on this book for the next couple of months.

David Baldeon is on art here and brings a sort of cartoony feel to the proceedings which works for a cute animal issue. I think this style fits the tone of the book perfectly. He draws animals very well.

This will be a brief review. Hang in there.

Friday, January 26, 2024

Review: Superman Lost #10

Superman Lost #10 came out this week, ending this mini-series which had a solid main story premise but lost it amidst any number of detours, feints, and confusing subplots. It's a shame. Because that primary plot could have made for a solid 4 issue mini. 

Superman has spent 20 years on a doomed planet and couldn't save it from the divided populace. This world, dubbed Kansas by Superman, is filled with entrenched political sides unwilling to save themselves. Returning home only weeks have past and he is suffering PTSD. How can he come to grips with his life? Give me more of this. Heck, given the premise of the story was set up entirely in the first issue, it could have been a solid 6 issue mini and a decent trade.

Instead, writer Christopher Priest has injected a lot of other side plots. Lois investigating a crooked Senator. Lois asking Lex to help her save Kal and Lex giving her phony cancer. A murderous GL trying to seduce Superman on Kansas and killing an innocent. A side issue where an alternate timeline Superman retells a classic Action Comics tale. All of it sort of wanders about. 

The problem here is that none of these other stories really gel within the main plot well enough for them to bolster the main story. They often felt like a distraction. 

And the overall ending is a little bit underwhelming, a mash of comic book science and a possible misunderstanding of the Superman character.

As usual, the Carlos Pagulayan art is solid but some pages are fill in from Jose Luis Soares Pinto. 

On to some notes.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Review: Batman/Superman World's Finest #23

Batman/Superman World's Finest #23 came out last week, the penultimate chapter of the Kingdom Come storyline Mark Waid has been crafting. And therein lies the conundrum, one I have trumpeted throughout the arc.

Mark Waid and Alex Ross created Kingdom Come back in 1996. It is a masterpiece, an Elseworld's possible future, a sacred comic text. I love Kingdom Come, one of those stories that I go to and reread frequently. 

Now in World's Finest, the Earth-0 World's Finest head to that world and have a rollicking adventure, exposing the world to the multiverse, fighting their doppelgangers, and battling Gog. 

How can this story have taken place and the events of Kingdom Come unfold the way it did? Can such a major incursion from the multiverse, a discussion about Magog's origins, and a cliffhanger with a major DC baddie not impact that story-telling?

Now, in and of itself, this story is fun. The plot twist that Waid brings to Gog is great and completely unexpected. Seeing our World's Finest pairs team up to fight the big bad is fun and cool. And that cliffhanger! Add to the the standard excellent Dan Mora art and you have a winner.

Mora brings in some Earth-22 sensibility to an action packed fight issue. What I like the best is his warping his lines and stylizing his art as the madness increases. Brilliant stuff.

Still ... how can Kingdom Come remain Kingdom Come? Is some time travel erasure in our future?

On to the book.

Monday, January 22, 2024

Review: Superman #10

Superman #10 came out last week, a sort of 'done in one' chapter in the Dr. Pharm and Mr. Graft vs Luthor storyline. I have been enjoying this title a lot and this chapter is really fantastic. The overall plot in the present in nudged forward. We get a 'Superman in the Old West' story complete with a Bronze Age villain in the perfect environment. And we get the story and art that perfectly complement each other. 

Writer Joshua Williamson is having a ball here. He has Superman square off against Terra Man in the Old West. His Superman is spot on, including a set of morals and some sly strategy. We learn a more about Marilyn Moonlight, Pharm, and Graft. We get a solid cliffhanger. And best of all there is a sense of Bronze Age fun here too. 

Bruno Redondo is on art here and brings such a bright clean style to the whole book that the whole thing just shimmers in my hands. I love the Western stuff in particular. And how could I resist this Lee Bermejo cover. You know this is going to be a hoot just based on this.

On to the book.

Friday, January 19, 2024

Review: Justice League Vs Godzilla Vs Kong #4

Justice League Vs Godzilla Vs Kong #4 came out this week and was another funtastic romp through this Elseworlds tale mixing the Monsterverse with a sort of Super Friends style DCU. Without a doubt, this has been the most bananas and therefore most entertaining book I have read in a while. And this issue keeps up that frenetic pace with some great character moments.

Writer Brian Buccellato continues to mix the two universes well. The Justice League are trying to deal with these souped up kaijus who seem able to stand up to the most powerful of them. With Superman off the table, Supergirl remains a focal point which makes me smile. We get a rather emotional Batman and a solid Lois moment as well. But the best part of this is the insane Legion of Doom, who act like old school robbers rather than world conquerors here. Only Lex seems to rise above it all.

Christian Duce splits art with Tom Derenick. Each have a unique style making the pages easy to discern. Duce bringing a finer line and a more refined touch to the proceedings. This works well with the Supergirl pages and the insane Atlantis scenes. Derenick is on the Fortress scenes and brings appropriate gravitas to the Lois scene. I had to pick up the Whilce Portacio cover seen above. Is this the first time Portacio has drawn Supergirl?

