Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Review: Action Comics #291

The news came out recently that everyone's favorite 5th dimensional imp, Mr. Mxyzptlk, is coming to the Supergirl show!

While the show does seem to be leaning on Superman's rogues gallery for the villains of the episodes, I don't have too much to complain about here. Mr. Mxyzptlk has a relatively deep history with Supergirl, especially in the Silver Age. He was responsible for giving Kara her powers back (and a temporary immunity to Kryptonite!) early in her Action Comics run. But Supergirl hadn't been revealed at that point; Mxy thought she was just a 'normal girl'. He bothered her in the Adventure Comics run. And he was the big bad in Supergirl:Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade.

But I thought it would be appropriate to review his first true battle with Supergirl, Action Comics #291!

The cover comment for the Supergirl story is that she meets her Kryptonian parents and that is true. But it is in the context of the story 'The Bride of Mr. Mxyzptlk!'. Written by Jerry Siegel with art by Jim Mooney, the story is a wild romp stuffed into 12 pages. I am always amazed at just how much the old creators could put into a back-up feature! This would be a 6 parter these days.

And it opens up with this fantastic splash page. There is Mxyzptlk, looking dapper in his day tuxedo (while maintaining the purple derby and gloves), waiting outside the Justice of the Peace. And there is Kara, in a veil, being brought to the celebration by her Kryptonian parents. Say, aren't they dead? Despite Kara's protests, they are forcing her to marry the 5th dimensional trickster.

Whew ... there is a lot to digest in this one picture! But does the story hold up to this opening hook?

Monday, December 5, 2016

Direct Currents #1

Last week I went to the comic store and was delighted to find a nice surprise. Direct Currents #1 was on the rack, a promotional magazine put out by DC Comics, big and glossy and covering all of the titles in some fashion. And best of all it was free.

I remember the pre-internet days of Direct Currents being present in DC Comics, basically a list of the upcoming title solicits. And I also like the Daily Planet faux newspapers, the occasional DC Profile of creators, and even the straight up news columns that occasionally would grace DC's books in the 70s and 80s. So the name and format struck a nostalgic chord.

But more importantly, it's in print!

I guess I am going to sound like a Luddite but I like the print format. I picked this up looking forward to reading about the super-titles. But I read about the Suicide Squad and the Flash books as well. I'll probably end up reading this cover to cover. Because while I was sipping my coffee it was easy to simply flip the page.

I don't think I would necessarily have clicked on an article about, for example, The Flash. I certainly wouldn't have done it on sites where you need to click through ads, slides, etc.

So thank you DC! I am hoping that the #1 on the cover means this might be a recurring thing.

The book opens up with a letter from Dan Didio.

He starts out talking about the JL/Suicide Squad crossover. He touches on the upcoming Batwoman and Super-Sons titles.

And he ends the missive by saying "Rebirth is about a voice, a tone, a sensibility. We're crafting a strong, cohesive universe."

I rolled my eyes. I suppose some might derisively snicker. Didio was in charge for the years were things were off-tone and insensible. Hard to take him seriously. I will say I have been happy with the post-Rebirth DCU.

And I liked that he mentioned Mr. Oz and said that story is coming to the forefront soon.

There is a nice article about the Superman books in which we hear how Dan Jurgens, Peter Tomasi, and Patrick Gleason work together to get the long form stories right. It is worth reading.

And Supergirl gets just a strip of one page (three columns on the page promote Supergirl, New Superman, and Superwoman).

It is a brief and to the point. The middle section lays out the foundation of the book and defines the DEO. But the last paragraph does give us our first glimpse into what will happen after the Cyborg Superman.

Looks like the DEO is going to try to weaponize Lar-On!

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Supergirl promised Lar-On that she would be there to help him. Will she support this? What if Lar-On doesn't want to do this? Will Supergirl side with him? He might ask her to kill him, given his curse. What will she do then?

I'm glad Orlando is bringing him back. I wasn't too keen on the idea of him just lying in the DEO sedated.

Anyways, head to the LCS and pick this up. It's free! And I'll let you know if this Direct Currents leads me to buying a new title, the ultimate goal of something like this!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Bullet Review: Superman Annual #1

Superman Annual #1 came out this week, done by the Superman title's main creative team Peter Tomasi, Patrick Gleason, and artist Jorge Jimenez.

It is hard for me to wrap my head around the book. In the end I think it will get a high grade on review. There are plenty of high points. The art is probably the biggest hook for the issue. This is a new sort of book for Jimenez who brings big splash pages, double splash pages, innovative page designs, and delightfully trippy images to really make it visually pleasing. Tomasi and Gleason answer an early mystery from their run. They pile on some intrigue about whatever the underlying enigma of Superman's origins here. And they add a nice sentiment about the fact that this is a new world for this Kal-El.

They also have this act like a DC Comics Presents issue, teaming up Superman with Swamp Thing. The new DCU is still too fresh for me to know exactly what the history is between these two. The New 52 Superman (I think) knew Swamp Thing. But does this Convergence Kal know him?

But it is hard to link the original threat that spurs Superman into action to all the good plot progression that it brings. This feels like a sort of forced team-up.

Still, the art alone makes this an issue to look for. And I liked the ending and what it was trying to say. On to the book!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

DC Bombshells Supergirl Bust

It is an early Christmas for me. Last week the DC Bombshells Supergirl bust arrived at my local comic store. I had been slowly paying this off over the last several months so the financial bite was lessened by time. Also, I was thrilled that this was marketed as I can feel okay displaying this, more than the bustier wearing Bombshell Supergirl statues that have been marketed.

