Tuesday, March 28, 2017

June 2017 Solicits


The solicits for June came out a while back so it is time to review what is happening in the super-books. There's some great stuff coming out that made me smile. And luckily, it doesn't look like I'll break the bank!

If you want to see all the solicits, head over to Newsarama:

And now on to the individual issues.

SUPERGIRL #10
Written by STEVE ORLANDO • Art by BRIAN CHING • Cover by ROBSON ROCHA and DANIEL HENRIQUES • Variant cover by BENGAL
“ESCAPE FROM THE PHANTOM ZONE” part two! The Phantom King holds all the cards, and he’s forcing Supergirl and Batgirl to turn to the alien antagonist in order to save themselves and the humans trapped inside the Phantom Zone.

I am definitely pumped for this storyline for many reasons. Batgirl and Supergirl together again for the first time!

I totally love this cover by Rocha and Henriques. Love that determined Supergirl.

Interesting that this story seems to start next week in the Batgirl Annual.


SUPERGIRL: BEING SUPER #4
Written by MARIKO TAMAKI
Art and cover by JOELLE JONES
Having her life torn to shreds and burned to ash has forced Supergirl to choose between the world she was born on and the world that adopted her. Can Kara Danvers find a way to be super—or will she crash and burn?


I have enjoyed this Elseworlds take on Supergirl more than I expected I would. It is a nice coming of age story with gorgeous art. Of course, one of the running themes with Supergirl is her accepting Earth as her home. So seeing this was, I suppose, not surprising. 

One minor quibble is the cover. This is the ending issue. Shouldn't we get something more heroic. Maybe it is the blurred effect that is striking me as odd. Usually we get something more dramatically iconic for a conclusion. 


DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS #28
Written by MARGUERITE BENNETT • Art by LAURA BRAGA and ANEKE • Cover by ANT LUCIA
How can Supergirl convince Power Girl that she is not fighting an enemy—but a sister? Plus, Lois Lane and the Reaper make their way to Hugo Strange’s lab to stop his “superweapon,” unaware that it’s Power Girl herself!
DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS #29
Written by MARGUERITE BENNETT • Art by MIRKA ANDOLFO, RICHARD ORTIZ and CARMEN CARNERO • Cover by MARGUERITE SAUVAGE
Lois Lane and the Reaper join Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy’s travelling circus of mythical Russian creatures, where Poison Ivy uses her powers to alleviate the situation in Leningrad. Plus, Supergirl is forced to fight Power Girl!


Great to see Supergirl prominently on the cover. I was wondering how they were going to place Power Girl into the book. What is their connection? I hope it isn't them being sisters. Perhaps a clone? Given we get a hint about Hugo Strange and the history of the JLU famous Galatea episodes, that would make sense.

And, of course, they need to fight. Because comics.

Lots of Supergirl monthly stuff for this month!



ACTION COMICS #981
Written by DAN JURGENS • Art by JACK HERBERT • Cover by PATCH ZIRCHER
Variant cover by GARY FRANK
“REVENGE” part three! Superman races to save the Suicide Squad from General Zod, Cyborg Superman and Eradicator. Can the Man of Steel escape the Black Vault and stop the carnage before Harley, Deadshot and the rest of Task Force X are forced to make a final stand?
ACTION COMICS #982
Written by DAN JURGENS • Art by VIKTOR BOGDANOVIC • Cover by PATCH ZIRCHER
Variant cover by GARY FRANK
“REVENGE” part four! General Zod takes command as he leads Cyborg Superman, Eradicator, Mongul, Blanque and Metallo against Superman—but his real motives are yet to be revealed and may have far graver consequences for Superman than anyone imagines.

A new Revenge Squad with all these heavy hitters? Fascinating. I don't know I like the look of the new Metallo (if that is who that is) but otherwise bring it.

I am really hoping that Zod comes off well. He was so prevalent a few years ago I felt he was overplayed.