On to the book.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Matrix Monday (On Wednesday): Jerry Ordway's Matrix Design

As a long time reader and a longtime Supergirl fan, I really enjoy peeking behind the curtain of the creative process. 

After the Crisis, we went a while without a Supergirl. And then Matrix came around, a sort of stand-in Supergirl. Matrix was the protoplasmic creation of Lex Luthor in the pocket universe, based on Lana Lang. I was a little skeptical of Matrix when she first arrived but her character journey was fantastic (one I chronicled about 4 years ago with Matrix Mondays).

I assumed that the plan was always to have Matrix become Supergirl (even though she pretended to be Clark and sort of disappeared for a while). 

But over on X/Twitter, I read this Jerry Ordway tweet and his ideas about Matrix. I figured this was Supergirl adjacent and therefore worth re-posting here. See the pic above and then his thoughts on this 'new character'. 

Monday, January 15, 2024

Review: Action Comics #1061

Action Comics #1061 came out last week and I was truly unsure what I would think of the book.

It is written by Jason Aaron, a well known comic artist but someone who I have never read before. So I had no idea what to expect. He unfortunately has the bad luck of coming onto the book after Phillip Kennedy Johnson has just left. I was a huge fan of PKJ. Surely the book would suffer in comparison.

Instead, Aaron gives us a new wrinkle to the Bizarro character and a solid cliffhanger. Appropriately, this was an action-filled comic book with lots of super-heroics and wide-screen battles. Mix those two things and you have a pretty entertaining issue. I don't know if I am 100% behind this new take on Bizarro. I don't know if I need him to forever be a great sorceror. I don't think I will want it to stick. But overall, this was fun.

That said, the action and Bizarro plot dominate the book. I don't know how Aaron will be on the rest of the cast. Will he handle Jimmy and Lois well? Time will tell.

John Timms is on art for the book. I like Timms' work a lot, especially his Harley Quinn stuff. Here, he shows us great work in Metropolis, Wizards' World, and even Venus. On top of that, his fight sequences roll out well. This is a pretty book to look at. Even the cover is great with Bizarro in the background, ready to cross-body block our hero. Slick!

So Jason Aaron, you have my attention. Nice opening issue.

On to the book.

Friday, January 12, 2024

Review: Kneel Before Zod #1

Every so often I am surprised by a book being green-lit. Who would think that DC would consider publishing a General Zod maxi-series? But here we are.

Kneel Before Zod #1 came out last week, the first issue in this title written by Joe Casey with art by Dan McDaid. About 2 years ago, I was likely to complain that Zod was being over-used. But I think this is going to be the first major current story for Zod since Batman/Superman #8 from 2020! That was pre-Covid. But I did have to revisit that story to remember how we got here. 

Zod is on a planet named New Kandor. He has half the bottled city of Kandor's citizens in his possession. He is present with his wife and son. And based on a recent back up in Action Comics #1060, he is performing some forced evolution on the natives of this planet to create a super-army. The United Planets are working with Zod but keeping a close eye on him.

With that backstory in place, we get this premiere issue. Kelly is showing us a typical Zod, hellbent on achieving his goals and ready to rule. But we also are seeing how addled he is, seeing visions of past enemies. We see how he is adherent to old customs of a dead world. And he is looking more and more alone with threats all around him.

As compelling of seeing a mentally and physically vulnerable Zod is, Casey also gives us an interesting take on Ursa and Lor-Zod. Ursa seems like a loving mother and a composed ruler. That is intriguing and a far cry from the knife wielding sadist I am used to. And Lor seems like a carbon copy of his dad, always incensed and ready to lash out.

Will all that keep my interest on a long series? I'm not sure yet. 

The art by Dan McDaid is economical, bringing a classic feel to the book. I also like the cover by Jason Shawn Alexander, a sort of warped view of the more loving All-Star Superman #10.

On to the book.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Christmas Gift #1: Gulliver Supergirl Figurine

I am like a big kid around Christmas time and nothing makes me giddy like a great present. When it is a Supergirl related gift I am even giddier. And when it is a Supergirl item I have never heard of before, I am at my giddiest.

So imagine how tickled I was when I got this small Supergirl figure from my middle daughter as a gift. 

It is very cool, about 2 inches tall and well sculpted. 

But I honestly had no idea where it was from. And the auction she won it from had few details. 

So a 'new to me' Supergirl item in my possession?? Best Christmas ever.

Monday, January 8, 2024

Review: Superman '78 The Metal Curtain #3

Superman '78 The Metal Curtain #3 came out last week and continued this look at the Donner-Verse Superman interacting with the world of the Cold War. This was a relatively sedate issue, a standard middle chapter of a story, which pushed the plot forward without much action. There is continued excellent character moments however which make this a really entertaining comic, especially if you love the movies.