This is just a great bust. I love the formal dress uniform look for Kara here, especially the S-shield cap and tie look. I also like the dynamic nature of the scarf, replacing the cape here.

I also think Supergirl's face is quite lovely here. That smile is fantastic.

And the back is nicely detailed as well. I like the details in the hair and the wrinkles in the jacket and cap.

I also love the folds and swooshes of the scarf as well. This could have been a simple design but the sculptor gave the cape some volume and action. I love it.

No pun intended, but the biggest thing about this bust is it's size. It is big! Look at how it sort of dwarfs the other Supergirl busts that are out there. it definitely is worth the price when you factor that in.

This is a lousy shot of its space on my shelf but I added it here. This shelf showcases the most recent costumes Supergirl has worn and so I think it was appropriate to place here.

After Christmas I promise I'll do a post showing the whole collection.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Supergirl Episode 208: Medusa

"Medusa" aired this last week, the first part of the 4 part CW Superhero crossover event. And while that crossover promise was trumpeted as the main draw for this episode, it really played a minor role. In some ways this was more the 'first scene' of the crossover.

Instead, the main plot of this episode was Cadmus and the threat of Project Medusa. And surprisingly, that plot line is tied up pretty quickly. In fact, several subplots are sort of pushed forward or finished within this episode, some of them almost too fast. It is as if there is another major storyline that is coming around the corner and so much of what has happened so far needed to be wrapped up. I am still trying to get my head around some of these choices. Are things moving too fast? Or is it better than dragging something out? Or is it the *how* things are resolved that seems to be my issue?

While that main plot is the foundation on which this episode is built, it is the smaller, more personal character moments that shined. This seems to be a recurring mantra in my reviews. The character building this season has been very strong. And the acting has matched these moments wonderfully. So we get a lot of Alex progression here, coming out to her mother who she has feuded with in the past. We get some Mon-El progression. J'onn acts truly heroic, willing to sacrifice himself for others. We see significant character development with Lena and the Luthors. And we see some further maturation with Kara. The idea of family and mothers and the support they can provide was a nice nugget of contrast for the main characters. It really is a great episode from that perspective.

And yes, we see two major kisses and the Flash. As is also becoming a recurring mantra, when this episode was over my youngest looked at me and said 'too intense'. Awesome.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

February 2017 Solicits

The DC solicits for February were released a while back but it has taken me a bit to finally get to cover them. The solicits here sound like February will be an excellent month for comics. And luckily, given the usual lack of funds in the post-holiday time, there weren't too many surprises.

Here is a link for all the solicits over on Newsarama:

As for the super-titles, I am excited for any number of reasons. Let's jump right in.

Written by STEVE ORLANDO • Art and cover by BRIAN CHING • Variant cover by BENGAL
“REIGN OF THE CYBORG SUPERMEN” finale! Argo City is on a collision course with Earth and the Girl of Steel is the only hero that can stop it! Cyborg Superman and Kara Zor-El clash in a cataclysmic final battle that leaves only one standing!

The first arc of the Orlando/Ching Rebirth look at Supergirl comes to an end. We have seen the idea of Argo City being crashed into Earth before way back when so it'll be interesting how that plays out in this more modern time. But for me, I will be glad to see the Cyborg Superman arc put behind us. I look forward to Kara declaring Earth her own home and dealing with her father.

I love the cover. Kara looks like she has been through a fight, looking determined and holding what seems to be an injured arm. Nice look.

Written by MARIKO TAMAKI • Art and cover by JO√čLLE JONES
Midvale has been torn apart by a devastating earthquake, and the death toll has hit Kara Danvers hard. As she begins to put the pieces of her life back together, Kara’s developing powers kick into high gear, and her memories of a world that shouldn’t exist begin to surface.

I didn't realize that Being Super was bi-monthly but if that gives Joelle Jones time to get the art done, so be it.

I like the idea of a natural disaster somehow spurring Kara into a heroic ideal. As you may have heard, with great power comes great responsibility.

But the line about her having memories is the line that grabbed me. Was Kara a baby when she was rocketed to Earth? A toddler? Was there an Argo City? Hmmm .... 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Review: Action Comics #968

Action Comics #968 came out last week and was a decent middle chapter to the Godkiller arc. While the main thrust of this issue were the tremendous action sequences which pitted Superman and Alex against the crusaders of L'Call and his partner Zade against Superman and Lex, it was the smaller moments giving us some insight into the characters that I appreciated the most.

Writer Dan Jurgens certainly can write the big super powered sequences well, having the combatants slam there way through Metropolis. These are the sort of scenes that made me fall I love with comics to begin with. And artist Tyler Kirkham continues to bring his A-game, bringing a great energy to fights while also making sure his expressive work impresses.

But for me, it is the subtle character nudges that that made me want to read the next issue already. L'Call hints at an interesting back story. Jon continues to win me over with his exuberance and desire to jump into action. Lex continues to ooze smugness, reminding me he shouldn't wear the S-shield. And the new Clark again shows that maybe he isn't a mild mannered reporter but something more nefarious. These are the moments, more than the haymakers and body slams, that grabbed me.

I'll say again that Kirkham shines here. I love his Lois and his Jon. And there are a couple of panels where his art complements the words perfectly.

On to the book.