SUPERMAN #24
Written by PETER J. TOMASI and PATRICK GLEASON • Art by DOUG MAHNKE and JAIME MENDOZA • Cover by RYAN SOOK • Variant cover by JORGE JIMENEZ
“BLACK DAWN” part five! The Man of Steel faces the one foe he refuses to fight—his son. An emerging new ability for Superboy proves deadly to Superman as the promise of power appears to lead Jon Kent to betray his father.
SUPERMAN #25
Written by PETER J. TOMASI and PATRICK GLEASON • Art by PATRICK GLEASON, DOUG MAHNKE and others • Cover by RYAN SOOK • Variant cover by JORGE JIMENEZ
“BLACK DAWN” part six! The extra-sized finale to “Black Dawn” reveals the villain tearing the Super-Family apart and destroying everything the Man of Steel holds dear!

Remember when we had a new superpower for Superman? The solar flare? I wonder if we will get that in the Rebirth universe. I wonder if Supergirl can still do it? Maybe her illness and repowering removed that?

Interesting that this cover makes it seem like Jon has a flare power but with Green K power? Now that is a mystery.


SUPER SONS #5
Written by PETER J. TOMASI • Art and cover by JORGE JIMENEZ • Variant cover by DUSTIN NGUYEN
“Battle in the Batcave”! The battle with Kid Amazo leaves Jon and Damian’s friendship in ruins as the boys decide their partnership isn’t working out! It’s a rumble between Superboy and Robin like you’ve never seen as the boys rage through the house Batman built!


I have to assume the story arc is 6 issues. So having the two split in the penultimate issue makes story sense. It will make their coming together next issue more powerful. The idea of the kids trashing the Batcave makes me very very happy.


NEW SUPER-MAN #12
Written by GENE LUEN YANG • Art by BILLY TAN • Cover by PHILIP TAN • Variant cover by BERNARD CHANG
“THE ZERO ULTIMATUM” part two! New Super-Man and the Justice League of China must take back Shanghai from the current emperor—the original super-powered creation of Dr. Omen! While the battle may be winnable, a devastating secret comes to light and shakes the young Super-Man to his core.


I'm glad to see Billy Tan back on art. I liked his prior work.
Is the villain on the cover the original Omen experiment? It has a Superman vibe.
And I wonder what secret comes to life? My guess? Omen is Kenan's actual mom.


SUPERWOMAN #11
Written by K. PERKINS • Art by STEPHEN SEGOVIA and ART THIBERT • Cover by KEN LASHLEY • Variant cover by RENATO GUEDES
“Rediscovery” part three! Former friends duke it out as Superwoman squares off against…Natasha Irons?! In the battle to contain the freed Stryker’s inmates, Lana and Natasha are split over what to do about Natasha’s criminal father, Crash.

Jimenez certainly pumped up Natasha during his run. Maybe too much? It seemed so over the top it felt forced.

And while the solicit is about Lana fighting Natasha, the cover is Lana fighting Steel.

Of course, how does Lana have powers in this post Superman Reborn world? I guess we'll find out.


THE DARING NEW ADVENTURES OF SUPERGIRL VOL. 2 TP
Written by PAUL KUPPERBERG
Art by CARMINE INFANTINO, BOB OKSNER and EDUARDO BARRETO
Cover by ED HANNIGAN and DICK GIORDANO
In these 1980s tales from The Daring NEW Adventures of Supergirl #13 and Supergirl #14-23, the Maid of Might faces neo-Nazis, meets the new threat of Blackstarr, explores the depths of Lake Michigan to find a mysterious monster and is baffled by the Ambush Bug! This collection features appearances by the Justice League of America and the Teen Titans!


I am thrilled that the remainder of the 80s Supergirl title is being collected. Unbelievable. There is a lot to like in this back end of the book including the Ambush Bug as well as the debut of the new costume. We also get a nice anniversary celebration for Supergirl.

Kudos to DC for doing this! 


SUPERGIRL: THE SILVER AGE VOL. 1 TP
Written by OTTO BINDER and JERRY SIEGEL
Art by AL PLASTINO and JIM MOONEY
Cover by MICHAEL CHO
In these stories from ACTION COMICS #252-284, Supergirl adjusts to life on Earth with her adoptive parents. The stories alternate between small-town slice-of-life tales, tales of Supergirl’s efforts to master her new powers, and time-traveling jaunts into the far future and past. Plus, don't miss an early appearance of the Legion of Super-Heroes!