Writer Robert Venditti continues to handle both ends well. The Russian Metallo and the desire for the Soviets to destroy Superman as a symbol of American superiority are both excellent wrinkles to the mythos. The zealotry of this Metallo and his compulsion to kill Superman shows how ingrained those feelings of rivalry were then.

More importantly, Venditti just seems to have a great grasp of these characters and is putting them a bit through the paces. He has the luxury of this being untilled soil. He can write the first time people are meeting, like Superman meeting Sam Lane. He can show a world where Lois doesn't know Clark is Superman, where Lois is pining for Superman. But it all still feels classic while being new. Even the true supporting cast a written well. What's better than an irascible Perry laying into Jimmy? And let's not get the not so secret villain behind it all!

Gavin Guidry shines in those character moments. I love his Clark, sometimes perplexed, sometimes acting awkward, always wearing his heart on his sleeve. I also love his Lois, at times steely in her desire to scoop everyone, at times a smitten woman. 

No complaints here. On to the details.

Friday, January 5, 2024

Review: Power Girl #4

Power Girl #4 came out last year and continued the current story of Power Girl facing off against her old Symbioship. It also unfortunately continued this reimagining of the Power Girl character. Since writer Leah Williams was given the reins on the character in the back pages of Action Comics, we have seen strong, confident, independent Karen become scared, unsure, alien 'Paige'. 

I keep waiting for DC Comics to recognize the error they have made in trying to turn one of their most powerful female characters into an insecure mess but it looks like they are in it for the long haul. If look beyond that terrible mistake though, we still get a pretty rough issue. 

Here Power Girl is powerless against the Symbioship. She is taken over initially. She doesn't even save herself, requiring one of the writer's favorite back-up heroes get the glory. And the ending makes little sense with things changing dramatically from one page to the next. Not much works here for me.

It is a shame because I like Eduardo Pansica's art quite a bit. There is a raw scratchiness to it that I think would serve a street level book like The Question. Gary Frank is a favorite so I love his covers too. It is a little bit of a shame.

On to the book.

Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Review: Action Comics Annual 2023

Action Comics Annual 2023 came out last week, the last issue written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson. It is the culmination of the last 3 years of the book. For sure Johnson will be missed on Superman and on Action Comics.

From the arrival of the Phaelosians and Thao-La to the revolution on Warworld to the battle with Metallo to the threat of Norah Stone, Johnson has always shown Superman to be an inspirational leader. Superman is a hero because of his ethics and persona as well as his super-strength and heat vision. Yes, he battled monsters. But he also extended a hand of help to his enemies. He rallied people behind his symbol and his embodiment of hope. 

All that leads us to this story. Here Superman battles a demonic Janna Al Ghul and her armada. But he an inspiration to Otho-Ra. He is able to turn the Blue Earthers towards the light. And we are reminded how he helps the little guy as much as battles the giant villains.

I'd read much more Johnson on the character as he seems like he just Superman. Johnson also has written a great Supergirl. He handles Jon and Conner well. I'll miss all the supers under his care.

The art on the issue is done by Max Raynor who really seems to be a jack of all trades sort of artist. Here he seems to be channeling Rafa Sandoval a little. Compare it to his more energetic, cartoony take on Challenge of the Super-Sons or his slick look way back in Batman/Superman. Everything looks great.

This was a wonderful end chapter for Johnson's tenure on the book. He will be missed.

On to the book.

Monday, January 1, 2024

Review: Justice League Vs Godzilla Vs Kong #3

Happy New Year! Hard to believe it's 2024!

And what better way to ring in a new year than with a fun comic which prominently features Supergirl!

Justice League Vs. Godzilla Vs. Kong #3 came out a couple of weeks ago, the third chapter in what has been an extremely fun series. Writer Brian Buccellato and artist Christian Duce have really been bringing high action and high fun to the series. This is set in some alternate DCU with Lois not married to Clark which means anything can happen, everything is possible. It also means that Buccellato can amp up the kaijus' powers to impact our heroes. Heck, the fact the kaijus are around because a magic stone means their powers are easily malleable. 

In this issue, the unheard of seems to happen. Superman dies. As we have seen in this series already, Supergirl is ready to pick up the gauntlet and become *THE* hero of this DCU. Kara is everywhere in this book, taking out monsters and rallying the troops. And I have to wonder if there is a Crisis on Infinite Earths reference going on here as well. If you like Supergirl (and if you are here you probably do) you need to buy this book.

The overall plot moves forward as our heroes split up to protect the world from the monsters. We also get some progression with some unknown presence trying to unite the kaijus into some force. Seeing a number of heroes struggling against the monsters upped the ante. 

Duce brings a very slick art style to the proceedings. In particular, his take on the giant creatures is dead on perfect. His Supergirl is strong and confident. The action sequences are great. No complaints there.

On to the particulars. Pop the popcorn.