I am also thrilled that this omnibus will now be in softcover for folks who couldn't drop the $75 for the hardcover. And I love the Michael Cho cover. Very classic! A lot of goodness in here!

Good month to get us into the summer months! 

Monday, March 27, 2017

1978 Supergirl And Superboy Pin-up

I am always thrilled when something I have never seen before crosses my path. And when that something 'new' is also something 'classic', I like it even more. When it is something Supergirl, it becomes that much cooler.

So hat tip to my friend Mart Gray for sending me this image of Supergirl and Superboy. Looking around, this seems to have been an 11x15 pinup from 1978.

I love the whole look of this. The slightly tilted aspect, Supergirl leading the way flying with Superboy running, and the classic early 70s outfit on Kara is just wonderful. Maybe some more could have been put in the background. But the solid purple backdrop does make you focus more on the characters.

While the piece isn't signed, it looks to me most like Neal Adams. There is a sort of Dick Giordano flair to it so I wonder if Adams did pencils and Giordano did the inks.

I have seen it credited to Dave Cockrum but it doesn't look like Cockrum to me. Could Giordano have inked Cockrum and overwhelmed the style?

If anyone knows for sure who should be credited please let me know!

Just gorgeous!

The older I get, the more I love that version of the Supergirl costume.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Review: Action Comics #976


What do you do in comics when character mistakes have been made?
Well, you can reboot an entire universe if the mistakes are continuity wide.
Or you can simply ignore the mistakes and have a new creative team just start writing the character a different way.
Or you can 'soft reboot' things, change a couple of key events here and there to smooth out some of the rough edges.

Action Comics #976, the last part of Superman Reborn, does the latter. And I loved it.

There was much of the New 52 Superman that I didn't care for. Outside of Morrison and Pak, the tone just seemed way off. The usage of the supporting cast, especially Lois, was terrible. And we went from an 'I'm here to help' character to someone who mercilessly beat his helpless opponents. It was wrong.

Then Convergence and Rebirth came along and a new/old Superman and Lois were brought into the fold. Building on pre-Flashpoint continuity, the two were in love, married, and brought a more classic feel to the book. Everything seemed to be clicking.

Unfortunately, it meant you were stuck with two of each of the characters. The New 52 Superman and Lois were killed off to make things easier to follow. But how could the older Lois simply step into the younger Lois' life. How could Clark White live on a farm while no Clark Kent worked at the Planet? How did other people handle a 'new' Superman being in the ranks?

It was getting a bit confusing. Even my reviews had to say things like 'pre-FC Superman' and 'N52 Superman' and 'older Lois', etc. Things needed to be smoothed out.

That's just what Reborn has done. It might seem a bit fast. It probable will leave a lot of continuity reshuffling to the readers. And it didn't really answer the how's of all this. We still don't know who Mr. Oz is or who the mysterious 'he' who is doing all this is. But we have one Superman now, disguised as a mild-mannered reporter working for a great Metropolitan newspaper, in love with Lois, and acting as a hero. And for that, I'm happy.

I'll add that Doug Mahnke is on art on the issue and brings a nice insanity to the proceedings. Energy beings, 5th dimensional imps, decaying fantasylands ... Mahnke brings a vibrancy to it all.

Enough dawdling, onto the book.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Flash Ep 217: Duets


I have been watching the Flash show since the first season's premiere and overall have loved the show. The characters, their interactions, the deep dives into the DCU, and the personal plot lines have all made the show a winner.

You knew there was going to be a but, right.

But this season has been a bit more morose than I am used to with this show. Yes, there has been a lot of drama and depression in the first two seasons, revolving around the death of Barry's mom, the multiple supporting characters dying, the betrayal of Zoom, etc. This season has really wallowed in the depression and sadness. Everyone seems a little more sullen. Everyone is carrying some emotional burden. Barry hasn't been acting the hero.

In other words, the charm of the earlier seasons hasn't been there this season. And it was that charm that made this show such a winner.

This week, the Flash aired 'Duets', the much anticipated musical crossover with Supergirl. (It is Kara's presence that has me reviewing the show here.) And thankfully, this was a rollicking good time. The charm was back. Characters were smiling. Everyone seemed to be having a grand old time. That fun and charm just oozed off the screen.

I love that we learn how much Kara loves The Wizard of Oz, a perfect musical for her, with a female hero trying to recapture her home after being sent to someplace strange.

And perhaps most amazingly, even though this was a 'side mission', the episode moved both shows plots forward.

Suffice it to say, the family and I basically grinned for an hour. Now it doesn't hurt that the Anj household likes musicals. Maybe we were the perfect target audience.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Supergirl Ep 216: Star- Crossed



Supergirl episode 216, titled 'Star Crossed' aired earlier this week and finally revealed just who Mon-El is. It also made him a more sympathetic character when you see just what Daxam was like and who his parents are. Any time you name something 'Star Crossed', you are aiming for a Romeo and Juliet feel. And that means doomed lovers. Certainly, Krypton and Daxam could be the planetary equivalent of the Montagues and the Capulets. And Mon-El hiding his real identity for this long certainly isn't a good foundation for a long standing relationship. So I wasn't surprised just how this all played out.

This also was a similar 'crossover' episode with the Flash. We knew the musical episode of the Flash was happening the night after this aired. The teaser at the end of Supergirl is the bridge of her joining the crossover, much as the show proceeded in the Invasion crossover.

Lastly, since Melissa Benoist was probably busy filming Flash at the same time, much of this episode is focused on Winn and his relationship with Lyra. To the surprise of no one, she turns out to be a bit more nefarious. She's a villain of sorts, but the kind with a sympathetic background that makes you end up rooting for her even if she almost ruined Winn's life. Maybe this relationship was also star-crossed in nature.

As usual, Benoist really brings it this episode. She is emotionally devastated for much of this episode and she brings that sort of weight to the proceedings. Her expressions, her dialogue, her body language all screams her pain. 

I'll be concentrating mostly on the Supergirl/Mon-El plot in this review. Settle in.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Graphic Ink: The DC Comics Art Of Gary Frank



Through the magic of the internet, I stumbled upon this image by Gary Frank, a promotional piece for a book titled GRAPHIC INK: THE DC COMICS ART OF GARY FRANK. The book is still up on the DC site despite being shelved. Here is that link: http://www.dccomics.com/graphic-novels/graphic-ink-the-dc-comics-art-of-gary-frank

I've been a fan of Frank's art since his early work on the Peter David Supergirl site. And while not from DC, I loved his work on Supreme Power. Just gorgeous stuff there.

Looking at this image, you can see the breadth of Frank's work in DC. Obviously he had some time with Superman with Geoff Johns. But you also see the Stan Lee Imagines Shazam, the Tangent Flash, Black Canary (he was one of the first artist's on Birds of Prey), and the actual Marvel Family while on Justice League (again with Johns). And his take on the Legion was great in that Action Comics run.

This is a great piece, worthy of a poster.

But you can guess the two characters that really caught my eye.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Review: Super Sons #2


Supersons #2 came out last week and was a rollicking fun time. One of the themes of this book is clearing going to be to compare and contrast the personalities of the main characters. Jon is a bright, optimistic, sort of naive kid. Damien is a driven, sullen, but ultimately lonely dark knight in training. For someone like me who grew up with Batman and Superman being friends, I can imagine that this is how that relationship started. These boys aren't similar in any way other than their legacy and drive for justice.

This issue shows how their approaches to matters and their power set can complement each other nicely. They are solving a mystery and they are on the trail. But this is definitely an 'Odd Couple' situation. Can they get along with out beating each other up?

The story also introduces someone who could be a great arch-enemy for the sons. Are we seeing the opening chapter of a lifelong battle?

The art is just glorious by Jorge Jimenez. I love how gangly and kid-like our protagonists look. These aren't small adults. They are children and they look it. I appreciate it greatly! And the action is wonderfully rendered, stylized and snappy!

On to the book!